Monday, October 31, 2011

In Which I Couldn't Make This Up

Imagine you have a kind, old uncle. The kind of guy who is friends with everyone, and is genuinely sympathetic for those in need. He's a business owner, a semi-known member of the community he works in, and an all around good guy. And then, at the age of 80, he passes away quietly.

You, being part of the family left behind, are tasked with cleaning out his house and earthly possessions. A few weeks after your loved one passes, you finally get to cleaning out the storage unit he's kept for the past nineteen years. You are not sure what will be inside it, but you roll up the door and start digging in. Dozens of boxes come out, and then you see it. A chest freezer.

You find it odd that in a storage unit with no electricity that your uncle would store a freezer, especially since it was hidden under stacks of boxes. Having no second thoughts, you open it to see what's inside.

And you see a dead body.

This is a true story, and it happened right here in my town. Last week, some people cleaning their beloved uncle's storage unit that he had rented since 1992 found a dead woman's body inside of an unplugged chest freezer. State Police are still trying to identify the remains, but it has been highly speculated to be the remains of a woman who has been missing since 1983. This beloved uncle was thought to have been involved with her disappearance back then, but apparently there was not enough evidence then to hold him. 

The kicker? The storage unit facility where this woman was found is the same facility where The Boss and I store a bunch of our stuff. In fact, our unit and the unit with the woman in the freezer are less than 400 feet apart. The Boss and I are a bit creeped out about it, but the units are far enough apart where we aren't thinking of moving our stuff to a different place.

I just have one question. If the woman found is the woman who has been missing since 1983, what did this guy do with her body for 9 years before he rented this storage unit? Was she kept alive for some of that time, or was she killed and stored in a similar fashion elsewhere? 

Pleasant thoughts for Halloween, right?

Happy Monday, and Happy Halloween, folks.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In Which I Make Some Suggestions

I'm not a big user of Facebook. I have two profiles, one for my blog and one for me individually. I have my Twitter feed synced to my blog Facebook, as well as my RSS feed. Other than that, I pretty much forget that I've got an account. For my personal account, I update maybe once or twice a day if I can find something witty or clever to say. Staying on top of the News Feed is a lot of work, to the point where it just might be impossible.

That being said, there are some things that I just cannot stand about Facebook. I've been compiling a list of the things that annoy me the most, and while the Internet is not short of lists from people griping about stuff, I figured I'd share mine. There might be ways to fix these gripes already, but this is the Internet. I can offer my two cents as I see fit.

How I'd Improve Facebook (In Five Simple Steps)
  1. FRIEND SUGGESTIONS - If I haven't added the same rotating crop of "People I May Know" over the four years you've been suggesting them to me, take a hint and stop suggesting it.
  2. "LIKE" BUTTONS - If there is going to be a "Like" button, there should also be buttons for when you'd like to say "You're An Idiot" or "Use Spellcheck Next Time" or "Your Update Makes You Seem Ignorant and We're No Longer Friends." Additionally, a "Not Helpful" button would be nice for those who leave disparaging comments. 
  3. OLD FRIEND PURGE - If there has been no contact whatsoever between me and any person on my Friend List in over a year, either hide their updates or separate their updates into an "Old Friends" feed to help streamline the main News Feed with people I have recent contact with.
  4. NEWS FEED FILTER - Include the ability to filter updates in the News Feed to ignore posts that include the words "OMG," "LOL," "I'm so drunk," or any combination of the three. Also ignore posts with only song lyrics. And cute animal pictures.
  5. COMMENT VALIDITY VERIFICATION / RELEVANCY MODERATOR - Prompt those leaving comments on an update to make sure they fully read the post they are commenting on to make sure their comment is valid. And then ask them again if they are sure their comment is relevant. Additionally, block comments on updates older than two weeks. Who remembers stuff that far back?
My suggestions might not be ground breaking stuff, but for me, these changes would maybe make Facebook seem more appealing. Maybe. 

What would you change?

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Which I've Been Preparing

A lot of people get into Halloween. I personally don't see the appeal, but The Boss loves Halloween and everything that goes with it. Costumes, candy, scary movies, and decorations. We're not doing much this year, but then I got to thinking. I realized that we've been preparing for Halloween ever since we moved into our apartment in June.

The cobwebs in the corners in every room? It's not neglected housecleaning, but instead all-natural decorations.

The bad smell coming from the kitchen? Just some leftover trash that I've yet to take out.

The stale air that slams into as you open the door? Pure ambiance.

The creaky, dusty floors and weird, moaning noises coming from other parts of the house? Simply more natural decorations and my neighbors downstairs in their bathroom.

Our apartment is the best unintentional haunted house ever. Now, who wants to visit?


Monday, October 24, 2011

In Which I See This Kind of Stuff All The Time

A lot of my posts lately have been about the weird or creepy stuff that I see in my day to day life. I wouldn't post so much stuff like that if I didn't come across so many things that just have to be shared.

Like the farmer who was too emotionally attached to some corn stalks to harvest them with the rest of his crop:





And the creepy fucking doll that I swear followed me from room to room at an indoor flea market in Oxford:




I can't forget about the bathroom stall graffiti I saw, either:
 


Lastly, I saw this over the weekend at work:
 
I can't imagine being hungry enough to eat while using the bathroom, or how that would even cross one's mind as being an okay thing to do. Earlier in the week I saw an apple core in this same bathroom stall (I couldn't grab a picture of it, sadly), so this isn't the first time this dude has done this. After I got over my initial disgust, I realized I had a few things to say about this awful scene:
  • Obviously this guy never heard the phrase "Don't shit where you eat." 
  • This takes multitasking to a whole new level.
  • Yet another reason to not eat the food at workplace pot lucks.
  • This is probably the kind of guy who will talk on his cell phone at the urinal and only use cold water to "wash" his hands.
  • This just might be the first documented example of the Circle Of Food Life, all captured in one place.
Thankfully I'm not a big fan of muffins, otherwise seeing this would put a sizable dent in my appetite.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

In Which I Picture It

My allergy problems are no secret here. The people I work with are pretty aware of it, as well, but they are always asking me if I can have certain things or not. I came up with a spreadsheet, but I found that making this sketch is a bit more helpful:



Sometimes a visual aid is the only way to get the message through.


Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Which I Might Try Being Subtle, Next Time

Sometimes, the best way to get through to people is to be blunt.



I'm not above bathroom humor, but putting corn cob cutters right next to the toilet paper that claims to be "ultra strong" is a bit crude. It'd be like Taco Bell selling Kaopectate when you buy one of their XXL Chalupas. Sure, it might just be a convenient reminder, but I really don't want to be thinking about the durability of the paper I will be wiping my ass with later while I'm slicing the corn off the cob.

In fact, it kinda turns me off of corn altogether.

Monday, October 17, 2011

In Which I Think I'm Being Followed

The Boss and I have been living together for six years. We've lived in nine different places in those six years, and I've talked a lot here about that. One thing that I haven't mentioned before is that through all of the places we've lived, we've been followed. By a ghost. To some, hearing that someone thinks they are being followed by a ghost is probably hard to accept. A lot of people don't believe in ghosts, and to be honest, until The Boss and I got our first apartment together, I didn't. I mean, sure, ghost stories are great, but it took experiencing something first hand to make a believer out of me. Our first apartment had a ghost, and that ghost has been following us ever since.

Our first summer in our apartment was a scorcher. The air conditioner we had only fit in the windows in the living room, so The Boss and I moved our bedroom into the living room for a few months so we could sleep. The living room had a ceiling fan with a light on it, but we never used it. The fan squeaked and the light was too harsh, so we were both startled one night when the pull cord started swinging back and forth.

The AC was off because The Boss was getting a chill. The windows were closed, no other fans were running, and the house was still. I paused the DVD we had playing, and The Boss and I looked at each other. We both then looked up at the pull cord, and it was swinging rapidly back and forth, hitting the globe around the light. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. After a few seconds, it stopped.

This seriously creeped The Boss out, and I was bothered by it, too. Whatever it was that was making the pull cord swing was attentive, though. It happened with some frequency right up until we moved out. On one particularly active night, after listening to the cord ping against the glass globe for the better part of a half hour, I looked up at the ceiling and yelled, "Will you please stop?"

It stopped.

In just about every other place we've lived, this playful little ghost has followed us. We are used to having lights turn on or off, doors closing, or even having the pull cords on other light fixtures start swinging side to side. Our current apartment is no different. It happened briefly just after we moved in this summer, and it happened in Baby Badass' room last week. 

The Boss and I are used to it now. This ghost is apparently friendly, and just likes to let us know every now and then that it's still here. Baby Badass doesn't seem to be bothered by it (except for that one time that The Boss managed to get on picture, that I shared in my post last week). As long as the creepiness factor doesn't get any higher, I'm okay with it. I also wouldn't be heartbroken if it finally stopped.

Does anyone else have similar stories?

Happy Monday, everyone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In Which She's Six Months

My daughter is six months old now.

Six months.

SIX. MONTHS.

I don't know who is responsible for this, but someone has to have cranked up the knob that controls how fast time advances. It simply cannot be possible that my little daughter (who I swear was just born yesterday) is six months old already.

The Boss and I are very lucky parents to have such a happy baby. She has her moments, sure, but overall she has been very nice to us. I can still count the occurrences on both hands the number of times she's gotten us up in the middle of the night. She hasn't been sick or gotten hurt, and is transitioning to baby food and a sippy cup like a pro. Her daycare loves her, and she's right on track developmentally.

Essentially, she's perfect. And I say that without any bias.

Want further proof that she's a happy baby? Look at these pictures, where she is so happy, she looks... well... for lack of a better word, stoned.







Of course, there is sometimes a side effect to being so happy all the time. Just like what I'm sure can happen when you've been smoking too much of the ganja, she gets a little scared/paranoid of the ghosts in our apartment (more on that next week):




It's been an amazing six months, watching her grow and develop her personality. I know there is a lot in store for me, and I simply cannot wait.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Which I'd Ask Your Doctor

If you are anything like me, you probably are having a difficult time dropping a few pounds. Losing weight is hard, especially if you have a busy life and don't always have time to make healthy choices about what you eat. Fortunately, there is a new dietary supplement that just came out that is as easy as listening to music!



The Ke$ha Weight Loss Supplement is the easiest way to lose weight. All you have to do is listen to what she calls "music" (but most of us consider it trash, because it sounds like mountain lions trying to talk) for as many hours during the day that you can tolerate. The sound of her voice and the pulse of the music will surely nauseate you, therefore eliminating your desire to eat! And with less time spent eating, the pounds will melt away quicker than you ever thought possible!

As always, ask your doctor before beginning a weight loss regimen. Your doctor will want to screen you for potentially dangerous side effects like spontaneous alcoholism. Clinical tests of Ke$ha Weight Loss showed that short-term use caused 58% of participants to brush their teeth with a bottle of Jack Daniels every day. Additionally, 100% of long-term users became trashy and promiscuous, and lose all real talent they may have had in their search for boys who look like Mick Jagger.

The benefits outweigh the risks, right?

P.S. I don't have anything against Ke$ha as a person. I just really, really hate the garbage she calls music.

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Which I'll Let You Decide

A number of years ago I had this really weird dream. We were living in a lake house (the one where I had gassy landlords and the upstairs bedroom was possibly haunted), and every day when I went to work I drove by this old, abandoned house. I wanted to write something about it, and this dream I had put the bug in my ear. I wasn't sure if the world needs another haunted house story, so I didn't get very far. I stumbled across it this weekend, and thought it might be worth expanding. I'll let you be the judge.

---

Most people could pass by the Etheridge house and not think anything about it at all. To most it was just another home left to stand forgotten at the end of a bumpy country road. Had it been occupied, the Etheridge house probably would not have been scary at all, but even as a boy I knew that it was its vacancy that made it ominous. The rumors of it being haunted didn’t help, but I suppose no childhood would be complete without nightmares. 

I spent many nights of my childhood lying awake in fear of the Etheridge house. There was something about it that crept into my imagination just as I slid into unconsciousness, closing my eyes in sleep. In my mind, the Etheridge house was home to a horrible creature, badly disfigured and full of malice. The house emanated a sense of evil that I could almost smell. In these dreams I would be running to escape from his grasp, gasping and stumbling in front of him by mere inches. I could hear him roaring behind me, but instead of the noise echoing off the bare and crumbling plaster walls his voice sounds only in my head. He repeats his name over and over again in a guttural noise like rocks being ground together. 

Deermaker deermaker deermaker deermaker… 

Sometimes I can outrun him, but other times he catches me, pinning me down with his hands. The Deermaker’s leathery skin is cold and feels like the kelp tangling around your feet in the ocean. As his grip tightens and his talons dig into my arms I smell his breath, heavy with sweet-sour odor of decaying flesh. His teeth are razor sharp and drip with saliva that burns like acid into my skin. On the top of his head are two pointed horns that curve down around the sides of his face. He looks at me with eyes red like smoldering embers that brighten and flare. 

Dreams of the Deermaker followed me like a plague as I grew up. My parents always thought I'd grow out of my night terrors, and as far as they know I have. What they don't know, and what I haven't told them, is that sometimes dreams are real.

---

What do you think? Should I keep going?

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, October 7, 2011

In Which It's Only Cute When She Does It

I'm convinced that my daughter Amelia can do just about anything and be cute. Like making spit bubbles, for example.




If I uploaded a video of myself doing this, it wouldn't be nearly as cute. In fact, it'd probably cause people to wonder if my brain was fully intact. Well, more than I assume they already do, at least.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In Which I Can't Decide

Have you ever seen someone, and at first glance not been able to know if it was a man or a woman? This happens often enough around here, for some reason. I guess Central Maine is an attractive area to live for those of ambiguous gender. That must be the reason why this was stuck to the top of the pizza box when we ordered delivery last week:



Take a closer look at the person holding the phone:
   

Is that a man or a woman? The hairstyle would indicate a man, or a woman with a 90's bowl hair cut. The face is just neutral enough where it could be a slightly effeminate male, or a homely female. The denim, long sleeved button down shirt doesn't help tip the scales in any direction, either. About the only thing that really helps distinguish are the fingernails and the shoes.

As for me, though, I see the human form of a werewolf. The claws, the shaggy hair... all he/she needs is some fast-growing fur, and presto. Teenwolf. 

Kind of makes me scared to see what kind of delivery person is going to stop by the next time I order. Halloween is just around the corner, after all.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In Which I'd Like to Hang Out

The city that I live in is likely very similar to a lot of cities in the United States. There are some good neighborhoods, there are some bad neighborhoods, and there are some neighborhoods that don't quite fit into either category. You can find a wide variety of people in my town, but the town next door to mine, Lewiston, definitely has more of the bad and skeezy-yet-still-undefinable neighborhoods than mine does. There is a joke that most people who live in Central/Southern Maine know, that if you see someone who looks trashy, you can put good odds that they are either from Biddeford, Sanford, or Lewiston.

I was doing some errands in Lewiston this past weekend, and on my way home I drove past this one section of town that I have long since called the Creepy Guy Neighborhood. It's home to two pawn shops (they are right next door to each other), a bunch of five-story apartment buildings, a Private Detective's office, and a defunct music store-turned-church-turned graffiti magnet. No matter what time of year or time of day, there is always at least one creepy looking guy hanging out on the street corner.

I've seen guys with mullets, guys with rat tails, and guys with no hair at all. I've seen guys carrying baseball bats, some carrying questionably bulky burlap bags, and some carrying nothing but an obvious chip on their shoulder. I've seen skinny white guys with can opener teeth, massive bulky black guys with arms covered in tattoos, and men that are obviously coming off of their drug of choice. The one thing these guys all have in common is that they look like they haven't slept in days, are in dire need of a dental cleaning, and probably smell like the funk behind an unwashed ear. 

Over the years there have been a number of crimes committed in that particular spot, so whenever I drive through there (which is often enough), I don't dilly dally. I just calmly accelerate and keep my eyes on the road. When I drove through Creepy Guy Neighborhood this past weekend, though, they were obviously having a convention or a Creepy Guy board meeting to discuss the last quarter's results. I had never seen so many creepy people all in one place, and it made me compulsively check for my wallet and cell phone. 

In some bizarre way, it's comforting to know that if my life ever spirals out of control and I lose everything, I'll have a place to go where I'll fit right in.

Happy Monday, folks.