One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that I experimented with facial hair over Thanksgiving. By experiment, I mean that I ate it, lots of it, to see what kind of special powers I could gain. No, actually, I grew it. I tried to, at least, a great big beard. I tasted more success than I planned, but nonetheless, I couldn't get that thing shaved off fast enough. I hope a member of ZZ Top reads this site because I have a question that only a beard expert can answer: how are you supposed to live with one of those things without clawing your face off during an attack of the itchies? I looked like an Ewok having a seizure whenever the beard began to itch, which was pretty much constantly.
Since I'm devoted to the historical record, if nothing else, here's a brief timeline on the beard experiment of '05.
Day 1: Let's do it, let's grow a beard.
Day 2: Hello stubble, I will nuture you until you flow from my face like the hair of Rupunzel.
Day 3 - 5: Hurry up and do something.
Day 6 - 8: Wow, this is pretty itchy.
Day 9: ITCHY!
Day 10: GLAKSJFDlcksnlefnLIEJFDELIWCJLKZJFDLElijlifjsaelfijf, IT'S EATING MY FACE!
Yes, so it's gone now. I can honestly say I didn't gain a lot from the experience, except for the claw marks on my chin.
I don't mean to be dancing on its grave here, but also the beard wasn't very full. On a linear fullness scale, I'd give it a 5.5. That's alright if your job is filling up propane tanks, but my face is my breadwinner; I gots to look good. And how could you believe anything on this site if you didn't earnestly believe that a handsome, handsome man wrote it?
Ultimately, I had many reasons to rid myself of the beard and only one to keep it. And really, I wasn't so keen on impersonating Santa Claus to begin with.
I like Christmas. I don't really do it up, but I like it. I've never put up lights or a tree for myself, but then again, I don't try to stab Santa in the jugular with a pen if I bump into him at the mall. (Well, I don't do that unless I suspect it's a Santa doppelganger.) So, when Laura asked me if I wanted to decorate for Christmas, I said, "Sure, let's give it a shot." In my mind, I imagined this would entail a stocking on the chimney for me and maybe a candy cane hanging off of the microwave. That assumption proved to be mildly inaccurate.
She decorated yesterday afternoon, and when I came home from work, I seriously suspected I had stumbled into the North Pole. Not only are there two trees and four stockings, but there are two of those Christmas Countdown thingies. I actually have no idea what they're called, but in two separate spots of the house, there are displays that show how many days it is until Christmas. I can only presume there are two of them in case I forget the number of days on the walk from the kitchen to the bathroom. With every step I take, I'm worried I'm going to crush some porcelain manger scene or animatronic, breakdancing elf. It would not be a great surprise if, tomorrow morning, I discovered my car covered in reindeer poop.
I don't say any of that in a negative way. I like it, in fact, and I applaud both the fact that she owned all of that crap as well as the fact that she was able to put it all up in one afternoon. It seems to me that if you're going to decorate for Christmas, you should really decorate the hell out of the place. That's what we have. Should the actual Santa ever come by, he'd probably try to pay the cable bill because he'd assume it's actually his house. I am cool with that. If she starts trying to dress me up in sweatshirts with reindeers blowing kisses to each other, then and only then will I purposely sabotage one of the Christmas Countdown displays.
You play with a volleyball. The volleyball must be blue.
You need anywhere from 2 to infinity players per team.
You get five plays to go fifty yards. There's a guy like the quarterback, except he's called the Bouncemaster. Anyone on the team, including the Bouncemaster, can start the play by telling, "Let's bounce it."
Once someone yells that, the Bouncemaster can throw or kick the ball forwards or backwards to anyone on the team (including himself). The player is allowed to catch it in the air or off of one bounce.
As soon as the player catches the ball, he can throw or kick it forwards or backwards to anyone on the team. The play continues until the team scores a touchdown or goes out of bounds.
Touchdowns are worth five points. Extra points are awarded by the style judge for the sweetness of the play/touchdown dance. If a touchdown is scored off of a kick pass, it's double points.
You can play with or without pegs. If you play with pegs, you can get a point for every time you bounce the ball off a defender.
The game isn't played in quarters or halves, but in quints.
The game was born on a drizzly, bleary day when only 4 people showed up for a football game. To make matters worse, no one of us actually had a football. We call it Blueball, and it is poised to become the game of the 21st century.
(As you can see, I was ultra-productive over Thanksgiving. Back to conquering the universe on Tuesday.)
Thanksgiving is upon us. Well, almost. Did you know that Thanksgiving is actually an acronymn? Yeah, the word itself means nothing. The pilgrims and the indians got together that first day and said, "Let's think up 12 words that mean something to us, then use their initials to create a name for a holiday." Through years of back-breaking research, I've managed to discover what each letter stands for. Prepare yourself.
T is for Turkey. That's not particularly clever, is it? Well, maybe not, until you consider they may've been referring to the country, not the animal. My research has yet to give me the definitive answer there.
H is for Harlot. What many people don't realize is that after the traditional turkey feast, the pilgrims loved nothing more than to find a harlot and pelt her with rocks.
A is for Avocados. Whenever the pilgrims would initiate a play war against the indians, they would always use avocados instead of cannon balls in their cannons. In fact, they loved shooting their avocado cannon balls so much, the Northeastern United States is virtually bare of avocados today as a result.
N is for Nudity. What, you think the pilgrims didn't get down? In fact, they used to work up their appetite for the feast with an extended nude tour of the forest.
K is for Knife. What did the pilgrims use to cut their meat? A knife, right? Wrong, they used pine cones. It was actually an enterprising indian who showed them the first knife; he was promptly burned for being a heretic.
S is for Squirrel. No, they didn't eat any squirrel at the first Thanksgiving, but it was both groups intention to squirrel away the left-overs. However, this plan took a brutal, ironic twist when the squirreled-away left-overs were stolen in the middle of the night by, yes, a pack of squirrels.
G is for Gravy. The pilgrims and the indians loved to trade the usual staples back and forth, such as food for furs, arrows for liquor, etc. Even more than that, they loved to trade gravy for gravy. It was a very strange trade.
I is for i, the square root of negative 1. The two sides fought over everything: religion, lifestyle, trade, resources, etc. Interestingly, the only thing they could agree on was the fact that imaginary numbers are a little confusing.
V is for Ventriliquism. Indians and pilgrims alike loved ventriliquists. They loved them so much, the ventriliquists of the time were almost scared to venture towards Plymouth Rock, out of fear that either side would imprison them and force them to perform until death from exhaustion.
I is for Incontinence. The main impetus for joining together for a feast was to investigate and discuss a wave of incontinence that swept both camps. Why would they want to hold that conversation over food? Well, I'm not sure.
N is for Nelly. Scholars agree that out of all of the hip hop stars of the late 90s/early 00s, his brand of fancy free, party tunes would be the most likely to inspire freaky booty dancing in the people of the 17th century.
G is for Go-carts. Much like the intellects of the Renaissance, the pilgrims and the indians devoted a great deal of thought to inventions. Unlike these other great individuals, most of the pilgrims and indians designs were for go-carts. Sometimes they had flags or horns or side cars, but they were all go-carts and not a single one ever successfully ran. Why not? Because no one had yet discovered wheels. They did manage to create the world's first horn to play La Cucaracha, though.
Well, there you go. I'm tired after all of that.
Wahoo, Thanksgiving truly is the season of miracles! Allow me to present my proof.
1. One of my friends from work gave me tickets to see My Morning Jacket's Austin City Limits taping. Not only did we manage to get in and rock out thoroughly, but free beer was served. Miracle!
2. I was successfully able to reproduce the magic behind Chili Chili Bang Bang. With age, it got even harder to eat. Miracle!
3. Someone threw up in my car. Miracle of the negative variety!
Okay, that's about it. Also, I burned my taste buds on the damn chili. Still, weekend of miracles and all of that.
We're having Thanksgiving at work tomorrow. We're all supposed to bring something in, and the dishes range from simple (toothpicks with ketchup) to hard (sauteed unicorn). I always sign up for dessert. There are two reasons for this. First, I like to eat desserts. Sometimes on these days, I am so overcome with my desire to eat desserts that I stop my car half-way to work and eat the entire thing by myself. I'm sneaky about it, though; when I'm done, I mess up my hair and rip my shirt. Then, when I get to work, I breathlessly exclaim, "Some neighborhood hooligans beat me up and made me eat a whole pumpkin pie! What's this world coming to?"
The second reason I bring desserts is because I can choose my level of involvement. If I want to make the whole thing from scratch (unlikely), I can. If I just want to buy the damn thing, put it into a different container, and then claim I made it all myself, that works also. This morning, I was wondering just how much work I wanted to put into my pecan pie for tomorrow. I saw Patrick had signed up to bring a pie too, so I asked him about his plan. He said, "I’m going to buy a frozen one at the HEB today, pop it in the oven for an hour, and pass it off as my own. The Lioi Family Secret Ingredient is heat." I love it.
As much as I love it, though, it's still too much work. It's been a long week, and I don't plan on devoting an entire hour to heating up a pie. The Powell Family Secret Ingredient is buying my crap ready to serve. Gobble gobble, suckas.
I have mucho to discuss here. Well, not mucho, but two things.
First, a company whose stock I own (symbol: SFCC) came under fire today because, and get ready because this is priceless, their CEO was accused of bullying the immigrants who enroll their prescription drug clinical trials. Specifically, he said that if any of these immigrants talked to the press, he'd have them all deported. Boy, I can pick 'em. In all seriousness, a nasty temper towards immigrants is almost a prerequisite for me when making investments. Yeah, revenue growth and a good balance sheet are nice, but is the head dude willing to stand up to an uppity Paraguayan who can't keep his mouth shut?
Second, I got to drive my sister's car last night and it was an interesting experience. In my car, I'm used to taping my health insurance card to my chest before any journey, just in case the tires explode and my body is launched into oncoming traffic. In hers, not so much. I felt safe while making turns, I didn't scream with every gust of wind, and I even got to experience the thrill of acceleration while going uphill. In my truck, every ride is like a turn on a rickety, wooden roller coaster from the 1950s. Some drunk carnie is grinding the gears and every thirty seconds, you have to tell yourself, "It probably makes that noise all the time." Her car is like a space age, Batman-licensed ride that takes you underwater and feeds you filet mignon between loops.
This doesn't mean I'll be replacing my car any sooner. It just means I'm wishing that much more for someone to steal it or smash the crap out of it while I'm not in it. Christmas is the season of miracles; get to work, people.
I've been light on the 'lash lately, because I've been working a lot. Luckily, I recently renewed my pledge to be as unproductive as possible for the rest of my life, so I'm renewed with lethargy.
Anyway, my great-uncle died over the weekend. Sometimes I get upset over deaths and sometimes I don't. Mainly it depends on whether or not the person owed me money. Not really. I think I tend to get upset over deaths when the ending is particularly tragic or unexpected. That's not the case here. My Uncle Howard lived a long, full life, and he was in bad shape at the end; death isn't so bad in that situation. I like to think that maybe death is like waiting in line at the post office. You get your number and you wait in line, but sometimes the clerk will take a look at you and say, "You don't look so good; would you like to go ahead?" I think it's okay to feel some relief then because the wait is over. Of course, this implies that people at the post office would be allowed to kill you. It took them 4 weeks to process my change of address form, I'm not sure I want to charge those folks with ushering me peacefully into the afterlife.
This has all been a topic of much discussion in my family lately, and it brings to my mind a few lines from one of my personal heroes, Mr. Woody Allen: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don't want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment." Amen to that. For all I know, when I die, I'll be greeted by all of my favorite people, carrying with them Mexican beer and spicy chicken from Popeye's. However, I can acquire most of that within five miles of my house, so I don't really want to risk it. If the price of gas continues to rise, we may have to revisit that conversation.
In the days of yore, if you had a crazy idea that you wanted someone else to implement, you just called over that cousin of yours whose head had been closed in the drawbridge once. That guy would do anything, so you'd tell him, "Listen here, drawbridge head, you go out and do [Crazy Ass Idea] and I'll give you this rock in exchange. Do it really well and I'll throw in a handful of dirt." And just like that, your not-quite-right cousin would set to work. Well, we don't have drawbridges anymore, so it really put a crimp in that whole idea. Now if you want someone to implement some dumb ass idea, you have to find someone naturally stupid. You have to find a Cody Powell.
Yesterday afternoon, a coworker and I were talking about various work stuff. I don't remember exactly how it got started, but we were remarking how strange it was that our company didn't have a softball team. Why was that? Didn't anyone here like softball? What were we, a bunch of gay commies? Shortly thereafter, I found myself walking the halls, finding out who we could get to play infield. This is one of those idiotic ideas.
Why is this a bad situation for me? Softball rules are complicated. As I walked the halls and pleaded for coworker support, I started to hear these questions about just what sort of league we'd be playing in. Will it be one pitch? Would double core bats be allowed? How thick would the center of the ball be? Would the females get to hit a larger sized ball than the males? As someone who's never actually played organized softball, I confidently told them all, "I'm fairly certain that whatever answer you're hoping for is correct. We will DEFINITELY all have orange slices at half time."
I am co-team captain, and I'm not even sure how many positions are involved in softball. (I heard someone say we get an extra outfielder, but that this extra outfielder just plays in between two existing players. That makes no sense whatsoever.) The only thing I can state with any certainty is that Powell goes in right-field.
I voted today. No one was up for election, but there were a few proposed Constitutional amendments for voter review. For those of you not in Texas, one of the proposed amendments focused on a hot-button, highly controversial topic. As an enlighted, well-informed individual, I had to show up just to stick it to the majority. In case you haven't guessed it yet, I'm referring to Proposition 7, the amendment authorizing line-of-credit advances under a reverse mortgage.
How do I start on this topic? It's hard, but I'll give it a shot: the only way this state authorizes line-of-credit advances under a reverse mortgage is over my dead body. There's just no way. No way, nuh uh, I don't think so. If you want a line-of-credit advance on your reverse mortgage, I don't even know if I want you in this country. That's not the America I know, and frankly, I'm terrified to think that anyone with a reverse mortgage could just go around willy nilly-like, opening up line-of-credit advances. Hey reverse mortgage owners, how about I open up a line-of-credit advance on your white blood cell count with my fists?
If we reverse this, where does it end? Would we suddenly have line-of-credit advances under reverse reverse mortgages? Or reverse line-of-credit advances on regular mortgages? I don't even have a mortgage; can I have a line-of-credit advance? The whole thing sickens me! What made this country great was people getting regular mortgages, paying those off, and then dying before retirement. No reversies. After all, this ain't a game of Uno!
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I don't mean to alarm you, but Thanksgiving is a mere 2.5 weeks away. "Why would I be alarmed?" you may wonder. Well, have you considered the fact that you may be a turkey, or even worse, a giblet? If you're just discovering either, you may want to keep a low profile for the next couple of weeks; that goes double if you live in a pilgrim-heavy area.
I look forward to Thanksgiving each year and this one is no exception, although the circumstances are a little different. First, we're having Thanksgiving early since most of my family has a wedding to attend on the real day. I've got to wonder, will it feel any different walking around the neighborhood, angrily shaking turkey legs at the neighbor kids, if I'm not doing it on the actual holiday? We'll see. Second, we're moving the Thanksgiving venue. For the years past, we all trekked out to West Texas to my grandmother's house to rock the sweet potato scene. Now that she's bunked up with my dad, we'll be having the meal closer to home. I've got to wonder, will it feel any different walking around the neighborhood, angrily shaking turkey legs at the neighbor kids, if I'm not doing it in a random street near Abilene? We'll see.
Despite all of that, I'm pretty jazzed. I could use a few days off. Not just a few days off, but a few days off devoted solely to pumpkin pie. It may be 88 degrees outside and it may not be at my grandmother's house and it may not be on the actual day, but Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving.
No post yesterday and not much of one today. I'm not feeling so good, work is very stressful, and I haven't been sleeping well. However, I tend not to dwell on things like that when Yahoo dishes up images like the following:
I love it.
Talk about a boffo night for Trick or Treating last night. Positively boffo! There were a grand total of 5 who hit Powell Manor last night, and they all hit at once. Perhaps you expect that information to disappoint me, seeing as how I bought like 800 bags of candy for the event. Not so, as I wasn't even going to give the candy to them. Instead, I'd been saving up the coupons from the dry-cleaners to hand out. Seeing those kids' zeal for the coupons, I must conclude they don't give a crap about proper care for their delicates. Maybe I'm just an old fogey for expecting those kids to wear silk cumberbunds to school like we used to. Conclusion: lots of candy and starched shirts for me. In your face, stupid kids!
Actually, the real reason it was still pretty fun was because of the group that did hit our house. It had this one little girl in the group who was just ... wow. Remember the guy from the Micromachines commercials who used to talk incredibly quickly? Imagine him as an 8 year old dressed up like a princess. "Trickortreat. Myparentsdon'tlikemetoeatcandybecauseIgetalittlehyperbutdon'tworry,I'msavingittonightformybrothersandsisters. Isthatchocolate? Chocolatechocolatechocolate! Iamaprincessandprincesseseatchocolate! WhenIgethomeIwilleatthiscandyatareasonablepaceunderparentalsupervision,don'tyouworryaboutthat."
To catch it all, I would've had to tape it and then rewatch it like the Zapruder film. The group was all girls and a few of them were really young. The last one who came up to the door was the youngest of the group, and instead of the whole Trick or Treat process, she just looked at her motormouth friend, shook her head, and sighed. You bet your ass she got extra candy for that.