Friday, October 29, 2004

Got my vote on.

I actually forced myself to wake up early this morning so that I could run off and cast my vote here in wonderful Colorado, where there has been early voting for the last couple weeks or so. If you can't vote early in your state, don't look at it as the government doesn't love you as much as they love us. I mean, of COURSE they don't. But don't look at it that way. It might depress you.

It was special. The line was long, but there was a general air of happiness and glee. I wanted none of that, so it was a good thing I brought a book. The 45 minutes I stood in line FLEW by as I read "Going Postal", the fantastic book that I may have mentioned before. Yes, I'm still not done. But I did get a good amount read in line. And no cops approached me so I guess people just don't notice the title of the thing. Go figure.

When I got out of the basement, where the line had stretched to, I saw there was an in-line demonstration of the new voting machines. The instructions fell from the woman's lips like the giggles of God as she went through the magical motions that would teach us all the new way in which our voices shall be heard this election year! Or possibly not, if the machines cock up. We'll have to wait and see.

One witty fellow a few spots ahead of me asked her where on the electronic ignition card we were supposed to punch out our votes and you could see the gears behind the woman's eyes seize up as she stuttered, "You don't punch anything. You enter your votes on the screen. Like I just showed you." And I could tell that right then SHE wanted to punch something. Then the line moved on a bit and she began her demonstration all over again for the people behind us. I could feel satisfaction and love radiate from her. It was soothing and vaguely pink.

The witty fellow looked back at me and since I hadn't yet returned to my book he engaged me in a conversation about the woman's apparent lack of a sense of humor. I agreed, "Yes. She does seem to not get the funny," and then he handled the rest of the conversation from there with the occasional noise of support from me. When he paused for a breath I returned to my reading in a way that I hope conveyed the feeling of, "Just because I'm being all democratic this morning doesn't mean I actually like any of you people." And the line moved on.

When it came time to present my picture ID to prove that I was who I said I was, I tried to give the woman my voter registration card as well, thinking that's what it was for. "I only need your ID sweetie," she said because I AM so sweet. So I took back the card and sat down, which really was a mistake. My lower back decided to let me know just how pissed it was about standing in line all that time by attempting to kill me on the spot. I hurt. I hurt bad.

She then handed me a paper to look over and sign if it was correct. I tried to focus on it, but I was still battling my back. I was pretty sure it was right though, so I signed it. I really hope I didn't sign a "Live Organ Donor" card or something. Then I went to a different seat to await my chance at the new voting machine. My back was hurting so much that I couldn't remember if she gave me my ID back. God knows how I voted.

About the new machines: they are so friendly the one I was using tried to give me money. But I said, "No, no little machine! I don't need money! I'm here to cast my wishes upon the sea of indifference once again, much like the lemming tosses itself from a cliff or a cat eats its young." and it was as though it understood me. It promptly gave me a lemming. Such a special machine. So I tossed that sucker, thankful that it hadn't given me a kitten as I wasn't very hungry just then.

I left the magnificent showcase of democracy in action with a spring in my step, hope in my heart and a lingering pain in my back. I was also going to need some bandages for the lemming bites and scratches, but it was worth it. MY VOICE WAS GOING TO BE HEARD! Or, again, not. You know. If the machines crap out.

Whatever. I was late for work.

In the spirit of bringing this country together I offer you this song by Herve Villechez. He has a magnificent voice and huge dreams for a small dead guy. If this doesn't bring us together in our time of togetherness, then what can? Huh? What?

If that link doesn't work go here: Incorrect Music Siftings and scroll down to the entry on 10-9-01. It's the third song. Listen, love and learn. I know I did.
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As an afterthought, so many people seem to be voting early that it looks like the people who wait for November 2nd to vote may not have any lines at all. Wouldn't that be FUNNY?! Grr.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Won't go around there no more.

Ugh. A quick post to let anyone interested know about my breakfast experience this morning.

I had to get gas (for my car) and the gas station I prefer to use is at the bottom of the hill from my work. Right next to it is a SONIC (America's Drive-In.). I had a few dollars cash so I bought some French Toast sticks and went up to work to eat them.

There's five in a box and the box is like a french fry container. I ate three then I pulled out the fourth one and saw that the end had been bitten off of it. No joke. Remember when I said I have a problem with drinking from a stranger's glass? It's the same with finding something fucked up with my food. And that was fucked up. I'm queasy now.
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In looking it over again as I write this I suppose there's a chance that it had been clipped off by the tongs they use since the fifth one has a quarter moon indent in it, but it doesn't have a matching indent on the back. If they scooped up more than one with the tongs that could explain that. And when I put the bits over each other the arcs match.

But either way that's seriously shitty service. You don't clip off a quarter of a french toast stick and then go ahead and put it in the box. And you don't bite the end off and then put it in the box.
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The AE handling the ad I have going out suggested that I write the company and get "something like a lifetime supply of –"

"More shitty food like this that I don't want to eat? No thanks," I said. My opinion on the matter is this: I can't prove anything and couldn't possibly gain anything that I would want from making a bigger deal of it than this post. I hate people who sue for stupid reasons and am not about to become one. I'm just never eating there again. Ever. Fuck SONIC and the yo-yos they hire to work there.

I'll try to post some photos at some point, time allowing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Okay, one more political style post/link thingie.

Please, if you haven't already voted (there's early voting in Colorado) check out what this person has to say:

Trout Fishing in South-Central Wisconsin

I feel that it's very well written and brings up several valid and interesting points. Points that I can't even begin to express because, let's face it, I'm not a writer.

Back from the dead in time for Halloween.

I guess Adverbloggin wasn't as dead as I originally thought. That or, in the words of Mr. Burns of the Simpsons, he "pulled a Jesus!' It seems that he changed his address from this to this without telling anyone and also prettied up his template, much like Jesus would have in his place, I'm sure. Then he kept on writing in the face of much doubt as to the point of it all.

You see, Jesus had an audience for his resurrection. Andy seems to be wrapped in a shroud of obscurity far thicker than even mine. His other two readers didn't even know he changed the site address, that's how sneaky he was.

So would those of you who visit my site mind popping by and checking his stuff out? I can't promise you that you will like it. All I can say is that I find it interesting, and now that he knows he has a potential audience beyond his closest relations I'm curious to see where he will take it.

The pressure's on Andy. Time to walk on water or cure some lepers.

(Also, this isn't the same Andy that comments on Derek's, Heather's and my blog. He still doesn't want to start one.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

This is horrible!

States Failing to Fight Rising Obesity Rates - Trustworthy, Physician-Reviewed Information from WebMD

Colorado is in last place! We're behind Hawaii for God's sake! If you live in Colorado and aren't eating a meal of Twinkies™ and cheese while you read this, you just aren't doing your part! This is YOUR fault, you selfish, exercising, low carb eating, Atkins™®© friendly bastards! We're last because of YOUUUUU!

I know I'm doing MY part, but we can all do better! Quick! Go out and stuff a skinny person! For the sake of Coloradans everywhere!

!!! (for good measure and added emphasis)

And a little quickie note:

Boing Boing: BoingBoing endorses John Kerry for President

An excerpt in case you are disinclined to follow the link:
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"In recent days, a growing number of news organizations have posted eloquent endorsements for Kerry. Some of them are particularly suprising, because they come from such unlikely sources. We encourage you to read them, and consider their content.

"For us, the choice for Kerry involves simple things. Justice, liberty, privacy, transparency. Freedom of speech, thought, and technological expression. A woman's right to choose. Equal access to health care, education, and economic opportunity for all. The rule of law, at home and abroad. Peace. The enduring value of the American Constitution.

"These are wonderful things. The Bush administration has proven both inability and unwillingness to protect them. In 2004, Kerry is the one.

"We urge all eligible BoingBoing readers to exercise their right to vote in this election. Democracy is a wonderful thing. It won't survive without your participation."
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And that's my political post (link, really) for the day. I'm not expecting to change anyone's mind. I'm just helping to pass along the information.

Teenaged beer abuse

I left a comment at Monkey's blog about finding a beer bottle full of urine while working as an usher (although we were called "door", "staff" or "flunkies in a goof suit"...or "whizz gatherers" after that) after a Midnight movie and it reminded me of another find involving beer.

This time there were no stranger's bodily fluids involved. As far as I know.

Sean and I were on door that night and we were cleaning up the last theater to let out when we found four cans of unopened, cheap beer. I don't recall the brand, but it was something like Rainier Beer. And they were warm. And yeah, Sean is the projectionist that was with me during Pat's weapon demonstration. If you were at the theater long enough you wore many hats. Some even had bells on.

I'm not a big fan of beer and Sean didn't care for that brand. Also my bizarre imagination had no trouble picturing the beer's previous owner slobbering all over the can before leaving it behind. I'm odd like that. If I accidently drink from a strangers glass at a party it makes me feel like heaving until I spit out my toes. You know. When I get invited to parties. So it doesn't happen often. Although that reminds me of another story that I will relate tomorrow. Look at me and my stories!

So, I was going to toss them out when Sean said, "Wait! I have a better idea! When I take out the garbage I'll stash them by the dumpster and then later we can go sell them to some kids at the park!"

I'm joking.

Instead the plan was to stash them (we had to stash them because the manager working that night was a dick and opposed all forms of fun), then after the manager took off we were going to see if we could blow them up in the parking lot. Isn't that better?

So we finished up, the manager left and we considered just what to do with the beer that would make it go boom without involving Pat and his pistol. We finally decided to shake them up as much as possible and toss them as high as we could straight up into the air. Then run, of course.

We took turns shaking the first can up for about five minutes or so. It was very well shook. Then Sean tossed up the first one since it was his idea.

It was beautiful.

The can hit the ground and then shot straight back into the air, spinning like a top and spraying beer in a fine mist everywhere. We were laughing like loons. It didn't take long to finish off all four. Although the third one took an odd hop and hit somebody's car. The way I see it, it was their fault for leaving it near crazy people.

When the fun was done we tossed the empty cans in the dumpster and went our separate ways.

To this day, that was the most fun I've had destroying a carbonated beverage. I highly recommend it, but do be careful of the odd hops. And if you get hurt doing it, it's your own damned fault. You should have been more careful. Or should have known better. Or something that totally absolves me from blame.

Monday, October 25, 2004

That was... odd.

My 4-year old just called me. At work. The receptionist said, "There's a little girl on the phone and she's asking for Collin Burton."

Me: What?

R: There's a little girl on the phone and she's asking for Collin Burton.

Me: Um. Okay?

(clicking noise)

Me: Hello?

Jordyn: Hi!

Me: Hi. How did you call me?

J: I figured out how to push the numbers!

Me: That's great sweetie! Is mommy there (thinking she helped her with the phone)?

J: She's in the bathroom.

Me: ...

J: Just a second. (phone is put down)

(picks up after a minute)

J: I have to go.

Me: Wait...

J: *click*

I tried to call back but nobody answered. Then while writing this my ex called and asked, "Did Jordyn call you?" It turns out that my ex was washing her hair when Jordyn went into the bathroom and asked, "Can I talk to daddy?" Ex said no and Jordyn said, "Okay." then ran off. That's when she told me she had to go. When her mom confronted her about it she was informed, "If you push 'A' on the phone the lady will let you talk to dad!" I suppose I should just break down and buy her a cell phone.

And that was my afternoon adventure. I hope you enjoyed it.

---
I just got a call from the receptionist curious about who that was on the phone. It turns out Jordyn called twice, but hung up the first time. The next time she called back she said "Sorry!" and the receptionist asked if she was trying to call her mommy or daddy. That's when Jordyn asked for me.

It's Monday!

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyynotreally. I don't know about all of you, but I had a fun filled weekend that went by far too fast.
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For starters my Heather, my son and I saw 'The Grudge' on Friday night. I avoided reading any reviews beforehand and hoped for the best. It paid off! We thoroughly enjoyed the movie and Heather has more details about it on her blog.

After the movie she checkedRotten Tomatoes and it was ranked at a 46% (now it's gone up to 56%). I couldn't believe it! I need to see it again and see how it holds up, but I felt that it was the creepiest movie I've watched in some time.

Horror movies are very subjective, I know. What one person finds scary, another won't. I liked it a lot.
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Then on Saturday we added my daughter to the group and we all went up to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to check out "The Quest for Immortality Treasures of Ancient Egypt" exhibit.

Heather and I really enjoyed it for slightly different reasons (she loves the history aspect of everything and I love the artistic aspect) but the chilluns got a wee bit bored.

One guard who looked like the only thing keeping him alive was the fear of passing away in a museum kept an anxious eye on us when we were passing though his "turf". The one time my son leaned slightly on a display stand the mummy with a gun was on us saying "Don't touch!"

It was a good thing he didn't see my daughter climb one in the previous section. I got her down real fast without prompting but he would have popped a blood vessel.

And to be fair, all of the stenciled signs say "PLEASE don't touch". That makes it a request in my book.

So I licked Osiris.

We followed up with dinner and games at Dave & Buster's. Looking at their website you might be thinking, "Wow! That looks...lame!" but it wasn't. It's far better than it's website makes it look. The service was very good, the food was delicious (put a tinch pricey) and the arcade was massive.

All around a great, pricey fun day.
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We spent the first half of Sunday just relaxing until Heather had to go to work. Then I went home and set about sorting through the huge amount of crap that I've been holding onto for too long. I managed to toss a bag and a half of garbage and about 30 magazines. And I still have more to sort through.

I found some older drawings that I will use to "do a Derek" over the next few weeks when I'm short of actual post material. I was going to lead off with the Goons, but decided to work on that a bit more over the next week. Instead, here's one of my earlier attempts at cartooning.



Do you think it would have been funnier (assuming you think it's funny in the first place) if I had made it "Thanks for praying!"?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Patrick's got a gun...

Back before I joined the Air Force I used to work at a local cinema. The Citadel Terrace 6. It had it's perks and drawbacks like most jobs. I'll write more about those in a later post. For now I want to focus on my coworker Pat.

I started working on door (ticket taker, bathroom cleaner, grunt) but hoped to one day make it to projectionist mainly because they didn't have to wear the stupid monkey suit the rest of us did.*

There were three main projectionists: Derrik (who I had known since 10th grade and helped me get the job. And no, it's not any of the Dereks that comment here), Sean (who would splice single frames of porn films into various movies for fun) and Pat (the subject of this post, mmmmmmmyep).

Pat was a very cool guy. He was at least ten years older than me (which would have made him 27ish. About ten years younger than I am now. Fuck, that's depressing. 20 years. Ugh.) and had been in the special forces in the Army. He really missed the Army.** He was about 5'7" tall, average weight for his height and psycho.

Not "mumble-to-himself-and-twitch" psycho. More like "looking-for-fights-and-always-ready-to-dive-in-and-mess-up-someone-for-life-if-he-can" psycho. He wouldn't back down from anything. I seriously respected that.

This was an advantage on the job as well. The management would schedule him for the Midnight Movies every weekend and have him work as projectionist, door and security. A lot of people come there drunk and on several occasions I had the pleasure of watching him show a rowdy drunk out to the pavement. And they would bounce. On one occasion he came back in bleeding and didn't even notice the blood. The other guy was in worse shape and the cops had to be called. And an ambulance.

Now that you've met the main players in this post, on to the meat.

Pat was SERIOUSLY looking forward to "Platoon" being released and arranged to be the projectionist the Thursday night before it was set to open. He had keys to the theater. He told me, Sean and Derrik that he was planning an exclusive showing of the movie that night and we were invited. Management knew nothing about it. If they had I don't think they would have tried to stop him.

Derrik declined because he didn't want to get in trouble. Sean and I said we were up for it.

So at midnight we met up at the theater and Pat let us in. He unlocked a candy counter, turned on one of the soda fountains and we helped ourselves to snacks, drinks and a trash bag full of popcorn (all clean. At the end of the shift the left over popcorn was stored in unused trash bags until the next morning when it was used to refill the popcorn machines for the first movie). Then we went into theater 1 while Pat ran up to the booth, started the movie then joined us.

It was a good movie but I could tell at the end that it had kicked Pat's adrenaline into overdrive. He told Sean and me that we should go up into the booth because he had something to show us. He had a... look in his eyes.

When we were up there, standing near theater 1's projector, he pulled out a 357 Magnum and showed it to us. I was very cautious about guns but Sean was all over it, "Cool! Is it loaded?"

Pat said, "Yep" and handed it over to him. Sean looked the gun over and I was thinking, "This is how people wind up dead."

Then Pat took it back and said, "Watch this..." He then aimed the gun out the projectionists window down into the seats below and fired it.

*BALLAAAAAAAMMMMmmmmm...* FUCK! It was LOUD! Especially in the booth! I was just hoping that Pat wasn't about to totally flip out and kill us both. To be safe I edged a bit until I was closer to the stairs and Sean was a bit between us. I consider Pat one of the better friends I've had in my life (hard to believe but true.) but I had never seen him that ramped up before. Then he started laughing. After a half second we joined in.

Then he seemed to regain his senses, chuckled, and said, "Let's go see where the bullet hit!"

After about five minutes of looking we saw that it had clipped the top of a seat in the fourth row and embedded itself in the back of a third row seat. Pat was surprised that it hadn't punched through the seat, but there you go. Then we cleaned up everything and made it look like nobody had been there and left for the night.

We never heard from anyone about what we did.

Years later when I would go to see a movie there, if it was being shown in theater one, I would look for the bullet hole and when I found it tell anyone who was with me the story of how it got there while we waited for the movie to start.

Now the theater has been turned into some kind of "college". But I still have the memory.

Wherever he is, I hope Pat's doing well.

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*Although like a WEEK after I finally made projectionist they amended the rules so that when we weren't up in the booth we had to be wearing the stupid vest. I hate them.

**He went back into the army after I had enlisted in the Air Force, but when I visited the old crew while in Tech School at Lowry AFB I was told he broke his back in a fall from a tank. BUT! after getting out of the Air Force I took a part time job back with the theater and Pat was working there part time as well and as a bouncer for the Deja Vu Showgirls strip club. He said his back was a bit stiff, but that was it.

The last time I saw him, about 11 years ago, he told me about how he had ejected some drunk guy from the club and the guy got into his car and tried to run Pat down. Pat jumped on the hood and rode the car down B Street beating on the guys windshield with the baton that he carried until he broke the glass and forced the guy to pull over. When the other bouncers caught up he had beaten the guy into unconsciousness. So. Don't mess with Pat.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Lunchtime daydream.

I'm reading a book at work that my babe Heather so wonderfully and unexpectedly bought for me last week. It's the latest book in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett called "Going Postal". If you've never heard of the series, or read any of the books and you enjoy funny, clever writing then do yourself a huge favor and go get one. Other than the first two books in the series you can basically jump in anywhere. But for maximum enjoyment read them in order.

"Going Postal" is fantastically funny so far, which I fully expected.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Getting to know me 2 - Twice the fun in half the questions!

Okay, I hope my wonderful, sexy, intelligent readers don't feel I'm copping out by doing another one of these smart-assed Q&A posts. Nor the rest of you for that matter. I enjoyed the first one a lot and had been wanting to do another when lo & behold one was in my inbox this morning. So, here you go:

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Welcome to the next edition of getting to know your friends. What you're supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire email and paste it onto a new email that you'll send. Change all of the answers so that they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know "INCLUDING" the person that sent it to you. The theory is that you'll learn a lot of little known facts about your friends. It's fun and easy. You might be surprised with some of the things you learn about people you think you know...and this is different from the last one!

(mostly different)

1. IF YOU COULD BUILD A SECOND HOUSE ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Inside the hollowed-out skulls of my enemies! But they have a bit of breathing room since I don't have my first house built yet. And I need to work on getting some more enemies, or it may be a bit cramped. Or just a few bigger enemies. But when I doooooo... they better hold their heads tight!

2. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLE OF CLOTHING?
It would have to be that article that Cosmo did on crotchless panties versus going commando. That was a sweet read, and the photo-spread was simply breathtaking.

3. THE LAST CD YOU BOUGHT?
This is all one big RIAA trap, isn't it? "I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist funded P2P music stealing underground. Nyet." Let's seeeeeee... It would probably be the soundtrack to 'Spiderman 2' that I bought for Heather.

4. WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?
That would depend on which morning and what I did the night before. Work days I aim for 6:45. HAH!

5. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE?
Whatever is handy that tickles. Other than that I don't play favorites. I love all my appliances equally, under God (and it tickles Him).

6. IF YOU COULD PLAY AN INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Oh sure! Just ASSUME that I don't already play an instrument! That I'm an uncultured weenie that can't play a violin any better than he can play Mortal Kombat Deception! Well I'll have you know, you're right. That said, I've always wanted to play the defibrillator. Oh! MUSICAL instrument. The keytar. HAHAHAH. Kidding. In all honesty I'm not terribly keen on playing an instrument. Sorry Trevor.

7. FAVORITE COLOR?
I like CHEESE! (also, this question was already asked in the LAST thingie like this I answered. I'm on to your tricky line of questioning!)

8. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR OR SUV?
I prefer a sports car that, with a simple push of a button, transforms INTO an SUV! With missles. And a wet bar. Good times will be had then, by golly!

9. DO YOU BELIEVE IN AFTERLIFE?
At the rate I'm going, I better hope not.

10. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK?
Why Timmy Can't Read (on tape & CD)

11. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON?
The Season of Love, baby! Closely followed by the Season of Our Discontent and the Four Seasons.

12. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The power to knock down buildings with my penis. When I choose to that is. Not just randomly, like the Hulk's power. EVERYONE would hear about me. And fear me, if they happen to be in a building when I'm near. "Don't piss THAT guy off, whatever you do!" I wonder if I would then be classified as a terrorist. They would have to kill me, because there wouldn't be a prison made that could hold me. Heh.

13. IF YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT?
The mummified remains of Hervé Villechaize in the back of my closet. I found it while cleaning. No idea how it got there. I must have gotten it one night when I was out drinking with the guys.

14. CAN YOU JUGGLE?
No, but I can jiggle. Does that count?

15. THE ONE PERSON/PEOPLE FROM YOUR PAST YOU WISH YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO?
The one people? Why single out "One" when you are going to add people? Since it doesn't set a maximum amount, does that mean there is a minimum amount? "No half-people visits allowed!" And do you have to talk, or can you just gawk? Fine then. Let's see... Jesus I suppose. What would we talk about? That's between me and Him, nosey.

16. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE DAY?
Another repeat question! Fine. New answer: The day I ascend into heaven with all of my chosen brethren where we will be allowed to look down upon all of the rest of you sinner bastards as you suffer in Pain & Torment™ while we giggle in self-righteous glory. Yay, verily. Kidding again. I kid because I kare. Nah, I'll remain here as well, stealing the stuff of those who get ascended. So it'll still be a good day.

17. WHAT'S IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR?
What? Are you a cop? Do you have a warrant? I don't have to show you shit! I know my rights! ATTICA! ATTICA!

18. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SUSHI OR HAMBURGER?
Well now you don't HAVE to choose! Introducing the new McKings "Ultimate Sushi Burger!" All the great taste of sushi, lightly grilled to sweet golden brown! Try it! You'll love it! We say so!

19. FROM THE PEOPLE YOU WILL EMAIL THIS TO, WHO'S MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST?
I imagine that I'll be hearing from God about a couple of my answers. He's notoriously quick and righteous. Or possibly the FBI. Or God acting through the FBI. Either way, I'm screwed.

20. WHO'S LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Same answer. Because really, God's pretty busy these days what with the election around the corner. He has all those prayers to fend off. Not much to gain by singling out little ol' me. And the same goes for the FBI. There are REAL criminals out there. No point in rounding up a guy who says he wants to knock down buildings with his penis, or who has hinted that he did (even though he didn't) occasionally (never) downloaded illegal MP3s from the internet at some point (which of course never happened).

21. WHO DID YOU RECEIVE THIS FROM?
Angela. It's all her fault. She said I was least likely to respond. The gauntlet was thrown and I had to reply swiftly, decisively and with great ruckus. Yay me.

22. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER?
And another repeat question! I'm mad now! I demand my money back! And my answer is still the snapdragon. You can put one on the fingers of both hands and have a puppet show. On the cheap.

23. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEAL?
Any meal that wasn't my last meal as long as I don't know that it's my last meal. Unless it's really bad, like green bean casserole. Yuck.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Repeated...

from my Junk Drawer because nobody goes there and I really like this site:

Even if you aren't a creative person (working in the advertising business) you can get a kick out of this place. Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Ad Graveyard

via boingboing, but I found this place ages ago and didn't have a blog to post it at.

Very cool.

Hello everybody!

"Hi Dr. Nick!"

I hope everyone had a good weekend. For me it was a weekend that felt too short. So, normal.

While driving yesterday to get my Heather flowers for our four month anniversary (which is today) my daughter and I had the following conversation:

Me: I'm thinking we'll get cheeseburgers for lunch instead of pizza.

Wee Girl: Awwwww! But dad I REALLY want pizza for lunch.

(drive a bit more)

M: Okay, I'll pick up some Papa Murphy's pizza to take home after we get the flowers.

WG: Good! Then we can have cheeseburgers for dinner!

M: No, I'm going to make spaghetti for dinner.

WG: Dad! Noooooo! I don't want spaghetti!

M: Sorry, that's what we're having.

WG: But whhhhyyyy?

M: (said in a taunting sing-song voice) Because I'm the one with the money, honey.

WG: (said in a toneless voice) SOMEDAY I'M going to be the one with the money, and I'M going to be the one making dinner and I'M going to make us eat cheeseburgers.

M: (laughing) Okay, sweetie. But tonight you're having spaghetti.

Friday, October 15, 2004

It's Friday

Here I am at the cusp of going home at the end of a longish work week, and I have nothing ready to post.

I know! It's amazing! After doing so well lately too.

So I will leave you with this trifle. I took the kids and my brother to IHOP last week for dinner and this was on my daughter's menu. We had fun with it, simple as it is. I hope you have fun too. And have a good weekend as well. You've earned it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Critter issues.

(A bit'o warning: this is not one of my nicer stories)

As the weather gets colder all sorts of outdoor critters try to find a new home in my apartment. Okay, mainly just mice and spiders. And the occasional pigeon.

I can "take care of" the spiders without too much difficulty, and the pigeons usually want to leave, but the mice are another story.

Last fall was the first year that we had a problem with mice in our current apartment after two years of no problems. I handled it by ignoring it. I only saw one mouse one time (I know, if you see one there are at least five you don't see.) and only had a couple of nights sleep interrupted by scratching and gnawing noises. I made it through okay and there was no sign of them once the weather got warm.

This year I think it's going to be worse though. It's like the mice were hanging out with their buddies this past Summer and were bragging about this great place they found to spend the Winter.

"There're NO other animals, no traps and the smallest human leaves chips, cereal and hot dogs EVERYWHERE! It's a mouse paradise, I'm telling you! Bring the whole family!"

The last three nights I've been awakened between 2 am and 5 am by incessant gnawing, and about a week ago one of the fuzzy little bastards tore across my kitchen floor while I was on the phone.

"So what!" you say. "Set out some traps. Snap and trash, problem gone." Ahhhh. But I have a story about that:

---

When I left the intolerable situation I was in with "the man my mom married" to go live with my dad in Pueblo, we moved into a house that had mice. My dad got traps and we caught a LOT of mice. It was my job to empty the traps and then reload them for their next victim.

One day, while my dad was out, I had a friend over and we heard the trap under the kitchen sink snap. Now, sometimes the traps kill instantly. No problem. Annnnnd sometimes they don't. Well, this time not only did it not kill instantly, the mouse had enough life left in him to scream for a long damn time.

After a few minutes it quieted down so we checked on him. He was still alive and when he saw the light from the open cabinet door he started to scream again. His back was totally squished but the hind legs were still twitching hard enough to cause the trap to bounce around.

There are people that can kill an animal without a thought. Especially vermin. I'm not one of those people. I like animals alive more often than dead. I hit the brakes for squirrels. Up to that point I only had to deal with dead mice in the traps.

This one just didn't want to die, and I had to deal with him.

I could have taken the trap outside and leave it there until later when I was sure the mouse would be dead, but I couldn't let him suffer like that. It just wasn't right with me.

So I carried the trap out to the back alley where the garbage cans were and my friend followed. On the way I got the shovel from the garage. I figured that a couple good whacks at most and it's pain would be over. My intentions were good.

Okay, if you've been at all squeamish with this story so far, you may want to skip the rest.

I set the trap down, backed up, raised the shovel over my head and brought it down hard. But something went wrong. I must have been holding the shovel oddly. It twisted sideways on the way down and the edge cut the screaming mouse in half. And he was STILL squeaking! I'm sure with the last of his breath he was screaming, "You fucker! NOW LOOK WHAT YOU DID! All I wanted was some Twinkie!" I quickly smacked him a couple more times until I was sure he was finally dead.

My friend said, "Wow. I didn't see that coming," as I scooped up the top half to put in the trash and unloaded the bottom half from the trap. I felt a bit nauseous.

---

After that I DID use traps again in the house we lived in when my son was born. But I wasn't about to unload them. Once a trap caught a mouse the whole thing went in the trash and I set out a new trap. Also I was having to do it sneakily because my son who was three at the time just wouldn't have understood why his dad was killing the cute mice.

Now I have a daughter who is four and my son is 11. There would be explaining to do and I'm just really not up to it.

"Okay, how about DeCon then?" you ask. Well, there are several things wrong with that as I see it.

First, there's the uber-curious four-year-old. I've only had to call the poison control center twice about her and I would like to keep it at that.

Second, there's the method of death. Causing extreme dehydration in even a mouse would seem to rack up a fair amount of bad karma. I have enough of that already.

Third, it says that mice will seek out the nearest source of water after eating the stuff. I can't even get the kids to pick up their toys, much less put down the toilet seat. I can picture the first time my daughter goes into the bathroom in the morning and finds a cute little mouse floating face down in the potty bowl. No thanks.

And finally, assuming they don't drown in the toilet I'll have mouse mummies in the wall. I don't want that. I don't care if there's no smell, it 'ooks' me out.

---

"Get a cat then."

I'll cover this one fast. $200 pet deposit, $45 per month additional rent charge, cat box cleaning and cat feeding, allergies caused by extended contact with said cat, cat hair on everything, and random dead mouse bits around the house and in my shoes or on my pillow. No thanks.

---

"Fine you wimp," you say. "How about calling the apartment office and having THEM take care of it for you."

Why are you so mean to me?

My problem with that solution has nothing to do with how they will set about accomplishing ridding us of the mice. And only a little to do with how long it could take. My problem is I have a REAL big "thing" about strangers in my house. I can't stand it. I get very tense when someone I don't know is in the house for any reason. And a pest control person would probably have to go everywhere and I just can't do it. Although I might have to. The dilemma.

I'm considering trying out a live trap as my final alternative to calling in the pros. Only which should I get? This or one ofthese? Does anyone still reading this have any success stories involving live traps?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

What can I possibly say? Let's see!

Another internet product dissection. This one with a slightly political flavor.

Go have a look at W Ketchup. "You don't support democrats. Why should your ketchup?"

This reminds me of a comment that I made to Heather on the trip to the Park & Ride before this weekend's Bronco/Panthers game.

We saw a "Freedom" taxi turning ahead of us and I said, " That's showing those filthy FRENCH taxis!" Or something like that. I really don't listen to me all that often.

What that has to do with anything, I don't know. But check out that ketchup!

--------------------
From their "About" page:
(as usual, my comments are after the --- )

"W Ketchup comes in one flavor: American."

--- If Jeffry Dahmer were still around I'm sure he would give this ketchup a hearty thumbs up! ("It's as tasty on burgers as it is on boys!")

"In side-by-side taste tests of five leading brands, we found that W Ketchup is second to none"

--- Wait... what? So that makes it... first? Or was it just first in line? Too many number words! And who is this "We"? You? The makers of the ketchup? You see, usually taste tests are given to the general public to achieve that whole unbiased thing that products seek. I know, horribly democratic, yet traditional. And for that matter, other than Heinz, who are the other three? I demand full disclosure!

'Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon said, "When I heard that W Ketchup was donating a portion of their sales to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, I shouted, 'Hot dog!' We relish the opportunity to be involved with such a great product and a great team."'

--- Hot dog AND relish. What a punny Prez. He must be a riot at parties.

--------------------
From their FAQ page:

"What does the "W" stand for?"
Our official position is that the "W" stands for "Washington".

--- Which implies the unofficial position is that it stands for something else. And, added to the Democrat bashing on the home page it's quite obvious what that something else is. That's right. "Wumplestiltskin"!

"Why do I have to buy 4 bottles?"
The added handling costs of unpacking, repacking, and shipping a single bottle would make it the most expensive ketchup you've ever tasted. We didn't want to sell a product that was priced too high for many people, so we decided upon the 4 bottle minimum in order to bring the average price down. The average price drops if you buy in bulk, so order a case of W Ketchup and share it with your friends!

--- To which I would ask "Why do you have it pre-boxed in sets of four, dummy?" And since when is the threat of a higher cost going to dissuade a Republican with a taste for the finer, politically approved, all-American ketchup?

"How long can I keep W Ketchup?"
The shelf life of W Ketchup is 24 months.

--- At which point our jackbooted representatives will drop by your house and forcibly retrieve any unfinished W Ketchup and administer a sound beating to one and all.

"What are the ingredients?"
W Ketchup contains: Tomato Concentrate (Water and Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Salt, Dehydrated Onion, Spice and Natural Flavoring.

--- Two kinds of corn syrup? Sounds yummy. What do you think the "Natural Flavoring" is? My guess is "Americans". (Getting into the horror stricken Charlton Heston pose, "W KETCHUP IS DEMOCRATS!")

--------------------
Okay, now on to the "Order" page. Get this. The minimum order is four (4) bottles as mentioned above, right? So you would assume that you would have to order in groups of four (4, 8, 12, 40,000), right? Since to add in less than four would require that unpacking song and dance whined about earlier.

BUT NO!

After the first 4 (four) you can add on one bottle at a time (up to 12 total bottles). So my question now is, "Why can't I order that fifth (5th) bottle and you keep the first four (IV), dummy?"

--------------------
For added joy head over to read the "Comments". The politics are a'flyin'!

Also, be sure to stop by the "Press" page and see all of the spiffy press they've been getting. Presumably by people who aren't smartasses like I am.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

This isn't Bambi's 'Thumper'.

When I was nine I went to a Summer camp for the first and only time in my life. It wasn't my idea. It was forced on me. In theory it would be good for me and I would learn a lot from it.

I was in a year round school district so my Summer vacation was actually during the end of Fall and through Winter. I was in school all Summer long. I would be back in school after Christmas, so I missed out on Christmas vacation as well. Yeah, it sucked. Thanks District 11.*

So I got to spend three weeks in the mountains, in a cold cabin, wishing I wasn't.

I remember standing in line at the school in the chilly Fall weather, all bundled up, waiting for the bus to take us to Camp Iforgetthename. My mom was embarrassing me in front of all the other waiting kids by assuring me that I had enough clean underwear packed and how much she was going to miss me.

To be honest, I was going to really miss her too. It was going to be the first time I was away from my family for longer than a weekend and I was quite nervous. The clean underwear I didn't care about. I was a 9-year-old boy. She was lucky I was *wearing* underwear.

The bus arrived, we kids piled on and waved goodbye to our parents through the windows. Then we were off. I always suspected there was a celebration when the bus was out of site, and part of me was quite concerned that my parents were going to move while I was gone. I would arrive home from my enforced adventure and there would be a "For Sale" sign on the lawn and nobody to be found. My mom's tears as I was leaving would have really been tears of joy for a plan well done. I was a strange child.

I will now pause in this trip down memory lane to relate a bit of additional information. I'm nearsighted, but I wasn't born nearsighted. It had begun to manifest in 3rd grade. I HATED my glasses, but I needed them. So I would only wear them when forced to by necessity. I wasn't wearing them that morning. I was sure I had packed them in my suitcase though, with my socks.

Resume trip.

We arrived at camp and were rounded up from the busses into little groups of ten and taken to our new home away from home. Our cold cabin. There were five bunk beds and I wound up with a bottom bunk.

Since there was so much new stuff to see, and I was tired of the blur of bad vision I opened up my suitcase and dug around for my glasses. I couldn't find them. I searched the thing three times and could...not...find...them! Farrrgh!

I made an emergency call to home hoping that someone there knew where they were, but nobody did.

So until the last three days (when I found my glasses in my suitcase among my untouched clean underwear like they had never been missing) my time at camp was blurry. It made hiking and wildlife observation difficult and archery impossible. I had to make wallets instead.

Now, about 'Thumper'.

I had an unusual bunkmate.

About five minutes after 'light's out' our bunk would start to shake with a very fast "thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump" that lasted a few minutes and then it would stop as suddenly as it had started.

I was a bit freaked by it and the next day a couple of the other cabin dwellers asked me if it was him or me. I assured them it wasn't me and that night we all listened for it. Sure enough, "thumpthumpthumpthump". I was vindicated, but still perplexed as to what he was doing.

Back then, I was still ridiculously innocent. I had no idea what the thumping meant. All I knew was that it shook the bed a hell of a lot and added one more unpleasant thing to an already unpleasant time.

It's possible that I was the only kid there unaware. There were several knowing looks when he was discussed and I did my best to mimic them. I didn't dare ask for clarification. I may have been ignorant, but I wasn't stupid. The only conclusion I was able to come to at the time was whatever he was doing it must have been tiring. He was snoring within seconds after the thumping stopped.

By the third day he had earned the nickname 'Thumper' and it stuck for the duration of our stay.

I don't think I took away any precious memories from my time at Camp Iforgetthename, but I did take some new anxieties, most notably the fear of losing my glasses. That's something, right?

My mom was waiting for the bus to arrive back at school, so I no longer had to fear being abandoned, so I guess it was a trade-off.

I was reminded of 'Thumper' when I was in the Air Force during basic training. There was a guy a few bunks down who engaged in a similar bedtime ritual. By that time I was no longer innocent and was just grateful that he wasn't above my head like the original had been.

---
*An explanation of Year-Round school. If I recall correctly (a lot of this time period is blocked out in my brain) elementary school went from K-6, then Jr. High was 7-9 and HS was 10-12. And the entire time that I was attending Penrose Elementary (3rd-6th) I was in this STUPID year-round thing.

The way it worked was the whole year was broken up into 3 blocks, A, B, and C. The A blockers had the Spring/Summer off, the B blockers had Summer/Fall (around a normal vacation), and the C's had Fall/Winter. It took an act of God for you to change blocks once you had been assigned one since to switch would mean either getting a double-length vacation or none at all. I was a 'C'.

WELL. Going from 6th grade to 7th grade they decided to do away with the whole Year-Round idea. Realized it was stupid. So when I was finishing up my school year I was informed that I had about two weeks off before I had to start 7th grade.

Toss into the mix my parent's divorce, my mom getting involved with "the man she married" and my going to an entirely different school than my friends and it's no wonder I've blocked it out.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Clowns: Why God, why?

I've mentioned clowns in the past (specifically Rodeo Clowns), and vampire clowns more recently, but I have no idea why I find the concept of clowns to be funny.

I have never seen a specific clown that I considered to actually BE funny. Not even the world renowned 'Bozo the Clown'. Yet "clowns" amuse me.

I don't have a fear of clowns like a few people I know. I certainly can recognize the potential for evil in them, both real and fictional, so I'll never really trust one, but I don't fear them either. Not even in little sullen gangs of five or more. That merely compounds the mirth.

I'm guessing it has at least SOMETHING to do with the shoes. If you can't outrun someone who's wearing clown shoes you deserve what you get. And if he has a gun it's no problem either. Odds are he'll be sweating and makeup will get in his eyes. Anyone can dodge the shots of a sweaty blind clown. I doubt he could even get off a lucky shot. If he had luck in his life he wouldn't be a clown with a gun. Nothing to fear.

So that explains why I'm no more afraid of clowns than any other random person on the street. Actually less. Clowns attract attention to themselves. Random street people can be sneaky.

But why do I find clowning to be funny? I'm quite sure that I'm not laughing with them. It's straight at them. Yet if I see some goober who is unable to dress himself without appearing totally insane I feel pity and look away. But I don't pity the clowns. And I can't look away without effort or a better distraction.

Is it because they are doing it on purpose? They know what they are doing, and can presumably act sensibly when not in clown mode. Is that why I feel that weird glee? I just don't know.

Maybe I need to consider the mind of a clown.

What possesses someone to take up clowning? Is it some strange exhibitionist thing? Are they failed actors who want to hang onto whatever small amount of attention that they can? Did they start off as class clowns before heading off to clown classes? Do they have some fond childhood memory of a special clown that once touched them in a special way? (Take that however you want, I can't stop you.) Do they have a burning desire to give back to the community in a way that most people wouldn't even consider? Are they just weird?

I wish I had some answers. Without actually looking for them that is. Minimal effort. Words to live by.

As far as I know (no telling what some people do behind closed doors) none of my friends are clowns, so I can't ask them. But if I found out that one was, would it change my opinion of him or her? Would I distance myself from him or her (or them) for fear of "catching the clown"? Would they or she (or he) pressure me to throw birthday parties for kids that I vaguely know so he or she (or they) can strut "the stuff"?

I sure hope not. I like to think that I am a reasonably open-minded person who can handle whatever clowns that life tosses my way, be they friend or foe. And giggle while doing it.

---
On a related note (and the thing that really got me thinking about clowns) one of the applicants for an artist position at our agency had listed that he used to be a "clown for Jesus". That amused me even more than the fact that he was applying from the newspaper where Derek and I used to work.

I don't recall who he was affiliated with, but it was probably someone like these people. I'm not saying they are bad people, or even crazy people. I'm just saying... check out the skits!

I also noticed that in the Clown Commandments the 7th one is missing. "7. I will not take home any of the children and eat them." A bit of an oversight.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

About me:

(My answers to an email)

1. What time is it?
Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? (About the tiiiiime...)

2. Name as it appears on birth certificate?
Which one? On the most recent it is Collin Travis Burton. On the earlier ones it isn't. I'm a man of mystery. Yep.

3. What is your nickname?
I flat out refuse to name my nick. What's the point? It doesn't come when I call.

4. How many candles on your last cake?
If I had a candle, I'd a candle in the morning. I'd a candle in the evening. All over this caaaake! Um. Sorry. 36. I really should know better by now.

5. Pets?
No thanks, I'm full. I had a muffin.

6. Natural Hair?
Versus my unnatural, Satan infused hair? Just kidding. It's all natural, baby! And if you meant "Natural Hair Color?" that would be red. Naturally.

7. Piercings:
My left ear at one point, but the hole closed over. Oh, and my knee when I rammed it on that nail in the fence. That closed over too though.

8. Eye color:
Green/Grey/Blue. And when I'm really tired or evil they turn red.

9. Hometown:
That's where I was born. Yep. MmmHmmm.

10. Town/City you live in:
Colorado Springs is the place that I call Town/City! It's like a home to meeeee.

11. Favorite food:
Eat the homeless! Eat the whales! Eat the world! yumyumyum...

12. Ever been to Australia?
Why? Are they talking about me there? Those Aussie bastards! (shaking fist in a continent menacing manner. grrrr!)

13. Ever been toilet papering?
In Australia? Who hasn't?! Oh, wait, no.

14. Been in a car accident?
Yes, three times. It was lovely. Been to Australia? I hear it's toilet papery.

15. Love someone so much it made you cry?
Yes. Now as a matter of fact. Well, I don't mean I'm crying now. But I do love this someone that much.

16. Croutons or bacon bits?
I have to chooooose?! Hmmm... Croutons. And Ranch. With a side of pets. And a smattering of homeless whales. That's good eatin'!

17. Favorite day of the week:
Payday. Every other day costs me money.

18. Favorite restaurants:
Macaroni Grill (the asiago sauce is to die for), Red Robin (the seasoned fries are to die for), Rudy's (the Ray's favorite is to die for) and Fulchi's (the zombies are to die from).

19. Favorite flower:
Snapdragons. They are sweet! They are the only flower I know of that can look smug.

20. Favorite sport to watch:
Sex. Or hockey. And there's no hockey this year, so I guess I'll have to watch a whole lot more sex. "He shoots! He scoooores! Do you believe in miracles?!"

21. Favorite drink:
That whiskey we had at work yesterday was pretty good. But a nice root beer shake wouldn't have made me as dizzy.

22. Favorite ice cream:
Variations of chocolate. Oh yeah! And this time of year there is a very tasty pumpkin pie ice cream. Yummy!

23. Disney or Warner Bros?
Whichever will hire me. I know, I'm a whore. I like Disney's animated movies more than Warner Bros., but I like Warner's TV cartoons better than Disney's. It's a web of evil.

24. Favorite fast food restaurant:
Is there really such a thing as "favorite" fast food restaurant? That's usually the meal of last resort. If I were to claim the most frequented last resort as my favorite I guess it would be Subway.

25. What color is your bedroom carpet?
Various shades of kool-aid.

26. How many times did you fail your drivers test?
None. Money talks. If that doesn't work it's best to pull a gun. They respect that in a potential driver. It shows you take driving seriously.

27. Before this one, from whom did you get your last email?
Someone claiming to be Jesus selling discount software and medication. He wanted to save me money and my soul. Very persuasive, but I just couldn't trust him. He had shifty "i"s.

28. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Hahahahahaha! Already THERE baby! Whoooo! It's a good thing they don't have debtor's prisons anymore.

29. What do you do most often when you are bored?
Fidget.

30. What is your bedtime?
I have no bedtime! I'm my own master, by GOD! But I usually fall asleep around midnight, give or take an hour.

31. Who will respond to this email quickest?
Since I am putting this on the web for the whole world to see this is difficult to guess. Let's see.... I'll bet Pablo will. We're tight.

32. Who is the person you send this to that is least likely to respond?
That guy that died after reading this. Poor guy. I hardly knew him. I expect everyone else to respond. Optimistic or delirious? You decide! (and try not to be that dead guy)

33. Favorite TV shows?
Invader Zim, Black Adder, Freaks & Geeks, CSI, 24, hike!

34. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Heather, my kids and Jesus. He's always with me. Never pays the check though. Claims He doesn't carry cash since He has no pockets.

35. Ford or Chevy?
Let's see... Gerald Ford or Chevy Chase... Ford was funny, but Chevy was funnier. Until recently that is. Still, given my options I have to go with Chevy.

36. What is your favorite color?
Green. Followed by burgandy. But not together. That would be nasty.

37. What do you think question #37 was?
"What is your quest?"

38. Steak or chicken?
If I'm fighting off vampires I would choose steaks. And for clowns, chickens. Or bullets. It's a lot easier to take down a clown than a vampire. Especially if they are still in the car and your shots have good grouping. I hope I never meet a vampire clown though. ("Steak or chicken? Steak or chicken? FUCK!")

39. How many tattoos do you have?
So many I had to go get a new skin. Or none. Let's go with none. I have some that I designed though. If someone puts one of my tattoos on their skin does it count toward my total?

40. Time you finished this email?
It IS about time I finished this, isn't it?


Directions: Copy this email and change the answers to match your own responses to the questions. Then send this to as many people as you would like to share with who won't get pissed at you for doing so, including the person that sent it to you. Especially the person who sent it to you. If you send it to NOBODY else, send it to that person! I mean it! If you don't they will plot against you! They will hurt you in your sleep! You have been warned. WoooOOOoooOOOOOoooooooooooo....

This was sent to me by my friend Justin C.

At first glance I like it. But I haven't really had time to dive in yet.

Morbid Tendencies: Bunny Of The Month Club

And at second glance I love it! I want some, yes, I do.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Evil that teens do

I'm not sure that I've yet paid back the karmic debt that I owe for some of the things that I did as a teenager.

It's not that I was a horrible teenager.

I could have been a lot worse.

I didn't drink, smoke or do drugs. (I still don't.)

I wasn't a mugger or a date rapist. (When I needed money when my allowance was cut off I sold aluminum cans, and I was much too shy to even date.)

I wasn't a bully. (Although I was bullied at one point. Until I pulled a knife on him. Another story for another time.)

But I still did my share of the things that earn teenagers dirty looks from "the Man" whether they are deserved or not.

I will go into one shortly. First some back story.

This took place during my first year of Junior High (they call it Middle School now). I was the same age as my son is now, which is probably why I started thinking about this again.

After my parents divorced my mom and I moved from the house where I grew up to a tiny, run down apartment all the way across town to live with her new boyfriend.

I went into Junior High without a single friend and feeling very out of place. Toss in a very bad body image, the introduction of group showering after gym and a huge case of introversion and my school life was hell.

My home life was just as bad due to the aforementioned "mom's boyfriend", although for different reasons. If I saw him bleeding on the street today, I would see if there was any way that I could get him to bleed more. And that is toned down from the hatred that I had for him by the time I left to go live with my dad. Again, another story for another time. Possibly.

A few months into the school year a student transfered in from (if I recall correctly, which is unlikely) California. He was in a few of my classes and he was having even more trouble fitting in than I was because not only did he talk strangely, he was an albino. Something I thought was pretty cool, but the rest of the kids ostracized him for. I noticed that we walked almost the exact same route home after school so I figured he must live somewhat close.

One day we were walking so near to each other that it seemed ridiculous to not talk. It turned out that we had a lot in common. He was living alone with his mom who had recently divorced and was trying to make it on her own. She worked nights at a hospital so he was alone most of the week.

We became great friends. His name, if I recall correctly (again, probably not) was Mike McCartney.*

I finally had a place to go to get away from my mom's boyfriend. I would go over to Mike's house after school, say hi to his mom as she was leaving (She liked me and I thought she was hot. Raging hormones do that to a kid. Sorry Mike.), and then just hang out and do whatever we wanted until I had to go home for dinner.

With nobody keeping track of what we did.

Two eleven year old boys with time on their hands and nobody watching them can get into a lot of trouble. I'm actually amazed we didn't do far worse.

One thing we did stands out as particularly cruel (yes, finally, the point of the story). As an adult I realize that. Then, it just seemed very funny.

I'm sure most of you have seen the valve stem caps (the cap you screw onto your tire to keep the air valve covered) that have a notched bit that sticks out from the top. If not, click the link. I'll wait.

Okay, I found a very nice chrome one on the road one day while walking to Mike's house after school. I'm not sure if I already knew what that little notch was for, or if I found out by experimenting, or if Mike knew. In any case, what you do is flip the cap over, insert that notched end into the valve stem and unscrew the valve core. This lets the air out of the tire.

HOWEVER!

My little, devious pre-teen monkey brain said, "Hey! If you only LOOSEN the valve core a little, that makes a slow leak without actually damaging the tire!" And, not being a driver, this struck me as quite an amusing thing to do.

When I got to Mike's house I told him about my idea and he found it to be a good, practical way of spending that evening.

It was a Friday night, so we made our plans. I went home to eat and changed into some dark clothes, then took off to meet up with him after dark.

We figured it would be best to engage in this activity far from home so we walked about eight blocks away and started to scope out cars. When we would find one in shadows and the house behind it was dark we would sneak up, remove a valve cap from a tire, loosen the core a tiny amount and then replace the original cap less than finger tight. Then we would head off in search of another car.

One of our target vehicles was a truck that turned out to have the same kind of valve caps we were using for Evil so we snagged all four of those suckers. This meant that we could both work at once instead of one of us keeping a lookout.

That was our downfall.

The next night we went out to engage in our evil deeds, each armed with a couple of stem caps. We went through a few cars in a different area than the night before and were feeling all happy and stuff. Then Mike saw a cop car approaching after having just finished his side of the car (we were doing four tires at a time by that point).

He said something like, "OH SHIT!"

I jumped up and turned around right when the cop turned on his lights. We dropped our caps and ran. The cop kicked on his siren and came after us.

We were in an unfamiliar neighborhood, but we were near some multi level apartments so we took off in that direction hoping to lose him. They were big buildings with indoor corridors and one main entrance. We rounded a few corners and lost sight of the car, but we heard it stop and the door open so we kept on running.

We got a bit of distance and tried one of the doors, but it was locked. We ran to the next building and tried it's door and it too was locked. We still didn't see the cop but to be safe we ran around a couple of more corners away from where he was (we hoped), across a playground and tried one more building. That door opened.

We dove inside, closed the door behind us and crouched down while trying to catch our breath. Fortunately nobody was in the hallway. Shortly after we got there we saw a shadow cross the frosted glass in the door but nobody tried the knob.

We stayed there for what felt like an hour before either of us had the courage to peek out. In that hour we agreed that it was time to retire this prank and try something different.

When we finally came out of cover there was no sign of the cop. We made it safely back to Mike's house, still a bit shaken and watched Cinemax the rest of the evening.

Ahhh... Boobies...

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*During the Summer we would play Jarts. Only we lacked real Jarts since they had been declared unsafe and illegal. So we used actual darts. And instead of trying to throw them into a circle we tossed them straight up into the air as hard as we could. The object of the game at that point was to try to be the last one to run for cover. It was a total blast up until Mike took a dart in the foot. Or the head, I'm not sure. Either way, he won that round.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Hello October!

This has to be fast as I'm slammed. In honor of the month of October I've changed my header. Here's a close up because I want to and it's my blog:



I'm still not sure if I am ready to resume normal blogging yet. So, until further notice I will be engaged in abnormal blogging.
"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."