Friday, August 29, 2008

In Which I Wish I Knew

Throughout my life thus far, I have experienced many things that I wish I had known more about before having to experience them. Knowing more would have saved me a fair amount of embarrassment, but they say hindsight is 20/20.


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THINGS I WISH I KNEW

  • I wish I knew that I was going to have a cute female nurse do the prep work for my hernia exam, so I wouldn't be standing there, boxers around my ankles with a half-boner, when two male doctors walk in.
  • I wish I knew that my new khaki shorts clearly showed the presence of the slightest amount of sweat prior to wearing them to work and spending six hours mowing the lawn, so it wouldn't look like I crapped AND pissed myself for the rest of my shift.
  • I wish I knew that the bathroom window shade was wide open before standing naked at the sink for ten minutes shaving my face after getting out of the shower, so I wouldn't turn around to see my 87-year-old female neighbor sitting on her porch watching me.
  • I wish I knew that I had the world's largest pimple on my upper lip prior to trying to impress the girl I had a crush on at band practice when I was a freshman in high school.
  • I wish I knew that there was someone walking behind me in the parking lot of the grocery store before I released the longest, loudest, and possibly smelliest fart of my life.

---

Please tell me I'm not the only one. Has anyone else wished they had known something that could have saved them embarrassment and years of anguish?

(Oh, and happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy your weekend!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Which I Learn Something Important

I don't remember how old I was when my parents got me my first bicycle.

I remember that it was red and black, had thick foam wrapped around all of the bars, and hard plastic training wheels. I remember my mother adjusting my bright yellow helmet a dozen times before letting me ride for the first time, and the almost crippling fear I had of falling off.

The road that we lived on growing up had a high speed limit, so my sisters and I were never allowed to ride our bikes in the street. There was a parking lot across the street that we learned to ride in after all the cars emptied out in the afternoon. With my dad walking behind me, his right hand holding firmly onto the back of the seat, I cautiously pedaled. I gained confidence fairly quickly, and it wasn't long before my Dad let go and I was pedaling away on my own.

Throughout that first year that we had our bikes, my sisters and I made hundreds of endless wobbly circles as the summer sun beat down on us. I fell off plenty of times at first, scraping my knees and roughing up my palms against the hot asphalt. I remember listening to the rhythmic whirr whirr whirr of the rubber tires as I pedaled, contrasting against the harsh dragging sound the plastic training wheels made. The insects in the field behind the parking lot buzzed and droned on almost unnoticed as the warm summer air rushed past my face.

Riding my bike was my first taste at freedom. Granted, my freedom was limited to a 50-foot square parking lot, but when I was riding my bike, it felt like I was flying.

I rode my bike as much as I could that first year, so much that I wore down my training wheels to the point where they barely touched the ground. Little by little, and unknown to me, my dad raised up the height of the training wheels so they were no longer assisting me. When I noticed that I had been riding my bike for a couple of weeks with essentially no training wheels, I had my dad remove them. That night, I fell off and gashed up my knee pretty badly. As I walked my bike home, struggling to hold back tears as blood trickled down my leg, I learned that no matter how confident one can get with something, they can always fall and need help getting back up.

I'm writing about this today because I can relate my experience with learning to ride a bike to the problems I'm having controlling my anxiety. I know the "falling off the bike" metaphor is cliche to say the least, but I find it very fitting for my situation. I manage to get by with my "training wheels", to learn how to adjust my daily life and deal accordingly. Just when I think I'm getting better and think I can manage without my "training wheels", I realize just how unstable I am without them and I fall down. Just like I did when I was a kid, I continue to make these wobbly circles, and I'll keep making them until I finally just get better at it.

I say that I've learned something important, and what I've learned is this: I can't be tough about this. I can't be ashamed of letting my emotions show. I can't and won't get better or back to normal unless I'm willing to get used to these "training wheels". It is okay to fall down, and it is okay to need help getting back up. I am human, and it is okay to fail.

It has taken me a month to learn that.

I'm getting there, albeit slowly, but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In Which I Play Games

Have you ever had a random memory pop into your head? One that you didn't even think you remembered until you remembered it? For some unknown reason, my mind pulled down from the attic an old childhood memory of playing games with my sisters and my parents. I got to thinking about all of the different games we played as a family, and I thought I'd write about a few of my favorite games.

---

TOP FIVE FAVORITE CHILDHOOD GAMES

1) Don't Break The Ice
This is one of the first games I remember playing as a child. The point of the game was to remove a block of "ice" one at a time without making the ice break. Whoever made the ice break lost the game. The game never lasted more than a few minutes, and never got old no matter how many times you played it.

2) Cootie
Another simple game, but another great memory. Basically, you'd have all these different plastic pieces, and you could build your own "Cootie" however you liked, kind of like Mr Potato Head. I don't remember there being a real point to the game, but the website I tracked down said whoever finished building their Cootie first, won.

3) Playdoh Fun Factory
Every child knows about Playdoh. With this, you'd cram Playdoh into this compartment, select what shape you wanted on the "screen", and push the Doh through. You could make "spaghetti", "hair", or whatever else you could imagine. I remember having a blast seeing how quickly I could push the Doh through, and hearing it "burp" when it popped an air bubble.

4) Kerplunk
This game was a blast! The point to this game was to end up with the least amount of marbles at the end. Each player would remove a plastic straw one at a time, and try not to make any of the marbles fall. It's kind of like Jenga, but better.

5) Lego
My childhood would not have been complete without Lego's. I spent countless hours building and rebuilding hundreds of different things. My parents would get frustrated with me whenever I would get a new set. I would put it together so quickly that I would soon get bored with it. I still have all of my Lego's, too. I put something together the other day, for old time's sake. I'm hoping for a new set for my birthday this year.

---

So there you have it. What games did you enjoy as growing up?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In Which I Remain Secretive

As I had mentioned not too long ago, The Boss and I are taking a few days of vacation during the first week of September. Since we don't often get more than one day off in a row together, we are busy making plans for those days so we don't sit at home asking each other "What do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do you want to do?" over and over again.

With recent events included, The Boss and I have been through a lot in recent months and are long overdue for some quality time. I want to make sure I give her my undivided attention during our days off together, so I'll be taking a brief hiatus from blogging during that time. Since I care about you, and so you can plan ahead and pencil in some withdrawal therapy sessions into your calendar, I'll let you know now that I'll be gone from Thursday, September 4th through Tuesday, September 9th, and I'll be resuming my blogging on Wednesday, September 10th.

Now, before you think I'm going to be leaving you hanging high and dry for just about a full week with no new posts to read, I'll let you know what I have something lined up.

I'm not going to tell you what it is, so don't ask. You'll just have to wait and see.

It'll be like Christmas, when your parents teased you by putting perfectly wrapped and really huge presents under the tree three weeks before you get to open them.

Minus all the papercuts.

Monday, August 25, 2008

In Which I Struggle

"What do you want for your birthday?" The Boss asks, exchanging the TV remote for a mug of tea resting on the coffee table. The steam rising out of the mug leaves a faint trail in the air as she lifts the mug closer to her.

"I dunno... I can't think of anything off the top of my head," Michael replies. "Your birthday is coming up before mine, shouldn't I be asking you want you want?"

"I don't want anything for my birthday. Just a card."

She peers over the top of the mug as she takes a sip. The twinkle in her eye gives away the lie in her last statement. Now holding the mug with both hands in front of her, she smiles quizzically in response to the indignant stare she's receiving.

"What?"

"Come on. I know you don't want just a card for your birthday. Tell me what you want!" Michael begs jokingly. He remembers last year very well, when he brought a card, and only a card, to her birthday dinner. That trap won't catch me twice. Not if I can help it.

"You tell me what you want, and I'll tell you want I want," The Boss says.

"Okay, fine."

The room falls silent, save for the evening news on the television.

-nd it looks like we'll be getting more rain this weekend, with temperatures inland hovering in the mid-to-high 70's. We can expect to hold on to this weather pattern for a few more days, with clear skies returning for Tuesday. I'll have your full seven-day forecast coming up nex-

"Okay, I've got mine," The Boss, having placed her mug back on the coffee table, settles into the couch, hands clasped together. "You go first."

Michael sighs dramatically, positioning himself on the couch to face The Boss.

"Alright. For my birthday, I want a Lego set... You know? For old time's sake. I'll let you know which one specifically when it gets closer to my birthday."

"Lego's?" The Boss asks, laughing. "Aren't you a little old for Lego's?"

"Never! I'll never be too old for Lego's!" Michael exclaims, suddenly feeling a little juvenile. Switching the focus off of himself, he says, "It's your turn now. What do you want?"

For a moment The Boss falls silent, the expression of laughter falling from her face. She remains quiet for several agonizingly long seconds, her eyes now glistening with the presence of tears.

"I want to have a baby."

The air rushes out of Michael's lungs, immobilizing him. His mind races to find an adequate response before too much time elapses.

"A... a baby?" he stutters. "You want a baby for your birthday?"

Still silent, The Boss nods her head slowly up and down. A tear races down one cheek.

"We can't... we can't have a baby now," Michael says. He places one of her hands in his. "Our finances are a mess, we can't afford a baby at this point."

"I know," The Boss says quietly. Sniffling a bit, she continues: "I was selfish to ask. I'm sorry."

"You are not selfish, and you don't have to apologize. I wish we could have a baby. There are more reasons than just financial. It's ..." Michael looks away as his voice falters and trails off, a lump having suddenly appeared in his throat. The wavering light from the television catches on a tear carving its way through the stubble on his face.

"It's just that, with all that is going on with me medically, I wouldn't want to have a baby, and then have something happen to me. We're still not sure if this is a tumor or not."

Tears are falling steadily onto the fabric of the couch now, The Boss trying in vain to wipe them away. Her bottom lip is trembling, and Michael is frightened by how fragile she looks. A heavy tear drop lands on his thigh, and he realizes that is is crying, too.

"It's not that I don't want to have a baby. I do. But I'm scared that if something happened, I wouldn't be able to provide-"

Michael is cut off as The Boss sits up suddenly and throws her arms around him, pulling him in. He wraps his arms around her and pulls her in even closer, tighter.

"I don't want something to happen to you. I don't want to be ALONE!" The Boss cries out between sobs, her voice picking up in volume as she struggles to get the words out. The last word, almost a shout, rings in Michael's ears. She is shaking now, her body rocking against his arms.

Knowing he can't assure her that her fear isn't going to happen, Michael remains silent. He adjusts his arms to hug her just a little more tightly. The news on the television drones on, ignored wholly by its audience.

"I know," he says at last. "I know."

They sit there together for a moment, crying.

Crying, and holding onto each other with a fierce strength and scared compassion.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Which I Give Clues

As I had mentioned earlier this week, my birthday is coming up in September. I'm not going to tell you when, though.

In an attempt at being both secretive and creative, I'm going to give you a series of clues that you'll need to decipher to figure out what my exact birth date is. The first to correctly guess my date of birth will get something special from me.

Here are your clues:
  1. I was born in the 1980's, in the second year that decade that began on a Tuesday.
  2. The date I was born on is shared with the trial of Galileo in 1633, when he was tried before The Inquisition for teaching that Earth orbits around the Sun.
  3. After my date of birth, only 102 days remain in the calender year.

It won't take a rocket scientist to figure out those clues. I already gave out a large portion of the date by mentioning I was born in September. There wasn't much else I could think of to disguise the year and the date. Have fun figuring it out, though.

This is a short post today, partly because it's the weekend and partly because I'm having a bout of mental constipation right now. I'll be around this weekend, and I might write something more. If not, that means that I've unplugged again and I'll be back on Monday.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2008

In Which I Make Fun

Not all that long ago, I off-handedly made fun of a guy who came by here through a Google search of "how to be a badass". I had written in that post that I don't get all that many hits via search engines that are worth mentioning. That statement remained true until today, when I checked my stat manager and found a couple of noteworthy search strings.

Some of them are too good to not write about, and since I can't think of anything else better to write about today, I'll mention a few and see what I can do to help them out. It also will give me the chance to publicly make fun of them.

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1) "high on clonazepem"
Ah, yes. Thank you for stopping by, pharmaceutical abuser. You were probably looking for ways to achieve your needed high by using the drug clonazepem. You won't find instructions on that here, which I'm sure you found out rather quickly. Now, I wouldn't know this from personal experience, but I've heard that you can achieve a high from clonazepem by grinding them into a powder and snorting it, or by injecting it if you can get it into a liquid form. You might want to ask your dealer first, but I can also suggest swallowing 37 pills with a liter of bottom-shelf vodka. Let me know how that works out for you.

2) "room fogger how to"
I'll start off by saying that I'm assuming you are at least quasi-literate, since you came here by doing an Internet search, intending to read about "how to" use a room fogger. I'll then say that I am slightly puzzled as to why you needed to do an Internet search to learn how to use them, as the instructions on both the box and the fogger itself are very simple and concise. Shake can, point away from face, press down locking tab, exit room immediately. There is something to be said about making sure you're doing things correctly, but I think you're a little over cautious here. Then again, perhaps you're looking for more direction, already having used the fogger incorrectly. That could explain your mental deficit.

3) "smoke cigar like a badass"
Step One, soak cigar overnight in lighter fluid. Step Two, shake off excess fluid and insert into mouth. Step Three, light cigar. Step Four, inhale deeply. Does that help?

4) "my nose" "husband farted"
I'm completely and utterly confused by this one. It is just too strange to not mention. But thank you for stopping by and reading just about all of my archives. Does anyone have any ideas on this one? I'm at a loss.

5) "bad ass fountains for desk"
Prior to reading this on my search engine hit report, I would never have thought to apply the term "badass" to a fountain. I can't imagine that the poor soul looking for a fountain for their desk found one that was indeed badass. I can't even imagine what a badass fountain would look like, if there even is such a thing. It would probably spouts flames instead of water, be made out of steel and carbon fiber instead of porcelain, and would have the likeness of Gene Simmons sculpted into it instead of cherubs or dolphins.

6) "what happens if take 12 clonazepem"
I'm just taking a shot in the dark on this one, but you'd probably either achieve a chemically-induced high (like the guy mentioned above was looking for), or you'd achieve a chemically-induced untimely death. Always ask your doctor before taking twelve times the recommended dose of a highly addictive sedative.

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There have got to be other funny or otherwise odd or interesting search hits out there. I urge you all that have SiteMeter or Google Analytics to gather up your most interesting search hits and write about them. Or at least mention them in a comment here, because I get a huge kick out of stuff like this.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In Which I Hate My Roommate

I received a letter in the mail about two months before I was to move back into my dorm room for my sophomore year in college. The letter, from my university, was a roommate placement form. The roommate I was originally supposed to room with decided to get an apartment off campus, and they now needed to place an incoming freshman in my room. The form asked me generic questions, like whether I preferred to study in a quiet or loud environment, what extra-curricular activities I enjoyed, and if I liked to stay up late or get up early. I filled out the form and dropped it in the mail.

A response came back about a month later, with my newly-assigned roommate's name and phone number. It was suggested that we make contact prior to moving in so that we could coordinate who was bringing what to the room (ie. televisions, mini-fridge, microwave, etc). I called numerous times and left messages, but never actually spoke to him before move-in day. I was confident with the University's ability to assign people with similar personalities and interests, but I was still understandably nervous. After all, I had been wrong before.

The move-in day finally came, and I cautiously opened the door to my dorm room. I was greeted by a thin, lanky guy with blonde hair. He didn't seem all that bad at first, but it didn't take me long at all to find out that he was, in every shape and form, the exact opposite of me. Let me run down the list...

He was a jock, I was a band geek. He liked rap music, I preferred classical. He stayed up late, I went to bed early. He played video games constantly, I hadn't touched a video game system since the Sega Genesis was popular. He would bring a different girl back to the room every weekend, I barely dated. He would put beer in my fridge, I would threaten to turn him in. He would skip classes pretty much daily, I was diligent about attending all my classes. He would randomly drop his pants and change without giving me a warning, I would have to be alone and lock/barricade the door before changing. He was a walking advertisement for Ambercrombie & Fitch, I was always dressed in clothes I found at Goodwill.

Needless to say, we barely spoke.

Because of him, I spent as little time in my room as possible. I would find quieter places to study, watch movies with my friends in their rooms, and basically plan my day out so I wouldn't have to return to my room until the end of the day. I worked an on-campus job at night that let out at 11:00pm, and having class early the next morning I would want to go to bed pretty much right away. There were countless times when I would get back to my room to find him and his friends loudly playing Madden 06, and would ignore the fact that I had even walked in, much less that I had gone to bed.

Midway through the semester, the Resident Assistant on my floor quit and moved out. I applied for the job strictly because, if hired, I would have an entire room all to myself. The minute I found out that I had the job, I was packing my stuff and moving across the hall. I was so excited about getting away from my roommate that I didn't really care that I was going to be the "bad guy" on my floor. After I moved out, I would often have to knock on my ex-roommates door to tell him and his friends to be quiet. I knew they had alcohol, but due to the rules we had as RA's, I could never bust them for it.

College was a couple of years ago, and to this day I'm completely confused as to how the University thought that my old roommate and I would be a good fit. There was absolutely nothing that we had in common, short of our gender. The only reasonable explanation that I can think of is that the mental-midget in the housing department said "Fuck it!", grabbed applicants at random, and hoped for the best.

Since I left college, the only other roommate I've had is The Boss. She is pretty easy to live and get along with... And I'm not just saying that because she reads this. We are very similar in how we like to keep our house (ie. messy), so there are almost never any problems. Her best friend lived with us for a period of time about a year ago, and while that experience wasn't the greatest, nothing will ever top being forced to live with your polar opposite.

Anyone else have a bad roommate experience, past or present? Tell me about it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Which I Need To Get Some Sun

I haven't had much opportunity to spend a lot of time outside this summer. I've been working a lot, and the weather hasn't really been cooperating in this region of the country. Because of this, I am not nearly as tan as I would normally be at this point in the summer. Let me describe it in more detail:
  • I am so incredibly pale and white that I'm pretty sure I glow in the dark.
  • My left arm, from my elbow down, is the most tan, from driving with my arm hanging out the window.
  • When I am naked, it looks like I am wearing an incredibly detailed and life-like pale white t-shirt and shorts.
  • I've recently found out that its illegal for me to take my shirt off outside on a sunny day without first notifying the FAA, to warn of potential blinding of airline pilots from intense sunlight reflection off of my back.
  • I have both a sock and a sandal tan.

I am taking a vacation during the first part of September, so I hope to be able to get some more color then. I would like to go camping, but if not, at least spend enough time out of the house so I can stop feeling like a hermit.

Does anyone else feel like they haven't done something they've wanted to do this summer?

Monday, August 18, 2008

In Which I Have An Idea

I thought of something the other day. Something that I think could greatly improve the quality of life for most of us within the United States.

We all have dealt with what we call "Stupid People". We hate Stupid People because they interfere too much with our daily lives. Like the guy who cuts you off in traffic and suddenly decides to drive 15 miles-per-hour under the speed limit. Or the person in line at the express checkout that has 17 coupons, and forgets to grab one of the items that is on sale and makes an associate go get it. Or the person who makes you late for an appointment by taking 13 minutes to make a withdrawal at the drive-thru ATM. All of these people have an impact on our sanity, thus a direct impact on our relative health.

I have noticed that there has been an outbreak of Stupid People lately. They are spreading to the far reaches of the country, causing unnecessary aggravation and stress everywhere you turn. They have infected your place of work, your daily commute, your coffee shop. They've spread their filth at the grocery store, at the doctor's office, and at the gym. They may have even entered your home by means of the telephone. This kind of behavior should not be tolerated, and something must be done before it is too late.

What can be done, you ask?

To help combat this raging epidemic of stupidity, I propose that we enact the following:

THE MANDATORY INTELLIGENCE EVALUATION ACT OF 2008

Under the guidelines of this Act, all citizens of the US would have to pass a carefully constructed intelligence test by the age of 21. Individuals over the age of 21 at the time of enforcement would have one year to take the exam. Persons over the age for 65 are exempt. Failure to take or pass the exam would result in removal from society and placement in a training compound, where individuals would have the opportunity to study and prepare for the exam. Those who fail the test will be granted two additional attempts at passing, and three failed attempts would result in permanent exile.

Passing the Expected Intelligence Exam would ensure that each citizen possesses knowledge of proper human interaction, and would provide a standardized base level of intelligence among citizens. This would lower and/or eliminate the presence of many problems that face the country today, such as crime/murder rates, motor vehicle accidents, and one could also hope to see a decrease in health-related issues such as high blood pressure or anxiety.

The Exam would have two sections, one each for General Education and Human Interaction. Passing the General Education portion of the exam would require knowledge of routine and fundamental elements of the subjects taught in all public or private school systems, including (but not limited to):
  • Proper communication of the English language, in both written and verbal situations,
  • Proficiency in mathematics of at least an 8th grade level,
  • Knowledge of how to read an analog clock,
  • Knowledge of recent United States history,
  • Proficiency in the usage of computers.

The Human Interaction portion of the exam would require the individual to possess and display their abilities of proper human interaction, including (but not limited to):

  • Proper traffic etiquette, in both vehicular and pedestrian situations,
  • Efficiency and accuracy when receiving orders or requests,
  • Knowledge of basic health and personal care,
  • Ability to treat others with respect, regardless of social or economic status,
  • Possession of Common Sense.

Although there are allowances for those with decreased mental function due to age or other ailments, individuals who pass the Exam are expected to maintain their level of intelligence. Any violations would result in temporary extraction and an immediate review by a jury of peers. Depending upon the outcome of the review, the individual would either be placed back into society or into their local training compound where they would be required to retake the Exam.

Intelligence Enforcement Officers would be present in most communities to assist with the success of the program, and free educational resources would be available in each state for those looking to prepare for the Exam, or those looking to further their intelligence.

A detailed proposal of this Act is in the process of being drafted, and will soon be ready for presentation to state and government officials. With enough support, this program could change the otherwise pessimistic morale of this country.

All those in favor, say "Aye".

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If you thought that I was serious about any of this, raise your right hand, form it into a fist, and punch yourself in the face. This is, of course, a joke. While this might be a good idea in theory, it would never work. Like you, I'm tired of dealing with Stupid People, and wish there was something to be done about it. Until a more practical solution is found, I guess we can continue complaining about them.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In Which I Start Something New

I've noticed a problem with my computer habits since I've started blogging.

On days that I work when I'm tied to my desk, I spend my time blogging. Between calls, I devote my time to reading and commenting on blogs, responding to comments, and writing new entries to post here. I enjoy the interaction and conversations among the friends I've met here.

I have no problem with my blogging habits on those days.

On days that I have off, however, I find myself hovering around my computer, refreshing my feed reader for new entries, constantly afraid that I'll miss something or be late in responding to a comment.

I've come to realize that, frankly, that habit is quite ridiculous.

While I thoroughly enjoy the blogs that I read, I shouldn't be spending the time off that I have in front of a computer screen. I should be out enjoying my time, doing whatever that activity may interest me.

That said, I'm no longer going to focus on blogging on the weekends. I'm going to unplug and enjoy my time. If I don't leave a comment on an entry or respond to your comment for a few days, I'm not ignoring you. Life is too short to spend it at a computer all the time.

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend, and I'll see you on Monday!

Friday, August 15, 2008

In Which I Panic

The insistent beeping of my alarm clock cuts through the haze and savagely yanks me out of sleep like a dog being pulling unwillingly down the sidewalk by his leash. A slice of the morning sunrise that sneaked around the curtain is laying across my face, burning hot on my closed eyelids. My tongue is thick and dry inside my mouth, and as I slide my legs out of bed and sit up, my bladder quickly decides the first order of business. I pick up a pair of wrinkled gym shorts from the floor next to my nightstand and put them on, and pull a shirt over my head. Absently itching the side of my face, I trudge to the bathroom.

The toilet seat makes a dull clanking sound against the lid of the toilet. With one hand occupied with the task of ensuring that all urine makes it into the toilet bowl, I reach up with my other hand to scratch at my face again. After the itching subsides, I flush the toilet and almost forget to put the lid down. After the last incident, you'd think I'd remember.

The itching on my face starts again as I approach the sink to wash my hands. I ignore it, and soap up. When the itching persists and starts to become almost painful, I quickly rinse off my hands and look up into the mirror over the sink. My eyes slowly focus on the image being reflected back at me.

My face is completely covered in fleas. My skin, once a smooth, even shade of white, is now crawling with these tiny black insects, crawling about in the thick hair of my goatee and mustache, and making their way towards my sideburns. Anxiety sets in after a few moments when I realize that there are fleas crawling up my nose and into my ears.

Small red welts are beginning to show up and swell as I attempt to brush the fleas off, my hands moving about my face at a furious rate. The fleas seem to double in size and quantity, and I cry out in anguish and terror as-

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEE-

My hand slams down on the snooze button of my alarm clock.

I sit up sharply in bed, and reach up to my face.

Nothing.

It was a dream. It was just a dream.

Thank GOD.

---

I've got to stop drinking Kool-Aid before going to bed. The sugar is giving me some fucked up dreams.

Anyone else have the creepy-crawlies now?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In Which I Make A Poor Decision

Over the years, I've made some pretty poor decisions. Nothing that has ultimately done any real harm, but they are still things that I have lived to regret. Things like dropping out of college, trading in my gas-efficient sedan for a gas-guzzling V8 truck, and getting a tattoo without thoroughly researching my options to find the best facility first.

Out of all of those things that I regret, I regret the tattoo the most. Not so much the fact that I got the tattoo, but rather where I had it done. I failed myself and did very little research before going under the needle.

After I had made the decision about what I wanted to get and where I wanted it, I hunted around to find a tattoo parlor that looked reputable. There were a couple of different options in my area, and both seemed to be good. I didn't know anyone that had experience with either shop, so I picked one that seemed to be the better of the two, and set up my appointment.

On the day of my appointment, I walked in with a copy of the image I wanted permanently inked under my skin. I had made a copy of what I wanted direct from my vintage vinyl copy of Led Zeppelin IV:


I signed a release form, shelled out the $85, and the artist began her work. Just over an hour later, I was finished. She gave me after-care instructions and a topical creme to use for it, and I was out the door.

Here is where everything started to go downhill.

Despite following the after-care instructions perfectly, a thick black scab quickly formed over the entire tattoo. The skin was red and raw around the edges of the tattoo, and when I called to the tattoo shop for help, they said that it was normal. They told me not to remove the scab, as I would lose the color in that spot. I listened to them, not knowing any better.

I ended up removing all of the pieces of scab material when pus and strange-colored fluid started oozing out. There was a large circle of redness surrounding the entire tattoo, and was very painful to the touch. Beginning to get scared for my relative health from this, I went to a pharmacy and they recommended a topical antibiotic to stave off the obvious infection before it spread any more.

From that point, three weeks after getting the tattoo, it took another month for it to heal completely. Here is what I was left with:

See all the spots with no color? That is where it was so infected, none of the color stayed in the skin at all. See that tiny little dot on the inside left portion of the tattoo? That was a mistake that the artist made. See how uneven the thickness of the design is in some areas? That was the artist not paying attention to the original design. In the two years that I have had the tattoo, the color has faded dramatically. It started out being a dark, jet black, but is now a grey-black.
I've considered getting it touched up, but I probably won't. It has character and originality, even with all of its flaws. It was a horrible first experience with tattooing, but that hasn't stopped me from wanting another. I'll put a lot more effort and research into where I get it done this time around, though.
Anyone else have a bad experience with tattoo's? Or is it just me?
EDIT: It appears that I forgot to mention where the tattoo is. It is on inside of my right forearm.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In Which I (Had) An Anger Problem

I read through some of my older posts this past weekend, to see how my writing has changed in the past couple of months. On my very first post, I mentioned something about myself that I had been meaning to write about, but had forgotten.

Growing up as a child, I had a problem with anger. It wasn't like I was a bully at school, but rather quite the opposite. It was always me who was getting picked on or made fun of. I never fought back or did anything to defend myself, and never complained to anyone that it was happening. The constant torment from my peers over the years built up this implosive anger within me, and it would come out in uncontrollable bursts when provoked.

Not wanting to be branded as troublesome, I would never act out in school. Instead I would arrive at home off the bus volatile, like a high-powered handgun with a hair trigger, and hope that nothing would happen that could set me off. I could generally escape to my room for a little while and try to calm down, but there was always something. My sisters would playfully tease me, but being clouded by anger I would not respond rationally. Even though I knew what it would lead to, I would explode in a fury of yelling and balled-up fists. I always got punished for what I did, even in the cases where my sisters were truly to blame for antagonizing me. I struggled with controlling my anger for years, and nothing seemed to work. I finally found a solution, and was cured of my problem from the events that unfolded on one fateful night.

I'm not sure who or what the antagonist was, so I'll fast forward through the back story a bit. I remember standing in the living room in front of my dad, holding a set of brightly colored acrylic paints. My sisters were standing off to the side, hands on their hips and content in the fact that I was getting in trouble and not them. I was arguing with my father about something, and in a fit of rage, threw the paint set to the tan-carpeted floor. The light plastic containers shattered, spraying orange, yellow, green and red paint everywhere.

Time stood still long enough for me to register to the fullest extend of what I had just done. Not only was there a large pool of non-water-based paint being quickly soaked up by the fibers of the carpet, but it had splattered on my mothers brand new LL Bean tote bag, onto the recliner and the easy chair, and onto my dad's only pair of leather work shoes.

I looked up from the carnage, and noticed my dad's face contorting and turning a deep shade of red. I tore off running to my room, and collapsed on my bed. I was in deep shit, and I knew it. In all of my other temper tantrums, I had never hurt or broken anything irreparably. I had crossed the line, and screwed up royally this time. I sat there on my bed and cried for what seemed like hours.

Suddenly, my dad burst into my room, looking the angriest as I had ever seen him. He got right up in front of my face and started yelling at me. Yelling for me to stop crying. Yelling for me to realize what I had done. Yelling for me to realize just how angry he was. I distinctly remember noticing the beads of sweat rolling down his face, the wideness and intensity of his eyes, and the opening and closing of his fists hovering just in front of me.

I also remember spending a large amount of time that night on my hands and knees, scrubbing at the carpet to get the paint to come up.

That night, after being so terrified of my father, was the last time I acted out for a very, very long time. The consequences of my actions helped me to learn of better, more passive ways of dealing with and releasing anger. There were still events where I got in trouble for how I reacted, but a childhood is not normal without being punished or getting grounded from time to time.

These days, it takes a lot to get me to the point of pure anger. The Boss has seen me get angry like that only once, and she said that it was the scariest thing she had seen. I find it interesting to think of how different I was back then compared to now. I am completely different, and it is all for the better.

All of this leads me to ask a question... What gets you angry, Readers? Vent about something that happened recently that pissed you off, or talk about some of your pet peeves.

P.S. I'll be writing about my experience with getting a tattoo tomorrow.

Monday, August 11, 2008

In Which I Make Friends

I suppose I should resign to the fact that, as a couple, The Boss and I are not openly social people. We go to work, we come home. We would much rather stay at home and watch a movie on a Friday night. We don't go out to bars or nightclubs, we don't go partying... We essentially are very boring people.

We've lived in our apartment for the past four months, and we just "officially" met, for the first time, our neighbors.

The Boss and I went next door to mention the flea problem to them, since they have a small dog. We ended up staying for a while, talking and getting to know them a little bit. It turns out that they are much like us, and prefer to be home than out on the town. They are friendly and good-natured, and they swear about as much as The Boss and I do. Because of our inwardly social tendencies, our neighbors thought that we didn't like them and were ignoring their attempts at being friends.

We lost track of time a little bit, and eventually had to leave to go to the laundromat. On our way to the car, I whispered excitedly to The Boss,

"We just made friends!"

I felt giddy.

Hopefully, upon closer inspection, they don't think I'm crazy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In Which I Feel Dirty

I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I opened myself up to another round of questions, with the request this time that they be dirty questions. I'm not sure if I'll live to regret answering them, but here is goes.

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Heather asks: ...How big that morning wood really is(?).
Heather, for the answer to your question, please refer to the following image:

I think that should suffice.

Moonspun asks: Have you ever had sex outside?

The plain and simple answer is, sadly, no. The Boss and I went camping on our honeymoon, and there was, of course, plans of sex outdoors and/or in the lake. Alas, the campground was overrun by little children, including a rather large family that was set up right next to our site, that pretty much ruined any hopes of some action.

Lil Sass asks: Have you ever been caught having sex?

The answer to this question is also no. There were a few times where The Boss and I were interrupted during some pre-sex make-out sessions, either by our roommate or by our landlord. I would never attempt to engage in that activity unless I knew I wouldn't get caught. I guess I am not a thrill seeker.

Lola asks: Just how many times have you measured "the wood"? What's your favorite position?

I can count on one hand the number of times I've measured My Crotch Friend. I remember "sizing up" a few times late in my high school years, but since I've been "active" (so to speak), I haven't felt the need to break out the ruler. My favorite position would definitely be girl-on-top. For a strictly selfish reason that the visuals provided with that position are simply amazing.

Employee No 3699 asks: Hold old were you when you lost your virginity? Does your cat watch you? Have you ever done it with just your socks on?

I was 18 and a freshman in college when I lost my virginity. I will add that I was newly 18, because I think that had something to do with the timing of it. The cat we have now doesn't watch, but The Boss and I used to have a cat that would scratch and yowl at the bedroom door, wanting to come in and watch whenever The Boss and I were feeling amorous. It got to a point where we'd have to lock the cat in the bathroom, "do what we needed to do", and then let him out again. He always seemed a little disappointed. For your last question, no. I've had sex in various stages of being undressed, but never with just my socks on.

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There were a couple of questions I was surprised I didn't get asked, but I am done with the dirty questions. This post is enough to prevent me from looking my parents in the eye for the rest of my life, should my parents ever find it. Hope this satisfied your "need to know".

I feel dirty now. I'm going to go shower.

Friday, August 8, 2008

In Which I Am Awake

After a series of events that occurred within the past week, I feel compelled to make the following list:

THINGS THAT SUCK ABOUT WAKING UP:
  1. Waking up shivering cold, and realizing that at some point during the night, you took off most of your clothes and completely uncovered yourself.
  2. Waking up and looking at the clock, to realize that you woke up three minutes before your alarm was set to go off.
  3. Not setting an alarm on your day off, and you end up waking up at 6:35 AM, feeling completely rested.
  4. Stumbling to the bathroom half-asleep, and then waking up 30 minutes later, sitting on the toilet slumped against the wall, with your legs numb and a magazine on the floor.
  5. You feel more rested after three hours of sleep, but wake up groggy when you go to bed early and sleep for nine hours.
  6. You wake up at the same time as your wife, with your hand on your crotch (currently afflicted with "morning wood"), and hope that your wife doesn't think that you were masturbating in bed next to her.
  7. Waking up out of a dead sleep because the smoke alarm in your apartment is going off FOR NO REASON AT ALL.

Has anyone else had strange things happen to them this week, upon waking up?

It could just be me, I guess. Fate does seem to have personal vendetta against me.

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P.S. A couple of the ladies who frequent here (*ahem*Lola*cough*Heather) mentioned some desire to ask me dirty questions, after I posted the Q&A on my last post. So, if you feel so inclined, I will answer (within reason) whatever dirty questions you may have, and answer them on my next post.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

In Which I Provide Answers

In my post yesterday, I asked you, my readers, to pose any questions you had for me. Since all questions, save for rhetorical ones, need answers, I'll provide some answers today. For the sake of organization, I'll answer them in the order that they were asked.

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Employee No 3699 asks: How did you and The Boss Meet?
The Boss and I met at college, during our sophomore year. We were introduced by a mutual friend during lunch one day. I started picking on her (in a fun, non-mean way), and she threw some playful insults back at me. This continued for a few months, and we finally started hanging out just the two of us. After a few nights of watching movies, hot chocolate, and hand holding, we were boyfriend/girlfriend. I won her over by being endearing and cute. For example, I asked "Can I see your hand for a moment?", and then grasped it with mine. "Just wanted to see how well it fit with mine... It fits perfect." That was 3.5 years ago, and she still thinks I'm cute.

Lil Sass asks: Any food in the world that you find totally and utterly disgusting?
Due to the number of foods that I hate, I could quite possibly be the world's pickiest eater. However, if I had to pick one food that I hate more than anything else, it would be onions. I have never liked them, and never will. If I bite into something that has onions, the second I bite into it, that crunchy wet sensation sends my gag reflex running wild. Close behind my hatred of onions are peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, mayonnaise, sour cream, ricotta cheese... The list goes on. Needless to say, I'm not a "try something new at a restaurant" kind of guy.

Aub asks: Have you always been a writer, artist, etc?
To answer your question simply, no, but I've always been a creative person. When I was a kid, I wanted so badly to be a good artist. As much as I tried, I could never draw what I envisioned in my mind. Writing is something that I never thought I was good at, probably because I never enjoyed it while in school. There were always too many rules to follow, and I didn't like feeling restricted. These days, the only writing that I do is for my blog. I wrote some wedding vows for a friend a few months back, but other than that, my blog is the sole outlet for my creative expression. I have a hard time expressing myself verbally (due to my neurological problems), so this is a great thing for me. I've touched on the idea of writing a book or a short story, but I think everyone who writes has at least once.

Miss Grace asks: What's your favorite holiday?
As much as I enjoy just about every holiday (except for Easter), I enjoy Thanksgiving the most. It is really the only time of year that I can see all of my family, and the kick-ass food is pretty awesome, too. On a more serious note, I have long-standing memories of watching the Macy's parade and having breakfast with my parents and sisters on Thanksgiving morning. Those are some of the best memories I have of my life in general.

Meg asks: Where is your favorite place to be?
No matter where it is, I am the most at peace when I am camping. I do have a favorite spot, but I am not picky so long as it is not overrun by yelling kids. I love every part about camping, even the parts that aren't so glamorous. I camped a lot with my family growing up, so I have lots of memories of campfires and s'mores, bug bites and sunburns, and fishing with my Dad.

Aunt Becky asks: What's the best thing you've learned since starting to blog?
The best thing that I've learned since I started my blog is that expressing originality through writing is much harder than I previously thought. Anyone can write something funny, sad or emotional. Anyone can start a blog and write about how they think and feel, but without originality, thousands of voices can all seem the same. I've tried to write in a way that is unique to me, but I don't feel like I have a "style" that makes me stand out from others. I'm trying to find a niche that will make me stand out, in a good way, and it is much harder that I thought.

Sus asks: If you could play scrabble, over coffee, with any literary figure, who would it be?
Hands down, without question, it would be Stephen King. I could rave about how much I love his writing until I'm blue in the face, but I won't. Suffice it to say that any writer that can explain an emotion or describe a setting in such clarity and originality, without ever repeating himself from book to book, such as Stephen King does, deserves all the credit he can get.

Moonspun asks: Do you believe in God or a higher being? What's your favorite season?
I was raised as a Baptist Christian, but I stopped going to church or "practising" any religion when I turned 17. I saw too much hypocrisy within the church, and needed to check things out on my own for a while. I do believe that there is a higher being, because there is too much in this world that couldn't "just happen". As for my favorite season, my heart belongs to Fall. I love the cooler air, the changing colors and falling of leaves... I wish it could be fall year 'round.

AC asks: Have you ever read Mary Oliver's poetry?
No, I have not, actually. I did a quick search and read "Wild Geese", which was very soothing. Thanks for the suggestion, I'm heading out to the library this afternoon to see what I can find of hers.

Heather asks: What is your favorite non-blog website(s) to hang out at when you aren't blogging/reading blogs? What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
When I'm not blogging or reading other blogs, I generally hang out on eBay, Craigslist, or Cockeyed. If you don't know what eBay or Craigslist is, crawl out from under that rock and beat yourself with it. Cockeyed.com is a great site, where this guy does home science experiments, builds awesome Halloween costumes, and is generally pretty funny. I'd check it out if I were you. As far as my favorite ice cream flavor, anything with chocolate and peanut butter is fine. There is a local grocery store in town that makes their own ice cream, and I think I am single-handedly supporting them.

Lola asks: What's your favorite exercise? What music is getting you through?
I enjoy walking or biking the most. Everything else seems too mundane and boring for me. I've been listening to a lot of classical music, as it is the most soothing to me. I focus on one instrument and follow the flow of the part through the duration of the song. Specifically, Mozart's "Requiem" and Gustav Holst's "First Suite in E Flat" have been lifesavers for me. Quite the switch from my normal venues of Metallica or Disturbed, eh?

Enthalpymama asks: What do you do (or have you done) of which you are most proud?
I would say that I am the most proud of my photography. While I have other hobbies, like writing or music composition, I am the least critical of my talents behind a camera. Plus, with my recent experience with selling some of my pictures to Warner Brothers, it gave me a much-needed extra boost of confidence. While I am proud of my writing, both here and with my music, I am super critical of myself and thus less likely to "show it off" to others.

Forever In School asks: What is your opinion on having kids? Do you see yourself being a father one day? How many kids do you want to have?
These are some tough questions, and questions I'm sure The Boss would like to know the answer to as well. I don't want to get into the politics of bearing children, because that is not something I want to talk about here. I do see myself having kids and being a father, but only when I feel I am ready to be a father. There is too much going on in my life with The Boss, such as my medical problems, and the financial struggles we have, that I would feel irresponsible bringing a child into the world. If it happens "accidentally", we would have the child and appreciate it greatly. When the time comes, though, I would like to have one boy and one girl.

Scatterbrain asks: Why can’t I think of a question?
I'm not sure really, since I can't get inside of your head. I have the same problem from time to time, and I normally think of the right thing to say or ask hours after the situation demands it. No worries, though.

Daddy Files asks: (Since you have) lived in Maine your whole life and would you ever consider living anywhere else?
I have lived in Maine my entire life, and I love it here, despite the 6-month winters and soggy summers (at least this year). I would consider living elsewhere, but my choice would strictly be climate-related. I am a sweaty beast, so I would pick a region of the country that has low humidity, and where the temperature doesn't vary too greatly. From what I've heard, that would probably be Southern California. Other than that, I wouldn't mind living in Virginia, near the Richmond area. I spent some time down there last summer and it was beautiful. I would probably never stray that far from Maine, though. There are too many things I love about living here.

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This was a much more daunting task than I thought it would be. I had a good time writing this post, but I didn't think it would take me most of the day to write it. Thanks for the great questions!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In Which I Am Getting Better

Out of all the struggles and hardships I have faced, getting through the past few days alive and relatively sane has been the most difficult thing I have done thus far in my life. As I mentioned earlier this week, I've been having some pretty severe anxiety problems. At first I thought they were brought on from the stress and eventual realization of what I have going on neurologically, but as I processed and dealt with it all, I realized that there was something more.

These anxiety or panic attacks are unlike anything I've ever experienced. When they occur, I am so completely and utterly gripped by it. I can try to work myself out of it by finding a distraction or something else I can focus on, but that only works part of the time. I am controlled by this irrational fear of being alone (not in life, but by myself). I have never had any thoughts of self harm, but at the moments where is it at its worst I was unsure if I was safe to be alone.

I spoke to my doctor about it yesterday, and as much as I would like to say that I am feeling better today, that would be a lie. I might be feeling better today than I have in a couple of days, but the safety and security I feel can be easily ripped away like failing levee against a raging river. I have only been awake for a few hours, and I've already had three minor breakdowns.

What used to be a quick embrace and a light kiss "goodbye" when The Boss leaves for work is now a tearful, emotional ritual. Despite the fact that I have the distraction of working today, the pure knowledge that I am going to be alone in this house is enough to make me start falling apart. I can pull myself together for moments at a time, but it only works for so long. Instead of feeling like there are periods of anxiety spread throughout the day, I feel like there are periods of normalcy spread among the constant feeling of anxiety.

Sometimes I feel as normal and as strong as I've ever been. Other times I feel like a broken, empty shell of the man I used to be just a short week ago. All it takes is one drop of water to send me cascading over the edge, breaking the levee that I struggled to put up the last time it failed. I know of some ways that I can make myself feel better, but it takes some time to rebuild.

Music has been a major lifesaver for me. When I feel the start of a panic attack, if I put on some music and just lose myself in it I can generally avoid any negative feelings. Reading or writing helps too, but nothing helps rid me of the anxiety like being around another person. I'm getting better at processing how I feel and anticipating the onset of another attack. Combined with all of the physical things that I can do to help relax, my doctor gave me a prescription (Ativan) that I can use as needed. I have the bottle sitting on my desk in front of me, there to help if the situation demands it. I haven't had to use it, and I don't want to use it, but I know that if things get worse and I can't control it on my own, that I have something that can help me through it.

In the grand scheme of things, I am doing alright. I have definitely felt better, but I have also felt worse. Today is my first day being alone, and I'm doing better than I thought I'd be. I want to thank you all again for your support and kind words. You are like the eye of the storm for me.

I'm trying to work up an entry to get myself back into the swing of things here, but in the wake of all that has happened recently, I'm not too sure what to write about. Is there anything you've wanted to ask me, or wanted to know about me in general? I'll accept one question (or two smaller questions) from each of you, and I will answer them truthfully in my next post. I won't make any rules, so no subject is off limits.

Happy Interrogation!

Monday, August 4, 2008

In Which I Take Another Day Off

I've been struggling with some pretty intense anxiety problems lately. I've tried to disguise it, both in person and by how I present myself on my blog, but it is getting increasingly harder to do. In truth, I've been a mess for the past couple of days. There is too much to mention quickly here now, and everything is still pretty raw. I'm trying to keep myself focused on things that don't bother or stress me out, so it might take me a few days to get back to normal.

I decided to go into work with The Boss today so I wouldn't be home by myself. I brought my laptop with me so I could get caught up on my feeds (26!) and e-mails (35!), and the only place that I could find that has wi-fi is McDonalds. I know that McDonalds is more "family friendly" than most other sit-down type restaurants, so I expected there to be some kids. I didn't expect to be surrounded by hugely undisciplined children, throwing their food and their Happy Meal toys around, jumping on their seats and yelling despite their parents best attempts at calming them down. I don't know what is in the water in this town, but I haven't seen such chaos since the last time The Boss and I went to a zoo. I seriously had to clean up soda and milk off of the back of my laptop screen twice so far. Little brats.

I don't like not writing "real" entries in here. I promise that I'll writing something "real" in the next few days. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

I just need some time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

In Which I Observe The Sabbath

No, I didn't suddenly turn religious.

I'm not that crazy.

With today being my first true day off from work and other obligations in a fairly long while, I'm going to make the most of it. The Boss and I are going to try to find something to do that doesn't involve spending money or long car rides. Mostly because we have no money, and thus no gas to put in the car.

We might take a picnic lunch down to the local park and go swimming. We might go to the library and pick out some books, and find a nice quiet place to read. We might do any number of different things, but the main idea is to be out of the home and away from the computer.

The Internet can be a major life-suck, and as much as I enjoy reading and writing here in the blogging world, I need a break.

But only for one day. The withdrawal symptoms are horrible.

I will be back tomorrow, don't worry.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In Which I Feel Sick

*** DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS NOT FOR THE WEAK-STOMACHED, OR THOSE WITH EASILY-INVOKED GAG REFLEXES.***

I hate getting sick.

I'm not referring to the run-of-the-mill cold, with the stuffy nose and sore throat and all that. Sure, those are definitely unpleasant to have, but its not quite what I mean.

I'm talking about the gut-wrenching, tear-inducing, better-get-yourself-to-a-toilet-NOW, kind of sick. The projectile vomiting, explosive diarrhea kind of sick. The kind of sick that feels like your stomach is being ripped out through your throat with rusty forks, and whatever is left is getting dragged out of your ass in a twisted, fecal version of Tug Of War.

I'll let you simmer with that mental image for a minute.

Gag reflex suppressed? Good.

Needless to say, I haven't felt the greatest over the past few days. I'm not sure if I ate something bad, or if it's my subconscious or emotional side working itself out in a physical manner. Either way, I don't enjoy spending more time in the bathroom than I absolutely have to. Most of my gastro-intestinal issues involve me sitting down while the "transaction" takes place, and the toilet isn't exactly the most comfortable place in the house to sit.

If I'm going to be afflicted with any form of gut-sickness, I'll take diarrhea over vomiting any day. Why? Because I simply and absolutely refuse to throw up. My stomach can be lurching like a junk yard dog against it's chain, but I will not vomit. I know that no one enjoys vomiting, but I hate it. Only when my gag reflex is weakened do I succumb to stomach expulsion. I am so anti-vomit, that I can count on one hand the number of times I've "tossed my cookies" since age 15.

Growing up, I would throw up all the time when I was sick, so I got pretty used to it. I'd be laying on the couch, watching whatever mindless drivel happened to be on the TV, and suddenly feel the old familiar stomach-quake. I'd lean over into the trashcan next to me on the floor, open my mouth, expel the stomach devil inside of me, and go back to the TV as if nothing happened. Nowadays, when I absolutely must throw up, it is a horrible ordeal. It's not like I simply lean over the toilet, open my mouth and wait for the puke-train to leave the station. No, my throat tightens up and squeezes my recently-evicted stomach contents up and out slowly and painfully. Sometimes, it even forces it up through my sinuses and out my nose, giving my olfactory nerve a front row seat to the second showing of What Mike Had For Lunch. I lie on the floor afterwards, moaning and with my eyes watering, begging for sympathy. Sympathy I rarely get.

I was fortunate enough to only have one experience with vomiting while in school as a young kid, a day which I remember clearly. We had just gotten back inside from lunch and recess, and my classmates and I were getting to our desks. Social studies was the most boring class of the day, but I was about to make it a whole lot more interesting.

I remember sitting there at my desk, resting my head on my right hand, propped up on my elbow. My eyelids were heavy and I was struggling to pay attention to the teacher's monotonic voice. Suddenly, my stomach felt like it was being squeezed by a iron-like fist. I then felt an intense gurgling and bubbling sensation in my lower abdomen, and at first thought I was going to shit myself. Now fully alert, I fidgeted in my chair for a moment, trying to plan an escape route if the tremors increased. I had no less time to briefly look around when I let out a huge, enormously loud fart.

The classroom went deathly silent, and my face turned three shades of red.

"Jared! What do you have to say for yourself?" my teacher exclaimed after a few moments, referring to the kid sitting behind me.

"What?! It wasn't me!" Jared protested.

The class snickered and laughed amongst themselves, but was quickly quieted down by a stern look from the teacher. My stomach calmed down a little bit, and I thought I was out of the woods. The teacher resumed the lesson, and the smell of my gastric explosion soon dissipated.

Before I even knew what was happening, I was on my feet. My stomach took it upon itself to start doing jumping jacks inside my gut, and the residents of my stomach wanted very much to get out. I looked around frantically for a trashcan, paper bag, anything that I could throw up in. I was able to take one step towards the door when I quickly and violently threw up.

For your sake, I won't put any efforts into describing it any further, except to say that you haven't experienced true embarrassment until you've vomited recognizable pieces of bologna and Fruit Roll-Ups in front of your peers.

With that memory many years behind me, I consider myself fortunate to have not felt the urge to vomit recently, despite the fact that it would have made excellent blogging material. Unlike many people that I read, I don't have any stories related to pork or other meat products to share. Not sure if there was some cosmic event that temporarily took over the blogging world, but my invitation to that party apparently got lost in the mail.

I'm glad to have shared with you all one of my worst memories of growing up. It is an experience that I'm sure every child must endure at least once, same with pissing yourself (did that one twice, actually) or calling your teacher "Mommy".

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take some Tums.

Friday, August 1, 2008

In Which I Am A Killer: Part Three - The Resolution

12:10:57 PM.

With a towel wrapped around his face like an ill-prepared bank robber, Michael stands in the living room on his apartment. He picks up two metal canisters from the table in front of him, and begins to shake them vigorously. Looking down at an empty box also on the table, he reads out loud.

"Shake can before use. Aiming away from eyes and face- no shit- push down on the locking tab. Leave room immediately."

Michael looks around the room as he continues shaking the cans. It looks like we're getting ready to move out. The couch is on the vinyl flooring of the kitchen, its cushions removed and leaning up against the arm rests. All of the appliances and "other ignition sources" in the room have been unplugged. All of the windows are closed, and the air conditioner sits dormant near the corner.

The two canisters hold hopefully-lethal doses of chemicals and propellants used to combat the growing flea problem in the house. Empty cans of topical flea sprays litter the floor in front of the trash can, evidence of previous failed attempts at domestic insecticide. Frustration has been building within these walls, and the breaking point has been reached.

This is where it ends.

Resting one of the cans on the table, Michael cautiously presses down on the small tab on the top of the can. A thick white spray surges out and towards his face! He quickly leans back to avoid getting hit with the toxic flea chemicals. The smell is horrible, and he can feel his throat tightening up. Quickly, on the other side of the apartment Michael places down and activates another can. He takes one last look at the apartment before exiting.

They look like fountains, he thinks. Fountains of death.

He slams the door behind him, and sets his watch timer for two hours.

"And now we wait." Michael says with determination.

12:15:07 PM.

---

3:01:19 PM.

A thick haze hangs in the air, like fog after a humid afternoon. A lone figure can be seen racing around the room, frantically opening windows and turning on fans. He pauses in the center of the room and rests his hands on his knees, and lets out a wheezing cough. After recovering, he staggers to the front door of the apartment, and exits.

3:05:27 PM.

---

3:37:15 PM.

Michael and The Boss cautiously enter the apartment. It smells strongly of chemicals, but the air is clear and safe to breathe. After placing the cat in the bathroom, they begin their inspection.

"So far, so good." The Boss calls out from the bedroom. "I'm not finding any flea's in here."

"Same goes for out here, too. I think we finally got 'em!"

Michael begins vacuuming the carpets in the apartment as The Boss sprays down the couch again. The insecticide foggers seemed to have done their job. It's about damn time. They continue putting the apartment back together, working silently but efficiently. Before long, everything looks back to normal.

"Let's get out of here and get some food. I'm fuckin' starved." says Michael, grabbing his keys.

"Me, too. Let's go." The Boss agrees. Together, they leave the apartment.

The apartment, once the scene of a flea breeding ground, is now the scene of a flea massacre of epic proportions. It is safe once again.

4:17:02 PM.

---

The flea problem The Boss and I had seems to be under control. The foggers helped immensely, but we still have some stragglers. If I had to make an estimate, I would say that we had an 85% kill rate with the foggers. I'm not too fond of using harsh chemicals, but we had to do something. We used Frontline on the cat, and we've noticed a dramatic change just from that. The remaining fleas we have are ones that were in the carpet and the couch, presumably out of the range of the fogger. We're going to do another round of fogging this weekend.

Since our cat is strictly indoors, we were puzzled as to how we could have got fleas in the first place. We then thought back a few months, when we got the couch we have now. We got it used from Goodwill, and we think that the couch was infested. Bringing it into the home only made it worse and allowed it to spread. If the fogging treatment doesn't work again, we'll be getting rid of the couch.

So far, we've spent over $125 on various flea treatments and medications. That includes the $50 we spent at the laundromat, washing all of our clothes, bedding, towels, or any fabric surface that we could find. If nothing else, this problem is getting expensive.

And exhausting.