Thursday, December 15, 2005


The world is a cruel place… especially when you move. That’s what I’ll be doing on Saturday and Sunday. One of the many unfortunate side effects of moving is the lack of internet access. Optimistically, I’ll be back up and running in about 8 business days. Worst case, I’ll never see the internet again. I will then realize that, karmicly speaking, I just wasn’t meant to peruse the internet for things like this and this. I certainly hope that’s not the case. So please forgive my absence, or just call it business as usual.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Some people have pet rocks…

I have pet peeves. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes people do things that irk me. These things involve not washing your hands after you go to the bathroom, using florescent green ink to write notes, eating your slice of pizza directly over the rest of the, as yet uneaten, pizza, purchasing vowels and NBA officiating. But one of the worst offenders in my giant book of pet peeves is the vanity license plate. They’re not so bad when you can understand what they are trying to communicate through clever uses of the numbers 2,4 and 8, but sometimes, it’s an inside joke that only two people in the world know about. I will lose sleep over not knowing what it means, and I consider this a travesty.

This pet peeve also includes the license plate holder. I’ve accepted that many people in this world think that “Get in, Hold on and Shut up” is as clever as it gets. And of course there’s the ever popular, “Driver carries no cash, wife has it all.” I once saw that on the back of a rusted out ’78 Datsun. What was left of the paint job was irreversibly sun damaged, none of the hub caps matched and use of duct tape repair was rampant (I, of course, had the highest respect for this man knowing that he was keeping his vehicle up to code with a liberal use of duct tape.). I’ll bet that guy was getting held up at gun point by various gang members all the time and he had no choice but to protect himself in the only way he knew how, with a license plate holder.

One of the negative things about commuting 45 miles each way to work everyday is that I invariably encounter said license plates and license plate holders. Today, much to my chagrin, was no exception. It was a double whammy, and that’s saying a lot because every day when I get in my car, I say, “No whammies, no whammies” several dozen times in the hopes of avoiding any and all whammies, and wouldn’t you know it, I get a double whammy! What are the odds? 15,321,246,986,511,216,987,413,151 to 1,356,998. Strange odds I know, but seriously, who’s betting on that kind of stuff? Soccer moms and out of work chimpanzee actors, that’s who. I’ve seen them at the local dive bars, arguing with their bookies and it's not a pretty sight. (what was I doing at those local dive bars? That’s none of your damn business and I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your nosey little face out of my affairs!)

So I’m driving to work, and as usual, things start to slow down to the break neck pace of 15 mph. I suppose that’s fast if you’re on foot, but in this modern age, it just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve got 150 horses under the hood, and if you think they like to be corralled into a 15 mph pace, you’re dead wrong. They are wild horse and they like to run free. Unfortunately, the corralling that takes place means that the likely hood of me being annoyed by someone else’s license plate/ holder are increased by approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000%. Trust me on that one, I did the math, and that’s the increase. I triple checked it and had 4 unbiased mathematicians from 4 different, neutral countries verify my findings, and even though there was some grumbling about how bad the craft service table was, all of the mathematicians agreed with my findings.

Once the crawl had set in, it was only moments before I saw what would be the bane of my existence for the day. There they were on my right, a small, late model midnight blue BMW. My eyes were seemingly drawn to the license plate holder. I don’t know why, probably because irony knows no bounds. I read the license plat holder, knowing full well that nothing good would come of it. This is what it said, “Walk like it’s for sale and like the rent is due tomorrow.” Now I admit, from time to time, I make stuff up. Occasionally, my posts will be somewhat fictional in their content. This however, is no such post. I cannot for the life of me figure out what this piece of nonsense is supposed to mean. I will lose sleep over this. I will curse the existence of license plate holders and I will very likely run that person off the road should our paths ever cross again. Sure, maybe that’s a little harsh, but at this point, the rent is due and they are pretending to sell something. I don’t know if they are tight on money, I don’t know if it’s an apartment, a condo, or a house and I’m not sure if there are any homeowners association fees due. The license plate holder gave me no indication of that. If anyone has any knowledge on this topic that they are legally allowed to share, please feel free to do so in the comments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Most Honest Post to Date

Here’s a little known fact about me, I sneeze approximately 1,329 times a day. I’ve tried everything from saying to myself, “self, do not sneeze today” to writing on a chalkboard, “I will not sneeze today” several dozen times. None of those seemingly bullet proof solutions have ever been able to suppress my amazing urges to sneeze though.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to hire two retired mall security officers to carry around a mobile sneeze guard and hold it in front of me wherever I go. The Mall Pigs, as I like to call them, (seriously, it’s a term of endearment…) and I can often be seen walking around town, taking in some fresh air. Awhile back I had an automated system that was mounted on a giant backpack. It was a circular guard that would rotate every 5 minutes. As the shield passed through the backpack, it would be washed off, thus ensuring that I had a newly cleaned sneeze guard every 5 minutes (kind of like the protective shields they have on the tv cameras mounted on Indy cars.). While I loved the automated system, as I am a gadget freak, I missed the human touch. I like having officer Dukowski and officer Schmidt at my sides for every day conversation. I keep the automated sneeze guard in my car though, in case one or both of them call in sick. (for those of you that are dying to know, and I’m sure there’s at least one or two of you out there, officers D. and S. have a squeegee system worked out where in they alternate cleaning off the old fashioned portable sneeze guard. I do not envy them, but they rarely complain about it.)

This brings me to my next topic. All to often, people like to point out to me that when you sneeze, apparently you can’t keep your eyes open. This is false. I can absolutely keep my eyes open while I sneeze. Not only do I have photographic evidence of me in mid sneeze, eyes wide open, but I challenge anyone to stand directly in front of me whilst I sneeze and see if I close my eyes. What 99.95687% of the people I encounter don’t realize when they tell me this is that I have a stamped certificate from my optometrist. It has been notarized by a state representative and states that I possess “Superior Ocular Control.” Or SOC as it’s known in the optometry world. It’s not surprising that they don’t know this Because to my knowledge, I am the only person in the state of California that qualifies for such a prestigious award. I’m not shy about presenting it to them either. When question, I can often be heard explaining to the individual that I have SOC.

I will answer the obvious question now. No, I do not keep my eyes open every time I sneeze. While I do possess this rare ability, I choose not to do it unless called out on a challenge. The reason for this is that the only known side effect of not closing my eyes while I sneeze is that all of my eyebrow hairs fall out. Again, if challenged, I will not back down, but I prefer to keep my eyebrows. While everyone agrees that I don’t look any worse without eyebrows, as a matter of personal preference, I like to have them there. When I put on the prosthetics, everyone can tell and it’s just sad. “Nobody’s eyebrows are that perfect!” people will say. They are right; no one person has eyebrows as magnificent as my little eyebrow toupees. But the three hours it takes every morning to get them to look that way just isn’t worth it for me. Sure, having remarkably perfect eyebrows is nice, but the cost in time is to high. Bear in mind that I have many things to accomplish through out the day and to lose 5 hours to the eyebrows (three to apply, two to remove) is just too much.

While I can see how many people might think that all this sneezing would be a bit of a curse, allow me to enlighten you to one of the many perks it offers. A study was recently conducted by the National Association of Sneezing And Loitering (N.A.S.A.L. for short.) wherein it was determined that given the high totals in everyday sneezing produced by me, (I was second overall in the world. First place when to some Norwegian named Thor. He sneezes an average of 1,700 times a day. I rarely break 1,500 on a good day.) I am the most blessed individual on the face of the planet. (Turns out Thor, the first place guy, is kind of a jerk, so people rarely bless him. He’s actually ranked as the 5,631,326,215 most blessed individual in the world, if that’s any indication of how big of a jerk he is.)

Ahhh… another post in the books. Feels awkwardly unsatisfying, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, maybe next time I’ll post about something that makes sense… maybe not. Hot damn I’m unpredictable!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

New Post Eve

Is everyone excited?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

October 31, 1977

Four Forty P.M.

The moment my life started,

Not when it began.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mostly Useless Inovation

Now, watch in amazement as I proceed to post while totally ignoring the fact that I haven’t done so for nearly one full month! Although I must admit, when I started blogging, I said to my self, “Self, there’s no way in heck you’re going to go one full month without posting, got it?” and I was like, “Yeah me talking to myself, I hear you. Loud and clear.” (It should be noted here that I consider one month to be approximately 32 days, thus I am still inside the set parameters.)

If you’re like me, and I gather that most of you are, then you like to save money and spend a lot of it at once. I am constantly exploring ways to do both things at the same time. It usually proves to be quite a chore. Saving money and spending a lot at the same time is a lot harder than in sounds. In an effort to accomplish what I call “Speaving” money, I recently stumbled across an ingenious idea. It’s kind of tricky, but see if you can follow along.

Step one is the purchase of a home. The market right now is not very buyer friendly, but I have the feeling that will change soon enough. Give it about 5 years or so, then start looking for a house to buy. There are a few crucial elements to the house that you’ll want to be aware of. One thing you’re going to want is a nice tall tree in the backyard. The bigger the better. Another is to make sure that the power lines lead into the house from the roof. That is a must.

Step two is to immediately stop paying attention to that large tree in the backyard. Treat it almost as if it doesn’t exist. Don’t water it, don’t prune it and certainly do not name it. If anyone suggest that you give it a name, smack them square in the mouth and say, “Don’t you see what I’m trying to accomplish here?!!?” Then stop inviting that friend over, or, if it was a family member, move them into the garage, make them sleep on an old army cot with wobbly legs and feed them through a slot in the door. If the neighbors or the police ask you about why you have that relative locked up in the garage, just say, “Who? Him? Oh, that’s just an animatronic robot I made myself with some parts I bought at radio shack. Yeah, by trade I’m a robot designer. That’s just a little home project I’m working on. I think that someday the market for pretending you have you’re very own prisoner is going to be extremely high, that’s why I’ve programmed him to whine and complain and say things like, ‘Help me! I’m trapped in here!! Won’t somebody please let me out of this hellish dark dungeon?!!?’ Pretty cool, huh?” 99% of the time they will agree with you and give you some suggestions as to what else the prisoner should do, like, scrape at the walls or pound on the door, you know, regular prisoner type things.

Step three is to wait about 10-15 years and then plant some tree killing weed/vine to grow around the tree and choke it to death. This isn’t too complicated. Often times it will grow on its own. If you neglect your yard long enough, you’d be surprised what kinds of odd things spring up. Not to mention a whole new slew of creatures that will move in and make nests. And sometimes you get really lucky and one of those creatures will wander into your garage, make a nest in some plastic bags, suffocate itself, create the most horrific smell your nostrils have ever encountered with its dead and decaying carcass and you won’t be able to figure out what the hell it is for a good 6 or 7 months, then it will go away almost as mysteriously as it came. About a year after that, you will be cleaning your garage and happen across the dead animal. I urge you to resist vomiting on the spot, but it’s almost inevitable that you will. Just remember not to toss your cookies on your mom’s collection of old Elvis\Beatles records. That’s key. Write that down somewhere. At this point in time it would be advantageous of you to actually have animatronic robot building skills as you will have no desire whatsoever to remove the dead animal from the garage. And it will be imperative that you remove all dead things from the garage.

Step four is to wait. This is probably the hardest part. You should be about 17 or 18 years at least into the Speaving process. Make no mistake though, not once single cent has been speaved. That glorious moment has yet to come. It took me almost exactly 20 years to speave as much money as I did, but it was well worth the wait. Basically, you’ve neglected the large tree so much that a good gust of wind is all that it will take to knock it over. You are waiting for that gust of wind to knock the tree over onto the power lines and take them out. Here’s where the speavings begin. If all goes according to plan, the tree will knock out your power, that’s the savings part. And if the tree falls properly, when it takes out the power lines, it will also rip apart the socket where the power enters the house. This is where the spending begins. If you are lucky, the socket located in your house will be an original (and if you did this right, your house was built in the 50’s or earlier) and pretty much nobody will have a replacement for it. We didn’t get that lucky. Unfortunately for us, we found some electrician who happened to have the parts. Had we been lucky, we would have had to go to the city, get a permit for a new meter box and updated socket install, hire a professional to install the new equipment and then get the power company to turn the power back on. That would have meant at least 1 full week without electricity. Imagine the savings!! Not to mention the spending!! Permits aren’t cheap, and neither is the labor it would cost to install all the new equipment. Then there’s the bonus of having half your wall ripped out, I can’t forget to mention that. As it stands, we were only without electricity for 3 days, but all in all, there was some good speaving to be had.

So that’s how you speave money. I look forward to hearing if anyone else has some good ways to speave money or if they want to try out my technique. I’d love to hear how it works for someone else.

*note from the author: Ok, so this happened at my parents house, so I guess I should give them proper recognition for their part in helping me to develop this great way to speave money. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

Well, here we are near the end of the post… funny, I thought there would be more trumpets sounding and wild cheering… it looks like my fortune cookie was wrong. I would also like to say thanks to everyone that continues to stop by here, hoping that I’ll post something new, useless and almost completely unfunny. You guys are troopers and deserve some recognition. Virtual high fives all around!!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Injury Time Out

Well, I’ve really done it this time. I currently have a severely sprained left ankle. (my right ankle is fine, for all of you right ankle fans out there.) Softball is once again the culprit. Or more specifically, those two giant pits that right handed batters dug out in the batters box are the culprits. I was sliding into home on a close play at the plate and my left ankle got caught in one of the aforementioned pits and I jack-knifed over the plate. There was a popping sound and immediate pain. I was able to connect the two and determine that something not so good had just happened. I know what you’re thinking though, and don’t worry, I made sure I touched the plate. I was safe and the run counted. We only lost by 12 runs. Could have been 13…

I make ludicrous decisions all the time. There was no reason to change my ways the other night, so I drove myself home after the game. For those of you that don’t know, I drive a manual transmission vehicle. The left foot is kind of key in that it operates the clutch. Let me just say that the ride home was not the most fun I’ve ever had driving my car. Though no one recorded me on my drive home, every time I shifted, I would not deny screaming such obscenities as, “Paul Walker is a good actor!!” or, “I like the musical stylings of Kenny G.!!!”

When I got home, I could at least hobble inside. The next morning, well that was a slightly different story. Putting weight on it was not really an option. I mean, sure, I could have put some weight on it, but that would just mean more obscenities and a lot more pain. I was brought up to be extremely pious, not that I am, but since I’m living at home, I like to give my parents the illusion that they did something right. Therefore I try to make sure they don’t catch me saying things like, “Monday is my favorite day of the week!” or, “The WNBA Rules!!” They put a lot of hard work into raising me and I don’t want to disappoint them.

I made a somewhat baffling maneuver that day by calling my doctor to make an appointment. They were able to fit me in at 2:45. Of course, that’s really just something they put down on paper to make people feel like they matter. I sat in a room by myself for a good 35 minutes before anyone came to see me. After about a minute and 3 seconds of tests, they determined that it was severely sprained and that they would need x-rays. I was then instructed to hobble down the hall to the x-ray technician. I did so and was lucky enough to fill out a second set of paperwork before the x-rays were taken. The x-ray lab is not associated with the medical clinic I go to, they just happen to be in the same building, conveniently located right by all the doctor’s offices. I find this to be an amazing coincidence.

They have a fancy new x-ray machine, or more specifically, they got rid of those archaic film slides that they developed and it’s all digital now. Much faster to get the results. However, you still have to wait another 45 minutes to an hour for the doctor to come in and say, “Well, the good news is there are no fractures or breaks. Put this aircast on for a few days and here’s a prescription for some anti-inflammatorys and pain killers.”

My favorite part about the x-rays was when the technician threw the heavy lead blanket over my crotch. I felt really good about medical technology at that moment and half expected her to wink at me and say, “For the kids.” She was a fairly old woman, but very nice. She walked me all the way back to the examination room.

So far, this story has me spending the majority of the past two days in bed with my ankle elevated. I haven’t gone to work. Not that I could drive myself even if I wanted to. But it’s really weird, as much as I’d like to wake up at 6 a.m. and head out to a day of misery and boredom at work, I haven’t really missed it the last two days. Who saw that coming?

I am also forced to officially acknowledge Softball as the devil’s game as it has wrecked my shoulder, torn my hamstring and now severely sprained my ankle all in the span of a few months. 2005 has not been a good year for my softball career. I’m out for at least a week or two with this one… probably longer. But knowing me, it will be shorter, then re-injured and consequently longer. I seem to have very selective learning.

Tomorrow I head back to work, fully hoping that the drugs make me all kinds of drowsy and I sleep through half the day at work. Here’s to drooling on my keyboard!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cue The Somber Music…

It is with great disappointment that I post today. As many of you may know, or at the very least, have forgotten, one of my many goals in life is to become a millionaire playboy. I’ve taken several personality and aptitude tests, and they all say the same thing, I don’t like to work, but I love vacations and spending money, so all I’m really qualified to do is be a millionaire playboy. Well, tonight, they mega millions lottery jackpot is 150 million. I don’t know about you, but that certainly sounds like the makings of the millionaire portion of the millionaire playboy.

Here’s where things get kind of fuzzy. Some of my critics out there would argue that I made a somewhat crucial error when I failed to actually buy a lottery ticket. Of course, we won’t really know if that’s true or not for several weeks as there is currently a cluster of 32 supercomputers crunching the numbers to verify that my lack of purchasing a ticket has directly affected my ability to obtain those 150 million dollars. Plus, I still have to wait until tomorrow morning when the state lottery commission may or may not give me a call informing me of their decision to just bequeath the money to me. I submitted my aptitude tests to them several weeks ago, so it really wouldn’t surprise me at all if and when they call me with the good news.

In the mean time, I will have to occupy my time with some of the more unsavory activities in life. I have great confidence that I will receive a call in the morning, but I suppose just to humor fate a little, I will still get up and prepare for work, just as I do every weekday morning. Yes, I agree with every single one of you that it is an unnecessary thing to do, I really should just let the sweet sound of my phone ringing wake me rather than the heinous sound of my alarm clock, but what can I say? I’m a glutton for pleasure. Besides, I’d much rather answer the phone showered and ready for the ensuing press conference rather than be all crusty eyed and groggy… The last thing I want to do is say something foolish in the press conference like, “I’m going to donate all of my winnings to Bill Gates, because I think he offers the public top notch products at fair prices and he should be rewarded for that.” I’m prone to that kind of chicanery when I’m groggy…

If, in the highly unlikely event, I do not receive such a call (ludicrous, I know.) I will consider alternative means of obtaining millions of dollars, including but not limited to: Begging my mom and dad for it; buying it on eBay for a greatly reduced price; becoming a professional athlete; selling my secret to happiness; or blackmailing France with some fairly incriminating photos.

So that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. But that leaves this post a bit shorter than I’d like. Don’t think for one second that I’m going to let a little something like lack of content or substance shorten up my post though. Oh no. I am unscrupulous when it comes to this sort of thing. You can expect that the next few paragraphs will be completely unnecessary, but they will be padding this post. And in the end, I’m all about the padding.

So I spent most of my three day weekend trying to get this to work. If it doesn’t work for you now, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised because it turns out, I was a bit of a failure this weekend. If it does work, enjoy because it took me entirely too long to do it. I’d also like to say that if you’ve got a computer that’s working pretty well and you’re not really into that kind of care free living, just give it to me and I’ll take care of that nagging little problem. If nothing else, I learned this weekend that I’m awesome at making computers slow down and freeze up a lot. It’s a gift and I shouldn’t waste it.

I also changed the oil in my car. I’ve gone all synthetic. None of that petroleum based garbage for me anymore. No sir, I’ll pay a lot more for some stuff grown in a lab. Basically, the theory is that I’ll have to change it less because full synthetic is supposed to last a lot longer. My aunt and uncle change the oil in their car once a year. It should be noted that I think they are stupid and have grossly over estimated the abilities of this synthetic oil, but their engine hasn’t seized up yet, so maybe their still stupid, but right about the oil. I have to be honest, the car felt good today… I don’t know that I actually possess the ability to detect more or less friction between the pistons and the cylinder wall, but if I do, then I think this synthetic oil reduced the friction making the engine feel silky smooth and dare I say even peppier than normal. When I hit the freeway onramp at 145 and launched myself, literally, into traffic this morning, I distinctly remember thinking to myself that it felt easier than usual.

Ok, enough padding.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

In the beginning…

Often times, nobody on the street stops me and asks how I got started in this crazy blog business. I often feel obliged to reply though. It is a tale far less harrowing than you might think, but I feel at this point in my career, I owe it to my readers to explain how this utterly pathetic blog raised itself to almost complete mediocrity in a mostly unreasonable amount of time.

Hard as it is to believe, there was a time in the Shuck N Jive history when nobody commented. No, not even myself. While I make no great claims to be above that kind of behavior, the fact is, the thought just never occurred to me that I could create pseudonyms and carry on largely uninteresting comment conversations with myself. These are the types of things we learn in hindsight. The truth of my life is often far less interesting than the fiction of it. The truth is, I started the blog with no intention of telling anyone about it, and I was to wait and see what fate would make of it. I find it’s best in these types of situations to just let fate take a crack at it, then if fate sucks, I can always step in and show fate a thing or two about how to suck at stuff.

Well, as fate would have it, I received my first comment from Jack Safety. I had only been blogging for a couple of weeks, but it sure felt like it had been several weeks. Up until that point, I had not truly grasped the power of comments. I had seen them elsewhere, mocked them in my head but had yet to do any commenting of my own. Shortly after replying to my first comment, I had an epiphany: What if I went out and actually commented on other blogs? I was pretty sure no one in the history of western civilization had ever even considered thinking about such a thing, but why would they, blogging has only been around for like a couple months, right? I knew I was on to something big. Probably the biggest and most profoundly important thing in the world, so I didn’t want to screw it up. I knew that I had to comment, but where, and how?

Legend has it that there was once a great blog about an intern in New York. So great was his blog that it was linked on the blogger home page and I can only imagine it garnered as many as 2 or 3 hits a day. (well above my meager totals of –21,365,468,161. That’s right, I was actually negatively page loading the internet and consequently making the internet shrink unnecessarily.) People would visit this great blog and glow in it’s majesty. Of the few lucky ones to be linked on this great and wondrous blog was the lovely Jasmine. (however, at this time she was not yet known far and wide for her glorious rack.) Through the intern, many came to play with Jasmine. I was not one of them. Though it was naturally assumed, in fact, my path to Jasmine was much more fateful. As is my want to do, I kept clicking “next blog” up in the top right corner, passing through the insurance ads and the foreign languages I had no chance of understanding (hard to do, I know. Much as I’d like to say I understand Sanskrit, truth is, I just don’t. What can I say? I had a below average kindergarten teacher.). I clicked away until I landed upon a long list. My first “100 things” list I had come across on a blog. The magnitude of it sucked me in. I read, I laughed, I cried, I drank some Gatorade, I read some more, I took a nap, I read some more, I resurfaced the driveway, I read some more, I planted some tomato plants, cared for them, nurtured them to full adult hood, enjoyed their bountiful fruits, and eventually I finished reading the list. It was a long list. (The true irony of it all is that Jasmine is notorious for complaining about the length of my posts. Can you say, “hypocrite?” I can, only I pronounce it, “Jasmine.” (at this point I’m hoping Jasmine knows I love her and that I’m only kidding, but should I die in my sleep tonight, we’ll all know that I had it coming.))

Um…. Where the heck was I? Oh yeah, so after finishing that enormous list, I notice that 5 separate and distinct people had taken the time out of their day to say things to Jasmine. Mostly regarding her post. I couldn’t help myself. (I often can’t.) So I read the comments. Having read them, I felt like I had nothing valid to say, so I decided to instead just make fun of the comments themselves. (it was really just the first comment that made me want to do it, but then I didn’t want to leave anyone out.) What transpired is now Shuck N Jive lore. I’ll let it speak for itself. Click here to be bored by yet another instance of my under-whelming maturity. For this reason, and also because Jasmine’s hellfire was not thrust upon me, she has now officially been elected into the Shuck N Jive Hall of Fame and also her ninja call sign has been changed for reasons I cannot explain at this time. It has also been retired and bronzed and some other cool stuff too. (this time though, it’s not that I don’t have any totally sweet pictures of everything, I do, I got loads of them, big, giant, truck loads of them. It’s just that we decided that no media be allowed inside those hallowed halls, so no one gets to see. Except those that have been elected. So, you know, get elected or something… good luck with that.)

That was the first, but certainly not the last, time I made an ass out of myself in the blog world. In spite of that, I somehow managed to make a few friends. Now I have links of my own on the right and I can honestly say that each and every one of those blogs are worth reading, plus their authors comment a plenty on my blog. That’s part of the deal too. I don’t link otherwise. I’m too lazy. Don’t think you can comment once and then get linked. Not going to happen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My First Milestone…

…worth mentioning. I’ve hit several milestones along the way, but up until now, none of them were worth mentioning. I mean, does anyone really care that my blog single handedly ended the thirty year civil war that plagued Konshciszistan? I certainly didn’t. Or maybe when I cracked the 100 spam comments in a 24 hour period… hardly something to be proud of.

No, we are here today to honor one of the Shuck N Jive’s 37 commentators. The milestone that was reached quite recently, in spite of the fact that many critics said the blog would fold in the first month due to its utter lack of anything worth reading, is the 500th comment. That’s right, 500 times someone other than myself was unable to restrain themselves and inwardly motivated to leave a comment that was 10 times more interesting than the actual post it was commenting on. (I had to remove myself from the count because otherwise we would be celebrating the 40,000th comment right now. Seriously, I think I have comment Tourrete’s )

This commentator has been here from the start. In fact, according to my records, their first comment was made on 3/2/04. Now, for those of you who are thinking, “But Jon… you didn’t start blogging until March of ’05?” Well, that’s what makes this commentator so special. They were commenting almost a year before I even HAD a blog. That’s dedication. And I refuse to believe that it's simply a time stamp error by a rogue email server. No, that's just not possible. I believe whole heartedly that this commentator was simply well ahead of their time. After crunching the numbers, I found that this person makes up 28% of all the non-me comments. No one else is even close.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the 500th comment came from the lovely and talented Cadiz 12. And given the aforementioned statistics… it really isn’t a surprise. (Seriously, you might think that you comment a lot, but you got nothing on Cadiz… trust me. She practically doubles up the next closest person to her. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed by that. There’s a reason she’s been inducted into the Hall.)

So Cadiz 12, we here at the Shuck N Jive institute solute you and your efforts and look forward to more of the same!

Given your heavy hitter status, The Green Ninja moniker will be forever retired and will never be worn by another blogger. A bronzed Green Ninja statuette will be placed in the Shuck N Jive Hall of Fame along with a with a short 5 hour movie detailing the growth and comments of Cadiz 12.

(at this point, were I a skilled magician of some sort, there would be a sweet graphic photo here of all kinds of Cadiz 12 Hall of Fame type stuff, but what do you think this is? No sir, no bandaids required here, we aren’t that cutting edge.)

I apologize for the brevity of this post, but it was mostly unplanned.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Waste of Time in Two Convoluted Parts

Part 1.

Ok, so this is going to sound so cliché, but I was abducted by aliens the other day and when they finally let me go, a freaking dog ate my blog post!! Can you believe that? I mean, what are the odds? I didn’t even write out my post on a piece of paper or anything, and the dog still somehow managed to ingest it. I tell you, science today… amazing.

So back to the aliens… a little over a week ago, like say, the day after my last post? Yeah, that sounds good. The day after my last post, I’m out for my evening constitutional, right? I mean, this fabulous 5’6” 120 lbs body doesn’t just happen on it’s own*, I kind of almost have to think about it a little to maintain my boyish figure. So I’m out walking right, and I could just feel the alien ship hovering behind me, and I thought, “just don’t look back, if you make eye contact, they’ll think you’re interested, just keep your head down and pick up the pace.” It was at this point in time that I wished I hadn’t brought the megaphone with me and decided to do an outer monologue for the rest of the neighborhood to hear because the aliens obviously heard it too. Why did I turn the volume up to 10? I still don’t know the answer to that question.

After a serious of awkward moments where I tried to avoid eye contact and just step around the aliens, they finally “wrangled me up” as they put it. They put me in a room with some equipment and I just rolled my eyes. How many times can they do this whole probing thing I said to myself. I decided to ask the obvious, “So are you guys going to like, probe me and stuff?” When they said no I was more than just a little shocked. I was offended. “What, I’m not good enough for you to probe? You don’t think I have valuable information hidden within my pancreas?” They just shook their heads and said they were tired of that nonsense. Instead they had prepared a questionnaire for me to answer. The room was full of recording equipment. As a glanced around the room a second time, I couldn’t believe I thought they were going to probe me with an 8 track. Or that they could even use an 8 track to record me with. These aliens were indeed good with the electronics. Especially the out of date unpopular electronics…

I was starting to feel better about this whole abduction thing, and then they started in with the questions… I don’t remember anything beyond the first question. All they said was, “Do you feel like you have a lot of stress in your life?” My heart sank… what have I gotten myself into I thought. These aliens were Scientologists. There was no doubt about it. That giant poster** of Tom Cruise hanging on the wall should have been a dead give away, but I’ve never been known for my astute observations.

I started giving the least stressful answers I could to every question so I could get out of there as soon as possible. They kept assuring me that this little survey was completely free of charge, but I was having none of it, I just wanted to get out of there. Finally I just told them that I thought Scientology was bunk and that horticulture was where it was at. That confused them long enough for me to make a quick exit.

Once I got of the ship, the sense of relief was great, however, it was fairly short lived. Any time you encounter a dog that has the ability to eat objects of yours that don’t actually exist in the physical world, you know you’re in for a bad day. I thought that look of satisfaction on the dogs face was both odd and out of place as he passed by, but when I got home and realized what had happened, that this dog had actually eaten my post, I wept a great deal. I’m not too proud to admit that. I’m a crier, that’s just how it is. A kid hits me square in the eye with a tomato from the back of the room, I cry. When a dog eats a blog post from my computer through telekinetic digital powers, I cry. When Ed and Carol finally got together on ED, well, 3 full boxes of tissues, that’s all I’m saying.

Ok, I’m going to go cry now.

Part 2.

There’s a few other things I’d like to discuss at this point in time, but I was totally unable to fit them into any normal part of the blog***.

Item number 1. The Tragedy of the House of Duke.

Does anyone else see the tragedy in three cousins living with their uncle? We have a lot of mothers absent from the picture. Was this normal in Hazzard? What kind of effects does moonshine really have? It seems to me that these folks are pretty happy considering there’s a well above average chance that there is an awful lot of death or deserting in that family.

Also on a DoH note, I did of course see the movie. In fact, I saw it opening night… by myself. If you are a fan of the show, the movie makes almost no effort whatsoever to be like the show. It should really be taken as a separate entity. I cannot recommend that anyone go see it unless they want to see some kick ass car stunts. They were pretty solid in my opinion, and they made it worth it for me. Only the General Lee remains true to the original from the TV show. Luckily for me that was my favorite character. I did a few highly unnecessary E-Break slides on the way home from the theater. I love it when a movie pumps me up like that.

Item number 2. Working sucks.

I’ve decided that work is just too time consuming. I’m going to petition for a 3 day work week and 4 day weekends all year round. The fact of the matter is, computers have made us faster. Quite simply, we can get more done in one day than we used to. And I say that rather than do more work, we do the same amount of work in less time and use the free time for relaxing and badminton. I’ll need as much support as I can get on this one guys, so don’t be a wimp, sign my petition several times under various names. Try and mix up the ink you use too, you know, make it look legit. I think I’m going to need approximately 7 billion signatures to pull this off, so if each of my readers can come up with a little over 3 billion signatures each, we should be golden.

Item number 3. Milestones.

Well, I’ve got a few milestones**** coming up. After only 6 months of slightly below average service, I’m about to hit 100 visitors. I know, pretty impressive. That is topped only by the milestone of using asterisks for the very first time. That milestone is actually being bronzed and displayed in the Shuck N Jive Hall of Fame. Right next to a picture of me eating some donuts. Some say the Hall is a weak exhibit, I say, give it some time and I’ll show you how much it can really suck.

Well that about wraps it up for this post. Thanks for joining us and I hope to see you again soon. Any bets on how long it’ll be before my next post? I’ll put the line at 8 days…

*Yeah, actually it does. I’m a genetic freak. I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want and it has no effect on me. I sit at a desk all day too, and I don’t exercise. I know, I hate me too.

** Seriously, this thing was like several stories high. It was a big room. I was the size of one of Tom’s crooked teeth. (it was clearly an older picture)

*** Normal part of the blog??? Have I lost my mind. Indeed. Basically this would be more accurately translated as, “stuff I just want to say but don’t want to make up much of an elaborate back story for.”

**** Not really, I’m just trying to make myself feel more important. These milestones pale in comparison to the true geniuses out there. All of which are linked on the right side there under ninjas.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Chronicles of Lancelot Phillip Tragglethorp the Eighth

Ok, so I have nothing to back that title up. I just like the way it sounds. Maybe one day I’ll write something that all the Shuck N Jive scholars will look back on one day and say, “Yes, you can see it quite clearly in this work here, it was most definitely the beginning of the end.” Then again, perhaps I overestimate myself… perhaps that day passed many moons ago, or as I like to say, three posts ago. For all I know, I’ve jumped the shark backwards, forwards, with one leg and even once while balancing a tray of fine exotic china on the tip of my nose… I’ll have to go back and watch the reruns to be sure.

It now occurs to me that I have done little if anything to answer the questions of why I’m blogging so little these days. Fortunately, I have a solution to that problem as I don’t really care to address it.

Begin distraction…

Ok, at this point in time, there should be a clown juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle just behind you… no, on your left… yeah, that’s him, right there. Ok, first, try and figure out how I managed to do that… the logistics alone should have you contemplating it for hours. I mean, did I really hire 3 separate chainsaw juggling clowns to stalk all of my readers until they accidentally stumbled across my blog again? You just don’t know, do you? And that’s why they call it magic my friends. Second, those are freaking 5 hp chainsaws! How in the blazes did they sneak up on you like that? Are you really that absent minded? I hope not. I’m sans mind right now, and too many people like that in connection can only lead to bad things. Things like walkie talkie cell phones… seriously, it was bad enough when I had to hear only half the conversation, but now that I’m privy to all of it, I’m positive I didn’t need to hear it at all.

So what were we talking about? Oh yeah, what a superb blogger I am and how much everyone wishes they were me. Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite blog topics.

Today lets explore how I manage to turn paragraph after paragraph of absolute drivel into a mildly readable (at a 2nd grade level of course) post. It’s really a lot simpler than you might imagine. First, I take my monitor and turn it upside down. This completely disorients me and makes it hard for me to clearly see what I’m typing. This allows me to misuse words, not punctuate things properly and in general improves the over all coherence level of my otherwise nonsensical gibberish. Once I’ve successfully mashed the keys on the keyboard for a good 25 to 35 minutes, my masterpiece is completely finished. No need to edit or proof read as that would only impinge upon the artistic integrity that I hold so dear.

Well that was quick… seems as though I’ve still got some time here to fill. Well let’s catch you up on what’s going on in my world. As you may know, I’m an avid slow pitch softball player. I’ll let this little story here tell you what kind of a player I am. I was on first base after cranking out yet another one of my trademark line drive base hits. The batter behind me hit the ball hard, but right at the shortstop. I had taken a few leadoff steps and was walking back to the bag after the catch. I did not see the shortstop rifle the ball to the waiting first baseman, and thus I was doubled up for the third out of the inning. Their shortstop was a girl. And while most guys may have found this to be humiliating, I found it sexy as hell. Sadly though, that is not where my softball stories end. I have noticed an increasing amount of pain in my shoulder when I throw the ball. So much though that I have scheduled and appointment with my doctor to have it checked out. For those of you that remember the horrific bruising from when I tore my hamstring, and also remember that that did not make me go to a doctor, then you may know how seriously I take this injury. Let’s not kid ourselves though, I have not stopped playing just because I may have a torn rotator cuff. I am not a sissy, and more importantly, I am an idiot, so really, it makes perfect sense.

Aside from that, moving back home to my parent’s house has reunited me with a lost love. I have a mini basketball hoop like you might find in an arcade. It has electronic scoring and everything. You get a 30 second clock. First 20 seconds each shot is worth 2 points, last 10 seconds shots are worth 3 points. It comes with 3 mini basketballs. My sister likes to play against me and we have developed several different categories. There is the traditional 3 ball game, and we also play a 2 ball game and a 1 ball game. I currently hold the house record for 1 ball with 36 points, 2 ball with 54 points and 3 ball with 66 points. The average 3 ball score is around 40 points. We also play a game called rafter ball, wherein we shoot the ball over the rafters in the garage and into the hoop. I think the high game on that one is like 12 points. It’s not easy. We also differentiate between right hand and left hand. Left handed (I’m a natural righty) rafterball is not for the squeamish.

Ok, let’s see what those critics over at the Times have to say about this post…

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hmm… I don’t know, this is shaky at best.

Hi, my name is Jon, or as my friends like to call me, Jon. Welcome to my blog. You may recognize me from some of my past posts, such as, “Ma’am… Excuse me, Ma’am? Ma’am that’s my penis. The true story of how I was inadvertently fondled on the bus ride home from the airport and DIDN’T enjoy it.” Or, “What the F just happened to my plane? A real tear jerker about how I lost my R/C plane while stupidly flying it at night. (it has a happy ending though because it turns out that when the sun is out, it’s much easier to find things you may have inadvertently lost at night while being a complete tool.” And the follow up to that, “How to modify your R/C plane so that it has LED lights that enable you to see it at night when you feel like being an idiot and flying it at night even though you know it can only lead to certain disaster.” Then again, you may not remember any of those because I’m too busy/dumb/finger retarded/hopped up on Gatorade/lazy (please circle all that apply) to have written any of those and any number of other time wasting posts I may have come up with. This of course begs the question (not from too many people though because I’m pretty sure I’ve lost all of my readers by now), what have I been doing?

Well, that’s easier asked than answered. There are three theories floating around amongst the Shuck ‘N Jive scholars these days. They are as follows:

Theory number one: I suck.

Admittedly, this theory has been growing in popularity quite rapidly over the past few post free weeks. There has been much evidence collected over the past month to corroborate this theory and I have done little if anything to contradict it. It started shortly after my 6th consecutive post-free day. A small child standing in the back of the room during the press conference raised his and a hush slowly fell over the crowd. I had no choice but to address the small child and truth be told, I thought it would be a welcome relief from all the hard hitting no nonsense questions the media had been hammering me with all day. I said, “What’s your name little boy?” And he said, “Lancelot Phillip Tragglethorp the Eight” (that caught me a little off guard… I was really just expecting a first name. I certainly wasn’t looking for a genealogy lesson, so I tried to mask the befuddled look on my face.) “Uh… ok Lance” I said. “Do you have a question you want to ask me?” “Yes.” He said meekly. “Well what is it?” I asked. “How come you don’t post no more?” “Well first of all,” I said, “That question was a double negative Lance, and we don’t like double negatives around here. Unless of course we feel that they add something to the story comedically. But in your case it just comes off like you are poorly educated. Do your parents have trouble with the double negatives too? Did you learn that by watching them? No matter… anyways, to answer your poorly worded question, the answer is simple…” At this point in time, I was struck squarely in my left eye with what I believe was a rotten tomato. Lance didn’t take too kindly to my attempts to teach him proper English skills. He also screamed, “You Suck!!” at the top of his lungs… I was immediately evacuated from the premises by secret service agents so I was unable to complete my explanation to little Lance and I was so traumatized by the events that I completely forgot myself. Hence this theory has been dubbed the “I suck” theory.

Theory number two: I’ve been busy at work.

In my opinion, this is by far the weakest theory in circulation right now. Anyone that knows me knows for a fact that I simply do not try that hard at work. I’m not even going to entertain this one for very long because it’s just so damned ludicrous that I get angry just thinking about it. I’m half tempted to hack into the system and set up a live feed of the security cameras closest to my desk just so that you can see me sleeping/playing video games/cart wheeling/building small cities out of paperclips and pencils/ chucking wadded up paper at whomever is closest or whatever else I may be doing at the time. I think it would open a lot of eyes and bring in a lot of new applications once you see what they see me do everyday and realize that I still haven’t been fired.

Theory number three: I’ve been dealing with some family problems.

Given the sensitive nature of the situation, I can’t really go into detail but I will say this, the intervention we had for my sister went well and I think some real progress has been made. Her melon addiction seems to be somewhat under control and she is nowhere near the 17 cantaloupes a day that she was at 3 weeks ago. I’ll tell you what, nothing sobers you up like coming home to see one of your beloved family members passed out on the kitchen floor, covered in melon rinds, lying there all bloated and struggling for air like a beached whale or something. It makes you stop and think about what’s important in life. Like I said though, the rehab seems to be going well. She’s almost off the melon completely. The key is to step down a little at a time. You never want to quit melon cold turkey, that just gets ugly. However, this still has nothing to do with why I’ve been somewhat absent lately.

In order to find out the truth, you’ll have to stay tuned for the next very special episode on the Shuck ‘N Jive. (Seriously, I think there might be crying and maybe even like an evil twin or something. I’m not supposed to say anything, but I think the writers are going to kill off one of the main characters. I hear Lance’s days are numbered, but YOU didn’t hear that from ME, got it? Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

Also, please note that I didn’t edit this at all, so much like everything else, that’s why it sucks.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ok, I might be dead now…

I’ve actually had dozens of posts in my head, but what I’m lacking right now is time. I lost three hours a day when I moved back home due to commuting. Two to driving and one to the extra hour earlier I have to go to bed now. I need solutions people. I’m thinking that if I get infected with some sort of rare disease where I’m forced to live inside a plastic bubble that could solve the problem. I can collect unemployment for money, I won’t have to commute or work so there will be almost limitless time for blogging. Of course, I’ll never be able to leave the bubble or experience any kind of human contact ever again, but I will be back to blogging again, so there’s some give and some take… I’m open to other ideas though. I’d like to make “rare disease bubble boy freak” plan B if I could.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I'm not dead yet.

Well, it's probably just a matter of time, but as of yet, the death in me is decidedly minimal. As many of you may not be aware, and as many more of you may not care, I'm now posting from the small out of the way state of New York in some tiny, almost forgotten town, also ironically called New York. I flew in on the red eye flight Thursday night and arrived Friday mourning. I did not sleep on the plane. I have never been able to sleep on planes. Consequently, I found my self awake for a good 40+ hour stretch off of a nice little 5 hour nap that I had taken Wednesday night between the ours of 1:30 am and 6:30 am. I was completely un-caffeinated during that entire time. And yes, un-caffeinated is not a word according to several accredited dictionaries. I'm still going to use it though because one of the major benefits of being a self proclaimed English major is that I now have the license to add words to the English language whenever and where ever I see fit.

The frequency with which I post and comment is going to be lower than you have come to expect. For this I apologize, but hey, I'm on vacation. We'll see how you do when you're on vacation. Just a few thoughts as I began my vacation that I wanted to share. These are probably going to be some of the most insightful things you'll ever read, so I imagine you'll want to commit them to memory or at the very least, have them tattooed in an easily accessed/viewed area on your body. Please take a second to clear your mind of other useless details like your social security number, your drivers license number, your birthday and anything else that will pale in importance to the following few paragraphs.

I had some time to kill at the airport while waiting for my flight. (I spent the first half hour trying to convince them to just take off now because I was already there so why not get a jump on the schedule? My logic was so sound and practical I still haven't been able to figure out why I was refused. Never the less, I was refused, thus I had said time to kill.) I went into one of the many gift shops located inside the airport. Mostly they were filled with overpriced items you could buy to prove to people that you had actually visited LA. I needed no such proof for this journey, so I spent little time perusing the selection of shot glasses and bottle openers. (What exactly is the implication with that? When you remember this place you visited once, you are immediately going to want a drink? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?) No, instead my attention was diverted over to the magazines and newspapers. I thought I might like some light reading for the plane ride. This is where I was thrown off a little. Across the top row of magazines, there was an unusually large and diverse selection of porn to choose from. "Yup... got a long flight ahead of me... just thought I'd catch up on all my porn..." I was brought up in a Christian home and at a Christian school that taught me to have tremendous shame and guilt involving anything of a sexual nature so I don't really see myself ever purchasing said porn and certainly not at the airport. I wonder about the kind of person that wouldn't have a problem making such a purchase. I think I would be slightly uncomfortable sitting next to them on the plane. (when I said slightly, I was exaggerating in the negative, which I believe they call understating.)

At this same airport, I found a similarly baffling item up for sale: Luggage. I claim to be one of the biggest, if not The biggest, procrastinator out there and even I don't come to the airport with just an armful of clothes and hope in my heart that they'll have some suitcases for me to buy. I see them a lot at airports though and it kind of makes me sad that there is a market for it and that the market is doing well enough to justify the sale of luggage in almost every major airport. You want to know what's wrong with this country? People are buying luggage at airports, that's what's wrong with this country. Well, that and tanning salons... (sorry to get all political on you like that, I usually try to stay away from politics in general, but this one really hits close to my heart.)

I have also decided that any time you sit next to a person on a plane that is filled with questions about you, but refuses to answer any similar questions in return is highly suspect. It's not often you meet someone that is so willing to talk about your life and so completely unwilling to talk about their own. Here's what I know about the kid that sat next to me, he's not from New York, but he lives there right now. He's only staying for a few days on this trip though and after that he's going somewhere. That's it. That's all I could get out of him. I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. I did try flicking his ear until he answered my questions, I'm telling you, this kid was up to something. He clearly had training. At this point, I'm not even willing to rule out the fact that he may have been trained by ninjas. He was that good. I don't often say stuff like that, so you know that has to mean something coming from me.

I suppose there are a few other things to tell about my trip so far, but lets face it, I don't have much quality posting ability, so I'd better stretch this out for as long as I can. When it's over, I will have been in NY for 10 days, but when I'm done posting about it, hopefully it will seem more like 10 weeks. Until next time, my happy thought is the Aquabats performing "Super Rad" live and in concert... good times... good times indeed...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Judges, take note:

Well, it’s after 11 pm, and I’ll be moving everything I own tomorrow. Let me take a quick glance around the room… yup, not one single thing packed. Impressed? You should be.

As is my custom when I have anything even remotely important to do, I am now searching for literally any excuse not to do it. This is a special time, a time when it becomes absolutely necessary to clean all the dust out from between each individual key on my keyboard. I can’t possibly be expected to move my keyboard in this condition, can I? I’m not a dog. I have to maintain my civility somehow!

I also have an immediate need to work out some kinks in my golf swing. I may not have take a trip to the links in several months, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to get that hitch out of my back swing. For God’s sake, it’s almost 11 pm on a Saturday night the day before I move everything I own, if there’s a better time to practice my swing, please tell me. And while you’re at it, find me a better time not to test all the random batteries I find lying around with my voltmeter.

I’ve also been meaning to take apart some various R/C cars I have lying around in my room. I’m sure you can understand that though, I mean, you should see them… just lying around in my room… they were just begging to be disassembled… That was of course followed by an impromptu jam/dance session involving me performing a 2 hour sing along to my favorite songs while feigning guitar with my tennis racket … it was spectacular. Not the least noteworthy thing about it was the fact that I was dancing. I must really be avoiding something if I’m willing to dance. I started off the show with my trademark rendition of the Jackson Five’s “ABC.” The show went all over the place, lots of different styles… at one point I went into a 15 minute drum solo… And I brought the show to a conclusion with my show-stopping version of Counting Crows’ “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby.” I think Adam would have been proud. I even made some dreadlocks out of some yarn I found. (ok, I didn’t just “find” the yarn, I knew it was there… I used to like to crochet stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a totally acceptable form of masculine entertainment. Lots of guys do it.)

I think you know where this is heading… yup, I had to stage a complete recreation of every single battle in the Civil War using only Q-tips and Toothpicks… I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but I filmed the whole thing in wide screen format and I’ve only seen a few of the dailies, but I think this could be epic. I’ve said that before, but I was just trying to hype things up those times, this time I really mean it.

Ok, it’s about midnight now, and I should really be going to bed because, well, I haven’t packed anything, so I’m going to have a lot of work to do tomorrow. Not much left to do but post this because posting this is a very important part of moving…

I’ve learned a few things about myself today. I had one thing to do all day. One simple, little thing. So far, I have done everything else I could think of but that one thing.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

True Confessions of an English Major (or as I like to call it, the Book Meme)

Of all the posts I’ve written, this one is sure to get me in the most trouble. As you all know, in one of my more foolish decisions in life, I went after an English major in college. As such, I’m supposed to know a lot about books. Well, prepare to be disappointed, outraged, disillusioned, scared, saddened, itchy and most of all, bored.

So begins my list…

The Number Of Books I Own: 183. That’s a rough estimate though, the exact count remains a mystery as I have neither the time nor the desire to actually count them. Who does though? I’ll bet that person doesn’t have a lot of friends. Not that I have a lot of friends, but that’s due to other reasons besides my compulsion to count every book I own.

The Last Books I Bought: Five minute mysteries. This was a mistake. I like things that make me think, and I like to solve riddles or puzzles. I went to the book store last week to see if they had anything that fit that description. The selection was decidedly sparse. This was the best I could come up with, but the sale tag of $3.99 should have been a dead give away. There are 40 five minute mysteries in this book, after getting through the first too with minor difficulties, I realized that the key was to be an idiot. This book turned into an exercise of finding the most vague and circumstantial evidence in the story and then using that to solve the crime. Let’s just say Mrs. Marple would be disappointed, as would Coco and Yum Yum.

Last Book I Read: How to play poker like the pros. This is the Phil Helmuth Jr, edition of poker strategy. It’s actually helped my game a fair amount. It is of course my goal to become a professional gambler, so I thought I’d read one book and then go take down Vegas. I’m pretty sure it’s just a matter of time before all of Vegas grovels for mercy at my feet, but as of yet I haven’t had the time to make a trip out there. It’s been too long, Vegas is calling… maybe Vegas just wants my money, but this time, Vegas is going to get a little surprise…

Five Books That Mean A Lot: This is where it’s all going to hell in a proverbial handbasket…

1. Journey to Ixland by Carlos Castaneda. I haven’t been able to convince too many of my friends to read this book because when they look it up at the book store, it shows up under “New Age Religion.” And their Christian upbringing prevents them from even considering reading it. This is just fiction people. I also like the perspective it gave me. That’s all I really have to say about it if you haven’t read it. I underlined a lot in this one… I don’t normally do that.

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This book makes the list because I didn’t really read it until I was in college and had a British lit class with it on the syllabus. I had grown up with the horrifically misguided view of Frankenstein’s monster. When I read this, not only did I find it well written, but I became fascinated with the monster as Shelley had written him. Fast, Athletic, Strong and above all, extremely intelligent. I like books that make me think, and this one made me rethink a lot of preconceived misconceptions that I had.

3. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Truth be told, I could have listed any number of books by Hesse here. He’s easily my favorite author. I like his approach and how he always shows the journey of life and it’s constant change. How a person can move through life, remain the same person, but change their outlook and their priorities. The process of individuation is one that fascinates me, and no one shows it better than Hesse.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by (seriously, you don’t know by now?). Again, could have listed any of her books, but this one happens to be my favorite so far. I was a skeptic for quite some time like so many others, then I actually read the books. They are not to be ignored. There’s something very universal about them that really appeals. I’m also getting pretty sick of the church complaining about how they advocate witchcraft. Get over it, these books are about good Vs. evil, they just happen to use witchcraft and wizardry as a backdrop. I also hate how the same critics of HP, loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy… same thing. Just because J.R.R. is widely accepted as a Christian doesn’t mean he didn’t use magic too. Am I crazy?

5. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This is another one of those books that made me take pause and think about things for awhile. While it’s true that I don’t believe in God, I definitely believe in the effect we have on other peoples lives even if we don’t realize it at the time. I never saw the TV version of this, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I have a very specific idea in my head of what this book looks like in my imagination and I like that picture. I won’t let that be ruined. (not like Jurassic Park. I really liked that book and thought the movie did such a poor job with it that it made me sick.)

I could go on, but right now most people have probably passed out and are repeatedly hitting the “b” hey with their forehead on the keyboard. That should make for some fantastic comments on this post.

One Book That Meant A Lot to Burn: The Pioneers by James Fennimore Cooper. I seriously wanted to slit my wrists after I got nearly 85 pages into this one and approximately 12 minutes of time had passed in the story. Sometimes, it’s hard being an English major.

People I think deserve this kind of agonizing torture…

I think I’ve proven to pretty much everyone out there that I’m nothing if not a thief. So I’m going to steal a line from Jasmine here and say if you want to do this, go ahead, if not, smack me in the face and call me jerk just like everyone else. Besides, I think almost everyone else has I know has been tagged by one of these meme things…

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It’s a fine line between being in a rut and being in a groove.

The sun was going down and the wind was blowing heavily back at me. I stood there on the edge of the bluff with a tempting view of the ocean and nice piece of caution in my right hand. In the blink of an eye I followed my natural instincts, reared back and threw that caution as hard as I could into the oncoming wind. The results have yet to be determined, but what I can tell you is that several things transpired in a very short period of time.

First of all, I dug into my closet and pulled out some equipment that had not seen the light of day in nearly a month. Within a matter of minutes, I had bedazzled every item of clothing in my wardrobe. I’ve always been fond of dolphins and rainbows; so I thought to myself, why not bedazzle some designs on every item of clothing that I own to show this great love affair I have with dolphins/rainbows. On a few of my nicer muumuus that I only wear on special occasions, I made some beautiful designs that incorporated dolphins swimming inside of rainbows. I can’t wait for my next formal dinner party to bust those suckers out. You might also think that my work with the bedazzler ended with my shirts, pants, socks and underwear, but you’d be wrong. I also bedazzled my shoes and hats as well. All in all, I think I added a good 40 lbs to every outfit that I own. Yes, that’s correct, I have “outfits.”

Once my work with the bedazzler was done, I felt like the creativity was just beginning to flow. I was in no mood to question my motives, so I immediately painted a life size mural of the A-Team on the living room wall. It featured Mr. T in the middle holding a suspicious looking glass of milk with Murdoch in the background putting on some pilots goggles, Hannibal lighting up a cigar on the right and Face on the left disposing of a syringe. If I could take a moment to be honest about my own work, it’s arguably the greatest single thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. It’s just too bad that I’ll only be living here for another week. I’m pretty sure once the landlord sees it, she is going to demand to pay me cash money for it. It’s that good.

Now I felt like my creativity was at quarter strength. In my case, that’s really quite powerful and not something you should mess with unless you have some sort of degree in messing with the awesome power of my creativity. To my knowledge, no such degree exists, so my original point of not messing with me remains true. Having bedazzled my entire wardrobe and painted the greatest A-Team mural of all time, I took the next logical step. I made a movie.

I decided to do a period piece. I chose 2005 as my period. It seems like everyone is doing a period piece these days, but they tend to focus on either the past or the future. I took the road less traveled and went with the present. I wrote it, directed it, starred in it, performed the musical score for it and edited it, although, it was so amazingly brilliant that almost none of the movie made it to the cutting room floor. I walked it straight down to the theater myself and they immediately put it in every theater they had. Not surprisingly, the theater sold out within minutes. Every show was packed. Most of the movie consists of musical montages. A film device I am single handedly going to bring back into the forefront of American film making today. It’s an epic tale of good and evil, pitting the refrigerator against the oven. One is hot, one is cold, who will win? You’ll have to watch the movie to find that out. The critics described the film as, “Wildly entertaining!” and “Easily one of the afternoons top 100!” (by the way, has anyone else ever been able to use the phrase ‘wildly entertaining’ in a normal conversation? I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for the past 23 years. I’m pretty sure this is only an acceptable phrase in the world of movie critiques.) The crowd response was even more favorable. Several people demanded to pay again because they thought the movie was simply that good.

After that, I sat down and wrote the great American novel, which I have titled, “The New York Times Best Seller!” It’s suspense novel, with lots of international espionage, black market dealings, terrorist threats, a love story and a comedic hero. It’s based loosely on my life working as a government employee in the Dodgers minor league farm system back in the early 80’s. Enough time has passed for me to adequately tell the story and not offend any parties that were involved at the time. Also, the perspective I have gained on the situation as a whole with all the time that has passed allows me to give a more equal and unbiased account. It hits bookstores tomorrow, so go check it out.

Shortly after all of that, I mistakenly thought I still had some creativity left in me, so I wrote this post. Oh well, they can’t all be good, right?

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Simi Valley, CA. At approximately 2:23 pm this afternoon, in a manner remarkable only in the fact that it was completely unremarkable, it was determined that I officially lost my mind. Few witnessed this tragic (that’s my personal opinion) event. Had I not dropped to my knees and cried out, “For the love of all that is holy and good, what have I done to deserve this?!!?” and then began to weep openly, probably no one would have even noticed. The general consensus is that I’m a little on the wacky side anyways. It’s not uncommon to see me walking around the office with my helmet on and one of those fancy kid harness leashes on. Sometimes I feel like I get paid to be baby sat. Whatever, a job is a job.

The loss of my mind was officially diagnosed by five of our onsite medical doctors and also corroborated by WebMD. When you work for the fastest growing title company in Simi Valley, you have things like onsite medical doctors and vending machines. Perks of the job I guess. But I digress. Once all five doctors nodded in agreement with what they saw onscreen at WebMD, they turned to me and said the problem was my mind, it was gone.

What triggered the investigation into the whereabouts of my mind? That is a fair question and I will answer it. At approximately 2:23, for a period of time I care not to disclose, I discovered myself still searching for the “-“ key on the dial pad of my phone. You see, I needed to make a phone call and I had gotten through the area code and the area code alone because I was desperately (maybe even frantically) looking for the “-“ key so I could move on to the prefix. Once I made that woeful discovery, I hung my head in shame, the phone cut out to the busy signal because I had taken too long and the doctors strolled in. My minds escape obviously left some sort of blood trail behind in the air and the doctors, sharks that they are, picked up the scent immediately and made haste over to my desk.

From there, the doctors proceeded to ask me several questions about myself, like what my name was, where I lived, if I knew my social security number and if I knew the way to San Jose. I slapped the second doctor square on the mouth, made farting noises at the fourth doctor, repeatedly winked at the first doctor and ignored the third and fifth doctors all together. After that brief examination, all the doctors felt they had enough to go on for my diagnosis.

I’m currently in a straightjacket right now. Lucky for me I practice nose typing everyday. Not so foolish after all, is it? (that comment is directed at my father, who for years criticized my relentless practicing of nose typing. He said it would never get me anywhere, well, guess who’s laughing now? I’ll give you three guesses. Come on, I know you can do it! Ok I’ll give you a hint… this man is responsible for getting my mother pregnant with me… any guesses… any at all?)

I don’t know if anyone is going to believe this, but that’s all I’ve got in me right now. I’m all tuckered out and it’s only 12:24am. Looks like I might get a full six hours of sleep tonight. By the way, I didn’t even proof read this one, so you don’t need to point out in the comments how much it sucks. I already know this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Hopscotch of Life Continues…

Well, moving day is approaching faster than I’d like to admit. (No, I’m not really sure why I have trouble admitting the pace with which moving day heads towards me.) I have to be out of here by the 26th because the next weekend I’ll be leaving to New York for a much needed vacation. I’ve alerted the judges to this fact so they can all sit back and watch as I procrastinate longer than any other human being on the face of the planet has ever procrastinated when it comes to moving all of their earthly possessions from one place to another. I imagine some sort of gathering will happen late Sunday night where in a few unlucky souls, who will no doubt reevaluate their stance on being my “friend” when this is all over, will show up at my apartment, find me sitting on the couch, eating some sort of snack food item, without a single thing packed and ready to go. I expect high marks from the judges all around.

In the past few weeks, I have frequently been bombarded with the question, “What will you miss the most about the apartment when you move back home?” Truth be told, I could literally go on for 3 or possibly even 4 minutes about all the things I’m going to miss. I won’t waste everyone’s valuable time with all that though. Instead, I have chosen to tell you about the one thing that I will definitely not miss. As hard to believe as this is going to be for about 95% of my readers (statcounter will confirm this, much like it confirmed the 15 hits on my blog when people googled “Dakota Fanning’s teeth.”) the thing I’m going to miss the least is the community laundry room.

Blasphemous, I know. I’ll give you all a minute to scream in your pillow, punch a hole in the wall, break dishes, or whatever else it is you do when confronted with such rage inspiring comments like the ones I wrote above. It’s ok… get it all out… I’ve got time… I mean, I’ve certainly got enough time to drag this joke out way too long…

It’s not that I don’t like paying $5.00 to do two loads of laundry; I love that. With all my heart and all my soul, I love paying money to wash my clothes. And above that, I love the hunt for quarters that a laundry day ignites. I’m certainly glad no one had the audacity to put a coin machine in the laundry room itself! That would take the thrill out of the hunt. No, I much prefer to sift through my quarter eating coin jar or look under the seat of my car for those last two quarters I need to maintain my pampered “I like dry clothes” lifestyle that I’ve become so accustomed to.

You’d also be a fool for a horse* if you think I don’t like sharing a washing machine with several dozen strangers. The thought of that only exhilarates me all the more when preparing to do my laundry. Every day it’s a new game of, “Did they use bleach and leave some trace amounts in the machine or didn’t they?” (I still maintain that would make one of the greatest board games of all time for children ages 6-11. Think of it… a whole game centered around the action adventure that is laundry!! Oh it gives me goose bumps!!) No my friends, when I think of putting my clothes in a machine that may have contained an entire load of vomit covered “party” outfits, well, it’s hard to keep the grin off my face.

I am also going to miss those frequent times when I came back to a pile of my wet clothes on the ground because I took 31 minutes to get back to the machine instead of 30. Those were grand times indeed. I wish I had photos of the happy and surprised look on my face when I opened the door to that fortuitous scene. In conjunction with that, I’m also going to miss that awesome gift of four quarters and a dryer sheet that screams “Hey neighbor! I don’t know if you knew this, but I’m kind of a big deal around here, so I don’t have to put my own clothes in the dryer myself. Would you be a lamb and toss them in there for me? Thanks, you’re a peach!” Which reminds me of another one of my favorite treats… I will always remember feeling like a kid in a candy store when I walked into the laundry room, saw my clothes half dried and on the floor because what I didn’t see was the hidden dryer sheet and quarters gift left from you to me. Whoever you were, you were totally in the right when you left your clothes in the machine for four hours, and then when I got fed up and just put my stuff in the dryer ahead of yours, I was the one that was way out of line. The only true injustice would have been if you had let me dry my clothes first. Thanks to people like you, I feel like I live in a better world, even though I’m not the one that makes it that way. (I need a moment to dry the tears from my eye… it’s just the left one. The left one always tears up during moments of intense joy.)

What of the hike you say? It is true; I’m quite fond of the quarter mile hike to and from the laundry room. Who knows what kind of terrible shape I’d be in if I didn’t have that hike. My favorite days will always be the rainy days. Oh how I loved to just stroll down to the laundry room in the pouring rain. It’s weird, it doesn’t rain here often, but when I first moved in, the rain would start the afternoon I’d realize I needed to do laundry, and it wouldn’t let up for several days. I count my blessings every day people, make no mistake about it.

No, I’ll miss it all because I’ve clearly been beaten in the head several times. I’m pretty sure I was dropped a lot as a child, but my mother will not confirm this. Of course, why would she? It doesn’t make her look very good, does it? But I can see her point. I mean, she had 3 other kids. 3 out of 4 isn’t bad. You find me a success rate of 75% anywhere in the world and I guarantee you most people would find that well above satisfactory. Plus, I was the only boy; the girls clearly needed more pampering. I imagine I was often tossed across the room (in the general direction of the couch mind you, my parents aren’t completely heartless) when one of the princesses needed tending to. I’ll bet most of the time I even hit the cushioned couch first, but the rebound no doubt sent me flying onto the living room floor. I’m sure I just flipped over onto my stomach and took off crawling again. According to mom, I didn’t start walking at an early age, but I was a terror at the 2 C’s, crawling and climbing. At 9 months, I taught my sister how to climb up and get the cookies from the cupboard. She was almost 3 at the time and had been wildly unsuccessful at this feat. (that’s actually a true story. Unlike most of the nonsense found within these mad ramblings, I didn’t make that climbing thing up. How could I? I’m not THAT creative!)

*yeah… got me, I don’t know what that means either.