Friday, August 31, 2007

Another P.S.A.

From time to time, we here at the SNJ feel a responsibility to inform the general public about things that we consider offensive and should be avoided if at all possible. The topics range from movies to computer problems to spiders and everything in between. (Answer to the question you’re thinking: Yes, that statement would have been much more effective if I had started with a topic that began with the letter, “A” and ended with a topic that began with the letter, “Z.”) This responsibility, for the most part, is ignored 90% of the time. We shirk responsibility. We’re not proud of it, but we’re also not liars. We’re shirkers, but we don’t lie about it.

Welcome to the 10%. Some people like to look at the glass as 90% empty, with mostly backwash left in the cup, but we prefer to think of it as 10% full, with a promising new flavor combination made up of all natural additives.

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For those of you that think having thousands of ants crawl around your house is a good idea, think again. I’ll admit, they are fast and efficient. They are very strong for their size, so you think to yourself, “I bet I could get them to do all the chores around the house. I’ll bet they could do the dishes and vacuum the living room. Maybe if I ask real nice, they’ll even mow the lawn.”

I can see where you’re coming from. Those are all very sound arguments. But just like communism, it’s a good idea that never really works in practice. It turns out, ants don’t take directions from human beings very well. I know there’s a mountain of information that says otherwise at your local library, but all of that information was compiled during the 70’s when bell-bottoms were considered an acceptable fashion statement. Can any society that approved bell-bottoms really be considered a reliable source? Or even intelligent? I say no, it cannot.

The truth of the matter is that ants are only looking out for themselves, and they don’t really care that you have a dinner party at 7 pm and you need the house to sparkle. You’ll come out of your room, dressed to the nines and ready to entertain at a quarter to 7 only to see them all milling about a box of donuts, without having done a single dish or even straightening up the couch cushions. Now you’re in a bind. You can’t call off the party, the invitations were engraved!! Sure, you can turn off the lights, move your cars out of the driveway and pretend that you’re not home, but that stunt has been pulled so many times, they’re sure to see right through it. No, your best bet is to turn it into a theme party. White trash meets high class. Open a can of beer, pour it all over yourself and just commit to it. If you commit to it and make them believe this had been your intention all along, then pretty soon you’ll have all of your guests pouring various alcoholic beverages on themselves and having a wonderful time.

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I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson today about percentages and how they affect your everyday life with the ants. Keep the ants outside kids. In the end, no matter how good the idea sounds, having thousands of ants inside your house to do all of your chores just doesn’t add up.

PS, if there is anyone out there that claims to be able to communicate with ants, however absurd that may sound, please come over and kindly ask all of the ants to leave our house. Thank you in advance.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bonus Weekend Post!!

One of the things I’m proud of at the SNJ, is the complete and total lack of fence jockeying that goes on around here. Sides are chosen, opinions are made and stood by, nobody teeters on an issue. It’s a place where black and white don’t feel each other out and see if they want to take it to the next level. No, they stay firmly entrenched on their own sides, staring back at one another, never even considering a possible move to the other side.

I wouldn’t even bother to tell you any of this if I couldn’t back it up with a pie chart. It’s common knowledge that a pie chart, when used properly, can settle virtually any argument. A lot of people have a lot of theories on how exactly the cold war ended. I happened to know the truth. I happened to know that there was a pie chart involved.

Below you’ll find all the evidence you could have ever asked for, and several dozen pieces of evidence that you never even considered asking, but that’s mostly because you fell asleep during most of your classes at the academy. How do I know? If you’d seen half the pie charts I’ve seen, you wouldn’t even bother to ask that question. Let’s go ahead and move past that ridiculous argument I just made that didn’t really answer any questions and check out the pie chart below.

As you can see, there’s really no middle ground here at the SNJ. You either scream out in horror and click away, or you brew a fresh pot of coffee and get comfortable for awhile because you’re not going anywhere.

Look, I know my posts are long, but are they really that long? I don’t think it even takes me a whole hour to write them, so it couldn’t possibly take you a whole hour to read them. There’s not that many layers, trust me. Will somebody please compile a pie chart to help me understand this? Then, if you’re successful in that endeavor, would you also compile a pie chart explaining why it’s imperative that other people give me money?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Exciting Business Opportunity!

I’ve had a little time on my hands, so I’ve put together a rough sketch of the T-shirts I’d like to make for our little club. I hope I’m not over stepping my boundaries when I say that I think they look spectacular. As you can see below, there will be a liberal use of rhinestones, as well as my trademark dolphin motif on the back. Below that, I’ve added the words “Club Member” in a tough looking font to add some serious street cred. I don’t suspect anyone wearing this T-shirt will have any problems at all in even the meanest neighborhoods.

At my very core though, I’m a realist. I understand that not everyone loves dolphins as much as I do, especially when they are emblazoned on a shirt with a bedazzler. In light of that, I have also designed an alternate version with a kitty face on the back.

I don’t suspect they will reach the same staggering sales numbers that the dolphin will, but I do think that the numbers will justify their inclusion in the catalog.

I’m thinking of doing a limited run of 10,000 shirts. I think that should be enough to almost, but not quite, cover my fan base. I’d like to leave a little room for jealousy and pettiness. I want some fans to be able to rub it in that they got a shirt and some other fan didn’t. I’m trying to create a hierarchy amongst my fans. A general pecking order if you will. I think a few superiority complexes is just what the doctor ordered.

In order to get this up and running, I’ll need a silent investor that will simply supply me with the money, not ask questions and basically stay out of my way in every possible scenario. I’m thinking about $10,000,000.00 should be just enough to get this enterprise up and running, but the investor should be prepared to wire me more money on my every whim. Also, there’s no guarantees in business, and while this seems like an absolute can’t miss project, the investor should be prepared to lose everything and not take any action against me for any reason. I look forward to hearing from any silent investors in the extremely near future!! I might also be willing to accept multiple silent investors, should the need arise.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blame it on L.J.

People keep asking me what my plans are now that I don’t have a job anymore. I didn’t realize that getting laid off meant that I had to formulate a plan. I never would have agreed to it if I knew that was coming. Being unemployed is a lot more work that I thought it would be.

What I find most annoying about all the questions regarding my plans now that I don’t have a job is the fact that they are asked with the utmost sincerity. Why would that bother me you ask? Isn’t it obvious? Don’t you know what time of year it is? It’s late August!!!

I have 3 fantasy football leagues that I’m in. If you don’t think preparing for 3 separate drafts, all held within a week of each other is hard work, then you don’t know anything about fantasy football or the amount of work it takes to put together a draft package. Research, research, research!! That’s how these things are won and lost. I can’t go into a draft thinking I’m going to take Joey Harrington #1 overall. I might as well draft Elroy Hirsch as my starting running back. There is a tremendous amount of prep work that goes into these things. Not to mention the laundry!! 3 drafts, 1 pair of lucky underwear. You do the math.

According to a survey I just paid a third grader to conduct, nearly 117% of all Americans play fantasy football. The numbers don’t lie. That’s why I don’t need to hear any more questions about, “What my plan is?” or, “Why haven’t I showered in 3 days?” or, “Where did your chicken sandwich go?”

These questions not only waste your time, but they take time away from my busy prep schedule. One of these leagues is a keeper league damn it! If I don’t know what made a guy sick during his third week of practice his freshman year in college, how the hell am I supposed to know if he can handle the pressure of a 4th and goal on the 2 yard line, down by 4 with 3 seconds left on the clock??

And if that wasn’t enough, my fantasy baseball team is powering its way to the playoffs. I’ve got to win this week to clinch a spot, so it’s been cutting into my already over-booked fantasy football prep schedule. Then, for reason’s only god knows, I had the misfortune of listening to the Angels/Red Sox game the other day. I’m not really an American League fan, and certainly not an Angel’s fan, so I don’t often listen to those broadcasts, but I had some time to kill before the Dodger game started. ----At this point in time, if there are any small children in the room listening to you read my post out loud, I suggest that you put them in a back room with their favorite stuffed animal and maybe play some music loud enough to mask them from hearing the next sentence---- The Angel’s announcers, who might be two of the biggest homers I’ve ever listened to, insisted on referring to Manny Ramirez by what they claimed was his nickname, “Man-Ram.” Seriously?? Man-Ram??? I’ve never heard that before, and if anyone ever asks me if I have, I’m going to deny it vehemently. I may go so far as to say that I don’t even know what baseball is if they insist on telling me that “Man-Ram” is his god-given nickname. It is not and I will fight the grandmother of anyone that says it is.

Needless to say, that whole “Man-Ram” thing had me contemplating the existence of aliens inhabiting the bodies of broadcasters all over the world. I lost a whole day of prep work on that one.

Don’t worry though, once we get past all of the football drafts, the baseball playoffs, the NBA fantasy drafts and my 30th birthday, I’ll be back to my regular 1-2 posts a month schedule and we can all feel normal again.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who saw that coming?

As a small matter of note, I work in the mortgage industry. Actually, that is a false statement. I worked in the mortgage industry. As of yesterday at around 2:30pm, I was officially given my walking papers. I commute to work. It’s about 40 miles each way. Luckily, I didn’t carpool with anyone that day. That would have been awkward.

“Hey, can I borrow the keys to your car? I need to put some things in there… I’ll be one of those things. See you in a couple of hours!”

No, I drove myself. However, I was carpooling because after work, we were going to the Dodger game. So I still had some time to kill. I wandered around the office for a bit, saying goodbye to some folks I probably wouldn’t see again, and a few that I will probably being seeing on a nightly basis because they were friends long before we started working there and we’ll be friends long after none of us are working there.

I’ve made a fairly lackluster effort to hide my distaste for that job. I’m really not broken up about it at all. I just wish it had been about 3 or 4 more months down the road. I would have been able to save up a bit more money by then and moved on anyway. But it is what it is. I can’t say enough good things about the company I worked for. Yeah, I got laid off, but look at what they did for me:

1)They let me go home yesterday, but they’re going to pay me for one whole extra week worth of work!! I mean, who needs more than a week to find a new job anyway? I only worked there for about 4 ½ years. They really do take care of their own.

2)They gave me a letter that in no way guarantees I’ll be eligible for unemployment. I can try, but I do so at my own risk.

3)Instead of putting down that Wednesday was my last day, they put Friday, so I have medical coverage all the way until then! I really hope I get super sick today or tomorrow!!

4) After they handed me all of my walking papers, they then (and this was totally uncalled for) offered to provide me with a box in which to carry all of my stuff out in.

It’s just crazy that in such a rock steady industry like that, it could be so topsy-turvy. Go figure.

Fortunately, it was a good day all around for me. I got of work early and the Dodgers won a game. That’s actually a little more impressive than anything else that happened in the day. For now, I plan on making fun of all my friends that still work there. There’s going to be a lot of jokes about not having to get up so early in the morning anymore, you can be sure of that.

Also, this seems to be an appropriate time and place to officially announce my retirement from the mortgage industry. It sucked working there and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Beard Update #2

This might be the most highly anticipated SNJ post ever. I have it on good authority that somewhere in the neighborhood of six people might be waiting for this. I’ll deny them no longer.

Below is the visual evidence of the progress I’ve made over the past week and a half. After nearly 17 hours of staring at myself in the mirror, I finally picked up the beard trimmer and shaved off the neck portion of the beard as pictured below.

This might be one of my finest “up the nose” shots in my young photographic career. It also gives you a good idea of just how out of control my bangs have gotten. Yes, at this point, I’m calling them bangs. Also, it seems as though when a picture is taken from that angle, all emotion is sucked from my face. I could have sworn I was smiling, but I guess not.

As you can see in the last photo here, the removal of neck hair has now reduced my stance to a look of more confusion and uneasiness than before. Not sure yet if this is an improvement. Letting go of the beard has been much harder than I ever imagined it could be. The leading reason for getting rid of it right now involves the beard's ability to retain water. It is exceptionally hight. That’s all I’ll say for now.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Triple A how to…

For centuries now, scholars have debated weather or not you should write, “Triple A” or just, “AAA” when referring to the American Automobile Association. I’m going to stick with the classic, “If I just use three “A’s,” it looks like my keyboard is sticky and that I’m mildly unaware of it,” defense and type out “Triple A” each time I need to make reference to it.

Here is a simple, seven step, “how to,” for Triple A to get new customers.

Step 1. Wait for some dumb schmuck to roll up his windows nice and tight, then lock his cell phone and his keys along with all of his softball gear inside his car 30 minutes before his softball game. Should be easy.

Step 2. Let some dumb schmuck panic for 30 seconds and they try unsuccessfully to break into his own car using an extremely brittle stick or possibly a spare key for another car that happens to be in his wallet.

Step 3. With 25 minutes left until game time, have a teammate/friend show up and park in the stall right next to the dumb schmuck.

Step 4. Let teammate/friend offer to use his Triple A membership to call for a lockout service on dumb schmuck’s car.

Step 5. Within 10 minutes of said call from teammate/friend, have Triple A authorized vehicle/workman show up and unlock dumb schmuck’s car.

Step 6. Let dumb schmuck change his clothes and make it out to the field in time for warm-ups, then let dumb schmuck captain his team to a three run loss for the final game of the softball season.

Step 7. Watch dumb schmuck go home and immediately sign up for Triple A service online.

It’s just that easy.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Beard Update

I’m currently suffering from some severe beard separation anxiety. Nearly every vote in the great beard debate of 2007 (that’s what we’re calling it around here anyway) said that I should keep the beard. Obviously, this meant that my first inclination was to shave it off. I find myself unable to actually lift the razor to my face.

I appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I struggle through this most difficult time.