August 31, 2004

Many Words, No Content

Post? Blog? What's that? Oh! I've been completely negligent in my blogging duties today. Perhaps I'm just a little overwhelmed by the response to the book club idea. We're coming up on last call before I throw a preliminary list of interested people together. If you're interested, go to the post and comment. Don't worry - this is a low-pressure, non-totalitarian book club thing. No one will be standing over you with a whip screaming "read damnit, read!" unless you like that sort of thing...and even then you're pretty much on your own.

So, where was I? Oh, the lack of a post today. I wish I could say that I was off finding the solution to world hunger or something noble like that. Truth is, I was just working. Which is actually a good thing...because I've been bored out of my skull the last few days at work. The plus side? No freakishly boring meetings with crazy clients and overbearing managers. The down side? Days. Last. Foreverrrrrrr.

Would you look at that? A whole post with no discernable value. My work here is done!

Posted by Chris at 1:13 PM | Comments (13)

August 30, 2004

I'm Not Oprah

Hudson and I have had a brilliant idea, a stroke of genius, I tell you (that should also tell you it was mostly hers)! Well, actually you'll be the judge of that. Here's the pitch - a bunch of us all read a lot of books. I can tell that from all of your sidebars. I know I respond to a lot of email about books I've read or what I'm currently reading. I even post all my reviews at the end of each month. So...what could be more natural than a little book club action?

All you have to do now is let me know if you're interested. So comment already!

Posted by Chris at 5:34 PM | Comments (67)

Obligatory Weekend Recap

Okay, okay...so, maybe I haven't exactly been the cheerful Rude Cactus you've come to know and love. There have been ups and downs recently but I'm trying...trying not to let this turn into some shallow pit of self-pity in which you may discover me wallowing from time to time. To that end, aside from the thoughts about better and my ode to regret, I did have some fun this weekend. Let me tell you about it...

On Friday night after work, Beth and I headed out for a nice dinner then pretty much crashed at home with the Olympics. Diving was on, if I recall correctly, and she likes the guys in Speedos...and just for the record, she's not going to get me into one of those things so she better take full advantage of the whole Olympic experience. Then? There was excessive sleeping as well and we woke up pretty late on Saturday.

Not wanting to just hang around all sloth-like, we decided to head out and see a movie. Note: Garden State is excellent. Quirky, odd in parts, and excellent. After the movie, we headed home, changed quickly and headed out yet again to try a new Asian place that recently opened up by us. Now, we usually make pretty good restaurant calls but sadly this wasn't one of them. It looked chic, hip and uber-cool but that was about the depth of its uber-coolness. The food was uber-bad. So uber-bad that I didn't even think to take pictures of its uber-cool look. And I take pictures of anything! Note, the second part: To all DC-area diners, please to be skiping dining at Penang.

Sunday was devoted to three things - errands, relaxation and bowling. Yes, I said bowling. We bowled under our aliases so as to remain a mystery and avoid being attacked by our legions of fans and stalkers. Also, as it turns out, bowling alleys make for some interesting pictures. I bowled badly but at least I was consistent. Oh, then? Nachos!

Sunday evening we filled the house with the smells of our homemade wild mushroom and rosemary risotto which takes about half an hour of solid stirring. Which is problematic only if you've been bowling. My arm hurts. And its Monday. Boo.

Posted by Chris at 10:31 AM | Comments (21)

Haiku For Monday #44b

Oh, I have gmail
invites if you're interested.
Drop my a line, yo.

Posted by Chris at 8:08 AM | Comments (7)

Haiku For Monday #44

Ain't enough coffee
to keep my sad ass moving
and eyes propped open.

Posted by Chris at 7:00 AM | Comments (5)

August 29, 2004

Regrets

Regrets. Odd aren't they? I notice memes floating around online and invariably they ask something like "If you could do something in your life over again, would you?" or "Do you have any regrets in your life?" Does anyone actually believe when you answer an emphatic no to either of these questions? Didn't think so.

So, my regrets? Let me start at the beginning...

I regret that I suck at math. Sucking at math ruined any chance I ever might have had at becoming a physicist or an engineer. Not that I ever actually wanted to become a physicist or an engineer but that would have come in handy when it came to building the time machine I've always wanted to invent. History degrees and English don't come in all that handy when you're trying to piece together something with which to transcend time and space.

So, regrets - math, physics, engineering, inability to create time machine.

At this stage of my life the time machine would come in really handy. And no, I'm not talking about solving the world's problems. I'm being especially selfish here. Since I don't have superpowers and couldn't fly around the earth, rotating it backwards to bring Lois Lane back to life, and since I'm not currently the captain of the Starship Enterprise and see no real way to slingshot myself around the sun thus bringing be back to an alterable past, really, the time machine is the only thing I've got (or would have) going for me. Not that I'm trying to avoid the Tough Issues...not that I'm trying to get out of confronting said Tough Issues.

There are lots of things I'd like to undo. Because I'm a passionate person (or maybe merely crazy), I still carry around a lot of guilt for the silly, little things I'd done in my life. You know, all that shit you do as a kid that pisses your parents off or all the dumb crap you managed to almost get away with in high school. If I had the time machine, or the skills with which I could invent one, maybe I'd be able to rectify those. And at the same time, maybe I'd get some of the peace I've been looking for for awhile.

But there are larger issues - the ones that involve Real Life, the ones that have hurt Real People, the things that I would, if there was any way under the sun, go back and change in an instant. There are trusts I wouldn't have betrayed, friendships I would have valued for what they were and hard truths and consequences I could have kept myself and others from having to face. And I, by virture of living in the present would still have learned all the things from those situtations I'd need to grow. I'd just be able to spare others the pain.

Whenever anything bad happens, I'm notorious for being optimistic and saying, "well, good or bad, at least I can chalk it up to a learning experience and move on, that much smarter." I think maybe that gives me a little too much credit for being optimistic and hides some of the true guilt and regret I invariably feel over such episodes.

The truth is, guilt and regret weigh heavily on me now. And that tether I talked about a couple days ago? That tether that I said you couldn't let go of no matter what? I believe it. I think its true. Clench your fists around it, tie it around your waist, do whatever it is you have to but don't let go. But I do acknowledge that its not as easy as writing it down in a quick blog entry and posting it.

So, regrets. Math? Check. Physics? Check. Engineering? Check. Time machine? Big checl. But how would I answer those questions?

If you could do something in your life over again, would you?
Hell yes. I'd study math, physics, engineering, take lessons from Superman or learn to fly around the sun if only to fix some of the things I've done. Am I still a good person? Sure. Could I have been better? You bet.

Do you have any regrets in your life?
Plenty. But then, don't we all? But at least we can chalk them up to a learning experience.

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

August 27, 2004

A Collection Of Thoughts About 'Better'

My favorite song title comes from solo guitarist William Ackerman - The Moment In Which You Must Finally Let Go Of The Tether Which Has Held Your Hope Airborne.

This afternoon I got on the elevator with one of our company security guards. Big guy, little squiggly earpiece in his ear, I looked over at him and said...

Me: How're you doing?

He didn't make eye contact right away. He bent down and turned down the radio hanging off his belt and pulled out his earpiece. Then he looked up and smiled.

Him: Don't worry. I heard you, man. You see, people just don't talk to me so I was a little surprised. I see people come in and out of this building all day long, people getting in and out of these elevators. No one bothers to say hello.
Me: That's just sad. People just don't take the time anymore, do they?
Him: Nope. You did though. So thanks.

The elevator slowed, then stopped at my floor and the doors began to open.

Me: Have a good one.
Him: You too.
Me: And have a good weekend.
Him: You too. And you know what? Just...thank you.

It was a brief exchange but it ran through my brain over and over again the rest of the day. Then it kind of tied in with something else I was thinking about. Its become pretty clear that there are lots of people having a rough summer. Dooce and others serve as proof. As wrapped up in my own head and my own issues as I tend to get a times, especially lately, I have a firm belief that there's always the potential for things to get better.

It'll sound too Chicken-Soup-For-The-Soul or Tuesdays-With-Morrie, but I honestly believe that everyone gets out of bed in the morning expecting better, with the faith that things can get better. Yesterday might have been crap but we all have to have the hope of better things in our future. It could be a better job, more money, a new car, finding love, writing the perfect blog entry - regardless, we have to hold on to the belief that things will look up. Maybe only a little bit. Maybe someone will compliment you on the new skirt you're wearing, maybe someone will tell you that you did a good job on whatever project you've been slaving over for weeks, maybe someone will just say hi to you on an elevator. Maybe you won't go unnoticed.

Yes, things happen and the faith, the belief fades. But never can we completely unclench our fists and let that hope we hold escape forever. We can never permanently lose the knowledge and belief that things will get better.

So, that moment? That moment in which you must finally let go of the tether which has held your hope airborne? Despite the fact that I love the title, that's a moment we must all try our very best to avoid. No. Matter. What.

I needed to be reminded of that. I thought you might too.

Posted by Chris at 10:54 PM | Comments (21)

Focus? What's That?

A few random thoughts for Friday...since I'm fairly random myself today...

Meeting of the Crazies. I have a two hour meeting (yes, I said two hours) with Crazy Client and my least favorite person to work with (I'll refrain from using my nickname for her - its not polite). This? Is not something I'm looking forward to. At all.

I Potty The Fool. The installation of the toilet is complete. Pictures have been taken. I'll post this weekend.

Checkpoint. I'm a fan of author Nicholson Baker so I picked up his latest, Checkpoint, to see what all the fuss was about. Not his best book but definitely worth checking out. The Republicans among you will most likely not appreciate it.

Long Jump, Or Many Short Ones. TiVo was made for the Olympics. I'm serious. Not that I'm not patient (but really, I'm not) but being able to fast forward through all the crap is great. The Chevy ad you've seen 3,402 times? Blip blip. Gone. The sappy human interest piece about the runner sprinting in memory of his deceased pet parrot? Blip blip. Gone. The Paul "No Testicles" Hamm interviews (have you heard that guy talk?)? Blip blip. Gone.

One of Our Own. I'm saddened by Dooce's news. Cross your fingers everyone. Is it me or has it been a hard summer for a lot of people?

Have a fantastic Friday everyone!

Posted by Chris at 9:06 AM | Comments (23)

August 26, 2004

The Swag Fairy

So, last weekend I missed JCon because of, well, personal stuff. And I was kinda sad about that. I've since heard many wonderful stories - of Cheez-Its, Independent George and people having sex in hotel room windows - but still, I'm sure it was nothing like being there. Then I got home and found a swag-laden piece of mail among all the bills and coupons and crap!

The Amazing Dawnie has yet again lived up to her moniker (but doesn't she always?). Not only was she wonderful company at lunch but she picked up some great swag! So no, I still wasn't there but I have a bunch of cool shit! Yes, Virginia, there is a Swag Fairy...and her name is Dawnie!

Dawn, you are the bestest. Loave you long time!

Posted by Chris at 4:37 PM | Comments (12)

Smuggler's Blues

So, here's something I'm sure you don't hear everyday. I just smuggled a toilet into my office building. Oh, you want details?

There are several of us around the office who enjoy a good joke. When one of us is on vacation, the others are usually plotting something evil for their return. An example: My boss went on vacation a couple of months ago. We took the opportunity to fill every available space in her desk drawers and overhead cabinets with packing peanuts. As soon as she returned, well, you know...

Another one of our colleagues is out today. A coworker offered up her never-opened (and certainly never used) portable toilet bought in a fit of madness before Y2K. We will be replacing our missing coworker's chair with said toilet this evening.

And that's why I smuggled a toilet into the office building.

Posted by Chris at 11:59 AM | Comments (12)

The Return of the Ku

If you didn't notice, last week Ku and his smackdown were AWOL. We're not exactly sure what happened. We had some strange reports at KuHQ about a small, drunk Asian man wearing nothing but chaps and a cowboy hat chasing hookers in Northeast DC. Conflicting reports led us to believe he'd joined the merchant marines and was somewhere off the coast of Indonesia. Whatever the truth may be (and don't think we haven't tried to get it out of him), he's back. Whether he's completely jumped the shark or not is your call. Head over to Coleen's newly designed site (be sure to ooh and ahh while you're there too for it looks pretty and nice) and ku, ku like the wind. Show him your love.

Update: I've been informed that Ku actually made an appearance last week. My bad. It was a sucky week...I was bound to forget something.

Posted by Chris at 7:14 AM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2004

A Man...And His Cat

Posted by Chris at 7:32 PM | Comments (12)

Drove My Chevy To The Levy

Two incidents, remarkably spaced over time, underscore something that I just now thought of. I finally put two and two together. Indulge me for a moment.

In 1984, I spent a few weeks in Europe. Three days were spent wandering around Paris (and no, I'm not ancient - it was a family vacation). We took the hovercraft over from England, quickly dropped our bags in the hotel and went wandering up the Champs Elysees. My first memory of Paris isn't the airport or the subway or any of the landmarks you see in guidebooks. My first memory is of an ordinary Frenchman strumming an ordinary guitar, pacing across a slice of sidewalk singing Don McLean's American Pie.

Twenty years later, I returned to Paris, going so far as to stay in the same hotel. Things looked remarkably similar. Paris is an easy city to feel comfortable in. Following an aborted attempt to climb to the top of Notre Dame (I'm not great with heights...my wife soldiered on), I sat on a bench and watched the sun set and the lights around the cathedral come alive. Lost in some post-traumatic meditation, smoking a cigarette, I was immediately accosted by a drunk, scruffy homeless Frenchman. He was clearly wearing all he owned which wasn't much. Bottle of wine - cheap, syrupy and red - in hand, he sat down next to me.

Him: Whats your name?
Me: Chris. And you?
Him: Paul.
Me: Its a pleasure to meet you.
Paul: Yes. Where are you from?
Me: The United States
Paul: Fucking Bush!
Me: Yes. Fucking Bush.
Paul: You go to Washington DC and you eject him!
Me: I live in Washington DC. Hopefully we'll all eject him.
Paul: Fucking Bush. Fuck George Bush!
Me: Yep. Fuck George Bush.
Paul: I must go bother more people. Would you like a drink?
Me: No, Paul. That's okay.
Paul: You remember what wise Frenchman Paul told you, right?
Me: Fuck George Bush?
Paul: Fuck George Bush!

I won't make any excuses - I have readers on both sides of the political aisle and I appreciate that. Each and everyone of you is entitled to your opinion...and perfectly well within your rights to bash mine. But I've got to tell you, I didn't really disagree with my new friend Paul. I mean, I was right there with him. I shouted almost as loud as he did. Fists were raised. It was an anthem, a revolution! Or just a drunk homeless guy and an acrophobic American hanging out in front of Notre Dame.

What bothered me most, however, was that this was the way Americans get viewed and judged. If nothing else, we're truly a society that is judged by its leaders and the actions they take. In the span of 20 years, I went from hearing American Pie echo through the vast Champs Elysees to screams of "Fucking Bush" outside Notre Dame. Am I the only one, the only American, who feels a bit misunderstood? A bit frustrated?

Posted by Chris at 12:00 PM | Comments (28)

August 24, 2004

What I Learned While Working From Home

The Law of Inverse Email Proportionality. When I'm not in the office, no one emails me. When I am in the office, the email flows like the mighty Nile in flood. Kinda the opposite of the way it should go, right?

Friendly Reminder from Your Taste Buds. You still don't like peppermint gumdrops.

Pun-Ho. I'm a complete whore for a cheap pun. Example:


Type A: I would never ever complain about work again if only I could wear jeans.
Me: Seriously people, stop with the formal business dress. I'm attired of it.


Relative Merits of Fluffiness. Cats are much easier to work with than some of my fellow co-workers. And fluffier too...for the most part.

Stick This In Your HR Department. While at home, I can create a hostile work environment whenever I damn well please.

P.S. I would like to acknowledge the coolness that is Type A. If you haven't already discovered her, please do so. Like, now please.

Posted by Chris at 5:04 PM | Comments (15)

Behind the Curtain

Welcome to the Rude Cactus Command Center (RC3)!




No, my office isn't that nice...I'm working from the solitude of home today. Surprisingly, I'm actually working as there is no one around to slack off with except the cats. And they're asleep. Shock. This also means I got to ditch that pesky suit in favor of jeans. That? Is a good thing. But on the downside, I'm apparently missing the conversation Loud Guy is having in the office across from mine. I just received an IM from my office mate informing me that "he is talking about carrying whoever he is talking to over the threshold with toilet paper stuffed in their armpit." Call me crazy but I'd like to hear more.

Note, if you will, the lack of a television, any personal reading material, music (you'll just have to trust me on that one), strippers, circus freaks or any other types of distractions. This means I'm Serious and going to Get Something Done. Or, well, surf my blogroll and see what's up with you all. Because I'm Serious...kinda.

Posted by Chris at 1:01 PM | Comments (22)

August 23, 2004

Weekend...In Pictures, Kinda

Bet you thought I dropped off the face of the earth again, huh? Nope! Despite not attending JournalCon like all the other cool kids, we had an action-packed weekend. Well, kinda. Instead of just telling you about it, I figured it would be more interesting if I actually showed you.

Here starteth the weekend photo essay...

Beth and I both took the day off on Friday, originally to prep for JCon. Despite canceling those plans, we took the day off anyway, particularly because we got to have lunch with The Amazing Dawnie. We had lunch at Nooshi, which was picked largely because of its cool sounding name. And while I successfully snapped a shot of the menu, I never actually snapped a shot of Dawn, Beth and myself because it was also The Day Of Forgetfulness and we forgot lots of things (mullet pictures, cell phones and Skittles to name just a few).

Lunch with Dawn was tres cool. I don't know why you ever would but if you have any doubts as to Dawn's inherent coolness, I can assure you such doubts are unfounded.

After lunch, Beth and I decided to go check out the World War II memorial. Yes, we live right outside the city and still hadn't gone. Slackers! It was a gorgeous day (yet a tad warm) but the memorial itself was worth seeing. I was a little apprehensive about it when they first broke ground, fearing that they'd ruin the Mall. Not so. The views are still magnificent and the memorial itself is gorgeous. Sobering, but gorgeous.

We hiked back to the car after buying myself a snowcone. An aside: Can I tell you what a sucker I am for a good snowcone? Want my eternal love and gratitude? Just give me a snowcone. Need someone whacked? Snowcone please. We headed for home and chilled with some take-out Italian and the Olympics. Oh, and I bought some music along the way too. Completely uncharacteristic of me, no?

We woke up late on Saturday and decided to catch a movie. We caught an early showing of The Villiage (opting not to catch "Pricess D2" which took me a couple minutes to figure out). The verdict? Well, I saw the twist coming. And it wasn't all that creepy. Still? Good and worth checking out. Opie's daughter was pretty good too. During the movie I munched on the Skittles that should have been, by all rights, Dawn's.

After the movie, we picked up dinner, going for our fourth consecutive night of cooking avoidance. And I decided we needed a new camera, this time one with a zoom. Call me crazy but I thought it was a good idea. Beats always having to run up to stuff to snap a picture...and its less scary to the people and things you're running up to. I picked up my shiny new toy and played with it the rest of the evening. Callie was excited too although more about the box than the camera itself.

Sunday started early and mainly revolved around the fine art of doing nothing. Sure, there were some errands to run and we happened upon a hood-ornamented CRV we rather liked. But overall? Very little was brewing and that was a good thing. My wife made some cookies and we decided to break the four night consecutive non-cooking streak in order to make ravioli for dinner. Lucky I picked up that brand new set of knives, right? Not so much. If you were to predict that the first thing I'd do with some fine, sharp German steel would be remove a digit or two, well, you know me well. Fucking sharp-ass German knives! Yes, I felt the soft, cook kiss of the clean blade and then did a little dance around the kitchen. The rest of the weekend was spent in a slight amount of pain. I said fuck a lot. Moratorium on cooking? Back in place.

Posted by Chris at 11:34 AM | Comments (25)

Haiku For Monday #43

As Aerosmith sang
I'm back! I'm back! I'm back in
the saddle again.

Posted by Chris at 6:52 AM | Comments (16)

August 19, 2004

Smile

Its been a hard couple of weeks. I don't need to tell you that. There was that whole string of less-than-happy posts I left in my wake as evidence. But I think its all going to be okay.

Sure, I chain-smoked, rarely ate, lost a little bit of weight and pretty much lost all sense of reason there for a bit...but its all going to be okay.

Its easy to lose your way in this world and pretty damn difficult to get back on track once you do. But, with the help, love and understanding of an incredible woman and best friend, there's pretty much nothing you can't do.

A lot of you took the time to post some very kind comments and drop me some heartfelt, sincere email. I can't express how much that's meant. I truly thank you all. And for those of you who commented anonymously, let me know who you are. I'd like to thank you too. I sound like a broken record but I'll say what I always say...you guys really and truly rock.

Like I said, its been a difficult time...but I think its going to be okay.

Posted by Chris at 11:04 PM | Comments (35)

August 18, 2004

Whispering

Everything is unique, nothing happens more than once in a life-time. Nothing is repeated, and everything is unparalleled... -The Goncourt Brothers

In case you're wondering, I'm still here. I'm just whispering.

Posted by Chris at 4:13 PM | Comments (30)

August 13, 2004

Bootie Call

I have this habit of not sitting correctly in chairs, especially at work. I lean all the way back and pull the keyboard tray into my lap (one coworker commented as she walked by, "You look like you should be driving a pimped-out low-rider or something"). Or I just cross my legs Indian style. Its that second thing that confuses people the most. But its comfortable!

The other day my office mate looked over while I was sitting that way.

Her: How do you do that?
Me: Do what?
Her: Sit like that.
Me: I don't know. I just do. I'm not exactly the biggest guy in the world.
Her: You just have a small bootie.
Me: Apparently.
Her: And I have a big one.

Now, here was my critical mistake (you should be able to see this coming a mile away and in my defense I'd already turned around and was responding to an IM from a coworker and was not paying full attention).

Me: Yep.

See what I did there? Not good. I almost immediately realized what I'd said and made my excuses. She wasn't offended because she's the perfect office mate and we both have equally silly senses of humor. But of course, its come back to bite me in the bootie ever since. Like yesterday.

Her: So, you still think I have a big bootie?
Me: No, you don't have a big bootie! You know that!
Her: So you've been looking at my bootie?

Lesson to all men: when bootie, butt, ass, rear end, whatever, is mentioned, pay full attention to the conversation. Its a trap. You will - repeat, will - suffer the consequences if you're not paying attention.

Posted by Chris at 7:32 AM | Comments (26)

August 12, 2004

Bandwidth and Search Strings

Rarely do I go through and look at all my Web stats but I'm upping my hosting plan yet again because of the Horrific Outage of '04 caused by a flattering overuse of available bandwidth. As I was looking through my stats and had to highlight a couple of my favorite search strings.

why am i rude all the time. I have no idea. Seek therapy or drink more frequently.

gary larson beef jerky. By all means, read about talking cows while taking a bite out of a Slim Jim.

mouth size. Its not the size, its how you use it.

boobs. Simple, straightforward yet you're really barking up the wrong tree.

cactus love. That's more like it.

do midgets have other midgets or normal sized people. "Have" in what sense?

really rude bad stuff. Guilty as charged.

squirrel venti mocha. Call Starbucks. We have a new flavor.

ron jeremy rude. Isn't that redundant?

...and the award for the most detailed search known to man...how the cat and the fish made friends after fighting all night over a little piece of dirt that fell in the fish bowl because the cat was tryin to eat te fish after it had just been out side and walked in dirt so the fish wasnt happy.

Posted by Chris at 8:40 AM | Comments (20)

The Smackdown Is On!

The Smackdown? She's begun over at the official Smackdown site. Go. Write something. You know you wanna!
Posted by Chris at 6:39 AM

August 11, 2004

Granola Spice and Non-Traditional Wedding Games

Tell me you've visited Granola Spice. I mean, if not, you're missing out on a very funny and very nice blogger. Do I need to give you proof?

GS: That thing about the wedding? Ew!
Me: Yeah...pretty wrong, huh?
GS: I'm supposed to go to a million and two weddings in the next year, I think i'll pass on dinner.
Me: And don't grab anyones ass!
GS: That makes it ZERO fun.
Me: I know...thats really the reason I go to weddings.
GS: Everyone enjoys a good wholesome game of grabby-ass.
Me: And there are prizes for that at most weddings, right?
GS: All the one's I've been to.
Me: Ok...good...cos we gave stuff out at ours.
GS: I'm planning on doing the same ;-)
Me: There's also the popular Ring Bearer Toss.
GS: Yes, and the Grandmother of the Bride kissing contest.
Me: On the West coast do you have her take out her teeth or leave them in?
GS: If you end up with her teeth in your mouth at the end? You win!
Me: You know this is so going in an entry.
GS: Obviously.

Ok, now go to her site and show her some love...or just say hi!

Posted by Chris at 1:53 PM | Comments (5)

Hump Day WTF?

Rarely do I delve into the headlines anymore. I've grown narcissistic and made this thing all about me! But I got into work this morning, pulled up CNN and I'm just sitting here scratching my head and thinking what the fuck?

Your Xbox or Your Life. First off, if any of you out there have the sudden urge to murder six people over an Xbox, I'll spot you the $100, okay? And how many times do we have to hear he was a good kid, he just got with the wrong crowd? I mean, its both a gramatically incorrect and stupid statement. Kill someone over an Xbox? I think that pretty much invalidates good kid status.

The Wedding Cost How Much A Head? Forgive me for going all Martha Stewart on your asses but I saw this article and thought that I'd share three very easy steps to creating the most disgusting wedding ever.
Step One: Take a relatively simple accident - "At the July 17 wedding of his daughter, Eladio Baule got angry with his cousin Benjie Ganay who tripped and accidentally touched the bride's bottom."
Step Two: Overreact like a mofo - "A few hours later, Baule, his son Gerald, another cousin Junnie Buyot and a nephew, Sabtuari Pique, allegedly confronted Ganay, then drove him to a secluded place where they stabbed him to death"
Step Three: Heat and serve - "The group returned to the party and served some of Ganay's cooked remains to guests who were still celebrating the wedding."

Gone In Sixty Minutes. Is it wrong that I take some sort of bizarre satisfaction from thearrest of 86 year old Mike Wallace recently? Probably. But hey, at least it wasn't Andy Rooney. Dude looks like he can rumble.

Posted by Chris at 7:33 AM | Comments (20)

August 10, 2004

A.M. TMI 2

The earlier post about Ms. TMI got me thinking about another recent run in. I figured I'd share.

Her: Have you seen the list?
Me: The list?
Her: You know...the list.
Me: Don't know what you're getting at.
Her: Supposedly there's this list floating around about the girls on the team.
Me: Still not following you.
Her: It ranks the ones that are the most doable.
Me: Okay.
Her: I figured you'd know.
Me: Uh, no. Can't say that I do. But out of curiosity, what did you want with this list?
Her: I just wanted to make sure I was in the top ten.

For the record, there is, to my knowledge, no list. If there was, I'd certainly stay the hell away from it.

Posted by Chris at 6:20 PM | Comments (24)

A.M. TMI

Sometimes conversations with coworkers just blow my mind. Some coworkers more than others. Like this one:

Me: How are you coping with your husband and his broken leg?
Her: He's driving me up the wall!
Me: Which explains why you're working longer hours?
Her: Yeah. Plus my brother in law is there and he can help. But - this was so funny - I was downstairs working out this morning? And we have this gym all set up in the basement and everything? Well, I figured my husband was in the shower since I could hear it running. So I took off all my clothes and opened the shower door and it wasn't my husband! It was my brother in law. And boy did he look good. I could have just gone in and taken care of him right there, if you know what I mean.
Me: ...
Her: But yeah, he's driving me crazy.
Me: ...
Her: I'd better get back to work. Have a good morning.
Me: Uh, you too.

Whatever, freakshow.

Posted by Chris at 11:54 AM | Comments (36)

On Books: July

We're a third of the way into August and I've been remiss in reporting on what I read during the month of July. The thing is? There really wasn't anything all that good to report on.

The book for which I had the highest hopes was The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason. Turns out those hopes were misplaced. While marginally entertaining, the novel doesn't live up to either is promise or hype. I chased this dissappointment with Fireworks by James A. Moore which was a surprisingly good novel about a small town under extraordinary conditions. After that? One of my guilty pleasures...a cheap horror novel by Richard Laymon. Sadly, Endless Night was, as advertised, seemingly endless and overall it sucked. David Sedaris to the rescue! Surely Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim wouldn't let me down, right? Well, it did. I mean, it was good, don't get me wrong. But Sedaris is better than that. After Lucy by Daniel Jones ended the month on a brighter note, having delivered a wonderful story that, despite themes of loss and grief, inspired a little hope.

So July? Not the greatest month for books...or at least the ones I read. Hopefully August will turn out just a wee bit better.

Posted by Chris at 9:36 AM | Comments (3)

August 9, 2004

Practice

A little practice every night...sometimes you just have to imagine the roar of the crowd...



Posted by Chris at 8:42 PM | Comments (12)

Friday Night

OR, I FORGOT TO MENTION THE EVENING THAT TEETERED ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER

On Friday evening we had some friends over for dinner. We decided to grill salmon since it was such a nice day. All told, everything went pretty well. Although there were some minor hitches along the way.

While preparing the salmon (with a white wine, mustard and herb sauce) I momentarily joined our guests on the back deck. When I returned Pixel had made the four-foot leap onto the counter and was gnawing on a chunk of raw salmon.

Step One: Swiftly separate cat from fish so that neither wife nor guests can see what happened ( Hi honey! By the way, I forgot to tell you about this!).
Step Two: Remove gnawed piece of salmon from salmon fillet.
Step Three: Act as though nothing happened.

I’ll also admit that I’m a somewhat incompetent griller. I’m a vegetarian. With the exception of the occasional piece of fish (preferably not cat-gnawed) and maybe some vegetables, how often do I fire up the grill? Almost never. It should come as no shock, then, when the grill wasn’t quite hot enough and the salmon refused to cook. The fix? More charcoal and a conflagration that could be seen throughout the land. Damnit, fish, you will cook! And cook it did. But only after much wine had been consumed while waiting.

After dinner, the fellow music lover in the crowd and I headed downstairs to my obsessive-compulsive shrine to the joys of music and single-handed support of the recording industry. When we returned, the ladies were outside again, having a beer. But I smelled cigarette smoke.

Me: You guys are smoking.
Her: Yup.
Me: Where’d you get the cigarettes?
Her: I figured you had some in your car.
Me: You got these out of my car?
Her: Yeah. Problem with that?
Me: No. Except for the fact that those have been in my car for, well, about a year.
Her: Oh.
Me: Didn’t they taste funny? Those have to suck!

I produced a fresher pack of cigarettes and calm was restored. Our guests left and my tired wife was put to bed. I couldn’t sleep and ended up being awake until 4 AM. (Did you know that a TemperPedic mattress can be run over by a steamroller and still provide comfort and support to the average person? Amazing!) Yes, I watched infomercials.

Posted by Chris at 8:50 AM | Comments (15)

Haiku for Monday #42

Monday, I curse you!
Forcing me up at darkness
and making me work!

Posted by Chris at 7:27 AM | Comments (4)

August 8, 2004

Walk This Way

It was another gorgeous day so we decided to take a nice long walk. I took the camera along. Gee, that's a shock.




Posted by Chris at 6:00 PM | Comments (11)

August 7, 2004

Stalker

In May, Beth and I went down to North Carolina. While there, Beth made a new friend. Now, imagine my surprise yesterday evening, as we were getting the place ready for some friends to come over for dinner, when a gazed across the street an saw a familiar face staring back at me. Three months later and it looks like we've been found.



Posted by Chris at 2:58 PM | Comments (11)

August 6, 2004

Friday, Outdoors

Just a quick followup to that last post. I'm outside! Thank jebus for the invention of the wireless internet connection! I've made it home, I'm on the back deck and its freaking gorgeous! Flee, fellow workers. Run while you can!

Posted by Chris at 5:17 PM | Comments (6)

Friday, Indoors

Its Friday! Its like 70 degrees outside! What am I doing in an office with no windows? Slowly going mad! I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and if I don't see you around before, a most excellent weekend!

Posted by Chris at 3:19 PM | Comments (12)

I Love The Smell Of Crazy In The Morning

I maintain there are more interesting people (and by interesting I mean downright strange) working in government than in the entirety of the private sector. You’ve heard me talk about Crazy Client? Allow me to introduce you to Post Traumatic Client with a Twitch (PTCwaT) who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday morning.

I arrived on the scene with my partner on the project – we’ll call him Twan in order to protect the names of the innocent – and were immediately introduced to PTCwaT. Now, in order for you to really know what I’m talking about appearance-wise, I’d like you to think back to 90’s television, specifically Dharma & Greg. Remember Dharma’s crazy burned out hippie father? They have to have been separated at birth. He was bald on top, yet had the remaining side hair grown to his shoulders. He also had a remarkably vacant stare. He was either hard of hearing or he was actually receiving the conversation on a five minute delay.

Ok. You’ve got the picture.

Now, after our introductions he immediately turned back to Twan.

PTCwaT: You say your name was Twan?
Twan: Yes.
PTCwaT: Like the Twan-Ho Delta? In ‘Nam?
Twan: Um, I’m not sure. My family left Vietnam when I was a year old.
PTCwaT: Ahhh, ‘Nam. I was in ‘Nam in ’68.
Twan: Oh…really?
PTCwaT: You ever been back to ‘Nam?
Twan: No. I really don’t have the urge.
PTCwaT: I want to go back to ‘Nam. I should give you some books on ‘Nam. There was this one reporter who wrote some good ones. Until he got gunned down…in ‘Nam.

Now, I’d like you to reread that conversation. It might sound normal until you take into consideration these facts. Every time he said “Nam” he sounds a little on the angry side and raised his voice. And he developed a twitch. Unless he was speaking about Vietnam, he was a pretty slow talker, like there was something wrong upstairs. Everything combined? It was really pretty scary.

The rest of the meeting went rather well except for a few minor interruptions from PTCwaT, including:


“I had a contract with your company back in ’73. After ‘Nam!”
“We have people knocking on doors, conducting household surveys on a regular basis as part of the project. They’ve seen so strange stuff over the years. But nothing like I saw in ‘Nam!”
“Your company has people over in Iraq right? Its just a little war. They’ll be fine. Plus it could be fun. Like ‘Nam!”
“Doesn’t matter where you go, there’s good and bad. There was a lot of good stuff back in ’68 when I was in ‘Nam!”

My comment to Twan as we were leaving the meeting? “Dude’s going to be on top of some building picking off pedestrians with a sniper rifle within five years, mark my words.” But hey, it wasn’t a boring meeting.

Posted by Chris at 7:33 AM | Comments (18)

August 5, 2004

Another Idea Shot to Hell

My wife usually signs online around 8 AM after spending a while at the gym. This morning though? 8:30 rolled around and I still hadn't seen her. So I called and she was, of course, fine. But how exactly was it that the conversation turned to combining strip clubs with gyms?

Me: Oh! They should combine strip clubs with gyms. You know - motivation plus it would probably bring in a lot of business.
Her: I don't think so.
Me: Why not?
Her: You don't want to see naked people exercising.
Me: No, thats not what I mean. Not the gym people. You have actual strippers doing their thing while people work out and stuff.
Her: Still? No. Because you really wouldn't want to see anyone who looked better than you naked while you're exercising. And if they looked worse than you, that would just be gross.
Me: I guess you're right. I wasn't thinking. Bad idea.

The day's barely begun and yet another idea has gone down the drain...

Posted by Chris at 8:57 AM | Comments (13)

Return of the Ku

You can all breathe a sigh of relief. Ku has returned from his week of drunken frolic. There are 35 criminal charges pending, several lawsuits, hordes of well-paid hookers and one rather mystified donkey but all that's out of Ku's system now. He's shacked up with Coleen this week. Go say hi.

Posted by Chris at 7:32 AM

August 4, 2004

Lap Wars

A few days ago I mentioned Pixel and his recent desire to become a lap cat (as opposed to the fierce fighting machine he once was). If you're a cat and you weigh 18 pounds, you can pretty much get whatever it is you want. Even when someone is trying to work. Proof:

Posted by Chris at 8:31 PM | Comments (23)

Where Are The Party Hats?

OR, CHRIS REALIZES HE FORGOT HIS OWN BLOG'S ANNIVERSARY...

Did you realize that I started this site over a year ago? Can you believe it? A thousand posts, 10,000 comments, one trashed database and several hosting plan upgrades later, here I am!

Truth be told, I tried off and on for years to keep some sort of journal and failed miserably each time. I guess I liked the idea more than the practice. So imagine my surprise when I got the bright idea to start this here blog. And imagine my surprise a year later when I find I'm still at it and enjoying it more than ever. Wonder of wonders!

But I have a secret that I think should finally be revealed. As much as I say hey, yeah, even if no one was reading this thing I'd do it anyway, its really you guys that keep me going. Its not always clear to me why you feel the need to read what I write but please know that I appreciate it. I've had a fantastic year meeting new people, making new friends and learning some interesting things about the world and myself. I look forward to many many more.

YOU ALL ROCK! SO SAYETH THE CACTUS
Posted by Chris at 11:04 AM | Comments (43)

August 3, 2004

Warning: Bad Pun Ahead

I may have been sick this weekend but I did manage to get 'leied'...big time!



Posted by Chris at 9:41 PM | Comments (22)

Back In The Saddle...Again

I'm back at work. Yes, after feeling icky all weekend and almost changing my name from Rude Cactus to Sloth Cactus, I'm back at work. I wish I could say that I'm jumping for joy about it but, well, I'm not. During my convalescence I did learn a few valuable lessons...


#1. Its true what they say - 500 channels and there's nothing on. Except lots of infomercials. And when are they going to stop selling that at-home haircut machine thingy?

#2. Simple equation: laptop plus lapcat equals a sweet yet warm and ultimately uncomfortable working environment. I mean, this is an 18 pound cat we're talking about here.

#3. Whoever designed our new dishwasher is kinda dumb. And so am I. I ran the dishwasher three freaking times before I realized I had a big ass ladle right in front of the little soap compartment which is why it wouldn't open. I have the most well-rinsed dishes evah.

#4. You know you're bored when you start making up new yoga positions whilst sending your wife off to her yoga class. My favorite so far? The Hanging Chad.

#5. Redundancy runs rampant in society. Example: the can of vegetable broth labeled 'vegetarian vegetable broth.'

Posted by Chris at 8:05 AM | Comments (19)

August 2, 2004

I'm Not Immune

Based on the comments from the last post, it seems many of us all have similar stories that revolve around locking keys in cars. Well, I can beat that...

A couple of months ago I was coming back from a morning meeting at a client site. When I got back I found a great parking space in our garage so I parked, grabbed my stuff and headed to the stairwell. But it wasn't quite that simple. When I was about 100 feet away, about to head down the stairs a series of thoughts ran though my head. Without diving into the random and bizarre thought processes in my brain, I'll admit that the radio I heard blaring from a car was indeed from my own car. Upon further investigation, my car was still running. Yes, I'd parked but forgotten the key step in which I turned off the car and took the keys with me.

Doesn't that make you all feel better now?

Posted by Chris at 8:11 PM | Comments (16)

Turnpike Vindication

My mom called me on Saturday.

Her: My entire life has been vindicated.
Me: Huh? How? What are you talking about?

Lets turn back the clock ten years. Picture this - happy family of three is driving back from visiting family in Ohio. Happy family of three stops along the Pennsylvania Turnpike to grab something to eat. Happy family returns to the car only to discover that the car keys have been locked inside. Happy family is not so happy anymore.

My dad is a nice laid back guy most of the time but he does have a temper. I think I learned more combinations of four letter words that day than I had ever dreamed possible. Sadly, it was my mom's fault. She'd taken the keys out of her purse and left them on the front seat. We've bugged her about that ever since just for fun.

Back to the present...

Her: Well, your dad was on his way back from Ohio on the Turpike.
Me: Yeah? Why'd he take the Turnpike?
Her: I don't know know but its beside the point. So anyway, I got this email from him...
Me: Email? On the Turnpike?
Her: Yes. Listen. He pulled over to get something to eat and locked his keys in his car. With his cell phone. All he has is his Blackberry.
Me: Oh, I bet he's pissed.
Her: I think so. But get this? Now I dont feel stupid and don't have to take anymore of his crap about that!

My dad's email from the side of the Turnpike was sent at 10:30 AM. He didn't get home until 4:30 PM. Its not a six hour drive...by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by Chris at 1:30 PM | Comments (20)

Haiku for Monday #41

Can't shake this damn cold!
Called in sick. Monday's for rest.
Working in PJs.

Posted by Chris at 7:13 AM | Comments (11)

August 1, 2004

Horror of Horrors!

If you tried to hit my site last night, you might have noticed that it was down. As it turns out, you guys are making me so popular that I've outgrown my modest hosting plan. I wish I could complain about that but I can't. It means, for whatever reason, there are a lot of people out there reading and I appreciate it. Once again, and for so many reasons, you guys rock!

Posted by Chris at 9:01 AM | Comments (14)


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