I did something vaguely interesting earlier this week: I called my United States Senators. It wasn't a "whaddup, dawg?" kind of call, but I actually had something to say. What I had to say was, "I'm tired of paying taxes!" But before I said that, I said, "Hey, you should cosponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act."
I was wondering exactly how much I'd have to justify that statement; I wrote down a little paragraph in advance on why my senators should cosponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act. I was going to harness my inner Mr. Smith Goes To Washington and really sell them on the virtues of the non-profit webcaster versus the corrupt and villainous entertainment industry. However, the people on the phone didn't really care. They both said, "Okay, cool," and that was that. Consider the system rocked!
(I generally don't get too worked up over civic issues, but when it comes to free webcasting, my panties get bunched. Does any industry have its head up its own ass farther than the entertainment industry?)
To recap, this week I did jury duty for the first time and then I lobbied both senators to cosponsor a bill. What happens next week? I assume I'll serve on two separate juries, run for city council, and broker a peace accord for the Middle East. The week after that, I get elected President, I resign under fire when I mistakenly bomb New Mexico, and I write my memoirs. The following week, I serve on three separate juries.
If anybody needs me this weekend, I'll be in Norman, OK, watching Dumpy get married. I don't even want to think about excessive rain stranding me up there.
I had my first jury duty experience this week, and it was not the laughable farce that Pauly Shore led me to expect. In fact, it was the exact opposite. For this, I blame democracy.
When I got my summons a few weeks back, I noticed two interesting things. First, I saw that my date as a juror was the first work day after my week-long trip to Mexico. Come on, America; some of us have to work. For this, I did not want to go.
Second, I realized that one of my work buddies had jury duty on the same day. He'd already reported his to the higher-ups, and I knew that when I did the same, they'd assume we were both cutting work to engage in kinky gay sex acts. That's the sort of thing that goes down in a personnel file, and it'd only get worse if we were sequestered together for a few days. It was just another reason to dread jury duty.
My expectations were low, and extensive internet research did not raise them. I learned about the process, how long it takes, and the sweet $6 a day I could expect from the government as compensation for my time. I also saw lots and lots of ways to get out of jury duty, but I decided against using these. When I am inevitably brought into court on trumped-up charges of smuggling vegetables into the USA, I want some honest, virtuous jurors, not a bunch of doofuses too dumb to get out of serving on the jury.
The day finally arrived and I drove downtown to engage in some justice. After snagging a sweet parking spot, I went into the courthouse and located my court. I was surprised by how tiny it was. From the dimensions of the room, I did not think the courtroom artist would be able to sketch me appropriately. In fact, the people on Court TV would probably mock her sketches of me, perhaps by calling me a gargoyle. I was ready to blame all of this on shoddy courtroom lighting.
A few more people filtered in, and then an official court representative came to greet us. I prepared to draw numbers and get harrassed by attorneys when she told us that the case had been disposed. We were free to leave.
Whaaaaaaaa? I had two more hours on my parking meter! I would've gladly deliberated on another trial for that amount of time, provided there were snacks.
I was going to volunteer this when the guy next to me sighed loudly and said, "I'm self employed! I can't just drive down to the courthouse every month to get sent back home! I can't afford that!"
My first thought was, "This guy gets summoned every month? Holy crap." My second thought was, "Amen! If we're called down here, we should at least get to participate a little bit." My third thought was, "Shut up and get out of here before she holds us all in contempt." (I'm not sure how contempt works, so I'm wary at all times.)
Anyway, that's what I did. Justice system, I tried to rock you but you shooed me away.
Believe it, folks; I'm back from Mexico. How was my trip? Well, I ate lots of good stuff, had a drink or two, parasailed, snorkeled, won many games of dominoes, met the first ever cool white dude with dread locks, ate the world's hottest pepper and nearly wet myself, found some buried treasure (seriously), saw a bottle of mezcal with a scorpion in the bottom of it, and succeeded in getting a bizarre sunburn that looks a lot like a horrible tribal tattoo. So, pretty much the usual.
The trip was fantastic. I think the whole fam (sans H-Po) had a very large time, as one could only expect in such an excellent locale. Still, I am happy to be back. My pets are here, and it's nice to be in a country where I don't have to tip everyone I see. Also, it is nice to go 5 minutes in the sun without feverishly applying sunscreen. I wore so much of that stuff last week, I expect to be waterproof for the rest of my life. That is the price of a vacation! I have lots of pictures and whatnot, and I promise to upload them at my typical glacial pace.
What's been going on since I've been gone? I'll answer for you: nothing! The sun was a little darker, the days were a little longer, and the nights were a little colder, yes? (I don't care if that doesn't make sense meteorologically.) That's the effect that Goulash. Well, it doesn't have that effect on my life or any of yours, but maybe some lonely old woman in Eastern Europe whose English isn't very good and confuses me with her grandson. Good news, crazy lady; I'm back!
(Also, how about those Rangers? I like how they get 15 games under .500 and then unleash their frenzied attack. Another also, I hope everybody is watching Flight of the Conchords on Sunday nights on HBO, as it is rocking the houseboat.)
Wahoo, I have one more day of work and then I'm officially on vacation! A countdown to vacation is highly unscientific to me. To start with, in this count, I only include days I have to work. We leave this Friday morning, and last Friday, I went around and told my coworkers that I had 4 days until departure. I was counting work days, not actual days, and no one realized this. As a result, over and over this week I've been asked "Did you miss your flight?!" Note to coworkers: if I miss my flight, I'm chartering a tugboat; no string of awful coincidences is enough to keep me from Mexico.
The first Monday after I return, I have jury duty. I've never had jury duty, but I've heard a lot about it; I am very excited about the $7 check I can expect for my time. (I knew that if I paid enough taxes, eventually I'd get something to show for it.) I talked to some people in the know, and since I got called for Travis County and not the City of Austin, I can't expect something simple like a traffic ticket. No, we're talking assault and felonies here. (Actual lawyers, please feel free to correct me.) It promises to fascinate and terrify.
I know that everybody tries to get out of jury duty, but I figure that as an American, I should participate at least once. I'll sit there and bitch about it like everybody else, but I'll keep an open mind about the whole thing. So, attorneys and judges and whatnot, when you see me strut into court, lean back in my seat, and cross my arm, don't take it as surliness. All I'm saying is, "Wow me, justice system."
I'll stop here. I'm 8 hours from vacation, counting only work hours and exempting my lunch break. I am excited and provided that the mermaids of the Caribbean don't kidnap me and make me their leader, I shall be back shortly.
Is it just me, or does everyone else's vacations tend to start the week before they leave? I will illustrate this point with an anecdote involving ice cream consumption. This whole week, I've been eating a lot of ice cream and explaining it with, "I'm on vacation!" The only problem is that I'm not technically on vacation yet; I'm sleeping at home and going to work until Friday morning. I see that vacation coming, though, and I'm eager to embrace it. As a result, I'm dressing sloppily (even for me), eating lots of crappy food (even for me), and spending a lot of time thinking about jellyfish stings (yes, even for me).
I suspect I'm not the only one here, and I think the solution is to get Congress involved. They need to mandate that all full-time, salaried employees get the week before their vacation off of work, as a time to plot, fantasize, and check the weather obsessively. (You'll see that I exempted hourly workers. My reason is simple: they're savages.)
It always surprises me how few people take actual vacations each year. As long as I have a job that comes with time off, I will spend that time off someplace great; I don't care if I have to roll into work in my infection-proof plastic bubble, thus preserving my PTO days. It's my agreement with reality: I won't complain about how lame adulthood is, as long as I'm allowed to escape it periodically in a place where the people have funny accents.
Frequent vacations tie into my theory of consumption, which states that I'd much rather spend money on adventures than on possessions. Possessions get boring and outdated. As an example, what would happen if I spent all of my money on the world's largest television? I'd like it for a while, then some Swedish biscuit magnate would get a TV slightly larger and send me spiralling into depression. Alternatively, I could spend that money having a good time in Mexico, knowing that Earth is not going to one-up my trip by opening a Super Mexico.
Also, you can't share possessions. Adventures were made to be shared. This will become evident on Friday, when I'm stung by a jellyfish and I beg a random Mexican dude to pee on my foot so the venom will dissolve. Maybe that's an urban legend, but it will certainly be an adventure.
Okay, let's talk Sopranos. A lot of people seem to be very, very disappointed with last night's final episode. Not me. One of the best parts about the show was how it was like real life, with lots of unresolved story and copious misdirection. To tie it up nicely at the end would've broken with that; let it end with some ambiguity, I say. Also, how sweet was it when the truck rolled over Leotardo's head? I love a good noggin-squash. (Also, in the event you haven't watched the episode yet and I spoiled the whole thing, I don't care. A true fan doesn't time-shift something that important!)
I should note that now that the Sopranos is over, a Goulash fave is taking over that time slot. Starting next week, New Zealand folk comedy sensation Flight of the Conchords is rocking some sort of weekly variety show or something. These guys are hilarious. Watch or else.
This weekend, I got to spend a little time at the rockingest house in the Houston area. Not only did I get to live it up with my friends for a night, but I came out of the deal with a complimentary skull cap. It's hard to make me look like more of a bad ass, but a skull cap may push me over the top. When locusts overrun Powell Manor, I'm moving to Tomball out there to become a pool boy.
What else is there to report? The Rangers still suck, I'm jazzed about the new White Stripes, and I go to Mexico on Friday. Right now, the weather man is forecasting rain for my beach trip. Me, I'm forecasting 80% chance of awesome, with intermittent sunburn. Three more days of work, and I'm there.
Quick, before they can change their website, everybody click here and read the first headline. Since you're all probably too damn lazy to follow a simple link, I'm posting a screenshot here from westernslopeanglers.com.
First of all, I don't know where these dudes get off calling me Cochise, but I do appreciate the pat on the back. I'm gunning for first next time!
It's not that weird to read about another Cody Powell. It's a kinda common first name + kinda common last name, and for some reason, the world is lousy with us. From my researching, I've found a motorcycle racer, a rodeo dude, a journalist, a power lifter, and a hocky player. In fact, the last time I was at Bank of America, I learned there's even another Cody W. Powell in Texas. (Question to the impostor: is there an M after the W? If not, I win.)
In addition to the fact that there are other Cody Powells, Cody and Powell are adjacent towns in Wyoming. I know this because every time I've ever met someone from Wyoming, they've told me this. (Question to other Cody Powells, including the impostor: common occurrence, or does it only happen to me?)
There are people named Cody Powell, there's a place named Cody/Powell, and I can only expect there's a lot more to come. In the near future, I want to my name on a fish, a car, a dune buggy (separate from the car), a space shuttle, a racquetball court, a canned ham company, a cartoon character, a pair of old lady sneakers, and a sword. Eventually, Cody Powell should stop referring to actual objects, and just become a concept. I don't know what the concept will refer to, but when my fellow CPs, including the motorcycle racer, the rodeo dude, the journalist, and the power lifter, meet up in Wyoming, I suggest we discuss.
Consider my tooth lengthened! The procedure itself was a little uncomfortable, but they gave me a grocery bag full of medicine for it and as a result, not only did I feel no pain but I no longer remember my birthday.
I managed to make it to Dumpy's bachelor party in my post-surgery state. How was the party when I was the only guy there who couldn't drink? Simply outstanding. I don't feel like I missed anything at all, and it was kind of interesting to be the voice of reason at a social gathering. What's even better, I was able to stay up until 6 AM playing blackjack and I only felt like 25% poop the next day, as opposed to the traditional 190%. I don't want to shock anyone, but I'm going to be rocking booze-free evenings quite a bit in the future. I'm cheap and I don't like hangovers; if I'm looking to enter any altered states, I'll just pay a vagrant to throw rocks at my head.
What really kicked the weekend up a notch was a little game called Boj It. Basically, the point of Boj It is to create dirty rhymes and then tack the words "Boj it" onto the end. Example: When you're feeling randy and she's looking like a dandy, Boj it.
That's actually a terrible, terrible Boj It example because they're usually a thousand times more offensive and terrifying; I'm not sharing any of my A material here because I hope to stay out of jail for the present. Yesterday on the ride from Shreveport to Dallas, four of us played a three hour game of Boj It that, if transcribed, would probably be enough to keep all of us from ever speaking to a woman ever again. About three minutes into it, the conversation went to a weird place and then it just camped out there. I want to give highlights here. I really, really want to, but I have a feeling that an anonymous website will surface in the future with a full catalog of Boj Its, so I'll wait for that and temporarily keep from further sullying my name. Anyway, it was a great way to do a road trip.
Nothing too interesting is brewing this week, although I do have last night's episode of the Sopranos to look forward to. My dad sent me an email, and I tried not to read it. I did happen to see Silvio mentioned. For the love of God, nobody hurt Silvio or Paulie Walnuts. My idea is that when the series ends, those two open up a hat shop in Buffalo and live together in a little apartment above the store. If you think the mafia stuff is riveting, wait until you see them argue about bowlers for thirty minutes.