Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Q&A Tuesday -- #3

Well, it’s that time of the week again. Time to answer your burning questions. Though if your questions are burning, I suggest you see a doctor. It could be something serious like Meningitis and we most certainly do not want that. As usual, there are a lot of good questions this week. I’m particularly excited because I think I might actually be able to answer these. Ok, let’s all sign our waivers of liability and review the rules: no, taking notes, no putting any of my suggestions into practice unless I say otherwise, no cross checking my stories facts. Also, don’t share any of this with little kids or grade schoolers. They are almost as impressionable as I am. And with that, let the Q & A begin…just remember, this is too long to spell check

Brandy is first off this week and she poses quite the challenge (that’s what she said, Bran) with not one, or two, or three, or even four, but five whole questions, as only the most excellent of teachers can do. Gulp, here we go…
1. Favourite superhero?
Well, I have created two different superheroes over the last year, so I am partial to those. But, I’m an Aquaman, uh, man. I’ve always liked him and I always liked swimming. Plus Aquaman had that cool bleached blonde hair that only swimmers get. I think he was the most underrated of the whole Justice League and he wasn’t voiced by Kasey Kasem, so he gets the nod in my book.

2. Guilty pleasure?
(you can discuss the Marilyn Monroe dress fitting here if you want).
Uh no. That’s for your birthday and cameras are strictly prohibited!! I guess I’m not an exciting guy, because my guilty pleasure is either grilling lobster tails when alone or playing and singing along to classic country in my truck while driving with the volume so high that my ears ring and flinch for the next few days. Ok, all of that was just to make me look cool (did it work). My guilt pleasure is singing Kenny Rogers’ ‘Daytime Friends and Nighttime Lovers’ as loud as I can or all high parts in the Bee Gees songs from the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack. Actually, after sharing this, I feel it’s more of an Embarassing Pleasure than a guilty one, but try it and you’ll be hooked.

3. Last lie you told?
Easy. It was at work and was related to being asked the status of a project I am working on. See, I’m not actually working on it. Bwahahahaha. But I guess I’d better get started on it now that I’ve mentioned it publicly. Dangit!!!

4. Person who knows you best?
Wow. I’d like to be mysterious and say no one, but then that would become my new answer to your question #3. Great question! Probably my best friend. We’ve known each other for a very long time and he just gets me. I also had a goldfish once that seemed to nod or shake his head when I asked him questions and he was only wrong like twice, but he died and I had to flush him down the toilet. He got stuck and the plunger kinda made it worse. You know what, let’s not talk about that right now…

5. Ahh!! You are locked in a room with a box of Q-tips, a mousetrap, a stick of gum and a mirror. Evil villians are standing outside the door in case you try to something funny. How do you escape?
I’m thinking this is Bran’s patented ‘revenge’ question, or pregunta if you speak Spanish like I don’t. OK, I don’t remember which one, but I think it was Goldfinger. It was definitely a Connery Bond film (who dressed nowhere near as cool as Roger Moore with his butterfly collars and bell bottom slacks, by the way). In this particular Bond classic, he is locked in a cell. He finally gets the gurard to come in and somehow through the magic of cinema and pure Bondness, he ends up clinging upside down to the ceiling, even though he had no visible means of getting up there. He then attacks the guard, says something witty, saves the world and makes sweet Bond lovin’. Wow, I hope I didn’t blow the plot there for anyone. Any way, that’s what I would do to escape. I’d save the Q-tips for later (has anyone noticed how expensive they are getting). I’d use the mousetrap to slice me some cheese after I escape, I’d chew the gum and blow bubbles because that’s my thing and I’d check my hair in the mirror. Then I’d ignore my bosses right before the credits roll because Ursula Andress would be in major wow of me…

I like Patti’s question: ‘Speaking of dung (in reference to yesterday’s crappy post), is that where the word "dungarees" originated? It just hit me while reading. That could be a Tuesday Q & A question, I suppose, but I already contributed.
Here’s the thing Patti. Since your blog comment ended in a question mark, I have to answer it. So, my answer is, I have no idea. Although I bet the chances are pretty good. Dungarees, or jeans, were worn by cowboys and cowboys probably feel in horse ‘stuff’ a lot. I think they were originally called Arees, but they kept getting dung on them and the name was lengthened because they proved to be dung resisitant. Hence the name Dungarees. Ok, I am going to regret ever typing this explanation some day.

Patti also asked
1) Assuming Lucy is the older of your twins, and without getting too personal or nosy, my question is: Does Lucy get to open her birthday presents first?
No, they open everything at basically the same time. Not having them do so makes things very, very ugly. Synchronizing the timing is a lot of work, but it’s well worth it.

2) We have learned that vanilla is your favorite flavor of ice cream. But what is your second favorite?
BBQ Pork. I have an ice cream maker and am really tempted to try this one. It can’t be that bad. Although cold congealed fat does not sound that appealing. OK, Lime Sherbet it is!

Ralph, my BBQ brother in arms, posed a somewhat personal question. He asked ‘Is a guy's BBQ manhood determined by the depth of char on the grilled specimens.’
First of all, I don’t think a guy’s manhood should ever get too close to the grill. Having said that, yes, perhaps that’s the most fair method. The more char, the worse the guy is at true ‘Q. Some guys just put the meat on the grill and it looks like it went through reentry from space. It’s a travesty!! Yes Ralph, that’s the new standard for good grill mastery. By the way, I never char my food…

My best blog buddy Odat asked about a favorite topic of mine: ‘Why is your dog named Mabel?’
Well Odat, I wanted to name her Earnhardt, but was overruled, by two one and a half year olds!! I wanted something kind of southern and old fashioned (because Maybe Baby - that’s what I call her - is my first dog). Aunt Bee didn’t work, Mabelline only made me start singing the Chuck Berry song and Mabel just kinda stuck. She’s my 85 pound Golden Retriever lap dog. I put her in the dang recliner with me once when she was a puppy and she never got over it!!

Kat, who I could get into a lot of trouble with if we ever hit the town, said this: ‘Your blog cheers me up when I'm feeling blue. That isn't a question. That is a known fact.’
Yes, I realize that is not a question, but seriously people, that’s one heck of an endorsement!!! Thanks Kat!

I am not very good at geography, but Airam posed a few geography questions. Well, ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but is about someplace on a map….She asked ‘Is there really a Corona, California?
Yes, Airam there is really a Corona, CA and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Sorry I cold not resist that. If you aren’t familiar with Southern California, let’s just say we are 25 minutes from Disneyland. Corona sits between Pabst, California and Michelob, California. If you are familiar with country music, Gretchen Wilson had a song last year called ‘California Girls,’ or something like that. In it she sings a line about ‘Sacramento to Corona.’ So see, because it’s in a country song, it’s real. We are at the border of Orange County. We are so close to there, you can actually see the Orange stripe of paint that marks where Orange County begins.

If so do they offer Corona beer in the cities water fountains there?
No, the water tastes bad though and they let drunks sleep on park benches

Is Corona the beer of choice?
There are parts of this town where I swear rubbing alcohol is the beer of choice!

Basically this is a question about beer. Are you drinking beer right now? You now owe me 2 dollars!’
No, I cannot drink beer because of my heart medication. However I do like to put different flavors in my diet coke and when the caffeine kicks in, I am a riot! As far as the 2 dollar part, a lot of people have been asking me that. It’s puzzling because I was pretty sure that I specified I was not being truthful and had not real intention of paying anyone. I’ll give you a beer though…

AndreAnna, who could very well be my lost surrogate sister, asked two questions very near and dear to my heart. No not about the twins, about cheese!

‘What is your favorite type of cheese?’
I should be fancy and say something like Havarti or Mizithra or Brie, but then I would by lying and that might discourage future Q & A participation. I’m a cheddar guy. I don’t know who originated cheddar, but I can tell you that it’s Latin for ‘Slow Yellow Death.’ Despite the morbid moniker, I still try to shoot up eat cheddar every day. It can be mild or it can be sharp, which ironically are the two classifications of chest pain that one experiences just prior to a heart attack. So, be careful with cheddar! AA also asked ‘Do you always prefer it melted?’
Prefer yes, always eat it melted, now. There are just those times where you cannot get to a cheese melting device. I tried the hood of a car in a parking lot on a hot day once, but it got a little gooey and ran down the side of that car. It did not help that the owner walked out as I was licking it off his hub caps. He didn’t really care when I explained that his car was much cleaner than mine and therefore more suited to cheese meltation. And speaking of melting cheeses and such, I am now craving a trip to The Melting Pot! Maybe I’ll just go put a bunch of stuff in a bowl and melt it in the microwave. Do you think 22 minutes is long enough to melt it?

My neighbor down south, Frigga got some questions in this week. These are my mind bending questions, but I’m up to the challenge! HA HA!!

1. How do you fry coke?
I’m not quite sure Frigga, but I plan on working on answering that tonight. However, if I don’t blog tomorrow, it’s because there was a horrible, horrible accident in my kitchen. I bet it’ll smell good though!!!

2. How come when I'm really, really, really tired I can't fall asleep?
Our bodies are weird things. When our brain realizes that we aren’t asleep, even though we should be, it works overtime to get us to sleep, which actually only keeps us more alert. However, don’t fear because there is a way to combat this. How do you feel about oxygen deprivation? It’s just a thought…

Ok, thanks everybody!! With a little luck, we’ll do it again next week!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

This Idea Smells Like…

I came across an AP story this morning about yet another aspect of the 2008 Olympic Games in China. Simply put, an organization in China is preparing to make Olympic souvenirs like little Olympic trophies depicting Pandas in the various Olympic Sports. Ok, that’s a cute idea, but the souvenirs will be made out of…PANDA DUNG. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh, come again? Yep, Panda DUNG! Yesiree, not only would you be lucky enough to attend the Olympic Games in China, but you could take home some lovely molded Panda ‘Passings’ to remember the event. I am actually booking my flight right now! Thanks Expedia!!!!

The story says that the souvenirs would mostly be made out of things like undigested bamboo found in the Panda dung and that it would be sterilized. Apparently Pandas don’t digest bamboo very well (I guess it’s kind of their version of ‘in corn/out corn’). I’m sure there is some eco-friendly benefit from doing this, but what it all comes down to is that you would be buying Panda feces made pretty. I realize that Pandas are cute and rare and endangered, but it doesn’t meant that their dung is too. Isn’t the white Rhino or some other animal like that endangered as well? Have you seen what comes out of an animal like a Rhino? What’s next cute little pie and cake sculptures made out of cow pies? Will their soon be hair care products on the market made of camel spit? This all sounds like a really, uh, crappy idea.

How do you put something like that on a resume? Obviously you want to dress up the description of any job you have ever had, but how do you describe this one? Are you a ‘Fecal Matter Recycling Expert?’ Do your duties include ‘cleansing of Panda dung for preparation for consumer consumption?’ How about ‘Panda Waste Artist?’ And really, what job does this qualify you for? Do you look at the guys that follow behind horses in parades with buckets and shovels as the internship or training grounds for Panda Waste Artists? Do the Fecal Engineers in training practice honing their skills on Play-Doh or modeling clay or worse yet, pet waste? What does a job like this pay? What are the benefits and are gloves provided at no expense? Is the pay scale related to the relative size of animal’s waste?

You know, I have a fairly large dog. The dog likes to eat and obviously requires cleaning up after. I’m just sayin’…

Let it be known that I would be more than willing to sell Mabel’s byproducts to a company wanting to make little sculptures of the characters on the Office or little NASCAR replicas. I mean, if it’s such a good idea and all. Talk about unlimited supply potential here. I mean have you ever been to a zoo?? Or a dairy?

Since I’m now to the point where I can really do nothing other than make crappy bad jokes, I should stop before I really stink up the joint. Besides, I’m going to start working on a new cologne using the essence of skunk….

*****Here’s a reminder that tomorrow is once again Q & A Tuesday. Get your questions in and I’ll happily fumble around until I have typed enough so that it appears I honestly tried to answer them.*****

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Repost Sunday: It Just Could Be The Greatest Excuse Ever For Missing Work

I rerun some of my older posts on Sundays as a way to highlight stories that you may have missed. Just think of it as 'thought recycling' and a day off, or that I am incredibly, incredibly lazy. This one is from last December...

Let’s just be upfront, most people work because they have to not because they want to. That being said, there are times when people call into work because they don’t want to go into work that given day. When I saw a story in Reuters about just such a thing, I read it looking for tips (that’s a joke of course, as my great boss has been known to frequent this blog). Boy did I find a tip. It could be one of the best excuses for missing work ever. According to Reuters, a young woman in Germany text messaged her parents that she had been kidnapped and therefore could not report to the fast food restaurant where she was employed. Yes, it is a great excuse but I’ll get back to that in a minute. She wasted such a great excuse because she wanted to avoid paying a coworker the Euros she owed that person.

For her, that’s it. She used it, blew it, and can never pull that excuse out of the ‘calling in sick’ bag ever again. For most people, they call into work and say that they aren’t feeling well, are sick, have a migraine, were temporarily disoriented and drove to the wrong office, just had a great uncle four times removed pass away, their pet or child is ill or their alarm didn’t go off. These excuses are nothing revolutionary, but are just realistic enough to be believed. I remember last year before I had to have open-heart surgery I would feel guilty when I called in sick saying I didn’t feel well, felt weak and was having trouble breathing. I worried that someone wouldn’t believe me, which could result in losing my job and how my attendance record for the year would look. When I ended up needing and having surgery, I knew that my days of calling in would not be an issue when my record then showed that I missed four months to have an artificial heart valve installed.

The genius of using your abduction as a reason for missing work lies in its boldness. It is so bold that if you actually used it, most people wouldn’t question it because it’s such an obviously fabricated excuse that they know you were risking your credibility and job by using it. Therefore, it must be true. It’s truly a brilliant excuse, if you are still following my warped logic. There is only one reason to even try to tell such a bold-faced lie and expect to get away with it. Because it’s true. That’s why I think it was such a waste when this lady used it just to get out of paying money she owed. She admitted to authorities the following day that she had made it all up. Now she’s in pretty big trouble.

If you were abducted, it should fall under some special personnel/human resources clause and be worth a lot more time than just one day. We will first operate under the assumption that your kidnappers held you for more than just one day, since I believe that’s generally what happens. When you finally are released, there must be the need for post-kidnapping counseling, as you could not be expected to be released from your captors and show up ready to do your job the following day. See, we are already over one week of time because of this abduction.

That’s one more reason why I think this could be the greatest missing work excuse ever and I’m not even going to begin exploring the whole getting in on the imaginary ransom racket yet. Well, I hope I’ve made my point. I’m done with this post and now I’ve gotta go make sure all my accomplices, I mean friends, get their stories straight when I turn up missing from the office after the New Year…

**Really Big Disclaimer: I would never try any of what I have just mentioned. While it is extremely clever, it is also illegal (I think, I really don't know but I wanted to sound stern). Now, should I happen to call in sick from work next week, please be advised that it is merely a coincidence.

***Remember to get your questions in because Q & A Tuesday is on, well, Tuesday***

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The One About Music And Stuff

Things are a little different today. The Rock Chick is hosting a blogathon to support the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. She will have updated posts for the next 24 hours.

That is some SERIOUS dedication and deserves applause. I wrote a post for the occasion that she will have posted for a little while today. She wanted a post about music, but I wrote about pig farming. I hope she doesn't mind. I'd hate to ruin her blogathon...

Did I really do something that incredibly stupid, well, you'll just have to head over to The Rock Chick's blog and find out!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lazy Friday Repost: Want To Get Away From It All? Get Yourself A Country.

I have a pretty important doctor's appointment in L.A. today, so it's a repost. Sorry. The following post is why I'll never be allowed to be a politician. Enjoy!

I would never suggest something like that title if it weren’t true. According to Reuters, this time it is true. How would you like to own the apparently sovereign principality of Sealand? The island (it’s a generous explanation because it looks more to me like the wreckage of Blofeld’s off shore oilrig from ‘Diamonds Are Forever.’ Maybe something happened to the rest of it?) was built during World War II as a fortification against German bombers. In 1967, a retired army officer purchased the two tower, 16-room ‘island.’ But that’s not all; tell them what else they get: a Sealand flag, constitution, postage stamps, national anthem, and even Sealand coinage. No, they are not chocolate medallions. Wikipedia (I really did my research this time) says that as a principality, Sealand has to be transferred instead of sold, but it can still be yours!

What a great comeuppance to those pesky neighbors down the street who seem to have everything and flaunt it at every opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great to shut them up by inviting them for a quiet weekend in your very own country? Seriously, how could you not resist doing that? Whoever successfully takes possession of this small country needs to be researched thoroughly. I joked about James Bond earlier, but really, this is how dictators and world domination mongers get a foothold. First, you give them some money, then you give them a base of operations and before you know it, they are making space ships disappear and building fake volcanoes and miniature exact DNA replicas of themselves. Autonomy is just the shelter they need.

Power is a strange drug that can go to people’s heads. It’s often been said that you give a tyrant an island and you’re giving them the world. OK, I made that up, but it’s good, don’t you think? The availability of Sealand is really a unique event since there can’t be too many more small islands on earth that can still be bought up and made autonomous. Well, OK, at least there aren’t that many that Disney hasn’t bought up to be used as destinations for their cruises. Unfortunately, the domain of small independent countries is probably only open to the very wealthy. Does anyone know if lending institutions grant loans for the purchase and establishment of new countries? I guess I could always sign a bunch of pledges up to sponsor me in a walkathon to raise enough money to buy Sealand. The only problem with that is that I would actually have to walk from my home in Southern California to Sealand (somewhere off the coast of England) to get anywhere near enough money to afford the country. My guess is that somewhere near the Arizona border I would either decide to quit or drop dead from exhaustion, so that option is out. I had already thought of approaching friends and relatives to become investors, but that’s just going to end up in messy litigation when I attempt to change the name of my newly purchased country to Funlandia or Happy Time Isle…

Now if I only could find a way to purchase Sealand, because I have a lot of great ideas to share with you. I would finally be able to institute my failed Funday initiative (hence my wanting to name the country Funlandia) that would effectively ban Mondays from the Sealand calendar forever. I could make the official bird the plastic pink flamingo and finally make ‘Islands In the Stream’ our National Anthem. My country would completely stop for the Daytona 500 and believe me; my country would send a curling team to the Winter Olympics and a bowling team to the Summer Olympics. What, there’s no bowling in the Olympics? (Note to my foreign deputy minister: prepare petition on behalf of my country to get bowling instituted as an Olympic exhibition event).

In my small autonomous country, stretch pants would be declared punishable by fines and the ‘Just Because They Make It In Your Size Doesn’t Mean You Should Wear It Law’ would be passed and enacted. Unfortunately, I would have to declare war, which obviously will be the first controversial act of my nation. It won’t be a war of revolution or religion though. It will be a war on crappy reality TV. We’ll probably lose it, be forced to surrender and be internationally disgraced for a time, but I guess those are the chances you take as a young country.

I promise that our new nation will conduct itself with grace and dignity, never wear white after Labor Day or socks with sandals. I think this will get us admitted to the UN, but my sleazy lawyer disagrees saying something about international law, diplomacy, legitimacy and he keeps using the phrase ‘a real country.’ Whatever! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find Sealand on the map and finish writing my business plan for world domination. Uh, I mean ownership of a small autonomous country…Bwahahaha!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Uh, I Suppose We Should Play Work While At Work…

Before I go any further, I need to give the biggest props of all time to AndreAnna! Seriously folks, drop by her blog and tell her how much she fluffernuttin’ rocks! If you look up, no not at the ceiling, at my blog’s banner, you might notice it has changed. Or you might not noticed it has changed, but I assure you, it has changed for the better!!! She was more than nice enough to have it created for me and for that, I thank her. Is it my birthday? No. Is it my pretend substitute birthday (Aug. 16th if anyone is wondering)? No. It was just a really nice blogtastic gesture and it inspired me to bore delight you with more stories of recent office goings on. I put up yesterday’s post and realized I had forgotten three key occurrences and something that just happened, which has to be blogged about.

You may not think that anything could top hand eating coffee mugs or hand eating coworkers, but we had a fire drill late the day of our staff meeting. Mr. Fingernail Biting Socially Oblivious is our department’s safety warden, so we all know we are in good hands. I need to mention that our company’s fire drills are intended to be a surprise, except to safety wardens. Although our special little safety warden can’t help but tell all of us in order to increase his importance. This of course never works. So, knowing that we had a fire drill schedule and the exact time that said fire drill would commence, Mr. Socially Oblivious went out back to smoke a cigarette. The fire drill announcement is made and we all go outside grumbling about how much work we need to get done and how much time this is wasting, etc. etc. OK, I’ll be honest. I was not complaining, for I welcomed this company-sanctioned recess by walking outside while singing Disco Inferno. Apparently Mr. Socially Oblivious never realized that the fire drill had begun, which is too bad. The best part of fire drills is normally getting to see Mr. Socially Oblivious parading around in his orange safety warden hat with his megaphone urging us to leave the building. Granted, we normally take our time, but that’s just because he’s yelling at us with a bull horn and abusing his power.

That excitement was trumped this time by what happened when the fire drill ended and we all filed back inside. As we were walking back to our offices, we ran head on into Mr. Socially Oblivious, the man who I need to remind you has been entrusted with our safety. He had a puzzled look and told Mr. Lay Low that we needed to evacuate the office immediately. When told that the fire drill was over, Mr. Socially Oblivious said ‘No it’s not. They can’t begin it without me.’ So, if you ever see my burnt down office on the news, you can blame my death on him.

At the end of the drill, my boss said he would be right back and that he had a quick errand to run. Fifteen minutes later he entered the building and walked past all of us with his two scoops of ice cream. Not one mind you, but two. Normally he takes us out for ice cream or at the very least, tags along with us. But on this particular day, with the entire staff in the office for the first time in a few weeks, he went by himself for ice cream. A move like this could be interpreted several ways, especially by a bunch of coworkers who over analyze EVERYTHING that happens in our office. Mr. Lay Low boldly suggested that Boss Man was just warm and wanted to cool down. Female Coworker asserted that he wanted some time alone, which sent Mr. Socially Oblivious into a panic about why he wanted time alone. I maintained that Boss Man wanted us to act more proactively with our jobs and think independently. By us seeing that someone else was eating ice cream, he wanted to see if we would take it amongst ourselves to get our own ice cream. This theory of mine was not accepted.

To further avoid doing actual work, Mr. In The Office Two Times A Week Guy taught me a new trick he recently learned. In DOS, we can type a message that will pop up on the screen of the coworker we indicate. Figuring there was growing concern over my treatment of Female Coworker, we targeted Mr. Socially Oblivious first. I arranged for an alert box with an ‘ok’ button to pop up on his screen that said ‘run time error JB 007.’ Now any sane computer literate person would stop when they see the numbers 007, but not Mr. Socially Oblivious who still thinks he can talk to his computer ala Star Trek. Being somewhat afraid of his computer, he doesn’t always pay attention to it. So, long after I had forgotten even sending the message, he asked me to come over and take a look at a ‘weird error message’ he had received. Recognizing the importance of beating my boss into his office, I ran across the hall and explained that it was probably a glitch and I would hit OK and see what happened. I swear he tensed up and almost cowered as I positioned his cursor over the button. Surprise, nothing happened. A few minutes later when I sent Female Coworker an error message stating ‘System ID Input Recognition Misunderstanding,’ she cussed out loud that her computer was having errors. You should have seen Mr. Socially Oblivious as he puffed out his chest and said he knew how to fix it. Mr. In The Office Two Times A Week Guy and I almost had to leave the office because we were laughing so hard.

I returned from lunch today and noticed that my Windows Media Player with all my Kenny Rogers tunes was closed. I didn’t remember closing it down, but then I do lots of things I can’t recall so I didn’t think too much more about. That was until I got an error message from Mr. In The Office Two Times A Week Guy stating that ‘Due to a high volume of noise pollution complaints, your CD's have been stored in a secure location. By replying to this message, you authorize destruction of your CD's.’ Then I realized that it was he who closed my Media Player down. Fearing not being able to ever again hear ‘Islands in the Stream’ or ‘Daytime Friends and Nighttime Lovers,’ I panicked. He later came into my office to return them to me with the understanding that I would NOT play them again. I asked him if Jerry Reed was permissible and he asked if that was a threat or a joke. Not yet having my CDs back in my hand, I told him to never mind and that I would put Jerry on the ‘do not play list.’ Tomorrow I’m bringing in Lucy and Ethel’s copy of ‘High School Musical’ just for him. And my boss wonders why none of us ever meet our deadlines…

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Beyond The Cubicle Wall…

If I ever decide to write a mock work place soap opera (a Mopera, if you will), today’s post title would be the name of it. I haven’t regaled you with my tales from beyond the cubicle wall in a while and yesterday was one of those days that reminded me that I need to. The day got off to a bad enough start and I should’ve realized it would be best for me to go home, even though it was my fault.

I must be missing something in my life, dying or succumbing to the effects of my weak heart, but I arrived at the office and promptly told Female Coworker that I was so happy to see her that I could hug her. Where the heck did that come from? Unfortunately before I could recover, I had said it and at least two other coworkers heard me. What was Female Coworker’s response to this? ‘I don’t like to be touched!’ Really, did anyone who has been reading this blog expect anything different? Realizing what I had done, I went and tried to hide in my cubicle. I turned my monitor so that no one could see my face and tried to pretend I was on the phone for the next hour or so. All was going well until I got my fingers stuck in the handle of my coffee cup. It turns out that while I might be able to get four fingers through the handle of my ‘Incredibles’ coffee mug, I cannot get them out of said mug. And THIS my dear friends was when Female Coworker felt it was necessary to come over and speak to me about my earlier hugging utterance. She walks into my cube in all her ‘I’ll kick your arseyness’ while I am trying to pull my half empty coffee mug off of my left hand. She asked me ‘what the #$#^$#^% are you doing,’ to which I replied with sunken shoulders and downcast head ‘uh, my hand is stuck in my coffee mug.’ She countered with ‘what did you do idiot, glue it?’ You can imagine the left coast rattling laugh that ensued when I admitted that I had put too many hands through the handle…

Yes, that is the point when I should have clutched my chest and used my physical disappointments as an excuse to go home. I of course did not. This was only somewhat directly related to the fact that I had a staff meeting to attend. Our staff meetings are always interesting. Mostly this is because of Mr. Socially Oblivious who really picks staff meetings to rise to the occasion. He likes to repeat what other people have said just mere seconds after they say it as if it is his own grand idea. Let’s just say I have a great boss who chooses to pretend that Mr. Socially Oblivious is in fact the architect of the great idea. Then there’s his well, ‘habit.’ He likes to bite his fingernails throughout our meetings. Ok, MAYBE I could handle that, but it’s the fact that he spits them out and you can hear them ping off the blinds. Dear readers, I AM NOT making this up! It’s disgusting and I have more than once been in the middle of speaking when he does this and it causes me to draw a blank and forget what I was going to say, which makes everyone think there is something wrong with me and not Mr. Spitting For Distance.

Then came lunch. Female Coworker, Mr. Lay Low and myself all went out together. You can imagine our surprise when we ended up at the same Hawaiian BBQ joint (aloha, mahalo, sorry it just felt so appropriate) as Boss Man, New Guy, Mr. Socially Oblivious and one of our clients. We sat at the far opposite end of the restaurant and made faces at Boss Man while he was busy conducting his lunch meeting. It was evident he had no desire to be at this meeting and we all thoroughly enjoyed watching him try not to laugh. When Female Coworker took a call on her cell phone, she immediately slipped into her ‘need to yell’ voice, which many cell phone users seem to suffer from. Twice I reminded her to use her ‘inside’ voice but to no avail. When she finally got off the phone Mr. Lay Low and I began yelling to explain to her how loud she is on the phone and everyone in the restaurant turned to watch us. Now it was at this point for some reason that the owner of the restaurant decided to walk by our table. We nodded and smiled in a scene eerily reminiscent of the Cantina scene in Star Wars where the Storm Troopers walk past Han’s table after he shot Greedo. (Author’s mental note: I truly cannot I believe I just made that analogy…). I spent the rest of lunch asking aloud how in the world Mr. Socially Oblivious could be hungry after snacking (on his fingers) throughout our staff meeting all morning!

Before I wrap this up, I need to address a concern. It has occurred to me that some bloggers (well, at least one that I am aware of) may be feeling some degree of sympathy for Female Coworker because it appears that she is the victim of our countless pranks. Let me caution you that Female Coworker is only to be feared, never sympathized with. Let’s put it this way, she gets a client on the phone and you can feel and smell the fear emanating from the phone line or cell tower. Instead of saying good morning to her clients, she greets them with a warm ‘why the hell do you keep screwing up?’ ‘We ALL fear her here, even Boss Man. Now that I made my hugging remark, I am in the most fear.

Just to save face, I turned some of the staples upside down in her stapler. Sadly, I think she heard me giggling when she screamed ‘who the hell messed with my %$%$%^$&’in stapler!!!!!!’ Yeah, I’m hoping to make it through today. If I don’t, all of you are free to take one of my PEZ dispensers…

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Q And A Tuesday - Number 2

Much to my surprise, I actually got questions to warrant a second straight Q & A Tuesday. The questions this week are just as impressive as last weeks, too. Again, please remember that all the same rules apply. It is strongly cautioned that none of my answers should be quoted (especially in a work or family/friends setting), it’s a waste of time to fact check or cross reference any of my answers since they are mostly fabricated and I cannot be held liable for anything I may suggest doing, if in fact you actually end of trying it yourself. I should mention that I am still waiting for someone to ask me what the greatest country song of all time is so I can provide you with my 500 word dissertation, but we’ll do that another time. OK folks, take off your thinking caps, put your pen and paper down and get comfy because this will be a really long post (and please excuse the errors and typos, I was too lazzzzy to spell and grammur chick today -- see what mean??). Now, here we go with Q & A Tuesday, week 2…

Kat just missed getting these questions in last week so I’ve had all week to work on them, even though I really didn’t need that much time, for they are SNL questions. Woo Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night Hoo!!!! The wonderful Kat asks:
‘I would love to know the most common quotes you repeat from SNL, your favorite characters, your favorite performers, and your favorite over all season. And you can't say era because that is too vast. I think I actually know these answers. This is more a test for myself to see if I am right.’
I’m honestly not sure I can complete a sentence without quoting from something from SNL. My favorites include ‘schwing,’ ‘isn’t that special,’ Phil Hartman as Sinatra saying ‘I’ve got chuncks of guys like you in my stool,’ and Christopher Walken from the ‘The Continental’ saying ‘cham-pag-nee and ca-wi-are.’ Christopher Walken is a misunderstood comic genius. I have also been known to say ‘two wild and crazy guys,’ ‘Jane, you ignorant slut,’ ‘Da Bears,’ ‘I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me,’ ‘I’m 50, 5-0, Fifty,’ ‘Nevermind,’ ‘I’m livin’ in a van down by the river,’ ‘we’re here to pump (clap) you up,’ ‘ver klempt,’ ‘go ahead, talk amongst yourselves, I’ll give you a topic.’ Kat, I could keep going on here, but I think you get the point. Oh yeah, you know I can’t order a cheeseburger without saying ‘cheeseburger, cheeseburger’ and I can’t leave someone without saying ‘buh-bye now, buh bye.’ See, I can’t stop. ‘I’m Fred Garvin, male prostitute.’ It’s like an addiction, I swear! ‘Yeah, that’s the ticket.’

My favorite characters are Chris Walken in the Continental, the Ambigously Gay Duo, Wayne and Garth, Linda Richmond, Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, Sally O’Malley, Father Guido Sarducci, The Sweeney Sisters (Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks), Dana Carvey as President Bush, The Ladies Man, Rosanne Rosannadanna, Dana Carvey as Ross Perot, Emily Litella, Baba Wawa and the Cone Heads. Again, there are more, but I’ll stop before I lose to many readers. I can’t forget the Pathological Liar, Tommy Flanagan.

My favorite performers are Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, Jan Hoolks, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Davis Spade, Rob Schneider, Garret Morris, Al Franken, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman (OF COURSE!!), Mike Myers, Will Farrell, Chris Rock, Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell, Chris Farley, Joe Piscopo, Dennis Miller, Adam Sandler and Victoria Jackson. I am of course leaving a separate sentence for the Goddess of Comedy, Tina Fey. I literally get all giddy watching her. Man, why do I keep sharing these things??

Kat, my favorite season, hands down was the 1991-92 season? Why? That is when Wayne’s World hit the theaters and it was my senior year of high school. I think we watched just about every episode that year as a group. That is my favorite season.

Kat then asked:

‘Velcro or lace up?’
I’m a lace up guy, but I did go through a Velcro stage in the early parts of elementary school. Only problem was that whenever I sat with my legs crossed on the floor, I’d get stuck to the carpet. The twins now have Velcro and it takes me ten minutes just to get their shoes apart from each other so I can help put them on. Yes, lace up is easier for me. Plus, the friction that Velcro can cause freaks me out. I just know I’m going to start a fire someday!

AndreAnna, my new word hero, asked this:

‘If you could met one celebrity, who would it be and why? And would you sleep with them?’
Well, the nature of that question almost dictates that I should pick a woman, but I’m still picking a dude. I would pick the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. I would because he is just so cool, that’s all there is to it. Plus, as you can appreciate AndreAnna, he had a really cool lingo. I would however, NOT sleep with him. Though, I would get his slippers and paper for him. Other celebrities that were in the running include Ed Sullivan, Fred Willard, the fat cop from CHIPS, the guy that played the cop that got shot in the second episode of the 4th season of NYPD Blue, our local Channel 9 weather girl Jackie Something Or Other Who’s Chest Blocks Montana To Virginia When She Turns In Front Of The Weather Map, Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch and Bob Newhart. Charles Nelson Reilly recently died, right? Ok, I’m done.

My soon to be Cardiologist, Just Telling It Like It Is, asked me

‘What kind of food did your mother cook for you when you were a boy and what was her signature dish?’
My mom cooked me gruel. It was a mixture of grits, oatmeal and cream of wheat. I think we called it Groaeat. It was not very good, except the maple flavored one, but not when she put tartar sauce in it. My favorite meal was when she would burn the Groateat and we got to go out back and graze on grass. Those were special nights. Actually, I was tube fed for a while as a young kid and don’t remember that, but everything had to be blended into a yogurt type consistency. Can you imagine fried chicken that way? I’ll long for it when I’m old. Of course I am making all of this up. I have to say that (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) because she’ll slap me upside the head if she ever reads this. Again, I’m kidding, really, I’m kidding…Her signature dish was, uh, whatever TV dinner was on sale that week. Again, I’m kidding! She slaved over the stove for me and my brother and I am soooooo thankful, yada, yada, yada.

My Jedi Master Brandy had a number of questions this week including a ‘revenge question’ for one I asked of her a few weeks back. You’ll probably be able to figure out which one it was…Brandy asked me:
1. What cartoon character do you feel is completely underrated in regards to their comedic timing?
Mr. Magoo is an obvious answer, but I am going to try harder because Brandy put so much thought into her questions, or preguntas if you are bilingual like I am not. I think Rosie from ‘The Jetsons’ gets the nod. Seriously, she was a robot and still managed to have comedic timing. Now that is hard to do!!

2. If you could create a weapon that would destroy rock, paper and scissors all at once, what would it be?
I should say a hammer like device called the Fist Pulverizer, but let’s be honest; I’m going with the Atom Bomb. Not even paper can stand up to that!

3. Betty or Veronica?
It would be Betty without even thinking about it. She’s more humble, nicer and not all rich and stuck up like Veronica, who just KNOWS she’s hot.

4. What are your views on the current global warming crisis? And what steps (if any) are you and your family taking to ensure the ending of baby polar bears drowing?
Brandy, I guess I had this one coming. I think global warming is serious, at least I am told I should. I am on blood thinners, so I usually feel colder than most folks. For that reason alone, I should welcome global warming so that I can be more comfortable wherever I may go, but someone recently told me that is selfish. Therefore, because people are reading this, I shall say global warming is bad, not prudent, bad. Baby polar bears drowning is a very serious epidemic that happens when water levels around the world rise, or at least that is what I read when I Googled it. OK, I was actually lazier than resorting to Google. I am making it up. The drowning polar bears should be rescued and adopted. Lucy and Ethel would love to raise polar bears in our backyard. It would also give me the excuse to build an in-ground swimming pool to house them. When the city’s code enforcement people come out and say I cannot raise polar bears in my neighborhood, I would send my polar bears after them and then get a reputation as the Polar Bear Guy. No one would ever again challenge my right to raise polar bears. When they are able to knock over my back fence or block my view of the TV while laying down, I would donate them to SeaWorld on the condition that I get free passes for 50 people for life. I Brandy, am a friend of the animal kingdom!

5. Best flavor of chip dip?
Hmmmm, does boysenberry jelly mixed with alfredo sauce count? No? That’s what I thought. I am actually partial to hummus (which is really pronounced home-us, not hum-mus…I’m part Lebanonese, betcha didn’t know that…also betcha didn’t care…) I infuriate my elders by using chips to dip in my hummus instead of pita bread. Guacamole, french onion and just plain sour cream are also suitable replacements when out of hummus. As is salsa, 7-layer dip or spaghetti sauce. I’ll just come out and say it…if it has liquid, it can be a chip dip!

I’ve said this before, but Patti is a reporter and again this week, she asked the hard hitting questions. Patti’s questions this week were:

‘Have you noticed, with few exceptions (Capt. Corky, Ralph, Lone Grey and Bobby Griffin come to mind) that more than 90 percent of your readers are of the female persuasion?’
As you can see these are tough questions!
First, I honestly hadn’t noticed the gender make up of my visitors. I’ve think of everyone who visits regularly as individuals in a way, so I never really looked at the big picture. But now, I’m self-conscious about it and will have to figure out how to write more manly stuff. You know, I already write about BBQs, fried food and NASCAR. Hmmm, what next??

Patti also asked

'If Odat is your bestest blogging buddy' who is your second bestest?'
Wow! I think I’m pleading the 5th on this one. That’s really all I can say about that. Really. Wow, uh, yeah. I’m done ;-)

Erica AP stopped by to ask a question this week about one of my favorite subjects (Thanks, Erica!!). I’ll try and keep the answer short. Erica asked:

‘Are your twins identical twins? If so, how often do people stop you, when you go out, to tell you they look alike?’
Lucy and Ethel are identical. The only thing is that they are not identical to each other. They are each identical to someone else’s child, so they do not actually look alike. It’s really awkward when we are with the families who have the children that Lucy and Ethel each look like. Yes, people point and stare and yes, people ask questions, but we’ve just learned to be thick skinned about it. Heck, I still don’t even know how it happened…

Ok, I’m obviously joking, well about one of the twins, I mean they are 3 weeks apart. Again, I am joking. They are 11 minutes apart and are the highest probability of being identical. Because they were premature, we weren’t too concerned about having the further tests done to determine if they were identical, but they are. When they were younger, we’d get stopped every five feet. It would take us twice as long to get anywhere because of all the people that would stop us. Now that they are almost 5, people just look and smile, but hardly anyone stops. I have had to keep myself from yelling ‘hey, twins here, stop and look at them! They are identical, people!!’ Yeah, I guess I miss the attention.

Ralph my fellow Sinatra and BBQ admirer asked:

‘Can you dance as well at Rat packer Sammy Davis Jr.?’
Uh, no Ralph. Not even close. I tried hoofing it like him once and am still trying to figure out how I didn’t break my ankles. That cat can dance!! This cat has vertigo. It kinda makes the hoofing hard. I can do a decent impersonation of him though. By the way, may dad’s father was in the same bar with him before he got into the big accident in the desert where he lost his eye. My family’s claim to fame. Woo Hoo. Perhaps I should open a museum??

Odat, my already discussed bestest blogging buddy, asked these four questions:
a) Are you a cat or dog person?
Dog. However, I’m thinking a pet polar bear might be nice after answering Brandy’s question.

b) Do you like the beach or the mountains?
I prefer swamps. It’s cooler with more shade.

c) Ocean or lake?
I’ve always been more partial to stagnant water. It turns such interesting colors.

d) Coffee or tea?
Coke, but I will have coffee and tea when there is an absence of Coke. Well, that’s after I shake, shiver and sweat a lot.
e) Vanilla or chocolate?
I just saw this neat thing on TV about frozen whale blubber with berries and whipped cream. I think I’d prefer that instead.
Ok Odat, I’m sorry…Dog, beach, ocean, Tea, Vanilla.

In honor of yesterday’s big National Hot Dog Day and National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, Airam posed a most appropriate question. It was:
Do you think that in honour of the two holidays being celebrated, people eat hotdogs and vanilla ice cream together? Would you? How do you think that would taste?
I doubt other people are adventurous enough to try it, but I most certainly would. I think it would taste like bad rotten fish that sat too long in spoiled milk. Unless of course the hot dog bun soaked that part up. Then it might not be so bad because the bun wouldn’t be as dry. Yes, I have everything in my fridge to make Vanilla Dogs. If I don’t post tomorrow, I’ll be in the hospital getting my stomach pumped.

Well, that's it for this week. For those of you who made it to the end of this, thanks!

Monday, July 23, 2007

It’s Mystery Meat - - In A Tube

I know there are some regular readers of this blog who doubt the well, officialness of some of the holidays mocked, I mean celebrated, on this blog (that reminds me, hi Kat. How are you? Hehehehe), but today is a holiday that most will enjoy celebrating. It’s National Hot Dog Day and Vanilla Ice Cream Day. Not too shabby, huh?

I have found references to National Hot Dog Day being one day last week, but that really doesn’t suit me today. So, because I found ONE site that thinks today is National Hot Dog Day, I’m sticking with that. And now, for my ode to hotty dogs. I don’t like them with a spoon, I don’t like them before noon, I don’t eat them with a fork, I don’t eat them with a dork. I don’t eat them boiled, I don’t like them oiled. I prefer them in a bun, I’m not the only one. I like them with relish, without it’s just hellish. I like them with mustard, uh, hmm, well, I guess I’m done now. I think they are best grilled, not microwaved. It’s the perfect self-contained summer food.

I know people who don’t like hot dogs. These are people close to me who claim they have seen what goes into a hot dog, hence the reason for their dislike. Apparently, an all beef dog just means it’s all from a cow. ANY part of the cow. I figure if I can’t taste the less than desirable parts, then I can eat in blissful ignorance. To be honest, most of my life is spent in blissful ignorance. If I knew better, I’d do something about it. But I don’t, so I won’t.

Come lunch time today I will suggest that we go to a hot dog joint for lunch. I will be overruled and end up celebrating National Hot Dog day by eating Chinese take out or something. Don’t worry, I’ll complain the whole time though. I’ll even tell the person taking my order that it’s National Hot Dog Day and ask what dish they recommend in lieu of actually serving hot dogs. I will point out to my coworkers that they are not eating hot dogs and that my meal is being consumed in protest. I will then either be asked to leave or abandoned by my coworkers. Actually, it’ll pretty much be a normal lunch.

I do think it’s interesting that they declare National Hot Dog day 3 weeks after the July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. I guess they figure it’s enough time to forget the horrific sights associated with said contest. To be honest, I’m only just now recovering my appetite for hot dogs after watching people eat 66 within twelve minutes, including the one competitor who regurgitated part of what he had downed. You know what, I just lost my hot dog appetite again.

Then there’s the fact that it is Vanilla Ice Cream Day. Do you think the two camps got together on this one? I wonder why the mustard and ketchup people didn’t hitch their wagons to this holiday. Well, I guess mustard and ketchup wouldn’t taste too good on vanilla ice cream. Call me an exciting SOB, but Vanilla is one of my favorite flavors of ice cream. When I make homemade ice cream, I use vanilla as the base. You can literally add anything to it. Coconut flavoring, toffee bits, M&Ms, small bits of bacon, feta cheese and whatever else Lucy and Ethel decide to throw in. Note, I didn’t say I always eat the homemade ice cream, I just make it. Perhaps the office will make one of our usual summertime late afternoon ice cream runs today. Then, I’ll get the chance to point out to everyone that today is Vanilla Ice Cream Day and wow my coworkers and boss with all my useless knowledge. Although, the more often I point these debatable holidays out, the more often people in the office start to wonder about what I do all day. And that folks, is why I moved my monitor so no one else can see it…

***Here’s a reminder to get your questions in by late tonight so that I can answer them tomorrow during Q & A Tuesday. Thanks!!***

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Repost Sunday: Oh, What A Sight...The Eagle Has Indeed Landed

I rerun some of my older posts on Sundays as a way to highlight stories that you may have missed. Just think of it as 'thought recycling' and a day off, or that I am incredibly, incredibly lazy.

There are certain things that you never, ever forget seeing. These things include the birth of your children, the first crotch hit you witnessed on America’s Funniest Home Videos and the sight of a nurse accidentally shaving part of your nipple off before a medical procedure. I can now add the following Associated Press headline to my list of unforgettable sights. It read simply, eagle lugging a deer head causes outage. Maybe that’s just what I get for cruising odd news stories in the hope of picking up a cheap story idea.

If you have the least bit of a good visual imagination, this seems like quite a sight. The story says that it is believed the eagle found the deer head in a landfill and tried to fly away with it. Now I have been fishing on the lake and have seen an eagle or other type of bird try to carry away a trout, but never a deer head. Oh yeah, how did a deer head end up in a landfill, even if this was in Alaska? Maybe it’s a common occurrence where you live, but here in the suburbs of Southern California (which have pretty much become metro areas), finding the heads of large animals in the local dump smacks of mob involvement. I suppose it could have been a mounted and stuffed dear head that some recently married ex-bachelor’s wife demanded he get rid of (or threw out while he wasn’t at home to stop her). If that’s the case, there is some guy decorating his garage or game room shaking his head in disappoint at the waste of this crucial piece of male room d├ęcor.

I have to mention that while thinking about all of this, I just can't stop singing. I’m gonna fly like an eagle, let his talons carry me, I’m gonna fly like an eagle and stop electricity…

It seems the eagle bit off more than he could chew and couldn’t get himself high enough to clear the power lines. Yes, I’m assuming this bird was a male because I just know that female eagles would be too smart to try this. In fact, I bet that while all the male eagles were rooting their fellow eagle on, all the female eagles were shaking their heads at the bird’s stupidity. It must’ve looked like a Boeing 747 trying to take off. You just never think it’s going to get up enough speed or altitude to clear the runway. Unfortunately, the eagle didn’t survive the collision. It’s probably a safe bet to assume that the deer head wasn’t found in a mountable condition either.

As hard as I try to deny the thought, I can’t help but think that there is a children’s parable somewhere in this story. It involves the greedy bird that is so confident in his strength that he ignores those around him and thinks he can fly the deer head to his nest to enjoy it all by himself without sharing. Had he listened to the other eagles that tried to talk sense into him, he wouldn’t have struck the power lines, which of course metaphorically represents his own ego. See, he was struck down by his own ego. ‘Shocking,’ isn’t it? Now, how to handle the illustrations for this soon to be children’s classic?

In the end, it looks like birds on a wire tend to catch fire…

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Things I Learned This Week: 7/21/07

Because I want to spare you from experiencing some of the things I endured over the last few days, I post “Things I Learned This Week” each Saturday. It’s educational, sometimes insightful and for some reason it never makes me look good. I hope that knowing about at least one item on this list will make your upcoming week much easier. So here are the “Things I Learned This Week” for the week of 7/15/07-7/21/07.

! I learned that I should NEVER show up to work humming ‘Islands In The Stream.’ There is never any acceptable excuse for me to be doing that or much I can say when someone realizes what it is I’m humming.

! I learned that when I awake on the downstairs floor approximately two hours after dinner and Lucy and Ethel have been trying to amuse themselves all that time, I am going to find a mess. Actually, several messes. They get bored easily.

! I learned that you can’t lie to a coworker and say you DID NOT go to a BBQ joint for lunch when you emanate the smell of wood fire smoke from every pore. You may not realize it, but those around you most certainly will.

! I learned that I need to get a life when I found myself and a friend standing on the back of a bass boat outside of Bass Pro Shops trying to get a picture of a crab boat captain from TV’s ‘Deadliest Catch’ inside when we couldn’t get into the building because of the immense grand opening crowds. It makes the story even more depressing when I add that I emailed the blurry long distance photo I was able to take to friends. Seriously, when did all of these rednecks move to Southern California? I don’t mind, I just wish I got to meet them sooner to talk about racing, BBQ and exchange road kill recipes.

! I learned that when I take directions from two 4 ½ year olds about what shirt and tie combination I am going to wear to work, I really need to reassert myself as the parent.

! I learned that the gang from work possible eats too often at the little Mexican Food joint across the parking lot. We decided to go someone else yesterday and the owners just watched us walk by with hurt looks on their faces. They also like to point out that we missed eating there whenever we skip a day and then ask where we went instead. It’s an odd feeling really, when you are being stalked by the proprietors of a family owned restaurant. Maybe we’ll bring flowers if we eat there Monday.

And lastly,

! I learned that a written report for work should never be the place to try out words like ‘Husseined,’ ‘Alec Baldwined’ or phrases like ‘their performance was similar to that of one of Dick Cheney’s buddies on a hunting trip.’ I guess I’ll save that stuff for my blog.

Friday, July 20, 2007

This Summarizes What is Wrong With Southern California

Warning: This will border on ranting. Dangit, $%$$#^%$$$&$...I’m almost annoyed enough to ask my ‘Hero of Descriptive And Combined Four Letter Words’ AndreAnna to create one for the occasion. Seriously, calling this situation ‘craptastic’ just isn’t enough!!

As I native Californian, I guess it gives me the freedom to criticize the Golden State. I was reminded of this freedom when driving around for work yesterday. Now it’s not really unusual for there to be traffic on all of our highways. However, the reason for the backups is what sometimes gets to me.

I realize that the picture may make it a little difficult to understand what is going on, so I’ll explain it to you. Under the tent, with our lovely state and US flags displayed, was an ‘opening’ ceremony for a new overpass and freeway onramp. Seriously, they just finished building it, it was open for traffic last night and they had this ceremony yesterday just because it was opening. A bunch of dignitaries under a tent thanking people and making important speeches because of this new onramp that had to be built because local cities had too much expansion. I can understand a dedication ceremony for things like the loss of someone, the completion of a new hospital wing, a new battleship, or the site where the first corndog was made, but a freeway onramp? This is Southern California where I bet within three days the beautiful onramp will be littered with trash, spray-painted with gang symbols and at least two abandoned cars will be parked on it.

Now I watched this thing being built from day one and I know a lot went into it, but again, it’s a FREEWAY ONRAMP. It’s NOT a bridge joining two previously unconnected land masses, it’s NOT a new park with free vending machines and tax payer supported bounce houses, it’s NOT the Museum Of Funny Crotch Hits Caught On Home Video, it’s NOT the Experimental Foods Wing of The Fried Food Hall OF Fame and it is most certainly NOT the groundbreaking for the site of a new Cheese Factory. It’s a FREEWAY ONRAMP!!!

And here’s the other part that illustrates what is wrong with us. Even though the freeway was in NO WAY included, touched or involved, this tent up there on the overpass caused traffic to be backed up for 3 miles in both directions. Why? So we could look at the tent, shrug our shoulders, say ‘Huh, wonder what that was?’, and then accelerate back up to 85 miles per hour as though nothing had happened. I don’t mind so much that all the unnecessary traffic caused me to be late to my client, but that it caused me to then have to leave my client later than I had anticipated, which caused me to be late getting home.

We’re getting ready to install a new cubicle here at work. I wonder if there will be a dedication ceremony extolling the virtues of the building maintenance guy that assembled it. Do you think the office manager will make a speech detailing what an important addition this cubicle is or how it will forever change the direction of this company? I bet there will be photo ops, a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and Miss Teen Southern California cracking a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider across the cubicle’s entrance.

OK, I’m done ranting. I need to wrap this up and leave now. I’m really hoping to be one of the first people on the new onramp. Yeah, I’m hypocrite, what can I say?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lazy Thursday Repost: I’ve Heard Of Cleansing The Soul, But This Is Ridiculous…

I do my posts in MS Word and then paste them into Blogger. Well, that is when I remember to save the whole thing. So, that post will be slightly recreated tomorrow and you get this one today. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

An 81-year old Austrian woman is really, really clean right now. According to the AP, she was stuck in her bathtub for four days after not being strong enough to get out after a bath. Hmmm, where to start? Cue up the lame punch lines…I promise the jokes will be ‘clean.’

I know that the elderly tend to get wrinkles, but can you imagine how prune-like this lady looked? She could have joined the California Raisins singing group as a soprano. Rub a dub dub, she’s stuck in the tub…Splish Splash, she can’t get out of the bath…Calgon took her away, it just forgot to bring her back. I bet her reputation is sinking fast. Four days in a bath will really wash that gray right out of her hair. When they said she lives in her tub, I just figured they meant she likes to take baths. Do you think she finally got hungry enough and ate the rubber ducky? Supposedly, they taste like chicken.

Seriously, I can’t imagine being in that predicament. I hope she went to the restroom prior to getting into the bathtub. I don’t even want to think about the harrowing decision that faced her if she needed to go. Potential tragedies like this should make those Life Alert people produce a waterproof version of their necklace. “Help, I’m bathing and I can’t get up!” We should probably have waterproof cordless phones too so that there can always be one next to the tub. “Hi Jimmy, this is Mom. Yeah, I can’t get out of the bathtub again. Yes, I promise I’ll cover myself with a towel when you get here. I don’t see why you are so embarrassed, that’s where you popped out from when I brought you into this world.”

I bet the nights got awfully cold as she lay in that water once the heat wore off. While it might not be on par with the Apollo 11 story, this is quite a tale of survival. To her credit, she never gave up and kept knocking on the wall until finally her neighbors heard her. Although in good condition when she was rescued, she had to be taken to the hospital so she could be treated for exposure. I just wonder if it was her exposure to water or that she was exposed? Call me insensitive here, but it’s the rescuers that should be treated for exposure after seeing a naked elderly woman who had been lying in water for four days…

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Thought You Said The House With The White Trim…

In life, sometimes all you can say is ‘oops.’ It doesn’t really cover the error you have made, but at least you are not left there standing with your head down, mouth shut looking like an idiot. I personally experienced this today when I misinterpreted a work email and gave way too much information and personal opinion on the wrong subject to another department at my company. Again, ‘oops.’

After reading an AP story this morning, I’m fairly sure that even ‘oops’ does not begin to cover up for this little faux pas. It seems that some Massachusetts firefighters used the wrong house to practice using their axes and such to break into windows, through roofs and walls. I suppose they could have been practicing anger management or scare techniques on bad renters, but I haven’t heard anything official. At any rate, the house down the street that WAS scheduled for demolition sat untouched and the house that was NOT BEING SET FOR DEMOLITION, got all Husseined.

The owners of the house that was wrecked said they were getting ready to renovate. Quick tip to owners of empty houses awaiting renovation or renters: mow your lawns! Apparently having a home with prairie high grass doesn’t give the impression of being lived in. There are plenty of things you CAN do to make your empty house appear occupied and I would be glad to review them with you.

For starters, place a few vehicles up on jack stands on cinder blocks in the middle of your front yard. While not a pleasant site and potentially highly offensive to your one or two neighbors that don’t have cars in their yards, it definitely conveys a sense of occupancy. A toilet or two in the yard is also a good touch. As is a dog on a leash, a half filled kiddy pool with ducks bathing it and an election sign touting Jimmy Carter as your candidate for President. Chickens wandering around are always effective as well. For the NASCAR fans out there, a table made of used race tires (they are surprisingly affordable) and glass on the front porch not only provides a sense of warmth and welcome, but again, shows that the house is lived in and not, I repeat NOT ready for the wrecking ball. I won’t even get into the effectiveness of having a pregnant lady in overalls yelling at her young children out front because they can be a little harder to come by than say, an engine block.

I wonder if homeowner’s insurance covers accidental destruction by local fire departments in a non-fire/non-threatening situation? My guess is that it does not. Maybe the owners can try to sell it as ‘room-addition ready’ or ‘pre-ventilated.’ Surely, those are desirable criteria when shopping for a home. Maybe it can be purchased and sold on e-bay as Uncle Jessie’s farm from The Dukes Of Hazzard. Seriously, if you know what I am talking about here, it would be quite the stretch to term that place ‘palatial.’

I just hope that the firefighters do not face any type of repercussions from this honestly accidental mistake. Can anyone blame them for not coming across the rundown vacant house and thinking this was the practice house? Now, if they had only come up from the other side of the street, they might have seen the house with all of the ‘no trespassing’ and ‘demolition site’ signs on it. I can’t imagine how priceless the looks exchanged must have been when the fire chief got sick of waiting at the house that should have been demolished and he then rolled up to the fireman busting up the wrong house. Yes folks, it might just be better than an accidental baseball bat to the ‘man area’ on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

It does have me a little worried if I ever move to Braintree, Massachusetts though. What if my neighbor has to call the paramedics or fire engine for something trivial like massive head trauma or kitchen fire and they show up to my house with fire hoses blasting because they see the smoke from my BBQ when they turn onto our street? I’m not a litigious-happy person, but yes, I would sue. If I was doing steak, ribs or lobster, I would seek both damages and punitive. I imagine there would be a lot of mental anguish involved, too. Like, oh, I don’t know, a brand new grill’s worth of mental anguish…

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Q & A Tuesday #1

Well, you did the Q’s and now I have to live up to my end of the bargain and provide the A’s. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question. I got a lot more than I had expected. Which means this will be a VERY LONG post…sorry. As long as everyone still has something to ask me next week, we’ll be ok. I have consulted my encyclopedias, internet, almanacs, dictionaries and spiritual advisers, so I am now prepared to answer the following questions:

Jenny! asked: ‘Do you like to eat fried foods right after sex, or do you need to wait a few hours???’
Well, nothing like a great big personal question to kick off the festivities. All I can say is does anyone really need a time that is better than any other to eat fried foods? I am not a discriminating fried food eater. I will eat anything fried at any time Jenny. Jenny also asked:
‘What’s your favorite color?’
Hmmm, my favor color is black. Although another blogger recently reminded me that black is actually the combinations of all known colors…or something like that. Sorry Jenny, I wasn’t really paying complete attention. So, as a runner up, I’ll say Navy Blue.

Lone Grey Squirrel asked: ‘Did we really have men walking on the moon or was it a hoax?’
Wow Lone Grey! We landed people on the moon? Seriously, when did we do this? Why am I just hearing about this? Are they still there? Uh, I’m not sure if I can answer this question. Since I have never heard of humans walking on the moon (I mean seriously, who’s gonna fall for that), I’ll say HOAX.

Scottsdale Girl asked: How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
I’ve done a lot of research on this one over the years. I’ve had so many Tootsie Pops that rumor has it Telly Savalas wants to sue me for elbowing in on his image. For me, it’s approximately 44. However Scottsdale, never, ever try 41-43. You’ll chip a tooth. If you get to 47, it just kind of dissolves. I hope this gives you some detailed parameters to work with. Although I must mention that grape will be less. This is possibly because it tastes so much better or that the production methods for the grape Tootsie Pop is inferior to that of the other colors.

Brookem had an interesting question. It was: ‘remember that time you were in the Beatles?’
Now at first I thought she was reciting the line from the Chris Farley/Paul McCartney SNL sketch where the picture for yesterday’s post came from. However, I realized that her comment was in the form of a question and therefore deserved to be answered just like everyone else’s question. Sadly Brooke, I don’t remember my time with the Beatles, but it was during the late 60s and I’m told there was a lot of funky stuff being passed around the studio. Although I do vaguely remember creating some lyrics that had to do with Pennies and a girl named Lucy, oh and there were lots of diamonds. I also can see Walruses when I think back, but then again it probably didn’t amount to anything. The oddest part is that I wasn’t even born yet when all of this happened. I told you there was some pretty strong stuff being passed around.

Patti asked a question as only a true reported could. With notepad in hand, she submitted this question: ‘Do you ever entertain thoughts of being a stand-up comedian? If not, why not?’
Patti, I never try to entertain thoughts. Thoughts don’t laugh and rarely give me anything in return. That being said, I would love to do stand up. I always have wanted to do stand up. I guess I just have 2 conditions though. 1. That everyone laughs with me and not at me and 2. I get paid very well. I hope that’s not too much to ask.

Just Telling It Like It Is really had a challenging question. Because she is a nurse that I hope will become my cardiologist one day, I am more than willing to tackle this one. Just Telling asked: ‘I am thinking about going back to school...for my masters...but I do want a family...I would like to have at least one more child...and maybe too...with Engineer guy...in the next couple of years...do you think I can have it all??’
Yes, go back to school and get your Masters. Also, have that family. Kids are awesome! I’m sure Engineer Guy would be more than happy to look after the kids while you finish up school. After all, they’ll be his kids too and he owes it to you for carrying his children and going through labor! My only concern is that after reading about him, I fear he may be a little dense at first, so I will gladly explain to him that he needs to watch the kids for a few years. I will make him understand that you are worth it and besides, after you get your Masters, you’ll be making a ton of dough. Hope that helps!

Patti also asked: ‘What happened to Insomnia Man’
That is a very good question! He finally got some sleep. He now patrols the streets during the middle of the day when all the ‘mainstream’ heroes are out and about and crime is much less. In short, insomnia man has been rendered about has effective as a water gun against a bursting dam.

Tammie Jean threatened to shut my mind down completely when she asked what I will refer to from here on out as the Triumvirate of Questions. She asked: ‘Why do mosquito bites (or poison ivy) itch more when you're trying to go to sleep,’ ‘What is the meaning of life’ and ‘where are my keys?’
Wow Tammie where to begin? Moquito bites, poison ivy, diaper rash, allergic reactions to really good food and any other itchiness bother you more when you are trying to sleep because you are thinking about it. Picture this, you are in a quiet and dark room with nothing occupying your mind as you wait to fall asleep. That is when you are most in tune with yourself and therefore, the itching FEELS itchier, when in fact, it really isn’t itchy at all. It is just your mind fighting the body’s natural ability to become sleepy. (Didn’t that sound SO medical?)

Now to the meaning of life. I was really hoping not to get this one for a few more weeks. The meaning of life is different things to different people. I would compare it to the saying ‘different strokes for different folks,’ but that would lead me to sing the theme song to ‘Different Strokes,’ which would lead me to the theme song for ‘Silver Spoons,’ which always ends up with me singing the theme song to ‘Webster’ and looking for excuses to say ‘What you talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?’ Doing any of these things would not let allow me to answer your question. Wait, what the heck was your question again? Oh that’s right, the meaning of life. For me, it is the hope of finding cheap lobster, fried foods, a new food documentary on the Food Network and just one All-Star season of SNL where all the best cast members are reunited for the entire year, like a celebrity survivor or something. For you, it might be something entirely different. I guess in the end it is whatever helps us get out of bed in the morning. While what gets me out of bed each morning is Lucy and Ethel begging for breakfast, I chose not to list that one.

As for where your keys might be, walk in the house from your car, retrace every step you made, then head to Wal-Mart where they make new keys for about a dollar.

Awesome Mom got very serious with this one and because of her great son Evan, I don’t mind one bit. Her question was: ‘This one is a bit more serious, when did you first realize that your heart defect made you different than other kids? Did you have a lot of restrictions growing up?’
Ok, here we go. I’ll try not to cry more than 4 times while writing this. I realized very early on that I was different. While I didn’t look different, at least with my shirt on, I couldn’t participate in sports and was always told to take it easy. I also had a lot more doctor’s appointments than my friends did. As I went through school and my friends and brother started little league and soccer, I could not. That kinda drives the point home. So yes, I had a lot of restrictions even though I was as good, if not better an athlete than my friends. I was never allowed to take a PE class and the only sports I played were just pickup games with friends. As I began swimming at friends’ houses or at the beach or public pools, it didn’t take very long to see that other kids didn’t have chest scars, chest tube scars or a hole from being tube fed. It used to annoy me when I would be in a public place and other kids would stare or ask me about the scars. I actually had the hole from the tube feeding sewn up closed completely when I was in the 6th grade because I had become so self conscious about it. Despite all of that, in a class room setting or just hanging out with friends, I was about as normal as everyone else (which as you know, is saying a lot for me ).

Ralph asked one that could lead me to a book deal. His question: ‘Are you the fifth Beatle (instead of Brian Epstein)?’
Sadly Ralph, no I am not. I am however the 6th member of Herman’s Hermits. I actually wrote the lyrics to Henry the 8th, which even though it was penned by me, still annoys me to the point of wanting to commit homicidal acts. I’ve been trying to organize a reunion tour, but have had no luck. I may start a tribute band, ‘Hermit’s Hermans,’ but I think legal action has been promised if I follow through with it. Those guys will never get over me taking all the groupies from them!

My best blogging buddy Odat asked a question that I thought meant the same thing. Turns out I was wrong. Odat asked: ‘Can you moon walk...or walk on the moon???’
Well Odat, I tried Moonwalking back in 1984 but was laughed at. It turns out that one CAN actually be too white to dance. To make up for my inability to Moonwalk, I just used to go around stepping on squares and singing ‘Billie Jean.’ The squares did not light up and apparently my elementary school frowned on its young students singing about love children. I have never walked on the moon, but I would like to. With my recent accidents in bounce houses though, I figure I would either fall a lot or bounce off the moon’s surface and become a human satellite. I’ll just stick to ‘Billie Jean’ for now…

Mist1 asked: ‘Wait, is it already Tuesday?’
I’m not sure this was the question she actually intended to ask, but because it was in the form of a question, the rules dictate that I have to answer it. Mist, by the time you read this, yes, it will be Tuesday.

Lizza posed a question that many people would like to know. Her question: 'Why are yawns so contagious?'
Well Lizza, I think it’s because people like the group mentality. One one person yawns, the next person wants to fit in and the chain just continues until everyone yawns. Another theory is that people yawn because they need oxygen. When that person yawns, they are rudely sucking the air out of the room, causing everyone else to need oxygen and so they yawn. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle. Now why did I yawn 8 times while writing this?

Brandy had just a couple of questions. They were:
1. What 3 qualities do you have that make you the greatest JEdi of all time?
1. I can make things levitate. Well, ok, I can ask you to close your eyes, throw something in the air and then tell you to open your eyes quickly before the object falls back to earth, thereby giving the illusion of levitation. 2. Speak in Yoda-like patterns can I. 3. I'm a good public speaker and stand straight when I walk.

2. Why does the photocopier at work only jam when I use it?
I have the same problem in my office. Check the make and model of yours. My bet is that it's the Cannon Screw the Funny Person 5000XT. I tried to get them to trade it in for the Cannon Screw The Old Annoying Guy 5000XT, but they keep telling me there is not enough in the budget.

3. What kind of sound does a giraffe make when it's happy? Sad? Picked last for dodgeball?
Tough question. I have found references to them making sheep-like sounds sometimes. However, I think the animal people made that up. I'm pretty sure they grunt like Elvis. In fact, I'm sure of it. When they are sad they make the same sound that Lucille Ball did when she needed to cry because she messed something up and Ricky caught her. I believe the scientific name for this sound is the 'AwwwwRicky,' which would make a good name for an alcoholic beverage, but I could be wrong on both counts. When picked last for dodgeball, giraffes have been known to snort and then charge. Afterwards, many zookeepers have sworn that they laugh and then cuss.

4. What's the greatest lesson you want to impart on Lucy and Ethel?
To marry rich. I can't afford two weddings. They also need to know that if they ever come across lobster tails for less than $9.99 a pound, they need to stock up. I'm sure there is more, but those two are pretty darn important.

5. If nicole Richie named her baby after her food, what would she call it?
Gurgie, after regurgitation. When you think about it, 'No more than 2 teaspoons full' isn't really a good name.

Lis posed a very philosphical question: 'Who will win in a smackdown between the Monty Pythons and the Power Rangers?'
Do the Pythons get the Knights Of Ni? If they do, they would totally clean the floor with those multi-colored Rangers. They'd shrubbery them to death. If you think the battle would still be close, then the Pythons get the Spanish Inquisition (I mean no one expects that!!!).

Crashdummie asked a few a few that were kinda difficult for me. They were:
1) What is your themesong, and why?
I've always been partial to the James Bond Theme, but there is NOTHING Bondish about me, so I'll say Sawyer Brown's 'Some Girls Do.' Why? An female friend once told me it reminded her of me and when I told others, they all agreed. Yes, I believe in a democracy.
2) What animal would you say you are, and why?
I'd say something strong like a killer whale, lion, cheetah, etc. But the reality is I'm one of those monkey, apes or gorillas that just hangs out at the zoo watching other people go by and is just content chilling out. I'd like to be a dolphin. Those suckers look nice and cute, but they are deadly sly!!
3) If your best mate would describe you in three words, what it would be and why?
Goofy - because he knows.
Barely able to look after myself - because he knows (see, I used 6 words there instead of 1)
Fun - because that's what we always have together

OK, looks like I got through it! I don't know how many of you made it all the way down here to the end, but if you did, PLEASE COME BACK NEXT WEEK! I PROMISE I'LL TRY TO MAKE IT SHORTER!!!

Thanks for everyone's great questions and we'll do it again next Tuesday. Now, why do I smell smoke??