19 posts from September 2007

I smoke two joints at night...

Is it possible that Bernard has taken up smoking?

You know how after you've gone to a particularly smoky bar and you take a shower, you can kinda feel and even smell the bar washing off your body? It's almost like peeling a layer of your skin off and starting new. A bit like if our bodies were pads of Post-It Notes... no matter how grungy the top layer becomes, you can always peel it off and get a fresh one below.

Well, my shower this morning felt that way. I felt really grungy and could feel all of it washing off me this morning. But the weird thing is that I smelled cigarette smoke. It was just like how it would smell if I had been at a bar the night before. Since I don't smoke, I couldn't taste it in my mouth or anything, but the smell had somehow ingrained itself secondhand in my skin. And here it was washing down the drain.

The only catch is that I haven't been around any smokers. And I've never even taken a drag off a cigarette in my life.

I exercised at the gym at work at 5 last night, showered, said good night to the security guard, and headed home. I knew Katie was at our normal gym and, since I hadn't heard from her, I thought I'd stop by and see if she was there. Turns out our gym was offering free massages that day so Katie and I both got one. Then we went home.

So, aside from the security guard, the masseuse, Katie, and a couple random people at the gym, I had no human contact since my shower yesterday evening. And yet I still smelled cigarette smoke in the shower this morning. Nowhere else, just the shower.

Bernie m'man, I think we need to lay down some house rules.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): One of my old grad school professors also serves as the Editor in Chief of an academic journal all about popular music and its impact on society. I was checking out the Web site for the journal and noticed that they have a call for papers regarding the topic of "music as torture."

I immediately dropped what I was doing and e-mailed him. "So it's going to be an issue dedicated to Shania Twain?"

I just couldn't help myself.

And the Shania fans take up arms alongside the Green Day fans.

Good to the last drop...

Having been a past part of the food service industry in two different capacities (host and server), there is one thing I'm very well versed in and I'd like to share that with you this morning.

Decanter_black_2 At right is a black-rimmed coffee decanter. The black is indicative of the contents being fully caffeinated or "regular."

Caffeinated = what coffee was meant to be

Caffeinated = wakey wakey

Caffeinated = God's nectar

Caffeinated = important on a daily basis especially in an office environment

Decanter_orange At left is an orange-rimmed coffee decanter. In this case, the orange helps servers and patrons, alike, know that the contents are decidedly decaffeinated or, if it's not regular, it must be "irregular."

Decaffeinated = no energy

Decaffeinated = sleep inducing

Decaffeinated = stripping coffee of centuries of hard-earned dignity

Decaffeinated = BLECH!

And this viewpoint is reflected daily in my office by the fact that the one black-rimmed decanter is almost always nearly empty while the two orange-rimmed decanters sit nearly full all day long.

Did you catch the irony in that statement? One caffeinated pot that is always low on contents while two decaf pots sit untouched. WHY? DEAR GOD WHY ARE THERE TWO POTS OF DECAF AND ONLY ONE REGULAR??? Is nobody paying attention to what the masses are clearly demanding? Are they intentionally attempting to create a non-productive work environment?

Yes, I know it's easy enough for me to brew a new pot of regular coffee. But, any of you coffee lovers out there know that when you want coffee, you want it that second. Not 10 or 15 minutes later when the pot finally stops brewing. The wait is hell.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA):
Have any of you listened to Kanye West's new album Graduation? Any good? It's funny because all the hype seemed to be about the head-to-head sales competition between West and 50 Cent who both released new albums on the same day. However, I've heard jack about it since and never really heard much in the way of album reviews of either. All writing was focused on the competition.

Let's talk about sex, baby...

A couple sex-related questions I'd like to throw out there for ya today.

You are a married person in your real life. Now, supposing time travel were possible and you went back in time and visited an earlier period of your life before you were with your current spouse. Not much has changed about how you looked between both periods of time that can't be chalked off to "being tired," meaning that if you ran into people you know in this time period you traveled to, they wouldn't think you looked all that different. You now run into an ex love of yours. To this person at this time, you are still together and this person wants to have sex. Is it cheating to have sex with this person that you were, at that point in time, in a monogamous relationship with and that you'll likely not see again after this visit?

Second question, what is worse for a relationship, having an open marriage in which you share yourself both sexually and emotionally with another person other than your spouse or having single-serving sex with another person? Assume, in both cases, that your spouse knows and consents and that transmission of diseases is not a concern.

No, Katie and I are not at some strange crossroads in our marriage. Both are inspired by television viewing last night. We got around to watching the series premiere of Journeyman on NBC, which, while a bit awkward, shows promise and strikes me as a much more somber and modernized Quantum Leap. God I loved Leap.

The second was inspired by yesterday's Oprah. Sorry Hilly, I know you're disappointed. But when you're flipping through channels after the news is done and all of a sudden the program guide shows that Oprah is talking about open marriages, you become morbidly curious. And watching her squirm very uncomfortably was more than worth it. The couple that we watched being interviewed talked about how the woman had too much love in her heart for just a single relationship. How strange is that?

I took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights...

Just as a warning, you might see my name in the news sometime soon as I'm considering proposing new legislation within the State of Illinois. Should this legislation pass, and I don't see why it wouldn't, I'm sure it will catch on like wildfire in the other 49 states and several of our protectorates and even up into Canadian provinces as well.

The legislation?

I want to allow pedestrians in areas of high motor traffic to arm themselves with baseball bats. No, not guns or any projectile-based or even bladed armaments. Just a good ol' Louisville Slugger that can be used to beat the ever-loving crap out of the cars of idiot drivers.

Yeah, you all remember my stop-sign rant, right? Well, KIDS (the Kapgar Idiot Driving School, as I'm now calling it) is back in session with a second lesson, this time on proper use of turn signals.

Mr. Driver, I know you may feel like if there are no other cars waiting at an intersection that you are exempt from some of the basic rules of the road. But I, and the Illinois Rules of the Road, tend to think otherwise in this matter. In Chapter 3 in the subsection titled "Signaling and Turning," the guidelines for both left turns and right turns state, "Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles in the intersection."

Do you know what this means? If I, as a pedestrian (read: "person walking on his own two feet who is much more susceptible to injury at the bumper of an oncoming car"), am in the intersection, I am allowed by law to continue through the intersection unimpeded and, thus, you cannot turn especially in instances where YOU FORGET TO USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL THUS MAKING ME ASSUME YOU ARE GOING STRAIGHT only to have you turn into me and then scowl at me as though I'M IN THE WRONG.

The only thing I'm wrong about is that I made an assumption. I should know, never assume where drivers are concerned because all of them are idiots. I'm sure even I am to some degree when I'm behind the wheel of a car. But, in a court of law, this new legislation will prove I am right and I will be exonerated and I won't owe you one red cent in damages after I pull out my state-supported, special edition Louisville Slugger: Driver Behavior Modification model and pound in your headlights, front grill (they're all plastic these days anyway), hood, and windshield.


Oh yeah, we pedestrians shall have our revenge!

Hey Dave, can KIDS employ you to develop a Dumbasses edition cover for our Guide to Driving?

P.S. I would like to thank Carrie Underwood for writing the perfect lyrics to accompany this post. Damn, girl. It doesn't get much better than that. I know you claim this song is about some cheating ex-boyfriend, but we all know you're really just a frustrated pedestrian using relationships to cover your desire to club the tar out of vehicles owned by idiot drivers. Admit it. We'll still love your music. Don't worry.

C'mon and be my little good luck charm...

I suddenly felt old yesterday.

Very old.

Katie and I went to see the new Dane Cook starrer Good Luck Chuck. I know, I know, why didn't I read the Good Doctor's review first, right? I seriously should have known better when IMDb's keywords for the movie are listed as "Breasts / Topless / Temptation / Curse / Sexual Wiles." Normally, this wouldn't phase a guy, right? Well, I guess I still tend to look for some of the more traditional movie genre descriptors when selecting a film to watch in the theater. Descriptors like "Drama" or "Mystery" or "Thriller." Heck, it should've served as a warning that "Comedy" doesn't even come up as one of the first IMDb keywords. Even in the expanded list of keywords, the closest you get is "Sex Comedy."

Not that it was entirely horrible. I have seen worse. And this film did have a few (emphasis on "few") redeeming qualities. Alba was somewhat better than normal, which isn't saying too much, and I dug the guy that played her stoner brother, Lonny Ross, apparently of 30 Rock fame.

Yeah, okay, that was about it.

What made me feel old, though, were two scenes in the movie. One scene in which they do a video screen montage of Chuck (Dane Cook) having sex with a ton of women and the other being the final scene of the film.

In the first, I just sat stoically as the various sexual positions were thrown at us on screen. Honestly, it just didn't phase me in the slightest. This could have something to do with the occasional porn party that was held on my dorm floor as an undergrad. Even porn directors have more regard and cinematographic respect for the act of sex than the makers of this film. But the teenagers around Katie and me, who constituted 90% of the theater's audience, seemed to be in awe. It was one of the few times they shut up entirely. If I were the movie screen, I'd feel like I was burning from the intense stares cast upon it.

The final scene of the film, which I won't even describe, was one of those that was just completely unnecessary in the film. For me, it was akin to seeing Ben Stiller's zipper-impaled sack in There's Something About Mary... a movie I loathe. Both didn't help further the film in any way and just served as a means to get some yuks from the crowd. And they both did just that. The kiddies were cackling like hyenas. Not Katie and me, though. We just sat there wondering why we couldn't get up and walk out. We were transfixed, and possibly even slightly horrified. Perhaps we stuck around out of sympathy at what was being done to that poor... well, I'll leave it at that.

And I'll also end this "review" now and leave you with these little bits to help you decide if Good Luck Chuck is one you want to dish out your hard-earned cash for or not.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA):
Katie and I had fun with Kim and Stephen and Diane and Evan this past Friday. We went out to Yu's Mandarin in Schaumburg to enjoy some good Chinese food and drinks and conversation (well, the conversation wasn't Chinese, thankfully). So a big "thank you" to all involved for making it a great evening!

What would Jay-Z do...

Well, the majority, or so it seemed, voted for 3:10 to Yuma with Shoot 'em Up in a close second. So my dad and I went to see the winner.

It was good, no question. It was very well acted and the cinematography was great. Of course, like you might expect of a western, it had a pretty slow build and some moments of boredom. But I've always found this to be a good thing in westerns as it helps convey the mood of life during that era in that part of the world. Would I recommend it? Sure. Enjoy it.

But movies like this always get me thinking... if I was alive during this era and this film was actually depicting life during that time accurately, who would I have been? What I mean is, knowing what I know about myself, what role would I be living out?

Of course, there are two sides to this coin. The first being what role I would like to see myself in, the romanticized vision of how I would like to see my life. Then, on the other side, there's the reality of who I think I legitimately would have been.

Take 3:10 to Yuma. Would I have been the destitute rancher trying desperately to make ends meet who takes on the epic challenge to earn money and, ideally, respect from his family like Dan Evans (Christian Bale)? Or am I the bad ass criminal mastermind who would just as soon shoot his fellow human being than talk to it like Ben Wade (Russell Crowe)?

There are several other characters that warrant consideration in this question as well... bounty hunter and loner Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda), the willing but not necessarily well suited to the task Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk), Wade's loyal second in charge Charlie Prince (Ben Foster), and many others.

I'm not sure which character I idealize myself as being. Each has his promises and flaws. But, in reality, I'm likely either Dan Evans or Doc Potter. Both are kinda in the wrong place at the right time to make good on their lives and turn it into something memorable even if they shouldn't be doing so.

Another movie that makes me think like this is Brian DePalma's classic The Untouchables. Would I be the lawman (Kevin Costner), the criminal mastermind (Robert DeNiro), the unwilling hero (Charles Martin Smith), the aging cop itching to make a difference regardless of the steps taken (Sean Connery), the gunslinger (Andy Garcia), the second in command (Billy Drago), or just some sideliner? While this may sound rather similar to the options in 3:10 to Yuma, you must consider the setting difference and question whether that would have an effect on your decision. In one, you are in the very lawless rural west where anything goes and you have few options regarding how to make a living. In the other, while it's equally lawless, you have options for employment that could keep you on the straight and narrow.

Oh so many questions.

I may just be overthinking the moviegoing experience.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Woo hoo! Tonight is dinner with some bloggers! A triple date with diane and her man, Evan, as well as Kim and her new hubby, Stephen. I do feel bad for Katie, Stephen, and Evan, though, as none of them are bloggers. But at least they can sit there are all roll their eyes at us together. Heh.

Don't look at me, I don't want you to see me this way...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but whenever you take some sort of course on public speaking, be it a professional training course or just the basic 100-level communication class in college, one of the first things they teach you is to look up from your notes at the people who are in attendance, right? Another tip was to spread out where you look. Don't spend your entire presentation looking at one person.

Clearly, this last bit was missed by a woman presenting at this conference I finished attending yesterday. I swear to God, when she wasn't pointing to things on the projector screen, she was looking directly at me. No joke. Of the 75 minutes that the presentation lasted, she was looking at me for a good 65 of them.

Now, I realize I'm one sexy fine specimen of a human being (*COUGH* *COUGH* *HACK* *HACK*), and I can't say I blame you for wanting to look at me, but I really began to feel the jealous stares of those around me and I even think I caught on to the occasional envy-laced whisper.

Okay, all joking aside, please start looking elsewhere. You made me feel as though I really needed to pay attention to what you were saying. Almost like I was your confirmation of having done a good job during your presentation.

C'mon! What if I wanted to doze off, look at my Palm Pilot, read a book, or even scratch myself inappropriately? Not that I would actually do these, but you were clearly denying me my right to should I have felt the need! 

Next time, look at other people in addition to just me or whoever winds up being your visual target. Please?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Looks like I'm by my lonesome tonight as Katie will be hanging with my mom and the SiL at a city-sponsored "Girls Night Out." Not entirely sure what that entails, but I suppose she'll find out.

I think I may see another one of those NSFK (Not Safe For Katie) movies. Once again, I need your votes to decide. Will it be...

You have until 5 p.m. to cast your vote. And choose wisely, my evening's entertainment depends on you!

Go round and round...

This is a quick snippet post because I'm running late for my final day at a conference and traffic has been horrible!

Oh. My. God. The monster has been reawakened! Katie picked up a few quart-sized Dean's Chocolate Milk Chugs the other day because they were on sale and sounded good.

Damn right they're good! We haven't had chocolate milk in the house in months. Actually, on second thought, it might have been a bit more than a year. Yeah, we had Hershey's Chocolate Syrup here at one point, but it's never the same for me. I can never get the ratio of milk to chocolate syrup just right and I wind up sitting there in a pouring, squeezing, stirring, tasting, lather, rinse, repeat cycle for what seems like an eternity. I'd rather just twist, pour, melt. So much easier.

It took one hour and fifteen minutes to convince me that I never will own a Volvo.

Last night, Katie and I watched a repeat of the E! True Hollywood Story on The View (I don't watch The View at all, but the controversy that's been going on lately has made me laugh hysterically) and they played a Volvo commercial featuring a derivation of the song "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round" literally a dozen times. In most cases, you heard the God-forsaken song twice in a single commercial break.

Ever heard of "overkill"? Well, you just reached it with me.

And, yes, Katie has been relishing the opportunity to further implant the earworm in my head.

With the Primetime Emmy's having happened this past weekend, the major coverage on most entertainment networks like E! and shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight has been about the show and what happened before and after, specifically the Red Carpet Coverage.

I think the opportunity to be on the red carpet is the only reason I'd want to be a celebrity. I want some reporter from E! to come up to me and ask whose clothing I'm wearing as I strut my way to the show. Then I'd turn to the reporter and say, "Men's Wearhouse!"

How weird is it that I desperately want to do that?

Oh, and if anyone from here on out actually does say that, I'd damn well better get the credit for it!

Be a hero on the movie screen...

Katie and I hooked up with the SiL this past weekend to go see The Nanny Diaries. It wasn't necessarily a movie I really wanted to see, but I wasn't completely adverse to it and I owed Katie for making her sit through Superbad, a movie whose viewing I regret more with each passing day. Even though I wanted to see Shoot 'Em Up instead, I went with them. How bad can it be, right? It does have Scarlett Johansson.

It wasn't too bad. It had its funny moments, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. Most of the good scenes were done to death in the previews. And God knows I dreaded having to watch through the "the teddy bear has been compromised" bit. I hated the concept of that line from the second time I saw a trailer for the movie. I had another hundred previews and trailers containing that line to help solidify my hatred of it as well.

I think the best part of the movie was actually the trailers. Holy crap do we have some good stuff coming out this fall and winter!

Of course, there is National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I know it wasn't, by cinematic definitions, a great movie, but Katie and I love watching the original and are looking forward to this one a lot. This, of course, means we will be horrendously disappointed.

We Own the Night with Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix looks pretty promising. Not that it will be nearly as good as the last time Wahlberg played a cop in The Departed. But with both Phoenix and Robert Duvall in tow, how bad can it be?

In the lobby of the theater, we saw a poster for Steve Carell's new one Dan in Real Life. I'm rather hit or miss with Carell. Sometimes he's good, but for the most part, I'm not much of a fan. So I was a bit put off by the poster thinking it just didn't strike me as something I wanted to see. Until the trailer played in the theater, that is. Woah! This could be good. Or it could just be Michael Scott in a feature-length film.

I still think I'm the only person I know (save for the SiL) who wants to see Across the Universe. Anybody else?

As much as Robin Williams annoys me these days, Katie and I are really intrigued by August Rush nonetheless. It stars Freddie Highmore and I can't think of a time that kid hasn't been good.

Speaking of promising young actors, how about Millions star Alex Etel's new movie The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep? It's a fictional story about the origins of the Loch Ness Monster. It looks fantastic.

But my number one movie for the season, the one whose trailer made my jaw drop simply because I've been so removed from the film industry lately that I didn't even realize a movie was being made; one that looks so beautifully realized that I sat more quietly during its airing than I've ever sat before to the point that even Katie realized that something was up. Sorry for the run-on sentence, but the movie I'm referring to is The Kite Runner.

It's funny, but I saw the rating box come up on screen and was troubled by what it said until the very image showed on screen with kites in the air and I knew immediately what it was. My eyes became saucers as I watched snippets of Khaled Hosseini's fantastic novel come to life before me. Although I have yet to write my review of the book over on Fun With Dead Trees, it was easily one of the best books I've read in recent years. It was just such a richly written portrait of life in Afghanistan around the time of the coup and then the Soviet takeover as well as subsequent years as an immigrant in America. If you have not yet read the book, please do so. And soon.

I am now officially dying to see the film. It's been a long time since I've said that, but I can honestly say I mean it.

Darkness imprisoning me...

Just some snippets today...

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Mother Nature shifts her tune for the seasons. It was pretty warm to hot last week and dropped massively in a matter of 24 hours to the point where I had to find my sweatshirts again this weekend. It did warm back up a little bit yesterday, but dang.

Also, it seems like yesterday that I was complaining about how much brighter it was in the morning. Now it's pitch black again in the morning. No warning whatsoever.

I was stumbling around in the dark this morning trying to remember where everything was so I wouldn't wake Katie up while trying to make my way downstairs to type this. I jammed my foot a couple times. It's weird how much we come to rely on a single sense and then to see -- or in my case, feel -- how tripped up we are when that sense is taken away.

I find it funny that the legal system failed so miserably at convicting O.J. Simpson in the murder of his wife and now here he is busted in Vegas and "booked on suspicion of armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy and burglary" (much easier to just quote the article).

I like to think that this will stick. It is Vegas, after all, and if Ocean's Eleven taught us anything, it's that casino owners will go to hell and back to screw over those that try to screw them over.

Being a Chicagoan, I, of course, liken this to how Eliot Ness finally managed to bring Al Capone to justice. Not on any of the charges you might expect, but on income tax evasion (I almost typed "invasion"; how would one manage "income tax invasion"?). We can't get O.J. on murder, but we get him for all this Vegas tripe.

Well, whatever it takes to get his worthless ass rotting behind bars, I suppose.

Hilly started a fun little DVR survey on Snackie Teevee. Go check it out!

Thank you, driver, for getting me here...

I like days off. They're nice. And especially when the weather cooperates as nicely as it appears to be doing so far today.

But, I think what I really like is having an extra day in which I don't have to deal with the commute to work. I love my job, but I hate the drive and it's only gotten worse in the last couple months.

So I decided to try a new route to work. However, I forgot that I was driving during the height of school bus pick-up period and I got stuck behind the one bus driver that decided to take full advantage of her traffic-stopping capabilities.

I stopped behind a bus as kids were moving to their seats. I was happier than I normally am, because usually I have to deal with parents kissing their kids and fussing over them and, thus, making the task of allowing the bus to leave that much longer. At least all the kids were on board and moving to their seats.

Then I saw an adult woman standing in the aisle between the seats. What the?? A parent on the bus? Nope, it was the bus driver making sure all the kids were seated. No biggie. However, her next step was to spend a couple minutes opening the roof vent of the bus. How long can that possibly take?

When she finally finished this arduous task, she opted, instead of getting her butt moving, to play a game of musical seats with the students. Based on the expression on her face and the harried way in which she tried to get them up, I can tell she just didn't like the arrangement and didn't trust having some students sitting with their friends. So, for the next couple, she moved kids around.

You would think that I would've u-turned and gone the other way by now. But I reasoned that I would have to backtrack so much that it just wasn't worth it.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, she moved the bus and turned the corner and I got around her...

And to the end of the street...

To find it blocked off by construction barriers...

And I had to backtrack anyway.

Yay me!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Funny, I've been thinking the exact same thing lately.

Somebody put me together...

Party On 4Yesterday, Nano (my grandmother for those of you who don't know; that's her with your clambaked host a couple years ago) got into town. She's on a month-long driving tour to see family members and she started by leaving her home in Florida and heading to my Uncle's house outside Louisville. We were next on the roster and, after us, she's off to Pittsburgh and then Danville, PA, where she will be visiting more relatives. Then she'll take one of those trains that will actually tow her car and head back home.

Did I mention she's turning 82?

That's an insane amount of driving, period, end of quote. Even at 32, there's no way in hell I would want to drive it. I get sleepy just on my 45 minute commute to and from work each day. How could I ever expect to survive that kind of insanity? There's not enough Jolt in the world.

But that's not my grandma. She's got the energy level of a little kid, although she might argue that fact right now. She's more involved in life now than ever before and I admire her for it.

So I stopped by my parents' house last night after work to say hi and pick up some things including the 16-place China set that Nano brought up from Florida for Katie and I. It's beautiful China and we really wanted it. The only difficulty was finding a home for it all. Somehow we managed to. Katie lost out on her one and only junk drawer in the process, though.

It's painful to lose a junk drawer. I think everyone needs those. Just a one-stop shop to hold all the crap that collects day after day and really has no place in your house otherwise. And this drawer was the definition of a junk drawer. I wouldn't quite say it contained "everything you can possibly imagine" because there were things in there that my mind could never have fathomed.

However, since we got on a cleaning kick, it continued into the night. By the time we were done, we had a nearly emptied credenza and our filing system was redone with me having shredded a few hundred sheets of paper.

There's something about shredding old files that feels equal parts cathartic and illicit.

It feels great to take an old bill in whole form and watch it come out the bottom in nothing but pieces. It's like saying goodbye and giving the middle finger to the company that forced you to send them your hard-earned money. God it feels great.

But, on the flip side of the coin, I almost feel like an administrative assistant at Enron or Arthur Andersen in the final days before the bust. Sitting there hour after hour doing nothing but shredding documents to keep the authorities from discovering your dirty little secrets.

Wow, it really is strange to watch how my mind flows when I just type with no idea of where I will find my mental finish line. I start with my grandmother and end up with Enron. Weird.

Open up your mouth and feed it...

I'm not a vegetarian, although I once considered making the jump for health reasons. But I do know several vegetarians such as Dave and Kilax and, let me tell you, they're the best kind of vegetarians because they do not try to force their views upon you. If you go out with them and you want to eat meat, they're not going to look down their nose at you or try to talk you out of it. They just eat their vegetarian friendly meal while you eat your carnivortastic delicacies. That's how they roll. And I respect them for it.

Then there's this douche bag, Dave Warwak, who is, for now anyway, an art teacher at Fox River Grove Middle School in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago. In January, he decided to become a hardline vegan and preached animal rights as well as distributed books (to his art students) about how an animal friendly diet can save the world. He became so militant, in fact, that administrators removed him from his job.

This week, in a meeting with district officials, Warwak was given two choices: keep going down the path he's been following or apologize for what he did and be allowed to return to his job. He chose the former, not the latter. He says he will not return to work until school officials remove all meat and dairy products from the school cafeteria menu. He has even indicated an interest in suing the school district for child endangerment because they promote these products as part of a healthy diet.

Say whaaaaaa??

What kind of whack job is this guy? I can understand that he believes that meat and dairy are bad for you and that he can actively pursue a lifestyle that is free of those dietary options. It's his choice and I respect his right to make that decision.

But, the second he starts to force these views down the throats (pun fully intended) of his students, their parents, and school board officials, he has become no better than some religious quack who publicly espouses that their god is the only god and anyone who believes anything else will burn in Hell.

Warwak (or should I spell it War-whack?), your job is teach art. If you cannot do it, get the hell out.

[Thank you to Chicagoist for the update]

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Ohhhh, me likey! This is the new Wii Zapper gun controller for the Nintendo Wii. Notice the Wiimote snapped in the top of the barrel and the Nunchuck controller in the handle.


Now all we need is a really swank new version of Duck Hunt. Or maybe Warwak Hunt!

Okay, so this TUA wasn't totally unrelated. Heh.

To see if I still feel...

I walked into the break room at work yesterday ready to read my book. Since I was taking a very late lunch, nobody else was there so I knew I could get away with shutting off the TV without having to make sure it was okay with everyone else first. I hate trying to read with a TV going; I just keep getting distracted.

However, just as I was reaching up to hit the power button on the boob tube, a story on CNN caught my attention. It was the story of Kevin Everett, a tight end for the Buffalo Bills. In the Bills season opener this past Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Everett went in for a hit against Domenik Hixon. The two went down ending the play.

Everett2 The problem lies in that Everett never got back up. For 15 minutes he laid on the field motionless. Finally, medical staff put him on a backboard and braced his head and neck in place and he was placed into an ambulance and driven off the field to the hospital.

How did I miss this story on Sunday night?

Yesterday, he underwent more surgery. It was touch and go and he's still in intensive care. It seems extreme damage was done to one of his cervical vertebrae. Those are the ones that are really high up in the neck. When I say "really high up," I mean it... currently, he has no movement below the neck.

I love football, but hate stories like this.

Everett was playing what amounts to a game. Entertaining the masses who love to watch these brutal on-field hits. I'm sure when the hit initially occurred, the majority of people watching it live cringed and recoiled from the virtual impact, but then cheered how great a hit it was, until Everett didn't get up.

Now he may never get up again under his own power.

I hope I am wrong. I hope doctors can fix him. I hope he is able to recover and, at the very least, walk again.

To Kevin Everett and his family, my prayers are with you. Get well.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I'm having trouble believing that today is already September 11.

Don't worry, I'm not going to write about the tragedy of, get this, six years ago (that's tough to accept). If you want to read a well-written post about it, head over to metalmom's site. Or you can go back and read some of the posts from last year's 2,996 Project including my own entry.

Baby don't hurt me...

Normally, I'd think that a person's license plate is private. In some cases, where it might be damning, I'd block it out of a picture or eliminate references to it in a post. But, clearly, this guy is advertising himself, not in a good way, and, therefore, I feel justified in telling you this story... complete with license plate.

Katie and I were driving to meet my bro and SiL yesterday and we came upon a Pontiac Solstice with the license plate SCOT ROX on the back. It was a convertible with the top down and a scripted "Solstice" insignia emblazoned on the plexi shield between the driver and passenger seats to hammer the point home in case we didn't pay attention to the name of the car the first time.

As soon as I saw the license plate, I knew this guy was going to be a tool. Even without seeing him I felt I could make this judgment call. It's like how we all knew Chris' (Elisabeth Shue's) boyfriend in Adventures in Babysitting was a prick just by hearing Darryl relate how his (Bradley Whitford of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, btw) license plate read "SO COOL." It was just one of those things you could tell without further evidence.

Thankfully, we were right. We pulled up alongside him and saw the guy with his wavy hair that never budged a millimeter despite being in a convertible and his big, dark sunglasses behind which I'm sure he would check out women that pulled up next to him. And he was bopping his head around almost imperceptibly to music unheard.

RoxburyKatie and I started cracking up.

Then we pulled to a stop beside him and heard the music. It was horrible, mid-90s, club music. Just really bad shit. All Katie and I could do was bust out in a perfectly sync'd up medley of "Nnnnh-chuh-nnnnh-chuh" and "woah-o-o-oah-oah-ah" and bop our heads like Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan in A Night at the Roxbury. Score!

It was just sad.

Dude, the 90s called... they want their hair and music back.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): As would be expected, Katie started feeling ill this weekend as well. So we tried to lay low as much as possible. And what did we do? We purchased, started, and finished the season three DVD set of The Office. God we can't wait for the next season to start. Bring it on!

Back from the dead...

Maybe it's just me, but when I'm sick, as I still am this morning, I tend to try to imagine ways of making myself feel better. Aside from the obvious "get better, you idiot" which always seems to elude me, that is.

Sadly, the best way I've found of making myself feel better is by imagining those around me being in worse condition.

If I'm coughing to the point of getting headaches, I want to see someone else pass a lung.

If I'm going to sneeze and give myself a mild case of whiplash a la Sammy Sosa, I want someone else's head to roll off their neck.

Pleasant visuals such as those. I think you get the point.

The question is how to make this a viable reality. I know a bunch of you, my fellow bloggers out there, are pretty sick as well. Or so the comments on yesterday's post would indicate as would some of your own blog posts. So let's all play a little game to make ourselves feel better. I like to call this The Game of Infection! (tm)

Simply come up with the most creative way of infecting the greatest number of people around you as possible. Put them in the comments and we can all pick which one we like best.


Ohmigod, what the hell am I talking about?

Must be the medicine head, sorry.

For anyone working in the law enforcement or disease control fields, this is a joke, not a real challenge. Should any of these actually be enacted, it's not my fault. Really, it's not. I'm only sick in the sense of having an allergy-related cold; not mentally twisted.

Anyway, got some better stuff in the continuation in the form of a meme. Been a while, hasn't it?

Continue reading "Back from the dead..." »

Toys in the attic...

Oh goodie. Now I'm sick. Dave must be worse than we thought and passing more than just his posts through his RSS feed. Damn technology.

Katie thinks it might be my allergies kicking into overdrive. Whatever it is, though, I got up this morning and started coughing like there was no tomorrow. Apparently, I was fine overnight. No coughing whatsoever. I slept straight through until 15 minutes before my alarm. I tried to kick some of it out of me in the shower, but to no avail.

So, as I was scouring our medication closet (not just a cabinet, but a closet; no, we're not hypochondriacs, Katie just works in a pharmacy), Katie woke up and came in to help. Now I feel really bad not just because I'm sick, but because I woke her up. She didn't even need to get out of bed for another hour and a half.

"Oh great. Now I have guilt!"

Thank you, though, for all your help. I love you.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): But, leave it to Apple to make me feel somewhat better. Check out these beauties that were announced yesterday...


The first is the new iPod Nano. Engadget referred to it as "iPod Fatty," a name I love. It now has video playback on a two inch screen and just looks bad ass in a nearly square size with rounded edges all encased in anodized aluminum. It comes in 4 and 8 GB models. Me likey.

Second is the iPod Touch, which, effectively, is the iPhone without the phone. Everything else works just like the iPhone. You also have WiFi capability with this thing so if you find a hotspot, you can surf the Web or sync up to the iTunes Store and buy music wirelessly, which rocks. Plus, Apple struck a deal with Starbucks so that if you hear a song in a Starbucks you like, you can buy it automatically on your iPod Touch. That's pretty cool since Starbucks tends to play some pretty swank tunes and you have 8 and 16 GB models that will need some filling.

Finally, we have the iPod Classic as they're now calling it. The old video iPod is now encased in anodized aluminum and is smaller than ever while also bigger than ever. Yeah, it's thinner than it was (well, the 80GB is at least), but comes in 80 and 160 GB models as opposed to the old 30 and 80 GB versions.

The Shuffle, not pictured here, now comes in a wider variety of colors. Still the same cool clip, which I'm not sure they can really improve upon. But leave it to Apple to find a way.

Battery life on all models have improved greatly. The prices are still pretty damn good. Oh, and the high-end iPhone has dropped in price by $200. Sorry, Dave and BA.

Let's see, if I were given the choice today, I'd probably run with the Fatty. I love the size of it and the fact it now has video playback. My playlist has been pared down to half of what it was and could go even smaller if I work at it some more. Shouldn't be too difficult. It's just too sweet to pass up.

This is as close to porn as this blog gets without receiving an NC17 rating.

Dance, dance...

Yep, second night in a row with an early mental wake-up call. I didn't even bother trying to fall back asleep this time as I knew it would be futile. Instead, I sat there and immersed myself in thought. Whatever haphazard, random, completely out of leftfield thought popped in my head.

And, clearly, I have one messed-up head.

I tried to think about music I wanted to get from the library, figure out what I should put next on my Netflix queue (never mind the fact that I suddenly remembered I still needed to throw my last two movies in the mail), what projects I still have to do for work and how I'm going to go about doing them.

Nothing too weird about those, right?

Well, then I suddenly remembered something that was on Nightline just before we clicked off the TV and lights and went to bed. It was a report on the health benefits of pole dancing. Yes, like stripper pole dancing. So my head starts going into a whirlwind of thought about the wonder that is pole dancing.

But was I thinking about Katie pole dancing for me? No. Female strippers wrapping their legs around it and going to town? Nuh-uh.

(Sorry Dariush, you're gonna need bleach and scouring pads for your mind's eye again.)

My twisted freakfest of a head starts contemplating whether or not I would be capable of pole dancing. Could I do moves like that? Why did the Nightline report not show any men doing it? Would I be the first? Would I be a trendsetter? Or would I bring the house down... literally?

Ohmigod, I think I just disgusted myself. It takes a lot of work to accomplish that.

Would someone please loan me a sledgehammer? I need to ensure I stay asleep tonight.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I got my second postcard from *lynne*. Well, technically, this is the first one as it was sent three days before the one I received last week (TUA at the bottom of this post). This one features two views of the skyline in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks again, *lynne*!

Where I will annoy you... until you decide to wake up...

Hey all, sorry about the long weekend of no posting. But it felt kinda nice, so you won't really hear me complaining. However, it's weird to be here blogging again. It feels as though it's been nearly a month since I've posted. My fingers are even rusty when it comes to remembering how to type. Thank God for the delete key. Heh.

Another thing I had trouble getting reacquainted with was my alarm clock. Yeah, I remembered to set it, but this morning was like one of those days where you're using an alarm clock that you're not accustomed to. My brain worries that it won't sound at the right time, or the volume is turned down, or I set it for PM instead of AM. That sort of garbage. As a result, I woke up more than an hour in advance of my preset just to make sure I was up in time. I had a lot of trouble falling back asleep, as well. So I sat there and thought about what to blog. How sad is that?

Speaking of strange wake-up calls, I had one of those yesterday morning. Katie's been dying for me to finish reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as you know, so she can talk to me about it. Well, on Saturday night, I made it to the next-to-last chapter before I decided I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

The next morning, she crawls out of bed for a bathroom trip. Usually, when these happen, she just crawls back in bed. If you were to watch her, you'd swear she wouldn't even make it back up on the mattress and might just fall on the ground and start sawing logs.

Not yesterday.

She, instead, comes bounding out of the bathroom and jumps on top of me and shakes me awake like a child on Christmas morning. "TIME TO READ! TIME TO READ!" You've gotta be kidding me.

Well, I finished it. It was good. Not the best book of the bunch, but I did enjoy the second half much more than the first half. I do have a few questions that went unanswered, but I can deal with it. And I only got misty-eyed once. Just once. And not when you might have expected it.

One final wake-up call for the weekend... well, more like a rude awakening, I suppose. Katie and I went to the Northern Illinois vs. Iowa football game on Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. This was a home game for the Huskies of NIU even though it wasn't played on their home turf.

First, here's a quick geography lesson...

We, the Huskies, have a much shorter drive. And, while I realize that Iowa, being a Big 10 team has a larger fan base than the Huskies do, I really don't like witnessing a stadium filled with nearly 80% raving, yellow-clad beakheads when WE ARE THE HOME TEAM!

Huskie fans should be ashamed. That's all I have to say.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I have made Metalmomma smile! She says it was my Lyrical Challenge post about my shop class incident in middle school. Well, I'm glad it made you smile, but I'm truly afraid of what I'm going to have to do to elevate that smile to outright laughter. Severing a limb entirely is really pushing it, don't you think?

Smileaward1_2 But, anyway, she gave me an award for it. My first blogging award ever!

Since I cannot find the origination of this award, I'm just going to do what Metalmomma did and hand it out to a few random people that I feel deserve it. This is not to say that you all don't deserve one of these puppies, but here are a few I'd like to point out for recent posts.

August at Girl on the Run... she could use a good smile in light of recent events and she's always made me smile in the past, so I'm returning the favor.

Brandon at Down With Pants!... his blog is very much like mine, completely disjointed and all over the place and we like it! Plus, he's secure enough in his heterosexuality to admit when a guy is good looking enough to make him potentially go gay. BTW, mine is Chris Isaak.

Sandra at Internal Monoblog... apparently something's got her real happy these days, and it's rubbing off. Damn you!

Michelle at This Fare City... who knew driving a cab could be so much fun and blog worthy? I wonder if any of her fares have found her blog and thought, "Hey, that asshole is me!"

Greg at What Greg Likes... I love his taste in music and have followed up on several albums he has recommended, although my credit card probably hates him right about now.