My mind is a dangerous place. Make sure you wear a cup.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Just another day, whew!

Hey, it’s the last day of the month!

Heh heh.

It means nothing to me now. But I remember when it meant a great deal to me.

Back when I worked in the loan business, it was all about the last day of the month. That was the day you worked toward during the course of the entire preceding 30 days. That was the day everybody worked late. It was the day everyone was out in the field making collection calls. It was the day we had a fistful of post dated checks to run through. It was the day we waited anxiously for the mail to arrive. It was the day we might pop a car or two if we thought we couldn’t get a payment. The language we would use on the phone got a little stronger. If the day was going well, everyone was all smiles and high fives. If it wasn’t, tempers were short and moods were depressed and foul.

We would do everything we possibly could to move as much delinquency as humanly possible before we had to close out for the month. There was no bigger factor in how you were judged than how you finished the month out.

I can remember back to August of 2000, after I went to work for the blood center. August 31st rolled around and it suddenly dawned on me: I don’t have to worry about this anymore.

And I laughed and laughed.

Won't you be my neighbor?

We live on a cul-de-sac (isn't that a nicer name than "dead end"?)

I like to think we are good neighbors. We don't have wild parties, we keep the house and yard looking nice, and when the neighborhood kids are selling something we always buy.

I don't urinate out in the yard. For that matter, neither does Mrs. F. I don't walk around naked in front of open windows. I don't throw rocks at neighborhood cats (even though there is one that keeps leaving cat hair on the wife's convertible top). I don't deal drugs out of the house (I have a storage locker for that). And I don't sit up on the roof with an automatic rifle taking orders from my dog.

See? Good neighbors.

But it's a passive good neighbor policy. I sometimes wonder if we should try to get to know our neighbors better. Is it enough that I don't walk out to get the paper in the morning wearing a leopard print thong?

There are eight houses in the cul-de-sac, counting the ones at either side of the entrance.

The house to the left of us is...I can't remember his name. We refer to him by the name of the guy who used to live there when we first moved into the neighborhood. That guy's name was Howard. So we call the next door neighbor Used-To-Be-Howard. And his wife is Used-To-Be-Howard's Wife.

The next house is a family of five. The little girls are the ones we buy Girl Scout cookies from. And the girls always bring over a plate of homemade treats every Christmas. I don't know their name either. But the father drives a pickup that has a front license plate that says "BEEF" so we just call him the "Beef Guy".

The next house is for sale, and I think the only people who have ever lived there have been renters, so we have never even thought enough about them to give them a bullshit name.

The next house, which is directly across from us, is Bill and Erica. Thank God I know somebody's name. They have lived here longer than we have. Bill's a cop and I think Erica stays home with their two little children.

The next house, which is at the entrance to the cu-de-sac (I love saying that) is another Used-To. His name is Used-To-Be-Dan. They've got one son, and the father always walks the dog while wearing his pajamas, which I find vaguely unsettling, for some reason.

Across the street from them are people who have lived here as long as we have, but I have no idea who they are. They've got a boat which they park out in the street a lot (in violation of the subdivision rules, by the way) and a son who rarely wears shoes. He almost always is barefoot, except when it gets chilly, then I've seen him out playing in socks. We call him Barefoot Boy.

The next house contains our other next door neighbors and we hate them. Hate hate hate. They don't own the house, some relative does. They're graduate students, I think. The yard is unkempt, there is always some trash in their yard (which freqently blows over into ours, so I have to wad it up and throw it back), they never take their garbage can in...

Did I mention that we hate them?

One morning I went out to put another bag in our garbage can on collection day, only to find that that they had put a big bag of their garbage in our can. Oooh, I was mad! I took it out and threw it into their driveway. It was all I could do not to pound on the door and give them a piece of my mind, but it was about 5:30 in the morning, so I thought better of it.

I think we all hate them, but I rarely talk to anyone, so I don't know for sure.

The last time we had any discussion with any neighbors at all was last spring when we had the yard landscaped. Erica and Used-To-Be-Howard and Mrs. Beef Guy all came over to look and we talked for a few minutes. And we sometimes see Used-To-Be-Howard and Used-To-Be-Howard's wife at the grocery store or the movies, but that's about it.

It's not just us. No one in the cul-de-sac is really tight with anyone else.

Maybe that's just the way things are today.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Do not pass Go!

I love to play Monopoly. I don't get a chance to play much anymore, but I wish I did.

I can be a little competitive. A little ruthless. A little Machiavellian, if you will.

If you ever play Monopoly with me be prepared for me to buy up everything in site, even if I have to mortgage the store. And I'll have so many side deals going we'll need a pen and paper to keep track of them all:

If you sell me Tennesee Avenue, I'll grant you immunity should you land on that color group when I've got houses on them, and I'll give you one free pass if you land on Boardwalk or Park Place.

I'll give you a thousand dollars to build hotels on the purple group if you grant me immunity should I land on them, and give me forty percent of what you collect from the other players when they land on them.

I'll give you these two railroads if you promise that if you land on Kentucky Avenue you'll buy it and then sell it to me for a dollar.

You get the idea.

What's your favorite board game?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

So THAT'S what Styx Meant...

Okay, kinda bored today. Sort of a lazy Sunday.

Is it any wonder I’ve got
Too much time on my hands, it’s ticking away at my sanity
I’ve got too much time on my hands, it’s hard to believe such a calamity

So I made one of them there blog quizzes.

"How will you meet your maker"? I think that's good information to know, don't you?

Well, now you can:

http://quizilla.com/users/Tjotjog/quizzes/How%20Will%20You%20Meet%20Your%20Maker%3F/

I think I got it out of my system.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Intermission

Hey, a new Meme!

I saw this over at BarefootCajun's site, and I'm doing for the same reason she did; I'm recharging my blogging batteries and I need this to tide me over. Or get me over the hump. Choose your favorite cliche.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what did you think?

"I need a haircut"

2. How much cash do you have on you?

My wallet is in the car.

What's a word that rhymes with "TEST"?

Best

4. Favorite planet?

This one, for now.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?

Jill, from work.

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?

Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry

7. What shirt are you wearing?

A LifeSouth staff shirt

8. Do you "label" yourself?

I don't think I do

9. Name the brand of shoes you're currently wearing now.

I'm barefoot

10. Bright or Dark Room?

Dark

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?

I enjoy BarefootCajun's blog quite a bit.

12. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Sleeping, perhaps dreaming, who knows?

13. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?

From Ian in Huntsville. It was the blood needs in North Alabama on Friday.

14. Where is your nearest 7-11?

I think over in Gulf Hammock. Probably an hour away. Unless that's a Circle K.

15. What's a saying(s) that you say a lot?

"God damn it!"

16.Who told you they loved you last?

Mrs. Fabulous

17. Last furry thing you touched?

One of the bunnies. Can't remember which one. Probably Wally.

18. How many days of school did you miss this week?

No school for me since way back when...

19. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?

None. We use a digital camera

20. Favorite age you have been so far?

I like to think that these days each succeeding year is my favorite

21. Your worst enemy?

I am my own worst enemy. Heh heh.

22. What is your current desktop picture?

A shot from Reservoir Dogs

23. What was the last thing you said to someone?

I told Mrs. F that she was silly.

24. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly, which would you choose?

I'll take the money. I don't care about flying.

25. Do you like someone?

Do you mean "like" or "like like"? I like a lot of people. I like like Mrs. F.

26. The last song you listened to?

The Song Remembers When by Trisha Yearwood

27. Carmen Electra or Pam Anderson?

For what?

I got a new attitude...

Life..is good.

Now I can finally relax. I have finished an important project for work, and I have switched over all my stuff from my old laptop to my new one. And then, in a frenzy of excitement, we bought a new La-Z-Boy recliner for me to enjoy my new laptop in (heat and massage--whoo-hoo!), a new printer for the house, and a new laptop case (the old one doesn't fit).

And I have chosen a name. Prairie Girl suggested Voltrina, and I really like that name, but upon close inspection this morning, I made a startling discovery.

It's a boy.

Therefore, my big shiny silver laptop shall from this moment forth be known as Excalibur!

The exclamation point is part of the name. In case you were wondering.

Now I can back to serious matters, such as Boston's new centerfielder. And pudding.

Vindication! (of a sort)

I am 43% Asshole/Bitch.
Part Time Asshole/Bitch.
I may think I am an asshole or a bitch, but the truth is I am a good person at heart. Yeah sure, I can have a mean streak in me, but most of the people I meet like me.
I'm not so bad after all.
I am addicted to these quizzes. I may try to make one of my own.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Oooh...Ahhh....

I am back home. Ahhhh...feels right.

The new laptop is a thing of beauty. Big, shiny, pretty...

I am smitten.

Mrs. Fabulous will have to sleep on the couch. I'm taking this girl to bed tonight.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Take me home, country road...

Thursday night. Getting ready to pre-pack. Heading home early tomorrow. Thank God.

I'll head out at 5 AM, figure a seven hour drive, add an hour for the time change, and I'll be back in Gainesville around 1 PM. Drop all my stuff off at the house, and go visit my dad. Call Mrs. F. and have her meet me at the airport so I can return my rental car, and then it's home sweet home.

It was a productive week here in beautiful Birmingham. I got a lot of work done, put some structure in place, gave plenty of direction, and hopefully it will all take root and bear fruit.

Hey that last part rhymed. Cool. I think I just found a new slogan. Take Root and Bear Fruit!

Anyway, it will be good to get back. Whenever I travel I devote 90% of my energies to that one region, which means most of my corporate duties and projects get put on the back burner. So I am wayyyy behind. Normally I would have worked on a lot of them at night, but I couldn't get my work laptop working with the DSL service at the hotel, so I was out of luck.

It will be good to be home. I miss my wife and my bunnies, and I can't wait to lay eyes on the new bundle of joy that the Dell stork dropped off on our doorstep this week.

I still need to pick out a name for the little fella. Maybe one will occur to me on the drive home.

Pondering the big question...

I am not a religious guy. Never have been, and in all likelihood never will be. There are so many religions, and they represent so many beliefs…it’s very confusing and arbitrary. And it seems to me there is a lot of hypocrisy inherent in religion. And a lot of evil deeds through history have been perpetrated by man in the name of God.

Bottom line, I guess I’m not a guy who has a lot of faith in anything. And you certainly need to have faith to believe in God. I just don’t have it.

I guess I wish I did. I mean, it would be nice to believe in something, to be able to take strength and comfort from belief in a higher power. On some level, I envy those people.

I would love to have that kind of piece of mind. They seem so sure.

I guess if anything, I am an Existentialist. There is no God, and man is responsible for his own actions.

Hey, I try to live my life right, you know? I give to charity, I'm nice to people, I don't steal or kill or violate any of that commandment stuff (well, maybe I violate a couple).

Just the other night at dinner, at another table, an elderly woman had dropped her lipstick and couldn't bend down to get it. I went over and retrieved it for her. She was very surprised and grateful.

And a few days after that, as I walked out to get the morning paper, I saw an earthworm struggling to get across the driveway in the cold. I picked him up and brought him over to some earth he could easily dig through.

See? How can a guy like me go to hell?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Um...really?

You know, I am beginning to think these tests have no scientific basis at all!


playboy
You are a Playboy. You perv.

What kind of Sixties Person are you?

Boob Tube

I like TV. But these days it's hard for me to watch anything but comedies with any regularity. Sixty minutes is just such a big commitment, you know?

I have never seen Desperate Housewives, Lost, 24, or any of those other shows that are in vogue right now.

But in the past, I was not so afraid of commitment. And so, here are my top ten favorite hour long TV shows of all time, in order:

  • American Gothic starring Gary Cole as the supernaturally corrupt sherrif of Trinity, South Carolina.
  • Late Show with David Letterman. I've been with him since way back when he had his morning show.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: the adventures of Joel/Mike and the bots as they are forced to screen bad movies.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The musical episode "Once More with Feeling" may be my favorite hour long episode of any show ever.
  • The Sopranos. Fuggetaboutit.
  • The X Files. Lost some steam in the last few years, but up until then it was marvelous.
  • Law and Order Criminal Intent. Vincent D'Onofrio is just dreamy.
  • Moonlighting. Can't miss TV back in the 80's.
  • Firefly. If not a home run for Josh Whedon, like Buffy was, at least a good solid three-bagger.
  • Twin Peaks. The first year was unlike anything we had ever seen.

I'm happy with that list. And I gotta tell you, American Gothic was pretty obscure. If you were a fan, you are ultra cool in my book. There aren't many of us around.

Now, if you were a fan of both American Gothic and Mystery Science Theater, you are ultra mega cool, and that, my friends, means you are breathing rarified air.

And if you were a fan of both of those and Buffy? You and I are as one, and I must put you in my will. Or, if you prefer, I will have your baby.

Your choice.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I am woman, hear me roar...no wait..

I was cruising by TJ's site this morning, as I often do, and I came upon this quiz. I loooove quizzes.

I think this just the right balance. Not so boyish that I have naked girl mudflaps on my SUV, and not so girlish that I cry at Steel Magnolias.

You Are 50% Boyish and 50% Girlish

You are pretty evenly split down the middle - a total eunuch.
Okay, kidding about the eunuch part. But you do get along with both sexes.
You reject traditional gender roles. However, you don't actively fight them.
You're just you. You don't try to be what people expect you to be.

How Boyish or Girlish Are You?

Ignorance IS bliss!

Blood centers in the U.S. are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Every so often, usually once a year or every two years, each of our regions gets inspected. And it is a hectic, frantic, nail biting time for everyone. Usually there is no notice when they arrive. Records are scrutinized, files are pulled, techs are observed, and everybody holds their breath until final judgement is passed.

Of course, usually everything is fine. But it's human nature to worry, I suppose.

Oh, did I say it was a hectic, frantic, nail biting time for everyone? My mistake.

I'm very relaxed during an FDA inspection. My department is not technical, and the FDA holds no sway over me.

While the mere mortals scurry about like chipmunks on crack, I walk among them, feeling, as Travis Tritt would say, ten feet tall and bullet proof.

It's one of the few times I get to feel like that.

Feels good.

The Head


A few days ago when I was describing how cool my office was, I neglected to mention the most distinctive decoration.

The Head.

Believe it or not, it was a Christmas gift from David. David is my Corporate Special Promotions Coordinator. He puts together special themed blood drives for the regions. He does a good job.

And, he makes stuff. Movie monsters and things like that. This is The Master from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He knows I'm a fan.

He watches over me while I work.

The Head.

The blessed arrival...

The new laptop is here! The new laptop is here!

Well, it's not here. It's at home. 500 miles away.

As Mrs. Fabulous described it to me on the phone, I think I may have drooled a little bit. And I may have detected a bit of swelling in my nether region.

I will take posession Friday night. And all will be right with the world.

On another note, am I the only one who thinks it's odd that the spell check on blogger.com doesn't recognize the words "blog" or "blogger"?

Something is amiss.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Blog for Choice Day


"On the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are asking pro-choice bloggers to join us in a day of activism for choice. This is our chance to raise the profile of reproductive rights issues in the blogosphere and the media, and to let everyone know that a woman's right to choose is not negotiable."

Fair enough. I'm in.

I'm not a real political guy. And I'm not overwhelming passionate about a lot of causes (except for that ketchup and tuna deal I posted on Friday). And just about everyone who participates in Blog for Choice Day will, I am sure, be more informed and eloquent than me on the topic.

And, in general on this blog, I try to stay away from anything controversial. I'm just a sarcastic guy looking for a forum, hoping to get an occasional chuckle.

But I have my beliefs. And one of them has always been a woman's right to choose. Who are we to tell her what she can do with her body? Who is anyone? The decision lies with only one person: the woman in question.

There is a lot of arrogance on the far right. And there is a lot of arrogance on the part of many religious institutions. I don't like arrogance.

And franky, I'm concerned about a lot of things with this new court. Chief among them the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Don't we have bigger things to worry about? Let's not go fucking around with the reproductive rights of women. How would you like it if someone told you what you can or can't do with your body?

Case closed. Next case.

You could skate on me...

Am I cool or uncool? [CLICK]
You are Super-Cool!
Woah! Step back - the future's so bright for you it's blinding me! You are the coolest of the cool. Everyone looks up to you as the benchmark for being coooool. The fonze was your grandfather. Any cooler and you'd freeze! WOO it's chilly in here.
Cool quizzes at Go-Quiz.com

It wouldn't be cool to say I'm cool, I'll just let the quiz results speak for themselves, and try to remain humble.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Minutia from the road..

Birmingham. I am here.

The Monte Carlo did not, as it turns out, have XM radio. I was lied to!

And the car was filthy. Trash on the floor in back, dog hair all over the back seat. A jagged part of an aluminum can and some crystallized matter in the trunk. And the windshield wiper fluid was low, so I had to endure that *ding* going off every so often until I bought some and filled it myself.

Charming.

This wouldn't have happened if Laura had been working the counter at National. Laura and I have a good relationship, and often if an upgrade from a full size was available she would give it to me at no extra cost. I'd get an SUV, or a Cadillac, or a Magnum. But now she has Saturday nights off, and I don't know the new woman very well.

Damn it.

Anyhow...It was a couple of hours and past Tallahassee when I finally figured out how the A/C worked. Which came in handy. And once I found it, my swerving on the road was cut way down. Hey, it's hard to stay in one lane when you're checking your messages on your cell phone, picking music on your iPod, and trying to puzzle out how the A/C works!

Finally.

Then I had a scare in Cottonwood, FL shortly I got off I-10. Just before you get to town you crest a small hill, after which you see that the speed limit at the bottom of the hill is a paltry 35. Which is much slower than you are usually going. And to make matters worse in my case was that I didn't see the sign until I was halfway down the hill. And to make matters still worse there was a police car parked right by the sign.

Swell.

Now when I travel on Sundays out of town for work, it's always a long drive; five to eight hours or so depending on where I'm going. So I like to be comfortable. So I don't wear my sneakers. I just drive in my stocking feet or, once in a while, barefoot.

Today I was in stocking feet. So I see the sign and the cop at the same time and I push down on the brake. And because I have socks on, my foot slips off. And the sign gets closer. So I step on it again. And my foot slips off again.

Uh-oh.

The third time I make purchase, and I manage to hit 35 just as I cross the plane of the sign. Whew. But wait. He's pulling out and following me. Crap. I would rather shave my scotum with a cheese grater than go back and tell my boss that I got a speeding ticket.

Doomed.

But then he turned off, and everything in my world was peachy keen again. Until about 30 minutes later when I passed another cop I noticed too late and slowed down, but I really didn't know what the limit was. Had I been going too fast? He pulled out and followed me for a little while, then he turned off as well.

Geeze.

So I make it without incident to Ozark, AL where I decide to gas up. I usually stop in Brundidge, about 20 miles further, but I'm sick of the store there. The bathroom is disgusting and they don't carry Dasani water. I ain't drinkin' no welfare water.

So I put on my sneakers, start the gas pump, and hobble inside (it was a long ride). Now I never tie my sneakers at the gas stop, because I like to see if someone will point out to me that my shoes are untied. It happens about half the time.

I don't know why I do it.

So I use the bathroom and purchase some tasty Dasani. No one mentions the shoes. The laces are really long. It's a wonder I don't trip and fall over them. I head out the door and stop. The car isn't at the gas pumps. I momentarily panic.

Gulp.

And then I realize there is a door and gas pumps on either side of the store, and I just walked out the other door.

Whew.

I finish filling up but the receipt thingy on the pump is out of paper so I have to go back in to get a receipt. Which gives everyone a second chance to tell me my shoes are untied but nobody does.

Darn.

And then, for a reason known not even to me, before I get back in the car I tie my sneakers and wear them for the rest of the trip.

Don't ask me.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and I made it to Birmingham in one piece. Which is how I prefer to arrive, generally.

Before I checked in I went to the Books-A-Million down the street and bought several magazines and a book on learning HTML.

Told ya I was gonna do it.

The didn't have the Dummies book but I got one that was even better. It looks simple and it's all in color. I am looking forward to perusing it.

After check in I went to Moe's Southwest Grill for my supper to bring back to the hotel. There was a little language problem with the guy who took my order, and my tacos were soft shell instead of hard. And they do their nachos a strange way. The don't melt cheese on them, they give you a cup of queso dip to pour over them.

Weird.

Back at the hotel, the tacos disintegrated because i had ordered them with everything (which I would not have done if I had known the shells weren't hard). So I just dumped everything in one big pile and tried to eat it the best I could.

Most of it is still in the refrigerator.

Oh yeah, that was another thing. I called from the road to make sure I was down for a king size room (which has a fridge, a microwave, and a larger desk, which I need with two laptops). And, naturally, they had me down for a double. Luckily they were able to switch me because if they hadn't I would have raised a stink. I'm an elite club member (because I stay at La Quinta hotels at least 25 nights a year) and that entitles me to a king size room. Damn it.

But it all worked out. And I have managed to make a really long post out of very very little. But I couldn't help it. I just had to share.

I'm that kind of guy.

I'm on top of the world!

I won a contest today. And I didn't even know I was entered. It must have been one of those automatic things.

I was the lucky winner of Prairie Girl's Sunday Morning Mini-Blog Makeover!

I..I have so many people to thank (choke) I don't know where to begin...

Yes I do. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I don't gush about much. I'm not a gusher. I'm better at slamming. But I feel compelled to do a little gushing. I hope I don't strain something in the process.

I am once again floored by her kindness. She once again took pity on a clueless pinhead and helped my with a number of spacing issues.

You know those stories about western world travelers visiting primitive societies? The natives are always awed by the modern conveniences and advancements brought to the village by the visitors.

Prairie Girl is the anthropologist, and I am the native guy with a bone through my nose.

She's terrific! And I am in her debt.

On the road again....

This afternoon I embark on my seven hour drive to Birmingham, Alabama. I like to drive, though. The rental car has XM Radio, which I love, and between that and my iPod I'll be all set. Plus I get a lot of good thinking done on the road. I have a lot of projects in the hopper and I'll be able to noodle out some good ideas I hope.

The car giveaway was a huge success. It went as smoothly as we could have hoped. The weather was great, the flow of people was smooth, there was a big crowd the last few hours counting up to the drawing, and I kept them entertained by playing Monty Hall and giving away stuff:

Who can show me a paper clip?
Who can show me a pair of pink socks?
Who can show me a red wallet?
Who can show me something with a Miami Dolphins logo?
Who can show me a Kennedy half dollar?

And so on and so on. People go nuts for free stuff. It s just exciting to get something for nothing, I guess. At least it kept them entertained while we waited.

And the winner was great, just the sort of person I really wanted to win the car. She was at a park playing with her daughter when her husband heard the name on the radio, and they made it back well within the 20 minute limit. They both donated six times last year, and they seemed like folks who could really use a new car, although that may be a misconception on my part.

Plus we signed in over 80 whole blood donors and 6 apheresis donors. We could have used a little more volunteer help, but overall it went very well. And we might be doing it again next year.

I had a great time playing the music and working the mike, I was really in my element. Although if we do it again, this time I want to have karaoke. I really wanted to do some singing, and I think it would have been a blast to have donors come up and belt out a few tunes.

It was my intention to post some pictures of the event, but I had the wrong person using my camera and I really don't care for most of the shots. The ones I think might be good still need some work and I've been trying to punch them up using some program, but of course Mr. Technologically Challenged is having a hard time getting them the way I want them. We'll see.

I really should could have used Prairie Girl there as my official photog.

My favorite slice of the day, aside from the winning of the car, was my new friend Lauren, who is about three years old and the cutest thing you'll ever see. She was facinated by the music, and she kept wanting me to dance with her. I think at one point we must have danced for 15 minutes straight, and she would copy every move I would do. Her dad calls her a mockingbird.
We had a great time, but the kid wore me out. And of course, I have no pictures of any of it.

But still, proof that Mr. Fabulous is not all sarcasm and cynicism and smart ass. Once you get past those hard layers I have a soft chewy center.

I'm a Tootsie Pop.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Four the Record

I am accepting Dawn's open invitation to all to post this meme to my blog:

Four jobs you have had:
Editor at a research firm
Corporate manager at a blood center
Convenience store supervisor
Radio station account executive

Four movies you could watch over and over:
The Blues Brothers
Sin City
Apocalypse Now
Reservoir Dogs

Four places you’ve lived:
Boston, MA
Walhalla, SC
Northampton, MA
Gainesville, FL

Four television shows you love to watch:
The Colbert Report
Two and a Half Men
Family Guy
The Office

Four places you’ve been on vacation:
Williamsburg, VA
Anna Maria Island, FL
Puerto Rico
Niagra Falls, NY

Four of your favorite foods:
Blackened salmon
Pizza
French onion soup
Tacos

Four places you’d rather be right now:
Anna Maria Island, FL
Daytona Beach, FL
The Everglades
Jacksonville Beach, FL

Four sites I visit daily:
Yahoo
ESPN baseball index
The Boston Globe
Google

Hmm...I am clearly less well traveled and more limited than Dawn.....

Assault on Summer Creek


Whoo-boy. Got the big car givaway event today. It could end up being anything from a wild success to an unmitigated disaster. And I'll be right out there in front. Fantastic.

There were eight raccoons out in our yard last night. That is a lot of raccoons. When there were two or three, that was cute. But eight? You see eight raccoons in the yard at night and you start to wonder if they're planning an assault on the house. I guess that's what I get for feeding them. They are probably waiting until Sunday, when I'll be gone for the week and Mrs. Fabulous will be the lone defender of the castle.

Probably because I know the pain will end soon, I have developed a zen-like calm about this stupid laptop. Yesterday for nearly an hour I couldn't get on the internet because its latest prank is to pretend it can't locate the wireless network. And then no less than ten seconds after it finally did read it, and I got on the internet, it memory dumped on me.

I just laughed.

Which Brat Packer am I?

I am having trouble getting the code right (I have got to pick up HTML for Dummies) but you can take the quiz here.

I've got to stop taking these quizzes. I never come out looking very good.

Claire? I'm Claire?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Stump Speech

Good people, I am here today to tell you about a plague that is sweeping our great nation. A plague so preposterous, so egregious, that it is rending the very fabric of our society. Ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about the improper storage of ketchup and tuna in our households.

You scoff, but it is true! In kitchens all across this great land of ours, families are being denied the full benefits and pleasure of this wonderful condiment and this remarkable canned fish product. I've seen it with my own eyes! The facts are undeniable!

What I am about to tell you may shock you. If there are small ones in the audience, you might want to cover their little ears...

I am here today to start my crusade against...keeping ketchup in the refrigerator and tuna fish in the cupboard.

Oh, it pains me so to even utter those words.

Good people, it should be the other way around. Those who know me know that I have been passionate on this topic for many many years. Ketchup belongs in the cupboard and tuna fish belongs in the refrigerator. There can be no other way! We're living in a society, folks!

If you go to a restaurant, where is the ketchup? Nine times out of ten it's right there on the table. At the fast food restaurant, are the little ketchup packets they give you cold? Of course not.

Why on God's green earth would you want to put something cold on warm food? My burger is warm. My fries are warm. I like them warm. Why would I put cold ketchup on them?

Check the label of your letchup, gentle people. Does the label say to refrigerate after opening? It does not. Mustard does. Mayonnaise does. Ketchup does not.

Warm goes with warm.

And on the flip side, boys and girls, cold goes with cold. Let's say you want to whip up some tasty tuna fish sandwiches. You're going to need mayonnaise. You'll find it in the fridge. Maybe some celery? Also in the fridge. Lemon, ditto. But where's the can of tuna?

In the cupboard.

Now wouldn't it make sense, and make for a better sandwich, if the tuna was cold too? Mmmm...my mouth is watering just talking about it. Can you see the logic people? Have you see the light?

If you won't do it for me, do it for the little boy who is crying because while trying to eat his delicious french fries, the cold ketchup hurts his little teeth. Do it for the little girl who is forced to choke down a mushy lukewarm tuna sandwich as tears well up in her eyes.

Think of the children.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Life of leisure

I am taking the afternoon off today. Feels good. Since I have to be at the car giveaway all day Saturday and I have to drive to Birmingham on Sunday, I feel I am entitled.

According to Dell my new laptop has been packaged and should arrive on Monday. Of course, I am in Birmingham all next week, on the road, with this machine from hell. Sigh....

If you get a moment, swing on over and visit TJ. She's a wry and clever gal and I think you'll dig her rap. I can tell that she is burdened with the realization that her one big dream can never be fulfilled: that of being Mrs. Fabulous.

For those of you looking forward to the music clips of "So's Your Mom!", I'm still working on it but progress is slow. I may just transcribe the lyrics and post them. Believe me, no one wants to hear me sing anyway!

But for now, the windows are open, the birds are singing, there is a song in my heart and a bounce in my step.

And a swelling in my bladder. I gotta pee.

I'll start by calling in sick....

In the year 2006 I resolve to:
Stop being a productive member of society.

Get your resolution here

The Inner Sanctum

I like to think I have a pretty cool office. I often joke that I like my office to have a lot of personality to make up for the fact that I have none. But of course, that's not true. Some people would say that I probably have too much personality.

There are some definite themes in my office. The walls are adorned with framed posters of some of my favorite movies: Scarface, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, Reservoir Dogs, and of course, The Blues Brothers. Although I have been thinking about replacing the Dirty Harry poster with this one from Sin City.

On the top shelf of my desk above the cabinets I've got a row of framed autographed photos from some of my favorite actors: Kim Basinger, Steve Martin, John Travolta, Billy Bob Thornton, Leslie Nielson, and Russell Crowe.

On the windowsill in back the theme is "Boston Red Sox". I've got a couple of books about the team, a bobblehead doll, a couple of replica signed baseballs (one from the 1999 All Star game and one from the 2004 World Championship team), and a commemorative hat from the 2004 World Series.

Also on the walls are a few awards, a picture that Mrs. Fabulous painted, a calendar with pictures of my niece and nephew, and a Red Sox pennant that Jason, who has the office next to mine, gave me. He was my secret Santa last month.

My desktop is usually covered with papers, projects, proposals, and various detritus but aside from my laptop and printer I've got a picture of Mrs. Fabulous (of course), that framed print of Rudyard Kipling's "IF", and some smart ass items from Despair.com.

If you've never heard of Despair.com I urge you to check it out. Their stuff is hilarious! At first glance they seem like all the other bullshit motivational posters you see in the workplace, but looks can be deceiving. On the desk I have two framed prints: "Goals" and "Motivation". And I even have a themed sticky note pad, "Procrastination".

I like my office. I have a big window to daydream out of, a nice stereo with which to crank up the tunes, and the desk is big enough for me to crawl under and take a nap.

It is often a sanctuary for me.

Unarmed, still dangerous...

I sold my guns the other day. I finally came to terms with the fact that in all likelihood I am not going to get the chance to shoot someone. This is a shame, because in Florida it has never been easier to get away with it than it is right now.

Chances are slim that someone would break into my house. But if it happens, I will be ready for him. There may be no firearms at the ready, but I still have many other weapons at my disposal:

I can mount an aggressive filibuster, pointing out the error of his ways, until he falls asleep.
I can turn our rabbits loose on him. They can nip like the dickens.
I can scream like a little girl until he freaks out and runs away.
I can cry until he slinks off in embarrassment. Men can’t deal with tears.
I can dress up in a donkey costume and scare him off. It is a well known fact that burglars are terrified of donkeys.
Three words: Piranha filled moat. Why even let him get into the house?
I can sneak up behind him, club him in the back of the head with a baseball bat, plunge a steak knife into his torso eleven times, kick him in the face and scatter his teeth like chiclets, sever his carotid artery with a nail file, dig a shallow grave in the backyard, throw him in, cover the body with lime, fill in the grave, clean up all the blood inside the house with my Swiffer Wet Jet Mop, and act like like nothing happened.

Yeah, I think I'll be fine. I might even leave the front door unlocked tonight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What's in a name?

I have had many names over the tears. Brad. Mr. Fabulous. The Captain. Dorsal. Finny. "That asshole who cut me off".

Often people ask me about my email name: Tjotjog.

I've had it for...hmm...15 years at least?

I was looking for a name no one else would have. I wanted to be unique.

It is pronounced chot-chog.

I had a book (I may still have it somewhere) that chronicled exotic foreign words and their meanings. Or something like that.

In any event, I came upon the word "tjotjog", which is Javanese.

Those wacky Javans. Umm...Javanites? Javanarians?

In any event, some guy named Clifford Geertz can explain the meaning much more eloquently than I can:

"It is only common sense because between ethos and world view, between the approved style of life and the assumed structure of reality, there is conceived to be a simple and fundamental congruence such that they complete one another and lend one another meaning. In Java, for example, this view is summed up in a concept one hears continually invoked, that of tjotjog. Tjotjog means to fit, as a key does in a lock, as an efficacious medicine does to a disease, as a solution does to an arithmetic problem, as a man does with the woman he marries (if he does not, they will divorce). If your opinion agrees with mine we tjotjog; if the meaning of my name fits my character (and if it brings me luck), it is said to be tjotjog. Tasty food, correct theories, good manners, comfortable surroundings, gratifying outcomes are all tjotjog. In the broadest and most abstract sense, two items tjotjog when their coincidence forms a coherent pattern which gives to each a significance and a value it does not in itself have. There is implied here a contrapuntal view of the universe in which that which is important is what natural relationship the separate elements have to one another, how they must be arranged to strike a chord and to avoid a dissonance. And, as in harmony, the ultimately correct relationships are fixed, determinate, and knowable, so religion, like harmony, is ultimately a kind of practical science, producing value out of fact as music is produced out of sound. In its specificity, tjotjog is a peculiarly Javanese idea, but the notion that life takes on its true import when human actions are tuned to cosmic conditions is widespread."

Isn't that cool? I chose it partly because of the cool factor, and partly because of the irony. I am the least harmonious son of a bitch you are likely to meet. I'm a mess. I'm paranoid. I'm conflicted. I'm neurotic.

I'm an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, smothered in secret sauce.

But I've got a cool name.

Getting jiggy with it....


On Saturday we are having a huge event at our corporate headquarters. A local car dealer last year agreed to give away a car to a lucky donor. All during the year, every time you registered to give blood, you got another entry and chance to win the car. It's a 2006 red Pontiac G6.

We're giving it away Saturday. It's a huge undertaking. We're not sure how many people will come to register, but it could be a couple thousand.

When it was going to be a short event, from noon to 2 pm, I agreed to be the emcee.

It has since expanded to six hours at least, from 8 am until 2 pm minimum. I still have to emcee, of course.

I don't have that much material. Gadzooks!

Today I burned a couple of CDs. We're renting a nice sound system, CD player, mixing board, etc. I need some music to play to distract from the fact that I'm not very entertaining.

I tried to keep it safe, with tunes that were bouncy and that everybody would know, and that wouldn't offend anyone.

That eliminates a lot of my favorites, damn it.

I think I came up with a pretty good mix. Kind of heavy on the 80's, but I don't think that's a bad thing:

CD ONE

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades--Timbuk 3
Love Shack--The B-52's
Walk Like An Egyptian--The Bangles
Soul Man--The Blues Brothers
...Baby One More Time--Britney Spears
Centerfold--The J. Geils Band
My Sharona--The Knack
AllStar--Smash Mouth
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go--Wham!
Werewolves Of London--Warren Zevon
Wannabe--Spice Girls
Neutron Dance--The Pointer Sisters
Simply Irresistible--Robert Palmer
Everybody Have Fun Tonight--Wang Chung
Our Lips Are Sealed--The Go-Go's
Another One Bites The Dust--Queen
It's Raining Men--The Weather Girls
I Heard A Rumour--Bananarama
Torn--Natalie Imbruglia

CD TWO

Hot Stuff--Donna Summer
Gloria--Laura Branigan
Play That Funky Music--Wild Cherry
Call Me (Theme from "American Gigolo")--Blondie
Does Your Mother Know--ABBA
Cruel Summer--Bananarama
One Week--Barenaked Ladies
You May Be Right--Billy Joel
No Rain--Blind Melon
Old Time Rock And Roll--Bob Seger
Sunglasses At Night--Corey Hart
Hungry Like The Wolf--Duran Duran
Smuggler's Blues--Glenn Frey
Radar Love--Golden Earring
R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.--John Mellencamp
Long Tall Glasses--Leo Sayer
Love Is A Battlefield--Pat Benatar
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da--The Police
Jessie's Girl--Rick Springfield

I'm gonna kick it old school. Word to your mother!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dream Weaver

this is an audio post - click to play

Four out of five dentists?

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, January 16, 2006

Life Is Funny

You never know about life. The biggest changes and most seminal moments can hang on the smallest thing.

Every once in a while I'll get to talking with someone, and they'll ask me how I came to live in Gainesville. And I always say that the reason I am in Gainesville, a city I have come to love, is because of an insulation truck.

That's why I'm here.

After Mrs. Fabulous got her MBA from Clemson, we moved to Laurens, South Carolina where she went to work for Avery Dennison, and I went to work for Carolina Finance. In the beginning I managed the branch in Clinton, and then eventually I managed their largest branch, which was in Greenville.

After a couple of years, we decided we wanted to move to Florida. Mrs. Fabulous is originally from Jacksonville Beach, and I was ready to move somewhere where it's warm most of the time.
So every week I would pick up four Sunday papers in Greenville. I would get the papers from Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami, which were the only 4 Florida Sunday papers they carried. And every week she would look for something that struck her fancy. She applied to a few companies, but nothing came of it.

Then, one day in August of '96 I drove to the bank in Greenville where my branch had its bank account, so I could pick up the bank bags from the deposit the night before, just like I did every weekday morning. I parked in the lot next to an insulation truck, and I went into the bank. And when I came out of the bank, the driver of the insulation truck was standing in the parking lot, looking at my pickup.

He had hit my pickup. His wheels had been cut too far when he parked, and when he backed out, he scraped all along the passenger side of my pickup. Looked nasty.

Long story short, the insulation company cut me a check to get the damage repaired.

The pickup had been paid off several years before, and it was just body damage, the truck ran fine, and you could still close the doors and everything, so I figured I wouldn't get it fixed. Instead, we took half the money and put it away, and took the other half and went to Jacksonville Beach for the Labor Day weekend.

We had decided to stay home for the weekend originally, but when this money fell into our lap we figured "what the hell".

So we drove down and had a good weekend. And then on Sunday morning I stopped off at the convenience store, figuring I might as well pick up the Jacksonville paper since that would be one less paper I'd have to get when we got back. And I noticed there was a Sunday Gainesville paper too. I didn't know Gainesville had a Sunday paper--it was not a large enough paper to be available in Greenville. So, on a whim, I picked it up.

And it just so happened that the doctors had placed an ad that week for a Practice Manager. She applied, the main guy flew up to meet her, we drove down for a second interview, they hired her, and by Halloween we were in Gainesville.

If that truck doesn't hit me that morning, we're not in Jacksonville, we don't find out there is a Gainesville paper, we don't buy the paper, and none of the last nine years happens.

Well, they happen, but who knows what form they take?

Life. You never know. Every single action impacts every other action down the line. There are a myriad of possibilites at every single turn.

Funny, huh?

Who am I?

I haven't felt right all day today. I'm bagging my 3.3 tonight. I just feel a little off. I don't know what it is.

I hate it when I don't feel like myself.

I feel more like....a Swedish lumberjack who is twice divorced and who lives in a dumpy little efficiency above a donut shop. Or maybe like a homeless single mother of two whose kids are staying with her sister while she gets back on her feet. Or possibly like an arrogant frat boy who can't find the keys to the Mustang his parents bought for him.

Stupid frat boy.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Who Loves Ya, Baby?

Okay, so we know who has been killing people with my name (see below). But on the flip side, who loves us? So....in an effort to balance the negative with some positive, I Googled my first name followed by "Was loved by". Let's see:

  • Brad was loved by all
  • Brad was loved by everyone he knew
  • Brad was loved by all who met him
  • Brad was loved by many people at our school
  • Brad was loved by God
  • Brad was loved by everyone in his life

Wow. Pretty impressive.

Of course, when I kick the bucket (eaten by lions? killed by the CS mafia?) the results will be much different when people I know are queried about how they felt about me:

  • What, he's dead? I didn't know that.
  • Hey, he owed me money!
  • Do you know if his widow is seeing anyone?
  • When is the reading of the will? Am I getting anything?
  • He was a prick.
  • Was it painful? I hope it was painful.
  • It's about time.
  • Nuts, I had next week in the dead pool.
  • I only wish I had killed him myself.

I have no illusions.

Dust Bunnies

From the weekend:

I just added GuestMap to my blog. Please take a minute and place your pin on the map. My world is looking forlorn...

Someone mentioned to me that they thought the red color of the weather box was a little harsh. Does anyone think it should be a color that blends in more? I like it because it's red, but I don't want it to be distracting.

I saw two movies this weekend. I saw Rumor Has It, which sucked. But, I knew it was going to suck. I only chose that particular movie because A) It was the earliest movie that day and B) The theater was close to where we wanted to go shopping afterward. Good reasons, eh? (that was for you Canadians out there).

Today we saw Syriana. It was good, but I am overtired and so had trouble focusing on it. And it was a little confusing. But still a fine film.

My Dell laptop is still in production. My HP is getting nasty. It's dumping memory and shutting down so often I've lost count. It is extracting every measure of pain and vengeance that it can from me. It knows it's going to lose, but it wants me at the end of the day to know that I've been in a fight.

I don't know why this post is entitled Dust Bunnies.

Vagina...China...Angina....

For a spirited (and poetic) give-and-take on the pros and cons of hymenoplasty, sashay over to Toxic Twat Syndrome and check out the posts and comments of January 14 and 15.

I had fun with the rhymes, but I think they got in the way of my point.

I just think people should do what makes them feel good, as long as it's not for the wrong reasons.

I had a good time, though. And it's a great blog.

R.I.P.

Props to Drew at Back of the Cereal Box for this idea. It might not have been his originally, but that's where I saw it first.

If you're really bored one day, Google your first name followed by "was killed by" to see how others saddled with your moniker have shuffled off this mortal coil. Perhaps you will perish by one of these same methods one day.

If there are no really cool deaths listed, you know what you must do. For posterity.

In the interest of full disclosure, here were my results:
  • Brad was killed by lions
  • Brad was killed by a drunk driver
  • Brad was killed by a teenage motorist
  • Brad was killed by an 18 wheeler
  • Brad was killed by another teen
  • Brad was killed by the CS Mafia
  • Brad was killed by yet another bloody puppet
  • Brad was killed by the Vampire Slayer Danny
  • Brad was killed by One
  • Brad was killed by contact poison on one of his pens
  • Brad was killed by some creature

It would appear I can lessen my chances of an untimely demise by staying off the road and avoiding teenagers, puppets, and anything supernatural.

That's good to know. Gives me a leg up.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Apparently, this is nothing new...

Back in the early and mid 80's there were no blogs. I had to seek out other creative outlets.

I was reminded of this the other day. I was going through some old stuff in my den closet, when I turned a corner and came face to face with...myself, of twenty years ago. Weighed less, had more hair, was less fabulous.

I used to write song parodies and original tunes. Think of a much less talented Al Yankovic. Working more blue. With an attitude. And what's even worse, I would record them, myself, with no music, onto cassette tapes. With zero production values.

The mind boggles. Have I mentioned I drank a lot in those days?

Still, my friends seemed to enjoy them. Otherwise, why would I keep doing it? I made three of them. I remember getting the most enjoyment out of the writing. So I guess, in some way, this blog is a natural evolution and extention of that.

The three tapes, in chronological order (because, for God's sake, we need to be accurate for the sake of history) are entitled The Captain Sings his Gospel Favorites and Other Tunes, Spectrum, and So's Your Mom!

There is no song listing on the first two tapes, so I can't remember most of what is on there. But apparently I got ambitious on So's Your Mom! and listed the cuts. Witness:

So's Your Mom!

Side One

  1. Intro--Maim That Child
  2. Young Girl
  3. Let Me Pee
  4. Oh, Lesbian
  5. I Want a New Rug
  6. Hey Goon
  7. Young Boys On My Mind
  8. Zombie Rap
  9. Suck Down the Booze
  10. Trouble in Northampton

Side Two

  1. The Day the Rabbit Died
  2. Need a Pain Reliever
  3. She Toad Me So
  4. I Got Syph, Babe
  5. Separate Checks
  6. Favorite Things
  7. Perfection
  8. Inflatable Doll
  9. Another Night in Holyoke

I am afraid to listen to them. Very afraid.

I can remember a little of Young Girl, which was a parody of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap's original Young Girl.

Young girl, get out of my mind. My love for you is way out of line. Better run girl. You're much too young girl.

Became...

Young girl, get out of my pants. You know you've got really cold hands. Better run, girl. That's not a gun, girl!

You get the idea.

On my desktop I have hardware installed that will allow me to convert cassette tape cuts to MP3s. If I can figure out how to post some of them here, perhaps I will do so.

And then my humiliation will be complete.

Friday, January 13, 2006

At least it's not Hacky-Sack

Man, I am already beat tonight. I haven't slept well the latter half of this week. I was up at about 4:30 a.m. the last few days, and 2:00 a.m. this morning.

I'm pooped.

I barely have enough energy to work up a semi-vitriolic post about how on this date in 1957 Wham-O produced the first Frisbee.

I loath frisbee.

I never saw the point. Even when I was a kid. Even when I was in college and it was all the rage. Run and catch it. Run and catch it. Run and catch it. Maybe if you're a dog I can see the point. But I am not a dog. I am a human being.

Fuck that. Give me a ball and glove.

Frisbee is evil. It is what is wrong with the world today. It is responsible for all of society's ills. It killed my father.

I have been delivered!

The day is at hand.

Well, it was at hand yesterday, anyway. When I placed the order for my new laptop.

Merlinprincesse was right. That was the penalty.

By the way, Merlinprincesse, I have checked out your blog, and it makes me wish I could speak French. However, as an Ugly American, I was not required to learn a second language and as an intellectually challenged homo sapien, I don't have the cognitive capacity to learn one even if I had the opportunity.

But I appreciate your kind comments! And, in this case, your correct prediction.

I am actually part French. But apparently, not the part that can speak the language. Which is strange, because I am also part Irish, and apparently it was the part that allowed me to drink to excess.

In any event, soon the new computer shall arrive, and I shall be delivered from my laptop purgatory. It's a Dell Inspiron 9300, loaded not only with bells and whistles, but also pulleys, bullhorns, noisemakers, whoopie cushions, french ticklers, door knobs, and sea shells.

And I got an awesome deal on it.

As if it senses my betrayal, my current laptop was very finicky yesterday.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, HP Pavilion ze5300. It tolls for thee.

My softer side...

I am not what you would call a devotee of musicals, but there are a few that I like. I think that makes me fairly unique among most of the males I come in contact with every day. Well, the heterosexual males, anyway.

I like The Music Man and My Fair Lady. I like 1776 even more (I know all the songs by heart). And my favorite musical is Chess.
Chess is great. It was written by Tim Rice and the music was done by the two guys from ABBA (I could look up the names, but I don’t have the attention span. I know they were the two B’s in the name of the group, though).

It has an awesome pop score and very witty and smart lyrics. Most people, even if they are not familiar with the musical, know One Night in Bangkok, sung by Murray Head.

Hmmm....I'm gonna have to listen to the soundtrack at work today.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Let's get physical....

I had my bi-annual physical yesterday afternoon.

It appears I am not yet at the age where I have to undergo the dreaded gloved finger treatment.

I'm a little disappointed. My doctor is kind of cute. Deep manly voice. Long tapered fingers...

When the day comes when he um...you know...is that the equivalent of letting him to get to third base with me?

And if I let him do that, will he call me the next day?

I can't be sure, but when I was turning my head and coughing, I thought I detected a lingering of his hand down there.

Oh well, just as well nothing happened. That would have necessitated a long talk with Mrs. Fabulous.

The New National Pastime

My friend Karen turned me on to a nifty little distraction: Penguin baseball!

So far I can't get past the three hundred foot marker. It's harder than you would think to hit a penguin with a baseball bat.

Finally a game that combines my love of baseball and my love of flightless foul.

My life is complete.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Inner Workings

I sometimes think of my body as being run by hundreds of microscopic men. It's quite a large scale production, apparently.

The smartest guys work up in the brain, of course, controlling all the higher functions. Lots of them were at the top of their class. They make most of the decisions. However, since mine is a democratic body, all the departments are represented at the daily committee meeting. These meetings are held in Conference Room 4 (the one near the cafeteria).

I picture the brain guys wearing white shirts and ties. Some of them wear lab coats. The guys working the rest of the body are mostly blue collar workers, of course. The guys working in the small and large intestine wear Haz-Mat suits and are always bitching about the stomach guys when they send certain things down. And the stomach guys say hey, don't blame us, it's Harvey in Brain Sector C that keeps giving him that craving for corn on the cob.

And what a production that daily committee meeting is! The muscle rep is always putting down the brain guys, the union steward for the heart is always harping on the muscle rep for not exercising more, the ass guy just sits there eating donuts, and the penis manager is always trying to ram his own agenda through committee. No one pays any attention to the appendix guy, and from the looks of things there is going to be some more downsizing in the Hair Department, so that guy is always on edge.

Sometimes it erupts in a drunken orgy of violence.

And don't get me started about those wise guys in the Dream Department. One minute I'm enjoying a restful snooze, and then suddenly I'm thrust into the Bavarian Alps where, along with my trusty companion, a talking howler monkey named Roscoe, I do battle with an army of Britney Spears-worshipping Nazis who shoot spitballs at me and tease me about wearing white after Labor Day.

My dream guys are class clowns.

It's a wonder how I function with this crew. But somehow they manage to pull it together every day and make it work. The only reason I am telling you all this is because Mikey, who is employed in the Cerebral Cortex, and works first shift, has come in early today, locked the others in the breakroom (the good one, with the popcorn machine) and has taken over control long enough for me to type this. But he's just about done. There. Now he's finished.

He's gonna get written up for this.

The Big Four

My obsession with birthdays continues...

On this date in 1956, Robert Earl Keen was born.

Robert Earl Keen is one of my "Big Four". The others are Warren Zevon, John Hiatt, and Rodney Crowell.

They are not "Top 40" guys. Kasey Kasem isn't going to be talking about them on American Top 40 (does he even do that anymore? Am I stuck in 1985?)

They are amazing songwriters. I have an affinity for really smart lyrics, and these guys never fail to disappoint.

Zevon and Keen have darker sides than the other two, which is also something that appeals to me.

My favorite Keen album remains A Bigger Piece of Sky. A few of the cuts:

  • Whenever Kindness Fails, which is about a cowboy on a train in the late 1800's who starts shooting people who he thinks are mocking him. But he's nice enough to give you some advice at the end:

I only have a moment to explain

Just a chance to let you know

When it's time for you to board the train

There are two ways you can go

You can ride the wheels into the sun

Feel the wind upon your face

Or you can laugh into a loaded gun

And you'll likely loose your place

  • Here in Arkansas is a genuinely spooky tune that I still haven't quite figured out. The narrator is a man who apparently has been murdered by his family for some bizarre reason:

All the elders did decree my soul to be unclean

They strapped me to a gurney and gave me morphine

Sister find the preacherman

Daddy call the law

Things have gotten out of hand

Here in Arkansas

Sister walks into the night and prays my soul to save

And underneath the cold moonlight she finds my open grave

  • Blow You Away wants you to know that everyone you meet in the course of a day would just as soon kill you as deal with you, and you're not even safe when you're asleep:

And you turn out the light that you read by

You pray that you're one of the few

When you're one with the Lord there's just one reward

And they'd just as soon make it come true

The mattress is mildewed and lumpy

But you fall asleep where you lay

Under the lump there's a twenty gauge pump

'Cause they'd just as soon blow you away

(Eventually I'm going to figure out why I can't single space stuff like that)

Anyway.....Happy Birthday, Robert Earl Keen!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I never know what's going on

As a corporate stooge, um.....I mean manager, I report directly to the COO of the organization, although I interact a lot with the CEO as well.

A couple of weeks ago, just before Christmas, I was up in the Executive Offices, and Nancy, the CEO, suggested I take some of the oranges that had been delivered as a Christmas gift to the office.

I did so, stating that if I didn't eat them, maybe I could use them to learn how to juggle.

She seemed surprised that I didn't know how to juggle. She said that if there was one person in the building who she thought would know how to juggle, it would be me.

I don't know what that meant. But I chose to take it as a compliment.

Then last week I was in Bill's (the COO) office, during a conference call with our Birmingham district. There was talk about how to properly thank some hospital executives that had helped us with a project. Bill asked me what I thought of simply sending a nice, classy card with a heartfelt message. I concurred, and said that sometimes less is more. He looked at me and commented that I always sounded like a commercial.

I chose to take that as a compliment as well.

But....I never know what's going on.

And the band played on....

Wow. January 10th is a big day for birthdays of musical artists I like.

Jim Croce, Shawn Colvin, Donald Fagan, and Pet Benatar were all born on this date. Rod Stewart too, but I'm not a huge fan. Although "Young Turks" is a bitchin' tune.

Frank Sinatra Jr. was born on this date too, but I don't think anyone cares.

Chug chug sputter sputter.....

If you have been a reader of this blog since it's inception you know that the ongoing issue that has prompted the most postings has been the condition of my laptop.

It's acting up again. It is possessed. I am considering contacting one of the local Catholic churches to inquire about the possibility of an exorcism being performed on it.

I wish it would just die once and for all, instead of torturing me. If it would just die I would go get another one and move on with my life. But I can't justify spending the money when, more often than not, this one works okay.

Then I would have two laptops. I only have one lap.

When it shuts down on its own, or freezes, or does other weird things, all sorts of wild visions dance in my head. Throwing it off a building. Shooting it with a handgun. Drowning it in a bathtub full of water. Dragging it for miles behind my car.

What is the penalty for laptopicide?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Got to love those puns!

My Songwriting Hall of Fame cont.


Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows
And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows
And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows

Everybody Knows Leonard Cohen

Oddly enough...

On the heels of Elvis' birthday, January 9th is the anniversary of Richard Nixon's birthday.

He wasn't as sexy, and he couldn't sing. But I always found Nixon to be a fascinating tragic figure as well.

The constant career resurrections, the Checkers speech, the trip to China, the bombing of Cambodia, the end of the Vietnam war, Watergate, his later years as an elder statesman...

The paranoia. The enemies list. The secret taping.

Compelling.

If I was having a dinner party, and could invite five famous dead people, I would pick Elvis, Nixon, Napoleon, Lincoln, and Julius Caesar.

Wait, let me clarify; they could come to dinner as if they were alive again. Not as five dead people. Or zombies.

Because that would just be weird.

Wait a minute. I don't speak French. Or Latin. Hmm..that could put a damper on the conversation.

Okay, let's tweak the guest list. I'd invite Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy. And then after dinner we could all participate in a...um....focus group.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I knew he'd go on to great things....

My Hero!

Yesterday I was in a blogger forum and I made a post about how frustrated I was with my inability to get certain things lined up correctly on my blog. Html is quite the mystery to Mr. Fabulous, you see. My ineptitude and failure to get things the way I wanted them was, I fear, kick starting a nasty bout of OCD for me!

A very nice woman not only gave me a few tips, but also rewrote that part of my template in question and instructed me how to insert it correctly.

It worked!

I don't know how she did it. I view her ability to do that much the same way that someone who only knew how to rub two sticks together might view someone walking around with a Zippo.

Her name is Prairie Girl, and I urge you to check out her blog. You can find the link on my sidebar or click on the title of this post. She takes some incredible pictures.

I am humbled by her kindness.

Elvis Aron Presley

Now that's a good looking guy. It's a good thing it's Sunday. I don't do no work on Elvis' birthday.

Thankyew. Thankyewverymuch.

Elvis Presley was born on this date in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Man, I love Elvis. I have a lifesize cardboard cutout of Elvis that I keep in my den, and I also have an Elvis phone that plays "Hound Dog" when it rings, except I finally disconnected it because it was really loud and would scare the hell out of me when I was in the den on the desktop computer.

My work keys are on an Elvis keychain.

I love the music, but it's more than that. I am fascinated by the way he lived. His poor upbringing, the way he grew up, his catapult to fame, his subsequent iconic career, and the increasingly insular life he led in his later years.

It's enthralling. And it is best captured in two books by Peter Guralnick. Last Train to Memphis chronicles Elvis from his birth up to his induction into the army, and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, picks up where Last Train leaves off, right until his death in 1977.

He was a facinating man, and he led a life that was incredible on so many levels. I consider him to be a tragic figure, and I have an affinity for tragic figures.

From a shotgun shack singing Pentecostal hymns
Through the wrought iron gates to the TV room
He had a little world, it was smaller than your hand
It's a rockabilly ride from the glitter to the gloom

Left behind by the latest trends
Eating fried chicken with his regicidal friends
That's how the story ends
With a porcelain monkey

Porcelain Monkey Warren Zevon


Black velvet and that little boy smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring you to your knees
Black velvet if you please

Up in Memphis the music's like a heat wave
White lightning, bound to drive you wild
Mama's baby's in the heart of every school girl
"Love me tender" leaves 'em cryin' in the aisle
The way he moved, it was a sin, so sweet and true

Black Velvet Allanah Myles


I dreamed I had a good job and I got well paid
I blew it all at the penny arcade
A hundred dollars on a kewpie doll
No pretty chick is gonna make me crawl

Get on a TWA to the promised land
Every woman, child and man
Gets a Cadillac and a great big diamond ring
Don't you know you're riding with the king

He's on a mission of mercy to the new frontier
He's gonna check us all on out of here
Up to that mansion on a hill
Where you can get your prescription filled

Riding With the King John Hiatt

"When I first heard Elvis' voice, I just knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody, and nobody was going to be my boss. He is the deity supreme of rock and roll religion as it exists in today's form. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail. I thank God for Elvis Presley."

Bob Dylan

"That Elvis, man, he is all there is. There ain't no more. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book."

Bruce Springsteen

"Before there was Elvis, there was nothing."

John Lennon

Indeed. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Why I do what I do...

This is not my story. This is a story my friend Christine told the other day. Christine works for the local branch. We were with Andy, from WJLF, who was doing a remote over at corporate for JOY FM. I had heard the story before, but Andy hadn't.

Christine had combined the JOY FM promotion with Some Bunny Cares, which is a promotion we do periodically throughout the system. Every year I solicit Ty, Inc. and every year they are kind enough to provide us with stuffed bunnies for the promotion. We generally run it in Gainesville, Birmingham, and Atlanta, where we supply blood products to children's hospitals.

When people come in to donate blood, they can sign a card. The cards are attached to the bunnies, and then at some point we go over and deliver them to the pediatric wards and distribute them to the children. It is usually a pretty emotional visit. I have never actually done it. It would ruin my image to get all weepy in front of co-workers!

In any event, at the time last year when they were delivering the bunnies to Shands Hospital here in town, there were three brothers in the hospital who had been in an automobile accident. They were teenagers, and all three had been thrown from the car. Two were in the children's ward, and the third was in ICU.

They were able to give bunnies to the two in the ward, but of course they couldn't set foot in ICU. However, they left enough bunnies for all the kids up there, and the hospital personnel delivered them, so the third brother got one.

He died that day.

His parents buried the bunny with him. It was the last thing all three of them had received together. And now when the other two brothers look at their bunnies they can remember their brother.

Blood banking is full of stories like that. Sad stories, but also happy stories. Miracles. Chances are those two surviving brothers made it because of blood products they received.

A patient only receives a blood product if he or she will die without it. Blood donors help to save up to three lives every single time they donate. It means so much to me to see these special people every day, people who come in and give so freely of themselves for people who, in most cases, they will never even meet.

Working in the corporate office these days, I don't get to have as much interaction with donors as I used to. But I am trying to get out more. I find I miss it. A lot.

If you are eligible to give blood, I urge that you do so. Blood is only available when it is needed because people took the time to donate prior to the need. Countless lives are saved every day, every hour, every minute. And they aren't always strangers. It could be a member of your family, a neighbor, a coworker...

It could be you.
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