The Blogging Affairs Desk

When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

Update: We Elected a MAN.

In a world where H1N1, Public Option Health Care, and Misbehaving Children, Their Parents, and Balloons are the norm across the headlines, I was abso-fucking-lutely fucking stunned when I read the following headline in the Times:

Man’s World at White House? No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say

The article, in short, is about how some ULTRA liberals and feminists feel that President Obama is excluding female staff members from events like a pick up game of basketball, golfing, and casual conversation about sports.

Um, if I’m not mistaken, I think there’s still a war going on too, can someone check into that?

I mean, really?  Really ladies?  Is this really an issue with you?  That the President doesn’t invite you gals out to play B-Ball with him?  Because if it is, we can certainly make up some customary “feel good” invitations on embroidered envelopes, maybe spray them down with eau du toilet and put them into your mail box with some chocolates, would that make you feel better?

Needless to say, I’m insulted at the fact that certain people, who aren’t even on Mr. Obama’s White House staff, are complaining that there’s a “boy’s club” brewing in the West Wing.

So what, I say.  So fucking what?

I hate to come across as Limbaugh-gian/Beck-ian, but these complainers are likely Hillary Votes still scorned by Palinists and are taking their frustrations out on the simple fact that our President is a “dude.”  And ‘dudes’ like to play basketball after lunch, talk about last night’s game, drink beer, throw darts, talk about Marcia-in-accounts-payable’s tits, burp, fart, lift weights, shoot guns, ride motorcycles, and spit on midgets.

I’m not saying that there aren’t women out there who would like to do these things with the President as well, but there are in a vast minority, and likely drive trucks, have bicep tattoos and mullets.

The article goes on to explain that women on the White House staff don’t really care about the so-called “boys club,” and treat it as mostly an “eye-roll kind of thing,”- annoyance more than exclusion or even abandonment by the CiC.

And honestly, if Mr. Obama called up Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill, 1st Dist) and was like “hey, come on out and play forward for me this afternoon, I highly doubt the congresswoman would show.  Sorry, but it’s the truth.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” would be the response from her office.

Listen, from the top to the bottom, let men be men.  This is why we men create “man caves” or “man forts” or whatever we call them.  It’s to have a place to be a man without the nagging wife, girlfriend, mistress, mother, sister, daughter, Secretary of State, Congressional Rep, or Feminazi Blogger looking over our shoulders and wondering why we’re cleaning our guns instead of fixing that leaky gutter/radiator/furnace/water heater/child.  We just want to be left alone in our cocoons, fiddle with things, read about wars, build ships in bottles, whatever.

Same goes for when we want to go out with just the guys; we need to be around men to help balance out our pHs.

Allow me to speak on behalf of all men out there:  We love being around our women, we die to serve you, rub your feets, smell your hair, listen to you bitch about your jobs and about people we only know in passing conversations, yet you think we have intimate knowledge of based on your tales.  We really do.  But we, as men/guys/dudes, need to go out and carouse drunkenly with each other, eye-rape some college girls, swear loudly, and kick over metal trash cans at odd hours.  It allows us to be the high functioning and responsible adult males you know and love and trust with a shotgun left loaded in the closet by your plastic-encased wedding dress.

So in sum, let Mr. Obama have his pick-up games, his spots on ESPN and Letterman, his fist bumps, greasy burgers and cigarettes.  He’s not hurting nor alienating anyone.  He is a husband of an increasingly determined and strong-willed wife and the father of two adorable little girls.  Do you know how much shit he must take for leaving the seat up?  And you’re going to try and take away what little the man has left to feel like a guy?  You’re a monster.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pour some Epsom salt into my wife’s foot bath.

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, People I Hate, Those Crazy Politicians, Why Am I Reading This?, World Wide Events | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Honeymoon

You can see pics from the trip here – ed.
There’s something special about returning to work after taking time off, especially if that time off was regarding your honeymoon.  You feel so blissfully out of touch it’s amazing to find your desk as you left it, belongings mostly intact.  This all seems to soften the blow that your tub of fat-free yogurt has gone missing altogether.

That said, the time spent on your honeymoon is magical; everything seems to go right even when it’s terribly wrong, like getting lost in Upstate NY.

We weren’t really lost; the plan was to drive off the highway for a bit, see some of the “real” countryside of upstate, the side you don’t see on Rt 90 on your way to Buffalo, of all places.

I had been scanning the New York Times’ Real Estate section and observed that homes in the Saratoga Springs area were going for between 175-200K.  Good homes with two stories, a yard, maybe even a pool.  Perfect, I thought, just what we were looking for.

But Corinth, the small hamlet where we ended up, is New York State’s scraped elbow.  There’s nothing but mountains, trees, dirty depressing dilapidated store fronts, a gas station every ten feet, kitty-cornered from one another, each seemed to be manned by the same grimy-faced local who knew, instantly, that you were from out of town.

Such a local, a waitress in some sort of strange service station/diner, a face that looked beaten with a sun-heated shovel pointed her gnarled nicotine stained finger nail at the ATM in the far corner of the establishment when I asked as to where one could be found.

“You always miss it,” she hissed, as if to indicate that she knew I was from out of town, and I represented every wayward traveler to ever cross the town line.

And of course, it was easy enough to tell we, my wife and I, hadn’t graduated from the Corinth Regional High School.  Although dressed like slobs, our clothes didn’t reek of diesel fuel.  We were driving around in a whisper quiet Toyota Prius, paying more attention to our iPhones than the surroundings of the small dent in the Earth that was Corinth.

Remember in “Back to the Future” when Marty first arrives in the 50s and the locals think he’s an alien?  He has this crazy looking car with gull wings for doors, in a biohazard suit, etc.  The local hick farmer nearly cut him in two with a shotgun blast for crashing into his barn, but was too petrified to pull the triggers.

That’s what it was like for us, driving around Corinth with out of state plates in a car that made no noise.

We had enough “small town charm”, not bothering to stop at the Dollar General (we did eat in the one restaurant in town that didn’t look like someone’s wind-smashed porch.  A Chinese food place called Golden Dragon, or Double Gold, or Lucky Dragon… I think it’s a rule that Chinese restaurants have to have either “dragon” “gold” or “lucky” in their names in our order get a business license.) before high tailing it the hell out of Dodge.

***

Niagara was beautiful however, a trip that I will never forget, thanks to technology.  We arrived late, after putting in 12 hours on the road between Portland, ME and Niagara Falls.

We left later than what I wanted to, due to a slower start, but at the time it seemed the all engines were firing just fine.  But with a stop at the Tim Hortons before even leaving my mom’s home town – which sucked up about half an hour – we were in rough shape.

We pulled into the tiny B&B around 1930 and were greeted at the door by a charmingly cheerful owner, a young woman whom I had no idea would be old enough to have mothered a kindergartener.  She had our room squared away, a tiny “French Room” at the top of a set of grand stairs, with a private bath and tiny television.

Ang instantly took to the shower, as 12 hours on the road will make you believe that God himself demands you bathe.  As for me, I asked to be pointed towards the nearest liquor store.
Cassidy, the matron, busted out a touristy map and with a black pen started to scribble out a route by foot towards the nearest liquor store.

“You want to avoid this area, entirely,” she squared off a section of about twelve blocks due north of where we were.  “It’s a HUGE ghetto.”

But that’s who I am, a shit magnet, that despite my best efforts, would haphazardly wind up waist deep in … dark… waters.

I followed the instructions to what I thought was a “T”.  Taking a left where I was supposed to, staying on a street, etc.  I found myself looking at a dimly lit convenience store, a ratty Caddy idling with a rhythmic clank and rattle.

I rubbed my stubble and wandered in.  Inside I found what you’d find in any inner city general store:  non-descript bags of neon-colored popcorn, 24-count cases of Natural Ice, on sale.  Nylon doo-rags in cellophane packets dangling from a spinning wire rack , non-NFL sanctioned Buffalo Bills memorabilia, 40 oz bottles of some brackish-colored alcohol stacked at the end of one of the aisles (the brand escapes me, but it wasn’t one of the ‘hood classics’ like Cobra, Colt .45, or Steel Reserve), scratch tickets, festering hotdogs on rollers, and black people shouting at each other.

I went in looking for, of all things, wine, a loofah, and tampons.  Maybe a snack for myself, since it was likely we weren’t going to be having dinner.  I left with nothing but fear that at any moment I was going to become a tragic victim of urban violence.  A sad state of affairs, when a young promising male, successful in his own right, was gunned down at a convenience store  outside of Buffalo, NY.  Another tale of “wrong place, wrong time.”

I can see the befuddled detectives standing over my splayed out corpse, bullet wounds in my back leading towards a growing puddle of blood:

“What the hell was this guy doing here, anyway?”  One says to the other, as he flick’s my out-of-state driver’s license.

“Fuck if I know, probably trying to score drugs,”

***

We did the whole sight-seeing bit, which given the time of year, wasn’t a whole lot.  We were only really up there for one full day sandwiched by two days of traveling.

The weather was some-what cooperative; to ask for warmth so late through October would’ve been asking for too much.  But at least it didn’t rain, which would’ve been too much for either of us to stand.

We did the falls, got wet, then went shopping at the outlets, which seemed to be the best option going, as the mall was crowded.

That night, we went to the Casino.

Admittedly, the last time I was in a casino I was 21 or 22, a raging alcoholic who often surrounded himself with hooligans equally intoxicated.  The last time I was in a casino, we were asked to leave by security.

What had happened was innocent enough:  We had been gambling, I think, and decided we wanted to go to the fancy buffet on whatever floor above the betting floor.  We, the three or four of us, clambered into a glass elevator and rode upwards.

At some point, this kid named Anthony, or Michael, or Patrick, … some Irish fuckhead, decided to pull down his cargo shorts and press his ass cheeks against the glass.

Security met us at the elevator just as the doors opened to let us out.

Now, some five or six years later, I was going into a casino with my wife on my arm, wearing half a suit I bought off the rack at H&M before we left for the vacation.

The suit was all black, complete with vest.  I wanted to wear the whole thing, but Ang protested, saying I’d be way over dressed.  I relented and opted to wear designer blue jeans with the jacket and vest.

Walking on to the betting floor was a lot like what I imagine walking on to a kill floor of a slaughter house circa 1890.  It’s disgusting; cigarette smoke hangs in the air just above the dizzying lights and sounds of all the machines.  Mummified remains of happy grandparents sit in front of computerized screens, punching buttons in some sort of twisted scientific experiment.

“How long can we keep these withered bodies here, pressing the same button over and over again, using the Reward System?”

Some were so addicted that they had some sort of punch card attached to a lanyard plugged into the machine.  If we could somehow harness the power from five hundred elderly people mashing buttons for 12 hours at a whack, we’d have solved the energy crisis.

I’m not a gambler, I make terrible bets and even worse decisions when I’m faced with a choice in my betting.  All one has to do is watch me agonize over my fantasy football picks every week to get a clear idea on how I’d make a terrible gambler.

We made a round of the floor, went to the bar, and each got a beer.  I sipped my beer and decided that I was going to play blackjack.  I had 50 dollars in my pocket to use towards that end, and I made up my mind that I would not walk out with less than that amount, so help me god.  I found a lonely dealer at a blackjack table and sat down.

The dealer and I chatted for a bit as I played, and before I knew it, I was up by about 100 dollars from my initial 20 dollar investment.  The pressure suddenly got too high, or maybe it was boredom at how easily I was making money.  I even hit on 16 and drew a five, much to the dealer’s amazement.  I knew nothing of player/dealer etiquette, and failed to tip as I got up from the table.  He changed my chips from stacks of fives to a few stacks of tens.

It was then, holding the tens in my hands, I could see the addiction welling up.  If I bet just one of these chips, worth 10 dollars, I could potentially double it, and then double that amount, and so on.  I could FEEL the gravity of the table; a pull on my spine no short of someone actually reaching in and tugging on my bones.

I finished my beer and found Ang back at the bar, checking her phone.

“How’d you do?”  She asked.  I shrug.

“Well, I have fewer chips,” and I opened up my hand to show that I indeed had fewer chips, but they were worth a lot more than what I started.  She was pleased, especially when I said I was going to cash out and we were getting the hell out of there.

The entire time, walking across the floor to the cashier, I felt eyes on me.  Maybe it was how I was dressed (“what’re you so dressed up for?” the dealer would ask.  “I’m on my honeymoon,” I told him.  “Huh, where are you from?”  “Cape Cod.”  “…You came out to Niagara Falls and you’re from Cape Cod… on your honeymoon?  What, you don’t like palm trees?”) or maybe it was that I was walking out with the casino’s money.

I was for certain that in order to cash out I’d be required to fill out a mailing slip so they could send me promotions, or invite me back, etc.  But no, they simply took my chips, counted them out, and handed me back the appropriate amount of money back, hassle free.

We left, the feeling of a thousand eyes on my neck following me out of the casino.
***

We were on the road early the next morning to get back to reality.  The sky was gray, the air cold and uninviting, almost telling us that we were doomed.  Fourteen hours we arrived at our apartment with two ferrets and a load of bags that needed to be hauled up a flight of rickety stairs.  The dog was picked up shortly after from a friend on a rain soaked night that welcomed us home like the chilling embrace of a bear trap.

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Corporate America Hates You, Getting Older, Gonzo Journalism, Out and About, People I Love, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Life Without Facebook

If you follow me on Twitter you might have read a post recently that read something like “I just dragged my #FB account into the middle of a dusty street, put a snub nose revolver against its head, and pulled the trigger.”  That would signify me getting rid of Facebook from my life.

It had been a long road I had walked to get to that decision, and it didn’t come lightly.  The factors for me kicking that account over the side were many: it took too much of my time, privacy concerns with posted content, and more importantly the trouble Facebook seemed to get me into.

My wife and I used to get into so many arguments on Facebook over stupid shit like “what did you mean by that posting?” if one of us posted something on another’s wall (a public forum that anyone can read, in case you’re one of the few who have no clue who Facebook works).  It’s not worth the hassle.

Plus, early on at my job I took some heat for some things posted on my Facebook page.  Apparently, my boss at the time didn’t have enough to do, so he decided to snoop through people’s online accounts (this was admittedly before I realized I could set security settings and block anonymous access).  He found some pictures and content he didn’t agree with and made it a workplace issue.  While I disagree with his intrusion, it’s my own fault for putting stuff out there I don’t want certain people to come across.

Plus, Facebook’s interface was becoming more and more bogged down.  I wrote an article a while back about the bloated corpse that is Facebook, and little has changed since.  When I tried to upload my photos from my wife and I’s honeymoon in Niagara Falls, Facebook took the load (maybe 50-something pics) but then turned around and told me there was a failure of some sort.

I knew it wasn’t on my end, because FB has done this to me in the past on many occasions.  But that was the last straw; I was through dealing with this corporate ballsack and it’s creepy cyberstalking.

I posted a status at about 11am telling people I was going to smoke my FB account by 1600, and if they wanted to stay in touch, follow me on Twitter.  I reposted the same status a few more times during the day, and at 1603, after getting my wedding pictures and a few other choice pics off of Facebook, I nuked the account.

For those of you who never got rid of a social networking account, there’s an awkward Q&A that follows.  When I tossed my Myspace profile into the garbage can in 2007 there was a series of little questions you could answer yes and no to, such as “were you overwhelmed by the amount of mail you got regarding your Myspace account?” and “Did you ever fear that your content was being sold?”  Facebook was no different, even adding little explanations to attempt to assuage your fears.  When I selected “Privacy Concerns (I had more than one reason but FB only allows for one option to be picked)” a little window popped up plaintively giving some tired excuse about how FB’s new Terms of Service does blah blah blah to ensure your privacy online.  That’s great for FB, but what about some other dickbag who can hack in and take whatever information they want?  Not that I keep anything so sacred on my old FB page but still.  It’s a case of too little too late.

Besides, I’m older than FB’s targeted demographic now.  FB caters more towards the 17-24 year old market, where kids can share their interests via “fan-ing” a particular page.  Like Reeboks?  There’s a fan page for it.  How about Sharks?  Yup, check it out.

I was primarily using FB to help promote this blog, but when I really thought about it, FB promotions were futile.  I had a total of 40-something friends, half of which already followed me on Twitter, the other half weren’t really interested in my articles anyway.  It was just more work to post updates to both FB AND Twitter, and have them be different.  And due to Twitter’s minimalist design, I can be a little more free about who I promote to, oppose to having to individually edit myself based on whomever’s reading my FB posts.

In the end, it just made more sense to get rid of FB.

However, some weren’t pleased with my departure.

“How the hell can I stalk you now!” Lamented my wife.  “How will I know when some random bitch posts something on your wall?!”

However, in the last 24 hours since I left FB I feel freer, life seems a little less complicated.  Sure I have knee jerk reactions to checking out what’s going on with people, as I wait in a queue for the ATM, but that’s fading rather quickly.  No, the freedom’s totally worth it.

October 18, 2009 Posted by | Around The Office, Corporate America Hates You, Getting Older, Not Enough Time, Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors | , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Turned Out The Lights?

Sorry, been away on my Honeymoon.  More on that later.

In the meantime, why don’t you feast your eyes on these throwaway articles?  Two were instructional lists for the people watching our pets, and the third was a “back and forth” between me and my wife via work email.  So shut up and enjoy.

The first went to my mom, who watched our two ferrets:

I’ll be providing you with a hardcopy of this when we arrive next Monday.  Ang may have some additions to this as well by then.

J.

Special Instructions for The Fabulous Mr. Oakley and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot:

1.      The ferrets are smarter than you.
2.      Never forget Rule Number 1.

3.      All kidding aside, these two are a handful.
4.      Ferrets tend to sleep about 15 hours a day, so letting them stay in their cage while you’re at work or cooking dinner is fine.  Letting them out for two hours or so in the evening is good to stretch their legs and burn off some of that pent up energy.
5.      You don’t have to watch them like a hawk, however make sure there’s no “ferret escape routes” in their play area.  Ang and I will largely take care of this Monday, but just keep an eye out for any small holes or areas they can get behind.
6.      Ferrets are curious and lack a sense of “home.”  This means that they can and will wander away and never come back, which will result in their deaths due to starvation, exposure or being killed by another animal.  DO NOT LET THEM OUTSIDE AT ANY COST.
7.      Ferrets tend to shit where ever they please.  Sorry.  They tend to like corners of rooms, or in hard to reach areas.  If you see them pooping (they’ll scootch their hindquarters towards the corner) wait til they finish and pick up the mess with a paper towel.  We’ll leave you some order-killing spray.
8.      Utilize the baby gates.
9.      Like a cat their food only needs to be refreshed once a day.  I like to give them fresh food first thing in the morning.  Two thirds of a dish of dry food will get them through the day, with a full bowl of water.  Check these levels when you get home, don’t worry about changing anything out unless you can see the bottoms of any dish.
10.     You shouldn’t have to touch the litter while we’re gone, however if the aroma becomes overwhelming, you can replace it with the material we brought.
11.     Don’t be alarmed if Oakley (the big dumb white one) chases and appears to beat the crap out of Whiskey (the small dark colored panicked-looking one).  This is normal; they’re just playing.  Oakley often “scruffs” Whiskey by the neck and drags her around.  If it looks excessively violent or goes on for longer than 20 minutes pick Oakley up and cage him for twenty minutes before caging Whiskey.
12.     The “kids” will let you know when they want to come out by scratching at or shaking the cage.  You can ignore them if it’s inconvenient to let them out, they’ll give up after ten minutes or so if you don’t let them out.
13.     Ferrets are susceptible to heat.  Keeping them low to the ground is good, as heat rises.  Try not to place their cage near any baseboard heaters.  Use common sense.
14.     If you’re expecting company, cage them.  They will bolt for an opening door.  I repeat THEY WILL BOLT FOR AN OPENING DOOR.
15.     Ferrets have a tendency to get really excited and playful.  This is exhibited in a “war dance” where they may leap at you or cling to your leg.  Don’t be alarmed, they’re not attacking you.  Feel free to engage with them as you would a playful kitten or puppy.  Believe me, of the two, Oakley can take some punishment.
16.     That said, Whiskey tends to get underfoot a lot.  Just keep an eye out for her if you’re walking around and they’re out.
17.     Ferrets climb and jump from stupid heights.  Try to discourage this, but if it happens just check and look for obvious signs of injuries.  I’ve personally seen Oakley and Whiskey both drop from heights five feet or more and shrug off the impact of the fall.
18.     Don’t feed them anything except their own food.  Ferrets have very delicate digestive systems, and usually will turn their noses up at anything they don’t recognize as their own food.
19.     Ferrets, like most rodents, can’t regurgitate anything they eat.  It’s a one way street.  Don’t let them eat anything that could cause a blockage.  Keep small soft items out of their reach, like plastic bags, anything chewy, etc.
20.     Occasionally they’ll sneeze.  This is normal, however if it becomes excessive (like an all night thing or any sneezes in a row, ten or more) call us.
21.     If a ferret goes missing on you, jingle the little ball on the string (this will usually bring Oakley around) or start looking in dark cool places they could conceivably get into, like low cupboards, the drawer under your stove, under beds or in closets, under or in furniture like arm chairs or couches, etc.  Ferrets love to nest, so any place you keep soft clothes items will be likely hiding spots, to find them, sometimes you have to think like a ferret and get on their level.  This means physically as well as mentally.
22.     Ferrets are also filthy fucking thieves.  They have the ability to pick up your scent on your small personal items (keys, wallets, cell phones).  By the strength of the scent they can determine how important the item is to you (car keys should have a stronger scent on them than say, some mail you just got) and if they’re pissed at you, they’ll hide one of these “strong scent” items on you, making your life miserable as you try to track down keys or a wallet before heading out the door to work.  Keep small personal items out of their reach in a separate blocked off room.
23.     Usually after about an hour or 90 minutes they’ll tucker out and find someplace to nap.  Simply pick them up in their little coil and place them in their bed.  They should conk right out.

This second one went to a work friend of mine who watched our dog, Ivy.

Jesse,

Here are the instructions for Ivy.  I’ll provide you with an updated hardcopy when we drop her off with you next Monday morning.

Thanks again.

J.

Special Instructions for Ivy Lemonsquares League.

1.      Ivy sheds.  A LOT.
2.      Really, she sheds, no joke.
3.      Ivy loves attention and the more you lavish on her, the more she’ll be a happy puppy.  She loves butt scratches or scratches behind the ears.  Baby-talk to her at the same time, let her know she’s a good doggy.
4.      That being said, being that she was abandoned and rescued from a pound, she tends to get “clingy.”  If left alone for any amount of time (even going to the bathroom with the door closed) will cause her to panic.  This is fine.
5.      When you do reenter the room where Ivy’s waiting, expect to be greeted in some worried manner.  She’ll grunt, maybe even bark if she’s a little upset, just pet her and talk to her in a soothing tone til she calms down a little.  Pet her for a moment and then go about your business.
6.      If Ivy gets too clingy, gently push her away and say “go lay down” with a little authority in your voice.  You might have to do this two or three times til she gets the picture, but she’ll eventually fall in line and leave you alone.
7.      Like any dog, Ivy loves treats.  Be sparse with these and always make her sit before giving her anything.  You can make Ivy sit by raising your right hand and pointing to the ceiling while saying “sit.”  She should follow the command, but if she doesn’t, just repeat.  She might wiggle her butt and gingerly sit down and immediately get back up on all fours.  If she does this, keep saying “sit” in the position indicated until she abides.
8.      Ivy is house broken and she’s pretty good about letting you know when she needs a walkie.  If she needs to go she’ll usually linger by the door or do tight circles around the room.
9.      Ivy requires a minimum of at least a ten minute walk three times a day, plus some fetch time.
10.     If you’re just getting home from being gone for more than two hours, take her for a quick walk; this will limit her grunting/barking as well.  Just show her the leash and she’ll calm down a little.
11.     Ivy gets three meals a day, breakfast is usually around 6, lunch is around noon time, and dinner is at 6pm.
12.     Breakfast will consist of one and a half scoops of dry food, lunch is one scoop, dinner is one and a half scoops again.
13.     Ivy will usually sleep through the night if you walk her just before you go to bed.
14.     If you’re going to be gone for a bit where it’ll become night time, leave a light on for her, as well as the television set.  She likes Food Network, CNBC, or The Discovery Channel.  The ‘tools’ of Tool Academy make her itch.
15.     If playing fetch outdoors, Ivy will play ‘keep-away’ with you once she’s recovered the object.  She’ll give it up as soon as you get a firm hold on it.  Her teeth are a little delicate so don’t expect any tug of war.
16.     Ivy tends to poop twice a day and she will usually do this out of the way of a common walking path-area.  You’ll know she has caught the right “scent” because she’ll tug on the leash and pull you along.  Just go with her unless she’s taking you someplace hazardous.  If such is the case, give her a gentle but firm tug on the leash and say her name.  She’ll come.
17.     When she’s done pooping she’ll usually shake.
18.     Her rapid breathing is normal.
19.     If you don’t want her climbing up on anything, like couches, beds, put some chairs or anything else, boxes, etc on the furniture to prevent her from laying on top of it.
20.     If she’s to be left alone for any amount of time, make sure that there’s no escape routes that could be accessed.  Open windows, doors, etc.

And last  but not least, Signs Your Aging.  Ang’s submissions are in red.

Explosions you want to see in film:  Between wife and husband, usually involving infidelity.

Explosions you no longer care to see on film:  Houses, cars, buildings (too loud!)

You untie ties, oppose to slipping the knot over your head

When touching something particularly nasty, instead of wiping your hands on your pants, you look around plaintively with spread fingers
for a napkin.

You make your bed.

You enjoy boring, quiet Sunday afternoons.

You’d absolutely love it if nap time was still in effect for the
afternoons.

The neighborhood bully apparently became your boss at some point.

Instead of defying gravity you are subjected to it

McDonalds is not a happy place

Cholesterol and Blood Pressure are the conversation norm

When you see someone driving erratically you think they are either
drunk, half your age, or double it


The phrase “when I was your age” comes out more often than you like

You and your friends have email address with your actual names in it, oppose to something like “twistd_fairy111” or “Dark_andBroodingXXX”

You catch yourself getting dumber; you forget state capitals, dividing fractions, etc, anything you learned while in grade school.

Television commercials for fiber and pepto bismol appeal to you

You shop for car insurance

You can’t function without coffee

Two beers = hangover.

A late night ends at 11pm

You actually contemplate which is more desirable:  Sex or Sleep.

You gain in-laws, you find yourself in conversations that contain
“Oh, my mother-in-law…”

You dress in clothing that fits properly to your body type.  You feel foolish wearing anything excessively baggy.

You flip when gas goes up 5 cents on the gallon

You think that 200k is in your price range for a house and 10k isn’t a lot of money

You turn your nose up at houses with out enough counter space

You know what a sciatic nerve is and you hate it

Sex is a thing of the past

You sound like your mother more and more each day

You buy a mattress

You floss

You get excited about a close-enough parking spot

You find yourself attending a mandatory company retirement party, and you’re not a caterer, waiter, or delivery person

You know how to play pinochle

Stores in the mall that play music really loud are off putting and you don’t understand how they stay in business

You’re wary at the sight of a small group of teenagers mingling in public, thinking to yourself “they must be up to no good…”

You change light bulbs

Saturday mornings consist of The Weather Channel, grocery shopping and laundry, oppose to cartoons, cereal until noon, and sitting around in the clothes you went to bed in.

“Going outside to play” is more often than not spoken to the dog, rather than a declaration of your own afternoon activities.

You get excited about low APR

You know what APR stands for

You become a Nazi about heat and lights

You love sales

You understand why teenagers act the way they do

You have no idea what language they speak

Sleeping in until 9 may as well be the aurora borealis

October 16, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Getting Older | | Leave a comment

The Collapse

My unrealized greatest fear of humanity’s demise came to me while I was sitting on the toilet, taking a shit and reading this past month’s Esquire.

I don’t recall the article, but it basically suggested that the End of The World, The Apocalypse, etc, wouldn’t be in the form of a giant fast-moving meteor falling from the heavens like the fist of God to smite us, or the eventual albeit inevitable collapsing of our own life-giving star, but rather a slow a monotonous plod towards cultural and intellectual rock bottom.

As I squeezed my anal muscles, I accepted this fate for mankind as its likeliest.

Even the satirical online newspaper The Onion ran a recent article about the Nadir of Human Civ, citing that since the Renaissance – humanity’s climax according to the piece – we’ve been on a steady downgrade since, culminating last Friday afternoon when apparently some tourist in Chicago mistook the MOCA as a shopping mall.

And what song is the piper piping that’s leading us all down the path to collective boorishness?  Texting.distracted-driving-texting

More and more I’m hearing stories of people literally killing themselves over typing out short messages on  a tiny keyboard while driving.  Hell, I was listening to a program this morning on my way to work that discussed the topic of Teens Texting While Driving that reported that in a recent AAA survey, some 54% of teens state that their biggest distraction while behind the wheel was …. Wait for it….

Driving.

What’s that sound?  That strange, loud whirring sound?  …Oh, it’s Charles Fucking Darwin spinning in his grave.

But we can’t solely blame teenagers as being the only ones who text and drive, as largely anyone with a cell phone and a text messaging plan does it, yours truly included.

But the point I’m trying to make out of all of this is that culturally, collectively, we’re all slaves to tiny machines.  I, for one, will reach into my pocket every time my phone buzzes, even if it’s to glance down at one of my wife’s many texts and put my phone back on lock.  We, all of us, have been conditioned to respond immediately to stimuli such as a text, email, phone call, etc, the same way Pavlov’s dog responded to the sounds of a can opener.

Remember back when if someone was trying to reach you, and you weren’t home, people would either A) leave a message, or B) call back?  Remember what an answering machine was?  It was that bulky, crème colored box with a little tape in it, long before the days of voice mail.
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I long for the days that would allow me to be as inaccessible as possible.  One of the few joys I take out of life right now involves me running 6 miles twice a week with nothing except an iPod and digital diver’s watch attached to me.  For that 50-sum odd minutes I am truly inaccessible unless you track me down in a car, and even then you’d have to know which route I run on which days.

That was, until one of my bosses request I take my cell phone with me on my runs “just in case.”

I bristled at the idea, two fold:  One: no, because unless there’s an emergency the size and shape of 9/11, this office can get by without me for just under an hour.  I don’t need to run with my phone because I’m not about to break my stride to stop and answer incoming calls.  Secondly, I have an iPhone and I’m not about to take something that expensive strapped to my arm on a run through a town where it’s driving inhabitants seldom glance right when pulling out of a side street.

Text messaging has also gotten me into more trouble than what it’s worth with my wife.  We communicate almost completely by text when I’m at the office.  As all things text-related, emotions are rarely conveyed as genuine, and misinterpretations abound when trying to get an idea across to another.  The wrong response or the slightest hint of sarcasm in an emotionally volatile situation can spell disaster.  Yet neither one of us will simply key the phone icon and call the other.  It all has to be done with typing.

I’m also a perpetrator of texting and driving, but less so now that I own an iPhone oppose to a Blackberry.  With the Blackberry and its textile keyboard, I seldom had to actually look as I typed, similar to typing on an actual keyboard.  With the iPhone, it’s a completely different ballgame, akin to going from a major league hitter with a batting average of .350 lifetime, to playing in India’s Premiere League Cricket Tournament overnight.

The iPhone’s keypad is nearly impossible to navigate even while looking at it, lest trying to drive, keep my truck from careening into oncoming traffic, and tell my wife that yes, I’ll pick up snap peas from the grocer on the way home.  Even in Landscape Mode, where you flip the phone on it’s side and alter the appearance of the keypad to a more traditional keyboard, it’s still difficult to type what you want to say.357161915_388509248a

For the last few years I used to be warily cautious around other motorists when I would see them driving with a phone stuck to their ear, and I still am.  However now, that wariness has been replaced with adjunct terror as I see someone, anyone, clumsily mashing the buttons on their phone as it rests atop their steering wheels.

As a race of people we’re intellectually crumbling.  We’re slaves to glowing boxes, big and small.  In an age where we digitally record television programs to skip the commercials, the largest recorded show is about The Golden Age of Advertising.  We’re constantly contradicting ourselves, killing ourselves, becoming increasingly complacent on technology to the point where we drive cars that do the parallel parking for us.

Our great-grandparents knew how many feet were in a hectare of land, could tell you what time of day it was based on the position of the sun in the sky, could recite by rote the works of Shakespeare, Thoreau, or Plath.  Our great grandparents, as children, bared more responsibility on a day to day basis than we do as adults today.  Hell, half of us can’t even balance our check books.

We’re over weight and lethargic, we couldn’t tell you who the last ten presidents were, but we can rattle off every Wayans brother.  We can’t quote more than a handful of words out of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence or even the Gettysburg Address, however we know all the funny Ralph Wiggum quotes.
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I’m not advocating for neo-Luddites to wrestle back control from the brain-sucked hordes of mouth-breathing, Wal Mart-shopping, fast food consuming, tiny keyboard-typing masses, I’m simply trying to warn the few of you still out there that give a damn that we’re slipping down the side of the food chain, and at this rate, we’ll long be at the bottom before Earth’s Quick and Messy End comes hurtling through space like the hail of bullets that took down William McKinley.

Look it up.  In a book, not Wikipedia, asshole.

October 4, 2009 Posted by | Around The Office, Blogging Couple, Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , | 1 Comment

New Short Fiction: Professional Confessional

Some times justice is perverted.  What would seem like a slam dunk court case turns on its head because a group of twelve adults too stupid to get out of jury duty can’t see the obvious and a monster goes free.  There’s the usual community uproar, the victims crying foul, the judge simply shrugging his shoulders as he allows a man he knows has committed terrible, unmentionable crimes waltz right out of his court room.

At times like these, I can’t help but smile.  I customer is born through the rape of Justice.

My phone rings.  It’s an old fashioned ring, not a digital twerping but a mechanical ring that resonates even after I pick up the heavy plastic receiver.  The base of the phone is chipped and worn, an old phone that’s been sitting on my desk for the last decade.  There’s even a perfectly square patch of clean desk under the base.

I put the phone to my ear, exhale a little cigarette smoke and ask who’s calling.  2928447805_dc77e99c4a

There’s always that pause; an uncertainty as my client makes that all important decision to cross over the threshold of justice and revenge.  He wonders to himself in a matter of split seconds if what he’s doing is right or wrong.  If his request will send him to Hell in the end.  But they always come through for me, every time.  They cross that line ten out of every ten times, because in the end, it’s the face of a loved one that crosses their mind’s eye.  It’s their last memory of that person that pushes them to make a commitment to me.

The voice comes through a little tinny and scratched, a heavy heart that nearly bleeds all over my ear as they give me a few special details about their particular case.  I jot a note or two, particularly addresses, names.  I give a quote on how much all of this is going to cost and ask if their comfortable with my bid.

They are.  They always are.  Because I don’t give my clients a choice.

I set the wheels in motion at that point.  By the time my old cracked receiver with its tangled jumble of phone chord hits the crème-colored base, I’m already on the move.  There’s no use dawdling, as the information I’ve obtained from my client tends to vary as time rolls on.  If I don’t act now there might not be a chance to act in the future.

That’s one thing I ask the client, straight up:  How good is your information?  I can tell through the phone if they’re wishy-washy or not, it’s a confidence thing.  If there’s a pause or stutters or waffling, I won’t take the case.  I’ll hang up.  It’s absolutely no good to me if I show up at the wrong place at the wrong time and a whole shit storm unravels in my lap.  I’m a professional, not some junkie with too much time on his hands and not enough crack rock in his bloodstream.

I make a very careful selection on what tools I’ll bring to the job.  I base this selection on the information and what I already know.  Without them knowing it, I know a lot more about my clients than they’d care for me to know, but it’s through no fault of my own.  Their lives, problems, soul crushing defeats are played out in newspapers and tv for me every morning and night.  When I get the call, I know about 99% of the time exactly who I’m dealing with and what they need from me, right down to what they want to appear in the headlines.

Sometimes it’s a quiet-type of thing, other times, it’s a messy-type of thing.  Like a chef, I cook to order.

I pack up my things and take a drive over to where ever I need to be.  I sit and wait and watch like an owl over a barn.  I have endless amounts of time to spend just watching where I’m supposed to be watching.  No one notices me, no one cares about some guy in a busted up jalopy with out of state tags.aws_20080225_5003_c

My ride might look like a piece of shit, but trust me, she doesn’t ride like one.

I’ve spent probably a year in total time ensuring that my vehicle performs expertly, because as a pro I demand that my equipment operate flawlessly at all times.  What may look like a heap on the side of the road to the casual passerby is really a supped up Lincoln, complete with a V8 and enough low-end torque to throw the 800 dollar set of rear tires off their rims into the living room of the house at the end of the block.

So I wait, with the radio on low.  Some old Led Zeppelin song is playing.

Around ten I see the client; not the guy who called me, but whom he called about.  I stalk, never allowing myself to get trapped with tunnel vision or over exuberance.  Doing this for as long as I have, I’ve developed a sense of slowing my heart rate down to maybe just fifty beats a minute.  I can always feel my skin turn cold, and watch as the colors wash out of everything.

My client tonight is a recently acquitted child molester and murderer.  He has a conviction rap sheet longer than a giraffe’s neck.  The jury acquitted him due to a technicality brought to their attention by a righteous defense lawyer which blind sided the state’s attorney.  The prosecution requested a recess to discuss the technicality with their star witness – a 20 year career detective who made the arrest – but the damage had already been done.  The judge ruled that the technicality be admitted into evidence and the jury was made aware.  After two days of deliberations, they set the man free.

What could they do?  It was the state who fucked up their own case.

Now this guy is walking free, to do as he pleases like any other tax paying citizen.  That’s when I got the call.

The victim’s father- wrought with grief I imagine- called.  He said he got the number from a friend who suggested me.  I have a feeling I know who that person is, but that’s a story for another time.  The man on the phone asked if I could do this job and of course I said yes, I’d be happy to.  I gave him the price for my services and he agreed to my terms by leaving the backpack at the disclosed location with the proper amount of money inside of it.

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That brings us to now, where I’m strolling across the dimly lit street to a small house at the end of a shady side street.  My client, the man I’m supposed to dispose of, just closed and I assume, locked his door.  Without losing my stride I plant my plastic covered boot against the door, on the hinge side, because the bolts holding the hinges are weaker than the bolt in the lock.

The door twists inward, almost coming completely clean out of the frame.  Across the living room, into the eat in kitchen some twenty feet away is my client standing by the fridge, holding a carton of milk with a dumb looking, albeit surprised, look on his face.  He’s shirtless, whiskered, pants sagging down his skinny butt, pushed down by his bulging beer belly.

The first round hits him in the hip, because I want to sit his ass down.

He let’s out a surprised yelp because he never heard the round leave my gun.  There’s blood and milk all over the floor making things slick.  The yellow light being cast from the still open refrigerator cuts across his body, illuminating his good half.

I put the heavy door of the fridge between us, just in case he’s holding.

I know my caller-client wants my kill-client to suffer for as long as possible.  I can do that, however I’m not a torturer, I’m an executioner.

He squirms, kicking, trying to push himself away from me, leaving a wide streak of pale-lit pink back towards some cupboards.

I put another round in his leg, and he screams, clutching his thigh.  My heart rate has yet to go above 65 bpm.10125678

I watch him writher around on the floor and all I can think about is the mess that’s being made.  I’m not worried about leaving behind any evidence; my boots are wrapped in plastic bags, I’m wearing a tight knit beanie, latex gloves, and my gun doesn’t discharge spent casings.

He starts to plea with me, asking me to let him go.  He learned his lesson he says.  He holds up his hand in defense, his palm facing me, all five fingers outstretched.

I put a round through the meat of his hand and he screams, clutching the bloody stump.

I glance at the counter and see a Zipper lighter.  It’s brushed steel, a little pitted from use.  I flick it open and it lights instantly from so much use.

I close the cover, clicking it in my hand as I watch the client cry.  I notice the stove has gas burners.  I turn one on.

With one breath I blow out the tiny flame and then crank the dial all the way open.  I light the Zippo again and set the lighter down on the counter so the flame is flickering around the room.

I turn and leave, letting the man sit in his filth.

The next morning the papers ran an interesting story about an acquitted sex offender and murderer dying in a freak gasoline explosion.  And I’m open for business again.

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October 3, 2009 Posted by | Written Works | , | Leave a comment