Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Got The Good Candy Ready??

Today is Halloween, unless I am not paying attention like I did a few years ago, only to realize on my way to work that it wasn’t Halloween like I had thought it was. Fortunately, I do not dress up for the holiday because that would have made for a really awkward workday. For some reason, thinking about Halloween makes me reflect on all of the Halloweens that have passed and the current ghoulish state of things. It makes me think of candy and Elvira. I guess you could say both are, uh, ‘bountiful’ this time of year. Halloween also makes me think of Easter and doctors who deliver babies and gynecologists, but that’s my own problem. I will admit that I think of the last two items while gutting pumpkins before carving them.

A lot has changed since the Halloweens I celebrated as a kid. Change is inevitable, but wouldn’t it be nice if something changed and it actually ended up being better than the way it used to be. OK, maybe patients who had gastric bypass surgery are the exception to this and I’m sure there are many husbands of wives who’ve had breast augmentations that will argue with me, but that’s not really what I’m trying to get at.

Boy the dress up part of the holiday sure has changed. I remember last year at a Halloween pumpkin carving night at Lucy and Ethel’s school. Now granted it was a preschool last year, but no one was wearing a costume that really stood out or could even be considered scary or on the edge. Again, it was preschool, but let’s ignore that part for the sake of my story. Sure, I saw a Darth Vader or two, but even those gave the impression of the watered down just about to betray the Emperor-tell Luke how much he loves him-take off my helmet so I can see you with my real eyes-type of Darth Vader. I may have seen a Batman, but I’ll just say that if I were the Joker I wouldn’t be too worried when I saw the Bat Light appear overhead. Pretty bland stuff. I know, I know, it was preschool, but we have to ignore that part or I’ll just sound like a rambling idiot.

When I was in elementary school, I showed up wearing my rubber Frankenstein mask and I got to leave it on all day. When my name was called during roll call, I said my muffled ‘here’ through my mask and no one asked any questions. We could go through the entire school day and never see our friends’ faces. That doesn’t happen today and if it did, there’s no telling who would be hiding behind that mask. In high school, I can remember my friends showing up dressed as pimps and they weren’t even asked to go home and change until after lunch. That’s like half a day. They wouldn’t be allowed on campus today! What did I go as? My sophomore year was David Letterman (Quick Halloween Tip: Don’t use black crayon to make it appear that you have a gap in your teeth) and my senior year my friends and I went as the Secret Service. If only we had remembered to all wear the same color suits and had not spent so much time trying to handcuff our girlfriends to us…

The whole trick-or-treat racket has really changed too. Our neighborhood used to be the one where people drove to so that their kids could get the good candy and go door-to-door in complete safety. Nowadays they drive to other areas of town. My neighbors are hoping I won’t stand out in the driveway as I did last year waving my green glow-stick yelling ‘what’s wrong with our street? I’ve got Almond Joys this year! Come by and I’ll give you two of them!” Apparently, that type of action gets you labeled as “the crazy guy that lives in the house at the end of the street.’ And really, let’s be honest folks; that’s a pretty crappy label. Do the twins get to go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood you ask? Of course not! Are your crazy? Unlike everyone else, we have a good excuse though. We know a few people who live on the new side of town, so we have a legitimate reason to engage in ‘trick-or-treat traveling.’ I know what you are thinking, but that is SO different than what all the other people are doing by driving to the good neighborhoods.

Speaking of Almond Joys (yes, product integration streak still intact), have you noticed the class system of give outs on Halloween now? The folks that try to be good and hand out pencils, stickers and erasers are looked down upon and are usually the first ones retaliated against by kids who want nothing but chocolate goodness. The folks that give out M & Ms and Hershey bars are seen as middle of the road and middle class while those that give out Mounds, Almond Joys and the harder to get Charleston Chews and stuff like that are the most popular houses. Those are the houses where I usually ask for a piece or two for Lucy and Ethel’s baby sister who doesn’t exist. I’M KIDDING, I’M KIDDING!!! I have noticed that word gets around pretty quickly when there’s a house on the block giving out the good stuff. It sure beats Charlie Brown getting a rock!Even our office is watered down for Halloween this year. It’s a Disney theme, which of course helps ensure that everyone will be dressed nice and respectable. That conjures up lots of Snow Whites, Sleeping Beauties, Mickey Mouses and hopefully a Mary Poppins or two (is it so wrong that I find her hot). Although…you know, Splash was technically a Disney movie, wasn’t it. I doubt I’ll get to see someone dressed as Darryl Hannah’s mermaid though.

Oh well, Happy Halloween and have fun cleaning up all the smashed pumpkins in the middle of your yard or street tomorrow morning. I’ll be spending my evening (until at least 4AM) in the most sincere pumpkin patch I can find waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. As Linus says, it won’t be long now…

By the way, I just read that Robert Goulet has passed. I'd call for a moment of silence, but I think we should all salute him with our finest baritone voices while singing 'You've Got A Friend In Me' from the end of Toy Story 2. I mean, ya know, if you were looking for a way to remember and pay respects to him and all...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Timely Repost: Boy, Radio Listeners Are Gullible

On this day in 1938, the original episode of ‘Punked’ aired on CBS Radio’s ‘Mercury Theater on the Air.’ Well, it was something like that. Orson Welles’ aired his production of H.G. Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds.’ (Boy that’s great alliteration, isn’t it? Welle’s version of Wells’ War of the Worlds. Well, I think I said that wonderfully, it sounds so whimsical...) Despite the introduction by Welles saying that it was a radio adaptation, most people tuned in late and actually thought the Martian invasion was real. The only difference between what Orson Welles did that day and current reality TV is that he adapted a story from a book and made it up so it sounded real while reality TV is real and looks so made up. Except of course for Dirty Jobs. You just can't recreate poo like that.

Oh, to have that type of gullibility amongst us today. Back in ’38, people all over the east coast panicked, took to the highways to flee the Martian landing area and there were even reports of suicides. None could ever be confirmed though. I guess the havoc it wreaked must have looked a lot like the movie ‘Mars Attacks.’ It would be so much harder to get that type of response to a radio or TV production like that today. With so many cable news outlets and the internet, the hoax would be uncovered pretty quickly. Besides, if it was a hoax attempted over the internet, thousands would flock immediately to for confirmation of the hoax and discover it wasn’t true. People are just no fun these days. We can no longer believe our politicians and we question everything. Now granted, that is probably a good policy to adapt towards most things these days, but wouldn’t a good old-fashioned radio hoax be a hoot. Of course, the creator of it would be sued to the fullest extent of the law if they caused traffic backups and mass hysteria, but that’s part of the fun!

There was an elementary teacher I had two years in a row who would play the Orson Welles radio show every Halloween. (I swear it wasn’t because I was held back. He changed the grades he was teaching - no really!) We thought it was the coolest thing. He would explain the hysteria it caused and then we’d listen to it with the classroom lights turned off while only sunlight shined through. Of course we were the ‘Star Wars’ generation and found the whole premise of the show hard to believe, but we still enjoyed it and humored our teacher. If he attempted to play that radio show today, someone would complain and he’d be put on administrative leave until further notice! Then it would get press attention and end up in the odd news section and I’d get to blog about it all over again. I guess that’s what they call the circle of life.

Maybe the most recent attempt at messing with American audiences that I can think of was the FOX broadcast a few years back of the alien autopsy. At least I think they meant that to be perceived as real. We should use blogsville to perpetrate our own worldwide hoax. It could be something like the internet only has room for a few thousand more blogs, genetic testing has proven that Fidel Castro and Osama Bin Laden are the same person, Monday has been replaced on the calendar by a new day called Funday or that this coming weekend’s time change is an accident and should actually take place in two more weeks, except in Mentone, California and Fort Fairfield, Maine where the clocks should move forward by eight hours. If done correctly and promoted the right way through the Wondernet, the fake story could spread as fast as news of the E-Coli spinach outbreak did. Although that story was very real, I think. Unless it was perpetuated by a rival spinach company to hurt their competitors. Ugh, will the spinach wars ever end?

On second thought, maybe I won’t spread a fake story via the Wondernet. I just got off the phone with a relative in the mid-west and she said there are strange clouds appearing out of nowhere that are emitting electricity and toxic fumes and they’re heading west. If you need me, I’m relocating to the closest cave for a while. Hopefully it has a Wi-Fi connection.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Didn’t Al Gore Invent That?

Today is a pretty big day if you are into commemorating things. And no, I don’t mean commemorative plates like those of Siegfried and Roy, Fernwood Tonight or Welcome Back Kotter. Although if you do have a commemorative plate for Welcome Back Kotter, shoot me an email. Sweat Hogs Rule!!!! Sorry. What we should be commemorating is the birth of the internet in 1969. It is my understanding that Al Gore once took credit for the web’s creation, which is fine with me because I invented TiVo. I just don’t get a whole lot of credit for it because I am so humble and would rather not draw attention to myself, or my exploits. No, really.

Could you just imagine where we would be without the internet (or interweb as they call it on 30 Rock)? Where would we do our shopping, get sports scores or watch entire episodes of our favorite shows? I mean other than the store, ESPN or local newspapers and television. What would we do when we get bored at work or don’t wish to tackle that big job? Where would we get our music, you know instead of oh, I don’t know…BUYING IT??? Yes, the interweb has been a lifesaver. Just ask the folks that invented Amazon or Ebay (and my streak of seamless but pointless product integration is intact).

Does anyone remember the old California gold rush? No, not the one with dungarees, saloons and miners, I mean the dot com boom. Back in the good ole days of the dot com, it seemed like all you had to do was say the word internet and people would start giving you money. Seriously, I was with a small ad agency during that time and in the middle of a meeting with a potential client I whispered the word ‘internet’ followed by ‘www’ and ‘http’ like I was on the $25,000 Pyramid and before I knew it the potential client had handed us a $30,000 check to create a website for them. It was a dirty trick but I worked at an ad agency and other agencies were doing it. The internet was so big at the time and fully understood by so few that this scheme tactic practice was used many times and made us a ton of money. For a while, all the key members of our agency (myself included) were all driving around in company owned Lincoln Continentals and we started smoking $100 cigars every time we signed up a new client instead of the cheapy ones we were smoking before we got on the dot com train.

Ok, yes, I admit, I made all of that up (except for the Cigar part) to illustrate to you just how big the whole internet/dot com thing was. Did it work? It felt like it worked. In fact, I think as far as illustrative story telling goes, I nailed it. TWSS. Almost semi-seriously though, the internet was big, big business. Does anyone remember the Super Bowl Ads of the late 1990s when most of the ads were for website businesses that disappeared quicker than (insert your own clever current event commentary here…such as ‘Britney’s underwear at a dance club, Nicole Richie’s baby bump, a new sitcom on FOX or The Colorado Rockies’ World Series hopes). But we won’t talk about the dot come boom’s bust (which, I must add, was bigger than Dolly’s). The wounds are still fresh for so many. Yeah, I’m illustrative story telling again.

Back in the day, I was actually developing websites. I won’t call it designing because I could not design my way out of a paper bag, although more disconcerting to me would be how I got into the paper bag in the first place, but now I have strayed off topic. My favorite thing to do was to take an image created by one of our graphic artists and hotlink the heck out of different parts of the image. Unfortunately, many of our clients’ customers knew nothing about hot linking and clicking within an image, so the sites I made failed miserably. And no, sadly I am no longer illustrative story telling.

So, the internet is 38 years old today. It has come a long way since its invention and has woven an irreplaceable web into our lives. A web that is world wide, if you will. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to use the internet for some important work projects. My coworker and I need to continue our game of Google Maps where we take turns finding a landmark by using the satellite photography provided by Google. Then I’ll blog and after that maybe instant message, download some hip-swinging tunes or maybe try to make naughty words out of various stock market ticker symbols. Does anyone know if there is a company named Amalgamated Steel Services that is selling stocks?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Things I Learned This Week: 10/27/07

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 taking a hiatus from blogging just leaves me with more time for stuff like bathing small children, doing the yards, doing laundry and ‘working’ in the office. I may actually strike the word ‘hiatus’ from my vocabulary now.

! I learned that telling my parents they should never have moved to the mountains is better left unsaid when the same mountains are burning.

! I learned that going to 4 Target stores in an attempt to find my boss the replica of Michael Scott’s ‘Worlds Best Boss’ coffee mug for Boss’ Day has earned me a title I would rather not have.

! I learned that when I am running low on contact lenses, I can take Wal-Mart up on their offer of a free trial pair of colored lenses. I have already warned my coworkers that if I show up one day with cat eyes or bright blue eyes that it’s because I ran out of lenses and didn’t feel like ordering more.

! I learned that no metal stakes in the world are strong enough to hold down a 350 pound bounce house full of little kids when the wind is gusting about 60 miles per hour. The front of the bounce house lifted up like a hinged trash can lid and my backyard sounded like a roller coaster. I also learned that when the bounce house has been deflated and all of the children take to playing in Lucy and Ethel’s play set area that young kids cannot resist picking up and throwing the expensive rubberized faux bark pieces everywhere. Yeah, I don’t think I’m throwing a birthday party again. Getting ready for it was too much work and work and party should never need to be us
ed in the same sentence.

! I learned that walking up to the dairy section of the store and pulling out eggnog is a guaranteed way to get people’s attention. Telling the same people asking me about why I am getting eggnog in October that ‘oh, I do this every year,’ is a guaranteed way to make them look at me funny, mumble and then walk away.

And lastly,

! I learned that leaving work in the middle of the day to go into L.A. to get Clippers tickets is only a good idea when your boss is actually out of town and cell phone range like you were told he was.

This is a photo of a pumpkin pie that I made...out of real pumpkin...with spices and crust and stuff. All who tasted it says it was good and tastes just like pumpkin pie. I honestly did not see that coming. Perhaps I shall make more...and sell them. So, what's the going rate for pumpkin pies these days? About $35 for the whole pie, I'm hoping...

***Podcast Alert***
Yeah, I posted a new podcast for Halloween. Would you listen if I bribed you by saying Lucy and Ethel sing in it? Ok then, Lucy and Ethel sing in the podcast that can be heard here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

8 Years Strong and Counting…

Well, I made it official yesterday. For the 8th straight year, I was able to enjoy the silky great taste of eggnog before Halloween. So far, the closest I came to not finding it before October 31st was the great So Cal grocery workers strike of 2003. On that year, I was shut out until October 29th. Not even the fact that Female Coworker spotted it in my grocer’s dairy case before I did can put a damper on this festive yet solemn event. Go ahead and laugh for a little while, but then come back. Heck, that’s what my coworkers all did, but then that’s what I get for walking into everyone’s cubicle while doing the happy dance and holding my bottle of eggnog. Now you can commence to laughing…

OK, are you done laughing at me yet? Good. Many have tried to challenge the notion, but all have failed. Yes, it is possible to chug eggnog before Halloween Night and one of these years, I will successfully find someone to bet against me. So, once again this year I will be passing out candy while sipping on eggnog to a bunch of high school kids who put on a flannel shirt, grab a trash bag and call it trick-or-treating. I’d tell those kids ‘no’ but I value my property too much and have always believed that eggs should be used for cooking only, shaving cream is for the face (or perhaps legs if you are of the lady persuasion) and toilet paper is for, well, you know.

I’m sure that the list of eggnog appreciators will be 50-50 for and against, but I love the stuff. Usually around March of each year, I find myself craving it but there is no remedy for the cravings. Sure, I could make it for myself, but that’s no fun. I think part of the enjoyment of this questionable beverage is that it is only available for a limited time. Making it would just cheapen the experience for me. In fact, it would be like being able to shop for Christmas decorations in September and October. Oh, wait a minute…I guess that’s not the best argument in this case, is it.

So, when I get to work each morning for the next 2 months, I can have a cup of nog instead of coffee. While neither option is especially healthy, at least I can say that I am only drinking the light variety. Except of course for very special occasions. You know, occasions like finding the first eggnog of the year, Fridays, Saturday nights, NASCAR races on Sundays, getting home from work on Monday nights, something on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and while watching 30 Rock and The Office on Thursday nights. Like I said, just the real special, non-run of the mill occasions.

*And yes, the fact that I was excited enough to take a camera phone picture of the event means that I will be in some form of therapy tomorrow morning...but, it did allow me to keep up my theme of appropriate product integration.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Imagine The Honeymoon

I just finished reading an AP story where a man in China married a woman 25 years his junior. Just imagine it. This guy was a college graduate by the time his new wife was born. How in the world can you have ANYTHING in common when you are separated by that many years? Think for a second of all the things that can change in 25 years. Try to remember the technological advances, health advances and even small little evolutionary steps that can be taken in that time.

In just over 10 years, the world went from Sputnik to man landing on the moon. In 25 years we went from blood letting as a cure all to penicillin and stem cells. Oh wait, that may not be entirely accurate. As far as evolution goes, well, I made that up for effect. There has been a lot that has changed in 25 years though, especially in America. We now have a war, high gas prices, high unemployment, we are nearing a recession, home prices are falling and the President’s approval rate has plummeted. The Rolling Stones, The Police and Van Halen are on tour and most of the Middle East hates us. Now if you contrast that to 1982, oh wait a minute, if those are the measurements then we might still be in 1982. Hold on, let me check…nope it’s not 1982. I can’t find my one sequined glove. Well, at least we have the internet and Starbucks now.

I guess I should mention another little part of the story. The husband is 106 and his new bride is 81. Is anyone else thinking that there might be money involved here? Where did these two meet? In what way are they attracted to each other? How many nurses chaperones accompanied them on their honeymoon? Where did they go for that honeymoon? Well, I think we know the answer to that one. Yep, probably a bingo parlor in a nice Indian Casino with a luxurious attached hotel. Or, maybe it was Florida. Perhaps they just woke up early and walked around the mall.

Just imagine the wedding as they both drove down the isle in their mobility scooters. Or how about the classic part of the wedding when they shoved each other’s feeding tubes containing liquefied wedding cake into each other’s faces. How many of their friends do you think passed out while doing the Chicken, Macarena or YMCA? Do you think the Best Man forgot his speech part way through or ended up talking on a tangent about how much it cost for new car tires? I’m wondering who dove for the garter. Actually no. I am not. I don’t really care to think about a 106 year old groom removing the garter from his 81 year old bride. Seriously, now I am ill and I just ate pudding…tapioca…like old folks do.

Yes, I realize I am being pretty harsh on old people and that you are going to tell me that I too will be old one day. However, there is a fairly decent chance that with my ticker, I won’t live until THAT old of an age, so I can kinda get away with it guilt free. It’s just like drinking Coke Zero. It tastes so good; you could care less that it includes no sugar. (Dear Coke executives: feel free to send me notification of reimbursement for dramatic product placement to my email address and I will in turn give you my mailing information)*. Besides, if getting old means forgetting things, driving poorly, mumbling about the horrible fashions and musical tastes of today’s children and taking more medications than I have fingers, well then I am pretty old already.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. At the time of this writing, it is almost 4PM and I have to get to dinner before they raise the prices for the evening rush…dangit, who moved my coupons!!!!

*I think to spice things up a little I am going to continue featuring story specific product placements in my posts in order to generate revenue and become someone’s product pitchman (or woman). I swear it will be woven seamlessly into each post and not interfere with each story's flow. Kinda like this one...

**I must also add that this was my 450th post...and yet, not a dime from it. Is this what they call charity? Why did no one tell me before now that this blogging thing isn't an endurance race?

***Lastly -- Please keep all of the So Californian's dealing with the fires in your thoughts. As I write this while keeping on eye on the internet streaming fire scanner, the Lake Arrowhead/Green Valley mountain fire is now being battled one street above my parents' home. Even though I work and live many miles from any of the 16 fires now burning, there is ash and smoke everywhere...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kissing Cousins (And A Short Recess)

**UPDATE: I have a new podcast up for your enjoyment, horror, disappointment or embarrassment...take your pick.**

About a month or so ago, there was a very small news story about the possibility of Elvis and Oprah being related. It didn’t get a lot of attention, but the possibilities were mind blowing. It would almost be like finding out that Rachael Ray is related to the cast of NBC’s Heroes. Then yesterday I read a story about Dick Cheney and Barack Obama being related. Not that I need to tell you, but that would be like finding out President Bush and The Dixie Chicks are related.

It is always interesting to me finding out that certain people are related. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s just the shock value of finding out that two people you know or know of share a bloodline somewhere. For instance, many people would be shocked to discover that my brother and I are related. He is quite tall and well, let’s just say that the similarities end there. I mean I probably have more in common physically with my bounce house-collapsing friend, also known as Brother From Another Mother, but we are not related. Though we do have the same blood type and philosophy about BBQs and Red Lobster.

After the last paragraph, I spent far more than an hour writing and deleting other examples of relations but came up with nothing I was happy with or felt pride in publishing. I have enjoyed writing every day and responding to your comments but no matter how hard I try, the idea pool has dried up and it hasn’t been much fun lately. I can no longer sit down to write endlessly while barely being able to contain myself when I hit the publish button. For the past month coming up with much of anything feels like when my grandfather used to walk 131 miles through the snow in a hailstorm to get to his one-room, unheated schoolhouse. It might be time to write once or twice a week or whenever inspiration strikes. The only problem with that is that my inspiration usually only strikes at the most inopportune times like when I am at work, when the in-laws are visiting, when the twins need food or something needs to be done around the house.

So, I am going to take a little hiatus and hope I can find things to write about again that I feel are worthy of being considered ‘nothing worthwhile’ and fun. I guess this is the part where I quote Douglas MacArthur (I shall return), Arnold Schwarzenegger (I’ll be back) or Carol Burnett (I’m so glad we had this time together), but I’ll just quote Elvis instead and say thank you, thank you very much.

(Now watch, I’ll get a great blog idea tonight, post it tomorrow and look like an idiot…)

for now...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bullet Time

Because I am truly now out of blog ideas like we are almost out of Kennedys, I had planned on beginning the blog favorite ‘100 Things About Me’ today, but 100 seems like an awful lot. I suppose I could break it down into chunks, but I don’t like the word chunks, especially when it has to do with food. I realize it doesn’t in this case, but I’ll tackle 100 things later. Besides, you know the drill: fried food, Tina Fey, The Office, coworkers, HR seems to use me as a target, etc. When you stop to think about it, I really only write about 5 different topics, yet people keep coming back to read this blog. Perhaps I should go into sales…

And now the bullets:

* Go figure that days after posting about how bad drivers are when they multi-task while operating a motor vehicle that I was behind a car this morning that missed the middle divider by about a foot because the driver was playing with his cell phone.

* Lucy and Ethel’s month-delayed birthday party is this weekend. Is it wrong that I am so excited about keeping my string alive of collapsing bounce houses? I really feel like my personal sense of success and failure hinges on collapsing this bounce house I have yet to see.

* I’m thinking of getting colored contacts and rotating out the color daily. I’ll assign a color to each day and see how long it takes until people notice. Although I imagine the length of time it would take until they notice just dropped dramatically since I mentioned it here. I gotta stop doing that!

* I’ d like to challenge the person who said you can’t sit and watch grass grow. I did this weekend and I was actually standing while doing so. I just wish I had planted the seeds better because now my backyard looks like a bunch of little patches of flat top haircuts. I’m sure no one will notice.

* A nice warm fire should only be enjoyed after all in-home fire safety precautions have been taken. I am specifically speaking of opening something referred to as the ‘flue.’ Apparently that step is pretty important.

* Since bullets take less time, require less thought and can be entirely random, I am going to begin speaking in bullet points. Picture me like Dwight Schrute saying ‘Bullet:’ before every sentence.

* I have decided that if there is no patron saint for fried foods that there should be and he should be called Saint Crispux. He will visit while we sleep at night and leave brand new deep fryers with a nice cookbook. Saint Crispux will also have a toll-free hotline like the Butterball Turkey people do at Thanksgiving time. Saint Crispux is the older brother of Saint Ignacious of Cheddar.

* It is very hard for me to make eye contact with the pretty women I encounter in our work’s parking lot after they come out of the ‘Lady Waxing Place’ because I know what they have just finished having done to themselves. While they don’t seem to blush, I sure do. It’s a pretty hairy awkward situation for me.

Crappy Possibly Made-Up Holiday Alert: Today is Mulligan Day. While I can’t find a legitimate definition for it online and I tried really, really hard (definition: Google and Wikipedia turned up zilch), I will attempt a guess at what I think the holiday is about and celebrate that.

I believe that Mulligan Day is a day of do-overs. It’s a day where we get to do things over. Though don’t confuse it with doing things over like in one of the best movies ever - Bill Murray’s Ground Hog Day. I’m focusing in on getting do-overs after making mistakes. For someone like me, it really is an important holiday.

Forget to pay an important bill? Take a Mulligan. Forget to divorce your wife before getting remarried? Take a Mulligan. Burned dinner again? Take a Mulligan. Wore blue socks with black pants? Mulligan, baby. Bad mouthed the boss without realizing he/she was behind you? Yep, Mulligan time. Did not order your french fries with gravy on them? Greasy Mulligan. Vomitted in a coworker’s car? Sloppy Mulligan. Went almost a week without visiting your favorite blogs? Apologetic Mulligan. Confused your twins and had an entire conversation with the wrong twin? Bad Daddy Mulligan. Got caught blogging at work? Play stupid Mulligan. Telling the special lady in you life that her a$$ DOES look fat in those pants? Leave town for a few weeks.

I hope the explanations help and Happy Mulligan Day. Now, perhaps I should take a Mulligan with this post…

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Take A Memo Please…It’s Boss’ Day

So, is it Boss’ Day or Bosses Day? It really does matter. Boss’ Days means that our boss possesses the day (although I guess our bosses possess every day we work for them) and Bosses Day means a day of bosses, which could be a pretty scary idea. Whatever the grammatical treatment, today is the day we honor our boss. And by honor, I mean give them things similar to what dads get on Father’s Day so we can say we gave them a gift because we know that although they may not say anything, they do know that it is Boss’ Day. In short, not giving a gift on Bosses Day is akin to career suicide, just like blogging at work, but I think I’ve already detailed that extensively.

For the record and before I go any further, I will tell you that my part of our Bosses Day gift is an Office/Dunder Mifflin mug that says ‘World’s Best Boss.’ I don’t like to brag, but sometimes I am quite the superb gift giver. Except for that episode a few weeks ago where I gave Lucy and Ethel 6 new fish. We’ve just decided to not talk about that anymore…

I’ve never been a boss so I am on the honoring instead of honoree side. I will admit right here and now (especially since my boss knows about and may actually read my blog) that I like my boss and feel fortunate to have him as my leader. Bosses can be different things to different folks: friend, mentor, colleague or enemy. Not sure about the enemy part? Just think, Darth Vader and Mussolini were both bosses and I don’t consider levitating your employees while choking as something exemplary bosses do (yes, I am speaking about Mussolini). There are mafia bosses and Boss Hogg. Every former President was a boss and the guy running your favorite bowling alley is a boss. I could also argue that if you are a parent you’re a boss, but since I have to freely admit that my daughters rule me, I won’t push the point. I have a dog and sometimes she listens to me, so I guess I am a part-time boss after all. I also planted grass seed and talked to it every day so it would grow and guess what – it did. Yes, I now think I am a boss.

Many people would follow their boss off the edge of a cliff. Of course, many more would rather push their boss off the edge of that same cliff. With all respect to my boss, my favorite boss is not even real. It’s Michael Scott of Dunder-Mifflin. On the surface it seems like it would be aggravating working for him, but I and my co-workers think it would be endlessly entertaining. The guy tries so hard and fails miserably to gain the friendship, not to mention respect of his employees. Plus, he has no conscience and no idea of what is and is not appropriate to say around the workplace. For him, it’s just so hard (that’s what she said). And we all know that social awkwardness makes for great entertainment!

Aside from being in charge, getting to do fun bossy type stuff and having to make most decisions, it has to be hard being a boss. Do you want your staff to like you? Do you try to befriend them or do you make decisions regardless of what it will do to them? I’m sure it’s not a popularity contest but it is nice to be liked so I imagine that makes the going difficult for every boss. Seriously, aside from God and Jimmy Buffett, can you think of a boss who is liked by every one of their underlings? Dictators don’t count because they are liked by their staffs under the fear of death, which I hear is a pretty strong motivational tool. Be warned though. I tried using it for a while at work and it didn’t give me the same results. Perhaps stirring the fear of death in my coworkers would be easier if I stopped saying ‘that’s what she said’ after every other sentence.

So, if you are a boss and happen to be reading this blog, Happy Bosses Day! If you have a boss, then this day may not mean as much to you. Incidentally, what day is there to honor employees? Yeah there is Labor Day and many companies have an employee appreciation day that might include a BBQ or a percentage off company merchandise, but who considers that appreciation? Appreciation to me involves being hoisted up and paraded around while I sit in my chair to the tune of ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ or ‘La Bamba’ (don’t ask).

What day do employees get to go to work and receive some kind of recognition? I should probably be more specific here. I mean good recognition and not the kind of recognition where HR shows up unannounced to meet with you about something you may or may not have done that may or may not have involved blogging on company time because that is far from being considered good recognition. If you are a secretary Administrative Professional (oops, forgot to be PC there) you get Administrative Professionals Day. If you are a mid-level worker, I guess you just don’t get a day. Sadly, there is no ‘Mid-level Worker Day’ when you can be given cards and stuff, although that really doesn’t have a good ring to it, does it. I guess there are always sick days, but don’t expect your fellow employees to send a card, unless you are really sick, but that’s nothing to celebrate now, is it?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Repost Sunday: Drink This And…

Drinking, no matter what it is, can cause a lot of different things to happen to the human body. Drink too much alcohol and you can end up in jail or too embarrassed to see your friends ever again. Drink too much soda (the regular kind) and you end up overweight with really bad bones and teeth. Drink too much diet soda and you end up with a really bad taste in your mouth. Drink too much coffee and you end up jittery with heart palpitations or with no money (if your get your coffee from Starbucks). Drink too much water and, well actually, that’s ok. Coca-Cola is releasing a new green tea beverage called Enviga that they say will help you lose weight.

Finally, the miracle tonic is here and of course just like our modern image of ole Santa Claus; it could only be Coca-Cola that created it. There has been a lot of research about the effect of green tea on our metabolism and whether or not it helps us lose weight. I don’t know that it’s been proven either way yet, but people are still flocking to green tea and all the new green tea products that keep popping up out there. Coca-Cola says that drinking three cans of their Enviga within a 24-hour period can help you lose up to 100 calories. What everyone seems to have forgotten is that EXERCISE CAN GIVE YOU THE SAME RESULTS. The problem of course is that exercise doesn’t taste as good and it takes a little more work than popping a top. The good thing is that drinking three cans of coke within 24 hours will most certainly NOT help you lose weight, so I guess that’s a pretty big improvement.

With this latest shot across the bow, Enviga has re-energized and re-invigorated (so to speak) the Cola Wars. In “Cola Wars, Episode 4 – Enviga Strikes Back” (I know that’s lame, but really, it’s a Monday) the other cola giants are now stumbling over themselves to create products to compete. My special informant who is responsible for making up reporting secret news developments to me has revealed the plans that Coke’s competitors are working on. It seems they have decided to let Coke have the weight loss market and are concentrating on other revolutionary body improvement tonics.

Pepsi is getting ready to release Beautonic, which will make you look more attractive after drinking a twelve pack. I guess that’s the exact opposite of alcohol because you’d think a twelve pack would make someone else look attractive, but it seems they have found a new ingredient which alters your appearance. Not to be outdone, Dr. Pepper, the most cerebral of soft drinks (after all, it does have a PhD) is currently test marketing Smart X, which if you haven’t figured out already, will make you smarter the more you drink. Obviously, Smart X is also the opposite of alcohol. Finally, 7-Up has created a logic improving drink (rumor has it they’ve got a great ad campaign using Leonard Nimoy, which makes me think that Enviga should employ a before and after campaign with William Shatner) that allows you to relax and slow down so that you think things out more clearly before speaking and interacting with others. You guessed it, it’s called Shut-up.

As you can tell, it’s going to be an exciting time for soft drink lovers. While we’ll always be addicted (quite literally) to our sugary sweet favorites, the new products I have mentioned give us some great alternatives, with wonderful side effects. By combining all of them, what I call The Dr. Jekyll, you get all of the elements that will make you (on the surface) a great person. You’ll definitely want to down a few of each before your next dinner party or social gathering.

***Update: And if you choose not not, you'll be in the perfect position to celebrate National Grouch Day on Monday!!***

Friday, October 12, 2007

Driving Efficiently, Not Smartly

Uh, 30 Rock and the Office were on. Hence the repost. I hope I shall be forgiven. I think. I'm kinda tired...

I read an interesting Reuters story online this morning while driving into work. The story caught my attention since I just wrote about drivers who don’t pay attention to what their satellite navigation systems are telling them to do. This story says that a survey was recently released showing that 81 percent of our fellow Americans (but it’s certainly not any of us reading or writing this) perform other tasks while driving. While I tend to view it as driving efficiently, others view it as not exactly the safest of driving practices.

The study by Nationwide Mutual Insurance says that drivers eat, mess with their music, do makeup, shave, exchange seats with other passengers, watch movies and yes – nurse their children while driving. Although in the case of the baby nurser, I don’t know how much driving they’d actually be doing. That’s downright illegal, I think. If you are nursing a child while driving then you either have amazing bodily contortion, stretching ability (of which I do not wish to further discuss) or you’ve taken the child out of their car seat, and they are stretched across your lap in the front seat. If that mom (I don’t think I have to state why I know it’s a mom and not a dad for obvious reasons) has to slam on the brakes, that’ll sadly be her baby’s last supper. It’s ‘utterly’ wrong…sorry.

Doing the other stuff while driving is certainly not bright, but we all know it happens every day. Here in Southern California, I’m not sure that efficient driving (my term only) is that dangerous for the simple fact that most of us get onto our lovely congested highways and never get into third gear, provided we’re lucky enough to get into second. If you are a regular participant in the hell that is known as commuting (defined as driving two-hours one way over a distance that should only take 30 minutes), then you could easily set up and play an entire game of Monopoly with a commuter in the lane next to you or a fellow passenger without every endangering yourselves. OK, I’m exaggerating. The game wouldn’t be monopoly; it would be Pictionary.

I don’t feel that American drivers should be accused of watching movies while driving. What did everyone expect when they started installing DVD players into our cars and SUVs in the first place? They probably don’t think we’re using our cup holders, moon roofs or seat warmers, either. I’ve tried to shave with my electric razor once, but it wasn’t a very close shave, so I won’t bother trying that again. I see ladies applying mascara all the time while driving. Do you know how tempting it is to pull up along side of them and gesture that they missed a spot? My only concern is that their insurance might find me at fault when they slam into the back of a minivan because they aren’t paying attention.

When I was younger, I only changed seats with other passengers while stopped at a red light. I feel so stupid that it never occurred to me that we could engage in that game while moving. I’ll have to try it because it sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it might take too long getting Lucy and Ethel out of their car seats to participate. Maybe I’ll grab the company’s carpool van for the day.

It appears that the things we’re most guilty of while driving would have to be eating or car stereo related. Why just last night coming home from dinner, I mastered the art of driving in the dark on the freeway in 50 mile per hour wind gusts while changing CDs on my stereo. I should also admit that I got extra style points since I had to bend down and pick up the six CDs I dropped while trying to do all of this. I’m proud to admit that I only swerved once and my tires only hit the lane’s reflector bumps; they never actually crossed into the other lane. Now try that at home.

Oops, green light. I gotta go…

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It’s Time For Me To Rhyme

First off, days don’t get too much better than Wednesday. I ate at the always way too friendly Chick-Fil-A, found out my contacts are doing fine, wore my ‘More Cowbell’ t-shirt for the first time and had dinner at Rubios only to discover that LOBSTER burritos and tacos are back (for a limited time of course). While that would have been a great day by itself, it got even better. I FINALLY got my hands on the Limited Edition 3 Elvis Pez set (1970’s concert jumpsuit Elvis is my favorite) AND my friend The Laughorist paid up on our bet of whether his Giants or my Dodgers would do better. The non-winner (because loser just doesn’t apply here) had to write an ode about the winner’s team. It is beautifully written and can be found here. Ok enough of how great my day was. On to the post…

In my comments section yesterday,
Odat wrote what I thought was the coolest poem. It has inspired me to try and flex my poetic muscles. Keep in mind that I am more Maya Rudolph than Maya Angelou and more Jack Frost than Robert Frost, but I have been told by Lucy and Ethel that I bust mad back to back rhymes when I am giving them a bath. Ok, I know -when will I learn to stop trying to use cool phrases like ‘busting mad rhymes?’ Well, here we go, please read them slow, because I want you to know each word that I am saying. And no, I’m not just playing. See, I’m already in prime form…

That’s what she said
This phrase is always in my head
It might mean that my thoughts are not always pure
But you can be sure
If you say something in my presence
I will definitely be trying to use TWSS in a sentence

I got on my new Ab Lounger XL to firm up my tummy
This is necessary because I like things (particularly meats and cheeses) that are yummy
I used it wrong
Now I fear that the only thing that will be strong
Is my back
Can that even have a 6-pack?

My new contact lenses tend to get blurry
When I blink it clears
So I don’t think I should worry
I tend to think
And I tend to blink
When I insert them
Then I end up trying to stick the shape of a burrito in my eye
This will probably result in a sty
Oh my

I like fried food
I have since the first time I saw it and chewed
It may not be good FOR me
But it tastes good TO me
I realize that the last phrase only rhymes because I used the same word twice
It’s ok if I acknowledge that, but if you do, it’s just not nice
Now I am craving rice

Now that I no longer wear prescription glasses
I can buy any pair of cool sunglasses
I just got a great pair
They even look good with my hair
But the best part of my new sunglasses
Is that it covers my eyes when I try to look at ladies’ fine, round…..uh, choice of business attire

Ok, I am done. That was kinda fun. Thanks for taking the time to read while I rhyme. Now I think I shall eat pie made of key-lime.
And to paraphrase Mike Meyers from my all-time favorite movie, ‘These Poems…Suck.’

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Great Franchise Opportunity – Call Today!

I used to be my own boss. I owned my own freelance PR and copywriting business and miss the whole being in charge thing. You may not have picked this up from reading my blog, but I have trouble conforming to the big corporate thing. Now, if a certain fictional paper company wanted to hire me I’m sure things would be different…

Last night I may have discovered the key to my next self-employed career. It kinda crept up on me, but now I am pretty sure about it. It’s an amazing career opportunity and does not involve real estate with no money down or selling things in bottles. It doesn’t even involve gathering ostrich eggs to make ginormous frozen prepackaged omelets, although I am writing that idea down for later. What is this amazing business opportunity? It’s Fancy Ironing. It all began innocently enough when one of the prongs from my iron’s plug broke off inside the electrical outlet the other day. I have to admit that I got quite a charge when removing it with pair of pliers. It was shocking, really. All of that led to needing a new iron, but the fancy high-powered fabric steamer beckoned. Besides, it had a crease attachment, which means no more three crease pants, unless I’m feeling really edgy.

So I bought the fabric steamer with pole and hangar attachment. Now I can iron anything and everything and it’ll look professionally done! Now I can take in people’s ironing and make money while basically playing with the steamer. After all, I have been told countless times that I could do something more productive every Sunday than watching my NASCAR race for 4 hours (6 if I watch the pre-race show). Of course I TiVo the race and can watch it in about 2 hours if I’m feeling really saucy, but there is still a little time to do some work there. Now I can make money steam ironing other people’s clothes while watching my races. The nice part about this is that the usual burning of clothes I previously experienced while ironing during NASCAR is gone. I figure if I charge $30 per garment I should do pretty well. That’s a fair price, right? I can also do curtains, drapes and other words that describe cloth-like window coverings.

I am very excited about this new business opportunity. I haven’t settled on a name for the new company yet, but am kicking around Michael’s Fancy Ironings, Sultan of Steam, Iron-ic, Steamy McSteamerson and Henry Wrinkler’s. If I go with the Henry one, the logo will be an ironed leather jacket and a thumbs up. My administrative professional, who I have not hired yet but better look like The Office’s Pam Beasley, will answer the phone by saying ‘Aayyyy.’

I can envision a chain of these fancy steam ironing stores or maybe an inverted pyramid scheme to throw off the feds. Oh wait, if the pyramid is inverted, how am I going to make money? Perhaps I’ll sell franchise licenses instead and try to negotiate to get one into every Starbucks or CVS or Wal-Green’s pharmacy. Maybe I’ll do all three. Then I could literally have a Henry Wrinkler’s clothes-steaming store on every street corner with a stoplight in America. Wow, I’d be ‘movin’ on up,’ but I really don’t want a penthouse in the sky. I will take a summer place on Martha’s Vineyard though. And yes, I know that the Jeffersons owned a dry cleaning business, please cut me some slack. But, did you know that they were originally on and a spin-off of ‘All in the Family?’ OK, I feel like I have asserted my mental dominance and am back in charge now.

All of this just might work. Heck maybe I’ll make enough money to pay for the Ab-Lounger Ultra I’ll never use that I bought at the same time as the clothes-steamer. Ohhh, that reminds me, I should probably open the box and try the clothes-steamer out before I move forward with any of this. Boy would that have been awkward when the first customer showed up during the race on Saturday night. By the way, can you steam iron neckties? They tend to get a little wrinkled when worn backwards around the forehead…

Worthless item of the day: I don’t know if you listen to country music, but I just bought Sara Evans’ Greatest Hits. I looked at the back of the CD case to see what songs were on it and all I could say when I turned it over was ‘uhhhhhhhhhh.’ I bet the CD sells very, very well.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ugh, With A Bullet

I have been having trouble thinking of blogging topics lately. I’d like to blame it on my new contacts or how beautiful the weather has been in So Cal or that Jeff Gordon won Sunday’s race or even on the fact that I haven’t had enough deep fried foods or melted cheese lately, but I fear those are not the reasons. Well, I fear YOU will not accept them as valid reasons. So, when inspiration fails to bite me in the arse, I result to bullet points. Random, poorly thought out bullet points…

* There is something wrong with living in Southern California when you actually reseed the yard in the Fall...and it grows.

* I live in Southern California, where it never rains. I mean that’s what they sing, so it must be true. How is it then that I have had the last 3 Fridays off and it has rained part of each one of those Fridays? Monday-Thursday? No rain. Saturday and Sunday? No rain. Go figure.

* I have this uh, friend and he made his ring tone Copacabana. How can he get his uh, coworkers to stop laughing at him whenever his cell phone rings? This is of course a hypothetical scenario only.

* Could I get fired for placing a limbo pole or stick (I’m not really sure which would be better) in the main hallway at work so that everyone who has to walk by will be required to limbo in order to get by? Imagine what it would do for moral. Although, some of my coworkers are not the most fit members of society, so imagine what it would do to our workman’s comp claims. Actually, that might be fun to watch too.

* Why does one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs, ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ make me crave ham? I worry I am missing the point. Although, MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’ makes me crave kosher food, so I think I’m on target there.

* I often fear that if I were a pirate, I’d give the stolen booty back. Yes, the phrase ‘give the booty back’ makes me want to scream ‘That’s What She Said,’ but I’m trying to be good. But you know I am saying it in my head.

* If I were successful in getting bocce ball televised, would people watch? Would the viewership triple if the bocce balls were filled with explosives? I shall call it Boom Ball.

* Does the fact that I want to devote my next bullet point to a soap opera like ‘All My Children’ mean that I have run out of subjects to write about?

* In the hopes of becoming more respected in the office, I have taken to talking like Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock. Sadly, whenever I try it I end up hacking as if I’ve been smoking since 1954.

* Next time I am playing a Jimmy Buffett CD in the office, I need to make sure not to walk away when ‘Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw’ is only a few songs away. It turns out some coworkers are actually offended by that lovely ballad.

* I want to run for charity. I also want to run a marathon AND a triathlon. Sadly, I have a lot of things that need to be watched on my TiVo list. The running will probably have to wait a while.

* If I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I am a grown up, would I make a good career counselor? What does the resume for a career counselor look like? Would the more jobs they have held actually be a good thing?

* Is it worse to be a blog lurker – a blurker- or not to visit my favorite blogs at all? Yes, this is a not so cleverly hidden apology.

* Is it ok that the highlight of my day was buying a SNL t-shirt that says ‘More Cowbell!’?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Things I Learned This Week: 10/6/07

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 dinner at the buffet of an Indian Casino that prides itself on having 7 different cultural 'food stations' is not the place to go when on a diet. Perhaps it just isn't the place for a foodie to go - ever.

! I learned that a windy day is not the best day to try and mow the lawn when wearing the contacts I have only had for 3 days. The words panic and sandpaper are appropriate here.

! I learned that when I am wearing a 2 week heart monitor that prohibits me from wearing a tie and tucking in my shirt, I should lay low about it instead of walking through the office saying I don't have to dress up in an eerie sing -song way. This only attracts the boss' attention.

! I learned that when going to a real pumpkin patch with real dirt shortly after a rainstorm that sandals are probably not the best choice in foot wear.

! I learned that having my cellphone ringtone set to a medley of "That's What She Said's" from The Office that it only takes about 3 phone calls before Lucy and Ethel run around saying 'That's What She Said' everywhere they go. I will choose to worry when they begin using it correctly.

! I learned that a week without a Monte Cristo sandwich must be what it feels like to be in prison or not have satellite TV complete with TiVo. Ok, I realize that sounds a bit dramatic, but that is only because you have not tried one.

And lastly,

! I learned that whenever the twins decide to get into bed with us to wake us up in the morning that somehow they always end up putting all their weight on my 'manitalia.' And it hurts. It really, really hurts.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Repost Friday: Sing It Like You Stole It!

Unfortunately, this really isn't National Karaoke Week. This post is from April. I tried to come up with something original today, but the best I had concerned a guy putting up a new stop sign in our work parking lot and every time he stretched it was 'look at the big guy's ass crack' time. And if that's the best I could come up with, I figured it was time for a repost. Enjoy and have a great Friday!!!

For those of you who may not be aware, this week is National Karaoke Week. Oh, if only Sanjaya could have survived just one more week on American Idol. They may have honored him during the telecast or at the very least pretended he has the potential to maybe, possibly have talent. I will say this though, he has nice hair (and by nice I mean a lot), if that’s what you’re in to. But enough about Sanjaya, this is about celebrating National Karaoke Week!

I thought it would be nice to come into the office this morning while celebrating the week to get everyone excited about it. I put a smile on my face, tried to get my voice in tune, or on key or whatever it’s called and strolled into the office singing ‘Take This Job And Shove It,’ because it was the only song that came to mind. It was brought to my attention that it wasn’t the most appropriate tune for the workplace. I calmly explained that it is National Karaoke week and I was merely celebrating the holiday. Figuring that another song might erase the work faux pas I had committed, I started singing Eric Burden’s ‘We Gotta Get Outta This Place,’ as it’s a 60s rock anthem. Apparently singing about escape wasn’t appreciated either. Not to be stopped, I started singing a few bars of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ Go figure that a prison tune isn’t acceptable at work either. Feeling defeated but not deterred, I walked away humming ‘I Fought The Law And The Law Won.’ Who would have guessed that management knew that one, too? I decided to celebrate by myself in my cubicle by singing ‘Escape (The Pina Colada Song).’ Since most people only know it as the Pina Colada Song and not by its real title, I got away with it. Happy Karaoke Week to me indeed.

While I am certainly no golden throat, I would like to think that I can carry a tune at least for a few minutes. I was born with a deep baritone/bass singing voice. OK, I wasn’t born with it, but it did show up after puberty. However, I have discovered over the years that there is not much space in this world for a boy that can only sing all the low notes for old Temptations’ songs like ‘Can’t Get Next To You’ and ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone.’ It goes over great as a momentary laugh for friends and coworkers, but not as a paying gig. It also doesn’t work well in Karaoke as I stand silently waiting for the one line in each Temps song that I can handle. It’s kind of like the way Andy Kaufman used to perform the Mighty Mouse theme song on Saturday Night Live. Only when I do it, I’m not trying to get laughs.

As a former frequenter of the Karaoke scene, I have picked up on the songs that aren’t the best to perform publicly, especially in front of people that know you. The worst part is that I learned this from my own experience. Without a doubt, the first song on that list has to be ‘Copacabana’ by Barry Manilow. I can actually trace my failures with the fairer sex back to the first time I performed this song publicly. Notice I said the first time I performed it. I am a very slow learner. I did ‘Copacabana’ with a couple of my friends and we actually had choreography. We sounded like wounded Geese and apparently looked like them, too. Helpful tip: never do the ‘who shot who’ chorus with your finger pointed in the shape of a gun. It’s not cool, it’s not hip and anything that would be done in the front lounge of a Vegas casino in the mid 60s should never be repeated in front of a high school or college crowd. In hindsight, I still think we made a good choice in performing that instead of ‘I Write The Songs.’

I also regularly used to perform ‘To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before’ with a friend. I had to sing the Julio Iglesias part. This always frustrated me since Willie Nelson’s part is much more challenging. ‘All My Ex’s Live In Texas’ was another regular one for me. That is until someone once asked me if I was aware that I was tone deaf after performing it. I explained that I wasn’t and was told that I should be. That Saturday night was the last time I performed that one. When I did Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man’ as a joke, I was told it was the best I ever sounded. That Saturday night was the last time I performed that one.

I’ve since retired from the Karaoke scene, but in light of this week’s holiday, I might have to return to performing again. I practiced Joe Cocker’s version of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ in the office’s restroom before lunch. The acoustics are pretty good in there and it seemed like a good place to sing it. Unfortunately, my voice needs a little more conditioning and another guy from our office walked in while I was practicing. To save face I quickly switched back to ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ I have always found that the verse ‘I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die’ is very effective in getting people to leave me alone.

Now I gotta go. I have to prepare to meet our HR department tomorrow for violence and harassment in the workplace counseling. I wonder how that happened…I guess I’d better start practicing the verses to ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Give Peace A Chance.’

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Eye Am Taking A Day Off

After 17 years of wearing glasses I became a free man tonight. I finally, finally, finally got up the guts to get contacts!!!

Because the nurse was nice enough to help me practice taking them in and out for almost an hour, my eyes are now as red as raw uncooked beef. They also hurt quite a lot. I think I am now starting to get the hang of taking them in and out since I can do it without shrieking like I am in a horror movie. The nice nurse at the optometrist said they would assist with extractions only if it was an emergency. I am hoping she keeps her word.

So, long story short, there will be no 'real' post tonight. I am too busy alternating between doing the happy dance and whining like a baby because my eyes hurt so much after butchering them while trying to get the contacts out. Plus for some reason I am now craving beef.

See you all tomorrow and sorry if I don't get a lot of commenting in over the next day or so. Eye promise I will get back to reading, lurking and commenting just as soon as eye can.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Luck…She’s An Elusive Mistress

I have never been one to think of myself as a ‘lucky’ individual. Especially when I have an aunt who wins a couple thousand dollars every time she goes to the local Indian casino or when you consider that fact that I fall down or knock into things a lot. That all changed yesterday though.

I was at the gas station filling up and minding my own business after visiting a client when a fellow gaser-upper approached me and said ‘nice truck.’ Since he owns the same color Chevy Colorado that I do, I complimented him. As we got to talking, I mentioned that almost on queue my cruise control and Lucy’s window both stopped working around the 40,000-mile mark. He said the cruise control thing happened to him and that it was a recall. He advised me that it probably also meant my brake lights weren’t working and I should get to the Chevy dealer immediately. I laughed it off, wished him a good day and then prepared to drive the 50 miles or so back to the office.

To say I was a little paranoid was an understatement. There aren’t many ways to check your brakes when you are alone. Before I left the gas station, I got a Diet Mountain Dew, but that’s inconsequential. The other thing I did was stand outside the truck and press on the brake pedal to see the tail light but as I would stretch to see towards the back of the truck, my foot would come off the pedal. I tried this obviously futile exercise 10 or 15 times (I’m a slow learner) and then gave up. I figured that since my cruise control had not worked since July and I hadn’t had an accident yet, maybe my brakes were working just fine. So, I commenced to drive to work. Every time I passed a big rig I would check to see if it had a shiny chrome grill up front. If it did, I’d signal, get it front of it and tap my brakes. Here’s a tip for you: while this is not a good way to see your brake lights because the grill doesn’t reflect well enough to show your vehicle, it is a good way to tick off truckers. You do not want to tick off truckers. Maybe if they could hear that I was playing the music from Smokey and the Bandit it would have helped, but they couldn’t hear it. This may have had more to do with the fact that they were yelling at me than the noise of their diesel engines did.

Eventually I gave up this method of testing my brake lights and just decided I would leave lots of room between myself and the motorists behind me for the rest of my drive. When I got to my work’s parking lot, I parked with the hind end of my truck facing some shop windows and tapped on my brakes. My brake lights were not illuminated and this is the part where I get to call myself lucky. Apparently, I had been driving around (and I do a lot of driving – maybe not as much as Tiger Woods, but a lot. OK, no more bad golf jokes) without brake lights since mid-July when my cruise control went out.

It was as if the stranger from the gas station was a messenger from above who was trying to get me to get my cruise control fixed. I guess it makes sense now that when I turned around after fueling that he was gone, there was no trace of him and I never saw him drive away. Spooky, huh? Ok, I made that last part up for effect. Did it work? I kinda thought so. Seriously, to not have caused an accident in the last 3 months while driving with no brake lights is phenomenal. Although it now explains the several times where I would slow down on the freeway sending all the drivers in the lane behind me slamming on their brakes while swerving towards the shoulder. See, I thought it was just because I had become a bad driver in the last few months. Phew, what a relief that’s not the case. Although perhaps the singing and choreography that has become part of my daily driving should be curtailed just a little for now.

So, I did what the Chevy Colorado mystery angel instructed me to do. I went to the Chevy dealer and told them that I thought there was a recall for my situation. He said that was indeed the case and that I would have my truck back within a few hours. Later in the day I picked my truck up, had Partner In Crime verify that my brakes were working and headed back towards the office. There was a slight problem though. The cruise control was not working. I immediately called the dealership back. The conversation over the phone went like this:

Me: Yeah, I was just in there to get the recall fixed and my brake lights are working but my cruise control is not. This is a problem because you said you knew what the problem was and I really, really like to cruise and it makes me feel good when I am in control of my cruising.

Dealer dude: Ha. Really, it’s not working? You’re kidding…

Me: Nope.

Dealer dude: Did you turn the switch on?

Me: Yeah, that was the first thing I did.

Dealer dude: Wow. Go figure. That should’ve worked. Well just bring it back sometime and we’ll look at it. Now I should tell you that it’s probably not related to the recall and it won’t be free…

And…there goes my good luck. There was also a traffic jam trying to get back to the office because someone drove into the stop light pole, I realized I was overcharged for my oil change while the truck was getting the cruise control fixed looked at and work called to say that there was a problem and I had to hurry back to the office. Oh yeah, while I was gone someone wrote on my magnetic Office notepad featuring Dwight that I put up just outside my cubicle. Yeah, I realize that’s what notepads are for, but this one was just for looks. While I did not put up a disclaimer saying that, I figured everyone would understand it was implied.

I think I liked my luck better when there was the chance of someone slamming into me from behind (TWSS). Does anyone know how to make my brake lights not work again?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Can The Perfect Post Be Written?

This is a question I have been asking myself for almost a year and a half now. Many people strive for perfection so the perfect post would be a goal for some. I know I’ve touched on this topic before, but perfection sorta freaks me out. If I achieve perfection, then I’m done. There is nothing more to strive for. Plus people will expect more of me because the bar has been raised and I’ve gotten pretty cozy in my own little space here, so why would I want to disrupt that. It’s like the baby that’s comfortable in the womb and then it’s forced out into the bright, cold sterilized world of the delivery room, or taxicab if mommy didn’t get to the hospital in time.

What am I getting at here? I am debating whether or not I should try to write the perfect post. Don’t fear, it certainly won’t be done with this post, but maybe some future post. What would the ultimate perfect post contain? I think I’ve blogged about it before but my definition of the perfect post has probably changed in the last several months. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to explore the elements of the perfect post again as long as I don’t accidentally write the perfect post. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with post postulating, right? Just promise me you won’t steal my ideas. Although if you do it’s not like I’m going to have the time to chase you down or anything so just give me credit or feel free to link to me. If you don’t, no biggie.

While it’s very important what the perfect post contains, it is probably more important what the perfect post makes the reader feel. It really doesn’t do me any good to sit here and declare a particular post as being perfect, that’s up to the reader to decide. The perfect post should contain things that the reader can identify with. Moving the reader to tears wouldn’t hurt either. A bit of laughing would be nice as would a possible freebie or other call to action. Pop culture references also are a big hit. Then again, so is nudity. However, there will not be nudity here. Well, I guess I could put up a picture of Donald Duck or Porky Pig without their pants on, but then they never wear pants so the shock feature might be somewhat understated.

To address everything I have just mentioned, minus the nudity, here is what I would put in the perfect post. But remember, the perfect post is a life altering achievement and should not be attempted lighthearted or lackadaisically. Oh, that’s another thing, the post should contain big words like lackadaisical and totalitarian. Big words are intimidating and impressive. There is one thing that gets a lot of people excited. Ok, not that. I mean food. Therefore, the perfect post should mention really good, but non-controversial food. Cheese, fried things, meat, lobster and desserts all come to mind. Fortunately I recently was treated to something that addresses 4 of the 5 major food groups I just listed. It’s called the Monte Cristo sandwich and is nothing more than a deep-fried turkey, ham and cheese sandwich served with powdered sugar because powdered sugar makes everything taste better. Yes, the perfect post would mention the Monte Cristo sandwich. The unforeseen benefit of this is that Monte Cristo is so fun to say. I feel like I should be wearing a cape while sitting overlooking the beach while saying it.

The perfect post should also contain something that readers don’t see coming, like an improbable pairing. This could be a combination of people, places or things. An example of this would be Osama Bin Laden and Bishop Desmund Tutu or Mussolini and Gandhi. Fred Flintstone and George Jefferson never made sense. I mean seriously people, think of how many centuries apart they both are. That just can’t happen, so it’s perfect! Then there’s World Hot Dog Eating Champ Joey Chesnutt and Jenny Craig. Or how about Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton as partners while playing a game of Bridge.

You could also compare the Island of Cuba to Disneyland. Not that I believe in conspiracy theories, but I know deep down in my soul that as soon as Castro dies, Disney is planning on taking over the island to create their next resort destination, Disney Cuba. They’ll have the Bay of The Three Little Pigs, Havana Smoothies and Candy Cuban Cigars with Mickey’s face on the wrapper. Visitors will also get to try out the exciting new ride ‘Soviet Blockade’ located in Missile Crisis Land. I’m personally looking forward to getting the Castro Green Military hat with Mickey Mouse ears attached. Hopefully they’ll stencil the words ‘El Generalissimo’ on it for me. Of course, I don’t believe in conspiracies, but I’m just saying…

The next key item for the perfect post is something that will invoke a strong emotion in the reader. The two best ways to do this are actually two completely different emotions. I am speaking of course about humor and sadness. Of course you can cheat and combine the two, which would be describing someone being struck in the testicular area, or what I call the ‘Genital To Gelatin’ effect, but that’s too easy. There are many forms of humor and sadness, so I’ll let you come up with that. Let me stress here however, that walking into things is my bit, so don’t steal it. Also, stay away from sad stories involving baby animals. It’s just too sad and most readers won’t be able to finish your post. Mother-in-laws are still very much in play though, as are men wearing plaid shorts and long socks.

Ok, there you have it; the contents of what I believe would constitute the perfect post. Now let’s review. I will provide you with two synopses of posts. One would be the perfect post and one would not, you decide.

1. A post that mentions mermaids eating shellfish while on a bus ride through the desert to Las Vegas. On the way, the bus breaks down and the driver gets out to determine what is wrong. He strays too far into oncoming traffic and is just barely clipped by an old lady who can barely see over the dash while driving an Edsel. He tumbles in the air and lands in a cactus, but his rear-end cushions the fall. She drives off mumbling something about fixing all the potholes in the road.

2. A man is making a quilt for his wife for their anniversary. The panels of the quilt will contain memorable scenes and mementoes from their life together like pimento olives and Mentos mints. While sewing the quilt, the phone rings and in his effort to answer it, he gets his pant leg stuck in the sewing machine. It’s his wife saying that she is on her way home with her mother-in-law. He gets up, drags the sewing machine and quilt with him to the kitchen so that he can cut the pant leg and free himself. Unfortunately he catches the leg of the flimsy fish tank stand that his wife has told him 100 times to fix and it comes crashing down. He manages to dry up the mess and get his wife’s prized baby angelfish into a cup on the counter and then runs to the bedroom to cut himself from the sewing machine and his put on a new pair of pants. When he walks back out, he is horrified to see that his mother-in-law has finished drinking the entire cup of water that held the fish and the fish is nowhere in sight, but the mother-in-law is complaining about how bad the water filtration in their city is because the water has a fishy odor to it.

Now, which one is the perfect post? It is obviously #1. Why? Because the man in post 2 would never ever quilt anything for his wife. Actually, he wouldn’t be horrified to see his mother-in-law drink from a cup filled with fish tank water and small fish either….

Ok, there you have it; the elements that I think would make the perfect post. If you choose to attempt the challenge of writing the perfect post, please let me know. I’ll be very anxious to steal read it. I wish you the best of luck. Just remember, perfection is a heavy burden and big responsibility.

****I have recorded a new podcast. Warning, it is the lamest podcast ever, but since I spent 16 minutes of my life to create it, I'm hoping you can spend 16 minutes of your life (or 5) to listen. Please??****

Update: The podcast does not appear to be playing correctly when it streams, but if you download it and play it, it looks like it plays fine...

Monday, October 01, 2007

More Bullets…Also Known As Random Thoughts Kill…Not Really, But I Bet It Got Your Attention.

Well, it’s Monday again. Not a big fan of the Monday. I started thinking again this weekend and decided it was random bullet time again, especially since I wasn’t sure what else to write. There is nothing as intimidating as a blank page to a writer. Actually I guess that’s not entirely true. Ticking off a biker gang known as the Rabid Renegades would probably be more intimidating. As would being trapped in a burning barn, or any burning structure, like an outhouse. That would be bad. Having a nosebleed in shark infested waters would also be highly undesirable and intimidating. So would misplacing one of your children at Disneyland, only to learn she was right behind you the whole time. Ok, that was probably more embarrassing than intimidating, but that’s beside the point. Intimidating would also describe showing up to a family function wearing a Mountain Dew t-shirt when everyone else is in khakis and dress shirts. This could also be described as the ‘black sheep’ phenomenon. All right, enough of describing ways to feel intimidated, on to the random bullets. If any of these sound like a good blog post, please let me know. The idea tank is running on fumes…

* Why is the word ‘intimidating’ so similar to the word intimate. I find them to be very different in meaning and experience.

* Can you really say something ‘tongue in cheek?’ If you can, is it understandable or does it sound like you have been afflicted by a terrible speech impediment.

* Next time someone tells me to bite my tongue while speaking, I am going to tell them no. It hurts too much and makes you lisp for days. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

* I wish my coworkers would find my new cell phone ring featuring Homer Simpson saying ‘Doh’ 30 different ways as entertaining as I do.

* When will the world finally be ready for a sitcom about the happenings at a Septic tank manufacturing and cleaning company? Perhaps I need to change my working title of ‘Tanked’ to something more exciting. The more I think about it, calling something tanked on TV probably isn’t that great of a description.

* Would a show called ‘Swimming With Octopi’ make you want to tune in? How about ‘Dancing With Starving Pythons?’ Or ‘Trying to Stick A Needle Into A Collapsed Vein.’

* Why do old people complain so much? Conventional wisdom would make you think they’d be happy to still be alive. I realize that might seem harsh, so please don’t email me to tell me so. Feel free to email me for other reasons, just not that one.

* If I decide to self-publish all of my blog posts into a book called ‘Stuff You Can Read On The Internet For Free,’ I wonder if it would sell. And could I brag that I was a published author afterwards. I am seriously tempted to do this. I could have entire chapters focused on cheese, lobster, my office or the problems with adjustable mortgages as they relate to the escalating production costs of integrated motherboards and goat’s milk. I’ve been thinking about getting the Surgeon General to write the Foreward.

* If I drop a brick on my big toe in the middle of the forest and cuss to the point that a veteran sailor or member of congress would blush and no one hears it, am I still bad for using foul language?

* If I yell out the words ‘Oh duck it,’ or ‘That ducking hurts,’ am I using ‘fowl’ language?

* Was that last bullet point so lame that I should delete my blog and never write publicly again? This might severely affect the proposed name of my self-published book of writing mentioned just 3 bullet points above. Did you go back and look? I think I counted them correctly.

* I wonder if my lack of promotion and upwards advancement in my company is related to the fact that I have more toys on my desk than file folders or that I occasionally skip and hop through the office when in a good mood. At first I thought it was because I blog at work and have spent years trying to get by with the least amount of effort possible, but it’s probably the whole being a big kid thing. That reminds me, I need to get out the multi-holed ghost costume and bag of rocks for the Charlie Brown figurine on my desk now that it’s October.

* When I stop to think that I could’ve had a V-8, it makes me think what else I could’ve had. Like a winning lottery ticket or meningitis. Or maybe a BBQ’d turkey leg the size of an ostrich’s calf. Yeah, I could’ve had one of those.

That’s it for the bullets. I do have to say that yesterday was a sad day. Lois Maxwell, the original Ms. Money Penny died. She was 80 and will always be the greatest Moneypenny ever. I can still her saying 'Oh James.' Did you know she was born in Canada? I thought that was particularly interesting.

And speaking of being born in the country of our neighbors to the north, I found out that my great grandparents were born there too. How this finally came to light in my grandparents’ 85th year of life is beyond me, but I guess I can now say that I have some Canadian heritage in me. Oh man I hope I’m related to William Shatner. And maybe that’s why I’m such a big fan of Canada’s The Red Green Show. I guess this makes me a Southern Californ-adian? Eh…dude!