Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Life is Good

Here's what it is all about, people ...

That's the nephew at age one. I am choked with joy for my brother and sister-in-law. T-minus three days until I go home. Screw corporate asshattery -- life is good.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Fly-By-Night Inc.

For the first time in my relatively short career, I am shitting bricks. Here's the situation. Over a year and a half ago I began working for a startup company. This was the kind of flashy, venture capital driven company that epitomized the dot-com era. Well, except this company wasn't a web company, it wasn't California, and it wasn't the dot-com era. But they did seem to have more money than sense; after offering me a job on my first visit (notice I did not say interview) and telling me to name my own price, what could I say but "sign me up!" For me there was also the tremendous benefit that I could jump from the sinking ship that I had been clinging to for the previous four years and I got to work with my best buddy J. again. They also had a break room filled with snacks, delicious snacks! What could go wrong?

Megalomaniacal and otherwise sketchy management for one. Excessive marketing spending might have also been a factor. But in the end, this is what I signed up for. The ride has been fun.

Oh, forgot to mention one important bit of info. My company is out of cash! When I get back from Ohio next week, they will be a full three pay periods behind on payroll. For those keeping score, that's well over ten percent of my annual income.

I have not had a lapse in income in my entire career. This is where the brick-shitting comes into play. Don't get me wrong -- I do not live paycheck to paycheck and the bank accounts are relatively healthy (remember, I picked my own salary), but what I'm not used to is the balances going in the other direction. I've always thought "I could live for x number of months on my savings." But now I'm thinking, "if I live for x number of months on my savings, I will have zero dollars to my name." Since when do I see half-empty glasses?

But the money issue is bullshit anyway. The real issue here is that my hand is being forced. I don't want a new job. I don't want to work on my resume. I don't want to push the flesh and make phone calls. I don't want an account on monster-dot-com. I don't want to make less money. I don't want to work for a big company. And I don't want to have to sign up for another tour of duty in Utah. I can make money, but I am apparently now a snob about it.

From the beginning, I had planned to ride this company out. I knew it was sketchy; I knew the management was certifiable; I knew the money could run out. But dammit, I wanted it to go down my way. Oh no, sister, you're not breaking up with ME!

So here I am at a big mother effin' crossroads. There are no more snacks in the break room. Gotta do something. Gotta make it count. Let's lay out the choices...

  1. Ride it out. I can stay put, keep my mouth shut, and hope like hell that I will once again get to suckle the sweet tit of venture capital. Management has promised that the money is coming. When I heard that a few weeks ago, I began holding my breath. I haven't died yet, but holy crap am I getting dizzy.
  2. Quit. This would likely lead to me getting zero dollars of my back pay. "Pennies on the dollar" has been the rallying cry for how to deal with vendors with whom we are delinquent. That sentiment will surely apply to me once I cease rendering services to the company.
  3. Start a company. J. and I have an idea and maybe enough capital between us to make a go of it. Can't elaborate on the idea here, but let it suffice to say that it is TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME!
  4. Contract. I've taken gigs on the side before. I did one last week. I could do more. If only they fell in my lap every week.
  5. Go postal. I don't own any firearms, but I have a clean record and could obtain something pretty sweet. Unfortunately, I don't think my enthusiasm would last through the mandatory waiting period. [sidenote: I was actually at the post office today. There was a clerk there who looked so utterly saddened by his life as a postal worker that I am sure that if we pulled down his pants we would see hundreds of little marks on his legs where he cut himself in an effort to remember what it is like to feel alive.]
  6. Change careers. Hmmm, am I good at anything else? I used to be a pretty good baseball umpire. I have been building experience dealing with homeless, drunk, meth-addicted, transvestite, and otherwise hungry residents of Salt Lake; is that marketable?
  7. Go to school. I have considered this one in the past. I even went as far as taking the GRE subject test. If only academic bullshit didn't make me grind my teeth, experience nausea, and want to kick small children. I could handle maybe two of those, but not all three. Maybe it's time to swallow hard and go get degree number two. I have heard that chicks going for advanced degrees in computer science are h-h-h-hot. I actually did hear that, but it was from my buddy Ji. who is a c.s. professor who spends much of his free time living in a fantasy world.
  8. Get another job. Ooooh goody goody goody, can I can I can I work for you. Your company is so awesome. I want to help you guys make money. Sure, three days of vacation per year is okay! Can I lick your dog's asshole clean on my days off? I can't wait to work for you for seventeen years, then all ten of my stock options will be vested! Oh boy, oh boy, I sure would like to meet all of my new mormon coworkers! Do any of them have jack mormon daughters (preferably h-h-h-hot with an advanced computer science degree)? Yeah, sharing a cube with Larry will be no problem; my sense of smell really isn't very good and he's such a super guy otherwise.
There they are. Seems like a complete list. These are not mutually exclusive, of course. Some likely scenarios include 1+3+8, 1+3+4, 6+7+8, and 2+5. The common thread is that these all add up to me having to get off my ass and do something about my situation. Time to polish that resume. [barf]

Forcing Self To Write

I have this notion that writing is good for me. Since starting black trunk a few weeks ago, I've found that posting yields both a cathartic benefit and a boost in personal pride much similar to when I go a whole day at work without dicking around. So tonight, having finished my chores around the house and with the cat pinning my arms to the keyboard, I shall write with no particular topic in mind.

So, let's talk about the cat. If this post ends up good or bad, it's going to be Mr Orange's fault. He is literally strewn across my arms at this very moment. Blood flow to my left hand is in jeopardy. But back to Mr Orange. I rescued the O-man from the local animal shelter four and a half years ago. By the time I got into the cat market, Mr Orange had been at the shelter for several weeks -- well longer than the shelter guarantees to keep animals alive. Mr Orange was, of course, the most bestest cat at the shelter, but he was listed as being eight years old on his information placard. This made him by far the oldest cat at the shelter. Since adopting Mr Orange, I have learned that the shelter's age estimate was total bullshit. Either that or Mr Orange is now the spriest twelve year old on the planet. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but he is a stud (except for his lack of testicles).

The most often asked question about Mr Orange is "did you name him after Mr Orange from Reservoir Dogs?" Much controversy surrounds this question. The problem was that naming the cat was not a solo endeavor. At the time, I was dating R., then a recent Salt Lake transplant like myself, now a resident of Maine (we'll get to that). In the process of choosing the O-man, several anonymous felines were uncaged and given the once-over in the shelter's pet evaluation room. In order to have meaningful discussion about the candidates, temporary monikers had to be applied.

"Hey, what did you think about Shitfoot?"
"He was kinda crabby. I liked Cheetara better."
"But she bit me. What about Mr Orange?"
"Oh yeah, he's pretty okay."
The trick is that R. applied this particular moniker. In my mind, "Mr Orange" only described his fur color, but for R. it was also a reference to Reservoir Dogs. Thus until very recently, my answer was always "no, he wasn't named after Mr Orange from Reservoir Dogs". It was only because of a strange coincidence that the full story recently came to light. Another ex, L. moved also happened to move to Maine recently. There L. actually encountered R. at which point their lets-trash-pete session inevitably let to them talking about the one-good-thing-about-pete, which of course is Mr Orange. So L. called and clued me in on how I named my cat. So now, the answer is "yes, he's named after that dude from that movie. And stop asking stupid questions."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Am I A Hipster?

Today I became aware of a new [to me] demographic in the world: the hipster. In preparation for my upcoming trip to New York, I was chatting with my friend E. who posited that I may, in fact, be a hipster. She had very little evidence to this end -- mostly it was due to her ignorance of my wardrobe. Nonetheless, the seed was planted; I had to find answers. Do I belong to this class of people? Is there a loving community waiting for me with open arms? ... What is a hipster anyway?

Consulting the urban dictionary, I found the answer to what it is to be a hipster.

people in thier teens to 20s who generally listen to indie rock, hang out in coffee shops, shop at the thrift store and talk about things like books, music, films and art.
Hmmm, I am in my twenties. I do enjoy the occasional indie rock track. I'm not a big coffee drinker, but I can't pretend I haven't been to my fair share of coffee shops. I dropped off my old tv and Flightstick Pro at the local thrift store along with two garbage bags full of flannel shirts that my dad had given me for various Christmases over the years. Hell, my last post was about a film (although I tend to call them movies, does that mean something?). For me, this is all quite inconclusive. I needed more information.

The hipster handbook provided the information I needed. I met none of their criteria for being a hipster. None. But since they only grant me access to the first six of the eleven sacred clues, I could not yet be sure. So what about evidence that I am not a hipster ... ah ha! Right there, number six:
6. You work in an office building that has a man-made pond and a fountain in its front lot.
Yup, that's me. Right outside the front doors of my office building is a man-made fountain. A few steps beyond that are several chain restaurants, the most notable of which is Joe's Crabshack. Yummy. To complete the picture, another twenty meters down the path is the grand enterance to the giganto megaplex of power where all the local suburbanites go to see the latest Harry Potter slash Pixar slash Disney slash Lucas crapo movie. I suppose some of them might have went to see Snakes On A Plane there, but I doubt it (and, no, I did not go to the megaplex of power outside my place of employment to see Snakes On A Plane, I go to an equally awful theater closer to home). Back to the point. The point is that I have a job and I make so much money at this job that I can afford gross amounts of cereal which I consume so regularly that I stray several percentage points beyond the two-percent body fat required of a hipster.

Case closed. I'm not a hipster. This is probably good. The last thing I needed was the hipster merit badge hanging from my identity belt. I think I'll go drink a bronson and contemplate whether or not others perceive me as a shitter.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Jackson, Samuel L. Retrospective

For two weeks straight, I have started the weekend by visiting Jackson. Last week was Jackson, Wyoming; this week was Jackson, Samuel L. I am, of course, speaking of the most anticipated movie of the summer: Snakes On A Plane. I'd like to say it was a journey of a lifetime; a tour de force; a cinematic marvel. But it really just wasn't that. Let's go through what you do get with Snakes On A Plane.

First, you get Samuel L. Jackson. In this movie Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson, an aspiring actor pretending to be a cop. If there is one word you could use to describe Samuel L. Jackson it would be consistent. Just note the photos. Do you think it's easy to get the tip of the thumb square on the the first knuckle of the middle finger? Well Samuel L. Jackson gets it on there EVERY TIME. Not only that, he brings the profanity you've come to expect with the delivery that only he has perfected. I know, I know, the line has already become overstated to the point of uncoolness, but you wanted it and you got it.

Secondly, you get time distortion. Snakes On A Plane brings that total disregard for internal plot consistency that characterizes totally awesome B movies. The plane in Snakes On A Plane is traveling from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Dialog in the movie states that this is a five hour flight. The snakes are locked in the plane's cargo hold using a sophisticated auto-release lock. When the plane reached thirty-thousand feet, a six minute timer (fully equipped with ultra-cliche red seven segment LED readout) was triggered. When this six minute timer expired, the snakes were released and the carnage promptly ensued. The problem is that it takes a plane maybe fifteen minutes to reach cruising altitude. That fifteen plus another six is twenty; hell, let's round up, thirty minutes into the five hour flight. The snakes, infuriated by pheromones, are shown to wreak havoc almost immediately. When the plane's pilot becomes aware of the ensuing snake fiasco he, of course, is forced to press on to L.A. because it would take longer to turn back. I must conclude that a 747 flies much faster during its first hour than the remaining. This kind of classic WTF moment really separates the B's from the A's.

Lastly, you get snakes; not just snakes, but real live computer generated snakes. And I dare you to come up with a violent situation that these snakes did not participate in. Snake biting penis: check. Snake biting boob: check. Snake biting eyeball: check. Snake biting tongue: check. Snake coming out of dead man's mouth: check. Snake biting black man's ass: check. Snake biting snake: check. Snake being burned by makeshift flamethrower: check. Snake being impaled by harpoon gun: check. Snake being cooked in microwave: check. Snake being ejected from plane: check. Snake being enchanted by infant human shaking rattle: check. Snake constricting man to death and subsequently eating man from head down: check.

So there you go. You can thank me now or you can thank me later: I just saved you eight bucks. The beauty is that if you actually want to see snakes on a plane, you can still go see Snakes On A Plane and despite the spoilers just given, you will still reap maximum joy from the film. Happy penis biting.

[Updated 8/19/2006 14:01 - uploaded photos of SLJ b/c the links didn't work. May the MPAA not lay their vengance upon me.]

Thursday, August 17, 2006

When In Doubt, ASK AMERICA

This aught to be fun. Recently I got some snail-mail from none other than J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House, United States of effing America. You see, Denny (all his close friends call him that) needs me to contribute my valuable opinions so that we can shape the future of America together. The critical nature of this correspondence is spelled out in the introductory letter:

Never before in the history of the Republican Party has such an enormous and critical project been launched. The ultimate results will shape the future of our Party and our Nation.

Wow, this is a lot of pressure. Only me and nine-hundred ninety-nine other hand-chosen right-thinking 'mericans (in my area (size of 'area' left unspecified)) have the opportunity, no, responsibility to participate in the ASK AMERICA survey. With blue pen in hand and a bead of sweat on brow, I begin the survey, future of the country in my hands.

Question 1:
Do you support President Bush in his efforts to wipe out terrorism worldwide even if this war goes on for many years?
NO. Okay, so far so good. Was it just me or was that question a little loaded? Probably just me, lets move on.
Do you think American troops should pursue terrorists and their leaders even if it means going into countries where we are not invited?
Again, NO. I'm feeling really good about this. Let's jump down a few.
Some critics say that in tracking down potential foreign terrorists, the FBI and other investigative agencies are infringing on individuals' Constitutional rights. Do you think this is reasonable if it leads to exposing more terrorists in our country?
Well, since "FUCK NO" isn't one of the options, I'll have to go with "NO" here. It is interesting how they choose to use the words "critics" and "individuals" juxtaposed with "terrorists". All three could have been substituted with "American citizens" and yielded approximately the same statement with a slightly different connotation.
What is of greatest concern to you and your family right now?
Ooooh, "Threat of terrorism", "Natural disaster readiness and response", "Health of nation's economy", or "Other". Yeah, other, how about "erosion of this 'freedom' thing that you keep espousing that you are fighting for"? Let's move onto another topic ... Foreign Affairs.
In the last election, President Bush made it clear that "the United Nation's [sic] will never dictate U.S [sic] foreign policy." Do you agree with that statement?
I'm getting in the spirit of it now, YES, I agree that President Bush made that statement. What dumbass intern wrote that one? Eh? Probably the same one who wrote this gem:
Do you agree with President Bush's policy that the establishment of a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution?
Well that's a little fishy. If I answer 'YES', am I agreeing that we should be freeing Iraq? Or that the policy we are implementing in Iraq is freeing somebody? Or that there is, in fact, a "global democratic revolution" going on? Watershed event kinda has a positive connotation; what if I think it's watershed, but in a bad way? You know, like maybe it has a high likelihood of sparking WWW III. Best be safe, NO.
How much of an impact is the skyrocketing cost of fuel having on you and your family?
Naw, using hyperbole in your questions doesn't unduly influence the results of the survey. You just go ahead using that colorful language, Mr. Surveywriter. It's neat!
Do you support the President's plan to unify our nation around a comprehensive energy plan that protects consumers while producing more reliable, affordable and environmentally clean energy?
Oh yeah! You go ahead and wave that magic wand Mr. President. Who am I to stop you? You fished it out of that box of Cap'n Crunch fair and square. I know Cheney had dibbs on the box, but he was watching Power Rangers when he should have been eating breakfast. Your personal discipline and attention to detail have allowed you to be equipped with the power to solve our nation's energy problems. So wave that wand, make the energy situation perfect for everyone, and then get cracking on that box of Apple Jacks -- there's an AIDS problem in Africa, or so the liberal media would have me believe.
Do you agree that the obstructionist Democrats should not be allowed to gain control of the U.S. Congress in the 2006 election?
Ummmm, yes. I mean, no. Wait, what? Come on now! Don't be pulling punches now. Think a little harder, there have got to be some other pejoratives you can attach to Democrat. How about "comically anemic"? Or "inept to the point of treason"?

Anyway, so now we just put the survey in the envelope and enclose our CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION, seal the envelope and it's off to the post office for you, Mr. Future-of-the-country Survey. Oh wait, that's right, I'm not giving the GOP any money. Fortunately there is a discount option where for a mere eleven dollars my opinions will be counted. All the sudden I'm flushed with emotion and have a Lee Greenwood song playing on my internal jukebox. Fellow Americans, if only you knew how good it feels to do this much right.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jackson Retrospective

This past weekend I travelled with my favorite ultimate frisbee friends on my favorite ultimate frisbee team, Tyro, to Jackson, Wyoming for Jackson's annual tournament. It takes about four and a half hours to drive from Salt Lake City to Jackson which makes this the closest tournament venue outside of Park City (which of course doesn't count since approximately 99% of the residents of Park City make the twenty minute commute down to Salt Lake in their SUVs everyday). Once in Jackson, the first thing you notice is that it is overrun with tourists. Apparently the possibility of sighting Harrison Ford and the opportunity to pay too much for a hotel room really draws a crowd. Having been through Jackson just a couple of months ago on my Grand Teton slash Yellowstone adventure, I was somewhat prepared for this. However, that was the beginning of June and this was the middle of August -- also known as peak tourist season.

I made the drive up to Jackson with F., M., and G. in F.'s Honda Element. For those not familiar with the Element, it is a big box with four wheels, a relatively fuel-efficient engine, and plastic everything else. It seats four comfortably and holds everyone's stuff no problem. Put together, this makes it pretty much the ideal frisbee road-trip vehicle. Fred is such a playa.

Since ultimate players are cheap bastards, the team decided that it did not want to get hotel rooms for this tournament, instead opting for camping. Upon arriving in Jackson, the second thing you might notice is that there are no available campsites in the month of August. Undaunted, we kicked up dust in a camp area until we found a flat spot big enough to park the vehicle and throw down some sleeping bags. Since the weather was fantastic (as it was for the whole weekend), I slept under the stars and not one insect or arachnid messed with me. And for all the Thermarest biggots out there, I got to use my new Big Agnes REM sleeping pad for the first time and I assure you that your Thermarest is a pile of dog crap compared to my new pad. But at least it was more expensive!

Saturday's pool play was pretty okay for Tyro. We held seed by going two and two, beating the two inferior teams and losing to the two [far] superior teams. You might not expect Missoula and Bozeman, Montana to field powerhouse frisbee teams, but, in fact, they do. And they each gave us a nice little spanking on Saturday afternoon.

I've found that my enjoyment of playing ultimate frisbee is highly correlated to my fitness level. If I can run, I can compete. If I can compete, the game is fun. I have been relatively injury free this summer and so my fitness level has gotten pretty sweet. I was able to compete well in Jackson, so playing was as fun as ever.

Sunday in tournament play, we got handled easily by the local Jackson team, pushing us immediately into the beer pool. They had a guy nicknamed "concussion" who at one point took me deep, skyed up with me shoulder to shoulder, knocked both of us down and he came up with the disc. To you, Mr Concussion, I yield. The beer pool is certainly Tyro's comfort zone and it showed. We took Steamboat Springs and then intimidated Missoula-B into a forfeit thus securing the beer-pool championship. By the way, speaking of beer pool, for the record Mike's Hard Limeade is almost as good a sports drink as bourbon. In Sunday's game two, half a bottle definitely helped bring on my second wind. It is only the darn carbonation that puts it a notch below bourbon on the alcoholic sports drink chart.

Other highlights of the weekend included: using the shower and pool facilities at the county recreation center; watching the Jackson police pull over a man who was slightly darker than the legal limit in Wyoming and detaining him for over an hour (we watched this from the deck of the restaurant where the party was held); extending my dominance at the "Wah" game by defeating a former WNBA player named Skyla in the butt-wrestling round; and listening to G. and M. introduce F. to 9/11 government conspiracy theories at breakfast on Sunday morning thus ruining an otherwise fine breakfast at Bubba's. For those unindoctrinated in 9/11 government conspiracy theories, this video is a good place to start. In the photo you can see, from left to right, G., F., M., and C. You can't see F.'s face in this picture because he has turned around to tell M. to stop terrorizing him with her 9/11 theories. Good times.

[update 8/30/2006: removed names to protect the innocent.]

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sometimes Utah Ain't Half Bad

It's pretty easy to be down on Utah; crime runs rampant, the beer is watery, overcrowded schools, stinky lakes, etc. Easy targets. Tonight I was reminded that there are some solid gold nuggets of awesomeness buried in these thar' hills. Witness the Gallivan Center. On Thursday nights throughout the summer, the Gallivan Center hosts free concerts featuring artists that I generally have never heard of. But that's not the point. The point is that any yahoo off the street can walk in, lay down his favorite sheet/blanket/hemp-pancho, and drink himself silly as long as he's willing to shell out a reasonable 4$ per beer or has the foresight to bring a darkly-tinted nalgene bottle full of booze. Deals like this are going the way of the dodo, my friends. For me, the extra gravy is that this venue is in easy walking distance from casa Pete. For everyone else, public transportation will get you within fifty feet of the venue.

I was, of course, entirely clueless about tonight's performers. I'm not feeling particularly eloquent at the moment, so let it suffice to say that Soulive was spectacular. It is a wonderful thing to go into a show with zero expectations and to come out overwhelmed. Overwhelmed and full of the most delicious chocolate cake I can recall consuming. Another joy of concerts at Gallivan is that you can bring your own food. Kristi and Scott, my two newest readers (everyone say 'hi') brought the aforementioned cake to celebrate Kristi's friend Kim's birthday. But back to Soulive. These guys were so cool, that for their second encore, they busted out, you guessed it, "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin. Totally unexpected, cool as hell.

As an added bonus, since Salt Lake is a puny little peanut of a town with about two hundred people that are actually interested in going out on a Thursday night to see black men get funky, if you arrive solo, you will undoubtedly run into at least ten people you know. Of these ten, it is very likely that you will care to have a conversation with at least one of them. I got lucky because I only saw one person that I knew that I avoided conversing with. The person I saw was the college recruiter for the company that brought me to Utah and thus one of the small number of people responsible for conning me into moving to this state. My excuse is that the only thing I could think of to talk to her about was her apparent switch in sexual preference. This is pretty bad because I have not seen this person in about three years and my only evidence in reaching this conclusion were certain asthetic cues from her and the girl she was hanging out with. Nonetheless, I played it cautious.

Leaving the concert, I was rudely brought back to reality when I encountered this guy. This photo was both candid and an action shot, thus the suspect quality. What you see is my finger partially obscuring the lens and the bottom half of a dude who is racing down State Street with a stolen shopping cart. It is hard to tell from this picture, but I assure you that he was wearing genuinely atrocious, yellow crocs. I did not mention this in my last post, but the dermatologist had the gaul to recommend these "shoes" for my month of leatherlessness. I have seen these things before, but had not thought twice about them. I was recently given a strong opinion from a sensible friend lambasting this type of footwear. Seeing this douchebag (did I mention that he was wearing antennae?) giving shopping cart rides and nearly killing half a dozen people in the process fully corroborated this opinion. I now have much contempt for wearers of crocs similar to my contempt for people who drive yellow cars (note to self: blog about yellow car theory). Try as he may, yellow croc guy could not spoil a lovely evening in not-half-bad (I think that makes it half-good) Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My Time As A Lab Rat, Part V

Without a doubt, the sweating was better than the shower. It was not nearly enough though -- only an hour of soccer to purge the disgusting man-grease that has been building up in my skin. Before my shower (which was really good), I took a peek at my back and already there was only the faintest hint of pink marker remaining. Ahhhhhhhh.

The doctor revealed that I am, in fact, allergic to nothing in the shoe biohazard kit with the exception of maybe one chrome-based compound. I say maybe because apparently my skin only looked like it was thinking about turning red for this one. So, let the straw-grasping begin. This particular chrome compound is used for tanning leather and so I was instructed to avoid wearing leather shoes for the next month. Swwwweeeeeeeetah. I did not actually have any non-leather shoes and so off to REI I went to pick up a pair of new pair of all-synthetic kicks.

I am sticking to my previous analysis in that it is not the being neither clean nor sweaty, it is the not having a choice about it. Look at teenagers: they often do not clean themselves or engage in physical activity for weeks at a time without suffering any change in their mental state. Take away their car/phone/allowance/ps2 though and they are liable to embark on a murderous rampage. As a more evolved creature, I would say that I was at least three days from my absolute breaking point -- the voices were not even starting to be compelling.

So, the experiment goes on. I already told the doctor that there was no way in hell that I was going to avoid wearing leather entirely over the next month since my cleats are leather and I am NOT going to stop playing disc or soccer. The rest of the time, I do not really care; I think I'll be wearing flip-flops to work for the next month.

Anxiety: low; itchiness: tempered; stinkiness: eliminated.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Time As A Lab Rat, Part IV

In 1998, Seattle rock band Harvey Danger released their seminal single "Flagpole Sitta". Although chock full o' poignant lyrics, today I was focused on just one.

but if you're bored then you're boring
the agony and the irony, they're killing me

Well fuck me with a herring knife! Today, day (one, two three, four, five) five, is the day that it gets to me. Like yesterday, it was gorgeous today in Salt Lake City; high 80's, a little breeze, a couple white fluffies in the sky. You couldn't ask for a better August day in Utah UNLESS YOU HAVE TO SPEND ALL WEEKEND INDOORS STAYING COOL SO YOUR BACK DOESN'T SWEAT THEREBY RUINING THE EXPERIMENT, THE ONLY HOPE YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHY THE SKIN ON YOUR STUPID FEET DISINTEGRATES LIKE SO MUCH TOILET PAPER GETTING PISSED ON! AHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRR!

Really, I would have enjoyed playing disc and maybe gone for a little run in the mountains, just a little one. It's weird because I have squandered other equally lovely weekends watching endless bad movies on TNT or frittered away the time doing other nonsense. It seems that not having a choice about it is getting to me.

Fortunately, I got the proverbial smack in the face today in time for me to start a worthwhile project. [oooh "Jesusland" just hit the amarok ... gotta love that staccato piano ... wait for it ... ahh, that was nice] So I am now in the middle of [finally] painting my bathroom vanity. And by 'painting', I mean 'priming'; and by 'priming', I mean 'sanding'; and by 'sanding', I mean making a big effin' mess. This has been loosley on my agenda since I tiled my floors about two years ago. Hopefully I'll be sufficiently pleased with the result to counter the extreme annoyance I have with my back situation.

Enough blogging, I've got more mess to make.

Anxiety: peaked; itchiness: zilch; stinkiness: sawdust, latex, and b.o., yummy

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Cure: An Unhealthy Addiction?

As I was walking home tonight, I was startled to see none other than Robert Smith's face stenciled into the sidewalk along MY STREET. To get things straight, we're talking about Robert Smith of The Cure, not former Ohio State great Robert Smith. After being momentarily enamored with the craftsmanship of the stencil, I became re-aware of a question that has been bugging me for the last five years: why is The Cure so effin' worshipped in Utah?

I grew up in a musically sheltered environment listening almost exclusively to oldies until I got my first car in high school and could tune into any radio station that I wanted to. This being the case, I was not exposed to The Cure during my formative years. I jumped straight into grunge rock. What's my point? ... Oh yeah, the point is that, hypothetically, knowing nothing other than The Cure is fully embraced by white-bread Utah, I must assume that The Cure are a bunch of wanks who fall disappointingly short of being edgy or otherwise saying anything -- kinda like how Utahans tend to blurt out "What the fetch!" when they are cut-off on the highway.

Is this all in my head? Do I not have my finger on the pop-pulse of Utah? Or are The Cure that vanilla as to appeal to the masses of Utah? To dig any further would imply that I care.

Oh, and by the way, Oingo Boingo is the same way around here except that Oingo Boingo cannot even pretend to be cool.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My Time As A Lab Rat, Part III

This morning, I seriously (albeit briefly) considered jumping in the shower. In that moment I wanted the sweet, warm touch of lady Delta and her long wet fingers. But I stayed strong; I kept to the course because I knew the worst would be over soon...

Summer (today's assistant) was gentle but firm, and quick to boot. The procedure was rip off all the tape and the patches, then draw all over me with a pink highlighter. I then had to sit around for fifteen minutes to wait for my back to "settle down". I used that time to rock-out a new high score in meteos. The doctor took a quick look and did not find anything conclusive. I think he knows something, but wants to leave me in suspense over the weekend so I don't do something foolish like clean myself.

So far, I have not actually felt any itchiness. After the patches came off, I thought I felt a little twinge of itchiness, but that seems to have been entirely psycho-somatic. The lack of itchiness makes me feel a bit cheated. I half expected it to be a macho test of will to restrain myself from ravaging the skin off my back due to itching so intense that most mere mortals would wish for death just to have reprieve.

Anxiety: low; itchiness: boring; stinkiness: building.

Tit For Tat

I know, how can I post about anything besides the crap on my back? To that I say "be patient". The patches come off tomorrow and if you're good I'll post a photo (they promised to write all over my back with a pink marker).

To the point, the fabulous Erin has kindly linked to my humble space from her outstanding blog, so I've created a "blogs of interest" section dedicated to blogs that don't suck or are my brother's.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My Time As A Lab Rat, Part II

holy crap, there are 93 patches on that dudes backNinety-three. Let's get that out of the way first. Each little patch is really a shallow plastic well containing spooge of one sort or another. They come in two by six grids, so each one was not taped on separately (there was enough tape applied to get all ninety-three separately). It only took the medical assistant (I think that's what it said on her badge) about two minutes to affix the spooge traps to my back.

There is actually very little discomfort besides the feeling that there are ninety-three miniature-size biohazards stuck to my back. I have not yet passed the point where I would have normally taken a shower, so I do not yet feel like the scum-bag that I know I will become over the next (one, two, three, four, five!) five days.

Itchiness: low; anxiety: mild; stinkiness: normal.

My Time As A Lab Rat, Part I

Well, today is the day. I am just beginning my whirlwind journey through the land of dermatology and today I will have a hundred-odd patches applied to my backside. Moments ago, I got out of the shower for what will be the last time for six days. Anxiety level: low, stinkiness: low. I do not know very much about this patch testing except that substances that tend to make people itch will be stuck to my back and that hopefully I will finally know once and for all what the hell makes the skin on my feet disintegrate and itch like a mofo all the time. I must be off to Crossroads; I'm sure lifting boxes for two hours won't make me sweaty, right?