23 posts from July 2007

Here we go...

Me: Hey hon. C'mon, let's go. Time to head to the gym.

Katie: Okay, just let me finish reading this chapter.

Me: How many pages do you have left?

Katie: About 12. Just give me five to 10 minutes.

Me: I'll go for 10 just to be safe.

I head downstairs to catch up on my Google Reader subscriptions. I really start to get on a tear and realize that I have read through more than 100 articles/posts and that more than 45 minutes have passed.

What the???

I head upstairs and Katie is fast asleep with her book open in front of her.

I lay down beside her and gently shake her awake. Her eyes flicker open and dart around the room trying to take it all in and figure out what's going on.

Me: 10 minutes, eh?

I detect a bulb of recognition slowly come alight as she begins to recall pieces of our earlier conversation.

Me [in a jokingly scolding voice]: And what do you have to say for yourself?

She looks at me, gives me one of her guilty grins complete with wide eyes, and opens her arms for a hug.

I love her apologies.

Sorry for the early morning sap.

I am aiming to be somebody...

In a world where actors and musicians regularly come of as pampered, over-privileged pricks, it's really nice to see something like this happen.

This past Saturday, Katie and I, along with others, hit up our second and final Rocco DeLuca and the Burden concert. This one was set to take place in Naper Settlement in Naperville, IL.

A day or two before the show, I read a newspaper article detailing that Rocco and the guys would be playing a small pre-show set at Millennium Amphitheater along the Riverwalk. If you've never been to Naperville, Riverwalk is just that, a really gorgeous walkway that borders either side of the DuPage River. Think San Antonio's riverwalk. There are several little public gathering areas and parks along the multiple miles that constitute the Riverwalk. It's truly pretty.

So when we heard that Rocco would be playing there, we were all over it. We got down there with Katie's brother, Scott, and his girlfriend, B. Scott and I headed out to the car to run to Best Buy to pick up a copy of the CD for signing. As we were walking to the car, coming the opposite direction were Rocco, et al. They were just out and about, getting a feel for the town. I said hi, they said hi back.

After the four-song set, which was truly fantastic, we got in line to have the guys autograph the CD. This was when Katie remembered she still had her ticket stub for last week's show at House of Blues in her purse. She grabbed it and we asked the guys to sign it as well. I think they were more shocked than anything that someone was at their show last week as well as both (the acoustic and the main show) that day. But they happily signed it and took pictures with the girls.

About an hour later, we were walking around passing time when we happened to see the band, yet again, and they remembered us. Bret "Bix" Bixby, the fifth man in the band, actually said, "hello again!" before we said a thing.

The courtesy wasn't limited to just RDB, the two opening acts, Sara Bareilles (whose debut album, Little Voice, scored a well-deserved three out of four star rating in People magazine last week) and The Last Goodnight both went above and beyond in terms of meeting and greeting with fans after their sets. I was discussing future singles with Sara and walking around the grounds with Kurtis John, the lead singer of The Last Goodnight, as we plotted ways to embarrass my sister-in-law for her birthday (she thought he was cute and I had to take advantage of that and Kurtis was willing to help).

I know it behooves up-and-coming artists to cater to fans and their seemingly stupid and endless stream of requests, but they all really were great to us and the rest of the fans and I hope that, as their fame grows, they don't forget that humbleness that endeared them to us this past weekend.

By the way, both Sara Bareilles and The Last Goodnight put on great shows. If you're a fan of Tori Amos, I recommend giving Sara a listen, and if you dig on Maroon 5, try The Last Goodnight.

And I won't back down...

Four words...

The Simpsons Movie ROCKS!

Okay, now that this is out of my system.

I found this editorial in the Chicago Tribune from last Sunday and I wanted to reprint it here because it makes a great point about how out of hand corporate sponsorship is getting. I can't find it in the Tribune's online archives so, hopefully, they won't be too pissed about me retyping it here. I know not all of you are NFL fans, but please read through to the end. The point it makes, while rooted in the NFL, transcends it because I do see this happening in the normal world around us every day.

Hesterdinuzzo_2 A Word to the NFL

If you saw this photo of Devin Hester on the front page of the Tribune on Feb. 5, you may not have noticed the credit line identifying the Tribune's Nuccio DiNuzzo as the photographer. But you understood, the moment you saw this shot the day after the Chicago Bears' loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI, the sadness it captured. It was telling, poignant and unbiased -- the work of a professional.

The National Football League is trying to compromise that professionalism. The NFL has decreed that all photographers covering its games on the sidelines will be required to wear red vests that sport sponsors' logos. The NFL wants to turn news photographers into walking billboards.

The league claims the vests are necessary for security. Perhaps they are. But the advertising logos for Canon and Reebok? Most newspapers, including this one, have stringent ethics policies. Reporters and photographers are explicitly forbidden from endorsing products or profiting from  a story or event. But the NFL wants to make news photographers part of the NFL "product."

The Tribune won't allow its photographers to cover games in vests with logos. "We're not doing it," said George de Lama, the managing editor for news. "Absolutely not." If the rule doesn't change, the paper will cover the NFL without visuals.

In the late 1920s, Bears owner George Halas used to hand deliver press releases to Tribune sports editor Don Maxwell, hoping to snare some coverage.

Maybe the NFL no longer thinks it needs independent media coverage of its games. The NFL is the richest, most powerful and most popular sports league in the United States. It has its own documentary film production arm, its own Web site and, now, even its own television network. The combined television rights for its games go for billions of dollars.

But it can't slap ad logos on independent photographers.

It will be a shame if Tribune photographers don't have a chance to capture another poignant shot like this one -- or a shot of a triumphant Devin Hester at Super Bowl XLII. But they won't be on the sidelines unless the NFL backs down.

I think it's complete and utter BS the stance that the NFL is taking on this matter. They also want to ban outside news video cameras so third party news agencies have to pay for official NFL-produced footage for their nightly newscasts. I've heard that some news channels like NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox are throwing a penalty flag on this one and threatening to do something similar to what the Tribune is threatening... they'll talk about the games, but not show any footage.

The NFL needs to get its collective head out of its collective ass.

Look away...

I hate when people look down at me.

The realization that someone has such little regard for you as a fellow human being is so horribly dehumanizing. It can be a friend, relative, coworker, random stranger, it doesn't matter. It's such a common act that many people don't realize they've done it. Then there are those people that do know exactly what they're doing. 

Just a glance or an offhanded comment or, worst of all, a well-orchestrated personal attack. Yeah, that's definitely the worst. If it's something that happens in passing, you can often brush it off as just some random idiot. But when it's planned out and delivered with the precision of a smart bomb, it can have a devastating effect.

And sometimes they happen for the pettiest of reasons. "You like that music/movie/book/TV show?" "You went to that school?" "You're wearing that shirt?"

How do you respond to personal attacks like this? In some cases, it's easy. Some attacks can be deflected with a well-timed joke or smart-assed response. I'm typically pretty good at those. But when it's the more subtle, like a look or a perceived attitude, how do you react to those?

What if it's someone you see on a semi-regular basis? If it's a random stranger attacking your character, you should attack back, without question. You'll never see them again. Who cares? But someone you see a lot? And you may share common acquaintances with? That's much tougher.

As you can see, this has been bugging me for some time. I've thought it through and I don't want to attack back in the last example to which I refer. There are a few people that I perceive as doing this to me every time I see them. I don't think they realize it at all. It's just a part of their nature, it's who they are. Anybody less than them, they look down on. Anybody better than them, they come up with something to make them mentally perceive this person as a lesser being so they can then look down on them. It makes me dread meeting up with them to the very core of my being.

It's frustrating as hell because I want to confront these people about how they act, but my hands are tied. It would cause too many problems with all our shared acquaintances. Too much strain. And yet it makes our every meeting absolutely unbearable. At least for me.

I realize that I've done this to people in the past and I've likely hurt them as much as I've been hurt. But I've been making a conscious effort to not do this anymore. I can only hope it's working as this simple act is so overwhelmingly powerful. And when it's done, it hurts. I mean really hurts.

I got 99 problems...

Hey, I finally got around to listening to the Jay-Z album -- The Black Album -- I got from the library and Dagny, Hilly, and Erin are right... he's damn good. So before I get into this post, I need to thank all three of them for the recommendation made back in my "bands for each decade" post.

Something about the name "99 Problems" struck me as familiar when I saw it on the track list on my iPod, so I skipped ahead to it. As soon as I heard it, I was certain I knew it.

If you're havin' girl problems, I feel bad for you son.
I got 99 problems, but a *****
ain't one.

Huh? What? Jay, talk to me, man! What are you trying to say? What ain't one?

Hmm, maybe it was a glitch in the CD. This has been known to happen on library checkouts. They get beat to death and nobody ever cleans or descratches them. Yeah, it's gotta be a glitch. Let's keep listening shall we?

...You'd be celebrating the minute you was havin' dough.
I'm like **** critics you can kiss my whole *******.

Uh-oh, I heard it two more times. The what critics can kiss your whole what?

This isn't looking good.

It would appear that my library, or whichever library sent this out on interlibrary loan, decided to stick me with the safe-for-WalMart, censored edition.

Oh how I hate this crap. I'm getting screwed by the Censorship Police and Tipper didn't even cuddle with me afterwards. Inconsiderate *****.

There's nothing I hate more than censorship of music, movies, and television. Oh wait, one thing I hate more, not being warned that it's happening.

Parentaladvisory Something similar happened one time when I bought a CD from Wal-Mart. What you must understand is that Wal-Mart is not always a big fan of the Parental Advisory labels. They think it looks bad for a good Christian mother to see her kids asking to buy a CD with one of those black-and-white monstrosities on them. You'd think this is a good thing. If they don't like those labels, then they carry the real album in all its nasty glory, right? Not the case. Wal-Mart, being the powerhouse negotiator they are, manages to get record companies to press alternate copies for them. Ones that don't need the Parental Advisory label because they have no inappropriate content seeing as how it's all been cut out or bleeped over.

I bought whatever CD it happened to be at the time and took it home and played it. There were sound cuts throughout. It had been edited and nowhere on the wrapping or price tag did it say as such.

The next day I took that piece of sanitized BS back to the Retail Borg (tm) and demanded a refund. They wouldn't give it to me. I was in shock. I had effectively been tricked into buying the wrong thing. As far as I was concerned, it was a variant of the old bait and switch tactic. You come in under the guise of great prices to buy a CD and are not given what you expect.

I have never purchased another CD from Wal-Mart since.

But I still must rectify the Jay-Z situation. I need to hear this album in all its curse-laden glory and not even iTunes has the whole thing! I think I may have to stop at a store and, gulp, buy a CD!!! I haven't done this in a long time. I only buy the digital tracks anymore. Woah.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Seriously. Who dreams about resodding their backyard? When they live in a townhouse???

Oh yeah... me, apparently.

Between a rock and a hard place...

Some snippets for you today...

Typepad Outage
Yes, Typepad, the host of this and many other blogs, had a service hiccup yesterday and the system went down. Not sure how long it lasted or how many were affected, but we're back! All of us! We never left you, we swear! We're here waiting for you! Off the top of my head, this would include me, Karl, Hilly, and Nat. Not sure who else.

Lindsay Lohan
Okay, I've had enough. Less than two weeks out of rehab, after agreeing to wear a BAC anklet, you still get busted, yet again, for DUI and cocaine possession. Sorry, don't expect any sympathy from me. You need to disappear for about 5-10 years and then try a comeback. Just leave. Please. And get away from your mom. She's not helping matters at all.

No. Neither Katie nor I have even started Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet. We haven't had time. So you won't be seeing a review from me anytime soon. Sorry.

And, is it just me, or is there actually someone else out there that's not really in the mood to read this book just yet? I'm so turned off by all the hype right now that I need a little distance. But I know if I do, I stand a much greater chance of accidentally ruining the ending via Web browsing. So I'm kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. Wait to read it until I'm in the mood and will enjoy it or read it now so the ending can't be ruined? Gah!!!

But I am about to turn on a friend to the wonder that is Christopher Moore's Lamb and Joshua Braff's The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green. I'm loaning her my copies. I've been hyping up these books to her so much that I hope she's not let down or she'll likely never listen to my opinion ever again. And that would be a travesty!

Robot Chicken
I have become an addict of Robot Chicken on Adult Swim. Yes, some of the sketches can be stupid every once in a while, but the good ones more than make up for it. Rainbow Brite? Enter the Fat One? The Star Wars special? Great stuff! God bless TiVo!

A coworker turned me on to the music of Andrew Bird recently. So I picked up Armchair Apocrypha and, damn, if it isn't a great album! Then my coworker has the gall to tell me that it's not even his best album (in her opinion). What are you trying to do to me!?!? I'm attempting to trim my iTunes library!

If this little garden fortification doesn't stop those damn bunnies, I don't know if anything will short of a well-placed landmine. Yeah, I've got the Fort Knox of gardens going on right now.

Fort Knox

I have no fear of falling, but I hate hitting the ground...

This is the second in a series of posts suggested by readers in the second Kapgar Lyrical Challenge. Today's title suggested by Odie, whose blog, well, is non-existent. We must work on that one.

What is the stupidest ballsy thing you've ever done? For me, it was the time I went bungee jumping.

I am petrified of heights. Always have been, and I doubt I'll ever get over it. My stomach churns as I approach seemingly unprotected heights. The top of the Sears Tower, despite being enclosed in glass... churn. The edge of a bridge... churn. The Grand Canyon... CHURN! It's never pretty. Heck, I get queasy when someone else gets too close to the edge of a rather daunting precipice.

I can only pray my kids will be as fearful of heights as I am so I don't have to worry about them becoming adrenaline junkies.

So why did I bungee jump? Call it sheer jealousy.

Back in the summer of '94, my entire family went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for my grandparents' 50th anniversary. Being the big deal it was, all family members converged on what we deemed to be the most central point between us in Illinois, my aunt and uncle in Kentucky, and my grandparents in central Florida. So Gatlinburg it was.

For anyone who has ever been there, you know that it's pretty much just another in a long line of what would otherwise be nothing towns if it weren't for the tourist trade. Being the proverbial "tourist trap," there was an odd mix of things to do. Outdoorsy stuff like whitewater rafting and hiking, touristy stuff like Dollywood, and, of course, daredevil central.

Daredevil central, as only I call it, consisted of the suicide rides such as a sky swing, lunar jump, and bungee jumping. They are suicidal in my mind because they are not permanently installed and you clearly take your life into your hands if you're stupid enough to ride them.

In other words, I was going nowhere near them.

My brother, being the little psycho that he is, was more than happy to try the bungee jump. He was gung-ho as he raced up to it and was fitted with his parachute harness, ecstatic as he raced up the stairs. The excitement waned a bit as he first looked off the ledge. In fact, it took quite a bit of coaxing to make him finally jump. But he did. And he loved it.

I felt a minor pang of jealousy watching him leap off the edge only to be yanked back up by the elastic cabling. Not enough to make me actually want to do it, but it was there.

Later that day, my uncle decided to ride the sky swing. This was basically an apparatus in which two riders lay stomach down and are pulled backwards up in the air about 50 or so feet and then released. The duo will then swing back and forth like a giant pendulum. As you approach the peak of the forward swing, you supposedly experience the closest thing to weightlessness you can feel on Earth outside of NASA training.

Since the ride required a tandem, my brother was going to ride with him. Until, that is, my aunt decided she wanted to go. My brother was left in a lurch. That's when, much to everyone's surprise, I stepped up. I really think my parents and brother experienced temporary shock.

But I agreed to it and my brother was now depending on me to get his jollies off... in an airborne sense of it all. So we were strapped in, winched up, and let go. And I loved every second of it. The rush of adrenaline was like nothing I'd ever experienced before.

And I wanted more.

So I looked at my parents and told them I wanted to bungee jump.

They were a bit freaked by my declaration of intent and my brother had the biggest grin of joy on his face.

The next day, we returned to the bungee platform where I was fitted with my harness. I then ascended the staircase and was hooked up to the cables. I looked over the edge at my entire family looking back at me and, on the count of three, jumped. No hesitation whatsoever. I figured I was up there and the only real way to get down was the quick way. So I did it. And, again, I loved it.

Luckily for my recently acquired adrenaline kick, they were offering a two-for-one special. I went up for my second jump. Something felt a bit off this time. I could tell that the clamps were hanging a bit lower as they strapped me in, but I wasn't going to back down now.

And I jumped a second time.

But I should've listened to my gut on that clamp observation. I dropped just a bit further than I should have and my foot actually hit the air mattress on the first dip. I sprang back up and the rest of the jump went fine, but the knowledge that my foot hit what it shouldn't have and the thought that if I had been strapped in using an ankle harness instead of a parachute harness, I might have wound up with a broken neck was enough to kill my thrill seeking for the moment.

Of course, there's still a huge desire on my part to try parachuting. But that may have to wait until my 40th birthday.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Ah, smart little poor kids. Gotta love the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program.

It won't begin until you make it end...

I had a very vivid dream last night. And, sadly, I actually remember it this morning.

It started out with me going to my old high school to interview for a head football coaching position that had just opened up. Only an interview. Well, that's what I thought anyway.

I show up at what is decidedly not my old high school and, instead of being taken to an interview, I am led by my new secretary to my new office, which looks eerily like my old bedroom at my parents' house complete with all my old furniture, and am asked to set up what I felt would have been the ideal starting lineup for every sports team the school has offered for the last decade. "Wow," I thought. "And here I was just coming in for an interview and I've already got the job and it seems to be a bit more involved than just head football coach."

My brother, who is apparently my assistant coach, is there to help me sort through all the rosters, which are set up like Weight Watchers Points sliders -- a really cool idea that I should try to market, by the way -- only to discover that they are not complete. Several sports are missing in random years and there are oddball sliders thrown in such as one that determines nap periods throughout the day for specific athletes.

My brother and I sit on the bed and begin to compile a list of the missing roster/sliders when my old buddy, B, comes walking in. He's drunk and is treating my office as I viewed it upon entry, as my old bedroom. There is no realization on his part that he just came walking through a high school to get to it. Instead, he just plops down on the floor and regales me with tales of his drunken exploits with our mutual friend, J.

"You'll never guess how much our bar tab was," he says.

"You're probably right," I reply dismissively. "Why don't you just tell me."

"Let's just say it was a couple hundred dollars," he continues. "And it was all spent on just the two of us."

"Wow," I say offhandedly. "That's a lot of booze." And I continue making my list of missing rosters.

"What are you doing?" he asks.

"C'mon," I say. "Let's take a walk."

My brother and I help B to his feet and we walk out. I'm trying to find a delicate way to tell him that I'm the new head football coach, a job he has always wanted and that we both realize I am way too underqualified to take.

We walk out the front door of the school to a dry dirt courtyard. On the other side of a low brick retaining wall is a line of people standing there obviously waiting to catch their first glimpse of the new coach. A few clap (thank you!) while some jeer and hiss and the rest stay silent.

"Wait a minute," B says as he turns to face me. "You're... us?"

"Um yeah," I reply.

All of a sudden all the old coaches, led by the former head coach -- a guy who, in real life mind you, has not been the coach of our school in several years -- come walking around the corner like an honor guard. My mind's eye starts panning down the line of coaches as they stand there facing me. Some are openly weeping. I'm not sure if this is because they are out of a job or because it's me taking over. The old head coach steps forward to hand me something. A passing of the guard, I suppose. I take the box of whatever from him and...

... I wake up.

Thank God. That could've been disastrous.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I know he's not my mayor, but I love Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. I know he's had his issues like any elected politician, but here is a man who knows how to handle the press. In a press conference (not sure if registration is required to view this article or not) regarding police misconduct charges and a push by the public to have the names of multi-charge offenders released, Daley replied to a question with, "We have a very good police department. You cannot say there are a few bad apples and write them off just like the media does.

"You [the media] have a few bad apples as well."

Considering the Amy Jacobson scandal just a couple weeks ago, his timing on that quip could not have been any better.

That man is my hero.

No one's gonna stop...

To the idiot sitting at the four-way intersection motioning at me to walk faster through the crosswalk who is also lurching his car forward to emphasize his impatience yesterday, I have a lesson in what we know as the Rules of the Road.

Shall we discuss the situation at hand?

I was waiting to cross the street. There were cars coming from all directions. All of them came to legal stops. I waited through a few of them, probably more than I needed to. When I felt the time was right, I began my journey into the crosswalk.

Apparently, you did not agree with my assessment that "the time was right" or you would not have been waving me on, edging closer to my knees.

I'll be upfront with you, I don't like people who do this. There, it's out. The truth has been told. I have injured my knees enough times without the aid of mechanized equipment. I really would not appreciate you reinjuring them at all. Seriously. You're in a piece of shit Mercedes coupe. I don't like your car and would be more than willing to pound my fists in the hood leaving a dent in your overpriced hunk of fiberglass crap. It may not be a huge dent, but it will be enough that you will 1) cry like a simpering baby; and 2) have to pay a couple thousand dollars in repair costs for the entire hood. I won't be paying one red cent for your damages. Trust me on that one. I can fake a fall and limp with the best of them. Enough to make everyone else at that intersection side with me.

Oh, and I hate idiots. That's a point that's been made abundantly clear here on my blog.

Now, how about we discuss what you did wrong.


This is a STOP SIGN. Say it with me, "Stop... Sign."

According to the Illinois Rules of the Road (chapter 7)...

This eight-sided red sign means stop. You must make a complete stop at the stop line. If there is no stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and approaching traffic. If it is a four-way STOP sign, wait your turn.

So what exactly does "stop" mean, just in case you're that much of an idiot? According to Merriam-Webster, "stop" means "to arrest the progress or motion of  : cause to halt   <stopped the car>."

I can understand how this might be a tough concept to grasp especially when a rolling stop will save you a few whole seconds of drive time. I've also heard how some people learn better through the use of mnemonics. In this case, I'm going to employ a reverse acronym system. What I mean is that while some people learn several words by creating an acronym of their first letters, I'm going to give you a four-word phrase to help you remember our special word of the day and what it means. Sound good?

"Stop" has four letters. S-T-O-P. So here we go...





= Sit = Tight = Overanxious = Prick

I really hope this helps. My only goal here is to educate and inform. I want to make this world more pleasant for all of us who have to suffer at the hands of insufferable bastards like yourself.

Now let's put all this unpleasantness behind us, okay? Next time we see each other, maybe we can smile and wave like nice citizens. Sound like a deal? And please retract that middle finger while doing so.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): And how are Katie and I spending this evening? At The Party That Shall Not Be Named, of course! And tomorrow is day three of the Kapgar Summer Concert Series with Rocco DeLuca and the Burden at the House of Blues in Chicago! Totally loaded weekend that we're gonna love!

Look out, here comes the Spider-Pig...

This conversation happened yesterday.

Me: So I was playing with an anagram generator online today...

Katie: Oh no. What did you find out?

Me: It told me that a possible anagram for "Katie Apgar" is "A Karate Pig."

Katie: But I wanna be a spider pig!

Me: Sorry, you're a karate pig.

Katie: Fine. And you?

Me: "Vagina Perk." (see #14 for proof)

Katie: . . .

Me: Hello?

Katie: Really. Is that what it said?

Me: Yep!

Katie: And you believe that?

Me: It says it so it must be true. The Web never lies.

Katie: Yeah, you just keep believing that.

Me: Love you, too.

I think I'm going to stick with the "they said it, so it must be true" ideal. Any complaints?

I'll warn you now, that anagram generator is addictively fun.

The time that I thought would last...

I'm curious what happened to the "right" time?


Okay, when I was young, there was a point in my life when girls suddenly and miraculously changed from friends (I never bought into the cootie factor) to someone you, well, like... as more than just friends.

And nothing plays harder into this discovery phase than older women. If you're lucky, you have a friend with a hot older sister and you start to hang out at their place more often. Maybe it's a babysitter and, suddenly, your whining for independence and lessened supervision when your parents go out wanes a bit.

Being as ingrained in pop culture as I've always been, the first women I looked at as sex symbols were those on the screen (both large and small) as well as in the music industry. Elisabeth Shue of The Karate Kid and Cocktail, Belinda Carlisle of The Go-Go's, Maureen McCormick of The Brady Bunch (in syndication, of course), and Virginia Madsen of that picture I tore out of a magazine and had hanging on the wall of my bedroom for a good five or more years.

The problem, besides them being famous and completely out of reach, is that they were far too old for me at the time. I realized that even then. But it never stopped the drooling.

Time passed. Yet I don't seem to recall, in the intervening years from Ali ditching Daniel just before his trip to Okinawa to the last several years, any celebrities that did as much for me as my early crushes.

Recently, however, I've developed another series of mini crushes and my tendencies have gone completely reverse. This time around, they're all far too young for me! Megan Fox of Transformers (does anyone realize that she was only three years old when her fiancee, Brian Austin Green, started on Beverly Hills 90210?); Joss Stone of, well, Joss Stone; and another young actress who shall remain nameless due to the fact that she's not quite legal yet suffice it to say that she makes for a cute on-screen cheerleader.

What the heck?!?! Shouldn't there have been some sort of reverse sliding scale to ease me into this stage of celebrity lust? As I aged, shouldn't there have been other actresses or singers I liked that slowly moved closer in age to myself before they suddenly became younger than me?

Apparently not.

I skipped directly from horny pre-teen to old-ass pervert in what feels like no time at all.

Oh goodie.

Don't need nothin' but a good time...

Change of pants? Check.

Clean T-shirt? Yep.

Boots? Uh-huh.

Camera? You betcha.

Pre- and post-show medication for the headbanging? Damn skippy. (I'm not as young as I used to be)

Willingness to just let loose and rock out live to one of my favorite bands of the 80s and early 90s tonight for the first time in 17 years? HELLS YEAH!

The Kapgar Summer Concert Series continues tonight with Poison and special guests Ratt and some other band at World Music... er, First Midwest Amphitheatre tonight. I seriously have not seen these guys live since 1990 when they were on the Flesh & Blood tour and Warrant opened for them. It was a great show by a band I worshipped and now I get to see them again.

Oh, and just like the Def Leppard show, it's free.

By the way, Def Leppard rocked. As did Foreigner and Styx. God I love Styx. Great friggin' band. And, they still rocked even playing second fiddle to Leppard. Got some pictures of the fun over on Flickr.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA):
I hate when this happens. Last night, Katie and I were reading in bed and I started falling asleep. So I put my book away, took off my glasses, shut off my light, and fell asleep. A while later, Katie decided to put down her book and try for some z's. As soon as she was done getting ready, I woke up. And I couldn't fall back asleep.

Completely unfair.

If you want me, I'll be in the bar...

This is the first in a series of posts suggested by readers in the second Kapgar Lyrical Challenge. Today's title suggested by Bec, whose blog, as of this morning, is apparently under temporary suspension by her hosting company. What did you do now, Bec?

Drunkenness can lead to many a memorable escapade. I know from multiple experiences... my 19th birthday, my 21st birthday, my 25th birthday, several other drunken outings throughout my college years, and one time when I was about three years old.

Well, I guess I should clarify, they were memorable to those around me. My own memories of them? Pretty well shot, to be honest. Pun fully intended.

My 19th birthday involved lots of Rumplemintz. What happened after that? Your guess is as good as mine. My 21st birthday? I remember shots one through eight. That's when they hit me with the Three Wisemen (Jack, Johnny, and Jim, all in one glass). After a few rolfing episodes and my roommate sticking me in the shower and dousing me, I can safely say that the only wise thing about them is to never mix them. Three years old? No clue whatsoever. You'll have to ask my parents.

My 25th birthday, on the other hand, I remember fairly well. It was also my brother's 21st birthday (they fall six days apart) and we decided to take part in a DeKalb, IL, tradition known as "riding the rail." This involved paying ahead of time to receive a punch card that lists about a dozen and a half 20-ounce beers that were to be chugged during a single time period during which the bar was open. Each time you drink, you get a punch on the card. The beers ranged from piss water (Milwaukee's Best) to liquid charcoal (Guinness Extra Stout) and everybody you talked to had a theory as to the best way to consume them with as minimal effect as possible.

They were all full of it.

All you can really do is drink and hope for the best. And, more often than not, the best would elude you completely.

My friends BDub and MadIrishMan (MIM) were in town for the festivities and to take part themselves.

I remember making it through all the beers without a problem. There was just the random trip to the bathroom as holding off on breaking the proverbial seal just wasn't going to happen no matter how hard we tried. Better to just take the time and make the trip.

I also remember leaving the bar to go home with little to no incident at all once all the drinking was said and done. I lived about a half mile from the bar so we walked. At the end of my parking lot, apparently, my brother and MIM had enough of each other and started sparring. BDub and I broke it up and we continued on to the steps leading up to my third-floor apartment.

This is where my memory fails. The rest is just a mad spiral downward.

I don't remembering ascending the staircase. I don't remember entering my apartment. I don't remember Katie helping me to the bathroom (she couldn't go with us because she was already sick with legitimate flu symptoms). I don't remember dry heaving until every blood vessel in my right eye popped. I don't remember being left in the tub of my bathroom with the shower running (what is it with me and showers when I'm drunk?). I don't remember my brother passing out in the fetal position in the papasan chair in my living room. I don't remember MIM passing out in my roommates' bathroom with his back against the door and feet wedged against the toilet thus keeping himself stuck inside and everyone else out. I also don't remember my female roommate coming into my bathroom when all attempts to dislodge MIM failed and she just really needed to go, so she closed the shower curtain between us.

About the only thing I do remember is waking up... and wishing I never even did that.

I was too sick to do anything for the next 24 hours. I could barely move. And my parents as well as Katie's parents were coming out the next day to take us all to dinner as part of a mass family surprise birthday dinner planned by Katie. Great timing, Kev.

Seven and a half years later and I still haven't completely lived it down.

The world is a vampire, set to dra-ee-aa-ee-ain...

I truly hate when this happens.

I had what I thought were two great ideas for posts in my head yesterday. I worked them through and began to flesh them out a bit before my softball game. They were prepped to the point where all I had to do was type them out.

But did I?

Nope. I was sitting in my truck and didn't have a computer or a connection.

So I thought I'd grab my Moleskine and write them out. I had the notebook nearby, but, get this, no pen. My truck regularly has three or four pens floating around in it. This time, though, the time when I actually need them? Nada!

And, now, they go bye-bye.

That would've been two posts in the can and ready to go.

Then I thought maybe I'd resort to the aforementioned Moleskine and see what stories I've written in it that I could share. But, as mentioned before, it's all the way out in my truck and, well, I'm not. And I'm just too lazy to grab it right now even though my garage door is not that far away. By the time, I finally considered this as a viable option, it was already about ten minutes before I need to leave for work. If I were to spend the time flipping through it to find a story and then retype it, I'd wind up late.

So basically you're getting bupkis today. How sad is that? You come over here hoping for some story in which I embarrass myself immensely, like so many of my stories have done lately, and I greet you with an admission of defeat.

I'm sorry. Truly. So in light of this, it's probably a good thing that the results of the Lyrical Challenge voting are in so I now have ideas.

The winning lyric, and first one I plan to post about, is:

  • Bec with "If you want me I'll be in the bar" from Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You"

That'll be an easy one. Got plenty of bar stories to choose from. Mostly the kind in which you don't enjoy waking up the next morning.

Tied in second place, we have:

  • Odie with "I have no fear of falling, but I hate hitting the ground" from The Badlees' "Fear of Falling"
  • metalmom's "There's bloodstains on my ax and I don't know where I've been" from Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets"

I have no idea what I'm doing on that last one but the first won't be so bad.

And tied in third, we have:

  • SJ's "I hear something there in the shadow down the hall..." from Concrete Blonde's "Bloodletting"
  • Erin's "I don't do love, I don't do women named Hannah, I don't do red head girls from Lou'siana" from the Old 97s' "Coahuila."

You might find this odd, but that Lou'siana lyric won't really be all that tough considering I dated a N'awlins girl just before I met Katie. And, while I know what SJ is looking for with her lyric, I don't feel like rehashing an old story, so I'll have to come up with something new.

As for a posting schedule, I know I promised you one, but that may not happen. With how uninspired I tend to feel on any given day, I may wind up doing one of these a week or as many as all five, just 'cause. Having people suggest a theme on which I can blog is going to be a saving grace especially considering how empty my brain was this morning (no comments from the Peanut Gallery, 'tay?). I will guarantee that Bec's lyric will be posted on next week. Probably Monday or Tuesday.

If your lyric wasn't selected, fear not. It is likely I may use it in the near future anyway. There were some really great suggestions, and one comment I particularly liked from The Exception was that I blog on all of them. Maybe I will. But you'll have to wait and see.

Yeah, somehow I'm not sure that typing all this out really took less time than it would have for me to grab my Moleskine and just steal something from it.

Fuel is pumping engines...

More snippets...

Bend Over:
My chase yesterday morning to find that one last gas station in the suburbs that is charging south of $3.20 per gallon in light of a major recent spike made me recall this conversation I had with Katie on Tuesday. Sadly, all such related conversations tend to end this same way.

Katie: Damn! I wish I filled up my gas tank this morning!

Me: Why? Really good price? Like $3.05?

Katie: $3.00 on the money.

Me: Really? That's awesome!

Katie: Yeah, well now it's $3.29.


Yeah, it's true. One of my favorite stations spiked from $3.05 on Tuesday morning to $3.45 on Wednesday morning. This is just sick and wrong.

Can you tell I'm also trying to bump my site's rating a little bit? Don't hate me. I put my seventh of a gallon worth of change in the swear jar.

Slurpee80_2 80 Years:
Happy birthday to the 7-Eleven chain that turned 80 years old yesterday. How did they celebrate? By giving away 7.11 ounce Slurpees (well, "Squishees" now since they are still in the midst of The Simpsons' marketing juggernaut) on 7/11.

Yes, I got my freebie when I went in to pick up my fantasy football guide (you starting another blogger league, Brandon?) I never quite realized just how small 7.11 ounces was until I saw the cup. For your own reference, I've provided a picture of the cup next to a standard-sized wine cork.

Just a bit small. But still free. And I got The Simpsons' Blue Vanilla special flavor and, just like old times, I got a brain freeze. Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven!

A big thank you to my girl, Hilly, who, a week ago, provided me with a copy of the wav file containing the CTU office phone ringtone from the show 24. Although I couldn't figure out how at first, I finally managed to transfer it to my phone and set it up as my ringtone. Woo hoo! It's the coolest damn thing in the world!

If you'd like the CTU ringer as your own ringtone, send an e-mail to your cellphone (you'll have to figure that out on your own) and put the following code (between the brackets) in the body of the e-mail... [http://kapgar.typepad.com/CTU.mp3].

It should work. No guarantees, though. It worked on AT&T/Cingular for me, though, and when we uploaded Low Stars' "Calling All Friends" to Katie's phone.

If you haven't voted yet, please go back to the Lyrical Challenge page and pick your top two lyrics to serve as a theme for my blogging in the future. Voting will close tomorrow.

Will I be on the streets tomorrow...

How about some random snippets today?

Stupid Blonde Reporter:
Amy Jacobson of NBC 5 news in Chicago has negotiated a release from her contract. She's pretty well known around these parts and now even moreso. Why? Because the idiot was caught on tape in a bikini and towel at the house of Craig Stebic, the husband of missing mom Lisa Stebic, a story that Jacobson has been reporting on since the beginning.

Her excuse? She was on her way to a health club and received a call from the sister of the missing woman and turned immediately back around to head to the husband's house, bikini and all.

Now explain to us all why he (one of the PD's top suspects, by the way) was in a swimsuit, as well, and you were eating food at his place with his kids around, huh?

People claimed she was getting some nice exclusives. Now we know why.

And NBC has already pulled her from their Web site. Nice.

Update: Found out the kids were hers, not Craig's. So she had her own kids along with her while doing some "investigative reporting."

Smarter Blonde Reporter:
Ivanka Trump on The View? Wow, that might've even given me enough reason to watch that cacklefest. Sadly, 'tis not meant to be.

Davecago, Take 2:
So, some of you may have heard of this obscure guy named David Simmer II. Perhaps you've seen the name Blogography around the Intarwebs? Well, maybe one or two of you anyway. He's coming to town in August and is trying to pull together a mass meeting of fellow D-list bloggers (I KID!) for a night of pizza and brew in the Loop. Anybody interested?

Graverunners Union:
I was driving home when I noticed some kids practicing baseball. No big deal, right? Wrong. Their practice field was right beside a graveyard.

Catch that last part?

Right ... Beside ... A ... Graveyard

That's when I came up with the coolest idea for coaching motivation ever!!!! The coach needs to show up with two bat bags. When speaking to the team, the coach motions to the first bag, full of bats, and says, "if you don't learn to use these," he then turns to the second bag, full of shovels, and says, "you'll learn to use these."

Think it might work?

Parental Guidance:
I'm so ashamed. Stupid freakin' New Year's Resolution!!!!

Online Dating

Hilly, I think I need you to guest blog again and up my rating. Think you can pull off an NC17 for me in a single post, hon?

Dilbert Porn:
I got this from my desk calendar a couple weeks ago (it's a few years old, otherwise, based on date of original publication). Simply put... best. Dilbert. ever.


And a happy Hump Day to you, too!

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you...

What would it take for you to completely uproot your life and try something totally different? To leave the comfort and relative security of your suburban or city life and, say, move to Africa? To find yourself by getting lost?

I read an article recently, I think in Outside magazine, about somebody who did just that. He and his wife left their lives in the United States. Sold most of their possessions and their home, quit their jobs, and moved to Africa. It wasn't some haphazard decision made by a couple people who just thought it might be a cool idea. It was actually several years in the making. They debated the idea for a while, came up with pros and cons, talked to friends and family, and then finally decided to, in the words of Nike, just do it.

So, they tied up their loose ends, paid off outstanding bills, renewed their passports, and said goodbye.

Now they're living in Kenya. Both are spending a vast majority of their time living amongst the native people in small villages getting a feel for what a more simplistic lifestyle is like. Trying to escape and become this generation's Allie Fox. But, seeing as how they are leaving family behind, they will be making occasional jaunts into local cities for the purpose of communication and, perhaps, research. Otherwise, they intend to wholly distance themselves from the lives they've come to know.

Of course, it will never be the same for them as it is for those who live the life everyday. They realize this. They will be viewed as outsiders and will always be treated as such. But they are doing what they can to experience the life and to, ideally, help in whatever way they can. They are not part of some religious mission or an organized aid group of any kind. Just two people. Doing what they believe is their calling. Finding themselves by losing themselves.

And I envy them this decision.

I'm not trying to say that I'm unhappy with my life. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love my life and my wife. But I wonder what kind of personal wherewithall it would take to do something like this and whether or not I could do it. I somehow doubt it. But it's a romantic thought all the same.

The Autobots wage the battle...

Before I continue, I must apologize to my brother (who likely will never read this anyway) and my brother-in-law (who will). But when your wife, the least geeky person you know, says that she owes you for helping her study for an exam and is actually willing to go see Transformers with you and is still willing to go even after you give her multiple chances to opt out, you go. That's just how it is.

When you look over during the movie and see her laughing when she should laugh, cheering when she should cheer, scowling at the bad guys, and otherwise legitimately enjoying the film, it's a good thing. A very good thing.

As for the movie... loved it. Yes, it's a big-budget, blockbuster-infused, popcorn-fest of a film directed by one of those men that serious moviegoers should never like (Michael Bay) because they tend to strip movies of their legitimacy as an artform, but I did. And I admit it proudly.

I really dug the plot and the way things were played out. Basically, it's a story about robots on Earth trying to find the source of their power that was lost during a war on their now-defunct planet. The Autobots want to stop the Decepticons not only from finding it, but from destroying the human race in the process.

One great thing is that they limited the number of Transformers on each side of the battlefield. I believe it was five each and that was about it. For the Autobots, we had Optimus Prime, Jazz, Bumblebee, Ratchett, and Ironhide. For the Decepticons, it was Megatron, Starscream, Barricade, Bonecrusher, and Frenzy. I remember all the Autobots as being part of the first incarnation of the series and the same goes for Megatron and Starscream on the bad guys side. Something about Barricade strikes a familiar chord. But, who the heck were Bonecrusher and Frenzy? I also think the boom box was supposed to be a shout out to Soundwave, although his actual name was never mentioned and the 'bot he transformed into was simply one of the grunt drones, so I'm not sure it was actually supposed to be him.

It was a bit too long in some areas and could've been edited down to shorten the overall two-and-a-half hour runtime. However, when the action kicked in, it was on like Donkey Kong. The battle scenes were intense, things got destroyed, the filmmakers were not afraid to kill both humans and robots, and the special effects were fantastic. Seeing Bonecrusher "skating" down the highway actually looked like it was real. And the film was clearly fun for all ages so far as I could tell from the little kid seated behind me cheering the entire movie.

Bumblebee For a Transformers nut like myself (I collected the toys, read the comics to a certain point, and watched the cartoon), it was nice to see that they did maintain some aspects of the original storyline -- the Autobots did everything in their power to protect human lives, the Decepticons did not, Bumblebee (at right) was the first to make contact with a human, Optimus Prime was a truck, Jazz was a sports car, Starscream a jet, Ratchett an ambulance. But some things did change. Bumblebee was supposed to be a VW Beetle not a Camaro (yes, the filmmakers had a deal with GM, clearly, negating the chance to make a key character anything but a GM vehicle; although they did take a jab at their rival by making the bad guy cop car, Barricade, a Ford Mustang) and Megatron a pistol not some funky jet, but I suppose I can deal with these minor variances.

And then, of course, there was the game of who's who that could be played throughout the film. We had Aaron from 24 (Glenn Morshower), the wheelchair-bound guy from The Unit (Michael O'Neill), Alan from Dave (Kevin Dunn), Dave from What About Brian (Rick Gomez), Brian Austin Green's fiancee (Megan Fox), Mr. "Hello, Mr. Anderson" from The Matrix (Hugo Weaving), and Eddie Winslow from Family Matters (Darius McCrary), among a bunch more. It was a lot of fun to see who we could spot.

All in all, though, it was a fun time at the show. One I would recommend for just about anyone out there looking for high-octane fun.

Next up, ideally, will be Live Free or Die Hard. Woo hoo!

Thank you, sweetie, for once again catering to my inner geek... and enjoying it yourself, as well.

Fox fur on my back, bow tie 'round my neck (cont.)...

UPDATE: Added SJ's nomination. Completely forgot. My bad. Please re-vote if necessary!

And now, the vote!

For those of you who didn't play the first time back in September, I've already held the nominations for song lyrics for the Lyrical Challenge. Some of you nominated one lyric while others picked multiple. What I did the last time and will do again, is pick one song lyric from each person myself then I'll post them all below and you guys will pick your favorites of the bunch.

Depending on how the voting goes, I will pick the top several although I'm not yet sure how many that will be. I'll kinda make that up as I go along. Hey! It's my site, I can do that, right? If there are some I really like that don't get the votes, I may just do them down the line sometime anyway for kicks.

What I'd like you to do is pick two lyrics each from those listed below. Put your favorite first and then your second favorite after that. When I tally up the totals, I will give a more heavily weighted score to the first one chosen so please make sure you put them in order with your favorite first. If you tell me, "1. Dagny / 2. August," then Dagny's song will get two votes while August's song gets one.

Here are my favorite nominated songs from each person...

"I hear something there in the shadow down the hall..." - Concrete Blonde, "Bloodletting"

"Tell you to pray, while the devil's on their shoulder"  - Pearl Jam, "World Wide Suicide"

"I feel so foolish, I never noticed" - Bonnie Raitt, "Something To Talk About"

"I have no fear of falling, but I hate hitting the ground" - The Badlees, "Fear of Falling"

"If you want me I'll be in the bar" - Joni Mitchell, "A Case Of You"

The Exception:
"Sometimes I think about what might have been" - Little Texas, "What Might Have Been"

"Baby got back" - Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Baby Got Back"

"If I had your faith that I could make it safe and clean" - The Cure, "Head on the Door"

"I'll never be untrue"  - Al Green, "Let's Stay Together"

"She's got the Jack" AC/DC, "The Jack"

"I don't do love, I don't do women named Hannah, I don't do red head girls from Lousiana" - Old 97s, "Coahuila"

"You wasted life, why wouldn't you waste death" - Modest Mouse, "Ocean Breathes Salty"

"There's bloodstains on my ax and I don't know where I've been" - Megadeth, "Sweating Bullets"

Go ahead and tell me your top choices. Remember, only pick two each. Sometime next week, I will post the winners and come up with a posting schedule.

Have a great weekend!

That our flag was still there...

I love that the Fourth of July holiday wound up in the middle of the week. Of course, I would not have minded a long weekend by having it fall on a Friday or Monday, but breaking up the week right in the middle was pretty nice, I must say.

On Tuesday night, Katie and I met up late to go see License to Wed. Not a spectacular movie by any means. In fact, parts of it were just downright bad. But if you go into it realizing that Robin Williams is not even a quarter the actor he used to be and that now he's a guy that just relies on over-the-top behavior to get a few pathetic yuks, then you'll be okay. Clearly, it was he that ruined the movie for us. Not that the rest was great, but we can easily pin a vast majority of our frustration on him and his "acting." Discussing it afterwards, we think we would've preferred someone like Dustin Hoffman in the role. It would've made for a better movie.

The next morning, we slept in late and made ourselves breakfast. Then we watched this week's episode of Miami Ink and flipped on the full version of the Concert for Diana on our Music: HD channel (I guess it's part of the VH1 family since it kept all the VH1 commentary throughout).

Let me tell you, NBC dropped the ball with their Matt Lauer-hosted, one-hour rebroadcast of the show. Katie had been looking forward to the concert for a couple weeks and so we watched it. They played, maybe, a grand total of seven songs of which only two were even decent and then they kill it after an hour??? What? They had something better to play on their fourth-ranked network over the summer dead season? They butchered the entire purpose behind the concert which was to capture Princess Diana's love of music and the arts and share it with the world. All NBC execs did was pick out a few of what they considered to be the more popular artists and play one song by each. They missed out on letting the world see a ballet company that Diana loved as well as reproductions of several songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals sung by some of the artists that made them popular on Broadway. Between each artist, they would either flash over to commentary by VH1 veejays or to a pre-filmed testimonial on how Diana affected the life of someone personally. The person would speak to the camera accompanied by archival footage or photos and then, when it was done, the camera would show that the person was in attendance at the concert.

The full-length concert was very well done and the Princes William and Harry did a fine job planning this six-hour spectacular (with help, I'm sure) only to have it slaughtered by Never Broadcasting Cualidad (okay, I was having trouble with the "C" so I resorted to Spanish. Sue me).

Of course, during this concert, we were cleaning the lower level of our house. We finally gutted our pantry closet and made it much more usable. It's quite nice now actually. We followed this up with shopping for new bikes. I think we found ones that we like and may go buy them this weekend. We've been using the same old $70 Target-purchased bikes for six years now and they're just not holding up well. This has a lot to do with the fact that for the first three years we owned them, we didn't have a garage in which to store them, so they stayed on our back porch during the winter and I would have to clean the rust off each spring. Not pretty. So we'll soon have new ones. Yay!

And now, the fireworks! As we did two years ago, we headed to St. Charles, the next town north on the Fox River, and watched what I consider one of the best suburban fireworks displays around. They did not fail us this time around either. Brian and Jen drove up for the display and I'm pretty sure they enjoyed them, too. It was about 25 minutes long and we had prime seating right across the river from where they were being launched.

God, I love fireworks. And me, of all people, forgot a camera. Go fig, eh?

Hero du Jour: I would be remiss if I didn't mention my eternal gratitude to Baba (I know it's not his name as I'm pretty sure this translates to "Papa") of Baba's Groceries, a small Indian grocery store in the strip mall where we parked for the fireworks. On a day when everyone either closed early or never opened in the first place, Baba kept his tiny little grocery open until just an hour before the fireworks started. On this hot, muggy day, he made a killing selling water bottles and snacks to the lumbering masses that forgot to bring their own and needed some cold refreshment. Smart man. And he was a nice guy, too. "Oh yes, those are very good cookies!" he said to me as I tried to figure which Indian cookies (made in Canada, of course) to buy. I chose the Pista cookies and they were, as he promised, great.

Asshat du Jour: A recap of our Fourth of July holiday would not be complete without pointing out the fact that Katie's earth science teacher kept her in class on the third until 9:15 at night. With people wanting to leave on holiday combined with the fact that half the other classes at the college were canceled and those that were in session were being let out a little after 7:00 p.m., you'd think this yahoo would be kind enough to forego any additional teaching. Nope. Instead he makes Katie and her class finish out the time with an hour-long video about how weather changed the course of World War II.

I hope you all had a good holiday as well.

Oh, and if you haven't submitted song lyrics for the second Lyrical Challenge, please do so today. I'll be picking one lyric per person and posting them tomorrow to have you vote on which ones you want me to use.

The Simpsons...

There are occasional moments in a relationship when even the truest love is tested. The envelope stretched. Limits pushed. Patience worn.

When one of the participants in a couple is a geek, this happens more often than anyone would care to admit.

Take, for example, how geeked out I was over the news that a dozen 7-Eleven franchises across the nation and in Canada would be making a temporary transformation to Kwik-E-Marts in honor of the film version of The Simpsons coming out later this month. Granted the nearest one is in the South Side of Chicago (near Shelbyville, HA!), and I'm not too thrilled at making the trip in to the city to see it, I am still geeked over the fact that all 7-Elevens will trade in some of their standard products for Simpsons-themed variations.

Katie could've just rolled her eyes and chalked up yet another one to my inner nerd. She could've ignored me entirely. She could have shouted "ear muffs" and run around with her hands cupped over her ears until I finally shut up.

But what did she do instead?

She made a trip to the 7-Eleven near her work and picked up some of the goodies!

KrustyO's and Buzz Cola

Nutrition guarantee

D'oh! Now that's love!

Happy Fourth of July to all of you... well, those of you who celebrate it anyway. I think this exonerates Bec, Nat, and Suze. The rest of you, go out and watch some fireworks!

Wake up, dreamer, it's happening without you...

Are you a planner or a planned-for?

What I mean is, do you actively make plans for yourself at all times or, if in a couple, are you the one that makes plans for all social engagements; or do you rely on someone else, in many cases your significant other, to make plans for you?

In my marriage, Katie is definitely the planner and I'm the planned-for. There's simply no question about it. I'm not entirely sure how we fell into these roles. It just kinda happened. One day, I never knew what was going on because, even while single, I wasn't much of a planner. The next, I had a walking, talking Day Planner... and one that kisses very well, too. Added bonus.

I hate making plans to do things. I hate trying to remember what's going on a month from now let alone tomorrow. What are Katie and I doing on the 4th of July? I've asked her a few times and she's told me, but I still don't really remember that well. When the time comes, she'll get us where we need to be.

Of course, I cannot use her at work. That would just be awkward. Can you imagine me calling her up at her work while I'm at my own job and then ask, "Hon, what are my meetings for the day?" Just not good.

So I've thought that in a life in which I'm a planned-for, I always had work to make me feel like I had some semblance of responsibility for myself and my actions.

Yesterday, I realized this is not the case. Whereas, in my personal life, my planner is a human being -- my wife -- in my professional life, it's more computerized -- my Palm Pilot and my Outlook account. I pay absolutely no attention to what's going on until one of the two, or both, tell me where I need to be and it never dawned on me until yesterday.

I was sitting at my desk typing away when all of a sudden my Palm Pilot sprung to life and started chirping an alert that I had a meeting in 15 minutes. "Yeah, yeah," I said. "I know." And I hit the clear button.

"Were you talking to me?" said my office mate.

"Um... no," I replied. It was then that it hit me, I was talking to my Palm Pilot. I was treating it as though it were human -- more specifically, I suppose, Katie -- and I were responding to a comment about some place we need to be.

Oh crap, I've lost complete control of my actions. I'm just an automaton going through the motions of life, performing an act or going some place that something or someone else dictates.

And, now that I think about it, it doesn't bother me one bit. ;-)

You got me down on my knees...

My name is Kapgar and I like pedicures.

It's a shameful admission for someone who would like to consider himself a true "man," but this is me being honest. Laying it all out on the line. Letting the truth be known. If any of you are now disgusted with me and can't stand the very mention of my name, I will understand if you remove me from your favorites list, blogrolls, readers, etc. Totally understand.

But I do like them and right about now I feel like I am in desperate need of one.

My feet, being the most used and abused part of my body (um...), are frequently in terrible shape. I won't go into details suffice it to say that they're just. plain. bad.

And, let me tell you, in times like this, desperate measures are necessary to combat what I'm feeling down on these cloven hooves. Desperate measures in the form of a young woman down on her knees at my feet taking care of my every need...

Yikes, I totally made pedicurists sound like prostitutes, didn't I? Well, they do make me feel real good and I pay them for this service, so... JUST KIDDING!

It is amazing, though, how good a job a well-trained pedicurist can do on my feet. They feel like a million bucks afterwards. And, right about now, I feel like I owe my feet that much money and more.

Maybe it's about time I visit my local foot lady.

You won't think any less of me, will you?