Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The proudest moment of my life



This Sunday I realized a dream. I was awarded the coveted "The Steve" for winning my fantasy football league last year. Sure, it may not seem like a big deal to you, but I am quite pleased with myself. I've been playing with these guys since the 2000 season and it was great to beat them. I find it odd but very reassuring that we can get so much pleasure out of so inconsequential a thing as beating our friends at a game.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Why Lights in the wake?

When I started posting on Shandi's site I wanted to use something cryptic but recognizable to her. Back in the day, we had gone on a boat tour together on Casco Bay, Maine. It was very nice, scenic and all, but one part really stuck with me. At dusk we happened to look down into the wake at the front of the boat. We noticed that there were little lights dancing in the wake. I assume these were some form of phosphorescent jellyfish or some such but they were beautiful and neither of us had seen this phenomenon before. Since this was a shared experience between us I hoped that she would recognize the significance of the name and know it was me posting. I was pleased to discover that she remembered. So to maintain continuity I continued to use it and when I started the blog I saw no reason to change. Plus, I kinda like it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Old friends

I just contacted by email a couple of old friends from college. I have not seen them in 12 years. I was surfing around the other night and their names just kind of came to me. I looked 'em up and contacted them last night. I was kind of nervous since I had not made any attempt to keep in touch.
Now, these were very good friends and I had every intention of keeping up with them. This is one of my faults, I think, I am not good at staying in contact with people, as my parents would probably attest.
Anyway, they replied and much to my relief they sounded very happy to hear from me. I am really excited about talking to them and finding out what 12 years has done. At the same time I dread talking to them and finding out what 12 years has done. I'm hoping it's been good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Boob job

Today at work I had an interesting conversation with a female coworker. (At least I hope it's interesting, for your sake). She's telling me about her sister in law. It seems that she's been very uptight and bitchy lately. She's mean and hateful, verbally abusive and worst of all, she has long fake nails on her fingers that she clacks together as she talk. I'm picturing a preying mantis. After telling me all this she looks at me and says "you guys would be perfect together".

Ok, now I'm curious. Why the hell would a berserk harpy like she'd been discribing be a good match for me? So I ask her what makes her think we'd be a good match. She says that she's about my age, she's pretty, has an hourglass figure and she always seems to be less irritable when she's seeing someone. I point out that it may seem that way to her because she uses up all her nastiness on her mate and doesn't have as much left for the extended family. "Well", says she, "she's got breast implants".

I pause.

Two thoughts cross my mind:
The first is "How shallow do you think I am?
The second is "Am I that shallow?"

The truth is that I was. There was a time when that would have been enough. Twenty years ago, when the hormones were in control, it would have been plenty. But not anymore. Not by a long shot.

So I politely decline her invitation to mellow out her sister in law.

But I did ask to see a picture. I mean, hey, the chick does have implants after all. Might as well have a look.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Cell phone

I recently caved to societal pressure and purchased a cell phone. I had resisted for a very long time. I just couldn't think why I would need one. But people were always telling me how great they were and how they don't know how they ever managed to get by without one. So in April I bought one. I was going to be driving to Vegas alone. I thought that if I ever might need a cell phone it'd be in the middle of the desert with a broken down rental car.

Much to my disappointment the rental car ran like a dream and I was not able to utilize my new emergency capability. I used the phone twice on the trip to help meet up with people, but that's it. I haven't used it since. But I carry it around in my pocket every day. I have found a use for it though. It has a blackjack game and a tetris knockoff loaded. These make passable time killers during my, shall we say, daily constitutional. I don't know how I ever managed to get by without one.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rocky mountain breakdown

When I was in my mid teens I was really into comedy albums. Robin Williams, George Carlin, Cheech and Chong, etc... My favorite was Steve Martin. I still remember most of the bits and I always try to be obsequious, purple and clairvoyant, per his instructions. The best part, oddly, was the banjo playing. Probably because you just don't expect it. He was pretty good. I was so inspired I convinced my parents to buy me a banjo.

I'm not sure why I thought I'd be able to play a banjo. I was in the Fife and Drum corps and so impressed them with my natural ability that I was given the honor of helping to carry the banner at the front of the marches. Since this ensured I would not attempt to play an instrument everyone agreed it was for the best. I had also attempted to learn the clarinet in elementary school. At the height of my prowess I was able to emit a high pitched warble that set the dogs in three neighboring counties to howling. I did not pursue the clarinet any further.

But hey, a banjo is not a clarinet. There's no stupid reed to worry about and you don't have to constantly drain the spit out of a banjo. Also, as everybody knows, a banjo is a serious chick magnet. I could see myself at parties, you know, things'd get boring and out comes the banjo to save the day. (I hadn't actually been to many parties). So I've got my banjo and I start taking lessons. We can't find a banjo instructor so we have to settle for a guitar instructor who figured it couldn't be all that different. I get about 3 or four lessons and the guy realizes that I have a serious problem. It turns out I can't hold a beat. I've got no rhythm, or, as he so eloquently put it "You're the whitest boy I ever seen". Well, I was not gonna argue with him as I had already realized that fact. Looking back on it, I'm glad I didn't learn to play. I don't think I would have liked to experience the results of pulling out a banjo at some of the parties I've been to since.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I surrender already, get me out of this damned toilet

Following is the story of the only gunbattle in which I have been involved:

Autumn 1985. A small state college on Maryland's eastern shore.

My sociology professor, a sheriff's reserve officer, asks for volunteers for a police training exercise. The SWAT teams from a number of different departments are putting together a mock hostage scenario and need volunteers to play the hostages as well as the bank robbers/hostage takers. Well, this sounds pretty good to me, so I'm in, along with 11 of my fellow students.

The following weekend, we are taken to an abandoned farmhouse in a thickly forested area. In addition to the main house there are several outbuildings and a dry swimming pool. We gather in front of the farmhouse for our instructions.

The setup is this: We have robbed a bank and taken four people hostage. We have fled to this farmhouse in an attempt to elude capture. Our group is split into bad guys and hostages. I consider myself lucky to be designated a bad guy since the next thing they tell us is that we are going to be using real .38 revolvers and 12 gauge shotguns. I get a shotgun and am very pleased. They show us how the things work and we each get two practice shots. (Which is handy since I'd never touched a gun before). Of course, the guns are loaded with blanks but it's still pretty damn cool. So we take our practice shots and scout out the house and outbuildings. Now we're ready.

There are 8 bad guys and 4 hostages. At the start of the exercise there are to be 4 bad guys and 4 hostages in the main house. The other four bad guys are supposed to start in the outbuildings or the pool area. Once we start we may move freely. (Keeping in mind that there are SWAT sharpshooters involved). There are also 10 "referees" whose instructions are to be followed by all parties. The refs are clearly marked by reflective orange vests and the hostages by large H's made of reflective tape on their shirts. The object for the cops is to rescue the hostages as quickly as possible without getting any of them killed.

The bad guys decide that the best tactic is to have everyone come into the main house, figuring that there's (relative) safety in numbers. So we take our positions and await the whistle which will start the exercise. I am in the pool area and I see that there is a small bath house nearby. It's a cinderblock construct about 10' by 12'. There's a toilet and a shower stall and two small windows set high on the wall. The water is off. I know that the water is off because I went in to check. Bad move. The door swings shut once I let it go and the it turns out the doorknob is missing from the inside. Just as I am realizing what has just happened the whistle blows.

The plan is for the bad guys outside the house to run immediately inside. We hoped the cops would not be set up quickly enough to pick us off in the open. Except I'm trapped in the crapper. Quickly assessing the situation I come to one inescapable conclusion: I'm screwed. I figure my only option is to sit tight and hope that the cops don't notice that I'm still outside the house. This hope was soon dashed, however, when my accomplices in the house start calling out for me to come in. OK, so now the cops know I'm out here but at least they still don't know where. I don't answer the calls and they soon stop. And the waiting began.

Unknown to us the cops are having a horrible time coordinating their assault. Several groups have gotten lost in the woods. And some of the communication equipment malfunctioning. This drill is supposed to go for about 3 hours. It took them that long just to get into position. All this time I am sitting in the pool house, trying to be very quiet and listening for any movement in the surrounding woods. (It's not as entertaining as it sounds). After a very long and uncomfortable time I finally hear some movement amongst the nearby trees. Suddenly I hear someone running toward the back and hear a thud and muffle grunt as a cop flattens himself against the wall. I hold my shotgun tighter, ready to go down fighting. I hear the cop whistle and two more rush up to join him. I can hear them as they slide around the corner to the side of the pool house. They pause. They whisper but I can't make it out. Then I see a hand silhouetted in the window, checking to see if there's glass or a screen. There is neither and I consider blowing the cop's hand off with the shotgun. I don't do it though because the range is too close. Even though they are blanks it could still do some damage at that range. Also it has occurred to me that I am in a small enclosed space. Since I hate bleeding from the ears I decide that if I do have a chance to shoot my way out of here I'm just gonna scream "Bang, Bang", and hope for the best.

As it turned out I never fired a shot. The cops continued on to the main house without even trying the door. They had been ordered to storm the house. See, the cops had only been authorized for 4 hours of OT and they had used up so much time deploying all they could do was rush the house and hope for the best. So they rushed the house and killed all the hostage takers. They also killed all the hostages. They even killed all the referees, who were very angry about getting shot at when they were clearly wearing the bright orange vests. Yes, the cops killed everybody.

Except me. I was still in the can. Eventually someone remembered that I was out there somewhere and started poking around. They thought it was pretty damned funny when they found me and I had to agree. It was pretty funny, but I was alive and they were dead. So the way I figure it, I won.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Words to live by

I recently discovered a German recording artist named Gunter who is appearently a superstar in the Fatherland. I have taken the liberty of translating one of his songs. I hope you find it as inpirational as I have:


"I do not like green eggs and ham like I her not SAM, I am I like it not here, or there I do not like her nowhere, which did not become I her not in a boat I, could not, with a goat does not like I eat it in the rain, which I do not like her on a course, I it not in a box likes, I her with a fox does not eat I do not like it in a house, which did not become I, could not, with a mouse like I not green eggs and ham like I her not SAM, I am Becomes green eggs and ham green eggs and ham do not like green eggs and ham."

Truer words were never gesprochen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I'm practicing Ma, I'm practicing...

Hey, a Tiger. This is a good sign. I spent a couple hours trying to upload some freakin' pictures of a bunny with random objects perched on it's head and couldn't get it done. Trial and error.

I'm not sure why I am opening this blog anyway. I don't believe I will be very good at it. I'm not good at coming up with topics, you see. I'm fine at participating in discussions on topics other peopel think up but when it comes to me having an idea of my own, forget it. But it's free and I have enjoyed posting on other peoples blogs so I don't have anything to loose. I might even get good at it. I just hope no one reads this.

Tiger

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

experiment

Testing, Testing...