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27 posts from August 2007

Big balls...

Can somebody please tell me what is with the rash of spam e-mail lately with subject lines that read something along the lines of "my boyfriend's phallus keeps slipping out!" and "I'm too small for my man's tool!"

(Most creative and sexually perverse answer wins!)

I've received at least three dozen such e-mails in the last couple weeks.

The other thing I've noticed is that the sender's name is usually male as well. Hmmm, I wonder if these e-mails were meant for Larry Craig, instead.

Seriously, though, I really think spammers need to start working with direct marketing firms so they can properly target their audiences. It might cost them a bit more, but it would certainly save me from having to read subject lines like those above and I would also stop receiving a bunch of spam in Cyrillic and Chinese characters.

Heck, I'd almost be willing to fill out a form containing all my background information and preferences for any number of things if it meant that I'd stop receiving all this crap in my spam box. Almost.

"Oh! It's kapgar! He can't even speak those languages! Don't bother sending that one to him!"

"Free Gateway computer spam to kapgar?? Have you learned nothing?? He's an Apple whore, you idiot!"

"Wait... kapgar doesn't like it that way! He prefers [deleted for the kiddies' sake]."

"Oh yeah, kapgar's really going to reply to an ad for a free seminar run by Ann Coulter. You moron!"

All I'm asking is that you, the "professional" spammer, put a few extra minutes of thought into your spam mailings. We wouldn't hate you quite so much, nor would we target you, nor would you likely have to hide your profession at the family Christmas get-together. Now wouldn't that make for a much nicer existence for us all?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): And when I say "unrelated," I mean it.

Congrats to Kilax who is getting married this weekend! Woo hoo!

It's a wonderful way to live. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


I'll be watching you...

The mere fact that bookstores these days have lounges, cafes, and/or big comfy chairs is meant to convey the idea that they want you to take a load off and spend some time in their stores, right?

It's also probably bad form, unless you have a receipt with you, to take a book in there with you to keep you busy in those big comfy chairs that you bought at another store, right?

And, since they have a ton of books and magazines lying around, for lack of a better way to word it, the implication is that you can read what they have available, right?

So why, as I sat in Barnes & Noble the other day during my lunch break, continuing to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from one of their copies because I was too lazy to carry my own copy all the way over there, did I feel like I was being watched and judged the entire friggin' time? Either by people walking by that struck me as employees even if they didn't have on name tags or by the security team that I'm certain were watching the monitors attached to the closed-circuit video monitoring system, the cameras of which I could not locate, but that doesn't mean they weren't there, somewhere.

I own the book. I really do. It just wasn't with me and, well, you had soooo many copies available and such comfy seats and the air conditioning felt soooo good on such a hot, Chicago August day. I just couldn't help myself.

I'm not a bad person, right? Well, not for this reason anyway.


Don't you know what it's really about...

I know this is a couple days late, but I was waiting for official confirmation. And we have it. Thus, I can now say that it really saddened me to learn that the hospitalization of Owen Wilson on Sunday was, in fact, related to a suicide attempt.

Owenwilson I'm not going to sit here and complain that there is no reason for Wilson to do something this stupid. Some will say that he has it all... a great job, a lot of money rolling in, scads of women, etc., etc., ad infinitum. I won't say this because obviously there is something else, something that we don't know, about which he is deeply disturbed.

I'm upset mostly because I find Owen and his brother, Luke Wilson, to be the more talented members of the so-called Frat Pack. Ben Stiller? Meh. Vince Vaughan? He's okay. Will Ferrell? Once in a blue moon. Jack Black? Nuh-uh. Steve Carell? Really only in The Office.

But I'm a fan of Owen Wilson and I just think Hollyweird would be that much less interesting should he not be with us anymore.

We'd have no more of the zaniness, the coolness, the goofy hair, the crooked nose, nor the fantastic writing that he churns out when he works with his buddy, Wes Anderson... I still think The Royal Tenenbaums is one of the most fantastically offbeat films in recent years.

Owen, I wish you the best in your recovery.


No more tears...

About two months ago, Katie started re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book five). Her reasoning was that it had been four years since she read it and she wanted to know what was going on before we saw the movie together this summer.

Her plan expanded as she decided to re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (book six). The plan this time was to refresh her memory on what happened just before book seven so she'd be set and ready to go when the final book came out.

Class got in the way and her reading of book five languished a bit by her standards. She was actually pretty upset with herself for taking so long. Heck, I even went ahead and grabbed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (book seven) so I could start reading it thinking that I would be done by the time she got up to speed. Up to that point, she had always read the books first. By most accounts, I'm a faster reader than she is, no question. But when she really gets into something, she flies. This time, though, I had a feeling I would be able to pull this off; to finish book seven before she caught up and, that way, I'd be able to talk with her about it as she progressed through chapters.

In the end, it was my plan that backfired.

Katie finished her class and tore through the remainder of book five... and book six... and then she grabbed the copy of book seven, sitting on the floor next to my nightstand, yet another victim in a line of about six books that had stacked up over the last few months that I had started reading but had no motivation to finish.

Two days later -- yesterday, in fact -- she finished it. She had the day off work to make up for working this past Saturday and she used it to finish the book.

And she was a wreck during the final 200 pages. She called me a few times at work to give me updates.

"I've got 200 pages left and I can't believe who just died! I can't tell you who, but it's bad!"

"Only 100 pages left and I can't put it down. Someone else died."

"I just finished. It's so sad. But so good! You have to finish this book so we can talk about it."

Her sadness spilled over into just about everything else yesterday as well. It was quite cute, but I never knew a single human being contained so many tears. I realize we, as humans, are 70% water, but after yesterday, I expected Katie would have shriveled up.

She cried as she read the book. She cried when she finished the book. She cried thinking about finishing the book. She cried on the phone to me. She cried as she described her crying to me. She cried when she announced that she wanted to read it again. She cried during reruns of Friends on TBS and claimed it was due to the level of emotion she was feeling from reading the book.

I love you, hon, but please stop crying.

And I guarantee she'll cry as she reads this post later this morning or tonight. Guarantee it.

I only worry that I won't like the book as much. That I will have been desensitized by her over-emotion and it won't have nearly the effect on me. We shall see. I did grab the book again last night and picked up where I left off. I'm now on about page 380 of 760 or so.

Wish me luck. Me, the suddenly slow reader.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): *lynne* over at Life After Work is running a promotion of sorts. She's currently on trips to Malaysia and Switzerland and offered to send postcards to those who signed up. Well, I signed up and my postcard from Switzerland arrived yesterday. It's a beautiful photo of the Alps and a stream flowing in the foreground. It's just cool to get this sort of stuff from overseas. So thank you, *lynne*! And I included the asterisks. Aren't you proud of me?


Freakshow, baby baby, on the dance floor...

When several bloggers get together to party, what else can you call it besides a "freakshow"?

First, I need to apologize. Here I was working hard to get my Palm Pilot up to snuff to post photos semi-live from Davecago 2: The Return, only to not be able to find a reliable, unprotected wifi network where we were. Sorry about that. I checked. It just wasn't happening. Guess I shouldn't have teased, huh?

Suffice it to say, it was a complete blast. We had 13 people in attendance and loved every minute of it. Here is the cast of characters...

The day started with me meeting up with Dave and heading to the Hard Rock Cafe and then the Lego Store. The two of us then headed up to the Apple Store (are you really shocked that the Apple Store and the Lego Store were included when it's Dave and me involved?) where we met up with Gary.

We made pit stops at the hotels where Gary and Dave were staying before heading over to Pizano's on Madison where we tried in vain to hit a Graham Cracker's Comics that had closed a half hour before then went to an "L" station to take some bird's eye photos of Madison Street. Then we grabbed some drinks at the bar in Pizano's.

Jenny was the next to arrive followed by Ajooja, Kim & Steven, Diane & Evan, Ariana, and Robin. At about this time, we were seated at our pseudo banquet table. RW & Lynne were the last to arrive.

Somehow, we all chowed through four pizzas without much trouble, and that was only 11 of us, since RW and Lynne ordered pasta meals.

After determining that we couldn't hear each other all that well, we ventured out to a bar. After trekking nearly a mile, we hit a bar whose outside seating was, get this, closed! What the heck? We couldn't find enough good room inside the place that wasn't right next to where a band was setting up, so we trekked out yet again to a bar inside the Congress Hotel. This was shockingly quiet for a bar, so we sat, drank, and talked. Unfortunately, I had to leave to make my train (the problem with taking trains on weekends is that they run on a two-hour-between schedule... if I miss it, I'm screwed).

But, all in all, it was a fun day with a lot of great people.

I have some photos over on Flickr, but I just had to share my fave of the bunch of one of the cutest couples around, Steven and Kim. Total geek love on this one as he's a Trekkie and she's clearly a more highly evolved human since she's a Star Wars fan.

Steven and Kim

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I have to apologize again as I bailed on Brandon's live fantasy football draft yesterday. I decided to declare it a Katie Day and she and I did a bunch of cool stuff starting with going to our alma, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where we stocked up on new NIU swag for the NIU/Iowa football game this coming Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. We also went out to lunch, saw a movie (Superbad), and cooked a fantastic dinner of steak and rice with peas and a bottle of wine to top it all off.

For those wondering, Superbad wasn't great, but it was fun. As someone I read said, anything with McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and the two cops (Bill Hader and Seth Rogen) was gold! The other stuff was okay. Some was fun to watch while some got to be a bit too much, but we still enjoyed it overall.

And the dinner... oh, the dinner! Fan-friggin'-tastic! A great way to top off a great day.


I'm stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin' on...

Snippets!

America - 1; BP - 0
Pol_hd_victory That's right, BP Amoco backed down on their plans to add thousands of pounds of ammonia and sludge daily to Lake Michigan. The outcry was likely too much of a public relations nightmare for them to handle. Protests at their gas stations and offices in the area, petitions signed, politicians vowing to find ways to stop them... I guess it all added up.

I think what really surprises me about the whole thing is that they held onto the idea that they would do this for as long as they did. I really thought the backlash would've resulted in them turning tail much sooner. Yet they kept maintaining they would do it for the sake of cheaper fuel and more jobs in the Whiting, IN, area.

I, along with the 50,000 other people who signed the online petition started by Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Senator Dick Durbin, got an e-mail regarding the victory yesterday. I just want to say that Dick Durbin has the coolest signature around. Check it out...

Durbinemanuel

I feel like Beavis. "Heh heh, he signs his name 'Dick,' heh heh."

Lindsay, Nicole and Vick... oh my!
It's weird how the world works.

Lindsay Lohan is taking a plea agreement on the multiple charges of drunken driving and drug possession she was hit with this week and she will get out after serving one day in jail. Nicole Richie, for multiple drunken driving charges, was sentenced to the same, but got out, after serving one hour and 22 minutes in jail (I'm sure she learned her lesson). People say that if they were normal, everyday folk like the rest of us, they would have gotten far greater sentences; that their celebrity status saved their butts. This is an assessment I agree with.

Then there is Michael Vick who is likely to get 12-18 months in prison for his role in dogfighting. It's a crime for which he deserves more time served, in my opinion. And now we have someone saying that an example is being made of him because he is a celebrity. If he were a normal, everyday person, he wouldn't get as stiff a sentence. I say "someone" because I only heard of one person saying this and I can't find the article about it that I read.

Can we get our stories straight, people? Are celebrities privileged or targeted? Which is it?

Davecago!
Yeah!! Davecago is happening tomorrow! Woo hoo! To be honest with you, I'm not even sure who all will be in attendance for our evening of pizza- and beer-laden debauchery, but I do know it will be fun.

I only wish Katie could be there. Her job needed her to fill in tomorrow because of someone needing an emergency day off. She might make it if she gets off work early enough, but I'm not holding my breath.


Ring Around the Rosie, Hopscotch, Monopoly...

I was reading Bre's guest lament about boys liking video games over on Hilly's blog just now. She was wondering, after viewing a friend's Amazon wishlist, which seemingly contained nothing but DVDs and video games, why buying gifts for guys is so boring.

While I did argue the point that shopping for music, movies, and video games is to many of us guys what shoe shopping is to her, I feel I must point out that this is not some gender-based stereotype; Bre really does love shoes. If you've read her blog, you know it to be true. How she can afford to fan the flames of her passion is beyond me. Shoes are damned expensive.

But there was something she said that really struck a chord with me. Let me see if I can find it...

I suppose it could be me who is lacking - after all, I reached the height of my video gaming skillz with Super Mario Brothers ... the original.  No, I take that back, I did have a brief "Crash Bandicoot" streak for a while there.

If there were games like Mario and Crash available I'd be all about supplying him with video games twice a year.  Instead they're all about killing ninjas or throwing touchdowns.  Or throwing ninjas while killing touchdowns.  All the creativity has gone kaput!

And I have to agree with this statement very strongly. I don't know that I would necessarily say that the creativity has gone from all games, but things have most certainly changed since the days of the original Nintendo and Super Nintendo. The focus has shifted to gaming that requires long-term commitment from the player or players. Gone are games that you can just sit down, play, and "throw away."

Sure, there were games like The Legend of Zelda in the past that required a lot of time spent; but I never liked those games. I tried Zelda, I really did, but I could never get into it. It bored me to tears. Zelda was the exception to the norm. Most games at the time could be thrown into your console and just played.

Now, however, commitment-phobes like me seem to be left out on the street with many games. It seems the majority of them require an investment of time that I just don't have to give. Now, every game developer wants to come up with the next Warcraft. With those games, a single game can last however long you can keep going. THEY NEVER END! I had a friend who was supplementing his income by creating characters in one of those games, building him up to mammoth skill levels, and selling the rights to it on eBay. While I applaud the ingenuity, I think it's nutso.

As I get older, my time for games is waning, and I don't even have kids yet. So I have a need for, and will possibly need even more, the so-called "quickie" games... one-off adventures into race tracks or Bejeweled-style puzzle worlds. The last time I committed to a game was Donkey Kong Country and I still haven't solved it. How many years ago was that?

So why can't we see more games like the old days? Forget all these MMORPGABCDXYZ games. Give me more Wii Sports. More Excite Truck. Mario Kart. Brain Age (okay, if I were to listen to "The Professor," I should be spending more time on this; he's always very disappointed with me). And, although I haven't played it yet, it seems like Guitar Hero is along this vein. (A Wii version of GH is due out in October. YAY!)

This is why arcades are dying. They can't capture the long-term "thrill" that Warcraft players find by sitting at home. They've tried, on a very small scale, with games like Houses of the Dead, but it's not the same thing.

I seriously miss the old Friday night trips to the arcade with friends when we would play Pole Position, Spy Hunter, and Galaga, among others, with our pockets full of tokens jangling as we'd march back and forth among the stand-up consoles.

I love video games, but I don't like where the world of gaming has been heading.


And the thunder rolls...

At approximately four o'clock this morning, I was awoken by a sudden-onset thunderstorm. Since odd weather has been the norm for the last couple weeks, it's not as though I jerked awake in bed and freaked out, I just happened to open my eyes as the thunder crashed and the lightning illuminated the interior of our townhouse. The rain was pelting our roof as well.

A couple crashes later, the power went out.

About 30 seconds after that, it came back on.

And the storm stopped. No rain, no thunder, no lightning. Not even in the distance. It was as though nothing had happened. All signs of the storm, save for the moistened ground, disappeared. In all, the storm lasted maybe two minutes.

Now that's weird.

Totally Unrelated Aside: More information about the Tiwari double murder/suicide leaks out nearly daily. I'd expect no less. It was a big deal in the area.

But this little bit really caught my attention and choked me up a bit inside.

Apparently, Anand Tiwari, the father of the two children, is trying to make the most of a horrible situation. He and his wife had the stem cells from their children preserved in case of future illness. Now, he's offering up those stem cells to children in need. He has set up a G-mail account for the purpose of allowing doctors or others to recommend needy children so they can then test for compatibility with his children's stem cells.

Wow, I really applaud him for this. It can't be an easy decision to make, but it's one that may help preserve his children's memory forever.


Now it's time for (a) change...

Because Diane asked for it and I think it's something Brandon will need in a few short months, I've decided to post Kapgar's Tips for Effective Diaper Changing!

First, there are some essential supplies that you will need. I suggest having them ready before you start:

  • A diaper, or two - practice makes perfect
  • Pooper wipes
  • Baby powder
  • A toy that the child loves - bribery works, even at such a tender and innocent age
  • Heavy duty rubber gloves
  • Clear Plexiglas face shield - like what you would wear when using an acetylene torch; just the mask, not the torch; you never know when Ol' Faithful's gonna blow
  • That white powder you see morticians wipe under their nostrils to combat the smell of death

Now, you need to make sure that the diaper needs changing. I'm not sure which is really the better of two methods.

  • Smoosh method: Pick the baby up and feel if the diaper is smooshy. Yes, most diapers have a lot of give because of all the padding. But, if it gives and doesn't rebound back to shape, you might have a problem.
  • Sniff technique: Pick up the baby and sniff the butt. If it makes you wish for sweet death, you might need to change the diaper.

If, like I did, you have someone around to offer up a second opinion, it might not be a bad idea.

When it is determined that a diaper needs changing, take the baby to the changing table. Give them the toy immediately. Do not, I repeat, do not forget this step!

Open up a new diaper and lay it flat and at the ready. Unfasten the old diaper and pull away from the deadly weapon known as the baby's butt. I wish there was some way to ready yourself, but, honestly nothing can prepare for what you are about to see. In my case, the front half of the diaper's interior was pristine; heck, it could've been reused. The back half, however, was a war zone. Remember the scene in Predator when Schwarzenegger covers himself in mud as camouflage? Yeah, that's what the back of the diaper looked like. Not a bit of white to be seen. And it was speckled all over the kid's butt as well. I highly suggest color-distorting sunglasses for this stage of the process.

Roll the death diaper up and use the straps to seal it shut, throw in the diaper basket, and run for a window to grab a breath of fresh air. Then grab a couple wipes and clean up the rest of Ground Zero.

If you so choose, you can use a little baby powder now. If not, continue on.

Gently lift the baby's feet in the air so you can put the new diaper underneath making sure that the end with the straps attached is toward the back. Perfect placement, I'm sure, is something that comes with practice. I sat there trying to calculate the ideal position for maximum protective coverage and level waistband positioning for about 30 seconds. I'm still certain I put more thought into this than Bush and the Joint Chiefs put into their Iraq strategy.

Wrap the front of the diaper through the crotch and over the front and then pull the straps around from the back flap and fasten securely, but not too tightly, to the front flap. If you can pick the baby up and the diaper stays on, then put the baby's clothes back on, put him in his playpen, and do a little celebratory dance.

When you agree to babysit for someone, the parents will tell you that changing a diaper is no big deal. Well of course it's not to them. They've done it how many times now?

For us first timers, though, it's a big friggin' deal! I am here to tell you that you can take pride in your accomplishment! It is a big deal! Gloat about it a bit!

And then move on with life and pray the parents get home before you have to do it again.


I'm not sleepy...

Katie has asked if she could use my blog today to ask for your help. So it's hers... for now. I will be back. Lucky you.

Dear Kevin's Readers,

I need your help to solve a problem that I have been going through with my husband.

Lately, Kevin has been having some "issues" with his sleeping. I don't exactly know when it started, but I think it was pretty recently. I've only really noticed it since my own sleeping has gotten worse.

While he doesn't really snore in the traditional sense, he has been making the occasional odd wheezing sound. They're actually pretty minor, but they also change. A couple nights ago, for example, it sounded a little like gurgling.

It almost seemed like he was having a nightmare because he was also rolling around kind of fitfully while I observed him. So I reached out and tried to calm him down by rubbing his back and shoulders.

For some strange reason, his sleep self thought this meant "intimate time" and he rolled over towards me and wrapped his arm around me. While I don't mind some cuddling every once in a while, I prefer we both be conscious while it's happening. Now, not only did I have to deal with all the radiant heat his body puts out, but he was also on my side of a queen size bed. There must've been a good two feet of room on his other side and he's over smothering me. Add to that he's now making his gurgle-wheeze in my ear.

I push him back to his side but he only winds up unwrapping his arm from me, but he's still on my side.

A couple years ago, when we were trading in our old bed that had gotten bad, I wanted to get a king size mattress. Kevin said no, because we already had many sets of sheets, comforters, and blankets for a queen mattress. Plus, he argued, we'd have to get a new frame, box spring, headboard, and footboard. He also seems to think he would still roll over onto me on a king size mattress.

My question, does size (of mattress) really matter? Would it help? Has it helped any of you?

In the short term, what can I do to get him off me (when he's asleep)? Don't say to tie him to his side of the bed because, even asleep, he'd probably still enjoy it too much.

Help.

Sincerely,

Katie (the other kapgar)


I made it through the rain...

I did it. I babysat two young kids for about two or three hours all by my lonesome!

And, to boot, I did learn some valuable lessons from it all. If you don't mind, I'd like to share with you what I learned.

Kids Are Smart
When one of the two kids, S, had himself a minor bowel-related problem, I was a bit unsure of what to do. Yeah, in a previous meme, I said I had changed a diaper. Well, that was when I was like six years old and, honestly, I really just held the kid in place while her sister did all the dirty work. Katie was supposed to be on her way over from work so I called her up to see where she was in the trip.

However, it was really starting stank a bit. So I looked over to his older brother, P, and asked if he knew what to do. He began to give me a step-by-step on how to change a diaper. I followed his steps and dang if I didn't do it nearly perfectly. Nothing like this Three Men and a Baby crap where the diaper keeps falling off. Mine stayed there. Guess the glue gun helped in that respect.

Kids Like HGTV

Me: This show doesn't look like much fun. Do you want to change the channel?

P: Nah, I like the Landscape... um...

Me: Landscaper's Challenge?

P: Yeah! It's a great show. Here's how it works... [several minutes of description on the show's premise that I kinda tuned out for].

Me: So do you watch it with your mom?

P: No, she doesn't like it.

Me: Do you watch it with your dad?

P: No, he doesn't like it either.

Me: So you just watch it because you like it?

P: Yep.

Me: Interesting.

They Also Like SpongeBob
And for that, I love kids. SpongeBob Squarepants is pretty much the one show I've seen that is kid oriented that I can handle. Thank God.

They Understand Good vs. Bad
Not just in a Luke Skywalker is good/Darth Vader is bad fictional way either; but in a real-life context as well. P has for a couple years been wearing a Michael Vick jersey he inherited from a cousin. I was curious how he and his dad would react regarding the dog-fighting indictment against Vick that came to light in the last couple months. So I asked B if P was still wearing it. He said no. He sat P down and explained, in no uncertain terms, that Vick was a bad man who hurt dogs. And, even at a mere five years old, P completely understood and was fine with his dad throwing out the jersey and also tells his friends what a bad guy Vick is. He now wears a Lance Briggs jersey.

Much better choice in my Bears-lovin' opinion.


She says she's babysitting tonight...

Just a few snippets real quick. I swear! Real quick! I have to get to the gym anyway...

Babysitting
Yeah, so I'm babysitting for my friend B's two kids. Heh. I plan to have these kids snickering like Beavis & Butt-head by the time their parents get home. Muahahahahahahahahahaha.

I wonder how else I can corrupt them. Oooohhh... I'll teach them how to blog!!

Death
While it took a little while to hit its stride and it did take advantage of some pretty standard comedy cliches, Death at a Funeral was pretty good. By the end I was laughing out loud. But, then again, lots of things -- even rehashed jokes -- are funny with a British accent. Sorry, Bec, but it's true. I will admit that Alan Tudyk was hilarious. I wouldn't have expected any less from Wash/Pirate Steve anyway.

Harry
Earlier this week, Katie and I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the local IMAX screen. I gotta admit I'm starting to dig seeing some wide release films on IMAX. And 20 minutes of it near the end were in 3D. That was fun! I haven't seen a decent 3D film in years. Decent meaning that it wasn't necessarily intended to be that way so the actors aren't making lots of awkward movements meant to take advantage of the technology.

Flash
I've learned a lesson today, one that I hope you will heed as well. When Dave says something sucks, it sucks. No really, it sucks. Don't be like me... don't go and watch the SciFi Channel's Flash Gordon anyway just to find out for yourself.

Will you ever forgive my insubordination, Dave?


I don't do redhead girls from Lou'siana...

And here she be, folks, the fourth and final in a series of posts suggested by readers in the second Kapgar Lyrical Challenge. Today's title suggested by Erin, who was a bit of a fixation on the Old 97s. Read on!

As I'm sure some of you may have noticed from reading this blog, there are tons of little things in life that bug me.

"What???" you might be thinking. "The hell you say!"

Yep, it's true. Things tend to get on my nerves from time to time. Lucky you, I've got this wonderful outlet to get it all in the open and, thus, thrust these problems upon you.

I love you all. Really and truly.

Well, guess what? I have another one for you and I hope you'll bear with me as I detail it.

Let's call this one "There's nothing worse than knowing that you're not wanted."

This happened to me early in grad school in the years B.K. (Before Katie) when I got involved in a Web-based, long-distance relationship with a girl I shall call "B" from N'awlins. That's "New Orleans" for those of you wondering to where my pseudo mastery of the English language disappeared.

As I'm sure is the case in most Web relationships, we got along great online. Why else would we have continued forth, right? When we progressed to the phone, we even held up pretty well there. When some friends and I traveled to N'awlins in November 1997 for a U2 concert at the Superdome (completely coincidental... really), the first in-person meet up we had was awkward, but we pulled through. And when she and a friend made a trip to Chicagoland for a week to visit me, things were great.

So why, in May 1998, when I returned to the Crescent City solo, did it all go to hell in a handbasket?

The second I stepped off the plane, I knew something wasn't right. She was incredibly aloof with me. A very impersonal hug, little conversation, jacked up stereo in the car. I seriously wanted to turn around and get back on the plane right then and there.

I was in town for her graduation and the parties and whatnot that accompanied such an event. Yes, her college graduation, you sickos. She was actually a half year older than me.

During road trips, as we'd travel from her home in Covington to get togethers in Baton Rouge, Slidell, and other towns, I became quite familiar with whatever music the radio happened to be playing. I learned more lyrics to new songs than I thought possible. I developed a love for Ben Folds Five's "Brick" and Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" in particular. Great songs that, up to that point, I had never heard. And, oddly enough, both spoke volumes to the state of my relationship with B. As great as a song might be, the last thing you want to hear when you are in what is clearly a failing relationship are lines like "She's a brick and I'm drowning slowly" and "I'm all out of faith, this is how I feel." Painful.

If anyone ever tries to tell me that music doesn't perfectly capture the mood of now, I'm gonna tell them they're full of it.

To be honest, the only time she did pay me any attention was when one of her friends did.

At a party with several of her college friends, one of them took a liking to me. True she was drunk. But it was attention that I had, to that point, not received from anyone else and was in dire need of. She proceeded to teach me the finer points of crawfish ingestion, a skill that apparently requires powerful oral suction. This girl was a fantastic teacher, on top of being cute and overly fawning on me. Yes, she was also known to be overly flirtatious, but that never bothered me. And, when I would catch a glimpse of B out the corner of my eye, I could tell she wasn't happy with how the evening was progressing. Considering I was none too happy about how the entire week was progressing, I was fine with this bout of jealousy on her part.

A little while later, my teacher became slightly overcome by the effects of her night of drinking and I, along with another friend, helped her inside to a bed. The two of us sat there with her to nurse her through the heaves and whatnot. B came along shortly after I got in there and I'd swear she was calling me to her side like a dog. "C'mon, let's go. She's got plenty of people that can take care of her." I projected an "I'm sorry, but I have no other way out of here" look to the other girl who was playing nursemaid and she returned it with an "it's fine; I understand; I got it" look.

I really didn't want to leave because, 1, I didn't want to bail on my sick friend and, 2, I didn't want to be alone with B in the car again. But I did because I really had no choice.

A couple more days passed and I returned home.

I IM'd and e-mailed her a couple more times and received no response. A few days later, I received an e-mail from one of her friends apologizing for her behavior. She said that everyone who was around us could tell that she was being a bitch to me and they all felt bad because they all seemed to like what little they saw of me. No, this was not the crawfish friend. She also told me that she had been trying to convince B to contact me to apologize and even break up with me to save me any more pain. I thanked her for her honesty.

I then shot off a final e-mail to B. I took the step she was clearly too afraid to take herself. I ended it once and for all.

And my timing couldn't have been better. A mere six months later, just enough time to recover from the sting of this relationship, Katie and I got together.

And the rest, as they say, is history.


Somebody help me, yeah...

As much as we all might like to admit that we are our own person and as much as the thought of being even remotely like our parents feels like a hand reaching through our stomach, grabbing hold of our guts, and then twisting, you kinda gotta admit that it's true to some degree.

Yeah, I said it, I am like my parents... but only to some degree... not entirely... but still...

AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

For example, it seems like I'm receiving, with increasing and alarming regularity, comments about how similar my dad and I look. That disturbs me because I just don't see it. Or maybe I just don't want to see it. Not sure. But if several people are saying it seemingly independently of one another, then, I suppose, there is a little truth to it.

Then there are the smaller, less noticeable ways in which I resemble my parents.

Movies: My mom and I have a habit of mentally rewriting the endings of movies. We also have relatively similar tastes in movies. Independent and foreign films do not scare us at all. My dad on the other hand...

Music: I developed a love of Elvis, The Beatles, Kenny Rogers, Air Supply, and Lionel Richie because my parents played nothing but that in the car when I was a kid. Hell, I even foster a guilty love of all things Bee Gees. Oh yeah, and I have a love of musical theater thanks to my mom, as well.

Books: I love to read thanks to my mom. However, my Dad and brother have trouble committing to anything that is not a technical manual for work. If it's a "fun read," it either has to be on tape/CD or have a lot of brightly colored pictures to distract them from the words.

Health: My dad and I both had hernia surgeries and both have chronically bad lower backs. Oh yeah, we're both blind as bats. Thanks a lot, dad.

Food: My dad and I also believe fungus that takes the shape of mushrooms is not meant for human consumption. I love eating vegetables and have since I was a young child, though, thanks to my mom. One odd difference between my parents and I is that they like a lot of red in their cooked meat. Me? I need it dead. There will be no mooing from any cow that I eat. I know people scowl at the idea of overcooking meat; but if I don't, I become physically ill. I nearly became a vegetarian in college, I would get that sick.

I started thinking about this as I was wandering the grocery aisles at Meijer's the other day with Katie. Suddenly, I discovered I was having cravings for things I hadn't thought about eating in years. And the only reason I could come up with was that it was because they were tastes I had developed from my parents. Things like braunschweiger and cottage cheese with cinnamon. Of course, I bought both immediately, shocking Katie entirely.

Are these tendencies cause for concern?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Tomorrow, I will be alone. Katie is going to take part in a girls' night with friends and relatives and I have nobody to hang out with (thanks a pantload, Scotty). So I'm going to check out a movie. Maybe two. And I need your help deciding what I see. This is my chance to see movies that Katie would not necessarily be so keen on seeing with me. The choices are:

I was hoping to add Sunshine to the list, but apparently it's gone from theaters. Bummer.

I am giving you all until tomorrow at 5 p.m. to vote on this. Choose wisely. My evening depends on you!


After these messages, we'll be right back...

After yesterday's downer of a post, I felt the need to really kick things in high gear. Inject this place with a little humor, a little wit, a little spunk.

However, today is the day that I'm guest posting over at Hilly's blog! You know what this means, right? No, it does not mean that you will be getting two posts from me today. I don't have that much creativity flowing in my empty head. What it does mean is that I, instead, get to inject her place with a LOT of humor, a LOT of wit, and a LOT of spunk.

As only Duffman and Kool-Aid Man can properly say, Oh yeah!

So come on over and play with me in Blogistan. It'll be fun, I promise!


And I see no bravery, no bravery in your eyes anymore...

Every time I read something like this, a little piece of me dies inside.

On Saturday, Katie and I heard news about a fire in the nearby suburb of Naperville. Actually, it's the suburb where I grew up; where my parents still live. A mother and her two children were killed. I kinda dismissed it as it all seemed rather routine. A bi-product of my social desensitization, I'm sure.

However, yesterday, people at work were still talking about it nearly two days after I had forgotten it entirely.

This was when I learned that there was some suspicion regarding how the fire started. In fact, the son's death had been ruled a homicide.

Huh? How'd this come about, I thought.

So I started reading some news online about the event. But nothing was truly clarified until later that day when the Naperville Police Chief held a press conference (video playback requires Windows Media Player) and announced that the deaths were being ruled a double murder/suicide. Digital security video had been uncovered of the mother, Nimisha Tiwari, purchasing gasoline from a nearby station and then taking the kids to a local store to buy one toy each; their last toys ever.

Four-year-old Vakadham and 18-month-old Anaya's charred remains were found in their parents' bed alongside Nimisha's burned body. The new toys were also found in the bedroom. None of the three were killed on-scene and they were all transported to Edward Hospital in Naperville where Vakadham died. Anaya and Nimisha were then airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood where both soon died as well.

The husband, Anand, had been in Chicago at school. He was almost immediately cleared by authorities.

Yes, the two had a troubled marriage. The police were contacted by each party after a domestic dispute. She called him domineering and abusive, both mentally and physically, accused him of using a recording device to keep tabs on her, and claimed he had opened up a separate post office box in his name. She had the courts issue an emergency restraining order in May to keep him away from her and the kids, their house, and their son's school.

He fought back saying that she was having psychological episodes that were the result of her recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis. The courts rescinded the restraining order.

Of course, the truth is only known by the two of them. So none of us truly knows who to blame in the case of their personal battles.

But to me, what it all comes down to is the children. Why did they have to be dragged into this mess? Why did they have to lose their lives as a result of this "war of the roses"?

It truly kills me to think that two parents, perceived by neighbors as normal, kind, and loving, couldn't find a way to work things out that would find the children still alive and playing with their new Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Tank Engine toys today.

And now we have a painfully distraught father who is fully cooperating with police after his wife is charged with double murder/suicide.

If he was abusive, divorce him. If divorce is not an option, run away with the children. A life on the run isn't necessarily the most favorable way to live, but you'd all be alive.

In a world where some adults would kill to be parents, we instead have parents killing kids.

That's just not right.

Rest in peace Anaya and Vakadham Tiwari and God (or whoever you pray to) help both Anand and Nimisha.

Tiwaricrosses
Photo courtesy of Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune

Flipping my iPod to shuffle yesterday on the drive home while still mentally processing all this, the first song that played was James Blunt's "No Bravery." Eerily appropriate (with some minor context shift).

Houses burnt beyond repair.
The smell of death is in the air.
A woman weeping in despair says,
He has been here.
Tracer lighting up the sky.
It's another family's turn to die.
A child afraid to even cry out says,
He has been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.


You gotta take it off...

I'm not sure quite why, but I've been on a bit of a minimalist kick lately. Every time I look at all the stuff in our townhouse, I just want to start getting rid of it.

Usually this is supposed to happen in the spring, hence "spring cleaning," but it's hitting me in the summer instead. This weekend, for example, Katie and I worked our way through the kitchen getting rid of some old dishes, utensils, and cannisters we don't use. All told, we filled about four or five paper grocery bags.

Yesterday, we hit up our bedroom. Get this, once we finished filtering through our closet and dressers, we had nine 30-gallon garbage bags full. Here's a picture of eight of them just to prove it to you...

Bags of old clothes

SweatersHeck, I had a stack of nearly 30 sweaters alone...

Tack on to this collection about 30-40 books, some old VHS tapes, and old bedding and towels and I wind up with a truckload of stuff. Actually, two truck loads. I haven't tried loading it all up yet, but odds are it will take me two trips to haul it all out of here.

I love that we're getting rid of all this, but I feel like there's still so much work to be done. We have also cleaned out our pantry/closet in recent weeks, but we have an office, attic, garage, and front closet left to go.

I gotta admit that I found it amazing enough that Katie was willing to do all this work with me.

Initially we wanted to put all this stuff in our neighborhood's annual garage sale, but it never happened. The association dropped the ball on it and we, and all our neighbors, get stuck with all the crap we've been saving up for a year. And it's far too much of a hassle to set up our own garage sale... advertising, taking time off from work, setting it all up, making sure shit's not stolen again.

Now, I think it's just going to Goodwill. I hope someone can do something positive with all of it.


There goes my hero...

Yep, I've got a new hero.

His name is Ken Livingstone and he's the Mayor of London is proposing a $50 per day "green tax" for SUVs to drive in the center of London.

Excessive? Sure. But so are the gas-guzzling tendencies of sport utility vehicles.

Do I think it will stick? Not so sure about that one. But, while it bears out litigation in British courts, it will still force owners of SUVs to rethink their ways.

Gas prices in London already top out over $6 per gallon (we thought we had it bad in the States). Add to that the high price of top-of-the-line SUVs and the $16 fee that must be paid daily to enter the downtown London "congestion zone" during prime hours and it becomes pretty damned expensive.

Hey, sometimes it takes unreasonable methods to kill excessive tendencies.

I applaud the guy.


Just to hit the ball and touch 'em all...

Our co-ed softball league wrapped up play last night. We came in second... well, tied for second... okay, to be completely honest, we tied for second to last.

Some things I learned yesterday playing in this horrendously humid heatwave that Chicago has been stuck under for a while now...

  • Heat sucks... humidity sucks even more... having a headache during such hot, muggy weather makes it even worse.
  • When you're the pitcher for the opposing team, do not, I repeat do not catch a pop-up batted by the woman who co-owns your favorite bar. She will remember. Oh yes, she will remember.
  • The girl playing first base for the other team can catch very well... grrrr.
  • JInxes are alive and well. I belted a triple last week with two RBIs and one run scored and was summarily called "Mr. Triple." My parents and wife, who had to miss the game, had high expectations for this one. And, yet, I wound up with a single and was thrown out on two other at bats. No runs scored, no RBIs.
  • Wearing an old hat that can keep the sweat out of your face is a good thing.
  • Having an extra T-shirt is a better thing. Especially when the team is going out for food and drinks after the game.
  • On such a meteorologically nasty day, one beer = good, two beers = even better, three beers = ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
  • Coming in second to last may sound like it sucks, but when you're playing with a great group of guys and gals, you may as well have come in first.

I hear something there in the shadow down the hall...

Looky looky, not even a week and I remember my challenge post. This is the fourth in a series of posts suggested by readers in the second Kapgar Lyrical Challenge. Today's title suggested by SJ, who was really hoping to learn more about my haunted townhouse. Well SJ, despite our earlier e-mail convo, the story has advanced a bit. So enjoy!

Katie and I have a new housemate.

Uninvited... but not necessarily unwelcome.

Oh, and we have never actually seen him. Not yet, anyway.

I've always kidded around that our townhouse was haunted and I know SJ is firmly convinced of it. Yet I never really bought into it until Katie and I came home one night a week or so ago...

Katie: Hi. We're home.

Me: Of course we are. Who are you saying that to?

Katie: Our ghost.

Me: Our what?

Katie: Our ghost.

Me: You actually believe we're haunted?

Katie: Kinda. I hear a lot more things that you don't get to hear after you leave for work.

Me: Really? So who do you think it is? Only one other family lived here before us and they all moved out intact.

Katie: I think it's the guy who lived in the end unit. He died, remember?

Me: So why doesn't he haunt his unit? He didn't even know us.

Katie: That's just it... he didn't know us, but he knew everyone else. So now he's introducing himself. He just walks in and says hi and checks up to see how things are going.

Me: A bit late for that, don't you think?

Katie: Nah.

After we established that Katie believed it, my own belief began to increase. So it then became time to get a bit more cordial with our guest.

Me: I think we should name him Bernard.

Katie: Our house ghost?

Me: Yeah.

Katie: Why Bernard?

Me: It sounds cool and somewhat distinguished. And we can call him Bernie for short.

Katie: That sounds too much like Weekend at Bernie's.

Me: Well, they're both dead, so it works out.

Katie: Sure, why not.

I think our house ghost likes having a name, even if it wasn't necessarily the name he had when he was, well, not dead.

He also digs on being acknowledged. If we wish him good night and good morning, he stays quiet. But, if we don't, he can make an awful ruckus. Besides just the footsteps I've reported before, you can occasionally hear doors and drawers opening and closing when none of our fellow townhouse denizens are home. They typically sound like they're coming from our attic.

We're doing our level best to work these salutations into our daily routine.

We sleep better for it.

So what do you think the odds are of us getting Bernie to chip in on the mortgage?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Okay, this isn't really unrelated. I was just not in the mood to come up with a naming convention for yet another way to list a semi-divergent topic in a post. So...

You wanna talk about something really creepy? Check out this video podcast from National Geographic (yes, you can watch this right on your computer screen if you have QuickTime). Now that's just a bit disturbing.


I'm all shook up...

EPA
So how much palm greasing do you reckon is going on with the EPA these days?

All they typically do is bitch and moan and whine and gripe about the travesties committed by man against the earth; more specifically, big business. It can be the smallest thing that sets them off, too. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Someone needs to stand up for our planet. But at least be consistent about it. Don't go citing some factories for releasing too much soot into the air a mere couple days after signing off on BP Amoco's plan to release more sludge and ammonia into Lake Michigan... Chicagoland's primary source of drinking water. Which, by the way, is connected to the other Great Lakes as well as, via a two river connector, to the Mississippi River and, thus, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. So, if BP Amoco's refinery were to have an accident -- which isn't completely out of the realm of possibility -- a vast majority of the planet's water supply would be screwed, even if only to a minor degree.

Complete and utter bullshit. That's what I've got to say about it.

Please, if you have a choice between BP and another gas station, go with the other choice. I'm not asking to start one of those "Don't Fuel Your Car" days or anything because we all know they're crap. But just slowly whittle away at the giant that is BP Amoco to make them pay for wanting to pollute our water supply. A Chicago Alderman seems willing to do what he can (this may require a username and password; if so, e-mail me and I'll hook you up).

ElvispezKing
Usually you celebrate the big birthdays of deceased celebrities. For example, if this were the year that Frank Sinatra would turn 90, you celebrate. Elvis fans, however, seem to be having a lot of fun with the fact that this year marks the 30th anniversary of his "death."

ElvisbubbahotepCorporations are jumping in on the fun as well. Reese's has released a "King Size" peanut butter and banana cup as well as Beanie Baby styled bears in orange and brown. Pez put out a special tin box of three Elvis dispensers (at right) from three different stages of his life (young and stylin', militarized and stylin', and old and bloaty). The set also comes with a special edition greatest hits CD, but, sadly, no jumbo-sized candy for the old and bloaty dispenser.

But the best, so far, is one that I saw yesterday afternoon at Best Buy while buying my copy of Flash Gordon (yes, I bought it, what did you expect?). It was a special edition of Don Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep starring Bruce Campbell (Ash from Evil Dead and Sam from Burn Notice). Amazon calls it the "Hail to the King" edition, although I never recall seeing that name on the outer package and that's a line from Army of Darkness. The packaging is one of Elvis' white jumpsuit jackets. Too cool.

Flash
Speaking of Flash Gordon, the DVD I picked up yesterday had a cool little insert with it... an Alex Ross designed "recruitment poster" of sorts with Ming the Merciless looking back at you and the words "Ming Wants You" like the old Uncle Sam posters. I think I'm framing it and hanging it at work.

Foo
It's always a good day when an e-mail arrives from the iTunes Store to let me know of the pending release of a new album from an artist I like. Check that... an artist I love! In a totally hetero way, of course.

It's the Foo Fighters with their new album Echos, Silence, Patience & Grace and it comes out September 25. But, if you pre-order now, you get the single "The Pretender" right now. If this first song is any indication, the album will be fantastic.

Zodiac
I hate when this happens. I totally get into a movie, like I was with Zodiac last night, and it starts to crap out on me. Normally this can be solved by simply ejecting the DVD, wiping it clean, and then starting it back up again. Alas, not this time. This disc had a deep gouge near the outer edge keeping it from playing at all.

Dammit! I hate this. And now I'm going to have to start from the beginning just to remind myself of what happened up to this point by the time the replacement arrives from Netflix. This is not some short movie, either. I was a little more than an hour into what amounts to a two hour, 45 minute film. Gah!


Flash! Ahhhhhhh...

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to blog. Seriously, what's the point of trying to figure out what I want to write each day when I have material like what Katie gives me on a daily basis?

Her latest occurred last night while checking out the Sunday paper. Admittedly, our perusal of the newsprint is a day late, but oh well. We've been looking for new checks because we're running low and we're decidedly old school... we don't do any banking online save for checking our account balance and making sure payments clear. We pay no bills online because of the many horror stories we've read about auto bill pay double dipping and overbilling and other things that would piss me off to have to waste the time to correct. So we just don't bother. This leaves us with paper checks. And we're running low.

So Katie was checking out those little coupon section inserts to see if she could find any checks we liked. That's when she found this little gem (the checks look the same as this check book cover)...

Catscratch

And her reaction? "Oh yeah, because I wanna pay bills with a check that shows a cat scratching itself!"

Again, why do I bother? I should just start a blog dedicated to Katie Quotables and call it a day.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Ah! My childhood comes screaming back to me! And with some really boss Alex Ross cover art to boot!

Flashgordon

Not exactly sure yet what constitutes this being dubbed the "Saviour of the Universe Edition," but I'm getting it anyway!

Oh Christ. I just used the word "boss," didn't I? How 80s am I?


Zoom, zoom, zoom...

Again, although this may seem like an NFL-related post, it does transcend the football base in which it is steeped. Maybe not quite as far reaching implications as my sideline photographer post, but still and all the same.

Nike Corporation
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005
attn: Marketing and Promotions Department

To Whom it May Concern:

I understand you have a new product in your Nike Zoom line and, as such, you have a desire to market it in the most effective way possible. Being Nike, a good way to do this is to imply speed. Due to this rationale, I completely understand why you would choose LaDainian Tomlinson, running back for the San Diego Chargers and the NFL's top rusher in 2006, as your spokesman. Who better than one of the fastest and most effective runners in the NFL to carry your new line of Zoom products to the top, right? And who better to show him running against than one of the most brutal defenses in the NFL?

And you even came up with a very well-shot commercial to illustrate this point...

However, as someone who is employed in a marketing and promotions capacity as a working-world professional, I must question the mindset of those behind this commercial.

Your goal is to maximize the number of people who respond positively to this commercial so you should be trying to not offend current or potential customers.

So why in the name of all that's holy would you air a commercial in Chicagoland featuring some guy juking out each member of and then scoring against OUR HOME TEAM, THE CHICAGO BEARS???

Whose head was up whose ass when you decided the best way to get through to the Chicago market -- the third largest city with one of the largest suburban constituencies in the United States -- was by showing Tomlinson beat up our home team's defense? The defense that made it to the Super Bowl last year while LaDainian and his Chargers did not. Yeah, we lost, but that's another point altogether. At least we were there.

Admittedly, not everyone in Chicago is a Bears fan. There are pockets of Indy fans down in the southeast, some St. Louis fans in the southwest, and, God forbid, some Green Bay fans in the north (allowing them to live here is simply a charitable act by very forgiving people). But a good 90% of Chicago-based NFL fans are, in fact, Bears fans. Don't ask where that statistic came from, just accept it.

In closing, I'd like to say that you should think before you distribute your commercials next time. Yeah, no matter what, we'd still see it thanks to the wonder that is the Web and, more specifically, YouTube. But at least it wouldn't seem so brazen.

Sincerely,

Kevin "Quite Content with my New Balance Shoes, Thank You Very Much" Apgar


There's bloodstains on my ax and I don't know where I've been...

Damn, I almost slipped and forgot my entry this week. This is the third in a series of posts suggested by readers in the second Kapgar Lyrical Challenge. Today's title suggested by Metalmom, who, after a few weeks of stalking many of us and us not having a means by which to stalk her back, finally opened a blog of her own a few months ago. And much cross-stalking ensued. Check her out!

I have a morbid fascination with the human body and how it works. I always have. It's a wonderful machine that God created in us and I've always wanted to understand the steps undertaken to perform basic tasks like how muscles move joints. Of course, when you're young, opportunities in which to explore this fascination are few. Biology class involved dissecting worms and pigs, not human beings. I always found this to be wholly disappointing.

So when the opportunity to explore the human machine arose, I often took it, even if it meant using myself as a lab rat.

One such opportunity presented itself in my junior high shop class. For whatever reason, our shop teacher had us glue a small piece of wood to a larger piece of wood. I'm sure he had his reasons although they elude me now. When the odd glue-based aspect to the project was done, we were to separate them and use chisels to remove the remainder glue from one of the boards that we were going to continue using for the project.

I got a little bored and, I suppose you could say, a bit lazy. When combined, these typically equate to "not paying attention to the task at hand." And that's when my chisel freed itself of its monotonous scraping task and sent itself flying through the air, powered by my right arm, into the webbing connecting my left thumb to my hand.

Unlike a lot of injuries where people don't realize they've hurt themselves until they pass out from blood loss, I knew right away that I had done something bad. I looked down at the gaping cut in my hand wondering what my next step should be.

Did I tell the teacher? Nahhhh. I sat there and played with it. For several minutes. I just kept pulling it open and examining the muscles of my thumb below the skin. Then I would make movements with my thumb and watch the muscles in action. I was fascinated. It didn't seem to matter to me that I was dripping blood, I was having way too much fun with my new anatomy kit to want to stop.

Finally a friend, who saw what I was doing, forced me to go tell the shop teacher. So I walked over to the teacher and said, rather off-handed, something along the lines of, "I'm not sure if this means I should see the nurse or not." Then I raised my hand and, with my other hand, made my wound talk to my teacher. I don't think he appreciated my attempt at humor and he practically yelled at me to go to the nurse.

I don't remember much after that. I don't remember being in the nurse's office. I'm not sure if I went to the hospital although I'm certain I must have gone. I don't even recall if I had stitches in my hand. Everything after that is a bit of a blur.

But I would like to know who got stuck mopping up my blood spill and cleaning the instrument of my fleshly destruction.

Ah well.

Hey, got a meme for you in the extended post.

Continue reading "There's bloodstains on my ax and I don't know where I've been..." »


Stone cold crazy, ya know...

In anticipation of writing this post, I have turned my swear jar into a stripper's g-string... stuffed with singles.

Not everyone in this world is going to share the same opinion about everything. I know that. I respect it.

So why can't everyone else accept that fact the way I do and just move on with their fucking lives?

Lately, my anti-Green Day rant has been garnering some attention from less-than-literate "fans." I know I've posted about this before, but it's gotten worse. So bad, in fact, that I have actually shut down the comments on that post and deleted some of what was said.

Because I've become a comment Nazi? No.

Because they have a differing opinion? No.

I'll tell you why... because they've crossed over the threshold of common decency and both threatened and insulted not just me, but someone else I love and others that don't quite exist yet.

Without actually quoting it, just accept that they dragged both Katie and our unborn children into the fray. This was not just some empty, nameless threat like saying "fuck your wife" or the like. They actually name her. I know her name is listed in the post so it's not that difficult. But the very act of putting her name in there takes it beyond an anonymous threat to a far more personal level.

This idiot has moved down in my book from "stupid human" to "fucking coward" by attacking someone who has nothing to do with this and by hiding behind a fake name and bogus e-mail in the process.

Attack me all you want. It's my opinion and I posted it for the world to read. I've opened myself up to criticism and I accept that. I just ask that it be of a reasonable and well-thought-out nature. Sadly, little of it is anymore.

Yesterday, I ran the gamut of emotions after reading that comment. From shock that someone could actually sink that low to fury over it being said to sadness as I considered whether it was actually worth it to keep blogging in light of the idiots that are out there to sheer homicidal rage for obvious reasons.

I've always known that if a physical threat were made against Katie or anyone else I love, I would have no problem defending them. I can fight. I have in the past. But what about this anonymous threat from afar? How do you deal with a desire to reach out and strangle the living shit out of a worthless fucking waste of human flesh that you cannot, and likely never will, see? I just want to take out this rage on something right now.

I know I shouldn't take it so personally and this is exactly the response they want out of me. Well, chicken shit, you got it. Now come out from behind your firewalled safe haven and act on it, you pussy! Put your money where your mouth is. THROW DOWN!

I am so fucking furious right now. My hands have been trembling with rage since yesterday. Typing this post was anything but easy.

By the way, I'm sure Green Day is proud to know what kind of imbecile fans they've earned. Very proud.


They say, 'why are you dressed like it's halloween?'...

I saw this last night on TV and all I could think was "why?"

Yeah, I know many of you love Rob Zombie regardless of what he does, be it music or movies. I like his music a lot, too, but cannot say that I've seen either of the films he has directed so far -- House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects.

But Halloween?

As they say near the end of the trailer, "This August, Rob Zombie unleashes an extreme vision of terror and reinvents a legend." That's just it. The original is a legend to this day. Did it really need to be redone?

C'mon, Rob.