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Friday, December 28, 2007

Bite Your Tongue

I'm not really compulsive. To date, I've never had anything remotely OCD about myself. But lately, I've taken to chewing the sides of my tongue.

I drive a lot. Normally, about 25,000 miles a year and now that dealer school is 130 miles round-trip 4 days a week, that mileage ante is even higher. So, of course, with so much idle time driving, I'm frequently lost in thought. Zoning out if you will. Suddenly, I realize I've been grinding my molars on the sides of my tongue. Chewing, as if I have a piece of steak back there. Except that steak is my tongue and not nearly as tasty.

What's up with that? I don't really hurt it when I chew but I find it a nuisance. It annoys me that I do anything compulsively let alone absent-mindedly, but it annoys me more that after I'm aware I'm doing it I have to dedicate 100% of my attention to stop doing it. I haven't noticed doing it anywhere other than in the car, either.

Is it stress? I honestly don't feel stressed out. Perhaps a habit that I need to work on to break? Great! (That was sarcasm, people. It doesn't translate well in text.)

I definitely grind my teeth in my sleep as evidenced by the "lecture" my dental hygienist gives me every six months, and my Little One does it horribly so, which the dentist insists she'll likely grow out of. Yeah, right.

So what's a guy to do? Google, right? Which I did. Tongue chewing is quite common. As long as the chewer is not drawing blood, apparently, its quite harmless. The Internet is great for learning there's other mental patients out there just like yourself, isn't it?

So I'm not going to sweat it. When I become aware of it, I'll consciously try to "calm" my mouth and perhaps it will pass in time.

Or, perhaps it will lead to some other, even more irritating OCD trait. I'm thinking of taking up the door-locking one in that event. You know, the one where you have to check the lock 70-billion times before leaving that house. I'm lucky if I check it 1/2 the time, now. At least that one serves a purpose in the end. Security.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dora No Puede Explorar

My Spanish sucks. Does that translate to Dora Cannot Explore? Because she can't.


My wife and I bought the Little One a brand new loft bed. Her bedroom is small so we found that's the perfect solution for creating a bunch of space in her room so she can spread out and play. Plus we have high ceilings so it worked perfectly. Of course, the task involved totally deconstructing her room, building the bed and putting everything back in its new and spacious storage locations.

Toward the end of putting everything back, Mrs. B. stepped on one of the Little One's 3 or so Dora the Explorer dolls. This particularly irritating 15 inch bitch promptly breaks out into song, "Every boy and every girl, every where around the world....." in an incredibly shrill and irritating voice.

The Little One, sensing her mom's frustration with this pestulence, promptly ran over, grabbed little Dora by the ankles and proceeded to Paul Bunyon the thing into the new post of the loft bed. I mean a full-on, axe-type cut that Babe Ruth would have been proud of. Little Dora's head, neck and upper torso took the brunt of the blunt force trauma.

The singing stopped.

Fighting back tears of laughter, the Mrs. shot the Little One a look in an effort to "parent" even though it was hysterically funny. To which TLO responded, "What? It worked, didn't it? That thing's annoying."

Worked, it did. Probably forever. The doll doctor's prognosis for future Dora Exploration is not good. The prognosis for future stage and screen work is even dimmer.

Good.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bummer

My mom wasn't feeling well enough to come down for the holiday. To top it off, my dad had come down with something as well. Bummer.

The plan now is a New Year's visit.

Other than that, I really enjoyed my long holiday weekend.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas to you too!

http://view.break.com/420325

Aww, c'mon Santa! You're better than that!

Must be the stress of so many unfinished toys and so few days left. That, or kid's pissing on his lap.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Late, late, late, late, late show.

One of my main worries when I started dealer school was the long drive home after midnight. I feared I would be exhausted and fighting falling asleep at the wheel. That hasn't been an issue at all. In fact, after class I'm kind of wired up and usually stay up for 45 minutes to an hour once I get home, which means I'm getting to sleep around 2 a.m.

Since I've learned I'll be awake anyway, I've been stopping at the gym on my way home once or twice a week on days I haven't been able to get my workout in at lunchtime or right after work (but before school). So I'm in the gym at 1 a.m. working out. Its quiet and nice and tons of equipment is available. I was very happy a few years ago when my gym switched to 24-hour format because I've always been inconsistent in my workout scheduling and like all the flexibility I can get.

Plus, the tendinitis in my elbow has been cooperating. Things are good. This week marks the half way point of schooling too. We have a final, for blackjack, next week and our "auditions" the week of the first. The audition is the review of your dealing abilities and knowledge of all the rules and procedures. I'm pretty confident I'll do well.

Then the last few weeks are novelty games: Acey Ducey, Casino War, the Money Wheel, Caribbean Stud and Texas Hold 'Em.

I'm getting there!



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Great News

I haven't gone into too much detail about it in blogspace, but I've touched on the fact that my mom has terminal cancer. Basically it is everywhere in her body, but the most debilitating part is it is in/on her spine. The diseased cells weaken the bone to the point where she has tiny cracks in the vertebra which could turn into breaks or worse, paralysis, should she fall or get hit by something. Obviously, she's living a careful existence but still living her life to the fullest her health will allow.

Her latest scans show the bones are actually stronger than they were during her last scan only a few months ago. Consequently, she called over the weekend to announce that she is feeling so much better lately that she will travel to stay with me for Christmas! Of course, she acts like its such a burden on us and it can be tedious convincing her that its our pleasure to have them. So, my parents will be down from Saturday through Christmas unless something unforeseen changes things.

Two years ago I wondered if that might be her last Christmas with us. Then last year I wondered it again. Perhaps I should stop wondering. She's too much of a fighter.

Can't wait until Saturday, mom. We all love you and my baby girl is overjoyed to see her Grammy and Grampa!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Differences

Mrs. Blogger and I were discussing the differences between men and women and I made a point I think she believes is true. I wonder if you do too --

Men find humor in the repulsive and pain.

To wit; the fart could be the most durable humorous occurrence ever. Jokes get old and funny movies seem not-so-funny after the passage of time. But to males, the fart is consistently funny (unless one pretends to be high-brow -- then I suspect its funny, but they'd never let on to it).

Two-year-olds laugh when they let one fly. Pre-teens think it fall-down hysterical when anyone, including dogs, fart. Teenagers revel in "farting in your general direction" or into a fan. College-age men compete in terms of its noxiousness or length or to test the "lighter theory". And old-timers, after a less-than-discrete emission, love blaming the dog, the running mouse or "barking spiders with bad breath". Apparently, at no point is it not funny.

And pain. Men know the pain a shot to the groin creates. Yet, they consistently think its funny. Funny, too, is the towel whip, sledding down stairs, the Indian burn, the titty twister or the bruises left from a drunken night. How else can one explain the success of Jackass and the like? Isn't 90% of that humor based on pain? Usually to the privates?

For the most part, women don't get any of that. Nor should they, I suppose. I can't imagine a woman putting shrimp in her binkini bottom and swimming with whale sharks. Yet, men think it hysterical when other men do it.

On the other hand, women find all things embarrassing funny. Were it a slip and fall on the ice in front of others (without injury, of course), a skirt tucked in pantyhose, an unzipped fly or split pants, toilet paper stuck to a shoe, or (like Mrs. B earlier today) forgetting a wallet but not realizing until after ordering lunch (she dug enough change out to finalize the transaction - and this occurrence warranted a phone call to me). For certain, they'll be red-faced and "devastated" but not to the point where the story won't merit repeating 5 or so more times during the course of the day.

Subtle differences, sure. And funny IS funny, of course. Maybe women prefer laughing at themselves and men rather laugh at others? If true, that's a sad trait. What do you think?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Question Answered

As Christmas approaches, a common question, or quip on the news in southern New England, is whether or not we have a "white" Christmas. Question answered: we will. We got walloped yesterday with about 11 inches of fluffy snow and a Nor'Easter (snow, plus heavy winds) is expected over the weekend. I left work early so I wasn't very impacted by it (except dealer school was canceled) but I heard of commuters basically sitting on the highways and taking upwards of 3 hours to travel 20 or so miles.

Except for that kind of ordeal, I don't mind winter storms at all. In fact, I like them unless its late March and there's nothing more festive than winter shopping, snow covered lights and clean white landscapes for Christmas. It looks weird to me to see holiday lights strung in warm climates, like southern California or Puerto Rico or the like. I guess I'm a Yankee at the core.

My next question though: what the HELL did people do before snowblowers?

Monday, December 10, 2007

$4 for a Smile

Last week, as I was exiting the city during rush hour and lamenting the fact that when the light turned green it meant I moved only two car lengths, I spotted a cardboard sign. In proper block lettering it said "Homeless. Please help." The woman holding it was perhaps thirty. She could have easily passed as a regular thirty-year-old dressed in a hoodie, jeans and tan workboots. She didn't look dirty, whorey or strung out. In fact, she didn't look like a street person at all.

I quickly did some green light-red light calculations and realized I would probably stop right where she was standing during the next cycle so I glanced down to my dash console where I frequently keep some cash, if not some change. I found $4 and grabbed it and proceeded to fold it neatly. As I approached her I rolled down the window of my 72 degree, climate- controlled luxury car and handed it to her with a smile and said, "Good luck to you." She responded with a sincere "God bless you" and eased back into her position on the sidewalk.

This particular evening was to be the coldest of the year so far. The forecast was for lows in the 18 to 22 degree range and as darkness fell, it was already quite chilly. Perhaps there was as shelter where she would be able to stay. Perhaps she wasn't that bad off and was playing me. Perhaps, though, neither were true.

I'm not trying to sound like I'm some saint and tooting my own horn, but it really is easy to give a few bucks. I piss away money nearly every day on something I can absolutely do without. Maybe that four bucks kept her from getting kicked out of a Dunkin' Donuts or a McDonald's that night allowing her one more night where she didn't die of hypothermia, or get raped or murdered. Maybe she combined it with some other donations to get her belly full, or take a bus to some family. Maybe she drank or smoked it Cynics would tell you that's what they'd do, so why bother? They'll just smoke it or drink it. I guess I'm more optimistic than that.

When you buy a lottery ticket, you're not really expecting to win are you? You're actually buying a dream. You're buying the chance to talk with family or co-workers what you'd do with $50 million, aren't you? The things you'd buy, the people you'd take care of. When you give someone down and out a few bucks, aren't you really just buying yourself the same dream, but on a smaller scale? Maybe, just maybe, my money made a difference, if even for one night. I have no doubt those of you in blog-world are a generous sort. I read about generous spirit and heart nearly every day here. So, I'm sure you all know from which I speak.

When we drive our nice car in our leather seats to our warm homes and our soft couches and plasma televisions, do we feel entitled to it, or lucky for it, or both? We eat our hot steak with our steamed veggies and drink our fresh ice cold fresh milk and we've earned it. We've finished school, perhaps went to college and became good employees through drive and determination. We've worked hard for what we have and no one can say we're not entitled to it. I'm surely not living an altruistic existence as I certainly like my creature comforts but so many of of us are only a few paychecks away from the street. An illness, a layoff, the housing market and mortgage crunch could all impact any one of us quicker than we could fathom. Then what? Impose on family? Maybe not all of us have that support structure. I'm lucky. I do.

However, one of my brother's was homeless for a variety of reasons. At some point, family could do no more to help and he took to the streets, collecting cans to get by. Thankfully, after some time, he sought assistance with The Salvation Army and they helped him get his shit together. Eventually, he moved on with his life to the point where you'd never know his past based on his successes today. He's now a married homeowner and landlord with a steady and successful career. I will be eternally grateful for the good work The Salvation Army did and do and show it by never passing the bucket and bell without reaching in my pocket, just as you all do. And I thank you. Because you helped my family stay whole and you can be proud that you decided a few bucks, or coins, could make a difference. On a personal level, it did. Probably to the point of saving a life. Again, thank you.

That person with a cardboard sign is somebody's sister and daughter and friend. That young woman was once somebody's little girl and I can't imagine my little girl ever getting to the point this young woman was. But if she did, I would hope someone could roll down a window and place a buck or two into her cold hands. Hopefully, someone out there loves her and through continued generosity, they can be reunited in the future and she can right her ship. Could I do more? I suppose I could. But I tried in a small way.

But for luck, DNA or sanity go any one of us to homeless, no? Trust me, $4 brought a smile to my face more than that large Starbucks Mocha Latte ever would.



Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Tale II

I did a bad thing. Perhaps more accurately, we did a bad thing. My younger brothers and I, that is.

My mother is and always has been really gung-ho about all things Christmas. She loved to decorate and plan and host Christmas Eve parties and spent extravagantly on presents for all six of us.

Pursuant to her being so fired up for Christmas, she would frequently do much of her shopping early even going so far as to wrapping the presents and have them under the tree by Thanksgiving weekend.

One year, I got the bright idea that if we carefully snipped the the tape at the end of the box gifts we could see what we got. Soon, it evolved into actually taking the toy out of the box and playing with it. Sometimes for weeks. I would then return it to the box shortly before Christmas.

We owned an Intellivision gaming system. This was the state of the art computer gaming system at the time and all my Atari friends were rather jealous.


Naturally, many of our "group" gifts were games for the system and said games came in a very distinguishable box that was obvious as to its contents even when wrapped.

So one Black Friday I slit the tape, slid out the box and found Pitfall! Yes!!

Pitfall represented The Game that we wanted that year. As excited as if we got a an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a Compass in the Stock (ref), I opened the box, grabbed the cartridge and slid the empty box back in its packaging. We had that the cartridge in the system in a matter of minutes and played for hours on end, day after day.

Soon we were expertly navigating rope swings over crocodile pits, ladders into sub-terranean passageways and stinging scorpions. In fact, we played so much on our ill-gotten game that we even began to grow bored with it.

Flash forward to Christmas Eve and I expertly slid the cartridge back into its box packaging and placed box back in the undisturbed Christmas wrapping with a fresh pad of tape.

The next morning we opened our gift, feigned surprise and pretended to eagerly await its play. As my youngest brother easily moved through level after level without so much as losing one guy, my mother remarked, "Its amazing to me how quickly you guys get the hang of these games."

If she only knew.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Tale I

'Tis the season of course. I have a few quick Christmas stories to share over the next couple days.

Between the age of 12 and 15 I had a paper route. It was one of those morning gigs necessitating my alarm to ring at about 5 a.m. Don't even ask me how I was able to do it for years and years for the meager wages of $37 a week, but somehow I was.

One frigid Christmas morning, as I was delivering to my third-to-last house, I prepared myself for the daily freak out of that particular customer's dog. It was a little guy, perhaps Border Collie-sized, and without fail it went ballistic every time I closed the paper into the storm.

Apparently, the customer wasn't really bothered by it all but I couldn't help but cringe every time.

So I hear the dog going nuts as I turn on my heel to vacate their porch and it was then I noticed their Christmas tree, through the picture window, completely decorated and still lighted falling not-so-gently onto its side. Fido must have gotten caught up in it, or its wiring or whatever, but it created a six foot, shiny, blinking, noisy avalanche of balsam.

Good morning. And Merry Christmas. That must have been a fun one.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Frustration Ala Mode

Ingredients:

1 2001 Chrysler 300M
65 Miles Commute (Each Way)
100 Sirius channel for Howard Stern Repeats
20 oz Mountain Dew
3 1/2 Hours Dealer Class
3.26 Dollars per Gallon of Gas

Directions:

Mix Chrysler, Commute and Stern in a large bowl for 70 minutes. Periodically whisk Mountain Dew into belly. Stir in class time. Repeat in reverse order. Sift gas prices out of wallet.

Repeat Tuesday. Repeat Wednesday. Repeat Thursday.

Redo directions for twelve consecutive weeks.

Enjoy.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Baby Elephants

I'm starting to think that the manager of the Subway sandwich shop near my office either has the gestational time-line of an Indian Elephant or that perhaps she's not pregnant.

Glad I never said "congratulations".

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Phish & Chips

We've booked our second annual trip to Las Vegas. We will have 6 guys in attendance late this February and I'm already looking forward to it.

A cool thing about going away with all guys is everyone can, and often do, their own thing. There's no allegiance to doing things "together". We were 5 guys in the hotel lobby after golf. Two announced they were off to play poker, one decided to head up for a nap, one announced he was off to play craps. This one decided to do some sightseeing.

After meandering through a few casinos and gawking at the marvels of architecture and over the top opulence I felt a need for a grass-roots casino. I craved a darker, more gritty place to lose money and I found one. I can't remember the name, but I believe it was attached to a Denny's or a KFC. The Mirage or the Rio weren't about to offer $2 craps with a Grand Slam Breakfast, but Denny's Casino and Diner was.

I would estimate I arrived there at about 4pm. I left after 1am. Nine hours sure can fly by when you're having fun. And fun I had. I never left the first table I approached except to pee. There were a bunch of people in town for the NASCAR race and I delighted in all our conversations about that, Vegas and where we were from. The beer was flowing, the table paying (sort of) and I had a blast.

Eventually, however, I had nearly run through that day's gambling allowance of $300 so I decided to head back. As I stumbled out into the warm evening I marveled at the number of people on the sidewalks at that hour. And most of them had a drink in their hand. Where else can one find just as many, if not more, people on the sidewalks at 1am as there were at 1pm, not to mention holding drinks? Perhaps New Orleans?

Anyway, during my 5-block walk back to the hotel, I spotted a sandwich board advertising golf shirts for $10. I checked them out and they were nice quality complete with the Las Vegas logo and all. I perused the shirts, selected two fearful there must be some mistake. I half-expected there was some catch, or I was reading things wrong or my buzz was causing me to hallucinate. But the total was $20 so I gladly handed over the bill.

On my way back to the sidewalk I passed a kiosk that was selling drinks. Since it had been 15 minutes or so since I had a drink, naturally I stopped still amazed at a drink kiosk in an open-air mall after 1am. But who was I to complain. So, I took further advantage of my good fortune and purchased myself an adult beverage to occupy myself for my walk back. An hysterically huge and fruity beverage at that. It was delicious, but then it better be for $15.50.

After finding my way back to the sidewalk my stomach not-so-gently reminded me I hadn't eaten and I was too far to go back to Denny's Casino and Diner. Since boozey fruit and beer haven't made the FDA food pyramid (yet) I found solace in Ben & Jerry's that was, of course, open. I selected their Phish Food Waffle Cone and forked over the $9 or so. This thing was friggin' huge in yet another indictment of Vegas opulence or gluttony. And, just a tad messy. At least it was big enough to make up my evening meal. So I had that going for me.

What I didn't have going for me at this point was any element of "cool" by this point. Picture if you will a guy, face sunburned from golf and pool-time plus beet-red from drinking 13 plus hours, holding a bag of shirts under his armpit, with a drink in that hand and a huge messy ice cream cone in the other all the while navigating pedestrian and vehicular traffic down the main strip of Vegas. I'm not sure, but civilians may have been poking each other and pointing. But I didn't care.

At one point, while waiting with 100 or so of my newfound friends at a crosswalk as I chowed down on my dessert/dinner I realized just how ludicrous I must have looked. Every movement I made was awkward as I tried to balance three items, two of which were messy, in two, unsteady hands. I'm sure the ice cream was getting on my nose, chin and lips but I had no way to wipe it off since I've never practiced, nor possess the flexibility, to napkin my face using my feet. I was sober enough to know how stupid I must have looked but drunk enough not to care.

Eventually, I found my way back to my room, with the help of some hotel janitorial person to see my cell phone had had one missed call and the following text messages:

5:20 pm "Meeting for dinner at 6 if you want to go"
8:30 pm "You playing craps?"
8:55 pm "Dude, where are you?"
10:15 pm "Where are you?"
12:25 am "You ok?"

Guess who never heard, nor checked, his phone? Um.....me. It was a guy vacation though. There was no lecture about inconsideration or about how they "worried" about me. Although I guess they did. I should have been more considerate. Oh well.

Stay tuned to see how things turn out this February.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey Wrap

I trust everyone had a reasonably enjoyable Thanksgiving? Mine was fine, if uneventful. We went to Mrs. B's sister's house and had a pleasant enough time.

I felt badly, though, that my brother had invited my family and my other brother's families to his house for Thanksgiving and everyone declined. I'm not positive, but I think it could be that last year he ran out of food!

Has anyone else gone to a Thanksgiving dinner where the host ran out of Turkey, corn and stuffing? I mean, there wasn't enough for everyone to have firsts let alone seconds.

Perhaps I'm crazy or harsh or whatever, but I find that totally unacceptable. If I don't feel bloated and uncomfortable, I'm sorry, that is simply not a 5-star Thanksgiving in my book.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wrong?

Is it wrong that I like the song Baby Hit Me One More Time from Britney Spears?

Probably.

Happy Turkey Day everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I HATE this!

BEWARE! PARENTHESIS APLENTY FOLLOW!

This occurred 90 seconds ago while I sat at my desk eating Chinese food and sipping a Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Our receptionist stepped out for lunch so Princess Fiona and I filled in to answer phones. (Yes, we have a voice mail automated attendant, but "Company Policy" is to have live people to answer if at all possible. I'd have to agree with that policy. There's nothing more frustrating than "If you're calling about unsightly back hair, press "12" - toe nail fungus press "13" - rectal itch press "14" - you've lost your hand in a kiln explosion "15" - you're head is trapped in an alligator's mouth "16" -- "Dammit! When are they going to get to a scratchy throat and runny nose?").

Ring, ring (I believe that's the standard text for phones ringing when, in fact, NOBODY'S phone "rings" anymore provided you're not 89 years old and still have a 1942 rotary dial. I'd never survive with one of those as its AWFUL difficult to check one's checking account balance with those dinosaurs, no? (press one for savings, two for checking - dial, "click, click, click, click, click" We're sorry, we did not get your response. Please, try again). Therefore, to be perfectly accurate our phone "rings" more like bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop) - Yes, I did parenthesis inside parenthesis. Just checking to see if you can all keep up. There will be a quiz later.

Me: Good afternoon and thank you for calling Widget Corporation, a subsidy of Blowme Enterprises, to whom may I have the pleasure of helping today and if you'd like to take our survey after our service, please press "1" at the end of your call. (Ok, we're not nearly that bad here, but I swear, more and more of my phone calls going out are greeted with some 22 minute expose on how great and important I, the caller, am and how anxious they all are to meet each and ever need of mine. Well, there are certain needs they simply cannot meet and nor do I want them to." And that brings me to the phrase, "More than happy to help." Ummmm....no you're not!! NOBODY is MORE THAN HAPPY to help ANYBODY with ANYTHING, especially when its your JOB).

Caller: Um. Yeah. Someone there, uh, just called me? (Yeah, ok dude. Each and every one of our 6 or so on-site people do a general interoffice page to let all the others know he/she just made a phone call that was not answered. So, fear not! I know exactly who called you).

Me: (Of course I have to be pleasant because I'm at work even though I already hate this guy) Ok. Are you a current client of Widget Corporation?

Caller: Who?

Me: Widget Corporation. That's who you just called (didn't you fucking listen to my 3 minute answering speech?).

Caller: Uh, I don't think so, but, uh, someone there just called me (Duh! We got that one Einstein).

Me: Ok. I can try to check around (This is office code for put you on hold, stuff two more fork fulls of lunch into my face, then pick up two minutes later to announce, "Sir? Nobody here knows anything about it" and hope he goes away). What's your name, sir?

Caller: Uh, maybe it was a, a, um, wrong number (At this point he's hooked me line and sinker with his ease and elegant prose with the English language and I hang excitedly on his next phrase and witticism).

Me: Possibly (you dumb shit).

Caller: Uh. Ok. Bye (thank God!).

Me: Good-bye (Butt-head) and thank you *click* for calling Wid....... (Hmmm...I guess he didn't want to do the survey).

Seriously, who calls back numbers on caller ID when the caller didn't leave a messages?

Hell, I can't stand answering most of the calls from people I know let alone taking valuable time tracking down possible solicitation (No! We don't do that here) phone calls from companies I don't know.

I decided against the parenthesis quiz. Class dismissed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

10 People You'll Meet

With all due respect to the fact that tonight I begin week two of my dealer training classes, I have to say that this guy is pretty much dead on. I, too, have met all these guys and usually in the same night. I think, however, you'll find all these characters at any casino, not just Foxwoods, and dealers make quite a bit more than minimum wage after tips.

Friday, November 16, 2007

1 of 12

I've completed week one of my 12 week dealer schooling. Its pretty intensive and there's so much to learn including book study and personal time practice but at least 4 three and one half hour classes are past me.

This week we worked on our shuffling (riffling) and the procedures for blending the 8 decks used at Foxwoods as well as chip (cheque) sizing, which is the art of using the finger as a guide to pay out stacks of chips. Finally, we did quite a bit of rudimentary dealing last night and I'm definitely finding that my experiences as a casino patron are helping and I feel, with the exception of my riffling, I'm pretty natural (read as "good") at it .

Having said that, there are so many nuances that the trained eye looks for in a dealer that others would never notice. In a lot of ways, things are almost like a dance in how sequential thinigs are and how easy it seems when one is doing it perfectly. I'm finding myself fascinated and anxious to learn more which can only be a good thing.

So far, so good with the hours. I've slept a total of 20 hours since Monday morning but I feel I'm holding up well. My main concern was the hour-long midnight commute home and the possibility of falling asleep at the wheel. But I'm pretty wired up when I leave and I sip a Mountain Dew as I crank up some Sirius radio or Howard Stern repeats to keep me occupied.

They gave us 8 decks with which to practice and I found a steal at Dick's for some 11.5 gram casino cheques so I am all set up to practice this weekend.

And practice I shall.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So stupid!

While watching the news this morning, I saw a story about shoddy airport security. Apparently, it is still incredibly easy to get dangerous liquids onto a plane. These liquids, which the story explains are easily available, can be combined to create an explosion big enough to seriously damage a car. I could be wrong, but I believe these were government tests and not journalistic investigations.

Does anybody else think this is stupid? Should we be freely telling the public and all its psychopathic zealots how easy it still is to bring explosives onto a plane?

While we're at it, why don't we broadcast which banks don't have any kind of alarm systems or locks on their doors?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh no, she ditn't!!

Holy crap! Is anybody even reading me anymore? Oh well, I'll post to amuse myself so that in 8 months when I look back I can send "LOL" comments to myself.

I have another story since that seems that's how my blog has evolved and perhaps its why my viewings are so low. At least I get a lot of hits from the words "men's thong" and others of that ilk, including the movie quotes I posted awhile ago, but those never leave comments or participate in other ways.

Anyway, this story is from maybe 5 years ago and I'm not sure it will work so well in text but since I've told it a million times in person, with all the proper inflections, my audience has always enjoyed it. Perhaps you will to.

Many in my family were up visiting my parents for Christmas. As per usual we ended up playing board games together and at one point we were playing a game where one has to give clues but cannot say certain words and others have to guess the words. I'm not a huge board game guy, but I think it was Scattergories.

Anyway, it was my brother's turn. He was sitting on the floor, leaning against the couch and my wife was sitting on that couch with her knees right beside his head. He looked at the card and muttered, "This is going to be bad". He looked me square in the eye and then pointed between Mrs. B's jeans-clad legs. I quickly said, "Box" and we got the game point.

My then 65 year old mother looked incredulous. "What? How did you get that word? Ohhhh....a box? I never heard it called a box. A TWAT, yes, but not a BOX."

We nearly died laughing red-faced. Not only was my was sweet, petite mom saying "twat" in our presence, but the emphasis she put on the word was at the same time unsettling and hysterical.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bumper Skiing Part II

On another occasion and during college, my then-girlfriend and future wife and my best friend J and I were out partying. J and I had quite a bit to drink so Mrs. B. agreed to drive us home in his car. Of course, drunks can never make it easy on the sober, so we made her take some diversion from the bar to go eat at D'Angelo's. This represented a major upgrade from our normal dirty-water-dog cuisine from a trailer parked outside the bar. Plus, it was snowing.

After chowing down, we got the bright idea of her driving us around the Stop-N-Shop parking lot so we could bumper ski behind his BMW 530es. Who in college drives a BMW? Well, not him for long. The bank kindly asked for it back. Anyway, after 4 or 5 journey's around the parking lot, my peripheral vision picked up a cop car coming at us.

We quickly plopped ourselves in the car as if nothing was amiss but his lights were on in seconds. He came over to talk to Mrs. B but we barely rolled down the windows so as to avoid any implication there might be alcohol. I'm not sure he was fooled at all, but Mrs. B. was rather sober so we had that going for us.

After he explained the dangers of what we were doing (duh!), it became obvious he was going to let us off the hook and did so in telling us to go home. As he trudged back to his car, my buddy, in the spirit of the holidays and perhaps due to the fact we weren't being ticketed or cuffed, told him, "Merry Christmas, officer." J has always had a kiss-ass way about him.

Without turning his head, the officer said back, "Yeah. Ho ho ho".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bumper Skiing Part I

There's a chill in the air this morning and the weather forecast calls for a spot of snow tomorrow night. Winter brings with it the excitement of the holidays, sleigh rides, clean crisp snow covered meadows, blankets by a warm fire, shouts of joy from sledding children, snowmen and, of course, bumper skiing.

To the uninitiated, bumper skiing is the art of slamming the trunk of a car over a chord or rope or some fabric and pulling willing participants, using only boots or sneakers as skis, over snow covered roads at sometimes breakneck speeds. Sometimes the whimsical driver decides to try to ditch a victim by doing a few doughnuts.

Years and years ago my two younger brothers and I were all-too-excited about a recent snowfall of perhaps two inches or so. Conseuqently, we got the bright idea to slam a pair of pants in the trunk of an '81 Chevette and "ski" tandem style, one per leg, around my parents condominium complex.

In direct accordance with brotherly law section 45(a)-2b we were obligated to "one-up" each other time and again. What began as a leisurely jaunt around the square parking lot near my parent's home turned into a 40 mile per hour wind tunnel test frought with speed bump jumping. Well, most of the time. In defense, the weight of two skiers can actually cause a fishtailing car to literally spin out as well. So we had that going for us.

We were briefed pretty well of the pitfalls to expect, except one. Apparently, manhole covers cover warmish air and therefore snowflakes tend to melt upon hitting them. Unfortunately, a thin layer of water is not quite enough to ski on. Plus, being 2 feet behind a speeding car allows the skier practically no forward visibility. Wherein one could expect the speed bumps based on the movement of the car's bumper, mere wet spots in the road combined with their 3 dimensional graphics, provide a particularly daunting challenge.

My youngest brother and I were not up to that challenge and suddenly found ourselves pitching forward as our feet stopped dead yet our grip held the pants for just a fraction. Luckily, we landed in a fresh, albeit thin and hard, layer of snow where we continued in an out of control slide only to be slowed by an impending speed bump before coming to rest against the curbing some 40 plus feet down the road.

We survived with barely a scratch but the wake-up call was enough to end our little "game" so we adjourned to the warmth of the condo to relive all the exciting moments. And not a moment too soon. From the balcony we could see a town officer driving around slowly with his searchlight apparently looking for hoodlums doing dangerous things involving cars, pants and snow.

Fortunately, he never found them.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Druken College Tale

Isn't it always the nights you plan to go out for a "couple" that turn out to be the most wicked? Yet, the ones you plan to really tie one on end up falling short and have you home in bed in time for Carson? Yeah, Carson. This is a college story and I'm getting old, ok?

So, my friend "B" and I decided to meet my then girlfriend and eventual Mrs. B and some of her friends at a local college pub to celebrate the end of the school year. The evening started out nice enough and we were having a pleasant time with laughs and fun conversation. However, things progressed to the point of many, many drinks complete with swilling straight from the pitcher, jaeger shots and a bunch of us climbing on the back of Mrs. B's shitty car bumper as we bounced up and down and sang "this old car she ain't what she used to be". At some point, the police kindly requested we stop so we then trudged about 2 miles back to the dorm because none of us were anywhere near all right to drive. Hell, we could barely walk.

Along the way, one of my many great ideas was to "hedge swim" or "bush dive". This involves climbing on the top of neatly trimmed hedges and swimming along them, parallel to the sidewalk. Oh, it be possible. If you can ignore the assorted puncture wounds and the occasional collapse of the shrub edges leaving the fledgling Mark Spitz prone on the sidewalk with new assorted injuries that do nothing to abate the hysterical laughter then, you too, can be a professional bush diver.

None of the above, however, is my tale. It merely sets the mood.

Our particular university was and is a huge baseball school with multiple national championships in their division. The running joke at the school was the board of trustees always had a dilemma about whether to get more books for the library or cool new landscaping to jazz up the baseball field. Inevitably, the field won and we did research in 1920's texts. "Wow! The periodic table sure has grown".

So, B and I and another guy whom I didn't know before, nor have I've seen since, decided to break into the field and play some baseball. I don't want to sound haughty when I say this was my idea too but, hell, it was. I'm full of them. Just see my strip trouble post a few months ago. It wasn't difficult to get onto the field and we played phantom baseball reminiscent of the Bull Durham rain out scene, complete with base-running and diving into home. I'm pretty sure I hit the game-winning home run.

Needless to say, Mrs. B and the rest of her friends didn't quite find the humor in our activities that we did. So they left.

We stayed and stayed. Of course, drunks sliding on baseball fields for 30 plus minutes are apt to get a tad dirty. After our victory celebration, B and I were somehow able to get back into the women's floor at such a late hour and in direct violation of the parietal hours. Oh, did I mention Mrs. B was a Resident Assistant? The one responsible for rules enforcement of the dorm inhabitants? Mmmmm....yeaah!

Anyway, I guess she went to bed and was none-too-pleased when B and I came a-knocking on her door. For some reason she saw fit to NOT let us in. We had ourselves a bit of a quandary, so, what's a couple guys to do? We went to rinse off in the ladies' showers. The idea was to clean up our arms and legs but my staggering eventually caused most of my clothing to get wet so, unbeknownst to B, I stripped nude and was taking a regular shower. When I eventually stepped into the common area, clean and strategically covering my "bits" and clutching my dirty and wet clothes, he was laughing hysterically at my audaciousness.

Of course, I did not have a towel but that did nothing to deter me from trudging completely nude the 100 or so feet down the common hallway to Mrs. B's door and knocked again as I called her name in the sweetest way possible. I knocked and knocked and knocked and I called her and I called her and I called her.

It took awhile, but eventually I was informed, in no uncertain terms, that I would not be welcome in her room. While I was still confused as to why she was so mad, I was also disgruntled and proceeded to the lobby area where I promptly sat my naked ass on a chair and turned on the TV. B thought this was all so funny and I guess that's all I need; an audience. Intermittently, I had other audience members as well. I was a hit for a while there.

I guess at some point, the Headmaster, whom I was good friend with, got word of my antics and went to Mrs. B's room to inform her of my antics and ask her to take care of it. While she was no doubt horrified when she turned to corner to see me sitting in a comfy chair, bare naked, remote in one hand and junk covered in the other, she allowed me back in her room. I even caught her laughing as she shook her head. She never seems to be able to stay mad at me for long. Main show was over and since B lived close by so he took off. I promptly fell asleep.

The next day was moving day. That was the primary reason I had gone up and Mrs. B's mom came up to help as well. One particular resident took that as the opportunity to mimic my prior nights actions complete with sweetly singing out Mrs. B's name and covering his privates. Yeah! Funny stuff.

Good thing my future mother in law had as good a sense of humor as my future wife.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BOO!

Did I scare ya?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Testing, Testing

I went down to the casino this morning to hand in my gambling license application, get fingerprinted and have my drug test.

Oh, they give a color-blindness test too. Never thought of it, but it makes sense since one needs to be able to differentiate chip colors.

Two things to report today.

First one is an observation: When I went in for the drug test, its like a little doctor's office inside the employee section of the casino. It seems everything is self-contained down there and so far I've found everything very efficient and everyone very, very friendly and welcoming. So as I'm sitting in the little waiting room to go in to pee, I'm seeing all these posters telling people how to avoid spreading colds and about proper hand washing techniques and avoidance of pink-eye, etc. That's all well and good, but then the waiting room is like 4 feet by 12 feet and could hold 10 people. Isn't proximity to others who are ill a prime contributor? I sat at the end.

The second thing is that I went into the bathroom with the nurse. It was a female nurse and of course its a urine sample that's tested. Beforehand, I wondered if they would have me put on a hospital gown so that they knew I didn't bring in some sort of piss apparatus or whatever, but nope. She went in with me but only into the bathroom's common area. I went in the stall alone and it was a good thing I had to pee pretty badly, because that would be a prime time to get some stage fright. I can imagine standing there for 15 minutes and not being able to go as the problem exacerbates itself.

Well, I went. No problems. Coulda surely filled more than a few cups so I didn't flush the toilet per the instructions on the wall when I had much more than was necessary. I'm such the rules follower.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Going for It

Well, I'm going to go for it. Dealer school. Its going to be a tough 3 months. Real tough. But the more I think it over, the more I want it.

What's especially encouraging is how many of my friends and family are so excited for me, even to the point of jealousy. Class starts two weeks from tonight. Wish me luck.

Woooo Hoooo!!!

Red Sox won the World Series!!

My Little One is excited as well, although I'm not sure she really knows why, just that I am excited. I tried to explain to her that the Sox have won just as many Championships in her 5 year lifetime as they have my her grandfather's 70 years but she was unimpressed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fitting In

Frequently, like any parent, I wonder what my little girl will be as she grows up. Will she be successful? Will she be smart? Will she be beautiful? Will she be a good person? And, perhaps most importantly, will she be happy? In the end, that's all that really matter to me.

Of course, many five years olds want to grow up and be veterinarians, or doctors or even gymnastics teachers (her latest pronouncement) and I make no attempts to dissuade her from any of her dreams. Again, whatever she wants as long as she's happy, I'm good with it. Certainly, we expect and plan that she go to college but if it became obvious in the future, schooling wasn't for her, then so be it. We would make every effort to help her find what was right for her.

While on line for lunch today, there was the gothiest of goth girls in front of me. She was perhaps 16 or so and decked out all in black including full platform boots with zippers, fishnet stockings, scraggly skirt, tight shirt and leather jacket complete with big bulky buckles. Her hair was also jet black, probably dyed and she had black fingernails and very dark lipstick. She was neither unattractive nor pretty under all that and she was with a similarly garbed young man. She also sported numerous necklaces, bracelets, earrings and a nose stud.

For the most part I have no problem with any of it. I rather admire the sense of individuality and desire not to be one of the masses. As I eyed her I thought to myself I would be okay if my Little One went that route at some point in her teens while understanding that most teens tend to grow out of it and move into more conformity as they want to make their way in the world. As long as it doesn't involve tattoos or weird piercings she may regret later in life anything else can, and probably will, change at the drop of a hat.

But what I puzzled over a bit later was - perhaps these kids do it precisely because they don't fit in and its a built-in excuse for not fitting in. I don't know. I was always a fit-in kind of kid and I still am as an adult. I was never one for crazy, attention-grabbing moves or garb. I wonder if it was because of my nature or because I didn't need to? Did I not dress, shall we say exotically, because I did fit in or, again, was it not simply not in me? I do remember wanting all that my friends had in terms of the latest and coolest fashion, that's for sure.

Granted, no labeling of an individual applies to all. But I do wonder if some in life purposefully make themselves more different because they were already different to begin with. Plus, in doing so, it helps them create or keep bonds with others in similar circumstances. If they all battle life similarly and unified then there's a sense of comraderie in it; a sense of fitting in, if you will. Maybe in their efforts to not fit in, they actually do fit in. Only with peers more like themselves.

I guess, then, that all of us merely want to fit in; to be accepted; to be liked. And if being different is the best way for my Little One finds friends and acceptance, then I'm all for it. Just so long as she's happy.




Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dealer No Deal

With both my wife's and my car getting up there in mileage (both over $130k), the thought of a new car payment, or payments, has made me nauseous. Combine that with the fact that we aren't nearly saving as much for the Little One's college as we would like and extensive, yearly house improvements have worn out some raised-plastic letters and numbers, I'm feeling a money pinch lately. At the very least, I can foresee future struggles if one, or both, of our cars suddenly dies. Lastly, there is nothing I want my family to ever feel like they have to do without and if that means I have to work harder, or longer, than I'm up for the challenge.

In the past I would make extra money through bonuses, overtime or even weekend work for the partners at my work. But that has dried up considerably in the past few years.

So, after some soul-searching for what kind of part-time job I would be willing to do, I thought about a casino dealer. I simply cannot imagine myself being a stock-clerk for $10 an hour or being a server at the local T.G.I.F. Perhaps I feel I'm "too good" to work such jobs but I also don't think my free time is worth less than $18 an hour or so.

I could easily be a Blackjack dealer I think and I'd love to learn their other house games of cards or the spinning money wheel and the like. Since I have such a patron's interest in the games and I enjoy the excitement of the casino atmosphere, why not? Plus they pay between $18 and $25 per hour depending on tips. Lastly, one can work only weekends and/or holidays and the scheduling seems quite flexible to accommodate my current job.

Don't get me wrong, I make a good living. But I also like nice things and I hate feeling like money is tight. It definitely would be tight if we suddenly took on two more car payments. I suppose one would say "then just get a crappy car" but I love cars and I like driving a nice one. I guess I'm shallow that way, but at the same time I'm willing to work hard for what I want. Maybe my current car will go forever, too. That's be great! Then I'll try to sock money away until its needed. I'm mostly concerned about some extra stress for my wife and time away from her and my daughter.

Also, casino dealer is quite a marketable skill that would come in very handy if anything crazy ever happened with my job, which can be dependent on the economy. There's even rumor of a planned casino in Massachusetts only 25 minutes from my home. So, that's a future consideration as well.

Pursuant to all that, I applied at Foxwoods Casino. Gladly, I passed Phase I and Phase II of their employment process and they tendered me an employment agreement. Phase II was a rather lengthy math test which, from the sounds of one of my interviewers, I aced. Funny. There was slight trick question in it that I suspect many miss. Basically, the trick was a multiple choice word problem involving money such as $48.23 is two twenties, a five, three ones, two dimes and three pennies. Well, I spotted another one that equaled the $48.23 in the same question, but the money was laid out differently. Many, I suppose, move on to the next answer when it works. Perhaps its how they test your attention to detail and I'm glad I noticed.

Next, I have a drug test which won't present a problem unless Bud-Lite has crystal meth in it and I have to pass a background check. Again, not a problem. I've never had any issues with the law short of driving too fast on occasion.

Assuming that goes well, then there's dealer school. And that's the hard part. Mrs. Blogger and I need to sit down and decide if I should proceed. First, its over an hour from my house. Second, its Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 to midnight for twelve weeks and there's no guarantee of passing, although I'm sure I will. The schooling will certainly put a strain on my family which would defeat the purpose of more income, no? But then, nothing good comes without hard work and sacrifice either. Plus I would have a few hours, from 5 to 7:15 every day, with my Little One. So I won't miss her too much.

After passing, I would be able to work weekend days, nights or overnights. That's pretty ideal as far as I'm concerned and knowing me, I would forego sleep to spend more time with my family. Sounded, too, like I could skew towards overnights as well, so as an insomniac I would still have quality family time.

I don't know. It sounds kind of scary and it sounds kind of exciting at the same time. I would make an excellent dealeras I like the whole thrill of gambling and gamblers and I'm good with math and I would make it a fun time which I'm sure would make me a desirable employee.

I haven't received all Mrs. Blogger's input just yet so I'm not sure whether I'll definitely proceed. We're a team and we'll make this decision as a partnership, but I think if she approves I'm going to go for it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series

Yesterday, a Red Sox fan co-worker of mine and I were discussing tickets for the games. Apparently, some tickets for the World Series were being scalped as high as $7,200. I am a huge fan, but I would think that even if I had F-You money, I would never spend that much to see a ballgame that I could see on TV for free.

As the discussion progressed, I mentioned that I might spend as much as $300, though, if given the opportunity. Maybe it sounds crazy to some but to others its a pittance. Its certainly not a pittance to me, but its not a life-altering amount either and let's face it, World Series tickets are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Anyway, I got a phone call last night from my buddy Dave. He has tickets available to him for $200 each. Naturally, we're going!

I don't know where I'm sitting yet, but look for me on TV tonight. I'll be the guy wearing the Red Sox cap.

*****

Edited thirty minutes later: Its unclear to me what happened but apparently they sold the tickets out from under my buddy for $400 each. Bummer :(

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Greatest Hits

There's been a few blogs I've read where I wanted to read more so I've actually gone back to the beginning and read every post. I don't think mine is one of them, but I was reading through my own to reminisce and to see if I missed any comments. I have not gotten too far but a couple of my posts did strike me as kind of funny or clever. So, for any of my newer readers, here is the Cliff's Notes version of my blog. Check these out. More to come later perhaps.

Momofuku

The Wait

Regal Burger

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sox Win!

My Red Sox won last night and are on their way to the World Series! I am so psyched about that especially since the NFL season, at least for this Jets fan, is essentially over.

My buddy and his friend went to the same place we were when the Sox won it all in 2004. Its a little hotel "sports bar" that has more televisions than patrons I think. I'm not terribly superstitious about much but those two were and Boston won. So why mess with a good thing?

His friend can be VERY negative in a doomsday sort of voice. I know the Red Sox have left their share of heartache on New England, but I guess I'm an eternal optimist. I'm always thinking "No, they can do it" or "Lets not worry, that error didn't score yet" while the friend, who's otherwise a terrific guy, is of the attitude "Oh, man, they're going to blow it" and "I can't believe he booted that ball. Here we go again". But they didn't blow it. Just as they didn't in '04.

On the myriad of televisions was Sunday Night Football and the Red Sox. Everyone was having a ball and we noticed a guy setting up a Karaoke Machine. We were all like, "They're kidding, right? Nobody is here to sing Evergreen tonight, are they?" Apparently, management thought better of it and the DJ sat at the bar until the last out of the game, which must have been around 11:40. The singing began as we were leaving. Perfect timing.

What I found even weirder than that, though, was Kevin Millar announcing the lineup and throwing out the first pitch. Kevin Millar was one of the main components, especially as a team rally-er, for Boston's win in 2004. But he's not with the team anymore! He went to the Baltimore Orioles via free agency and he still plays for Baltimore. Its strange that a current player from another team in the same division shows up to support his old team and his old teammates. He even referred to Boston as "us" and "them".

While I have no doubt that when Millar goes back to his team during spring training he will endeavor to do everything in his power to help them win. However, I think as a teammate I would have an issue with his support of "the Enemy".

But, Hell. It worked for "us". The World Series starts Wednesday. Go Sox!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dance Revolution

There are so many mornings when I wake up with a song in my head. I don't sleep with a radio on or anything like that so I am unclear where it comes from. The song du jour could be a contemporary hit like Nickelback's Rockstar - which has happened more than once - or something very extraneous like a Sinatra song.

Today it was The Hustle.

You know the song? The disco hit --

Doot doot doot doot doot doot doot doot doot dooot
Doot doot doot doot doot doot doot doot doot dooot
Do the Hustle!

I didn't actually count my doot's as there would be thousands of them. But I think you get the point.

So anyway, as I'm soaping up my incredibly muscular and tan body and lathering my thick and healthy locks of hair (nobody exaggerates online, right?) I have the stupid song in my head. Actually, it may have even been vocalized. But if one sings in the shower and nobody is there to hear it, is it really singing? Ah, philosophy. Its the words on a cereal box......

My out of sync wailing caused me to remember that I took dance lessons as a kid. It was an after school thing that was like $10 for 1 billion lessons or something. I think I was 11. We did line dancing and polka among others as well as the Hustle. I liked it and was not at all self-conscious about it.

But I don't care for it now.

Sure, I like a nice slow dance with my lady. Some romantic diddy that takes us back to a pleasant memory. I also like dances where the singer tells you what to do or when the dance is goofy by nature such as the Hookie Pookie or Electric Slide or whathaveyou. That way, I am supposed to look stupid. Which I'm sure I do. But I never partake without alcohol. Copious amounts of alcohol. Without alcohol, would any guy dance?

Yep, it definitely makes the gig.

I think one of my many other other dancing problems is that my taste in music is not conducive to good dancing. I don't have a kick-ass dance mix CD, nor should I! Plus, I don't' get all ga-ga over Kelly Clarkson's latest and don't even get me started on the Techno Crap I hear at the gym. Gack!!

Aside from that stuff, though, its very weird to be out there, shaking your money-maker, making sure your arms don't go above your head and then coming to a near standstill because of some 4 minute guitar solo a the end of a Danzig song.

In the planning stages of my wedding, the DJ asked what songs we wanted played. I am kind of Queer-Eye in that I had interest in the planning of the wedding just as I'm into home decor and what clothes to buy and helping Mrs. B choose outfits. Oh, and I have a tiny dog. Otherwise, its all man here! Don't you forget it.

Mrs. B is very eclectic in her music tastes and we like much of the same stuff, so we didn't have much difficulty selecting songs. I only had two "must plays" and one of which was You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC. Its been a constant favorite song in my life since my early teens and all my buddies and the Mrs. are into it too so we had to have it. Somehow it became our "clique" song so to speak. And, it screams lust love, doesn't it?

Naturally, it was one of the last songs played during that special day and the dance floor was pretty packed by the younger guests. I'm not positive, but over in the corner I may have seen my 82 year old Nana rocking out to it too. Powerful song, I tell ya.

Consequently, we were having a blast. Most on the floor were pretty tanked up from the four hours of open bar and we sort of had a circle dance thing going on which was mostly to make fun of each other I suppose. The song rocked along and we all went nuts dancing in our white guy overbites and air-guitar simulated ridiculousness.

The solo came up and my hysterical sister-in-law, in full bridesmaid navy blue dress and black hose goes into a pseudo Pete Townsend air guitar solo complete with the obligatory arched back, guitar hero, slide across the floor as she nailed every chord.

Of course, her hose at the knees basically exploded open and I think she was sore for a few days. But it was a pretty incredible dance move and she pulled it off under the most difficult of circumstances.

It was a great time. Many still talk of that move.

At least she can dance. I can't. And I had the billion lessons for $10.



Friday, October 12, 2007

Ohh! Scary

There's a certain nip to the air this morning. Today dawned damp and breezy it would seem Autumn is upon us here in southern New England. Corn stalks and hay bales and painted guords and carved pumpkins are beginning their eclectic appearances in retail stores as well as formalizing the season at neighborhood homes.

Spooky novelty stores have opened and a certain adult-themed "boutique" is advertising sexy costumes on a billboard that I cannot miss on my morning commute. Nor do I try to. Of course, less than three weeks away is Halloween. And my kid wants to be a tree. Yeah, a tree. Go figure. Should be an easy costume to put together at least.

While seemingly not as abundant nowadays as in my youth, I am reminded of haunted houses. What was once available in nearly every town now has become somewhat of an amusement park venture or been transformed into considerably less spooky hay-rides or corn mazes.

There used to be a really good one in downtown Hartford that was set up in an old department store and although they collected a hefty entry fee, at least it was for some charitable cause. This one was good though. Really good. Patrons didn't mind waiting on line for 2 plus hours to visit this particular fright fest and I recall my then-girlfriend, now Mrs. B., my buddy and his long-gone girlfriend doing just that.

In line, long-gone girlfriend mentioned a fear of clowns. A common fear I suppose. I'm not so fond of them myself but its more dislike than terror. My ex-sister-in-law was a part-time clown for children in her younger days. Since she was a bit of a fun-loving antagonist and knew so many adults didn't like clowns, she made sure to annoyingly visit with a few at whatever party she was working if only to entertain herself. That I would hate. But I wouldn't feel scared.

Anyway, we progress into the haunted house and one particular exhibit had a haunted elevator ride. Inside were the four of us and perhaps four other patrons. After bumping around like the elevator was falling out of control it came to a "stop" and a panel opened up. Out came, you guessed it, the scariest, most disgusting clown I've ever seen. Everyone on the "ride" was totally startled. But, just to make things more fun, this clown sought out long-gone girlfriend and scared the bejesus out of her. She nearly melted as she slid down the corner walls of the box and screamed and cried hysterically. The rest of us were hysterical too. From laughter.

I don't know if anyone heard our outdoor conversations or if it was just dumb luck they got her. This poor girl was as terrified as anyone I've ever seen and took a long time to recover afterwards.

Funny to the rest of us but I guess I'm glad he didn't pick me.

What are you afraid of?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Busy, busy

Like many in blogworld lately, I've been quite busy so my commenting is down as well as my posts.

I took a few extra days off from work, so, naturally when I returned I had to kick it into high gear to catch up, put out fires and deal with all the new crap I normally handle. Luckily, however, I haven't had to call that company yet.

Anyway, over the weekend I began replacing my roof which included a complete tear down of the old one and installation of new shingles as well as two new skylights. Four days of hard labor basically running from 7am to 6pm. I had the help of my brother and nephew on Saturday for the tear down and my buddy helped over the weekend on both days. My father-in-law was at my side nearly the entire time all four days and I'm not sure I could have handled the skylights, at least without having leaks, without him. My living room looks wonderful with them as well. So brights and cheery. We love it! So, thanks boss!! You rock!!

Also, extremely helpful was Mrs. Blogger. I'm respectful of heights but not terribly afraid of them. Mrs. B is to the point that she's shaking nervously at the 5th step of a 6 foot ladder. Yet, she got her cute butt up the ladder, on the scaffold and eventually up on the roof. Day one had her wide-eyed and nervous but by day four, she was walking around the roof like an old pro even cutting and nailing in shingles along the edges. Plus, when she wasn't working her fingers raw, she was keeping the crew fed and hydrated since over the weekend it was in the mid-eighties. Temps that high are very unusual around these parts in October.

Good job Honey! We're all proud of you.

This coming weekend we should be able to wrap up the rest of the project. The front of my house, which is nearly complete and included the skylight installation, is about two-thirds of the job and its mostly done. I/we merely need to install the ridge vent and strip and shingle the backside. The fall, though, is a lot higher back there at two stories. In that event Mrs. B. may choose to be ground control as in cleanup, chef and supply clerk. But we'll see.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Busted!

I had an issue that had to be corrected relating to a payment my company made on behalf of another. Its complicated but it doesn't matter.

The company I had to deal with, the receiving company, likes to treat all call to 10-15 minutes of the same "hold" music before one is actually able to speak with someone in customer non-service. I mean, the music is the same song every time. And I call the company 2, 3 even 4 times per week, sometimes more. Believe me when I say I know the tune. But that doesn't matter either.

One particular women with a "fuck you" attitude who is no doubt pissed off that her Harvard Law degree hasn't panned out to more than this $7.37 and hour job, seems oblivious to the fact that without people calling the company, she isn't really needed. I mean, really. If you're job is to answer phones and sort of deal with issues on people that call, shouldn't you be happy when they call? Without calls you're without a job. Although it sets the tone here, even that doesn't matter.

Furthermore, all of the drones in sector 7 that answer the phone at this particular company have a habit of putting you on hold (again with the muzak) for every single little thing. Its almost as if when you call, there isn't a computer in front of them and they have to look something up in the server room. Something like "I'm calling on invoice number 201456 and......." then they say, "Please hold" but before you can continue, its the music. Then they come back and you continue with "Payment of $1,246 was incorrectly referenced to......" "Please hold". Argh!!! Very frustrating. I don't get why they do it.

This particular call necessitated me going into some complicated detail to explain what happened but before I could finish a sentence I got a, "please hold". This happened twice after which she came back 60 seconds later so that I could again try to explain it to her. I imagine during these hold times, she looks over at her coworkers and giggles, "I'm going to win the bet. I'm sure I can get this guy on hold 5 times."

So, as I'm explaining for the third friggin' time she says "hold on". A coworker of mine was right near my office as I exclaimed, "Jesus! Why do I have to go on hold every three words with this goddamn company. Every fucking time!" As the words were still forming somewhere near my uvula, it dawned somewhere in the back of my dark brain there was no muzak.

Ooops.

Of course, Mrs. Cheary Customer You Can Bit Me overheard my diatribe. "I DIDN'T PUT YOU ON HOLD!"

I responded, "Well. This time you didn't! If you would only let someone finish their sentence before putting them on hold maybe callers wouldn't always be so frustrated."

The amazing part was that this totally unaccommodating and gristly and abrasive lady's personality got worse! I didn't think it could, but it did.

Long story short: I had to speak with her supervisor. We weren't going anywhere at that point. Then I faxed over the appropriate documentation and hopefully the issue is resolved.

I'm really not that embarrassed at my outbreak. I think it needed to be said if I was thinking it. Its very frustrating to deal with them and perhaps she, the least friendly of them all there, needed to hear the venting.

The problem as I see it, is that I deal with them multiple times per week and there are only 5 or 6 different voices on the other end. Hopefully, it will be a while before I get her again.



Thursday, October 4, 2007

World of Idiots