I have a dilemma. The situation is this: on Thursday night, I can either attend our company softball game where I will dutifully man the outfield and pray that no balls approach me, or I can attend a free scotch tasting with Danza. Wait, did I say dilemma? I meant complete and absolute slam-dunk of a decision to make. If this site communicates anything about me whatsoever, I hope it tells you that there's absolutely no way on earth I'm passing up a chance to get scotched-up on fancy scotch with a gang of scotch-hounds at the greatest scotch house in Austin without having to pay any scotch money.
I don't care what could occur at the softball game to get me to attend. We're playing the worst team in the league and I was told I could play the whole game; I'm still not going. We could be playing the framers of the Constitution, complete with powdered wigs and wooden teeth. The losing team could be promised half of John Adams' gold bullion and a night out with Aaron Burr. The game could take place on an asteroid headed for Europa, on some sort of top-secret, no gravity, alien softball field. I still wouldn't go. Not only would I not go, but I'd forget to text message Laura and ask her how the game went. No sir, I'd be scotched up.
I'm not a scotch connoisseur, not yet. But on the occasions on which I've tangled with the single malted beast, I've liked it. In fact, it was a lot like the first time I saw jai alai game. On both occasions, I thought to myself, "Maybe I'm missing out on the subtleties, but I like what I see." What better way to hone the taste buds to Thurston Howell-like levels than at a free tasting with a bunch of the good crap? What's more, this is taking place at the liquor store with the best beer selection in Austin. (This is what Danza reported. If he's lying, I'll hang his corpse from the drawbridge on St. Crispin's Day.) There's a good chance I'll plow through the Scotch, fill my trunk with beer from Zimbabwe, and take off into the night, never to be heard from again. That's still probably better than a softball game.
Let me set the scene. You're playing softball or baseball. Your team is terrible. It becomes clear to you, the bench-warmer, that the only way your team stands a chance is through extensive psychological warfare. You want to get into the other team's heads, but with a little more flair than the standard "Hey batter batter" crap. What do you say?
Last time I saw a swing like that, it was giving tetanus to elementary school kids.
Stop play everyone, someone has tried to contaminate the home plate area with a giant pile of feces with a bat stuck in it. Oh wait, that's the batter, my bad.
Last time I saw (a) batter like that, someone's mom was making cookies for the class Valentine's party. These cookies later gave everyone diarrhea.
I can't tell the difference so someone clue me in: is that guy trying to bat or ward off giant, invisible vampire bats?
Last time I saw a pitcher like that, it was full of bodily fluids and frat boys were having to drink it as part of a pledging rite. It some HBO documentary or something, it was a little uncomfortable.
Would someone please inform the batter that we're throwing balls at him, not valuable faberge eggs that he will get to add to his collection after the game?
You guys suck on the field, but I've got to admit, you can really assemble a pitching staff. It can't be easy to find an obese transvestite who can throw sidearm.
You call that a pitch? I call it the first step in an ancient Ethopian genital-mutilation ceremony!
I wouldn't say this guy's a light hitter, but the last time he and I got in a fight, he threw a glitter bag at me and then sent me a bunch of nasty letters on scented stationary.
All of this is a mere introduction to say that we had our second softball game tonight. This time, we put forth an even more valiant effort, scoring a whopping 9 runs. Unfortunately, the other team scored like 9 billion. Our style points were off the charts, however.
Will there be a post tonight? It doesn't look promising, friends. I had a rough day at the ol' salt mine, so rough I almost wished it was a real salt mine. At least if you worked at a real salt mine, you could fill your pockets full of salt during your breaks and then A) sell the salt out on the street to folks looking to buy cut-rate, un-bagged, pants pocket salt or B) just keep the salt in your pockets in case you ever get transferred over to the french fry mine. Back in black tomorrow.
Three day weekend! Since I had Monday off for President's Day, I decided to truly pay homage to our founding fathers; I put on a powdered wig, fired a cannon at British people, and traded my TV for a plug of tobacco. It wasn't exactly a profitable day, but it was educational.
It's been colder than the Abominable Snowman's ice box here in Austin lately. I can say this with great confidence because, on Saturday, I spent 4 hours at an outdoor concert. From 10 PM to 2 AM, I rocked it with Nada Surf at Emo's. Well, maybe I didn't rock it. If you're ever somewhere and all it'd take for you to leave is an offer of hot chocolate and a space heater, you're probably not rocking. It looked like I was rocking, though, because I had to shimmy to stay warm. And maybe people thought I was singing along to the songs, when actually I was begging the club owners to send out a St. Bernard with a barrel of brandy to revive me. In actuality, I was just trying to stay alive. I'd seen "Alive"; I knew what happened to the first person to die in a frigid, hopeless situation like that. No one in a Death Cab for Cutie shirt is eating my corpse.
When the show was done, things got worse. The police had shut down the highways in town because it was icy. I would've cursed them mightily had I not been swerving all over the road, screaming like a baby who needs Teletubbies. By the time we got home, it was 3 AM. My butt was literally frozen off. I had to put it in the microwave and dethaw it like a little game hen. Luckily, the band put on a great show. They really had no choice. We had paid a bunch of money to stand out in the frigid cold, and if we weren't satisfied, concert law dictates the right for us to tear up the tour bus and sell its contents on eBay. So, way to go Nada Surf, maybe if you'd sucked it up harder, I could've left before icicles formed in the ventricles of my heart. This is the last time I attend a concert without a portable igloo.
Okay, let's talk softball. We had our first game Thursday night, and maybe five minutes into it, I realized things weren't going to go well. Our team has a lot of fellas, so much that we have two different shifts. Halfway through the game, we cycle all of the guys out. On Thursday, I was part of the second shift. To me, this makes sense because there's really no point in revealing your secret weapon in the first inning. Unfortunately, the other team was pretty much full of secret weapons, and they revealed them continuously starting from the first pitch.
The league has a rule where, if one team leads another by 15 runs, the game is stopped. It's called a Mercy Rule. For my long and storied history in team athletics, it may as well be called the Powell Rule. However, usually when the mercy rule gets applied, I'm out on the field, taking an active role in the beat-down. This was not the case Thursday, as we were down by 12 before I even got in there. Since I manage to generate -3 runs for my team per inning, I knew that as soon as I got in, I had to make an impact.
When we changed our guys out, I was the first one up to bat. Both the futility of my teammates and the close proximity of the mercy rule fired me up. I couldn't help but swing at the first pitch. He could've thrown it towards the outfield and I still would've thrown my bat up at it. Luckily, I made contact, but as most would expect, the ball went straight to one of their players. The shortstop threw me out with ease. I hung my head, expecting my failure to only quicken our demise, and then swore revenge on the pitcher.
To my surprise, we did not crumple. No, the Gas House Gang was down, but we were not out. If the Mercy Rule wanted to be applied that night, it'd have to go to some other field, where a slightly better team than our opponents would be playing a slightly worse team than us. We held them scoreless for two long innings. I wish I could say I played a part here, but the ball was never hit to me. I'd like to thinK I was using some primitive power of telepathy to direct me the ball towards my more-skilled team mates. Whatever the case, I got to bat again. This time, I vowed it'd be different.
When I got up that next time, we had a few runners on base. The score was still 12-0, but I knew if I got a hit, we could score a run and at least make this thing almost non-embarrassing. I thought of something else when I got up there: there were two women out in right field just jibber-jabbering away. As the pitcher lobbed one into me, I thought, "No one jibber jabbers while I bat!" With all my might, I tried to belt one out to right field. Unfortunately, I have both no might and no hand-eye coordination. I made contact with the ball, but it went maybe 6 inches from home plate. "Is that fair?" I shouted to the umpire. Before he could respond, I took off running. I have no idea who they had playing catcher, but it must've been someone who, just like me, was completely at home in the novice softball league. My knees a-pumpin', I managed to beat that chump's throw into first; I had a base hit. It didn't leave the infield, let alone the dirt circle around home plate, but I was on.
Once on base, the rally continued. And through my savvy base-running and my refusal to fall down, no matter how stumbly I got, I scored a run, one of 3 we scored that night. Final score: 12-3. And while the the boxscore will never reveal the truly inept nature of my performance that night, it does say 1-2, 1R by my name. Not too shabby.
Our first softball game is tonight. How excited am I? Uhh, not very! This is not because I'm scared to physically exert myself in front of my coworkers. In fact, I feel the opposite; most afternoons, I jump rope in the hallway while demanding that everyone stop working to come watch. No, I'm not excited because two of our very good players got hurt in practice and the manager is going to expect two of the kinda crappy guys (spotlight on me) to take their place. I am the assistant manager of the team and I have no power to stop this. It's going to happen and I just need to deal with it. I will be expected to step up, and every athletic experience in my background is telling me that this just won't be the case.
In the movies, here's how it'd go. On the eve of the big game, the star player goes down with an injury. There's no one to take his place but the geeky weinerbiscuit. No one wants him in there, but the team has no choice. To everyone's surprise, he rocks the hizzy, taking home MVP honors, and driving the injured star place into a deep depression and a painkiller addiction. This instance will be kinda similar in that someone got hurt and no one wants me to take his place, but the result shall differ vastly. Allow me to whip out my crystal ball and predict a few plays.
1st inning: fly ball hit in my direction. With confidence, I scream "I got it!" Just as the ball's within my grasp, I stumble on a clump of grass and the ball hits me in the face, shattering my cheekbone. I stay in the game.
3rd inning: a guy is sliding into second, and I'm fielding the throw in from the outfield. I manage to field the throw and tag the runner out like an allstar, but midway through his slide, he thrusts his cleats into my genitals.
6th inning: up at bat, I hit a towering fly ball. If it stays in, it's a home run and we take the lead. At the last moment, it hooks foul and kills a nest of bald eagles.
9th inning: running as fast as I can, I'm just about to make the game-winning grab. I have one step left to get to the ball. As I take it, I hear a little click. It's a land mine, and it both blows me up and propels the other team's ball over the fence so they win.
Does softball even have nine innings? I don't care. This is going to be horrible.
Had a pretty good Valentine's Day yesterday. Laura got us some tickets to see the Austin Toros last night. Who are the Austin Toros? Is it Austin's association of matadors? A ferociously homosexual street gang? Or is it a collection of basketball players not quite good enough to make the NBA? Actually, it was a trick question; it's both the matadors and the gay gang. Wait, *checking notes* it's actually the BASKETBALL! The Toros are a part of the NBDL, which is the minor leagues for the NBA. I've been wanting to go for a while now since I heard about the team, but we didn't make it out until last night.
I love minor league sports. With minor league sports, you take the exact opposite of everything that's bad with major league sports (the players make too much, the seats cost too much, the cheerleaders consider themselves to be dancers and not just fancy strippers), and then add in a dose of the weird.
Example numero uno of the weird, but fun nature of minor league sports: at the game last night, you could enter a raffle to win a date with one of the players after the game. In the world of minor league sports, not only do you have the chance to take the players out, but you're probably expected to pay. They did the same thing for a date with one of the cheerleaders, and a 15 year old dude who sat a few rows in front of us won. Is that against the rules? Oh no, they sent him backstage with the girl and he didn't emerge all game. You've got to love any athletic contest where you have a random chance of fornicating with some of the participants.
The game itself was actually really good. I don't think NBDL teams focus so much on the defense, as the final score was 121-117. There were maybe 300 people at the game, but we were a raucous force, compelling our Toros to a last-second victory. I was getting into it, but mainly because two of the weird guys I'd watched all game played a large role in the finish. One was a 7 ft. 3 guy who looked like a huge, Puerto Rican transvestite (he was actually really good) and the other was a giant, bearded guy who kept getting the ball whanged off his face (not surprisingly, he was not so good). I don't remember many NBA games coming down to a duel between two guys like that. Good game.
If you live near an NBDL team, I encourage you to go to a game. They're cheap and really fun. If you can't make the game, you should at least enter the raffles.
It's Valentine's Day! If you haven't showered your hot dude/sweet lady with affection by now, you probably no longer have a hot dude/sweet lady. Or maybe you're in prison. If the day did slip your mind and you find yourself with no choice but to win your partner back, here's a poem to whisper into their ear.
Dearest Love Bucket,
Like a pig eats garbage and slop from a bucket,
I eat love and hamburger helper from you.
When the world kicks my genitals,
You dance sexy to the Nightrider theme to keep me from being blue.
Your face is like a Panda's,
Cuddly, furry, and warm.
Your butt is like a bribed politician,
Crooked, treacherous, and impervious to reform.
If I could trade you for anything in the world,
It'd be for a car, a snow cone machine, or a coconut tree.
But who else could want such a love bucket?
So I'll keep you here with me.
Love bucket, sweet love bucket,
Take my hand in yours
Keep it with you always
Even when you're mopping up at the wig store
And whenever life starts to trouble you
Or places you in harm
Put a roll of quarters in my palm, roll the hand into a fist
And swing it with alarm.
The next time any of you, dear readers, needs to drop 100 pounds in a weekend, just hang out with me for a while. No, you won't be sweating to the oldies, a la our national treasure Richard Simmonds; you will be the voiding yourself through any available orifice, a la my weekend. (If the previous line didn't clue you in, this entry may get a little graphic.)
Thursday was a success. I went to work, went to softball practice, and went out for dinner. It was the sweet life, the kind led by free-spirited, twenty somethings on NBC sitcoms. Then, at 2 AM on Friday, I awoke to an unpleasant feeling in my stomach. It felt like I had accidentally swallowed a badger at supper, and only after 6 hours inside of me was he now angry enough to try to claw his way out. It was painful, but nothing was really happening. For about 30 minutes, I just sat on the bathroom floor and wondered if I needed some Pepto Bismol. Luckily, I didn't leave the house. Thank God I didn't leave the house. I can just imagine standing in the middle of an aisle at Walgreen's, looking at antacids, when suddenly... I don't even know how to describe it. Let's just say my digestive system went berzerk. Not only would that aisle at Walgreen's have to be closed off, but the people inside of it would be put down and NW Austin burned to the ground to prevent further degradation. Me? I'd be in some giant bug jar at the CDC. If this sounds like hyperbole, you clearly weren't around me on Friday.
If you've never had a '2 exits, no waiting' kinda sickness, I don't know how to explain it. Just imagine that every 5 minutes, you unleash a firehose of putrid, interestingly-colored stuff from an opening in your body. Sometimes, your body throws you a curveball and elects to go for two openings at once. It's dirty and stinky and incredibly unpleasant, and you have no control over it whatsoever. It's like being a baby again. Yes, that does humiliating, but then if someone had come up to me on Friday morning and offered to strap a diaper on me, I would not have objected. No, in fact, I would've wept with happiness and then paid that person. So, that's kind of what I had going on this weekend.
(For third party verification, you may contact Laura, who caught this bastard one day later. Notice how I said she caught it, not necessarily that I gave it to her.)
I felt well enough to go into work today. When I did, I happened to come across another of the guys at the user's group meeting last week. He asked me, "Hey, did you have a fever after the meeting last week?" How do you respond to that? After my weekend, 'yes' was not enough. I felt like I needed to light a torch, swing it around, and scream about the whole thing to accurately convey the intensity. The thing is, he knows because he went throught the same thing. A few other attendees came down with it also, and they all know. For 48 hours, we were transported to the Battle of the Bulge. Our enemy didn't attack us through mortar shells, but stomach gurgles. We had no Russians on our side, only Immodium AD and Gatorade. In the end, we won, I think; no one had to be hospitalized or anything. But after Friday, I sure don't feel like my winner. My bathroom certainly doesn't.
No entry yesterday because I had to go to a work thing that lasted until 8 PM. When I got back home, I looked like Phyllis Diller; man, I was beat. And I'm still really tired today. If you expect anything but a semi-coherent, crap entry, you shall be disappointed. But come on, read some more!
The event was our user's group meeting. In normal person lingo, that means a big group of users for our software get together for a week of training and presentations. Not only was I the only programmer there, but I was also the youngest by a few years, I'm guessing. That's a precarious situation for someone whose reservoir of social skills is actually a vacuum capable of destroying the space shuttle. Some of the users would be sitting around, talking about a particular feature that I know something about, and I'd try to jump into the conversation with a remark. Understandably, they'd just say, "What are you, the bus boy? Go get me some cashews and one of the fancy soaps from the bathroom." This is because, not only was I the youngest, but I am so youthful looking, I expect to be carded for alcohol until I am 57 years old. And when I'm no longer carded at 57, it'll only be because the drinking age has been lowered to 12.
However, I enjoyed the user's group simply for the facilities. The conference was in this big, fancy hotel, and right outside the meeting room, they set up a table with a vast array of goodies. It had fruit and cookies and drinks and, most tantalizing, Reese's Pieces. I love Reese's Pieces, but I never eat them because I always accidentally see the nutritional info on the side of the bag. Seeing the nutritional info for candy is like seeing one of the knights from Medieval Times at Denny's after the show; it sours the whole experience. However, since it was just a huge vat of candy, it didn't have any scary warnings on the side. I was free to just dive in. And dive in I did. I wanted to fill my pockets with that stuff, and I would've, if I'd been wearing my pants with candy proof pockets. In retrospect, it was a pretty good afternoon. I answered an occasional question, but most of my time was devoted to sitting and eating candy.
I would continue, but work has been very stressful lately. I'll save it for one of my better-adjusted days.
Man, I found a great discussion online today. To summarize this, our lady gets on the bus every morning. She sits near these other two ladies, who keep a window open on the ride. The cold air from the window is really unpleasant for our lady, so when the other two leave, she gets up and closes their window. The other two don't like this and proceed to mock her in front of the whole bus. Our lady wants to know how she should handle this. I didn't comment on the thread, but here are a few options for this lady.
"Why don't you stick it in a schooner and drown it in gravy, you fat ocelot?"
"Ain't your f'in window, stank butt! You keep leavin' that f'in window open and I'm going to open a f'in gash the size of the Royal Gorge in your behind, ya stank butt! Now wash your f'in stank butt and get off the bus!"
"Madams, it shames me to say it, but if you persist in leaving your window open, I shall abrogate your presence via defenestration." (Best said with a monocle and a class of sherry.)
"Why don't you two go back to Tranny town?"
"This reminds me of a tift from season 7 of Who's the Boss, when Ralph Macchio guest-starred. You may be asking yourself, 'When did Ralph Macchio ever guest-star?' Well, I know it's going to click for you after five words: Mona goes to the dentist. So ol' Ralph this episode is playing a couple of twins named Archibald and Julio (Julio likes grape soda more than Archibald, that's how you tell them apart), and Tony Danza is ordered by the government to give them dancing lessons. I never understand that part, but I assume it's like when those crazy sheriffs make the inmates wear pink jumpsuits. What I want to know is, what'd Tony do wrong in the first place? So they're dancing away, Archibald with Alyssa Milano and Julio with Tony, and Julio's eyes are just bugging out, having to dance with Tony Danza in front of Miss Va Va Voom herself, Alyssa Milano. It's salient to point they just got down waxing the floor, and multiple coats I think, from the sheen on the floor. They're in their socks for some reason, maybe because they're taking the term Sock Hop literally, and if I may speak parenthetically, that would've been a great name for this particular episode. Now if you'll follow me while I draw a diagram on this napkin, as it may be easier to follow the action I'm about to describe that way."
Leap onto their seat, shout "Sic semper tyrannis," and shoot at them with a black power pistol.
"Tell me, does it make your children proud to know their mothers ruthlessly antagonize strangers on the bus? What about the fact that their mothers are stank butt trannies?"
What a Super Bowl! I haven't seen that glorious of an athletic exhibition since last week's Boise Bananaburgulars arena football game. Before I rip into the game too thoroughly for failing to amuse me, I should note that I won a little bit of money. By a little bit, I mean a lot by my sports gambling standards. On a wager of $1.00, I won $4.50. A pretty heady day for be me, for sure. What made it all the sweeter is that it took me a year to earn it.
Every week at work, a group of 7 or so each bets $.50 on a final score for that week's big game. We started at the very beginning of the college football season back in early September, and we continued until the Super Bowl, in early February. Up until the Super Bowl, I bet in every single one of these, a grand total of 22 bets. Every single time, I lost. What are the odds on this? To me, it's tossing a coin in the air 22 times, and each time, it comes down and lodges itself in your esophagus. However, like all the great ones, I save my big games for when they count. Out of nowhere, I come within 13 points of the final score (we were all pretty far off on this one) and scoop up a sweet $3.50 from those around me. I don't want the money to go to my head, but I just know that no gumball machine is safe for the next several days.
What else do I got? Not much. After that epic, Homeric tale, all else pales in comparison.
I can't think of anything to write today and something a little weird happened this morning, so let's go with that. Every time Halley's comet passes, I get up early in the morning and go to the gym before I hit the office place. Today was one of these days. In our story, I've already done my gym time. Before I go to work, I have to stop by the house so I can do a post-work out hygiene session. This is because, while I can shower OR lift weights with a group of dudes, I feel uncomfortable doing both, back-to-back, with the same group. Unless we're in prison.
I'm driving home. I've got top down on my auto-bus and I am, let us say it, rocking out a little bit. I turn onto the street on which I live, and I see a shifty, squirrelly-looking guy walking from his house to his car, which is parked out in the street. By the time I pass by his car, he's standing right there. In all his slump-shouldered, asymmetically-postured glory, he yells something at me as I pass him. I couldn't hear it perfectly, but at the time, I was fairly confident he yelled, "Count Dooku!" (In case you don't know (and if you don't know, I don't know why you're at this particular site), Count Dooku is an evil sith lord in the Star Wars oeuvre.)
Of all the things to scream at someone, that's a pretty strange choice. Even if I were Mace Windu or R2D2, it'd still be a strange thing to yell at me. What's the verb? Is Count Dooku attacking us, or are you announcing yourself as Count Dooku? Or are you just looking for someone to get your Battlefront 2 on with? And yet, despite all of this, I'm confident that was what he yelled. If I had a picture of this dude and I showed it to you, along with a list of weird-ass things he might yell at you at 8 AM on a Thursday, I think you'd pick 'Name of evil Star Wars character' as the most likely. For my own sanity, I am just going to assume this guy is insane or possibly mentally retarded. The only other option is that, like the old horror story, Count Dooku was actually hiding in my back seat and he was trying to warn me. I'll keep the light saber at my side this weekend, just in case.
My heart swells with sympathy for the Hell Hound right now. I've only been in serious contact with the Hell Hound for the 8 months that Laura and I have cohabitated. I have no idea what it was like before then, or if it even was a dog before I met. For all I know, it's actually a raccoon that's been dressed in a dog suit for 30+ weeks. Anyway, in that length of time, the Hell Hound has always had this unpleasant little thing on her face. I guess I would best describe it as a grouping of very slender, tall moles. For a man used to the unchained beauty of his one-eyed, obese cat, it was hard to look at.
Anyway, the other night, I was off in the spare bedroom, continuing on my manifesto entitled "Comeuppance Shall Be Swift and Terrible for Time Warner Cable". All of a sudden, Laura started hollering about something. I bolted from my seat, while my hand went to the side of my shoe, searching for the shiv I usually keep there. When I darted into the living room, I discovered we were not under attack, but that the Hell Hound was bleeding from her weird face thing. To see blood oozing from the strange facial protuberance made it all the yuckier to view. "I'm no veterinarian," I began humbly, although technically, I'm only 3 lab hours away from such a title. "But I think she may need some medical attention." A weird thing on one's face is okay, and to bleed from one's face is also okay, but blood coming from the weird thing on one's face is cause for concern.
Yesterday, Laura took her in to the vet (big props to Balcones Animal Hospital, the best and cheapest place in Austin). When I got home, I beheld a sad sight. The doc had cut the strange formation off of the Hell Hound's face (it was a benign tumor), cauterized the wound, and then sewed it up. It was dictated that she must wear one of those crazy, funnel-looking, inverted lamp shade deals on her head until it heals. At the same time, the doc discovered the pigment is falling off of her nose (how the hell does that happen?). In summary, she has a gaping, facial wound, one of those 'quit biting yourself' dork dog collars, and a nose that's both black and pink. It is a pitiful sight to behold. If I encounter something like that late at night, I'm liable to call the National Guard and barricade myself in a closet until daylight. Poor Hell Hound.