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My Brush with Grad School

About a week ago, I got bit by some bug of ambition.

I don’t recall exactly where I was or what I was doing, but suddenly it became very clear to me that I wanted to attend grad school.

Way back in the early years of 2006 I graduated college with a BA in Criminal Justice (nearly double minored, by the way…) and since then I’ve been of the mind that it was “good enough” to have just a bachelors.

But honestly, and this isn’t anything you don’t already know, a bachelors isn’t jack shit anymore.  It’s nice to have, but really, who doesn’t have a bachelors in something?

Today’s bachelor’s is yesterdays high school diploma.  It’s sad AND true.

So maybe that’s what I was thinking when I set into motion a desire to do more with my education.

According to US News and World Reports, the percentage of master’s degrees being earned online is roughly 7%, up from 2% just two years ago.  Add to that the fact that I work a steady job that puts me in front of a computer for at least eight hours out of every 50, going the online degree route was an ideal choice for me.

I know what you’re thinking: DeVry or Phoenix or any one of those “cyber universities” is as legit as a doctorate from Mickey D’s U.  I agree.  So my search consisted of actual stone-and-mortar universities that had an online “distance” learning apparatus.

To my surprise, a lot of major colleges are getting into this online gig, because it’s another way to make money.

See, colleges and universities see it like this:  We have a prospective student who’d LOVE to come to our school, can afford it, but lives in Indo-China.  Let’s set it up so he can “attend” classes, earn his degree, and more importantly, still pay us for his education.

It’s simple economics.

I learned early on in my collegiate career that you don’t technically have to attend classes, just as long as you have a course syllabus, get your papers in on time, and show up for the midterm and final.  Being in the classroom for lectures is just bonus.

So I settled on a school that was both prestigious and local: Boston University has an extensive master’s program in Criminal Justice, and since I already hold a degree in that arena it was a natural fit.

What also spurred my decision was that my employer offers Tuition Assistance, which from what I understand is fairly easy to apply for, as a few of my co-workers sing it’s praises with their own online college experiences.

Little did I know, however, what the school wanted in “tuition” and what was being offered for “assistance” were two figures far apart.  BU wanted just over 30 grand to attend their grad school for just under two years.  If you broke it down by semester hour, it was something like 500 bucks per hour.

And I don’t fault BU for those numbers.  Ranked in the top 20 schools by US News and World Reports, their grad school is prestigious stuff.  Just to be able to say you hold a graduate degree from Boston University should open doors like saying “Open Sesame.”

Now on the other hand, my company’s “Tuition Assistance” would only cover me for roughly 4500 dollars A YEAR.  This is a generous amount of money, however it does lend to people setting their sights lower.

I get paid a decent amount of money, which I’m somewhat horrible at budgeting, which in turn is frustrating because I like to consider myself somewhat financially savvy.  My rent gets paid, there’s always food in our house, our cars always have gas, and our pets are always able to get the care they need, should it arise.  However, I’m also still paying off 25 grand in student loans, a 300 dollar a month truck loan, my and my wife’s cell phone service, which I’m sure if we had cheaper phones, wouldn’t be too much of a problem, a growing credit card bill, utilities, food, etc…

I can’t rightfully expect to take on a new loan.

But BU wasn’t having it. They wanted me, and subsequently my money.  They sic’d their attack dog on me, this dude name Andre.  Andre was very excited when I told him my background.

“Whoa, so you already have your bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from John Jay?  That’s a good school, I know them.”  I thought he was blowing smoke up my ass, and maybe after all he was.  No one knows about John Jay except for hardcore CJ types; FBI guys, NYPD brass, etc.  On my old truck I used to have a “John Jay College of Criminal Justice” alumni sticker on the back window.  It would actually get me out of tickets.

“That place though, real ghetto,” and that’s how I knew he knew SOMETHING about the school.  The “campus” if you can call it that, is broken into various buildings, only two when I attended (it’s since expanded into other buildings) one of which was a renovated public high school.  It was pretty gross.

He continued “and right now you’re _____ ________ (my current job) and you used to be a cop for four years?  What was your GPA like when you left John Jay,” and here’s where I thought it would be over for me.  I didn’t try very hard in the end of my collegiate career.  I was going to classes just to sleep in the back of the room with my tattered John Jay ball cap over my eyes.  I never participated in class discussions, I had a bad attitude.  At the time I was working part time for a local Police Department, so I had this feeling that a bunch of civilian MBA holders couldn’t tell me dick about real life police work.

So my grades somewhat suffered.

“Uh, 2-point-something?”  I said.  I figured there’d be a pause and he’d go into the whole “well I’m sure there’s a school out there that’s right for you…” speech, but he didn’t.

“Ok, well we’ll need your transcripts to verify, but yeah dude, you look good to go, we just need you to get this package filled out and we can get the ball rolling.  The only downside is that this all needs to be completed by Dec. 20th.”

Which at the time was about a month away, with Thanksgiving in the way and college finals quickly approaching; If I remembered correctly, most schools wrapped on the semester about 15 days into December, so really, when you looked at it, I had maybe two weeks.

Not a problem.  The hardest part would be to get those letters of recommendation.  BU actually wanted me to get an LOR from an old prof from my old school.  This was going to be problematic.

“Uh, I graduated in ’06.  I wasn’t exactly like, class president or anything,”  Andre understood.

“Just get me something, by any means necessary.”  What the hell did that mean?  Was I being told to just fake an LOR?  I mean, I could, and no one would know….

So I was getting pumped; Andre emailed me all the stuff I needed to get done and by when and I whipped out the ol’ credit card and gave him the non-refundable 70 dollar application fee over the phone, plus another 25 dollar (again, non-refundable) fee to get my official transcript from JJC sent over to him.

I felt like an idiot then, and I still do now.

When I finally told Ang, my wife, all of this, she was less than pleased.  She knows we’re comfortable, but bringing on new debt, a lot of it at that, was something she wasn’t on board for.  We discussed it over the next two days, and I realized she was right, especially after I saw how little the Tuition Assistance was going to be.

What compounded things further was that my company is going to be sending me to a two week training seminar in January that I’ve been dying to go to for the last two years.  The start of this seminar and the start of my online classes was the same week.  So I’d be two weeks behind before I even started.  Not good.

But this doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the idea of getting a graduate degree altogether.  When more time and money free up, I’ll probably re-float my interests.  Maybe I’ll send Andre a nice email asking him to hold my application fee and transcript in a folder someplace, so I can revisit BU in the future.

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Around The Office, Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Getting Older, Not Enough Time, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , | 1 Comment

Ms. Heather Ellis: On Race and Queuing Up

Heather Ellis:  Lemme recap this for you in case you haven’t heard:  Three years ago, this young woman was at a Wal Mart of all places, when she decided to jump from a slower moving check out lane to a faster one, one which her cousin was already in queue.

The results of the incident depend on who you ask.  Local law enforcement, Wal Mart employees, including their paid security officers, and customers all allege that Ms. Ellis shoved her way to the front of the line, pushed people’s items off the conveyor belt, and when confronted, became violently belligerent.

Ms. Ellis states that she did in fact jump lines, but only became offensive when she was shoved by a “white woman” from behind, whom she cut.  Ms. Ellis also claims that people around her, including customers, employees and eventually the police, all used racially sensitive language against her.  She then claims, as she was being escorted from the property, that the local cops roughed her up.

Wanna know what happened?  I’ll tell you what happened, exactly as it happened, because I’ve actually been in this situation before.

This may come across a little racist, however I’ve been around young black women who’ve been put into this scenario; I lived two out of the three years I spent in NYC in Brooklyn, home of the arrogant self-entitled young black woman.

Ms. Ellis, who was with her cousin decided to cut some people who had been waiting in line.  First off, we’re a nation of incredibly selfish and impatient people; white people have especially low tolerances for waiting in line.  We’re too high strung for that shit, we can’t stand it.  So when someone cuts us, we get bullshit real quick.

Cut me in line during the holidays, and see which of your parts I cut in return.

But we’re not quick to confrontation (with the above omitted), especially towards someone of a different race, especially if that race is African American.  This is because African Americans tend to pull the race card any time they’re confronted by white people.

If you think I’m wrong, you’ve never hung around black folk.  I’m sorry, but it’s true.

I was also a cop for a number of years, so I know how people tend to react when they feel threatened by an unruly mob.  I also know how people tend to think the police use inappropriate and excessive force techniques while they’re actively resisting arrest.  I believe this to be the case with Ms. Ellis.

So yeah, Ms. Ellis cuts a bunch of people, and my guess is that she probably moved people’s shit out of the way in doing so.  The woman behind her, this white lady, probably was wrapping up a long bad day, and she wasn’t going to take this shit.  No, getting cut in line at the Wal Mart by some young black lady who didn’t even acknowledge her when she did it, was the last straw.

So she said some shit.

True story:  A girl I had been dating for a long time while living in NYC, she got cut in line at the Metro Card kiosk TWICE by the SAME black girl.  She was trying to get a Metro Card to get on the train so she could come to Maine and visit me.  She had a ton of luggage with her and she was stressed out because she was JUST going to make her train.  So when she got cut for the second time, she said some shit like “next time you cut, why don’t you figure out what the hell you’re supposed to be doing” because the black girl was taking forever and needed assistance from the guy in the booth to operate the machine.

The black girl turned and attacked my girlfriend, leaving a huge gash over her left eye.  No one helped the poor girl, but a lot of people watched that shit go down.  That’s NYC for you.

So yeah, there was a confrontation at the Wal Mart check out line, for sure.

So the white woman confronts the black woman, and attitudes come out.  The white woman, unless she was a hardcore Klansman’s wife, likely didn’t even get racial on Ms. Ellis.  She probably called her a “bitch” or a “stupid fat pig” or something.  But likely, Ms. Ellis heard “Stupid fucking nigger.”

I’m just saying, folks.  Relax.

The cashier, who’s not going to risk getting stabbed in the inevitable knife fight that’s brewing in front of him for his 8 dollar an hour job that provides nothing in the way of health insurance, tries to defuse the situation by telling the offending Ms. Ellis that she cut, and she needs to either leave the store or go to the back of the line.  Feeling ganged up upon, Ms. Ellis starts becoming even more belligerent.

Security gets called.

Now it’s a big fucking scene and everyone’s just trying to get this obnoxious bitch out of the store.  She’s refusing to leave, because she probably spent over an hour in the huge superstore looking for shit.  She demands to pay for her goods.  Security’s like: “No, you need to leave,” and given that it’s hired private security guards with an educational background consisting of a GED, I’m sure they used a few not-so-friendly words, like “fuck” and “bitch.”

Now the situation has gone volcanic.  I’m sure someone behind the white woman leaned into her ear and said “why didn’t you just let her cut you?”

The cops arrive, because things are now out of hand.

Now, again, I was a cop, I know the procedure of dealing with an uncooperative subject that I’m sure Ms. Ellis had already become.  You have what they call a “force continuum” where the level of forces escalate where the situation deems it appropriate.  Seeing that Ms. Ellis was refusing to leave the property and was becoming increasingly erratic, they likely gave her verbal commands to the effect of “ma’am, please leave the store, or we’ll be forced to escort you out by force if necessary.”

By now, the rational part of Ms. Ellis’s brain kicks in, and she understands that she’s about to be arrested.  However, she doesn’t want to loose face.  I’ve seen this situation develop a million times on Flatbush Ave.  If they simply walk away, it appears in the minds of most African Americans that they’ve lost.  The “bigger man” in this case is usually the one who stands his/her ground the longest.  To confirm this, I have an actual quote from a black guy I work with, who backs up my observation.

“Yeah, you can’t back down, you’ll look like a bitch,” said Rog when I called him earlier to comment on this story.

And as a cop, I’ve seen this behavior as well.  The very first foot chase I was ever involved in as a law enforcement officer involved me chasing down this 18 year old black kid who started a fight in our little downtown square.  I chased him for about two blocks, and when we were far enough out from the crowds of downtown, he gave up.

Later on I asked him why he ran- he knew he was going to get caught.  He stated “I had to, people were watching.  I couldn’t just give up there.”

So back to Wal Mart:  Ms. Ellis is slowly backing out of the store, without her things, and still talking a bunch of shit.  The cops are slowly following her outside, making sure she doesn’t come back in.  Likely, she’ll get a warning for trespassing and disorderly conduct, providing she doesn’t get too belligerent.

Once outside, instead of being rational and just getting into her car and leaving, she makes a threat towards one of the officers, which probably went something like “fucking touch me pig, and I’ll kill you,” which unfortunately the cops can’t ignore.  They inform her that she’s now under arrest for disorderly conduct and making criminal threats against a law enforcement officer.  They gotta take her in.

She doesn’t want to go.

The officers go to affect the arrest and naturally, Ms. Ellis puts up a fight.  She swings and connects with one of the officer’s lips, kicks another in the shin.  All parties go to the deck and once restraints are placed on Ms. Ellis, she’s put up against her car or the cruiser and frisked incident to arrest.  She’s then transported to the local PD or booking facility, and processed.

Her claims of police brutality are largely unfounded.  While affecting an arrest, an officer, at his discretion, can use whatever amount of force, including lethal force, warranted in apprehending a subject.

I’m sure Ms. Ellis got a little roughed up, but she also asked for it when her fight or flight condition took over and she decided on the former.

Now, three years later Ms. Ellis reached a plea deal, after stating that she would never take a plea deal because that would be, to her, an admission of guilt.  She was sentenced to take mandatory anger management classes, do a weekend stint in the clink, pay damages, and serve two years of unsupervised probation.

Not a bad deal, considering what she was likely charged with would’ve probably put her in the booty house for 6 months with a host of fines and a longer probationary period complete with monthly check-ins and piss tests.

Let this be a lesson to everyone this holiday season:  rather than wait in line, do your shopping online.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , | 1 Comment

TidBits: Your Online Newspaper Sucks.

In this issue of TidBits I focus the topics on various online newspapers, oppose to being all over the road, like I usually am.  Enjoy:

 

Huffington Post: I was first introduced to HuffPo back during the 2008 elections, because they seemed to have a more indepth (and far more liberally slanted) reporting on the campaigns than the New York Times did.  This is because unlike The Times, HuffPo is a fucking tabloid.  A tabloid, not in the sense of layout, but a tabloid in the sense that everything they publish is utter garbage and a glorification of shock-media.

Go to their site and likely on the front page “above the fold” you’ll find some colorful headline, with shocking allegations/implications/ramifications.  I’m sure today, 20NOV09, it’ll be something like “OPRAH QUITS!” or “GOLDMAN SACHS QUITS!” You get the idea.  The only people that should be quitting Huffington Post though are us.  Really, stop reading this trash.

Below that, you’ll likely find a headline involving a mass shooting, police dash board video of a 1oo mph car crash, or kittens.

The only real redeeming aspect of Huffington Post is it’s ‘Entertainment’ section, where on occasion they’ll post NSFW photos of quasi-famous people from European magazines.  If not for this section, I’d never known that Lady GaGa has pancake titties.

That being said, the Entertainment Section is rife with even more shit I don’t care about, to wit: Amy Winehouse BACK in rehab.  Lindsay Lohan looks strung out and too-skinny.  Some European model is doing coke on a yacht in the Mediterranean.  Levi Johnston’s cock is out for everyone to see, etc etc.

The worst crime perpetrated by Huffington Post, by far, is it’s line up of guest bloggers.  It seems that anyone under the sun, myself likely included, can submit their blogs and they’ll run on HuffPo.  A lot of these blogs are maybe 400 words in length, baseless, whiny, complainy, and ultra liberal.  And when you sprinkle into the mix CELEBRITIES, well, hold me down Jethro, let me beat feet over and see what the likes of Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and fucking-a-christ Fitty Cent have to say about topics including and not limited to: The Environment, television, and polar bears.

We all know that if you give a celebrity of any size caliber a mouth piece they will talk non-stop on subjects they know little about.  They will regurgitate talking points garnered at parties and shit they heard on Keith Olberman two nights ago.  They then turn around and fill up space on Huffington Post with the same shit, so that simple-minded office drones (like myself) stuck in front of a computer all day, will read that shit and puke it back up during a conversation with our spouses, co-workers and mistresses.

JUST BECAUSE GEORGE CLOONEY SAID SOMETHING, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S RIGHT!  He’s a handsome man, no doubt, but that doesn’t make him Jesus.

Slate: Slate strikes me as the type of online magazine that only people who want to pretend they care about important shit read.  If you scan over it’s front page there’s a splash of multiple graphic-headlines along with a side bar that represents the latest stories to appear on Slate, called “The Slatest” which is fucking cute.

Scrolling over the tops of the subject columns, you get drop down menus from the latest articles being written in each subject matter.  What really catches my eye are the “explainer” articles, where someone asks a question regarding current events (my favorite so far has been “What makes a gun a ‘cop-killer’ gun?” to which I would’ve simply answered: “It’s ability to function, now go back to pulling the curlers out of your hair, Maud.”).  I like these because it allows me to peer into the psyche of my fellow readers, and see exactly how shallow it can be.

Who gives a rat’s ass about “Which Way is Best for a ‘Twilight’ Vampire to Drink Blood’ or “What Makes a Prison State-of-the-Art?”  I have answers to both:  Through a straw and Rape Whistles, that’s what.

I think my biggest hangup with Slate is it’s over all redundancy.  On their front page alone, I can access the same article five different ways, six if it’s still listed on the “Slatest” side bar.  This only reeks of lack of content, which is why I normally only pump my brakes here once a day.

If it wasn’t for Farhad Manjoo, I would likely take Slate off my bookmarks.

Cape Cod Times: I don’t want to make this personal, I really don’t.  That would hurt my objectivity as well as credibility, but seriously you fucks, that sunrise submission I sent in was TIGHT.  And when you compare it to the other crap that was submitted, it makes me feel like someone down in whatever basement at the CCT has been busy jacking off all over everyone’s mail.

Here’s the back story:  The CCT asked for reader submissions of photos of sunrises and sunsets.  I submitted the following photo:

A few weeks later I checked back and saw that they posted the top 15.  Surely I was going to get SOME mention in the top 15.  That pic I took, with my iphone no less, was sick.

But no.  Out of the 15 they picked, maybe 4 or 5 were better, and after that, maybe 6 total were worth the effort.  The rest, including one taken from someone’s couch out of their picture window, blew King Kong Kock.

Now to the rest of your site – it’s terrible.  I understand you’re the only daily on Cape, but c’mon dude, you guys are fucking terrible.  It’s not like you have any real competition, except for the little dinky local papers, like the Ptown Banner, Barnstable Patriot, etc.  But c’mon, make the effort.

Your stories are half researched at best, and usually filled with speculation from your editorial staff.  You run incomplete articles that virtually amount to nothing, except a huge waste of time.

For instance, for the last month or six weeks, you’ve been running the same story about how some fire lieutenant is in trouble with the town offices in Bourne.  You can’t report why she’s in trouble, or under what circumstances she’s being investigated for, yet you run the story.

It’s fucking gossip dude.

Your Police and Fire Notes are often stuff you guys grab off the scanner.  Shooting here, stabbing there, car accident on 6… big deal, it’s so fucking repetitive that I want to go down to your printing shop and instruct all of you on the phenomenal waste of paper you’re generating.

But hey, my ferrets need ass wipe too, so… keep up the good work.

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Getting Older, Gonzo Journalism, Out and About, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion, Why Am I Reading This? | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Driving Doesn’t Suck, You’re Just a Shitty Passenger.

My wife tends to think that my driving is the product of a one night stand where the devil failed to pull out of a 1980 El Camino, which he was slapping while fucking doggystyle.

Now that you’ve surely digested that bit of mental imagery, I’m here to say that my driving doesn’t suck; I’m actually a very good, well-trained coxswain of the highway.

Let’s look past how I barely passed my MCJA EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course) with an 80, the lowest passing score, on my second of only two tries.  If those parking cones had really been children, I’m sure most of them would have jumped out of the way.

The car had sirens for a reason, people.

But no, let’s analyze my driving right now:  The faults I have are numerous; however I make up for it by being attuned to what’s going on around me.  My wife will be quick to point out that I miss things while driving, like apparently a giant rock that hit her windshield while we were driving out to Niagara a short while back.

I didn’t even hear this “rock” hit the windshield.  If it was so big, why didn’t I hear it, huh?

She’ll also be quick to point out that I miss other things, like objects on the side of the road.  Mind you, they’re usually on the passenger’s side of the road, and if I noticed them, I likely would miss the toll booths we’d be racing towards at 80 mph and the dithering toll collector crossing between the booths.

My wife’s driving is terrible, far worse than mine, not for lack of skill, but for lack of concentration.  Often she’s fiddling with something, like the car’s AC,

or her phone,

or her phone charger,

or her Altoids,

or her cup of coffee,

or trying to fill out a bank slip long before we’re even at the bank

or glancing at “interesting” shit on the side of the road, and will miss an exit.  This, and the fear of being killed while I’m asleep, means that I stay bolt upright and awake during all of our travels where she drives.

Hence, why 4/5s the time I’m usually the one in the driver’s seat.

Yes I drive “hard”; I speed, tailgate, get agitated with slower moving traffic, and often cuss under my breath at the unbelievable bullshit I see while operating on a motorway.  I see Barbie texting like crazy, while diddling the radio knob.  I see Ken eating a goddamn cheeseburger and steering with his knee.  I see Old Man Smithers jacking it to a yellowed copy of Hustler from 9 years ago.

I said it was unbelievable bullshit.

So what if I check Google Maps from my phone to ensure we’re going the right way (which is what I was doing in the photo from her article)?  So what if I nudge into traffic with the gentleness of a PCP snorting elephant?  So what if I cut through a DO NOT ENTER and travel a quarter mile down a one way street at night with my lights off while fumbling around with a loaded pistol?

I’m not hurting anyone.

I refuse to admit that I’m a ‘bad driver’ only because I try really hard not to text and drive…. It’s only because with an iPhone it’s next to impossible to text and drive and have anything come out that’s remotely coherent.  It’s just easier to make an actual phone call.

And on farting?  I crack the window an inch to create greater suction.  There’s a scientific name for it, but I can’t remember it.  But keep in mind, I’m not going to crank down the windows to air out my shitty smelling farts; no that would only trap the fart in the back of the car with the dog, beating it senseless (the fart), confusing it, not letting it escape until some sort of cellular dispersion occurred and all the shit crystals spread far enough away from each other so you wouldn’t be overpowered by the stench.  No, a small, one inch crack in the window will sufficiently suck the offensive, strict-protein-diet-fueled gasses out and put them on the street with everything else that smells: Trash, Hookers and The Mets.

And while I’m driving the bus, let me tell you this:  My wife farted on me once.  We were in bed, she thought I was fast asleep, she had her legs up over mine, and she let out a little tooter.  Yes, a quiet little “toot” escaped her rear end.  The thing is, I wasn’t fast asleep, I was wide awake with my eyes closed.  So when I opened them to make her face the shame of her crime, she quickly snapped her eyes shut to pretend that she had been sleeping all along.  So I just stared at her until she tried to crack one of her eyes back open to see if I noticed her little fanny burp.

I was staring directly at her, with a cold expression on my face that was something caught between betrayal and hatred.

Yeah, talk some shit about my driving.  See if I don’t put you on blast for being gassy.  That’s how I do.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Out and About, Shameless Self Promotion, Smells Like Children | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hey, Hold The Phone…

Just wanted to shout out all the folks migrating over to my site from IRdC. Thanks for stopping by.  I try to post at least twice a week, but with my work schedule it’s not always possible, so stay tuned, check back often.  Next article will be up probably Monday.

But in the meantime, why not check out my wife Ang’s blog? She’d also want me to tell you that she got locked out of our house the other day by some dipshit realtor who was showing our apartment when neither one of us was home, causing me to nearly kick through someone’s chest cavity.

That said, go check out her blog. I bet she’ll write about her experience.

Thanks again for stopping by, and see you Monday folks!

November 20, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Not Enough Time | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Savageness of Business/The Shotgun Accord of 2009

The Realtor called again this afternoon.

To get everyone on the same page, there’s been this slow boiling Cold War between my wife and I, our utterly inept landlord (whom I discovered today, does appear as though she were a human-fish hybrid), and the real estate company she’s trying to sell our apartment through.  All parties despise each other to the point where our front step is something similar to the 38th Parallel.

We’re in the process of moving out of here, because Ang and I are fed up with having to deal with the bullshit that consumes us on a daily basis in our “quaint (see also: small, old, dingy)” apartment on Main St.  From drunken hooligans parading down the thoroughfare throwing glass bottles at houses, to the 7am weed-whacking that we’ve yet to pinpoint a location on, yet hear nearly daily, we long for something quiet, out of the way, and without the bothersome-yet-polite nagging from The Realtor.

As stated she called today, which took me off guard.  Typically phone numbers that come up on my phone’s screen that I don’t readily recognize I tend to send off to vmail; that is after all, why voicemail was invented, to screen calls from undesirables, am I right?  But being that I was driving, I felt compelled to put everyone’s life at risk, mine, my wife’s, other motorists, and answer.

“Hi, is this Jim?”  Came the cheery voice of the cuntbag Realtor.  At first I thought it might’ve been the nurse at the doctor’s office we just left a short while ago; maybe we had left something behind, or there was some missing paperwork, etc.  But she followed up her greeting with “This is ____ (rhymes with ‘spam’) from _______ (rhymes with ‘fuckhole’) Reality, how are you today?”

Fuck!

We were just coming back from a doctor’s visit where Ang had been knocked out so a small camera could be rammed down her throat and pictures could be taken of the small ulcer she’s gone on to name “Squirmy.”  While the photo’s were ‘Sear’s Portrait’ at best, we did get a B-Roll to take home with us.

Regardless, Ang was passed on in the passenger seat and I could tell she was going to be groggy for the next few days.  The very thought of a realtor dragging some so-and-sos through our apartment right now made my asshole itch.  Before I could even answer her initial question of ‘is this Jim’ she was already ramming her commission-earning greed-cock down my gullet and making my eyes bulge and tear.

“I was wondering if it’d be ok to show the apartment this time tomorrow,” we had an agreed upon an armistice after our last interaction, which I can’t remember if I went into or not in the last article I wrote regarding this topic.  In short, after she pinned her calling card on our door while we were out, and I came just short of calling her a miserable bitch from the 9th circle of hell when I called back, we agreed on what I call the “Shotgun Accord” where she would give me a 24 hour heads up before bringing prospective buyers by, and I wouldn’t shove the barrel of my Remington 870 into any “trespasser’s” face.

She was holding up hear end of the bargain, and under normal circumstances I’d be obligated to give her the go-ahead.  But I glanced over at the crumpled form of my wife, passed out in the passenger seat complete with her cute way of snoring like a man, thinking of her inevitable anesthesiologist-induced hangover, and had to pull the wife-card.

“Ugh, ____, it’s not going to happen, look, my wife’s real sick, we’re just coming back from the doctor’s where my wife had an IV rammed into her arm and a camera down her throat.  She’s in no position to have people tromping around where we live.  She needs rest.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.  Well, what I can do is call back the agent and find out if the people are locals or out of towners, and if they’re local, we’ll reschedule for later in the week, and if they’re out of town, we won’t bring them upstairs, how about that?”

The bitch!  Like, everything I just said to her apparently didn’t resonate one bit.  I understand that she’s got a business to run, and time is money, but I just told her that my wife’s bed ridden and sick.

I grip the steering wheel and twist, feeling like I’m going to snap if off the column.  Ang murmurs.

The Realtor doesn’t miss a beat, and it’s hard to miss the smugness in her voice:  “_____ (our landlord, rhymes with ‘Turdface’) tells me you guys found a place, so you don’t need me to give your info to our rental agent?”  When we last spoke, the Realtor told me she had a hook up on some nice rental property down the road from us, and she was going to have an agent contact us ‘very soon.’  That was weeks ago and we hadn’t heard one word from anyone from this agency until now.  I bit my tongue before telling this witch to hop back up on her broom and go fuck herself.

That was actually the scenario that I figured had probably gone down (not the broomstick penetration); that our shitty landlord had, in a surprising and uncharacteristically act of selflessness, contacted The Realtor and told her to back off of us.  We’d be gone in a few weeks, no need to hassle good people.  But I guess I was mistaken.

“Yeah, we found a place,” I conceded.  If she, The Realtor, knew this information, why wouldn’t she just leave us alone and let us move out, and start showing the place in earnest next month, when we’re not there and she doesn’t have to bother anyone?  The Savagery of Business!

I wanted to explain that scenario to her but I’d be wasting my breath.  The longer property sits on the market, the less likely it’ll get sold, that’s Real Estate 101 for you.  She wants as many dipshit buyers in our living space as possible.  I’m actually quite surprised that there hasn’t been an open house while we’re sitting at our kitchen table eating breakfast.

As of press time (which is later in the evening after taking the call) I’ve yet to hear back from this miserable bridge troll that’s in charge of selling this property, which means that sometime tomorrow afternoon, some fucking out-of-state dickbags and this happy-go-lucky machine gun target are going to be making all sorts of ridiculous noise during my wife’s convalescence.

Consider the “Shotgun Accord” to be officially null and void.

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reviewed: Modern Warfare 2

Kazakhstan: a hellish frozen tundra that would easily be confused with some other planet rather than a former communist bloc satellite country of the Soviet Union.

But alas, being a member of the super secret and elite Task Force 141, you don’t exactly get to pick and choose which locales “they” send you to.  You might be freezing your ass off in the Permafrost today, sweating it on in the narrow funnels of death that make up the shantytowns of Rio.

Infinity Ward’s beyond-anticipated “Modern Warfare 2” dropped this week, and I finally got my hands on it, though not my own copy.  No, for my own, I’m apparently going to have to wait for Xmas.

“Ang, I need to know, are you going to get me Modern Warfare for Xmas?  Cuz if you’re not, I’m just going to go and buy it – right now” I said with half a foot out the door, pointed in the general direction of the mall.  At 28 years old, I don’t get excited for new games like I used to when I was a seldom-bathing college kid eight years ago, but when a massive game, one you’ve been dying for since this time LAST YEAR finally hits the streets, it’s like a crack fiend finding a lonely rock in the bottom of his pocket after going dry for a few hours.

“Yeah, I am going to get it for you,” my wife says from next to a cutting board where she’s working some cucumbers into the evening’s meal.

“Ok, well, would you be interested in getting it for me NOW… and you know, it can be an early Xmas gift?”

“No,” she chops into the cuke hard with finality.  “I imagine it’s going to be such a pain in the ass to get that game for you around the holidays that I refuse to have you go and get it for yourself, no.”

I frown.

“Or, ok, you can get it, or I can get it right now … but you can’t play it til Xmas.”

Ah, the bitch!

Though, procuring the game will be easier than she knows.  After a month and a half after any major game’s release there’s going to be plenty of used copies in circulation, thanks to the numerous fanboys who consume a hot game like “Modern Warfare 2” in its entirety a few short hours after purchase and move on like a pack of locusts.  Hell, I would imagine now, even after a few short days since its release there’s bound to be a used copy at the local GameStop.

However, I don’t know if I can last that long – “til Xmas”, ugh.

But fortunately for me, a guy I work with has a cooler wife than I, who let him go and get it, and he brought it into work so at lunch we could all crowd around the giant tv in our lounge and watch the Suburbs of Washington DC get pulverized by Russian regular army.

As you can tell, MW2 takes its queues from mostly war fantasy, oppose to the earlier incarnations of the “Call of Duty” franchise which were mostly settled in and around historically-accurate World War 2.  The trend to break away from the oversaturated WW2 shooter market started in 2007 with Infinity Ward’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” where the franchise went for a more current events-type look and feel.  Between the two games, MW and MW2, there was “COD5: World at War” which borrowed heavily from MW’s graphic’s engine to bring players familiar with the franchise back to WW2 with an updated look.

And that brings us to the technical aspects of MW2:  It doesn’t look much different from MW in the aspect that the surroundings and people all share the same rendering.  Sure, character outfits have changed and you’re engaging Brazilians oppose to Arabs in some respects, but the character movements and interactions don’t fall far from the original MW tree.

However, along with the storyline what does get an improvement is the arsenal of weaponry that’s available to the player, along with the ability to double fist small arms (an ability that was grossly missing from the first MW, but can be found in just about every other shooter available).  The old standby’s like the M4 and Kalashnikov are present, but sniper rifles with attached thermal imaging scopes to old clunky side-by-side shotguns are at the player’s disposal as well.

The storyline is a lot darker and slightly more convoluted as well.  Early on, like in all “Call of Duty” games (the Modern Warfare titles still apply, even though the COD has been largely dropped) you’re introduced to your playable character, and brought to a shoot house, or tactical assault mock-up, where pop-up targets present themselves for engagement.  Your sure-footedness in this section will allow the game CPU to suggest a level in which to start the campaign.

An interesting twist that Infinity Ward brings with the latest chapter of Modern Warfare is the addition of civilians.  In previous shooters the player is encouraged to shoot at just about anything that moves with little in the way of consequence.  Hell, hit one of your own guys and he stumbles, but picks himself up and carries on with the mission.  Maybe says something smart about your aim (or lack there of), or in the very least identifies himself as a friendly.

But no more, as I found out after laying down an entire magazine of digitized 5.56mm from my tricked out M4 in the shoot house; in the earliest of stages of the game you can fail by blasting a steel cut out of a little booger-picker holding an ice cream cone.  This game-play element introduces us more hardened virtual trigger pullers to the real-life aspect of Rules of Engagement.

But in the actual mission game-play of the campaign, whacking a civilian has little to do with you failing.  I mean, don’t go targeting them, but if one or two civvies get in the way, well… didn’t they know there was a gun fight outside?

One of the more disturbing and darkest parts of the game happens earlier on as well.  As a member of Task Force 141, you infiltrate an underground Russian crime ring and stage a massacre at a local Russian airport.  Infinity Ward gives you the option of skipping out of this early mission with a disclaimer that says something to the effect of “hey, this is going to get real nasty” but I wonder who among us is going to skip?  And doesn’t that disclaimer only entice the gamer into seeing what all the fuss is all about anyway?

I consider myself to be an avid gamer where nothing really upsets me as long as it’s pixilated- many  video game hookers from Liberty City  have fallen to my sociopathic tendencies.  However, selecting the “play thru” option and being forced to march ankle deep through politically-inspired civilian carnage blackened my soul.  You have the option of not firing a single round into the crowds of people scurrying for their lives, but just to watch the event unfold made me want to put the controller down and walk away for a bit.

Parents with kids who have, up until this point managed to convince you that Rated ‘M’ games are ok for them to play after school, be cautioned.

The question that seems to get asked more and more frequently regarding violent video games is “how far can they go, and are they willing to go that far?”  I’d hope to think that Infinity Ward has reached the wall.

But it is all just fantasy, as are the missions with the Army Rangers that center on the aforementioned attack on DC.  The intensity of the house-to-house fighting was truly the most thrilling game-play experience I’ve had in a long while.  As implausible as an attack launched by the Federated States of Russia seems, the plot device does ring of certain truisms; stolen technological hardware allows the Russians to jam our NORAD satellites and cloak their advance towards our seaboards.

But then there’s a fair share of military fantasy as well:  Super Secret Special Forces globetrotting in denim jeans and load-bearing vests, shooting their way through civilian-lined neighborhoods.

The game is challenging and goes beyond the mindless trigger pulling.  Whole missions hinge sometimes on just one shot, while others are a frantic and deadly cat-and-mouse chase over shantytown roof tops as a militia of Brazilian Irregulars advance on you – and you’re unarmed.

Unfortunately we don’t have an Xbox Live account here at the office, so I can’t personally comment on the online play.  When I interviewed a few co-workers who have already purchased and played the game online, the general consensus orbited between ‘dope’ and ‘fucking awesome.’

While “Modern Warfare 2” doesn’t break any new grounds visually, it’s an inspired and above average offering for a genre that’s easy to write off as spent.  What MW2 manages to do is up the ante for shooters further, at the same time toeing the line of what is considered acceptable for battle-hardened gamers (and good taste), while featuring content that goes well above and beyond my long awaited expectations.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Around The Office, Blogging Couple, Getting Older, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , | 1 Comment

TidBits: Coffee, Fantasy Football, and Gun Enthusiasts

TidBits: A new series where I take short, not fully fleshed out ideas and mash them into one article.

These also tend to go all over the road.  Enjoy.

 

On Coffee:

Is it me, or has coffee just gotten bad in the last few years?  It’s harder than hell to find a decent cup of coffee anymore, something that I’d actually savor.

Being that I live in New England, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts every ten feet.  This is problematic because what I used to think was the best cup of coffee going for under two bucks has become this over saturated conglomerate that sells a bunch of wild shit other than coffee and donuts anymore.  I mean, who the hell wants an egg-white pita bread sandwich?

And it’s not even that good for you!  It’s loaded with carbs, calories and sodium!  Look it up!

What also makes things frustrating with having to deal with Dunks is that in the summer every chain is staffed by some kid from Eastern Europe who looks like he should be starting center for the Dallas Mavericks, and in winter by less-than-enthusiastic Jamaicans whose command of the English language leaves much more to be desired.

“Can I get a medium regular, sugar and skim, please?”

“MEEEDEEUM REGGALA, SHOOGAH EH SKEEM!” the woman bellows.  What the fuck did I just order?  And then inexplicably I’m handed a large ice coffee and a pumpkin spice muffin.

Service aside, the coffee is terrible, and not just at the franchises, but the little mom and pop places on Cape as well.

Each one of these “self serve” little coffee places, from Cumberland Farms convenience stores, to actual coffee shops each have their own little blends of “house brewed” coffee, from regular, stand alone coffee to that flavored bullshit.  Each one of these little containers has a time scribbled down on it to indicate how fresh it is, but it won’t matter, they all taste like burnt dick.

That’s because the little pods of coffee, the plastic kind that do double duty as pumps, never get adequately washed out, causing whatever’s being poured out of it to taste like burnt-to-shit, week old sludge.

I don’t consider myself a huge coffee drinker, as I’ve become less dependent on it over the last few years (I drink between three and four cups a week, maybe) but I know the difference between shit and steak, so to say.  And lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of shit.

What makes matters worse, is that our office’s new boss, who just transferred in, likes Maxwell House, and demands that we keep it in stock on our little mess deck.  Maxwell House?  Did I just move back home with my parents?  Ugh, my dog won’t even touch that shit, and she’s the type of animal that gets her jollies from rolling around in a decaying seagull carcass.

On Fantasy Football:

Men need ways to cling to childhood things like the way women need emotional support when out trying on jeans.  And instead of throwing tantrums in shopping malls when you’re taking too long, ladies, we play fantasy sports.

I know what you’re thinking, and let me be clear; we think it’s fucking ridiculous too.  To sit and fret over million dollar athletes, to spend more time researching some 24 year old’s bad toe than with our kid’s special needs teacher, it’s sickening, yeah, but we do it.

We need it.

It’s a form of non-combative combat amongst friends, and it’s exceedingly becoming a pop culture mainstay.  The cable network FX just picked up a sitcom (conceivably a one-joke sitcom) all about grown adult men and their fantasy football league.  Just accept it.

For us it’s like gambling on sports without the threat of blowing the money we set aside for a house, or risking having our thumbs broken by some guy named “Joey Smalls” who may or may not hang out in the backroom of Lucky’s on Jackson Blvd, and is a very nice guy, whom I will be seeing very soon, just as soon as I scratch together that last little bit of cash to cover the vig, sorry.

On Gun Enthusiasts:

On a serious note, you’ve heard of the massacre at Ft. Hood this last week.  It’s a tragedy, and tragedies like this are starting to become all too familiar.  A guy fucking loses his shit, gets desperate and for whatever reason, picks up a gun and starts shooting.

But don’t get confused and think that everyone who owns a gun is potentially going to go off the deep end like Maj. Nadal Hasan did.

I own a number of guns, and I have all my life.  I’ve also been professionally affiliated with them as well.  My firearms training has been watched over by experts my entire life, and it goes without saying that I’m (probably too) comfortable around guns.

This doesn’t make me crazy, people.

But it’s hard to take my word for it, and I understand that.  It seems that whenever I get into a casual discussion about firearms, some people tend to let their body language change and become standoffish.  I can see it in their faces that they think I’m some sort of fucking nut who spends his free time stomping around some wood, clutching a rifle, hunting something for the shear pleasure of watching it bleed to death.

I know this, because I act the same way when other people whom enjoy my enthusiasm tell me the same stories I tell others.

Briefly I worked at an outdoor outfitter in Southern Maine (not LL Bean), which has a very large firearms section; it pretty much takes up half of the second floor.  The people who worked in that section were all obviously firearms enthusiasts.  Some were former military, myself formerly a police officer, and we all would share our stories about our favorite weapons, often getting into good natured debates about our personal favorites and tastes (for instance, I’m a Glock guy).

But then there would be these guys whom you couldn’t take too seriously, because, well, the way they’d talk about their weaponry.  It was like listening to a randy high school kid talk about a much sought after cheerleader.  You had to step back and be like “whoa, ok, easy,” when they got going.

But I can’t blame them, and yeah, I thought they were a little crazy, but I knew it was that gun fever talking.

That’s what being an “Enthusiast” means.  You’re enthusiastic about something, and you tend to let everyone know.  Have you ever met an enthusiast of anything and not have them talk to you at length about their passion?

So don’t lump gun enthusiasts in with guys like Maj. Hasan, or that weird Korean kid who shot up VA Tech, or any other of these whack jobs with a score to settle with society.  Do the math:  America is populated by 300 million people.  If you say even a fraction of that population has the means to obtain a firearm, say 3 million people, only a fraction of that number have gone on to commit a terrible tragedy like the one at Ft. Hood.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but think of it like this:  In the past five years, there have been probably 25 mass shootings that we’ve heard about, and 100s of other horrific murders committed with a firearm during that period.  That’s still only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total gun-obtaining population.

Don’t let the media hype scare you into thinking every gun owner is some maniac looking to harm you and your family because he got fired from his engineering gig over two years ago.  Try to think of it like this:  If more people carried a firearm on their persons at all times, the people prone to committing mass shootings might A) think twice about it (that guy who shot up that office building in Orlando, maybe?) or B) be stopped as soon as he opened fire (which is likely to have happened at Ft. Hood, but I dare not Monday-Morning that scenario).

Just remember, we’re regular people too.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dude, Take a Hint…

“A male hawk will defend his nest from any attacker,” -From a show on Animal Planet.

The above statement is true, that male hawks, eagles, most other birds of prey, will defend their nest from attackers, those brave enough to scale 300 ft up a shear cliff face to even attempt to fuck with a falconry in the first place.

I’d like to think that (most) married men are no different than these birds.

I want to start this article and state clearly that I’m by no means critical of my wife’s decision making skills. We all make errors in judgment from time to time, and what defines us is how we “unfuck” ourselves, an old boss of mine once told me.

That being said, my wife seems to attract weirdos as if the circus just pulled into town.

In a previously unpublished article from a few months back I had to get up close and personal with one of these guys; and they’re always guys, because my wife hates other women and never hangs out with them.  But this one guy was harassing the shit out of Ang for a long while, a week or better, about some radar detector he pretty much forced her to hold on to while he took off for a vacation.  The harassment was so thick that in one day he sent her five messages on Facebook, which prompted this discussion:

“I think I’ll go talk to him,” I said as I sat at my desk, upon hearing the report that this guy wasn’t getting the fucking clue from my wife to stop contacting her all day.  We were in the middle of a move (somewhat like we are now, again) and she didn’t have the time to dig through all the packed boxes to find the stupid radar detector, yet it was this other guy’s number one priority.

These guys that my wife inexplicably makes friends with are all older, like 40-something, and super-clingy.  My guess, if I were to venture one, would be that since they’re unmarried, lonely souls who spend their days hanging around coffee shops, they tend to create very strong personal bonds with the people they meet.  And the friendlier that person is, the tighter they seem to cling.

What compounds the situation is that my wife can be very friendly and sociable.  She loves to text and Facebook, Tweets, etc.  By being so open, she allows these Stage 5 Clingers to latch on even stronger, to the point where they start to cross some serious boundaries.

Regarding the guy and the radar detector, I ended up having to go down to the coffee shop, radar detector in hand (we dug it out) and tell him straight up to leave my wife alone.  She’s a married woman, there’s no reason for her to take any harassment from any other man but me, and even then that’s on rare occasions.  The guy got the picture and we haven’t seen him since.

But here we go again:  Boundaries people, respect them.

I won’t go into names, because I have no idea who reads my articles anymore, but know there’s this guy and he’s crossing more protected boarders than a Mexican National who knows how to hang drywall.  He’s constantly texting Ang, always wanting to hang out, and is very clingy to my wife, something that I’ve never been comfortable with ever since I met this guy.

How these two met, I have no idea, probably at the same coffee shop that all this drama seems to take place at.  Again, he’s older and lonely.  What sets him apart though, is the little bits of affection he sprinkles on my wife.  He calls her ‘babe’ (something that not even I’m allowed to do, as Ang hates that particular term of endearment), apparently tells her he loves her (but only in the brother-sister-kinda-way, whatever), etc.

A clear indicator that he’s shown this behavior before is that he’s a Gift Giver.  Gift Givers are people who want to create strong bonds with people, especially people they want to win the approval of (ie a husband), through the act of giving gifts.  When I first met this guy, I off-handedly mentioned that I was looking for a cheap bicycle to start getting into road riding.  Within 48 hours, he was dropping off a vintage road bike at my front door.  Weird.

I was uncomfortable accepting the gift, but since he was dropping it off somewhat unexpectedly (at the time I had JUST gotten home and was making a sandwich when he texted me that he was ‘down the street’) I didn’t want to be rude.  The bike has been sitting in our breezeway since, and I get a little sketched out every time I walk past it.

***

I’ve had a problem with this guy since day one, because as any man who knows the collective Mind of Men, we know that man and woman can never be “just friends.”

Women strictly believe the opposite for some reason, but let me assure you ladies, you can’t.  There’s no fucking way.  Why?  Because men are only “friends” with women “because they haven’t fucked them yet (Chris Rock)”.

For a moment ladies, think about the guys you know as “friends.”  Are they affectionate towards you in some way?  Does there always seem to be some sort of strange sexual tension when you two are alone?  Do you feel his eyes on you when you have your back to him?  And let’s say you’ve slept with one of your guy “friends” does he still hang out with you after the fact?

My guess: probably not.

No, men hang around with women in order to fuck them, simple as that.  It’s hardwired in a man’s DNA to go run around and get as many things pregnant as possible.  This was due to the fact that millions of years ago, Man was no more than a tool-making monkey who in order to survive, needed numbers.  And what better recruitment campaign can there be but fucking your way to a stronger army?

Some of this rationale can also explain the behavior of NBA players.

Regardless, ladies, men are not really your friends.  I’m sorry, but we’re not.  Not until we actually marry one of you that is, which is the biggest sign of friendship there can possibly be: we can tolerate you enough to spend the rest of our lives with you.

***

For the last few weeks I have been trying to get this message across to Ang without sounding like an overprotective dick, which is a fine line to walk.  I’m gone half the week due to my job, so Ang has a lot of alone time (see also: Why We Have So Many Damn Pets), and she often complains that she doesn’t have any real human interaction while I’m gone.  Given this, I’m not about to tell her who she can and can’t pal around with, and what she can and can’t go and do.  She has it hard enough as it is.

She’s also a grown-ass woman.  I would expect her to make decisions befitting as such.  Unfortunately these decisions take a while to be made or require some over-the-line occurrence as a catalyst.

Such an occurrence happened the other day, when this guy and Ang made plans to go to an iron pour, where they take hot molten iron and… pour it on shit to watch it melt.  Ang was stoked to go, and called up another guy friend of hers from her childhood to see if he wanted to come along as well – he lives in the neighborhood where this is going down and like any self respecting man, he readily accepted an invitation to go watch molten iron melt shit.  When that first guy caught wind of this however, he was less than pleased.

Ang asked him straight up if he had a problem with the childhood friend coming along, citing that she believed it was a “group thing.”  Straight up, the guy told her it was a problem, and to paraphrase, said something to the effect of:

“Yeah, I think it’s fucked up that I invite you out someplace, to spend time with you, and you invite some other guy?”

Yo, what the fuck?  To me that sounds like clingy jealously, insecurity, and panic all rolled up into one snippy statement.  So you’re telling me that by my wife inviting a friend she in effect ruined ya’lls date?

Are you trying to fucking date my wife?  Really?

Ang texts me saying that “____ is acting creepy,” to which I think to myself, but don’t respond with, “no shit”.  She tells me about the exchange to which I start to seethe.  I had let this guy toe the boarder of being “slightly eccentric/possibly gay male friend” and “full-on stalker” for too long.  But what do I tell my wife?  I can’t just be like “I don’t want you talking to this guy” because women tend to do the opposite of what they’re told, especially by male authority figures, such as fathers, husbands, serious boyfriends, and if you’ve watched COPS: Mardi Gras Edition, police officers.

So I leave it up to her, but I put some heavily influenced spin on it.  “I think you should put him on time out for a while,” I suggest, followed by “I think I want a word with him.”

Ang complains that I’m going to give the same message job I gave the first guy regarding his radar detector, which I’m not above doing.  She wants to take a non-confrontational approach wherein she just ignores the problem until it goes away.

But problems such as this can’t be ignored.  Think of every crazily-obsessed-stalkerish person you’ve ever encountered personally or in the media and you know they refuse to be ignored.  Something about trying to ignore these types of people tends to bolster their behavior.  “Why are they ignoring me?!” they think to themselves, or say aloud to the voices in their head.

When Ang tried to ignore the Radar Guy, the volume of messages he was sending her jumped exponentially, to the point where I was pretty much forced to intervene.  When John Hinkley, Jr’s letters to Jodi Foster went unanswered, he figured he’d earn her love and attention by putting a few holes in Ronald Regan.  When David Letterman’s stalker had been kicked off his property for the umpteenth time, she knelt down in front of a fucking train.  Paula Abdul’s stalker killed herself in her car just a block down from where the alcoholic karaoke judge lives.

You can’t ignore these people because it pushes them to fanaticism.  You have to tell them directly what lines they’ve crossed and how you feel about that.  They need closure in the relationship via confrontation and task direction.

Example:  “I don’t want to hang out with you anymore, because as a married man, you make me feel very uncomfortable with what you do and say.  Example, I don’t like how you touch my chest, it indicates to me that you think we’re more than friends, which we are not.”

I told Ang that I’d let her QB this, as long as she was uncharacteristically confrontational and direct with this guy.  I also gave her an out, telling her that if she didn’t think she could do that, I’d be happy to tell this guy to back off, which I think I should do anyway because I’m a good husband, and I take my queues from a fucking hawk.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Getting Older, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, People I Love, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tid Bits: Runner Snob/Social Networking/The Power Company

Tid Bits is a new thing I’m going to try.  In short, it’s basically ideas or short articles that I couldn’t flesh out enough into full length pieces, so I’ll just throw a bunch of them together in one post, each roughly 500 words or less.  Think of it like a stew made up of left overs that were too good to throw out, but not really enough for lunch.

If it turns out to be a successful idea, I may run it once a week.  We’ll see.  First up:

Runner Snob:

I do a lot of running, usually on open roads dense with mid-morning or afternoon traffic.  This is hazardous, however I feel a greater threat to my body from running on a treadmill.  Don’t ask me why, the answer is too long to explain, just take for granted it has something to do with joints, tendons, muscles, etc.

So I road run.  Road Runners are a select breed that I like to think of as a cross between urban bike messengers, rebels with nothing to live for, and fighter pilots.  We take somewhat calculated risks, where if our calculations are off even by a fraction, it could result in a delivery truck running over our legs, or worse, some idiot texting and driving pulling out from a side street without looking both ways, causing you to flip over their hood and into their windshield, spilling your skull-guts all over the blacktop like a pinata at your girlfriend’s cousin’s quinceanera.

But being a road runner also makes you a terribly obnoxious snob while out running.  The reason is many-fold, from having to deal with other pedestrians whom have no clue how to give way to someone running past them (that stupid half step, lean in, lean out, don’t-know-which-way-to-go dance) to sighting massive Peopalo (half person, half dumb water buffalo) crossings where these dumb herd creatures stand on city curbs, usually grazing from a bag of microwaved popcorn with vacant stares, waiting for a crossing signal to change.  They’ll step right off the curb in front of you, even as you give them a “head’s up!” from a distance of 15 feet.

At best, you break your stride, and have to dart around them like a nimble… something or other.  At worst, you plow right into them and fracture your rib cage on their massive, sagging arm.

Yes, running makes me a pretentious asshole who wraps himself in over-priced spandex, with some dangling piece of Apple electronic from my ear.  I wear ridiculously futuristic-looking sunglasses and running shoes that resemble one of P. Diddy’s outfits from 1999.  But I’m still better than you, “you” being the fat lazy piece of shit mucking up my run by simply standing there dressed in some frumpy overcoat with coffee stains on it, mouth agape, getting fatter off of the car emissions and farts from their fellow peopalo.

Social Networking:

I was in my local GNC yesterday and I happened to run into the wife of a guy I work with.  We had idle chatter; the bullshit about the collective knowledge that Venn Diagramed into what we both knew.  She then hit me with this:

“I haven’t seen you on Facebook lately, what’s up with that?  Did you unfriend me?”

Jesus, this stupid drama never ends, does it?  One of the cardinal reasons I dropped off the FB Radar was over dumb conversational topics like this.  First off, my life is far too important to be spent worrying about what others online think about me, secondly, I found that I spent too much time dithering to the point of brain numbness on each and every person in the known universe’s fucking Facebook page.  The endless updates streaming in from people I hardly spoke to in High School let alone in real life, the advertisements from Wendy’s, Lamborghini, and RockStar Energy Drink, all of which I gladly subjected myself to by clicking the “I’m a Fan” button.  I was sick of it, all of it, and most of all I was sick of the inevitable real-life interactions with people that seemed to center on fucking Facebook.

I looked at the woman, and with probably a look of total hatred, I explained that I killed my Facebook page.

“Really?!”  Genuine surprise.  “Good for you, I wish I could,” and it hit me, quitting Facebook, especially when you work a pedestrian job such as behind the counter at GNC, was like trying to quit smoking.  I mean, what else were you going to with your free time, when no one’s in the store, but to log on to your Facebook Account and endlessly click “refresh”?

I went on to explain that one of the bigger reasons I got out of Facebook’s grasping control over my life was because of the pointless arguments I was getting into with my wife.  The constant insecure “who’s that writing on your wall?” and “Did you ever sleep with her?” questions were enough to make me want to put a bullet through the giant fucking monitor that is my entire computer.  It wasn’t worth it anymore, life was/is simpler without the faceless corporate dickwad Facebook looming over everything I do, say, touch and make.

“You’re what, 27?”  I asked her.  She nodded.  “You’re too old to have a Facebook anymore, I’m sorry.”  And with that she agreed as well.  And that’s another reason why I gave it all up.  I’m a married 28 year old male, Facebook shouldn’t have a role in my everyday life anymore.  I’m not a college kid or a young upstart looking for a foothold into a career.  I have a stable job that allows me to pay all the bills and rent and have a little left over at the end of the month to do the things me and the wife like to do.

But I know she, this wife of a friend won’t give it up, the same way I know this guy at my work will likely never stop smoking, try as he may.  His (our) job is too stressful and has too much downtime for him to go out and get a quick smoke.  It’s a rollercoaster, where we’re up and down so frequently that he can only decompress by taking a few lonely drags out on the smoker’s deck.  At night I walk by, and there he is, alone, leaned up against a wall, dragging away looking at his feet.  I honestly feel fucking sorry and sad for him, but I know he won’t let go of the little white dick until he’s moved on to something that’s a lot quieter and completely different.

This girl, this wife of a friend from work, will not let go of Facebook for the same reason.

The Power Company:

Kudos to Nstar, our local electric power regulator.  Bravo for being on scene so quickly and doing such a thorough job last night when apparently the power went out in our neighborhood at like, 3 am.  I don’t know much about the details, as I was able to sleep through most if the hullabaloo, but my wife on the other hand, could not.

This translates into me hearing her tell me all about with, in that way a woman wearing curlers and shaking a rolling pin, would tell it.

I do remember some of it, though, particularly the part where because the transformer Nstar was working on was affixed to a telephone pole that sat directly in front of our bedroom window, they shined a 1000 watt spotlight into our bedroom for three straight fucking hours.  So thanks for that.

But part of my problem, that I hear about at least weekly, is my ability to sleep through most anything.  This is true, and I attribute this fact that I even slept through my own birthing.

Somewhat True Story:  When I was born, doctors thought for a second I was stillborn, but suddenly I awoke, rubbed the peach-fuzz stubble around my mouth, yawned, blinked my eyes, and looked around the room.  Immediately I asked if someone was going to the store, and if so, could they pick me up a litre of Canada Dry ginger ale and a Snicker’s bar.

Fast forward to the age of 7 or 8, and my parents decided to take me out to a stock car race.  I was fast asleep in my dad’s lap, no earphones on, by the fourth lap of the first race.  I even slept through a massive crash where two motorists were severely mangled, and a fire truck was called on scene to yank out whatever body parts they could separate from the wreckage.

I’m a heavy sleeper, which is irksome to my wife, who fears that any moment, members of the Atlanta Falcons are going to storm into our apartment and presumably start a pick up game in our living room, using our dog’s disembodied head as a ball.

If I learned anything about Nstar firing the planet-evaporating death ray from the Death Star into our most sanctimonious chamber at the oddest hours of the deadest part of the night, it was that I should probably set the alarm on my phone as well as my bedside alarm clock, in case this happens again when I have to work the next morning.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Around The Office, Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Getting Older, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, People I Love, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , , | 1 Comment