Thursday, November 25, 2010

Treasure Hunt

An early Sunday morning drive takes us out to my aunt and uncle’s house. A fall chill in the air, leaves turning.  I can see my breath in the outside air, and make puffs like I’m a dragon.  My sister and I are once again antagonizing each other in the back seat of the Ford LTD station wagon.  Thankfully for Mom and Dad, it’s only a short ride across town, and up the winding drive.  As we open the door we are greeted with hugs and kisses, the smell of turkey with inside the bird stuffing, and the sweet smell of fresh pumpkin pie.  Two of them.  I think I could eat a whole one!

“There’s something for you somewhere in the garage....”, my Uncle says to me.  He let me go on my own because he says I'm a big boy now, out to the detached two car garage behind the house.  I run across the back yard, nearly squealing with anticipation.  Gloves fall to the ground, I'll pick them up later. 

A leaf rake tips over as I fling open the door, like a rusty accidental booby trap.  It startles me, and I lean it back against the shelves where it was before I bumped into it.  I look behind the fan of the rake, to see if my treasure was hidden there.  I’m looking for a small, palm sized box. Dank and musty, sawdust, old paint, the lawn tractor that was far too big for their yard. The smell of earth and chemicals.  Every tool ever manufactured.  Table saw, radial arm saw, band saw.  All the tools of the serious weekend craftsman.  Clutter everywhere from past and current projects.  Nothing for me around the table saw.  I contemplate turning it on, just to hear the high speed motor wind up to hum.  I’m not supposed to play with the tools, though. Nothing under the paint rags.  Is it behind the rusty cans of wood stain?  No.... I know, it’s under the seat of the lawn tractor!  No, not there, either.....  The sun cuts lines across the work bench through the square windows in the garage door.  I have to squint to see in this gray afternoon light.

Look at all these cool tools!  Three different sized ratchet handles, big tin snips, a dozen paint brushes of different sizes and shapes.  What does this thing do?  I’ll have to ask my uncle to show me. What is that?  Is that it?  Buried behind some baby food jars full of nuts and bolts, all sorted by size.  Yes, that’s it!  A crisp cardboard box, with bright yellow and navy blue paint, and a picture of a car on it!  I found it! I found it!  Which one is it? I carefully pull open the box end flap and remove the little diecast car.  It’s an orange dump truck, I LOVE IT.  I can’t wait to take it in the house and show it to Mom and Dad!

My orange dump truck will join the rest of my Matchbox cars, in my carrying case with the Ford GT40 on the front. It won't leave my hands even when it's time for pie, though.  I will cherish my treasure hunt cars forever.
All these years later, and I'm fortunate enough to be an uncle now. I plan on sharing my love for pocket sized toys with my sweet little knucklehead nephews.  I’ll hide them around my place, and hopefully, they will enjoy the hunt as much as I did.  I still have those little metal cars......  I am also a proud collector of all tools, both power and manual.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Move Aside, I'm On A Mission

It’s really too early for this. If Mary Jo says I look like I have a bad case of the Mondays again, I may have to knock a couple teeth out.  Looks like someone beat me to it, though. Dentist much?  Get out of my way moron, I need to be on the elevator.  Just nod and look interested while Barry tells you about his weekend at home making sweet, sweet love to his wife that he calls The Human Vacuum Cleaner.  Yeah, funny story Barry.  I’m sure your wife would appreciate it, too.  Oh thank God the doors are open.  Sprint towards the bathroom and lock the door, so Barry doesn’t follow you in to crack jokes about how cold and deep the water is while I pee.

Crack the door open.  The coast is clear now.  All quiet, except for the cackling hen house laughter coming from H.R.  I seriously wish I was a ninja, and I could swiftly and silently move towards the break room right now.  Time for blood. Nectar of the Gods.  Mainlining caffeine would be the only other choice, but I’ll take a big cup of fresh coffee.  Boy, I need to wake the heck up. Oh sweet!  Leering Crazy Girl from the 5th floor is not here.  She gives me the willies.  No, literally; she gave me a wet willy while I was eating lunch and reading a book one afternoon. I cried silently at my desk after that.

I grab the flammable powdered creamer. (didja know it was flammable?  Try it out sometime.) My Hazelnut creamer was in the fridge last week, but somebody ganked it.  I turn to find an empty pot.  Well, it’s not completely empty, it’s got like an ounce of coffee left.  Who does that?  You couldn’t fit in the last ounce?  You couldn’t take a sip out of your cup and add the rest?  Why didn’t you make a fresh pot?!?  I look around, and there’s no sign of anyone.  Normally I can’t get away from these nimrods, but now? When it REALLY matters?  I can’t find a soul, let alone the jackass that couldn’t take the minute and a half it takes to make a fresh pot of coffee.  I’m a simple man, I can live without a lot.  But I’ll put an ice pick through your forehead if I find out that YOU were the one who screwed me over.  I mean, come on, people, it’s not like you actually have work to do or something.  I walk by your cubes, you’re playing farmland and sudoku all freaking day.  Put down your donut to free up your hand and MAKE A FRESH POT.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rubbin's racin'.

Okay, you think you’re getting over right here.... Seriously?!?  There was NOT enough room for your SUV asshole!  I’m so pissed right now.  Okay, I’ll just zip around him on the right..... You are NOT.  You totally are NOT gonna cut me off again??  Seriously?  This guy’s a complete moron, and should not be on the road.  You’re kidding right?  Didn’t working turn signals come on that piece of crap??  You just cut me off again, jerk.  OH no you did not just slow down.  Is he on his freakin’ phone?  Look at this guy, are you seeing this?  WOW.  Now he’s speeding up and trying to take back the center lane again.  Good, at least he’s out of my.... No.  A double lane change back to the right for an exit ramp?  In front of a school bus?  WOW.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Swing Away!

Sometimes life pitches the ball at your peanut shaped head.  Other times, it gently sets the baseball on the tee, and steps away, gesturing towards the fence.  When that happens, you swing away.

At the local Gas N Sip on my way to work to pick up my morning cuppa, the female attendant turned towards the counter as she was unloading a new shipment of goods.  She turned to the counter with an armload of Trojan condoms.  I ask, "Got a big weekend planned?"

Thank you!  Second show is better than the first, tip your bartender and waitresses.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Please Join My Cause!

FETA.  It’s the initials for a new organization for a sector of our nation that is sorely misrepresented, often misunderstood, and nearing a crossroads in how they define themselves.

FETA:  Fans for the Ethical Treatment of Athletes.

These poor, unorganized and maligned group are desperately trying to reach new heights.  These athletes are sorely underpaid, as China is still receiving better paychecks from our government.  This is clearly a problem, because no current player can afford to buy their own stadium so they can show off their game to the masses and collect 100% of the gate and concessions.  Then Jerry Jones could get out from under that wicked video game screen.  Man, that has the makings for a fun World Of Warcraft tournament.

Imagine a world, (I just did Movie Trailer Guy’s voice.... In A World....) if you will, where each elite athlete had their own stadium.  It would support their egos, and allow them to finally get what they’ve always wanted.  Their way.  The LeBron James Arena.  We’ll call it The Q, short for Quitter Arena.  How about Randy Moss Municipal Stadium?  Chris Berman from ESPN might nickname it “The Mess”, or “Boss Moss”, or “The Chronic Circle”.  Let’s not forget Ben Rothlisberger Pavilion.  It’s sponsored by Hooters, and has its’ own law firm attached.  “I’ll take a dozen hot wings, a quick fondle, an extended leer, and bail money.  Can I put that on my debit card?”

Scoring will be handled by their entourage, points being incorrectly logged in favor of the Home Team.  The clock reaches zero before the final shot goes off, so each elite athlete can have the glory of making a buzzer beater, or diving end zone grab.  Oh the highlight reels!  On court camera men, nay, camera women, to capture every sweet shot, pass, and ‘adjustment’ for all the world to see.  The entourage joins in on end zone celebrations, which are not only encouraged, but choreographed by Terrell Owens himself.  He of course, owns all rights to popcorn sales.  Hey, Deon Sanders can do play by play, and comment about how much better he is than anyone on the field.

What won’t be shown on the screen will be the locker room antics.  No Sir!  No more players assaulting female reporters, or verbally abusing their teammates, or complaining about the catering.  They can be as pompous and loud and obnoxious as they like, as they are the only ones on their team.  Instead, animated B roll will be shown, of what the locker room is really like.  Players singing Sarah McLachlan songs, as little animated bluebirds tweet around room, warbling along in unison with their beloved star athletes.  It’s heavenly!  Does it smell like lavender in here?

These sports figures need more money.  They need to be given every opportunity to earn every dollar they can. There is no possible way for them to earn money after they leave sports.  Please support FETA by sending ME any money you can.  I will be sure to pass it along.  I accept all major credit cards and paypal.  Better yet, just send me your credit cards.  You will receive an autographed copy of Jose Canseco's autobiography.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

Recently, a college professor caught 200 of his students cheating on a college exam.  The entire class of over 600 students was required to retake the exam, regardless if they cheated or not.  Each cheater was given the opportunity to come clean, and admit to their mistake.

In the Information Age, where any type of information is literally at our fingertips, we are facing a problem of epidemic proportions.  We’re all getting lazy and stupid.  Really lazy, and really stupid, and really morally corrupt.  I myself certainly fit the description. I’m lying on the bed, writing this.  Not sitting at a desk.  In my pajama pants that have robots on them. Food coma is setting in. Lazy?  Affirmative.  (That’s robot language for YES)

I can download cliff notes versions of pretty much any book ever written straight to my laptop or smartphone.  I can read those cliff notes in another class, while my webcam on my laptop records the session I’m ignoring to cram for my next class.  I can go out and get hammered with the boys, come home, and ‘go to class’ by watching the recorded session.  If I’m really lucky, I can get a previously written paper of the web from a multitude of sites.  You cannot use your webcam to record the video you’re playing back of your class on your laptop that you recorded with your webcam, because you can rip the time/space continuum.  Don’t ask me how I know.

Hollywood would rather rape an old film by remaking it with fresh ‘actors’.  It’s kind of like locking your sweet grandmother in the closet, and replacing her with Russell Brand.  It’s just not right, on any level.  They even let that coke whore Lindsay Lohan ruin the Herbie franchise.  I cried that day. (I’m whistling the Herbie The Love Bug theme song, just to get it stuck in your head.)  Don’t get me started on that remake of King Kong a few years back... Dinosaurs?!? What the hell was that all about?!?

I know people try to get through their lives cheating.  Cheating on their exams, cheating on their time cards, cheating on their wives.  Going to the dog park with your neighbors' dog counts, too. I guess the more concerning part for me is the lack of remorse for their behavior. The "Whats the big deal? Everybody’s doing it." attitude is what scares me the most.  If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you do it, too?  (sound familiar?)  I know I’ve cheated the system before, too. My concern is that if it’s wrong, and nobody cares that it’s wrong and the behavior is allowed to continue, what’s next?  This is where I should say something about Jersey Shore, but you’ve already thought of that.....

So the end result is a bunch of kids who floated through high school on the backs of a few kids who actually did the work to keep the bell curve up.  Then off to college to cheat on exams, share homework with their roommates and post the answers online.  They cut and paste the novel review into their electronic files they submit to their professor on a thumb drive or disc.  They get their degrees, head off to the job market, and FAIL.  They fail miserably because they never learned A THING about their chosen major.  And then YOU end up explaining to THEM how to make change because “It’s just too intense, man.”

Will you ride in a plane built by an engineer who didn’t pay attention or actually learn anything in his aeronautical engineering class? (the cast of Lost did) Or, would you be okay sending your child to  a class that is taught by a person who has little or no knowledge of the topic they are presenting because their roommate “Totally hooked them up” when it came time for exams?  Okay that last one may be a bad example, since you’re probably already doing that......

I guess these days I don’t need to know anything.  I can just look it up instantly on my laptop or my fully loaded smartphone.  There’s no point in actually retaining any information, as my phone can do all of that for me, including my own phone number, which I forget constantly.

One thing that I don’t need my smartphone to tell me.... Tom Cruise is not an actor.

EDIT*  I cut and pasted this blog post from another browser, where I can store my info online.  I did one small edit from my fully loaded smartphone, I used spell check, and have a piss poor command of the English language, because my high school English teacher was boring and lame.  This is all I’ve got people.  Get used to average.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Museum

Look but don’t touch.  No, that’s not a toy, put that back.  Where it goes.  Is that where you found it?  Then put it back exactly where you found it.  I’m not going to tell you again, put it back.  You have 3 seconds to put it back, 1, 2.......

If you are familiar with these phrases, you’re either a parent of a young child, or you grew up in a house like mine.  I grew up in a museum.  A house full of beautiful, wonderful decorative knicknacks and tchotchkes.  Seasonally changed to create a festive colorful array on the mantle, every table, and pretty much any surface where decorative items can be placed, including the back of the toilet.

I was blessed with two very creative parents.  They both have a great eye for color, and love to have nice things that are exciting to the eye.  To the EYE, not to the touch.  DO NOT touch those things, they are decorations. How many times do I need to tell you? Yes, you are allowed to smell the candles and the potpourri, don’t you dare touch the David Winter cottages, or the Nicodemus figurines.

This used to drive me batty as a child, as I am a very tactile person.  I love to touch my belongings.  The soft feel of my pillow case, the cold hard tempered steel of my Craftsman wrenches, the smoothness of my leather jacket, even the stretchy feel of my comfort waistband.  I frequently take things apart to see how they work.  I am fascinated by the thought processes that went into creating anything, including little decorative figurines.  Which means, I was in trouble a lot when I was a kid.

I picked up and put down every single Waterford crystal candlestick in that house.  I would move a couple of decorative items around, just to torment my poor Mother, and see how long before she would notice.  I would reorganize my Father’s tool bench to MY liking.  Like I said, I was in trouble a lot.

Our museum was spotless.  Not a spec of dust or grime anywhere.  Weekly cleaning of the entire household. Vacuuming our shag carpet, polishing the monstrous antique china cabinet in the formal dining room, and disinfecting the bathrooms, including the depression era glassware on the vanity.  I hated cleaning that house, it seemed like such a pointless exercise, as it was already so clean you could eat off the basement floor.  Don’t get me started on lawncare.  Please see title of this blog.

As an adult, I have found how much I like having a clean place to live in.  It isn’t always clean, because I don’t feel the urge to spend my weekends swiffering the window blinds.  I do have an appreciation for decorative things, and over time, I learned quite a bit about the passionate artists who create them.  In a way, I’ve found that our museum taught me about art, organization, respect for other people’s property, and a very clear understanding of what clean actually is.  I also admire my parents for teaching me to appreciate what you have, and take care of those things.  I also learned it’s immensely  entertaining to play practical jokes on someone.  As long as their not bigger than you, or can run faster than you, it’s perfectly okay.

I also know my thread count. But I still don't like to dust.

.end transmission.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Analysis Does Not Support The Hypothesis

I believe from now on, I will answer any and all questions in politician speak.

“Daddy, why does that dog have spots?”
-”I’m afraid the numbers I have do not support data either way to prove or disprove that said animal has, or ever had spots.”

“Can you let me borrow a couple of bucks for lunch?”
-”At this time, it appears that there are not sufficient funds to allow us to make an acceptable donation, nor will we make donations without further research.”

“Do you know where the remote has gone?”
-”We are aware of the situation, and are currently looking into it.”

“Who left the damned bathroom lights on AGAIN??”
-”Our conservation specialists are addressing this crisis as we speak.”

“Honey, where are the keys to the car?”
-”I’m certain that our task force has located the ignition sequencers, and are returning them to the administrator of the program.”

“Would you be a dear and take the trash out?”
-”I believe this is an area of expertise of our very capable vice president.”

“Sir, did you know you were speeding?”
-”I’m sorry, but there is no accurate information to substantiate that claim.  Also, I cannot confirm nor deny the allegations.”

“Who do you think you are?!?”
-”I believe there is plenty of documentation in our latest release that will answer this question.”

I will, and from this day forward, continue in my quest for the truth.  Or at least a hint of some sliver of truth, whether it’s alleged to exist or just inferred.  Or maybe I’ll just go have a cigar.

.end transmission.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

AntiSocial Network

I’m addicted to Facebook. There, I said it. I feel better already. I’m on my way to recovery. I've taken the first step, which is admitting you have a problem.

I am so proud (and frankly amazed) to have so many friends. They are almost all funny, and thoughtful and socially active, involved in charities, great gaming champions, passionately outspoken about their causes, and loving family members.

I watch as a general observer, and as a rubbernecker at a high speed rail wreck. (say that 3 times fast!) It’s fascinating to see what people proudly plant on their pages. It’s amazing the amount of shameless self promotion that goes on, hourly. Minute by minute my page blows up with the wacky antics of YouTubers. The mundane postings of what someone had with their raspberry iced tea at Applebees. The pictures of a child’s first toothless smile. Little Miss What’sHerName just got on honor roll! Chatting for countless hours while downing pints of Americone Dream Ice Cream. Bliss.

No more letters or cards in the mail. No more long evenings of reading through a friend’s emails as they struggle with life’s challenges. No more late night phone calls, snuggling up to the pillow, wishing it was her.... All of this is out for all the world to see, including that cougar’s back chub in a bikini.

My fully loaded smartphone rarely rings. It’s set on vibrate, so maybe that’s part of the problem. But when it does rumble in my jacket pocket, it’s a notification. OH I MUST SEE IT RIGHT NOW. I’m swerving in rush hour traffic to see that my friend has found a rogue missing sock behind the dryer. Good thing I’m so well connected, or I would have missed that gem. I will LOL on her page so she knows that I read it. Tires squeal, front quarter panel sparks and skids off the center guard rail. I was in the fast lane, because that’s where I live my well connected life. Maybe not such a great idea, this well connected thing.

I miss my friends. I miss them stopping by when they’re in the neighborhood. I miss hugging my buddy who I haven’t seen in a month. I miss the scent of an old high school sweethearts' hair as we embrace at the grocery in the soup aisle. I still see and stay in touch with all of these people. In a much smaller two dimensional space.

I’m going to call my sister, and see if she’s home. I think I’ll go for a visit. But only after I post this blog, and LIKE it.

.end transmission.

Cher and share alike

I grew up in a town of nice neighbors, unlocked doors, and respectable people. As time goes by, things have changed. Security system protected doors, I barely speak to my neighbors, and most certainly don't know their full names. I'm not too sure how respectable people are these days, as I see moral corruption every day. Lots of it, in fact.

I'm no pious douchebag, and I'm far from perfect. I don't hide behind The Lord, and won't be casting the first stone EVER.

I guess what I see is the general lack of consideration for our fellow man. Please and Thank You. Excuse Me. Giving a smile to someone who doesn't have one. Opening doors. Picking up a dropped item for a perfect stranger.

I went to a nice costume party last week for halloween. Very nice group of people, all dressed in their store bought costumes. This has also changed.... People used to take the time to make their costumes, or at least do the makeup, or put something really creative together. Now it's all just out of a box or bag. You can't swing a dead corpse at this party without hitting a superhero.

The bar area was understaffed, but not understocked. As the night wore on, I noticed people walking in front of me as if I wasn't in line. Now, who walks in front of The Devil? (my chosen costume with full facial makeup that I did myself, thank you very much) As The Devil, should I use my right as the Prince of Darkness to smite them and retain my rightful place in line? The thought crossed my mind.....

I stood next to 70s hippy girl. A sweet little girl with lovely blue eyes. She was being bumped around by the Snookies and Superheros at the party, too. She waited quietly, and patiently, as Cher cut in front of both of us, and went straight to the front of the bar, without so much as an 'excuse me'. Apparently Cher has a booze emergency. Her chocolate martini is much more vital than 70s girl's screwdriver or my pale ale. When the bartender looked up, after taking care of Cher's crisis, she asked "Who's next, I've lost track." Appreciating her honesty, I loudly said, in case Cher's entourage were thinking they were up to bat, "She's next, then Me," as I pointed to little Miss Blue Eyes. The bartender paused for a second, realized what was going on on our side of the bar, smiled, and poured a screwdriver tall, and tossed me a bottle of beer. She smiled, said thank you as I tipped her, and I said, "No, THANK YOU."

Some people just don't get that there are other people on the planet besides themselves. I don't NEED to have my beer before the other person, I'm sure I'll get along just fine for another 2 minutes. Stand in line, keep your mouth shut, and wait your damned turn. And if you show up in the express lane with more than 12 items in your cart, I'm calling you out.

.end transmission.