Bush bloopers--get ready to cringe.
My new favorite word.
Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an
Ipodportable MP3 player? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.
Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon.com doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.
Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T's CEO, who openly says, "The internet can't be free."
The free and open Internet is under seige--can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here:
A list of all the ways you might be affected by Net Neutrality is located on the bottom of this link: http://civic.moveon.org/alerts/savetheinternet.html
In the last few weeks, I've been getting lots of questions about my career, usually from friends seeking advice on how to advance their own careers. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite topics. Not because I like to talk about what I do, but because I love to share the lessons I've learned over the years in a way that might help someone. These short conversations took the form of a "tips" list, so I thought I'd spend a few minutes to write them down:
Network. Every job I have ever gotten has been a result of a personal connection with someone. In my experience, employers are infinitely more likely to hire someone that has an internal recommendation than someone off the street. This is why many companies have bonuses for referrals--it weeds out the freaks. My advice: Make and maintain contacts wherever possible. Get a business card, remember a face, send an e-mail, make a call, have a drink. The wider your business network, the broader your opportunities. If you're looking for a job right now, there are likely more opportunities for you in your social network than on Monster.com. Use it!
Context, not content. People often ask me what degrees I had to get to do what I do. The answer? Who knows? Outside some professions (medical, legal, etc.) where specific training is required, there seems to be a prevailing false assumption that your education is a prerequisite for certain jobs. This is not always true. When I hire people, I fully expect to train them in everything they'll do and (like me) they've forgotten 90% of what they learned in school anyway. What's important is that you take/took your education seriously. Good grades, outside initiatives, extracurricular activites, awards, etc. all show me that you can take on a task and see it through. What I want to see is that you've got the self-discipline and motivation to do things that suck (i.e., Calculus). If you can do that, you've probably got the characteristics to be a great employee.
Specialize. Employers look at salary based on your value to the company. It's a simple matter of supply and demand. If you're currently in a job that 99% of the rest of the workforce can do, you're probably not maximizing your earning potential. Though I admit I didn't necessarily do it consciously, early in my career I began carving myself a niche by taking on special projects and learning things that my co-workers didn't. The more experience and specific skills I developed, the more valuable I became. Soon enough, I became our company's "content expert" and now they're all convinced they'd die without me. They pay quite handsomely for that.
Play Well With Others. Everyone hates a suck-up. But the ability to establish and maintain relationships in the office can often be critical to your success. Just like in our social lives, managers and executives surround themselves with people that are pleasant to work with and aren't disruptive to the work environment. In my company, the most successful people are the ones that know everyone, know everything and make things happen through subtle influence. No matter how smart, driven, goal-oriebted, etc. you may be, you will never, ever do this if people think you're a prick. Period.
Passion. To be successful, it helps to love what you do. And nothing is more helpful to your career than a healthy dose of enthusiasm. Find a career that suits your personality and your values. If you're an introvert, don't try sales. If you're a social animal, don't sit at a desk doing data entry. Look into your inner person and seek out careers that will keep you motivated and inspired on a daily basis.
Do YOU have any tips that have helped your career? Leave them in comments and I'll add them to the post.
--I am so unbelievably busy at work my brain is about to explode. On top of that, my best employee submitted his resignation yesterday. While we'll miss him, I'm happy to see him moving up in the world. He deserves it. Anyone need a job? The pay is good and if you've got the right skill set, you get to sit underneath my desk.
--I stopped by the nursery at lunch today to look for some hanging plants for my deck. Some of the big bushy ones were $44.99. WTF? Fifty bucks for a little dirt, a plastic [disposable] container and a few flowers? I'm in the wrong business. They sure were pretty, but I passed out of principle.
--This coming weekend I've got some out of town friends coming to stay at the house. I shall expect non-stop debauchery from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. I need to start taking naps and extra vitamins to get ready for it.
--I'm wearing my fat pants today and they are completely falling off me. I think this is a sign I'm shedding pounds. I never get on the scale since weight really isn't an accurate reflection of progress when you're simultaneously adding muscle weight. I go exclusively by my waist size. It's good to see it happening, though. Pretty soon I'll be able to take off my girdle.
--As I was buying my contacts today I saw a sign behind the cash register that said "Reputation is what you are when the lights are on. Character is what you are when the lights are off." Uh oh.
Joe.My.God recently listed some "first time" stories, so I thought I'd dig my embarrassing first time out of the archives, too.
In the Summer of 1983--between video games and church choir--my friend Ben and I were plotting the best way to lose our virginity. We devised a scheme to deflower my life-long neighbor Keetha and her friend Tracy. Ben would have Keetha and I would have Tracy.
The first part of the plan was to convince the girls to have sex with us. This was surprisingly easy (as were they). The second part of the plan was to convince my parents to allow Ben and me to spend the night outside in the camper so we had a place to do the dirty deed. When permission came, we plugged the camper into the garage electrical outlet to run the A/C and the lights. Then we hooked up my stereo/boom-box inside to set the mood and waited for our "dates" to make us men. A first-rate love nest.
When the girls arrived, Tracy and I took the top bunk and Ben and Keetha took the bottom bunk (a kitchen table that conveniently converted to a bed). There was a curtain that covered the top bunk, so Tracy and I had some privacy. It didn't take us long to fumble ourselves undressed and get to whatever it was we thought we were supposed to do. Ben and Keetha on the other hand, decided to wait until we were finished so they could enjoy the privacy of the curtain, too. Turns out, this was a lucky decision. As the two of them were sitting at the table playing cards, there was a knock on the door.
Mom: "Hey guys, it's Mom, I've got something for you!"
Ben: "Holy shit, dude. It's your Mom!"
Me: "Tell her we went for a walk."
The door sprung open to a steaming plate of chocolate chip cookies. Ben and Keetha were innocently sitting at the table like two angels. I hid quietly behind the curtain--completely naked, sheathed erection waning fast. I was trapped in the most horrific way and feared that I was about to encounter the most embarrassing moment of my life.
Keetha: "Hi Mrs. H."
Mom: "Oh hi, Keetha. I didn't know you were here."
Keetha: "Yeah, we're just playing cards. Dave and my friend Tracy went next door to get some music."
Mom: "Ahh, that's sweet. Well you guys enjoy the cookies and holler if you need anything."
Ben: "OK, thank you!"
After several minutes of "Holy SHIT that was close" and "What would you have done if she saw you?" chit chat, we turned on the stereo to have Lionel Richie's "Penny Lover" put us back in the mood. A bit frazzled and nervous, I closed the curtain behind me and turned to Tracy. Finally, after 2-3 minutes of exceptional love-making, I could finally say I was no longer a virgin. Tracy and I never spoke of that moment ever again. And I think I understand why: what poor girl wants to lose her virginity to a gay guy trying desperately to keep the thoughts of cookies, mothers and vaginas out of his head!
Thankfully, this was my last encounter behind a curtain with the female persuasion.
A letter to Out Magazine:
I received my first issue of your magazine today. Unfortunately, its arrival angered me. Not because of the content, but because of the irony in which it was delivered--in a white plastic wrapper.
How can a magazine whose namesake appears to celebrate our emancipation from shame and secrecy arrive on my doorstep in such a way? SHAME on you for perpetuating the scurrilous dogma that our lives need to be kept hidden from plain sight.
Please, please encourage your readers to embrace the spirit of your magazine and lose the white wrapper. We've (and you've) worked too hard to keep our pride and dignity hidden.
10:53 p.m. Thank GOD I'm home. I hate traveling. Hate it. Did I mention I also hate traveling? I do.
New shoes from Payless because you can't bring yourself to wear cap-toe loafers with uncuffed cotton slacks: $31.36
New golf shirt because you forgot it was hotter than hell here: $82.13
Clients seeing you look good while not projectile vomiting over the side of your dinner cruise ship: Priceless.
This hasn't been a great day. I sat in the Kansas City airport from 12:15 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and arrived in Fort Lauderdale at 10:30 p.m. absolutely starving and irritable beyond all recognition. When I got here it was so humid I thought I was going to vomit. Then, on the bus ride to the rental car center, I almost did.
My name wasn't on the Gold Club board at Hertz. I stood in line behind three people for 15 minutes until I got my car. I was very unpleasant to them. I drove immediately to a Sushi place with the OPEN sign illuminated, but apparently someone just forgot to turn it off. I was very unpleasant to them. Giving up, I drove to the hotel (it's a shithole), where the parking garage attendant was off-duty. It took me almost 15 minutes to find a Valet to let me in the parking garage. I was very unpleasant to him. As I checked in, the front desk queen informs me that the "Concierge Floor" (i.e., free drinks) for which I paid an extra $70 a night closed--8 minutes ago. I was very unpleasant to him.
Now it's 11:45 p.m. and I just finished my room service meal and a luke-warm Bud Light. I am now a little more settled and relaxed. I kind of regret being so unpleasant to all those people. I blame it on the time change.
--Casey's been limping a little after he goes to the park. Though I have absolutely no expertise in canine physiology, I have diagnosed it as a sore knee. My treatment: aspirin hidden inside a bit of fat free hot dog wiener. But that's not my point here. What I really wanted to tell you was that I ate that whole pack of wieners in two days. I'm a bad veterinarian.
-- Today I'm going to the dentist for a regular cleaning. I'm going to ask him about Invisalign to fix my teeth. It costs $4,700 (yikes) but I think I may do it. I've been kind of self-conscious about my teeth lately. Last night I whined about it to my parents and made them feel guilty about not getting me braces when I was a kid. Not $4,700 guilty, but guilty nonetheless.
--Last night I scratched an itch on the back of my arm and a rather disgusting chunk of flesh came off under my fingernail. I completely forgot that on Saturday night someone burned me with a cigarette, and apparently it formed a blister. It hurt like hell, but I distinctly remember being happy that he didn't put a hole in my new shirt. Honestly, I think he did it on purpose because I was laughing it up with his boyfriend. Please, like searing my flesh would stop me if I really wanted him.
--Yesterday I saw a co-worker driving next to me over by my house. We're very friendly at the office and joke around a lot, so in an effort to be funny, I gave him the finger when he drove by me. This morning he came over to my desk and said, "Hey Dave, yesterday my son asked me what this means (as he extends his middle finger)." Apparently, his six year-old was in the seat next to him and I didn't even see him. I'm an awful influence. But hey, it was a learning experience, right?
--That story reminds me of the time my mother gave the finger to a man behind us who was honking. It was our church pastor trying to say Hi. Amen!
Redoing the flowerbeds. Cutting edge cinema, let me tell you. About 6 mins.
Saturday morning I was driving to the dog park and saw a speed trap on the other side of the divided road. As I am generally inclined to do, I flashed my lights at oncoming cars to warn them of their approaching fate. This main thoroughfare is well-traveled and the speed limit is only 35. Everyone speeds. With the windows down, coffee in hand, I was flashing with a vengeance.
Until I saw the motorcycle cop on MY side of the road. He lowered his radar and gave me a VERY disapproving shake of the head and a pointed directly at me. I was cold busted and my heart jumped right up to the top of my throat.
I'm not sure why I get so freaked out by the police. I'm generally not breaking anything but minor traffic laws and could more than likely get the ticket dismissed if I got one. To me, I think it's just frightening to get in trouble. Like going to the principal's office, getting caught reading blogs at work or getting caught looking at someone's ass. Not that I do any of those things of course.
He didn't pull me over. I wasn't speeding so I'm not sure what the law says on flashing your headlights. If he had, I would've tried to reason with him and suggest that we're both ultimately working towards the same goal--to get people to slow down. Right? With my luck, that suggestion would've gotten me thrown over the hood of my car and one-way ticket to the pokey. Wait, that sounds kinda fun...
OK, I need some help. For a while now, I've tried to figure out how to replace the relatively bland blue bar at the top of the page (the one with "PlaysWellWithOthers" and the BlogDesc in it) with a graphic image of the same size of my own creation. I've already created the graphic (sort of), I just need to figure out how to replace the above graphic without completely screwing the site up.
Can anyone help me? I'm willing to make it worth your time, be it a gift certificate of some kind, or sexual favors. Whatever works. Drop me an e-mail at [dhilldfw at yahoo dot com] if you've got some advice on the code.
VP of Sales: Dave, is there ANY possible way you could be in Ft. Lauderdale next week?
Me: Depends, what days?
VP: It's a conference. I need you to go press some flesh and attend their Board of Director's meeting. The conference is Wednesday and Thursday, come back Friday. The Board meeting is Wednesday morning.
Me: Oh, no, I can't do that, I'm in New York Monday and Tuesday nights.
VP: Business or personal?
Me: Business. (OK, well, sort of).
VP: What's the TCV on that deal? [TCV is "total contract value"--how much the deal is worth to us].
Me: About 3.5 (million).
VP: This one is about 10.
Me: OK, Fort Lauderdale it is. But I'm renting a convertible and upgrading my room. I had plans to meet up with friends in the city.
VP: I'm sorry. If it's any consolation, we've got tickets for an evening dinner cruise on a yacht.
Me: Nice. Black tie?
VP: Don't think so.
Me: [Sighs]. I can't work in these conditions...
So, it doesn't look like I'm going to be making it to New York this week. I'm a little disappointed in that. However, the WYSIWYG show wasn't showcasing any bloggers I read anyway, and, well, I could be in worse places than Fort La Di Da for three days. Now, who wants to meet me
at the bath house for a drink while I'm there?
Today at work we had a a company-wide gathering called a "Town Hall Meeting" where our new division vice-president introduced himself and went over our first quarter numbers. Normally, I don't even go to these: 1) because my peers and I are the ones that usually have to break these new guys in before they release them--unsupervised--out to talk with the rest of the staff; and 2) I hate them. But today, I went.
This guy, a physician with a Harvard MBA, is a bit, well, "unkempt." He wears the same dull navy blue suit with loosely tied ties from the 70's. His hair looks like a beaver hat. And, as evidenced by our recent lunch, has the table manners of a gorilla. Because most of us in my group think we're highly well-mannered and cultured (emphasis on the word think), we decided we'd get together and go show him some moral support [in the same way people watch NASCAR for the crashes and ice skating for the falls]. And boy, let me tell you, he delivered the goods.
About half-way through his presentation, on his "Upcoming Goals" slide--MID-SENTENCE--he lets out an incredibly large belch. Seriously. BUUURP. He didn't even say excuse me, he just kept going. And no one even flinched.
I love this place.
--Age 13. I had a crush on a guy who played French Horn in the band with me. His name was Joe. I thought Joe was just about the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in my life. Once, while we were getting dressed in gym class, I walked several locker aisles over to "ask him a question." Really, I just wanted to see him naked. And it worked.
--Age 11. I was on the tennis team and I wore very short white ankle socks (for those of you too young to remember, knee socks with colored bands at the top were very chic at the time). No one but me thought they were cool. They called me gay. Of course, they were right, but it had nothing to do with my socks. Or did it?
--Age 7. I stood in the front yard and watched my 2 year old dog, Toby, get hit by a car. He had a habit of chasing cars, but was pretty adept and steering clear of them. Except that time when one was coming the other way. I cried. It was awful.
--Age 14. I was trying out for the basketball team and I made an awesome open court steal. Instead of practicing fundamental basketball skills and making a regular lay-up, I decided to cross underneath the basket to make a right-handed bank shot off the left side of the glass. I missed. I made the "B" team.
--Age 12. I scored 1,000,000 points in an Intellivison game called "Tron." I took a Polaroid of it to show it to my friend Trevor. I wish I still had that.
--Age 8. My Mom and Dad were having a horrible, horrible fight. My Mom threw me in the car and drove to the end of the street where she burst into tears. She said, "What do you want to do, Dave? Should we divorce him? We won't have nice things anymore, but we'd be happy." Today, they call that "emotional sexual abuse," and can be more devastating to a child than the physical kind.
--Age 9. My parents were on a rare weekend getaway to Las Vegas and my grandmother (Mom's mom) "Neenaw" was watching me. They called from Vegas, had a nice chat with Neenaw, then wanted to say Hi to me. I was, um, on the roof of the house. Neenaw didn't do a whole lot of babysitting after that, and I got a spanking.
I was at Subway today and saw a man sit down, bow his head and pray for about 30 seconds before eating his meal. I'm really not sure why this particular event raised the hairs on the back of my neck, but it did. I don't like public displays of religion any more than I like public displays of affection. It's obnoxious and, in my opinion, just more subtle proselytizing for all of us need-to-be-saved heathens.
See, I'm not buying the fact that he was simply "giving thanks to the Lord for the blessing for which he was about to receive." He could do that in his head while he was waiting in line. He could do that at the beginning or end of his day (assuming God takes pro- or retroactive prayer requests). To my knowledge, prayer only requires thought, not elaborate genuflection. That, in my opinion, is nothing but religious showmanship.
Next time I'm at that Subway, I'm going to practice some religion, too. I mean, I'm sure everyone would be just fine with that. Since, ya know, he assumed I was just fine with him practicing his in front of me. Maybe I'll bring in my Tibetan Prayer Wheel and give it a few spins before I chomp into my sandwich. Or perhaps I might do a little praying, singing, peyote eating and quiet contemplation first. Heck, I might even go a few rounds on my mala as I chant this at this top of my lungs:
असतो मा सद् गमय |
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ||
मृत्योर् मामृतं गमय् |
ॐ शांति शांति शांति ||
I'm ALL for practicing religion. In fact, I want that guy to (I strongly suspect he needs it). But don't be so presumptuous that I'm OK with you doing it in front of me. Keep it in your head, or your house, or your church. No one wants to see you acting out your belief system in public solely for an imaginary audience.
Now I need to go wash my hands. They've got dogma on them.
If you're a NYC blogger, and you'd like to
have sex meet me, my friend Ryan and I will be in attendance at the upcoming WYSIWYG show at the Bowery Poetry Club on Tuesday, April 18th. If you happen to be on my blogroll, I will buy you a cocktail or two. Or six, depending on how many I've already had.
Seriously, though... I would love, love, love, love to meet some of you. Just remember--standard paparazzi rules will apply. No autographs, no flash photography and no groping. Well, OK, maybe just a little groping.
It's been more than 48 hours since I've heard from my "date" on Sunday. Yesterday I sent a text message; no response. I have to say, I'm disappointed. I'd be angry, but they say that those who anger you control you, and we won't be having any of that.
The interesting thing is that I didn't see it coming. He seemed genuinely nice. I think we both had a great time. He seemed professional; respectful. I shared some pretty intimate things with him (at his request) in those four hours that I thought might preclude a "never-hear-from-you-again" ending. I suppose I misjudged his character. No. I'm sure I did.
What I've learned from this experience is that I need to be more discerning between people's word and their actions. For example, his Match.com profile (verbatim):
Above all, my ideal match must be sincere. Honesty and integrity are some of my greatest strengths, and mean more to me than any other moral. We're human, and therefore we make mistakes. But it is the person who can admit when he was wrong and understand how he affects others that I will ultimately do cartwheels for. Emotional strength, financial stability, and your basic ethics are pretty important to me, too. Nobody's perfect, but my standards are pretty high.This, from a guy who HELD MY HAND (just about the most intimate thing I can bring myself to do). A guy I thought I might bring myself to like. A guy that didn't have the courtesy to even acknowledge me.
This, my friends, is why I abhor dating. I loathe to see those espousing personality traits like integrity and honesty with absolutely no grasp of the concept or fortitude to deliver the same in return. Or people that don't have the slightest respect for others' feelings. People that hide behind the anonymity of an ignored text message, or just simply disappear without a trace hoping to avoid any semblence of confrontation. It's so sad that, as a culture, we allow the "Ignore" button on our chat clients to permeate our real-life interpersonal relationships. It's pathetic, really.
And what do we think integrity and honesty are, exactly? Not stealing office supplies or admitting when you don't like someone's cooking? No, that's not it. If that were the case, then everyone could say they have it. And most don't. Integrity is about doing the right thing, every time, even when it sucks. About living with a strict moral compass that causes you--and the people with whom you interact--to be reassured in the kindness of others and the good in other people. Integrity is about the exchange of short-term discomfort for long-term justice. It is the armor that real men wear when faced with adversity. A way of keeping the world righted.
But, oh well. He's not the first cute, intelligent guy to not be interested in me. And I seriously doubt he'll be the last. I'll move on to the next one knowing that one of us left our encounter with our integrity still in check.
If any of you ever read the blog "Untitled Chad Darnell Project," you may know he's got an ongoing series of reader-submitted links to photos of their daily lives. So far I've really enjoyed these and tomorrow I'm planning to participate. I've been shooting for the last two days trying to get as many shots of my day as I can without embarassing myself in front of others. So far, things are going well. I just need a few more to capture my work day a little better.
So, come back tomorrow to see my entry in Chad's 12 of 12 photo collage. If it helps you to remember, there's one of me in the shower. :)
--In the news today, a prison guard was reprimanded by the Massachusetts Department of Correction for showing "Brokeback Mountain" to prisoners. Why, you ask? Gee, I dunno, maybe because showing aggressive, unprotected anal sex to prison inmates might be a bad idea? I support the movie, but geez, why not just show "Escape from Alcatraz"?
--I woke up this morning without a hangover. I was pleasantly surprised at that, considering I wasn't feeling all that perky when I woke up at about 2 a.m. this morning to pee. Of course, after yelling at a dumbass salesperson for sending me not one, but TWO e-mail reminders that he needed me to edit his power point presentation, I now have a raging headache. And I need a nap.
--I am on a fast track to learning Adobe Premiere 2.0, a professional video editing software application that I just acquired to support my new-found video hobby. I bought the accompanying Adobe "Classroom" book where a series of Video Lessons teaches you how to use the software. So far, so good. The catch: You better have a P4 processor and at least 2Gig of RAM (I had to upgrade this weekend). Look for more professional-looking videos in the near future.
--I was in Border's bookstore this weekend and I overheard a group of teen-aged girls talking about their summer plans. One says, "Ohmigod, like, my Mom wants me to go to like, Duke University for a summer camp and I'm like, no WAY, Mom, I just want to like, lay on the sofa and play video games and eat chips." Another girl responds, "Totally. Fuck learning." All: "Totally." Ah, youth.
--Apparently I have a dedicated service representative at the Volvo dealership. This morning he calls me (at work) and tells me he's replacing whats-her-face and wanted to introduce himself. Then he asked me how my car was doing, to which I replied, "Just fine." Then, in a rather surprised tone, he says, "Really? Well, OK then. That's good to hear." I didn't press him on it, because I was busy, but I can only wonder why he was so surprised that my car was doing fine. Now I'm a little nervous.
--OK, guys. Seriously. Please stop blogging about Mandisa. Aren't we empowering her by giving her a pulpit?
--Last, a special thanks to Troy McClure for his titillating coverage of my date last night. But just FYI, we SO knew that was you with the fern on your head.
You may have read a former post about my Uncle Sam. While I would generally categorize him as an ultra-conservative redneck, he graduated with honors from Texas A&M University and has been a very successful business and ranch owner his entire life. He's also got a goofy, good-old-boy Texas charm that is completely endearing. You get the impression that he'd give you the shirt off his back. And he would.
I also love to listen to him tell stories. And he's got a million of them. Sometimes, if you can hold back the urge to throw up or strangle him, they can be quite insightful. Like a conversation we once had about border patrol:
Sam: Hey. [To anyone in the room who will listen]. I'll tell ya how to keep them Messicans outta the country.
Me: Oh yeah? [Bracing for impact].
Sam: Well it's like this, see. We spend, what, a billion dollars a year on border patrol? Give or take a few hundred million?
Me: Sounds about right to me.
Sam: Well I say, take half of that and put it in a account for them drug cartels to split however they see fit.
Me: OK... And how does that keep them from coming into the country?
Sam: Well that's the catch. Every time we catch a Messican comin' across, we take $100,000 out of that account. If we did that, you can bet your ass them borders would be protected like nun's cooter.
Me: [Blank stare]. Yeah, I don't see us doing business with drug cartels. It just doesn't look good.
Sam: Eh, just an idea. I need 'em for the ranch anyway.
I ran home again at lunch today to see if Casey was OK (he was!) and found my neighbors pouring a concrete driveway on the side and rear of their new house. The problem, though, is that there's not enough room on either side of the house to get a cement truck back there, so they were pouring the concrete OVER the house. Amazing. I snapped a few pics (notice the name on the side of the truck)...
And then from the back yard (excuse the neighbors, they're getting their house painted (an ugly color imho).
Depending on your proclivity towards assuring your infinitude, you may want to consider this exciting new development in the craft of woodworking. I saw this earlier in the week on HGTV's I Want That, a show where inventors and fad-mongers shill spendthrifts like me out of our hard-earned dollars (which isn't all that hard). Some [kinda creepy if you ask me] samples:
And for the photo or video enthusiast so wrapped up in themselves that they wander around aimlessly taking pictures of themselves without someone to hold the camera for them (i.e., ME), two nifty new products: 1) the bottle cap tripod, which screws into your camera and then onto a (hopefully) stable bottle of water:
And then the POD, a squishier but more stable camera and video support:
I'm a pathologically independent person. "No, thanks, I can do it" or "that's OK, I don't need any help" are two of my most overused phrases. I'm not sure where this came from. Possibly a life-long fear of abandonment, or being raised to not count on anyone but myself. It's served me well career-wise, but not so well romantically. Over the years I've developed the philosophy that I just don't "need" a romantic partner. I've managed to traipse through the last five or six years by just going through the motions: a dinner date here, a movie there, a trick here (and there)--all of them ending regretfully in a "I'm sorry, this just isn't going anywhere."
But I've been doing some thinking lately about this non-existent love life. It's been far too long since I've had that ga-ga feeling for someone. You know, that feeling where you think about the person all day long or can't wait to talk to or spend time with him, etc. etc.? Somewhere along the line I think I may have somehow lost (or excreted, or charred, or corroded) my ga-ga gene.
I say "lost," of course, to hold on to some semblance of hope that it might be found once again. Hoping I that the lack of such emotion hasn't been permanently fused in my brain as a defense mechanism. I mean, I love my dog. I love my house. I love my Mom and Dad. I love my friends. I love my blog readers. I love, all the time. So, I think I still have the physical predisposition for the right neurons to traverse the right synapses when the right person comes along. The question is, will he? Given my current lifestyle and schedule and hobbies and pastimes, I've got NO CLUE how I'm supposed to meet someone. I've given up on bars and Gay.com and cruising the grocery store check out boys, the men's room at Home Depot and the alley behind the Taco Bell. I'm out of options.
So, today, I signed up for a Match.com profile. I took a frigging personality test. I paid money. I put my picture up. I feel so unbelievably vulnerable, and I hate that. What happens when no one clicks on me? What happens if everyone clicks on me? I can't stand the pressure. My only hope is to appreciate that I am not alone in this process.
So, I'll keep you posted on how things go. Cross your fingers, or, if you're inclined, say a little prayer for
the people that click on me me.
I ran home over lunch to let Casey out since he pooped in his crate yesterday. I thought I'd be proactive and catch him in case his tummy was hurting and did it again. Too late. Again, I was greeted at the door with a waft of foul odor. I'm beginning to think this may not be a stomach problem, but more of a defiance thing. I'll have to think about what to do about this.
Anywho, as you know, I leave the TV on for him and happen to have glanced over to see the above-pictured gorgeous hunk with his shirt off as he slipped into his mechanic's overalls. Gulp. I have no idea who he is or what show it was, but DAMN. I may need to start DVRing him. You know, for, um, research.
P.S. This will NOT be the start of a showing-hot-guys-on-my-blog-for-hits trend. I just wanted to share.
Am I the only one that secretly hopes Blogger's Word Verification System accidentally spells something inappropriate, or better yet, something overtly sexual? Every time I comment somewhere I hope to see something funny. It never happens. I'm going to send them an enhancement request.
Most of you who are regular readers know that I am an avid Today Show fan. And, unlike many Katie-haters out there, I am sad to see her go. I'm also a little angry. And confused. I've been contemplating doing something drastic, like watching Good Morning America in protest. I may even--dare I say it--leave the TV off in the morning.
The only way I could bring myself to cope with this tragic announcement was to compose some poems--not haiku, but senryu--in the style of Faustus, MD (although I know I fall way short of his masterful creations in Gay Haiku). It was also the only way I could keep myself from sleeping durng a boring-but-mandatory HR training. Please don't laugh, they're meant to be cathartic.
I know you're abhorred
By most right-minded people.
Is it justified?
That's it, we're finished.
There's not a chance in hell I'll
Leave Matt by himself.
Oh my dear Katie,
I wish you the very best.
But you ain't Oprah.
I'll miss you it's true.
But if you think I'm watching
CBS you're wrong.
So long fair colon.
If only those bad highlights
Were less your trademark.
I hope you're replaced
By someone that's prettier.
And has bigger boobs.
I just can't believe
You are leaving Matt and me.
And for CBS.
Eh, who really cares.
It's not as if Anne Curry
Can't read to us, too.
As much as it pains me to admit, I think I might be getting in a little over my head with the idea of installing a fence in my back yard on my own. I've been doing some research and it is getting more complex and time-consuming at every turn. Apparently, it's a little more complicated than sticking a few posts in the ground and screwing wood slats to them. Things like:
Removal of existing fence
Removal of debris from property
And probably 20 more I haven't come across yet.
You know what? I don't think I want to deal with all of that. I'd like to narrow this down to two basic tasks:
1. Phone call
2. Check writing
I overhead a co-worker talking about his fence this morning and I pulled him aside to ask him who he's using and whether or not he'd recommend them. Turns out, it's his best friend's side business and he's looking for additional projects. I have a call into him to get an estimate. I'm excited.
In case you were wondering how I keep my hair looking so svelt... About 6 minutes of incredibly captivating cinema.
Today I learned that my company quietly donated a not-so-insignificant sum of money to the private school of the son of an executive that recently signed a multimillion dollar deal with us.
I didn't have anything to do with it, and I'm sure it's probably legal, but is HAS to be some kind of breach of our [typically] high ethical standards. I'm really torn about this. Part of me loves how business operates (especially when we win), and felt a little honored that I was trusted enough to be told this piece of information. The other part of me is mortified by the thought of fat, rich, cigar-smoking, golf-playing white guys peddling (and capitalizing on) corporate favors. I hope I never become that. Fat, I mean.
Besides, I would look AWFUL in an orange jumpsuit.
The Today Show ran a piece this morning on Justin Berry, a 13 year-old, now of legal age, that was allegedly "lured" into taking off his clothes and masturbating in front of his web cam--for MONEY--by over 1,000 men on the internet. The spot discussed, at length, about how he was victimized by these men and that he's permanently scarred by this event. He was also upset that the local officials, even after he provided several hundred names and addresses of the so called perpetrators, only pursued two of the men with criminal action.
This story completely and utterly chaps my ass. SHAME on the Today Show for turning this into a "child victimization" story and not a "scam on gullable, lonely men" that it is. This kid--with the aid of an older guy--actively solicited his performances online and in person, for upwards of $3,000 per visit for several years. Sources report that he made hundreds of thousands of dollars in this enterprise.
From Steve Brack on SLOG:
The report made it sound as if Justin was receiving offers from these men completely out of the blue, but the details say otherwise. As young as 14, Justin Berry was advertising himself for what he was willing to do on cam, was setting prices for various acts, including visiting his admirers to perform acts of more-traditional prostitution, and was orchestrating competition among these men that drove his prices ever-skyward...
...Last, when confronted with overwhelming evidence of prostitution, pandering obscenity, and contributing to the delinquency of minors on his part, Justin did what any Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, or Jeff Gannon would do: he admitted his sin & promised to overcome it with the help of Jesus (and a reporter-cum-advocate from the New York Times, an all-expenses-paid drug rehab, a fully-paid-for attorney, and a sweetheart deal with a Federal prosecutor who knew Justin was the subject of a sympathetic piece to run in the times).
These videos are a lot of work. I'm not going to be able to keep up the pace of one a day. I'll be going back to some Peek Pics soon, too. Oh, and we come dangerously close to nudity in this one. About 2 min 30 sec.
I have a few basic house rules that each of you should know before you come over:
1. Thou shalt smoke thy butts on the porch.
2. Thou shalt not leave dishes in the sink.
3. Thou shalt not leave your jacket on the back of my dining room chairs.
4. Thou shalt help thyselves to anything in the kitchen.
5. Thou shalt flush my toilet.
6. Thou shalt not leave empty containers in the fridge.
7. Thou shalt call me if you will be more than 15 minutes late.
8. Thou shalt not bringeth uninvited persons.
9. Thou shalt not arrive without giving prior notice.
10. Thou shalt not arrive prior to stated arrival time.
What are YOURS???
--It was strange waking up this morning to darkness. Time changes always seem to throw my internal clock off more than the modest one hour shift. It felt like I was getting up in the middle of the night. Casey wasn't sure what to make of it. I think he thought I was leaving on a trip, since I typically leave at the crack of dawn to catch an early flight.
--Does anyone really observe April Fool's Day anymore? I realized (on the 2nd), that AFD had passed without a single mention from anyone. After reading a bit about it, no one is really sure where it came from or who started it first. I think we should pass some legislation that would make April 1 National George W. Bush Day. It's fitting.
--I finally met my new neighbors this weekend. They don't live there full-time, just when they're visiting from Washington, D.C. They bought this house just so they'd have a place to stay when they visit their daughter. Apparently he's some kind of lobbyist in the healthcare technology business. A good gig, apparently. He sounded Australian and was about seven feet tall with a shaved head. I told him I was thinking of putting in a fence and asked him what his thoughts were on what to do with the existing fence (which belongs to him). He says, "Ah, hell, mate, you can cut the fuckin' thing down for all I care." I love Australians.
--Kurt moved out this weekend. I wish him well in his new digs. I think Casey was a little sad that the other pups were gone. He walked into the guest room a couple of times and sniffed around to find his friends, to no avail. I think maybe I might get him a little friend soon. It's hard being his only play-toy sometimes.
--Last, I should report on the office crush. It's just not gonna happen. I have removed him from my list of
tricks potential long-term partners due to several factors: 1) I never see him anymore; 2) he's really not that cute anyway; and 3) I caught him sleeping in his car in the parking lot last week. I need a man with a little more drive. Eh, who am I kidding--at least he has a friggin job.
I was in line at the Subway inside Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon (I know, I know) when a father and his teenaged daughter got in line behind me. The girl was in a wheelchair with what seemed to be MS or another mostly debilitating condition, but she seemed fairly coherent and was driving the wheelchair on her own with a joystick. As I ordered my 6-inch chicken teriyaki sandwich (no cheese), I felt a sudden shooting pain. The girl had driven her wheelchair directly into my Achilles tendon. And OH MY GOD it hurt like hell (upon later inspection, I realized it broke the skin).
Me: (To girl): [Laughing] Oh, you got me!
The girl giggled at me, and maybe blushes. 20 seconds pass. Again, I'm rammed.
Me: (To girl): [Big smile with a faux stern voice] Now look, one more time and you have to buy my lunch.
She giggled again and looked at her Dad as if to make sure she's not in trouble. I noticed she was still watching me so I dramatically move towards the register a safe distance away and pretend to drag my leg like it's broken. As I'm reaching into my wallet to pay, I hear the hum of the motor and see her barreling towards me. She stops inches away from my ankle.
Me: (To girl): Ha Ha--missed me! [Big smile].
Without a sound from her, she looks me directly in the eyes and smiles the most sinister smile her adorable little face could muster. Then with one quick flip of the wrist, she floors it. And runs right into my leg. Again. On purpose. She laughs hysterically and claps softly as if she'd just done the funniest thing in her life.
Father: "Honey, what are you DOING to that poor man?"
Me: I think maybe she wants me hurry. [Smile].
Father: I'm so sorry.
Me: (To girl, with a wink): Don't be.
And magically, with one last giggle from her, the pain was gone.
This morning I learned how to use Movie Maker 2.1, which is included free in Windows XP software. I've added some fancy-schmancy titles and exit screens as well as some theme music. Comment/Suggestions welcome. I realize the video quality isn't perfect, but I'm trying to be sensitive to bandwidth. About 6 minutes or so.