Saturday, September 29, 2007

Things I Learned This Week: 9/29/07

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. I hope that knowing about at least one item on this list will make your upcoming week much easier.

This post marks the 1-year anniversary of “Things I Learned This Week.” I was tempted to do a Best-Of compilation but it would have taken way too much of my time I learned too many things again this week.

! I learned that when trying to get ready for work, I am running late and have not shaved for three days, that using an electric razor to shave my face is the equivalent of using a lawn mower to clear a forest.

! I learned that no matter how giddy I may be that I finally found and purchased Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer, it is still a bad idea to skip down the main hallway at work while clutching said creamer. Don’t worry, I’m pacing myself. I’m saving the eggnog creamer they had for next week.

! I learned that there is no way to look cool after tripping on the sidewalk when going for my daily walks. Maybe next time I’ll just bow.

! I learned that I do indeed reap what I sow after laughing for years at men’s unfortunate America’s Funniest Home Videos crotch shots when Ethel walked up, punched me in the man area and laugh hysterically. I guess that’s another show I need to cross off the viewing list now.

! I learned that even though Lucy and Ethel may meet the height requirement for certain rides at Disneyland, they may not meet the emotional requirement. I spent the remainder of the day there assuring them that we would not be going on Space Mountain again.

! I learned that despite the fact that I was at ‘The Happiest Place on Earth,’ people will still look at me funny when I bite into my new favorite food, the Monte Cristo sandwich, and yell ‘OH SWEET BABY’ at the top of my lungs. It may have been the first time in my life that I was on the verge of tears while at Disneyland.

And lastly,

! I learned that I do far too many things wrong when I have 5 of the 7 items on my ‘Things I Learned This Week’ list completed by Tuesday…

Friday, September 28, 2007

Work Blogging…Yeah, I know, It’s Wrong And Stuff

Meleah, a blogger I happily read every day because we may have been separated at birth, posted a David Letterman Top Ten List at her great blog today and it inspired me. Well, it’s more like it reminded me that I used to do a weekly Top Ten And A Half list each Friday and then got too lazy forgot to keep doing them. So, I will attempt to do another Top Ten ½ List today. Please remember that I do a Top Ten ½ to avoid copyright issues and because back when I started this several months ago, I thought the extra 1/2 was clever for some reason.

My first idea was a Top Ten about The Office since season 4 is finally starting. But then as I sat in the office all day, I realized how much I miss blogging at work, and believe me, I used to blog a whole lot while in the office. I can say that now because I already got caught. I knew it was taboo to do so, but so is flaunting bad taste and we still have Paris Hilton walking around. So, I will dedicate this Top Ten And A Half List to:

‘The Top Ten And A Half Ways Work Is Different Since I Stopped Blogging There.’

11. I find myself gazing into my monitor dreaming about how many comments I have gotten or what other people have posted on their blogs. It’s a lonely, distant feeling.

10. I am apparently one of my office’s top performers.

9. It appears as though I have a new coworker – and he started back in May.

8. I am now forced to say ‘That’s What She Said’ to my coworkers because I can’t visit blogs and leave TWSS in other’s comment sections. They are not as appreciative of it as blogsville is. At least that’s what the lady from HR advised me. Well, that’s what she said any way.

7. Apparently we hold weekly staff meetings. Now I am wondering how many of them I missed.

6. I never noticed the phone in my cubicle. It rings, too.

5. For some reason I have three calendars on my drab cube walls and they haven’t been changed in 4 months. Oh man, did I miss the 4th of July??

4. It turns out I sing very loudly while in the office and never even realized it. The fact that I don’t get requests should tell you hoe popular the singing was.

3. I wasn’t aware that every day I am required to be in the office for 8 hours – in a row.

2. My office computer can actually be used for something called ‘work tasks’ like email and document creation.

And the number one way that work is different since I stopped blogging there is:

1. In my at-work blogging stupor, I didn’t realize that a photo was taken of me while I was...


I also have to share two events today that balance each other out. One is so horrible and full of so much travesty, it was travestistic, while the other was so great, it makes me giddy as a 12 year-old school girl. The first was me discussing a new sitcom on FOX (Back To You) that features my comedic hero Fred Willard, oh and I think Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton are too. A few of the ladies in the office asked…and it’s almost too horrible for me to type this…who Fred Willard was. Can you believe that? I was confused, bewildered and yet enraged. I Googled Fred Willard and showed them his picture. One of the ladies said she thought he looked familiar, another said she had never seen him and Female Coworker actually had the nerve to say she didn’t like his look!

I was so appalled that I went to Target. What I witnessed there soothed my anger and hurt about the apparent anonymity of Fred Willard among my so-called work ‘friends.’ It was several $1.00 bins of The Office merchandise. I may have shrieked in excitement and I know people were staring and pointing as I tore through the merchandise. There were Office mugs, post-its, dry-erase boards and a to-do list from the desk of the Assistant To The Regional Manger. I bought all of it, except for the mug because I am not as the mug so humbly states, ‘The Boss’ Go To Guy.’ But the best find (and it was the last one) was the stress ball that was Dwight's bobblehead head!!!!

This, my friends, was a good day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

To Fry Or Not To Fry

Warning: the following is what happens when I run out of things to blog about...

Since watching Alton Brown make homemade corn dogs 4 months ago, I have been craving a deep fryer. Well, I’ve been craving homemade corn dogs and wanting a deep fryer. I’m not sure you can really crave a kitchen gadget, though maybe you can lust after them. The problem with this new desire is that I am on a diet. A serious diet and have been seeing results. So I’m not sure how well a deep fryer would jive (that’s for you Brandy) with that.

I have a long love affair with kitchen things that plug in. I probably should learn how to cook given how much I like kitchen machines. I buy them, I use them (at least twice) and then I have to find a place to store them for the remainder of their time in the kitchen. The electric orange juicer, steamer, iced tea maker, bread maker, ice cream maker, popcorn popper and wireless BBQ meat thermometer that can transmit to the base unit up to 100 feet away all have a cozy place under my counters. The sane argument is whether or not I really need another bulky gadget taking up room in the kitchen.

I’d like to feel I can justify all these purchases which then makes it easier to justify adding another gizmo to the equipment list. While it takes more time to set up the orange juicer than it does to cut open an orange and juice it using the antique glass juicer that we already have, it’s so much cleaner and can automatically switch directions, which gets more juice out. Then again, hands can reverse direction too. The steamer was purchased for the exclusive purpose of steaming lobster tails. The fact that I could do corn, rice and other veggies at the same time only made the deal sweeter. And as if the redness of the lobster doesn’t tell you that it’s done, it has a neat timer. I have used the steamer 5 times in the last 7 years. A friend had one and I had to go buy one for me the next day. The iced tea maker comes in handy that one time of year when our relatives who drink iced tea come to town. Yeah, kinda hard to justify this one I guess.

Ahhh, but the bread maker, now that’s an entirely different story. You can make bread with it. Real bread. The kind of bread you eat and spread stuff on. I use this one a few times a year with the dough and the yeast and all of that. It makes me feel special knowing that I made bread, like a bread making elitist. Plus with WonderBread filing for bankruptcy, I figure I better take matters into my own hands. I don’t follow the recipes very well so I have never been able to duplicate what I’ve made but when you use it to sop up gravy, the taste is pretty irrelevant. I also use the pre-made bread mixes (that cost more than 2 loaves would in the store) and just dump them in and turn the unit on. Hmm, I think I’m making bread tonight! The ice cream maker doesn’t get used nearly enough, but once I photocopy every single page of my best bud’s ‘Ben and Jerry’s’ homemade ice cream recipe book, I swear I’ll use it more. Quick tip: combine a vanilla ice cream base with any flavor extract and you can’t go wrong. I have actually been challenged to an ice cream making contest by my parents’ neighbor. If anyone can think of an addictive ingredient that you crave constantly after tasting it once, and it’s still legal, please let me know. I really want to win this ice cream throw down.

Considering that you can pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave in less time than it takes to remove everything from the kitchen cabinets to find the popper, set it up, pour in the popcorn and pop it, I should probably turn this one into a planter for the back yard. But the real piece of resistance (that’s the American translation before you commence to start laughing at me!) is my wireless BBQ meat thermometer and probe. Does the word probe make you as uncomfortable as it makes me? Seriously, I can now grill meats for long periods of time and monitor the temperature from the comfort of my recliner while watching NASCAR or my hammock or garage or yes, home computer. This is one gadget that has revolutionized my life. I can be grilling a pork shoulder in the backyard while mowing the front yard. It’s efficient…and yummy. This gadget will leave my kitchen only if it’s attached to my dead, cold hand. Fortunately, since it’s a thermometer, you’ll be able to tell just how cold my dead hands are.

The more I think about it, the more I think I should start inventing electrical kitchen gadgets that actually save no time but come in pretty boxes with lots of words to make it sound more necessary than it really is. I could develop the electric peanut sheller, the electric corn shucker, the electric nacho cheese warmer upper, the electric butter knife, the electric salter, the electric apple peeler and the electric can popper opener. Oh and how about the electric ‘get the ketchup out of the bottle assistant.’

So all of this brings me to what I really meant to write about when I sat down to start this: the issue of adding a deep fryer to the mix. See, a deep fryer might not really be bad for my diet. As I am fond of telling people, it’s not what you eat, but how much you eat. For the sake of the rest of this post, I hope you see it that way too. Now here are all of the reasons I need a deep fryer in my life:

Deep fried lobster tails
Deep fried hamburger or hot dog (just place them in the bun and deep fry the whole thing!)
Deep fried marshmallows
Deep fried smores
Deep fried dove bars on a stick
Deep fried bacon
Deep fried BBQ (I realize it sounds like a sin, but you haven’t tasted it yet. Then again, neither have I)
Deep fried sushi (yes I realize this would be just a very fancy fish stick, but I can’t handle sushi. Go ahead; send your hate mail now)
Deep fried fruit on a stick
Deep fried M&Ms
Deep fried cotton candy
Deep fried nachos (seriously, this one has potential)
Deep fried frozen bananas
Deep fried eggnog balls (I’m still figuring out how to work the logistics on this one)
Deep fried fruitcake (yes, I am the only living American who likes fruit cake)

And the one I call ‘The Magic Bullet’ – The Deep fried macadamia nut. It's a slow, but tasty death.

****Giddy Alert: Season 4 of The Office finally premiers tonight. Woo Hoo!****

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Blank Page Or Bailed Out By Bullets

I sat down to write today’s post and nothing came out. I guess I am suffering from ‘blogstipation.’ I don’t believe there is an actual medicinal cure for blogstipation as it can only be cured by stupid things happening in the news, to me or to my coworkers. Unfortunately, come blog time, none of those things had yet to happen. I tried to ‘create’ a little blog magic by starting a rumor about on of my employees that involved raw fish and a weed whacker, but it really never spread like the wild fire I hoped it would turn into. I changed my cell phone’s ring tone to Homer Simpson saying ‘DOH’ 32 different ways, but that only humored my coworkers instead of annoyed them. Then I tried to teach Lucy and Ethel famous TV catch phrases but they were more interested in watching another episode of Dirty Jobs. By the way, how exactly should I take it when my 5 year-olds ask why I don’t get dirty like Mike Rowe?

Despite all of these attempts at manufacturing something to write about today, I came up with a big fat ostrich egg. The big zilch. The infinite nothingness. That last few rotations on an old record before the needle falls off. The sum total of 0 + 0. The net worth of my PEZ collection. Yep, nada. Then I remembered seeing what some of my favorite bloggers have done from time to time: bullet points. I have never been bold enough to try bullet points, but figured there is no better time for them than during a Kirk/Spock hand-duel to the death with blogstipation. So, here are random bullets that recently occurred to me but that I was too lazy too busy to turn into full posts:

* How is it humanly possible that I can watch movies like ‘Tommy Boy’ and ‘So I Married An Axe Murderer’ a hundred times yet still laugh uncontrollably when the same joke happens over and over again? Speaking of ‘Tommy Boy,’ why didn’t ‘Holy Schnike’ become as popular as ‘Yo Quiero Taco Bell?’

* Why are the ‘crotch shot’ and other accidents made famous by America’s Funniest Home Videos so funny, especially when it hurts so much? To test my theory and determine whether it was just me or something innately funny about it, I had Lucy and Ethel watch AFV with me a few months back. Turns out it’s not just me. Heck, they laughed harder than I did…and then proceeded to slam a pillow into my man area. Curious thing though, I was no longer laughing.

* The fact that the word ‘angus’ sounds so much like ‘anus’ is a wonderous dietary tool. Every time I am tempted to order angus beef or an angus burger, I sound the word ‘angus’ out really fast and no longer crave it. The same technique also applies to shitake mushrooms.

* If there is a 99 cent store down the street from Big Lots and near a Dollar Zone store and up the street from the 98 Cent Market, why don’t I open a 97 Cent House of Bargains and take all of my competitors’ business? Or should I just find a job in a city that doesn’t have so many cheap stores within 2 square miles of each other?

* Why did both CHIPS and Battlestar Gallactica feel the need to have an overweight guy? And did the overweight guy on CHIPS really have to have a name like Grossman? What would have been wrong with calling him Officer Steve McSkinny or Officer Slim Danielson?

* No matter how old or mature I get, I will never, ever get bored of the fact that I have a Cousin Oliver like the Brady Bunch did.

* Does telling people that I was ‘giggling like a 12 year old schoolgirl’ make it harder to maintain my macho image? Is macho still a word? How come I have yet to be in a restaurant where they serve Macho Nachos? Should I copyright the name Macho Nachos? Would it be wrong to name any child I may have in the future Chimi Changa? It’s a great name for a golfer.

* Should I still proceed with my sitcom idea for a guy who lives his life according to what the late Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Carray tells him to do in his dreams each night? Could I actually call the sitcom Holy Cow?

* How is it that I love listening to Louis Prima but by the second half of Disc 2 of his ‘Ultra Lounge’ 2 CD set I am ready to commit horrible crimes of destruction against stationary objects?

* When will producers at the Food Network, Discovery Channel or Travel Channel bite on one of my show ideas. They can take their pick of ‘Sitcom Travel,’ ‘Taking The Country By Song,’ ‘Normal People In Normal Places Doing Normal Things,’ ‘Old People Telling Stories,’ ‘Weird Hobbies And Collections,’ ‘The Great American Scar Comparison Challenge,’ ‘Taking The Fork In The Road,’ ‘Holy Crap That Smells Good,’ ‘How Will This Taste Barbequed,’ or my newest idea, ‘Look At That Abandoned Thing On The Roadside.’

Ok, I’m out of bullets. The thought gun is empty. Perhaps I’ll have to develop some of these into full posts. But then again, maybe I’ll finally get access to Socially Oblivious Guy’s computer to be able switch his mouse speed all the way to slow next time he leaves the office and won’t need to turn these into full posts after all.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It’s A Mess O’Fun Wrapped In A Tortilla

The AP reported Sunday that Coney Island hot dog eating contest regular Eater-X won the world burrito eating championship. In 12 minutes he ate 10 ¾ burritos. One of his closest competitors was another hot dog perennial contenders and my personal hero, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, the world lobster-eating champ. Come on, how did I miss that opportunity? I haven’t eaten a whole fresh (meaning non-frozen or just a tail from Costco) Maine-lobster since the summer of 2001. Give me the opportunity to compete today and I’d triple the world record. Then I would collapse and have to have my stomach pumped. Then I’d wake up and cry that I wasted so much lobster. I mean a good hard ‘I can’t believe they cancelled ‘Reba’ cry.’

Well, speaking of Maine (sorry segues were never my strong point), the burrito-eating contest was held in South Portland, Maine. Hmm, does that strike anyone else as the slightest, leastest (my word, but you can steal it) bit odd? Let’s see, Maine…of course there’s lobster, maybe chowda (that’s a regional dialect), maybe even natural casing hot dogs with spilt top buns, but burritos? I would think that would be held in one of the southwestern states like the one I currently reside in. Although now I am kind of curious about the taste of a Maine burrito. See, say it out loud. It doesn’t even sound right. Ok, not that I write my posts while speaking out loud…unless I’m having a problem with sentence structure. It would be like having a Gumbo eating contest in Needles, California or the Danish tourist town of Solvang, California. Or how about a Poi eating contest in South Dakota instead of Hawaii. Heck, how about lutefisk in Rhode Island? Whoa, I think I just found the theatrical companion piece to my musical ‘Nylons in Arizona’ – ‘Lutefisk in Rhode Island.’ Email me now and I’ll give you a percentage of the licensing, like little lutefisk shaped oven mitts.

Now, back to the burrito. Hey, I should write that down. It’s a got a nice ring to it, too. Well, maybe not. I’ve already written enough today. Can you imagine that many burritos in one sitting? Can you imagine more than one in one sitting? Gheesh, think about what that would do to the stomachal region (seriously, I saw that in a medical reference book…or maybe it was MASH…or Scrubs…it really doesn’t matter). Just think gastric blowout because that’s the nicest term I can come up with. I mean I just drank a spicy V8 and am feeling the effects!

Downing hot dogs and buns soaked with water is one thing, but downing whole burritos with rice and cheese and salsa is something entirely different. I’m assuming that elastic waistbands are necessary when attempting this type of feat. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be around the competitors after the competition as the body tries to process what was just forced into it. Just think about the noises, the…on second thought, never mind. I wonder if Eater X now makes everyone announce him as the World Burrito Eating Champion every time he enters a room in the same fashion that the President gets to hear Hail to the Chief every time he enters a room. I also wonder when Eater X is going to want to go out for Mexican food again. Something tells me it’s going to be awhile. At least I hope it’s awhile, as do those that have to spend time around him for the next few days.

Next time I’m in Maine I guess I can add burritos to the to-do list. Maybe they’ll put lobster in them! Though even if they do, I'm only eating one...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Summer Has Fallen and Autumn Has Sprung…Right???

Everyone keeps saying that Fall started yesterday. The last few days here in So Cal have been cold, rainy and windy. I think I even saw an orangeyish looking leaf on the ground yesterday. It was pretty brittle and may have been on the ground since June, but I am taking it as a good sign. However, it is supposed to be back up in the 90s within a few days so my Fall might be a little shorter than yours, which I guess is a good thing because falling is never really good for anyone and medically speaking, shorter Falls are safer. Trust me on this folks for I have fallen many, many times.

I would assume that Fall derived its name from the falling of leaves this time of year, but it could also be that the name came from the fact that new television comedies debut in Autumn and most are so bad that they quickly ‘fall’ off the TV schedule. With the nice summer weather coming to an end, it is also possible that Autumn is referred to as Fall because workers’ blatant false use of sick days to go to the beach ‘fall’ immensely. This is also about the time of year that the championship hopes of Dodgers, Cubs and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans ‘fall’ to the ground unrealized for yet another year.

The nice thing about our subtly capitalistic society (did you notice my sarcastic tone there because I was really working it over time – that’s what she said. This is why a podcast might be better because then you would hear my sarcastic tone and I wouldn’t have to break the flow of my post to ask you if you sensed it…but I digress) is that no matter where you live you can tell what season it is. At lovely upscale shopping meccas like Target, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart, the day after school starts all of the school supply displays are incinerated or dumped in a big hole in the Nevada desert (I have on good authority that this is really what happens to the stuff, if ‘on good authority’ means something I read on an interweb site that didn’t start with ‘www’) and the Halloween/Fall d├ęcor is brought out to replace it. I swear that I am tempted to not buy a calendar this year and just tell the passing of days, months and seasons by weekly trips to Target. Ok, well that and the fact that my cellphone displays the date. And my watch. And my computer. I’m still tempted though.

At Kohl’s the other day, I actually came across decorated Christmas trees with ornaments for sale. Yes, for longtime readers of this blog (by my count that is about 2) I did scream with glee. The only problem with this is that it gave the impression to Lucy and Ethel that they too could yell with glee. Though I think in their case the glee may have been more inspired by the fact that they could scream in a public place than the impendingness (my own word, you can use it if you wish) of the holidays. My point to all of this is the same as it was when I wrote about it last year: uh, isn’t it just a little early for Christmas? I mean at certain stores there is already more Christmas stuff for sale than there is Halloween and Autumn stuff. Seriously, I even saw fruitcake (mmmmmm, fruuuuuuit caaaaaaake. MMMMM, in all its nutty goodnesss) for sale at the big bulk place that is housed in a warehouse and sells its own pizza. I could handle beginning the Christmas season in November, but not the last few weeks of September, although I will admit for the record because I am honest that I did purchase a Sinatra Christmas album last year in early October. OK, and I did download a really cool version of Steve Lawrence and Edie Gormet (yeah, I said it! That’s how I roll) singing ‘Sleigh Ride’ yesterday, but I really don’t think that’s the point here. Are retailers pushing us to the point that Labor Day through Memorial Day will become the ‘holiday’ season?

I personally have always pictured fall as a big Thomas Kincaide or Charles Wysocki painting (are you impressed with my artistic knowledge? If not, then I say Renoir to you all!!). In these paintings, pumpkins abound, there are lots of shades of red, orange, yellow and brown and there is smoke from chimneys wafting into the air. Let’s contrast that scene to the one on my street. Some lawns are brown and dead from the excessive heat, trees are green, kids are playing outside until 8 at night in shorts, smoke wafts into the air…from BBQs and the setting sun and clouds are a beautiful orangeyish…from the smog. Oh and there are those wavy heat lines coming up from the sidewalk. If I could paint this scene, or anything other than stick figures whose proportions are way off, I would title it ‘September, October, April or May-August and Sometimes November…Just Take Your Pick.’

So no matter where you may live or be reading this, I wish you a Happy Fall or Happy Autumn (depending on your preference). Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to put on more sun tan lotion and get back to my hammock because my sun steeped ice tea should be ready soon. Hmmm, I wonder where I put that Sinatra Christmas album…

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Things I Learned This Week: 9/22/07

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. I hope that knowing about at least one item on this list will make your upcoming week much easier.

! I learned that next time I am harbor cruising with inner ear damage I need to try and remain seated for the majority of the cruise. I also learned that way too many people still think the 'I'm king of the world' bit is funny.

! I learned that the more you mention to a young child that their birthday is coming that the higher their expectations are raised. I WILL NOT make this same mistake as Christmas approaches! Now I know how Ralphie Parker felt.

! I learned that receiving a work phone means that people from work expect me to have it on me and to actually use it other than to play with the walkie talkie feature. Which reminds me, my coworkers felt they had to tell me to not give my direct connect number to my 'online friends.' Seriously, what's up with that??

! I learned that going to Sam's Club while on a diet is the equivalent of cutting your arms and legs wide open and swimming with sharks in a tank of chum. Actually, it's probably nothing like that. It's like someone who doesn't want to eat lots of stuff that's bad for them being forced to walk right by it. Yeah, that's a lot closer to what it's like. Although I'll have to file the shark thing away for later...

! I learned that receiving a call from work at 7:30AM on my day off turns me into a spitting, cussing, violent person...for about 2 minutes. I was half asleep for most of the call. Although I fear I may have agreed to do something I didn't want to do and now cannot remember. Oh man I hope I didn't trade my sweet cubicle for someone else's. Oh no, did I just use sweet and cubicle in the same sentence? Publicly? Shoot me now! Seriously, right now.

! I learned that it's ok to spend $75 shopping for toys on e-bay. I just shouldn't tell people about it. Oh man, by posting here, I guess I just did.

And lastly,

! I learned that no matter how I feel about it, my little girls are still turning 5 today and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I learned most importantly how time flies and how important it is to cherish every single moment. Well, I also learned that I shouldn't give little ones bubble gum as it tends to find its way into little girls' hair, but that didn't sound as nice...

******I swear there will be a Q & A Tuesday this week, so if you have more questions, feel free to send 'em on down the line.******

Friday, September 21, 2007

Repost Friday: Don’t Fence Me In…At Least Use Walls

I've posted this one at least once before...sorry. The two blinding migraines and near constant dizziness I had today made it a little hard to come up with something, unless you want tales of nausea and lots of tipping into things as I walked. Actually, that might be kinda funny. Oh well. Enjoy and have a great Friday!

Well, the U.S. is taking a stance and apparently, we mean business. President Bush has signed the bill (I don’t remember what happens next, so I’ll have to consult my old Schoolhouse Rock DVDs) to construct a 700-mile long fence between the U.S. and Mexico Border. The only two problems that come to mind are 1. It’s a fence and 2. It only covers about 1/3 of the border. I’m sure that whatever department of the Cabinet that happens to be in charge of the fence has already thought those details through, so I won’t bother.

We now join an elite group of governments who have built structures to protect their borders. China had the Great Wall to keep out Mongol invaders or something like that and Germany had the Berlin Wall to divide East and West. Did you notice anything about those two structures? Yep, they’re both walls. When you’re serious about closing off or protecting your borders, you apparently build walls, not fences. Fences are to separate neighbors or dogs or toddlers who have just learned to crawl or walk, not to stop folks from illegally leaving or entering a country. Heck, even Charlie Brown and Linus had a wall to stand in front of when discussing their deep intellectual thoughts. I can’t think of any famous structures with the name fence in their title. Can you?

Thousands of people go to see the Great Wall of China every year and I saw recently that the Chinese government is taking steps to make sure that the wall doesn’t erode. I got to meet Ronald Reagan several years after his presidency and one of the first objects I noticed in his bookcase was a chunk of the Berlin Wall. I can’t say that about any fence. We don’t have cubicle fences; we have cubicle walls. Heck, even Humpty Dumpty’s wall is in the Smithsonian. Ok, I made that up.

Now the question remains as to what type of fence we’re going to use. Wouldn’t it would be a blast to be a fly on the wall (although in the White House or any other government building, it’s probably a ‘bug,’ if you catch my drift) when they meet and decide what type of fence to use. Queue the dream sequence music…

Aide: “Well Mr. President, we could use a picket fence.”
Cabinet: “No, picket fences are for manicured lawns and gardens with daisies and pansies.”
Aide: “How about barbed wire?”
Cabinet: “No, that could inflict injury and there may be litigation issues with injury.”
Aide: “What if we went with a natural fence or border that would like nice with the surrounding desert, like an adobe fence?”
Cabinet: “Adobe would be neat, but Adobe may be offensive to some.”
Aide: “We could use that plastic orange mesh fencing that highway workers, construction companies and amphitheaters with overcrowded rock concerts use.”
Cabinet: “Isn’t plastic mesh bad for dolphins?”
Aide: “We could use that new fancy aluminum faux wood fencing.”
Cabinet: “If it’s new then it’s too expensive, any other ideas?”
Aide: “Well the cheapest and easiest type of fencing to use would be chain link, but all you have to do is lean against it or use wire cutters and it’s rendered completely ineffective.”
Cabinet: “Did you say the cheapest and fastest? Ok, our new 700 mile border protection will be chain link, meeting adjourned!”

Concerning the fence and illegal immigrants, our government hopes that if they build it, they won’t come. I’m hoping I can get my contractor’s license for fence building and my over inflated construction bid to the government as soon as possible! If those aerospace folks can charge $800 for a hammer, just imagine what 700 miles of chain link fence will cost. Plus, when working in the desert, I think you must be able to tack on some type of hazard pay.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Almost Smooth Sailing

Well, the big Booze Cruise was Monday night and I survived. In fact, I managed to neither fall off the vessel nor be pushed in, so all in all, it was a very good night. We really had no idea what to expect. I figured they were doing the cruise for us on a Monday night because it’s cheaper and thinking that, I had no idea what our boat would look like. I honestly expected that it would need an outboard motor that had to be primed and pull-started like a lawnmower. Plus this was a three-hour tour (I kid you not) so we were all imagining our future as strandees on an island with lots and lots of coconut shells. The other problem with a cruise is that once it leaves, it’s not like you can just get off and go back home. That is why most mass killings happen on boats because no one can leave. It’s kind of like a captive audience. Ok, I made that up. I really have no statistics to support it, although I still think it’s a very good argument.

As you can imagine, most of us didn’t get much work done Monday knowing that we were ‘sailing’ later that night. At lunch with our boss, the booze cruise is all we could talk about. I even suggested that I would offer to pay Mr. Socially Oblivious $20 if only he would wear his lifejacket from the time we boarded the boat until the time we got off. Everyone, my boss included, thought this was a great idea. I would have taken far less to do it myself, but no one offered. It’s shame too, because I’m talking like only 5 bucks and I would have happily worn that orange vest all night. Heck, I probably would have started up a conversation with our department’s VP just to show it off. I also bet everyone at the table that Mr. Socially Oblivious would end up on the railing of the boat’s bow yelling ‘I’m king of the world’ before the night was over.

A short time after lunch, four of us piled into Partner In Crime’s car and headed out for the anticipated two-hour drive. We left work early and were on our way. Apparently I must have made reference to the fact that I had $60 on me one too many times because at one point during the drive, one of the other passengers cut me off mid-sentence and said ‘we know, you’ve got 60 bucks in your wallet no shut up!’ What we didn’t figure on was the fact there we could take the carpool lane the entire way so the trip only took us 50 minutes. Fortunately, there was a Game Works arcade across from the harbor and we all took turns beating each other at racing simulators and the basketball game. Although everyone was pretty miffed that I didn’t pay for their tokens since I had that 60 bucks in my wallet. In my defense, I did offer to pay for parking. Granted I knew we could validate the parking ticket, but it’s the thought that counts here!

As the cruise time approached, we headed towards the marina. As we got closer and closer to the boats, I had the feeling that ours would be the one you could not see until you were practically falling into the water. The boats we saw were towering. Surely our company would not provide such luxury. Then we found our boat. I think it was last painted when cars had fins. We shook all the big wigs’ hands and headed aboard. Trying to lay low as usual, we took the very first table in the back. Suddenly there was a commotion and people were lined up practically to the stern of the boat. It was at this point that we realized there was a bar and it was free of charge. Oh wow, booze cruise indeed. As we set out to sea, the water was pretty choppy. As the night went on, this would provide a ton of free entertainment as we got to watch one of the members of our upper management stumble all over the top deck while swearing that what was in his cup was coffee. Seriously, he made Otis, Mayberry’s town drunk on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ look like a priest during prohibition. It also provided countless moments of fun for anyone near me. It was the first time I had been on a boat since diagnosed with my inner ear damage last year. It’s not that I got sea sick, because I didn’t, but it’s the fact that every time I lost my balance I could not get it back. It was like when something happened to the Enterprise crew on ‘Star Trek,’ only no one else was falling from side to side with me. Lots of people stood by and applauded my efforts though.

Late in the evening, Mr. Laylow and I decided we wanted to see the bow of the boat. I got a little nervous as we passed the bartender right before walking out the door onto the bow and she asked us if we were going to the bow as if she was taking a head count in case we didn’t return or something. We shook it off and went anyway. Before long, everyone from our office had congregated to the bow, with the exception of Mr. Socially oblivious. Mr. Laylow went and got him but I could not find the orange life preservers, which combined with the bartender’s earlier comment did not make any of us feel very comfortable.

Within mere seconds, Mr. Socially Oblivious was asking me to hold his cup so that he could ‘do that Leonardo DiCaprio thing from that Titanic movie.’ I made a comment about how he couldn’t hold his liquor when he handed me his cup and up he went. We all laughed, but no one paid me (remember my bet from lunchtime). He decided to do it a second time because someone ‘said’ they missed it. Again, no one honored our bet. Then someone said they wanted to get their digital camera so they could capture the moment. Mr. Socially Oblivious said he would do it again, but not until the camera was produced for him to see. Once it was, he handed me his cup a third time and climbed up the bow’s railing. As we were all rolling in laughter as he again proclaimed that he was ‘king of the world,’ a door opened and the boat’s captain yelled out ‘hey, get off of there! I had two people fall off this boat last week trying to do that and it wasn’t fun.’ A few thoughts went through my mind at that point:

1. 2 people in one week? That’s scary. Not scary that they fell in but scary that 2 other people actually thought they would be cool if they tried it.
2. Where was the yelling captain during Mr. Socially Oblivious’ first 2 attempts, and
3. Should we really trust a captain with an open shirt collar and pooka shells around his neck?

Shortly after all of this while we were still trying to compose ourselves, partner in crime looked at me and said ‘I suppose we can expect a moment by moment written recreation of this on your blog soon, can’t we?’ I slapped him on the back and chuckled ‘yes Partner in Crime, you most certainly can.’ You know, I still haven’t gotten paid for winning that bet…

****I know I'm a little late, but Lucy, Ethel and I HAD to record a 'talk like a pirate day' podcast. The scratching noise is them playing with a nail file. And I swear we were sober while doing this!****

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ARRRRRR, Or Sumpin' Like That, Matey

I am fully aware that I owe you a Q&A day. But today's annual holiday HAD to be observed and I have taken a little bit of heat before when I don't give enough notice of what holiday it is. So, hoist your mainsails and giddy up. Wait a minute, that's not right. I'll try it again. Yo yo yo, lemme show ya how to roll today. No, that doesn't feel right. Set your reactions on stun, because today is...Ok, that's not even close and now I'll be branded a nerd.

I'll give it one last chance. Ya better be gettin' yer eye patch on because today be Talk Like A Pirate Day.....arrrrrrrr. So hoist your colors you bloomin' cockroaches. Don't forget to show 'em your "larboard" side. Use your best ole salty pirate phrases me hearties or ye be walkin' the plank. There, I think that did it. I can just imagine how funny punny the comments will be today.

It's too bad I'll be in the field visiting clients all day because this really would have gone over well with my coworkers! I would have the entire staff talking like pirates within minutes of arriving in the office. I could even have worn an eye patch and cut off jean shorts with a tattered white dress shirt. Heck, I wouldn't even have had to shower after running tomorrow morning. Then I would have been able to take me an office wench and drink rum Diet Coke with Splenda added all day (you know, to make it all sugary and sweet and rummy like). Wow, I could've gotten away with challenging Female Coworker to a 'mailing tube' sword duel to the death (even though I'd still make the woo woo light saber sound every time I'd wave it around - TWSS). Did I just say duel to the death? If you HR guys are still reading my blog, I meant duel to determine who will pay for lunch. Sorry, I got a little carried away. I know, I know, it's 'talk like a pirate day' not 'be a pirate day.' I guess this means I couldn't hoist anything in my office (why does that sound worse than it is??) or 'seize' things from the office supply closet. Good thing there is still next year. Yes, for the record, I would have played the music from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride all day long too.

Oh well. Perhaps I'll still talk like a pirate around my clients tomorrow. As long as they don't tell my boss. I'll just tell them when I get to their offices that it's 'talk like a pirate day' and if they seem interested, I'll throw a little pirate lingo their way and see if it sticks. It should be a fun thing to do all day. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes for my clients swabbies, to get sick of me. Arrrrrrr, shiver me timbers, I'm already annoying myself!! Dead men tell no tales, especially when they talk like pirates all day. Ok, I promise I'm done. I don't even know what that last phrase means. It sure sounded good and piratey though, didn't it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It Gave Birth To A What???

According to the AP, scientists in Japan have created an eight story prehistoric dinosaur that turned on its creators, trampled downtown Tokyo and then promptly walked into the sea to retire. Ok, I made that up, but what scientists in Japan did do is equally as intriguing, if not as cool. Basically in layman’s terms, they injected baby salmon with ‘sperm growing cells from trout.’ Yes, that’s right, the salmon then grew up and gave birth to trout. Not salmon, not tuna, not Mothra, but trout. Like the trout we go fishing for…and they came from Salmon. Yep, salmon having trout babies. Or ‘Salmout’ babies, if you will. I just want to make sure you understand here: trout that comes from salmon. OK, we can move on now.

The scientists hope that this ‘surrogate fish baby rearing giving birth to a species that you aren’t’ thing will help save endangered fish species. The story goes on to say that scientists next hope to get trout to give birth to salmon and mackrels to give birth to tuna. Now many of you who know me and read my posts regularly know what’s coming next. Yep, I am now going to lay before you my wishes for other birthing food combinations. Surely if we can get fish to spawn different species, we can do the same for other animals.

First up would be my never-ending quest of trying Turducken some day (thanks a lot for putting that idea in my head, Ms. Paula Deen). Turducken is a chicken stuffed inside of a duck stuffed inside of a turkey. Obviously this is a little different from one fish spawning another, but what if the turkey could give birth to a half chicken/half duck (or a ‘chuck’). Then you could raise the turkey and the chuck together and at least save a little time only have to stuff one dead fowl into another instead of having to stuff two into a third. Although now that I am writing all of this, I’m finding Turducken a little less appealing.

OOOOOOOOh, how about getting a lobster to spawn scallops and crabs to spawn fried shrimp? OK, I understand that they cannot be born fried, but I mean the ‘just small enough for the all you can eat fried shrimp’ variety of shrimp. I think their scientific name is ‘Eatus Moreus.’ It would make harvesting all that seafood so much cheaper while also making it so much more plentiful. And speaking of cheaper, why not just go ahead and do what we are all thinking: get goldfish to spawn lobster. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about there being enough lobster roaming the seas and it would be so much more inexpensive. After all, doesn’t Wal-Mart sell goldfish for like 98 cents? It could give rise to an entirely new industry called Lobster Farming. Oh wow, I just found the job I was destined to have. I could buy a house with a swimming pool (because gold fish can survive nuclear holocausts and all, so swimming pools would work, uh, swimmingly) and raise lobster-bearing goldfish. I could make the lobsters so much more affordable and even more plentiful. Then, we could dine on lobster every night for a fraction of today’s market value. I’d be like Forrest Gump with his Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Though to spare you, I will resist the temptation of listing all the ways you could cook lobster…even though I really, really want to.

And who says that it has to be limited to seafaring creatures. Imagine what could be done with smaller four legged animals like goats and sheep. Since they take up less room, they could give birth to cattle and we could produce more and then reduce the price of beef…and milk…and, oh my God, CHEESE!!!!!! Could you imagine if we could get pigs to give birth to cattle but the offspring were engineered to still have both the pork and beef taste? It would be like giving birth to little compact, ready to go bacon wrapped filets.

Whoa, I think I’m about to pass out with all of these possible combinations! I really need to start eating three square meals a day…

Did anyone else notice that 30 Rock won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series? By the hammer of Thor, I missed my chance to see Tina Fey accept the award. Blurg!!!!! (Of course if you have never watched it, then those two obscure references mean nothing…so you should probably try and catch the award winning show this year)

And a very big Happy B-Day goes out today to one of my comedic idols, Fred Willard!!!!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Here’s Something To Chew On

I just finished reading a report from Reuters that said scientists in London have created a chewing gum that doesn’t stick. Well at least it doesn’t stick to streets and clothes and stuff like that. There was no mention of sticking to skin and hair, which of course are the two problem areas I have most often while chewing it. Ok, not the actual chewing, but more the blowing of bubbles.

I chew gum a lot to keep me from snacking. I also chew gum to keep me from saying stupid things. However, this requires several pieces and it often makes my jaw hurt. I don’t want to brag, but I am a pretty good bubble blower with enough gum in my mouth. Picture a baseball player with his cheek full of chew and then multiply it twice and that’s how much gum I like to blow bubbles with. Lucy and Ethel like to pop them when I do this, hence my concern about being able to have non-stick gum that will easily come off of hair and skin. I mean gum that doesn’t stick to pavement is great for the aesthetic of our local neighborhoods, but unless I fall face first onto the pavement with a big bubble gum bubble sticking out of my mouth, gum that doesn’t stick to the pavement really does nothing for me.

Have you ever been jogging or walking and you realize you have inhaled a small bug or insect? Come on, you must have. Quit laughing at me! I wonder if gum would act as a good barrier and trap said insect before you swallow it. It would save me the embarrassment of gagging while exercising in public trying to heave the inhaled insect back up. One of these days, someone is actually going to stop while driving by when they see me out gagging and it’s really going to be embarrassing. I imagine it’ll go something like this:

Nice motorist: hey are you ok? Are you having a heart attack? I can tell from your nicely muscular legs and your physique that you must be exercising. (Hey, it’s my story) Did you over-exert yourself?

Me: cough, ack, cough. Uh, no, I swallowed I fly, perhaps I’ll die.

Nice motorist: you’re choking on a fly? Ha!!! You lame-ass, what are you doing exercising outside with your mouth open? Idiot….oh man, is that Barry Manilow coming from your MP3 player? Too bad you didn’t swallow a venomous spider instead…
(jerky motorist speeds off and crashes into light pole)

Me: You won’t mess with Barry again will you? Bwahahahahahahaha!!
(fly enters my mouth again during evil laugh)
Oh $$%&%&^*&%^&^*%, I really gotta learn to keep my mouth shut!!!

While I took a few liberties in creating that situation for you, you can easily see how needed a gum is that can trap bugs from flying down one’s throat, especially when exercising in public. Another development I would like to see with gum is one that’s flavor does not diminish or that changes flavors throughout the chewing process. I think this may have been done for the chick that blows up like a blueberry in the original Willy Wonka. So apparently, we must have the technology to do this because if I remember correctly, you can’t show something in a movie unless you can really reproduce it in real life.

I really am not sure what all makes gum. I think it’s the chicklet or the gum-gum tree, so I decided to do away with tradition and actually research the answer on Wikipedia, where it it’s printed, it’s proof. I stopped my research after the fist paragraph when I came across this description of gum: ‘many modern chewing gums use petroleum-based polymers instead of chicle.’ Uh, yummy? I didn’t realize that chewing gum had two of my favorite ingredients: petroleum, which burns quite nicely, especially around the BBQ and polymers, because it sounds so modern. So basically, the way I see it, the modern piece of gum is made of the same things that our newest stealthy spy planes are. If that’s so true, then how come everyone knows when I am chewing gum and asks me to stop chewing like a cow? My gum really doesn’t seem to be that stealthy. Perhaps it’s the grape flavor. I don’t think the stealth bomber is coated in grape, but then again, I’ve never licked one. And if I tried, I could almost guarantee that I would be detained by some military officers, who in an ironic twist, would probably be chewing gum.

Important shout out: Because she was kind enough to make me an honoUrary Canadian the other day, I have bestowed upon Airam the title of honoUrary Southern California. She used ‘like’ and ‘dude’ in the same sentence, so really, how could I resist?

****Because of my work’s Monday night Booze Cruise, Q&A Tuesday will be on Wednesday again this week****

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Repost Sunday: 4-Legged Chicken Has Restaurants Seeing Double (Profits).

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.

A 4-legged chicken was recently found pecking around with its 30,000 closest feathered friends at a farm in Pennsylvania. The legs appear to serve no purpose so the chicken just drags them around (no mean husband jokes about that please). The chicken is as healthy as the rest of the farm’s poultry and the farm’s owners say it’s the first 4-legged chicken they have seen.

The discovery could have major implications for the fast food industry. The cause of the deformity is not known, but scientists are being employed by several eateries specializing in chicken to find out.

The chicken restaurants have joined together to create and finance a research co-op called FOWL, Food Opportunities With Legs, to pay scientists to conduct a genetic study of the 4-legged chicken. FOWL hopes to get a 'leg up' on the competition by breeding more of the multi-limbed birds. A small amount of DNA was taken from the unique fowl in an effort to replicate the gene that is responsible for the extra pair of legs.

“Can you imagine the profit we could make if every chicken bred for food purposes had an extra set of legs,” asked a member of the co-op. “We could increase the amount of drumsticks we could sell, which we all know is the part of the chicken everyone prefers to eat, and we would not have to raise more chicken to do it,” he added.

“I used to conduct research to find a cure for cancer. Now I’m figuring out how to create an army of freak chickens. Why God, why,” lamented one of FOWL’s scientists. “At least I can now buy that summer home in The Hamptons with what they’re paying me.”

FOWL officials say that the increase yield in of DPC (drumsticks per chicken) could double their profits if the research is successful and the scientists don’t lay an egg. Animal rights activists across the country are crying fowl (I mean foul, sorry) about creating chickens with extra legs. In response, the officials say it’s better they genetically alter chickens to have more legs, which are body parts they already naturally have, than create chickens that grow something called nuggets. They also argue that it’s not like they’re cloning sheep and that their scientists are merely “augmenting” the chicken, which is something human women have been doing to themselves for years.

If the gene responsible for the second set of legs can be found, the turkey industry may also follow suit so that the chicken restaurants are not the only ones 'gobbling' up the extra profit that figures to be made.

Disclaimer: Yeah, the 4-legged chicken thing was real, but I made everything else up.

****Calling all questions about anything and everything. I might even answer them on Tuesday.****

*****Noise update: New Podcast Alert. Click Here...*****

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Things I Learned This Week: 9/15/07

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. I hope that knowing about at least one item on this list will make your upcoming week much easier.

! I learned that when I am using my Nextel Walkie Talkie and am calling my coworker down the hall that I should not ask what time he is sneaking out early when his office sits directly across from our boss. I also should refrain from cussing and describing in vivid detail how I am avoiding my daily office duties.

! I learned that although I may be excited that local stores will be selling Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer soon, this is not the type of excitement I should share with others or leave the office to go to the store and check. For the record, I miscalculated and the local store doesn’t have it yet.

I learned that I should never have referred to the harbor cruise my department is taking in Long Beach this Monday night as ‘A Booze Cruise.’ The saying caught on way to quickly and that is now how everyone is referring to it. Apparently, it was even mentioned to a member of upper management. And as you can imagine, it was attributed to me. I’ll remind you that I can’t even drink!

! I learned that I should not greet a client who has come to visit me in my office while nursing a bloody nose. I also learned that a bloody nose is not a substantial excuse for leaving work early. Hmmmm, go figure.

! I learned that there are some people in this world who actually ARE impressed by me speaking in musical tongues while only quoting song titles to express my thoughts. I had gotten a completely different feeling about that from my coworkers and had spent all this time thinking I was saying ‘Something Stupid.’

! I learned that the exquisite tunes of one Barry Manilow were only intended for listening to behind closed doors. This means never in public and never to be discussed with anyone else. Now I feel so dirty…

And lastly,

! I learned that when it is ‘family night’ at the twins’ school and I am making arts and crafts with them that I need to pay much more attention to the teacher. It’s kinda embarrassing when my art project looks worse than that of all the other kindergartners in attendance. It also doesn’t help when I colored outside the lines and had to be scolded by a kid I’ve never met and was told I was using too much glue.

****Calling all questions about anything and everything. I might even answer them on Tuesday.****

*****Noise update: New Podcast Alert. Click Here...*****

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Don’t Think This Is What They Intended

Things changed forever at work on Tuesday. Perhaps I am making that too dramatic, but things did change. After months of speculation and promises, it finally happened. My coworkers and I officially got our company leashes. Yep, we now have company issued cell phones. And these aren’t your run of the mill Moto Razors, these are the nice NEXTEL phones (did my sarcasm come through there?).

Yeah, you know the ones I’m talking about. If not, let’s put it this way, we are calling these new phones ‘the brick.’ It’s funny because I thought technology had made huge strides to make things smaller and then we get the bricks. However, there is one feature of the brick that made us all forget about complain less about them. It’s NEXTEL’s direct connect press to talk feature. Basically, we are all carrying around company walkie talkies now. Needless to say, it took us all collectively about 1.5 minutes to realize the full potential of this feature and in no time we had all traded numbers and it sounded like a trucker’s convoy in the office. It’s really made everyone’s day just a little brighter getting to say things like ‘over,’ ‘out,’ ‘do you copy,’ ‘what’s your 20’ and the mother of all great CB sayings ‘10-4.’ I added a ‘breaker, breaker’ and ended certain words with ‘ner,’ as in ‘niner,’ but it really didn’t catch on. I’m working on Roscoe’s laugh from The Dukes of Hazzard, but people are saying I’m spending too much time on this stuff.

I know having these phones has made me more efficient at work. I announced (via NEXTEL of course) that I would no longer be walking down to anyone’s office and that I would communicate with them by NEXTEL only. At first everyone laughed at me, which is not unusual in the office. Those laughs stopped and turned to words of praise though when they realized just how easy this new way of communicating in the office really is. I’m still working on assigning everyone call names…or handles, to use the real CB parlance (did it sound authentic there? That’s what I was going for). I have requested either Bandit or Snowman. Hopefully I don’t have to tell you why. I proposed that we give our boss the handle of Smokey. No one jumped on the idea.

I can tell that this new technology is going to make me lazy. I have already thought about getting one for personal use and also giving one each to Lucy and Ethel. That way when I need something, they are a button away. Really, who likes yelling upstairs to inform their children that it’s dinner time? When they are out playing in the backyard and I need them to come into the house, it’s such an inconvenience to have to get up during my favorite show, walk the few feet to the sliding glass door and tell them something. Sure I’ve got TiVO and I could pause said favorite show, but think of the wear and tear on my ‘remote control’ finger.

Yes having a cell phone is a convenience, but in these busy times, who really has the time to wait for the dialing and ringing stuff that is so much a part of the modern telephone process. I know I don’t. You may not have picked up on this, but I’m a busy guy. I have to go to work, think of good pranks while there and try to actually avoid doing any work (which we all know is harder than the work itself), drive home, stop at the grocery store to look at the lobster tails (it’s my window shopping), get the charcoal lit on the BBQ, dunk my arm in water after nearly exploding it off while spraying lighter fluid directly onto the roaring flames of the very same BBQ, grill meat while playing with the dog, play with and pass my wisdom off to Lucy and Ethel and of course, blog. Having to walk down office halls, walk upstairs to the twins’ room or dial a number and wait for it to ring really just slows me down. Yes, this new NEXTEL is sure going to make my life easier. And I didn't even have to pay for it!

Oh, did I mention it has GPS technology? We all think that our management is going to start keeping tabs on us. Not to worry, I’ve wrapped my phone with an entire box of Tin Foil to repel the satellite beams. Sure it’s heavier, noisy and reflects light with the brightness of the sun, but I get to walk around without anyone knowing my coordinates. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get on the NEXTEL and ask the guy I share a cubicle wall with what time it is…

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Post With All The Song Titles And Stuff

Well, as you may have imagined, my thinly and poorly veiled attempt to steal solicit blog post ideas from other people for 'You Decide Thursdays' didn’t go so well. However, I did get a few suggestions, one of which I will attempt today. The Exception suggested challenged me to write a blog post using as many song titles as possible. Perhaps I am being too cocky (TWSS), but I thought ‘It’s So Easy’ doing something like this. Well, I’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there, so I better get started. I was tempted to name the artist after every song quoted like Michael Scott might do, but I’m far too lazy I don’t have the time. Now then, ‘Let’s Get It On.’

Since ‘We’ve Only Just Begun,’ I’ll ‘Take it Easy’ for the first few paragraphs. I love ‘The Sound of Music.’ Music makes me happy. I often listen to music just to relax, especially during the weekends. I find that’s it’s especially ‘Easy Like A Sunday Morning.’ OK, I’ll admit that one was stretching it just a little. But you can’t argue that music is much better than the ‘Sound of Silence.’ It’s not like I ‘Rock Around The Clock’ wearing my ‘Boogie Shoes,’ but I do listen to a lot of music. I spend a lot of money on music, because I am not ‘A Penny Lover’ and believe that you can’t take what you save with you when you die.

I write this post after having such a beautiful day here in So Cal. ‘I Can See For Miles And Miles,’ it’s so clear. I am so glad that I did not see ‘Fire And Rain’ today. However, because I’m ‘Workin’ For a Livin,’ I didn’t really get to enjoy it. My coworkers and I spent most of the day crying about how ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.’ ‘What A Wonderful World’ it would be if I at least had a window in my cubicle. I’d even settle for being ‘Up On The Roof.’ In a ‘Perfect World,’ I’d be back ‘On The Road Again’ driving across ‘The Lost Highway,’ preferably in a ‘Convoy’ truckin’ through the night. Of course that would require me to ‘Take This Job And Shove It’ (you knew that was coming, didn’t you. But that’s ok, because I believe that ‘Life Is A Highway’ and I do indeed want to ride it all night long. (Um, if I was a girl that would totally call for a TWSS).

In other news, I helped the twins get ready for their ‘School Days’ in the morning. When I had to wake them up, they kept saying ‘I’m So Tired.’ I made them breakfast and they were acting ‘Crazy.’ They kept trying to touch the stove and I can’t recall how many times I had to tell them ‘U Can’t Touch This.’ Of course when I said that, they replied by saying ‘Hammer time.’ It’s not a song title, but it was funny and yes, it made me a little proud. ‘I Swear.’ I had to go to their school last night for a meeting of the ‘Harper Valley PTA.’ OK, I added the Harper Valley part, but pretending it was really the Harper Valley PTA was the only part that made it worth going. After the school meeting, I took Lucy and Ethel to McDonald’s for an 89 cent ‘Cheeseburger In Paradise.’ I drank a Diet Coke that you could swim in and will probably now be up until the ‘Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.’ Well, ain’t that just ‘A Kick In The Head.’

I now feel like I am just rambling as if I’m ‘Running On Empty.’ Perhaps I need a break. Maybe I should head down to ‘Luchenbach, Texas,’ ‘The Copacabana’ or ‘Jackson.’ I’d say ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ but I’m not always the smartest ‘Gambler.’ A few days on the ‘Chattahoochee’ or a ‘Weekend In New England’ might do me good. It’s got to be ‘Five O’ Clock Somewhere.’ Of course if I keep this up much longer, you’ll all be yelling ‘Help’ or ‘Rescue Me.’

Ok, I’m done now. ‘This Is The End.’ But ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ because ‘I’ll Be Back’ tomorrow. ‘It’s All Right’ if you do worry though because ‘It’s Your Thing’ and you can do what you want to do.

As far as another post using nothing but song titles, I promise I won’t ‘Do It Again.’

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Q & A Day…Because It’s Not Tuesday

Welcome to my weekly Q & A. I was worried about being low on questions and everyone bailed me out, so thank you! For some reason I’m feeling pretty blogdrained this week so I’ll just get right to the answers before I go lazy and repost…again. Oh, first I need to review the rules. Don’t quote, reference at your own risk, The Carpenters are still cool, I don’t spell check and yes, I will probably forget someone’s question…again. Remember, bonus points are awarded for spotting the Tina Fey and That’s What She Said weekly references. And here we go…

First up this week is Airam, who had quite a streak for a few days of being the first commenter here. She asked ‘When did you discover your love of music such as Barry Manilow and Rod Stewart? Do you like other kinds of music?’
Well, I think I discovered my love, which is a strong word, so I’ll say appreciate of that type of music (Captain and Tennille, Carpenters, Helen Reddy, etc.) growing up. I can remember taking car trips with the folks and that’s what they played. I just never stopped liking it. Yes, I do like other types of music. I like the Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin type stuff, The Beach Boys and other oldies, pretty much all country 1995 and before, folk music, Motown, 60s Lounge Music (The Ultra-Lounge set of like 3 trillion cds is great) and even some disco. I also like bluegrass and polka. Ok, I’m lying about one of those last 2. I thought about liking Salsa just to sound cool, but I couldn’t get into it. I am also pretty sure that the James Bond theme songs fall into some category…

Ralph posed a question that is exciting for me, but I may lose a few of you. I promise I’ll try to keep it brief. He asked ‘NASCAR Q&A: Do you think F1 or IRL drivers like Montoya and Franchitti are good for NASCAR and the Nextel Cup?’
I do, provided they aren’t using it as a last resort like I know Jacques Villeneuve is. Besides, whatever driver can bring Ashley Judd (Franchitti’s wife) to NASCAR is fine with me. Now, if we could only get Danica Patrick a Cup ride!! It’s all a moot point really. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to wipe the speedy dry with everyone next year anyway!

Frigga submitted two questions this week. That was awfully nice of her.
1. Do you like green eggs & ham? How about with cheese & jam?
I do, in a stew, that is not blue. Yes, I’m through. I have had green eggs and ham (and spam) after the pan was sprayed with Pam and once I got over the fact that the eggs were not moldy, or oldy, I was fine with it.
My favorite Green Eggs and Ham moment? The Reverend Jesse Jackson’s recital of it on SNL. I cry when I watch it. Tears of green. Of course
I have never had cheese and jam. Well, not together. Food wise, they really aren’t birds of a feather. Jam is OK, but cheese rules the day.

2. Also, what would be your dream car?
James Bond’s original Aston Martin. I mean it had a passenger’s ejection seat. Need I say more?

Patti helped me out with a few questions. Thanks Patti!
‘When you have a plate of food, i.e., a balanced meal, do you consume all of the meat portion before you go on to the potatoes, and all of the potatoes before you consume the vegetables? Or do you take a bit of each as you go?’
I never eat balanced meals. I’m not a veggie guy and fruit just gets in the way. I always save my favorite food on the plate until last. Like the fried chicken skin, the meat from any dish or the tail of the shrimp. Yeah, I made that last one up. This is a long post and I wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

‘Does your mother read your blog?’
No, at least she hasn’t critiqued it yet, so I am assuming not. I kid, I kid. I know my Dad does and many real life friends do though (hi guys!!).

Wolf is a newcomer to the blog and you gotta like this question!
‘If you have two M&Ms in your hand, and you eat one, what's left? An M&M? Or just an M?’
I think it’s still an M&M, but not the plural, M&Ms. Unless it’s the yellow one. That one doesn’t really count; so then you would have a mere handout or a ‘filler,’ if you will. That one may wear the brand of the M&M, but don’t let it fool you. I discredit its existence completely. I realize I am being rough, but we were all thinking it. Right?

My Bestest Blogging Buddy Odat asked ‘My second question:What assumptions do people make about you that are totally wrong?’
My first thought of course is ‘oh crap, what was her first question??’ Probably the biggest assumption is that I am lazy or not a hard worker. That assumption simply is not true, because sometimes (like right before payday, for instance) I can work really, really hard. I mean for like 3 straight hours! I also recently found out that because of what I write and how I write, my voice was believed to me pipsqueakish like Jeff Gordon (although to protect my friendship, I will not name the accuser – hehehehe). Thank the maker that assumption is wrong too.

James Burnett paid a visit to ask me (and I figured this one would come around sooner or later) ‘Is there no God? Wait. Let me rephrase that. Why is Britney Spears rich?’
She is rich because little girls have lots of influence and talked their parents into buying her music and anything else with her name on it. I have discovered in my research that she also has breasts, which tend to be easily seen. I am pretty sure this has contributed too.

And Kat made the deadline this week (YAY) for her 3 Qs.
1. How many books do you own and do you have a bookcase at home in which to store your books. If so, how do you organize them?
I own a bunch. A few comedy books, many, many American history/biography ones and other odds and ends, like one of my favorites, ‘The Secret Life Of Lobsters.’ I do not yet possess a bookshelf for them. I will one day so that people will see my book collection and assume that I am much smarter than I am. Or assume that I put those books there because I wanted them to think I’m smarter than I am. But the joke would be on them because I am smarter than they think I am because I actually read the books. I will also put a bust on my bookcase shelf that tilts back to reveal a toggle switch that opens the Bat Cave. Does Home Depot still install Bat Caves by the way?

2. What is the one school lunch you still miss to this day?
I honestly can’t remember. But I do recall taking lunch to school in my Dukes of Hazzard Lunch box. To a boy growing up, nothing was cooler than the Duke boys! Or maybe Atari. Or perhaps my Members Only jacket. OK, I'm going to stop while I'm ahead.

3. How do you feel about stripes making their way back onto today’s tube socks? We had all white socks happening for a while and now it seems like the stripe has made a return. What is your opinion on this and have you succumbed to the new (old) fashion?
This question confirms what I have feared for sometime. I had no idea stripes were back and that makes me so out of touch culturally. But striped tubes definitely remind me of my childhood! I am all in favor of it. Or is it them? Though I try to wear socks and shoes as little as possible (like at work, which didn’t go so well), I embrace the return to the classics. Red and blue, blue and yellow, I don’t care. Bring it on! Or put them on!

The amazingly thin Lis (that will make sense when you visit her blog) asked ‘if the world's going to end tomorrow and you get to watch one movie before you join the choir invisible, which one will it be?’
Oh boy. I’ll stick with ‘So I Married An Axe Murderer.’ It’s got suspense, humor, love, betrayal and…well, I don’t want to give the rest of the plot away.

My Best Bud’s Wife asked ‘Where are my keys?’
Did you check under the trampoline, in the pumpkin patch or in the ice cream maker? Did my future son-in-law put them in his big sister’s room? Can’t I be so much more insightful because I know you guys so well? What if they have been there all along but because of life’s trials and tribulations, you weren’t able to see them? Yeah, that’s just too Jedi, huh?

AndreAnna has got to be one of my favorite people on our fast spinning globe and I have been kind enough to forget her question for at least the last 3 weeks. In a way, this week is not much different. While I can’t find the exact wording of her question, I will write the general idea. Then I will go out back, grab the garden hose and flog myself (TWSS) as punishment. AA asked kind of, somewhat paraphrased, ‘if there is anything you could change about your life (or was it your past?) what would it be?’
Regrets, yeah, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Ok, sorry. I absolutely could not resist doing that. I might have stayed much longer doing PR for the FOX Network instead of leaving there within a year. It was my first job after college. I also might not have given up my freelance PR/Copywriting business when I found out I was going to be the father of twins. I miss that work daily. Lastly AA, I would never, ever have called Fondue ‘Fundue’ in your presence. I have other regrets, but I’ll keep’em close to the vest for now.

Last up this week (because today is a special day for her), we have The Exception with 3 great questions.
1. What is your ideal woman?
Is there where I work in the words Tina Fey this week? OK, to be serious, I have to say that humor and intelligence are really, really important. As are a caring personality, great companionship, and...a full understanding of NASCAR.

2. Do you have any thoughts as to what each of your daughters might be, professionally, when they are adults? (Sometimes, as parents, we speculate, teachers speculate, etc)
I could see Lucy teaching because of the wonderful (albeit bossy) way she tends to mother Ethel and myself. I can see Ethel doing something related to art. She is very artistic at this age and it amazes me. There is also a good chance they could end up as background dancers in a music video. They will turn 5 in 2 weeks and their moves kinda scare me at this point.

3. If you did not live in CA, where would you live?
I want to live in New England…and not because that’s the subject of a Barry Manilow song. There is just a dream like pull it has on me. Can I describe that mystery pull? Well, I can try. It’s dark reddish (before being steamed), a few pounds in weight and has two claws…

There ya go. Thanks for waiting an extra day and for reading through to the end. If I did accidentally forget your question, please contact me so that I can provide you the mailing address of my employer so that you can explain to them that I need a day off each week to devote to Q & A Tuesdays. Your assistance is greatly appreciated in advance.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Remembrance…

I hope you don’t mind, but I decided to forgo the mindless goofiness for the day. It just feels appropriate to me. I'll happily answer your Q&A questions tomorrow. Heck, I might actually not leave someone's question out this time around. Will I use the extra day to craft better, more thorough and entertaining questions? Of course not. I'm the King of Procrasti Nation, remember??

At the very end of July 2001, my family and I (pre-twins of course) all flew up to New Hampshire and then to Maine for a family reunion. We had a long wait on the tarmac at the airport in Newark and realized that we might get to fly past New York. In anticipation, we got out my brand new digital camera (you remember the old ones that cost $500 for a 1 megapixel unit).

As we took off in the little puddle jumper that would take us up the coast, we got an aerial tour of New York City. Although we certainly weren’t expecting it, we got to see many of the landmarks the city is famous for. We were treated to views of the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and even Yankee Stadium (which at the time was the highlight for me). But as we would come to realize just 2 short months later, our real highlight was getting to pass the World Trade Center and its 2 magnificent towers. The picture to the left was taken simply and casually as a tourist would take a picture of something they recognize. It has now become as cherished as any photo from that entire wonderful trip.

I post it in remembrance of this day 6 years ago when this country was forever changed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm Not Sure What Day Of The Week It Is Repost: Want A New Xbox? Go To Mexico.

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.

Reuters recently reported a new plan aimed at reducing the number of guns and drug related violence in some of Mexico City’s neighborhoods. The city’s new mayor announced that anyone who turns in a gun will be given Xboxes or computers. I don’t know what the price of an Xbox runs in Mexico, but this sounds like a great deal.

According to the story, handguns will get you an Xbox but larger guns like machine guns will earn you and your family a brand new computer, complete with a copy of ‘Computer Hacking and Virus Creation For Dummies’ and ‘Identity Theft Made Easy.’ I guess that means grenades are worth a PDA and anything larger than a machine gun will get you a new GPS navigation system for your car. Since the program will be run with the strictest of anonymity, I imagine there will be a lot of new Xboxes being handed out. Let’s forget reform and just sit around playing video games all day. I guess scared straight has been replaced with played straight or rewarded straight?

It seems to me that the best way to reduce drug violence is to begin eliminating the actual drugs. I don’t know if Mexico City’s Mayor is taking crime reduction tips, but how about an all-expense paid trip to Disneyland for anyone turning in drugs. The program could be taken a step further to help curb other types of crimes. If you steal a car and turn it into the authorities, you can be given a new Razor scooter. Purse-snatchers who return the purse (and wallet) get new Gucci handbags and anything returned to the home it was stolen from will receive a Best Buy or Home Depot gift certificate. Vandals who volunteer to clean up their graffiti will be rewarded with beginner art sets from JoAnn’s or Michael’s. I guess if you are accused of assault and promise to apologize profusely to the victim, you get a free punching bag. Counterfeiters who agree to destroy their fake money as well as its fabrication equipment will be rewarded with $500 American dollars for every 100 bills destroyed (wait a minute, that doesn’t seem right). You can see the benefits awaiting a career criminal who decides to clean up their act. Why oh why did I never buy a gun?

I have no idea how Microsoft feels about the program since they are the creators of the Xbox and undoubtedly, the computers being given away contain Microsoft Windows. My guess is that the computers will have Vista as their operating system, which is really a nice touch since I believe Vista is Spanish for ‘waste of money, just stick with XP.’ I can see it now when drug lords and dealers start lining up outside of Mexico City police stations demanding their machine guns back when they realize the Vista-loaded computers they were given in return aren’t compatible with their printers, scanners and digital cameras.

You know, I’ve wanted a PlayStation 2 for three years now. Maybe if I anonymously throw a rock through a window and then return the rock to law enforcement I can get one. That seems like fair compensation. I wonder if all the Xboxes being given out will contain any video games. Here’s a tip: ‘Grand Theft Auto’ might be a popular choice.

****Reminder to get your Q & A Tuesday questions in. I'm low on questions this week. Wait, I need a break. That might be a good thing...****

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Things I Learned This Week: 9/8/07

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. Yes, I realize it's Sunday, but I really don't need any heckling today. I hope that knowing about at least one item on this list will make your upcoming week much easier.

! I learned that when I get home from work and run outside to see my Golden Retriever Mabel and I find myself kneeling on the ground as she is excitedly running towards me, that I should never again just 'sit there and she if she'll stop,' because she won't and then I end up getting Dino'd like Fred Flintstone and get knocked off my feet like Marty in Back To The Future when he turns his high powered guitar amp up way too high.

! I learned that 2 cups of coffee and a 16 ounce Mountain Dew should never be consumed prior to driving 180 miles round trip to the middle of nowhere. And by the middle of nowhere, I mean where they apparently do not have plumbing sufficient enough to supply a restroom with water.

! I learned that when shooting Nerf guns at work, aim is of the essence. I also learned that when said Nerf dart is accidentally launched over our cubicles and into the lobby, running away only proves guilt.

! I learned that when at the Olive Garden (The OG) and people stare at me every time the waiter brings me another bowl of pasta, that the stares are not stares of amazement or honoUr. I'm also wondering why after I consumed a certain amount that my picture was not put on the wall and my meal was not given to me for free like at those steak places when some dude downs the 44 ounce Lumber Jack Special. And no, I have never tried that.

! I learned that walking Lucy and Ethel up the toy aisle at Target fully aware that their 5th birthday is only two weeks away is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever done. Ok, well maybe not as dumb as telling people I bought Barry Manilow's Greatest recently. Very recently.

! I learned that if I show up to work two days in a row and walk into my boss' office more than once during those two days that I will be branded a Kiss A$$ . I also learned that the only way to shake this label is to go back to showing up late and playing 'Take This Job And Shove It' too loudly. You'd be surprised how well that works!

And lastly,

! I learned that there is no way to recover any dignity when you accidentally walk into a filing cabinet at work because you are busy trying to look at a cute new female in the office, especially when Female Coworker witnesses the entire thing.

****I have recorded a new podcast. If you wish to damage your ears forever, then click here at your own risk****

****Remember to get get your questions to me for Q and A Tuesday. I'll beg if I have to!!****