Friday, December 31, 2010

In Which It's The End Of The Year

People have been asking me lately if I'm making any resolutions for the new year. Once I manage to stop laughing and I've wiped the tears from my eyes, it's pretty much understood that no, I'm not making any resolutions. Why make a bunch of promises to myself that I likely won't keep? I'll only be disappointing myself, and to be honest, I've had my fair share of that in 2010. In lieu of resolutions, I like making a list of things I'm not going to do in the next year. 

In 2011, I'm not going to 
  • ... wear my work shirts according to a strict rotating schedule. 
  • ... let the stupidity of others bring me down.
  • ... let the large woman at work with the Burt Reynolds mustache intimidate me. 
  • ... forget about those who have helped me get to where I am.
  • ... say "Thank You" to any toll booth operator unless they thank me first. 
  • ... stop believing.
  • ... let any rogue air fresheners or vending machines make me feel inferior. 
  • ... hold myself to ridiculous standards.
  • ... waste my time with regrets.
  • ... stop making That's What She Said jokes.

There are many other things I'm sure I'm going to try not to do over the next year, but if I were to list them all, I'd start to sound like a major procrastinator. I realize that my short list is a mixture of serious and not-so-serious statements, but I think that's the best way to approach the end of one year and the beginning of the next... With a modicum of respect and healthy dose of laughter.

So what about you, my friends? Are you making resolutions, or are you resolving to not do things like I am? 

---

Before I wrap up this, my 159th and last post of 2010, I want to pass along my deep and sincere gratitude for you, my readers. I appreciate each any every one of you, and your comments and wise cracks are often what gets me through the week. I owe a large portion of my sanity to you all, and for that I am ever grateful. 

Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Which I Enjoy The Quiet

The Boss and I have been living in my sister's basement for about a month now. We're doing this in hopes to have some tax debt paid down by the time Baby Badass arrives, so we won't have that looming over us. We're also trying to learn some good financial habits by breaking some bad ones. We've learned a lot of things over this past month, but one thing stands out:

I've learned the true value of silence.

My 18-month-old niece, while cute as heck and smart as hell, is a non-stop noise machine. Whether it be the stomping on the floor, babbling nonsense to her toys, or screaming like she's being branded with a hot iron, she's always doing something that involves making noise. Very rarely is she quiet at other times other than when she is sleeping. At first it was cute, but as the days have rolled into weeks, and weeks into a month, my opinion of that has changed. I hold nothing against my niece. She's a happy kid, and I love her to pieces, but much as her parents must wish for, it'd be great if she came with volume control. 

It's good training, I suppose. With a little one of my own coming just a few months away, the only peace and quiet I'll have is when.... well, who am I kidding? There likely won't be any peace and quiet save for the moments while Baby Badass is sleeping, but I think I'll be used to it by then.

Or at least I hope to be.

Monday, December 27, 2010

In Which I'd Be a Bit Hesitant

I was picking up some last minute holiday stuff at the local CVS in town on Friday, and I saw that they added a new feature to their location. I had never seen it before, and to be honest, I'd be a bit hesitant to try it out.




I'm all for introducing some good old fashioned athletics into different aspects of our daily lives, but this to me sounds a bit dangerous. After thinking about it, I discovered that I had a few questions. Is there a net to land on, or at least a cushion or landing pad? Do you get a discount if you dive a certain distance? Are there competitions? Trick jumps? Do the pharmacy techs launch your scripts out the window for you to catch? Do they offer first aid to those who hurt themselves?

If they had a set of organized rules, I think they might be onto something.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

In Which It's Almost Over

Today is Christmas Eve.

Say it with me now: Thank God.

Don't get me wrong: I'm no Scrooge. It just seems like there has been too many Deck The Halls and Silent Nights and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen for my liking this year. And the Christmas parties! Oh, there have been way too many Christmas parties. I lost count of exactly how many have been held at work, but my waistline is keeping tabs I'm sure.

This is about the time of year that I realize I forgot to send out the Christmas cards. I don't think I've ever remembered to get them out in the mail on time. In fact, there's been a few times where we didn't send them out at all, late or not. They just went into the trash, addressed and signed but missing stamps. It's the thought that counts, right? I'll just think real hard and send my Christmastime well wishes telepathically instead.

For those who have procrastinated like me, I do have a solution. Send an e-mail to the people you'd normally send a card to, with a cheery, Christmas-themed graphic in the body of the message. For example:




Simple enough, right? You've got snow, you've got a reindeer, and you've got a festively colored Christmas sentiment. Brief and to the point. Let the rest of your e-mail do the talking.

If you're sending an e-mail message to someone you don't really care for or someone you think would appreciate a bit of off-color language, you could always send them something like this:




What else really needs to be said?

In all seriousness, from my family to yours, I do hope you all have a safe and happy holiday and a Merry (Fucking) Christmas. If you don't celebrate Christmas, well, I hope your Saturday is safe and happy, too.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Which It Knows

In the break room at my office stands a line of vending machines. There are two soda machines (one for Pepsi products, the other for the Coke variety), two snack machines, and one of those refrigerated carousel machines that have shrink-wrapped sandwiches, desserts, and the like. The snack and soda machines and I are well acquainted, but I've never bought anything out of the carousel machine. As far as I can tell, the guy who stocks it only comes in once a week, and that's not nearly often enough.

I've been walking by this machine pretty much daily for the past six months, and I think it's starting to feel unloved and left out. Lately it seems that every time I walk by it, the carousel rotates to display things that I would normally enjoy. One time it was whoopie pies and chocolate milk. Another time it was Hot Pockets and pudding. It'll be sitting silent and still, but as I approach, it'll come to life and spin it's selection around until it finds something appropriate for me. It's creepy as hell.




I asked others in my office if it seemed to do the same thing for them, and they all said no. Someone suggested to me that it's probably just on a timer and periodically rotates itself to display other items to catch the eye of passersby. That's probably the most logical explanation, but how do you explain how it always picks out things I like to eat? There's a lot of food in there, most of it heavily preserved and full of sodium, but it always knows to show me the junk food I prefer. 

This is sort of like the time I thought the air freshener in the bathroom was out to get me. Call me paranoid, but I'm more than a little weirded out. It's learning my habits and routines, my likes and dislikes... For all I know, it could be stalking me on Facebook.

Time to adjust my privacy settings, I think.

Monday, December 20, 2010

In Which It Might Backfire

A couple of years ago around Christmas time, I came up with this brilliant way to avoid the crowds while doing your shopping during the last few days before the holiday itself. Sure, you can do your shopping online, but there will be something you inevitably forgot about and by then there isn't enough time for shipping, so you've got no choice but to head out to the stores and compete with the masses. With only five days left until the Big Day this Saturday, I figured I'd share my idea with you all to help reduce the suffering if you find yourself in this position.

Now, this only works if you are in a store like Walmart or Target, or a similar store that carries just about everything. I've broken it down into just a few simple steps:
  1. When you first go into the store, head straight for the Camping or Outdoor section.
  2. Upon arrival, pick up a hatchet (or ax, if there happens to be some on display). 
  3. If the head is wrapped in a protective sleeve, remove it carefully. 
  4. Sling the hatchet over your shoulder, blade side up, being mindful of your neck/ears.
  5. With a blank but wide-eyed expression on your face that suggests some kind of mental deficit or underlying rage, begin your shopping.
The idea is simple: Terrify people, or at least make them nervous enough, so they all move out of your way.

Both of the times I've done this, it has worked like a charm. I don't know if it's result of too many horror movies, but when people see a guy walking slowly around the store with a weird expression on his face and either a hatchet or an ax slung over his shoulder, they move out of the way like their ass is on fire and their hair is catching. Same goes with the checkout lines. If you and some other dude are approaching the only cashier with no one waiting to check out and you've got an ax on your shoulder? The other guy will usher you forward with no contest.

I didn't even realize what was happening the first time I did this until I was just about ready to check out. I was in the store to buy a hatchet and some other small things, and didn't even think about how I was carrying the hatchet until I noticed all the weird and concerned looks I was getting. And let me tell you: It's worth people thinking you're a potential ax murderer if it means you can cut through the crowds and checkout lines when it's 8:30pm on December 23rd.

Even though I didn't need a second hatchet, I did this again the year after for two reasons. One was that I needed to get in and out of the store quickly, and two was that I wanted to see if it'd work a second time. I managed to get in and out of the store in twenty minutes, which is no easy feat even during non-holiday times.

Before you say it, yes, I realize this plan has a lot of potential to backfire, but the idea is that you'll be through the checkout line and into your car before someone pulls out their cell phone and calls the cops. If you try it,  though, you're on your own. Don't go overboard with the facial expression, and don't blame me if you get caught.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

In Which I Suppose It's Better Than Nothing

Sometimes, when I'm sitting at my desk trying to write and the words just aren't coming, I start looking around my office and try to find inspiration in something. It's a wonder I haven't written exhaustively about the migrating habits of clutter and the calming qualities of proper organization by now, but sometimes it's enough to trigger a thought and then *poof*, instant idea.

On the days where inspiration is not found by looking at piles and stacks of clutter, my eyes inevitably make their way back to my computer, and my lamp that has sat resolute on the left corner of my desk for many years. It's a halogen lamp, and has a peculiar rocker switch that has intrigued me ever since I bought it. I realize how weird that sounds, but take a look at it:




Looks kind of like a face, doesn't it? An emoticon-type face? I don't look at it and expect this random pattern of ink on a plastic switch that looks like a face to provide me with ideas for things to write about. That would be crazy. But sometimes, after looking at it and thinking for the millionth time how much it looks like one of the Easter Island heads, an idea comes to me.




It's all coincidental, but whatever works. What do you do when inspiration is lacking?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In Which I Rerun

Today's post is a leftover, a microwaved version of something I posted last year about this time. Unless you've been through my archives, you've probably not seen it, but even if you have I hope you enjoy it.

---

Unless you've been living under a rock your entire life, you've probably seen the classic Christmas television special, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know, the original stop-motion version, with Burl Ives as the cheerful snowman with a banjo. As I'm sure it is with many, many others, it's pretty much a holiday requirement around here to watch it at least once. In fact, since we have a copy of it on VHS, The Boss makes a point to watch this movie a few times each Christmas season. I put up a stink about it sometimes, but deep down inside, I don't mind watching it. I grew up watching it, and it doesn't ever seem to get old.

Something occurred to me when The Boss and I were watching it recently. And if you know me at all, whenever I say the phrase "something occurred to me", you know that it's just another way of saying that the maniacal wheels in my head started turning.

We were sitting there, watching Rudolph's father shame him for being born with a glowing red nose (which was probably his own fault, for sleeping with that doe in Tijuana a few years back, after too many tequila shots with that asshole Comet), and I realized that a lot of the characters reminded me of other people.

And so the idea for this post was born.


Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Look-A-Likes:


Sam The Snowman looks like:




Santa looks like:




The Boss Elf looks like:




Hermie The Wanna-Be Dentist looks like:




Yukon Cornelius looks like:




Charlie-In-The-Box looks like:




Dolly-For-Sue looks like:




The Abominable Snowman looks like:



Wilford Brimley




Billy Gibbons (from ZZ Top)




Guy Fieri




Carson Kressley




Monterey Jack (from Rescue Rangers)




Simon Pegg




The Wendy's Logo Girl




Dave Grohl



So there you have it. The Boss and I got a huge kick out of this while we were watching it and I was pointing out who all the various people look like. I doubt we'll be able to watch the movie again without thinking about this, but I'm okay with that. It sort of gives it a new aspect.

I'm left with one question, though. What other Christmas classics could this be done to? Any thoughts?

Monday, December 13, 2010

In Which It Has Begun

I was sitting at the kitchen table last night, trying to find something on my phone, and mindlessly began humming some song that popped into my head. I didn't think anything of it, but stopped suddenly when I felt the heavy stare of both The Boss and my sister upon me. 

"What?" I asked.

"Do you realize what you were just singing?" my sister asked. 

I ducked sheepishly into my sweatshirt, and shook my head. "No, why?"

My sister shook her head in amusement, and looked to The Boss. Apparently they were both operating on the same wavelength, but I was once again clueless. They seem to be in cahoots ever since we moved into my sister's basement at the first of the month, and while it was to be expected, it doesn't make it any less creepy.

"You were just singing the theme song to Elmo's World."

"No, I wasn't!" I immediately objected. 

My sister called into the living room to my niece, who is 18 months old. She told her to grab her Elmo toy guitar that plays music. My niece picked up the guitar, and just happened to press the one button on it that plays the theme song to the show. And sure enough, it was the same song I had just been singing. 

And so it begins, the ingraining into my subconscious all of the annoying and fruity and kid-friendly crap that reigns supreme in a household with a young child. If I start singing along to The Wiggles, though, please send me for a lobotomy, stat.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, December 10, 2010

In Which I Think They're Trying To Tell Me Something

I think the spam in my inbox is trying to tell me something.

Sure, I get the same routine junk mail that everyone gets. Click Here for Discount Rolex Watches and Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Days type drivel. I normally don't even pay attention to what makes its way into my Spam folder, I just mindlessly click Delete and it's one less thing to worry about.

Normally, when I check my mail at the end of the day my Spam folder has about 6-12 messages in there. I only click into it so I can delete them all and move on with my life. During this past week, though, consistently for the past three or four days, when I've gone to check my mail at night, there's been only one Spam e-mail. At first I thought, great! Less crap for me to have to sift through and get rid of. And then I read the subject line.

Discount on Pfizer Viagra! it proclaimed in bold.

Not exactly late breaking news, but sure. Okay. Deleted. The next day, same thing. One spam message. The subject line? 

Male Enhancement is like a Sports Car!

I can't say that I disagree with them much on that one, but still. I'm not about to discuss the analogy. Deleted.

Day Three's lone spam message had this for a brilliant subject line: LibidoMax! Have a Magic Penis!

A magic penis. Really. I'm pretty sure I learned in Health Class that there is only one kind of spell you can cast with a penis, and I've already done that. Deleted.

Finally, as I was checking my e-mail last night, sure enough, there was only one Spam message. 

Lonely? Chat Now with Sexy Singles!

Alright, Spam Bots. Enough is enough. It was one thing to solicit me for boner pills, and it was quite another to suggest that my Male needed Enhancement. I even tolerated your insinuation that my libido was lacking. Now this? The offer to stave off my loneliness by chatting on "sexy singles" sites? What exactly are you trying to tell me?

I don't think I want to know.

What does your Spam say about you?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Which I Rhyme

For some, this is the season in which
we should all be jolly,
and deck all of our halls with
obligatory boughs of holly.

For others it is the time
to simply drive around
and see the decorations
others have strung up over town.

Some displays are tasteful,
with twinkling lights serene.
Others have gone overboard,
creating a yuletide murder scene.

There's a poor inflatable Rudolph,
he's bleeding air over by the stairs,
and all of the other reindeer look
like they might have been attacked by bears.

Electric candy canes light up
a short makeshift runway,
but with no one on the ground to land it,
there's not much left of the sleigh.

There's a melted plastic Santa Claus
who looks like he's high on weed.
Across the lawn there is a manger that,
for repair, there is a great need.

The Nativity looks like a porno set,
with Mary and Joseph doing things obscene
while the three Wise Men look on, greedy-eyed.
They'll need more than holy water to get clean.

And underneath it all,
if you look at it really up close,
you'll see remnants of last Halloween
complete with witches, spiderwebs, and ghosts.

As for me, I stick to the basics:
a few simple stockings and a tree.
But when Christmas is done, I'll be the one
burning it in my backyard with glee.

---

How's this for Christmas spirit?

Monday, December 6, 2010

In Which I Have Some News

Dear Child,

You are twenty weeks old now. It doesn't seem possible that five months have passed since your life began, but then again, there is much in this world that happens that doesn't seem likely. We know you are safe and growing like a weed inside your mother's stomach, and it won't be too long before we'll be able to meet you in person.

Your mother and I got some pretty exciting news the other day. We were at the doctor's office for an ultrasound (sorry for all the poking and prodding, by the way, but you were being very camera shy) and we found out that in addition to having two feet and two hands with the appropriate amount of digits, a strong heart, and a radiant set of ribs, that you, my first child, are a girl.




When you are old enough to have the gift of life inside you (in my opinion, mid-twenties would be a good age), you'll probably respond much as most people do when they are asked if you are hoping for a boy or a girl, just as your mother and I did. We said that it didn't matter, as long as the baby was healthy, and while knowing you are a girl is great and exciting, the previous statement holds true. We aren't going to love you any more or less either way. You are the child we want above anything else. Besides, who said that girls can't play with Legos or like Star Wars?

One thing is for sure. You are going to be one awesome kid. I can feel it.

So it's with sugar and spice after all. Love,

Dad

Friday, December 3, 2010

In Which I Have Too Much Down Time

<< Begin Record #221 >>

19:00:01 - One hour until scheduled departure. Countdown commences.
19:06:13 - Inactivity sensors reporting increasing levels of idleness in both left and right main auxilliary digits..
19:11:55 - Boredom Prevention Protocol authorizes Level One Boredom Evasion. Finger-tapping or pen-clicking permitted.
19:16:39 - Inactivity levels not decreasing. BPP authorizes Level Two Boredom Evasion. Off-key humming permitted.
19:20:47 - Level Three Boredom Evasion authorized. Irrhythmic foot-tapping permitted.
19:21:11 - Reports coming in from several Ambient Annoyance Stations show radically high irritant levels. All Boredom Evasion authorizations revoked.
19:22:07 - All systems quiet. Thirty-eight minutes and counting until scheduled departure.
19:27:29 - Sudden jump in inactivity levels, cognitive overload imminent. Repetitive, impatient sighing activated.
19:32:51 - Data received and analyzed from Command Center proves that watching the countdown clock does not make it advance at a faster rate.
19:35:19 - Suggestions from BPP encourage reading when inactivity levels diminish.
19:39:05 - Command Center eliminates reading as recourse for Boredom Prevention. Twenty-one minutes until scheduled departure.
19:45:22 - Area Supervisor on hourly rounds inquires if productive work material is required. Inactivity level drops suddenly down to zero.
19:49:13 - Surveillance scans of immediate area surrounding workspace show no sign of Area Supervisor. Level Four Boredom Evasion, the doodling obscene charicatures, authorized.
19:50:01 - Ten minutes until scheduled departure.
19:53:37 - All unneccessary programs and utilities are shut down in preparation for pending departure.
19:54:46 - Prepwork for departure halted. Incoming communication received: request for technology support.
19:57:20 - Communication request for support ended. Shutdown of all non-essential programs resumes.
19:59:01 - One minute and counting until scheduled departure.
19:59:35 - Command Center reporting a surge in anxious energy levels. All systems go for departure.
19:59:52 - All communication systems deactivated. Log Out procedures underway.
19:59:58 - Agent sign off.
20:00:01 - Successful departure recorded. Command Center sign off.

<< End Record #221 >>

---

Before you ask the obvious, yes, I have too much down time at work, and no, I'm not complaining.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In Which It Is Finally Over

The Boss and I, after three long days, are finally moved out of our apartment. I am more sore after this move than I have been after any other time we've moved over the years, and that's saying something. Who knew you could pull muscles in your thighs that stretch from the knee into your groin? 

You'll have to excuse me, but I'm lacking the cognitive powers to come up with anything else for a post today other than a list. So, here are ten ways to know you've got too much junk:

  1. When a 14-foot rental truck cannot transport all of your possessions at once,
  2. The thought of breaking into your neighbor's attic storage closet and putting some of your unwanted crap in with theirs so it means there is less for you to carry presents itself as a viable solution,
  3. Friends who help you move once won't help you move twice,
  4. You know exactly how many steps it takes to get from your vehicle to your third-floor apartment,
  5. You wish you could throw your things out the window to save trips on the stairs,
  6. Shareholder value in plastic storage bin manufacturers skyrockets whenever you move,
  7. Your 10-foot square storage unit has every inch of floor space utilized, and things are still stacked up a good two feet above your head,
  8. The sheer number of boxes you have to move convinces you that your possessions multiply at will when left alone for extended periods of time,
  9. When the people at Goodwill or Salvation Army know your name,
  10. You spontaneously lose sentimental attachment to things the closer you get to your deadline.
Every single one of those statements ring very true for The Boss and I. Sometimes I think that we're one mobile home short of an episode of "Hoarders."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to dose up on painkillers and alcohol.