Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And... Break!

Alright, I'm callin' it.  With one day of work left this week and no motivation at all, I'm just gonna stop blogging for the rest of 2010.  I'd really be forcing it if I tried to think of funny stories for even one more day.  And if I try, I'm just gonna over-promise and under-deliver, and nobody wants that.

But hey, at least I'm honest with you about it.  I'll pick it up again next week/year (maybe).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

String Theory

My older brother called me today to complain about something.  And it's one of those things that never bothered me before, but now it's really bothering me.  He said he was driving behind a Tombstone pizza distribution truck, and the back doors had an enlarged picture of a finished pizza.  And he noticed (as I have a thousand times without realizing it) that the pizza was cut, but the cheese was still attached to the pizza and stretching out as the piece was pulled off (see below for an example of this).

And he said that normally this wouldn't bother him.  But he was stuck behind that truck for a good 35 minutes because it was a winding two-lane road.  So he had to keep staring at that pizza slice.  And he sat there trying to imagine a scenario where you cut a pizza and the cheese still strings off like that.  The way he figured it, there were two possibilities.

First, the pizza could have been cut from the bottom.  That would allow you to cut the crust underneath while leaving the pizza untouched on top.  But that would mean using some sort of anti-gravity oven or flipping the pizza over to cut it.  At the very least, that seems highly unlikely.  And the other option is that after cutting the pizza, the temperature is still so high that the cheese remelts into a solid topping.  But considering how fast my frozen pizzas cool off, I don't consider that very likely either.

So the only conclusion I can get from this (unless I'm missing something here) is that the Tombstone Pizza people are lying cheats who use false advertising.  I thought about boycotting them for that, but then I realized I'd have to boycott all the pizza companies.  Because I can't remember ever seeing a pizza advertised without the cheese melt string thing included in it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Clean And Clear

I guess I should have updated you guys on my hearing situation. I mentioned a few posts back that there was an issue with my ear, and I couldn't hear out of it. So I went to a clinic and got it taken care of. I'll spare the details, but basically it was a build up of earwax and they cleaned my out with some contraption that shoots water into your brain at high speeds. Well, at least that's what it felt like.

But I won't complain about that. Regaining my ability to hear was worth the discomfort of having cold water shot into my ear. Although it was strange how dizzy I got just from them unclogging it. It made me lightheaded and a little nauseated. It was like I'd just spun around in my office chair 65 times (trust me, I know what that feels like). But again… not complaining about that.

However, I will complain about one thing. If you're a doctor, nurse, physician's assistant, or some other version of a medical professional, then please remember this. If someone comes in seeking medical attention and the first thing they tell you is that they can't hear out of their right ear, don't sit on their right side and mumble your way through the appointment. It's very mean and kinda stupid.

The guy helping me out kept asking me questions about what was going on. But he wouldn't speak up and he wouldn't talk to my left side. It was one of the most frustrating things I've ever experienced. If it was on purpose to mess with me then kudos to him. But if he did it accidentally, he's just dumb. And that concerns me. I felt like I was in an appointment with Charlie Brown's teacher. Everything he said sounded like "wah wah wah."

Anyway, the good news is I can hear again. No verdict yet on whether I'll develop super-hearing. But I'll keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This late in the year and this close to Christmas makes it very hard to get motivated for anything productive. And my definition of "productive" seems to broaden considerably. So I haven't shaved in a while. And I've been too lazy to wait for my PC to shut down (I just hold the button down). And it's even creeping into my blogging. Because I have little to no desire to attempt blog humor right now.

So instead, enjoy the picture of a ninja I've hidden on this page (don't waste your time, ninjas are invisible).

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's A Trap!

My older brother and I wear the same type of Hanes undershirts. But he wears one size smaller than me because he's not a fatty. Well, I accidentally took one of his when we visited him a couple of weeks ago and I didn't realize it. So my wife washed it with the rest of the whites, and I tried to put it on this morning. And I thought I had gained 25 pounds while I slept. I got it over my head, but my arms got caught when I tried to pull it down.

And then I got in a position where I had to either stretch out the shirt or ask my wife for help. So to avoid the embarrassment of having to be assisted out of a piece of clothing, I kept struggling. It was like a Chinese finger trap for my torso. The more I fought, the more I became entrapped, until finally I dislocated my shoulder and escaped the clutches of the evil shirt.

And since it was early in the morning, my brain wasn't working.  It took me another five minutes to figure out what happened. I knew I hadn't gained that much weight overnight. So I thought maybe my internal organs were swelling or something. It felt like I was trying to remove a powerful anaconda or octopus from my body. I never want to go through that again.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good Thing I Didn't Drop My Kids When They Were That Young

I don't usually hug people.  Family and friends know this about me.  And most coworkers have figured that out about me.  But I almost went against my hug-resistance movement yesterday at the Apple store.  Because I dropped my phone on the concrete a few days ago and severely cracked the screen, exactly 13 days after getting it for my birthday from my parents.

Side note - Mom, if you're reading this.  I'm sorry I broke my iPhone.  I didn't want to tell you because I knew you'd be disappointed (parentspeak for "MAD"). You can probably figure out why I kept this from you.  But don't worry, there's a happy ending to this story.

So I took my 13-day old phone to the Apple store and asked them what I could do about it.  After making an appointment for 6 minutes later (complete with a confirmation email that I didn't get until I got home) and waiting for 5 minutes, I showed it to one of the workers at the Genius Bar.  And she said it would normally cost $199 to get a new phone if the display is cracked.

And I'd like to say I turned on the charm and suavely convinced her to give me a discount.  But I just frowned and fought back the tears.  And she said that one word that hope dangles precariously from in such situations.  She said, "But...."

And I just knew she was gonna tell me she could charge me half of that.  But, even better than that, she said, "But... I can go ahead and replace it for free today.  Merry Christmas."

And I'm not lying when I say I almost hugged her right there on the spot.  I've never felt so much fondness for a complete stranger, except when I saw that 65-year old man do a handstand on a street corner in college.  That was awesome.  And yesterday was awesome too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Wouldn't Say I'm A "Proud" Owner, Though

I am now officially the owner of a 1993 Acura Legend. I went to the courthouse again today and laid out my seven documents in a row (seriously, seven of them). And the lady behind the counter said, "Wow, you came prepared!" She, of course, had no idea that this was my fifth time coming through the line in the last few weeks. If I have five tries to get something right, I think I'll always be prepared by the last try. Anyway, I walked out of there as the official owner of my car. And I celebrated by getting a flat tire on the way home.

But I didn't let that damper my mood.  In fact, I'm so used to changing flat tires (I've done it about 12 times now) that I got the spare on in less than 10 minutes. I felt like a member of a pit crew. Then I went inside with my hands all grimy and my shirt covered in grease and wrestled a grizzly bear while growing a beard and chugging a Mountain Dew. Very manly stuff.

But really, I went to Target and the grocery store with my family and did Christmas shopping and picked out fresh produce. Equally as manly, but not as obviously so.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Traffic Court Is Nerve-Racking (Or Nerve-Wracking)

I think I know what it feels like to quit smoking. Because I have the jitters, and my stomach hurts, and I'm nervous. So if you want to know what it feels like, drink an energy drink with breakfast, an espresso with lunch, and then plan on going to the court house in the afternoon. I'm nervous because I'm afraid I won't get through the line at the courthouse. And I'm jittery from the caffeine. Anyway, it's a weird feeling.

And it made me look like an idiot during my meeting today. I couldn't get a sentence out because I was trying to talk so fast. It sounded like I was interrupting myself to say what I was already saying.

Speaking of interrupting myself, I have to cut the post short today. It's time to go to court.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Relax, It's Just Air

I found out recently that not everyone can make themselves burp. It's a simple thing if you know how to do it. You just swallow a little bit of air and then pull it back up before it makes it to your stomach. I didn't realize that people couldn't do that. I just assumed that most people chose not to do it because it's gross. But as gross a talent as self-induced burping is, it's quite useful at times. In fact, I'll go ahead and give you two scenarios where it's very helpful.

The first scenario is when you feel a burp in your chest that just won't come out. It's that one where you duck your chin to your chest and then stretch your neck to try to coax it out, but it just sits there like a lump of air that's caught next to your heart. Those of us blessed with the gift of self-induced burping can swallow air and send it down to the trapped air. Then they fuse together and shoot back up your esophagus. I call this one the "rescue burp" because it acts just like a rescue worker when someone is trapped in a well or a collapsed building.

The more impressive scenario is when you want to really gross out your wife. This one has a more personal meaning to me because I've employed it for great use in the past. What I'll do is start off by complaining about some stomach pain. And I'll tell my wife that I don't feel so good. And I'll start to get up from my seat and say, "Oh no." And then, right as I get up, I'll turn my head and release a giant self-induced burp that shakes the walls. But I'll also add a little groan to it. The resulting effect is a very realistic vomiting sound. It's quite convincing (my wife usually tries to jump out of the way of the impending splatter). It's only funny for a few moments though, because it's always followed by a nice little fight about pranking people and how mean it is to do that to one's spouse.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Tomorrow is our company holiday party. We're closing the office 6 hours early so we can all go to a high-scale Italian restaurant downtown. And then we get to go home after we eat. So I'm looking at a half-day tomorrow with a free/awesome lunch, and then I'll be home by 2:30 in the afternoon! I've been waiting all week for this.

And from the rumors that have been floating around, the boss insists that everyone order dessert and have coffee afterwards. So now it's a toss-up as to what I'm most excited about. Free fancy food, half of a work day, and required dessert consumption. I really love Christmas-time.

Speaking of the holidays, I feel like we're losing the month of December too quickly. I haven't had egg nog once. And I've only listened to Christmas music on four or five occasions. And I haven't watched Elf yet. But it's already December 9th! I better kick it up a notch. I think tomorrow during my completely free afternoon, I'll put on a green and red sweater and listen to Jingle Bells over and over while drinking egg nog and watching Elf ("What's a Christmasgram?! I want one!")

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Less Thing To Worry About

I had to defriend my first person on Facebook. It was my little sister. But I had good reasons. For starters, she updated her status about 6 gajillion times a day. And it was never anything interesting. It was always "doing dishes" or "why does this always happen to me" or "can't WAIT". And I know I can take that stuff off of my news feed, but that wasn't all. She also liked to make electronic holiday posters and tag all of her friends in it. So I would see a notification saying I'd been tagged in her photo. Then I'd go to the photo, and it would be a WordArt drawing of "Happy Holidays" and it would have 435 people tagged in it.

And it felt really good to defriend her. It was like taking out the trash after it's started to stink. Or like sitting down after being on your feet for a long time. It was such a relief. I think I might find more people to defriend. It's very freeing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Speak Up!

The way my desk is positioned at work makes it to where 98% of the conversations I have are on my right side (your left). The only thing I have to listen for on my left is someone coming in through the front door of the office. And when I play video games, or talk on the phone, or do anything having to do with listening with one ear, I almost exclusively use my right ear. So naturally, when one of my ears decides to stop working, it's the right one.

I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but I woke up last week with what I can only describe as a muted ear. I can hear out of it, but only a little bit. And everything I hear on that side sounds like I'm hearing it from underwater. And up until today, it cleared up after a few hours. Something would unclog, and my hearing would come back. But today, I've sat at my desk unable to hear my coworkers, feeling lopsided and unbalanced.

I've tried everything: eardrops, Q-tips (against the recommended use), peroxide, warm water, pounding my fist against my sideburn. But nothing has worked. Everyone still sounds like they're talking to me in an aquarium. And it's starting to make me dizzy.

I'm almost to the point that I would try one of those ear candles (which always sounds like a mad lib). But sticking something into my head and then lighting it goes against my gut instinct. So I might hold off on that until it's both ears.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Curl Up With A Good Book

I finally got an iPhone.  My parents gave it to me for my birthday, and I love it.  And I realized that I'm fast becoming a Mac snob.  I have two iPods (a Mini and a 5th generation Nano), my wife and I each have an iPhone, I'm typing this post on a MacBook Pro, and I'm seriously considering getting an iPad next year.  But being a Mac snob doesn't really bother me that much.  Mac snobs are way cooler than regular snobs.

No, in fact, the thing that concerns me is that because I'm so used to using an iPhone (my wife's), that the "wow" factor has been missing from my newest toy.  I feel less like a snob in that respect and more like a spoiled brat.  But I did find one thing that I hadn't used on my wife's iPhone.  I downloaded the Kindle app and started reading Sherlock Holmes on it.  It was pretty sweet.

But the real story here is that I was reading Sherlock Holmes for the first time today.  And because I saw Guy Ritchie's film before I read the series, I can only imagine Robert Downing, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.  I don't think those were the faces Arthur Conan Doyle had in mind when he invented those characters.

But the real real story here is that I was reading Sherlock Holmes in the bathroom at work today, and both of my legs fell asleep.  Then the automatic-timer on the lights went off, and I had to wait for my temporary paralysis to go away before I could wave my arm out the stall door to turn the lights back on.  And then someone walked in and found a person sitting in the bathroom stall with the lights off.  Luckily, I had locked my phone so there wasn't an eerie glow coming from under the stall when they walked in.  So I think from now on I'll limit my reading destinations to places that have chairs and manual lights.

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Don't Wanna Be An American Idiot"

Every year when I was a kid, we spent a good portion of the summer in South Carolina with our extended family. We'd drive up to my grandmother's house and stay a while with her, visiting some cousins in a different part of the state occasionally. One summer, my aunt and uncle had a foreign exchange student with them. And she was there while we were visiting for a few weeks. And due to my cousin's accelerated, South Carolina-accented speech, the Spanish girl who barely spoke English (I think her name was Olga) got confused a lot. So I took it upon myself to translate his fast, Southern English into slower, unaccented English to keep her from feeling lost. I didn't want her to be completely confused the whole time she was there.

So I turned into her English-to-English translator during that time. And she got in the habit of looking at me whenever she needed something explained (or simply slowed down as was often the case). Well, one day we were planning a trip into Atlanta to see a baseball game, and someone mentioned taking a bus instead of parking downtown. And Olga looked at me and said, "A bus?"

This is where there was some confusion. When she said that, she meant it as, "We're taking a bus? Why would we need to take a bus if everyone here has their own car?" But what I took it to mean was, "A bus? What in the world is a bus?!  I've never heard of such things!"

So I said, "A bus? Well… how do I explain? Okay, it's basically a really long car with LOTS of windows." And when I said "really long car" I put my arms really wide and raised my eyebrows as high as I could.

So then she had to explain to me that she knew what a bus was. They have buses in every country, and it's a fairly common English word. And then she explained that she wanted to know why we were taking a bus. Then, the little Spanish girl who barely spoke English did her first truly American thing. She shook her head and rolled her eyes at my ignorance. And though it really hurt my feelings, I couldn't help but feel proud of her for learning to judge people when they're stupid.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There Are Better Ways Of Getting Your Fiber

My older brother works for a company that gets a lot of promotional merchandise. It's usually useless stuff like baseball caps and mousepads and stuff like that. But at this time of year, they get a lot of gift baskets and holiday items. And a lot of them have baked goods or candy in them. Well, one of their suppliers sent them a box of Mrs. Fields cookies. But instead of just regular cookies, they sent cookies with the supplier's logo printed on the top.

Now some of you might be familiar with fondant. And if you are, then you may skip this paragraph while I explain it to the naïve ones. Fondant is a sorry excuse replacement for good icing. It is not even close to edible (meaning it won't kill you), but it's disgusting not very tasty. And bakeries use it on cakes because they're lazy to keep a flat, smooth surface. And they can also print stuff on it a lot easier than they can on regular icing. So think of sugar-flavored Play-Doh thick, edible paper when you think of fondant.

The supplier had the logo printed on a circular piece of fondant that was then slapped onto the cookies. But as soon as my older brother opened his cookie, the logo fell off. Not one to waste a semi-edible piece of paper that had some cookie shrapnel attached to it, he took a bite of the fondant logo disc. And that's when one of his coworkers walked up and saw him.

But the coworker didn't know the logo had fallen off of a cookie. It looked very much like my brother was eating a supplier-sponsored coaster at his desk. And the "you-caught-me" look he had on his face didn't help. So now that guy thinks my brother eats flimsy coasters when people aren't around.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Facebook Page Is Blowing Up Today!

Today is my birthday. So today's post is the one where I wax nostalgic about years gone by and lament my ever-fading youth. But I won't do that. It's a waste of time, really. And I'd rather stay in complete denial of my aging and talk about other things.

My (actual) brother and I share a birthday. And we share that birthday with our mother. And as weird as that may seem to anyone on here who doesn't know me, it's true. Three family members. Three different years. Same birthday.

In some ways, I like it. It means that I'll never forget my mom's birthday. And growing up, it meant two different birthday cakes (and sometimes three) on the same day.  I can't complain about that. But in a lot of ways, I hate it. My brother thought it was funny while we were kids to say "Happy Birthday" to me just so I would have to say it back. And I rarely get to use the phrase "my birthday." It's always "our birthday" or "THE birthday." So it's an unusual situation.  I would compare it to being a twin, but without the twin perks (clothes-sharing, switching places in school, twin ESP).

The one complaint I have about getting older is that my age will continually get harder to type until I hit 30. Ages 21 through 24 were easy. I could get those with my left hand while typing. Then I started to have to use two hands to type my age. So the bigger the distance between the "2" and the last digit, the closer I am to 30. And I realize that is probably confusing. But just try it on your keyboard above the "W" key, and you'll see what I mean.

So anyway, I'll leave you with a quote from comedian Steven Wright:
"I plan to live forever... so far, so good."