Friday, December 30, 2005

Looking forward, thinking back.

2005 has been a year of surprises for me. The whole job thing threw me way out of wack. I've traveled this year, both for work and pleasure, more than I ever have. I bought a new car. I've meet some new people and lost touch with some old friends. Some people I know got married, some divorced. Some married and divorced all in the same year.
There are many things I didn't get to do this year that I've wanted to. Some big things, like moving north, or buying a house. Some little things like spending more time outdoors or making time to visit friends. And sometimes the little things are the most important. So while I make efforts in the next few days to organize myself for the new year, I'll leave you with an email that was sent to me the other day about new rules for 2006...

New Rules for 2006

New Rule #1: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 15 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days: mowing my lawn.

New Rule #2: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, the chili costs less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Trout? Luckily, it was only a finger! If it were a whole hand, Congress would have voted to keep it alive.

New Rule #3: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged. I have a better description for these kids: lucky bastards.

New Rule #4: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.

New Rule #5: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.

New Rule #6: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extradry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," ooh, you're a huge asshole.

New Rule #7: Girls, just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. Come on, it's right above the crack of your ass and it translates to "beef with broccoli." The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You were just high when you picked it out.

New Rule #8: Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."

New Rule #9: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule #10: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule #11: and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your web cam, dude. I just want to wash my hands.

New Rule #12: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months. "27 Months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

There's a thin "Line" between genius and insanity

I'm back. Safe and sound. I've got a ton of things to do, but I thought my imaginary friends here on the web might enjoy this little sitcom-type adventure.

First, a little background info to bring you up to speed. I have two living grandmothers in Erie, PA. Since my parents are divorced, I get the wonderful pleasure of visiting with them separately.

My grandmother on my father's side is 82 and has had a quadruple bypass. So needless to say, she isn't the ball of fire she used to be. Oh, and she's 50% deaf.

Combine this with my aunt who never shuts up and is THE single most irritating person in history. Oh, and she has only one volume level: loud.

So I stop by and plan on visiting for a bit, maybe eating some good food. You know, old people stuff. When I get there, I find some of my extended relatives are there. Those ones you remember from family reunions but have no idea how they're related to you. Yes, THOSE ones. And they're pretty "vintage" too. In fact, I learn that the lady who is also 82, has the beginning stages of Alzheimer's . I know, I know, it's not nice to make fun of this but read the whole story and then you can hate me because I'm still going to make fun because it was quite comical.

It's Christmas Eve and my grandmother gets the bright idea that she would like to see Walk the Line, the new movie about Johnny Cash. (EXCELLENT movie btw, five stars!) This takes me by complete surprise because 1) It's Xmas Eve and 2) She's 82, half deaf, and has NEVER wanted to go to the movies in my lifetime.

So we pile the loud aunt, the deaf grandma, the senile relative, and her husband, into a minivan and go to see the movie.

Luckily there's not a single person in the whole theatre, because what followed was something straight out of a Three Stooges episode.

As the previews started, the senile lady asked my deaf grandmother what movie this was. My deaf grandmother said "WHAT?" and my loud aunt repeated the question into her good ear. Then I explained how this wasn't the movie yet, but just the previews. And the info was passed down the chain to the senile woman.

Five minutes later that process repeated itself.

And again.

The movie started. I passed the information on down the chain. Now Walk the Line is the type of movie that starts with the ending and quickly flashes you back to the stars as kids and then ends up back at the beginning again. Got that? Well, they didn't.

Then, the movie ages the Cash boys so fast that I just knew what was coming.

"Who's that? Is that Johnny Cash? Who's that guy?"

Every five minutes. Luckily by this time my loud aunt was following along and I no longer needed to participate in the circle of friends. But for the first half of the movie, until Johnny Cash was an adult, questions were flying.

Once he reached adulthood, the chatter settled down. Then Johnny got married.

Well Reese Witherspoon and the lady that played Cash's first wife look somewhat alike, so on went round two.

"Is that Johnny's wife? Is THAT Johnny's wife? What movie is this?"

Despite the hilarity, we made it though the movie and even managed to keep everyone from falling asleep. On the way out, the senile lady stopped in the Men's Room to use the bathroom and then we headed home.

Ah, the holidays...

Blog Note: In honor of the movie, I've updated the video on the sidebar!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Gift That Keeps On Giving...

I don't even know why I'm posting here when I've got so much shit to do before I leave for the holiday. In a last-ditch effort to actually not get everyone a gift card to some crappy store, I'm heading to the outlets tonight after work.

Long drives to client sites allow for a lot of thinking. My coworker and I were brainstorming for gifts and I mentioned that my folks were taking a cruise for their anniversary next year. So he says, why not theme the gift along those lines? Get them some new luggage, and fill it with stuff you'd use for traveling! (I'm telling you, this guy's a genius.)

So realizing that their current luggage is the old green 1960's hard-cased American Tourister junk, this was a great idea. Actually, I believe the PC term is "vintage". And there just so happens to be a Samsonite outlet here in Delaware. I just have to find some quality items because we all know how luggage is treated at airports:

I know, it's not very personable, but it IS functional and efficient. And that's what I'm all about. Besides, they're getting older, and old people like to have things that roll. It's a proven fact.

Anyways, I'm outta here until after the holiday, so in my best attempt to be non-politically correct and "insensitive";


Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Annual "Why I hate Christmas" Rant

I loathe this time of year. Mostly because it tends to bring out the worst in people. Tempers flare, stress levels increase, the weather is so cold it hurts to breathe and it's all inescapable.

I hate shopping. Period. If I need something, I go to the store, I go to the exact place in the store it sits, I grab it, and I take it to the register. End of story. This is why, for the past 5 years, I have managed to do almost 100% of my shopping online. No fuss. No lines. Right to my doorstep. Sometimes the stuff is even wrapped.

This year I've been so busy between rodent hunting and work, that I haven't really had time to talk to A) talk to my family to find out what they want, or B) sit down and find some cool things online.

Now, it's a week before Xmas, and I've got nothing. I'm at the point where if I manage to find something online, I have to pay out the ass (for shipping) to get it to my place in time.

So today I went to the Dover Mall.

My God, the chaos. The mall is about 2 minutes driving time from my apartment on any normal day. It took me 25 minutes to get there and find a space today. And I was sure to check the GPS coordinates in my Jeep before I got out just so that I could find it again. And we all know that holiday parking is a whole 'nother sport it itself.

This is the part I hate. People walking around shopping. No specific direction. No real destination. No awareness of anyone else around them.

Have 3 kids in a stroller? No problem. Bring them to the mall and let them yell and scream! In fact, keep talking to your family while they scream and roll around on the floor, because everyone enjoys that!

(on a side note, I actually hurdled a kid today whose parents were letting him run rampant. It was crowded and he was running and screaming like he owned the place. He only came up about my knee and as he squirmed around on the floor making everyone else stop, I just stepped over him. It's sometimes nice to be 6'5". I will admit that the look of surprise on his face was priceless as I did it though.)

Oh, and then there's the weird gypsy lady who grabbed me today. She was working one of those center island booths and I wasn't paying attention. The next thing you know she grabs my arm and starts waving this box thing around saying "no, no, let me show you..." I was already irritated at this point. I said "what are you doing?", and I pulled my hand away because I couldn't see what she had in her hand. She just kept saying "no, no let me...". I mean, I realize that women can't keep their hands off me but come on?! Turns out she was trying to rub hand lotion on my hands. I think home-girl needs to change her tactics.

So after getting so fed up with people, crowds, prices, lack of in-stock items, and spoiled-brats, everyone I know just ended up with gift cards. Hey, at least they're from different stores. One more straw and my whole family would be taking a shopping spree to whatever store was closest to where I parked.

Now I get to try and get ahead on my work because I'm taking Friday off, find time to wrap any gift cards, send out Xmas cards, do laundry, pack, and drive 10 hours to spend the holiday with relatives in 10 feet of snow drifts that are Erie, PA. Oh, and this is AFTER I come back from VA for work on Wednesday!

Tell me again, why this is the "most wonderful time of the year"?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Love in an elevator...

One of my pet peeves is cell phone users that insist on making everyone within a 25 foot radius listen to their conversation as if they needed them to take notes. 9.95 times out of 10 I will just stand there and not say anything. Although I have been known to cast the occasional "dirty look" at them.

Sure there are things I'd like to do. But since I'm not a violent person, I just have to live vicariously though Stewie from the family guy:

That pretty much sums it up. And I don't think I'm alone here. In fact, I know I'm not. Because just today I found out that some future Nobel prize winner has gone and created these cards:

Can you imagine standing in a crowded elevator and handing one of these to some inconsiderate fool? People would cheer. You just might be delcared a Saint. I'll let you know how it turns out. Oh, by the way, the PDF for these cards is here. They have cards for all topics!

This almost beats the "Thanks for parking so close" notepad.(NSFW) And just in time for Christmas too. Did someone say stocking stuffer?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hasta la vista, baby.

At the end of my last post, war was declared. And where I'm from, thems fightin' words. After a trip to the store I acquired myself two old school mouse traps. I didn't know what was in my stove. Be it a mouse, rat, snake, chipmunk, water buffalo, or perhaps even Elvis. But whatever it was, I was going to catch it. Or at least a part of it.

I covered all the stove elements with plates, leaving only one open. I wasn't quite sure what to bait the trap with, having no prior experience in rodent control. But a beer wouldn't fit on there, and there's no way in hell that critter was getting some of my pizza. So I smeared some peanut butter on, and set the trap down in the stove's underbelly.

Having cased the crime scene earlier, I knew the freak wouldn't come out until night, so off the lights went. And again, I waited. Only this time, I didn't have to wait long.

(Double-click the image to play clip)

In what has to be some kind of world record time for critter trapping, my little weapon of mass destruction unleashed a tactical strike, ending my little roommate's stay. (And with zero collateral damage I might add.)

Image hosted by

I don't know how Stuart Little got in here, but I do now that now I have to spend the rest of my weekend disinfecting my entire kitchen.

All in all, I was a bit disappointed at the mouse's war effort. I thought this was actually going to be a challenge. Since mice are supposed to be the smartest things on earth and all. Pfft, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy sure got that one wrong...

Friday, December 09, 2005

They mostly come out at night...Mostly...

I've got Gremlins.

NO. Not those Gremlins.

THESE Gremlins:

At night I've started to notice strange noises coming from my kitchen. Mostly scratching and rattling around my oven/stove. I first heard it a couple of nights ago as I was trying to fall asleep. A rattle is a normal thing around here. A neighbor doing laundry can shake the whole building. But then I noticed the creaky, scratching noise. I let it slide - right up until last night. Last night was more than a washing machine or building shifting.

Now the thing is, each time I would go out into the kitchen to investigate, naturally the noise would stop. I repeated this process, sometimes running into the kitchen, only to have nothing. As you can imagine, this could drive one mad.

So last night I was on a mission. With my flashlight, I stood in the dark hallway and stalked my prey. Like a Navy Seal, I was invisible. Then the stove made the noise. I waited to be sure it wasn't a fluke. More scratching. Louder. The adrenaline rushed through my veins. I snapped the overhead light on and prepared to face the beast.

Nothing. Silence.

Being close to the noise I could pinpoint the general area now that it came from. It appeared to be under the stove top range, down in that area where you always spill stuff into the drip trays.

I removed the trays and peered down into the area with my flashlight. I encountered random bits of crap and dust that you would find in any old stove at a guys apartment. But there was not evidence of mice, or droppings, or anything. So, now with the stove apart I had direct access to the "noise area".

Out went the lights, and again I waited - in the dark. I stood about 3 feet away. In the dark I stood. Silent and motionless for 34 minutes waiting for another noise.

Nothing. It's now 1 a.m.

I decided to call it a night. I went back to bed and not FIVE minutes after laying down did the noise start back up.

Of course you realize, this means war...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A day "almost 5 years" in the making...

Oh, today is a happy day. Why you ask? Because karma is coming back around.

Let me clear this one thing up right now. Cancer has taken more members of my family than I care to count, and I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy. (Ok, maybe Osama bin Laden or his slacky Abu Whatshisface) So it's always sad to hear that someone is diagnosed with it-IF that is really the case. (Hey, I'm just sayin'.)

BUT, I am happy because the Department of Transportation employees can finally get back to business as it was a few years ago without worrying about losing jobs for stupid reasons, tyrannical dictators, or just about any other bull shit that might impede progress.

Mark my words, productivity will continue to rise. Employees will begin to enjoy coming to work again. In time, funding issues will be resolved - because now, the smart leadership that should be running the place can have their words heard without fear of retribution.

I hear parties are already being planned. Is this the DelDOT phoenix I see rising from the ashes? Is the golden age of transportation just around the bend?

To that I say: Be careful guys, you still have one more egg to count before they hatch...