Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Sister Has Diabetes: A fictional journal entry of a twelve-year-old boy

I’m sitting in the living room as my little sister (she’s 11) and mom are in the kitchen, listening to some loud, blond lady with glasses show my sister how to use a new “pump” for her diabetes. My sister thinks she’s sooo great because she has special needs. She always is putting insulin in her stomach after we eat and showing off.

All of my friends ask me about it and ask why I don’t have to put cool needles in my stomach. They say “Why don’t you have to do anything cool because of a disease? Your sister does.” I say, “Shut up! Anxiety and depression don’t require needles.” But nobody understands.

My sister gets all the attention because she’s so stupid. No one ever came over to the house to show me how to take my Prozac pills. Jeez. She’s such an attention hog. She’s so cool. She told me good job when I finally conquered Call of Duty 2 for the Wii. She knows things like carbohydrates and sucrose. She’s awesome. I hate that she gets all of the attention. I have a lot of good things that people should know about so I get attention, but my sister hogs it all like a hog in the family slopyard.

I can’t wait until this stupid, blond lady leaves our kitchen. I want to make peanut butter toast in there. She keeps talking to my sister and my mom like she knows everything. But there’s one thing she doesn’t know – that she doesn’t know everything.

My sister’s diabetes pump is so cool. It beeps like a video game or something. But I’m not jealous. I have a watch with the Froot Loops bird on it. That beeps too – when there’s batteries in it – and everyone likes that (or used to like it before my sister’s pump came along). I’m going to go put it on just to show her she’s not the only one with a cool beeping toy. CU L8R.

Looking Up

Today began in a way that let me know it could only get better. I awoke, stepped out of bed, and kicked over a full glass of delicious water onto my carpet. After relishing the science of a towel’s ability to soak up the spill, I walked into the kitchen and pretended it didn’t happen. And perhaps it really didn’t.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hell's Kitchen, white Christmas and the first 48 hours

Once again, it has been so long since I have blogged. Why is that? I have a job! That’s right. I’m an outstanding Production Assistant for Fox TV’s “Hell’s Kitchen”. So far, it’s pretty darn good and should keep me employed through possibly the end of March. So, if you are planning on asking me for money, try to do it before the end of March, to increase your chances of great fortune.

Speaking of great fortune, I have the great fortune of being in Fargo, ND – my hometown – right now! I’m sitting next to a real Christmas tree by a bay window looking out at a bunch of beautiful whiteness. And that’s not just the predominantly white citizens of Fargo. It snowed three inches the day I arrived, so I’m guaranteed a white Christmas, which is exactly what I ordered from “Hutch”, the local weather man.

Thus far, I’ve played Scrabble, drank Guinness, slept with a cat in someone else’s bed, played a guitar, played a washboard (not my abs), played Mario Kart, jumpstarted a car with a British flag on the roof, argued about pizza, argued with a pizza, got bit by a dog and had fun with family and friends. And that’s just the first 48 hours! Looking forward to more!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Loose Thoughts: "Accidentally Stupid"

Sometimes I question whether some people with whom I spend my time think I'm as smart and skilled as I know I am. (Just the fact that I wrote such a complicated sentence should be proof enough.) 

So, I often act casually as I try to prove that I am indeed smart or skilled with this or that thing. In doing so, I frequently make mistakes that wouldn't have happened if I had not tried so hard to look casual. 

Therefore, I trip on the words I speak as I explain something complex or I tip over lamps while trying to accomplish daring dance feats or I cruise over curbs while taking sharp corners in a residential street. 

Sometimes my brain is a paranoid robot of insecurity that spins into an electric cyclone of dismayed gears. But most times it's not. I like those times the best.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Close Encounters with Jerry Seinfeld

I recently worked on a TV show called "The Marriage Refs". It just so happens that Jerry Seinfeld is the Executive Producer for this promising reality/talk show. For those who don't speak TV lingo, that means he's the big boss man.

Although we were only working on a tech rehearsal for this show (which means the video we shot is not going to go on the air; it was a practice run through, so to speak), Jerry Seinfeld was with us at the studio and there was a special energy in the air.

I usually don't get too excited about spotting celebrities here in the LA area. But for some reason, even seeing Jerry's car made me giddy. As I walked past the shining white Porsche before entering the studio, I could smell the new rubber freshness of the clean, black tires and feel the engine's heat rising from under the hood. The car shined with value and esteem.

When I entered the studio and saw Jerry standing there interacting with other producers, the stage manager and the host of the show, I couldn’t keep from feeling embarrassingly excited. I had to hide the smile on my face. It was crazy how absolutely similar he is to the character he played on Seinfeld. His speech, hand gestures and laugh are all the same. I kept expecting to see Elaine doing her horrible dance near the craft services (snack) table.

Eventually, I got over the giddiness as I realized that (A) he was an executive producer, so he wasn’t there to sign autographs (no, I didn’t try to get one) and (B) he might not be as excited to see me as I was to see him. In fact, I found myself disappointed that he wasn’t reciprocating my friendly advances. I smiled at him when we were on the far side of the stage, watching the rehearsal next to each other. He didn’t seem to notice me. When he passed me in the production office hallway and I tried to gain his attention, he simply scratched at his face with a finger and walked past me. “Harumph!” I thought.

I pondered how I might make him laugh. Perhaps in the bathroom. I pictured myself next to him at an adjacent urinal and saying something funny and unexpected like, “I bet you never thought you’d be peeing next to me”. I figured that even if he didn’t laugh, it would at least be something he remembered and maybe even talked about on Conan O’Brien’s show or something. I could be one of Jerry Seinfeld’s talk show anecdotes! I’d say “That bathroom story he just told Conan is about me!”

Unfortunately for me – and fortunately for him – Jerry had his own bathroom where he could create his own anecdotes (or maybe simply do what people normally do in bathrooms).

After some thought, it occurred to me that big name stars like Jerry probably have to create a kind of wall around themselves. One that serves to keep every would be comic from chatting his ear off about their MySpace page or to keep aspiring TV show producers from pitching hackneyed shows to him (“It’s like ‘Seinfeld’, only the difference is…”). He has to create a barrier or he’d never get anything done. He’d be too busy pretending to be as interested in his fans as they are in him. (“Really? Your mom watches reruns of my show? How interesting. Go on…”)

Having said that, I do appreciate celebrities who take the time to be friendly to their fans. I’m told that Drew Barrymore and George Clooney are very gracious in that regard. It speaks well of their personalities and patience. My hope is that sometime soon, I end up in some Los Angeles bathroom, relieving myself next to George Clooney. I know he’d reciprocate.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dance Band on the Titanic

Early this morning, I was awoken by a Roto Rooter man fixing a bad toilet-related situation in a pipe outside my window. I arose and in-line skated for a half hour. This song was in my head the whole time. Love it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thai Day!

My Thai landlord and her daughter live on the same property as my roommates and I, so we've gotten to know them over the course of the ten months we've lived in Burbank, CA. The story of Thai Day - which isn't a real holiday at all (I just named it that moments ago) - is an example of why they are top notch!

Dim Sum, Everybody!
Last week, my friend and I joined our landlord and her daughter in celebrating our landlord's birthday. We went to Empress Pavilion in Chinatown and our landlord paid for it! She said we are like her children! Now I have two moms. That last sentence sounded like a quote from a "progressive" TV drama in the mid-nineties.

Anyway, the Empress Pavilion serves some of the most delectable "dim sum" that a pavilion can legally have. "Dim sum" does not refer to an uneducated answer to an addition problem on a math worksheet. It refers to snacks served during tea time, a Chinese tradition. My favorite was Shiu Mai (pictured above), which are pork dumplings with savory mushrooms and flavor that will make the angel babies cry with delight.

Once you get to the Empress Pavilion, you are seated in a huge ballroom of sorts (Picture a big ballroom in a nice hotel and then fill it with tables... and Asians). As soon as you sit down, you're given hot tea and women come around from table to table with carts of steaming food that they offer you. "You want spinach dumpling?" Sometimes, I didn't know what they were offering me, but my Thai friends would "translate" Chinese English to Thai English, which I seem to understand better.

Since our landlord wouldn't let us pay for lunch, we decided it would be best to make her a cake to show our gratitude. However, we were unable to do that because she invited us to get Thai massages that very night at Master Wong's Foot Clinic in nearby Alhambra, CA!

"Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on now touch me, babe."
For months, I'd wanted a professional massage, and I was so happy to get the inside scoop on a very affordable, very effective Thai massage. Before you make any jokes about a "happy ending", I'll tell you this is not that kind of place. The only clothes you remove are your shoes and socks.

For two hours, I was rubbed, pressed, stretched, caressed, oiled, smacked and utterly relaxed by a wonderful Thai woman. There were about twenty massage recliners in this medium-sized operation, and almost all of them were filled with relaxed souls like me. I had never been massaged - professionally or otherwise - that well for such a length of time. It was amazing. As I sat in the dim light, listening to relaxing music, I distinctly remember two thoughts:

1) "This music sounds like it belongs in a 1960's early color Western movie."
...and later...
2) "I feel like I can do anything."

As much as we tried, our landlord wouldn't let us pay for the massages. She did let us tip our masseuses, and for that we were grateful. I think we both kind of felt like mooches.

Pretzels and shirtless healing
I wonder how we could ever repay our landlord. Maybe we could treat her and her daughter to a "German Day", since I think all three of us roommates have some German blood in us. It would be like our version of Thai Day.

We could start by taking the two of them to Schmidt's Brahaus for pretzels, sausage and schnitzels... and beer. Once filled to capacity with food and drink, we can nap for four hours and then visit our old friend, Dieter, German energy and touch healer. Through massage, Dieter will shirtlessly relax our bodies and minds. Wow. I think that will work! They'll love it! Thanks, Dieter!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I am a job. Have you seen me?

Ah, sonofagun. I'm still unemployed. Still actively pounding the pavement, sweating all the while, in search of a job. It's kind of a difficult task to undertake when you don't know exactly what you want to do. However, I suppose I'm open to almost anything.
The fun part
Assuming some people read this blog, I ask you, the reader, to please submit any advertisements for jobs (real or otherwise) that you think I'd be good at. No idea will be turned down!

Here is an example of a regular style job advertisement to get you started.

FULL TIME OFFICE ASSISTANT needed for some awful talent management agency in North Hollywood. Manage incoming calls and greet visitors and loiterers. Other duties include (but are not limited to) ordering office supplies, complimenting executives, learning to speak Chinese so you can order lunch from "that really yummy Asian place on Victory Boulevard with the soup spoons that don't feel right", wandering around in the parking lot, searching online for other jobs that are better than this one, and petting the interns. Interested candidates, please send your resume and cover letter to NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE!!!!!!!!

If you are writing your own, made-up job advertisement...
At the bottom of this post, you'll find some adjectives, verbs, and other words that I want you to include in the job advertisement. Only those who use at least one of these words or phrases will be taken seriously. This is very serious.
Frighteningly Gifted
Hard Core
Vampire Killing
Lemon Pie
Squirrel Catcher
Amazing Guitar
Customer Nervous
Totally Puppies!
Corn on the Cob
Writing Phenomenon
Testing Video Games
Free Miller High Life Lite
Badminton Star
Awesome Travel

Thank you. And I await my reader-suggested fate!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weekend Theme Song Challenge: Great Balls of Fire!

Whooey! It's been awhile since I last posted. I can blame that on several things, but the main reason is that I've been looking for work (see my two prior posts). Yay!

This past weekend, our WTSC song was Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire". Read on to find out how I lived out this theme song. And check out Hyperbole Personified’s blog for her story too. It’s sure to be filled with many great balls… of fire.

Friday Night Coma
The weekend began, as it often does, on Friday night. I had drunk some beers (yes, "drunk" is the correct verb form in this sentence) and was watching our local PBS station because that's what Fridays are all about to me - being too cool for parties.

What's this? A knock at the door? It's our lovely Thai landlord/friend who lives next to us. She brought over a hot, heaping aluminum foil-like tray of Thai food! Her mother, also Thai, had just made it. And it was five to eight pounds of steamin' noodles, chicken, shrimp, green onions, carrot shavings and who knows what else! I squeezed fresh-picked lemons and sprinkled her special hot seasoning all over it. So delicious.

It's strange that I don't know the name of this particular dish, which she’s given to us twice before. Whenever I ask her what it is, she says, "It's Thai food." But she never elaborates. Mysterious...

Due to the combination of beer and my serving of Thai food that was fit for a Thai giant, I went into a lovely Thai food coma. My stomach felt like a "Great Ball of Fire"!

The Fourth of July
Saturday was the fourth of July. Jay and I had a friend over from "back home" and we spent most of the day, grilling, eating, drinking, and swimming in our pool. Some highlights were when I scraped the lenses on a pair of old aviator sunglasses on the bottom of the pool and when we made a drink called "Strip and Go Naked" (we use vodka and lemonade in lieu of limeade and Cuervo).

Feeling silly from the sun and drink, we surrendered our transportation privileges to the great Mr. Sober-er Jay, who drove us to Pasadena where we watched the Rose Bowl fireworks from the top of a parking ramp. On this parking ramp, we drank illegal beers and avoided stepping on all of the kids whose cheapskate parents had taken them to the top of this parking structure rather than shell out the dough to actually go to the Rose Bowl to see the fireworks. And what fireworks they were! They had me saying things like "Seen it before", "Big deal; it's just a bunch of gunpowder", and of course "Goodness gracious great balls of fire!"

On the way home, I couldn't help but think of Jerry Lee Lewis singing his signature song. His blondish hair flapping, his fingers feverishly slamming the piano keys and his feet dancing of their own accord. He would've never thought that some other blondish guy (and some blond girl named "Hyperbole Personified") would be writing about him on something called the "internet". Or maybe this is all part of his divine rock and roll plan.

Goodness gracious!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Getting Laid Off: Part 2

Our company’s NY office called us on Wednesday and, as expected, they laid off everyone in the LA office. A representative from the NY office came in that morning and started taking inventory on all the valuables in the office before they closed it down. I felt no ill will towards her. After all, she was most likely laid off yesterday! COMMERCE!!

I helped her take inventory and she sent the corresponding list and photos to the NY office. I suppose they’ll try to sell all the items to help pay off the many debts the company owes to creditors, vendors and property owners (the company still owes two months worth of rent for the LA office and, I'm told, a couple months worth of rent in the NY office). The value of the inventory might amount to about $6000, which doesn’t even come close to paying everything off. As we took inventory, we were briefly interrupted by a phone call from our building manager. She notified us that we were finally being evicted. Now, that's good timing.

This is the end, beautiful friend
Wednesday was our final day at the office. Before we left for the very last time, we all went to Hooter’s and had a lunch of beer, wings, onion rings, and sandwiches. We laughed together about the company’s lackluster leadership and poor financial decisions. We laughed about the vendors and creditors that might never see the money owed to them. We laughed at ourselves for losing our jobs. Laughter is what happens when there’s nothing left you can do to save yourself.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting Laid... Off

For almost two years, I've worked in a TV Production/Development company in Los Angeles. Over the past year or so, the company has suffered financial losses and has had cash-flow issues, resulting in layoffs in the company's main NY office and rumors about closing the company's doors completely.

We Saw It Coming...
As several executives in the NY offices quit over the past two weeks, the threat of layoffs at the LA office seemed more and more probable. Moments ago, I received an email from an executive in our NY office. She said she'd like to speak with everyone in the office via conference call tomorrow. I am assuming pretty safely that this phone call will be made to lay off everyone in the LA office, resulting in our office's closure. Most likely, the NY office will soon close as well.

Here's To New Beginnings!
I'm not really sure where to go from here. It's unfortunate that so many talented people will be losing their jobs at our company. But, at the same time, I'm excited for the change. What new adventures lie ahead?

Seriously, What New Adventures Lie Ahead?
Hmmm. I've been sending out resumes and speaking with former Production Coordinators and Production Managers (people who organize and lead the "legwork" of TV shows) looking for work. The industry doesn't seem too dismal. Many of the people I've worked with on TV shows that our company produced are currently working. It's just a matter of me giving those people backrubs until they give me a job!

Who Knows?
I may be completely wrong about getting laid off. Maybe the executive is calling in tomorrow to tell us we are all very special and our office will never close. More news as it comes...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Press play and read it aloud, slow and easy: Mocky - "Birds of a Feather"

You’re driving in the early evening of an easy spring. The sun paints the landscape around you a promising orange and all the traffic has disappeared, letting you zoom across the bouncing ribbon road. Home is a few slow miles ahead, but you turn to take the long way as this song plays over the radio…

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Be Like the Squirrel, Girl

I'm proud to say this is my second blog post regarding squirrels. Although I do think highly of them, many would argue that they are basically doing what we pay them to do (be cute and keep old people occupied). However, you might understand my appreciation for them if you listen to this video of "Little Acorns" by The White Stripes.

The squirrel taught me
Today at work, I had a metaphorical conglomerate stone of miscellaneous projects that I needed to complete. So, I broke that stone into smaller tasks with my pickaxe of practicality. In that way, I could take them on one at a time. Guess what. It was a success! I hope that you too can "be like the squirrel, girl!" (or boy).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weekend Theme Song Challenge: "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

This week’s Weekend Theme Song Challenge was “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by The Clash. And, like the exciting confusion of the song, I too am an exciting mess! Rather than being confused, however, I am frenetic. I just drank a Red Bull. Austria!

The challenge is between little old me and Hyperbole Personified. Who won the challenge? UTELLME

This past week, my brother and sister came to visit me here in Los Angeles. A week! Can you imagine? I can. But I don’t have to because it was real. It was a fantastic time. So, in lieu of doing a “Weekend” of living out the theme of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, I’ll be writing about the whole week they were here as it pertains to this song! (Crowd response: “Yay. He’s going to talk about experiences that are only moderately interesting to people who didn’t experience them…”)

We did a lot of the cool things that one is supposed to do when visiting LA and the area. We went to Hollywood and Highland, MOCA, Downtown, The Grove, all that stuff. In fact there was so much stuff, we often had a hard time deciding what to do, because our time was limited – although a week in LA doesn’t seem like much of a time limit, does it?

So how does all of this crap you’re saying relate to the song, Mr. R.A.I.O.M.B.?
Well, to hell with you! That’s what I say! Exclamation points! Red Bull! Here are some examples…

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
- My internet wasn’t working, so we had to surf the web on my brother’s high tech future phone. It was slow going and we couldn’t decide which comedy show at UCB we wanted to go to on Sunday. We decided to “stay” home (rather than “go”) and played badminton with friends and neighbors all night in my tiny yard with a lemon tree and beers.

- We went to take pictures of ourselves with the Hollywood sign in the background. I parked on a winding street where I saw a sign that read “Absolutely No Stopping”. My car was taking up an entire lane and it caused two almost-car-accidents. When a middle aged man stopped his car to point out the “Absolutely No Stopping” sign to me, we decided to “stay” and finish taking pictures. I feel bad about that. But I was just living out the weekend’s theme song and I think, in hindsight, he understands.

- When we went to Six Flags at Magic Mountain, I had to heave insults and angry words of wisdom at my sister in order to get her to ride “Riddler’s Revenge”. She loved it – the ride, not the insults. She was wise in deciding to “go”.

- We went to the Getty Center and saw a plethora of great photography and paintings. I told my brother and sister that we could either “stay” a little longer at the Getty or “go” to a surprise location that could only be truly enjoyed in daylight. With the sun sinking, we hurried to South Pasadena and were delighted to see some of the houses where Back to the Future was filmed. Our timing couldn’t have been better because there was a guy in front of George McFly’s house with an exact replica of the Delorian time machine as seen in BTTF II! We got great pics and someday I will post them (when I get them from my bro-bro). I’m glad we decided to “go”!

- We spent a couple days using the subway to get around. Generally, it was pretty smooth sailing. There was a period of time, however, when we consistently made the wrong decisions about which trains to “stay” on and which to “go” on. We got tangled up in Hollywood where two lines meet and spent an hour or so getting our act together.

- Lastly, the final “stay or go” situation... On Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours before my brother and sister would have to get on a plane to go back to Fargo, North Dakota, they were faced with a stone-hard decision. They could either go back home like chumps or they could continue the magical, storybook life of busking on Hollywood Blvd and sleeping in my living room. They decided that, although they enjoyed LA, they both had lives waiting for them back in Fargo.

All in all, the week was great, the badminton was intense, the subway was entertaining and the Hollywood was Holly-filled. Thanks brother and sister! Big fat love to you both!

NOTE: If you don’t know what the Weekend Theme Song Challenge is, go to the first posting about it here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yee Haw!

Yee Haw, indeed! I wish I knew where the phrase "yee haw" comes from...
My brother and sister recently visited me out here on the west coast. So, stay tuned for fun stories and madness.
Also, please keep yourself tuned - "stay tuned", that is - for the next installment of the "Weekend Theme Song Challenge", which is a mad, mad competition between yours truly and Hyperbole Personified. It is sure to please. And if it doesn't, that's your fault for not being receptive to radicalness.
In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful twin urinal set. Try to guess where I saw it. You WILL win a prize!*
*You will not win a prize.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weekend Theme Song Challenge: "Stuck In The Middle With You"

Last weekend’s theme song – if you hadn’t yet guessed by the title of this blog – was “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel. For most of my childhood and adolescence, I thought that Bob Dylan sang that song. He doesn’t. Wanna know what else I thought, that I turned out to be wrong about? “Fresno is an ultra hip, bustling metropolis.” Totally not true… but totally a great surprise of a city!

Fresno? More like FresYES!
Indeed. I spent the weekend in the city of Fresno, California. Why did I think it was a place where cool people – the type who wear “ironic” clothing – live? I blame it on the Beastie Boys, who oh-so-aptly rhyme with the word “Fresno”: Got busy in Frisco. Fooled around in Fresno / Got over on your girl ‘cause you know she never says ‘no’. Doesn’t Fresno sound rad? I want to "get over" on a girl – whatever that means.

Anyway… How does this weekend’s trip fit into this weekend’s theme song? Well, I spent about 8 hours in a car, driving to and from Fresno through the California desert. Essentially, I was “stuck in the middle” of the desert – and California itself – with three enchanting companions. (“Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right”, as the song goes.)

Leaving LA
The farther you drive away from Los Angeles, the more you remember what the real world is like. Los Angeles is kind of like a weird land of make-believe for adults. You forget you’re in it until you get out of it. The first sign that we weren’t in Los Angeles county was literally a sign, mounted on top of a large, brand new apartment complex. It read: “Free Rent”.

You won’t see signs like that in or near LA, but I guess it’s harder to get people to move into apartments in the 100 degree heat of the desert. A few miles down the road, I saw another sign worthy of note. It was affixed to a ramshackle house with a fenced-in yard of patchy desert grass. Inside the fence was a shirtless man with cutoff jeans and unkempt hair, who was hosing off a dog for some reason. On the sign, he had done his best to print the words “Dog Problems”, followed by a phone number. If I call this number, will he cause or fix these “dog problems”? I don’t want to know.

The highlight of the drive to Fresno was the “Musical Road” near Lancaster, CA. Perhaps you’ve heard of it by its other name – “Awesome”.

If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking, “Quit talking about the ride to Fresno and talk about the damn city itself!” Fine. The part of Fresno that we stayed in was slightly run down, but it had a lot of heart. It reminded me of a small town in Minnesota, because of all the positivity and hope it seemed to radiate. Nothing visible, just a kindness and sense of something greater in the hearts of the city’s people.

Sadly, the economy didn’t seem to be treating this part of Fresno very well. It may have been the unrelenting desert heat, but the city was far from bustling on this particular Saturday. And there seemed to be an abundance of abandoned warehouse-type buildings that made me want to buy them and shoot sappy music videos in them. While at a local eatery, Jay, a fellow traveler, noticed that two of the three TVs mounted on the walls weren’t on. He pointed out that they seemed to be symbolic of the businesses in Fresno – plenty of buildings, most of them empty.

Chukchansi Park
One shining beacon of hope in Fresno was Chukchansi Park – the home of the Fresno Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team that was playing the Albuquerque Isotopes on our Saturday evening visit. This game was our reason for going to Fresno since one of our travelers – Amy – has a brother who works for the Isotopes as a Video Coordinator. It was a fun game. Fantastic food and desire-quenching beer. Here are some pictures of me living out the weekend theme song with clowns and jokers …

They call her Mustang Sally
In some ways, “Mustang Sally” could have been the theme song to this weekend. After the game (Isotopes won! Go ‘Topes!), we all met up with Amy’s brother and had some cheap beer at a place called “Hero’s Sports Lounge”. The employees there were my heroes! One was from Minnesota. Maybe she was the one giving off the happy Minnesota vibe that I felt in Fresno.

Anyway, “Mustang Sally” could’ve been a great theme song for this weekend, because the lovely Alexis – another traveler – and I were one of a few couples dancing to that song when a gentlemanly bar band was playing it in the upper level of the bar. It was fun. A middle-aged couple, who seemed to “know a thing or two” about dancing, told us they were the judges and that they judged Alexis and I to be the best dancers. Winners! “Mustang Sally” stayed in my head for the rest of the night and into the following afternoon when we hit the road and headed back towards LA.

Cheese? Bravo!
As we departed from Fresno, we enjoyed from the road the view of the many and varied agricultural endeavors – grapes, nectarines and who knows what else! A half hour into the journey, Jay pulled over at a place called Bravo Farms Cheese Factory. Having been to only one other cheese factory in my life, I was excited to have a cheese factory affair.

I could spend a whole other blog post writing about the merits of the Bravo Farms Cheese Factory, and maybe someday I will. But, for now, I’ll just write a bunch of phrases that sum up the experiences you can have at this wonderful and magical place…

-Free cheese samples might get you drunk
-"There's a mini toilet in the bathroom!"
-Puppets sing along with satellite radio

-A backyard you never knew existed
-I’m nuts about nuts and carbohydrate snacks!
-Cheese and keychains and magnets and wine and gifts and cheese
-Amy calls them “Aw-renges”

The whole weekend was a darn happy California experience. I may have been “stuck in the middle” of California, but it was a good kind of stuck – the kind of stuck that can only be experienced with three wonderful traveling companions. Thanks guys!

NOTE: If you don’t know what the Weekend Theme Song Challenge is, go here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

America's Funniest Home Videos

"Awesome." "Practically the best thing ever." "I can't believe I like this so much." These are my responses to a rediscovered love in my life - "America's Funniest Home Videos". This show has been on since 1989, and has had, on its grand and lively set, four hosts of varying talent and sexiness. For my money, the best host was Bob Saget. From here on out, that’s the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” I’m talkin’ 'bout.

Although, as a child, I really disliked his inane, rambling "monologues", complete with jokes that trailed off into rolled eyes, I can't help but look back at Bob Saget's years on this show with the fondest of feelings. Perhaps it was the 24 oz. can of Miller High Life I was drinking, but last night, I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed this show - Bob Saget and all!

It's so damn good
Why was this show the source of so much joy and excitement as a child? And even now as an adult? After all, many of the video clips featured on the show were predictable; you knew what was going to happen the moment you saw the setup…

Setup example:
A 50-year-old man at a wedding anniversary reception is on the dance floor shaking his groove thang. But – uh oh! – ten feet away is a woman carrying a large sheet cake! What happens next?
A) The man stops dancing and asks the woman for a piece of the cake.
B) The man slips and falls into the woman, destroying the cake.
C) The man continues dancing, and waves at the woman benignly as she walks by.

I think you know the result, but I’ll say it anyway – it’s “B”. Why was it “B”? Obviously, we want to see crashes and injuries! And dogs doing human things! Adults doing childish things! Men getting nailed in the groin with various objects!! Babies vomiting on babies!! Trees tipping over on cars tipping over on sandcastles!! And for Pete’s sake – if they look awesome in reverse, play them in reverse!!!

"A.F.V." provided all of these appealing video scenarios – and oh so much more. They did it with musical montages, Bob Saget’s lively, high-pitched voiceovers, and a glorious selection of cartoonish sound effects. My – this show had it all! And its supreme early-90’s splendor lives on in syndication… and YouTube.

Won’t you join me in reliving some wonderful "A.F.V." moments? Yes. Yes, you will…
Intro to the first show!
Love the high-pitched voiceover at 1:00!
An honest look at the real "A.F.V."?
Many more videos here!

Epilogue: the theme song
I almost forgot! Do you remember the original theme song for “America’s Funniest Home Videos”? I do, and I still sing it at my mirror every morning while I’m combing my freshly-showered hair and wearing sunglasses. The comb usually doubles as a microphone. If you can remember all or most of the lyrics, you and I should be friends – not real friends, but the kind of friends who sing this theme song together.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Say Tuned: Weekend Theme Song Challenge #2

The song for this weekend's Weekend Theme Song Challenge, is "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel. (If you don't know what the Weekend Theme Song Challenge is, go here!)

Stay tuned as I attempt - against the will of my blog nemesis ("blogesis") and friend, Hyperbole Personified - to live out my weekend according to this fantasticated song! I'll post all about it next week at some point. Check my blogesis's post about her weekend, too. (Enjoy it while you can, because she will surely perish by my hand!)
I'm going to Fresno and no one can stop me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Sometimes I will write the music of my life.
Sometimes my life will be at the end of a cereal box.
Sometimes everyone in the party has cardboard for fingers.
Sometimes fingers have all the right moves.
Sometimes joysticks aren’t what you think she is talking about for real.
Sometimes paying attention can get expensive.
Sometimes I like you.
Sometimes I like you a lot less.
Sometimes it’s okay to be on the phone.
Sometimes you’ll dial the wrong numbers.
Sometimes I listen to you what you are saying.
Sometimes I pretend I’m listening by saying “uh huh” over and over and over until you shut up.
Sometimes I think what it would be like to be a plant.
Sometimes I plant about what it would be like to be a think.
Sometimes I time the timer on the microwave to see if it’s accurate.
Sometimes it’s always accurate.
Sometimes accuracy is blurred by emotion.
Sometimes emotion is a bag of cookies in a Tupperware container from a faraway grandma’s freezer.
Sometimes the years pass like so many of our lives do.
Sometimes we want what we can easily have but don’t want to do anything to get it.
Sometimes when you get your dreams, you don’t want them.
Sometimes I wish I already had my dreams so I’d already be at the point where I didn’t even want them anymore.
Sometimes I think that would be easier.
Sometimes, I say I’m from one state.
Sometimes, I always say I’m from another.
Sometimes, my state cannot be clarified.
Sometimes I say I’m from a rap song.
Sometimes I say “I’m from ‘Crank That’, by Soulja Boy”.
Sometimes people believe me.
Sometimes I decide it’s time to stop.
Sometimes I keep on writing forever and forever.
Sometimes her feet fall asleep.
Sometimes loud noises wake them up.
Sometimes a nice shower will do the trick.
Sometimes, you need to remind yourself that “Plants need water, man.”
Sometimes sunshine.
Sometimes bees.
Sometimes sometimes.
Sometimes please!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Weekend Theme Song Challenge: "Right Place, Wrong Time"

The theme song for this past weekend’s “Weekend Theme Song Challenge” (see my last post for an explanation) was “Right Place, Wrong Time” by Dr. John. How damn appropriate that I traveled from California, where I live, to my hometown of Fargo, to surprise my brother for his 30th birthday.
Allow me to explain why I succeeded with such flying colors at this "Challenge". I consider my home town the "right place" for some of the best moments in my life. And since my brother didn't know I was coming home, my appearance in Fargo was at the "wrong time". Thus, just my being in Fargo was essentially living up to the weekend theme song!
But, the song isn't just about (in)appropriate places and times, it's about all of life's (in)appropriate moments. So...

Here is a short story about me doing some - among many - inappropriate things this past weekend. I call it "Bowling and A Dog and a Butt: An Inappropriate Story"...

Once upon a time, I took my brother to a bowling alley to use him for bicep curls. (Wrong place, wrong weights.)

I became distracted, so I broke into the children's playroom (wrong place) and brought a stuffed dog to life (wrong... science?)

We became the breast of friends. (Good.)

But I decided it was in my breast interest to make a strange, new friend. (Wrong friend.)

We tried to learn how to kiss (Wrong... style.)

Next, I did a smelly thing in the "Employees Only" bathroom. (Wrong place, wrong bodily function.)

My brother did not approve of it. (Whatevs.) You can see my shirt. (Right shirt.)

When we escaped from the bowling alley, my new friend and I met two hillbillies. (That seems okay enough.)

I showed one of them where my butt is. (Wrong.)

THE "END" (Butt pun.)

Well, as you can see from this story, it was a strange yet wonderful time. There was more to my weekend, but most of it was good-natured and not as strange. Mostly just damn hard fun. Speaking of fun, here's a fun video that shows how I surprised my brother on Friday when I arrived in Fargo. (I sang in a child's voice in this video. Don't ask.)
That's all for this "Weekend Theme Song Challenge". I'm not sure if I won or Hyperbole Personified won. I think her weekend was more crazy than mine. But... I'm certain that mine was stranger than hers. Possibly more heartfelt since it was a non-sexual "love" surprise for my brother? Is it a draw? Or do I have to pull out the big guns???

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stay Tuned: "The Weekend Theme Song Challenge" is coming

Someone stupid once said “music is the soundtrack of your life”. While I feel that is a very broad, obvious and uninspired statement, I will use it to segue into today’s blog post.

I was thinking last week that it would be cool to have not a whole “soundtrack”, but just a theme song, for every weekend of my life. In that way, I would behave according to the mood/words/theme of each particular weekend’s song.

I told the (now, former) radical intern at my place of business about my idea. She informed me that she was going to steal the idea and write about it on her blog, which is called Hyperbole Personified. I told her to not be such a jerk for once in her life, so she said we’d turn into a competition on our blogs. I agreed.

Here is an interpretation of the rules (taken from her blog)…
Every weekend we pick a song. It will serve as the theme of the weekend, and whoever comes back with the best story revolving around the theme of the song wins all sorts of street cred! Some weeks we may have the same song (in order to battle) and other weeks we may just pick our own to compare and see who has the most fucked up/hilarious experience.

So we determined last week that the theme song for this past weekend would be “Right Place, Wrong Time”* by Dr. John. Stay tuned for a posting that will detail how I made “Right Place, Wrong Time” the theme song to my insane weekend… but not the “soundtrack of my life”... because Dick Clark is stupid.

*The link to this song is a YouTube video, which shows the lyrics in the info space. The audio is pretty good, but the video... well... I don't know what the heck it's all about.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Attention Spans are so- (I don't have time to say it)!

Our intern
Today was the last day that my workplace was graced with the presence of our part time intern. She was a fun, lively and far-above-competent intern and I think we’ll probably miss having her spritely vibe around the office.

One of her fun attributes was her short attention span. She is not alone in her affliction. In fact, most people - perhaps even you - have short attention spans.

Why do you think I would divide my blog up into such short paragraphs?

Why do you think I insert links and pictures into my page?

Why do you think I use subheadings?
Doing all of these things helps to hold the reader’s attention. This precautionary attitude is a must.

What causes the short attention span? Some think technology has spoiled us. With the internet, mobile phones, and social networking sites, we have become accustomed to getting everything we want with such speed that many of us have lost all patience for things that take a long time, or for things that we perceive will take a long time.

I think this perception that something will take a long time to accomplish is the main reason we get upset and try to “skim over” something, put it off, or even skip it all together.

Friendly complaints about interns
Our most recent intern was a genuine athlete when it came to “skimming over” emails. She would leap Olympic-caliber bounds over key information in emails that I sent her, and then she'd wonder why my emails seemed unclear. It didn’t bother me too much because it gave me a reason to make fun of her.

All of our interns have had a difficulty reading more than two paragraphs in an email. There is always a reason I send an email with long instructions – it’s because each instruction is important. If I would’ve wanted you to only read parts of the email, I would’ve just written those particular parts!

Even in the corner office
Sadly, this skimming custom reaches far beyond the realms of interns. It is a problem in the daily lives of executive-level business communication as well.

THEM: “Where is the rest of the information?”
ME: “Scroll down.”
THEM: (Scrolling down) “Oh, there it is. Why didn’t you divide it up into smaller paragraphs so it would hold my attention?”

This interplay is an exaggeration. But at its roots (and maybe even in its 'trunk') is a definite truth, and I would love to write about it another day.

Looking forward
It is my belief that, in the future, we’ll all have nano-computers wired to our brains so that the answers to any unsolved curiosities we ponder are instantly projected onto our minds.

Of course, in order to hold our attention, the information projected onto our minds will have to be in




Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mario Cross-Stitch Rad Towel!

This is a towel that rad-ly showcases Super Mario from his early incarnation as a plumber in “Super Mario Bros. 1” to his ossified state as a stone statue (a feat accomplished when in possession of the elusive Tanuki suit) in “Super Mario Bros. 3.”

Super Mario Across the NES Ages

---A little history on why I think this is so damn cool...
A week or so ago, I was searching for images of Mario from the original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). I knew there was probably a fun way to recreate NES images in another form, because they are so damn simple. (8-bit gaming, how I miss thee!) Anyway, I eventually stumbled upon this site ( I was very pleased to find that someone had smartly and artistically transferred many of the 8-bit images of NES characters and scenes into cross-stitch form!

This transfer from video game pixels to embroidery floss cross-stitches only makes sense. Both mediums require smaller “bits” of color to create a larger image. However, I also think the whole thing is funny because video games and cross-stitch couldn't be more different from one another! I definitely wanna try this out, but it does make me feel like a girl… I guess I'll only cross-stich manly characters...

Monday, April 27, 2009


Today is the birthday of Samuel F. B. Morse. He was the originator of Morse code and inventor of the electric telegraph. Right now, you might be thinking "Why would I give a half of a damn about some guy who's probably dead?" (NOTE: He is dead. Show some respect.) If you don't think Sammy Morse was a swingin' cat who's worthy of a second (or fiftieth) look, listen (and look) to some musical translations of his dot-dash communication system.

Phil Tulga - Morse Code Music!

Click the link above and scroll to the bottom of the page where the "keyboard" is. Here you can type in words that are translated into drums, tones or voices. I recommend the following words... Robot, 1992 and R.A.I.O.M.B. If you're cool, you probably will try these out... and more! (I think the guy to the left is Phil Tulga. What a mighty good man!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Name Is Alfie

Note the advice of a passerby written in pen: "GET A GRIP ON REALITY, GIRL!!"