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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I Don't Like Fridays

Yup, that's right. You heard me.

Friday's blow.

They don't have a thing on their menu that's edible, unless you're falling down drunk. I only say this, because I've been there. Slobbering and wobbling drunk and eating whatever steaming vermin they serve there. It's just plain yacky.

Then there's the day itself. It blows too. Big time. If you work in I.T. you know why and what I am talking about. Everyone else is fluttering around and excited about their weekend picnic in the park plans. They're yammering on about how they're going on weekend getaway to the wine country. They're saying how "busy" they'll be at soccer games or swim meets or whatever other yuppie good Christian fellowship they can come up with.

What am I doing on Friday? Running around like a chicken with my head cut off because invariably every monkey waits until Friday morning to come up with whatever complex and completely random request they can't live with out over the weekend. They may have known that they were going to Guadalajara for a year, but it isn't until the Friday before they leave that they relay the need for a portable rocket launcher and laptop with a keyboard that will allow them to type in Aramaic. They may have known they would be going on safari in the Australian outback for 3 years, yet they still wait until the night before to demand that you enable their Blackberry and cell phone to be fully functional while they're on "walk-a-bout".

If I had a dime for every pony or laser beam someone requested at 5:56 p.m. on a Friday, you'd all have to start calling me the Crown Prince Of Cynicism. Or the Maharaja Of Rancor. Or the Sultan Of Bitterness. Or the Arch Duke Of Acrimony.

You get the picture. Nice to know that studying for the SAT finally paid off.

Oh, there is one Friday "related" thing that does not suck. If you've never tried "Fridays - Cheddar and Bacon Potato Skins", you really should. They're sold in a bag like chips. They're a little thicker than potato chips, but they're all kinds of yummy.

Sticking Feathers Up Your Butt Does Not Make You A Chicken

* * * * DISCLAIMER * * * *

This post is liable to be all over the place. I know I have warned you about this before. It doesn't make it any less true this time. So everyone grab themselves a buddy and try and keep up.

It's no secret I love the movies. I always have. From Star Wars to Leon. From The Matrix to Pulp Fiction. From Amelie to Braveheart. From Payback to Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. From Seven to Arthur. From Aliens to Better Off Dead. From Big Trouble In Little China to Chasing Amy.

You get the picture (no pun intended).

It's the escape-ism. I can go to the movies and turn my brain off for 2 or 3 hours. This does not mean I always go to mindless movies (Yes, I loves me the Dumb And Dumber and the latest Alien/Predator related anything), it just means that I can go and sever my brains connection to my life for 2 or 3 hours. This used to be a huge part of my life because my life was "unfulfilling". I lived at home. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I had a crappy job. My love life was erratic. I was drowning in debt. I wasn't where I wanted to be. The movies made it all go away. I could be Batman for 2 hours. I could conquer Germania for 2 hours. I could fight off the British for 2 hours. I could mastermind the theft of 100 million dollars for 2 hours. I could be anything and anyone but me for 2 hours.

It's not that I had anywhere close to a horrible life. I had a wonderful family and a place to live. I had a job and a college degree. I had friends and loved ones. I just wasn't happy because it isn't where I thought I should be at that certain time in my life.

Then, about 2 years ago, my life took a turn for the better. I met a wonderful girl. I fell in love with a beautiful girl. I'm going to marry the perfect girl. She's the fulcrum that's completely turned my life around. I am now finally where I always wanted and thought I should be. All because of her. She fell into my life and my life changed forever.

That doesn't mean that the sappy introspective demons within me don't rear their heads from time to time.

Case in point.

I'm out for my afternoon walk and I've got the music playing like I always do. It's a nice time to relax and unwind after work. It is also the time when my mind starts to wander about this and that. So, I'm thinking about the future of home prices in my area, about things I still have to do for the wedding, about how I need to get a new job, about how I need to go back to school, about how I have to get certified in some facet of I.T. to some how validate my position in I.T. management , about how I need to lose weight, about how I need a vacation. BLAH BLAH BLAH WOO IS ME WOO IS ME.

Then God hits me with it. I come around a bend and see a guy reading at a park picnic bench. He's only got the clothes on his back, a small backpack, a bicycle, his book and a blanket of newspapers to sleep on.

Point taken God. Take a nice cleansing step backward and get over myself.

Another case in point.

I get some dinner. The guy gives me $10 too much in change. Without hesitating, I give him the $10 back and tell him he gave me too much. I do this like it's something I've done a thousand times before. He is stunned. I AM STUNNED! Who the hell is this new guy? I would have never EVER done that before. It was always just their dumb luck and I'd gleefully go along knowing I got away with extra money. Perhaps my ties and beliefs in Karma have concentrated a bit.

Another case in point.

I'm walking around the college continuing with my nightly exercise, when I come upon the night shift cleaning crew. It's an entire swarm of Mexican men and women on their way to custodial work for the college. I start to think how sad it is that they spend so much time at this prestiguous university only the sweep up after all the sniveling little unappreciative rats that actually attend the school. That shifts into an appreciation for them, because at least they're making a visible contribution. Their job does something. You can see the results of their work. Further, their job is selfless. They are probably paid horrible wages and you never know they're there. Yet, without them, the college becomes a mountain of filth. Unlike my job of supporting a bunch of paper pushing muckity mucks. Not anyone can do what I do, but that doesn't make me feel any better or fulfilled. I've always felt like it was blind luck I got to where I am today and that at any moment someone is going to "discover" me and it's all going to come tumbling down. I'll be revealed as the sham I've always considered myself to be.

Which brings me back full circle to the movies.

One of the movies (and books/authors for that matter - one of the rare instances when a movie is actually better than the book that inspired it - and if you've never read Chuck Palahniuk you really should ) that has had the greatest influence on me and my evolving lifelong personal ideology is "Fight Club". It really made me look at my life. It made me think about a lot of things in a different perspective. I am not someone who easily bends their philosophies or ideologies, but it really made me re-evaluate things and assess just what my life was about.

If you've seen the bar scene between Tyler and the Narrator, you can probably understand what I'm talking about.

"Things you own, end up owning you" "I say, never be complete. I say, let's evolve and let the chips fall where they may"

But more to the point here today, is the discussion Tyler and The Narrator have about comittment.

"Sticking Feathers Up Your Butt Does Not Make You A Chicken" Tyler says at one point. His point being that you can gab all you want about anything, but until you commit to it and really do, you're just kidding yourself.

So that's where I am right now. What do I do about all the things going on in my head about my job/career? I have the perfect woman. I have the perfect house. I have the perfect life, except I loathe my job. I am in the field I want to be in, but not doing what I want to be doing. I've become the whipping boy jack of all trades. This is not what I want to be.

Anyone have any advice for someone struggling with changing jobs/careers after they've spent almost 15 years doing the same thing?

I'd love to hear from you if you do.

I am Jack's Need For Career Counseling

Monday, June 13, 2005

Is It Just Me?

Perhaps I am missing something here......


Why do certain kidnapping/abductions get the ridiculous media spotlight and some don't? Am I the only one who remembers seeing thousands of kids on the backs of milk cartons? Where the hell is all their air/camera/radio/Katie Couric time? Is it a money or affluence thing? Is it an exotic locale thing? Is it an accessibility to the concerned parties thing? Is it the exigent or tabloidesque circumstances of the disappearance/abduction?

The one thing I do know is that if I someone I loved went missing, and I didn't get the kind of coverage that Aruba girl is getting, I'd be getting some media attention of my own.

I'm not trying to be critical of the Aruba girl situation or belittle the pain her family is going through, I am only using it as a frame of reference. I could have used the Utah harp girl too. I could have used the runaway bride (whom I firmly believe they should have thrown the book at).

I am just saying that I do not understand why one person is more important when they vanish than another person. I am not trying to make some sort of sappy philanthropic appeal for equality here either, I am just honestly intrigued by the formula that must exist wherein some people get the news van and the peppy news anchor lead in and some get printed on milk cartons and are forgotten just as quickly.

Perhaps we've just reached a point in society where we're all so desensitized to everything that it takes an fiery asteroid hurtling to earth to make the evening news.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Zoom Colored Glasses

Story #1

Every time we go to this one stooooopid shopping center, I always bemoan how crappily designed the parking lot is. All the lanes are 2 feet wide and the fast food places have drive through exits that are impossible to exit out of. Couple that with the constant influx of 1968 Lincoln Continental driving Matlock fans and screaming hordes of Cadillac/Range Rover/Suburban/Lincoln/ H.M.S. Titanic SUV driving clueless soccer moms, and you start to see why the grumble rears it's head.

During my last tirade, Zoom calmly turns to me and says with no segueway or introduction, "You know, the only perfectly designed parking lots are freeways".

Story #2

It was tough morning. Zoom does not like to get out of bed on any morning, but getting up for work is the worst. She'll squirm and fight. She'll throw things at me and move away as I come to wake her up. She comes up with a new aversion almost everyday.

Today she could not wake up. We both are not morning people and often can only let out grunts and single syllables before we totally wake up. Today was a banner day in Zoom's struggle to cope with the morning. She was grumbling and pouting and fighting the wake up. Her level of single syllables appexed as we drove into the parking structure at work.

Perhaps inspired by being so close to where the orchestra plays, I turn to her and say, "Wow Zoom, that's quite a symphony of grunts you're working out today".

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Cure For Anorexia

I'm probably going to catch all kinds of heat for this. Both, because this is a topic charged with violent currents of political correctness and it paints me out to be all kinds of gay ("not that there's anything wrong with that" J. Seinfeld 1996).

But, in the interest of public service, I perservere. Here's to you, my beloved internet. This one's for you.

Now, before I begin, a disclaimer;

I am not a doctor. I have never been a doctor nor have I received medical training of any kind. I have never even played a doctor on TV.

Anorexia is a body consciousness issue. Those afflicted with it consistently believe that they are out of shape, fat, ugly, disproportionate etc. It does not matter how thin they get or how much they exercise, they always see themselves in a warped funhouse mirror. They cannot escape their own false conception of themselves.

Here's the simple solution.

Wait for it.

Join a gym. It's not for the reason you think. It has nothing to do with exercise or weight management. It's the elixir to all your confidence issues.

Wanna get over your poor self image? Wanna see yourself in a brand new healing light? Wanna see that no matter how much you let yourself go, YOU ARE STILL MORE ATTRACTIVE/COORDINATED/HYGIENIC THAN A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF THOSE AROUND YOU.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe my gym is just the Leper Colony of Orange County and I just didn't know it. It's just that I have seen things that have almost driven me into therapy. I've seen creatures that could carry a 3 picture horror movie franchise. I went to the gym because I started to dislike me. I wanted to look better naked (L. Burnham 2001). It took paying for and going to the gym to make me see that I really wasn't the sloth I thought I was. I still need to lose weight and get my butt/heart in shape, but the self image is in a much better place now. MUCH MUCH better place.

And finally, to the innumerable Yeti's I'm forced to share a shower with at said gym, could you seriously do something about your shag carpeting body hair? Seriously take a look in the mirror Chewbacca. There are treatments and places you can go. It's just not right. If I have to get into a shower one more time and it looks like Napoleon Dynamite is lodged in the shower drain, I may have to take a hostage.

Further, pubic hair needs to be attended to. It is not free range foliage that you just let go. Like that hair on your head, it grows and needs attention. Because again, if I get into the shower once more with a guy that looks like he's got a Pomeranian in a leg lock, you may read about it in the papers.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

How An IHOP Saved My Life

It didn't actually save my life. I mean, I would not have died if I had not come across the hallowed home of breakfasts. Let's just say that it saved me from dying in an embarrassment sense.


So, Zoom and I have started to work out/exercise again. She joined the gym I go to (because I've been there forever and I get a ridiculously low rate). If we don't go to the gym, we'll walk to the park or the college or to the Fatburger. Unless there is something good on TV, or the fish are doing tricks, or the bunnies come out to play or it's hot. We're dedicated. You get the picture.

The problem with me is, I am an impulse exerciser. Especially if I haven't worked out for a while. The first time I go back or start again, I go crazy and exercise for 4 hours. My adrenaline gets going and I can't stop. It's even worse now with an iPod, because the music makes me even more stupid/crazy.

So, the other night I go out for a walk by myself. Zoom went to the gym and I went for a walk. Separating us. Bad idea. I make my way to the college (it's about a mile or so) and then stop and have some dinner. I then start walking home and as I am, I am scream singing along with the iPod music. If anyone in the Irvine/Woodbridge area had there window open and could have sworn that they heard a crazy person yoddling down the street, that'd be me. Call it American Idol with no prize or judges. I'm all hyper and singing and when I get the last intersection before the one to our house, I decide I'm going to go the long way home. I proceed to turn right and make my way home the long way. Needless to say, it was CONSIDERABLY longer than I anticipated. This would not have been an issue, had I not had sushi and coke for dinner.

I continue to truck along and am content in the fact that I am exercising that much more to get my fat butt back into better shape. But without warning, it hits me. My bladder and stomach decide to duke it out over who can get me to sprint to the nearest toilet as fast as possible. It is then that I realize how much farther it really is to get to where I thought I knew where I was headed. I start to do breathing exercises to control my bowels. I start to sing more to get my mind off the impending blowout. But, no matter what I did, my mind and body knew exactly how much distance there was to the next toilet. They aligned perfectly to create a rising level or panic and discomfort that would apex just as I was wrenching my pants down around my ankles. I am thinking of ways to squat in the bushes along the road. I am trying to figure out the best angle to hide my naked butt if I have to engage in and emergency trowel drop.

I decide I can make it. I'll keep clenching my bum and I'll keep trying to not think about my bladder exploding.

I make it to the IHOP I knew was there all along. It was just about twice the distance I figured on. I yammer something at the guy at the front of the restaurant and charge into the loo. I fling my iPod off and hang it on the stall door and literally tear my shorts to my ankles just as the passengers begin to unload. I look skyward and thank the heavens that I did not fill my pants. I probably thanked the sky 4 or 5 times. I made it after all.

But.......(no pun intended)

After the initial euphoria of my bowels releasing had worn off, I realized that in my haste, I'd forgotten about my wallet that I'd tucked into the back of my shorts. The shorts I wear to work out in have no pockets, so to take my wallet to buy dinner, I just tuck it in the back of my pants. This is fine, except when you are tearing them off and going butt first toward the toilet. I reach back to feel the shorts to see if the wallet is there. It isn't. Trainspotting thoughts now rush through my mind. I'd made quite a sizeable deposit, and the thought of my wallet/ATM card/money swimming together with this deposit was quite gruesome. I'd simply have to get a new wallet/ATM card/money. I did finally comfort myself in the fact that I made it to the bathroom. At least I hadn't soiled myself. At least I didn't have to move out of town because of embarrassment.

As I sat there convincing myself that I would be fine, I felt something move and shift at the base of my spine. It freaked my out until I realized it was my wallet and it was still stuck to the small of my back via sweat. I'd been sweating so profusely because of the near public dookie experience, that my wallet was literally fused to my skin. Almost fused as it turns out. As soon as I realized what it was it broke loose from me and tried to dive into the murky depths below. But I acted swiftly and shifted back toward the wall and pinched it between my right cheek and the wall.

I was so thrilled with myself, you'd think I just scored the winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It is amazing how good saving 12 dollars from a poopie demise can be.

On a side note (if only because I can't leave you with thoughts of dookie dancing round' your heads); As I was making my way home I came across a car in the throws of making a left turn. It had it's signal on and everything, but it was just sitting there. There was no traffic. There was nothing obstructing it from continuing on. I couldn't figure it out. I got closer and closer to it, only to realize there were two people hardcore making out in the car in the middle of street. The guy in the passenger seat had literally enveloped the girl driving the car in love. So, as I walked by the car and noticed that the windows were down a couple inches, I let out my best Joey Tribbiani in salute and appreciation. "YEAH YA' DO!!!" I yelped out.

Needless to say our young lovebirds were scared out of their minds. After restarting their hearts, they continued on with their left turn now unobstructed by love.