Monday, November 29, 2004

Vines vs. Shoots

While perusing the various coffee shops, bookstores, coffee shops, coffee shops, gift shops, trinket stores, wharfs, parks, neighborhoods, and coffee shops in San Francisco, I thought of something a friend of mine at work had brought up. Now, this friend is an interesting guy - he wears black all of the time, drives a hyper-modified 3 Series, and is the owner of a very expansive wine collection.

Anyhow, the point.

He asked me: "Which would win? Bamboo plants or blackberry bushes?"

Having been on the wrong end of way too many blackberry bushes at my mom's old place, I quickly answered that blackberry would be the king of the hill in this situation. I was confident, assured of myself. Like when the King in Braveheart mowed down his own soldiers without a moment's thought otherwise, insisting, "we'll get some of theirs, too."

That's me.

But then I started thinking about it for a while. Bamboo is pretty invasive stuff. I mean, blackberry gets around, but bamboo is pretty much the bunny rabbit of vegetation: one little leaf gets outside of a pot and your pretty much screwed. One day, you have a nice Zen look and feel. The next you have to set a machete next to the side door in order to hack your way to the car.

I think though, that in the end, blackberry would win. I have no scientific backing, proof, postulates, or anything else for this reasoning.

But blackberry bushes have thorns.

Lots of them.

And bamboo doesn't. Blackberry bushes produce blood and anguish, bamboo...anguish, but not so much blood.

Blackberry bushes in 5.

What's your call? Bamboo vs. blackberry? Who'd win?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Well, I'll be...I'm NOT dead!

Well, I guess I was asking for this. Three weeks ago I remember writing about how I wasn't getting any projects and that I was worried that I was going to get the axe.

Well, let's just say that axe is starting to look a little welcoming at the moment.

I am absolutely slammed and haven't had much time to do anything except for work. Oh, and squeeze in a couple of rounds of Halo2 as well. But that's really about it.

Anyhow, SockMama and I are off to San Francisco for a few days, but I promise I'll write when I get back.

Till then, have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Survivor Guilt

Yesterday turned out to be an incredibly long day at work - it was one of those days where meetings swallowed hours like I've been known to swallow Jaegermeister. Thinking back about it, I vaguely recall saying to one of the ADs, "At least the morning's open so we can get the banner layout done." No sooner had the words come out of my mouth than fourteen new messages slammed into my Outlook account, three of which were meeting requests. And one of those was a meeting about a meeting taking place later on that day.


So, I get through the day project by project, meeting by meeting. SockMama (back in favor - she let me play Halo 2 until I was about ready to pass out) picks me up and we head home. The ride was going smoothly, we were laughing and talking about our day, dealing with the constant idiots that insist on pushing their cars through left turn lights even when they have changed to red two cars ago. But things were going okay overall...all good.

And then it happened.

The evening night ahead of us lights up in a shower of blue and white sparks accompanied with a loud pop, and then a sea of haloed red taillights. Every streetlight, business and home were blackened, casting an eerie silence around us.

As we approach the intersection where we usually make a right, we encounter a fairly gruesome scene: a silver Toyota Camry lying on its side, propped up against a telephone pole, and there are people all around us pulling over, whipping out cell phones and running over to help.

SockMama begins to worry about the well being of the car’s occupants, asking if we should get out and help. This, of course, meant, “Stop the car. We need to help.”

Now, I don’t know what it was that blocked the intense severity of the situation out of my mind, but I (overly nonchalantly, by the way, as if to convey that everything was “fine, just fine”) decided to pull through the parking lot of the corner gas station in order to circumvent the traffic.

As I watched the drama recede in my rear view mirror, SockMama just kept looking at me with this incredulous look on her face; she literally couldn’t believe how easily I was able to (illegally) pull through that parking lot when people’s lives could be in danger.

In an attempt to recoup any credibility I had as a nice and decent person, I tried to explain to her that there was nothing we could have done, that the situation was being handled. “And besides, didn’t you see all those people running over to help? Those kids with the ‘Cheetos’ were on their cell phones and everything. Besides…I’m sure they’re…fine…just, uh, fine. I mean, we don’t even know how the car ended up that way.”

Because, after all, there are so many ways cars end up propped up against telephone poles.

God, I’m such an asshole.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Master Chief vs. SockHobbit, Round 1

Ahhh….what better way to start the day than to have an argument with the one you love? I’m not sure how these things start, really. We’re sitting there in the Coffee People (great coffee, by the way – very strong) drive-thru line, engine idling a little bit roughly, still clearing the morning’s cobwebs from our heads, and then it starts: a little “innocent” comment here, and little “not-so-innocent” comment there, and then by the time we arrive at my work, I’m getting the silent treatment and nary a “have a nice day” wish in sight; just the aroma of exhaust as she speeds (relatively speaking, of course – we drive a Taurus, remember?) away.

And now I’m sitting here wondering a couple of things: 1. How the whole thing started, and 2. How to fix the problem so that the argument doesn’t have to happen again. This, by the way, is one of the main differences (as I see it) between men and women. Men want to fix problems – it’s pretty much ingrained in us. Women seem to want to discuss problem, to unravel the mystery and swim around in it, hoping to find not only peace with one’s self, friends, relatives, and pets, but maybe, just maybe, stumble upon the answer to their problems.

Or they are angry with us (men) because we should have known better in the first place.

This morning, we got into an argument about what seems to be the argument du jour of recent: video games. More specifically, that she hates it when I play them. This, of course, contrasts greatly with my deep desire to kill aliens and hijack cars. This argument has occurred quite a few times, with the same type of conclusion: I usually concede and play less, meaning that the one TV we own is free for reality TV and sitcom watching (both of which I despise).

Lately, I’ve been thinking of an answer to both of our problems: a new TV. This will allow both of us to get what we want: I get video games, she gets TV (or movies or whatever), and we’re both happy. So I’ve been pushing this solution (granted, the TV that I want is still a little spendy – but that shouldn’t matter…I’m solving things here) every time we get in this argument.

But then she throws a curve ball at me this morning. And this one really came out of left field. She’s a crafty one, the SockHobbit (temporarily demoted due to the argument). She (wrongly) insists that if we were to invest in a second television, I wouldn’t hang out with her anymore—that I would be in our “office” playing video games for hours and hours on end; transforming into some creepy, antisocial, acne’d kid who’s only interaction with people comes from colorized pixels.

This, by the way, is an assumption on her part that she plays as absolute truth.

I think this is a bullshit argument, effectively shifting the severity of the situation from “small argument” to “you-don’t-love-me-anymore” argument. This also means that my only recourse is to blog about it, because if I bring it up anymore, she’s gonna break out the overly-dramatic “I’m going to my mom’s house tonight; it’s just not worth it anymore.”

In all honesty, I don’t know what to do here. It seems that the only way I can make her happy is to stop doing something that makes me happy, which doesn’t seem like a compromise at all – blackmail or coercion, maybe. But compromise? Not by a long shot.

So, another glorious morning in Andy’s World.

At least we didn’t run out of cat litter.

Friday, November 12, 2004

A very special blog

Remember when 80's sitcoms had a plot point that somehow involved a joint or sex, and the commercials would say, "Next, a very special Growing Pains"? They used to do it all the time, even with something so insipid as Family Matters ("Urkel discovers his manhood.") or Step By Step ("Oh, wait...we can't do're my sister!").

Apparently, the "very special" teaser began to lose it's appeal; maybe ratings dropped, maybe they just felt it was time to move on.

But I heard it last night at the end of The Apprentice: "Next, a very special E.R., with an unforgettable performance by Ray Liota."

Normally my bullshit alarm would be blaring and my eyes would begin to bleed from the pain of such tackiness. But this is E.R. I enjoy E.R. It usually has decent writing and (usually) keeps me interested for the entire hour. But this episode was "very special," and I was a little weary.

To sum it up, the show was very well done. Usually E.R. has one inherrant weakness as a show: there's something like 5,786 characters, and keeping relevant and engaging story lines moving across that many characters is pretty difficult. Especially with a one-hour show that is only on 10 times every few months. So, generally speaking, they tend to do establish small plot lines, and switch between them. It's tough, but they pull it off.

This show was different. For the first time in a very long time, the majority of the show was filmed in one room with an alcoholic (Liota, of course) in the final stages of kidney failure. It was a pretty moving show, and the alcohol-induced dimentia and flashback editing was very cinematic and ethereal - two things that broadcast TV generally eschews for mono-syllabic words and irritating catch phrases.

But, there you go. When E.R. does its repeat thing on syndacation, try to check this one out. I would have TiVO'd it. But damnit, I don't have a TiVO.

Makes things kind of difficult.

Oh, and by the way, Halo 2 is the single most important game for Xbox Live. It is truly unbelievable, well planned and beautifully executed.

Had to throw that in there.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Waking Up Kitty

The lovely SockHobbit (who might just be in need of promotion to Sock; she is willing to let me play Halo 2 tonight and “Won’t even ask you to go to bed at ten…you can stay up as long as you want.” What can I say? I married well.) and I woke up this morning to the wondrous melodies of our orange cat scratching the hell out of the walls of her crapfort. We used to have the functional, but – let’s face it – overly generic ‘litter box,’ but we had to forgo that option because our cats tend to fling their dehydrated clumps ‘o’ feces over the walls and onto our bathroom floor. They also are able to excavate a significant pile of perfectly good cat litter in the process, essentially building up a new place to crap (on the floor).

In order to curb this situation, we invested in a large blue plastic box. It’s kind of cool, actually. It opens in half for easy crap removal and even comes with a nifty “shit-smell filter” (though they didn’t use that exact wording on the label…not sure why…) on the top. Let’s face it. It’s basically a miniaturized bathroom for cats: a door, four walls, ceiling…if it had a stack of magazines and working plumbing, I might be tempted to check it out. Alas…no magazines.

Anyhow, our cats, the previously-mentioned orange tabby (aptly named “Kitty”), and our somewhat dimwitted mutt-cat Dolby (anyone get it?), seem to derive great pleasure from the litter box. I’m not kidding, either. If they were to suddenly develop opposable thumbs and were in desperate need to fill out a warranty card, they would have to list “Other” and fill in, “Digging and crapping.”

I don’t get it; other cats don’t seem to be as into it as our cats do. Other cats might dig around for a couple seconds, squat, cover it up, and then go sleep or chase a distraught insect or fly.

Not our cats.

Nope, our cats get in the box and, for fifteen minutes, scratch and kick cat litter every which way. Sometimes they ‘talk,’ but most of the time, it’s just SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH…scratch……scritch…………scrit………………


I’m surprised no one’s though to implement this as a method of torture; the sound of freshly sharpened claws (from our couch, of course – it’s the only true way) peeling away small scrapes of plastic is enough to break anyone. Joe Pesci had it all wrong in ‘Casino.’ See, he should have went with the cat torture instead of the vice. Then he wouldn’t have to pick up the eyeballs, which couldn’t have been fun at all.

I digress…

Due to the fact that our cats are constantly scratching on the walls, it is impossible to know if they are demanding it be cleaned or if they’re doing it to satisfy some strange impulse. Sometimes they’ll be scratching at fresh litter for a half an hour. You’d think there were millions of encrusted turds in there.

This morning was one of those mornings. The cats were in there again, as they are every morning, at 5am, peeling away ribbons of plastic shit-hut liner. This, by the way, is amazingly loud. I don’t understand it; it defies all laws of logical acoustics.

Anyhow, they’re in there scratching away while we are showering, taking the dog out, making our smoothie etc. While I am drinking the last of the morning’s power smoothie, I hear the scratching. But this time, it’s a little duller and closer. It sounded like thread being pulled and ripped from its base. Time to investigate.

I walk into the bedroom to find Her Orangeness pawing and scratching at a wayward shirt and a pair of shorts. The moment she sees me, she takes off into the living room, leaving me to find the atrocity that lay ahead. I kneel down and pick up the clothes and discover they are drenched in pungent cat urine. Wonderful. I then go and check the purity of the cathouse’s litter and find it strewn with crap and clumped pee. Not thinking about it, I gather the litter liner and get it ready to take to the dumpster, which necessitates gathering another liner and dumping fresh litter into the box.


And there’s the rub. Except there is no more cat litter. We are effectively screwed. I had to run to the store at 6:45am to purchase cat litter and bring it back, fill the box, and then leave again.

One of the more hectic mornings in recent memory.
So, how was your morning? It can’t beat mine.

Monday, November 08, 2004


This weekend, SockHobbit and I went to The Incredibles and it was, well…incredible. This movie seriously pushes the level of animated movies to a new level – the illustration, 3D work, dialogue…even the action was good. Most kids’ films (of which I’ve seen tons) seem to falter in one of those categories. Finding Nemo was hilarious and beautifully written, but the action scenes were somewhat lacking (“Let’s bounce off of jellyfish! Whee!”). Same thing with Monster’s Inc. Both are fantastic movies, but when it comes to those freewheeling, exhilaratingly adrenaline-infused sequences that really make up define an action film, they both kind of fall short.

I’m not a dolt, I know that these are kids’ films and bloody limbs are generally eschewed in the genre for smiling faces and morale-laden stories. However, go and see The Incredibles and you’ll see what I mean; this is really one of the better action movies out there, with nary an obvious, groan-inducing morale to be found. Sure, there’s bound to be a few, but compared to most Disney flicks, The Incredibles seems like a Bruckheimmer film.

Now, the one bad thing about the movie was its pre-movie trailers. Where do I start? First off, being in Portland, we don’t have much of a choice for movie theaters. We have something like 30 Regal cinemas, and two (much, much better) Century theaters.

Usually I despise going to anything Regal-cinema related, because they contain all that is evil in the world of movie-going goodness: THE TWENTY. Now, I understand this concept; I work in advertising and understand how most of this stuff works. And can certainly see the benefit to movie theater advertising: a captive audience that has nothing better to do than to sit there because they don’t want to lose their seats.

However, I am completely and irreversibly convinced THE TWENTY is the devil. Right wing, evangelical types have it ALL wrong: Satan/Beelzebub/etc. exists, not in Hell as was previously and erroneously thought, but in the form of a horrendous spectacle of poor sound, over-energetic voiceovers, awful editing, and worst of all, a complete and utter disregard for demographics that happens to take place twenty minutes (by the way, how DID they come up with that name?) before a movie begins.

There is nothing worse than sitting in a theater with my mom, awaiting a film that has subtitles and a fair amount of plot complexity, and have Britney Spears provocatively gyrating herself to her “new single.”

Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe the situation. Why not just add some dollar lap dances and a cheesy DJ while my mom asks for a light?

Oh, wait…they already have the DJ…

Besides the whole audience-ignorance thing, THE TWENTY (why is it ALL CAPS, you wonder? Have you seen THE TWENTY?) is also guilty of another advertising transgression: it doesn’t take advantage of the medium. Image not showing images on TV, or buying space in a magazine, only to let it sit there with no imagery, type, logo, or anything. It makes absolutely no sense. Same thing with THE TWENTY.

Here you have people who are paying money to be entertained by means of watching a gigantic screen and listening to incredible sound emanating from surround sound systems that make most home theater systems look like boom boxes. Why not, oh I don’t know, here’s a wayward thought…ENTERTAIN them?

And yet, THE TWENTY insists of pimping upcoming TNT and NBC shows, with a music video or two tossed in to mix things up. This is a fine concept that fails to do one key thing: entertain. I have never met anyone who looks forward to THE TWENTY. I understand what they’re going after, I do. I don’t immediately resent it and am willing to watch anything if it’s entertaining. If I want blatant self-promotion, I’d enjoy Terrel Owens a whole lot more. But the fact is, to date, I’ve only seen two commercials that THE TWENTY has sprinkled in: a VOLVO commercial and a Toyota Tacoma teaser. Both were produced in widescreen formats and featured in beautiful, immersive sound. Two features that THE TWENTY fails to take advantage of. Plus, they weren’t screaming, waving, or pleading the viewer to watch some ridiculous reality TV cut or a “very special Will and Grace season.”

THE TWENTY could learn a thing or two.

Or twenty.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Stupid Blogger...

Actually, it may be Internet Explorer - it usually is. That, or Outlook. Anyhow, just a quick note: my blogs of late seem to be getting cut short for some reason or another. Whatever it is, there is a fix: wait for the blog to load up all the way. Then, on my nifty litte nav column on the right there, scroll down and click on the "11/1/2004 - 11/30/2004" link.

Then, and only then, does it seem to load up all the way.

Comment away!


But...I'll be back....LATER!

Happy Friday to all!


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Rambling Giantess

An interesting op-ed piece on why Democrats can’t seem to swing Southern and Western states. Fairly interesting. Short, too.


Today’s a slow day in Blog Land for me. I’m not entirely too sure what I should write about. I was thinking about penning an in-depth expose on the futility of the reheating directions on pizza boxes, but it seems limited at best. I mean, I could go into the whole cold pizza thing and how everyone loves cold pizza. Unless, of course, it’s more than a couple of days old in which case it should immediately be thrown out. Preferably aimed at irritating neighbors who insist on playing Mariachi music at four in the morning. But if you can't do that, at least do your colon a favor and just throw it out.

To wit.

So, that said, what am I going to write about?


Perhaps a beagle haiku in honor of my dog? Why not?

Brown, black, white and tan
Large brown eyes plead for jerky
Resulting in crap.

How’s that? Pretty good, eh? Really grabs you and doesn’t let go, I know.


My hair grows disturbingly fast sometimes. The last haircut I was virtually scalped; I resembled a bulbous cocktail onion who just served his time as a Special Forces Marine or something. Needless to say, it was bad.

Here’s how the whole thing played out. SockHobbit and I go walk in to the
HairCutHut and diligently ask how long the wait is. The greeter, through the hissing, sputtering gap that had taken the place of her top two teeth, responded that it “would be fifteen minutes or so.” I was happily satisfied; I’m not the most patient guy, especially in HairCut places.

While thumbing through a dated issue of Sports Illustrated (“3 Peat! The Bulls Win!”) I notice that the clientele at this particular joint is severely lacking in, well, for lack of a better word, class. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am in no way high and mighty or anything like that. I forced my mom to change the place we’re going for my sister’s birthday because it’s a coat and tie place. I drive a Taurus. I wear jeans everyday. I own one suit (that doesnt' even fit, by the way).

Anyhow, cut (pun somewhat intended) to me sitting in the chair, obviously uncomfortable at the sight of my “stylist.” Her giant legs are stuffed in what might have been actual fishnet stockings; seriously these things could net a school of mackerel in no time. Everything about her - hair, complexion, eyes, thick fingers – seems to ooze black and sweat. If ever I was intimidated, it was then.

Me: Um…number? Oh, right…uh, two, I think.
Me: Uh…no…heh?
Me (meekly): Uh, er..okay.

She then lumbers her lacquered frame over the counter, aggressively opens the “clipper attachment” drawer, rummages around until she seems satisfied with one, and then wills her Gothic mass over to behind my head. With a loud THWACK, she fires on the clippers and begins to literally jab at my head. Apparently the concept of a comb was either lost on her or lost in her, because there were none to be found. The Giantess seemed outwardly nervous, too. She would shift from side to side, foot to foot, and repeatedly cock her head every time she took out a big, awkward chunk of hair, as if to say, “Huh. That’s interesting…that doesn’t look right at all...Oh well.”

Needless to say, after forty minutes (FORTY MINUTES! UNHEARD OF AT A HAIRHUT), she booms over-assertively, “HOW DOES IT LOOK?” Having neither the courage nor the masochism to continue the torture, I lied and said, “Wonderful. Just…wonderful.” And tried to smile as I realized that what I said could have been construed as something other than a pleased compliment. Before she could consume me, however, SockHobbit had already paid and we were out of there.

So, it should go without saying that I vowed never to go back to a JiffyCut, QuickHack, or anything else for the rest of my life.

And yesterday, I kept that vow alive by going to an actual salon (barber? Stylist? I don’t know…it just wasn’t any kind of Cut’N’Go).

I was terrified.

This was a first for me, going into a place that doesn’t hold job fairs at the trailer park across the street.

I guess I was envisioning snooty, trendily dressed people who seem outwardly depressed at having the misfortune of living. Actually, I think this is how a lot of people view advertising creatives. Anyhow…

But what can I say? I had a great time. Crazy, huh?

(I’m still a little weary letting my friends know, though; I think they’d have a field day with this one) .

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Disenfranchised. Again.

Four years ago, I remember taking an elevator at Portland State University. Gore had finally conceded and W just accepted the Presidency. As the rickety elevator gyrated its way up four Cramer Hall floors, I looked up at the numbers as they faded and lit. Under the “3” was a hastily written statement: “Fuck Dubya.” And then, scratched in barely legible pen above the eloquent proclomation , was a retort: “How much damage can one man do?”

I think for the most part that question was answered over the past four years. Now, I don’t know if the retort was from a conservative or liberal point of view, it can work both ways when one thinks about it: A conservative may be defending the President, meaning that it takes more than just one person to drive a country. A liberal might be implying that while the defeat was taxing, Bush is, in essence, just the tip of the iceberg. We need to watch out not only for him, but for what he stands for, his beliefs, etc.

I’m disappointed, not so much because he was reelected, but because the same people who didn’t vote in the 2000 election, didn’t vote again in 2004, despite huge pre-election numbers of voter registrations of young people. The 2000 election saw 17% of (registered)18-29 year olds vote…same thing this time: 17%.


Of course, when broken down further, the number of those young voters had overwhelmingly voted for Kerry: something like 54% to 35% (I don’t care to look up the stats, but it was on CNN last night; Forest Something-or-other even pointed it out). Of course, the numbers could have risen further in Bush’s favor too; there’s no way of knowing for sure, but statistics point a pretty steady finger most of the time.

And on top of that, all eleven states, including my beloved Oregon, voted to AMEND the fucking constitution to state that marriage is explicitly a man/woman thing. Now, regardless of how you view this, shouldn’t AMENDING constitutions be focused on more immediate things? Seriously…take one look out how Oregon’s schools are doing and tell me how keeping two guys or two women from wedding one another is more important.

How much damage?

Apparently not nearly enough…

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Some things I am up | in to:

SockHobbit and I have now officially voted.

Please, Sean Penn, P Diddy, Michael Moore, Dubya, John Kerry…DON’T CALL ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Technically, we voted a week and a half ago. Living in the purdy state of Oregon, we are allowed to vote by mail, meaning we receive our ballots and super-secure security envelopes in the mail, and then we fill them out and return them in the mail. Which is fine, save for one minor flaw: you must mail them back out. See, we had accidently misplaced them and assumed that they had been mailed out along with some other pieces of mail. 'Tis a good thing SockHobbit found them in time to drop them off today.

Anyhow, two things about this mail-in-voting thing: one is that the super-secure security envelope is just a regular envelope that has a little die-cut hole in it to confirm that there is indeed a ballot envelope in there. The typeface and ALL CAPS indicating that the outer envelope is secure seems entirely ludicrous to me. It’s an envelope, except that it has big red letters ordering me to use said envelope, otherwise the vote will not count. What exactly is so “secure” about this? So they use some icky-tasting glue and use two envelopes…is this really the definition of secure? Is this how are information is secure: “All content on this website is encrypted with the latest in security devices: a glued envelope. Good day.” Or maybe: “The Federal Reserve is staffed with highly-trained guards with unilateral power to make decisions to kill anyone who…opens the glued envelope which effectively houses our nations’ financial reserves.”

Stupid. Just call is a secrecy envelope and I wouldn’t be so irritated.

The second thing: we have to provide the friggin’ stamp to mail it! Come on! I know that stamps are relatively cheap, but at the rate in which they are rising, the next election will force us to pay .75 cents in order to vote. Give me a break. This shouldn’t be happening; nowhere else are you effectively forced to have to pay for your vote.

Hell, even NetFlix knows this! That’s why they put that magic little square on the envelope: “Postage Paid.”

Except that they aren’t really counting ballots.

Just movies.

But still.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A personal record.

This weekend, I gained ten pounds. Yep, read that one again. 10 pounds. From Friday evening (had a healthy salad, two somewhat unhealthy beers), to this morning when I weighed myself, my weight ballooned from a respectfully obese 305 to a disgustingly obese 315.

Now, I’ve been big (read: fat) for the majority of my life. Since I’ve lost a hundred pounds (well, 90 now) over the past couple years, this gain is startling. It’s not that I didn’t see it coming, given my food intake this past weekend:

Friday evening: Salad with Grilled Chicken, Beers: Not bad at all. In fact, I would go on record as saying this is actually decent for you, since the dressing was balsamic vinegar.

Late Friday Evening: This is where it started to go downhill. First, during a viewing of Dawn of the Dead, I indulged in three peanut butter cups. Then a third of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire (shared with the lovely SockHobbit). Then, perhaps due to the inebriation levels running rampant in the living room, half a thing of Ben and Jerry’s Frozen Yogurt. At that point, I remember saying to myself, “It’s okay, I’m hitting the gym tomorrow.”

Saturday Morning: Woke up with Bombay-induced cottonmouth and slight headache. No biggie considering other hangovers I’ve experienced. So, SockHobbit and I go into the living room and think about what we should have for breakfast. Not wanting a protein shake, I suggest a healthy alternative: breakfast burritos from Don Pedro. Now, Don Pedro is this little chain we have here in Portland that makes incredibly good breakfast burritos: eggs, cheese, potatoes (though I tend to forgo them for more bacon) and bacon. Not to be outdone, I also decided to throw on a chicken quesadilla for good measure, since it was 11 and “almost lunch.”

Saturday Afternoon: We’re on our way to meet my friend for his birthday lunch. I call and tell him that we are running late. He then informs me that his birthday is, in fact, Sunday. Not knowing what else to do, we went to the place we were supposed to go anyhow: Roake’s – a hole in the wall, dive joint with the most insane-tasting hamburgers anywhere. These are in no way considered healthy, regardless of how many tomatoes you thrown on ‘em. Knowing that I had neglected the gym, I did what anyone would do: I ordered a gigantic hamburger: the Farmer John. This particular artery blocker has a pound of beef, ham, bacon, eggs, lettuce and tomato. Onions, too, if you want em. Add to that monster some fries and I pretty felt myself getting fatter.

Saturday evening: Feeling queasy from the Farmer John didn’t stop me from diving into some artichoke dip (basically melted cheese with some artichokes and spinach – very tasty) meatballs, KitKats, innumerable beers and a martini at a Halloween party. The rest of the evening is somewhat of a blur, but I’m quite sure I decided to go after healthier alternatives, like Peanut Butter Cups, cream cheese dips and “Spider Cookies” (don’t ask…just know that they were very delicious).

Sunday morning/afternoon: Vowing to have a better, more healthier day, I make my protein shake, eat some almonds…and play video games until my friend calls, informing me that he decided to go somewhere else for his birthday celebration, which is fine for me. Until he tells me the place in question is
Red Robin. Hearing this, both parts of my brain immediately start fighting: One side is saying, “Okay, no worries…you can have a salad with dressing one the side…no big deal.” The other responds with, “Remember to ask for ranch to dip your bottomless fries in.”

Guess which one won?

Saturday evening: We’re watching Carlito’s Way as we’re dealing with our three Trick-Or-Treaters. Good movie, good candy, good night. I ended up taking care of the rest of the spinach-artichoke dip and took down a couple pesky “Inside-Out” Peanut Butter Cuts (the peanut butter is on the outside! Seriously, this is huge news for a fat guy) along the way.

Needless to say, this morning I hit the gym. God, I feel like Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, only I’m not shivering and vomiting uncontrollably.

Which is nice, I guess.

Happy Halloween and all that.

I’ve never really been the Halloween type, you know? I would dress up as the requisite Ninja or Transformer outfit when I was a kid, walk around, get my loot etc., but then came the part that always screwed me: the candy. I would usually gather POUNDS of the stuff, and a week later, all of it would be gone. Well, all of it except for the SweetTarts, Raisin boxes (Raisins? Are You Insane???), and the lame pennies that old people always seemed to prefer over overly sweetened goodness. Or then there was the “homemade” treats that, while I’m sure were safe and probably very delicious, I wasn’t taking my chances.

But after a while, Halloween just loses its flavor, you know? For me, I can pinpoint when Halloween transitioned from a loveable, can’t-wait-for-it type holiday to something that was more loathsome. When I was in seventh grade (yes, I know – it’s kind of old, but I was fat and free candy was nothing to scoff at) I strapped on a mask with some black clothes and a plastic knife and hit the houses with my friend and his younger brother.

And their mom.

Which is fine, she was more than welcome to walk around with us…no big deal. Until we hit the first house, where she proceeded to unstuffy from her jacket pocket a skull mask. She put it on and from her other jacket pocket, removed a bag, much like our own. I was horrified. Never before had I seen this type of thing happen. A grownup? Dressing up to get candy? Isn’t there laws or something forbidding this kind of thing? I was actually nervous and ashamed at the same time; this was OUR thing…we’re kids. You had your chance!

Anyhow, once she was settled, we head up the pathway to the door. We knock and say the requisite “Tricker Treat” (how many people actually enunciate the “or”?) and the old lady (I swear my mind is telling me that she was a nun, but I don’t know if that can be authenticated at this point) begins doling out the candy. She drops one into my friend’s trash bag, then his brother’s, then their mother’s and then, mine. But then she stops. And then she looks at me, begins to size me up, you know?

Then she gets this disappointed look on her face and says, “You’re too old.” She then slams the door and turns off her porch light. She probably died that night, and it was directly correlated to her little heart being broken because she saw a tall kid (the same age of his friends!) with a mask and assumed the worst.

See, Halloween almost has a height restriction on it if you’re a kid. My friend’s mom was shorter than me at the time, so it was assumed that because I was the tallest person there, I was the guardian. It’s like the reverse height restriction at Disneyland.

A company needs to invest in a themed sign that people can put out on their pathways leading up to the doors that says, “You must be under this height to receive candy.” They should standardize this height, too. So that freakishly tall kids and annoying 17 year olds don’t get their candy. It could be a comically illustrated goblin or witch or monster that was at once friendly to the ones under the height limit, but at the same time, creepy and scary to those at or above the height limit.

Oh well, till next year!