If you ever want to see me do a perfect latter-day Mickey Rourke impression, just throw some fire ants on me. I was attacked by those little bastards out on the golf course yesterday, but a few tabs of Benadryl fixed me right up. If you want to kill me, Mother Nature, you better send sharks.
Someone mentioned, following the ant assault, that I should carry a sting kit with me. I looked into those things and they contains shots of adrenaline, amongst other craziness. I don't think one ant incident every 10 years really necessitates me walking around with a syringe of adrenaline. They'd never let me on airplanes, plus when I finally did get stung again in 10 years, some random passerby would probably inject the stuff into my eye. I'll live dangerously with the Benadryl for now.
ACL Fest is coming soon and I do plan on circulating a sampler CD this year. If you want one and you haven't communicated this to me yet, do so promptly! Just send me your address and I'll get it mailed out. I should note that this CD only exists in my mind right now, but I have played it mentally several times to wide acclaim.
Lastly, I have a pun for you guys. If I ever became an electrician for hire, I would name my company Crimpin' Ain't Easy.
I say the following sentence from experience. The first time you jump out of an airplane, there's really only one way to celebrate, and that's with a corn dog.
My friend Sam is getting married this weekend. For his bachelor party festivities, the plan was to play some video games on Friday, sky dive on Saturday, and then hit Sixth Street that night. The middle part of that didn't really appeal to me. I have a little thing about heights, plus, as an innate coward, I'm not such an adrenaline junkie. My plan then was to skip the sky dive, but hit the rest of the celebration and have a large time.
The problem with the video game geek-out fest was that there was alcohol involved. As the beverages flowed, our conversations kept returning to sky diving. At first, I held strong; I wasn't going. And then, like many other strange choices in my life, alcohol and peer pressure led me to a weird place. That weird place was inside an airplane at 10,000 feet with a crazy man strapped to my back.
I wasn't scared when I put the suit on. I wasn't scared when they gave me the training. I wasn't scared when I got on the plane. As soon as that door on the plane came open, though... all I can say is holy shinola. I really wanted to turn around to my instructor and say, "Wait, I'm not even supposed to be here!" I couldn't though, because he was tied to my back. Also, he was legitimately insane and I knew he'd throw me out of the plane out of spite.
There were 6 in our group, and I was the last one to jump. I got to watch everybody's faces as they jumped, and they were all absolutely terrified. I would say that we were so afraid, we were past the point of screaming or crying, where all we could do was pray silently and hope that if we peed our pants, we did so discreetly.
Everybody jumped, though. When they had, it was my turn. The guy latched to my back forced me towards the door. I was resigned to my fate at that point; I knew I was going out that door, and I just hoped it would be quick and hopefully the volume of my girlish shrieks would cause me to black out. We inched our way closer and then, everyone on the plane started screaming at us.
"Red light! Red light! Get away from the door!"
He anchored us back to the bench in a hurry. I had no idea what these people were talking about, but red light did not sound good. I wondered, is that the code for a tornado or maybe an engine flame-out? Was he just going to launch us out the door without giving me time to assume my practiced safety stance?
Somebody must've seen my frantic state because a voice explained, "A red light means we're too far away from the landing area."
They turned the plane back around. The instructor and I are still sitting right in front of the open door, with the red light blinking in our faces. I sat there like that for maybe three or four minutes, just waiting for doom to strike. It was awful.
Then, the instructor said we were good and he positioned me in front of the door. He made me count to 3 with him, and then we did a few backflips out of the plane. I should say that he did a few backflips, while I screamed helplessly and clawed my harness.
Once we stopped spinning (which he later told me he did on purpose because I seemed cool), it was actually pretty neat. We had about a minute of free fall, which was loud, fast, and windy. The free fall was fun in an "I'm about to die and this is a good way to go out" way. Then he pulled the cord and I knew I probably wouldn't die, unless we landed inside the power plant or near the railroad tracks.
I don't think the instructor had any idea how reluctant I was to do this. He thought I was a major skydive fiend, thus all of the backflips, him letting me steer the parachute a while, and his declaration, shouted in mid air, that we should try to land on our feet. Everyone else just landed on their asses like big sacks of beans, but he thought we could do better. His plan was for us to hit the ground running, thus keeping our momentum from carrying us into the sewer. It sounded complicated, but once I saw that ground, I knew that I'd do whatever it took to get back to it in one piece.
The landing was fine. When I finally got untangled, I was pumped. I hypothesize now that I could've thrown a dump truck a good 80 yards due to all of the adrenaline. Not seeing any dump trucks, I settled for a corn dog with my friends. It was crazy, it was fun, and I'm not doing it again.
No post yesterday, because SOMEBODY was a little under the weather due to allergies and whatnot. I went way, way overboard in medicating myself. I thought it may be the beginnings of a cold, so I loaded up on cough drops, cold medicine, and chicken soup, and I just took it all last night. Either it was a cold and I'm such an effective disease treater than I need to get my behind to medical school ASAP, or I overreacted a teensy bit. Let us err on the side of safety and go with that first option.
Actually, a little bit of illness isn't such a bad idea because I have this opportunity to go sky-diving on Saturday and I could really use an excuse to get out of it. It's not that I'm scared of heights, as much as I'm scared of gravity. Without the gravity, heights really aren't that bad at all. That's why I initially proposed we sky dive on the moon. No takers on that one, sadly.
In other news, the Rangers scored 30 runs in a game tonight. Barry Bonds, your HR record isn't going to stand for too long with production like that. I wonder if Bud Selig is just so pissed about the Bonds thing that he's given my beloved Rangers a free pass to take whatever stimulants they want. Their hearts will explode by August, but those boys are going to put up some runs.
Oh boy, I don't have anything at all tonight. I've tried to write about Mickey Mouse, time travel, Michael Vick, Michael Vick adopting Mickey Mouse, and then Mickey Mouse going back in time to disrupt Michael Vick's dogfighting ring. The end result of all of this was shoddy, even by my low standards. In lieu of anything coherent, I'll just share a few things for you.
Superbad is super rad.
Reviews that rhyme get paid overtime.
Last year at ACL Fest, I damn near climbed on top of a Port-a-Potty to see the Flaming Lips. That will not be the case this year come September 25, unless La Zona Rosa goes with a supremely strange seating arrangement.
Apparently, the 3 day passes of ACL Fest are back on sale. Up yours, scalpers! (Do not take literally, international scalping syndicate.)
The Two Coreys is everything I thought it'd be. It takes a special, special person to make Corey Feldman seem like a reasonable, mature adult. That special, special person is Corey Haim.
I forgot something slightly amusing from my recap from Wales.
When we got to our hostel, I talked to this great guy from Tokyo for a while. He was really funny and he spoke English well. He said that he was in the UK on business, and that he managed a Japanese musician. From that, I made a few assumptions. First, I assumed that any other Japanese guys in our room would be the musician this guy referenced. Second, I assumed that any other Japanese guys would be cool, much like this guy.
When this guy and I are done talking, I decide to pick a bed for myself. This room that he and I were in had maybe 5 or 6 sets of bunk beds. Laura takes the bed under the guy I talked to, and I take a bed across the room because underneath it, there's a lot of Japanese stuff. At that point, I'm thinking, "Ha ha, I'll bunk up with the cool musician and I won't have to deal with any weirdos here."
That night, we head back up to the room. I see that the bed under me contains a sleeping Japanese dude, ostensibly the musician. I figure that in the morning, I'll talk to the guy some and it'll make this arrangement a little less awkward.
In the middle of the night, choked, guttural screams wake me up. I decide that someone in the room is having a nightmare, and that they'll soon get over it. This doesn't happen. We keep getting these periodic screams, puncuated by a few sentences of Japanese. After a few of these, I realize that it's coming from the bed beneath me. This super cool musician guy is having full-on night terrors.
The next morning, Laura and I are talking.
She says, "Wasn't last night embarrassing?"
I say, "You mean all of the noise?"
She says, "Yeah, I couldn't believe you were carrying on like that."
She thought that I was the one going crazy in my life. Somehow, in two years of sharing a bedroom, she missed the fact that, in the middle of the night, I like to scream in Japanese and shake the furniture.
I say, "That wasn't me! That was the guy underneath me!"
She says, "Well, it sounded like you."
Later that night we're at the bar, and over in the corner, I see the guy from the bed below. I still believe that he is the cool musician, he simply had a bad night, and that I might want to meet him still. From across the room, I can tell he's looking at a Word doc on his laptop. There are no pictures or paragraphs, it's just line after line of text.
I check on him every once in a while over the next four or five hours. Not only does he look at the same Word doc the whole time, he never moves. He never orders a beverage, he never talks to anyone, he never even goes to the bathroom. If this guy is the cool Japanese musician, he's incredibly intense.
We get back up to our room later and I discover that the original guy, the one that I talked to and unknowingly convinced me to share bunk beds with his musician friend, had checked out. However, the other Japanese guy, the one underneath my bed, was still there. Thus, the guy below was not the cool musician at all; he was just some crazy Japanese guy who stares at his laptop for hours at a time and goes bitchcakes in his sleep.
At this point, it was too late to change beds. He and I shared bunks again, and again, he went crazy. This time, knowing he was a little weird, I began to fear that he would stuff my mouth with socks and climb into bed with me. Thankfully, all he did was scream and flop around. Laura still thought it was me.
A few weeks ago, I posted about this disturbing gentleman in my neighborhood who kept knocking on our door early in the morning to ask if he could mow our yard. He and I formed a bond, one which he could never quite remember.
When I made that post, I really expected to see him weekly. I knew, based on our few conversations, that this was a guy who would never willingly leave me alone, and that I could expect to spend lots and lots of time with him, finding new and interesting ways to say, "Go back to your house before I dig out the tennis racquet." The thing is, after the post, I didn't see the guy again. I've watched and waited, and I've even driven by his house slowly, but I've yet to see the Lawnmower Man (name coopted for my purposes). I guess I was a little sad, just because he was so weird.
Then, at the end of last week, he came back. Like an idiot, I was already at work, but Laura filled me in on the whole thing. He came up, knocked on the door, asked if he could mow the yard. Then, when he was told no, he protested that he'd do it real cheap. If that sounds familiar, it's because I've had the exact same conversation with that man several times in real life, as well as a few hundred times in dream life.
I think I know why he came back: our grass is really, really long. As much as I hate mowing, a logical move might be to ask this guy how cheap "really cheap" is. If I do that though, I might as well ask the guy to move in with us. I like talking to you, Lawnmower Man, but you've got to keep your hands off of the grass.
Two sacrificed hogs
later, Goulash is safe.
(Does anyone even sacrifice hogs? Unfortunately, 'chickens' has too many syllables.) Anyway, we're having some server difficulties, so I'm not sure whether this will work or not.
I made a big purchase this weekend. Well, I should have pluralized that, as I got two new things. First, I got a big table. Second, I got a swiveling chair that goes with the table. Combine the two and you have one ferocious working environment for yours truly.
This is a major upgrade over my previous set-up, which was a folding chair and a TV tray. It was really hard to get productive with that. In fact, I blame the folding chair and TV tray for the excessive amount of time I've spent lately in my underwear, eating hot dogs and manically checking Wikipedia. You really think I'm going to do that now that my butt is planted in a seat that was advertised as an executive swivel chair? I'd get laughed out of the executive chair club for that!
I'm really digging the set-up so far. If I want to file something, I only need to look right under my table. I can now store all of my gadgetry under there, too. There are also fringe benefits. If I want to look at a fern, I only need to swivel 180 degrees. If I need quick access to a large plastic dog cage, bam, I look to the left. I know what you're thinking here. You're thinking, "All of that sounds great, but what if you want to want to look at an antique furnace thing?" My friend, it's right under the fern! (There are a lot of strange things in this spare bedroom.)
Since we got back from the UK, I've been trying a new sleep schedule. Before, I would always wake up at 8:30 and get to work at 9. Now, and get ready for this because it's going to blow your pants off, I'm waking up at 7:00 and getting to work at 7:30. Can you believe that?!
Early risers are a strange group. They live out in the country, they listen to talk radio, and their veins pump pure caffeine. Even though it's only been four days, I declare that it's a cool group to be in. Much cooler than the late riser group at least, where all everyone wants to talk about is anime.
The only downside of the waking early thing is that, of course, I'm tired earlier. I'm a guy who needs a lot of sleep; I'm not one of these machines who stays up every night to the wee hours of the morning. Last night, I tried to push the limits to 11:30 and as a result, I went to work this morning with toothpaste in my hair. The law of early rising states that if I'm going to wake up like an old man, then I must go to bed like an old man, 15 minutes after dusk.
In other news, I am contemplating the quitting of my office softball team. It's fun to play with people that I work with; it's less fun to play with their uber-competitive replacements who attempt to coordinate all positioning in the outfield like Tony LaRussa. As softball brethren, we have agreed not to air out our disagreements in public, but instead allow me to vent them on my website and then quit in a huff.
I got to work from home today, on account of a rampant case of stinky-hallway-itis. At about 10 AM, the power to our office building got shut off. When it came back on, the whole hallway smelled like a tire fire. In some situations (I'm thinking of an actual tire fire), that's not so bad, but it doesn't work when some of us have high quality software to produce. I spent the rest of the day at home.
I can now say that I'm incredibly productive when it comes to working from home. This surprises me too; I was certain I'd spend the afternoon playing charades with the cat. Like all aspiring shut-ins, I've always wanted a job where I could telecommute, and this little experience gives me faith that I could actually do it. Please let the hallway reek of crap tomorrow!
I've been thinking some about Barry Bonds lately, and how he's about to break Hank Aaron's homerun record. As a baseball fan, I should care about this. As someone who once dressed up as Hank Aaron for Halloween, in what was surely one of the most misguided costumes ever, I should care about this. The problem is, I'm kind of indifferent. If he weren't such an ass, I could root for him. If I thought he was the only person who used steroids, I could root against him. Unfortunately, he is an ass who's really good at baseball, but still used steroids, although lots of other guys did, but he's still kind of an ass, so my mind isn't made up.
Since I'm not sure what to think, I came up with a good homerun scenario that would please the people in my camp. Right now, Barry's tied with Hank. Let's imagine that at his next game, he's up to bat and he just crushes the ball. There's absolutely no doubt this is a home run. Immediately on contact, he turns to the fans and screams, "I retire!" He starts to round the bases, everybody's going crazy, and then the ball strikes a seagull in the outfield, only to fall short of the fence. Technically, it's not a homerun, even though everyone sort of agrees that was a homerun. Being a man of his word, Barry stays retired and everyone gets to debate forever whether or not he's the true homerun maestro.
If possible, someone pitch this idea to Barry and a trained seagull.
Wooooooooooo boy, I'm back in the States. How was the trip? Well if you ask me, the trip was awesome. If you ask American Express, they will concur as it is impossible to go to the UK without racking up thirteen billion dollars in debt. Even with the new bankruptcy laws in place, it was worth it.
Here's a short summary:
To go along wiht all of this, I have 9 zillion pictures that I'm slowly uploading to Flickr. If I finish that before the heat death of the universe, I'll let everybody know.