February 29, 2004

Pix...In The Sun

I've learned over the past few months that its difficult to get a good shot of a black cat. I finally managed to catch one as Pixel was lying in the sun this afternoon.



Posted by Chris at 02:31 PM | Comments (15)

February 28, 2004

Suspended

After getting my car inspected this morning which required an early wakeup (my own damn fault for waiting till the last minute), Beth and I went looking for some furniture. They weren't exactly what we were looking for but these caught my eye.




The sky is a perfect blue, temperatures are supposed to hit 60, and it is just an all-around gorgeous day. Stark contrast to yesterday which, at least professionally, sucked. Enjoy your Saturdays, everyone.

Posted by Chris at 01:55 PM | Comments (8)

February 27, 2004

Hell, Meet Handbasket

I'm sorry for the numerous posts about work this week but it really has been all-consuming. Remember all that energy I was talking about this morning? Its gone...completely and utterly gone. I had a completely shitty day. I got thrown under the bus by a co-worker and chewed out by a client then proceeded to spend the rest of the day cleaning up after others. Its all too boring to explain. But it makes me appreciate the fact, even more than I normally would, that this is...THE WEEKEND!

Posted by Chris at 08:58 PM | Comments (8)

Energy



Posted by Chris at 07:53 AM | Comments (16)

Just A Few More Hours...

Good morning!!




It's Friday, folks. Never have I been happier to see a Friday than I am this week. Any big plans for the weekend?

Posted by Chris at 07:51 AM | Comments (17)

February 26, 2004

Work Lesson 283,293

The moment you in any way express boredom during normal working hours, the powers that be will unleash an unholy can of whoop-ass upon you and exclaim, "Never forget you are my bitch!"

Posted by Chris at 05:36 PM | Comments (6)

Please?

Could someone please get me outta here!? Its been a long, busy week but - THUD - I seemed to have hit some kind of wall. I'm bored. I'm entering the head-eating stage (see below). Amuse me! I know, I know...thats usually my job.

Head eating:
While registering for wedding gifts one day, I became extremely worn out and bored with the entire process.

Me: Not to be a pain but we need to get out of here soon. I'm about ready to eat my head.
Her: Are you hungry?
Me: No. I mean, I'd rather be trying to consume my own head than continue doing this any longer.
Her: Okay. Lets go.

And thus the expression "eating my head" was born. Get your mind out of the gutters, people!

Posted by Chris at 12:48 PM | Comments (12)

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

This might sound familiar. In fact, I’ve blogged about this before, however I believe the entry was lost in the Great Blog Fiasco of ’03 during which my database crashed and your host became a very unhappy camper. So, I shall recap and update.

I work on the same floor as a rather disgusting individual – we’ll call him BoBo the Bathroom Clown. BoBo for short.

BoBo’s a big guy. He’s probably 6’ 5” and weighs a good 275 lbs. Bottom line: this is not a small man. He’s not an attractive man either. He usually looks as if he just rolled out of bed – hair in disarray, two-day stubble, mangled suit and a tie straight out of the ‘70s. And for some reason he usually wears black Reeboks with the ensemble. Its an interesting look, don’t get me wrong.

About a year ago, I started encountering BoBo in the bathroom. At first, I really didn’t pay much attention to him but several weeks after first noticing the guy, he made his presence known. A few choice encounters for illustration purposes:

Random Encounter #1:
BoBo and I are standing next to each other at the urinals doing, you know, our thing. Next thing I know, I’m jolted by a deafening fart. Its head-splittingly loud of a magnitude hitherto unknown in the history of human emission. “Scuse me” he says. Another fart. “Scuse me.” Another fart. The sequence goes on for a good 20 or 30 seconds.

Random Encounter #2:
BoBo’s at the urinal when I enter the restroom. I don’t have many options but to take my place beside him at the other one. And after the first encounter, I know what to expect. That is, until I notice that he’s brushing his teeth. Yes, ever the multi-tasker, BoBo’s taking a leak and brushing his teeth. Of course (you had to see this coming) all of this is accompanied by the soundtrack of deafening farts.

Random Encounter #3:
I enter the bathroom to find myself alone, sans- BoBo at the urinals. And I feel safe until I notice the familiar black Reeboks poking out from beneath the stall door. Still, him in there is better than him in the unconfined space offered by the rest of the bathroom. Or so you’d think. Shortly after I enter and size up the situation, I hear some beeps, then a slurping sound, followed by the shuffling of paper. When I have the chance to glance, I’m able to confirm that he’s reading the paper, drinking a cup of coffee and playing with his Palm Pilot. He emerges with a half-eaten banana.

Random Encounter #4:
No sooner do I enter the bathroom do I see BoBo, pants around ankles, brushing his teeth at the sink in his underwear. Had I stayed I would have burst out laughing, despite the fact that it wasn’t a pretty sight. Instead, I said “oops” and left.

Now, knowing what you know, imagine how pleased I was the other day to see BoBo in the bathroom the other day looking positively dapper. He’d cut is hair very short, gotten a new suit, put on a fancy tie and gotten a more professional looking pair of shoes. I figure we’re going to be seeing him on Queer Eye sometime soon. And I was really thrilled with this transformation until he barreled into me, grabbed a paper towel and blew his nose in my face then farted.

Posted by Chris at 09:42 AM | Comments (11)

Fear The Email

This week is an especially rough one. On top of the stuff I normally have to do, I'm supporting an application that's being used by some of our big clients. Its only for a week but its just extra-added pressure. We've got a couple email accounts set aside for those clients to report problems with the application. I now live in fear of checking my email. If you need me, I'll be hiding under my desk.

Posted by Chris at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2004

The Many Faces of...Me

Lilly once mentioned that I look different in every picture of me she sees. So what did I do? I began a grand experiment to see if she was on to something. I took my camera everywhere with me today and snapped a picture ever half hour or so. When I got home, I downloaded all the pictures and I have to admit, she was right. I do look different throughout the day. I've put all the pictures together so you can judge for yourself. See the results of my little experiment.

Posted by Chris at 06:18 PM | Comments (18)

Ghost In The Machine

Crap! You can tell its a busy day when its after 1:00 in the afternoon and this is my first post of the day. Sorry about that guys.

Every morning I get to work around 6:30. Our local crack dealer Starbucks brewer opens up at 7:00 so I ride the elevator down a couple floors for coffee after I've gotten settled. What's freaky is this: at least three mornings a week, the same elevator picks me up (out of a possible total of four). For some reason, even though the button isn't pushed, it always stops on the second floor, picks up no one, and then continues down to the first floor. Very freaky. I'm guessing its the ghost of some pissed off IT consultant.

Posted by Chris at 01:18 PM | Comments (7)

February 24, 2004

Scarf Face

Don't worry, its just me! Didn't mean to freak you out or anything. I just had to show off the kick-ass scarf my wife just got finished knitting! Woohoo!




BTW, its really a big day for the red room, huh?

Posted by Chris at 07:58 PM | Comments (14)

A Degree of Apathy

It shouldn't surprise any of you that I'm a little lazy. Case in point: my college diploma.




I graduated from college in 1997. I graduated mid-year because I was on the 4+ year plan, so I didn't wear the robe and the cool hat with the rest of the kids and my diploma was mailed to me. Did I have it framed immediately like my wife? No. Did I even take it out of the tube? No. Until a couple of weeks ago, it sat all comfy in its yellow mailing tube. Seven years later, its finally framed and on the wall with my wife's. So, yeah, I'm lazy.

Posted by Chris at 05:19 PM | Comments (16)

The Last Straw

From CNN: "President Bush announced this morning that he supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage."

I know there are lots of people who agree with him and that's fine. You're entitled to your own opinion. But I'm done making coherent arguments. My new, sleek and streamlined argument? Our president is one stupid-ass mother fucker.

Posted by Chris at 11:29 AM | Comments (27)

I Swear I'm Not Depressed

Happy Tuesday. Let’s talk about death, shall we? Blame Anne. She brought it up.

Since I turned 30, I’ve noticed a growing awareness of my own mortality. And let’s stick to ‘awareness’ and avoid throwing around the f-word (fear) for a second. We all know from a relatively early age that we’re going to die, kick the bucket, sleep the big sleep, push up daisies, lie six feet under. As Robyn Hitchcock once sang, “God finds you naked and he leaves you dying/what happens in between is up to you.” So, it’s a foregone conclusion. We’re here for a limited time only, no guarantees. But if we were all fixated on that fact, we’d either never get anything done or do better things with our time.

Let’s take this morning – I woke up, threw on pants, shirt and a tie. I made sure my shoes looked shined and my hair was in decent shape. I got in my car and drove to work and started a day in which, at best, I’d get a few things crossed off my to do list. That’s pretty much the way it goes for everyone. But let’s say that I woke up with a keen awareness that I was going to inevitably die at some point. The day would probably unfold one of two ways:

Keen Awareness of Impending Death Scenario One:
I wake up and realize that I will someday die. Oh shit I’m going to die so why am I even bothering to get out of bed because, really, its all for not and I could sit in traffic and shuffle papers and talk with phony coworkers and drive home in traffic and get myself ready to do the same exact thing tomorrow but it really wouldn’t mean shit because, bottom line really, I’m going to die anyway and what kind of legacy does that leave what accomplishments have I made and what have I contributed to society when I’ve just been doing the same old shit day after day. So I’ll just stay in bed.

Keen Awareness of Impending Death Scenario Two:
Good morning, I’m going to die sometime. Maybe not until some distant future but it could be just around the corner. Anyhoo, I might as well do something good with my time while I’m here. So, I’ll quit my job and work for every non-profit organization I can find. I’ll feed the poor, shelter the homeless, teach the children, pull the hookers off the street, get teens off drugs, change the fundamental political structure of our country so the haves and the have-nots aren’t quite as disparate. I’ll prevent drilling for oil in Alaska, I’ll cut pollution, I’ll patch the ozone layer and I’ll breed bald eagles in my basement to replenish the population. And then, sometime after dinner, I’ll fix the educational system, bridge the digital divide, increase the number of jobs available and adjust the healthcare system so that it takes care of everyone who needs it. Then I’ll just go to bed and start over again tomorrow…to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Do you see what happens? A Keen Awareness of Impending Death really pushes us in one of two different directions, to one of two extremes. I think this is why we don’t think of this everyday. It would make life a little tough to take.

I’ve recently read a few books, some fiction, some non-fiction, in which people die horrible deaths from cancer or AIDS. Its freaked me out to the point at which I realize that I’ve been staring at the black and white lines of text without really absorbing anything they’re saying. Instead, I’m thinking, “fuck, I don’t want to go like that.” And I don’t. But really, I don’t want to go at all. So, like everyone, I banish the thought to the recesses of my brain where its only likely to surface every once in a long while. And I go on with my life. Or try.

The truth is, I don’t like the prospect of getting old. I don’t like the idea of waking up one morning and not recognizing my wife. I don’t really care for the idea of pain and I certainly don’t want to put anyone out by making them worry about me. At the same time, through all these thoughts, I realize that I am indeed going to go. I don’t know how and I don’t know when but I worry about what I leave behind. What will people remember about me? What will I have accomplished? Will I leave some great novel in my wake? Will I leave behind an album, initially dismissed but critically acclaimed after my death? Will I have 40 cats and be remembered as Crazy Cat Man?

I think all of us do many things to ensure that, just maybe, someone remembers us. When we were moving from Houston to the Washington DC area, I remember etching my name into a few bricks in the house I grew up in. I wanted to make sure someone knew I’d been there, that there’d been someone else who’d led a life there, someone who’d drunk too much when their parents were out of town, who’d shot hoops at the rusting basketball hoop, who’d learned to swim in the backyard pool, who’d snuck out that bedroom window to smoke…who’d grown up.

I’ve rambled on enough about this. I’m not sure what the point was or if it even makes sense. And contrary to the subject matter, I’m not especially bummed out. The bottom line is this – we can’t live each and every day as if it were our last. We’d go nuts with the continual realization that we’re going to, at some point, die. But we can live our lives with compassion and respect both for ourselves and those around us.

Posted by Chris at 10:50 AM | Comments (10)

February 23, 2004

Cat In The...

...well, you know...



Posted by Chris at 07:35 PM | Comments (9)

Monday...So Far

No shock here - Mondays suck. It doesn't help that I'm incredibly unmotivated. I'm busy but bored out of my skull. Make sense? I'm so unmotivated that I'm chewing gum for lunch. Despite the fact that it says "NOT A SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF NUTRIENTS" on it, I'm convinced that this dose of Mannitol will do me good...that and the Sorbitol, not to mention the Sucralose and Titanium Dioxide. Mmmmm.

Posted by Chris at 12:56 PM | Comments (6)

Haiku for Monday #18

Calm before the storm
The upcoming week could suck
Fasten your seatbelts

Posted by Chris at 07:44 AM | Comments (7)

February 22, 2004

Lazy Sunday

Its a nice lazy Sunday and I've figured out exactly what I'm going to do today - as little as possible! I'm going to crash with my book for a little while. I'll probably break out the guitar eventually too. Jumping in the shower might not be a bad idea and I owe you guys another album review soon - don't think I've forgotten about that. The girl scouts delivered two boxes of thin mints yesterday so I'm pretty much set for food. So, whatever you decide to do with your Sunday, I hope you have a wonderful one!

Posted by Chris at 12:43 PM | Comments (13)

February 21, 2004

And The Winner Is...

Yes, the votes are in and the winner of the penny is...Erin from Jaded Angel with her guess of 1981! Which is really funny if you think about it because she lives in Canada and probably won't be able to do much with it.

Congratulations to Erin and an honorable mention to Anne who almost guessed the right answer earlier in the day!! And thank you all for voting. You guys really and truly rock. Don't forget it!

Posted by Chris at 10:56 AM | Comments (7)

February 20, 2004

History...And A Penny

I've been looking over the votes for the whole penny contest. Sure, a lot of years have been chosen but don't fret...there are still many left! And in the event of a tie, there will indeed be a tie-breaker. If you've already cast your vote, perhaps a little history is in order.

Penny: The Early Years
The first one-cent coin was struck in 1787 by a private mint. This coin, known as the Fugio cent was 100% copper. The Indian cent was first introduced in 1859 and depicted an Indian princess on the obverse.

Penny: Hey Abe, Check This Out
Between 1909 and 1943, Honest Abe's likeness was displayed on the front of the penny. What else was new? The elements - LIBERTY and the date - the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appeared for the first time on a coin of this denomination. The obverse contained wheatheads, the denomination and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, while curving around the upper border is the national motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM, which means "One out of Many."

Penny: The Penny Goes To War
Production of this wartime cent was approved December 12, 1942. Low grade carbon steel formed the base, to which a zinc coating .005 inches thick was deposited on each side electrolytically as a rust preventative. Later, the penny was manufactured from spent shell casings.

Penny: The Coin We Love Today
In 1959, a design competition was held for a design commemorating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. Despite changes in materials from which the penny is made, this is essentially the penny we know and love today.

Now, there are still some years left open. Vote!

Posted by Chris at 03:08 PM | Comments (1)

Freedom...And A Penny

You may well wonder why I'm so willing to part with a penny. The answer? We got our income tax refund and with it we paid off every single dime of our credit card debt. Yay us! So really, a penny is the least I can do. Go vote.

Posted by Chris at 10:24 AM | Comments (7)

Friday...and a Penny

Happy Friday everyone!

And now for the lame Rude Cactus interactive portion of today's show. I have a penny on my desk. The first person to guess the year on the penny will win, well, the penny along with a certificate of authenticity. Yes, this contest will only cost me a whopping $0.33 but its early and I'm very, very tired. Comments must be received by midnight to count.

UPDATE: Okay, keep it to one guess...Nicole! :-) If anyone has a year they really feel strongly about and its already been taken, go for it. I'll think of a tie-breaker. All this over a penny...

Posted by Chris at 08:25 AM | Comments (44)

February 19, 2004

Random Items for Thursday

-Despite the fact that I had a large portion of my hair cut off two days ago, you can still see the gray. I'm not sure I like the fact that I have a little bit of gray hair. At all.

-In the something-I-should-have-mentioned-but-didn't department, my wife is cool. How cool, you ask? Cool enough that, when she had the day off and I didn't, she got up at the ass-crack of dawn, went out and got me donuts. And Starbucks. How awesome is that?

-Did I mention how much I liked Lost In Translation? Yes? Well, I'll say it again. Excellent movie.

-Know what I did last night? I replaced all the 9 volt batteries in the house to prevent this from happening again.

-There are acceptable and unacceptable states in which magazines may arrive in one's mailbox. My National Geographic (which we only get cos we donated some bling to NPR) is a good example of what I consider acceptable. The copy of Rolling Stone I got yesterday is not. I don't know what my mailman had against Rolling Stone or Beyonce but he really didn't have any good reason to run over them...500 times. Its hard reading articles with salt and sand from the roads ground into almost every page. Hard, but not impossible.

Posted by Chris at 12:18 PM | Comments (18)

Dare To Be Dredge

During my freshman year in college, I lived with a psycho roommate and shared a suite with two Steves. While Steve #1 was a great guy and I have many stories I could share with you about him, I’m more interested in Steve #2 today. We called him Dredge.

Dredge was tall, utterly graceless, intelligent yet socially inept. He was from small town Virginia and had limited experiences in the wider, more populated world. And there was something special about that, in a naïve kind of way.

Throughout that first semester, we, the residents of The Dungeon, did our best to corrupt him but we were never able to. We sent him snipe hunting and he stayed out all night. We eventually went and looked for him, pulled him out of the rain and explained what we’d done. He smiled, thought it was hilarious and was no less enthusiastic about life (or us). His first evening of drunkenness – ever – was capped off by the wearing of six-pack containers as waterwings as some bizarre, alcoholic superhero. Despite the fact that he spent the rest of the evening throwing up and passing out in somewhat rapid succession, he laughed about it the next morning.

When the second semester of the year started, Dredge decided he needed to keep a handy reminder of his schedule visible. He got a massive sheet of butcher paper and wrote his entire schedule out in giant letters and hung it on the wall beside his bed. The concept struck us as funny but, even more amusing was one of the classes he had listed – ballet.

Remember what I said – he was tall, lanky, and graceless. Even he wouldn’t deny it. But he wanted to take ballet. He was the only guy in the class but that didn’t bother him. Every Tuesday and Thursday, he went to his ballet class. Every day in between he studied the ballet position charts he hung up on his wall under that big schedule. Sure, we gave him some crap for it too but really, we thought he was brave. Really, we thought, “here’s this guy who doesn’t really give a shit what anyone think of him.” And we admired him.

If there’s one wish, one piece of advice I’d have for anyone, its pretty simple - be a little more Dredge.

Posted by Chris at 10:48 AM | Comments (7)

February 18, 2004

I Read It For The Articles

Can anyone tell me why my National Geographic comes in a plain brown paper wrapper?




Is it because they're afraid that kids are going to check out the photos of yaks in their natural habitat? Or moms will come home to find their teenage sons in the bathroom with one of those pull-out maps? Me? I skip past all those revealing, glossy photos and read the articles. There's just nothing more exciting than the feeding habits of the killer whale.

Posted by Chris at 05:05 PM | Comments (45)

All The Cool Kids Have One

Everyone else seems to be doing it, so I got myself a moblog! There's not that much there yet but stop by every once in a while.

Posted by Chris at 12:21 PM | Comments (3)

Crafty Cactus

So I can knit...you gotta problem with that?



Posted by Chris at 08:55 AM | Comments (31)

February 17, 2004

Coco Revisited

Ok...she, and I'm naming her Coco for future reference, did it again. Luckily, I was out of the office most of the day so I really didn't have to put up with it too much. Suggestions? And don't tell me to go to work smelling really bad. That's not an option.

Posted by Chris at 06:02 PM | Comments (12)

Why I'm Tired This Morning

What happened is going to be obvious as soon as I start the story...

Around 2:00 this morning, I awoke to a startling absence of cats on the bed from a dream in which my alarm clock was going off. I wasn't sure exactly what was going on until I heard a sharp chirping sound. I waited and sure enough it happened about every 30 seconds. It didn't take long before I knew what it was - the smoke detector. Apparently the battery wasn't in good shape.

It took me a second to noodle through the proper course of action but I eventually settled on a chair and climbed up to try and remove the smoke detector. Easier said than done. I struggled with it for a couple minutes and I distinctly recall leaving a piece of it dangling from the ceiling. I don't think it was designed to come off like that.

Once down, I pulled the battery out and headed back to the bedroom. And the damn thing started chirping again! (I know - this seems oddly reminiscent of that Friends episide in which the same thing happened to Phoebe.) So, I go back and pick up the detector and start pressing all the buttons I can find. It chirps, I press a button, it chirps again, I say something like "die, fucker" and it chirps, I press a button, it chirps, "fuck you too" I yell in a whisper, it chirps. This, the epic struggle between man and smoke detector, goes on for a couple minutes until I noticed that the chirps were slowing down and becoming lower in volume. I had it. Right where I wanted it. So I pressed the button again...and it went completely apeshit on me. It let out a long series of fast, loud chips until it finally ran out of steam. I tossed it over my shoulder and went back to bed.

It only occurred to me this morning that, the entire time I was fighting with this satanic smoke detector, I was right in front of a 4 foot high window overlooking my neighborhood. Wearing nothing. Yelling at a smoke detector. Luckily it was 2:00 in the morning.

Posted by Chris at 07:59 AM | Comments (15)

Dinner Conversation

Upon watching another report about Mel Gibson's new movie...

Me: Why exactly do they always call it "the passion?"
Her: Thats the way its generally referred to. In the Bible as well.
Me: Doesn't seem a very appropriate term.
Her: Well, they rarely mention the strippers.
Me: Hence the passion? Yeah, they don't mention that...or the lapdances.
Her: Or the two drink minimum.
Me: Well you have the whole "water into wine" thing going so that's not
a problem.
Us: ... ... ...
Me: You realize we're probably going to hell, right?

Posted by Chris at 06:55 AM | Comments (7)

February 16, 2004

Hi, I'm Chris...The Bad Toy Picker-Outer

I thought they'd be fun to play with. I mean, look at them. But apparently I was wrong. No interest whatsoever. Instead they'll just keep playing with the rug cos I guess that's just so much more fun. How was I to know?



Posted by Chris at 05:31 PM | Comments (17)

Coco Channel and Oscar De La Renta Have Entered The Building

I think the woman in the office next to mine swam in perfume before she came to work this morning. Either that or Elizabeth Arden died in her office over the weekend. Now, I like a good smelling woman just as much as the next guy but please - there's a need for some subtlety and discretion. It smells like the perfume counter at Macy's here.

Posted by Chris at 12:21 PM | Comments (14)

Haiku for Monday #17

Holiday? Oh no.
Others sleep, but I am here
Working for The Man.

Posted by Chris at 07:14 AM | Comments (9)

February 15, 2004

Movies...Both Generally and Specifically

By this time you know that I have more books and CDs than I know what to do with. It shouldn't surprise you that I also keep other random bits of stuff. For some reason, I tend to hang onto movie stubs.




You'll see some recent ones but if you look closely you'll find the oldest one I could come up with - Contact from '97.

We saw Lost In Translation today. We didn't rent it but actually went to the theater now that its been re-released. I entered with very high hopes and I was not at all let down. This is a superb film, filled with wisdom and minor miracles. And while I appreciated Sean Penn in Mystic River, Bill Murray deserves the Oscar.

Posted by Chris at 05:50 PM | Comments (10)

Happy Birthday, Kimmie

Kimmie's birthday is today! Happy Birthday! Drop by, see Kimmie's new design and say happy birthday!

Posted by Chris at 11:25 AM | Comments (1)

The Swimming Pool

Has anyone seen The Swimming Pool? Its a little foreign flick that got pretty good reviews but managed to leave both Beth and I confused. Basically there's some British writer who ends up in the French countryside sharing a house with her publisher's estranged daughter who, incidentally, has a really hard time keeping her clothes on. Now, you might think that's enough to keep me entertained (and I'll admit it certainly helped), but then you reach the end of the movie and all I've got to say is WTF?? If you've seen it, help us out.

Oh, I also watched Soul Survivor on Friday night when I couldn't sleep. What a crappy crap-fest that was. Skip it...please!

Posted by Chris at 09:43 AM | Comments (8)

February 13, 2004

A Half Day-Off In The Life

How have I spent my day, you may ask? Well, I've got an answer for you!

I started the day at 6:00 this morning by resisting the urge to get back in bed and stay comfy and warm. Once I made up my mind, though, I got up and worked for a while, taking the occasional break to read some blogs. I worked for another few hours then went downstairs to see what was up in the world. Turns out, not a hell of a lot - certainly nothing that I wanted to pay close attention to. Then it was time to hop in the shower and shave.

After I polished off the last few pages of the book I was reading and wrote it down, I headed out into the absolutely gorgeous day! Thankfully I had my shades although such a nice day in the middle of the winter had me driving a little fast. After a couple of stops, I was done and ready to head home.

When I got back, I headed down to my music room and finished putting a CD together. I spent a little time catching up on some bass playing as well. Fingers tired, I watched a few TiVoed shows then camped out in the living room to start a new book.

Hey, nobody said it was going to be exciting!

Posted by Chris at 04:37 PM | Comments (19)

Happy Friday, Everybody!

Hey everyone, its Friday!!




I worked a long week last week. Because of that, I'm working from home this morning and taking the afternoon off! Woohoo!!

BTW - it was early when I took this. I really am much more excited about it being Friday than I look :)

Posted by Chris at 07:55 AM | Comments (13)

February 12, 2004

Vent

During the month of January, 1,502 refugees from the Dominican Republic were detained by the US Coast Guard. The Dominicans regularly risk their lives to cross the 60-mile Mona Passage, a treacherous stretch of water between their country and Puerto Rico, the nearest bastion of American civilization. And they attempt this in 35-40 foot boats in which up to 200 people have been found. Many have died.

What could possibly drive these 1,502 people to seek refuge in the United States? What in their lives is so bad that they think the possibility of dying in a boat, drowning in high seas, is a viable alternative? Or is it the possibility of achieving the American Dream?

Nearly 60% of the kids living within the border of the District of Columbia go to bed hungry at night. That’s three of every five kids in our nation’s capital, the most prosperous country in the world. And while this may be an extreme example, it doesn’t get much better throughout the rest of the country. What is it those Dominicans are looking for?

The FCC received over 200,000 complaints from Americans sitting in their heated living rooms watching the Superbowl on big-screen televisions as a result of the now-famous Janet Jackson breast incident. To that end, the FCC is reviewing decency laws that govern the public airwaves, fines are being levied and congressional hearings will soon be launched. And in that very same town, three of every five kids will go to bed hungry. What is it those Dominicans are looking for?

We live in a country of diverse groups of people – its that whole “melting pot” mentality we’ve all grown up with and tried (most of us, anyway) to preserve. And yet love, possibly the one value that should, ideally, triumph over all, is deemed unimportant, relegated to some emotional wasteland in a nation of legislation better left to common sense. Where the union of two people, be they black, white, straight, gay, man or woman, is tossed around like a political football. All the while the message we’re sending to our children and the rest of the world is overlooked. What – we’re a tolerant people who really believe in the pursuit of happiness but only if you meet our standards? What is it those Dominicans are looking for?

We live in a scary world, a world in which conflict will inevitably take place. We live in a nation that prides itself on its ability to defend the rights of its people and the ideals in which it believes. We believe so strongly that we’re willing to put our reputations and our lives on the line to protect others. Yet we’re unwilling to adequately protect those who help us. During the month of February, 209 Iraqi citizens have been killed because they were trying to support the cause of the American military in their country. Dispensing with the argument of whether the conflict was right or wrong – that’s not going to get us anywhere…what’s done is done – we seem not to have considered what to do with the country once we rid it of its oppressors. Instead we focus on the lofty goals of putting a man on the moon…again. What is it those Dominicans are looking for?

It seems as though there are too many problems on the radar screen to possibly deal with at once. Starving kids, bad roads, poor race relations, school violence, education in general, homeland security, personal privacy, affordable healthcare, civil liberties, gun control, the environment – it all just seems like too much to get our arms around. But really, its not. As utopian and naïve as it sounds, its really just a matter of being nice to one another, keeping an open mind and giving of yourself to those who don’t have as much. Practice the values that, deep down inside, we all hold dear – trust, loyalty and compassion. That’s what those Dominicans are looking for.

Posted by Chris at 11:31 AM | Comments (6)

February 11, 2004

The Blue Room

For those of you who wanted to see the cloudy ceiling...




The family who lived in this house before us painted the ceiling for their daughter. It looked like they put so much time and effort into it, we hated to paint over it. So we just painted the rest of the room blue. Yes, more books. That shouldn't come as a surprise.

Posted by Chris at 05:20 PM | Comments (16)

Rubbing Elbows

Not long ago, I was talking with someone (who was it??) about how I'd met Wonder Woman or, more accurately, Lynda Carter sans costume but before she climbed out of the bottle and became the spokeswoman for irritable bowel syndrome.

Now I'm curious - what celebrities have you run into?

Posted by Chris at 10:18 AM | Comments (31)

Ouch

I have a headache this big.

Posted by Chris at 07:23 AM | Comments (11)

February 10, 2004

Meet Consuelo

Everyone, I'd like you to meet Consuelo! And say hello to Farley while you're at it.



Consuelo (left) and Farley

We've finally gotten over the tragic loss of Meaux and found Farley a brother. I'm happy to report that he's doing quite well and is adjusting to his new home nicely. Farley just seems happy to have a new buddy.

Posted by Chris at 06:13 PM | Comments (9)

Blog It Forward

According to Buzz, its time again to Blog It Forward.

My first pick this month is Amy at amalah.com. She has a completely kick-ass sense of humor and regularly makes me come way too close to snorting coffee out of my nose. And she's a local DC blogger too!

My second pick is Irma over at shades-of-me.com. Irma's an American living in Stockholm and she has a Swedish test tomorrow so go wish her luck. I've always wondered what it must be like to live abroad and I've definitely learned alot from her. Like the fact that there are no Starbucks in Sweden. I could never live there.

And last but not least, r at paved-paradise.com. r is wonderfully tolerant of my left-wing liberalism, is a fantastic photographer, and is busy planning her wedding!

Personally I think every site in my blogrolls is worthy of a visit so, once you get through with these three, come back and check out the rest.

Posted by Chris at 12:09 PM | Comments (3)

The Low Carb Revolution?

Now, I don't want to get into any arguments about diets. I know this whole Atkins thing has worked for some of you out there. I just get concerned when people take things to extremes. Does it work? I'm sure it does. Is it healthy? I doubt it.


Dr. Robert Atkins, whose popular diet stresses protein-rich meat and cheese over carbohydrates, weighed 258 pounds at his death and had a history of heart disease, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Its not fair to laugh at a dead guy...and he did have some medical problems that contributed to his death. But still, I can't help but think that this whole Atkins thing is a fad. Hell, even the local 7-11's have "Join The Low Carb Revolution" signs on their stores. Its getting a little old.

Posted by Chris at 09:51 AM | Comments (23)

A Crapload Of Music: Part Two

As I mentioned a while back, I had the opportunity to do a little music shopping lately. What did I come up with? Here's the second installment.

Artist: Patrick Park
Album: Lonliness Knows My Name

Its rare that I find an album which impresses me right off the bat. Even more rare is the album I'll listen to multiple times immediately after purchase. But this is one of 'em. Patrick Park combines alt-country, roots, folk and rock elements into a subdued yet powerful album. And the strengths lie not only in his music but his lyrics. His songs are thoughtful, well-written and revolve around things with which we can all identify. If nothing else, this album is proof that not everyone feels the need to be a pop star or a nu-metal screamer. Park puts songwriting and instrumentation front and center and the results are truly impressive.

Highlights: Thunderbold, Silver Girl and Past Poisons.

Posted by Chris at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

February 09, 2004

Madam's Organ

We were in the Adams Morgan section of DC last night for dinner at a little Etheopian place and I figured I'd snap a picture of Madam's Organ for you - a DC landmark right up there with the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and the Capitol.



Posted by Chris at 05:01 PM | Comments (6)

Pride

I'm a proud man this morning. Why, you may ask? No, I didn't write a novel, record a sure-fire hit album, find a new way to achieve world peace, discover a cure for cancer or unearth the holy grail. No, I didn't do any of those things. But I do know the pride I'll feel when the kids we eventually have take their first steps or utter their first words. It'll be something like the pride I felt in this.

UPDATE: Just for clarification, she was actually drinking water (she's got a kidney problem and is continually thirsty), not using the toilet for its intended human purpose.

Posted by Chris at 09:12 AM | Comments (11)

Haiku For Monday #16

Good morning cold day
My eyes are not yet open
Which made driving tough

Posted by Chris at 07:11 AM | Comments (5)

February 08, 2004

Duckie Revisited

Many months ago, comparisons between me and Duckie began flying and I wasn't sure if this was a good thing. I was told that it was and I believed you guys. Well, I have to admit that I really hadn't seen Pretty In Pink all the way through...until last night. And I want you to know, I am proud to be compared to Duckie. Thank you, somewhat belatedly, for the compliment :-)

Posted by Chris at 10:34 AM | Comments (7)

February 07, 2004

In Motion

Since I mentioned them here, I figured I might as well post them. Please excuse the narcissism.



Posted by Chris at 02:23 PM | Comments (9)

February 06, 2004

Self-Help For Dummies

I really and truly wish I was making this up. But sadly, friends, I'm not. I present to you the conversation I heard not an hour ago inside the walls of a local bookstore. Is truth stranger than fiction? Today it seems to be.

Him: What do you have?
Her: This book about dealing with troubled teens.
Him: Oh good.
Her: There's a quiz in here that's supposed to help us find a way to help her. Just answer these questions.
Him: Okay.
Her: Does the teen cause disturbances?
Him: Yes.
Her: Does the teen ever commit or participate in violent acts?
Him: Yes.
Her: Has the teen ever mentioned or attempted suicide?
Him: Yes.
Her: Really?
Him: Yeah. That time a year or so back. Remember?
Her: Kinda. Ok. Has the teen ever stolen money or property?
Him: Yep.
Her: Does the teen have a history of drug or alcohol abuse?
Him: Uh-huh.
Her: That reminds me about something I wanted to tell you about your mother-
Him: Don't start in with that again. She's a poor woman who's not even here to defend herself. Just leave her out of it...

Needless to say, there were a couple of questions I really wanted to ask. I restrained myself.

Question One: Why the hell are you sitting in a bookstore when you obviously have a suicidal lunatic living at home who's probably chasing the dog around with a steak knife? Can you say therapy?

Question Two: Um...I don't mean to be critical but do you really believe you're going to find all the answers in a self-help book? Exactly where will Dr. Phil be when, after said teen has killed said dog with said steak knife, she hotwires the van and sells it for crack?

Question Three: Do you have no shame? You realize you're sitting inside a fairly busy bookstore and discussing the many downfalls of your daughter not to mention your own poor parenting skills? And on top of that, you're talking pretty loud!

Some words of advice if you're listening, dumb couple. Stop at the grocery store, buy a nice bottle of Chianti and a can of fava beans because if you're counting on that book to change your lives, you're really and truly screwed.

Posted by Chris at 04:26 PM | Comments (14)

Magnolia On Ice



Posted by Chris at 04:03 PM | Comments (5)

Feeling Animated?

Me, as I'd appear on South Park. Make your own!



BTW: I stole this link right out from under Sweety. Go see her and say howdy, hey, hola, or whatever your favorite greeting may be.

Posted by Chris at 09:56 AM | Comments (14)

Ice Ice Baby

Despite the fact that I was looking for excuses to work from home this morning and the Washington area is covered in a quarter inch of pure unadulterated ice, I'm at work. I'm just a conscientious stupid kinda guy.

What's the plus side here? The project I'm working on is out of my hands at noon today, at which time I fully expect to commandeer elevator, sprint through the building lobby and burst through the doors. I expect this to be accompanied by theme music. Onlookers will cheer my sudden Friday escape from the corporate world, jealous yet proud of my early break for freedom. Men will stare enviously, and women will swoon.

Whether it plays out this way or not, its the end of the week. Happy Friday everyone!

Posted by Chris at 07:24 AM | Comments (9)

February 05, 2004

Barely Enough Time To Pee

Holy shit, what a day! Looks like today's going to round out a trio of 10-11 hour days. Is it any wonder I'm a little tired and brain dead?

In the mean time, talk amongst yourselves. And while you're at it, come up with an excuse I can use to work from home tomorrow.

Posted by Chris at 05:00 PM | Comments (8)

Toon For Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone! I'm a little tied up this morning but I wanted to share this with you. Its kinda not work safe but in a funny animated way. Enjoy!

Posted by Chris at 07:49 AM | Comments (9)

February 04, 2004

Guitars, Motion and Genes

The other day I was playing my guitar and I accidentally flipped on the timer on my camera. I managed to catch the blinking light out of the corner of my eye and turned towards the camera. As it turned out, I kind of liked the picture so I took a few more. I Photoshopped the pics together and had a nice little sequence going just for grins. Then I noticed this picture.

This picture won't be all that remarkable to you. Sure, there's me, there's my guitar - like you haven't seen that before. But I think that, as strange as it may sound given the quality of the shot and the fluidity of motion, this is the first time I've ever seen any strong resemblance between myself and my father. So permit me yet another narcissistic moment. I'm sure there will be more but this one's different.

Posted by Chris at 05:30 PM | Comments (7)

Private Dancer

I've had the same song stuck in my head since Sunday. While my wife was on the computer and I was getting ready to jump in the shower, I thought I'd share my pain.

Me: Private Dancer by Tina Turner. Its been stuck in my head for the last two days. Its your turn.
Her: Gee, thanks. ::begins singing song::

Five minutes later - I'm in the shower and the door is abruptly opened.

Me: Hi.
Her: Two things. First, fuck you. And second ::begins singing song::

Posted by Chris at 07:22 AM | Comments (20)

February 03, 2004

A Crapload Of Music: Part One

A while back, I asked you guys for some music recommendations and I received a lot of comments - THANK YOU! Well, I received a little monetary award for my performance at work so I took your suggestions and a wishlist of my own and went shopping. I bought a shitload of several CDs and I thought I'd start telling you about them since you were kind enough to share your ideas with me.

Band: Jet
Album: Get Born

At first, I was a little concerned that this was going to be a straight balls-to-the-wall low-fi pseudo-punk bluesy rock album. You get a prize if you can figure out what that sentence means and provide an example...that I know about. Turns out its not. While it opens with a jolt, it quickly evolves into a gritty blues-based straight rock album that is nothing if not catchy. Clearly these guys are having fun and making the music that really inspires them. That said, there is almost nothing original about Get Born. Jet borrows from all the major players in classic rock - from The Stones and Beatles to Thin Lizzy and classic Elton John. I kept noticing that, upon first listen, I actually began humming other songs. Bachman Turner Overdrive and Golden Earring haunted "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" while Lynyrd Skynyrd was conjured up by "Look What You've Done." Not that there's anything wrong with that. But if you're looking for originality, go elsewhere. If you're just jonesin' for some plain ond rock, Get Born will do it for you.

P.S. Scott - I hope this answers your last question to me. Sorry I've been out of touch. Get back to you soon!

Posted by Chris at 05:15 PM | Comments (5)

Some Days Its The Little Things

I'm actually not a Diet Coke fan at all, but when I saw the new Diet Coke with lime, I had to give it a shot - I'm a sucker for new stuff. The verdict: this is pretty good stuff! The lime flavor almost hides the diet taste.

Posted by Chris at 01:11 PM | Comments (13)

They Saw More Than Just His Shadow

I'm not sure how this got overlooked. Possibly it was all the hype due to the whole Janet Jackson fiasco.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania --

Upon his much anticipated foray into daylight yesterday, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. As the prospect of an extended winter settled over the Pennsylvanians gathered to witness the annual spectacle, many were caught off-guard when the groundhog stood, balancing on hind legs, and revealed three of his multiple breasts, each adorned with jewelry. As mothers shielded the eyes of on-looking children, Phil returned to his shelter in a strut that looked remarkably like a "moonwalk."

In a statement released following the incident, organizers of the annual festivities expressed both shock and sorrow. "Why Phil would choose to flaunt his breasts in this fashion is unclear," the statement read. "We apologize for his actions and assure that such an incident will never be repeated."

Prior to publication, it was confirmed that attorney general John Ashcroft is considering launching a full investigation. Additionally he is expected to order that all groundhogs participating in future Groundhog Day festivities wear clothing suitable for family audiences. Organizers have already begun commissioning various Philadelphia-area designers to fabricate small sweaters suitable for groundhogs. Zoos around the country are bracing for similar regulations. “It’s a slippery slope,” one zookeeper said. “You clothe one animal and you can’t expect dress codes for all of them to be far behind.”

It is expected that this year’s “Punxsutawney Phil” will not be asked to return next year. He is said to be enjoying notoriety in a secluded location.

Posted by Chris at 09:55 AM | Comments (9)

Wallpaper Memories

In a recent post, Amber reminded me of one of the first things Beth and I did as new homeowners.

About a year and a half ago, we bought our first home. The family who owned it before us was lovely. They'd bought the house when it was brand new and kept it in incredible condition despite the fact that they had two girls. While we encountered the stray crayon mark on the walls, the place was immaculate. They had, however, hung wallpaper in the girls' rooms.

The day we received the keys, we brought over ladders and quickly began scraping the wallpaper off the walls. Only after the rooms were pretty well destroyed later that day did it occur to us - what if the girls hated their new house? What if they couldn't sleep? What if their parents wanted to bring them back to show them their old rooms to make them feel better? For an instant, we considered ourselves to be the worst people to ever walk the face of the earth. Then a couple days passed, there were no random visits from the old inhabitants and we realized that it was kind of silly anyway.

Its that instant in which you realize that - and I know this is going to sound like the mother of all cliches - a home is more than a foundation, walls and a roof. Its a sum total of the experiences, the living, that fill it. And its probably for that reason that we left the blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling of one of those rooms alone.

Posted by Chris at 07:25 AM | Comments (6)

February 02, 2004

Say It Ain't So

Its sad, really. They were selling everything - all the furniture, display stands, even the seven foot tall talking tree. I was tempted to ask if the escallators were for sale. I could really use one of those and I figured that this was as good a deal as I was going to get. Then my wife reminded me we'd have to get it home somehow so I dropped the idea. Maybe next year.



Posted by Chris at 05:57 PM | Comments (9)

Overexposure

So, like most people, whether I wanted to or not, I managed to get sucked in by the Super Bowl. If you didn't watch, you really didn't miss anything. Except for Janet Jackson's boob. And you all thought Justin was so sweet.

As I mentioned earlier, I tend to watch for the commercials but this year I was really disappointed - there were a few amuing ones but none that lived up to the hype...or the $2+ million price tag.

Since I had to come to work bright and early as usual, I TiVoed the Survivor premier. Whatever you do, don't tell me what happened! Shhh! I mean it!

Posted by Chris at 07:18 AM | Comments (11)

Haiku for Monday #15

Winter Mondays seem
Too cold to emerge from bed
But alas I'm here

Posted by Chris at 07:03 AM | Comments (1)

February 01, 2004

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Um...apparently not.



Posted by Chris at 11:21 AM | Comments (12)