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Thursday, December 30, 2004
Happy New Year, Corn-Holes!
Technology (or the lack thereof) is preventing me from posting from home*. And the combo of work and a toddler daughter is preventing me from posting (much) from the office. There is a lot of excitement planned for the weekend, though, but you’ll have to trust me on that. As for the ol’ weblog . . . well, there are some upcoming items, like a Best of 2004 retrospective, a probing and much-circulated questionnaire meme from k, and resolutions.

And on the topic of resolutions, what are your sure-to-be-broken promises for 2005? Leave ‘em in the comments . . . if you dare.

* Re-animating our home computer is a work-in-progress. Comcast is supposedly sending us a disk for re-installing our network and modem drivers. We also need to re-install, like, everything on our computer, too. So, yeah, the Comcast thing is just a small piece in a much bigger, cluster-fucked puzzle.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Hey, at Least I Don’t Have Strep Throat (*Knocking on Wood*)
Thanks for everyone’s concern about my stress levels and/or homicidal tendencies. The Holidays are going swimmingly . . . if by “swimmingly” we mean that my job is expecting me to perform report-production miracles with my daughter out of daycare, my wife unable to help watch her much, and extra family in town. Actually, they’re not being quite as demanding as I’d expected.

Here’s a list of facts that will help illuminate the goings-on of the past few days:

-- Approximately 95% of my Christmas gifts (received) were either CDs, DVDs, graphic novels, or guitar-effect pedals.

-- For the fourth year running, dad’s Christmas egg rolls still seem like a great idea.

-- Cream cheese doesn’t really belong in any pumpkin pie recipe.

-- When it comes to bringing wine or champagne to dinner, often quantity is better than quality. And for that, there is Ballatore.

-- It’s really hard to entertain a 2-year-old at the office. Unless you have special help from receptionists with popcorn or CADD designers with “sickees.”*

* suckers, or lollipops

Thursday, December 23, 2004
Are You Lost, Little Girl?
Dear Susan Smith*,

I thought you were supposed to be in prison for killing your two kids 10 years ago, y’fuckin’ bitch. Did they let you out to go shopping in Tallahassee?

You look like you've lost a lot of weight, but that Redneck Dixie Outfitters t-shirt is in poor taste. Not quite as bad as drowning your two sons, though. Speaking of which, who’s the douchebag you’re with? Maybe he helped you bust out. Maybe he’s one of he guards up there.

Anyway, I haven’t got time to shoot the proverbial shit with you, y’child-killin’ whore. I’ve got shopping to do here at Target. Shouldn't you be down the road at Wal-Mart?


In other news, I went to buy the Avon again this afternoon. And again the door was locked. It was after 2 o’clock, and there was no sign telling me where the fuck everyone was. Okay, EAT ME, Avon-pushers! I hope your business fails and you get ass cancer.**

So, instead, I got a gift card to TGI Friday’s (where my grandparents like to eat). On the gift card holder, there were lines for “To” and “From” and “Amount” . . . and “Because.” In that blank, I wrote, “Christ was born in Bethlehem.”

Merry Christmas Happy Holidays, everyone!

* It really did look like a shorter, skinnier version of Susan Smith. Actually, approximately 13.9% of all southern women look beaten-down and homely, so it could’ve been anyone, I suppose. And all of the 13.9% wear those t-shirts.

** Okay, that might be a little harsh.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Giving the Gift of Blog
Mom told me to get my grandmother some "rich moisture cream" from an Avon boutique "behind the Publix" near my work. Seems easy enough, right?

I went Monday on my lunchbreak, and drove down the road next to and behind the Publix. I was looking for ANY sign that mentioned Avon. Crap. I'd never asked what the place was called.

Today, I called mom to ask, and she couldn't remember. "It had Avon in the name, I think. Do you want me to call and call you back? Or, I could just give you the number."

"No, I'll find it."

Well, I DID find it. In a last-ditch effort, I pulled into the only clump of "storefronts" it could have been in. There was a tiny sign that mentioned an Avon "boutique." More obvious were the signs that read "OPEN" or "NOW OPEN."

So, of course the door was locked when I tried to open it. If it was something that I could find anywhere else, I would've burned that fuckin' place down and just bought it from Wal-Mart. But I'll be forced to go back tomorrow. I'll let you know if I say something inappropriate during my "rich moisture cream" purchase.

Monday, December 20, 2004
Bird Shot(gun)
My planning and follow-through continue to fall apart.

Every year, I start the Christmas (shopping) season by printing out our spending budget, so we know (theoretically, of course) how much we're going to spend, and on whom. Then we start the buying.

And every year, there comes that moment when time is running out and there are still several names that have not been checked off, crossed off, or totaled. It's the "bird shot" moment, when I just start buying things and assigning them to people (and you probably don't wanna be one of those people . . . unless you drink, because liquor gift sets make great "bird shot" gifts).*

I don't think we're there yet, but we might be in a day or two. I squandered my lunchbreak today, and with all the various band-related activities (two bands) and subsequent shared childcare duties, it doesn't seem like there will be much time to shop in the evenings. I can tell that Friday is gonna be a "bird shot" day.

* Target is really popular, also, in these instances. Seriously, there was one year where I went to Target four or five times in the two days before Christmas (it's a couple miles from our house) and bought a significant portion of my gifts. In a fit of hip-discount-store panic.

Friday, December 17, 2004
Well, I WAS Going to Leave a Little Early
Outing Myself . . . as a Snotty, Selfish, Reactionary Prick Jackass
Yesterday (and the day before), I talked to my mom about an appointment she’d made to have the doctor look at a “red spot” she’d found on her leg. She’d called to see if I could take her to the appointment. As I could see it was going to be a large chunk of my morning (when I’d be busy), and there was still enough time between then and the appointment, I asked if she could book a trip on Dial-A-Ride. Which she did. I told her if her return trip got screwed up, I’d take a long lunch and come take her back home.

I got to work this morning at about 7:30 (very early, as Mia’s sleeping patterns seem to be shifting some). So, I took it easy. Checking my e-mail, reading a few blogs. Slacking, basically. And at the exact moment when I decided to start working on something, the phone rings and it’s my mother (suddenly, I’m Travis Morrison!*). Mom had slept through her alarm (or the alarm hadn’t gone off . . . the jury’s still out on that one), and the Dial-A-Ride dispatcher had called to say that the driver had come to get her but couldn’t wait.

Mom: “I guess I should just call and cancel the appointment.”

Rage. It was all I could do to suppress a primal “FUUUUUUCCKKKK!” But I considered that if she didn’t go the appointment, she’d dwell on the “red spot” during her parents’ visit (arriving tomorrow). And I was a little concerned about the “red spot” because the last time she stubbed her toe, the fucking thing was almost ripped off her foot.

Selfish Prick: “I’ll come!”

“I’ll come?” Is that a threat? A promise? Both? For sure. After calculating the drive times (very accurately, as it turned out), I slacked off for a few minutes before leaving to pick her up. Being the snotty fuck I am, I listened to some emo (Knapsack) on the way to her house, and then switched to Marilyn Manson (Mechanical Animals).

The rest of the story is not so much interesting as it is a mimeographed narrative of every time my guilt-ridden** mother gets into the car with her sullen son and they ride along as she prattles on and on about their mutual shortcomings . . . blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum. I cooled down and just accepted that being an only child might mean I’m more prone to selfishness, but there are moments (like these) when I can’t be weak. Because that’s when I’m all she has. (Speaking of her having, I need to jot “new alarm clock” on her wish list.)

The moral of the story is: Be nice to your mom. Especially when she’s had a stroke and can’t isn’t supposed to drive herself anywhere. And after you’ve dropped her off at her appointment, go to the cell phone company’s office and sign up for a better plan. And get a better phone.***

In other news, Kat needs to renew her goddamn domain. Can someone pass that along?

And if you haven’t sent me something for the Best of (or Worst of) 2004, and approximately 6,164,882,087 of you haven’t, get on it. A Top 10 list (to be combined with the other I’ve gotten), your favorite Deadwood moment, the best hotel-heiress blowjob video you’ve seen . . . anything. I’m waiting.

Two posts in one day? There’s gonna be five or six really surprised readers out there! None happy, though.

* Preceding words directly (but unintentionally) lifted from “The Ice of Boston” by Dismemberment Plan.

** One time, my mom woke me up at 2 o’clock in the morning. She apologized before telling me that she had tightness and pain in her chest, and she was crying and panicking. You can probably imagine how confusing the subsequent 911 call was. And someone somewhere has a tape of that.

*** We were customers of cell-phone Company A, which sold their local business to Company B, which has now merged with Company C. I called Company B yesterday to find out when our two-year contract expired and they said it basically had expired during all the corporate re-shuffling. Company B said they were encouraging all their users to sign new contracts with Company C, which I did. Goodbye, exorbitant roaming charges! Hello, new flip phone! Hello, text-messaging capability!

Tonight’s the Night
It’s here. Tomorrow We Will Be Victorious make their debut tonight (click and scroll down some). I’ll be really disappointed if several of you don’t fly into town for the show.


I printed out Styro’s pumpkin bread recipe last week and hoarded the ingredients we didn’t already have. And then I kept putting off making it. So Michelle took the reins and, lemme tell you, it’s awesome. It wasn’t spectacular to look at because the loaf fell some in the middle. But it tastes great (but not less-filling, I’m sure). I’ll have to get Michelle to make it again for the Christmas Eve Family Event™. Maybe I’ll make my pistachio pudding pound cake.*


It doesn’t snow very often here in Tallahassee. Every other year, we might get a hint of a flurry. I was born in Connecticut and my parents have lots of pictures of me running around in the snow . . . when I was 2. We moved here the next summer, so I don’t remember any of that.

But I do remember the first snow I saw here, when I was 5 or 6. I was outside, playing in the front yard when the snowflakes started falling through the branches above. I caught one in my hand, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.

The winter after I graduated high school (and started college) is the most memorable. We had a full-on snowstorm. By Deep-South standards, anyway. It started snowing a few nights before Christmas, and no-one thought it would stick. But in the morning, there were a few inches of snow on the ground. I woke up and looked out the window and was blinded by the sun reflecting off the white that covered everything. It stayed for a couple days and by Christmas, there was little left besides flakes of ice in the shaded grass.

The point of all this is that I heard on the radio that there’s an outside chance that we could see some snow flurries Sunday night.

* The last time I made it for the same event, only my mother and grandmother had any. I was a little put off. No, really.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Best Of! (Things to Come)
I thought it’d be cool to do a Kamikaze Lunchbreak “Best of 2004.” But I can only think of the worst. Really, my Election Day™ hangover is that bad. Plus, I’ve seen only a handful of movies that were released this year, and have purchased only a handful of “new” CDs this year.

So, I could use your help, The Internet. E-mail me* with your favorite things from the year (all pop/political culture considered). Make up categories if you have to . . . the more creative, the better. I’ll do a roundup as late in the year as possible, most likely in that week between Christmas and the Apocalypse New Year’s.

I can’t promise prizes. But having your ultra-snarky witticisms decorating my humble ‘blog-site for tens and twenties of people to see . . . I mean, isn’t that reward enough?

* You know you can leave your “nominees” in the comments, if e-mailing is too much of a burden. Lazy ass. If you’re feeling really industrious, though, you could mail a postcard or Christmas card with your picks. That would be TOP-NOTCH.

Monday, December 13, 2004
That was the Friday-night mantra. Kind-of an affirmation to keep the vomit(s) away at Michelle’s work Christmas dinner.

We met up with the Glory Holes for pre-event drinks at TGI Friday’s (actually, it was one drink each . . . a 22-ounce Happy Hour draft). Having chosen our alcohol/path, we went to the dinner armed with the knowledge that we would be okay.

To make the strategy a sure-fire success, I steered myself away from fried hors d’ouvres, having only one crab cake. (I did have six un-Kosher bacon-wrapped shrimp and a few meatballs.) Dinner and dessert were innocuous enough, and I washed it all down with about (*calculating*) 56 ounces of beer.

As a bonus, I drank water in between the beers, so I was feeling down-right chipper Sunday morning. Chipper enough, in fact, to not be too concerned about losing all my money at poker.

Actually, that part really bothered me. Particularly the painful way in which I lost it. To my father-in-law.


Friday, December 10, 2004
Raj Rhymes with Sabotage
I think NBC is going to do everything in their power to make sure that The Donald hiring what’s-his-name (yeah, Kelly) doesn’t appear to be a foregone conclusion. The guy is obviously the most capable and professional. Enter Raj. Is he going to torpedo Kelly (a la Omarosa in Season One)? And what about that pesky rain on the polo field? Of course, Jen has her own problems . . . and not all of the inherent to her character. You know Chris Webber didn’t back out of the event; NBC is dropping a fuck-bomb on Team Jen. Ouch.

And if education is always going to “trump” non-college-grad entrepreneurs (even the spunky ones), why have those people on the show? Sandy got a lot further than I’d have predicted but, in the end, she was fucked for not having 15 degrees from prestigious schools, or not being a lawyer. In the boardroom, Jen kept crowing about moving to San Francisco to practice law “in a very competitive market.” Sandy owns two businesses, which she started with no higher education. No business degree. You can throw a rock and hit a lawyer (and a homosexual . . . with the same rock!) in San Francisco, right? What’s special about that?


A gentle reminder (to my liver, my stomach, and my pride): Tomorrow night is Michelle’s office Christmas dinner. I’m very sorry for what I did to the three of you last year. It won’t happen again.

When I stopped by her office for the weekly Mia visit (for the office, not Michelle), I heard mention of a “Scott Rule” that has come about after my full collapse last year. Something about a drink limit . . . maybe? Apparently, it was a problem that I couldn’t keep my head off the table.

This year, it’s beer all the way. Because beer doesn’t sneak up on you like wine does. Wine may be classy, but wine could have me kneeling on the cold, hard tile. (To throw up, smartasses.)


You’ve probably heard that it’s my honey’s birthday tomorrow. Stop by and leave her some well-wishes.

Thursday, December 09, 2004
Tuning Out
My mother has been calling me at work a lot lately. Pretty much every day. She “hates” to interrupt me, so she’ll build up (and not write down, of course) a list of things she wants to tell me / remind me about / nag me about. And once she starts talking, there’s no stopping her. Even if she forgets what she was going to tell me. Seriously, I’d have to yell, “I’M CROWNING!” to get her to stop.

Complicating things is her weakness (fondness) for digressions. She can’t complete a thought without remembering something else and immediately (mid-sentence) having to tell me about it. My grandmother often says it’s nice when they’re here for two weeks, because that gives my mom enough time to finish all of the stories that she tells in the middle of one another.

So, she’s been calling me. And, being the good son I am, I half-listen to her as I half-try to work. It’s not ignoring, exactly, although that’s what I did as a teenager. No, this is more like filtering. I listen for key words/ideas and the rise in her voice when she asks a question. Today, she was going on about her Christmas list and how she needs some new insulated cups, and that we shouldn’t get her a CD player (as I’d previously mentioned), and she was wondering what the plan was for the weekend (when I will be taking her shopping), and then back to the insulated cups. She talks pretty loud (even louder than before her stroke), so I just put the receiver on my shoulder (facing away from my ear) and kept reading, every once in a while picking up the receiver to say, “Uh-huh” or “Okay.” And then came the direct questions.

“Did you watch Lost last night?”

“No. I think Michelle taped it.”

And then she went into another freeform exposition about how her VCR cut off the end of Lost when it flipped over to start taping West Wing (also touching on crucial plot points that I would not know having not yet watched it).

“Did you watch West Wing?”

“No. I think Michelle . . . I’ll have to check and make sure I have it.”

“Okay, I’ll save it for you just in case.” (pause) “Man, West Wing was devastating!”


Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Call Me in the Way-Back Machine
I’m a big fan of most things Retro™. Okay, maybe just the music. And porn. One of the excluded things would be our office’s voicemail system.

First of all, it’s not user-friendly. I’ve moved offices a few times, and it’s a pain in the ass to change the settings, record new out-going messages, etc. And the system has Alzheimer’s, apparently. It “lost” my greeting and reverted back to my (fired) co-worker’s. They’ve been talking about replacing it for almost a year now. So, I refused to change the out-going message again (so everyone who doesn’t know me thinks they’re calling “some girl”) and waited for them to replace the system. And waited. And waited.

Well, this morning, after weeks of the receptionist rebooting the voicemail server several times a day, the system crapped out (for realz). And the voicemail wizard came to spirit the server’s CPU away (for repair). Suddenly, replacing the 15-year-old phone system is an official crisis.

This whole scenario is just a snapshot of how things are managed here. It’s worse than the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule. Here, the axiom seems to be, “Don’t fix it until it’s broke beyond repair.” Which is a corollary to the principle of “lastminute-i-tis.” That this company seems to be founded on.

In other “Oh, I didn’t eat/shop there anyway” news, we’re having a Blue Christmas. You should, too. Fuck Red Lobster. Fuck Outback. And fuck (as always) Wal-Mart . . . y’know, if you can find anywhere else to shop.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
What’s Best
This is a Public Service Announcement for those of you (perhaps) youngsters who may be thinking about / planning to have kids. And the subset of those people who have relatively normal relationships with their parents. And the subset of those people who are basically normal themselves.

Y’know how your parents often tell you that they “want what’s best for you?” Or how they “only have your best interest in mind (or at heart)?” Well, when you have a child, that all changes.

Now, this might seem to be logical (the world revolving around your child), but it’s shocking at first. Suddenly, your parents aren’t that interested in what you’ve got going on. Suddenly, your house is a crack den (or worse). Suddenly, your car is Unsafe at Any Speed. Your parents won’t always ask how you’re doing, but rather how the baby is doing. Your parents no longer shower you with unexpected gifts, but rather shower your child with gifts.

Now, this PSA is not borne entirely out of selfishness. I just want you breeders-to-be to know that, after you have a child, your life is no longer entirely yours. And don’t expect any extra reward(s) to be bestowed upon you. If having a child is not its own reward, perhaps you should get a hamster.

End transmission.

Monday, December 06, 2004
Lesson One: Misanthropy
Michelle and I are not naturally social creatures. I mean, when you take us out of our comfortable environments, we’re likely to be pretty quiet . . . and maybe a little rude. Here are three examples of things that may or may not have occurred Friday night at my office's annual Christmas dinner:

-- As we were driving to the dinner, I said, “I hate people.” Not “I hate slow drivers” or “I hate people who drive slow,” just “I hate people.” Michelle replied, “Not as much as I do.” (Or, perhaps, it was “Not as much as I hate people,” which is even better. Really, my short-term memory is that bad. Literally five seconds after the words passed her lips, I thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll ‘blog that.” And then I couldn’t remember what her exact words were. Is this when you people just invent shit that was said? Julia? C-dub?)

-- When we go to these type functions, we spend an inordinate amount of time talking to each other, rather than other people. Yes, some of it is low-grade, passive-aggressive domestic banter, but most of it is just us lamenting various stages of the evening’s itinerary. Or making fun of people. Just know that if we talk to you at one of these forced-politeness-a-thon’s, it’s because we genuinely want to talk to you. Or you happen to be sitting at our table. (I think a lot of my enthusiasm about going boils down to it being an excuse to wear one of my two suits---which happens once or twice a year---and getting to eat good catering.)

-- We’re stingy. We were one of the first couples there and, after debating a few minutes (and looking at the sadly monolithic* wine selection at the “bar”), we decided to drive to the house to get our champagne**. Which we shared with (almost) no-one. Before driving home to get the champagne, we’d also flirted with bringing back one of Michelle’s bottles of Patron. Which we did. But we left it in the car to (perhaps) be brought out later. Which we never did. Even after I’d repeatedly mentioned getting it and pouring shots for people at the table.

Look, we’re really not bad people. Once we get to know you, we’re almost normal, funny even, in these social situations. But in awkward work-related bring-your-spouse functions, I find that I’m socially retarded and Michelle refuses to fake being pleasant. This all adds up to Certain Doom™ for Michelle’s work party this Saturday.***

* There were about a dozen bottles of wine . . . all of then either Chardonnay, Merlot, or some sort of Cabernet. I guess I need to broaden my horizons and learn to enjoy something red and/or dry (especially after *** below).

** The regional V.P. just asked me, “Hey, did you guys finish that bottle of champagne the other night?” To which I replied, “We finished it before dinner.”

*** You might remember how I threw up there last year.

Friday, December 03, 2004
Work Part(y) the First
Tonight is my work’s annual Christmas dinner. I miss every other year (because of conflicts with Michelle’s office, which passes out bonuses and, thus, trumps my office). There promises to be a shortage of people from the “cool” contingent there (for a variety of reasons), and Michelle’s lobbying to skip out early to see Closer. Hmmm. Open bar + free gourmet dinner + company swag + retrospective slide show + potential on-screen emotional deception and sexual tension = an evening that I’ll need a full night’s sleep to recover from.

In other news, our know-it-all IS manager is a motherfucking douchbag.

Best wishes, and I’ll see you all on Monday. In my spiffy leather jacket that I’ll get to wear exactly five times a year.

Thursday, December 02, 2004
The Five-Year Plan?
I recently crossed the five-year threshold at my current job. Not so coincidentally, my wife reached the same milestone at her current job.

I now realize that this is the longest I’ve ever worked at one place. (Three years at McDonald’s, four years at the video store, a little over a year at the Office of the Auditor General, two and a half years in the HMO communications department, and now five years here.) What do I get for this? Well, tradition holds that I will receive a nice leather jacket (with my company’s logo). That’s pretty cool and all, but I was actually more excited a year ago when I started earning three weeks of vacation. (At ten years, you get a $1,000 cash bonus and start earning four weeks of vacation.)

In other news, it was 39 degrees this morning and I refused to wear a jacket. I mean, I’m inside all day . . . why bother lugging around a jacket when I leave work at it’s in the 50s. Call it a lack-of-Real-Winter protest from someone who lives in Florida.