May 31, 2004

Haiku For Monday #32

Remember those whose
valiance guaranteed freedoms
and cost them their lives.

Posted by Chris at 12:38 PM | Comments (6)

May 29, 2004

Wobegon

I remember as a kid, we used to take road trips a lot. My parents would bundle me into a car and we'd drive from Texas to Wyoming or California. I loved it, actually. We always had a lot of fun. We'd bring books and my mom would read them outloud to us, although, since she got car sick rather easily, she'd have to lie down in the backseat while she read. If there was ever a part that I didn't like, it was when my dad would flip on the radio and turn on Garrison Keillor and his Prarie Home Companion. Maybe I was too young to appreciate it.

That's why I've been surprised that I've started tuning into NPR over the past couple years to listen to the show. Even more surprising is that we went to the show last night.

If you're not from around here, you won't know much about Wolf Trap, the only national park for the performing arts. Nestled in the suburbs of Virginia, its large wood structure and rolling lawns make it seem more like a giant treehouse. Last night, cool weather prevailed and we sat on the lawn, under the moonlight and stars with the ever-present hum of the cicadas and listened to Keillor speak of Lake Wobegon.

It was a great show. He'll be broadcasting live from Wolf Trap again this evening. You can catch it on your local NPR station or listen to it live online.

Posted by Chris at 11:37 AM | Comments (12)

May 28, 2004

Hidden Treasure (and a view from the sky)

You all know by now that I love music, that I own a rediculous number of CDs and I'm adding more everyday. If you guessed that the occasional album gets lost in the shuffle and goes without being listened to for a substantial amount of time, you'd be correct. I have to admit to you that I've been sitting on a real find but didn't know it until last night (and confirmed just a little while ago). My music recommendation for this holiday weekend? The Fire Theft. Members of Sunny Day Real Estate and the Foo Fighters come together to make what I think might be the best thing I've bought in 2004. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Also, I give you a unique view of downtown Washington, D.C. and the new World War II memorial which officially opens this weekend. Thanks to Heather and her visitors for pointing me to this image.

Posted by Chris at 3:50 PM | Comments (3)

Several Good Things About Friday

After a long, drama-ful week, its finally Friday. Luckily for me, its a three-day weekend, as it is for most of us here in the U.S. Additionally, I'm working from home today...I mean, certainly no one's in the office today anyway. And there's nothing better than trading in the usual suit and tie for jeans and a t-shirt a day early.

Happy Friday!

Posted by Chris at 10:15 AM | Comments (16)

May 27, 2004

Drama

Between work and other stuff, there's certainly been a lot of drama in the air today. Aren't we all supposed to be working together to keep this big old ball of water and rock spinning? Or is that just misplaced idealism?



Posted by Chris at 7:46 PM | Comments (13)

Dreamweaver

Have you ever had those college dreams about having to take finals for classes you forgot you were signed up for? That was me on Tuesday night. In the dream, I went from classroom to classroom taking finals and actually feeling pretty good about them despite the fact that I'd barely spent any time in the classes themselves. I remember my relief, however, when I learned the chemistry final was cancelled. Imagine my surprise when my Wednesday night dreams revolved around making up for a cancelled chemistry final. Worse yet, it wasn't a standard final but an oral one in front of the class. And I couldn't even remember what an atomic number was. Ever have related dreams over two or more different nights?

Also of note: The Thursday Haiku Smackdown is happening now! So go check out Mindy's Dojo (I swear that's not dirty) and 'ku!

Posted by Chris at 7:21 AM | Comments (11)

May 26, 2004

Brief Hump Day Notes

A couple things before I immerse myself in a 400 page document I'm trying to review and get out the door...

-I'm assuming that many of you watched American Idol last night. I'm a music fan. I think I can tell the good from the bad, the spectatular from the strident. What Fantasia did last night, specifically with that last song, was nothing short of magical.

-On another musical note (hah!), Toby Lightman's Angels and Devils has to be the catchiest song to hit the radio in years. The rest of the CD isn't bad either.

-Galleries are up! Look over there on the right. I haven't perfected the template yet nor have I uploaded everything but the latest North Carolina pictures are up. Enjoy!

-You think you've seen crazy? I'm still recovering from my brush with the crazy gardener. Check it out if you haven't already.

Posted by Chris at 7:23 AM | Comments (14)

May 25, 2004

My Brush With Crazy

OR, HOW I SURVIVED THE GREEN THUMB KILLER

I have seen crazy, for he is a gardener. We’ve got a front yard that’s not in such great shape. Because of that, we decided we’d hire a professional to come out and take a look, let us know what could be done. Draw up a plan. He came today. It was a surreal experience. Look away if you’re easily scared.

First off, let me describe this guy who we’ll call Mr. Perch. Mr. Perch is about six feet tall and has longish brown hair that’s longish because he just hasn’t gotten a haircut since, well, 2002. He’s got a sparse mustache, bad teeth and wears thick glasses which went out of style much earlier than he last cut aforementioned hair. He was outfitted in a button down Hawaiian shirt, corduroy shorts, dress socks and loafers. Around his waist, he carried a tool belt, a cell phone and various writing and measuring implements. Mr. Perch doesn’t make eye contact or if he does its completely by accident. Instead he stares in the opposite direction of the person to whom he’s addressing. He’s got a laugh that, despite the fact I’ve never met one, I bet rivals even the craziest of serial killers. He stinks of sweat, has terrible breath and makes this constant choking sound that’s very uncomfortable to listen to.

Mr. Perch arrived at 4:30. He just left. For the record, its 7:30. To say that Mr. Perch works slowly is a slight understatement. The onset of the Ice Age would truly test Mr. Perch’s speed and endurance, as a matter of fact. And the conversation, what there was of it, was truly frightening. I give you the following example.

What I heard (and keep in mind I’m no gardener so I may have made up some of the plant names):


We plant these here, these here because they like the sun, the sun. I think it measured five by seven by seven by seven by seven by eight, eight, five, eight, five and eight, five by seven. Yes it measured five by seven which makes it okay to plant the Stella D’Oro Breadsticks right here because they like sun. They’re so pretty. Yes they’re so so pretty. Hi kitty cat! Oh your phone is ringing. You’re not going to answer it? Who is it that you don’t want to answer it? One of those ‘out of area’ calls then, is it. If we plant these Sub-periodontal Geraniums you’ll be happy, so happy with the flowers because they bloom from now, well, not exactly now because I haven’t planted them yet have I? But if they were in the ground now then they’d be blooming all these pretty, oh so pretty, purple and white and pink flowers until, oh, around Labor Day. Then the Urethra Majora would start to bloom with its chocolate colored leaves against the white of the bloom. Oh my. I think I’d use nine, nine, nine, ten, nine, nine, uh, three in this space here, do you see? When does your wife get home? Or is she one of those people who works all kinds of crazy hours and your name is short for Christopher, right? I can spell that. Let’s see. C-H-R-I-S-T-O-P-H-E-R. Correct? Right. If I had slave labor in China I’d sure make me some of them plastic trees because people with yards that are so small always want these really tall trees that aren’t at all wide. Yes sir, if I could get some slave labor and get those puppies on the production line, I’d find myself a wealthy man.

Here’s what I was thinking:

I’m going to die in my kitchen. Christ! He can see the knife block. I’m a dead man. I’m going to be killed by a gardener turned serial killer. A smelly gardener turned serial killer at that. If Beth comes home now, I’m just going to tell her to run. We should have worked out some sort of covert signal for times like this. Well, not exactly like this. I mean, how often is this going to happen? Hopefully, not often. And what, precisely, is that smell? My god, its him. He is a landscape guy after all. I mean, he’s probably been outside all day. But if he spends so damn much time outside, what’s he been doing in my kitchen for, oh, two hours? He’s a three name guy too. Like John Wayne Gacy…Henry Lee Lucas…Charles Nelson Reiley…oh, wait. Damnit. I’m going to die in my kitchen.

For the record, I did not die in my kitchen. I was not slain. But I’m not making any of this shit up. Ask my wife. She got to witness the last few painful minutes of this experience. She’s got my back. This does not mean we’re safe, however. I’m positive that one day, I’m going to open the Washington Post and find a headline that sends ripples down my spine. I’m thinking, “Green Thumb Killer Nabbed. Investigation Blossoms.” And I do have some sort of proof. I snapped this while he wasn’t looking.

Posted by Chris at 8:24 PM | Comments (27)

Mail Me America: The Results Show

A week or so ago, I asked a question that, when I started to see the answers coming in, got very interesting very quickly. I finally had the time to go through and compile the answers. I think it paints a very interesting picture of what we (or at least those of you who responded) think of America.

Check out the responses below and consider this - if you put all of these things together, do you think its a fair and accurate picture of America?

Food and Other Perishables


  • Big Mac
  • Can of Coke
  • Diet coke
  • Starbucks gift card
  • Steak
  • Donut
  • Peanut Butter (with a history of Booker T. Washington)
  • Jar of peanut butter and jelly,
  • Best looking version of Chinese in a small carton of take out anyone could want to dive into with chopsticks
    Fortune cookies, frozen pizza, frozen burrito
  • New Jersey pizza
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Candy bars
  • McDonald's happy meal
  • Freedom fries

Media

  • US Weekly
  • Beauty magazines
  • TV Guide
  • KISS CD
  • DVD of "Jackass the movie"
  • Video games
  • Dictionary (and possibly a book of grammar) with all the pages ripped out
  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  • Sports Illustrated (preferably one with Lance Armstrong on the cover)
  • Compendium of all the best box office smashes,
  • Beavis and Butthead DVD
  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • Bowling for Columbine DVD
  • Tape of a Howard Stern broadcast
  • Comic that mocks Bush
  • Jazz album, Ella Fitzgerald perhaps
  • The Far Side comics
  • CDs representing the various music that America has contributed to the world
  • Book on the history of the United States
  • Short documentary - go to the largest playground i could find and film the children at play. Its title would be "My Country 'Tis of Me" and the theme would be diversity and hope
  • DVD player and one season of each reality tv series there has been and is
  • Hustler magazine
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The New York Times
  • Newsweek
  • Episodes of Seinfeld
  • Sesame Street Sticker
  • Marines training video
  • Newspaper clippings for every gun-related death that week

Images

  • Pictures of my daughter, my wife, and many of my friends
  • A random shot of a NYC street showing the diversity and the possibility
  • Ansel Adams book of the National Parks
  • Picture of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon
  • Pictures from around the country
  • Photos of my friends at protests

Patriotism and Symbolism

  • American flag
  • Miniature Statue of Liberty
  • Pre-amble to our Constitution
  • The Constitution
  • One-dollar bill
  • Bill of Rights
  • Army Achievement Medal
  • Text written at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty
  • Scales of Justice
  • Draft card
  • Tattered, unrecognizable flag
  • Composite flag that represent the flag of every nationality existing in this country
  • Voter registration card that had never been used
  • Card explaining the symbolism of the Flag and directions for proper car
  • Declaration of Independence

Sports and Amusement

  • Baseballs
  • Frisbees
  • Silly Putty
  • NFL football
  • Monopoly Game
  • Dale Earnhardt sticker

People

  • Cheerleader
  • Small lawyer
  • George W. Bush

Apparel and Accessories

  • J.Lo perfume
  • Pair of Levi 501's
  • God Bless America t-shirt
  • Bikini
  • Walmart T-shirt
  • Gift card to L.L. Bean (with catalog)

Health and Beauty

  • Pair of silicone tits
  • Syringe of emergency Botox
  • Unused gym membership card
  • Prescription for Xanax
  • Therapy vouchers, for a year on the couch
  • Anti depressants
  • List of every diet program available
  • Crack
  • Low-carb diet books
  • 3-ply toilet paper
  • Hospital bill

Needs, Wants and Desires

  • Subpoena to McDonalds for a lawsuit involving an obese person claiming McDonalds forced the burger and extra-large fries down his/her throat
  • Ammunition
  • Remote control
  • Subway tokens
  • Handgun
  • Nuclear warhead
  • Pink Cadillac
  • Bag of crap from Walmart
  • Maxed out credit cards
  • Portable TV set
  • SUV
  • TiVo
  • Gas receipt

Miscellaneous

  • Letter of apology from all of us
  • Diary of some common middle-class person
  • Big bottle of attitude
  • Letter of apology from George W. Bush
  • High school yearbook from the current year
  • Baby jar filled with soil and aloe seeds
  • Pieces of tornado debris
  • Voodoo doll labeled "American"
  • “Charleston Heston is my President” bumper sticker
  • Stem cells
  • Bible and something to BANG it with
  • Chunk of asphalt
  • Pen and paper
  • Pamphlets from the Christian Coalition
  • Pamphlets on every major religion in the world

Posted by Chris at 10:28 AM | Comments (14)

May 24, 2004

Another Sign The Country's Going To Hell

Me: You'll be happy to know that the Presidential address tonight is not being carried by the major networks because of sweeps. So they won't preempt The Swan finale.
Her: We just suck as a country don't we?
Me: Yup.

Posted by Chris at 6:48 PM | Comments (8)

Notes From A Pointless Meeting

I just got out of a long, unnecessary meeting. I was writing some work-related stuff down but got sidetracked and wrote down a few observations. I present to you my thoughts, unedited.


  • Why am I here? I don't mean in the metaphysical sense. I mean, there's no freaking agenda or anything. 15 minutes in and I have no clue what this is about.
  • Russians! Russians everywhere!
  • Nancy Regan? How the hell did she get involved in this?
  • I'm fucking confused.
  • This is verbal masturbation at its finest.
  • Metrics! Metrics! Metrics! Why must we measure shit so much?
  • Dude, that big old Casio calculator watch from 1987 is so not cool anymore...if it ever was.
  • We have a client named F.U.? Too. Many. Jokes.
  • Paradigm. Let's put that on the list of words never to use again.
  • Granted, it was in a different context but never should the phrase, 'Am I going to get penetrated tomorrow?' be used in a meeting. Never.

Posted by Chris at 3:49 PM | Comments (10)

Haiku For Monday #31

I'm back from the beach
to face windowless office
and scads of email.

Posted by Chris at 7:32 AM | Comments (10)

May 23, 2004

Beached

I'm back! Yes, it was a short trip (way too short when I think about going back to work tomorrow) but it was completely and utterly wonderful. At some point I'll summarize our quick jaunt to North Carolina and put up a gallery of photos I took while we were gone. In the mean time, I'll try to work off the post-vacation buzz which, I'm sure, will be completely gone by the time the alarm goes off at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow morning.

I missed you all. And thanks for keeping the place clean! :-)

Posted by Chris at 2:21 PM | Comments (10)

May 19, 2004

Into The Sunset (Briefly)

If you don't see me around these parts for a few days, don't worry. I'll be back soon. I'm headed to the beach for a couple days and will return on Sunday. In the mean time, make sure you do the 'ku over at the JLB site tomorrow. And visit all the cool people on the right there...it might be a little slow around here for the next couple days but they'll be able to entertain you.

Ok...now entertain yourselves for a while. Have a fantastic weekend and take care of yourselves. And no wild parties while I'm gone!

Posted by Chris at 8:20 PM | Comments (10)

Parental Warnings

There's a lot of bad stuff on TV, right? I don't think anyone's going to argue with me on that point. There's also a lot of disturbing stuff on TV. There's a difference. The two are not the same.

Bad Television:
Lets take The Swan. Its horrible yet I will be watching the two hour finale in which The Swan is chosen and awarded the elusive cash and prizes worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." The Swan is terrible. It completely objectifies women and tells them that real emotional issues will get resolved as long as they get pretty. Emotional stability and beauty? So not the same thing. But its bad television and, therefore, funny.

Disturbing Television:
Showbiz Moms & Dads. My wife and I were channel surfing after American Idol last night (you may make your own determination as to whether that was disturbing or merely bad) and stumbled across this Bravo series I'd heard about. Can I just say that I think, aside from the news, that it is the single most disturbing thing I've ever seen on television? Talk about a cringe factor. We were introduced to five "families" (and I put that in quotes because, hello, Dysfunction Junction is coming up on the left...next stop Crazytown!):

The Barons:
Mom's a bitch and can't seem to refrain from using the word "fuck" or its many variations in front of her kids. And she seems perfectly willing to leave her 14 year old (repeat, 14) in L.A. while she moves to Colorado with her new husband. And her biggest concerns seems to be getting her kids an agent.

The Klingensmiths:
The son, Shane, has no recognizable talent whatsoever. I mean none. Yet, his car dealership owning dad is able to get him a gig opening at Gilley’s in Las Vegas (a totally appropriate place for a 13 year old). Name in lights...yadda yadda...opening night....blah blah...obsessive mom living vicariously through son is so proud...kid sucks absolute ass on stage and plays to approximately 20 people including friends and family then does a rambling monologue about how nothing would have been possible without super-obsessive mom. I predict seeing these two in some Dateline or 20/20 special about matricide in a couple of years.

The Moseley-Stephens:
Mom's an agent, daughter Jordan's an actress. Really, the mom here seemed to have her head screwed on right for the most part but she dragged her daughter to work with her then bitched at her when her homework wasn't getting done. I mean, get this kid to bed earlier than 10:30! And its not all about you, mom.

The Nutters:
Wow, what's in a name, huh? Imagine this. Overbearing dad drags his wife and seven (yes, seven) kids from a house in Vermont to a two bedroom apartment in NYC to try and score a sitcom based on, well, themselves. You'd hope that the whole family's on board right? That they'd all be really enthusiastic about this? They're not. Only the father seems to be at all interested. The rest of the family is just humoring him. Um, hello? If you're so miserable, leave the asshole in New York!

The Tyes:
I'm not going to sugar-coat this one - bitch mom drags precocious four year old daughter to beauty pageants. Its pretty clear this kid doesn't like doing this. Its also clear that the mom could care less about what her daughter thinks. Where does any parent get off throwing a kid into a situation like that? Why, for any reason, would it ever be appropriate to dress you daughter up like a hooker and have her parade around on stage in front of a group of judges who have to be a) so pathetic that they gain satisfaction through the misery of their children b) so disillusioned that they believe kids actually enjoy this shit or c) pedophiles in training?

Like I said, there's bad television then there's disturbing television. This was clearly one of the single most disturbing things I've ever seen on TV. I'm not a parent but even I, who have been known to try to get my cats to wear party hats, would never dream of doing this to a kid.

Posted by Chris at 8:05 AM | Comments (20)

May 18, 2004

The Search Is Over

Finally...a holda for my buttons. Just what I've been looking for.



Posted by Chris at 5:06 PM | Comments (8)

What To Expect When...

At some point in the not-too-distant future, my wife and I would like to become parents. This is no big secret (just please please please don't mention it to our parents if you happen to know them or something - we don't need that kind of pressure). Anyway, Beth finished off some book about pregnancy. I asked her about it when she'd finished.

Her: It was kinda stupid.
Me: But you read it quickly.
Her: It was written at like a fifth grade reading level.
Me: Must be for all those 12 year olds. You know, least common denominator and all.
Her: Sad but true. Oh! And the crack hos!
Me: Yes! You can't forget about the crack hos. "A Crack Ho's Guide to Pregnancy: What Your Pimp Won't Tell You"
Her: Or "What To Expect When You're Expecting A Crack Baby"

First off, we're SO going to hell. Second, can you believe they don't test people before they have kids? I mean, look at us?

Posted by Chris at 12:17 PM | Comments (17)

Yes, I Read That Right

Sadly, it looks like the article from CNN I cited yesterday wasn't a joke or a tragic mistake. According to NBC...

NBC teams with the creative powerhouses who brought you Shrek, along with some all-star voices, to create a computer-generated-imaging (CGI) comedy series of the highest caliber. Viewers will journey inside the lives of a pride of white lions who perform in the world-famous Siegfried and Roy show and will also explore their lush Las Vegas habitat. Voice Talent: John Goodman, Cheryl Hines, Carl Reiner, Orlando Jones, Danielle Harris, Daryl Sabara, Julian Holloway, Dave Herman.

Regardless of the fact that it lacks a certain amount (and by that I mean "all") of tact, how is that even remotely appealing or funny?

Posted by Chris at 7:02 AM | Comments (6)

May 17, 2004

Did I Read This Right?

The following quote is from CNN in an article about the networks' Fall TV schedules.

"As previously announced, Matt LeBlanc's "Friends" spinoff, "Joey," will take over his old show's key time slot Thursday at 8 p.m. And the "Frasier" time slot at 9 p.m. Tuesday will be filled with an animated comedy, "Father of the Pride," about the lions that perform in Siegfried and Roy's Las Vegas show."

Um, really? An animated series about Siegfried and Roy's show? That's a comedy? Because rampaging lions mauling their trainers just spells funny to me!

Posted by Chris at 3:41 PM | Comments (7)

So...Mondays...

So, I'm not all that thrilled by Monday this week...but when am I ever?

The weekend was good, and as I mentioned, I've got a three-day week this week. But it just started off kinda wrong. First, the nice lady who gets me my donuts in the morning gave me chocolate instead of vanilla frosted donuts. Minor, I know but I was really looking forward to vanilla. Then? Well, then I was doing a kickoff meeting for a new project and RIMJOB didn't bother to show. So it was pretty much me which, actually isn't all that much different from how it usually is since RIMJOB rarely opens his mouth to begin with. Then? Then I get a call from my cable company. They kindly inform me that someone can come out to check my connectivity issues today! Then they give me a toll free number....that goes to their national call center...that doesn't have the ability to schedule local appointments. So, Ramon, if you're out there, I'd really like to call you and schedule something but I can't reach you! And then? I got two bags of chips and a diet Coke (with lime) for a makeshift lunch but I just realized that one of the bags was sour cream and onion...and I don't particularly like sour cream and onion. But I've got another meeting so will probably eat them anyway. And the diet Coke isn't really all that cold.

Maybe I'll post again today and be less bitchy about life. That is, if I can get a call through to Ramon. Otherwise my tired ass is going to be posting using dialup and that's not going to make me happy.

Posted by Chris at 1:30 PM | Comments (8)

Haiku For Monday #30

It's Monday but its
only a three-day week cos
I'm headed beach-ward!

Posted by Chris at 6:47 AM | Comments (5)

May 15, 2004

What's In The Package?

This started out as just an amusing question to me but based on the answers I've received so far, I'd like to keep going with it. Call me curious. So here's my challenge - I'd like as many people to respond to the original entry as possible. Tell your friends. Lurkers, make this your first comment.

Posted by Chris at 8:33 AM | Comments (6)

May 14, 2004

Mail Me America

Coleen, Diana and I were talking this afternoon and a very interesting question was raised. Let's say you had to put a package together and mail it to a foreign country. What would you send that best represents America?

Here are the rules:
- You can include one item, or multiple items;
- The whole package can only weigh a couple of pounds and not cost a huge amount of cash to mail; and
- The recipients can understand English.

And if you're not American, as I know a few of you aren't, what would you expect to get?

Posted by Chris at 2:22 PM | Comments (31)

Where'd The Week Go?

First off, Happy Friday! I don't know about you but its been a rough week.

I've got some writing to do this weekend! There are a lot of things that I haven't been able to get to this week for one reason or another. I received a lot of interesting comments and email about the 'hearts and minds' post and I thank you for that. You all raised some good points and I'd like to explore the topic a bit more. I appreciate that you guys hang with me for the serious stuff as well as the silly.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention how much you guys blew me away yesterday with Thursday's Haiku Smackdown! 661 entries by the time I shut it down last night! Amazing! It was also great to see some new faces.

For your entertainment pleasure on this fine Friday, I give you one of my favorite sites - art by Mr. Brandon Bird. And if you're a Law and Order fan, please don't miss this.

Posted by Chris at 8:15 AM | Comments (6)

May 13, 2004

We...And Our Shadows

Posted by Chris at 6:14 PM | Comments (9)

Thursday Haiku Smackdown!

Welcome to this week's Thursday Haiku Smackdown! For inspiration, I give you these...





Click the pictures for larger versions.

Posted by Chris at 6:45 AM | Comments (661)

May 12, 2004

Hearts and Minds

Allow me to get political on your asses if only for a moment...

It should come as no surprise to anyone who's read me for any amount of time that I'm a flaming liberal. That's not to say, however, that I'm blinded by the light from said flames. For instance, I don't believe Dubya is evil. I just think he's completely incompetent. I don't believe Rumsfeld should get fired. I think he should resign. And I don't think the United States should pull out of Iraq. We're responsible for creating this mess so its our duty to clean it up. See? How irrational is that?

The problem, as I see it, has two faces. First, violence is clearly getting worse. April was the bloodiest month in the entirety of the conflict (whether or not Dubya thinks 'major combat operations' are over). Combined with the evidence of prisoner abuse and the resulting threat to Americans in Iraq, its obvious that this administration has no control over the situation and no clear game plan. Second, there have been few instances in which we're actually winning this supposed 'battle for hearts and minds' everyone seems concerned with. We haven't for a second stepped back and asked the question, 'why do they hate us?' Until we start answering that question and coming up with ways to fix those problems, its hopeless.

Sure, we can send in as many soldiers as it takes. But it only takes one kid with explosives strapped to him to start the vicious cycle of violence again. And on our side? It only takes a few prison guards and a camera to undermine any of the good we might have done.

Look, here's where I'm coming from with this and I don't want to offend anyone. Imagine, if you will, the last time someone really pissed you off. Were you on the highway, getting cut off by some idiot? How bout the last time something inspired you to punch a wall, kick a chair? Something at work, maybe? Get passed up for a promotion or had a client that yelled at you? Now, imagine what it would take for you to get so filled with anger that you'd decapitate someone, on camera, and parade around with his head. Whether its a rational reaction or not (and I'm going with not, by the way) that's the kind of hatred we're filling people with. We need to find out why.

Posted by Chris at 8:52 AM | Comments (18)

May 11, 2004

Sicko

So, as I mentioned earlier, I called in sick this morning and skipped the whole work thing. I wasn't feeling so hot this morning and I think it was a good call. But what did I do with the day? Nothing productive, certainly...

Sadly, part of the morning was spent working. No one was forcing me to. It was just more relaxing and tolerable from home so I went with it. I surfed the Web a bit, answered some email from you guys and then made it through a bit of the book I'm currently reading. TiVo has been my companion for the afternoon and evening showing me 10.5, the miniseries I missed last week. More about that later...but Mac, you were totally right!

I hope you guys had a good day. Look for me back in action tomorrow.

Posted by Chris at 7:57 PM | Comments (7)

Ugh

I'm home. I called in sick. See, I didn't feel all that hot last night nor did I manage to get a hell of a lot of sleep. The funny thing is that I've been working since I got up and I've gotten a hell of a lot done. Still, at some point I must chill...just me, the cats and my friend TiVo.

Posted by Chris at 9:15 AM | Comments (16)

May 10, 2004

Self-ish

Posted by Chris at 5:04 PM | Comments (10)

Objects In Hindsight May Be Closer Than They Appear

This weekend was nice…and odd…but nice overall. Perhaps I should explain.

Friday:
Friday evening we went out with my parents, my grandmother and aunt (both from small-town Ohio, here for a quick visit), my mother-in-law (heretofore known as MIL) and, of course, my wife (heretofore known as my wife). There was Thai food aplenty, much thunder and lightning, and a startling revelation that my parents were getting more cats. My Parents Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest…Ken Kesey, eat your heart out. Now, we’re trying to think of names (three, actually). Beth’s in the lead with her suggestion of Oliver, Wendell and Holmes. I think I’m in second with Sammy, Dean and Frank – the Cat Pack.

Saturday:
Gorgeous day full of errands and other more relaxing weekend goodness. I finished a book (Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart), the cats sprawled on the deck in the sun, and we made loads of fajitas.

Sunday:
Mother’s Day! Beth and I cleaned up the house, did a few errands and relaxed a little bit. Then we visited The Mothers. The trip to visit my mother was short and punctuated with loads of pictures – primarily of my mother’s political refugees (visualize, if you will, a five foot tall skinny white woman flanked by gigantic African men) and the three aforementioned cats due for delivery in late May (cute, yet expensive puffballs). Then it was on to my in-laws’ house for dinner. Now, my in-laws are pretty normal, generally wonderful people. But the rest of that side of the family? They deserve a whole post but, even after 10 years of being a part of that family, I’m not sure I completely understand everything well enough to draw it out for you. Lets just say its like Falcon Crest…only much more dysfunctional and with a little extra litigation thrown in for good measure.

It was only when we’d arrived at the in-laws that I realized I’d fallen down on my duties as Family TiVo Coordinator (FTC) and forgotten to appropriately record the Survivor finale. In hushed tones, I turned to my wife:

Me: We have to be home by eight.
Her: Huh? Why?
Me: I forgot to TiVo Survivor.
Her: Oh. Shit!
Me: I know. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Beth then announced our intentions of leaving a tad early (and she gave them the real reason! Not like, “Chris has to get up early to milk the cows,” or “We’re expecting the king of Spain at nine and we have to clean up the living room.”) at which point everyone looked at us as though we were the most shallow people on the face of the earth. We didn’t care. Survivor is important! Priorities, people! So, we jumped in the car a few minutes after we’d finished dinner, raced home, and by the time we got there we’d only missed the first fifteen minutes. It all went as expected although I was pretty convinced Rob would and should have won. Of course, after the proposal, it becomes a moot point anyway doesn’t it?

And that, my friends, was my weekend.

Posted by Chris at 12:41 PM | Comments (9)

Haiku For Monday #29

Don't want to be here.
Note to self: start faking cough.
Yeah, that's the ticket.

Posted by Chris at 7:12 AM | Comments (5)

May 9, 2004

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms, expectant moms or wannabe moms...Happy Mother's Day!!

Posted by Chris at 10:49 AM | Comments (8)

May 8, 2004

Crazy, I Tell You!

Last month I helped my parents bury one of their cats who died from a heart condition. This left them with three cats - still a good couple of steps into Crazy Cat People Territory. Should we have really been surprised when they told us last night they were adopting three more? The boundaries of Crazy Cat People Territory have now formally been expanded to include my parent's house. As a matter of fact, I think it might be the new capital.

Posted by Chris at 12:51 PM | Comments (13)

May 7, 2004

Friday Thoughts

First off, its the end of the week. Happy Friday everyone!

- Admittedly, I get here pretty early. But I've now been here for two hours and I've seen approximately three people. Is there any doubt this is going to be a slow day?

- I've got to interview someone for a job this afternoon. Based on my earlier comments about work this week, is it wrong just to ask, "Are you a dick?" and leave it at that?

- I was one of the lemmings who watched the Friends finale last night. The show jumped the shark a few years ago for me (especially when it started competing with Survivor) but I wanted to see how it ended. And I used to be a big fan when it first came on. It was an understated finale with no great surprises. But still? I'm a little sad to see it end.

Posted by Chris at 8:25 AM | Comments (16)

May 6, 2004

Theme Thursday: Twisted

This Thursday's theme for Theme Thursday? Twisted.




Odd. I just snapped this picture this week and was looking for a way to use it.

Posted by Chris at 5:30 PM | Comments (6)

Games People Play

I really don't want to write about work, and there are a couple reasons. There's the Dooce Factor then there's the fact that it would bore you out of your skulls. But there are certain situations and personalities with which everyone can identify. Here's what's been driving me absolutely bat-shit over the past couple of days.

First, there's Random IMing Junior Obnoxious Boy (RIMJOB). RIMJOB walks around the floor and if we've left our machines unlocked and have our IM applications on, he sends random messages to people on our buddylists. The other day he jumped on a co-workers IM and asked a friend of his out on a date. Not bright. He didn't pick his target well. And he wonders why he didn't land a promotion.

Next we have Defensive Uber-Manipulative Bitch from Hell On Wheels (DUMBHO). DUMBHO continually ducks her client responsibilities and takes random figurative craps on the desks of others. We all get to clean up her shit. It doesn't help that her attitude is that of a queen - as in monarchy, not fab five. Yet she's completely clueless. My only revenge is that she's ultimately a joke.

After DUMBHO comes The Remarkably Amenable If Too Overly Relaxed (TRAITOR) employee who I do very much like. Sadly she's moving. And guess who's expected to do her job? And guess who doesn't want her job?

All this is capped off by Perpetually Really Off-the-meds Zoned-out Asshole Client (PROZAC). PROZAC's not too realistic and he expects that every whim will be appropriately acted upon. The scary thing? They usually are. So, when one of his other 27 personalities shows up and asks why we're doing whatever it is we're doing, he tends to forget that its something he asked us to do to begin with. Then he yells. And tell us to fuck off. Really.

Posted by Chris at 11:33 AM | Comments (10)

May 5, 2004

A Study In Cause And Effect

We have plenty of comfy furniture...three whole levels of it, in fact. But on some rare occasions, Pix and Callie feel the need to bond. Or they're just stubborn and won't give up ground to the other. While its cute, its pretty clear that after a predetermined amount of time, it'll all go downhill...



And it did. With proof, lest there be any doubt as to the identity of the victor.



Posted by Chris at 7:58 PM | Comments (13)

Road Ragey

I was on my way home a little while ago and I realized that I was driving in a somewhat aggressive manner. If you consider tailgating and loudly repeating the phrase "dumb-ass motherfucker" as if it were a mantra I wanted to share with the world. Then I decided I didn't want to die or kill anyone else over whatever it was I was pissed about. And, while I was thinking about it, what was I pissed about?

As laid-back and tolerant as I am, I hold no truck with stupid people. I realized today that I deal with a lot of stupid people at work (not any of you all, don't worry) on a fairly regular basis. And I'm tired of it. As a general rule, I get along with everyone. Rarely do I encounter someone who rubs me the wrong way. But for those that do? I know you are going to try and fuck me over but I refuse to spread my ass cheeks for you.

I do enjoy my job. Just not all the people all the damn time. But hey, we're government contractors. I guess we need a little drama in the office to create a little excitement. I just don't like the fact that often I seem to be the only person who's actually focused on doing a decent job.

That's why I decided to come home, surf the net a little bit, maybe get a little extra work done and cook dinner. Of course, I get home and my high-speed connection is toast. Dumb-ass motherfuckers.

Posted by Chris at 4:16 PM | Comments (12)

Please Pass The Kool-Aid

Every month, my team has a staff meeting. Now, as my little trick on my boss proved, I have a pretty cool boss and my team as a whole is just about as cool, with the occasional exceptions, of course. Each month, a different staff member facilitates the meeting. This morning? I'm not sure but he might have been one of the Moonies. I'm pretty sure I was just brainwashed (If you get brainwashed, though, can you talk about being brainwashed with others?) and I might have joined a cult.

After getting used to terms like "blue slipping," "orders of change," and "pair and share," I started getting random images of kool-aid, white robes and mass graves. There was orange juice - I stayed away from it. Ok, there were donuts too and I had one but I feel fine so far.

Posted by Chris at 11:11 AM | Comments (7)

May 4, 2004

Sky Blue

i know how to fly, i know how to drown in
sky blue
-peter gabriel

By the way...its an umbrella.
Posted by Chris at 6:33 PM | Comments (12)

Up To No Good

My boss was out of town all last week...enjoying the sun and tropical beaches of the Caribbean. I'm glad she thought it was funny when she opened all her overhead cabinets and drawers and got drowned in packing peanuts. Not that I have any idea how they got there.

Note: Before you all think I'm going to lose my job or anything, it should be noted that my boss is very cool and she pulled something on me before she went on vacation. This was all in the spirit of retribution.

Posted by Chris at 12:43 PM | Comments (10)

Idol Songs Unsung

If the world existed solely for my own amusement, I'd really like to see the following theme nights on AI. Sadly, it doesn't so I doubt they'd see the light of day.


Death Metal Night: AI contestants sing the songs of all your favorite death, speed and thrash metal artists.

Opera Night: Enjoy your American Idol finalists singing selections from Wagner's Ring Cycle.

Washed Up Television Stars With Crappy Albums Night: Hear LaToya, Fantasia, George and the rest of the gang sing your favorite one-offs from Don Johnson, William Shatner, Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy.

Instrumental Movie Theme Night: Watch your American Idols stand on stage backed by stunningly bad arrangements of cinematic instrumental masterpieces.

Fifteen Minutes Are Up Night: Hear the current finalists sing songs made famous by previous contestants you've probably already forgotten about.

John Stevens Night: The songs gutted by your favorite translucent crooner are brought back to life - out of tune just like you remember them.

What did I miss?

Posted by Chris at 7:21 AM | Comments (19)

May 3, 2004

Thoughts on a Sucky Film

A few weeks back my wife started talking about Dangerous Liaisons and I was forced to admit that I'd never seen it. Keep the gasping down, would ya? As soon as she learned this, she ran and put it on our NetFlix queue. We watched it Saturday night. Some thoughts...

1. I realize this isn't the movie's fault but what's up with the spelling of liaisons? Seems kinda fucked up to me. That's a lot of vowel usage up front, dontcha think?

2. Period pieces. I don't do period pieces, at least not often. It did help me think of one appropriate comment for this film - it was a piece of something, period.

3. Please step away from the harpsichord. We're not regularly treated to lots of harpsichord music. Harpsichords don't often crop up in popular music. You rarely pass a harpsichord store in the mall or hear of harpsichord movers. And there's a reason. They're fucking annoying! While snippets of harpsichord music here and there, peppered throughout the film, might be tolerable, building an entire soundrack to a two hour film around harpsichords is cruel. I hope the composer is crushed by a harpsichord. Make that two. I know they're small.

4. Dangerous Liaisons is the ultimate "chick flick." Its one of those movies that the majority of female viewers will love and the majority of male moviegoers will absolutely hate. I usually don't mind chick flicks but I sure did hate this one. Perhaps its because it took the form of the dreaded combination chick-flick-period piece. Worse? Chick-flick-period-piece-with-harpsichords. I'm pretty sure that the aformentioned deadly trifecta was somehow able to inject estrogen straight into my body. I'm almost positive that during those two hours my breasts grew a bit and I recall the swelling of the strong urge to physically bare children. Luckily all physical and emotional signs of this phenomenon have since dissappeared.

5. What is it with John Malkovich? He's a fine actor but he only ever plays one role - John Malkovich. Is it sad that Being John Malkovich was his best role? And can someone please tell me how he's sexy.

6. Sure, Keanu Reeves can wield a sword but he can't act his way out of paper bag...even a period-piece paper bag with harpsichords. I kept wishing he was going to, you know, pull out a couple automatic weapons and start blowing the butlers and chamber maids away ("Nice to see thou again, Vicomte Anderson"). Either that or find his magic phone booth, find Bill and rendezvous with George Carlin ("Whoa, we're like, the Wyld Stallions but with harpsichords, man").

7. I think the best illustration of my hatred of this movie is this - there was a scene where we all got to see Uma Thurman's boobs. I wasn't paying attention and completely missed it. My wife asked if I wanted to rewind it a little (side note: how cool is she?). Because I didn't want to prolong this particular movie experience any longer than necessary, I said no. Yes, I passed on Uma's boobs.

Posted by Chris at 12:23 PM | Comments (27)

Haiku For Monday #28

Woohoo, its Monday!
Oh wait, that's not a good thing.
Oh well, never mind.

Posted by Chris at 7:15 AM | Comments (7)

May 2, 2004

Postcard

Weather's fine...wish you were here...



Posted by Chris at 10:45 AM | Comments (19)

May 1, 2004

On Books: April

At the end of every month, I report on what I've read - what's good and what's not. April was a good month for books. My pick of the month? Nicole Krauss' Man Walks Into A Room.

It will surprise no one that I read a lot. One of the downsides of doing so is that it can become a mechanical process. Finish one book, start another. The more I read, I find, the better a book has to be to blow me away. Man Walks Into A Room did just that.

Krauss delivers the first line of a joke with the title but the punchline plays out over 200+ captivating pages. The premise is simple - Samson Greene, New York resident and college professor, is found wandering in the Nevada desert. And all his memories formed after age 12 are gone. The story is excellent, the writing is wonderful and the eventual outcome of the story completely and totally disarmed me.

Honorable mentions go to Scotland's Christopher Wallace for The Resurrection Club - an odd, quirky mystery who's puzzle pieces are presented through first person narrative, internal corporate memos, interview transcripts and historical narrative. Only at the end do we see how they all fit together. In addition John Colapinto's About The Author was a fantastic, well thought out read not to be missed.

Posted by Chris at 2:14 PM | Comments (7)

Wise Words From Readers

I was a little busy last weeked and I do believe I forgot to post some of the many wise things you said last week. But I did not forget this week! So, for your reading pleasure, I give you just a sampling of the many wonderful comments you made this week! Enjoy.

Nothing says happy bithday quite like cupcakes that smell/taste like dog-ass. =)
-Nicole

But I had normal flavor cupcakes, not ass flavor ones. I mean, I love cupcakes, but I'd draw the line at eating one a dog had sat on.
-Oliquig

My sister and I were lucky that both our birthdays fell during summer/Christmas vacations, because otherwise, we would have received major beat-downs from our classmates for bringing in boxes of raisins instead of cupcakes. Thanks, mom.
-Anne

That reminds me of an excellent time in which my dog threw up carrots (don't ask how he got them) on my birthday cake when I was 7.
-Maureen

Ya glutton!
-Beth

And I'm very happy to know I'm not only one left who's NOT working out and on a Atkins diet :)
-Sweety

i'm listening to that no-talent-ass-clown sing right now. i'm shocked and amazed he's even still in this thing
-TJ

Ass hair, please.
-Mindy

Mullet? Did I read that right?
-Zandria

Man, I had almost forgotten how much school sucks.
-Ginny

Permed bangs and the stupidest, lamest injury story ever. I suffered for this until graduation.
-Amy

spank that monkey or beat that dead horse...I'm living spring vicariously through you
-Kimberlee

Stigmata? Scary as shit. Ed McMahon bleeding from his eyeballs? HILARIOUS.
-The New Jan Brady

I will refrain from posting mine re: Ed McMahon and forcible sodomy. Me being the delicate little flower and all.
-Amy

Posted by Chris at 10:59 AM | Comments (2)


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