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Monday, March 31, 2003
Stats that Shape a Weekend
Time Spent Showing Out-of-town Friends the Sights in Tallahassee: about 2 hours (most of that through the car windows)
Time Dedicated to the Sights of St. George Island and Apalachicola: about 6 hours (included driving time)
Number of Trees that Fell on Brother-in-law's House: 1

Fairly eventful weekend here in Tallahassee . . . relatively. My (one) friend from Albany (NY) and his girlfriend flew down to see us last Thursday and stayed until Sunday morning. We tried to squeeze in as much fun as possible. And we had to squeeze Tallahassee pretty hard, but there was some fun to be had.

Okay, we could've done more, but we're boring. And parents. Still, I blame Tallahassee.

To summarize: We ate out a lot. Drank lots of beer and flavored malt beverages. Watched a couple movies. Saw Girls on Film play on campus. Drove to St. George Island and Apalachicola.

We saw my friends off early and then went to retrieve Mia from Michelle's parents. By the time we got home, everyone was tired and we went down for naps. Soon after, we received a call that a tree had fallen on Michelle's brother's house.

As it happens, Michelle's brother stopped his wife (who was carrying their child) before they went to the bedroom to take a nap. They were looking out at the yard through the front window when the tree fell. Had he not stopped them for his yard-marveling, they'd have been in the hall or in the master bedroom . . . where the tree hit. Pretty spooky.

The hall and bedroom ceilings are heavily damaged (or non-existent). In several places, you can see the sky right through where the ceiling and roof had been. There is insulation everywhere. And drywall. And leaves.

Everyone's keeping their fingers crossed that the insurance companies don't make this tough. The tree was near a property boundary and may or may not have been dead. I mean, it's great that no-one was hurt, but you'd like to see them not get raked over the coals here, right?


If you haven't taken The Quiz yet, scroll down and take it. I've received lots of entries, but there is always room for more!

Thursday, March 27, 2003
The Quiz
I like making mix CDs. I usually make myself a new one every two or three months. But I really like to make them for other people. I mean, whether or not they put the resulting CDs in their version of "high rotation" is not important. It's putting something out there that maybe they'll enjoy or be influenced by. Kind-of like blogging.

Anyway, I'm planning on making a personalized mix CD for the person who scores highest on the following quiz. The quiz is about your preferences, not mine. So, when it reads "I/me/my" it means you. Got that?

There is a highly subjective, KL-based scoring system for each question. You should know that, for most questions, there is no more than one wrong answer (negative points). Some answers are neutral (no points), but many are varying degrees of correct-ness (positive points).

The quiz will run for one week. You can submit your entry in the comment section, or you can e-mail me your answers (link on the left). Oh, yeah . . . if I know you in the "real" world, you can still participate and may receive a CD if you win, but the CD will be customized for the blog-world entity who wins and not you.

Good luck!


1. Given these choices of bottled beverages, I'd prefer:
a. soda/pop/cola (of any variety)
b. Red Stripe
c. Sam Adams
d. Bud Light
e. Cider Jack

2. Given these choices of mixed drinks, I'd prefer:
a. gin and tonic
b. cosmopolitan
c. scotch (with or without water/ice)
d. rum or bourbon and Coke
e. margarita

3. I read ________ religiously:
a. The Holy Bible / Koran / Torah
b. The Book of Mormon
c. The Onion
d. fashion magazines
e. the newspaper

4. For inspiration, I turn to:
a. The Holy Bible / Koran / Torah
b. T.V.
c. Death Cab for Cutie
d. poetry
e. my favorite blog sites

5. If this were a menu, I'd want:
a. sushi (any variety)
b. hamburger and fries
c. wings (with bleu cheese and celery)
d. dinner salad
e. pasta or pizza (any variety)

6. Of these DVDs, I'd most likely watch:
a. Pearl Harbor
b. Amelie
c. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
d. Old School
e. any Coen Brothers movie

7. My political affiliation is:
a. Democrat
b. Republican
c. Green
d. Libertarian
e. Anarchist

8. My favorite sport to watch is:
a. football
b. basketball
c. baseball
d. soccer
e. I don't watch sports

9. My favorite sport to play is:
a. ice/roller hockey
b. golf
c. basketball
d. kick ball or dodge ball
e. I don't play sports (or, not these sports)

10. Usually, I listen to:
a. country music
b. hip-hop/rap music
c. straight-up rock
d. indie rock/alternative
e. hymns


I have a friend coming from out of town at lunch today, so I may not blog tomorrow. We'll see how the day goes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003
The Greatest Story Ever Told (About My Love Affair with the Bottle)
First everyone was in love. Then everyone was getting drunk. So, after my historically significant love poem, I'll move on to recounting my relationship with booze.

Now, I'll preface this by saying that I'm not an alcoholic. The argument could be made that my father is, but not me. I didn't really even flirt with alcoholism. But I have a firm belief (still) that one of the major parts of a college education is determining your alcohol tolerance/threshold. I say it all the time. So, it suffices to say that I drank enough to know how much I could drink under various circumstances.

My drinking career began at 18. Yeah, I'd had drinks here and there before then (like that Rusty Nail . . . thanks, Joe), but I didn't have a favorite drink. And I didn't know my limits.

I was at a party. Playing chess. Badly. The hostess invited my friend and I to partake of her Captain Morgan's. She started with a tall glass and added ice. "Say when," she said as she began pouring the rum. I just watched it flow into the glass. Her eyes got big as the rum level neared the top. "Um, okay," I stammered. She topped it off with Coke and sent me on my way. To play more chess. Badly.

I kept sipping the rum and Coke for quite a while, until I arrived at the astute conclusion that "this tasteth jus' like apple juith!" And thus began the "Captain Morgan" phase of my drinking-hood. I found out how well it mixed with various things. (Hawaiian Punch was an early fave.)

Soon, I started hanging with the McDonald's maintenance staff (where I worked). They were over 21. That's when I discovered Hurricanes. But my love affair with those ended quickly after a night of adding rum and vodka to a 32-ounce cup of store-bought, pre-mixed Hurricane-in-a-bottle. Holy shit, that hurt.

Vodka Slammers were a big winner, too. For those uninitiated, put some vodka and 7 Up in a shot glass, cup your hand over the top, slam the shot glass on a table, and then shoot the fizzy mixture into your face. May cause blackouts. And they don't mix well with ephedrine, in case you're wondering. (You'll black out and still be awake. And then your friends may practice wrestling moves on you.)

I didn't learn to appreciate beer on any level until after I'd turned 21. I'd spent so long slamming shots of contraband liquor outside of clubs, it was nice to slow down. I started to learn how to drink and not get drunk. Y'know, when it's actually fun to just have a drink or five and not end up half naked and flailing in your own puke. (Or stripped down to your underwear and sucker-punching a friend in the face while he is innocently playing Nintendo.)

Here are some truths I've learned during my drinking career:

-- Goldschlagger doesn't mix well with Killian's . . . or any beer, for that matter. I think the gold flakes react with something in the beer. (I vomited foam. And a dog licked it off me. No, really.)

-- Nine times out of ten, it's a bad idea to drink something a friend hands you, saying, "Here, drink this."

-- Colt 45 will do nothing to improve your behavior. King Cobra, though, just might.

-- If you drink enough tequila (say, Monte Alban), you might hallucinate.

-- When your first alcohol purchase after turning 21 is a bottle of 20-proof Cisco at the nearby Sing Store, the black guy behind the counter might say something like, "Damn, yo gonna get fuuuucked up!"

-- Drinking a six pack of Schlitz is much worse than drinking a six pack of good beer.

-- You can be too old to drink Boone's Farm wine, but you'll do it anyway. (It's cool, though, if you can carry a bottle in the inside pocket of a jacket. While drinking the first one.)

-- You can make a good drink with Jaggermeister.

-- You can have lots of fun at your party by creating a "penalty shot" for people who spill drinks or break glasses. Like the Red Face of God (Bacardi 151, Ketel One, Grand Marnier, and a splash of Grenadine). You'll have 'em throwing up in the ditch in no time.

-- If you go to some radio-promotional drinking event, and they have a special drink, and you're only allowed to have one, and it's black, and they won't tell you what's in it . . . you should probably wait a while to see how it affects you before you start in on the 50-cent kamikazes.

I started to slow down in my drinking in my mid-20s. I was out of college. I had a (relatively) steady girlfriend. When Michelle and I moved to Upstate New York for two and half years, I almost completely stopped drinking because we never really went anywhere. So now, my tolerance isn't what it used to be, which I'm abruptly reminded of when I get involved in an ill-advised drinking game, or try to go beer-for-beer with someone whose drinking career is more accomplished than my own.

I wouldn't say that I look back on my career fondly. Yeah, it's fun to laugh at some (okay, most) of the stupid shit I did. I didn't even address my discovery of kamikazes (Lucy Ho's, 1994).

I will say this: Let's be careful out there.

Monday, March 24, 2003
Stats that Shape a Weekend
Points in NCAA Bracket Pool: 43 (out of 64 possible; third place)
Score of Bowling Rematch: 125 to 115 (I lost)
Hours of War Coverage Watched: Christ, I don't know . . . and "watched" isn't quite the same as "had it on while reading something or checking the brackets"

It was on T.V. everywhere we went on Saturday. Mozzarella's (The American Cafe). The bowling alley. The show at the Club Downunder. That's right, basketball.

It was Valentine's Day revisited as the wife and I got together with Rich and Allison for a bowling rematch. I was going to avenge my previous loss to Rich. The first game ended in an embarrassingly low-scoring, tied game. Actually, Michelle had a chance to win it in the last frame and rolled double gutter balls. (Ouch, honey. Ouch.) The second game, despite getting fired up at Wisconsin's buzzer-beater win, I still lost at the end. Guess I'm not a clutch bowler.

So, how about that basketball? I wasn't feeling too great after the opening round, but the weekend games wiped out lots of my opponents' picks in future rounds. Florida goin' all the way? Sorry. Not gonna happen. Xavier in the Final Four? Nope. Granted, my picks are pretty safe ones. The only semi-gamble was Duke for the Final Four. If they can knock off Kansas this Thursday, I'll get rid of some more competition and that $40 will be mine!

Yeah, I kept up with the war over the weekend . . . have to keep track of my tax dollars, y'know. I was mostly tuned to MSNBC. I switched to CNN when MSNBC started re-running items from earlier in the day, but I switched back when one of those retarded antidrug.com commercials/PSAs came on. What kind of terrorists am I supporting if I buy a bag of juicy, sticky Jamaican Blue?

Not that I would ever do that, mind you. Just asking.


I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support for my poetic effort. Actually, that poem is a little old and not my best work. I also noticed that Kamikaze Lunchbreak has been added to a few more blogrolls. Thank you. Thank you all.

Friday, March 21, 2003
A Love Story
I'm going to tell a story. However, without the gift for prose that some of my peers have, I'll go with another medium.

I'm sorry if you don't dig on this.


"Vodka (or, How Things Can Start)"

a harsh and tasteless June---

birds beating wings further northward,
a plague of mosquitoes, biting,
heat setting like humid glue---

that was your summer after high school,
my summer of one long party,
the summer Love never gave anything back.

You said we first met in the kitchen at Tif's.
I remember passing through
as you shared a private moment
with a liter of Gilbey's---
the air laden with conversation you didn't want to have:
about the girlfriend I had neglected to bring,
or my pot-induced anxiety cresting into paranoia,
or the fact that nothing clean nor pure
could ever quench your thirst.

Perhaps I should have stayed home, you must have thought,
mourning your long-lost, faraway someone,
waiting in Texas like a vampire
for your Life, Love, and virginity---
so much with God,
so much like God.

But it was another house,
another party, another night, on a trampoline,
when our words finally came---
I was holding Cuervo Gold like some glass slipper,
slurring a masterwork of small-talk,
abandoning all pretense of salt and lime.

Maybe you were listening, passively.
Maybe it wasn't until I drunkenly called
after you had slipped away that I had a voice at all.
Or maybe you never heard anything
until we rose from our stupid youth
like fiery birds, the words Love, Marriage, Forever
tumbling from our lips---
practicing them,
lying in a hotel in Atlanta three summers later,
the wings of what we had newly begun opened for flight,
or petals receiving their first whiff of sun---
only to avoid them in six months
in our Seventh Avenue apartment
between breaking apart and holding fast
and you running away to St. Petersburg,
or the half-in, half-out days
of bodies smashing together, pouring forth,
of resistance crashing into openness,
of endless contemplation,
knowing all the while there was no-one else
without really knowing.

Thursday, March 20, 2003
The Nightmares
As far back as I can remember, I have only had two nightmares. Ever. In my entire life. Oh, yeah, I've had the dreams where I'm falling and I wake up clutching my pillow, or hanging off the bed. But scary dreams . . . not so many.

And, strictly speaking, these dreams weren't really nightmares. One was scary but then degenerated into silliness. The second one was not scary in the classic sense, just very intense and real.

Both dreams were set at my parents' last house as a married unit. There was a pond across the street, and residences bordered the pond, except the lot directly across from our house, which was vacant. I was in my teens when I had the dreams.

In the first dream, the pond was a huge chasm. There were no other houses besides ours. Around the chasm, there was a dirt track. People were driving go-carts on the track. I was standing out by the dirt track by our mailbox. A green-faced, witch-type character appeared from nowhere . . . maybe she came out of the chasm. She ran at me, screaming that she was going to kill me and my entire family. I ran up the driveway and got into the family car where, strangely enough, my parents were waiting for me. The witch ran up to the car and started screaming at my window. And, as I watched her, she started making faces and sticking out her tongue. It was very similar to that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where "Tim, the Enchanter" is describing the horrible bunny creature, "with sharp, pointy teeth . . ."

The second dream was very brief. I was standing at my bedroom window. It was nighttime. There was a helicopter hovering over the pond with searchlights illuminating it. There was a man hanging onto one of the landing bars. I could hear him screaming over the helicopter's engine. There were also two men in the open door of the helicopter with machine guns. They were shouting and aiming their guns at the man.

I woke up in a cold sweat.


Lots of great stories at other sites, including CW's chronicle of young love and Caitlin's laundry list of her various relationships. (Yeah, there's your link love. It's very one-sided between Caitlin and I.) I'd post some of my own, if I could remember them and if posting such stories wouldn't result in divorce proceedings. I guess I'll leave the story-telling to those who are better at it. For now, anyway.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003
It's the End of the World as We Know It (in Iraq, Anyway)
I just realized that we missed The Real World last night. Damn. What'd we do instead? Well, during Michelle's band practice, I did some cleaning in our "office." I moved the old Compaq out to the kitchen to set it up and purge some files. Then I did a little blog-surfing. After that, I lulled myself into a sleepy state by playing Tetris on Michelle's Gameboy.

May the bombs fall around me in the shapes of those frustrating, colorful little blocks.


I'm not going to get into a rant on smoking; I don't want to turn off any readers who participate in that activity. But is it a symptom of severe addiction when you're bumming cigarettes from people in other cars at traffic lights?

When I was driving home from the grocery store yesterday after work, I was stopped at a light, waiting to turn left. Suddenly, a guy in the car next to me gets out, runs back to the car behind him (hopefully someone he knew), and comes back to his car with a cigarette.

Now, I wouldn't have paid much attention to this, but the guy was a little shady looking. And he got out of his car very quickly. And I had Mia with me (with the doors unlocked . . . sorry, honey). So, I was pretty alarmed.

Dude, I'm glad I could be so startled by your cigarette craving.


I just got out of a Good Laboratory Practices refresher seminar. We were told an interesting story about the lab that is partially the basis for the GLP standards. In the 1970s, said lab was cited for accidentally running their mouse cages through the cage washer . . . with mice still in them. The U.S. EPA inspectors found the drowned mice in the nice, clean cages. Ah, there's another reminder why I don't visit the PETA website.


In honor of the upcoming Oscar awards (and, by extension, Julia's promised Oscar predictions), I have the two biggest crimes perpetrated during the Oscar's:

-- Shakespeare in Love winning best picture over Saving Private Ryan

-- Tommy Lee Jones winning best supporting actor for The Fugitive rather than Ralph Fiennes for Schindler's List

I'd be interested to know if you disagree, or if you have some other candidates.


I've almost completed my 100 Things list, which I will post shortly. But first, I have a questionnaire that will be posted next week. The questionnaire will be multiple-choice, with answers weighted according to their level of cool . . . according to KL, anyway. The "winner" will receive a personalized mix CD.

Should be fun. But probably won't be.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Stats that Shape a Presidential Address
Hours Saddam and his "kids" (thanks, Tom Brokaw) have to get out of Dodge . . . er, Iraq: 48
"Nu-cu-lar" count: 2
Number of kamikazes consumed: 2 (and they were really tasty)

Okay, I don't want to dwell on this but---even through the haze of beady-eyed glares, rampant mispronunciations, lisped sloganeering, and vodka---two things are abundantly clear:

--Bush was at half mast while talking about invading Iraq.

--Somewhere in his contract, there is a stipulation that he has to be introduced as "Washington Bureau Chief and Moderator of Meet the Press Tim Russert." Man, I'm sick of that.

See ya at lunch. Maybe.

Monday, March 17, 2003
March Madness
We are going to war. This should surprise no-one.

When the missiles fly, no-one should be shocked. Or in awe.

And no-one should be surprised when nothing changes. In a year and a half, people voting against Bush because of the war will be a pitiful minority. But I'll vote against Bush anyway.

Not for the war, but because he's a jackass.

Our fearless leader is going to address the nation tonight, and probably give the order to start launching the missiles (for the "shock and awe" part of the attack) soon after.

I really wanted to steer away from the overtly political stuff, but I'm sure we're all thinking about it on some level. Let me just say that this attack would most likely have been necessary at some point . . . if the world was really serious about disarming Saddam. If we start with the resolution passed (unanimously) last fall, and add to that Saddam's history, things were going to end in war. One month, four months, it wouldn't matter. We'd be in the same place, talking about the same crap. France would oppose any ultimatums. Russia would be worried about the glut of Iraqi oil crashing their economy.

But the buildup to this point has been handled so badly. I said months ago that Bush has a hard-on for Saddam and that, one way or another, we're going to end up going to war with Iraq. And now it's coming true. (Not because I said so.) Everyone sees it as score-settling, or America being arrogant. History will (sadly?) remember it differently.

So, we're going to war. And I'm not surprised. You aren't either.

However, I won't be taking any precautions to protect my family, like stockpiling water, or gasoline, or duct tape. I'm going to fill out my tournament bracket and pay my $5.

Let's get this thing over with.

Friday, March 14, 2003
First, let me start by saying I hope to God that this isn't the same as Ambitionless. I mean, yeah, that's still me, but do I have to write everything in my most earnest voice? I hope to bring it more, in both attitude (like maybe JR or Sarah B.) and better writing (like, well, too many to link). No, not copy-catting, but I'm capable of better. And you deserve better.

Anyway, if you're here from my previous location, let me show you around:

This is Kamikaze Lunchbreak. It combines references to my favorite cocktail, Japanese culture (specifically, the poetic, piloted-WWII-suicide* part of their culture), and my favorite part of the weekday (between the hours of 8 and 5, of course) . . . because that's when I do most of my blogging. (And I wish that I could have a kamikaze while doing it.) Plus, the name has the whole multiple-interpretation thing happening. And, y'know, that's pretty cool.

To the left, you can see my links, including a newly created e-mail account! (Gasp!) The list(s) of blogs are for my use, as well as yours. I swing by all of those at least once a day, clicking down that same list after I check my comments (yeah, I'm that much of a comment whore). I added quite a few that I didn't have at the other place, and I'll probably add a few more soon.

I got a lot helpful tips and advice in getting to this point. Thanks again to Julia for all the HTML assistance. (I decided against raiding Blogskins, because I was fine with the site being simple, in a utilitarian way.) Thanks also to JenB, Jen, and CW for their name input (even though I went in a slightly different direction). And thanks to Hootress for support and for unknowingly turning me on to Squawkbox for my comments. (Has to be better than Haloscan, right?)

The future looks bright for me. Full of hope. Full of sour drinks that kick. Full of pretty, blue-eyed women (the ones at home). As far as what I have planned, I'm currently cookin' up my list of 100 things, which seems to be prerequisite to be taken seriously in the blog world. I'm also planning a series of mix CDs that I will give away using silly questionnaires as my guide. Sound fun? Well, stick around.

Oh, yeah, KL endorses Tanqueray Sterling and Rose's Lime (for the "lime juice"). Shake over ice, and strain into a solid tumbler. Enjoy.

* KL does not endorse flying airplanes into buildings or ships for the purpose of killing people. Mostly, that's because KL does not endorse killing people, in general. Wartime attacks (suicidal) on troops are a somewhat different scenario. Holy war attacks (suicide bombings) on civilians aren't. Disagree? Bring it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Work is Fun
Sometimes, when I venture outside my office, I realize what a fun place work can be. And when you're an editor and you work with (and for) lots of geologists and engineers . . . well, you take your fun where you can get it.

For instance, the upstairs men's room has a sign in the stall that reads: "Mechanical employees only." And on the back of the commode, there is a sticker that reads: "Thank you for your donation."

Not funny enough for ya?

Our kitchenette refrigerator has a list of "Clever Bumper Stickers." Here are my favorites:

"A day without sunshine is like night."

"Age doesn't always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone."