It's 7:23 PM. Powell Manor has now been hit by perhaps 5 trick or treaters, and not a damn one of them was wearing a costume. If these kids won't make a serious attempt at a costume, then I'm not going to make a serious attempt at distributing candy. You want Milk Duds, Mr. No Costume? You're getting a multivitamin. Skittles? We don't have any; we do have plenty of powdered mashed potatoes, though. NO COSTUME, NO CANDY: these are the Halloween laws.
I really don't get why these kids wouldn't have a costume. That's the best part of Halloween. When I was waiting to put on my Burt Reynolds costume on Saturday, I was shaking with a anticipation. Strapping on the gear and painting the mustache was literally the best part of my weekend. And when I was a little kid, it was that exciting times 10. (The one exception was the year I dressed as Hank Aaron, and no one knew who I was. In my book, skin color don't mean a thing when it comes to trick or treating.)
I'm too old to go trick or treating, but I take my duties as a candy distributor very seriously. When I was younger, there were people in my neighborhood who lived to thwart Halloween revelers. They'd give out raisins, pennies, and apples. These people should've realize that for maybe one extra cent, they could've purchased actual candy, which would've led to far fewer little maniacs stuffing these folks' mailboxes with rocks and dog poop.
I realize they're trying to encourage sound living habits with all of that, but Halloween may not be the best night to try something along those lines. Midway through their candy bag, no little kid saw the apple and thought, "You know, healthy food can be delicious," or unwrapped the pennies and said, "This inspires me to get into a no-load mutual fund." No, it just made us mad. And since I value my mailbox and the contents contained in it, I give candy.
How was the Halloween party? Don't ask me, ask Smokey and the Bandit.
And that's how you do a Halloween costume.
Alright, no post yesterday because my cable modem wet its pants and then exploded. You didn't miss anything. It would've been three paragraphs along the lines of, "What kind of idiot grows a beard for Halloween?" The answer is this idiot here, and now that I've come this far with it, I can't shave it off. Have you ever seen the Kids in the Hall sketch where Kevin McDonald grows a beard while he's on vacation, only for it to start choking him and then turn him into a wolf man? I'm at the choking stage, and starting to investigate wolf man prevention schemes. It's staying until Halloween, damn it.
Alright, I've said before how I'm having a party this Saturday, and a few folks have wondered if there'll be a keg. I don't think so. I've had kegs at parties past (thanks to Frito and Diddy), and it's always cool to tell someone, "Come on over, I've got a keg." What isn't so cool is the next morning when you stumble into your garage and see that you still have 30 pounds of beer left. What do you do with that much beer, if you don't live near a homeless shelter?
I did the smart thing and just left it in my garage. I'm not sure now what happened to it. Maybe the beer and the keg evaporated. Maybe there's a burglar out there who's been drunk for two years. More likely, it was still there when I moved out. Whatever the case, I had to purposefully park around it for a while and so I'm not having that happen again. So, if you're looking to pull a booze-a-roo over here, I suggest you bring some peach schnapps of your own.
Quick take on the World Series: anybody see the testicle shot that Pudge took in Game 3? Holy Lord, that looked excruciating. Also, why does everyone on the Cardinals have stupid facial hair? There's a disproportion number of soul-patches there and I'm going to know why. If only because of that, I still think Detroit will win.
To answer any questions that may arise over the next week:
I'm growing a beard for Halloween.
I need it for my costume.
No, my costume isn't Guy with Crappy Beard or Creepy 14 Year Old Experimenting with Facial Hair. It's a secret!
Okay, that's that. If you want a good costume, you must sacrifice. Sometimes, you sacrifice some money. Other times, you sacrifice time. In my case, I'm sacrificing my face. If you've seen the looks I get in the Design Pattern section of Barnes and Noble, you'll realize this is a huge, huge forfeiture. Mark my words: it will be worth it.
In other Halloween news, before the party at my house on Saturday, we'll be playing an authentic game of Blueball, everyone's favorite imaginary sport, here in Austin. It'll be at 4 PM. If you want to play OR shower the players with mad endorsement money, email the vice commodore for interleague affairs. (Note: offer does not apply to people in good shape. You bastards can go play a real sport.)
What else do I have to say? If you find yourself near Matt Leinart in the near future, punch him in the face and ask him how he wasn't able to throw a single touchdown against the Raiders (make sure to punch first, he'll probably expect it after the question). If you like music, hit up Pandora.
I thought up a great question at lunch today, and I guess it requires a bit of explanation. Let's say that, for whatever reason, someone has to follow you around all hours of the day. It's not a bounty hunter or a private eye, just a regular person on your tail. Who would you least like to have following you?
I came up with a few different answers worth sharing.
1. A white supremacist. There's a white supremacist I've seen around the neighborhood a few times, and it is really unnerving whenever he gets close to me. One time, I was behind him at the gas station. At first, I saw him and thought, "Ah, that fellow likes his tattoos." Then I got closer and saw that, among other disturbing imagery, one of the tattoos was a swastika on his adam's apple. Woah. Now just imagine taking out the trash one dark, windy night and seeing Swastika Neck waiting by the garbage can.
2. An albino giant. Truthfully, I could've gone with either albino OR giant in the #2 spot. Imagine you're out walking the dog around the neighborhood. Every once in a while, you hear these lumbering footsteps and staggered breathing behind you. You hear the sounds and they pique your curiousity, but you don't want to look. Why? Because there's a giant with no skin pigment RIGHT BEHIND YOU! Maybe he'd even try to pet the dog. That just makes my skin crawl. (I should note that I really like the two albinos I've met in real life. They were of regular proportions.)
3. An aborigine. Do you remember in Crocodile Dundee when he mets the aborigines? When I saw that for the first time, those guys struck me mute with terror. I'm not sure why, and I hope it doesn't make me a racist. Imagine the aborigine is following you. For a few days, you see him everywhere you go. Then, one afternoon, you look up and he's no longer there. "What happened to the aborigine?" you scream, terrifying everyone in the seating area of Arby's. Then, you hear the faint, bass rumble of a didgeridoo. Possibility of impending death: 100%.
Okay, did I miss anyone?
This November, Texas will be electing a governor. If you haven't been paying attention to this race, you're missing some seriously strange crap. Let's break down the 4 main contenders.
First, there's the incumbent, Republican Rick Perry. If I were his campaign manager, I'd insist that Perry refer to himself as "Foxy" Rick Perry. Just take a look at this picture. The feathered hair, the twinkle in the eye, the unmistakable brio: he's the gubernatorial equivalent of an early 80s Erik Estrada, assuming that Erik had a major erection for toll roads.
Then there's the Democrat, Chris Bell. I don't know much about this guy, except that he's a Democrat in Texas and thus will get his ass kicked. I will liken him to Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter.
There are also two major independent candidates. One of them is Carole Keeton Strayhorn. Her major accomplishment thus far has been attempting to have her name listed as 'Grandma' on the ballot (no joke). She seems, in every possible way, to be the real life incarnation of Pappy O'Daniel from O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The other independent candidate, as most people know, is Kinky Friedman. If you're not familiar with him, just imagine your surly, but fun great uncle shouting at the evening news after a few nips of Teacher's. Kinky needs no fictional alterego.
Okay, we've identified the candidates. Now let's get an idea of the repartee between these four. I will serve as moderator in a completely fictional debate.
Moderator: Gentlemen, the issue is illegal immigration. How would you fix it?
Erik Estrada Perry: If these people expect to come into my state, they're building toll roads. That's all there is to it. Then, when they drive on the toll roads, we charge them double. Then they brush my hair.
Horshack Bell: Rick Perry is too pretty. I'm much less telegenic, thus smarter; elect me. *makes strange, nerdy braying sound*
Pappy O'Keeton Strayhorn: I'm bringin' in that reform! *cackles madly* I'd hire the immigrants to destroy the toll roads, then I'd make them call me grandma, then we'd go fling manure at Rick Perry.
Kinky: I'd load the illegals in a cannon and shoot them back at Mexico. *lights cigar, pinches audio technician on the butt, pistolwhips Horshack*
Fortunately for us, the governor in Texas is responsible for very, very little. As such, I am going to vote for the weirdest candidate possible. Right now, that's Kinky, but if Chris Bell or Rick Perry reinvents himself as a tranny ninja, I reserve the right to change my mind.
I'm going to transcribe a little conversation for you, from the best of my memory. The following scene played out on Sunday evening.
(Cody and Laura are sitting at the kitchen table.)
Cody: Hey, do you want to play some chess?
(Cody gets the board out, while Laura starts shuffling papers around.)
C: What are those?
L: These are some papers I need to grade for school.
C: You're going to try to grade papers while playing chess?
C: You seriously think you can beat me while grading papers?
L: *silence, looks studiously at papers*
C: Oooookay. You better not take it out on your class when I thrash your behind. This defeat could turn kids off of language arts forever.
L: *moves pawn, goes back to grading papers*
C: An elementary opening, and one in which you play directly into my hands. *moves pawn*
L: *looks up briefly, moves again, and goes back to grading*
C: I may as well dip your pieces in tuna and let octopussy move them around the board. *moves*
L: *pauses grading for just a second to move*
C: Not a fawn of the pawns, eh? I'll just take one off of your hands. *moves*
L: *continues to ignore me, moves*
C: *raises eyebrows, shuts up, studies board intently for several minutes, then moves*
L: *yawns, moves piece, continues grading*
C: * snorts derisively, then scratches head, begins to hyperventilate, motions to cat for help, and moves *
L: * sets pen aside for a moment, takes one of Cody's pieces, goes back to more important task *
C: * clears throat, considers swatting board onto the floor and running off into the woods * I didn't see that guy there. I'm kind of tired of this game. * moves *
L: * takes another piece *
C: Why are we playing this? Why must we compete with each other? It's ridiculous! Don't you have to go to the grocery store or something? * moves *
L: * takes another piece *
C: WHAT ARE YOU, A ROBOT? YOU'RE NOT EVEN PAYING ATTENTION! * whimpers, moves *
L: Hey, look at that. Checkmate.
C: AIYEEEEEE! I HATE THIS! I HATE THIS KITCHEN! I TOOK BENADRYL THIS MORNING, I'M TOO SLEEPY TO PLAY! *bangs head on table and screams incoherently*
L: Shut up, I'm trying to grade.
It's always a lesson in humility around here.
Laura and I went to a wedding shower over the weekend and, as a great surprise, it was awesome. I had so much fun, I'm a little worried that the adult world is trying to pull a fast one on me here. Right now, my brain is telling me that wedding showers are great, and that if I see anyone else having one, not only should I attend, but I should be the first person there. However, I know if I actually follow that logic, I'm going to end up in a room with a bunch of 50 year old ladies, listening to them prattle on about how rich the cake is and who's hunkier, Matt Lauer or Anderson Cooper. Yeah, nice try, society!
Another strange thing, perhaps, is that I also like attending weddings. There aren't many social occasions where you can eat, drink, and dance badly as much as you want, without someone else getting the police involved. The only bad thing about them is that one must dress nicely. I just don't get along with food or beverages while I'm clothed. That's not a problem with my normal, crappy wardrobe; I can just Oxyclean the hell out of it. You can't Oxyclean a suit, though (note to self: verify this). No, someone else is needed here.
To solve this, I have come up with a new idea in formal wear that is set to sweep the country: vinyl tuxedos. You get all of the elegance of a tuxedo, along with the rugged, stain-resistant nature of vinyl. Also, when you're wearing a vinyl tuxedo, you can run through an inferno without catching on fire. Well, maybe your hair would ignite, which is why I would also sell vinyl tophats and sombreros. They'd be especially keen for outdoor weddings in winter, where sleet and snow is a real possibility. (Just imagine the aurora borealis twinkling off your shiny vinyl jacket... simply breathtaking. (We have our first ad campaign.))
Good God, I am a moron.
For the past few weeks, my mind has been occupied by wedding stuff. I know a lot of folks getting married, so I've had an internal calendar of ceremonies, showers, bachelor parties, annullment proceedings, etc. Well, one of the dates I had memorized was tomorrow, October 13th. On that date, I knew that I had to be out in Abilene to attend my stepsister's wedding. This is no small event. Not only is it the wedding of a family member, but it's 200+ miles away. With this in mind, I went out to buy them a gift last night, I printed directions, I asked my boss if I could leave early tomorrow, and I've pestered Laura with questions to ensure that she'll be home early so we may leave at a decent time. I am ready to attend this wedding.
I sent an innocent email to my dad yesterday, mentioning all of the wedding stuff this weekend. He responded today, "Isn't the wedding next weekend?" "Nope, it's tomorrow," I said with great certainty. I had the invitation at home, after all. And while I hadn't actually read the invitation, Laura probably had, and she would've corrected me at some point if I were mistaken. That hadn't occurred, though; the wedding had to be this week. If it weren't, why had I been comparing bagless vacuum cleaners last night at 10 PM?
At 10 AM this morning, I still felt pretty confident in the date, but I decided to confirm with my mom. My dad asked, I may as well confirm to humor him. I believe my mom has her Outlook rigged so that whenever a message comes in that contains the word "wedding", it sounds a foghorn. I say this because immediately after I asked her, I got my response. The response, which should surprise no one, is that I had the dates mixed up. Had it not been for that seemingly inconsequential email where I mentioned my weekend plans and the chain that followed, then at 3 PM tomorrow, I would've packed up the car and driven 200 miles to the wedding. Then I'd have to drive right back home and, seven days later when the wedding actually occurred, go back to Abilene.
Unfortunately for all of you, this story goes nowhere. Unfortunately for me, I still have to drive to Abilene.
Duuuude, it's my 700th entry! Let's assume each entry is 400 words. Multiply that by 700, and I estimate there's somewhere around 280,000 words on Goulash. To put that in perspective, your average novel has 100,000 words. With the words I could've used on 2.8 literary masterpieces (or perhaps just 1 epic about plucky hedgehogs), I have produced the site you're reading today. I say to myself, "Way to use the gift, my friend." History says, "Your legacy is intact!" The internet users of Belgium say, "We have always supported you, and we will continue to do so. Come over for pommes frites sometime."
With the love of Belgium and 3.25 more years, and we're hitting 1400.
That will teach me to try to sound sophisticated! Yesterday, I mentioned how Laura and I were playing a fair amount of chess lately, and an hour later, she beat me unmercifully in about 15 moves. This is just another piece of evidence to support my theory that Laura is actually Bobby Fischer. First, they're both good at chess. Second, has anyone actually seen Bobby Fischer since June of 2005, when "Laura" moved in with me? Third, they both vehement anti-semites. Tonight there's a rematch; I'm winning it for me and the people of Israel.
An email from Chip reminded that I haven't yet said anything about the Rangers' firing of their manager, Buck Showaltar. My stance: yay. Everything I've read about him suggests that he's a micromanager, and on a personal level, I can't put up with that. I once had a boss who used to review any envelopes I'd addressed that day to ensure my hand writing was appropriate. Oh, it infuriated me. Then I'd read the stories from the DFW sportswriters about Buck, and my mind would be consumed with the image of Buck throwing envelopes around at Michael Young and Mark Teixiera. "You can't treat adults that way," I'd hiss at my monitor. There was another good reason to fire him, in that the team didn't seem to improve. Still, I can abide that if the manager seems like a good guy. It's my opinion; it doesn't have to make sense.
Who will I be rooting for in the MLB playoffs? The order of my favorites go Tigers, A's, Cardinals, then the Mets. The Tigers have been bad for years, thus earning many points in my book, plus they feature my fantasy baseball boyfriend from this year, Mr. Justin Verlander. I remember watching his first or second start of the season against the Rangers when he was still hitting 100 MPH on the radar gun in the 5th and 6th innings. I thought, "Ye gods, these guys are beastly." The A's are my second choice, as they're a small market team and I like all of that Moneyball crap. I won't say anything about the Cardinals or the Mets because the National League is for losers.
Do you love the futbol? If so, I would like to direct you to gunnerrific.com. It is, without question, the best Arsenal blog run by a former roommate of mine (sorry Paddy).
Now that I have that out of the way, I should also announce that I'll be having a Halloween party at my house on October 28th. If you know me in real life and I don't make fun of you behind your back by saying in a high, squeaky voice, "Ohhh, look at me, I'm such a fancy boy, but I still stink like year-old apple butter," then you can come. (I sense the previous sentence will be difficult to parse.) What if you're just a random internet person and you want to come? Well, impress me, Stephen Fay-style.
When's banana season? I ask because I am very, very upset at the quality of bananas I've recently purchased. I've tried multiple stores and multiple brands, but I still get these wrinkled, brown, ashtray-like bananas. Laura suggested that maybe bananas are out of season. I responded that maybe grocery stores are out of season, and we should convert our backyard to a giant banana patch. (Another banana question: are they grown in a patch or an orchard or what?)
I should also report that I've been playing a lot of chess lately. If you're an internet chess guy and you wish to receive the throttling of a lifetime, email me. Include in your email instructions for playing chess online; I know you can do it, I just haven't investigated. I should note that if you're actually good at chess, you may find our match less than stimulating, as I'm full of questions like, "Which one's the king?" and "Can we swap colors at halftime?"
Like everyone else in America, I've been slightly horrified the past week with the scandal involving Congressman Mark "Don't call me Axle" Foley. What actually surprises me here is not that this attention was directed towards a few young men, but that this hasn't happened to everyone in America yet. Every morning, I wake up and expect to find my living room full of naked Congressmen, making lewd overtures towards me and my pets. As a group, they are insatiable. And what if you turn them down? Then they probably build an air force base on top of your house, purely out of spite.
I don't think this proves that Republicans are scumbags, as some have insisted. They're politicians; they are, by definition, scumbags. It's like holding a mafioso in lower esteem because he cheated on his wife. As I said, they're unsavory dudes. If you asked me how they blew off steam before all of this, I'd probably say by injecting bald eagles with rabies and then flinging them at homeless people. Inappropriate IM sexytalk isn't great, but it could be worse.
Speaking of all of this inappropriate sexual stuff, I've been thinking a lot about the recent news that Dustin Diamond, Screech from Saved by the Bell, is putting out a homemade sex tape. Imagine it's a few months back, and you're going out with a girl that like a lot. She has this really funny story about going on a date with a celebrity. She's really embarrassed about it and after a few drinks, you pry it out of her: it was Dustin Diamond. You bring it up at parties and everyone gets a kick out of it; come on, she went out with Screech. And then, in the pre-sex tape era, if you had to pick the funniest celebrity for your girlfriend to have dated, Screech would be up there. It's fun all around.
Now, a few months later, you check E! one day and you realize you must have a very serious talk with your significant other. Right then, you make her promise that she never, ever, ever tell that story again, not to anyone. You probably want to dump your girlfriend too, just because you feel violated by association. You formerly had this great, funny story that worked in pretty much every situation, and now it's this lurid, weird, obscene thing that no one should ever know about. And it's all because of Screech's sex tape.
Now I have a music recommendation: the Drams. It's almost the same line-up as Slobberbone, a beloved alt-country act from the great state of Texas, and they continue rocking along in a similar, perhaps poppier vein.
I have a little more to share about yesterday's entry, where I talked about some training I'm doing for work. I should note that during the training, you're watching these video clips and then choosing an answer based on the characters around you. The story's all about this gold mine in the Old West. Well, I got the chance to go through a few more situations today and in one, where I did something that seemed totally reasonable, I blew up the mine and then got murdered by a lynch mob. I am being serious. Can you say upper-management material?
Well, I finally have the HDTV going on the Big TV. It didn't start working until around 9:45 this morning. As one might predict, it's hard to find scintillating, high definition content at 9:45 on a Wednesday morning. I did happen to find an episode of Quantum Leap on a local channel. Let me tell you something: you haven't seen Scott Bakula until you've seen him in high definition. He is simply magnificent, probably way better than he is in person. In fact, of the three people I've seen up-close in high definition so far (him, Robert Deniro, and Boof Bonzer), Bakula is numero uno. In my house, we will refer to HDTV as Bakula-vision.
I'd also like to recommend a movie, the Science of Sleep. It's excellent, surreal humor, much like this site (the surreal part was calling Goulash excellent, which in turn was excellent). If you enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you would like this. It's even better in some ways, nameless that you don't have to see Elijah Wood sniffing underwear. I am not alone in saying that scene troubled me. However, I don't think the soundtrack is as good. Jon Brion, a criminally underrated musician, scored ESofSM (horrible abbreviation) and I didn't see him in the credits. Maybe he's going under the stage name of the White Stripes. Anyway, it's an enjoyable movie and well worth watching.
I'm going through some training at work right now. All of my occupational training to this point has been technical (programming, object oriented design, how to clothe a robot, etc), but this time it's all about interpersonal skills. It's a little tricky, considering how I have none of those. Anyway, the training deals with how to interact with other types of people, and it's been interesting so far.
What's been just as good is the distinct "Choose Your Own Adventure" theme that runs throughout: I watch a little video, I am presented with 4 different responses/actions, and the story then proceeds based on my response. I have learned that I must weigh my answers correctly or else my virtual coworkers go ballistic. I've already had one guy tell me that I was wasting his time and that he'd refuse to speak to me for the duration of the training materials. Here's a typical scenario.
I see Sally walking down the hallway. She stops and says, "Hello, what did you think of my big project presentation?"
A. It was great. You are a competent and skilled worker.
B. I thought it was great. I think you are a competent and skilled worker.
C. To me, it was great. In my opinion, you are a competent and skilled worker.
D. You are an embarrassment to this organization. I must remember to stuff your desk drawers with rancid cat food.
Do you see what I'm experiencing here? At all times, I must know just how my virtual coworker views rancid cat food. Maybe she's a crazy old cat lady who keeps alley cats in her office; that'd be a nice reward. If I can surmise that she's not a fan of such a gesture, then I have three very similar options to weigh. It's a lot to consider. I can see how it's useful, but I can also see why someone like me might be just with my nonstop thoughtless, idiotic jabbering.
I'm maybe 1/6 of the way through the course, and after my limited interactions with my virtual coworkers, I'm terrified of speaking to any actual, physical coworker. I feel like I need an hour alone with the training matrix and a personnel file before I can venture anything besides, "Hot enough for ya?" And if they respond to that, well, I have no idea what to do; I'd probably be found an hour later under my desk, shaking and screaming, "Always go with the cat food!" Like I said, I'm only 1/6 of the way through it. By the time I finish, I'll either be Mr. Social or Mr. Mute for Life.
Alright, the Big TV is here. It's not exactly working. It turns on and I can go through the menus, but when I hook it to my cable box, I only get Ukrainian soap operas. Teleborschtellas, they call them. Actually, I can't even get teleborschtellas; I only get some dumb "THIS BOX IS NOT AUTHORIZED" message. You know what I'm about to authorize, Time Warner? A rump thrashing, from me addressed to you. (To any pedants: yes, I already switched out the cable box and all of that jazz.)
The addition of a TV meant a lot of furniture gyrations. If you need a TV moved a short distance, I'm your guy; I know how to play the furniture. The secret is to get your desk chairs involved. Those babies have rollers and they're pretty stout, so use them as your homeless man's dolly. Then it's just a simple hernia to get the TV onto the chair and another hernia to get it off. Problem solved, and as a bonus, you get to wear loose fitting underwear for a while.
You don't encounter a true problem until you encounter some furniture that you can't put on your chair. I ran into that tonight with this gigantic armoire of Laura's. I say armoire, but in actuality, this thing was probably designed to air out the corpses of giant squids. It's probably 7 feet tall and impressively sturdy, though no match for the Big TV. Laura decided that it should be moved to our bedroom. That set off 15 minutes of death-defying, profanity-laden, wall-bashing, thumb-mashing, "STOP PUSHING RIGHT NOW"-screaming, carpet-tearing hogwash. Now our bedroom looks strange. There's a bed in one corner and this giant armoire in the other, and the two will just sit there and stare at each other across the demilitarized zone. I am firmly in the bed camp, as it is far less likely to slowly teeter onto me in my sleep.
The moral of the story is, be careful when you accept a TV. If you decide to take it, use it as an excuse to set an armoire on fire.