Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Music Thursdays

Not a good workday today. However, I did listen to my iPod at work when I found the time. I mention that because I don’t usually bother to bring the thing to the office. This is mainly because I’m unable to write anything when I hear music with lyrics. I always wind up incorporating whatever I’m hearing into whatever I’m writing. Sometimes the results are kind of amusing, but if I’m trying to get something done it’s just annoying. The Smiths start ringing in my ears and suddenly You are human and you need to be loved - and we guarantee you’ll feel loved by our exclusive, online savings!

Same thing goes for loud conversations. I’m far too easily distracted for anything more demanding than smooth jazz when it’s time to write copy.

Fortunately today the tasks I had to take care of at work actually got a shot in the arm from the music. It was nice. However, I discovered myself hearing the first note of a lot of songs and hitting the skip button. I can write about the blessings and curses of discovering and enjoying music now that we mostly get single cuts and can skip those without the need to fast forward - but I’ll save that for another day. The real issue is that of the 2,000 or so songs that are crammed into my iPod, today I was only in the mood for a handful of them.

I’m either really fickle or I need some new music.

Please do me a favor and tell me about one or two of the songs that are raising the hair on the back of your neck these days. I’m in search of the same kind of bliss as when I discovered Imperial Bedroom and wore that cassette out on my Walkman. I am older; I know subtle psychological and hormonal changes mean that I’ll probably never get as excited as I was about Oingo Boingo, XTC or even Aaron Copeland. But who knows.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Day

I carried my camera around with me today.

Click here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Haunch

So far I’ve avoided gaming systems. We bought Deb’s parents a Playstation years ago. After they stopped playing it I brought it home in the hopes it would entertain the girls. They weren’t interested and thankfully I wasn’t either. I say thankfully because I don’t need another excuse to sit on the couch. You see, the right system with the right game is the gateway to my 600-pound, bury me in a piano case, evolution.

That said I recently purchased the right system and the right game. It’s Metroid on the Nintendo GameCube.

My sister, Kim discovered Metroid for me. Back in 1986 I would go to her house and play it whenever I could get the Nintendo controller out of her hands. Since then, I’ve had a Metroid Monkey on my back. Lately I’ve been getting my fix from the Game Boy Advance I’ve been carrying around with me on trips for the past few years. It’s really the only game I play (and replay again and again).

If you’ve stuck with this post to this point, then you’re on the edge of your seat wondering why I’d buy a gaming system now. If I was able to resist it all these years, why would I invite one into my home? Well. . .

A couple of weeks ago I noticed some kids literally camping out in front of our local Wal-Mart. They were in their Carhartt coveralls inside a makeshift shelter blocked off with overturned shopping carts. They were waiting for the new Nintendo Wii. It was Friday night. The systems went on sale Sunday morning. I stood in the parking lot and stared at them as they peeked at me from behind their tarps. I wanted to speak with them and find out why they were willing to freeze their balls off for two nights in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

It wasn’t too hard to resist the urge to talk to them. But it occurred to me that with the advent of the Wii eBay would more than likely be swimming with GameCube owners trying to dump their old systems. Sure enough, I found an old GameCube for half what I would have paid for it new. It arrived on Friday and that evening I went out and rented Metroid Prime.

I’ve spent hours downstairs in the basement. The girls sit next to me and provide encouragement but also remind me over and over again that I’m going to die. Dying is fine with Allie because that means I might relinquish the controller so she can experience the joy of blasting War Wasps and Shriekbats.

So far, I think I have it under control. But I’m pretty sure things are going to get ugly. I’ll start missing work. Personal hygiene will get tossed out the window. Anything that distracts me from the game will be met with white hot anger followed by smoldering resentment. Once I hit 400 pounds I won’t be able to make it up the stairs anymore. That’s when I’ll start sneaking the girls toys and cash to bring me food after Debbie starts to refuse. My thumbs will callus and my eyesight will deteriorate to the point where I’ll have the same faculties as a 600-pound, hairless mole.

Right now I'm in the basement with the girls. They're sitting next to me fighting over the GameCube controler like two hyenas with a piece of zebra haunch.

Better reclaim my haunch before things get out of hand.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sort of. . .

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting in the stairwell waiting for Julia to get up. From here I can intercept her as she beelines for our bedroom door. This will allow Deb a few extra minutes of sleep.

I can hear Allie snoring. It's not snoring, really. It's intense mouth breathing. As bad as that might sound, it's actually kind of sweet as it reminds me of when she was a baby.

Today I hope to get both girls out of the house. On Thursday many families in our neighborhood were pretending they were the Kennedys on Nantucket Sound playing touch football in the warmer than usual November air. Okay, they weren't playing football, but they were at the park on the swings or dribbling soccer balls. As for me and mine; we stayed inside and overfed ourselves like veal.

That's not entirely true either. Boiling a turkey in oil on Thursday meant a portion of our meal prep took us outside. Then there was a walk through the neighborhood in the hopes that some movement might prevent portions of our distended colons from rupturing.

Speaking of turkeys - ours got a little crispy. After brining it and employing the same kind of mechanization one might go through for a shuttle launch I decided to try to see if I could melt our turkey into a solid block of cinderized bird. You can see a movie of the actual frying by clicking the picture of the bird or right here.

As hard as I tried to screw it up, the bird still tasted pretty good. It didn't dry out. The brining process made the skin fairly salty, but otherwise the meat was tasty. As for the other dishes my scalloped corn wasn't a big hit and I don't think introducing baked bananas into the yams went over (although I liked it). But otherwise the food was good. Nothing to pee your pants over, but it was still a good excuse to gather eveyone together.

I really like Thanksgiving. The part where I had to watch my father-in-law put my cash into his wallet after losing it to him at cards was a little hard to take. But that was just a minor hiccup. Plus, I'll eventually win it back.

Julia's up now. We're on the couch looking at each other wondering what one of us is going to do. Now Deb's up. She made Julia some toast. I'm listening to her chew. It's not as endearing as Allie's deep breathing, but it still makes me smile.

I just farted.

Smells like turkey. Sort of. . .

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


A sonographer shoved his transducer into the soft, tender tissue of my neck this morning. I couldn't see his face because my head was turned and my eyes were pinched closed in discomfort, but I'm pretty sure the bastard was grinning. He was smiling as he tried to find out if the fat in my neck could be permanently bunched up beneath my lower jaw.

When he did the other side, not only did he try the same experiment, but my face was close to being buried in his armpit. I think he was wearing Axe deodorant this morning. I was grateful for that. I was also grateful for the fact that my pain would now have some symmetry. There would be no need to favor one side of my neck over the other. They would both feel like hamburger.

I noticed sonographer guy had kanji or some Chinese character tattooed on his arm. He also had a band aid on his neck. I'm guessing that was covering some other bit of ink he had. Probably something he picked up in prison. I'm sure his ultrasound technique was another thing he acquired during that period in his life.

Truth is it wasn't all that painful. But I heard other people who were being screened today make the same complaint about our ex-con sonographer so I know I'm not just being a big baby. But none of us dared to complain in front of the sadistic sonographer. In fact, we were all extremely polite. We wanted him to do a good job and find the plaque in our carotid arteries so we could all go back to Ruth's Chris for another butter seared fillet. Of course the reality is the asshole probably dislodged whatever plaque was in there and in a moment or two my right side will go numb.

Sort of sounds like me and the airlines. Too chicken to bitch. Too afriad someone is going to spit in my food or hand me a granola bar without a smile. Too scared that I'll hurt someone's feelings.

I'll get the results in three weeks. If it's bad news I'll be torn about hunting down my sonographer and shoving a transducer up his ass. However, just because I'm a little coflicted doesn't mean I won't do it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

New Multimedia Page

Use the link on the left to check out the new Multimedia page.

It'll take a while to get everything moved over there, but you'll be able to get some idea of what I have in mind.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blood Squirted Out of My Eye

The flight was delayed because of mechanical problems. Because there was another flight to the same destination right after my flight, they kept letting people on the plane. Then everyone on the plane sat and waited for the last minute arrivals' luggage. My 40 minute flight took two and a half hours.

Not a huge deal, but I'm so tired to being held captive like this. But who gives a flying fart at the moon when there is no recourse for any of us? I know I'm afraid to voice my displeasure when I know a single word from a flight attendant could mean I'm off the plane explaining myself to security.

Northwest Airlines: kiss my ass.

I remained angry as I drove home on my temporary tire that now has to last until Saturday. And that's if I get an appointment and can manage the logistics.

It's not so much the inconvenience, it's the fact that the airlines have made me hate to fly. I don't mind so much the extra security. I don't mind so much waiting my turn and being courteous in the face of extreme inconvenience and crappy conditions. What bothers me is that we are no longer customers. The airlines pay lipservice to the bygone days when they worked to keep our business. But the truth is we aren't individuals who have paid for a service, we are merely cargo and cargo that is extremely fortunate to have secured a seat at that. So sit down, shut up and while you're at it, fork over $2 for some Pringles you undeserving piece of crap.

I've had enough with airports for a while. Speaking of which, have you ever tried to fart in a crowded airport? Sure, you could go to the bathroom, but you're trying to get to your flight (that you didn't know was delayed). There's no where to truly let go and if you try to sneak it out, everyone is so close you're going to get caught.

Now I'm sick. I'm sure it's not because I couldn't fart properly. I'm sure it was the massive burrito I choked down between flights.

So I'm taping the keys and it's a little louder than normal. It's because I'm mad. What's more, my family wishes I would have stayed in San Diego. And the kicker is, I have the green apple splatters.

I can't wait to get back to the office in the morning.

Oh, Boo hoo you say?

Bite me.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Goodyear? Michelin? Yokohama?

The car made a strange noise on Friday. I slammed my fist on the dashboard and it went away. On Saturday, around 5:00 a.m., on my way to the airport, the noise came back. This time, I slammed my fist on the dashboard and it didn't go away. It got worse and then turned into the unmistakable THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of a flat tire.

The only way I was going to make my flight was if I got Deb and the girls out of bed and switched cars. 15 minutes later I left my family on the side of road waiting for the tow truck I called.

I felt awful.

I made the flight, got to San Diego and worked the afternoon away.

The plan was for Deb to take the car and get the four new tires that I should have put on the car weeks ago. During the day I took a break and called Debbie. She told me she tried to get the car new tires but after waiting for hours for Tires Plus to get the job done she gave up. She went to the airport and switched cars in the parking garage and took our sleepy girls home after a long day.

I got upset with her for not taking care of the car. It was an irrational reaction brought on by a bad day and the fact that I don't like being away from home anymore.


Right now, I'm looking out my window and I have a beautiful view of the bay. The weather is warm and tonight I'll probably have a good dinner some place nice.

I'd rather be cleaning my garage.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

She Remembered Our Anniversary

I can't believe how quickly time passes. It seems like just yesterday we got together. Who knew that I'd fall so hard so fast for her. And it's not just because she's beautiful. I know I can rely on her and there's no denying it; she's a hell of a lot of fun to ride.

I've owned my motorcycle for a year now. Last week Deb handed me a card from my motorcycle that reminded me that our love affair has lasted 12 months.

This cracked me up.

Then Deb came downstairs with a garment bag. She got me the summer weight, armored jacket I had been looking at and trying on for months at the motorcycle shop.

This won my heart.

This isn't the first motorcycle jacket I've received from her. The coat that Deb got me for Christmas last year is great. It has an amazing amount of vents and zippers and removable layers. The problem is it's Cordura and there's little or no air flow through the material. Wonderful for winter, but this past summer if I wasn't moving at a decent clip I would bake in my motorcycle jacket. But I promised I would wear my armor and I'd rather sweat a little than not ride.

So now, thanks to my wife, I'm a man for all seasons.

There's a picture of me in my new jacket in the photostream if you're curious. You'll notice, Deb's gift matches my helmet. She says that's just a happy coincidence. I say it's just further evidence my wife rocks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We Ran Out of Razor Blades

This morning I asked Deb to come look out the window at our front yard. The perfect rows I had created with the lawn mower a few days ago had been replaced with hundreds of footprints.

It was another busy Halloween. Each year our corner lot feels like the epicenter for candy begging. A year’s worth of yearning for Fun Size Snickers and tiny bags of Skittles explodes on to our streets and washes up on our doorstep.

We rode the wave ourselves. Allie and Julia obscured their Super Girl and Barbie Cheerleader costumes with their coats (it was damn cold) and hit the streets for sweets. It didn’t last long. I made the mistake of trying to get Julia to ease her candy burden by transferring some of her candy from her plastic pumpkin to a bag I was carrying. She freaked. Then Allie tripped on a curb while running and scraped her hands. By the time we got back to the house both girls were sobbing and, I’m pretty sure, they were convinced I had something to do with ruining their Halloween.

Things settled down quickly as soon as Allie took over handing out candy and Julia found a warm lap from which to view all the action. I understand their contentment. After all, why traipse around the neighborhood in search of Halloween when Halloween parades right by your front porch? So we sat on the porch with the Mummy, a fog machine, spooky sound effects and a few strobe lights thrown in for good measure.


That was the count this year. I don’t think that’s the record, but it must be close.

Even Dan was there. I kept him awake until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. (his time) to try and capture the experience via a Web chat. Mostly he saw streaks of light on a black background punctuated with occasional glimpses of my poorly lit, round face trying to convince him that we were having the best time ever.

It may not have been the best time ever. But it was a pretty good time. A good time that produced two plastic pumpkin heads half-filled with candy.

I can’t let the girls eat all that candy. It’s just not good for them.

Don’t worry. I’ll think of something.