Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween History

To all my fellow bloggers and occasional reader readers:

Happy Halloween!!

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to frighten the pants off you (ok, well, some of you should probably keep your pants on--no seriously, please, we don't need to see that). And what better way to do that than pictures of me!! The picture below was taken in 1994. I'm dressed as a monk with very pale skin and serious bags under his eyes (no makeup was necessary). Who knew that monks wore Doc Marten's with their jeans rolled into a cuff at the bottom. Eww. This was taken at my Aunt's house prior to heading out to a party.

In 1997, I mistakenly went into the office without a costume and was severely ridiculed by my co-workers (who all dressed up). So, for lunch, I ran to the fabric store, bought $4.99 worth of cloth, a $.10 strip of gold ribbon and a $1.99 Christmas wreath (which I cut to fit for my head). After a quick stop at the Albertson's for some grapes, I was back at the office in time to capture 2nd place in the company-wide costume contest. HAHAHA to everyone that made me feel bad for not dressing up. That'll teach YOU to challenge a gay man to be fabulous under pressure.

The next picture is a rented Roman Centurion outfit (real leather I might add) from 1999. I wanted to go as a Gladiator, but this was the best I could do. This was taken in the hallway of my Dallas apartment before heading to a street fair. Special note: The combo of Leather and Legs can get a Centurion VERY far in life.

And then there was New Orleans, which you've seen before. I shant describe the circumstances, people or events involved in the making of this memorable Halloween so as to protect the guilty and avoid certain prosecution.

The next shot wasn't technically Halloween. OK, it wasn't Halloween at all, but rather a really fun costume party at my friend's Justin and Aaron's house called "Ooga Booga." I'm not sure why, but we tend to name our parties in Kansas City--probably all hoping they become regular traditions. Regrettably, this one did not. I'm standing next to my friend Bill, who sadly forgot to wear a costume (hehe). Notice the lovely nose-ring and gorgeous headband made from the best feathers and leather straps Wal-Mart has to offer.

Then I went on a military spree, shirtless of course. This photo was taken at an Annual Halloween extravaganza called "Spook" in Kansas City at my friend's Tim/Tobi's house (Timmy shown below). "Spook" has since been disbanded due to the unfortunate split between the hosts. I was dressed as Rambo, although I asked everyone to call me "Rambone" (oddly, no one did). Notice the working metal BB gun and real bullets strapped around my waist. Did you know you can buy bullets over-the-counter at Wal-Mart? Scary.

The following night, I reused this same outfit, but decided to take it an extra step by adding face-paint and bloody injuries. This picture was taken at Missie B's in 2002 with my pal Trevor. Unfortunately, due to some rather lude behavior on my part, several of the faux injuries became real ones by the end of the evening. Just kidding, I haven't been lude in hours years.

And, I know what you're thinking... "Dave should wear more clothes." But hey--ya gotta be SCARY, right?!?! Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween Prep

It's that time of year again. And I'm getting ready for it. First, by putting the plastic jack-o-laterns in the windows.

Then by stocking up on the teeth rotters:

Then by putting on my best hat and brushing my hair:

Then by picking out a cute outfit for Casey. (Casey has decided to be Michelle Kwan (the figure skater) for Halloween. Luckily, Target has just the outfit for him.)

Now if we can just keep it from raining this year. The last thing my waistline needs is to have to eat 20 pounds of candy by myself. In one sitting. Without sharing. Food can't be wasted, ya know...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Random Thoughts #4

--Maybe I’m mean spirited, but I’d love to see a few White House aides fry for the CIA leak. Not because I’m particularly passionate about protecting the identity of covert agents, but because it’s the closest we’ve gotten so far to kicking George and Dick in the nuts (and I'm all for that).

--So I get a meeting invitation from our SVP of Sales to participate in a presentation to a very (very) large client. It includes all the company big-wigs, including our infamous CEO. Wouldn’t you know, I’m in NYC that day and can’t make it. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get another opportunity to claw my way to the top do important work for the company.

--I'm watching "Made" on MTV where Zach, a [presumably] straight high-school lacrosse jock, wants to be made into a figure skater. This kid has balls. I'm impressed with his steadfast passion for doing something so obviously faggy, in spite of all the pressure he gets from his father and teammates. He takes ballet. He designs his own outfit. And he's a little bit cute. It's funny, you should catch it.

--Lately I’ve been getting phantom vibrations in my back, close to where I keep my cell phone on my belt. At first, I thought it was just wishful thinking that someone was calling or sending me a text message, or that someone actually left a comment on my blog (AHEM). Instead, I’ve decided that it’s really a grapefruit-sized tumor from all the toxic radio waves being sent to and from my phone.

--Kudos to WNBA basketball star Sheryl Swoopes for coming out of the closet. While I was giving her her 15 minutes (I didn't even know she existed), I stumbled upon two different stories about her coming out here and here. Although they look the same at first blush, the SportsTicker article includes a very dubious statement that the AP article doesn't include. Specifically, SportTicker quotes her as saying, "I didn't always know I was gay. I honestly didn't." and "Do I think I was born this way? No. And that's probably confusing to some, because I know a lot of people believe that you are.” Ugh. She needs a kick in the cooter.

--Wow. I'm doing a lot of crotch kicking today.

--Poor Astros. In spite of their loss, congrats to them for a stellar season! I have a confession, though. In the third game, I was secretly rooting for Chicago. I felt incredibly guitly about it, but I couldn't help myself. This was the reason. Yummy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ghouls, Goblins and Garishness

Yesterday, on my way home from work, something caught my eye:

Needless to say, I was frightened.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Astro Turf

I called my parents this weekend to chat my Dad up about the Astros being in the World Series. I grew up right outside of Houston, and my father has been a die-hard Astros fan for nearly 45 years. It was so nice to hear him talk so enthusiastically about "his" team. As we were chatting, I realized that I had many fond memories of the Astros with my Dad, and their former home, the Astrodome.

I remember watching the once high-tech fireworks shoot across the large Jumbo-Tron monitor and yelling "CHARGE" after the animated character "Chester Charge" magically scurried across the screen.

I remember watching fans put up large "K" signs as Nolan Ryan smoked 100+mph fastballs past the hitters. I remember getting my picture taken with one of the team members whose name I can't recall. I remember peanut shells all over the floor, and hotdogs. I remember the time the fancy hubcaps on our Mercury Marquis were stolen from the parking lot. I remember spending almost the whole game with the binoculars pressed to my eyes taking in practically everything that moved on and off the field.

I don't remember (according to my parents) somehow jamming a large smiley-face pin up my nose and being taken to the Astrodome emergency room while six or seven nurses held me down for the extraction. Nor do I remember sitting through (according to my Dad) one of the longest games in baseball history (something like 26 innings). I also don't remember the last game I went to, or when I became to old or too cool to stop attending them with my Dad. I also don't remember my Mom ever being there, although I know she was.

At the too-young age of 63, my father is very ill with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He's known about it for nearly eight years (average life expentancy is five years, post diagnosis). His health is a veritable rollercoaster of hospital visits, daily medications and the constant stress of staring mortality in the face. But these days, the stress is a little less thanks to the Astros' success. I have to believe that he fully appreciates the metaphor this presents--that his boys of summer are playing for him now. Hoping like hell he can extend his season a little longer and go out on top. I sure hope they do...

Thanks for the memories, Dad. And to the Astros: "CHAAAARRRGGGGEEEE!!"

Monday, October 24, 2005


OK, when I say "Go," squeeze your genitals.

Blown in Florida

OK, OK. We get it. Hurricanes are powerful. They have strong winds. And rain. Sometimes it's hard to stand up. Is that really news?

Minutes later (when I wasn't ready with the camera), Al actually fell down. Now THAT is news.

Below the Line

Last week I was required to take a training course based on the best-selling management book "The Oz Principle." Several of us from around the company gathered at our Kansas City location and spent from 8am to 5pm learning how to beat our employees into submission manage more effectively.

Basically, the whole premise is that as an employee, you must take personal accountability for your actions, and that every action falls into one of two categories: Above the Line and Below the Line.

In addition to giving us this insightful book to reference at any time, they also gave us a variety of handy tools to help us remember how to decide what side of the line we're on, including handy flashcards so we can practice. In fact, let's practice now, together. I'll say a sentence and you say whether it's Above or Below the Line:

1. Let me take that back to the office and get back to you as soon as possible.

2. I think it's cool that the company lets me have all these post-it notes.

3. Hey, kiss my ass you BITCH.

4. What else can I do for the company?

5. I'm sorry [Client], I'll fix that for you right now.

6. Well, if Sally hadn't been drinking at work again, we would've met that deadline.

Let me be perfectly clear: I'm a company man. I'm one of the best corporate drones around. But sitting in one spot for eight hours pretending that this crap will help me manage is absolutely tortuous. What's worse--listening to all of the corporate goody-two-shoes sucking up to the trainer by raising their hands and regurgitating all of the carefully scripted rhetoric. Here we are doing that (notice all the white board paper posted on the window--we're such good learners):

In spite of all the corporate B.S. and long, boring sessions, I was able to keep my focus on the important things:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ah... Sundays

On Sundays, it can be hard to get out of bed...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Random Thoughts #3

--I'm so glad it's Friday. I'm planning to have a nice, relaxing weekend. No going out and getting drunk or staying up all night or picking up guys that don't have cars. Not that any of those things ever happened.

--It's starting to get cold out, so I may spend an early Saturday morning cleaning out my summer closet and getting it ready for winter. That sounds fancy, but it really just involves moving the shorts to the back and the sweaters to the front.

--After work today we're having a little get-together for my co-worker Lori to celebrate the arrival of "Annie," her newly adopted daughter. I'm not much for sitting around making goo-goo eyes at babies, so hopefully it'll be short. I already bought her a cute gift bag with several little baby gifts so I'm thinking 10-15 minutes should satisfy my obligations. Unless, of course, there's alcohol.

--Last night on Will and Grace, Will was having issues with getting old and being alone. I was starting to identify with that a bit, but then I saw how fat Alec Baldwin's ass loooked in a towel and completely lost my train of thought. Eww. He looked like a hairy-chested Kirstie Alley.

--Looks like I'm heading back to NYC again. November 1-3.

--Casey's been hacking/choking on pieces of his cow hooves lately, but I just can't bear to take them away from him. Being the good Daddy that I am, I looked up and studied the Doggie Heimlich.

--OK, how excited am I to see Jake Gyllenhaal in Jarhead? I will no doubt have my butt in a movie theater seat on November 4th when it opens. I just hope I don't accidentally scream "I love you, Jake" in front of everyone. I hate it when I do that.

--I can't wait until the time change happens. It's dark when I get up and dark when I get home. I need some friggin daylight. My poor little puupy needs to play outside!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Accommodating Accommodations

This is a busy time of year at work, which means a fair amount of travel for me. One of the things I hate most about traveling is the hotel. Practically every hotel I visit is riddled with inconveniences. During my last hotel stay, I had the opportunity to chronicle some of those problems:

1. Electrical Outlets. I shouldn't have to move furniture to find a plug for my phone, laptop or the provided iron. There should be at least two plugs on every wall. Shoulder-high so I don't have to bend over to plug it in.

2. Coffee. There should always be a coffee pot in every room. It should have a timer on it, and it should be stocked with more than two dinky packets of one creamer, one sugar and one stirrer.

3. Free Wireless Internet. Charging me $10.95 for less than an hour or two of internet access is absolutely absurd. Especially when I'm paying close to $300 for the night. If the god damn Courtyard Marriot can do it for free, why can't Daddy Marriot do it, too? To me, it's the equivalent of charging for cable TV. It's an absurd business practice.

4. Lights. All lights should be connected to a switch on the wall, and there should be a master switch directly next to the bed. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to bed and had to get up and turn 3-4 different lamps off by hand.

5. Water pressure. If I wanted to be peed on, I know exactly who to call where to go. I want pressure that will make my skin bleed.

6. Shower curtain. And while I'm on the subject of showering, I thought it would be appropriate to express how disgusting it is for me to come in contact with a wet shower curtain. A rounded shower curtain would fit perfectly and meet my sanitary requirements.

7. Bottled water. After a long, thirsty day of travel, you shouldn't greet me with a large bottle of water on the dresser with fine print at the bottom saying the water cost $8.50. That's just rude.

8. Ironing Board. Every hotel in America should have a full-sized ironing board and a reasonably new iron in every room. There is a special place in hell for hotels that make people iron on those little midget ironing boards. Or should I say Litle People ironing boards?

9. Decent Towels. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when a towel has met it's match. If it's lost it's fluffiness, it should be auctioned off to Motel 6 and replaced. Oh, and they should be big enough to wrap around my waist so when I go get ice, no one sees my ass.

10. Housekeeping. Housekeeping should never knock on your door prior to 10am. Last week I had one knock at my door about 7:45am. At that hour, she isn't entitled to a friendly "come back later, please."

If somebody could get this right, they'd have a customer for LIFE.

Shirt Sex?

While visiting New York last week, I had the chance to do a little shopping. Since I was staying in Times Square and it was pouring down rain, I decided to hit the Saks Fifth Avenue across the street from Rockefeller Center (right down the street). Saks is one of my favorite stores. My ex, Steven, used to work at the one in Dallas and started me on a fairly serious addiction of expensive dress shirts and ties. And belts. And leather jackets. And jeans. Thank god the Saks in KC only sells women's clothes.

In our nearly five years together, Steven worked exclusively in retail. I know first-hand how young cute guys can swoon over their customers to increase their commissions. I've seen it work with my own eyes. In fact, I guess you could say I've profited from it. So as I stepped off the elevator on the Men's floor at Saks, I wasn't particularly shocked to be attacked approached by a very eager and very cute salesperson. He was hispanic, fairly short and had great teeth. Now generally, I say "just browsing" until I can make sure I'm being helped by the cutest sales guy, but in this case I was in a hurry, so he'd just scored himself a customer.

Together, we spent about 30 minutes walking around the store picking out various shirts that would go with jeans and a nice jacket. It didn't take us long to establish the other was favorably inclined towards the male persuasion, and once we did, the games began. I think I actually blushed a couple of times. Hell, I picked out an extra four or five shirts to try on that I didn't even like.

Deep down, I figured this was just part of the standard sales "dance" that keeps older guys like me buying $200 shirts from 23 year olds. But as I was trying them on, I began to realize that he was slightly more serious about his interest in me than a sales associate should be. He insisted on seeing every shirt, and touched my shoulders too much. On one, he unbuttoned the top button to spread my collar a bit more. At that moment, his arms were almost around me and his face was close enough to feel the heat from his body. It was right at that instant I knew that one of two things could happen: I could resist his advances and make it to dinner on time, or I could shut that door and have a really good story to write about in my blog.

Boy, I looked great in that shirt that night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Guerrilla Dog Saving

There's a ruckus at the dog park. I'm staying out of this one simply because I'm fresh out of colored markers.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend, Doug, Lucas and I went to a little town called "Weston," about 45 minutes North of Kansas City. Its claim to fame at this time of the year is its massive pumpkin patches and apple orchards. It also has a small little Main Street with lots of antique shops, quilting stores and an old-fashioned ice cream shop. You should consider a trip here if you're bored. Extremely bored.

When we got to the farm, the parking lot was full. I liked this because I got to go off-roading drive in the grass. The farm had a variety of distractions for the kids, including a hay-ride to the pumpkin picking patch. There were chickens and ducks and turkeys and even a few Shetland Ponies. In spite of our best effort to stay enthusiastic, including my string of hilarious and witty jokes about huge cocks roosters, we conceded that the farm had failed to hold our attention.

So we headed “downtown” to Main Street. We went through a couple of stores, but the stench of cinnamon candles and potpourri was almost too much for us to bear. One store was so small and packed with crap that Doug almost had a panic attack trying to get away from the retirement home field-trippers shopping for porcelain dolls. That was pretty funny to see.

Then we had an ice cream craving. The sign at the entrance of the Ice Cream Shop told us to “Close Door Due to Flies and Bees.” I wasn't sure why that just didn't go without saying.
A 10-year old kid was working as the ice cream scooper behind the counter. Lucas and I were appalled to watch him cough into his hands, then plunge them into the water to clean off the scooper. That same cough-infected scooper then dripped into the ice cream bucket and got blended right into our icy treats. Thank god my addiction to high fat, high-sugar foods outweigh my germ phobias. I think Lucas would’ve rather been stung by bees.

Here are some pics that I took of our day. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Front Desk Girl

I've got a problem with the girl that sits at the front desk in our office. I don't know her name, and she's not an employee of the company. She's a contracted security person that also answers the phone. She has no weapon that I can see (other than her offensive behavior). I'll give you some examples:

Eating. She constantly has food at her desk. I've seen pizza boxes, cake, Wendy's bags, etc. I don't think our receptionist should be eating at her desk. It doesn't look good. She should get a lunch break and should go somewhere (far away) to eat.

Paging. We have an overhead paging system. In a typical week, you might hear 4-5 pages, tops. Since this young lady has joined our team, overhead paging has increased significantly. What you hear is "Shaniqua Young, please report to the front desk," or "Roshonda Williams, please call the front desk." WTF? These aren't people that have work-related emergencies. That bitch is paging her friends. Give me a break.

Professionalism. Now this is going to sound inappropriate, but you'll have to deal with it. Whoever answers our phone is important, because it can be the first impression we make on a potential client. This girl has a very unprofessional telephone manner. OK, I'll say it--she's completely ghetto. When she pages, you can tell it takes every ounce of constraint not to say, "Shaniqua, git yo fat ass up here and talk to me." I don't like that.

Birthday. I'm not a party pooper. I think celebrating your birthday is fun. But a couple of weeks ago, I came up the elevator to see the reception desk RIDDLED with streamers, balloons and glitter. I was appalled. I think it's OK to decorate a cubicle in such a fashion, provided said cubicle is out of sight from important clients or guests, but who the HELL authorized decorating the whole goddamn lobby for someone that doesn't even WORK for us? Ugh.

Appearances. Her job is to sit there and answer the phone and protect us in case armed men storm the building. She should be concentrating on this task, as a quick reaction to these armed men could mean the difference between life and death for me. Instead, she reads books, and searches eBay and plays solitaire. Um, no. Sit up straight, eyes forward with your finger on the 911 button. Moving a Jack on top of a Queen isn't helping to keep me safe.

Religious Symbols. This I had to document because you wouldn't believe it if I told you. Apparently, in an effort to protheletize her beliefs, she has begun affixing newspaper articles about religion to her desk. She actually has them scotch-taped down so they won't blow off. This also happens to be the first thing our clients see when they come in the door. Who in HR is letting her get away with this?

The last two receptionists have been great and I got along with them famously. Each demonstrated excellent value to the company and was promoted internally. I see that we've made an attempt to twart this trend by outsourcing to this security company. All I can say is that this girl better have one HELL of a round-house if she's ever gonna demonstrate her value to ME.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I miss New York. A lot. I miss the stirring of people, the rich diversity and it’s no-nonsense aura. The stark contrast of utter anonymity with the unspoken camaraderie that all New Yorkers share calls to me. I feel alive here, more so than any other place I’ve lived or visited.

Last night I spent the evening with Ryan, who chose NYC (with strong encouragement from me) to conduct his residency in his Psy.D. program. He’s flourishing here. Seeing him on the opposite side of the street as I emerged from the Spring Street station, I saw his NYC glow. Puma-clad, wrapped in a big blue scarf and a grey sweater, he was the epitome of the City. In spite of his Tulsa upbringing, he is in the perfect environment for his intellectual and bohemian pursuits to prosper.

In SoHo, we sipped martinis and dined on sushi next to anonymous celebrity. I saw his building in the quaint Village neighborhood, and drank coffee in the shop below it. His actor/waiter friend Steven served us and made us feel like we were in his living room. It was pure intimacy, in spite of its vast landscape.

As he walked me to the corner to catch a cab back to my hotel, we chatted about whether or not I’d ever move back to the East Coast, or specifically, whether I’d ever come back to NY. Though I didn’t have an answer, I can say
this: It certainly wasn’t “No.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Today I'm in NYC for a meeting. I got in so damn late last night due to flight delays that I didn't even get to see my dearest friend Ryan, who happened to be having a birthday yesterday. We had dinner plans, but a few drops of rain closed LaGuardia airport for hours.

Ryan is very special to me for many reasons. We actually dated for a while in Dallas where I mistakenly allowed myself to fall head over heels in love with him. But that didn’t pan out, so I decided to channel my affection for him into a solid friendship. We’ve known each other for over 6 years, and I think of him as one of the most important people in my life. Here are the top 10 reasons why I just love Ryan to death:

1. He’s soft-spoken and tender-hearted. The yin to my yang.
2. He’s unbelievably gorgeous but has no clue of this fact.
3. He’s completely neurotic, but in a sensible kind of way.
4. He makes me proud.
5. He’s fun, and makes me smile.
6. He tolerates me.
7. He’s incredibly focused on his career and profession.
8. He’s honest.
9. He’s principled.
10. He makes me feel special.

So, with a wave of the magic AMEX, I've taken tomorrow off and will stay another night, just to see him. I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Quote of the Year, 1999

When I lived in Dallas, my friends and I had a habit of listening intently to each other. This wasn’t done for the reason you may think, though. We were on the lookout for someone to say something stupid. We kept track of the dumb and/or embarrassing things we said with vigilance, and through a process of repeating the phrase over and over, the infamous phrase would be forever immortalized. One such phrase is my personal favorite, probably because I was the primary witness to it.

My friend Jeremy and I had a pretty regular ritual of running/walking together on the treadmills at Bally Total Fitness. We generally tried to run right next to each other and chat when we could. When the running got particularly hard, we would usually turn up our headphones and focus on our workout.

One Sunday morning Jeremy arrived to find me about half-way through my workout. Since I had gone out the night before, I wasn’t running, only walking. Jeremy approached the treadmill next to me and started getting ready for his run.

Jeremy: Hey girl. [Stretches legs.]

Me: Hey there. You have a fun night last night?

J: What I remember of it, yes. [Ties shoes.]

M: Yeah, I saw you at JRs, you looked like you were having fun.

J: Ohmygod, I don’t even remember being at JRs. [Puts in CD into player].

M: Well, you were. And you might not want to run next to me, I haven’t showered yet. I’m sure I stink like cigarettes and beer from the bar.

J: Oh I’m gross too. [Puts ear buds in ears.]


J: [LOUDLY--because of his headphones]. GIRL, I STILL HAVE LUBE ON MY BUTT.

M: [Trips. Falls. Laughs.]

Some things are better left unsaid. But in this case, I’m glad he said it to me. I think you can guess who won that year’s submission for Quote of the Year.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Travel Woes

Sucks ass. My travel agent failed to mention that they used to be ValueJet. And I'm going to FL!! Hope we're not flying over a swamp.

Finally made it to the hotel. Midnight. Thank god I get to sleep in a little.

Oh yeah...

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention... They were practically GIVING these things away this weekend. :)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

We Hopped at IHOP

Saturday night Doug, Lucas and I went to IHOP after the bar closed. While this sounded good at the time, I never would've guessed we would be dodging syrup shortly after we arrived.

The IHOP is only about two or three miles from my house, but it proved to be a whole other country when we stepped inside. This place was jammed with various slices of life that I don't normally encounter. There were several J-Lo-esque girls with huge glittering belts that barely covered their cooter. They had lots of bling and all were on their cell phones. True to J-Lo form, they were accompanied by some pretty serious thugs. These guys had backwards baseball hats and sports jerseys with baggy jeans and bright white Addidas. They, too, had mucho blingo--large diamond crosses hung by thick gold chains. One even wore a wife beater. There were many red, itchy eyes. Most of them with dialated pupils.

Things seemed to be going well for a while. We had coffee, ordered our food and had just started eating when the shit hit the fan. Or rather, the syrup. In a matter of seconds, an entire section of the IHOP (probably about 20 people) erupted in a violent scuffle. Chairs flew across tables, syrup was flung all over several customers. Dishes were breaking, voices were raised, cops were called. Honestly, I was pretty friggin scared. I couldn't help but think that P-Diddy was packin' heat and that I was sure to die in what would become the great Kansas IHOP Massacre of 2005. Movies would be made. Memorials erected.

Naturally, I felt compelled to docment this. Though I did not have the foresight to flip on my camcorder and catch the action (oh god, that would've been awesome), I did snap a couple of blog-worthy shots. Here are the tables after the action died down:

Thankfully, the scuffle made its way outside and the few remaining patrons sat and gloated at how mature they were for not fighting. We had an unspoken comraderie that I imagine folks share after similar tragedies like a plane crash or a house fire. I kept saying "J-Lo" and "P-Diddy" really loud to see if I could start some shit of my own. It didn't work. Somehow no one was threatened by me. Damn.

Kudos, though, to the police force. They were on this like white on rice. In fact, I think dishes were still breaking when I saw my first set of flashing blue and red lights. In a matter of minutes, there were probably 10 cruisers in the parking lot. This was very comforting that they would all come so quickly to my aid. They must've told them I was there when they dialed 911. Here's a not-so-good shot of the parking lot as we drove away.

The best part of the whole evening was that we got 50% off our meal, AND since all the cops in a ten-mile radius were getting free IHOP coffee,I got to drive home at 110 mph!! Thanks J-Lo!!

Friday, October 07, 2005

New Car Buying, Part I

I hate shopping for new cars. It juxtaposes two of my most passionate emotions: the thrill of driving a new car off the lot, and the unbelievable frustration of buying one. I started at a local Ford dealership because my friend M. from work has a "buddy" there and I thought I'd take the opportunity to see what they had to offer.

The only one I was really interested in was the Escape Hybrid. There was only one at the dealership and it was on the showroom floor, so I didn't test drive it. I did have M's friend run some numbers for me and they were unbelievably high. Did you know these things cost over $30,000? Ouch. I have no friggin idea how a payment on a Ford Escape can be $150 more a month than a Volvo S60. It probably has something to do with the fact that I look like a sucker.

I also called the Volvo dealer to see what they could do on an XC 90 SUV. For whatever reason, I feel like if I buy another Volvo I'll get a better deal. The sales guy called me back and asked me what I was looking for and that he'd "work up some figures" for tomorrow. I have absolutely no expectation of him calling me back with a payment anywhere close to what I'm looking for, but I thought I'd give it a shot. This is undoubtedly my first choice.

This weekend Volvo is having a special event where they donate $50 for cancer research for every test drive, so I'm going to head out to the dealership to give one a whirl. The LAST time I test drove a Volvo it was in my garage the next day. Uh oh...

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Since it's about to be flu season, I'm hearing a lot of news stories about handwashing. And frankly, it distrubs me that people need to be reminded that there are germs among us and that we should ocassionally wash our hands to avoid them. I can see the need to tell all the germ-spreading children not to pick their nose or eat food while they poop, but I'm an adult, and I do NOT need some freak running around with rubber gloves, Q-tips and a Petri dish trying to scare me into hygiene practices.

In spite of this, I have been trying hard to be more conscious about washing both more often and longer. Apparently, you're supposed to wash your hands for a minimum of 20-30 seconds, or as the experts tell us--long enough to sing "Happy Birthday," twice. I'm having a very hard time doing this. If you haven't tried it, 20-30 seconds is an eternity of handwashing. It makes me feel like The Boy that Couldn't Stop Washing. Other people come in the bathroom, pee, and leave while I'm still scrubbing at the sink. And I seriously doubt they think, "Boy, he has great hygiene practices." Rather, I'm sure they think "Eww, he must have crapped on his hand."

If all that washing doesn't help, I feel confident that my hypo-allergenic mask, anti-bacterial lotion and ionic air purifier will keep me perfectly safe. I wonder where that guy gets those gloves...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Viewing Vengeance

I leave the television on for Casey during the day. I'm not sure what compels me to do this, but it instills a sense of comfort for me that he's somehow occupying himself with audio-visual stimulation. To add to this absurdity, I've struggled with what channel will fill his day.

I've tried NBC, but I don't want him watching soap operas and Judge Wapner/Judy/Amy or whoever, and especially don't like that he gets to watch an extra hour of the Today show and I don't. I've also tried ComedyCentral, but sometimes the content can get a little racy for such an innocent little pup. I finally settled on the Disney Channel, which gives him a steady supply of wholesome educational and good-natured fun throughout the day. He particularly likes the Wiggles, the Doodlebops and even JoJos Circus. They make lots of cute little noises and soothing, happy voices to keep puppy happy and cozy.

The other day a friend of mine, M., stopped by my house to let Casey out while I was out of town for work. And he called me shortly thereafter to explain that everything was fine but that he had changed the station to the Animal Planet (and teased me a little for having it on Disney). I was mortified. Have you ever WATCHED the Animal Planet? It's a steady string of veterinary shows depicting surgeries and freak injuries, ASPCA-oriented shows with mistreated animals kept in horrible conditions, and scary African shows with animals that do not run around in our neighborhood. What was he thinking showing my innocent little Casey-bear such awful things?

Next time M. goes out of town I'm going to call his wife and ask if I can babysit their two kids--we're going to stay up ALL night drinking beer and watching movies about serial killers. Popcorn anyone? :P

Monday, October 03, 2005

Security Breach

We have ID badges at work that have our pictures on them and an attached access card to enter secured areas of the office. Today I left my badge at home. I do this fairly often because, well, I have problems concentrating in the morning. I'm lucky if the dog gets fed and I remember to brush my teeth. Although I am entirely uncertain what it is we're securing (especially in my area where the jar of mints on M.'s desk is the most valuable commodity), if you happen to leave your security badge at home for the day, you are screwed.

Because of the office layout, our secured area completely lacks any critical facilities. And if you must leave the secured area, chances are you're not getting back in until someone opens the door or answers your knock (this rarely happens). You can't get coffee or go to the restroom. You can't grab something off the printer. Forget about getting a soda from the machine. Water? Nope. However, if you can somehow procure a sophisticated tool to thwart the high-tech security devices that keeps us all safe and secure in the building, and have the courage to brave the wrath of our fierce security guard at the front door (5'6" female rent-a-cop), you can set yourself free. Coincidentally, we also call these high-tech tools "staplers."