Thursday, December 30, 2004

That’s a wrap. Kind of.

With the tsunami and “war” death tolls continuing to rise, bringing with them a sense of awkward depression and anger (respectively, of course), I figure it’s time to take a break from the all of this. You know, focus on something that has been slipping under the radar for YEARS and no one, despite all of the pain it has created, has decided to bring it to light.


Yep, the stuff you (ineffectively) use to cover your Tupperware bowls when you lose the lids; the stuff you swath your sandwiches in for lunch—is the work of a higher, more evil force.

Work with me here.

Saran wrap (or the generic, less expensive “plastic wrap”) is the work of a despicable conspiracy, one that is solely dedicated to keeping our economy moving while other things remain stagnant. Think about it: most everything is price sensitive (gas, wood, Russian child whores, etc.), and will see increases or (rarely) decreases in price given other variables.

But not Plastic Wrap.


Plastic Wrap continues to be a low-priced product that offers a promise it NEVER keeps. And yet no one notices it. Seriously. Have you ever actually successfully pulled off a sheet of plastic wrap and stretched it over a bowl of say, cherries? Further, is the seal so tight, and the surface so taught with tension that you could bounce a quarter off of it? Without having to deal with the immediate, implausible implosion of the plastic wrap after your tear it from the roll?

I didn’t think so.

Think about how many rolls a year are wasted because of people (you know you’ve done it—it’s impossible not too) innocently sucked into thinking that, “Yes, I too, have leftovers that need to be covered with a film of plastic…I shall buy two at this price” and go home only to find that it takes nearly an entire role of the stuff before you have successfully created that nice, tight seal? Yep. I’ve done it too. I’ve also ended up with enormous balls of wrinkled plastic that were originally intended to envelop my ham sandwich when I ran out of sandwich bags. Oh, the horror.

And what's worse is that we're sitting here, perpetuating the Plastic Terror because they've got us fooled into thinking we can beat it; that it's somehow OUR fault that the plastic sucks itself into a irreversible shape that, regardless of how minutely you disect it, it remains clung to itself. Like it's some sort of subliminal challenge that all human beings with a logical mind have to take up: "Damn. Must be a draft in here or something. Oh well, I'll try again. Damn. Stupid fingers must be hands must be dirty..."

It's a dangerous, sad cycle. But it's time to wake up. You will NEVER beat the SARAN Sentinal; it's much too powerful. It's defensive, like the New England Patriots right now, is too stoic - it knows all your moves and has the answer for anything you throw at it.


Still doubtful? Here’s the kicker: “Saran” is only an ‘t’ away from “Satan.”


Oh, I think not.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

So this is Christmas

Or was Christmas. Doesn't really matter all that much, I suppose. It's funny how things don't really seem to measure up after a while. Remember when you were a kid, and Christmas was THE most exciting thing ever? Nothing could compete with Christmas. The magic, the wonder, the experience of the whole thing culminated into a wonderful time to be had.

And there were presents. Lots of them. Which was nice.

But as I grew older (and yes, I am borrowing heavily from The Polar Express here), the magic of the Christmas season began to diminish. It's probably due to the fact that most of Christmas is a farce; a holiday, while strong in tradition, has been transformed into a time of Sunday ads and heavy media buys.

I understand this and am perfectly okay with it. I'm in advertising. I play Halo 2 on my Xbox, watch movies on my Toshiba television and DVD player, and listen to my iPod everyday. Fact is, I understand consumerism. Hell, it's kind of what I do. So I'm not being negative about commercialism - that would be hypocritical of me.

I guess this was one of the first Christmases for the SockMama and I where we didn't really get to enjoy the "feel" of the season. You know, the one that kind of gets you moving a little faster, burning a little warmer. Yeah, this year, it just wasn't there. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that our presents to each other came in the form of a $1,500 transmission overhaul (and it wasn't even wrapped!).

Well, at least no one in our immediate family was hurt, maimed, imprisoned, or otherwise in danger this year.

Which is nice.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Quick hit. Beautiful site.

This site is incredible.

Spanish helps, as does speaker. But I can't speak Spanish and I was still floored.

Have fan perusing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A request, and dedication.

SockMama has requested I dedicate a post to her (or her alter ego, SockHobbit), but I don’t think I’m going to do it. See, the moniker “SockHobbit” came to being as a joke. She had mentioned that all she does is fold my socks, and furthered the joke by saying she was a “SockElf.” I, of course, took this a step further and suggested “SockHobbit” better suits her. Mainly because, as Lord of the Rings proves, hobbits are short, cute, and fiercely loving to all things; while elves, as good as they are with bow and arrow, tend to be pompous and conceited—basically Trump with pointy ears and less money.

Anyhow, the point.

On August 17, 2002, I pledged my life to a person. Not a Hobbit or Elf and certainly not a sock-folding Hobbit or Elf at that.

But a person.

Someone who leads me to a better myself, encourages me in everything I do, and live a stronger life. A person who, at the sight of a downtrodden person, defines the very word of compassion by looking them in the eye, smiling and wishing them a good day; a person who must go out of her way to become angry or embittered. Someone who, if the occasion were ever to present itself, would gladly give up her ability to walk upright to a limping beagle named Scout.

A person who, regardless of how disturbing, crappy, disappointing, and irritating life can sometimes be, can always appreciate a simple grin or beautiful moment; someone who holds other’s happiness in higher regard than her own.

A person who wakes up next to me every morning and, amid the reckless confusion that can be our morning routine, finds the time to hug me and tell me she loves me.

A person I am proud to know, and honored to be married.

I love you, Jaime.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I've had two(!) revelations today.


And they are so, uh, "revelating" that I'm not even sure I want to share them - I don't want to risk their safety.

But here goes.

1. Reality TV is actually a scripted endeavor
2. No one seems to really enjoy my longer posts - it seems that the shorter ones get the most comments.
3. What the more never hurt anyone: I've yet to break the "12" comment barrier.

Okay, so the first one stems from a very brief encounter with "The Swan." I get home from shooting pool with some friends at a neighborhood bar and, after chatting for a bit, I notice "The Swan" is kind enough to be ruining our television. More terrified than angry, I quaked out: "Are you actually watching this?" To her credit, SockMama said that no, she was not watching it - it was on as she was playing with her scrapbook stuff.

I only viewed enough of it to get the idea of the show, and to realize that I was fortunate enough to be witness to the show's finale: the pageant. Now, unlike Survivor or The (Abusive) Apprentice of which I know a thing or two and am somewhat qualified to pass judgement on them, I've never seen The Swan, so what I've surmised from it is seriously the product of about three minutes of watching.

And then I cranked on Halo 2.

Anyhow, the show featured women who, while they are stunning in their makeup and cheaply designed underwear, weren't always like that. In fact, they were even (gasp) ugly before the show. So, the show's all about fixing them up and the person who wins supposedly is the prettiest and all that. In order for them to figure that out, they hold a beauty pageant. This is where I (briefly) come in.

As they are introduced by a women with an English accent (naturally), the 'swans' come on to the walkway to a little voiceover as they do an funky little dance, walk the runway, and then blow a kiss to the camera. This whole thing, by the way, is probably one of the most awkward things I've seen in quiet some time. If you've ever seen About a Boy and can recall the last scene involving the stage and singing, you have an idea of what I'm talking about.

Basically, these women come up and they do these "I'm cute and sexy and these shoes are way too tight" walks that are just begging for quick deaths. The whole thing is a ridiculous notion (granted, most reality tv is), but to cap it off and force these women to do pared down stripper moves while trying to balance on high heels is probably not what they had in mind.

But then, after all this, I realized that all reality tv, regardless of who's hosting it, what vile stuff they eat/do, concept, etc., is effectively the same: every show consists of canned messenging that was obviously written before hand. From Survivor to The Swan to The Will to Dig-Andy's-Eyeballs-Out-With-A-Dulled-Spoon, all of the shows are actually scripted. Sure, the contestants (supposedly) say what they want, but everything around them, the "shell" of the show, is scripted.

I'm not going to touch the other two revelations because I've already past my length quota for comments, so I probably won't be getting any again.

And certainly not reaching the upper echelon of comment-dome: the "12."

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Taken advantage of

That's me. Why, you ask?

One word:


I feel abused, like a kid being forced by a friend into stealing something, or someone accused me of a falsity and no one seems to believe me.

The Apprentice has just taken reality TV to a new low. As I am typing this, The Apprentice is midway through its third hour.

Read that last line again.

That's right. Three hours. There are only two things that should last three hours: movies (only if they're really good) and sporting events. Okay, okay...add operas and Broadway plays to the list. Football, "Return of the King," and "Les Miserables" yes. Reality TV? Never.

Perhaps you're wondering how exactly Donald Trump and Mark Burnett are filling a three hour block of time? Well, here you go:

Hour 1:
*Quick recap [commercial] of last week's contestant paring [commercial] to get to the final two [commercial].
*Last [commercial] project is [commercial] performed.
*Contestants argue in [commercial] [commercial] [commercial] front of Trump.

Hour 2:
*Trump sends [commercial] final [commercial] two out of the room [commercial]before he hires one of them. [commercial]
*Before [commercial] [commercial] [commercial] revealing who wins, the stage opens up to reveal that [surprise] it's [commercial] in front of an audience!
* Now Trump hires someone, right? Nope. Instead[commercial] he asks Regis Fucking Philbin on to [commercial][commercial][commercial][commercial] the stage to interview the major [commercial][commercial]advertisers on this [commercial][commercial] year's shows.
* Regis [commercial][commercial][commercial][commercial][commercial][commercial]asks other[commercial][commercial][commercial] people [commercial][commercial][commercial][commercial]who they like more
* Trump finally picks the dude

Hour 3:
* Gen[commercial]worth pimp[commercial]ing
* More [commercial] Genworth pimping
* Regis [commercial][commercial][commercial]Philbin
* Season [commercial][commercial]Recap
* Special appearence by the group [commercial]that sings that irritating fucking "Money [commercial] Money [commercial]Money"
* Special pimping of "The Contender"
* Recap [commercial] of the fights [commercial] this really needed? I mean, I understand that when you have something, you run with it, but this is stepping so far over the line that even the lovely SockMama's patience has run thin. Seriously. This is ridiculous.

No more. Three hours is insane. Seriously, what kind of ratings drop off do stupid self promo bullshit like this produce? Especially given personal video recorders.

Just for this, I will never watch another episode of "The (abusive) Apprentice."

The idea is great, but they've taken it WAY too far.

Fuck Trump and his money.

Child Snare, Part 2

And now… “The Jesus Freaks.”

When the Jesus Freaks took daily custody of me while my mom toiled away at her pharmacy, I remember thinking these were good people. And, for the most part, they were. But there were down falls (otherwise they wouldn’t be placed in the “Worst Child Care” pantheon).

For one, they owned a chicken coup and a spice garden, full of mint and coriander (I’m assuming here – but there WERE little plants in there, I swear) and probably the infamous “Cajun” spice I’m always seeing at Safeway (and you thought there was no such plant).

Anyhow, they were very strict with the TV viewing as well.

We were only allowed to watch Disney stuff, which was fine, except we were only allotted an hour, even in the WINTER time! Well, okay, so winter in Louisiana isn’t exactly the most unbearable elemental condition in the world, but still.

And while most kids probably didn’t find this lack of TV hypnosis too terrifying, I found it to be a akin to a death knell; fat kids who are always ‘it’ in tag and can’t catch anyone for the life of them tend to prefer lower impact exercises. Like breathing.

And even worse, there was no Nintendo in sight, which pretty much sent me into a fat-kid catharsis…I was terrified.

And incredibly bored.

Their house, besides being devoid of a Nintendo, was clad in country bumpkin patterns. From the drapes to the couch, if a chicken, cow, pig or farmer hat was a feature, it was plastered in this house. And not just the kitchen, either. The living room, the bedrooms…even the backyard had fake little pigs and chickens—and they had REAL chickens! Why force it? You have the real thing! It’s like wearing a ROLOX on your left and a ROLEX on your right – what’s the point?

I digress.

Furthermore, they were awfully religious, which is pretty much a given in the south. I don’t actually remember being force-fed Bible verses or preached too, but for some reason, it feels like it happened. Don’t ask me how. I just know.

Actually, they were remarkably similar to The Flanders in The Simpsons, the more I think about it. I don’t remember the dad (actually, I don’t remember the dad in any of these situations – they were probably at work, I guess) but the mom had the exact same mannerisms as Maude Flanders (overly sweet but quick to argue morals and judge people). And she was always busy in the kitchen. For whatever reason, she was always in there. And she, like Bubba Slob, ALWAYS found me whenever I was doing something she found unacceptable, which, in her eyes, was probably a lot.

Anyhow, she had a couple kids and they were nice enough, but they were brainwashed to the gills with morals. Seriously, I couldn’t get them to climb up to the top of the fridge for the deliciousness that was the large cookie jar (I wasn’t going up there, you kidding me?) for ANYTHING. Seriously, I could have offered them a million dollars (I probably did - I loved cookies...still do) and they wouldn't do it. They would jsut stand there, mouths agape, and look at me as if I had just killed a puppy for the sheer twisted pleasure of it, like I was the worst human being they had ever met.

They were terrified.

And yet, just a tiny bit intrigued. Thinking back, I bet I was three weeks from bringing them to The Dark Side.

But then my mom’s shift changed, and that was it for the Jesus Freaks.

(In all honesty, I have NO clue as to why I’ve attached “Jesus” to them. I guess it just fits.)

Oh well, it’s my memory; I can do what I want with it.

And I just removed one of the kid’s eyes for the hell of it.

So there.

As opposed to...?

At my place 'o' business, one of the account managers happens to be co-owner of a vodka company. That's about all I know. Well, that and the name of the vodka.

It's pretty special.

Original, in fact.


"Liquid Vodka"

That's it. "Liquid Vodka." Nothing else. What the hell? How did they settle on this one?

A: Well, let's
B:'s made from potatos...
A: about "Potato Vodka?"
B: That kind of implies the vodka is potato flavored
A: That's a good point...So...Vodka...
B: Well, it's distilled in Bend, Oregon...
A: Oh, I got it!
B: What? "Bend Vodka"?
A: How'd you-?
B: Nevermind. Back to vodka. What is vodka?
A: Well, it's made from potatoes
B: Right
A: And you, uh, drink it...
B: Well, hopefully [LAUGHTER ENSUES]


A: What about, fuck, I don't know..."Liquid Vodka"?
B: Brilliant.
A: Really?
B: Yes. See, it's liquid, right? [FEVERISHLY DRINKS FROM COFFEE CUP] Not solid, LIQUID! There's no way people will confuse for "Heavy" or "Chunky" or even "Semi-Solid!" I mean, who'd want to drink a vodka that was NOT liquid?! Brilliant!


Seriously? LIQUID Vodka? That's like naming a tire "Circle Tire" or a bag of coffee beans "Roasted Coffee Beans." The point is, ALL vodkas, regardless of where or how many times they are distilled, filtered, peed in or whatever, are LIQUID. Why in the world would you NAME your product something that inherrently makes it blend in with everything else in the category.


It doesn't even sound that they're trying to prove to me that their vodka is, indeed, liquid. Like this is a selling point for me. "Hmm...let's see...we have Absolut, Ketel One, Grey Goose...what's this? Liquid Vodka? Well, that must mean it's...LIQUID! Oh, I'm definately getting this one!"

Quick Hit

First off, final numbers from Taurus hell: $1479. Yeah. Not pretty.

Oh well. There's always Dog Judo

Back soon.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Fix Or Repair Daily

Ahh, the well-known acronym of Ford. And how apt.
The transmission and torque converter in our 2001 Taurus (75,000 miles this morning - wonderful fucking timing that is - skirted the warranty by 5,000 miles) is on its way out.

$1,100 - 1,500

And the best part is that our savings isn't accessible (stupid Certificate of Deposit) for seven working days.

Oh joy.

Oh, even better? It's the one car we own.

Happy, happy Monday.

Child Snare

Whilst reading Collin's in depth memory of a babysitter and a sad clown painting (for the most part - there's other stuff, too) a flash went off in my brain. Suddenly, I started to recall the babysitters that I've been forced to deal with throughout my lifetime. Three evil childcare "practitioners" quickly came to mind: the Slobs, the Jesus-Freaks, and the Trailer Trash.

First off, a disclaimer: these names are (obviously) not real names. Well, maybe Trailer Trash - the more I think about it, the more I think her first name actually was Trailer. Or Trailette. Since these are some huge repressed memories that probably played a part in me doing picking up trash outside of Portland's Juvenile Detention Home as part of a community service sentincing, I'm going to do my first series posting. It's kind of like a mini-series, only more depressing and believeable.

Without further ado, The Slobs.

As with most single parents, my mom was constantly forced to choose between a loving relationship with her son, and a loving relationship with her son in a card board box on the street. Luckily, she chose the former. Unfortunatley, that choice also meant that someone needed to watch me.

Enter: The Slobs*.

The Slobs lived in a decent-sized house with a pool - two attributes that even today I find attractive. As a kid, I was no different. I loved water, regardless if it had rattlesnakes or nutria in it, so finding a real pool with real chlorine that I could swim in was like visiting the Bahamas everyday.

The Slobs, at first glance, were slobs at all. In fact, they seemed to resemble somewhat lifelike human beings with emotions and feelings and hearts. This, like their immaculately clean front room and kitchen, was a disgusting facade. Anyhow, The Slobs were comprised of Mama Slob and Bubba Slob.

Mama Slob was a large woman who found solace in little kids' unhappiness, especially if garnered directly from her actions. Things are fuzzy when I think about her, but she was a seemingly large woman, with padded Basset hound-like jowels that hung off her cheek bones and shook when she screamed (which was often).

Often dressed in a contemporary muu-muu, Mama Slob would shift herself around the house, searching for Bubba Slob in order to make him do some sort of task. This wouldn't be a big deal if it was indeed Bubba having to do said task. Unfortunately, Bubba understood these orders as something he could transfer over to me. Like a weird, evil sort of monarchy. Except that instead of bountiful riches and glory, I inherrited messy bedrooms and filthy bathrooms.

Bubba was, I'm sure, a great kid. Normally. But left alone with me, he'd get this evil sort of grin almost immediately after our moms would leave the room. You could see his tiny little brain starting to overclock itself, thinking about all of the things he could get out of.

To his credit, Bubba would always try to "spin" me into thinking I was supporting a greater good by helping him. Instead of just forcing me to clean his room under the overarching umbrella of physical harm, he would try to energize and instill in me an emotional catalyst, something that would make me think, "Yeah, picking up this asshole's messy room is going to be fun!"

Thinking back, Bubba is becoming interchangeable with Mama Slob - they were both clad in thick skin and wore incredibly round heads. In fact, if it weren't for the brightly colored floral muu-muus, my memory can't tell between them.

I digress...

Bubba also seemed to have a fierce jealous/competitive streak. I vividly remember trying to learn how to "skateboard" (in quotes because what I was doing was NOT, by any general definition, actually skateboarding) in his driveway, which was long enough to roll a good distance, and even had a small hill of sorts that led into The Slob's garage. Or garage door, as it was often closed.

Anyhow, when Bubba found me (he ALWAYS found me, too - he could find Bin Laden in a few hours if they told him his garage would be cleaned) attempting to "skateboard" down the driveway hill, he laughed mockingly and told me that I would die if I kept trying to do it. "Only big kids," he scoffed menacingly "can do that." With that poignant statement, he grabbed my board and walked the few feet up the incline. He placed the board on the cement, mounted it, and with a short kick, launched himself down the decline. Now, I was having a hell of a time mounting the courage to do what he just did, so I was both motivated to do the same and terrified as hell because, if what he said were true, I would die by day's end if I were successful in the endeavor. After all, he was a big (asshole/dickhead/prick of a) kid, and he did rolled down the hill.

After he completed the stunt, he kicked the skateboard back to me, laughed, and walked triumphantly into the garage for what I am positive was a light snack of lasagna and butter.

After all was said and done, evening had begun to creep up on me and I was still out there, forcing myself to stay on the Godforsaken skateboard the entire journey from hill "top" to hill "bottom." On my thousandth try, I succeeded. I can still remember the exhillaration - my heart was racing and a bit jumpy, my hands were shaking, and my soul was screaming brilliantly.

For a couple of seconds. The hill was seriously about five feet long.

Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I went back and did it five more times. Once I was confident in my newfound ability, I ran into the Slob's kitchen, looked directly into Bubba's beady, glazed eyes, and told him that I took the hill. "And I didn't die! So there!"

Bubba got up, forced me outside, and promptly threw me to the ground. "Don't bring your skateboard to my house anymore!" he screamed. His face was reddened and his voice quaked. He looked like he was going to kick me, but instead, he just pointed at me. He then kicked some dirt in my direction and walked back into the house.

Hopefully he cried in his cake that night.

So that was The Slobs. Stay tuned for the next installment of Childsnare, coming (hopefully) tomorrow. Or Wednesday.


*These are not in chronological order, by the way. I have no idea which came first: The Slobs or the Trailer Trash or the Jesus-Freaks. I just remember them as (evil, uncomfortable) people.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned...

Well, at least I've sinned in the ways of blogging. Apparently, the whole "Thou must post daily" just didn't strike a chord in me. But then again, that's not entirely true, either; it's not that I haven't wanted to post - I have. It's just that I haven't had a whole lot of time to actually post anything.

So, a brief update of what happened last week:

Normal day...went to work, then met up with some friends at the Mission Theater and watched the Seattle Seahawks choke against the dreaded Cowboys. I dislike the Cowboys mainly for the whole, "Texas is bigger'n France thing" (Texas is bigger than a lot of things...what's the deal with France? Why not Rhode Island or Zimbabwe or Istanbul?), but that's a blog for another time.

Normal day, for the most part. Went to work. Played some Halo 2. That's about it.

Fighting a sore throat and a head cold, I flew down to San Jose for a meeting at noon, and ended up flying back that night. Got in about 10pm, got home around 11. My head was about to explode from the pressure of my sinuses and the plane's cabin.

Went to work. Made it to the afternoon. Went home sick.

Stayed home sick, but played a good bit of Halo 2, so all was good with the world.

Hung out during the day time in preperation for my company's Christmas Party. It was a lot of fun, actually. And free wine, beer and vodka makes for an even better time. It was a good time.

Today (Sunday):
Went to SockMama's Christmas Brunch with her coworkers. It was fun. I didn't know anyone, save for a couple of people. But that's how those things go for the most part. But let me just say, the ham at this place was absolutly phenomenal. I'm actually surprised Honeybaked Hams are legal in the United States - they're just too f'in good.

I appologize for the lame updated post - I actually feel guilty for posting this. It's just not that interesting. No, no, you don't have to say anything - it really sucks. No, stop already. It sucks, okay? Plain and simple.

Hopefully I can come up with something as good as "Vines vs. Shoots" in the next couple days. Otherwise my entire readership will leave me.

All five of 'em.

Friday, December 03, 2004

And one more thing.

Read my post from Monday (Shoots vs. Vines), and then check out the comments section. Well, I guess you don't have to read the post, but it'll give Derek's link a little more sense. Anyhow, check it out - his comment is the second to last.

Oh, and click the link.

Otherwise, nothing makes sense.

Well, I mean, other than what normally doesn't make sense.

God, I hate being sober.

Work sucks...

But not nearly as much as this post does.

It's mostly relative, I suppose: does having to work a few 12 hour days suck in comparison to having to work in Satan's Hell Pit for three months with regular shifts? Not at all. The Hell Pit is much, much worse. I guess it comes down to enjoying what you do. Now that I have a job that I actually look forward to most mornings, I am happy to burn the midnight oil every now and then...that's just how it works. However, there is one crappy thing about it all: I have no time to blog.

What's worse is that I feel like I'm letting all five of my faithful readers down. (Keep in mind that two of those readers are my mom AND wife - two people whom I regularly let down.)

But, if it's any condolence, I've now blogged more this week (twice), than I've played Halo (none), so maybe that says something. What, I do not know. But there's something there...I'm sure of it.

Perhaps I should do what my blog Sage does on occasion, and ask my readers a question. But then I run the chance of seeing just how few people actually read my rambling stuff, and then I might just have to go drown my sorrows in Sapphire.


I think I'll need to think this over a Sapphire and tonic - this is serious.

Something I'll be doing this weekend.