Yowza! The engine that powers Goulash, Movable Type, burst into flames sometime yesterday and I couldn't post last night. I had already written yesterday's chunk of fried gold though, so today you get a double post. Yes, dreams can come true.
Anybody have experience with Amtrak? All I know about it is that it likes to derail and kill people. However, it's pretty cheap, and I need to make a one trip to Dallas soon. Let's do some cost-benefit analysis on this problem.
Chance of death: 15%
Gas money saved: $30
Diving 30 by .15, I see that as long as my life is worth less than $200, I should take the train. It'd take a pretty strange order of events for my life to be worth less than $200. Allow me to hypothesize just what must happen.
First, let's assume that I get fired immediately (reason: toner thief) and am never be able to work again (reason: the unspoken, but widescale blackballing of toner thieves). Not only that, but I wouldn't even be able to sell plasma or volunteer for medical testing. Worse, the people at the wig store would refuse to buy my hair.
Second, let's assume that all of the money I currently have becomes worthless, perhaps due to a liquidity crisis at all of my financial institutions. This includes Putt Putt tokens.
Third, let's assume everyone in the world refuses to purchase any of the stuff I currently own. This isn't so far-fetched; most of my possessions are pretty crappy.
Fourth, let's assume that the government, enraged that I once acknowledged global warming while drunk in public, won't let me go on welfare or disability.
Fifth, let's assume that I'm such an offensive hobo, I can't even panhandle correctly. Maybe instead of giving me money, passer-bys actually hit me with their cars, thus driving me deeper into the hole.
Now that's a lot of very precise things that must happen in order for my life to be worth less than $200. What are the odds on all of that happening? Well, I'm not actuary, but I did do a couple semesters of stats in college. I'll guesstimate... hmm... 96%. It looks like I'm riding the rails!
First, let's resolve some prior issues. Did I ever get a truck for Operation Big TV? You bet your sweet bippy; Frito and I are making the trip sometime soon. Many thanks to everyone who volunteered their vehicle. I know personally that I'm very sad I can't use some random internet dude as my personal Greyhound bus, only for him to chloroform me and imprison me in his basement.
Second, what happened with my speeding ticket? I'm doing defensive driving. Did you know that, according to the city of Austin, whether I go 1 mph or 24 mph over the speed limit, I still pay the same amount to resolve the ticket? I kick myself for only going 75 in a 65; I should've kicked that baby up to 89! Anyway, I'm on probation now and so no hotrodding about town. Will that change my driving habits? No way; just like the tattoo on my rear end states, I'm a THUG 4 LIFE.
I would enthrall everyone some more, but Das Boot just came from Netflix and I'm itching to start viewing. Laura accuses me of monopolizing the queue on there. Since when do females not like to watch 3.5 hours about u-boats? Answer me that! I can only think of one group who'd object to this movie, and that's u-boat sympathizers, those filthy savages.
I tend to save my best softball game for the last of the season. I'm not sure why I do this, although I think it may be a sublimated desire to terrorize my teammates. They go through the whole season thinking, "This guy is pretty terrible." And then for one glorious hour, I kick it into overdrive and they think, "Well, he's not quite as terrible. My hopes are raised slightly for next season." And then the next season, I promptly head back into Sucktown, dashing their hopes and frustrating all those around me. Maybe it's the one week break we get between seasons: seven days off is all I need to revert back to throwing like a girl and whanging foul balls off the umpire's groin.
I bring all of this up because Thursday was our last game of the season. Since it was our last game, I need not say that it was also my last chance to show anything that might resemble a talent for softball. I also need not say that I was the DH, and supposed to save all of my skills for my batting. I also need not say that it was our last chance to win our first game of the season. I also need not say that we were playing the first place team, who I secretly suspect is the UT Austin men's baseball team. Yes, there were a lot of things going against us that night, but, like I said, I tend to perform slightly better than average for the season finales.
We can skip through most of the game. We're fighting gamely, I've hit a few singles, and we're down maybe 6 runs. That sounds like a lot, but for us, that's essentially a victory. Not only are we not getting embarrassed, but we've got a little rally going. All of the guys in front of me get on base, and I realize that if I could squeeze out a hit here, things get interesting.
It's the climax of the game, I'm up to bat, and many people are yelling at me: the scene is set for tremendous embarrassment. Well, I did my part on the first, whiffing horribly. I'm surprised I didn't accidentally throw the bat at the pitcher. The second pitch was slightly better, as I fouled it off. I've now got two strikes and the other team, seeing the fear in my eyes, start hollering like a bunch of yahoos. I start to get a little nervous, immediately thinking of just how lame I'll be when I strike out, when I remember something: this is the last game of the season. And in the last game of the season, no one out-yahoos Cody Powell.
The next pitch comes in and I whomp it well down the third base line. The left fielder dives for it and misses; the ball rolls to the fence. All of the guys in front of me score, and I'm haulin' oats around the bases. As I make my way to third, my teammates yell, "Go home! Go home!" I hang a left and barrel towards the plate. The catcher is large; he's probably 6'3, 250 pounds, and he's standing right in front of the plate. I then that I can just run around him a bit and tag home. Then, I see him crouch and pound his mitt. That's the international symbol for "Here comes the ball, I'm tagging this doofus out." I just kept running; that's my own personal symbol for "It's the last game of the season and I want my damn home run!"
Just before the throw slaps his glove, I dive head-first to the right. I slide right past him, under his glove, and slap the plate with my left hand. Then I quickly yank my shorts back up, as the force of my slide slid them down a little bit. I get up thinking, "Dear Lord, everyone just saw my underwear," but no one cared. I had just a grand slam. It was the first in our team's history, probably the first in our own history, and we were now 3 runs away from winning this, the last game of the season.
Well, the story kinda tails off from there. We only had one more inning and we ended up losing by 8, which is not so bad. I'll tell you what else isn't so bad: a grand freakin' slam, dirty dawg! I anxiously await my descent back into athletic crappiness.
There was no update yesterday for two reasons. First, I resent everyone who reads this site. I'm talking overwhelming resentment here, to the point where, if I find myself in a bar brawl, I swing the pool cue exclusively at known Goulash readers. Since there are only seven or so Goulash readers, it makes me really ineffective in those skirmishes. Second, Laura and I had to fancypants it up. We celebrated two years of neither one of us shooting or giving an STD to the other. Happy anniversary indeed!
In case you're in Austin and you're wondering where we went, we hit up Bellagio out on 2222. If you go there, order the Cheesey Bread appetizer. You may feel strange ordering something like Cheesey Bread in a fancy restaurant, but I'm telling you that it must be done. Also, I learned that I enjoy cannoli. I tried it several years ago and I wasn't a fan. I tried again last night and I realized that cannoli is Italy's answer to the Choco Taco. How do you hate that?
We Choco Taco'd, then we came back home and thus ended the night of romance. Well, it didn't really end. Romance with me isn't like a faucet that I can turn off; it's more like a coffee maker. It dribbles out a little at a time and you say to yourself, "That's disappointing." And then, an hour later, you look back and all of the dribbles have added up; you now have a steaming pot of romance. You take a drink and say, "Mmm, that's good. What is that, French Vanilla?" An analogy could also be made to a waffle iron, I think.
Movie recommendation: Everything Is Illuminated. I'm not an overwhelming fan of Jonathan Safron Foer's work, but the movie is excellent, especially Alex, the translator. It's funny, weird, and a little mysterious.
I have a tv dilemma. My dad wants to give me a big tv, and I want to take the big tv. The problem is that he's up around Dallas, I'm in Austin, and the tv can't just teleport into my living room. (If it had teleportation features, he'd probably keep it for himself and make the tv to break into bank vaults.)
Why can't I use my car to load the tv and drive it down here? It's big, as I said, and my car is as large as your typical ant farm. Laura's car is a little bigger, maybe the size of three ant farms, but it's not big enough.
Until December, I owned a truck. It never, ever came in handy for me to own a truck, and I liked to shake my fist at the heavens and scream, "Why do I own this stupid truck?!" I'd try to pick up the truck and throw it at the heavens to make a point, but that was before I started working out and I had a hard time getting it off the ground. I sold the truck for $1200 in December because I finally decided that I just didn't need a truck. Now it's September and I need a truck.
My initial idea was just to rent a U-haul or something. That's before I went onto the U-haul website and learned that if rappers really want to make statement about their extravagant lifestyles, they should start driving big, orange moving vans around. Those things must be like nuclear submarines on the inside! Torpedos and anti-squid equipment are the only possible explanations for how a U-haul can cost that much. And if that's the case, then I'm definitely renting one.
My plan now is to find someone with a truck and coax them into driving a few hundred miles for the sake of my entertainment needs. I'll pay for all kinds of stuff: gas, food, windshield wiper fluid, CB radio rental, you name it. Frito, I'm going to you first, and then I'm working my way down the list. Maybe I only met you once back in 8th grade, but if I got the impression that you were a truck guy, you'll soon be getting a call. Papa needs his tv!
Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, ACL weekend is over! I don't know if I have the gumption to do one gigantic summary entry of the whole thing, but with Van Morrison as my witness, I'll give it a shot. Just to jazz it up, I'm going to split my experiences from this weekend into two groups: Rockin' and Dokken. Rockin' is self-explanatory, and Dokken is the worst band ever, and also self-explanatory, if you happen to live in my brain.
Ray Lamontagne - I like frail, white guys with great, big, raspy voices; Ray Lamontagne is one of these fellows, and he sounds like he accidentally swallowed Otis Redding. I wasn't a huge fan going into his show, but he really brought the goods.
Free beer at Buffalo Billiards Friday night - There was a lady from Heineken there, and apparently her job was to bleed the company budget. I dig. (Related, but unworthy of its own entry in the Rockin' list: my shuffleboard performance that night.)
Laura's friend Rhonda and her husband Jason - These guys came all the way from North Carolina for the show, and they proved to be remarkably good sports about 3 straight days of crowds and stinkin' heat, as well as Octopussy's projectile vomiting.
Nada Surf and Calexico - These are probably my two favorite bands, and both put on great shows. Even better, the trumpets from Calexico joined Nada Surf for their last song and rocked the house. (I think Calexico also played a new song called "Don't Leave" or "Don't Leave Now" or something. If you know the name, email me.)
Flaming Lips - Holy crap, that was a performance. I was roughly 4 miles from the stage during the performance when it started, and I tried to mush my way forward to see what was going on. When I got close, I saw groups of aliens and Santa Clauses dancing, Wayne Coyne covered in fake blood, and bubbles exploding from the stage. Not bad, blokes.
The weather - I've had worse.
The buses - Again, I've had worse.
The floppy, green hat I got from Academy for $12 - Not only did it make me look a little like Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, but it shielded my neck and face from torture. I've gots to look good, it's how I earn my spending money.
Austin Police Department - Maaaaaaan, I left our house on Friday afternoon to go out to the show and maybe half a mile away, I get pulled over for speeding. I had just gotten onto the highway, I was anchored in the right lane, and the cop said I was going 83 in a 65. I suspect the ticket had something to do with a fear of my floppy, green hat. I try to be nice to police officers since they have a tough job and because it's usually a better tactic than hurling insults at them, but all I could exhibit Friday afternoon with a slightly annoyed confusion at the whole situation. He did knock it down to 75 in a 65, however. Also, I sensed that if I got busted right away, I'd have complete immunity for the rest of the weekend. It may not hold up in a court of law, but it holds up in the court of Powell.
Willie Nelson - *whisper* Hi, I'm Willie Nelson and I'm singing right now. What's that? You're hundreds of furlongs from the stage? I don't care, I'm going to whisper sing until everyone leaves in frustration. *end of whisper*
Shuffleboard weiners - There was a line for the shuffleboard tables on Friday night. I was at the front, and when some guy tried to take my spot, I politely told him to take it to the back of the line. For that, he called me a penis and then commanded his giant Dutch friends to come over and annoy me and Jason in broken English.
Van Morrison - *whisper* Can I whisper sing too, Willie? *end of whisper* (In Van's defense, I was pretty much out in the parking lot, trying to watch him. Still, you've got to let the Van rumble.)
Me - Drinking lots of water and avoiding the beer until the sun went down? Whatever happened to stumbling around the park like a maniac, trying to stave off heat stroke? I'm not supposed to remember this weekend!
And that's it for now. Want more? Wait for the pictures.
AHHHHH, did anyone see the column I just tried to upload, only to have Movable Type commit hari kari and fling the entry out into the ocean? Anyone? If not, don't worry, it wasn't that great. The gist:
If you're going to ACL Fest this year, bring a hat and a chair, and avoid the booze.
My worst ACL experience ever dealt with the potent afternoon line-up of Modest Mouse, Dashboard Confessional, and the Pixies. The first played for 30 minutes and stopped, the second was as terrible as I feared, and I was almost trampled like a South American at a futbol riot during the third. Serves me right for giving Dashboard Confessional a chance. My best ACL experience was probably right before this craphammer got thrown down on me.
Don't worry, everybody, if I find the real entry, I'll put it up here since this is quite boring. If I don't and you never hear from me again, know that I went down happily, in the way I wanted: eating quesadillas, drinking heineken, and saying, "My neck is definitely getting sunburned, isn't it?" Ajua!
One nasty side-effect of ACL Fest has already reared its gnarled head: to attend, I must miss a bachelor party. And not just any bachelor party, but one that I'm certain will result in the forced evacuation of Shreveport, La. That's not hyperbole; someone's losing a limb at this thing, or at least a few baby teeth.
Well, when I realized this, I got a little glum because I'm a degenerate who loves a good bachelor party. What would be perfect would be to hit up ACL, strike up a friendship with Van Morrison, and then bring him with me to the party. Talk about an entrance. Imagine a hotel room full of guys in their underwear, playing drinking games or something. Someone says, "Hey, do you hear 'Brown Eyed Girl' coming from the hallway?" "Actually, I do and I think it's getting louder," someone else answers. And at that moment, Van and I kick the door down, with our arms full of cheeseburgers and Fat Tire. That party would officially be ON.
Unfortunately, I can't pull that off. I'm going to try, but I really think the odds are against me. All I can do is try to have a one-man satellite bachelor party out at Zilker Park. I'll be getting transported to and from the festival site, so the only things I'm risking are money and dignity, both of which I don't like much anyway. What my party will lack in strippers, it will make up for in hippies.
When it comes to personality, I'm a big fan of overweight people. Think about it: Santa Claus, Chunk from the Goonies, Ed Asner... they're all kind of cuddly, jolly, and cute. And I think it's because I subconsciously like the fatso personality that I haven't really been able to force my cat to commit to her diet.
I wrote a while back how I was trying to shed a few pounds off of Octopussy. I started buying the low calorie cat food and regulating the amount I gave her each day; we've done this for several months now. The results? Well, don't hire me as your dietician. She's as fat as ever and she demands more food than before, which now is the expensive, healthy, Husky Buster brand food. Then if I don't give her what she wants, she eats the dog's food. I am convinced that, if left to her own devices, Octopussy would probably carry around an canteen full of gravy.
At the same time I tried to watch her food intake, I also tried to run her around the house some. The sad fact of this is that even an overweight cat is still quite a bit faster than me. Not only that, but the more I chase Octopussy, the more she demands to be chased. The easy solution would be to trap a raccoon and then throw them in the same room for a few hours, but I'm worried what they'd do to the duvet cover. And what if the raccoon sneaks some Cheetohs into the room?
What do I do with a cat that refuses to diet or exercise? I don't think there's a pamphlet in the world that could convince her to change her lifestyle. Maybe I accept it. I let her balloon until she's a miniature Chris Farley, and I watch her jolliness rating go off the charts. Or maybe I start an in-depth search for ruthless, yet affordable kitty fat camps. We're going one way or the other; we're not half-assing in the middle.
Well, today marks the five year anniversary of 9/11/01. I always hoped that my generation wouldn't have a tragedy like the Kennedy assassination or Pearl Harbor. Maybe if we could play our cards just right, we'd spend our nursing home days talking about where we were when we learned that President Clinton liked to get amorous with big-boned women. For once, we could have funny pivotal events, ones you could spin yarns to, not sad, confusing, scary events.
Of course, that's not the case any longer. We've had our tragedy and we've had to live with the aftermath. That's life, I guess: people fly airplanes into your civilian buildings, then you try to blow them up, then everybody gets mad at each other. It's all very depressing. And what's also depressing is that 50 years from now, when we're all gathered around the shuffleboard table, we'll be talking somberly about Osama bin Laden, not cracking jokes about oral sex in the Oval Office. They got us in big ways and they got us in small ways, but life goes on.
And with that, I'm officially 9/11-ed out.
I think I mentioned earlier in the summer that I'd be putting out a mix CD in preparation for ACL Fest. Yeah, you guys can forget all about that; the event itself is 4 days away and I've got to devote some serious time to preparation. Laura has a couple of friends who'll be staying with us, so I'll be spending a lot of time booby-trapping the house, installing spy cameras, and training attack dogs. You think you can just roll into my house and start rifling through my underwear drawer? You've got to earn that priviledge, dawg.
I also need to spend at least a minute or two googling "How To Prevent Heat Stroke". No need to query how to cause heat stroke; I do just fine in that regard every year. (Secret heat stroke recipe: hot sun + $6 beer + "Hey, it's only once a year!" + "What's that? Drinking water makes you gay?") Maybe I just need a giant, air-conditioned hamster ball in which I can roll around Zilker Park. If that won't get me onstage with the Flaming Lips, nothing will.
Aaron Burr was the first American to eat pizza. He hated it so much, he shot the first guy he saw, unfortunately for Alexander Hamilton.
The invention of pizza predates running water, electricity, and curiously, tomato sauce.
Richard Nixon had a pizzeria installed in the White House while President. He tore it out a month later when Kissinger wouldn't stop hogging the jukebox.
Pepperoni only exists in the hearts and minds of the very old.
Pretty much the only reason why the US even acknowledges the Vatican is because it controls the world's mozzarella supply.
In a very strange coincidence, the banjo was invented by a guy named Billy Pizzapants and pizza was invented by a lady named Ethel Banjoface. The two hated each other.
When Chuck E. Cheese first opened, it didn't serve pizza; instead, it dished up potatoes au gratin. This was quickly discontinued when rowdy youths filled the ball pit with cheesy taters.
When Julius Caesar was assassinated, he actually said, "Et tu, pizza?" He was incredibly, incredibly drunk, and thought a pizza was attacking him. (Note: this was also the genesis of the Little Caesar's pizza chain.)
In the Battle of Gettysburg, Union soldiers ran out of cannonballs and took to firing rocks from their cannons. When they ran of rocks, they fired shoes. When they ran out of shoes, they decided to fire pizza crust. Bewildered and terrified, the Confederacy surrendered immediately.
The world's largest pizza could cover the province of Saskatchewan. And it will one day, if I have my say.
Under the rules of maritime law, the only crimes punishable by death are treason, mutiny, and putting pineapple on the Captain's pizza.
Remember that game Hungry, Hungry Hippos? Those hippos aren't actually hungry for the mables in the game, they're hungry for your pizza. And if you don't give it to them right now, they will freaking kill you.
There are only seven different types of pizza crust: pan, thin, that middle kind, whole wheat, sardine, onyx, and fur.
Last night, I had to make a late night trip to the grocery store. As is the rule for late night trips to the grocery store, I was purchasing a small quantity of strange items: 28 lbs of kitty litter and five bananas. When I got to the register, I saw a little line in front of me. "A little line," I thought, "that's no problem." There was a fellow two spots in front of me with maybe 15 items: some salad, some kind of frozen lo mein, etc. Nothing noteworthy. I had a hard time seeing what the fellow directly in front of me had because he was big, and slightly rotund.
Eventually, it's Big'un's time to load his stuff onto the scanner belt. I watched him as he did it, and I soon saw that the guy was buying nothing but candy. He had a whole cart full of peanut M&M's. "That's a lot of peanut M&M's," I thought and I immediately began to wonder why a lone large man, late at night in mid September, would be buying a cart full of peanut M&M's.
"Getting ready for Halloween?" I ventured.
He laughed and shook his head.
"You must have a sweet tooth," I said. I thought that was probably the nicest way to ask a portly man if he was trying to get the chocolate monkey off his back.
He smiled and muttered, "Nope."
I thought for a minute again and asked, "Are you a school teacher or something?" When I was in elementary school, they used to throw candy at us and turn on the Aristocats whenever the teacher wanted a break. Maybe Teacher Big'un just needed a break.
But no, that wasn't right either, or so I assumed because he didn't respond. By this time, the cashier had rung up all of his candy bags. The grand total came to $78. I'm not sure if I've purchased $78 worth of candy throughout my entire life, but here comes Mr. Mysterious Big'un, doing it all on a Tuesday night.
By the time I got out to the parking lot, and that's a shame because I really wanted to see his car. Did it have a vanity plate about candy (maybe CNDYMAN)? Was it a chocolate brown? Did it have a magnetic sign on the side that read, "Gingerbread House Construction"? We will never know.
Okay, I took a little Goulash break after a stressful week. I went up to the DFW region to see the fam and the friends, to eat a lot, and to haul doors and sinks aroudn out in the boonies. Luckily for you (I mean humanity in general), I am ready to get back into it.
Over the break, someone asked me if I had seen Snakes on a Plane yet. No, I haven't. I also haven't even mentioned the movie in this space here, which may've been surprising. I'd like to say I was taking the high road on a moronic subject, but my silence was the result of a bitterness that consumed my soul. You see, they stole that movie from me. Well, it wasn't a line for line copy, but several years ago, I did circulate a similar premise. It was "Ocelots on a Paddleboat". It didn't star Sam Jackson either, but Andre the Giant. And while they changed a lot of the particulars, I did write the now-famous line, "We've got to get these mf-in' ocelots off this mf-in' paddleboat!"
Laura bought a duvet cover for our bed, and it makes me feel a little inadequate. Not only was I clueless as to the basic maintenance of a duvet (who knew they needed covers?), but I didn't even know that I owned a duvet. I'm still not sure that thing is what she says it is. I was there when I bought it, and it said bedspread. I have this theory that once you live with a woman, they try to make your old crappy stuff seem nicer through the use of made-up French names. Case in point: the water hose, which she insists on calling the bidet. Okay, that's not true and now I can't remember any other examples. Until tomorrow!