If, over the next few days, I scream at you, give you a hot foot, and/or steal your underwear and sell it on Ebay, please do not retaliate. I'm just working out my Christmas frustration. This has been, without question, my most overloaded holiday since Louis Pasteur's birthday back in '03. I had to buy the gifts, go to South Carolina, do all of my family stuff, look after the cat, caddy Laura's dog to and from the kennel, obtain provisions for and attend a bachelor party, make airport runs, etc. It was all done for a good reason and I enjoyed it all, but by 6 PM last night, I was firmly in crazy hermit mode. Calls and emails went unanswered, and the site went unattended. If my house were to burn down, I probably would've just draped a wet towel on my head and gone back to watching TV. The only entity I wanted to correspond with was a bottle of rum, and all I wanted to tell it was, "Say good-bye to your friends; you're going to a dark place."
As you can tell, I'm not real adept at operating like that for a long period of time. I need my leisure time, damnit. I need time to sit around in various stages of undress, watching some weird Darts Championship on TV and demolishing a jar of peanut butter. I need time to frolic, rollick, and cavort in the 10 feet between the X Box and the computer. And most of all, I need time to roll around in the backyard, repeating, "I am a nature boy! I am a nature boy!" until the neighbors call the authorities. Okay, I went to my unhappy place there for a second.
Christmas was a complete success. I got lots of grilling paraphenalia (no, that's not a euphemism), an adapter that hooks my iPod up to my car stereo and was unfathomably hard to install but rocks my butt off now that it works, a trip to the humongous Georgia Aquarium which I enjoyed very much, a little weekend getaway thing from my mom, and a talking Yoda. If I ever get my camera back (I hate you, Paul), you can look forward to hours and hours of video of me and Yoda, interacting in the many ways possible between an idiot and an animatronic Star Wars character. Good times, amigos, and more packages to open tonight.
I'm back, baby! Well, almost back. The Goulash Winter Holiday Break will end for real tomorrow afternoon. I would post some tonight, but we had Dean's bachelor party last night and I think I may've accidentally died. You just know the night was headed somewhere when we were screaming about sex toys at 4:30 PM in the middle of the family restaurant. Anyway, Christmas and all of that was a complete success. If I don't die in the night, look for an exciting, action-packed recap tomorrow.
I'm not much of a world traveler. In fact, I've only left my house one time, and that was to attend a lock-in at the roller skating rink about seventeen years ago. A large part of this is because no one invites me anywhere. I smell, I steal ashtrays, and I get belligerent if anyone brings up Law and Order. Laura's family didn't get the news apparently, which is why I'm headed to...
Columbia, South Carolina!
If you can't find me between now and Christmas Eve, it's because I'm in Columbia, South Carolina! I've never been to the state before, and it's a well known fact that South Carolinans get after the newbies like hogs on a rumproast. Really, these people could kill me while I'm there. That's why I have to talk the talk, and walk the walk, South Carolina-style. If anyone asks me who my favorite athlete is while I'm there, I'll say the Fridge, who played at Clemson. If anyone asks me what I want to watch on TV, I'll say Entertainment Tonight featuring Leeza Gibbons, who grew up in a nearby suburb of Columbia. You see how I'm going to do this?
I will look like a South Carolinan, eat like a South Carolinan, talk like a South Carolinan, and dance like a South Carolinan. It will be, in effect, the perfect ruse. I'll probably be Lieutenant Governor by the time I leave. And then when I'm safely on the plane and I know they can no longer hurt me, I'll place a collect call from the $800/hr Sky Phone. No matter who answers, I'll say the same thing: "Hi, this is Cody Powell and I hate Leeze Gibbons. Please tell your neighbors."
(This was written last night before the pizza party, while I couldn't get on the internet.)
Okay, so Laura's already left town for Christmas while I have to stick around town for a couple more days. That means that I'm stuck with providing food for myself. Whenever that situation occurs, I'm not one to mess around with an oven or a loaf of bread or anything; I just order a bunch of pizza and then ration it accordingly. Much like wearing sweat pants, it's easy, it's enjoyable, and anything else would require effort. Well, lured by a seductive coupon, I got suckered into buying a little too much pizza last night. By my calculations, I had to eat one medium pizza a day to finish it off by the time I left town. Now that's a lot, but it's not like reciting pi to 100,000 digits; I'm pretty sure that if I focus, I can accomplish this goal. And then, I screwed myself over.
It's a little after lunch this afternoon, and I'm walking down the hall, mildly bloated from my grotesque pizza portions. I see a coworker and he says, "Hey, you going to the Sales Division Party tonight?" I'm not in the Sales Division, but I do enjoy a soiree, so I say, "Heck yes! Where's it at?" He tells me, "Cool, it's at 5:30 at Mangia Pizza." I take maybe three steps and suddenly realize that, Heyyyyy, I shouldn't be going to a pizza party when I have 42 hogheads worth of that crap in my refrigerator! Just as I'm about to turn around and ask him if it's kosher for me to bring pizza from home to the pizza party, he announces to the rest of the hallway, "We're going to have LOTS of leftovers and I know Cody's good for some!"
As of this moment, my options are to either go hungry at the party so I can go home and eat cold pizza OR eat at the party and then come home and fling the cold pizza at the neighbor's dog. Or I could just pretend to eat at the party and stick the pizza into my pockets. Sadly, I haven't gotten around to sewing the grease-lining into my pants yet.
(Denouement: not only did I not bring my home pizza to the pizza partay, but I ended up bringing more pizza home. Today's magic pizza number to clean out the fridge: 1.7. Ugh.)
I apologize for the spottiness of the entries over the past little bit. I've been trying to straighten out the car situation, work has been hectic, and I've had Legionnaire's Disease. I'm talking a real bad case, and good luck finding any medicine for that crap at Walgreen's. Okay, let's get down to business.
First of all, I have obtained my shiny, new chariot. I like it a lot. I like it so much, in fact, I am counting the days until someone rolls a boulder on top of it, Wile E Coyote style. I'm not going to be one of those dudes who puts pictures of his car up on the electroweb, so if you want a look, you'll have to come to my house or just wait a while at Popeye's. It's a convertible, and I simply couldn't think of a better time to buy a convertible than late December. The feel of sleet in my hair is just amazing. It's impractical in almost all respects, including awesomeness. As soon as I get the iPod hooked up to it, I'll probably just move in.
Here's a great conversation starter. Yesterday, we were doing some family Christmas stuff, and for some reason, I started talking about Prince. (I'm not a huge Prince guy, yet I find myself talking about him a lot. That's because he's at the center of one of my favorite random facts: I went to college with the son of Prince's attorney. Rheotorical question: if you have to represent Prince in court, are you mandated to dress like him?) Anyway, so I'm standing there talking about Prince with my dad and he says, "Have I ever told you about the time I bet a paycheck on the lyrics of a Prince song?" With a question like that, you almost don't want to know the rest of the story; the possibilities are just too enthralling. The story that followed was pretty good, but I'm going to use it as fodder for the next major Goulash development. If that doesn't excite you, you're just a big lame butt.
If all goes well, then at this time tomorrow, I'll be in traffic, attempting to reach my new vehicle. If all goes poorly, I'll still probably be in traffic, but my old car will be in flames and I'll be running down North Lamar, away from a zombie army. I'd like to say that one is more likely than the other, but I'm really in no position to do so. Anything can happen at this point.
To be honest, I'll be a little sad to see the truck go. Not because I particularly enjoyed driving it or riding it or even owning, but because ... I don't know. It had a good stereo? The clutch was pretty easy to shift? I really have no idea why I'd miss this thing. I guess it's the longevity factor. Imagine you have a roommate for eight years, one who's always wearing your undies, missing the toilet, and passing out in your bed (while wearing your undies). Now, when the guy leaves, your life will improve, but you may also miss him a little bit. For all of his foibles, maybe he was really good at making cheese dip or handy with a dustbuster. So, while your undies belong to you once again, you're getting less cheese dip and things go undustbusted. One's way more important than the other, but it doesn't mean you don't miss those small things.
I don't mean to get carried away here. A few days from now, you could probably come up to me and recite the truck's license plate, and I'd think you're a man from the future who speaks in alphanumeric code. And then I'd get in my shiny, new steed and run you over so I could sell your corpse to the National Enquirer.
Over the past few weeks, I've been considering the purchase of a new vehicle. What kind of a vehicle? That'd be a chuck wagon. No, not really, just a normal car. Anyway, during this process, I've picked up a few pointers on the whole car buying process; please allow me to share them with you.
1. Don't bother trying to fancy up your crappy car when you want to assess its trade-in value. Rather than give anyone the impression that your crappy car is actually decent, people will instead say, "Hey, why is that crappy car so shiny? It must be on fire!" And then they'll dive in to some rose bushes.
2. Lenders are like ravenous velociraptors. In my brief experience with them, they'll find any spot of weakness on your credit report, and use that to justify a completely absurd interest rate. I was messing around with LendingTree.com last night (one word review: useless), and one of the interest rates they offered was roughly equivalent to the rate at which I'd loan money to a third world, coup-happy country with 800% inflation. The reason? I've never had a car loan before. One would think that my $10^24 worth of student loans would be enough for those jackals.
3. It's really hard to get back into your crapmobile after test driving some new, shiny contraption. I don't know how to get around this exactly, but here are two ideas. First, you could only test drive vehicles that are worse than your existing crapmobiles. Second, you could bring plenty of booze in your crapmobile and use that to cushion the disappointment on the ride home. Both plans have strengths.
4. Everything costs extra. Air conditioning, the steering wheel, seat belts, an interior that isn't filled with bats: all of that is extra.
These are all of the lessons I've acquired without buying a vehicle; just imagine how wise I'll be after I sign the papers. I'll be like a regular Mr. Miyagi, I expect. More details as they emerge.
Ha ha HAAA, the weekend was a success. I managed to bundle a trip to San Antonio, an office Christmas party, and a ludicrous fantasy football loss all into the span of 48 hours. Just imagine if I changed my focus from fanciful affairs like the ones above to something like eradicating gingivitis. I'd probably kill gingivitis so quickly, Listerine would introduce a potent new strain that makes your eyeballs bleed just to stay in business. So, perhaps I should leave that problem alone for right now, until I have enough resources to tackle Listerine head on. Yeah, so that's that.
The work partay was a lot of fun. It was at a fancy schmancy hotel downtown, and it was catered w/ free drinks and lots of casino games. Did I gamble? Of course I did; I just had to verify that I could lose fake money as quickly as I can lose real money. As always, the only sure bet at the table was that I had no idea what I was doing. I have to think that eventually, some humanitarian organization will step in and implement the Powell rule, where I'm the only player in the world allowed to bet against myself. Thankfully, by the time I had run out of my play money, the food had all been eaten, thus I was spared the shame of trying to bet dinner rolls and pieces of roast beef.
Speaking of Christmas parties and roast beef, as soon as I saw the spread at our shindig, I couldn't help but think back to one of my alltime favorite movies, Trading Places. Even though I wasn't dressed in a Santa suit, I had the overwhelming desire to pocket some of the meat, get on a bus, and chow down, a la Dan Akroyd. If you were to ask me any scene from a movie that could play out in front of me in real life, that scene would be one of them. And there it was, right in front of my face. I even checked my pockets to see how much space I had to work with. At that point, I discovered that the pockets on the jacket were still sewn shut. When common sense abandons me, I turn the outcome of a situation over to divine providence. No matter how much I enjoyed that particular scene, it takes a little more than that for me to put a bunch of roast beef down my pants.
It got icy here in Austin last night, and the day has been interesting for anyone with a car. The cold weather types probably don't understand this. To them, driving on the ice is like heating up a cup of frosted seal blubber (if memory serves, that's a very popular cold weather saying). It's different here, though. When everyone heard about the ice storm approaching, the common response was to drive home, lock the doors, and bury the keys in the backyard. I know I did it; I didn't want to tempt myself. I've been there before and I didn't like it. Driving in the ice is very similar to seeing an elderly, obese flasher: it's an awkward spectacle, and I wish to avoid it at all costs for the rest of my life.
I still did drive in to work today, though. I live like 1/8 of a mile from the office, so not even I am paranoid enough to refuse to drive 1/8 of a mile on a light dusting of ice. My office is right next to the parking lot, which is probably the iciest spot I've seen so far. This has made for some good watching. Earlier today, a coworker in a big truck pulled in to the lot just like normal, and tried to park himself in his usual spot. He approached at the usual speed, braked at the usual spot, and all went well, except that this time, he didn't stop. Instead, he ran over the curb and ended up in the grass. When your window looks out on the parking lot, that's about the best comedy you're going to get.
Uhh, and that's all I got. I have a fantasy football playoff game on Sunday, and while I've created an incredible repository of obscene jeers for my opponent, I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet. Rather, I'm leaving the cat in there for days. I'm going to let the cat stink up my insult bag real good, and then I'll open it up. The insults will fly out, and while my opponent is stunned, I'll put the bag over his head and punch him in the stomach. "You know what that smell is?" I'll yell. "That's the smell of failure! And also, the smell of cat urine. It's probably a 70/30 mixture, if you want to get specific. And perhaps a hint of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles, because I threw away an empty bag in there." May your trembling start NOW, Paul.
Holy crap, it's cold! According to my thermometer, it's 27 F right now in Austin, which works out to approximately -138 1/3 Celsius. I would not be surprised to get mauled tonight by the Abominable Snowman. I would not be surprised if an out-of-control reindeer crashed through the front door of my house and caromed into my TV. I would not be surprised if, after this Ice Age, I-35 excludes cars permanently and becomes a giant luge track. I am fine with that, as long as the luge punks pay tolls for the use of our roads. You hear that, luge punks? No free rides!
I left work early today because I heard our windshields were getting iced over. This worried me more than others, because my windshield has two giant cracks in it. What if it completely ices over and then someone throws an acorn at it? That thing would shatter all over the front seat. Not only would it be cold then in the cab area, but my pants would be full of frozen glass shards. "That ain't happening, fools," I said to my coworkers. If anyone's destroying my windshield, it's me, trying to scape the ice off of it. I've only had to do that a couple of times in my life, but in all instances, I've had the same thoughts. First, I thought, "Man, this is a chilly activity." Second, I thought, "I am glad I keep a bountiful supply of empty CD covers in my front seat."
Okay, so I'm home now. We have a fireplace, which I haven't used, and I'm very tempted to light that puppy up tonight. However, the landlord told us to get it inspected before we tried to light a fire. I'm worried if I started one tonight, bats would fly out of the chimney. I would then face the age-old question: icy weather or bat attack? And what if the bats followed me out to icy weather and started chasing me around? I don't see any way I could emerge from that without a broken leg and a puncture wound in the neck. Yeah, it's cold, but I'm determined to make it through with all of my blood.
I signed up for a gym membership a few months ago. When I did so, I also got some sessions with a personal trainer. I didn't get very many sessions because I was worried it wouldn't work out too well. Well, that turned out to be a good move. Here's how the first session went.
Me: Hi, are you my trainer?
Him: This is a joke, right?
Me: What do you mean? I paid the money, let's get trained.
Him: Are you serious?
Me: I am. I don't understand what you're saying here.
Him: Hang on. It's a strange request, I know it is. But really, would you flex for me? Actually, it'd be better if you took your shirt off and THEN flexed for me.
Me: ... No, I don't think so.
Him: I ask because I really think you should be the one training me. Look at you, you're a specimen. You could crush Paul Bunyan's head with those biceps.
Me: Is this a practical joke?
Him: The only joke here is you refusing to train me! Come on, where, in your expert opinion, should I start? Let's blast my quads.
Me: I don't think I know how to work any of these machines...
But he didn't care. He continues to make me train him, while I pay for my sessions. Talk about a raw deal!
Ha ha ha, as you may've guessed, that's not how it went at all. Instead, the sessions are full of me struggling not to cry/wet myself/have an embollism in front of a room full of strangers. I'll tell you, if the guy weren't big and crazy, and if I hadn't already given him a bunch of money, I'd call the police on him. Unless it's an S/M situation, one person shouldn't treat another in such a fashion.
Anyway, tonight is our last session. I'm both happy and sad about this. I'm happy for the obvious reasons; while the sessions have been a success and I think he's done a good job with me, I will only let a grown man abuse in me public no more than six times. I'm sad because it means the next time a group of muscleheaded jugheads hears me shriek like a little girl, it's probably because I'm being assaulted in prison. Oh well. It's a give and take, I'm happy to do both.
Well, I issued a vague warning last week to the city of Austin about the upcoming weekend. When Danza and I are loose on the town sans moderating influence, no hot dog vendor/street clown is safe. Add a guest appearance by Frito, and it's even money that someone gets mugged by a gang of transvestites in the slums of Honduras. So, we did all of that on Saturday night and I'd like to go into the whole thing, but to be honest, the memory is a little sketchy. However, a discussion we had at the first bar we went to, the Red Eyed Fly, summarizes the whole evening.
We're setting out on the patio there, behaving like the handsome, young gents we are. There are a few other people out there, but not so many. A few minutes after we set up camp, this dude starts hauling in all of this musical equipment. As he does this, he notices us and he comes over to talk to us. He's really, really excited.
Dude: Sup, guys? You hear for the show?
Us: What show is that?
Dude: You haven't heard? Blowfly's playing. (He points to his Blowfly t-shirt.) He's a legend.
Us: Who's Blowfly?
Dude: He's the ORIGINAL dirty rapper. All that scandalous crap they're doing now, he started back in the '60s.
Us: Oh, that's cool.
Dude: Yeah, he's kinda my idol. Actually, I'm in the band opening for him tonight.
Us: What's the name of your band?
It's not many evenings where you get to hobnob with the lead singer of Schlongdaddy, and sit mere feet from the ORIGINAL dirty rapper. After that, well, we went other places and did other things, and somehow I woke up in my bed the next morning.
In other news, Cheech Marin's Mustache enters our fantasy league play-offs riding a season high, two game winning streak. Morale is high in the CMM locker room. We're playing well, the "Atta boy!" butt slaps are out of control, and there's talk of a pizza party. I look forward to beating the crap out of Paul's team next weekend, and then calling him up and singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" to him at 3 AM. This one's for Cheech! Round two of the play-offs, or I'll send the whole team to the Arena League!
Bad news, Austin. Reeeeal bad news, in fact. This weekend, the ladies will be huddling at my house to bake Christmas cookies. Rather than listen to them titter and whisper about my tushie all afternoon, I'm hitting the streets of the 512 with Danza, a fellow cookie refugee. Why is this bad news? Well, the last time we had a man-on-man night out, things got a little hazy. Hazy as in "whose couch am I sleeping on and where is my wallet?" Hazy as in I probably tried to make out with a police horse. Hazy as in the following picture was taken.
Now I have no memory of that lady, but the dude was a rather ardent supporter of John Brown and he told us many times about how he could get us into any nightspot in the city. You see, he knows the owner. (I hypothesize everything in downtown Austin is owned by one dude, and our compadre from the evening is his best friend.) Trying to be nice guys about it, we went out to a couple of places with him, were promptly ridiculed by the doormen, and then took off running. Any night in which I flee from a deranged 75 year old man counts as a success.
And because nothing beats a dude's night, there's a very real chance you'll never hear from me again. Either that big lady from the picture ate me or I accidentally fell into the dumpster behind a Popeye's and suffocated on biscuits. Either way, know I died with a smile on my face. Well, a smile on my face unless we're running away from that old man.