February 28, 2005
Its Still Monday?
Tomorrow, I'll attempt coherent post. Today? Not so much. I've had a lot of stuff floating around inside my brain.
The meeting was good. People nodded their heads and found themselves in general agreement. If you're Fred Durst, you might call it "agreeance" (am I the only one who remembers this obscure reference?) but you'd probably be more concerned about the porn tape of you floating around the Internet. Speaking of...I knew all that aggression had to be a result of some type of inferiority complex. Limp bizkit indeed.
Peeled tomatoes feel like brains. I don't really know what brains feel like but I'm guessing that they feel a lot like the peeled tomatoes I diced last night for pasta my wife was making last night. I hope never to actually verify this.
My wife needs training wheels. Beth fell down for two last night and freaked my ass out. She's pretty sure Lima Bean enjoyed the ride. I've now made it pretty clear I'm taking over most of the duties around the house that require walking, lifting or any other gravity-defying. Now, if I could only get her to listen to me!
There goes the neighborhood. Yes, the neighbors were at it again. There was major yelling...and throwing of things that broke a car window (their own) and then she got the kids together and took his truck. It was an impressive display of fortitude until she came back again for some more yelling. Then left again. And then came back.
Weathermen suck. Don't those two words really say it all? By all accounts, the world should have come to an abrupt, nippy end around 4 this morning. For those of you playing at home, it didn't. All this hype about weather events and snow emergencies and storm tracking...sheesh. Get over it. Its effin' weather.
Enough of me with the venting. Am tired.
That meeting I've been waiting to happen for the last week? Despite the grim weather, its on! So, you'll just have to entertain yourselves this morning while I brave the elements. Have wonderful Monday mornings...or at least tolerable ones.
Haiku For Monday #69
Good morning, I'm twelve.
Check out 'ku number today.
February 27, 2005
The weatherpeople, being of keen insight or merely in possession of good "television hair" are
predicting guessing we're going to get ten inches of snow tomorrow. Elsewhere, that might not seem like much...but in the Washington area its enough to drive 25% of the population to madness, cause 96% to instantly lose all driving ability and, in rare cases (approximately 4% of the overall population), cause otherwise healthy heads to actually explode. Precipitation, madness and carnage...it'll be a good Monday, I can feel it.
February 26, 2005
Saturday To Do List
So far today...
1. Oil change and tune up on old car
2. Emergency prescription cat food pickup
3. Emergency donut and coffee acquisition
4. Target stop (Classic Pooh clothes on sale!)
5. Hunt for maternity jeans
6. Groceries (cookies, orange juice, gatorade, if you must know)
7. Continue 24 Season One marathon
8. Finish book
9. Start new book
10. Order pizza
11. Field (and avoid) 40 bazillion calls from parents
And now you're caught up! I never promised that this would always be thrilling...
February 25, 2005
Four C's For Friday: Coats, Cats, Cars, Cavities
I'm never getting my coat back, am I?
Thanks for your positive dental vibes - you'll be happy to know that I don't have any cavities. Of course, I did end up with the same hygeinist I had last time which was suitably frightening. She behaved herself this time around and only mentioned urine once. Whew!
Now that I've worked most of the afternoon, I'm off to do some of those fun Friday night things...like taking my old car to the mechanic. Woooohoooo! I sure know how to live it up, don't I?
That Time Of The Week Again
Yes, its time to do the Happy Friday Dance. All together now...
I'm not working this morning...since I've got a doctor's appointment followed by a dentist appointment. So, really, I'd rather be working! Wish me luck and no cavities! And have yourselves a wonderful Friday!!
February 24, 2005
I'm happy to introduce you to the latest Official Cactus-Fish Fleet Vehicle, the Cactusmobile.
Okay, so I realize this doesn't show off a whole lot of the car...but its snowing and, well, you wouldn't want me to post a picture of YOU all covered in snow, would you? That's not the way to make a first impression.
If you're curious, its a Jetta. Its also - brace yourselves - a wagon. Shut up. Yes, I said wagon. At least its a cool, sleek, German wagon. I am old and now terribly uncool. But have you walked through Babies R Us recently? Have you not seen the incredible amount of shit (figurative, although I suppose its accurate in the literal sense too) that comes with a baby? And I thought my wife accessorized! So yes, I determined that we needed something in which to transport not only the child but the child's posse of equipment and accessories.
What kind of rockstar wannabe drives a wagon? Well, me apparently.
Snow, And Neighbors
Snow has started to fall on Washington and, despite the fact that the roads are clear, I'm alone in the office. I've exhausted my supply of coffee...so now what? Suggestions? I won't have to keep myself busy for long. I'll head out before the roads actually do get bad.
Earlier this week, I accidentally started a series of posts about neighbors gone bad (that sounds like a Fox special or something). I was remiss in mentioning the porn neighbors. With that, I'll conclude the series.
The last place we lived, prior to becoming homeowners, was great - the apartment was gorgeous and the neighbors were all pretty cool. Well, except for the ones who shot porn in their place. You see, the ground floor, two bedroom apartment was occupied by two guys and a girl. The only furniture they seemed to own was a pool table and a bed. In the evenings a collection of guys and skanky, half-dressed girls would show up and start drinking on their porch. Eventually, once the sun set, most would move inside, shades were drawn and everything got quiet for a couple hours. Some guys and girls would camp out, smoking on the porch but "trade off" with people exiting the apartment (you know, like tag team wrestling with the high five and all). After a while, blinds and screen doors would open again and all would return to normal...for a couple of hours after which the whole process would be repeated. The next morning would find twenty or so people filing out of the apartment, bleary-eyed with crumpled clothing.
Isn't it obvious they were filming porn? What else could it have been?
February 23, 2005
Bob Barker Would Be Proud
Local readers who live in Washington DC (a.ka., the District), as opposed to the burbs like me, will probably complain that I'm making the city look worse than it is. But I maintain its one of the most poorly managed cities in the history of, well, everything. The fire department has a measly two functional ladder trucks to serve a city of 600,000, the school year is delayed almost every year because schools are uninhabitable and 40% of the city's population under the age of 12 goes to bed hungry, yet the city closes shelters and soup kitchens. The District doesn't help itself any, by putting Anthony "Spineless Asshat" Williams in the mayor's office and returning Marion Barry into city government despite being busted cavorting with hookers and smoking crack...on tape! The following, therefore, didn't surprise me:
District school officials canceled today's [Tuesday] classes at Eaton Elementary School in Cleveland Park to give cleaning crews time to disinfect the building after hundreds of cats were sterilized and vaccinated in the cafeteria over the weekend.
I think this deserves a mighty whathefuck. Check out the article and see how stupid people can be. Perhaps I'm overreacting though. Would it ever cross your minds to sterilize cats in a school cafeteria?
Smells of Childhood
Not long ago, someone at work gave me a little container of green Play-Doh. I'd completely forgotten what the stuff feels like, squeezing it in a fist so that it escapes through your knuckles or shaping it into a ball. What I hadn't forgotten was the smell. I don't know if its a good or bad smell but it really doesn't matter. Like the smell of my grandparent's house, it sucked me back into childhood. Its amazing how many memories are driven or rediscovered by a simple smell or sound or taste. Maybe that's why I like music so much, the power that it has to transport me to a different place and time.
Music and Play-Doh. The secret to time travel has nothing to do with scientists in white lab coats, circuit boards and physics. Its in your heads, my friends. The secret might be a chord progression, the smell of jasmine in the summer or the taste of your mom's cooking. But the secret is in there.
February 22, 2005
Reason 39,492 The Internet Is A Scary Place
I was attempting to point my browser to a regular reader's blog and mistyped. It was then that my journey along this supposed information superhighway took a very dangerous and frightening turn. Check it out for yourselves. And please make sure you download the latest and singularly horrifying MP3. This can't be real...can it? Hold me.
Random Acts of Suburban Gunplay
This morning? I was originally supposed to head into the District (of Columbia, that is...land of monuments, museums, politicians, crack and hookers...leading exporter of red tape and pork) for a big meeting. I'd ask for luck but it seems that the meeting got cancelled. Instead of luck, then, wish me powers of supreme mind control so that I may force the world to do my bidding. Or something.
Yesterday, I talked about bad neighbors and many of you expressed horror. And to many, I responded that these weren't the worst neighbors ever. That title is reserved for another couple I'd like to introduce you to this morning.
When Beth and I were living in Small College Town, we had a nice and remarkably cheap two bedroom apartment and, for the most part, really cool neighbors. All that changed when the cop moved in next door. He and his wife and their daughter (I'd say she was around two years old...the daughter, not the wife...that would be sick, yo!) seemed really cool. And, since we weren't running a crack house or pimping hookers [Author's Commentary: Extra credit for working crack and hookers into a post twice!], we didn't really have an issue with living next door to a cop. Acutally, quite the opposite. Who's going to break into your apartment when there's a patrol car out front and a cop next door? We were under the distinct impression that things would be nice, quiet and safe. Of course, this would be a really lame story if it worked out that way.
Things were going along just fine until the screaming and gunplay started. [AC: Gee, this really isn't funny at all. As a matter of fact, its going to get disturbing real soon. I mean, why'd you want to break this story out first thing in the morning?] We had thin walls and could hear almost everything that went on next door. Of course, doing that glass-to-the-wall thing? It works and it helped catch all the stuff we might have otherwise missed. [AC: Two domestic violence stories in a week...hmmm...its like A Very Special Cactus. They want funny and you give them this?] Yes, it got really disturbing when we heard the cop regularly yell "Stay away from my gun!" Like I said, thin walls. Which, to me, meant very little protection against stray bullets. Trying to avoid being victims of the through-and-through, whenever Beth and I heard this, we'd go sprinting to the opposite side of the apartment. [AC: I'm not sure I appreciated how truly fucked up this story is until now.] Then there was the time the emotionally highstrung wife repeated over and over "Now what're you going to do, asshole? Watch me blow my fucking head off." While this was really and truly wrong, what made it worse were the cop's requests for his gun back.
I'm happy to report that no shots were ever fired. Beth and I remained physically fit college students doing all that running back and forth in the apartment. We called the cops several times. On the cop. They'd separate them, talk with both, but never actually do anything. We remained pretty worried. The threats only got worse over time. Finally we convinced the apartment management to kick them out. Hopefully they got a divorce or were both heavily medicated. If not, I hope they ended up in a lead-lined apartment in which they could do no harm to innocent neighbors.
[AC: And thusly, I declare and end to the string of gritty, domestic violence entries for the week and will now think of something funny. Really.]
February 21, 2005
Jerry Springer: The Home Game
We live in what I'd consider a nice, middle-class neighborhood. Stay at home moms, white collar desk jockeys and blue collar laborers all get along just fine. The neighborhood itself is an oasis of modesty surrounded by a sea of over-priced and badly built million-dollar tract mansions. It is, therefore, one of the last bastions of potential white-trashery in the area. Really. I speak from experience.
Transportation. The modes of transportation are varied and ever-changing. From a recent cherry red BWM (that my wife informs me was towed away this morning) to a church van, nearly all makes and models have been represented during the last two years. The one constant, however, is the big-ass extended cab pickup with the chrome spoiler on top. Nothing says "cool" like a pickup with a spoiler on top. Nothing. Trust me - I checked with the Federal Department of Cool Stuff (FDCS) and they confirmed it.
Fire In The Hole. Kitchen accidents happen. Occasionally, something just gets out of hand and a kitchen goes up in flame. It can happen to anyone (you can thank me later for the shout-out, RSM). But twice? In a year? These fine people have burned their kitchen down twice. Actually, we met them for the first time as we were standing out in front of their house watching a team of firemen enter.
Putting the "Trash" In "White Trash". Mondays and Thursdays are trash days in our neighborhood. Respectable folks, such as myself, take their trashcans out to the curb the night before. WT Family? They just pitch theirs out along the sidewalk...in bags if we're lucky but usually we're not. And we're not just talking trash here...we're talking furniture as well. Want a thoroughly trashed sectional or a battered recliner? Its as if the stuff that gets sucked up from trailer parks in tornados magically gets spit out of some bizarre wormhole, then end of which is right there in my neighborhood.
Communication. Communication is an important part of any family. After all, its what makes the whole thing work. Kinda. This weekend, all the neighbors were given a sneak peek into this family dynamic. You see, Dad arrived home and saw something in the vicinity of their pile o' trash. It was a long rod of some sort. He bent over to pick it up and marched back to the house with a disgruntled look on his face. He was immediately confronted by his wife and one of their daughters. "Don't throw this away! And don't fuck with my cars!" he bellowed. And never a more polite request was heard in the land! "I'll fuck with your car any motherfucking time I want you motherfucker!" came the wife's reply. "You stupid bitch. I'll fucking sue your ass!" he retorted. Oh the wit! Then she found rocks from the garden...and began throwing them at the car all the while repeating the chant "Sue me motherfucker! Sue me motherfucker!" Meanwhile, the daughter who is around ten years old, made a heartbreaking appearance in an attempt to interject some much-needed childhood wisdom. "Why don't you two stop yelling at each other and start making things right?" she asked. Obviously, this caused Dad to evaluate the situation carefully. He got into his pickup, started the engine and backed up about fifty feet. Then he slammed on the gas and aimed straight for Mom. He stopped about five feet shy of hitting her. To her credit, she stood her ground. Of course, she was screaming "Hit me you stupid motherfucker!" the entire time. He popped it into reverse and dissappeared.
The good news? Well, we think they're all home and no one's dead yet. At least, we don't think so.
Haiku For Monday #68
Unlike lots of folks,
No holiday for me, kids.
February 20, 2005
Return of the Face Sleeper
I know I've posted a similar picture before but I could help snapping another one this morning.
Now, how the heck do you think she breathes?
February 19, 2005
Kids Adults These Days
The Scene: Crowded neighborhood donut and coffee distribution center, 8:30 AM, cold. I'm wearing jeans, a fleece pull-over and a baseball hat. I haven't shaved for two days and it shows.
Woman 1: Hey there! Nice to see you!
Me: Nice to see you too.
Woman 1: Wait. You're not who I thought you were.
Me: No, I'm not. I thought that's what was happening here.
Woman 1: I thought you were one of my students.
Me: Nope. Got the wrong guy.
Woman 2: You know, I thought he looked like one of my students too.
Woman 1: All these kids start to look alike.
Me: Kids? I'm not sure if I should be flattered or depressed.
February 18, 2005
Although it seems to be only a tenuous tradition, I give you a good tune for Friday.
Woe, by Say Anything
(Oh, you know you can buy a t-shirt like the one I'm wearing and plenty of other stuff don't you? Seriously...just drop by my store - all the profits go to charity.)
Two words, used independently of one another are fine...but used together in the correct sequence they're even better. The words? Day and Off.
That's right folks...I'm taking the day off. Its already after 9:00 and I have no idea what I'm going to do with the hours stretching out in front of me but I know one thing for damn sure - I won't be working. Not even a teensy little bit.
Maybe I'll catch up on some of my favorite blogs. Maybe I'll learn the ancient and traditional art of hula dancing. Maybe I'll hop over to the Middle East and work on that whole peace thing. Or I can just sit on my ass.
Happy Friday to all of you!!
February 17, 2005
Salty Ass Dibs
An actual conversation heard in my home last night...
Me: These are some salty-ass chips.
Her: I'm not sure I approve of that.
Me: What? Salty-ass chips?
Her: Yeah. I don't want to eat salty ass-chips.
Me: They're not salty ass-chips. They're salty-ass chips.
Her: That's what I said.
Me: No. You said salty ass chips. I said salty ass chips.
Her: And I'm not comfortable eating chips of ass.
Me: But you're not.
Her: You said they were salty ass-chips. And I don't want to eat ass.
Me: You're just not hearing my verbal hyphen. The salty ass modifies the chips. The salty doesn't modify the ass. And the ass certainly doesn't modify the chips.
And you - yes, you my wonderful readers - have turned us into a household in which one must end every moderately amusing conversation by calling "dibs." Yes, everyday there's yet another toss-up as to who gets to bring you these joyous, borderline insane snippets of life in the Cactus-Fish household.
Thirty Four-Part Harmony
For the past week and a half, I've been busy. And I mean really busy. I'm pretty sure that, any minute now, my coworkers are going to walk by my office and find me in the corner rocking back and forth muttering showtunes or, if I knew it by heart, Alice's Restaurant in its entirety (funny story - I do actually know a guy who can recite the whole thing...its kind of an idiot-savant type of thing). I know I'm totally jinxing it, but I think the worst is over...at least for the time being.
Anyway, you haven't had my complete attention and for that I apologize. But yesterday, you guys blew me away as you always do. By my count, there were 34 guest posts. Sheesh. That's amazing! And even for those of you who didn't post, you still keep coming even though it might have been ages since I visited you.
I have the most amazing readers in the world. And I'm sorry to those of you who thought you did. I'm sure they're great and all but mine are the bestest.
February 16, 2005
Hump Day Guest Blogging!
I'm alive!! But I'm busy...very busy. So guess what day it is...Hump Day Guest Blogging Day!!! Yes, once again I'm asking you to do my job for me, since I have other work that people are paying me to do. Go nuts and have fun!
Go here: MT Login
Type This: guest
Then This: workbites
Ya Can't Fucking Win
As my friend John always says "YCFW". The date went really well tonight, I thought. I arrived early. I was terrifically charming. Witty; intelligent; engaging; kind; funny; playful; flirty. And, yet.. I still feel as though it's going to go nowhere. She's beautiful. Young. Smart. Ambitious. And she's an animal lover. She has a new cat named Elliott. He keeps her company. And, she does the same for him.
But, I have this bad feeling that we won't get to go out again. Perhaps I was too "nice." Perhaps I didn't challenge her enough. Perhaps I'm too old for her.
Then there's the other problem. She's about to finish her grad school work, and move away. She's just returned from visiting schools all over the country. And, soon she'll leave for one of those schools. What's the point in dating someone who's about to leave, right? Why get attached if they're just going to go away?
But, I was really hoping it would work. She's everything I'm looking for. And, yet I can't have her.
Story of my life.
Attention Cactus Fans!Is this thing still on? I guess it is. Excellent. Sit back and relax while Dawnie fills some space.
First, I would just like to take a moment to say that while I had Chris's category list at my mercy, it took quite a bit of self control not to file this in "Impending Fatherhood." Since I am most definitely not an impending father, nor any kind of parent-to-be, this is the kind of thing I would find funny. Because I'm silly like that.
Anyhow, I have a point. I am hijacking Chris's popularity for a good reason. So, everyone, take a gander over at the sidebar. See the Team in Training logo? That's me. Here's what it means:
I'm running a marathon to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society. A good friend of mine lost her father to leukemia when she was but a wee tot. I'm running to help find a cure for an active, vibrant 9-year old who's already been through chemo, and is still facing another year of treatment. I'm running to help them find a way to stop this horrible disease, so no one will ever have to lose a relative to leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's, or any other sort of blood-related cancer.
That $5 you were going to spend on a latte? Surely these people could use it more. Planning on dropping $20 at the bar on Friday? Sip club soda for an evening and help make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Everyone has something they can give - I'm giving over 4 months of my life to train for a 26.2-mile run. All I'm asking you for is a couple of dollars.
You can also follow my training here (where, conveniently, there is also a link to my donation page!).
Cactus readers, thanks for your time. Chris, thanks for letting me hijack your space to pimp my cause.
Things that rule
I don't know about you guys, but I am cynical and angry and crabby like MOST of the time. I swear it's my default setting so I have to WORK to overcome it. (Please tell me it's not JUST me?) It is my desire to be happy and spread joy and all that.
But these people? (These people=Chris & Beth) ... well ... they are consistently positive (glass is half-full people!!) and are about the best role models for that, you know, "love thang" there is. I could swear it comes naturally, despite what they might tell ya.
So hey. Given the opportunity I thought I'd pop in and just thank them for being ... er ... them. You? Take this chance to thank them too, mmm kay?
It is good to know there are good peoples out there, hey?
I Have to Take Advantage...
... of RC's blog.
Ok, now... what to blog? Aha! Here we go. A recomendation for everyone.
From the BRI Uncle John's Legendary Lost Bathroom Reader. This is one of more than a dozen books for those folks whose libraries are located down the hall in the "loo". The books are filled with knowledge that would leave a trivia master drooling.
A friend suggested I buy one of these books and after only fourteen pages, I'm hooked. I'm ready to grab the credit card and buy every book I've missed. Hubby's already pointed out twice that it's a "bathroom reader" and I'm not allowed to read it beyond those doors. HAH!
So, for your edification, here's a tiny excerpt:
"On average, twins are born 24 days earlier than single babies."
"Alexander the Great was buried in a vat of honey."
Ooops - gotta plug one more thing. If you like to write, or even like to read, come and visit Dark Escapes.
The Day That Never Ends
I had the exact opposite day from our beloved host. I woke up at 11 am, took a shower, ate a sandwich, and settled in on the couch for an afternoon of TNT dramas and cartoons. Now, I'm sitting here in my sweats and watching CSI and thinking that man, I wish I was like Chris and had a job!
Stay Far Far Away
Ok. I've got the flu. Big time. It's eating away at every muscle in my body. I am really wishing at this point that my lungs would truly exit my body as they've been threatening for the past 36 hours. I can't sleep, not hungry, and can't breathe.
Yet, through all of this, I GOT TO GUEST POST for Chris! YES! There are great things in life.
I am also in the process of transfering my blog to my very own domain, powered by WordPress and will be adorning a new skin as soon as possible!
I am like a little kid with a new toy!
Iffn' ya want a sneak preview (and everyone is going to have to update their links to me, for this I apologize) come see me at my new home! Sunburns is going to rawk!
Stop by and say hello!
Hope you and Beth are doing great!
Have a wonderful evening all!
Dude. I am about three hours away from two-buck Long Islands and Karaoke.
And that, my friends, is the best thing that's happened to me all week! Although if they make me do 'Right Stuff' again, I might have issues.
(thanks for sharing, Chris!)
Me too! Me too!
I wanna play! Is it too late for me to play? I'm ruler over all that is Cactus right now! Heh! This blog bows to my power! Now I just have to figure out what to say and... yeah, I've got nuthin'.
I love cookies! How about that? Ok. Done now.
I see the guest blogging thing caught on. Excellent job everyone! That is all. Carry on...
Hey everyone, look at me!
I'm in charge now. I feel like.......Alexander Haig!
Wow, I don't even really know Chris, and here I am blogging for him! Too cool.
J'ajouterai quelques mots en français, juste pour faire "style".
Wednesday has no "Hump Day" connotations in France, from whence I write this. It's just another day of the week. But where I am, it's winter break until next Monday, and since I'm a teacher, that is cool.
Hope all of you out there have a good one.
I refuse to do it
I absolutely refuse to fall into the guest blogging trap. I am not doing your work for you, do it yourself!
Damn, I did it anyway!
Time wasted by: Jeff A
there's no wet spot. really!
Howdy, neighbors - sledge here.
I have just had the most fantastic, taste-bud tingling drink EVER: Hershey's Milkshake Cookies 'n' Cream.
Damn, it was almost as good as sex. and, it's available in stores NOW!
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Throwing A Gauntlet at Pops
Chris has suggested a dance-off when I go to DC next month. I know he's mentioned dancing on cars in front of the donut shop, but I don't think he's ready for what I'm bringing.
Cactus? Prepare yourself. For total annihilation.
love your site!
online poker poker poker texas hold'em
Okay, so i thought that would be funny.
i have nothing to say, and lunch is over. i miss the movable type post entry UI. Thank you for letting me do your job. Now i must do mine.
a little guest post
so, hi... i'm zal. boring and not leaving a link - so nyah!
guest blogging is teh cool! it's nice to know i am not the only one who drinks poor-(wo)man's starbucks and works in a shitty office and thinks about whether having a child makes you more adult or just a different kind.
the most exciting thing i really have to blog about is my new love for zach braff. which is completely old news at this point since everyone has seen Garden State at least umpteen times. i just saw it last night.
you're not really obligated to post well as a guest poster are you? nah, i didn't think so either :)
i can't believe that dude from LA law is on now, corbin something. what the hell was he thinking? oh, he wanted to get paid ... i guess i can understand that.
can you believe alexis tipped off the fbi about sonny? i mean, christina could be dead now because of her. doesn't she even care? sheesh.
aaaaanyway, enough talk about soaps. let's talk about SOAP. i've been having a hell of a time at work getting win2k3 and iis6.0 to correctly return a SOAP response to a SOAP request. what is UP with that?
alright, i've successfully wasted a smidge of your time and a bit of chris' blog space ... enjoy the rest of your hump day.
huh huh ... i said "hump"
I really wanted to say something really cool and funny but can't for the life of me think of something either cool or funny.
So, I hope every is having a very fun day, while Chris is not. Ofcourse, he did bring this on himself because he took the job and then perpetuated it by allowing himself to be promoted into a position where they would make him work even more.
If he had just kept his mouth shut and maintained a certain level of incompetance, nobody would be busting down his door to be working all the time. Fool. Its that old trap: hard work is its own reward, and tomorrow your reward is going to double.
Please, Chris, for the sake of your family, try to be a little bit of a screwup today so that you don't completely destroy the rest of your life.
Am I numb?
Originally I am here
But for the sake of guest blogging I will post it here as well!
First thing I do in the morning is read my buddies at dland. A few of them are actual in-real-life friends such as Tracey. Well this morning I found out that a good friend/ex-co-worker of mine was killed Monday night. A car hit him & the investigation is continuing to determine if it was an accident or not. What rings odd is his girlfriend called a fellow co-worker to inform him of this guy's death first, upon request of this individual only days [could be wrong] before. "If something should happen to me call so-and-so first". Some have said that they think he might have been joking around [like he always did] & jumped in front of what he thought was his brother's car but no one really knows for sure.
This hit me as such a surprise, as you can only imagine. He was such the character. Picture, if you will, a man only about 5'5" ish, Egyptian, bald [shaved head], so much energy you could sworn he was on speed half of the time, a real time bomb type of guy. He had just so much energy that & a delicate hair trigger, which determined just how he utilized that energy. We butted heads on more then one occasion. He was a classic chauvinist but so chill at the same time. A vast majority of my CD collection was burned from his too. He enjoyed all types of music from Stevie Nicks to DJ Quik & Led Zeppelin. We both loved Metallica too.
As I sit here behind my ergonomically incorrect desk in Texas, I can't help but feel tears welling up in my eyes yet fight them back relentlessly. I want to be back there, I should never have left that job. As much stress & headaches it gave me they were really a part of my family. I can't go back either, I gave Tracey my job & I think they love her more then they did me. Shit, they finally hired an assistant for her in less then 6 months when they did nothing but promise one for me for 2 fucking years. It did get a lot busier once I left, as it had slowed down a lot during my last few months. A real blessing for Trace too as she was struggling to understand everything after I was completely gone. I strangely feel as if a family member of mine has died yet I don't even know if I have the right to feel that way anymore since I abandoned them. Well not abandoned them, I gave them a far better employee then I provided them in my place but you know what I mean. I think.
I don't know if I should call in to work at Xpress or if I even have a valid reason to not go there tonight. I almost feel as if I have to go to work since it's not a family member or something like that but I can barely function here right now as it is. I don't want to do anything but there is a strangely large amount of work for me to do. I surely can't go home early from here but I don't know what to do about Xpress.
I feel just so... so...
Anyone have any advice for me?
Not to put a damper on the party
But I just got back from the vet. Like 5 minutes ago, ok maybe 10. but still.
I took our middle kitten in for the 4th time in a week - and we finally found out whats causing the fever, the glassy eyed stares of pain.
His whole abdominal area was infected with nasty icky green and yellow gunk. Most likely from a puncture wound from our youngest, ornriest kitten. They play fight, but Simba's not gotten a handle on the play part yet it seems. :(
He got emergency surgery and is out already. They're continuing to drain the area, and will be staying at the kitty hospital until tomorrow, possibly Friday.
All you animal lovers please send happy thoughts and good prayers to our baby boy.
So, have you heard the latest? It's been shown that research causes cancer in rats.
Oh wow, that was terrible. But I had to break my mental ice somehow. So, today I have to go to the dentist. I've really never had a bad experience at the dentist (all my pain came from ortho) and yet I seem to detest it with all my heart. I think it's just the idea of someone else poking about in the relatively private space of your mouth. (not nearly as personal as the entry someone left earlier, though.) Anyone else truly despise the dentist? Why? Do share, I'll feel so special if someone leaves a comment. Heh.
Oh, and I'll leave you with one last bad joke, should you feel inclined to read it...
Did you hear about the tire who had a nervous breakdown?
He just couldn't take the pressure.
A handy tip
I've just discovered that if your lunch gives you garlic breath, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies will help in a pinch.
There, now everyone has an excuse to eat cookies.
Some Parenting Advice
So on Sunday we had the History Channel on. Good eduactional stuff. There was some show about the history of the prison system that my husband was watching. During the course of the show it mentioned a number of the crimes that went on in prison including Pimping. My son, 9 almost 10, says "What's pimping?"
"ummmm" as we glance back and forth at each other to see who's going to take a stab at it. Finally my husband takes a stab,"It's something very bad..." still waiting for me to jump on in. I decide to go for the avoidence tactic. "Is your room clean?" OK not the best way to handle it. So deep breath, i walk into his room and give him a very generalized definition of pimping. "It's when one person sells another person for sex (having already had to explain sex previously) And it VERY BAD!"
So now he has a definition. I kid you not, Pimp and Pimping came up on various shows, the rest of the afternoon, even the Simpsons. Finally gave up and turned the TV off.
Moral of the story: Avoidence is always the best policy when dealing with tricky parenting situations.
I have an art history class every Monday and Wednesday at 3PM. We're learning about the Rennaissance right now. On Monday, we saw a slide of Botticelli's Primavera. And now I'm going to regurgitate what I learned about it... hopefully, this will help me for the test that's coming up. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about certain parts. You have to read the painting from right to left. The first figure on the right is a Zephyr (a god of wind or someone who represents wind). He is chasing a nymph whose name I forget. Because she's terrified of him, flowers and vines sprout from her mouth. I think she then turns into the figure next to her who is... Flora (?). Flora is spreading flowers, but mainly around the center figure, Venus. Next to Venus is the Three Graces. I think the three graces are supposed to stand for the attributes of a woman. The male figure next to them is Mercury. Mercury and Venus are the parents of Cupid, who is flying above Venus.
more useless art facts and rants at spitfire.cc
A preview for Chris & Beth
Here's a phrase you may hear your child say a lot: "I found something!" This could mean anything from a cat turd to a $20 bill, so one should try to pay attention.
However, when it's followed with your spouse saying, "Honey, that's not your book, put it back!" you better look sharp. And when your child brings you your copy of "The Story of O", you'd better start planning on where you're going to hide your vibrator. Because if she opens the bottom drawer instead of the top one...
Morning Everyone! (or at least it's still morning here in Vancouver, BC) It's Jen from movable peechie, and I've come to ask you for some mojo.
I was supposed to have an interview at 9:00am this morning, but got a call at 5 minutes to 9 that the interviewer is stuck in traffic. It's now 9:30, and the adrenaline is getting the better of me.
So if y'all can send a few soothing vibes (and good luck vibes!) over this way, it'd be much appreciated.
Thanks to Chris for letting me abuse his space and kill time while I wait for things to happen. Happy Hump Day!
Parenting as adulthood
(I was actually planning to post this in my blog, but seeing as Chris has his open for everyone, I'll share it with you all.)
I was reading a report a while back about what "young adults" (people in their mid 20's-30's) considered made them into "real adults". For me it was a fascinating read, and I wish I had the link to share with all of you.
If I remember correctly, a few people believed graduating high school an adult - something I think most people would willingly argue. I know few 18 year olds who I would consider "adult". A slightly larger group felt that graduating college was the path to adulthood - that walk across your bachelorettes stage somehow transformed you from college kid to full blown adult.
A pretty hefty number of people felt moving out on your own, and/or getting married made you an adult. Paying your own bills, feeding your own body, and getting up on your own to go to work made you responsible. Adult responsibility creates an adult. Managing a household, and a budget, and not to go broke - are these the things that make you an adult? Making a commitment to another human being, living day in and day out with your spouse - does that make you an adult?
But surprisingly, to me anyhow, the largest group in the survey felt that having children is what really made you an adult. Being responsible for creating, supporting and cherishing another life is what induced adulthood to truely blossom.
Is this because people suddenly have someone besides themselves to worry over, or because they feel an obligation to do at least as good as their parents did if not better? Does the smell of baby hair and skin manage to transform a slacker into a responsible parent and adult?
I can't tell you from first hand experience.
I'm only about to be 24. I'll be married this fall, and my fiance' and I are not planning to have children of our own. We may adopt one fine day, but for now we make childfree plans. I've been on my own for what will be six years this June. Do I think I'm an adult? Having never managed to finish college, not yet married, and no children on the way or in the picture?
Some days I see it. When I look in the mirror, or hear myself talk, I notice I've taken on adult ways. When all the bills for the month are paid and I still have $5 in our checking account I feel accomplished. Some days I watch myself and think Wow, when did I grow up? I figure this is a normal response for most 20-somethings. Ask me again next year when I turn 25.
But I'll tell you a little secret, one I've not even told my fiance', if you promise to keep it:
When I see a parent about my age with children, that's when I realize the most how much we, as a generation have grown. I find my self thinking When did this happen?!? in a kind of shock that we who were only a few years ago high school and college kids, are suddenly filling the ranks with parents.
It can be a surprise to see a girl, excuse me, a woman, in clothes from the Gap with a VonDutch hat on, holding her childs hand as they walk into the drugstore. Or seeing two peirced and tattoed punks of my generation pushing a toddler in a stoller at the mall. In a way it's a wake up call to all of us that we're all *supposed* to be adults now.
My uncle and aunt, in their early thirties, suddenly seem more grown up since they chose to have Jeff a couple years ago. Friends of ours who married in thier early twenties have a child or two, and as a group we often find their adulthood-ishness intimidating, I think. We know they have responsibilities to their children that come first.
Now Matt and I have two kitties, and as Chris and Beth know, small furry ones add a great deal of joy to your life. We adore ours, and treat them as our own little ones. We have friends who do the same with their dogs and cats. It's a trend in today's society. But animals aren't children.
Children grow, and are your flesh and blood, your hopes and dreams. You work to keep them safe, fed and taken care of. Suddenly you go from being a couple to being a family.
I believe there is real growth in that.
While I don't personally believe that having kids is what makes you an Adult, I do believe that having children does change your life completely. It's just so often in our society adulthood and parenthood are expected to go hand in hand: you graduate, you get married, you have babies. That's just "the way it is", or at least was for a long time.
So, Chris and Beth, you'll have to let us know next year this time whether you are suddenly more adult, or simply parents. Let us know whether you are finally "adults" or just in a different stage of adulthood.
What do you all think?
Ah, Wednesday. It's 8:07. I've been at my desk since 7:30. Accomplishments thus far: checked my Yahoo email, watched the trailer for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" movie now posted on Amazon, had a Poor Man's Starbucks (office coffee mixed with a packet of office Sugar Free Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa - "ass" is the word that best describes the flavor), posted a couple of messages to the Television Without Pity boards. Working for a government defense contractor has its perks, moral qualms aside. I believe I have some tasks that need to be accomplished at some point this week. We'll pencil that in for Friday. Jason
Wow...I am on the most popular blog in the universe and I have stage fright! Wondering why I started this post at all! Wish you were not so busy Mr. Cactus so you could save me!
Life is a journey...some times really exciting! And some times you have to wonder who came up with words for the passing of time! For instance I became a Grandmother on Friday. Who in their right mind came up with that word?
Instantly it makes a person feel old! I am far from being old! *grin* But I have a Grand Son! Wow! So the world is a happier place! Make a great day out there people and enjoy your life!
Oops I forgot to say this was Gypsy! Duh!
Well, here I am guest blogging, just because I can, instead of doing most of the work for my daughter's science project. She's in first grade so it's more of a "research" project than science project. And we took the easy way out. She's doing her project on the care of pet birds and she gets to bring our parakeet in.
Chris and Beth, this is what you have to look forward to....doing your kids work for them for extracurricular activites and letting them take the credit for it.
Because really, she can barely read and write, how much could she do herself?
BTW, it's Amy from Psycho Babble
Wow, I am so excited! I've never been a guest blogger before. It's almost more than my mind can comprehend. I'm sorry to babble... it's just... SO EXCITING!
I'm sorry that you have to work, Chris. Don't worry, though, because my day will be worse! I am so very NOT excited today. I'm meeting a complete stranger, and it's not cool, because I am very, very shy. Plus, I try not to spread my legs for the first stranger that walks in the room. heh...
Oh yeah, today I get to meet and spread 'em for my brand spanking new gyno! SCORE!
Umm... I don't want to go. I made this appointment in NOVEMBER, though, and thats a very long time to wait and then not go. I mean, sure I could wait another 3 months, but, um... I kinda told everyone at work I was going, and they were all VERY excited for me. I think. Do you think my co-workers really care if I see a gyno? Hmm... I have to go and argue with myself for the next 8 hours...
Have a great day everyone!!
The flabbergasted gaskets of the self-righteous busy bodies will always be busting as they constantly bust the chops of those who love to party hardy!
from Ole Blue The Heretic
February 15, 2005
Live To Sleep Another Day
My wife called it stupid busy...since we're all about the competition here in Cactus-Fish Land, I'll up the ante and say that I've been rediculously idiotically run-Forrest-run insane-in-the-membrane busy. In the last week or so, I've worked myself into a situation in which I have 20 hours of comp time and no possibility of taking it. Were you to have a magical camera that beamed you images of the Cactus-Fish household (you don't, do you?), I'd predict you'd see two very comatose people lying on a couch, or any available flat surface, having some approximation of the following conversation:
Me: I'm tired.
Her: Me too.
Me: Bloo blee mwahabbala gaga.
Her: You're not speaking English anymore.
Me: I know. Too. Much. Effort.
Her: Ganawana kleshto moopy-doop.
So, be thankful that you don't have a courtside view of that.
Valentine From My Baby
Ok, so, what did you do for Valentine's Day? Me, well, I worked and then my wife came home and she worked. I'll admit it wasn't too valentinesey. But I got two cool Valentine's Day cards. One was from Beth while the other was from my unborn child. This kid's going to be frickin' brilliant - it can already spell pretty well and its handwriting wasn't bad for, you know, a fetus. I don't even want to think about how it got the pen.
February 14, 2005
If you're an MT user and you're getting a lot of Trackback spam like me, check out MT-Close2. There's my handy dandy tip for the day...
Lower Your Expectations. Its Monday.
Monday, oh Monday...I know its not your fault being the first day of the work week. But I still hate you so. Damn Romans and your damn calendar!
Here's a little tidbit you might have figured out about me already: I take most everything I do very personally. Whether its work, my relationships with friends and family, or even blogging, I really try to make everything I do a matter of pride. I never want to let anyone down in the process. Suffering because of that is usually something I'm willing to accept (apparently, I'm also something of a martyr). I think, however, I also expect others to approach the things they do in the same manner...and I'm often disappointed when they don't. In the back of my mind, though, I realize that both of these approaches do others and me a disservice. I guess I just don't like the idea of lowering my own expectations so that I won't be constantly dismayed.
Work has been frustrating lately and I've let it get to me. I mean really get to me. The phone calls and "quick action items" this weekend didn't help. You should also know, by now, that I'm pretty selfish with my time. When I leave work, I leave work. I'm also keenly aware that, while I'm so looking forward to being a dad, the quality alone time with Beth, even if its just sitting around watching movies, is going to end soon, at least as we know it now. In any case, working this weekend genuinely aggravated me.
Bitching about work isn't the point because in all honestly, I love my job and the people with whom I work. I guess, for all the funny I try and bring here, I'm an intensely serious person about certain things at certain times. And that side of me? Needs to lighten up occasionally. I'm okay with putting a lot of myself into everything I do but maybe sometimes I just need to remember what the important stuff is.
Haiku For Monday #67
It can't be Monday!
Poof! Where did those two days go?
Damn weekend wormholes!
February 13, 2005
Review: Entering Dreamland
Back in January, I detailed my theory regarding the five types of albums that exist in the world. Combine that theory with the fact that people keep telling me I should write more about music and what do you get? Hopefully a fairly regular review or two.
There are artists who have accumulated enough respect and power that they're allowed to do pretty much anything they want in the industry. David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen all easily fall into this category. They're above the fray, I guess you could say. Robert Plant, despite the outstanding musical contributions he's made, has never belonged in this category. Much of the reason for that is his own doing. Plant has been largely content rolling with the times, producing great albums that, with the passage of time, sound dated. Or he's attempted to travel back in time to relive his Zeppelin days. Don't get me wrong - I love the guy. I've seen him live a few times and own everything he's done. Yet, in his post-Zeppelin career, he had yet to do anything classic, anything that had the potential to move him into that upper echelon of musicians who could do no wrong...that is, until he released Dreamland.
Dreamland finds Plant nostalgic, yet not attempting to recreate the classic, oft-repeated Zeppelin sound. Instead he looks to the songs that inspired him prior to and during those same years. He reinvents, for instance, Bob Dylan's One More Cup of Coffee, Dobson and Rose's Morning Dew and Tim Buckley's Song to the Siren and turns in the most spare, evil version of Hey Joe ever recorded. Even Hendrix would have been afraid.
Reworkings such as these only provide half the brilliance of the album. The other half is provided by the musicians themselves. There are no recording tricks, no flashy keyboard sequencing, no programmed percussion. From the moment you start the album to its end, you only hear musicians playing for the love of the music. Probably the most shining example of this new, stripped down direction is the cover of Buckley's (yes, Jeff's father) Song to the Siren. Sparsely arranged, the centerpiece is Plant. You can hear every syllable, ever inhale and every exhale. His voice soars, falters, and rises again in what must be the most honest vocal performance he's ever committed to record.
I've always figure that if I started a band, I'd try my damnedest to make it sound timeless. You know how you go back and listen to an album you loved ten years ago and it just sounds cruelly dated? I wouldn't let that happen. Instead of using keyboards, I'd use a piano and an old Hammond B-3. Instead of processing guitars, I'd just mic them, nice and raw. No drum machines or fake percussion and no fancy vocal tricks. The music would be honest, which is exactly the way the music sounds here. Plant has not only created an album timeless in its interpretation of classics, but an album that will sound timeless in years and decades to come. And there's this: I own around 3500 CDs. Any album that consistently makes it off the shelves and into my CD player has something to it.
February 12, 2005
Working For The Weekend?
Yesterday, I left work around 4-ish so that I could mindlessly walk around Tower Records in an attempt to shake off the stress of the week. But instead of actually walking around browsing, I ended up fielding phone calls from work. Because I? Am a glutton for punishment and I would have worried what they were about had I not picked up. Then Beth and I got takeout from a local Chinese place. Everyone wanted to join in, including the loan guy who called Beth and one of my co-workers who needed information from me. This, of course, required me to do the most dreaded thing in the history of the world. No, not get kicked in the nuts by a 400 pound sumo wrestler. Work...on a Friday night. I plugged away until 9:30, then had to get up this morning to make sure all the fires were out and people were happy again. So far, so good. But so taking a day off next week!
February 11, 2005
While You Wait
There are many ways in which you can entertain yourself in the OBGYN's office while you're waiting for the doctor to show. Uh, when you're with your wife, of course...you're pregnant wife...
Find stuff to steal. Open all the drawers. You'll find, at your finger tips, a readily available supply of stethescopes, qtips (large and small), gloves (latex and non latex, both dust-free), tampons, "feminine pads", blood collection devices, blood pressure cuffs and really neat gowns.
Her: Steal one of the blood pressure cuff thingies.
Her: We could use it on the cats.
Me: It would never fit their paws.
Her: Oh, we'd put it around their bodies and pump it up. Their heads and butts would get big.
Me: They're cats...not balloon animals.
We're so ready for the kid. You're calling social services now, aren't you?
Soak in the educational opportunities. If you're lucky, there are all kinds of models and diagrams and posters demonstrating your, or your spouse's inner workings. Study. There might be a quiz.
Her: Steal that!
Me: A model of a uterus?
Her: Sure. It looks like a water slide.
Me: A reproductive amusement park. That's Uterine Falls...where you can go fallopian tubing. Its right next to Speculum Speedway. And the Haunted Cervix is always a hit.
Peruse the literature. Read some of the many fine publications available to you.
Her: Want to read an old People? It was a better time - Brad and Jen were still together then.
From left to right: Beth on The Table (I thought that thing on the left was a microphone or something. It isn't.); Look! A uterus; Beth, with a cheap Thomas Kincade knock-off most likely bought from the last Holiday Inn starving artist sale.
Confront reality. Also, while you're there, you can hear your baby's heartbeat. Despite the fact that you may have heard it before, expect that the prospect of becoming a father/mother will become very, very real. However, for a few seconds, reality will scream to a halt, worldly sounds will fade, and that heartbeat will become the only sound in the world. Sure, reality will return and you'll be confronted with the fact that this very real thing will have a very real impact on your life as it stands now. In addition, this heartbeat isn't just a heartbeat at all but something that will actually become a fully formed, screaming, drooling child you'll have to take care of. And despite the fact that you know beyond any reasonable doubt you'll have to change more foul smelling diapers than you ever thought possible, you're okay with that. You're okay with, and even looking forward to the appearance of this little havoc wreaker. But at the same time you've never been more frightened in your life. You've never slept more restlessly (if you've slept at all). But, all these things aside, you know, for that instant in which you hear that heart beat, that somehow it will all work out. It is very real...and very precious.
February 10, 2005
Audioblog: In The Can
Some days, all it takes is one little thing to push you over the edge. And some things you'd think are just common sense...or not...
Work exploded...and I was planning on working from home today too. I guess that's not happening. Happy Thursday! Talk amongst yourselves.
February 09, 2005
This morning, I promised you a coherent set of thoughts about the question I posed. And I had the best of intentions. Despite working an eleven hour day, I managed to draft a manifesto I was convinced would change the world. It would wow you, leave you chanting cac-tus cac-tus cac-tus, breathless with a sense of rebellion and willingness to stick it to the man. But then...well...I read it over just not and realize that it was complete crap. And it was nowhere near as eloquent or insightful as the things you came up with on your own. I deleted it. So, without fancy words, clever phrases and potential chanting, let me just lay it on the line...
Smoking-related healthcare claims increase everyone's payments. Logically, fewer people are able to afford healthcare and, in turn, fewer companies are able to offer affordable healthcare coverage to their employees. I'm no genius but I know that these things, coupled with the fact that smoking isn't all that great for you, are bad. But, still not being a genius, I know that a complete and utter lack of respect for free-will, self-determination and personal liberties aren't so hot either. This is one very steep and slippery slope ladies and gentlemen.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe there are huge government or corporate plots against the huddled masses. But I do believe that, instead of dealing with the problems at hand head-on, both the government and corporations play the "what if" game a little too much. While fiscal responsibility and corporate culpability are worthy of extra thought, I don't think such considerations are valuable when they cross the lines between private and public life and invade my privacy and threaten my civil liberties.
I truly believe that each and every company has a duty to provide something in return to the community in which it thrives. One such duty is employment. To arbitrarily disqualify portions of the employment pool for such an inane - and currently legal - reason as smoking is counterproductive. Perhaps, more importantly, its irresponsible.
I like to think that I live in a country in which I can get a decent job regardless of my beliefs, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I should be able to smoke, sleep, eat, dream, drink, speak and fuck according to my own moral and ethical compass as long as its within in the law. Not the ideals of some corporate CEO trying to make decisions for me and not the moral values as laid out by the President. I want to be appreciated for my talents and my ability to do a particular job, not what I think or feel or do on my own time.
Thank you all for your comments, rants, thoughts and tirades...and the honesty and passion with which you delivered them. Don't forget that your minds, your thoughts, your hopes and your dreams are yours. No one can ever take them away from you. And if someone tries, tell em to fuck off.
Hump Day Opinions
While not breaking news by any means, I'd like your opinions and thoughts. I will, of course, wait to chime in until everyone's had a chance to speak their minds. Here's the story:
Michigan-based medical benefits administrator Weyco recently instituted a policy which bans smoking by employees, whether or not they're on the clock. According to the company, between 15 and 20 of the 200 employees have sought the company's assistance through the smoking-cessation programs it has offered. Four employees were unable or unwilling to quit and were fired on January 1. Weyco now reserves the right to randomly test all employees. Those who test positive for nicotine use will be fired. Weyco argues that smokers constitute a potential threat to the company's bottom line and unfairly raise the costs of healthcare for all employees. In Weyco's words, "any private Michigan business organization has the right to protect itself from the enormous financial damage that tobacco users inflict upon society by destroying their own health."
Here's what I want to know. Do you think Weyco is acting fairly or do their actions encroach on personal liberties? Why?
February 08, 2005
Hi, I'm In Hell
Maybe not hell, but I just got off the phone with one of my more unique clients. Or rather, client-once-removed. Something like that. Anyway, this is the same guy who, last year, fondly reminisced about his days in Vietnam, the guy who looks exactly like Dharma's dad from Dharma & Greg, and the same guy who let loose with violent convulsions for no apparent reason in our last meeting.
To be fair, I don't expect everyone to be computer literate as much as I think its becoming a necessity. I don't expect anyone to know what I'm talking about half the time except for those professionals who are employed to take my advice and do stuff. Apparently, I was aiming a little high with that one.
I just got to hear about the danger of cell phones which are, supposedly, unreliable technology. I just got to hear how this dude's father sold wet cardboard during the Great Depression (before you ask, I have no idea how we got there). I got to hear more about Vietnam, which was just peachy ("I enjoyed it!" says he). Oh, I almost forgot about the unreliability of cars. All the while I'm trying to explain the differences between servers and a laptop (I swear) and the fact that you can't technically "log in" to a piece of paper (I shit you not).
I think I'm calling a cease fire with the IT world for the day. I hope you all are having much less frustrating ones!
String Theory (Again)
I finally got around to checking my site states yesterday afternoon and thought it was about time to check out the latest search strings that have brought people here. Its always a scary but amusing exercise. But first, thanks to all of you who visit! I've had to upgrade my account yet again to increase my bandwidth and capacity and the stats are truly amazing. Now, onto the strings...
Monday sucks Mickey Mouse:
I think I’ve seen this one crop up before. And still, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
How cute is Beth?
Pretty damn cute, I gotta tell ya.
Hey, what I do on my own time is none of your business.
Bob Barker freak:
The dude’s ancient…and he’s got more sexual harassment suits pending than any other man in showbiz. Freak? Yep.
Gross zit popping pics:
I'm sorry, I just had to take that gallery down. It was just killing my bandwidth with its popularity.
Baby picture of Neil Armstrong:
Can I just ask why you need a baby picture of Neil Armstrong? Only after you give me a good enough reason, will I dive into my super-secret archives of famous astronauts and their baby pictures.
Lose my ass:
The secret's out. One really bad habit I've got is forgetting my ass. Restaurants, bars, work...at least once a week I'm forgetting my ass somewhere. I’ve started putting my name and phone number on it with a Sharpie. That’s helped.
Is it rude to ask someone if they are gay?
Yes. Haven’t you ever heard of ‘don’t ask don’t tell?’ Cos you know that's really worked out well for the military.
How can I tell if my cactus is dead?
There will be a very long streak during which there are no posts. No explanation will be immediately given. But certain people “in the know” will eventually break the news to you.
Ahhh, the Braveheart for, well, little people in red and green costumes who hang out in your garden.
Should you wear socks with deck shoes?
Absolutely not. What kind of freak are you? Hey...is this Bob Barker?
Why did Anthony Kiedis cut his hair ?
Because I told him to. But don’t hold me responsible. I wasn’t the one with the scissors.
How to hand wax a table:
Is this a euphemism for something or do you really need to be walked through the elaborate table waxing process?
Tell your pants its rude to stare:
“Pants, its rude to stare.”
Is there any other kind?
February 07, 2005
For many years, Beth and I went to the same Vietnamese place every Friday night. The restaurant became one of our favorite places and the family that owned it became great friends of ours. Most of them were in attendance for our wedding - we're not sure exactly how they managed to keep the restaurant open. Since we moved a little further away, we haven't been there with any great regularity but we returned on Saturday night with our parents and extended refugee family (I can explain) and it was, well, a wonderful feeling. Its true...sometimes you do want to be where everybody knows your name! And speaking of names, you might be interested to know that we used to be in there so much, they actually named a dish after Beth. Yes, its the Beth Special :-)
Eight Years Late: The College Survey
In the lengthy and prolific history of college alumni newsletters there are four simple raisons d'etre (literally raisins of the earth...those silly French) - money, bling, cash or moolah. Sure, it might be disguised as "alumni news" but there will always be a plea for cash there somewhere. Knowing this, I surprise myself by continuing to open envelopes from my old school. A recent piece of college mail, however, was different. It was a satisfaction survey from the history department, a department in which I spent so much time, they decided to give me a degree. Now, before we go any further, I'd just like to remind you that I last set foot on campus with said degree in 1997...here's how I answered.
The first part of the survey was pretty typical. You know the drill: Please rate each of these components of the history degree program based on the five ratings shown - obscenely bad, mildly so-so, not sucky, wildly adequate and couldn't care less." It was only in the second part of the survey in which things got interesting. They went all free-form on our asses and asked essay questions. Like we didn't get enough of this crap when we all actually paid for the privilege.
What did you like best about the History Department/major/program?
You must first know that it is nearly impossible for me to categorize and list the ways in which your history program bettered my life. But, for the sake of brevity, I'd have to say...the hotties! Do you have any idea how much pull a history degree has with the ladies? Surely you, with your bow-ties, Shelby Foote histories and chalk-dusted khakis have availed yourselves of this, the primary and possibly only perk of having a history degree. No? So you haven't gotten out and about, let loose on the streets of Small College Town, your history degrees in tow? A history degree is the best thing that happend to me. All I have to do is start talking about the Civil War, the impact of the Panama Canal on North American capitalism, or the fall of the Soviet Union and the bras are flying! And in case you don't know, I'll let you in on a little secret. The key to any woman's bedroom - bring up the laissez faire approach to a capitalist economy and, gentlemen, you're in! I've muttered quite a few thank you's to you, Small College History Department. Especially after I've woken up in a strange bed with an attractive, or merely willing, woman at my side, pulled on my pizza delivery uniform, hunted around for some jewely or at least a 20-spot, and pointed my moped back on the on-ramp to the real world. Good times, professors. Good times indeed.
What did you like least about the History Department/major/program?
This is a tough one. I mean, what's not to love? That said, I do have a few bones to pick with you. What's up with that class thing? Three classes a week? A little harsh, dont you think? Oh...and there was a real bitch who taught a couple classes on Africa. You fired her ass, right? Apparently, she wouldn't give anything with a penis any higher than a C in her classes. And she checked!
What changes would you like to see instituted in order to make the department and its program stronger (i.e., what would you add to, or delete from, the program?)
First, gentlemen, you continually remind me that you’re not English majors (another department in which I spent the majority of my time). Look at the way that question was constructed! Shame.
After some careful consideration, I’d delete grades, papers, or any sort of judgment that merely makes people feel bad or inadequate. I’d actually like to see class deleted altogether but methinks that would be “pushing the envelope upon which the Gettysburg address was written” if you know what I mean.
What would I add? Cheerleaders! And more field trips, preferably to strip clubs of historical interest. Nothing provides a more effective learning experience than the hand's on approach!
If you had it to do over, would you major in History again? Please explain briefly.
Again, that’s a tough one gentlemen. But I’d have to say yes. I mean, what other subject could possibly be of more use as an IT security consultant? Oh…wait…
What aspects of your major in History have proven most useful to you?
I learned some good lessons, the most important of which was regurgitating facts from stuff that I read. A few years on, I'm still able to read pointless things and spit back condensed version of them. For that I'm eternally grateful. You also helped me perfect the art of writing very very small on index cards and, similarly, the art of concealing said index cards. And wrting stuff on my shoes. And arms. Yes, the arms!
What aspects of your major have proven least useful to you?
I honestly don't have a lot of complaints...but I'd have to say all the liver damage was uncalled for. I don't drink now for a reason. Despite what everyone may think, you guys are wild men. Too many drunken nights consuming Ye Olde Jello Shots, Bloody Coups, Mao Martinis and Drinkin' Lincolns left me a ruined shell of a man with some rather serious mental and physical health issues. But despite the fact that I can only remember things that happened every ten minutes "on the threes" and can only walk in counter-clockwise circles, I guess that's what you do in college.
Haiku For Monday #66
Fresh, hot coffee. A
cool, crisp Monday morn - how nice!
Bullshit, its early!
February 06, 2005
There is a haste with which we all seek to abandon those things in ourselves that most closely resemble our parents. Or we fight tooth and nail for those thing to never manifest themselves to begin with. Its completely understandable. We attempt to escape from those qualities we share with our parents first out of rebellion and second out of a desire, a compulsion, to be our own person.
Yet genetics is ye olde double-edged sword. As the ancient philosophers said standing in the shadow of the Parthenon, "You take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have the facts of life." Those old guys were right. We're unable to pick and choose these little gifts genetics bestows on us. We can't take all the good ones and turn away the bad. We are, quite simply, at the mercy of nature (and a little bit of nurture but really, that's an argument for you sociologists and psychologists in the crowd).
In the past few years, much to my horror, I've caught myself saying something my father would. Or reacting to something the way he might react. Its not only the manner, the psychology behind it - I think I sound like him a lot. I phrase things the same way, use the same intonation. With impending fatherhood, I've started to realize that I'm going to have the same effect on my child. This is a responsibility I'd thought nothing about! How did I not see this coming?
I was explaining all this to Beth recently and she made a great point. "You could do a lot worse than ending up like your father." My dad is the most honest, genuinely decent and truly caring guys I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Growing up, he only wanted happiness for my mother and I and would often ensure this at great cost to himself. The weekend Beth and I got married, for example, he had a kidney stone. He was in incredible pain, barely able to stand, yet wouldn't take anything for the pain for fear of being even more out of it. Of course, he never said anything to anyone. We only learned about it after the fact, a week later when we returned from our honeymoon. He was, it turned out, my best man both literally and figuratively.
My father had an uphill battle defining himself, being his own person. Although, maybe it was actually easier for him since it was clear early on that he wanted to be nothing like his own father. Maybe its easier that way - he didn't have to pick and choose as much as the rest of us. In spite or because of his father, he became successful, compassionate and utterly self-reliant.
The point of all this is simple - we spend a lot of time trying to run away from our parents, trying not to become them. We put a lot of effort into being our own people, defining ourselves against our values, not those of our parents. Yet, no matter how much we try, we end up like them in some way. Its a battle we can't win. I hope I didn't hurt my father's feeings, trying to be all bad-assed and different. I wasn't the straight-A student he was and I didn't fully value many of the advantages I had. So, I guess, the sure-fire way to show how much I appreciate him and the things he imparted that managed to stick no matter how much I didn't want them to at the time, is to make sure that I pass those things on to my child. And make sure that, thirty years down the road when my child is going through the same mental exercise, he or she feels the same way about me as I do my dad. And hopefully, I'll have done my job passing along the best of my father along with the best of myself.
February 05, 2005
Choices...all these choices...
We've got pale straw yellow, harrier yellow, surfboard yellow, moon mist, pale daffodil, bicycle yellow, milkyway galaxy, moonlit yellow, summer harvest, bonnie cream, frosted lemon, lively yellow, candlelight yellow, summer resort, pear, sweet leaf, spring fest, mint truffle, mirror lake, pale wintergreen, fresh lime, primavera, june bud, lime twist, barley green, cheers, sunny, citron ice, lemon ice, moonscape, june vision, feldspar, celery sprig, white willow, spring moon, peridot, green shimmer, spirit whisper, key lime, monet moonrise, cabbage green and honeydew. Where do they come up with some of these names?
February 04, 2005
Music Meme II: The Return
Ahhh yes, another music meme. I got tagged by my lovely wife so here it goes...
1. Song that sounds like happy feels:
Shiny Happy People by REM, Bobby McFerrin's Dont Worry Be Happy (see also: songs that impart a strong desire to gouge your eyes out) and pretty much anything by the B-52's. They could do a song about the attack on Nagasaki and have it come off sounding as happy as little puppies chasing butterflies.
2. Earliest memory:
I've literally got no effing clue. See, I'm not so hot with the memories...at least prior to age six or so. But my happiest musical discovery moments (which sounds like a Disney special but isn't) revolve around me fake-DJing using my dad's stereo, a microphone and a stack of old 45's. I used to love that.
3. Last CD you bought:
Octane by Spock's Beard. I bought it literally 20 minutes ago.
4. Reminds you of school:
Damn boyeee! This is a little on the tough side, dontcha think? Steve Perry's (yes, the hip lead singer of that fresh band Journey) Oh Sherry reminds me of elementary/junior high school. Come on - that song still holds up. High school was dominated by hair metal...so something by Motley Crue, Kix or quite possibly Cinderella. College was grunge - Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden. If I were to make a mix CD of my life, it would be varied and long. It would contain songs that are brilliant, and ones that truly suck. But, hey, its my life.
5. Total music files on your PC:
7,700. And I'm still not done ripping CDs!
6. Song for listening to repeatedly when depressed:
There's a fine line between "sad" and "really freakin' depressed" - there's no better song to push you across that line than Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah. When I'm in need of a single-artist soundtrack to my depression, I've found you can really count on the exceptional Aimee Mann catalog. I love Aimee but her stuff just isn't really the happiest.
7. Song that sounds British, but isn't:
Anything by the Beach Boys! Seriously, nothing says Buckingham Palace, Cliffs of Dover, Cheerio and Number 10 Downing Street like a bit of the old Beach Blokes.
8. Song you love, band you hate:
I have a thriving and very real hatred of The Doors. I'm not exactly sure why but I've never been able to tolerate them. And yet for some odd reason I've heard Touch Me a lot lately and its dawned on me that its actually a really good song.
9. A favorite song from the past that took ages to track down:
In keeping with my love of Aimee Mann, I finally got around to picking up some old Til Tuesday stuff. Sure...I didn't have to look real hard but popping in Voices Carry after, well, a lot of years was pretty cool.
10. Bought the album for one good song:
Since this meme is floating around, I've had a chance to study other people's answers. To whoever answered by responding that every soundtrack they owned fell into this category, I salute you. I typically buy soundtracks for a single song and I'm stuck with the rest...or, worse, an original score! *shudder* I do not like original scores for some reason. With the sole exception of the score to The Red Violin and that is an absolutely astonishing piece of music.
11. Worst Song to Get Stuck in your Head:
This might sound certifiable but for some reason when my brain is feeling especially lame and hurtful, it starts playing either La Bamba or the themes from Hawaii Five Oh or Blackadder on an endless loop. The only thing capable of dislodging it is a good song or something by The Carpenters (which, frankly, is a fate worse than death as far as this blogger is concerned).
12. Best song to dump a beer on someone's head to, then storm out of the bar?
Isn't that the only thing The Doors or The Carpenters are good for? Songs to dump beer on heads by?
13. Who should do this next?
Is anyone still reading? Yes? Okay, then YOU!
Well, good morning everyone! And can I ask what's up with the weather? Rain and temps in the forties they said yesterday...so explain the three or four inches of snow we got!
Regardless, I'm headed to work where I'm sure I'll have to sit through a couple of boring meetings before I'd normally get the chance to post. In the mean time, its been a rough week for everyone, hasn't it? So, here's a little sonic inspiration and goodness for Friday. Enjoy!
By the way, the song is All These Things That I've Done by The Killers.
February 03, 2005
Audioblog: This Thing On?
Did you all forget that I had an audioblog? Cos I kinda did.
T-Shirts and Self-Determination
Anticipating the State of the Union, I threw on my wonderfully, potentially offensive t-shirt yesterday after I jumped out of the shower. The only problem? I worked from home so no one got to see it!
Now, I'm as politically conscious as the next guy. As a matter of fact, I think you'd all agree that I'm a little more involved, a little more concerned than your average American. So is it wrong that I flipped off the TV at nine and walked away from the State of the Union address? I mean, I'd already seen people sucking on television. Its called American Idol. I didn't need more.
Of course, I've read the transcript. I'd be remiss if I didn't see what the guy had to say. There was nothing surprising, nothing shocking, nothing revelatory in nature. Just the same old stuff...social security, Iraq, faith-based initiatives, terrorism. I imagine there were the same little chuckles and the smirks that make me want to throw the nearest chair through my television. And he probably said NU-KYUH-LER a few times which drives me absolutely ape-shit. But there was one line - just one line out of the horribly written speech - that I really had a problem with:
The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm not a left-wing nut-job. I don't believe there are grand plans to take over the world. But I do think that the United States loses credibility and creates more enemies and potential opposition whenever it flexes its political muscles and forces democracy on members of the global community. One of the principles in which we believe above all else is self-determination. The minute we begin to force our beliefs on other nations, we undermine our own credibility. Its that simple.
The ideals and goals of democracy are nice - I happen to believe very strongly that a democractic society, while not perfect, fosters the best in government and its citizens, allows individualism to flourish, protects civil liberties (although that's sometimes questionable) and enforces an appropriate but not harsh rule of law. But for the United States to force democracy down the throats of countries like Iraq and Afghanastan is akin to me forcing you to change your religion or sexual preferences.
Bush's statement? I don't buy it. I think that the United States has shown, in recent history, that we believe its our way or the highway. That we idealize democracy and won't tolerate anything less. That we won't hesititate to bring democracy to a country near you...even if it means bombing the hell out of it first.
February 02, 2005
On Books: December and January
When I prepared my whole review of the top books of 2004 earlier this month, I managed to forget about posting what I’d read in December. Combine that with January’s reading list – I’ve got a tired, pregnant wife so its quite a long one – and I’ve managed to come up with a lot of stuff to review. And that? Would be boring for everyone and a hell of a lot of typing for me. So, to make it less painful for everyone, especially those of you with short attention spans like me today, I give you my concise reviews!
The Man With The Golden Gun: Ian Fleming
Good, but not as good as some of the other Bond books (Dr. No and You Only Live Twice hold up much better). Regardless, I grew up on the movies so going back and reading the books is always fun. There’s a trend though – aside from the general plot, very little translates from the books into the movies.
Kiss Me Judas, Penny Dreadful and Hell’s Half Acre: Will Christopher Baer
Imagine a fucked up Chuck Palahniuk. Okay, okay…a more fucked up Chuck Palahniuk. Interested? Will Christopher Baer is your guy. All three of these novels revolve around anti-hero Phineas Poe. All three are raw, brutal and hallucinogenic. And? Extremely entertaining…in a dark, twisted kind of way.
Girls: Nic Kelman
Probably the second worst thing I’ve read over the last couple of months. Its complete, unadulterated crap. We’re supposed to feel sorry for rich, male protagonists who can’t seem to find any way to get their minds off of young and occasionally underage girls? ‘Cmon! Oh, and Mr. Kelman? When you suggest the works of Faulkner, Melville and Hemingway as 'further reading', you’re left sounding stupid and arrogant especially in light of your own inability to write anything decent.
The Enemy: Lee Child
Occasionally, I just like a good mystery or thriller. This fit the bill nicely. Child’s books are always entertaining. Pulp, but entertaining.
Possession: James A. Moore
I don’t advocate burning books…unless its this one. Moore’s previous novel, Fireworks, was pretty good. I thought I’d give this one a shot because I was in the mood for something mindless and entertaining. It sure was mindless. Perhaps what bothered me most was a complete absence of anything resembling a plot. It was really all downhill from there.
How We Are Hungry: Dave Eggers
I loved his debut, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but in no way did I consider it “the shit” as did so many others. With this collection of short stories, however, Eggers proves he can write. It is, perhaps, the best collection of short fiction I’ve ever read…and I’m not a huge short fiction fan.
Another Bullshit Night In Suck City: Nick Flynn
Flynn’s memoir is truly one of the most absorbing memoirs I’ve ever read. Imagine, if you will, working in a homeless shelter…and running into your homeless father.
A Movie…And A Book: Daniel Wagner
This extremely short volume is truly original. Reading this elicits a feeling similar to the one I’d imagine the actors felt when they read the script for Memento. Wagner guides the Escheresque plot masterfully. Its odd, quirky yet only marginally satisfying after all is said and done.
The Polysyllabic Spree: Nick Hornby
Have you read Hornby’s Songbook? You really should. This, Hornby’s latest effort, is a must for readers. Over the course of several months, he chronicles the books he buys and reads. Yet, as he did with Songbook, essay topics expand to cover his thoughts on just about anything. Hornby, as always, is funny and genuine.
Little Children: Tom Perrotta
Perrotta satirizes suburban life, especially the young, upwardly mobile residents with small children. Little Children is well-written and occasionally funny yet it seemed a little too light and airy to me. Worth reading but its not going to change your life.
The Hanged Man’s Song: John Sandford
Sandford is a reliable writer of mysteries and thrillers and this, his latest, did nothing to change my opinion. Like so many novels of the genre, it was largely inconsequential pulp but it was a great deal of fun to read.
Home Land: Sam Lipsyte
Ever get those alumni newsletters from your old school? The ones detailing what folks from your class are up to now? Imagine would the updates from the self-professed class loser would look like. And there you have Home Land.
Molvania – A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry: Santo Cilauro, ed.
Molvania is a fake travel guide. That’s the joke. But somehow that one joke manages to work through 200 pages of restaurant and hotel descriptions, photographs, and histories of this imagined country. I don’t remember laughing harder at anything I’ve read in a very long time.
Jennifer Government: Max Barry
Barry imagines a world in the not too distant future in which corporations eclipse government influence…and surprisingly its not all that difficult to believe. Not exactly a leap that’s tough to make. Above all else, its deftly handled satire that makes some interesting points but doesn’t allow the entertainment value to suffer because of them.
Gone, Baby, Gone: Denis Lehane
Known primarily for Mystic River, Lehane’s first series of mystery novels have gone largely unnoticed. Which is a shame because they’re brilliant. There can be no doubt that Lehane is talented. This is no exception.
My place of business requires formal attire. I think we're one of the lone hold-outs in the post dot com casual world. But me? Well, I wanted to wear PJs today. Figuring the folks in the office wouldn't really appreciate that, I decided to stay home! Yes...my calendar was empty today - no meetings, no conference calls, no budgets to devise. So home it is...where I can rest, relax and hopefully feel better by the time I have to resume my meeting-laden schedule tomorrow.
February 01, 2005
20 Questions Anyone?
Got nothing to do? Play a game of twenty questions. Seriously, go check it out - its an online experiment in artificial intelligence and its pretty impressive!
Its too early for anything good to have actually happened yet. And frankly, I didn't sleep worth a damn. In my illness, I also managed to keep my lovely wife up all night long. So wit is probably not my strong suit today. But, about last night...in a freaky display of how people grow together in scary ways after they've been together for 12 years...
Her: So, you can't just work from home or call in sick tomorrow?
Me: No, I've got a meeting in Maryland at 9:30, then one at 1:00 and another at 2:00.
Her: Well, no rest for the wicked or weary or whatever.
Me: Did you read my blog this afternoon?
Her: No, why? Should I have?
Me: I used that exact phrase in a post this evening.
Me: Yeah, freaky.
Oh, and yes, as the old phrase goes, a cat on the stove is a penny earned...or something. Pixel was cold. The stove was warm. This is not hard math to do.