Friday, July 29, 2011

In Which I Can't Fool Even Myself

Like a lot of people these days, I struggle with trying to lose weight. With the myriad of health problems I'm dealing with (extra pieces of brain matter notwithstanding), the main challenge I have is just having the energy to move my fat ass around to get exercise. I do what I can when I can, and thanks to a change in my diet now that I think that I'm allergic to peanuts, I started to feel lately like I may have dropped a few pounds.

My pants started to feel a little bit loose, even after coming out of the dryer after being washed when they were usually the tightest. Some of my shirts started looking baggy, but I didn't really believe that I had lost a little bit of weight until I needed to go up a notch on my belt.Well, truth be told, it felt like I needed to go up half a notch. Not wanting to punch an extra hole in my belt, I sucked in my gut and tightened things up.

For a good couple hours, everything felt fine. I felt more confident, pleased with the fact that I had finally lost some weight, even if it was a small amount. I strutted around the office like I was hot shit, and I sat down at my desk with renewed confidence. After a couple of hours, though, the tighter cinch around my waist that was so empowering earlier was now the source of some major discomfort.

I excused myself and went to the bathroom to loosen things up. All it took was bringing the belt back to its former position, the old familiar spot marked by the well-worn ridge in the leather. I sighed in dejected relief. As it turns out, leather can stretch when held under pressure for long periods of time. I hadn't really lost any weight at all. My pants and shirts were just plain old baggy, and my ratty old belt is just stretched out.

Well.... Weight loss was nice while it lasted.

Have a good weekend, everyone. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In Which I Coin a Phrase

With all the heat we've been having lately, Baby Badass has done really well. She's a very mellow kid to begin with, but a few more fussy episodes are to be expected whenever the temperatures rise. She didn't give us much of a hard time this past week, fortunately, but there was one day where she was just flat out inconsolable. 

We changed her diaper, put her into more comfortable clothes, fed her, rocked her, shushed her, burped her, tickled her, rubbed her back, and wiggled her feet in the way that always makes her laugh. We moved from room to room, changed the lighting, directed a fan towards her, directed it away from her, played relaxing music, played rock music, but nothing seemed to work. Tension between The Boss and I was rising to nuclear fallout levels, and then Baby Badass sneezed.

She sneezed with such ferocity that some of her recently consumed bottle came out her nose, spraying down the front of her chest a fine mixture of mucous and formula. The force of the sneeze also made her fart quite loudly, and the whole commotion caught Baby Badass, The Boss and I off completely guard.

The Boss and I looked at each other, and then at Baby Badass. She was sitting on The Boss' lap, her eyes wide, looking really confused as to what had just happened. She looked up at me and cracked a smile, and cooed. At that, The Boss and I lost it.

We started laughing, the tension in the room melting away instantly. Baby Badass smiled some more and babbled as The Boss grabbed a nearby burp cloth and wiped up the mess. It seemed that with the sneeze and the little bit of vomit that whatever had been bothering her had been eliminated. We were able to lay Baby Badass down after we got her cleaned up, and she went right to sleep.

"Well, that was one for the scrapbook," I said later on.

"What do you mean?" The Boss asked.

"Baby's first Snomit."

Bazinga.

Monday, July 25, 2011

In Which I Know the Value of Patience

The following is a conversation I had with someone at work recently. This person called me asking for help on how to perform maintenance on a client's account. It was a pretty basic, everyday thing she was asking about, something that should have been common knowledge for someone who has been with the company as long as she has. Nevertheless, it was now my task to help her.

Me: Alright, so the easiest way to get this taken care of is to go to [System Name] and print out a copy of [Form Name]. Get that filled out and signed by your client, fax it to the number at the bottom of the form, and [Department Name] will get it updated for you.

Her: Oh, okay. That sounds pretty easy. Like ridiculously so.

Me: It really is. (Especially since I know I've talked to her about this specific item multiple times before.) This is something that is done all the time, so there shouldn't be any problem getting it done.

Her: Great!

Me: *pause for a few moments* So, is there anything else I can help you with?

Her: Well, yes.

Me: Okay, what else can I help with?

Her: So I got to [System Name] and print up this form called [Form Name]?

Me: Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Her: But wait. I have to fill it out, right?

Me: *pause again* Yes.

Her: And then I have to get the client's signature?

Me: ... Yes.

Her: And then what?

Me: After you print it out, fill it out, and have it signed?

Her: Yeah. What do I do then?

Me: Well, I believe I said it just a minute ago, but you fax it down and [Department Name] will take care of it.

Her: And where do I fax it?

Me: (I lost my patience with her thirty seconds ago.) Really?

Her: Yeah, I need to know where to fax it.

Me: The number is on the bottom of the form.

Her: Oh, okay. 

Me: *pause* So.... Anything else I can help with?

Her: No, I'm all set. I just finished faxing over the form before calling you, so I just wanted to make sure I did things the right way.

Me: *facepalm* Okay. Have a good day, then.

-Disconnect-

Some days, working is just another exercise in understanding the value of patience.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, July 22, 2011

In Which I Sweat

Lately, it's been hot. All across the country it's been hot, and it's not much different up here in Maine. Our little apartment is on the second floor, and while we have done our best to keep it cool, without an air conditioner the temperatures hover between 75 and 85 degrees pretty much all the time. We do have an air conditioner, but I haven't had a chance to install it yet. For the time being, we have a bunch of fans that shuffle the warm air around.

We revel in the cool AC at work, and as I was thinking about going home last night, I started thinking about how hot our apartment was going to be. Thursday was a scorcher, and the prospect of going home to a stuffy, hot apartment was less than thrilling. To help distract myself, I came up with a list.

Ten Things That are Cooler Than My Apartment

  1. The surface of the Sun,
  2. The space between a Sumo Wrestler's inner thighs,
  3. New asphalt on a hot summer day,
  4. The Earth's core,
  5. Volcanoes,
  6. Industrial steel furnaces,
  7. Hell on Grand Opening Day,
  8. Freshly cooked Hot Pockets,
  9. IcyHot on a sunburn,
  10. A mouthful of Trinidad Scorpion Butch T peppers.
Anyone want to come over to visit?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Which I Get a Kick Out of It

I like to think that there are other people like me out there in the world. People who get bored in their day-to-day job and start using their position as a means of broadcasting small bits of creativity to the world. People who know the power of subtlety and how to use it. People who do things like this:




This is the back of a cardboard display for potato chips or crackers or something. Does it really need to have the likeness of some creature that is in ecstasy, obviously in the throes of enjoying some tasty food? No. I doubt the structural integrity of the display depends upon these three little cutouts in the back. Some guy sitting in a cubicle somewhere was responsible for designing this, and thought it'd be cool to throw in some flair. 

Honestly, I find this kind of thing is awesome. I think The Boss rolled her eyes a bit when I stopped our grocery shopping to snap a picture of it, but I didn't care. That made my day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Which I Mess Things Up

I don't have a very good short term memory. Well, I should say that unless it's useless facts, technology news, or food related, I don't have a good short term memory. I'm always leaving myself notes or reminders, using my smartphone as the 21st century version of the string tied around my finger to make sure I'm keeping up with the things The Boss asks me to do. My system isn't perfect, but it works most of the time.

Overall I'd like to think that I do a pretty good job of remembering the things I don't write down. The Boss and I are creatures of habit, so that doesn't leave a very large margin for error. We don't mix things up too much, and that is probably largely because of my memory shortcomings. I'm pretty good at remembering the things The Boss likes to eat, and how she likes to special order certain things, especially when it comes to ordering things in the drive-through.

Until she decides to start ordering something different.

Like most coffee drinkers, she likes to drink hot coffee in the colder months and iced coffee in the warmer months. I've done my best to roll with the punches, but there are different combinations and flavors and sizes and varying amounts of cream and sugar... my head just spins thinking about it. For a while I had to repeat the order to myself a few times before I got up to the ordering point, and even then sometimes I got it wrong.

There is a Starbucks right around the corner from where we work, and the usual routine lately has been stopping there before I drop her off. For a very long time, her favored drink was their iced chai. I got really good at ordering it with confidence, pulling up and rattling off the order like I've been doing it all my life. So when she decided a few weeks ago to start getting a different drink, I was completely thrown off. 

It took me a half dozen trips through the Starbucks drive-through before I got a grasp on the new order. Just when it seemed like I could add this to my repertoire, she decides she wants to get something new at Dunkin Donuts. No longer can I order her the usual drink at good ol' Dunkin, either. No, there's something completely new for me to remember. I try to fit it in, but just as I feared, the inevitable happened.

I ordered the wrong drink at the wrong place. 

I pulled up to the Dunkin Donuts drive through on Friday morning, and said with confidence, "Yes, I'd like a venti Mocha Coconut frappuccino, please."

After a few moments of silence from the other end of the ordering point, I realized my error. I tried to make up for it by laughing at myself and then quickly ordering the correct drink, but the damage had been done. When the person on the other end repeated back my order, I could hear laughing in the background. 

Next time, The Boss is ordering her own coffee.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, July 15, 2011

In Which I Don't Think It's A Good Idea

I'm all for enabling the creativity of the younger generation, but I think this is steering that in the wrong direction:




There are enough Emo kids out there already without any encouragement from Crayola. And besides, while some people might consider it art, most people would consider it a chemical imbalance and a good reason to seek therapy.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Which It's Been Three Months

Dear Baby Badass,

Somehow, and I've got a team of scientists on retainer who are working on figuring this out, three months have passed since you were born. I don't know if there was a rip in the space/time continuum or if I just haven't been accurately measuring the passing of each day, but like I feel I am always saying, it does not seem real that you are three months old already.

Sure, I've noticed that you've been getting bigger. We've been feeding you more because you've been hungrier, and your wardrobe is ever changing because the things that used to fit now... well, don't. You've been increasingly active during the day, and you're starting to babble and make noise and play with some of your toys. You've got amazing control over your head, and the fact that you follow us as we walk across the room is pretty incredible. You sleep through the night like a champ, sometimes ten or eleven hours at a stretch! And of course, you are always giving us big smiles that make your Mom and I feel like holding onto you and never letting you go.

You and I have a little routine now in the mornings. When I wake up and go to get you up from your bassinet, you are almost always deep in sleep. I pick you up and you startle yourself awake. You pop your arms and legs out like a flying squirrel, and your eyes are open wide with an expression of extreme confusion. Then your beautiful little eyes focus and see me, and there is this perfect moment when you recognize me and break out this huge smile. Having that moment with you each morning is the best way I can think of to start the day.

You are an amazing child, and your mother and I are very proud of you. I can't wait to see what the next three months have in store for us.




I love you more and more each day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

In Which I See a Show

The Boss and I traveled to sunny New Hampshire this past weekend to see Styx and Yes in concert. The show was a blast, and well worth the six hours in the car and the massive sunburn I got from hanging my arm out the window. This is the second time we've seen Styx, and the first time we've seen Yes.

While I could appreciate their talent, I didn't really enjoy the Yes set. They played a lot of obscure stuff, only getting to the few songs most people would recognize until the very end. The sound mix was awful, too. Way too much emphasis on the low end, and not enough on the vocals. They seemed to really get into their music, which I also appreciated. Here are a few pictures:










Styx, on the other hand, was awesome. They rocked very hard, and you could tell they were getting off on the crowd reaction. Aging or not, these guys put on an awesome show and proved that they still have got what it takes to put on a good show.












Before the show began, we saw this girl, who obviously is the one behind Drew Carey's missing trademark glasses.



I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as I enjoyed mine. My ears may still be ringing, but it was a pretty damn good weekend.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, July 8, 2011

In Which I Say The Word

Have you ever noticed that there are some words that stand out more than others when you hear them spoken in a public place? The conversations surrounding you at restaurants or in the office break room or at the grocery store could be nothing but disjointed noise, but when someone says one of the trigger words, whether you like it or not, they've got your attention.

Case and point: I had a science teacher in the seventh grade that, whenever the class was getting too loud or he felt people weren't paying attention, he'd start to randomly insert the word "sex" into whatever he was talking about. Let me tell you, it worked like a charm. Mentioning the word "sex" to a classroom of hormone-charged 12- and 13-year-olds is like talking about donuts at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. You're not entirely sure why it was mentioned since it seems to contradict the setting, but fuck it. Why not? I'm game.

I bring this up because The Boss and I were picking up some things at Walmart last weekend and we were having some communication problems. We were in the area of the store where there were grocery items we needed as well as some items for Baby Badass. To cut down on time spent at Walmart on the day before the fourth of July, I suggested that I go get the food items in the area, and that The Boss go get the baby items.

"So I'll go get the Pepsi and the potato chips, and you can go get the medium-flow nipples for the baby bottles," I said, trying to keep my voice down.

The second I said the word "nipples," everyone within earshot snapped their heads and looked at me. I felt my face turning red, but did my best to ignore the stares. I turned and got the items from the list, and left The Boss to go collect hers. When we met up a few minutes later, I saw that she had picked up some other things, but not the one thing I had asked her to get.

With other items to get in the same general area, we went up a few more aisles, and I reminded The Boss again what we needed for the baby bottles.

"Alright, so I'm going to get the macaroni and cheese. You get the nipples."

Again, at the magic word everyone around turned to look at me. Embarrassed again, I trundled away with the cart down the aisle. I grumbled a bit to myself about having to ask her again to get them, but I figured since we were closer to them now than we were before, she'd have no problem grabbing them and throwing them in the cart.

But no. When she came up to me as I was comparing prices on Easy Mac, I saw that, again, she hadn't picked up the nipples. I sighed, grabbed a few boxes from the shelf, and carried on. Whatever. We'd get them eventually.

Finally, the items on our list were going to take us past the area of the store where the baby items are kept. I turned to The Boss and looked at her straight in the eye. People flowed around us like a rock in a stream, as I had happened to pick the busiest aisle of them all to stop and again ask The Boss for a third time.

"Nipples," I said firmly. "Go get them."

The effect of that word to the chaos of people around us was much like what happened in my seventh grade science class. People perked up and swiveled their heads to see who was loudly talking about nipples.

"Okay, okay," The Boss said defensively, "I'll get the nipples."

I stood there at the end of the aisle and waited for her, trying my best to not let the lingering glances of the people around me get under my skin. The Boss returned shortly with two packages of medium-flow nipples, and tossed them into the cart.

"Nipples. Check."

We finished up our grocery shopping not too long after that, and our conversation throughout was thankfully nipple-free. I thought I had put it all behind me, and had nearly about forgotten all about it when our cashier scanned the nipples in and said the only two words she spoke during our entire time in the checkout lane, at a volume I would deem appropriate for sporting events or other loud arenas:

"NIPPLES, HUH?"

Yes, nipples. Thank you.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Which I Move Forward

I've got another one of the Simple Something entries up for today, this one suggested by Jeff Vibes. Look below to see what I had to work with. It's a bit somber, but that's par for the course with me. Also, for those interested in the other ones I've written so far click here, here, or here

This one is titled "The Breakdown Lane."

---

Name: Harold
Location: The men's room
Emotion: Bitter disappointment
Object: Half-eaten chocolate cake.

Harold sat in in his car, holding his head in his hands and listening to the rhythmic ticking of his hazard lights. Cars zipped by him in a blur, thousands of people in hundreds of cars on the highway, all in a rush to get wherever it is they are going. He had pulled his modest Toyota Camry as far off the road and onto the shoulder as possible, but the wind from the cars passing by in the lane closest to him still buffeted the Camry, rocking it slightly from side to side. Harold balled up his hands into fists and rubbed his eyes.

He looked up after a moment, allowing his eyes to focus slowly. A rueful, cynical smile crept onto his face as he remembered the events of the day before. He played them over in his mind, the events that brought him to where he was now, sitting in the breakdown lane of the interstate just minutes from work, drenched in a cold sweat. As he recalled the events of the day before in his mind, anger, embarrassment, and bitter disappointment formed like a cold rock in his stomach.

That day had been the worst day of Harold Butler's life.

At his job at a local consulting firm, he wasn't responsible for much. He pushed papers around and ran reports, attended conference calls and replaced the toner. Harold told himself he didn't mind it (as his own shyness held back his true desire for human contact), but he was largely ignored by his peers. That is, of course, except for Lance.

Lance Evans was the office hot-shot. He was the man every other guy in the office wanted to be, and the man every girl in the office wanted to be with. He had a smooth complexion and a brilliant smile, oozed charisma, and had impeccable taste in clothing. He always seemed to know the right thing to say and when to say it. In short, Lance was the polar opposite of Harold. Like all the bullies he endured in high school, Lance was drawn to Harold like a magnet, and went out of his way to make sure that Harold was miserable.

For two years Harold endured the torment he received from Lance, and with as much grace as possible. He accepted that this was the way the world was for people like him, and simply put up with it. He did all the extra work Lance dropped on his desk, and took the blame on several occasions when Lance's flaccid efforts fell short on an account. He suffered through verbal abuse as well, as Lance had a never-ending supply of insults to throw at him on a daily basis. Harold put in his time every day, and every day he went home feeling violated and empty.

On the worst day of Harold's life, Lance came sauntering into work at his usual ten minutes late, and instead of starting off the day by launching another verbal assault, he inquired as to how Harold was doing. Harold was caught off guard at the drastic change in treatment. He replied cautiously that he was doing well, and returned the question.

“Good, man, I'm doing good,” Lance replied warmly, and sat on the corner of Harold's desk. “Say, I've been wanting to apologize for how I've been treating you. It's not fair that I single you out like I do, and I've been a real asshole. I'm sorry.”

Harold was very suspicious, but thought it was possible Lance was being genuine. He sat back in his chair and blinked a few times, and found himself replying before he knew what he was saying. “It's alright, Lance. Really.”

“Awesome, man,” Lance said, his trademark smile showing brilliant white veneers. He stuck out his right hand and thrust it towards Harold. “Truce?”

“Truce,” Harold agreed, albeit with a degree of hesitation. He stretched out his own hand, diminutive in comparison to Lance's, and they shook on it.

“Great. Hey, I'm going to go to my desk and work for a while, but come see me at lunch. I've got something for you.”

“Okay, Lance, thanks!” Harold called after him as he walked away. His own faith in the good and humanity of others and his gullibility made him blind to the veiled malice in Lance's eyes. Lance was up to something, but Harold couldn't see it.

At lunch, Lance presented him with a small chocolate cake as a token of his gratitude. In swooping cursive letters made of frosting, the word “Thanks!” lay across the top of the cake. A group of people gathered around as Lance gave the cake to Harold, all of them smiling. They clapped a bit as Harold took the cake, and for the first time in his lonely life, he felt wanted and appreciated.

He offered to share his cake with Lance and the others, but they all turned him down. They all said it was his to enjoy, and that he deserved it. Harold's heart swelled with pride. It wasn't until he had eaten half of it that he realized the truth behind why no one wanted to share his cake.

His stomach suddenly felt like it was going to explode inside of him. His lower gut churned and gurgled violently, and a sweat broke out on his brow. He threw down his fork and clutched at his stomach, looking up to see Lance standing at the door to the office break room. He wore an evil smile on his face, and the people behind him were laughing.

“Feeling okay, Harry?” he asked facetiously.

Harold jumped up from his chair and ran full tilt to the men's room, doing his best to hold everything together until he was behind a stall door. He barely made it over a toilet with his pants down before he was terribly sick. Foul smelling waste tore out of him, and it was all Harold could do to hold back from crying from the pain it caused as his waste forcibly left his system.

He moaned and whimpered his way through the worst of it, and when at last it seemed like it was over, the door to the bathroom opened and someone walked in. From underneath the stall door, Harold recognized the expensive loafers. It was Lance.

“Leave me alone, Lance,” Harold said weakly. “Haven't you done enough?”

“Yeah, I've done plenty,” he said, snickering. “I'm just coming in to collect my camera.”

“Your what?”

“My camera. A wireless web cam. Thought I'd document your experience just now. You know, to share it on the internet.”

“You can't be...” Harold started to say.

“Serious? Oh, I'm very serious. It was epic, too, by the way. I didn't think anyone could take a shit like that, but you proved me wrong. You just wouldn't quit. And the crying? Hilarious.”

“I wasn't crying,” he protested.

“Whatever, man, it was priceless.” Lance started to walk back to the door to leave. “By the way... got enough TP in there?”

Harold snapped his eyes to the toilet paper dispenser mounted to the stall wall, and saw that only a few thin sheets remained. He groaned and leaned forward as another bout of sickness ravaged through him. The ferocity of his sickness made a mess that what little toilet paper he had would be useless for. With no other choice, Harold peeled off his polo shirt and tore it into rags to clean himself.

Once he got back to his desk, Harold sat down to turn off his computer and grab his coat. After such humiliation, he was going to take the rest of the day off. He heard laughter scattering around the office, and saw an e-mail in his Inbox from Lance. The subject line read “Thanks, Harry!” and from the distribution list, Harold saw that it was sent to everyone in the office. A hyperlink lead him to a video of the inside of the men's bathroom, and Harold watched on in horror as he saw himself stumble into one of the stalls. Lance hadn't been kidding after all.

Harold ran from the office to his car through a chorus of laughter. Everyone was watching the video, and everyone was laughing. Even his manager was laughing, and he was one of the people Harold thought he could trust. Apparently no so much any more.

And so it came to be that Harold Butler would sit on the side of the highway, recounting the events of the previous day, the worst of his life. One would think that a person having had such a horrible prank played on them would take a personal day to let things blow over, but not Harold. Something broke irreparably inside of him that day, something that was hungry for revenge.

Sitting now in his car on the side of the road, he took his eyes from the road in front of him and looked at the passenger seat to his right. On it lay a police-issue Glock 22, three full magazines, and a box of bullets. His rueful smile turning into one of icy hatred, Howard Butler turned the key in the ignition, and his Camry came to life. He checked his mirrors and pulled into traffic.

Harold Butler went to work and had the best and last day of his life.

Monday, July 4, 2011

In Which I'll Say It Again

I've got the day off from work today, and I'm staying home to have some quality father/daughter time while The Boss puts in her eight hours. Since I figure most of you are going to be out enjoying this Independance Day and not tethered to your computer, I figured I'd repost something I wrote way back when I started this blog. It's what comes to mind every time I think about the Fourth of July. 

---

When I was in the sixth grade, I had finally come out of my shell enough to make two good friends. For the sake of anonymity, I'll call them Alex and Tim. We were pretty much inseparable throughout the school year, and they both lived close enough to me where we could still hang out during the summer time. It felt good to have some real friends, because prior to them, I didn't have any.

A few weeks after school let out for the summer, I got an invitation in the mail to Tim's birthday party. His parents owned a summer house on a lake, and the invitation was to camp out at the lake house for a few days. I learned that Alex got the same invite, and quickly begged my parents to let me go. Tim's birthday happened to fall on July 4th, and we heard rumor that there was going to be fireworks. Alex and I finally got the approval from our parents, and I waited impatiently until July came around.

The day finally arrived, and my parents drove Alex and I to Tim's lake house. I couldn't wait until my parents left the driveway. I had never had time away from home with friends before, and this was going to be great. Excited as I was, I was also very nervous (as an aside, I believe this is the origin of my nervous stomach problems). Tim's parents must have noticed my nervousness, and they quickly did what they could to make me feel at home.

There was much to do while at the lake house, but it was raining when we first got there so we all went into Tim's room until the rain passed. We read, played with Lego's and boardgames, and talked incessantly. The rain didn't stop until sometime during the night, so we weren't able to sleep in the tent that night. The next day was bright and sunny, and so the fun began.

We spent as much time as we could outside, and we acted as much as we could like 11 and 12 year old boys do. We went swimming for a while, and then went out in the boat to go fishing. We noticed, and talked about, the group of girls camping on the other side of the lake. We refused help from Tim's dad when setting up the tent, and then realized we had no clue what we were doing. We felt empowered when night came, and we were allowed to light our own sparklers. We burped and farted loudly, and we teased Tim's younger brothers. We ate too much and drank too much, and we complained of sore stomachs until the birthday cake was brought out.

We shouted and yelled excitedly when the fireworks started. We got reprimanded for being so loud by Tim's parents. We laid on our backs with our heads on our hands, watching the fireworks leap into the sky, the smoky path behind them briefly illuminated with its colorful explosion. We used our flashlights to send Morse Code messages to the girls across the lake. We clapped loudly as the fireworks ended, in the traditional chaotic flurry of explosions and spiraling pyrotechnics.

We stayed up late talking, whispering between ourselves about who we had crushes on and which teacher we hated the most. We got scared by strange noises in the woods, and pretended otherwise. We slept for a few hours before the sun came up, and made plans to go out on the boat to see the girls across the lake.

The next morning, we got up and ate breakfast, and made ourselves presentable. We piled into the boat to go see the girls across the lake, but we chickened out halfway there. We went fishing for a little while, and played pranks on the guys buzzing around the lake on jet ski's. We would wait until they would zoom by, and then yell something loudly to get their attention, causing them to turn around too quickly and flip over. That made them very upset, and got back to shore as quick as possible when they started to come near us.

We were overtired from sleeping too little, so the rest of the day was pretty low-key. The rest of the time at the lake house passed all too quickly, and before I knew it my parents had arrived to take me home.

I remember talking to my parents on the way home about how much fun I had, mentioning everything I could think of. I talked so fast that I tripped up on the words, constantly having to pause for a breath and to repeat myself so my parents could understand me. The July 4th camp-out became something of a tradition, and "us three guys" would have two more summers together before high school would start and take us in different directions. As with most people I grew up with, I haven't talked to either Tim or Alex since before graduation. I hope my old friends can look back at those times, and remember then with as much fondness as I do. Those moments of freedom and childhood rebellion are one of the best memories I have of my life, both as a child and as an adult.

Life has changed so much in the years since then, and during the times when I feel just how incredibly small and insignificant I am in this world, I like to be able to remember the moments where I felt so unstoppable.

---

Happy Monday, folks, and Happy Fourth of July.

Friday, July 1, 2011

In Which I Wish

If I had a dollar for every time I did a double-take, I would be a seriously rich man. I say this because I was walking through the break room at work yesterday, and as I passed by one of the vending machines, I had to stop and take a second look.

What caught my eye was the warning label on the vending machine.




Pretty innocuous, right? Yeah. Here's what I thought I saw:




Sure, I'll admit this is a bit reminiscent of the Spontaneous Thriller Dance from a few months back, but wouldn't it be awesome if it were true? On the other hand, how much would it suck to get an appendage bitten off by a vending machine monster all because the bag of Fritos you just bought got stuck?

Have a good weekend, everyone.