March 31, 2004

Haiku Madness

Is the whole haiku thing catching on or is it me? I opened the Style section of The Washington Post and saw a quite prominently placed notice about a Post-sponsored haiku contest. Hmmmm. How funny would it be if one of us walked away with this thing? Here's the info:

"Simply compose a slightly twisted haiku that takes as its subject some familiar aspect of life around here. Send it - with "Haiku" in the subject line - to kellyj@waspost.com. Or mail it to John Kelly, The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington, DC. 20071"

And while I'm thinking of it, the Thursday Haiku Smackdown will be held at Amy's tomorrow. Don't forget to stop by. She's got some guidelines and a theme this time so it should be interesting!

Posted by Chris at 06:25 PM | Comments (2)

Excuse Me

Um, you know that combined burp/hiccup thing that happens sometimes? I just did that. REALLY LOUD! I didn't mean to. I didn't see what was happening in time. I'm sure everyone in the office is impressed. I just need to hide under my desk today.

Posted by Chris at 08:54 AM | Comments (16)

Reasons Why I Shouldn't Be Allowed To Communicate

I'm sleepy...and grumpy and sneezy and probably several other dwarfs. More than anything, I seem to be having trouble adequately and accurately expressing myself. Allow me to illustrate...

Example #1: On Monday morning, I was preparing to lead a meeting and a member of the team dropped by. I wasn't aware she was going to attend since she's moving off the team and onto another project.

What I said: Hey there! What are you doing here? I didn't think you were on the project anymore.

What I meant: Hey there! I didn't expect to see you at the meeting but I'm glad you're here.

What she heard: My god, woman. What the fuck are you doing here. You're a bitch on wheels and I never want to see you again. Get out! Did you not hear me? Now, woman, now!

* * *

Example #2: Last night I was throwing together some burgers for dinner. I'd cut tomatoes and onions, laid out pickles and thown together a salad. As soon as we sat down, my wife asked me if I wanted tomatoes. Cos usually I don't. But I'd taken special care to cut enough for both of us.

What I said: I cut enough for both of us to have some.

What I meant: Maybe, but don't worry about it because I cut enough for both of us.

What she heard: Fuck you and fuck your goddamn tomatoes. You just eat whatever the hell you want and don't worry about me.

Trust me when I tell you I haven't intentionally been an asshole so far this week. Maybe I'm better off just keeping my mouth shut for the time being.

Posted by Chris at 08:36 AM | Comments (14)

March 30, 2004

Picture-In-Picture

This is probably my favorite picture of my wife and I. It was taken at a friend's wedding.




Don't ask me to start posting my own wedding photos. My wife looks great. I, on the other hand, look like a complete and utter dork.

Posted by Chris at 09:53 PM | Comments (14)

Lies! Lies I Tell You!

Thank you all for submitting your guesses. I'm happy to announce that we have a winner. Before I reveal who it is, here are the answers...

The Sting: True
My great grandfather was indeed a con-artist and swindler (how often do you get to use that word?). We believe he was killed because of it as well. Its the source of some great family stories.

Cowboy Hats: True
Yes, I made hats. I made and shaped cowboy hats, fedoras and even top hats. It was a terrible, terrible job and I quit after a couple of days.

German: False
I was required to take a semester of German but I didn't get to skip drama, which was too bad. I hated being the center of attention and still do. After that semester, I never took German again. I took Spanish instead.

DJ Jazzy Cactus: False
While its true that our college radio station was received by maybe one student on any given day, I was never a DJ. I just didn't see the point if no one could hear me.

Run Cactus, Run: True
I held the record in the 440 for a school year. I was quick!

Yul Brenner: True
I'm happy to say that this happened exactly the way I described it. It was especially impressive as I'd had the opportunity to see him on stage in a production of The King And I a year earlier.

Who's the winner, you ask? Sweety!! Congratulations!! And for those of you who don't know Sweety, please go and check her out!

Posted by Chris at 04:55 PM | Comments (7)

Truth and Lies...

or AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION TIME CONTINUES...

While you're surfing today, don't forget to let me know what you think I've been lying about. I'll reveal the answers this evening.

Posted by Chris at 08:43 AM | Comments (2)

March 29, 2004

To Tell The Truth

I thought I'd get interactive on you again. Two of the following six statements are false. Its your job to tell me which ones. Your prize? The satisfaction of being correct! And I'll tell everyone how cool you are too.

1. Ever seen the movie The Sting? Its based, in part, on various true stories one if which involved my great grandfather. A character modeled after him actually makes an appearance in the movie.

2. I used to make cowboy hats. And top hats. And fancy hats. One of my first jobs was making hats for a company in Texas. It didn't last too long. I didn't like measuring guys' heads.

3. German, while not a pretty language, was the only way of getting out of a drama class in junior high school. I just stuck with it through high school and was eventually fluent. Odd, since I was born in South America.

4. Despite the fact that the college radio station had a broadcast area of about twenty square feet, I pulled a DJ gig a couple times a week. I enjoyed doing things like playing Prince and Metallica back-to-back. It drove everyone (or the three people on campus who could pick up the station) nuts.

5. In high school, I held the record for the fastest 440 time for a year.

6. When I was in London last, I saw Cats. It was okay. What most impressed me though was who I ran into afterwards. Riding in the back of a cab, I looked to my left and there sat Yul Brenner. He was sitting in the back seat of a maroon and gray Bentley. His driver's outfit matched the car.

Posted by Chris at 07:10 PM | Comments (25)

Weekend Movie Recap

After a weekend of home improvement, we decided to spend this last one relaxing as much as possible. We went to one movie, and Netflix was kind enough to deliver three more. Here's the recap:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
I'm not a huge Jim Carey fan. I'm also not the biggest Kate Winslet fan. I liked the look of this movie though and I'd heard good things. Luckily the praise I'd heard seemed well-deserved. Its trippy, well-acted and perhaps most importantly, thought-provokingly nice. We need more nice movies.

Ten Things I Hate About You.
Yes, a chick-flick. But overall, really not a bad one. Sure, it was a cheesy Shakespeare adaptation but there were some redeeming qualities. Not a lot...but some. This should be on you C-list...like when the rental place doesn't your first or second choices, remember that Chris said it was okay. Not great, but better than infomercials.

Goodfellas.
I mentioned a month ago that I didn't enjoy The Godfather and from your comments, I picked up that you guys not be real fond of mob flicks. But I've always enjoyed Goodfellas. My wife hadn't seen it so I decided we needed to remedy that. It was as good as I remembered. Plus, I'd never realized that casting for The Sopranos relied so heavily on the cast of this film. Over and over again, we kept seeing some very familiar faces. Its a mob-classic.

Jeepers Creepers II.
It sucked. But in my defense, I assumed it would suck. It wasnt like the first one was a masterpiece or anything. But this? This was total crap. Actually, it drags crap to a whole new, lower level. If you want a movie to point and laugh at, this is the one for you. If you want a decent horror film, skip it.

Posted by Chris at 04:48 PM | Comments (4)

Haiku For Monday #23

Spring, yet office-bound.
Would I rather be outside?
Do bears shit in woods?

Posted by Chris at 08:34 AM | Comments (13)

March 28, 2004

The Sunday Donut Bust

There are a couple of things that bring back this particular memory. First and foremost, its another gorgeous spring day. Second, I just went out and got donuts. Third, its Sunday.

When I was growing up, my parents and I had a tradition of doing something special on Sunday mornings for breakfast. We were never 'church people' so I think the family breakfast thing was our way of spending some quality time together. We'd make homemade waffles, stacks of pancakes or sometimes we'd go to a great bakery down the street and get donuts. On particular Sunday morning, we'd done just that.

As we were sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee and munching on donuts, flipping through the papers and talking about whatever it was we usually discussed, we heard a helicopter. Not so unusual but it was persistent. It was almost as if it was hovering. We looked out the kitchen windows but couldn’t see anything at all.

A couple of minutes later we each thought we heard voices, almost as if they were being broadcast over a radio. And then in a faint reflection in a kitchen appliance, we caught the winking of blue and red lights of a police cruiser. Further investigation revealed that the police car was not alone – there were many, from the county, city and state and they were all blocking the street in front of our house. It should have been no surprise when we saw armed police running up our driveway, guns drawn.

As you can imagine, this was all somewhat surprising, to say the very least. But my mom and I reacted the way two normal people would. We just stood there waiting to see what was going to happen. My dad, on the other hand, felt as though he needed to be more proactive. Armed with only a powered sugar covered donut, he quickly ran out the back door and into the driveway. My mom and I were convinced he was going to get shot. Thankfully he wasn’t. No, he received a warning first.

“Sir, stop right where you are. Keep your hands, and the donut, where we can see them.”

I want to make sure you have the correct mental picture here. Suburban neighborhood, nice houses, gorgeous spring day, police helicopter circling over our house, somewhere around 15 police cars parked in front and 20 policemen, guns drawn, all watching my father hold a donut in the air.

It took very little time for us to prove we belonged there and that my father wasn’t planning on doing anything sketchy with his breakfast. After we’d all calmed down a little bit, we had a good laugh with the policemen. Most left quickly, the helicopter disappearing into the blue spring sky, cruisers off to respond to a real emergency. It wasn’t long before we pieced together what had happened.

That particular morning, a crew of workmen was responding to a cable problem in the neighborhood. Coincidentally, their equipment sent out a signal which tripped the silent alarm system in my house.

As frightening as it was at the time, the Silent Alarm Incident has provided almost endless amusement. There’s just some stuff in this world you can’t make up. “Sir, stop right where you are. Keep your hands, and the donut, where we can see them” is one of them.


Posted by Chris at 10:01 AM | Comments (14)

March 27, 2004

Signs of Spring

I know this won't be groundbreaking but - its Spring!! As I wandered around today, there were signs of it everywhere. Such as...




I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend so far! Happy Spring!

Posted by Chris at 05:42 PM | Comments (10)

Cert-ify

Thank you all so much for your help with our little advertising jingle problem. It is indeed the old slogan from Certs. What would I do without you guys?

Posted by Chris at 05:28 PM | Comments (2)

Two Of Something

How many of you out there remember old advertising slogans? My wife and I went out to dinner at our local Thai place and, at one point, our conversation went something like this:

Me: What was that old slogan? "Two, two, two - something - in one?"
Her: Sticks? Two sticks in one?
Me: Sounds right. But sticks of what?
Her: Um, deoderant?
Me: Butter?
Her: Was it a candy bar or something?

So you see our dilemma. Help.

Posted by Chris at 08:56 AM | Comments (10)

March 26, 2004

Wise Words From Readers

I thought I'd do something a little different today and highlight some of the wise words you guys left me throughout the week. And if you don't see yourself here, please don't think I valued your comments any less. You know I think each and every one of you rock!

"Pistachio Pistachio"? Is that the favorite ice cream of Boutros Boutros-Ghali? And also, ew?
- Miss Doxie

Now I need a big sign to hang up over my desk that says, "Do I look like your bitch?" Hee.
- Dawnie

The nicest thing about the people in your office is that you can turn them right off when you go out the door.
- Cassie-b

...maybe some people LIKE being shredded by a piranha - i prefer being shredded by a Guinness, myself.
- Matt

I've always secretly believed there must be a freaky midget brothel somewhere...
- Emily

A coat-check room is absolutely essential, darling. As is a separate pastry kitchen. Hell, I have a separate kitchen for each type of cuisine I eat, much less cooking styles.
- Judith Light

Welcome to McMansion's, would you like to supersize your property taxes today?
- Amy

i'd never find my cat.
- Laura

Living proof of people who have so much money that they have to seek out ways like that to get rid of it.
- Zandria

I haven't known a silent house for nearly eight years.
- Joe

Mapquest has indeed become the slacker child of the online maps community.
- Alicia

Posted by Chris at 10:35 AM | Comments (21)

Fridays, Sun and Home

Happy Friday everyone! Since I've managed to work a bazillion hours so far this month, I'm working from home today. Working from home with the understanding that this means checking in every now and then. Its a gorgeous sunny day and I've flung the windows open, made the coffee and am catching up on my blogroll.

I wish you all a wonderful Friday!

Posted by Chris at 07:56 AM | Comments (11)

March 25, 2004

Let The Smackdown Begin

The Thursday Haiku Smackdown has begun. Today's host is Zoot. Need a little background? Confused about this whole Smackdown thing? Check out the Haiku Smackdown site for information.

Posted by Chris at 07:31 AM | Comments (3)

March 24, 2004

Friends in the Freezer

Amy and I were talking about two of our mutual friends, Ben & Jerry recently. Its now time for me to admit that I have a problem.




Also, don't forget about the Thursday Haiku Smackdown being hosted tomorrow at Zoot's place! And visit the new home for Thursday Haiku Smackdown information!

Posted by Chris at 05:22 PM | Comments (29)

Real Questions, Imaginary Answers

People - at work, not you - have been bugging me this week. They keep asking questions with very obvious answers. So, in the spirit of blogging about stuff you can't say out loud, I thought I'd share.

Question: Hey, is your office-mate around?
Answer: Let me ask you a question? Do you see her? Her lights are off, her laptop's gone. Unless she's suddenly developed the power to work invisibly, I'd say you have your answer, bucko.

Question: Well, do you know when she's going to be in?
Answer: As a matter of fact, I do. You know, I keep all her appointments and even schedule her doctors visits. Let me see here...oh yes, it says she'll be at...well, this doesn't seem right. Does "fuck off" mean anything to you?

Question: Do you have an extra computer?
Answer: Do you have $2000?

Question: Can you get into the purchasing system and place an order?
Answer: I can but I need some information first. First piece of information - do I look like your bitch?

Question: You're the first one in every morning. Do I have you to thank for putting on the coffee?
Answer: Hell no! You think I want to drink that shit? That is pure, unadulterated evil. I go downstairs and get the good stuff.

Question: What are you up to today?
Answer: I was planning on learning to juggle Faberge eggs, reading War and Peace backwards in its original Russian, learning French, painting my office, shining my shoes, preparing a four course meal using only the kitchen microwave and coffee condiments, Xeroxing my butt cheeks, starting that Clay Aiken fan club Web site I've been meaning to work on, and figuring out exactly how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. But then again I might just, you know, work.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. I offer my comments section to you, should you find yourselves in need of doing the same.

Posted by Chris at 09:23 AM | Comments (34)

March 23, 2004

Explanations? Anyone?

Would someone please explain the appeal here? To me? Not something I'm going to sprint to the cash register to buy.



Posted by Chris at 08:57 PM | Comments (9)

Remember the Little People

Disclaimer: I know that the politically correct term is 'little people.' Don't think me insensitive but I think 'little people' is just a little too politically correct. If there are any midgets in the audience, I apologize for my insensitivity.

There's a rumor in the Washington DC area that there's a little place - no pun intended - called Midgetville hidden in the Virginia suburbs. Little is known but this much is rumored to be true:

- Midgetville is located in an older suburban neighborhood shielded from much of the normal suburban traffic.

- Midgetville contains no more than a dozen houses, clustered together and surrounded by high fences.

- Houses in Midgetville are size-appropriate. Counters and doorknobs are lower and everything is smaller.

- Midgetville inhabitants fiercely defend their territory from the intrusion of the outside world. This has resulted in a number of midget attacks when curious visitors have tried to glimpse this mini-paradise.

- Midgetville was supposedly spawned when Ringling Brothers was headquartered in a neaby area. The circus has since left town.

While I've known people who know people who've visited Midgetville, I have no trustworthy first-hand evidence that such a place exists. This land of the midgets remains entirely elusive. Thus began my Midgetville Quest. When in doubt, Google it. Right? Wrong.

When I attempted to do some research on the existence of Midgetville, I encountered an enormous amount of midget porn. These are not short porn films. I encountered titles containing midget-on-midget sex, midget-on-normal person sex, groups of midgets engaged in orgiastic delights...just about everything you can possibly think of. And while this did not directly contribute to solving my overall problem (the existence of Midgetville), it did inspire a few theories.

- People really like midget porn. I mean, there's a lot of midget porn out there.
- There are lots of horny midgets willing to do anything for cash.
- The rumored Midgetville may actually be the epicenter of midget porn.

The first two are relatively straightforward. I think they speak for themselves. But the third deserves some consideration. Think of it - we've got Hollywood where most of the mainstream movies are created. Actors and actresses, producers and directors all live clustered together, creating the insular communities around Hollywood. It makes sense. Why should midget porn be any different? How else can the fierce defense of Midgetville be explained? So, if we assume Midgetville does indeed exist, I think its safe to say that its probably the capital of midget porn in this country.

And here - rather abruptly - the Quest ends, but only temporarily. I vow to continue the quest and I ask for your assistance. If you have any information on Midgetville, please let me know.

Posted by Chris at 12:48 PM | Comments (31)

RSS Feeds

Several years months ago, a few of you asked me about my RSS feeds, or lack thereof. For those of you who've been trying to grab my blog through newsreaders, I'm happy to let you know that the problem's been fixed.

Posted by Chris at 08:58 AM | Comments (5)

March 22, 2004

More Short Attention Span Blogging

I realize that I'm completely random today with the blogging. That's because my whole brain has been kinda random today. Tomorrow may yield a focused post. Today? Not so much.

I was at a boring snooze-fest full of people in love with the sound of their own voices meeting this afternoon for somewhere around four and a half eons two hours. One particular speaker of note irritated me in several different ways. Allow me to illustrate using the following real-life quotes - no stunt-quotes here folks. Oh, and how petty and/or bored was I to actually write this shit down?

"...he couldn't have been more friendlier when I came on-board..."
Its friendlier, dillhole. That's it. The whole more thing? Completely unnecessary. If you're standing in front of a group of people I'd expect you to know that.

"...and the like..."
This pretty much falls into the and whatnot category for me but this may be worse because it sounds like you're trying to come off all snooty. When you use it at the end of every sentence, you just sound kinda stupid.

"...when we started this whole project we decided it should be built on the foundation of a premise..."
My favorite. Do I need to explain?

And by the way, how cool am I? A whole state called me. I didn't pick up the call and there was no message. I figure they're pissed cos of something I did growing up, and the like...



Posted by Chris at 07:05 PM | Comments (13)

Weekend Junk I Forgot

For a weekend, I actually managed to post a lot. I did a little serious writing, found a kick-ass retro mirror and an obscenely large house. So, what did I forget?

Castle (An Addendum):
Well, I forgot to mention that the big-ass house had its own coat-check closet. You know, one of those little rooms with the half-doors? And its own separate pastry kitchen. Cos you know everyone needs one of those!

Really, Its True
I also learned something of no importance whatsoever but it was something of a surprise. Brendan Fraser can act! I know. I sound like a lunatic but its true. We watched The Quiet American this weekend and he was actually decent. Not a bad movie either.

Just Drillin'
I can now consider myself a well-rounded male. I own a drill. Fear me and the havoc I may wreak on an otherwise peaceful home. We installed under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. We rock.

JLB - The Launch
Don't be square - check out The Judith Light Brigade site.

Posted by Chris at 11:28 AM | Comments (6)

Haiku For Monday #22

It's only seven
But I'm already stressed-out
Coffee, more coffee

Posted by Chris at 07:27 AM | Comments (9)

March 21, 2004

The Local Castle

There's this house I pass on my way to and from work that's been under construction for about two years. Its big. Silly-big. Someone's-got-way-too-much-money-big. We decided to go see it today.




The value of the house is currently estimated at $3 million. And after looking at it, I don't doubt it. After all, it is 13,000 square feet and has an 1800 square foot underground bomb shelter. Sounds like a good value to me!





From the top, left to right:
-The front of the house with kick-ass fountain. Everyone has fountains, right?
-A view from the entrance. Yes, that is a third story. It has a dome with Greek gods painted on it. No, I'm not kidding.
- From the second story into the living room.
- Check out the closet space! We've lived in apartments smaller than this closet.
-The master bath. Large for...uh...entertaining?

Posted by Chris at 04:42 PM | Comments (27)

Retro Reflection

We headed out last night to celebrate a distant relative's birthday. On our way we stopped in this relatively funky store that had lots of cool stuff. Very retro, very Rat Pack, very swingin.



Posted by Chris at 09:39 AM | Comments (8)

March 20, 2004

Writing (Or, The Serious Side Of The Cactus)

I hesitate to put this here today. Why? Because I'm usually not very serious. Perhaps I short-change myself because, in real life, there's more to me than just the funny story about the time I got chased by cows down the Potomac River or long strings of haikus. Don't get me wrong. I'm very much that guy as well. I do, however, sit down and write a bit about stuff that's not all that funny, sometimes to figure out what's on my mind, sometimes just to play with words. So today? An example. If you want funny, come back soon.

In this silent house you can hear the mundane. You can hear the silence’s verbosity, viscosity. You can hear the traffic from the road a hundred yards away, differentiate the economy cars from the SUVs, the Harleys from the little Japanese sport bikes. You can hear that kid crying next door. She’s two and you think that she probably shouldn’t be wailing like that anymore. What does that say about her parents? Is there something wrong with the kid?

In this silent house you can hear the click then whoosh of the furnace. If you pay attention and concentrate, you’ll know that 38 seconds elapse between the time you hear that whoosh and the point at which the heat flares into life, dulling the other mundane sounds. Drowning out the sounds of the maple tree branches striking the side of the house when the wind kicks up. You keep meaning to prune that tree but it never seems to get done. Its always supplanted by something else, something that takes precedent. And the sound is comforting. It’s a constant reminder that some things don’t change.

In this silent house you become aware of the sounds you make. Of those mundane noises you populate your world with. Biting your fingernails becomes some bizarre symphony of bodily noise. The chair that creaks underneath your weight takes on sonic properties of Hollywood proportion. The tapping of your left foot to the unheard beat of a long-forgotten song becomes a dance club-worthy thump as shoe meets carpet.

In this silent house, you wonder if you’ve suddenly gone deaf. At that point at which the mundane noises subside momentarily, the foot stops tapping, the traffic ceases, the baby stops her crying, you wonder – rightly so – if that whole sense has suddenly failed you. But then the heat flares into life again and you can rest easy.

In this silent house, as darkness falls, the traffic slows. Tires crunch against the hardened pavement, children are expelled from their parents’ cars, televisions are sparked into life to report the news and sell us the latest cure for whatever it is we happen to have today, and the baby next door finds something else to cry about. What is it with this kid?

The displaced silence finds a dark corner and hides until daily life subsides and invites it back. It lurks, occasionally sticking a quiet finger into the noise to test its resolve. When the noise no longer puts up a fight, when its momentum is exhausted and its will defeated, it surrenders to the returning silence.

And it is this silence in which the imagination runs wild, unrestrained by any of those conscious fences, those noises, those jolts that call the mind immediately, haltingly into the present tense. Back to today’s worries, today’s hopes, today’s dreams.

In this silent house, I often feel that there’s something I’m supposed to be saying, something I’m supposed to be shouting at the world. Listen to me, damnit. There’s something important I’ve got to say, world. I’m making sense here. How can none of you recognize that? Something that feels so profound to me the very thought of expressing it causes a mixture of panic and relief and excitement and fury to well up within the pit of my stomach. And then I realize that

In our silent houses
We all have the need to scream
The need to expose our thoughts
To the world
The sound of our voices
Enabled by the solitude surrounding us
The knowledge that our voices
May be heard
Over the crying children
Over the SUVs hurrying to grocery stores
Over salt and the sand left over
From snows now passed
And someone out there
May finally hear another voice
With the same mix of panic
Relief, excitement and fury
And feel a little less…
Alone

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

March 19, 2004

Ahhhh...Friday!

Good morning everyone! Rejoice, for it is Friday!

Its been a long, long week. But also a good week. There were giant strawberries, another Thursday Haiku Smackdown, and the launch of The Judith Light Brigade. A very full week indeed. But of course, other things happened that I never really got a chance to share with you...

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Follow Mapquest. Mapquest got me lost. And Maryland is a large state. Especially when you're wandering around and Mapquest is only telling you to "turn left" and not even giving you a street name. Bastards!

Go To Work, Get A New Bathroom. My wife's taken a couple days off work. When I got dressed in the morning it was in our same old bathroom. When I returned yesterday evening, all the cabinets had been completely redone and they look awesome! I wonder what she's going to do today?

Red-Letter Day Goes Unmentioned...And Unphotographed. Earlier this week I noticed that we got new urinal cakes again! Sadly I didn't have the time to properly honor the occasion. Forgive me.

Posted by Chris at 08:24 AM | Comments (15)

March 18, 2004

Thursday Haiku Smackdown III

You know what day it is? Thursday, you say? That's half right. Its time again for the Thursday Haiku Smackdown! Coleen has been kind enough to host it this week so get over there and haiku! Now!

Posted by Chris at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2004

Success!

Have I mentioned that you guys are just truly awesome? No? Well, you are. Thanks to all who guest blogged for me during my "open blog" day. There's some seriously funny (and yes, sometimes a little odd) stuff here so make sure you catch it all. Thank you for reading, thank you for contributing and thank you all for being a very cool bunch of people

I'm giving you all a standing ovation but, of course, you can't see me...my wife sure is looking at me funny though.

Posted by Chris at 10:15 PM | Comments (2)

Hump Day Switcheroo

I'm feeling neither witty nor creative today but I don't want you guys to suffer for it. So, here's my plan: I'd like you, my kind, bright and witty readership to do my work for me today. No, not the paper-pusher stuff I do around the office. I want you to blog for me. Below you'll find the guest log-on information. Use it and let the world behold your brilliance. Don't be shy. Oh, and if only two or three of you do this, I'm gonna be kinda upset. So go nuts, have fun and be kind.

Scroll down for the latest entries...this'll be on top all day.

Log-on information:

URL: Rude Cactus
Username: Guest
Password: $cactus

Posted by Chris at 10:09 PM | Comments (7)

can i pick your brain?

good, because mine is picked clean. basically i wanted to know why there are so many different types of dogs in the world? seriously. why are people breeding so many different types of dogs? we're not really hunters anymore. we don't live in packs in the wild and rely on our senses and canine friends to help us bring down a 400lb. bison to bring back to the herd.

and what do you call a group of people? i know it's a hive of bees. a bed of clams. a convocation of eagles. a horde of hamsters. a parliament of owls. and even an unkindness of ravens. but what's a group of people? herd? group? family?

and what's with this whole "nuclear" family concept? have you noticed that concept came straight out of the 40s and 50s? do you really want to live back during that time anyway? i mean, hello ... no cell phones or video games. mmm ... playstation.

so i'm playing playstation the other day and this guy totally comes up behind my character and starts swinging a sword at him. i'm all "what the hell?" and i turn around and womp on him with my halberd. that'll show him. i mean, not "show" him ... like expose my private parts or anything. i just mean, that'll "learn" him not to try to kill my character with a sword. right? right.

you ever wonder if there's a queue of bad guys in the playstation? like a waiting room ... or the red room on american idol? they all sit in there eating donuts just waiting for their chance to try to kill your character. of course, that would be counter-productive, wouldn't it? i mean, they'd kill you and end the game; thereby ending themselves. i pretty much figure they're screwed either way. they're taking it right up the old "backdoor" from me, the player ... taking it doggy-style.

so seriously, why are there so many different breeds of dogs?

Posted by at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

Ball Brains

A little 3 year old boy is looking at his little balls: "Mommy, are these my brains?"

Mom: "Not yet honey."

Posted by at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

from my bag of tricks

Since I saw this offer late in the day, and haven't time to type any witticisms to make you all laugh, I will leave it to one of the masters... enjoy!!

One of the best FarSide comics of all time:

The Boneless Chicken Ranch
boneless.gif

Love, Dee
www.glassy-eyed.com

Posted by at 05:57 PM | Comments (1)

This came just in the nick of time. My blogsite is down, and I'm going into withdrawal. I can't even get into my mail!

This is a cat story influenced by my ever so gracious host when he posted a great cat story:

My father came home from work every evening with a pocketfull of pistashio nuts in his suit jacket. One evening, he draped the jacket over a kitchen chair and went to bed.

When he got up in the morning, there was a hole in the jacket, just below the pocket and a lot of pistashio shells strewn around. Oh my - A Mouse!!! So my parents (not sure which one did the deed) diligently set a mouse trap the next night and caught another of the furry little critters.

As it turns out, they repeated the “set a mouse trap” scenerio 17 times and caught 17 mice.

I wasn't living at home at the time, so didn't get to see the poor little mice get got.

Posted by at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

Vad fan pratar hon om??

Så! Nu ska du har en Svensk anteckning. Men du kan inte läsa den! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Jag tror att du behöver inte att gissa vem har skrivit den här anteckning. Det är jag!

Det är bra! Nu kan jag träna lite.

Idag arbetade jag med min pappa. Han behövde hjälp med sin data. Men jag gjörde nästan ingenting hela dagen. Det var så tråkigt.

Oj! Min mamma har precis lagat mat. Jag måste gå och äta nu. Jag har kanske skrivit nog.

Vi hors, Chris!!!!!

Posted by at 04:51 PM | Comments (7)

look at me go

hey chris! i'm takin over your blog for the time being. happy st. patty's day! hope everyone gets to go out and enjoy some green beer tonight. i'm going out with a group of friends to do just that... hooray for green beer!

wow... i feel kinda funny blogging on someone else's blog. feel a bit like a hacker, i guess....

anyway, today was a fun day at work. two coworkers have birthdays this week (today and tomorrow) so we had a lovely office-cooked lunch (spaghetti, salad, and bread) with yummy cake for desert. the cake was from Costco (price club, which ever you like to call it). those cakes are sooooooo yummy.... but now we're all ready for naps. everyone is sluggish and sleepy.

ok, guess that's all from me for now. nothing much exciting going on... but that should change later on tonight. weee! :)

Posted by at 03:45 PM | Comments (1)

Mama Hated Diesels So Bad

An IM from a friend led to a conversation about one of my favorite songs growing up. My dad had a 45 of this song called "Mama Hated Diesels." Yeah, it's a country song...how'd you guess?

Anyway, can you imagine how freakin' EXCITED I was to find the song on iTunes MusicStore (which, if you don't have, don't download...it's a money pit).

Just to tease y'all into grabbin' yourselves a copy (no lyrics on the net, wonder why):

Now it's me an' the local preacher, standing in the graveyard grass, staring down at the highway, watching those big boys pass...

Okay, that's all you get.

Posted by at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

Part-Time

Well, thought this would be kind of interesting.... It is snowing like a bitch, again! When the hell is spring gonna get here? This is a pretty coll site.

Ummm.... this is tough!

Thanks!!! Happy SPD!!!!

Posted by at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

Jan Brady in the Hizzo!

Dear Chris,

Thank you so much for asking ME, the NEW JAN BRADY to post on your Wildly Successful Rude Cactus (tm)...instead of my BITCH of a sister MARCIA!

I've been really busy. My boyfriend George Glass and I went to see the Passion of the Christ last night. Some chick behind me kept asking me to sit lower in my seat because my damn hair (like the new look?) was blocking her view. SOMEONE didn't learn much about COMPASSION from the movie.

After the movie, George Glass and I went over to my Aunt Jenny's. George says I look JUST LIKE HER. What an idiot. He will be getting an ass kicking very soon. Anyway, I showed her the new locket that Alice gave me when I ran away (we are now bonded losers forever!), and she gave me some Claritin for my allergies (DAMN TIGER!).

I didn't really want to go home after that because I knew my Dad was going to beat my ASS because I accidentally took his very important drawings that no one ever sees instead of my Yogi Bear poster. And I knew my siblings wouldn't pay any attention to me.

But that's okay, because yesterday? Marcia got POUNDED in THE NOSE with a football! She kept screaming "Oh my NOSE!". It was funnier than shit. She's so damn ugly now.

Thanks again for letting me fill in and update everyone on what's new in my world! With the weather warming up, my freckles are once again rearing their ugly head. I've got to go scrub them with lemon juice.

Love ya!
Jan

Posted by at 01:29 PM | Comments (9)

Chicken!

Many Thanks Chris, for letting me rant here. Now on with the rant:

Hey, there will be no name calling here!

No not really. This entry is actually about chicken. As in last night's dinner. It could also be called- How Perdue is trying to mess with my mind.

Picture me, the unassuming cook, reaching into the fridge to retreive the succulant bird. Pre-heat oven, get out roasting pan. All I have to do not is open the package, and remove the.......

HMMM....that's funny, aren't there supposed to be giblets in there. Oh well. Hey, I'll try the other side, maybe their hiding. Um, I guess not.

Well, I'll look back at the first side, maybe I missed th...no I didn't.

Okay, I'll read the package, maybe I got the all new "Giblet-free" chicken.
No, right there is "remove giblets" right between pre-heat oven and season chicken. How can I season, when there are no GIBLETS.

At this point I go a little crazy(at this point ,you say?) I start yelling at the bird "Where are the flipping giblets?"

I finally give up, its not that I want the giblets. Its just that I have this irrational fear that the giblets are still in the bird. I wouldn't know, I've never had to de-gibletize a chicken. I would have no idea where to start. I finally decide to bite the bullet, and bake the bird.

It turned out fine, even opening the oven every five minutes to sniff suspiciously at the food didn't ruin it. Although I then had to cook it an extra half-hour.

All this leads me to the following statement: Damn you Jim Perdue, with your "giblet-free" chicken, and your freaky weird commercials!"

Oliquig

Posted by at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

I should write peta too

Hello humans,

Finally I get a chance to write something about MY nine lives on a weblog. Yeah, that’s right, you read it correct, I said: finally.

Sweety, my 24 hour human slave, never lets me post on her weblog. No, instead of giving me freedom of meow, that every cat should have, she writes stories about me. She places incriminating pictures of me on her weblog too. And this has been going on for more then a year now. Do you have any idea how many cat years that is??

Like this one time, I go and check out the new fridge they got. I get in there, not aware that she’s spying on me the whole time. And then she gets her phone and makes a picture. I’m not even going to begin to share my thoughts about why humans have a camera in their phone. It’s like having a food order button in my litter box. Hmm.. So anyways, she makes pictures and tells me to get the hell out of the fridge. Then she puts them up her site, like she’s the big star.

Well. I’m telling you I’m the star. I’m the star! And that post about how good Finding Nemo was? Well screw Nemo, I’ll have him for lunch.

So I thank you mister Cactus for giving me the opportunity to let everyone know I am not given the rights that every cat should have. I hope this message gets to Cattesty International too.

I’ve had it up to my whiskers with that girl. I’m selling her to another cat.

Simba
PS: Between you and me: start walking on four legs, you people look goofy.

Posted by at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)

Skitz on Nothing at All

I am going to Ramble. I love to ramble. I love even more to listen. However I cannot listen to you as you are not here. Therefore I must feel the void of your voice with my own. Well okay so I won't hear my actual voice as I am typing. However I am filling the void with the sound of my keyboard as I type. Not that there's a Void. I've got music going. And the air vent sounds like a plane flying overhead. Wonder if we'll ever get that fixed. Oh well. Please do not hate me because I'm multi-cultured. I promise to not hate you if I don't know you. Or maybe I should promise to hate you if I don't know you. Then, if you didn't want me to hate you, you'd have to get to know me so I could know you. See told you I was going to Ramble. I was going to type and ask if any of you could guess who I was, but... well the Title gives it away. Damn that lack of Mysteriousness. I think I like that word. Enough Rambling! Back to work!

Have Fun

Posted by at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

Of Leprechauns and Elusive Gnomes

Someone forgot to inform me that today is Saint Patricks Day. I have already been eyed by people pinching their fingers together sinisterly three times today and I have been to work a total of 40 minutes. So...I sat down and drew a Sharpie Green Shamrock on my hand to throw up in the sinister-finger-pinchers faces when they approach me. Why isn't there a day where we all wear yellow...or my personal favorite color...purple??? Green is my second least favorite color...the first being red. Oh and I forgot to set a leprechaun trap...what if they decide to play "Make Amy's Desk a Horrendous Mess Because She Didn't Wear Green?" Oh yeah...that is right...my desk is already a horrendous mess. Damn Leprechauns visited me early.

On my recent trip to Las Vegas I decided I really really need a garden gnome. But not for gardening reasons. However I searched the city over and was unable to find gnomes. So I decided to check Ebay's Gnomes...and while they have a plethora...none are quite right. My ideal gnome would be:
1. Red hatted.
2. Standing...not laying.
3. No strange items in hand
4. Not Mooning people.
5. Not outrageously expensive...as is this perfect gnome who costs far too much.

All I want to do is adopt a garden gnome...a normal, happy-go-lucky, red-hatted, non-implement-holding, standing gnome. If you know where I could get one, let me know.

Amy

Posted by at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)

A Guest Entry by Miss Doxie

Instead of 101 Things About Me, I think I will provide you with Eleven Things I am Not. Prepare yourselves. We all know how creative I am feeling today (not very).

And here we go!

1. I am not Nordic. A girl can be blonde and not be Nordic, people. Do I look like a Swede to you? Yes? Oh.

2. I am not drinking coffee right now. Mostly this is because the coffee machine is broken. But also it is because I am drinking a diet Coke. Beautiful, life-giving Diet Coke! When did you become my best friend in the world?

3. I am not wearing clothing that matches. Sadly, I do this all the time. I put on an outfit that matches. And then I put on a coat that doesn't. And I think, "It won't matter. No one will really see it. I'll take it off when I get inside." But then, guess what. It gets cold in my office. And then I have to wear the coat. Did I mention it was a red coat? Did I mention that I have paired this with a pink shirt? Welcome to my office. Did you want to go blind today? Dandy!

4. I am also not wearing green. Oops. No pinching! I'll blind you!

5. I am not happy with the state of my desk. Someone come clean it, please. No one in the world needs this many post-its.

6. I am not pleased with my email inbox. There used to be a time when people emailed me all day. They would say nice things. Now I get approximately eleventy million emails per hour, but they are all from FREEKYGURL4JESUS! and they all contain a virus. Thanks, Freekygurl. Your spelling is so creative and fresh. So, what would Jesus do, according to you? Apparently, he would send me a fucking virus. Anyway, I am not happy about my inbox.

7. I am not able to think of a number seven.

8. I am not male. Please do not ask me if I want to enlarge my penis anymore. You're beginning to hurt my feelings, Freekygurl.

9. I am not excited about lunch. I usually love lunch! But today I'm just not feeling it.

10. I am not sure how to use moveable type. But the font sure is pretty. Wonder if I'll ever figure out how to post this? I'm betting on "no."

11. I am not able to think of a number eleven, either. Oh, well. It's not like I'm getting paid for this.

And those are the things I are not. For more information about what I are, you should direct all questions to freekygurl4Jesus. She knows me so well, it's almost...almost...freeky.


Posted by at 11:57 AM | Comments (12)

Rescue Me!

Dear Diary,

Someone better come and help me, bitches. This bitch in the white outfit says that I, Whitney, am in rehab, yo. REHAB. Me, the Queen of Everything! The Dominatin' Diva! Missus Bobby Brown - The KING of R&B! This is absolutely whack, fo' shizzle.

They are talking about me facing my feelings, admitting my addiction. Well, I'll tell you nizzles what - these bitches are making me sound like I have some kind of druuuuug problem. And I ain't having it. I am Whitney Goddamn Houston-Brown. Whitney ain't got no DRUUUUG problem. Whitney clean. Whitney thin because of the amount of loving and treating right she get from her husband, Bobby Brown - the KING OF R&B. Whitney might sometimes have her some cocaine or smoke a spliff at the end of the day with her boo, Bobby Brown - the KING OF R&B - but that is just to unwind. She don't smoke no common cheap hooker crack. Hookers on cheap-ass crack have a druuuuug problem. Whitney Houston is CLEAN, motherfuckahs.

Shit. Someone is coming. Y'all bitches better come and get me out of here. I don't need to be in no fucking rehab. When my husband, Bobby Brown - THE MOTHERFUCKING KING OF MOTHERFUCKING R&B - gets out of the slammer where he has been unjustly prisoned by the Man, we are taking Bobbi Kristina, and we are moving to Israel, dammit.

God Bless,
Whitney Houston-Brown.

Posted by at 11:35 AM | Comments (8)

When Hair Bands Ruled the World

Speaking of Poison...

After a two-hour drive home from work yesterday courtesy of mother nature, I decided I wasn't going to do anything remotely productive and picked up the guitar to practice. I'm incredibly impatient and want to know how to play songs by bands I know immediately, but I didn't think I had the music for anything. Well, lo and behold, I suddenly remembered I have the songbook for Hysteria. I bought it sometime circa 1988, not for the music of course, but for the pictures. I tried playing a few tunes, but it wasn't very satisfying. But seeing the words for all these songs I loved so dearly made me want to hear them, so I popped in my Hysteria tape. But then I thought, why just listen? And so I dug out my Historia VHS and watched 90 minutes of Def Leppard eye candy.

There is a point here somewhere. I promise.

So I'm watching all these other videos that clearly inspired The Darkness's current video, when I had this sudden realization: I will never love another band the way I loved Def Leppard. And that made me kinda sad. The Foo Fighters are technically my favorite band right now, but I couldn't tell you what all their names are, nor could I name five songs off their current album by title. But with Def Lep, I not only knew all their names and every song and video, I knew their birthdays, their girlfriends' names, what part of England they were from, what their parents did for a living, how old they each were when they joined the group...I knew (and, frighteningly, still do) every frame of every video by heart. The videos instantly transported me back the days when my best friend Jane and I would sit there watching Hysteria over, and over, and over again, she drooling over Joe Elliot and me over Rick Savage. And I miss that. I definitely don't miss being a teenager and fighting with my parents or hating high school, but I miss being that devoted to a band and feeling like I knew them.

So who is your Def Leppard?

Laura

Posted by at 11:13 AM | Comments (5)

Confession

Hi, my name is Adelin, and I'm an addict. Seriously, I've got the monkey on my back, and I like it. Every morning my first thought is how quickly I can get my fix. And even after I get that first fix, I'm thinking of how I'm going to get my second. Or third. Or tenth.

At night it's even worse. My addiction calls to me, even though I don't indulge it. Its sweet siren's call can be heard until I fall asleep. I've even had dreams about the places I get my fix.

And I've become so used to high grade that homemade doesn't give me the sweet relief that the professional stuff does. Thankfully, I've made enough contacts that the professional stuff doesn't cost me much.

Hi, my name is Adelin, and I'm addicted to the Java Bean.

Posted by at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

Oh the temptation

Today is the first time I found Chris' blog.. Poor guy, having me stumble here of all days.. What should I talk about? How I forgot to put my children in green today and knowing they will come home covered in bruises from being pinched by mean kids at school? Or perhaps, how Louise has this sick fetish involving role playing that she is Dr Phil and Rob is Oprah?

Naw, I think I will share my favorite story.. of events that happened on Halloween last Fall.

Yesterday (which was actually almost 5 months ago) I had my check back appointment to see how I have been doing on the Paxil CR. You know, the usual, weight, blood pressure, how are you feeling stuff. Well, one of my issues is hallucinating. I used to hear voices inside my head when I was a teenager but now I just think I hear people calling me when no one is there. I sometimes see things- people or animals but when I look again they aren't there. For example, last week while driving the boys to school, I saw a very beautiful black and grey wolf on the side of the road right by the highway. I watched in horror as the car in front of me surely was going to hit it and swerved to avoid the mess or the wolf itself if it survived. Only to do a double take after i had swerved, to find nothing there.

This shit is pretty typical for me and others like me according to the doc. Anyway, yesterday he was asking me how I was doing and I said I was doing a little better I thought. He gave me a new prescription and I headed for the pharmacy.

As I walked in, I noticed a lady at the counter holding a baby girl. I headed towards her so that I could turn in my prescription, when the baby turned to me, and I stopped dead in my tracks. The little girl suddenly looked just like a monkey. I had never been close to a monkey, and I knew it was just my mind.. or the baby was very hairy and ugly. I told myself it was just my mind and to take a deep breath. I turned in my script, and started feeling ill. My pulse was racing and I couldn't breath. I was light headed and I could feel the sweat on my face.

The pharmacist kept asking me if I was ok, and I could hardly even talk. this ugly baby kept looking at me and smiling with a mouth full of ugly teeth and I just knew I was going to faint. Apparently, I was white as a sheet, and they were about ready to call someone from the clinic next door. So, I lean over to the pharmasist and explain that I have a small problem with hallucinations. She looked puzzled.

Me: Well, I have been trying to calm down, because I know it's just in my head, but that little girl ... *deep breath* looks just like a mo-

Pharmacist: Monkey?

Me: *gulp* yeah!

Pharmacist: It is a baby baboon. You aren't hallucinating.

Apparently, this lady who is much crazier than I, is raising this baboon "as her daughter". The thing was 15 months old and DRESSED as a person. She had on baby tennis shoes, frilly lace socks, floral print leggings and a white sweater, with a pink colored necklace. She had a baby blanket and a toy doll in her arms..

And, I'm the crazy one.

~Chubby Momma~

Posted by at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

Dont MAKE Me Go First.

Well, I saw that Chris had copped out of entertaining me today, but there was no WAY I was going to guest post first. I mean, the Pressure! So, Thanks Lauren...

Now - I just want to tell a short little story here to make all of you who lived through the 80s smile. My son? He's nine. And you know what he loves? Poison. As in - THE Band. The HAIR Band. Yep. He found the CD one day when he was "testing out my tunes" and fell in love with it. So, you know what I saw the other day when I was checking on him in his room? I saw my son, with his headphones on, dancing, playing air guitar and singing - loudly - "...Nothin', but a GOOD time, How can I resissst..." That picture? Priceless. My son, discovering the joy of a good Hair Band. Amen.

Rock On.
Zoot.

Posted by at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)

What to do, what to do....

Since Chris has decided to be super lazy today and have his readers blog from him, I thought I would bore you first *grin*

This just might get me out of my winter blues. Gee, should I tell a joke. Talk about politics. Talk about how my cats are way cuter than Chris' cats. I mean the possibilities are endless. My cats are cuter btw. *grin* Or I could even talk about the !@#$@#! snow that hit the East Coast last night and this morning.

How about I just get nosey. What do you have on your desk and your computer monitor? On my monitor I have a ducky, rabbit, a little pile of nuts that says "We are NUTS!", two stick notes, one for my next doctor's appointment, and one with my work number on it, and a beaver stick. Yes a stick that a real live beaver chewed on. Don't knock it, it's pretty neat. And well, I do live in the wilds of Maine people. So for us, that is EXCITEMENT! *sighs* I am so sad. On my desk I have the CPU with knitting needles laying on it ::don't ask::. A sub woofer ::really don't ask::, a speaker, my PDA, my charm bracelet, mouse pad and my wireless mouse, which I some how managed to confiscate from the husband. *heh* Okay okay your turn!!!

-Lauren-

Posted by at 09:40 AM | Comments (3)

March 16, 2004

Health, Will-Power and Baby Steps

I've gotten relatively serious about health lately. No, not serious enough to actually join a gym or anything like that - that's crazy talk, I tell you! But I've realized I haven't been feeling as good as I should so I've taken some positive steps to fix that. Like that apple I ate last night instead of a pint of Ben and Jerry's One Sweet Whirled.

The problem is that I'm also lazy. One of the reasons I don't belong to a gym is that, for a year, I let one take somewhere around $80 a month and went three times. It doesn't help that I live near the root of all evil. Not far from my house and directly, smack-dab on my way to work is a Dunkin Donuts.

I've always been good at avoiding this particular temptation, relegating it to weekends, but I started stopping there a couple weeks ago on my way to work. Not good. But today I made a step in the right direction. Instead of the two glazed and one vanilla creme donuts, I bought two glazed and a cinnamon donut. Baby steps.

Posted by Chris at 02:24 PM | Comments (17)

Blacklisting

I'm not sure what took so long but I finally got around to downloading and installing MT Blacklist. What the hell took me so long? This is great! In about two minutes I managed to wipe out all of my spam-laden comments! If you're an MT user, I highly recommend it. In addition, I've added a slew of IP addresses to my blacklist lately. If you find yourself unable to comment, don't take it personally. There's obviously been a mistake. Please email me and I'll correct it in a jiffy!

Posted by Chris at 07:49 AM | Comments (12)

March 15, 2004

Some Days...

Some days you feel up. Some days you feel down. Some days you just feel... nothing. Tomorrow's another day :-)



Posted by Chris at 07:04 PM | Comments (11)

Morning Conversationalist

Upon waking up Saturday morning I muttered something to my wife about a dream in which I was large and black. Here's the rest of the conversation as I recall it. This is why I don't talk without coffee.

Her: You were a big black person?
Me: The camera adds weight?
Her: Camera?
Me: Yeah. Cameral
Her: Okay.
Me: And it made me black.
Her: What?
Me: The camera made me black. Like Jay Leno.
Her: Jay Leno's white.
Me: Oh, yeah. Like...well...Ben Vereen.
Her: Ben Vereen? You have have the whole world to chose from and you go with Ben Vereen?
Me: Yeah. Ben Vereen. Star of stage and screen. Really fucking talented guy. Hey, I rhymed.
Her: Go back to sleep.

Posted by Chris at 02:15 PM | Comments (8)

Haiku For Monday #21

Did your weekend fly
As quickly as mine seemed to?
Shame it works that way

Posted by Chris at 07:41 AM | Comments (8)

March 14, 2004

Fresh Basil (Not Rathbone or Faulty)

I just made salmon...and the single best thing you can do with salmon is use fresh basil. Frankly, you could throw fresh basil in just about anything and I'd be happy.




And if you're ever left wondering how to cook salmon its really pretty simple. Get a small bowl and in it mix liberal amounts of dijon mustard, fresh black pepper, oregano, dill, white wine and lemon juice. Mix well and coat the salmon. Top with fresh basil leaves and cook.

Posted by Chris at 08:37 PM | Comments (9)

Mouse III

I knew it was too good to be true. After returning Mice I and II to the wild, we were visited by Mouse III yesterday evening (for the record, it was successfully apprehended and turned loose unharmed). Today we're going all CSI, breaking out the flashlights and finding some mouse-holes. Wish us luck.

Posted by Chris at 10:27 AM | Comments (11)

March 13, 2004

Pretty In Pink

We went looking for bedroom furniture today. Finding this in the parking lot should have been adequate warning.




While the furniture was horrible (and really, I'm talking hideous, 80's p0rn-set looking furniture here), it was worth the trip to catch this.

JLB: Judith Lightmobile, anyone?

Posted by Chris at 02:49 PM | Comments (16)

March 12, 2004

Mice Mice Baby

Allow me, if you will, to weave a little tail tale for you on this Friday morning...

Scene One: Thursday, 6:15 PM

Yesterday evening I arrived home after a long day of haikuing and getting actual work done. While I was upstairs chatting with Amy I noticed that the cats were acting funny but I really didn't pay that much attention to it. They're odd cats. This was nothing new. Because I was quite lazy, I called for a pizza instead of cooking. While waiting for both my wife and the pizza, I heard the cats playing. They play-fight a lot. I went downstairs to make sure it wasn't going to escalate into full-scale Tyson-Holyfield style violence. And as soon as I did, something shot out from in between the two cats and made for the basement. Yep. A mouse.


Pixel (the black cat) caught it, shoved it in his mouth and ran downstairs. It got free, he recaptured it, it squeaked...overall impressive cos my cat rocked but still, I felt for the mouse. Instead of allowing it to become an epic battle worthy of Patton and Rommel, I was able to remove Pixel from the situation at which time Callie took over. Her approach to mouse capture was much different - she perfered to sniff it into submission. Mouse wound up under the coffee table where it stayed while I confined Callie. I was able to move the eight-billion pound coffee table and trap the mouse under a trash can. Beth got home and we returned it to the wild.

Before I go any further, let me please explain that we live in a nice place, not prone to infestations. And we're pretty clean people too. We don't leave big hunks of cheese lying about or anything.

Scene Two: Bed, Friday, 3:30 AM

Now, I'm not awakened by much but early this morning I was awakened by strange things coming from the master bathroom. And no cats on the bed. Hmmm. Trying not to wake Beth, I made my way into the bathroom where Callie and Pixel were camped out. And sticking out from under the bathmat was a tiny gray tail. Instead of doing anything constructive, I went into the bathroom, shut the door and turned on the light. This set several things into motion - Mouse II freaked out and scurried from under the bathmat, Pixel gave chase, Callie sniffed it into corners...all while I, naked, tired and confused, watched on.


Being a veteran at mouse chasing by this point, I immediately got the cats out of the bathroom and managed to get Mouse II into the same trashcan Mouse I ended up in. Luckily, before I took him outside, it dawned on me that, no matter how late the hour, it was probably a good idea to put some clothes on. So I did then promptly freed Mouse II.

By 4:00 this morning I was on a full-scale mouse-hole hunt. I didn't find anything. Then a cat puked so I had to clean that up. I finally threw in the towel around 4:20.

And that's my day off so far! Happy Friday everyone! I'll be hunting mice. Mickey's ass is mine!

Posted by Chris at 08:39 AM | Comments (32)

March 11, 2004

THS: The Results Show

The second Thursday Haiku Smackdown has ended. I didn't think it possible but we topped 400 entries. It was a lot of fun, reasonably strange, and definitely entertaining. Thanks to all who participated! Same time next week!

Posted by Chris at 04:34 PM | Comments (14)

Random Crap For Thursday

While many of you are enjoying the Thursday Haiku Smackdown (and what an interesting thing that's turned out to be!), I still have other stuff on my mind...yet its in a decidedly strange 5-7-5 form in my head.

- First off...I WON I WON I WON! Enough gloating. We landed a big contract. My boss' boss' boss called me first thing this morning to tell me...and he told me it was all because of me. I disagreed of course but between you and me he's right.

- Were you aware that there are people out there pushing for movie ratings to be changed (elevated) based on the fact that people in those movies are smoking? Um....

- Single funniest line from a trailer ever: "We must have waffles... we must all have waffles forthwith."

- I'm taking the day off tomorrow. No, not from blogging. From work! Its been crazy around here for the past month and a half and I need a mental health day. What should I do?

Posted by Chris at 12:40 PM | Comments (20)

3...2...1...Smackdown!

It's that time. I hereby launch the Thursday Haiku Smackdown! Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out Amy's entry for more information. And give it a shot - no one's judging quality here. Have fun!

Posted by Chris at 07:02 AM | Comments (402)

March 10, 2004

Portrait of Honesty




I'm always after honest photos - ironic since I obviously doctored this one - and while I've shamelessly posted pictures of myself before I think this is the most honest one I've taken. Here's the
original.

Posted by Chris at 05:23 PM | Comments (6)

Haiku Madness, Here Tomorrow

You know what tomorrow is, don't you? You don't? Oh my god - where have you been?! Tomorrow's the Thursday Haiku Smackdown! Need an explanation? Perhaps Amy's explained it best.

It will be hosted here on my humble site this week. I expect all of you, regardless of your haiku skills, to give it a shot. Ah-so!

Posted by Chris at 02:23 PM | Comments (14)

BIF (Not An 80's Yuppie)

Its Blog It Forward Day again! Without further ado, here are my picks for the month:

- Check out Lauren at alwayswiththetalking. She's funny, very cool and I hear she's one hell of a salsa dancer.

- After that, swing by and check out Zoot. She totally rocks and writes a mean haiku. Plus how can you go wrong with dogs wearing party hats?

- If you haven't checked out Amy, what the hell's wrong with you? She's pretty much one of the coolest people ever. And we're going to have lunch sometime soon, right Amy?

Don't get me wrong. I hate the fact that I can't list everyone in my blogrolls here. They're hip, they're cool and they're awesome. I wouldn't link 'em if they weren't. Check them all out.

UPDATE: Yes, I'm aware that Lauren's site isn't up and running at the moment. For the time being, you'll just have to use your imagination. So, imagine really, really funny things and laugh hard. Maybe shoot some coffee out of your nose every once in a while for good measure.

Posted by Chris at 09:58 AM | Comments (6)

Early Morning Note To Self

The bottle of mousse in the medicine cabinet is not - I repeat not - shaving cream. In fact, they look nothing like each other. Nothing.

Posted by Chris at 07:23 AM | Comments (8)

March 09, 2004

Gimme A Shout-Out

Hi, I'm a sarcastic smart-ass. Especially on days like today when stupid people are really getting on my nerves. In honor of that and my previous post today, I'm making today Stuff You'd Like To Say Out Loud But Can't Day. Come on - everyone play. I'll start you off with a few of mine...

-Wow, that's some outfit. Have I seen your work in "adult films?"

-I'm so much smarter than you. I'm so much smarter than you. Nanny nanny boo boo.

-Mmmm. You smell like cigarette smoke. Come here. Let's make out.

-You are the government! And you need me to hold your hand? How fucking pathetic is that?

-You, my friend, are a pure, unadulterated dick-nostril. No doubt about it.

-Yep. That was me. I farted. Wanna make something of it?

Your turn.

Posted by Chris at 01:17 PM | Comments (26)

Wishful Email

Ever wished you could say what you really feel? I received the following email not long ago:

From: Edna Whinypants
To: Everyone Under The Sun
Subject: VIP Client Visit

As you may have heard, our very important client Bob Ferapples will be in the building today. Make sure you're on your best behavior and you're all wearing nice big smiles.

Thanks,
Edna

To which I wanted to respond...

From: Chris Cactus
To: Everyone Under The Sun But Especially Edna Whinypants
Subject: Re: VIP Client Visit

That's good information to have. Seriously, thanks for that. Cos we were all planning on giving each other wedgies in the hallways this morning. Not to mention the farting contest and the big ol' circle jerk. Oh, and I'll cancel that scrotal piercing I was going to have done in my office this afternoon. Do you think we should cancel the strippers? Bob Ferapples really might like some of that action. Tell him to bring plenty of ones. Do you think we can charge Bob for all that Jell-O we bought for the wrestling contest? I mean, that was pretty expensive and I don't want to pay for it out of pocket. Unless we can get the girls back tomorrow. As for smiling faces, I don't think you have to worry about that with all the sexually oriented and racist humor we all use constantly. We do love a fun work environment!

Thanks,
Chris

Posted by Chris at 10:22 AM | Comments (13)

March 08, 2004

Cacti In Mirror...

...may be closer than they appear...



Posted by Chris at 06:56 PM | Comments (11)

The Godfather (Or, An Offer I Could Refuse)

I know you people are going to revolt, gasp in horror and possibly even hate me but in the interest of being honest I have something to share with you. Until Saturday night, I'd never seen The Godfather. Want me to make it worse? I didn't really think it was all that good.

Ok...tell me I'm wrong. I know you wanna!

Posted by Chris at 04:13 PM | Comments (25)

Haiku for Monday #20

I'm saving my best
For Thursday's Haiku Smackdown
Come play on Thursday

Posted by Chris at 08:30 AM | Comments (4)

March 07, 2004

Lockup on Aisle Three Please

For living in a large town it seems like we sure do get excited about little things. This month's craze? A new grocery store opened near us - its not one of the usual suspects we have around town and its probably at least 3 times the size of the largest store around. Beth and I, not wanting to be left out of the excitement, decided to wander through today. And I saw something I've never before seen - a locked produce case. Of course, there's good reason...




So did the store live up to the hype? You bet. I'm really not one to get excited about a grocery store but this was truly impressive. For all you in the DC area, I'm talking about Wegmans out by Dulles airport in Northern Virginia.

Posted by Chris at 04:46 PM | Comments (19)

March 06, 2004

About Me

I've failed miserably every time I've attempted a 100 things. I hate writing bios. But I found some inspiration this morning. I don't claim that its good but here's a little bit about me that you might not have known...

I was born early in the morning. I think this probably has something to do with being a morning person. I was born after 20 minutes of labor. In fact, my mother couldn’t wait for the elevator in the hospital to carry her up the four stories so she ran up four flights of stairs. I think this probably has something to do with the fact that I’m overly punctual. I was born in a South American country. I don’t think this really has much to do with anything.

When I came into the world my parents were living in Argentina. Both Americans, my father was working for the Latin American practice of a larger US bank. My mom taught American kids, usually the children of diplomats or business people. They’d gotten married not long before they moved to Argentina. They had no money but it didn’t take much money to live well in South America at the time. They found themselves with a massive apartment with a private elevator and a maid. Supposedly beef was really cheap too although there was a scarcity of black pepper.

Six months after I came into the world, my parents decided to move back to the States. We first landed in Chicago then New York City and finally Houston. My parents bought their first house and that is where I grew up.

I had a normal, happy childhood existence. I did the normal kid things - I played with other kids, I went to school and I thought normal kid thoughts.

When I was about to enter school, my parents started hunting for the right place to send me. My mom was, after all, a teacher. She talked to parents, read reports and made a decision. Since public schools in Houston were reportedly no good, I started kindergarten at a Baptist school. This was where I learned about God. And racism. And the dangers of an inferior education. You see, during the four years I spent at this school, I memorized plenty of Bible verses (we had to recite them in front of the whole class on Fridays – a horrible, nerve-wracking process) and heard the pastors tell plenty of racial jokes to the all-white, upper-class student body which continually chose to look – or hear- the other way. And when I finally clued my parents into what was going on, they immediately moved me to the local public school, whereupon the holes in my first five years of education became abundantly clear. Imagine her surprise when my fourth grade teacher actually heard one of her students ask (this is me, by the way), “What’s a fraction?”

I tried to make up for my lack of arithmetic ability but only did moderately well. What I became most interested in was music. My father had this stereo, one with a dial and backlit pointer for choosing the radio stations, and I could plug a microphone into it and be a DJ. I’d drag my parents to the local record store and pick up all the 45s I could find. I’d take them home and spin them, imagining millions listening at home. In 1984, I convinced my dad to take me to a Genesis concert. This was when they’d only started their arena-rock phase and were still somewhat of a progressive rock band. They played for two and a half hours. Sure, they played some of their 3-minute pop but they showcased some of their longer, more complicated, epic songs. I was amazed. Here were five guys on stage sounding like twenty. Here were these gorgeous, intricate songs bathed in shimmering lights and fog machines. This is what I wanted to do. Because I only had two Genesis albums, I went out the next day and bought the rest. That was all I listened to for weeks until I discovered other artists, more beautiful music. I remember one morning, a chilly spring morning, rare for Texas or at least that part of Texas. My bed was pushed up against the window – I could roll over to the left and face my neighborhood from the second story. I used to leave my stereo on all night, softly playing whatever or whoever I was into at the time. And as I rolled over, hearing Yes’ Yours Is No Disgrace, the cool air hit me in the face and I saw a hundred hot air balloons. I’m not sure why this stuck out in my mind but it has. I recounted it to my wife the night we first talked.

By the time I’d turned thirteen, I’d thrown a band together – that’s where the name Rude Cactus came from. Borrowed guitars, second hand drums and cheesy 80’s keyboards made terrible noises when combined. We loved Led Zeppelin. There was something about Robert Plant’s wail, Jimmy Page’s guitar riffs and John Bonham’s bombastic abuse of the drums that appealed to us. Perhaps it was also because we were thirteen and fourteen years old – the target demographic for Zeppelin. The band eventually ran out of steam. A couple members fell in love with The Doors, a band I couldn’t – and still can’t – stand. We still played but mainly we just drank when someone could find a bottle of something when their parents weren’t looking. I started smoking around then too, despite the fact that no one else did. There are many stories of drunken adolescence. Everyone has those. I won’t bore you with mine.

Things abruptly changed in 1989. My dad got a new job and, after fifteen years of life in suburban Houston, we moved to Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. We drove the 1400 miles from Houston with three cats, one of whom proceeded to scream throughout approximately 1357 miles of the drive. I don’t know how my dad managed to keep his sanity.

Having moved in October, I waited to start high school until the new semester. In January I began life in my new high school and started sinking into life here. My musical horizons continued to expand, as did my education, experiences and love life. My closest friend became Scott, a temporarily transplanted Canadian, and my love interest was named Alison. As it turned out, Alison wasn’t a very nice person. Scott was. He returned to Canada a year later but we still kept in touch – in fact, we still do. I’m proud to say that Scott met his wife at my wedding. He and his wife got married and have a beautiful daughter. They lead hectic lives in New England and Scott is one of the only people in “real life” to know about this site. Hey Scott!

Despite the fact that Alison wasn’t the nicest person, that didn’t stop us from carrying on an on-again off-again relationship that lasted a couple of years. Yet the time that I spent with Alison, Scott and a couple of other friends remains a highlight of my brief life thus far. Alison taught me lessons about relationships and how to treat people (or how not to treat people, as the case may be) and Scott allowed me to be goofy. We’d take long drives on backroads listening to loud music, smoking cigarettes and singing (screaming, really) until our voices were shot. We’d watch concert videos and make fun of heavy metal singers in tight spandex. We just had fun.

I graduated from high school in 1992. In the fall, I attended Mary Washington College. I tried to maintain a long distance relationship with my current girlfriend but it became obvious in a very short amount of time that that wasn’t going to work. Plus, driving home every weekend was a good excuse to get away from my psycho roommate. We lived in “The Dungeon” of a fairly popular dorm, named because of the fact that it was the basement floor and, because the dorm was built into a side of the hill, only had rooms on one side of the building. I escaped from Joe (class-A lunatic and roommate) into the confines of Room 100, which was where I met Beth.

One evening, those of us involved in our early-college long distance relationships were psyching each other up for our upcoming mass break-up. Three of us were planning on ending our relationships the same weekend. That evening, Beth cornered me in a bathroom and discussed the fact that she and I could probably be pretty good together. I agreed and didn’t argue. Instead I talked about those hot air balloons. It must have worked. We both broke up with our significant others that weekend. A few weeks later I was scheduled to move into my own place off campus – I’d had mono and needed to get out of the dorm and away from Joe before I was murdered in my sleep. Beth helped me move in along with some other friends. She never really left. We’ve been together ever since.

You can make up your own college stories and insert them here. My college career wasn’t really distinguished by much except the astonishing length of my hair by the time I was done. I graduated after five years and Beth and I moved back to the Northern Virginia area to get jobs and be responsible adults. I cut my hair and began working as a communications director for a small non-profit company while Beth worked for a law firm. We both quit smoking, I quit drinking and we changed jobs after a couple years, moved into a bigger place and then got married.

On October 9, 1999, Beth and I were married after almost seven years of living in sin. Needless to say, no one was shocked when we announced we were engaged. In front of 150 people, we were married at 5:00 in the afternoon. A reception followed. People still tell me it was the best party they’ve ever been to. That makes me smile. It was pretty damn good from where I was standing too.

That brings us to the present. And the present is what I write about here everyday. There’s no need for me to repeat myself. I live a happy life, one filled with people I love, music, books and my cats. I still love music. I realize its terribly uncool but I still listen to Genesis. And I still think about those hot air balloons.

And now? Your questions...answered.

How'd you end up as an "IT Security Geek"?
I graduated school with very non-technical liberal arts degrees. I mean, how was Far Eastern history going to get my anywhere? I got a temporary job at a local non-profit agency as their assistant communications director. It became permanent very quickly and I began to wear many, many hats. Before I knew it, I was running and designing their Web site and handling all the technical aspects of the agency. I left the company and went to work as a systems administrator/network architect for a dot-com. After two years of good experience, I got laid off (couldn’t see that one coming could you?) and moved into the wonderful world of post-9/11 IT security. It was just that simple.

If you could live anywhere on the planet, where would you choose?
Paris. Its freshest in my mind but the quality of life is so much better than ours in North America. We’re always rushing from point a to point b. The Parisians, however, seem to take their time. It doesn’t hurt that they live in a gorgeous city.

What's the story behind the cats' names?
Callie: Real name Calypso. I’m not sure exactly how it came about. She’s been my wife’s cat since she (my wife) was twelve.
Pixel: The name was taken from a book by Robert Heinlein entitled The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. It seems somewhat appropriate.

How big is that list of books you've read in the last 5 years?
I’ve been keeping track of everything I’ve read over the last five years. I average somewhere around 100 books a year. So, probably right around 500.

Favourite possession (other than the Fender :)
Other than the Fender? Surely you jest. There’s a group of stuff I keep in my right-front pocket. First, I have a rock that my wife gave me as a good luck charm many years go. I also have a small keyring on which I have:
-an old earring that reminds me of my youth
-a Fosters bottle cap that my wife handed me several years ago and said, “Here, keep this forever”
-a button, I’m not sure what from; and
-a small silver elephant, a good luck symbol
Yes, that’s a cheesy answer but it’s the first thing I pick up in the morning and the last thing I put down at night. And I go nowhere without them.

What's the mileage on that SUV (oh, come on, you KNEW I was going to ask that one *grin)
I think its around 18 mpg. Its my wife’s…I actually don’t get to drive it as much as I’d like.

What do you look for in a blog that keeps you reading?
Honesty and personality. Its all well and good having a blog that keeps track of the latest news or issues but if it doesn’t have personality or isn’t an honest reflection on the person sitting at the keyboard, it really doesn’t interest me much.

How did you and the missus meet? And was it a love-at-first-site sort of thing, or something that came about later?
Okay. Everyone settle in and get comfortable. Got a drink? Good.
My wife and I met during our freshman year in college. We were both dating other people, both long-distance relationships. We had many mutual friends, all of whom ended up hanging out in the same dorm room. I think we really formed a family away from home. That’s beside the point. Needless to say that the relationships weren’t going very well. There were many problems with mine that I may choose at some later date to describe. And there were a few things wrong with hers (that’s her story – I won’t tell it here). Late one night/morning when we were all incredibly tired, but surprisingly sober, Beth and I found ourselves in the bathroom discussing the future WE might have together. The next day we both went home and broke up with our significant others. I moved off campus the next weekend, in order to recover from a bout with mono. Beth helped me move and she never really left. We made it official six months later by getting a larger apartment together. The rest, as they say, is history. That late night/early morning was almost 11 years ago.

If you could do anything, and get paid doing it, what would it be?
There are three answers to that one.
Answer One: Sex.
Answer Two: Teach. I’ve long thought that teachers earn neither the money nor respect they deserve. I’m not trying to be materialistic but I enjoy the money I’m making now and could never command such a salary as an educator. But when I get tired of the corporate world, I’d like to teach. I’d like to influence, as scary as that may be to some of you, kids. I’d like to engage them, to share what I know and hopefully impart some wisdom. Idealistic? You bet.
Answer Three: Musician. It’s a dream and I’m very well aware of that. I’d like nothing better than to be able to share my music and passion about music with others. Are there any Pink Floyd fans out there? Ok…stick with me here. There’s this scene in a concert video from their last tour. Dave Gilmour (vocalist, guitarist) is standing on stage, the lights are almost non-existent except for the spotlight backlighting him. And he begins the second guitar solo for Comfortably Numb. You can see the veins in his arms popping, the strings bending and the muscles in his face reacting to every soaring note he’s churning out. And he carries that audience away with him. I can’t dream of a better job.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
See above. Without the sex thing, of course.

Admit it, you were a "bad boy" in your teens, weren't you? ;)
I hate to disappoint you. I really wasn’t. Sure, I started smoking when I was 12 and I probably drank way too much growing up but really the worst think I was ever accused of as a teen was not applying myself. School always bored me.

What is your most shameful indulgence?
Normally, my amigos Ben and Jerry. I can take on a pint of One Sweet Whirled any day! Lately, however, I’d have to say cigarettes. I know, I know…I’m not happy with myself about it either. I’d quit for 5+ years but I lost my willpower recently. My goal is to be done with them by the end of the holidays.

What is the absolute craziest, wildest, thing you've ever done?
I’ve…floated down the Rio Grande for five days, been chased by cows in the Potomac River, ended up in the emergency room after a bizarre ice cream incident, rescued myself from a stuck elevator, peed off a 40 story building, tried out for a cheerleading team (dressed as a female cheerleader), climbed a mountain and stolen a car (my parents’ at age 15) but I don’t consider any of those crazy or wild. Just normal, run-of-the-mill life experiences. I know, I’m boring.

Spill some secret for us. Something you've never told (almost) anyone!
Um...I'm not sure what you're looking for here. Lemme think about how I want to answer this one :-)

What language(s) would you love to learn?
I took lots of Spanish in high school but have managed to forget most of it. I’d love to re-learn. And also French. Since I’d like to live in Paris, I’d have to know some French!

Where are the places you most want to visit?
I was born in Argentina and I’d very much like to go back. I moved away when I was six months old so I don’t exactly remember much. I also would very much like to travel through Asia. I have a degree in history, specifically the history of the Far East but I’ve never been.

What things are there that you specifically feel like you need to do or see before you die?
Teach, write the Great American Novel, see the Great Wall of China, travel the canals of Venice, find Jimmy Hoffa, have kids (preferably two), be a cool dad and make a difference in the world…somehow.

Why "rude cactus?"
I point you to this link for an explanation.

Uhh, if you were a lollipop, which flava would ya be?
Lime. Or lemon. I don't know why. Just my favorite flavors I guess. What the answer supposed to be deep or something?

Would you rather be a giraffe or a moose?
Moose. You get to live in the mountains, hang around lakes and trees and stuff. Moose kick ass!

And finally, whats the winning lottery numbers this week?
I'm keeping that for myself, thank you very much. Its not that I don't like you all...

If you had wings.. what would they look like?
They'd be sleek and silver, bending the light to make them appear invisible when I didn't want to attract attention to myself. When fully extended they'd be wide, allowing me to soar and rescue small helpless animals from trees.

If you could dine with three people, living or dead who would they be and why?
1) Mr Rogers - I don't know why. I think he'd be interesting. My mom always used to ask me when I was a little kid who I'd want to have over for dinner and I always said Mr Rogers.
2) Peter Gabriel - If you only give him credit for "In Your Eyes" you're selling the man short. He's a genius and I'd love to spend time with the guy.
3) My grandmother - she's alive and well but lives in California and I rarely see her. And I think she'd get along with Mr Rogers.

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage?
I'd have to say a good Mexican beer. I don't drink all that much anymore, for reasons that aren't all that clear to me but if I had to, I think I'd go for the Corona.

Describe the most wonderful, amazing feeling in the world.
Its like a sneeze only better.

Which do you consider your most important contribution to the lives of those around you?
In 1989 I began volunteering at a local homeless shelter. I cooked and served meals. Slowly I began to become more involved - I was the youngest person to sit on the organization's board of directors, I did a couple live TV spots and I helped develop a program that went into elementary schools and taught kids about homelessness and how they could help. A few years back I was the first recipient of a state community service award. I think that is, so far, my most important contribution.

Which is your most treasured sense and why?
Sound. Although I'd very much miss sight as well. But I'm not sure I'd be able to handle the world without music.

What is the most important piece of information (or belief) given to you that you need to pass on to someone else?
Good or bad, you can chalk everything up to a learning experience.

If you could delete one person from the history of the world who would it be, and what changes do you think that would make to our current time?
Hmmm...one of those Star Trek space-time continuum questions. I'm not sure that you could delete any single person or event with out repercussions. Hitler, Stalin, all the viscious dictators are the obvious targets. But what else would that change? Who knows what changes a benign 1938 Germany would cause? I don't have a good answer. That's a toughie.

Heather asked...
So, Cactus, what species of cacti are you, anyway?
Blogus sedentaria. Once described by Audubon as “often lazy yet opinionated in its demeanor, blogus sedentaria can thrive in even the most hostile environs, although it seems to produce larger thorns without the requisite amount of caffeine or sugar, often times becoming one giant prick.”

Rachael asked...
You said that you're highly caffeinated, so what's your absolute FAVORITE caffeinated beverage??
I love caffeine. I usually get into the office by 6 or 6:30 in the morning so its vital. And nothing can ever take the place of a large cup of black coffee. All the frou-frou Starbucks specialty crap can’t take the place of good, strong black coffee.

Rock Star Mommy asked...
Plant or Page?
That’s practically impossible – apples to oranges and all that. But I’ll go with Plant. Page is an amazing guitarist but his output since Zeppelin hasn’t been nearly as great. He remains, however, one of my true guitar heroes. Plant has continued to thrive. His latest, Dreamland, is one of the most played CDs I've bought in the last couple of years.

Muhammed Ali or Mike Tyson?
Ali. From what I can recall, he didn’t remove other boxers’ appendages with his teeth. Right? He floated like a butterfly, stung like a bee and didn't snack on his opponents.

Lennon or McCartney?
Lennon. He was about the music, about peace and about art. Paul, at least lately, seems to have sold out. I doubt Lennon ever would have. Although he married Yoko and I really never understood that.

Rip Taylor or Rip Torn?
Torn. Rip Taylor always freaked my ass out with that wig. Was he supposed to be funny or something?

Rambo or Rocky?
Rocky. Much better character than a ripped mercenary, I think.

The Grateful Dead or Phish?
Phish, although I’m not much of a fan of either. My wife likes The Dead. I don’t understand it at all. At. All.

90210 or Melrose Place?
Gotta go old(er) school and say 90210. That said, I didn’t watch much of either. Except I’m scaring myself by knowing things like “The Peach Pit”.

Punky Brewster or Pippi Longstocking?
Punky! And Soleil Moon Frye or whatever the hell her name is turned out kinda hot. No, not then! Now. See?

Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss?
That might be the single toughest question I’ve ever gotten. I’m going to go with Dr. Seuss though. Loved him as a kid and still do. Not that I didn’t like Shel. But I think I got more outta Dr. Seuss.

Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder?
Ok, second only in toughness to the previous question. I think Stevie is one of the more brilliant musicians of our time, although Ray had one of the best voices in soul. I’m still going to go with Stevie. Just go back and listen to Innervisions to see why.

Lord Of The Rings or Harry Potter?
Harry all the way. I was one of the masses who waited in line at midnight for the last book to be released. My wife and I were in the minority as we didn’t have any kids. So we made up an elaborate story and talked loudly about our poor nephew Timmy who couldn’t attend because of a vicious lobster attack. People still stared, albeit for different reasons.

Whammy bar or Wah pedal?
Wah. Although I have a special place in my heart for whammy bars, I dig my wah. And? I really like the phrase "dig my wah" although it sounds slightly dirty.

Potato chips or Goldfish?
Goldfish. There’s really no contest. Goldfish all the way. They're like snack-crack.

Letterman or Leno?
Letterman. Leno annoys me. And he’s too careful. Rarely does he go out on a limb to be funny. Letterman, on the other hand, is just wacky and has a sense of humor I appreciate. I mean, who doesn't like a bit called "Will It Float?"

Guns N' Roses or Motley Crue?
Guns N’ Roses. I bought Appetite for Destruction right after its release and was blown away. I caught their Washington DC show on the Use Your Illusion tour and I still maintain they were one of the most talented bands of their time. As for Crue, I was one of the few people who was happy when Vince Neil left. I've always had trouble with his nasally voice and liked his replacement (John Corabi, which I knew off the top of my head...aren't you impressed?) a lot better. Sadly that arrangement only lasted one album after which I really gave up on them.

Movies: Renting or Theaters?
It depends on the movie. Some things you just have to see in theaters. Other movies I can easily pass on and wait for the DVD.

Maureen asked...
Bono or The Edge?
Bono. While I like The Edge, I think he’s slightly overrated as a guitarist. Bono seems like a cool guy all around.

On the Don and Mike Show- who is your fav. one on it?
Mike, actually. Talented dude.

Sledge asked...
Less filling, or tastes great?
As far as accuracy goes, I’ll go with less filling. If its less filling, chances are it doesn’t taste great.

Jon asked...
You receive a secret love note from someone, complete with nude pictures (hiding her identity but showing enough to interest you) asking you to meet her somewhere for a ren-dez-vous. She tells you NOT to tell your wife.
Like the fool that men are, you tell your wife about it and she smiles and says, "Go ahead, it might be funny. I trust you."
Do you:
1) Stay home, knowing that its a female trick to test your loyalty and she probably set it all up anyway?
2) Go because its probably something she set up to be sneaky and romantic without involving a plastic cup and '70's porn, and she'll be completely heart broken if you don't do it because she's been planning it for months?

Knowing my wife as I do, I doubt it would be a setup. But I’d stay home just to be on the safe side. I’m all for stuff that doesn’t involve a cup or 70’s porn but I’ll stay away from the sketchy rendezvous (what's the plural of rendezvous, by the way? Rendezvi?).

Doulazanie asked...
Boxers, briefs or commando?
Boxers. Can’t stand the briefs yet freeballin’ can be a little uncomfortable too. Boxers seem to be an appropriate happy medium.

Loup asked...
re: the bizarre ice cream incident ... What flavor?
Vanilla. Yes, I almost lost a finger for simple vanilla ice cream. The shame!

Goodsnake asked...
How old were you when you had your first sexual experience and how many had you had before the misses made an honest man out of you?
That would be the ripe old age of 15, if I recall correctly. Now, for the second part? I have no clue!

Heather asked...
Um...if you could choose one superpower what would it be? You know, to complement your wife's alter ego of "The Pantless Wonder".
How about the Pantless Wonder Twins? That could be cool, right? Although not twins in the strict sense of the word. I’m talking a pantless crime fighting couple thing here. The superpower? I’d like to be able to stop time and exist independent of it. That? Would be cool! Also, I’d like to have super blogging commenting powers so that I could visit every one of your sites and comment everyday. Of course, if I was able to stop time, I could do that while no one was paying attention.

Groovebunny asked...
Mmmmkay...when are you gonna grace us with that audio of you playing something on guitar??? I mean...since now that you have the technology to deliver and all. :)
I actually have to try that. The problem? I’m a perfectionist and I’m not going to ever be happy with anything I post. Hell, I already record audioblogs about eleventy-billion times before I record one I'm happy to post. Hi, I’m anal!

Sweety asked...
Have you ever got emotional by looking at a piece of art, like a painting or a statue? What was it?
Kinda sorta. My wife’s favorite piece of sculpture is Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre. When we traveled there last year, it was pretty much the first thing she wanted to see since, being an art history major she’d studied it quite a bit. Its placed at the top of a long stairway and its presence is almost magical. That magic combined with the way my wife reacted to it forced one of the stronger reactions I’ve ever had to art.

Do you always remember your dreams?
No. Rarely do I, actually. Which is probably good and bad.

Will you show me & Mr Sweety around Washington if we ever visit?
Of course! Let me know when you’re coming and I’ll sign you up for the Washington Cactus Tour. I know where all the good record and bookstores are. Oh, wait. You’d probably actually like to see important stuff like monuments and museums, huh? I guess I can do that too :-)

What advice would you give me & Mr Sweety if we ever come & live in the US?
First, save money. Second, be somewhat prepared to be disillusioned. This is a wonderful country but, like any other country, its not without its faults. That elusive American Dream is becoming harder to obtain and clouded by crass commercialism and ridiculous politics. You might have to look a little harder for it. But its still here.

Ever had cartoon characters on you boxers?
Yes. I’ve got a pair of boxers with Marvin The Martian (I have a matching tie too) as well as a pair with Scooby Doo. I only wear those on special occasions.

Samantha asked...
if you were to hand select a menu, of all of your favorite foods and wines, what would you choose, for a perfect meal?
The perfect meal…probably something Italian. I’m a big pasta fan. Perhaps a nice Caesar salad followed by some homemade risotto and possibly a nice spaghetti with a red wine sauce? Desert too…chocolate mousse! I’m not a wine drinker so I’d have to pass there.

what do you really think about the state of popular music right now? Does it scare the shit out of you? Depress you? Or did you buy an Usher CD?
I have mixed feelings, honestly. The music industry is horrible. It rarely fosters original talent or creativity. Music – the art and the creativity – has been thrown under the bus for the sake of revenue. Yet, we also live in a time in which there are so many ways of getting music out to the world. Indie labels have large following and the Internet is providing artists new and old with new tools for distribution. Sadly, I think the industry overall will continue to be dominated by whatever sells.

Monique asked...
if/when i go to DC what are the 3 places i HAVE TO SEE... and they don't have to be touristy spots (i've never been there). i'll show you and the missus around boston if you show me and the boys (that would be hubby and child) around DC sometime.
Deal! As far as the three places you have to go, I’d say the first stop would be the Mall. That’s with a capital M, not one of our local teenage hangouts with the Shoe Hut and Pizza World. No, the Mall in DC with all the museums and monuments is a must. The second would be Great Falls. Did you know that more water flows over Great Falls in an hour than passes over Niagara Falls? Its true. You can look it up. It’s a truly gorgeous site that most people don’t expect to see right outside our nation’s capital. The third? Arlington Cemetery. Its almost impossible to comprehend how many people have sacrificed themselves for this country. And while Arlington doesn’t paint a complete picture, its both surreal and humbling.

you're a vegetarian, what prompted that? have you tried Trader Joe's Succotash?
Yes, Beth and I are both vegetarians. We never ate that much meat to begin with. Eventually, when we realized we weren’t even cooking it anymore and just eating it when we went out, we decided to stop altogether. It wasn’t a major life change or anything. And no, I haven’t tried that but it looks like I’ll have to!

you're a avid, rabid reader, do you prefer one specific genre or do you read all over the map?
I primarily read fiction. My dad started me off on sci-fi as a kid. I credit the imaginations of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein with most of my enthusiasm to read now. But rarely do I read much sci-fi anymore. I enjoy almost everything – from good literary fiction to cheap horror novels.

Dawn asked...
When was the last time you cleaned out your car?
Um. Does the fifth amendment apply to a blog? Please!? Its been ages, quite possibly eons, since I’ve cleaned my car. I’m not proud of it. Excavation and carbon dating is perhaps the only way to determine how long its been.

Out of your insanely large CD collection, which ONE is your absolute all-time favorite?
I’m not trying to duck a question here but that’s seriously impossible and my answer would change on a daily basis. I have a few though. Genesis’ 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway probably did more to get me into music than any other single album. After I bought it, I was transfixed for days. It was elaborate, epic and singularly original. I’ll also credit Yes’ The Yes Album with similar early inspiration. Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti showed me that there was more to life than progressive art-rock, specifically insane guitar solos, wailing vocals and bombastic drum work. There was a level of energy to the music I hadn’t heard before…and I loved it. Still do.

Kelley asked...
What are you and Mrs. Cactus doing for your fifth anniversary?
For our upcoming anniversary, we’re traveling back to NYC where we went on our honeymoon. We’ve got tickets to a few shows and reservations at some of our favorite restaurants.

Zoot asked...
What's your favorite Halloween Candy?
Does it have sugar in it? If so, its my favorite. I’m an equal-opportunity candy consumer. For example, I’m currently typing this with a mouthful of gummy bears.

What are you going to be for Halloween?
I think I’ll probably just go as me.

Do you dress your cats up for Halloween?
No. While Callie, our smaller, more docile one would most likely put up with it, Pixel would remove several of our limbs if we tried. I value my appendages.

Shiz asked...
Would you stop shopping at TARGET (or another favourite store) if you found out they were irresponsibly contributing to some world misery? Like slavery or child prostitution or something?
Yes. Although I’m sure it would be hard to find a store in which there isn’t something objectionable from that point of view. But on the whole, I couldn’t in good conscience support a store who knowingly sold or distributed something like that.

Groovebunny returned and asked...
Mmmkay...what's your happiest memory from your life thus far?
My wedding. Or all the random memories I have of being silly with the woman I love.

Your life overall...the grass in greener on the other side or the grass is just lovely where you are?
The grass is fine right here. Of course there are always going to be some weeds but you just pull those out and move on.

How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
27.43 cubic feet per day for your average sized wood chuck. This number will vary based on the region. For instance, your wood chuck in the Pacific Northwest will often chuck more wood than the Midwestern wood chuck, given that they're larger in size and are generally located closer to Starbucks.

Do you even know what a wood chuck is?
Yes.

Favorite line from a movie?
“Sew, old one. Sew like the wind.” From Three Amigos.

Favorite thing about yourself?
I’m going to go with personality. I think I’m reasonably intelligent, a fairly nice guy and have an okay sense of humor.

Most unfavorite thing about yourself?
My occasional lack of a sunny disposition and the inability to just chill.

Do you dream in color?
3-D actually. But only when I remember to put on the glasses.

Do you snore?
Oh hell yeah. Much to Mrs. Cactus’ chagrin.

I know you've written somewhere here that Mrs. Cactus works out in the morning before work, while you make your coffee and donut run...so in an arm wrestling battle, who would be the victor? You or Mrs. Cactus?
I think I’d win. Of course once she reads this, I’ll probably have to test that theory so I’ll let you know for sure.

So we've seen shots of your fabulous shoes. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Somewhere around 10. I wear maybe three of them regularly.

Do the shoes make the man or the man makes the shoes?
The shoes definitely don’t make the whole man but they can’t hurt.

What would you do if you were in the shower and a very large spider appeared from no where and landed on your face?
Probably pass out, hit my head on something and die. I hate spiders. HATE!

Do you sing in the shower?
Yes. Although very quietly so Mrs. Cactus can’t hear me. I'm okay with a guitar. Singing? Not so much.

Do you have any holes in your socks?
I have one pair of socks that I found holes in the other day. Other than that, no.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is the one thing you could not live with?
My mother. Damn, I love the woman but she’s crazy.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to the entire world, where everyone was listening to you at once, what would that one thing be?
Be nice to each other.

Genuine asked...
How did you get hooked up with the JLB?
Most of the members of the JLB all hooked up at the same time. We were chatting one day and it all just came together. And can I tell you what a kick ass group of people they are? I couldn't ask for nicer, more wonderful friends.

Bond Girl asked...
How'd you and your missus meet? Was she charmed right away or did you have to convince her?
We met in college and halfway through our freshman year, she picked me up in a bathroom. Really! Haven’t I told this story before? If not, I smell a future post. When I moved off campus, she came with me and we haven’t looked back since. I like to think she was charmed right away but that’s really her question to answer.

And the one that speaks volumes, Coke or Pepsi?
Coke. Coke all the way.

BMH asked...
Red or Green Apples?
Red, preferably Fuji.

And what do you make of the theory that Smurfette was actually a guy in drag?
I can get onboard that theory. What proof do you have though?

Retro Girl asked...
I'm new to your blog so I have to know just what the hell is the 'Judith Light Brigade' besides a collection of great blogs? And who came up with such a brilliant name for this troupe?
All your answers should be here: http://www.jlbrigade.com/2004/03/its_the_jlb_yea.html “Great blogs?” Thanks for that! As I mentioned earlier (scroll up), the JLB is an awesome, supremely talented group of people...so I'm not really sure how I fit in there! ;-)

Second question: Your top 5 films (in any order).
That’s a tough one.
1. Avalon
2. North By Northwest
3. Philadelphia Story
4. Magnolia
5. Citizen Kane

Amy asked...
My friend wants to learn how to play the guitar...and lessons will be in her future very soon...but I was wondering if you have any suggestions for books or videos as well that I can pass along to her??? Or words of wisdom? Or both. :)
First thing first – get a decent, simple chord book. That pays off instantly because knowing the chords is important and they sound cool, thus providing encouragement. A word of advice – lessons aren’t for everyone. The second my parents hired a piano teacher, I lost interest. When I started seeing a guitar teacher for pointers a few years after I started playing, the same thing happened. I think the most important thing about learning to play the guitar is simply playing. Instruction helps but some of the best lessons are learned by screwing around.

Alektra asked...
You are quite the writer. If you could quit your job and just write, what would you write? Fiction? Social history? Journalism?
Fiction. I’d like to write the cliché Great American Novel one day. We’ll see how that goes. I originally wanted to be a journalist but the college I went to didn't have a great program. In retrospect, that probably wouldn't have made me happy.

And why do you feel that draw?
I’m not sure. I think it’s the way my brain’s wired. I’ve always been a words person, never drawn to numbers or proofs or theorems. Always words and sentences and paragraphs. Strings of the right words woven together can yield such emotion and such power. While I'm reading, I'll occasionally run across a sentence or paragraph that forces me to sit back, reread and think "my god that's an incredible sentence." I'd like to be able to do that...I'd like for someone to have the same reaction to something I piece together.

Monique came back and asked...
tell us about your most romantic night with the missus AND tell us the most bizarre place you've done it (you know, made the beast with 2 backs, bumped uglies, knocked boots...)
I think the first one is easy - one night early in our relationship, I had Beth over to my new apartment for dinner. I cooked and served dessert and everything. Then we just stayed up talking all night. Really, it was as simple as that. As for that second question, Monique, that's for me to know and you to find out! :-)

Manda asked...
Okay. You've read a zillion and a half books in your life. What are your top five books?
Because I've read a zillion books, that question is VERY difficult. But I'll try. These are not in order.
1. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. The description will sound like science fiction but, regardless of your feelings about the genre, I'd really encourage everyone to read this. It is sincerely one of the finest books I've ever read.
2. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. I've said a lot about this book here. It was probably the best thing I read last year and I still find myself thinking about it a great deal.
3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. There's a reason this book is being used to teach everything from strategy to team work. Its funny - since I read this many years ago, I've read a lot of Card's stuff and I really haven't been all that impressed. If he used up all he had for this book, it was well worth it.
4. The Bridge by Iain Banks. This was my introduction to Banks and it hooked me. Sadly, he's never caught on in the US but if you can find his books, they're well worth buying. The Bridge was a truly unusual yet satisfying novel, one that I wish I'd have written. Its a tough read, at times, and is a head-trip but its such a fantastic novel.
5. This is such a tossup. I mean seriously, I've only got one place left? Can I mention 253 by Geoff Ryman, one of the most creative books ever written? How about Ellis' American Psycho which was the most disturbing thing I've ever read? Last Orders by Graham Swift, maybe? Or Magnus Mill's Restraint of Beasts? I'm going through The Book...the book in which I've written down everything I've read for the last 7 years. And I can't choose just one more!

Also, what's your favorite song? [For me, it's hard to narrow it down to one, so pick a few, if you have to.]
Oh man! These are just too hard! Some (not all or THE) favorites as of today - Aimee Mann's Invisible Ink, Secret World by Peter Gabriel, Hallelujah as performed by Jeff Buckley, Porcupine Tree's Blackest Eyes...oh, I can't take it anymore! :-)

Zenwanderer asked...
What is your favorite "guilty pleasure" movie and band that you might be embarressed to admit to your friends?
That is actually easy. My favorite guilty pleasure band is Genesis. I'm not ashamed to admit it...well...okay, I kinda am. You must realize that before they became the top 40 hit machine they were in the 80's, they were actually an incredibly talented group of musicians making some incredible music. My favorite guilty pleasure movie? Logan's Run. Its so cheesy but I love it. I watched it about a month ago, as a matter of fact.

Jon dropped by again and asked...
Ginger or Mary Ann?
Mary Ann. Ginger seemed awful high-maintenance.

Mary asked...
What kind of camera do you use? I hope to buy a new one soon and I'm looking for suggestions. The pics off my current one are usually crummy. I'm *pretty* sure the problem is that I suck at taking photographs but, hey, couldn't hurt to try a new camera, right?
Nothing wrong with that. Blame the equipment, I say! Seriously, I use two cameras - both are Sony CyberShots and I love them both. You see, some people seem to labor under the misapprehension that I'm A Photographer. Let me set the record straight here and now - I point my camera at stuff and push the little button. Thats about the extent of my talent. I'm glad you like what you see though! Anyway, Mary, try the Sonys. The only downside? Proprietary memory stick. Still? Damn fine camera.

Gypsy asked...
If you could be ANYONE famous or not, who would you be and why?
I'm not entirely sure I'm cut out for fame. I'd honestly rather just be myself.

What is your favorite ritual?
Ritual? Aside from the entirely OCD crap I manage to do, I try not to have any. I do enjoy driving home at the end of a long day. That's always nice.

Which Holiday is your favorite, and how do you celebrate it?
Hmmm...I do enjoy Halloween and we usually spend that giving candy to all the little kids in the neighborhood. I also have to admit I like Christmas. Its all about family and thats who I spend it with.

Will you EVER buy Mrs. Cactus a pet duck for her bathroom?
There's an ever-expanding list of stuff that will have to fight over room in that tub. The duck, of course, is one. Last night while we were watching Finding Nemo, my wife expressed interest in a turtle too. And I believe there's been talk of a dolphin as well. So really, that tub's getting a little crowded.

Lissa asked...
If you had the power to change a moment in your personal life and therefore change the future, what would that moment be and why?
I've watched too many episodes of Star Trek to fall for this one! Seriously, we all fuck up. We all do great things. We all fall on our asses - literally and figuratively - from time to time. But all you can really do is pick yourself up, dust off your literal or figurative ass (or both) and learn from it. Without these experiences - both good and bad - we wouldn't be who we are today.

What does it take to be your valued friend?
Nothing. Maybe that's one of the things that makes me, well, me. I believe the best in people right from the start. And I generally put my trust in everyone until proven otherwise. Yes, this is often unwise. Sure, I pay for it sometimes and get hurt and I manage to get pretty pissed off at myself for letting it happen...again...but I'd honestly rather consider everyone a friend until proven otherwise than the alternative. Close friendship has to be earned, like most things, through time, honesty and trust.

Posted by Chris at 02:41 PM | Comments (33)

March 05, 2004

Better, Thanks

I'm feeling a little better...especially since I made the call to work from home this afternoon.




Who couldn't feel better with a beautiful day, open windows and cats?

Posted by Chris at 02:00 PM | Comments (14)

A Little Friday Science

Everyone up for an experiment today? Great. You can do this with common office supplies so here's what you'll need:

1 box pushpins
2 pens (blue, ballpoint if possible)
1 filing cabinet
1 roll of scotch tape

First, open the box of pushpins and swallow them all making sure that you scratch as much of your throat as possible. Then jam the pens in your ears and tape your eyelids almost - but not quite - closed. For the grand finale, open one of your filing cabinet drawers, insert your head and close quickly. There! Now you feel like I do this morning! But you know what? It doesn't really bother me. Because its Friday!!!

Posted by Chris at 07:12 AM | Comments (25)

March 04, 2004

On Books: February

Every month I read a few books and rarely do I mention them. So, for 2004, I've decided to mention a couple of the best at the end of each month. Work's been rough this month and I notice when things at work get tough, I tend to read much less serious stuff. No exceptions this month.

My top pick of the month is The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh. Not for the faint of heart, this is a rough yet literate mystery centered around a discovery made by our unlikely hero Rilke. Unlikely because he's a middle-aged, gay auctioneer. The book, like Rilke, is not at all formulaic.

Honorable mention to You Are Here, Wesley Gibson's memoir of life as a writer in NYC and Big Fish author Daniel Wallace's Ray In Reverse. And in case you're wondering, Brad Meltzer's The Zero Game isn't too hot - certainly not as good as his last two.

Posted by Chris at 06:04 PM | Comments (6)

Thursday Haiku Smackdown

Do The 'Ku!

What am I talking about? Haiku Smackdown Thursday of course. Want a silly way to spend your day? This is made for you, people! All the cool kids will be doing it!

Every Thursday a different person will host the Smackdown (don't worry - we'll let you know who in plenty of time). At the end of the day the Grand Haiku Master will be chosen. We might even spring for a crown!

Still don't follow? Just head over to Amy's site and check out today's epic battle!

Posted by Chris at 02:46 PM | Comments (3)

Motivational Issues

I know, I know. I'm really boring today. I just have no motivation today. I am getting plenty of haiku exercise with Amy, Lauren, Zoot and others though. That's something, right?

Posted by Chris at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)

Spaghetti Westerns?

While staying in Paris, we noticed an interesting phenomenon. On the opposite side of the street, next to the gallery and the bridal gown shop, was a two-screen theater.




The theater itself didn't look any different than the old one or two-screen theaters we used to have in the States before the Dawn Of The Multiplex but all this one seemed to show was old American westerns. Posters shouted names like John Ford, John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart and hours before a showing, a line would start. By the time the doors opened, the line stretched around the block. All to see old American westerns. I wonder why.

Posted by Chris at 08:53 AM | Comments (4)

March 03, 2004

No Crown For Me

The good news is that I didn't need a crown after all. The bad news is that the left side of my face doesn't seem to want to work. This makes eating and drinking a challenge. Speaking was also interesting. Take my little stop on the way home.

Saleswoman: Do you have one of our discount cards?
Me: Yesh, I shink I do. Howd on. Lemme find ish.
Saleswoman: Take your time.

Then she asked me for an updated address. Boy was that fun.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement (see entry below). I do this blogging thing for me, first and foremost but I also feel the need to keep you guys entertained.

I'm off to cook dinner now. Something soft...I'm thinking pasta. I wish you all a good evening!

Posted by Chris at 05:47 PM | Comments (6)

Hump Day Blatherings

Happy Hump Day everyone! A few bite-sized chunks of blogging goodness for your Hump Day.

Crown Me:
And I don't mean a LOTR kind of crowning. I'm not sure what's worse - meetings all morning or the dentist this afternoon. What's possibly even more pathetic is that I view the dentist as a relaxing alternative to work.

My Big Break:
Get me - I'm starring in a soap. Well...kinda. Amy and Lauren have chosen me to play a role in their ongoing online drama. Make sure you check it out!

Feedback:
You know I've always maintained that you guys rock. I don't know why you keep dropping by and commenting but I sure appreciate that you do. I've missed a few familiar faces around here lately. Now, I know everyone's busy (including me lately) but if I've jumped the shark, let me know :-)

Posted by Chris at 08:16 AM | Comments (20)

Dear Asshat Spammer

Dear Omar (if that is your real name) -

Thanks for leaving the kind spamment on my site last night. No, a single spamment isn't all that unusual but I particularly liked where you left it - on my entry about September 11. But I can see where you're coming from. I mean, who wouldn't like to see some lovely "big beautiful women" after reading my thoughts about 911? What a pick-me-up, right?

Next time I write about something tragic, please come on by.

Thanks,
Chris

Posted by Chris at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2004

Volume

I was trading email with Irma a while back and we were talking about CDs. I think she was a little surprised when I told her how many I owned. So I'll turn it over to you. I have somewhere around 3,100 CDs. Am I nuts?




I've never hidden the fact that I'm a huge music fan. I think its one of the ultimate forms of art, of expression, of culture. I know there are some people who don't see it, who don't feel the same way. But I know there are others out there who get chills when they hear the perfect, soaring guitar solo or the deep howl of a bass guitar at just the right moment.

Hi. My name is Chris. And I'm a music addict.

Your turn.

Posted by Chris at 05:09 PM | Comments (18)

Another Hospital Observation

While in the hospital yesterday, we saw an interesting sign that told us they were using a Baby Theft Protection System.

Her: Hey, did you notice they're using a Baby Theft Protection System.
Me: Interesting.
Her: So I guess that means I can't steal any babies.
Me: You know that's not what its really for, right?
Her: What are you talking about?
Me: Its for the stuff they sell in the gift shop. Instead of those magnetic things, they just hook a baby to everything. If you walk out of the store with something, the baby just flips out.
Her: That makes sense.
Me: Yeah. I mean, they have a pretty steady supply of babies and they probably knock a little bit off the hospital bill for the parents.

Posted by Chris at 08:45 AM | Comments (7)

March 01, 2004

Babies and Chemo

Random Quotes Heard In Hospital:
“Did you bring your teeth? Do you want to put them in now or just leave them out?”
“Well, you should be happy. You’re peeing very well!”

I’ve been in the hospital much of the afternoon and evening. Before you get worried, I assure you that it wasn’t for me. My mother-in-law had to undergo a pretty serious operation but I’m happy to report that all’s well.

The area of the hospital in which we were waiting during the operation served as both the women’s health wing as well as the labor and delivery center. Babies! Out of control amounts of babies, I tell you! There were newborns everywhere along with plenty of happy looking mothers and new, nervous fathers arriving with brand new car seats. Some still had the price tags on them. One new mother on her way home with her daughter sat down next to us. “Is this your first?” we asked. “No. This is my second,” she replied. “I think its easier with the second because at least you have some idea what to do.” And her daughter looked happy. As happy as a new, pink, wrinkled baby can look.

When my mother-in-law was delivered from post-op to her room, we waited while she was made comfortable, arranged in the bed and hooked up to a myriad of machines, the purposes of some I can only guess. While we were waiting, I walked by open hospital rooms. One woman was receiving chemotherapy – I heard her discussing her loss of hair with a nurse. Another couldn’t seem to keep water down. And in the private waiting room was a frustrated, defeated looking man who was carrying around a haphazardly arranged stack of paper. I glanced at them out of the corner of my eye. They were forms for Arlington Cemetery.

It’ll sound cliché – the precarious balance of life and death and the struggles in between that I saw in the hallways of the hospital this evening. Death, as I wrote last week, scares me. Of course, I’m sure it scares everyone to a certain degree. But what amazes me – absolutely astounds me – is the power that people seem to be able to find to fight it and, in many cases, overcome it. Cute babies and chemo…it’s a strange, scary and mystifying world we’re living in.

My mother-in-law? She’s awake and doing fine. There’ll be a long recovery time but its nothing she can’t handle.

Posted by Chris at 07:52 PM | Comments (15)

Better Than Friday

At some point, I'll go into the clusterfuck trainwreck that was my Friday. Until then, I offer the following snippet of conversation:

Her: I'm sorry the client yelled at you like that.
Me: Well, he was a little upset but its okay.
Her: Did he tell you to go fuck yourself?
Me: Um, no. Should he have?
Her: No. He's told me that a couple of times.
Me: Uh...I feel left out. But has it ever struck you that that's slightly inappropriate?
Her: Yeah. But now I make him eat lunch before our meetings so he's not cranky.

There are just so many things wrong with that. Including the fact that she was the one who ducked her responsibility and put me in the position to get bitched at. Ugh.

Posted by Chris at 11:46 AM | Comments (11)

Haiku for Monday #19

I can only hope
This week falls well short of last
In terms of suckage

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