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Thursday, September 30, 2004
W = Loser (I Wish)
You know that I'd be remiss if I didn't make any predictions about the upcoming "debate." This may amuse about 1.5 of you, but I think:

-- there will be some smirking
-- about half the words Bush uses will be included in variations of the phrases "stay the course," "thugs and assassins," and "freedom to the people of Iraq"
-- Kerry will be all aggressive and come off looking like a big ol' Massachussetts liberal Jerk (capital "J")
-- the talking heads will pronounce that "Kerry didn't show us anything new" and call Bush the winner
-- deep down inside, Bush will still be a loser

I'll take this prediction thing a step further: Bush will win in November, getting about 55% of the popular vote and 295 electoral votes. And even further still, Colin Powell will retire from the Cabinet, we will have a military confrontation with Iran over their nu-cu-lar stockpile, kids will be drafted to fight, and Civilization as we know it will never be the same again.

Or, I could soften that and go with the safer, less-flashy prediction and say between November 3 and the Inauguration, about 25% of Bush supporters will realize their mistake. And it will be too late to fix it.

Ooops. Thanks, fuckers.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Mixed Messages
Management at our company has been fairly vigorous in its stand against sexual harrassment. Some of this stems from a printout of some teenage boobies on the community printer/copier a few years back. Usually, and especially since then, we're all pretty careful with our questionable e-mails and verbal commentary.

Yesterday, as I was washing up and leaving the bathroom, one of the guys asked if I'd seen the new reading material in the stall. (There's an omnipresent pile magazines on the back of the comode, with titles like National Geographic and Water Well Journal.) He said it was only in there because it was the "Girls of the ACC" issue . . . of Playboy.

The guy telling me this? Our Regional Vice President.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
My mother and I have birthdays that are two days apart. After she and my father divorced, we began a tradition of seeing a movie and/or having dinner on the day between our birthdays. Sometimes, this outing would include a stop to buy my gift (e.g., a pair of shoes). But growing up (more), getting engaged, and moving out of town put an end to that tradition.

This year, we spent her birthday like any other Saturday, except that we ordered pizza during the football game. Oh, and Mia had a viral fever and was crying and had to be taken home early. But otherwise . . . just like any other Saturday.

Sunday, we had planned to have a family “thing” with Michelle’s parents. I was going over early while Michelle ran to get my presents an errand and finished making my cake. I was taking Mia over to her parents’ house, but I had to stop at my mom’s to look at her foot. It seems that she had hit her toe in the night while walking to the bathroom; it had bled some and she wanted me to make sure it was okay. (She’s a diabetic, so her feet are a source of great concern.)

Long story short, she had a Band Aid on her foot where there was no injury. I checked between her toes where all the dried blood was and found that her little toe was torn halfway around on the inside, and that pulling her toes apart I could see all the way into her foot. So, we spent the next four hours on an Urgent Care odyssey. When I finished that and her toe was surgically glued back together, it was a rush to the in-law’s house, eat some leftover pizza, open some presents, and eat some damaged (but very tasty) red velvet cake.

So, the toe thing was the lowlight of the weekend.

The highlight (even better than getting Interpol’s Antics before its official street date, was Michelle singing “Happy Birthday” last night at the Girls’ show. This is much more spectacular when you realize that Michelle hates being the center of attention for a big crowd and she doesn’t usually sing for anyone (mostly just Mia). I was truly awestruck. Still am, actually.

Sunday, September 26, 2004
It's Just What I ALWAYS Wanted! Thank You, God!
Another weekend in Florida, and you know what that means. That's right . . . Hurricane Jeanne. For my fuckin' birthday. Which, to be fair, is still a couple hours away.

As I type this, the center of Tropical Storm (pardon me) Jeanne is less than 100 miles away. The wind is steadily 25 mph, and the rain is fairly constant. I have a candle burning next to the keyboard for that innevitible moment when the power goes out. Should be any minute now.

This weekend hasn't been all it could be. I mean, yeah, several of my friends got together for a Thai dinner Friday night, followed by the yearned-for trivia. (For the record, Michelle doesn't usually choose to play trivia, but somehow wins once per outing. By "wins" I mean against the entire bar. She routinely kicks my ass.) The rest of the weekend, however, has been marred by untimely and unfortunately bad karm. A sick daughter and her sick cousin. A clumsy mother. And the aforementioned storm. There will be more details later, when I'm not ticking off the seconds in my head until the lights suddenly go off. Seriously, I promised drunk-blogging and I'm all too sober.

Friday, September 24, 2004
I remember back when I was young, trying to figure out how old I would be on New Years’ Day 2000. Twenty-eight didn’t seem so old, so far away. But it took forever to get there. Since then, of course, things seem to have sped up. I can’t believe that it’s been almost five years since that New Years’ Eve.

So, next Monday is the big 33. Only two years from the birthday I hear is scarier than 30, which was scary enough (until I was a few months away and realized that I wasn’t going to be a successful rock star and/or poet before I turned 30 . . . then it was just blah).

Tonight, the plan is for thai food, and then trivia and drinking, and then possibly bowling . . . and more drinking. The rest of the weekend will probably be much of the same, with some football games mixed in. (I'd better increase my water intake.) Maybe I’ll stop in for some drunk-blogging. I’m sure Michelle will have a nice recap for everyone next week. Maybe there’ll even be pictures.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Falling (Too)
I was going to post about the beginning of fall Autumn. I was going to relay how, every year, just before my birthday, we get a cool spell where the overnight temperatures drop into the low-to-mid 60s and how that feels so heavenly, y’know, in relative terms, because the summers here suck so hard. I was going to write about how great it is that the best time of the year coincides with football season and how we need to clean off our porch so we can have cookouts and get the bikes ready so we can take our daughter on rides. I was going to write about all of those things . . . and then someone else had the same idea.

We must be made for one another.

Monday, September 20, 2004
I remember the first time I saw Titanic. It was with Michelle. The thing that strikes me about that movie is how much it filled me with a sense of dread like no other movie had up to that point (no, not even Schindler’s List, which I paid to see three times).

Yeah, I know, make jokes about the dreadful acting, or James Cameron’s dreadful directing (I don’t think either apply . . . well, except for Leonardo). But the movie just unsettled me. Made me feel less safe. I just wanted to crawl into bed with Michelle and our cats and hide for a few days. Like, wallow in hopelessness. Maybe it was the Irish kids lying in bed as the ship went down. Or the countless people being washed / swept off (or into) the ship. Or being smashed on/by various parts of the ship, or the ship itself. Or the mother and infant floating (frozen and dead) on the Atlantic.

Seriously, the feeling I had after walking out of the theater was very similar to how I felt at about 10 a.m. Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Has a movie ever made you feel that way?

Anyway, I’m sure you know what I did when it was on NBC last night. If you think it was “turned off the T.V., or at least changed the channel,” then you don’t know me at all.

Friday, September 17, 2004
To the C--t* Driving in Front of Us on the Way Home from the Grocery Store**

Yes, your carelessly thrown cigarette did hit my windshield. Even cars built after the year 2000 come with ashtrays, Countess Cancer. As yours was manufactured circa 1987, it should be adequately equipped to store your sucked butts.

I realize that your ashtray might be full seeing that you're chain-smoking, and that the cigarette butt that bounced off my car was probably your 10,000th of the day and not likely easily remembered, but come the fuck on. THE WORLD IS NOT YOUR ASHTRAY. Okay, sister? It's disrespectful to me, and it's disrespectful to the environment.

Use your ashtray, and roll up your goddamn window. Whore!

* That's "cunt."

** Where's Enemyster when you need it?

Thursday, September 16, 2004
Over lunch a few weeks ago, one of my co-workers (the infamous IT manager) enthusiastically tore into Sierra Mist. He dismissed it as another X-Game drink (a la Mountain Dew), promoted by kids ramping bikes off buildings or surfing the waves generated by Hurricane Ivan at Jamaica. The guy said it fucking sucked . . . he may have even used those words.

“Have you ever tried it?” I asked. No, he had not. I hadn’t either, which is when I got the idea that I’d bring in two cans of it and make him try it, in a nod to The Plug.

Yesterday, I didn’t bring a soda to have with my lunch. And the soda machine downstairs has Sierra Mist. At $0.50 a can, it was a bargain to get two. I drank mine with my lunch yesterday and told my coworker that I’d gotten one for him. Honestly, it didn’t make much of an impression on me when I had mine.

Today, he split poured half of his can into a glass and gave me the can, and we both drank in a not-so-blind taste test. His verdict: “A slightly altered, re-marketed version of 7-Up for you Gen X’ers.” My opinion was similar . . . not as painfully anti-flavor as club soda, but a lightly sweetened cross between Fresca and 7-Up.

I’ll stick with Sprite. But thanks, Pespi Land


So, it’s been windy today. It’d be great if it wasn’t in the upper 80s with 100% humidity. The power’s gone off three times at work; once, the exploding transformer sounded like a gunshot from about a block away.

I’m actually ‘blogging my way out the door because, really, there’s not much more I can accomplish without our CAD designer . . . and some patience.


The first round of posts are up at Reverse Survivor. Mine should be easy to locate; it’s the really bad one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Florida is Throwing a Party, and You are All Invited (And by “You,” I Mean Natural Disasters)
Y’know the people who forget to take down Christmas decorations, and then halfway through the year decide to just leave them up until the next Christmas? (Hey, you might be one of them!) Well, that’s how people around town are about hurricane preparedness.

For example, several businesses boarded up for Frances and just left everything in place with Ivan on the way. Speaking for myself, I still have my sandbags exactly where I left them Labor Day weekend. I even trimmed our hedges around the driveway, front sidewalk, and back porch . . . and left the clippings on the ground, knowing full well that any flooding rains would carry them to our neighbor’s yard, and beyond. I mean, why rake when God or some Russian-named hurricane could do it for you?

I didn’t even bother posting another hurricane forecast / tracking map for everyone’s amusement. Even though, once again, Tallahassee was in the dead center of the projected path. I guess I had a feeling that it would turn this time, despite the karmic retribution that was long overdue.

Oh, wait. That retribution was dealt out to the population of Tallahassee by the Hurricanes a few nights ago. And by “population of Tallahassee,” I mean Chris Rix.

Friday, September 10, 2004
I Didn’t Really Mean to Go Four Days Between Updates. I Mean, Christ, What Do I Think This Is? The Fucking Weekend?
It started when my boss flew out (we think) to Key West on Wednesday evening for a six-day vacation. (I hope he didn’t really, because he would’ve been told to evacuate before he ever got unpacked.) So, basically, I have four business days to battle greedy, soul-sucking project managers all by myself. I know for a fact that there are two huge-ass reports due Monday, which will likely require me to put in some time this weekend. The upside is that this extra mental anguish / work could net me some beer, lunch, or the coveted “comp” time. (Yeah, thanks Mr. President, but I don’t GET overtime.)

Anyway, all this means I’ve been busy as of late. Monday, my brain will be mush and my hands will be paper-cut-ed; if I post anything that day, it’ll be along the lines of, “lasdj lajsfd slasjf! Djkgjseic! %@#&!!!” So I might not be back until Tuesday. Unless, of course, I drunk-blog after FSU’s humiliating defeat to Miami tonight. (I won’t be making predictions as I did last season because, really, I have no fuckin’ idea what to expect out of our [once-mighty] Seminoles.)


Oh! I’ve recently received word that I will be participating in Mister Crunchy’s newest season of Reverse Survivor. The first assignment is up. I can’t tell you my super-secret Survivor “code” name, but I can tell you I will be the last person left. And in Reverse Survivor, that’s bad.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Disaster! Harrowing Storm Tropical Storm Frances A Study in Anti-Climax: A Timeline
Have you ever been so geared-up with expectation for something, and then . . . nothing? All of you? Okay, so you might understand how I feel about preparing for this devastating hurricane-turned-tropical-storm-turned-I-stayed-in-my-house-all-weekend-for-THIS?

Look, I’m not minimizing/poo-pooing the damage the storm caused to other parts of Florida, or the general threat that these storms present to coastal areas. I’m just saying that, had Charley not thoroughly fucked the west coast of Florida (partially by straying 100 miles off the projected course) only weeks ago, the population of Florida wouldn’t have worked themselves into such a froth; we need one of these every couple years to keep us on our toes. And I know that the hurricane mantra is, “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best,” but, y’know, when I expend a good bit of time, energy, and mental capacity on preparing for a hurricane, I want the hurricane to bring it . . . at least a little bit. I mean, at least BE a hurricane when you get here. Seriously, I’m at work (and so is Michelle) but the entire state government, school district, and several major businesses are closed. I’m thinking that many owners, managers, and administrators were watching the weather yesterday (after declaring that they’d be closing up for today) and saying, “Is this it? Really?”

So, as Frances was cruising toward West Palm Beach Saturday, I began keeping a ‘bloggerly timeline of events. Which, in retrospect, was a build-up to nothing. But here is some of what I remember wrote down:

-- Saturday morning, as Frances was inching her way toward West Palm Beach, Mike Seidel (of the Weather Channel) and Al Roker were embracing and exchanging sweet nothings. The Weather Channel’s location-meteorologist abuse was a running theme through the weekend. My favorite was when the poor girl in New Smyrna Beach (apparently a former local meteorologist) was almost attacked by a flying piece of sheet metal / aluminum siding.

-- I would’ve been a lot more disappointed by Garden State if my expectations hadn’t been muted by my lovely wife. That said, I thought it was a good movie. Maybe not important enough to own on DVD, but I’ll probably watch it again someday.

-- In a testament to our fair city’s steely public services, our power went out Sunday afternoon before the first drop of rain and before the wind had gusted over 30 mph. It was out for three hours.

-- I spent an inordinate amount of my weekend locating, waiting for, making, and/or placing sand bags. Seriously. And that’s not including the ones that were graciously delivered by my father-in-law.

-- Sunday night, things started picking up a bit more. The steady wind and threatening rain wasn’t enough to keep Michelle from going to the club, however. While she was gone, I got tired of lying in bed listening to the wind throttle the neighbor’s trees (waiting for the unsettling crack of a pine tree limb/trunk and certain death), so I got up and played guitar. Which I almost never do outside of band practice or performance.

-- Soon after Michelle got home from the club and we’d successfully gone to sleep, a tree fell on her parent’s house across town . . . which we didn’t learn until the next morning.

-- At 9 a.m. on Monday, our cable was out so I had to listen to NPR for an update on Frances. During the press conference, the state meteorologist said that it was projected to make landfall between two particular rivers. I had to check a map because my Florida geography ain’t all it should be. The point between those two rivers is the part of the coast (St. Marks) which is the closest to Tallahassee. Shit.

-- During the afternoon, the weather was fluctuating between a standard afternoon rain and something moderately windier. My sand-bag breakwater wasn’t even being tested.

-- Thirty minutes after Frances (now a tropical storm) had crossed over St. Marks (putting it very, very close to us), we decided to go to Michelle’s brother’s house for beer-drinking and card-playing. Our respective toddlers would be able to entertain each other and keep us from going completely batty.

-- While eating their hurricane-preparedness food (Ritz Crackers and Easy Cheese) and drinking beer (AmberBock and Honey Brown), we played Texas Hold ‘Em ($5 buy-in) and watched our kids play with / fight over a succession of toys. Every once in a while, someone would lean and look out the window and comment on how little was going on.

-- The girl the Weather Channel sent to monitor Tallahassee must have been very, very bored. “Y’know, guys, I wish this thing would strengthen to a Category 5 and wipe these fuckin’ people out. And I’m so bored, I wish I could die with them.”

Thursday, September 02, 2004
Oh, C'mon, Haven't We Had Enough of These? Okay, UNCLE! I Give!
I don’t know much, but I do know this:

1. Someone’s getting fired.

2. Zell Miller is easily riled. (And he may be an obsolete, covert Republican operative/automaton. Did you see his speech? Sweet Christ, with the, “AGAINST, AGAINST, AGAINST . . !” It was a total “Danger, Will Robinson” moment.)

3. We are fucked. And by “we” I mean the entire State of Florida.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004
The Only Way I Could Attract Less Readers Would Be to Post a Copy of the Republican Party Platform
. . . but I can’t find a copy of the fuckin’ thing. Seriously. I actually googled “2004 Republican Party Platform.” I found some articles commenting on it, and Fox News had a “draft” version that they Flash-ed into some interactive/click-y link-y window. But I want the raw, “ratified” version. I want the text of the whole thing. All together.

But I don’t think I’ll find it. Because they don’t want me to.

The GOP/RNC website, strangely, isn’t advertising their own platform. Could it be that they’re ashamed of it? Or maybe they’re afraid that moderate/swing voters will read it and be appalled. From what I can gather, the “official” platform comes out pretty hard and fast against gay marriage (calling for a Constitutional Amendment), against abortion, and against stem cell research. So, to help drive home their far-right conservative agenda, surely they must have a stellar lineup of speakers to appeal to their “base,” right? Perhaps some rousing primetime speeches by Rick Santorum, or Bill Frist, or Pat Robertson?

Nope. All of the keynote speakers are moderate window-dressing. We have some pro-gay-rights, pro-choice guys like Rudy Giuliani and Ahnuld. This is typical, isn’t it? The parties run to their “bases” during the primaries and then to the “center” for the general election. And with things so polarized, you can understand why the Republicans want to hide their Conservative Agenda like a dirty secret. It’s, like, “Hey, let’s get Arnold to come out and talk about all the great things that America has to offer immigrants while we create policy that’s basically gonna close every door in their faces. Heh.”

After Monday night’s lineup of everyone’s favorite “renegade”-turned-sellout, we were treated to standup comedy from Giuliani. Both of them carried the banner of how much unity there was after 9/11 . . . how the country supported the president, regardless of party affiliation. And how the world grieved with us.

What they didn’t say was that the Bush cashed in every bit of that sentiment and sympathy and unity and used it to attack Iraq and push his Christian-Coalition-approved social agenda here in the States. Now I hear that the Log Cabin Republicans are considering whether they should endorse the president while, on the other side, there were some on the platform committee who actually wanted to make the planks more conservative. The head of the committee told Chris Jansing that they’re the inclusive party, and everyone’s welcome.

Liddy Dole came out like a good salesperson to tell us all about the Platform. She seemed pretty happy about it. And that’s what it boils down to, folks: You can have exclusionary policies, and if they’re delivered with a smile, then you’re compassionate.