Tuesday, July 31, 2007

an intervention...

I don't have anything new and exciting to report on, so I thought I would recount an episode from my past.
My past is a funny thing. It is full of dark areas and unhappiness, but I feel I've said all I want to say about those aspects of my life.
I will make references to the dark parts, but only in passing, and only to set the stage for something else.
For an example, please see the below.
I separated from my ex-wife about 10 years ago. When we broke up, we found all of the friends who had been around us while we were married, disappeared.
Many of these people had been my friends since high school. To be fair, saying that I gave them good reason to be around no more, would be a significant understatement.
Regardless of how or why it happened, I found myself in my early 30s with no friends whatsoever. I was depressed and miserably lonely. I needed people around me. It is no good having the ability to make people laugh by saying stupid stuff, if there is no one around to hear.
Eventually, I found new people to be friends with. These people became the foundation on which I began to build something more like a life than I had been living.
They were great to me, and got me through the hardest times. But, I had no history with them. They didn't know me when I was a skinny dork in the 11th grade. They only knew me as the big, 30 something year old dork. The big dork who didn't drink.
They didn't know I had NEVER drank... Drinked... Been to drinking guy... Whatever.
We hung around in bars a lot. Ri-Ra in Providence more than anywhere else. Lovely Irish pub, with grotesque live music. There was a time when I liked the song, "Brown Eyed Girl". I have had the liking of that song sub-par live band-ed to death.
One night, I show up at this bar, to find all of my friend gathered around, looking at me.
"What's going on?", I ask.
They tell me that as we had all been friends for then 2 years, it was time I trusted them enough to tell them the truth.
"The truth?", I think to myself. "Could they have figured out that I am gay? How could they? I've been so careful... Wait. I'm not gay. What the hell are they talking about?"
I ask them what the hell they are talking about.
They tell me they know I have a drinking problem.
This is very odd, as I never drank.
They tell me that my never drinking is how they know I have a drinking problem.
I try to explain how that logic is faulty by asking if they ever saw me making out with a pig.
My friend Sean says, "Well there was that one girl..."
I say I meant a real, lives on the farm, pig.
"Ah.", he says. "Then, uh, no."
With this additional conversation, I feel my point is lost.
They tell me I need to trust them, that they won't think differently of me. I appreciate this, but it really bugs me anyway, because of the never drank in the first place thing with me.
And that's where the history is so useful. My friends from high school saw me never drink as we grew up. It wasn't even a question.
Realizing that there was no way for these new friend to understand that, I ask them if I had a drink would that prove to them that I don't drink. As stupid as that sounds, it does make sense.
They say they don't think that would be a good idea, imagine the consequences, bleh, bleagh.
I point at a random bottle behind the bar and say, "Gimme a shot of that!"
The bartender looks to my friends for approval before doing so like he was giving me bullets for the gun I was holding.
A somber nod later and I have my shot, which I drink at a gulp before I can really think about it, because I honestly don't like the way alcohol tastes. That's at least 1/2 the reason why I don't drink.
Turns out I pointed at a bottle of Goldschlager, which is actually pretty tasty. It has henceforth become my drink of choice when I have one.
After consuming the drink, my friends stared at me, apparently waiting for some Jekyll and Hyde type action where I launch myself over the bar and begin sucking down all the booze I can reach.
This does not happen. Nothing at all happens, in fact
"Happy?", I ask them.
They watch me for a while. I am convinced they were waiting for days for word of my relapse. As of this writing, they may no longer be waiting, but I am not sure.
What I am sure of is that I am the only person who was ever subjected to an intervention for NOT drinking.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

happy endings...

A man is getting a massage at an asian massage parlor. The woman stops and asks him, "Do you want a happy ending?"
"Oh yes.", the man says. "Yes please."
"Then don't watch Rosemary's Baby! Whooo-ee! She give birth to demon baby at the end, then that's it! Movie end! That no happy ending at all! You want happy ending, you watch Princess Bride. THAT happy ending! I go get it! We watch!"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

i've figured it out...

Harbinger of Death
Oscar the cat. MSNBC has labeled him Dr. Catvorkian, if you can believe that. I just call him The Harbinger of Death.
I've figured out the truth about what's going on with this cat, and it's not a lovey-lovey warm and fuzzy truth. Oh no.
Take a good look at this cat. Look at it's eyes. Does it strike you as an affectionate being? Isn't it looking at you with disdain?
The only people who will allow this cat around them are the actively dying, and they only because they're lacking the strength to push it away.
People think that the cat is giving comfort, but that is a lie! A LIE!
Here is a quote from The Sydney Morning Herald who, apparently, sent a reporter all the way from Australia to take a look. Wow. That right there is weird enough for a post of it's own. But no! The cat is trying to distract me!! Damn you! Damn you!

Here is the quote:

Oscar's purr, when keeping close company with the dying, is so intense it is almost a low rumble.

"He's a cat with an uncanny instinct for death," said David Dosa, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine and a geriatric specialist. "He attends deaths. He's pretty insistent on it."

He is pretty insistent on it! And he is purring, which points to him experiencing pleasure!
My cat is insistent on getting wet food now and again, and purrs when the can is being opened!
Can't you see? Can't you see the truth here?!

Good lord people! Open your eyes!
Must I point out everything!?

a quick rant... with pictures...

This is typical of the way people park at the building where Jenn and I live.
bad parker

Note that I smudged out their license plate and the magnet decal for their business on the side of the car. I'm good like that. I'm like, Dateline or something.
Also note the position of the white line that denotes where one parking place ends and where the next one starts.
The camera on my phone takes okay pictures, not great pictures, but you can see, even in this smallish okay picture, where the white line is, right?
Now imagine that image blown up to REALITY size, and imagine yourself living within the picture. Do you think you could see the white line!?
I feel like I am channeling Steve right now.

Further, note the configuration of the convertible rooftop on this dope's car.

This is over the dope's car.
dark rain cloud

I am not a religious guy, but I am going to start praying now. Can you guess for what?

Friday, July 27, 2007

more "comedy"...

I figured out how to compromise to tell you more about what I wrote and yet not break the no-bad-language clause in my contract with myself.
The below will be neither as vulgar or as funny, due to the compromise, so we lose in all aspects.

The next bit is satirical. It is probably best enjoyed by those who have experienced open mic comedy. If you have, you'll get it, I guess. If you have not... just remember it's satire, all right?
The below has been re-worded, but I think you'll get the point. I will () if I am speaking to you directly.
Here we go... Comedy starts now!

I like to try on different acts.
I'm going to try on another act now. I like this act.
So, I was having intercourse with this woman in the position which is like that of two canines, the other evening, when I decided I would attempt to enter her exit. She didn't like it, so I said, "Hey. It's like 2007. Get with the program, will you Mother?"
I love that bit.
This one, too.
So I was having intercourse with this young lady the other evening, and her nether-regions were so large, it was like dropping a ball point pen into the center of The Pentagon.
It was like pushing a skate board into the Lincoln Tunnel.
It was like throwing a tube of ChapStick into a boxcar.
It was like swinging a softball bat around inside an airplane hangar.
It was like a charm flavored quark penetrating the accretion disk of a white dwarf.

Perhaps its just that I have a Tic-Tac for a man part.

Like my man here. Sir, you have a sad expression on your face which clearly states that you as well have a Tic-Tac for a man part. Stand up and take a bow, will you? You should be able to bow really well with no real man part to get in the way.
You should be able to fold up like an easel.
Like a chaise lounge after a long day at the beach.
Like snapping shut a flip phone after the conversation with your Mom about how when she was giving me oral pleasure, she snarfed... (something only a man makes) out of her nose. Just like milk out of your nose at recess. Because I make a lot of (something only a man makes) and I am soooooo funny.
Have you ever shot (something only a man makes) out of your nose while giving oral pleasure? It smarts. There are membranes and stuff in there.

Here ends the "comedy". All of this, I think, is funnier with the gross language. At least it becomes what it is supposed to be. Or something.

The rest of what I wrote is just a mess. I can barely read it. I'm saying something about using the c-word against a woman in an argument and how that is pulling the biggest gun we as men have. I suggest you don't use that word unless you are in a relationship, but not really IN to the relationship anymore.
I make a comparison to the way I was watching Lost at the time. It was a habit, I wasn't really into it, but it was Wednesday night and I had nothing better to do, so...
I said if I was in a relationship with Lost, I would call it the c-word in an argument, because I wouldn't really care if it broke up with me.

And there is some other stuff I can't really read and what I can read of it is too embarrassing for even me to share.

I hope you enjoyed raving comedy writings.

werewolf movie update...

I wasn't going to post about this, but now I just gotta.

After serious thought, several scheduling screw-ups, and a case of brown lung, I decided the time was right to disengage from the movie project.
I sent them the following email:

Movie people,

I have been thinking a lot about this. While I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to be in your movie, I don't think scheduling is going to work out.
With you shooting mostly in Bristol and me working in Franklin, MA, and my job in general, and my daughter...
I think you guys would be better off casting someone with a more flexible schedule.

Thank you again.


I thought this was a nice break up letter. It's not your fault, it's not my fault, this just isn't working out. Let's part, maybe not as friends, but certainly not as enemies.
I sent it three days ago.

Last night I got a call from the person I sent the mail to. I assumed it would be some level of nasty, or at the very least uncomfortable. It was uncomfortable, but not for the reasons I thought it would be.

"Hi, Swarvey?"
"Ok. This is person from the movie company..." Her voice is totally friendly.
"Ok.", I say.
"Ok.", she says. "We're going to get going with shooting again and I have the schedule here in front of me. It looks like we're going to need you on Wednesday..."
"Uhh...? Er.....?", I say with my signature flair.
"...night then again on Friday night. It looks like you'll be working closely with so and so and then later with such and such..."
"Hey? Uh... hello? Did you....?", more charm from me.
"I've been sick for the past week or so so that's why no one has heard from me..."
"Person! You haven't checked your email lately have you?" Great. I know she hasn't and now she's going to ask me why and I will have to go into a verbal explanation of why I don't want to play anymore. I didn't want to have to do this, obviously, and that's why I sent an email.
"No.", she says. "I haven't checked it for a couple of days. Why? What's up?"
A couple of days!? Who the hell isn't checking their email for a couple of days. I check my email every couple of minutes, now with the danged phone.

So we have an awkward and uncomfortable conversation about how with time and work and daughter, blah, blah. Everything in the email I sent!!
She is gracious, I have to give her that. Tells me she totally understands and says she will keep my contact information so that I can audition for their NEXT production.
I say, "Oh hey! Great! Thank you!"
I think, "Why in the name of sweet, bald-headed CHRIST would I want to get involved with you people again?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

an aside...

Before I continue the disclosure started below...
On the local news this evening, they reported about a cat who lives in the dementia/last days on the planet wing of an elderly residential facility.
According to the report, the cat has the "uncanny" ability to predict the imminent death of the residents and will curl up with someone for their final hours.
This cat was fortunate to have been adopted early in its life by the facility. It would live a very different life, otherwise. Like if it lived with some guy...

"Hey. Hi there. Welcome to my home! Let me just get my coat and we can... Oh. Look at that. My cat seems to have taken a liking to you. Hmmm. "
"Oooh. Look at the nice kitty! He is lovely and he does seem to really like me. What's his name?"
"I have never named him. He is known as The Harbinger of Death. Maybe we should skip the movie. "

as promised...

I keep saying I'm going to write about stuff, then I get caught up in other stuff and write about it and forget about the first other stuff I said I was going to write about. But not this time! No!
Here is a slightly edited version of what I wrote when semi-drunk, sleep deprived and hopped up on caffeine and wicked bad open night comedy. Let's go on a magical journey of discovery together, because I don't have a clue what I wrote.
Come on!
If I break from what I wrote that night, what's on the page, and am talking directly to you, I will ().

I've been enjoying the show Are You Smater Than a Fifth Grader? I really like listening to the thought process of the contestants.

The question is, what is a trapezoid?

Contestant: Well, I know a trapeze is where you swing on some ropes in the circus, and the Zoid was the stop motion animation character from the Domino's Pizza commercials in the 80's... So I will say a trapezoid is the spongy tip on a stalk of asparagus.

Then Jeff Foxworthy will make some kind of school-related joke to tell them they don't know what the hell they are talking about.

JF: You must have been absent the day they served the BRAIN flavored milk and, uh... SMART-late chip cookies.

He is rapidly running out of elementary school themed jokes. He's moving toward...

JF: Well, you're just a friggin' DUMBASS, aren't you? Whoooo!!

The contestants appear to be shot full of lithium before coming on, because Jeff just can't offend them at all. They are way easy going with the jokes.

Contestant: Ha, ha, ha! Oh you are SO right! I'm am just not that smart at all! Ha, ha! There are so many things I don't know! Hee! Giggle-y giggle!

I think the show was devised to weed out the smarter members of our population. They have a formula somewhere. If you make X number of dollars or are offended when Jeff Foxworthy calls you an idiot, you are quarantined and euthanized to keep the masses as stupid as possible.
I believe that. That's as political as I get. I give credence to half-assed shadow government theories, because I'm not smart enough to understand what's really going on.
I thought the X-Files was a documentary.

I know really smart people who can talk about the war and the environment and the cost of condominiums and... stock market-y stuff. They'll be having a deep discussion about monetary neutrality or what Alan Greenspan should do next and I'll be nodding and thinking, "Why was I never any good at Pacman? I was always good at other video games but that darned Blinky was relentless. Wasn't there a Pacman cartoon? Yes there was. They gave him this weird, creepy, scratchy voice that was just not at all how I pictured Pacman talking. He would be going, Grr! Arggh! Grr! Hurmph! Ha, ha! Pacman didn't sound like that! That's just silly! I like planes!"

(Whooo. Apparently here I decide to keep going with the internal thought process bit, even though, with a clearer mind, I can see how it should end there, if ever start in the first place. Remember, I am presenting all this as a glimpse into a semi-addled head, not really as good, quality comedy. Deal or move on. You're not paying for this, you know.)

"Did someone mention Alan Greenspan a minute ago? Greenspan sounds like Greenjeans. Remember Mr. Greenjeans on Captain Kangaroo? He was a shady character. I wonder if he started wearing green jeans because it was his name, or if people started calling him Mr. Greenjeans because of his fashion choices. Maybe he was poor and could only afford one pair of jeans and the cheapest ones were green. People are cruel.
What if people start calling me Mr. Blackshirts?
I would be like, "Hey! Go jump in a lake, fatso!"
Now why did I say fatso? Am I intolerant of fat people? I'm a horrible person.
My butt itches.
Does that mean I have money coming?
I wish someone would offer me a cookie."

(So now I am presented with a difficulty. The next bit is vulgar. Like purposefully over-the-top vulgar. I very much want to keep the vulgarity to a minimum here in Swarveyland, but, in the spirit of full-disclosure I seem to want to live my life by, I very much want to share the silly-ness of what I wrote than night.
We break here while I decide what to do next.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

stand up comedy...

In my last post I made reference to open mic night stand up comedy. This reminded me about going to see an open mic competition at Catch A Rising Star in the fabulous Twin River casino of fabulous Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Being who I am, vaguely egotistical and neurotic at the same time, I was kept awake until early in the morning after the show.
This was for two reasons. One, I'm half a nut and my mind decided to go off on a tangent of all the much funnier things I could have been saying if I had been in the competition. I'll get to those thoughts in a minute, because they're what I'm writing about.
The other reason why I was up until very early in the morning is... I am a tea-totaler about 95% of the time.
Me and the friends who had gone with me to the competition were some of the only banter-backs the MC of the evening had. He was appreciative of this and bought us all a round of drinks. I had been drinking Diet Coke all night. He seemed put off by buying someone a Diet Coke, and he was a good dude, so I made a rare exception and went with my standard rare exception drink.
A shot of Goldschlager!
I don't drink, but I enjoy an occasional Goldschlager. Duality. Or maybe it's irony?
The MC was very excited by this prospect and ordered me my drink and my friends whatever they wanted. When the Goldschlager showed up, it was in a tumbler. Like a super-shot or something. I don't know, there's probably a word for it.
I say to the MC, "What the hell is this? I could wash my dog in this." I didn't really say that. I said something, but I don't know what. It was probably some wise-assed comment and that one can stand in.
Then the MC said something about my lack of masculinity or some MC-y thing.
As I am not one to be goaded into doing what I don't really feel like doing, I drank the whole thing in a gulp. It made perfect sense at the time.
I got very drunk (I am a light-weight. I know this.) and I'm not used to it. I felt like my eyes were spinning around in circles in their sockets and the world was all tilty in the opposite way I expected it to tilt and I generally could not put a thought in the right order to leave my mouth hole.
Being drunk is such a wonderful feeling. I can totally see how people get addicted to it.
Generally, I get real drunk, real fast, then because my liver has had so little to do in its life, I sober up, again, real fast. The process takes about 15 mintues. I go from totally sober, to totally drunk, to totally sober, in 15 minutes.
That's what I'm used to, but I usually have normal sized shots, not half-bottle shots.
Fifteen minutes went by and I was feeling no better. I was a little panicked. A friend of mine offered to buy me a coffee to help me out. He went into Starbuck's and came out with a barrel full of coffee.
Apparently it was Buy Swarvey Too Much To Drink night. I didn't know.
As I was drunk, and not real, real smart to start with, I drank the whole thing much faster than is reasonable.
I kinda remember having a conversation with a woman who had been on stage during the competition. She asked for feedback on her performance and me and my friends gave her some. I think I did most of the talking and I guess I sounded like I knew what the hell I was talking about, because she seemed honestly impressed and thankful. Also, I was drunk, so I may not be remembering clearly.
I kept drinking the too hot coffee, too fast. It eventually killed the alcohol.
As this was at about 11pm, it killed any chances of me getting to sleep real quick as well.

Hopped up on caffeine and bad comedy, I wrote... um, let me count... HAHA! I wrote five legal sized pages of stuff. Top to bottom, margin to margin.
I don't remember what I wrote. I didn't remember that I had written it at all until I got home tonight and was making the pic for the Infant of Prague post.

I guess we can look at what I wrote together, but not tonight. I'm being too wordy.

scene study class...

The difference between my intro to acting class from a couple of months ago, and the scene study class I am taking now, is massive. It is very much like going from open mic stand-up, to standing in front of a paying audience.
When you're doing open mic, it's kind of expected that you'll suck. Paying people expect you to NOT suck. Depending on what they paid, they may actually expect you to do WELL. That's pressure.
The teacher split the group into two person teams and gave them a stack of scenes to look at. I am teamed with a pleasant older lady with a heavy Brooklyn accent. I had asked for something by Christopher Durang, because he writes some funny, dark... well, a lot of what he writes is presented like sketches from SNL or something. Only at least 50% insane. He writes a lot of two person conversations where one person is vastly demented and the other person is the straight man who's only job is to react.

He writes similar to Chuck Palahniuk, only in play form. I like me some Chuck Palahniuk.

So the nice older lady and I dug through the various options we had for a scene and settled on a piece from Laughing Wild. WCere two dreaming people are interacting. Here is a synopsis:

The Woman dreams she has killed Sally Jessy Raphael and taken over her talk show; and the Man dreams this as well, appearing as a guest on this talk show, the Infant of Prague, a religious figure the Woman has never heard of. The Infant is a very difficult guest, and the Woman tries to kill him, but he is a religious icon and can’t be killed.

Wikipedia Entry for the Infant of Prague

I am the Infant of Prague. I think it is good casting. I kinda look like the Infant of Prague.

i am the infant of prague

Monday, July 23, 2007

are you boring...?

Do people tend to get phone calls in the middle of conversations with you? Do they point at their phone and desperately whisper, "I need to take this.", while walking away, looking serious? Does this frequently happen without you ever hearing their phone ring?
Do you find groups of previously laughing people fall suddenly silent when you begin talking?
Has anyone ever fallen asleep in their soup in the middle of one of your stories?
Has anyone ever committed suicide while in a conversation with you? Have they every considered it? Are you sure?
Has anyone ever suggested you, "Get to the point."? Have thousands of people suggested it?
Do other people laugh at their friends, while hiding around the corner, when they see them alone at a table with you? You probably wouldn't know this for sure, but did you ever suspect?

Has anyone ever compared you to Del Griffith?
Del Griffith

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Simpsons' Movie news...

Dr. Joyce Brothers was on CNN this morning talking about the new Simpson's movie.
Here is a screen shot of her Simpson-ified self:
Joyce Brothers on the Simpsons

Here is a pic of her REAL self:
Joyce Brothers for real

As you can see, there is a significant discrepancy.
I contacted the animation division of 20th Century Fox and asked them why they were being so generous with Dr. Joyce. They told me that generosity was not the issue, if anything it was an issue of frugality.
I asked them what they meant and they told me frugality meant being cost conscious.
I told them I knew what the word meant, but didn't understand how it fit here.
They asked me if I had any idea how much the black ink would cost to pen in all those wrinkles.
I told them I did not.
They mumbled "budgetary concerns" then hung up.

This would have been a better story if Dr. Joyce was actually in the movie. She isn't. So my whole lie about talking to 20th Century Fox is exposed. Great.


I was cast to play a head-butting werewolf in a movie being produced locally. When I think of the company making the movie, some words come to mind. Here are some of them:

They are not thorough. They are not, what is called in the industry, "good".

I was at work last night at about 4:30 and got a call from the girl in my acting class who is also cast in this movie.

"Are you going to rehearsal tonight?", she asked.
I gathered all my considerable intelligence and responded, "Umm....?"
"You were on the email. Didn't you get it?"
"Er... When was it sent?"

Here I have to interject and cop to the fact that I do not have a perfect track record for seeing, or responding to, or taking required action of any kind, on some emails. SOME emails. Mostly work stuff that I don't really care about. (kidding)
I get a LOT of email at work. I am on mailing lists I don't care about in the slightest. Working in a big corporation, you get plugged in to many mailing lists, for projects you are on, even if only peripherally, or projects you only heard about. Technology has not progressed to a point where you can be removed from these mailing lists, ever. Once you are in one, you should expect mail associated with it for all eternity. So, I get many mails that just pile up and important stuff is lost in the progress.
Yes. I'm going with that story. Shut up.
I could take the time to create mail rules that move the not-important stuff to an archive folder, but that would take time I need for important things like making South Park characters that look like my co-workers. Besides, if I did that, I wouldn't have an excuse of any kind for not responding appropriately to email.
So, that's what happens with my work email. Email about this movie goes to my GMail account where there is a lot less traffic. Besides, I was looking for mail on this subject. We're now two weeks since the Jenga poo story. I was expecting to hear some forward movement. And I care about this a hell of a lot more than I care about work stuff. (Come on. I'm kidding.) I know I didn't get this email and tell her so.
"But your name is here in the mail. I'm looking at it right now."
Damn it. What the hell did I do? How did I miss that? If I didn't explicitly say I would not be able to attend, that is the same as saying I would be able to. Damn! Stupid sense of having to do something because I said I would...
I ask, "Well. What time is the rehearsal and where is it?"
She says it is at 5:30 in Bristol, RI. Now, it's about 4:35 and I work in Franklin, MA. Hire a cartographer and chart that ride. Suuuuucks.
As I'm about to tell her I'm going to wrap up and leave as soon as I can, something she said before comes to mind.
"Hey. You said my name was in the email. In the text of the email or in the sent to address list?"
"Uhh... Well, you're in the text of the mail so I assume you're... Uh, oh. No. Your address is not in the sent to list."
Ah HA! Vindication!! Yes. Now my stupid sense of doing what I said I was going to do has a loop hole through which to get the hell lost! Yay.
She says she will call them for me and explain the situation and she apologizes. I know she is apologizing because she got me involved with the whole messy deal in the first place, but this is really not her fault.
For, now, honestly, the 15th time, I think I must disengage from this process. I think I have finally found the way to do it. I am going to email them and tell them that due to the reality of my life, with where I work and the fact that I WORK, and my classes and my daughter and my just life, I need a clear, long-term schedule of what they are planning. I need it weeks in advance.
As the company and actors working in the movie are all very young people without a hell of a lot of responsibility, they can call for an all-night shoot the day before it happens and pretty much everyone can make it. And that's, for the most part, how they roll. I can't roll like that. For me, that is an untenable roll.
Schedule wise, I just don't think it's going to work.
It's a perfect out. It's reasonable and I don't have to tell them they are a bunch of irresponsible brats making a movie that might get someone sued and that they have very questionable cat care techniques. Excellent.

Stay tuned for how that goes.

Friday, July 20, 2007

the johnny story...

I asked you to remind me to tell you the johnny story. You didn't. Way to drop the ball.
Luckily, one of us is paying attention.

I work in a perpetual training program. Groups of young people (mostly) are hired at a time and put through a stringent eight week education where they learn the basics of our company's technology. While they are in our program, they are referred to as associates. It's like Airman or Private, except you don't have to be in any kind of shape.
Well. You have to be in some kind of shape. We discriminate against amorphous blobs.

During the time the associates are with us, they have to take many tests to prove their knowledge. (Now that I read it I know the last part of that sentence is really stupid. I guess you would assume, if they were taking tests of some kind, they were attempting to prove their knowledge of something. I hope I did not insult your intelligence.)
One of the most important tests they take is proctored by an outside party.
(See? I think you're smart. I used the word proctored.)
When the associates go to the third party site for the proctoring (snicker) they are not allowed to bring anything into the testing room with them.
About a year ago, I had a large class consisting of approximately 1/2 Irish and 1/2 American and I was addressing them to inform them of the above testing policy. In doing so, I made the following joke.
"You can't go in with anything. You're only allowed to wear a johnny."
This got a much bigger laugh than I had anticipated.
I took full credit for it. I said to myself, "My timing and delivery were impeccable. I am sooo funny."
I found out later that "johnny" is Irish slang for "condom".

I still took full credit for it. A big laugh is a big laugh. I am not proud.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

random thoughts from the gym...

When you do cardio, you end up with a lot of mind-wandering time. Here now, from the land of Precor elliptical heck, I give you some mind wanderings.

First off, let's just get this out of the way.
Chocolate Rain.
Do you not know what this is? Good for you.
Go to You Tube and look it up. I am not a link providing service you lazy bastard.
I just saw the video for the first time.
Man. I thought the audio was something. This video is... well, it's something, too.

Okay. Where was I?
Chocolate Rain!

Stop it now.

Deep breath.

Move on.

I just noticed I do not have 1984 on my MP3 player. How is that possible? I have 5150 and OU812, but those are the only two numbered VH collections I own. I call them collections because it doesn't seem right to call them albums anymore. They aren't disks. They don't actually, physically exist in the real world, so what are they?

(Aside. I looked album up later on dictionary.com, but it was of little help. Actually it confused the issue even more. Here are some of their definitions for album. They seem to contradict each other somewhat.

    1. A phonograph record, especially a long-playing record stored in a slipcase.
    2. A set of musical recordings stored together in jackets under one binding.
    3. The bound set of jackets for such a set.
    4. A recording of different musical pieces.
That last one there? That seemed to say that even though there was no physical reality to a collection of MP3s, they could still be considered an album.
However, further into the definition they cite this from word.net...

1. one or more recordings issued together; originally released on 12-inch phonograph records (usually with attractive record covers) and later on cassette audiotape and compact disc

As you can see there is no reference to anything without physical reality. So I don't know.)

I find I have a hell of a lot of David Lee Roth solo material.
And I have two songs called Kiss Me Deadly, one by GenerationX and one by Lita Ford. Both are very good, but one had a much better video. Guess which.

There are two dog stories in the news. One I saw reference to this morning, but didn't get the details. This morning as I was getting my coffee from the D/D, I glimpsed a story about a dog who had eaten a bunch of money and what the owner was trying to do about it.
I thought, hey that sucks. Wonder how much money they were talking about?
So, to clarify, it was on the news this morning, and it was on the news again this evening. One was a national news show like Fox and Friends or whatever the hell it's called now, and the other was local news. That's a lot of coverage.
There must be nothing going on in the world at all. The war must be over and there cannot be an election coming or anything. The world must be, today, a totally lovely wonderful place to be. Somehow I missed it. I should have taken advantage of the day, and I missed it.
Why am I saying this? Because multiple news shows are taking up time presenting a story about a dog that ate... wait... 800 dollars.
800 dollars!?
8 million dollars? That's news. Would need to be a really big dog, but it's news.
Hell, 80,000 dollars.
Or, the dog ate the last 800 dollars a family had and the family is being evicted and is starving, but they love their dog too much to put it down and get the money out. Something like that. That's news. I would get that.
Grandma had 800 dollars in some purse and the dog chewed it up. So they washed it and taped it together and brought it to the bank and got 700 dollars back.
They are out 100 dollars.
A family is out 100 dollars and that is news.
I once dropped 150 dollars out of my pocket at an amusement park when I was on some ride that held me upside down for too long. I should have had a press release. Damn it.

Another dog story in the news is a lot worse. I generally don't comment on the news a lot as I know I don't know what the hell I am talking about, and for the most part don't care.
Michael Vick should be taken to Nurse Annie Wilkes house as played by Kathy Bates. He should be tied to a bed. He should be hobbled by a sledgehammer.
Even if he didn't do it. Even if he was only around when it happened and didn't beat the hell out of everyone involved. Even if he only heard about it on the phone and didn't call the police.
He could be totally innocent. Could be. If he is, I will say I am against his being hobbled.

The guy on the machine next to me? He smells like fish and Old Spice. Old Fishy Spice Man I call him.

Another guy is on a stationary bike in front of me and he has his child with him and I can tell he is a divorced dad because I've been one for a long time and you get to know your own, but I think he would have been better off either leaving his small child at home or opting to not come to the gym on a night when he has her because it's bumming me out watching her try to entertain herself while he is exercising and reading a golfing magazine, however, Jenn tells me I am too sensitive to situations like that and I should lighten up a little even though I think I am doing much better now than I used to because the song I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying by Sting used to make me want to curl into a ball under my bed, especially the line about the melting ice cream on Sundays.

There is a spinning class being held in the room in front of me. They room is windowed, but dark. You can see in to what's going on in there. And you can kinda hear what is going on in there. When someone opens the door to the room, you can really hear what's going on in there.
In between songs on my MP3, someone opens the door. They are playing Don't Want No Short Dick Man. If you don't remember the song, and it wasn't really memorable, you're not going to understand how really wrong this is. For one thing, it sucks. It just sucks as a song. For another, the chick singing manages to pull off a slutty-bitchy-asshole vibe that isn't motivational at all. Unless it's motivating you to hit her with your car.
Beautiful Day by U2. That's a spinning song.
The music is only half the problem with this class. It's being instructed by a big, fat guy, who never gets on the bike. Wait. I am lying. He got on the bike. He peddled twice. He got off the bike.
I'm not kidding.
Have you ever taken a spinning class? It's not fun. It will kick your ass unless you are in very excellent shape and most people are not. The people who are not in very good shape need something to aspire to, something to challenge them.
The last time I took spinning for any period of time was about 8 years ago, when I worked for 3COM. The person who taught my class was a little bundle of nerves, energy and muscle named Michele. She was a tri-athlete. She would teach our class from the bike, out pacing everyone and pummeling them into the ground with her super positivity! She made you want to do better. She made you want to be as in shape as her. She made you want to give her some Valium or something, but she got you moving.
I can't see being taught a class by a guy who is eating Twinkies while telling you to pedal.
Oh look. Class is over. He is doing the stretches with them. That's nice.

Chocolate Rain!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I said to my friend Lee today, that I wished I was either a baseball or a Harry Potter fan. If you are a baseball fan, summer/fall is excellent and fun, or it sucks and is miserable. In either case, you have something to occupy yourself with.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, right now, you are in wizard-geek heaven and I envy you.
It's not that I am against HP, because I'm not. I've read most of the books and seen all the movies and they are fine. But, if someone were to tell me Harry dies in the last (maybe) book, I would say, "Oh. Huh. That's something."
If someone were to tell me Harry does not die in the last (maybe) book, I would say, "Oh. That's something. Huh." just to mix it up.
I'm not enough of a fan for it to make a difference to my life.
So, with no real big cultural/sports/life event on my hands, and with Jenn out of town, I find myself with some time on my hands this evening.
Lee gave me some television on DVD to watch, but I left it all in the car, and am too lazy right now to go get it, so I will do something I don't usually do, because it bums me out. I will channel surf through summer television.
Here's some of what I saw.

America's Got Talent. Prime time television. One of the biggest networks, one of the biggest entertainment companies of any kind for that matter, that ever was, in the year 2007 when technology can bring magic to almost anyone. What's on this show? It's a cowboy. A cowboy in gold chaps doing rope tricks. The same rope tricks Buffalo Bill Cody showcased in the 1900's.
Granted, this cowboy had country-techno (I can think of no other term for this music) in the background, his ropes were sparkle-y and he had the aforementioned golden chaps, which were also sparkle-y, to sorta spice thing up.
Also, he seemed to be having the time of his life and was smiling so wide I thought the top half of his head might split off. He got the crowd going and the judges loved him. But he was doing rodeo rope tricks. Ah well. He was good at what he was doing and kinda, at some points, looked like a superhero as he twirled a really big rope loop around his head and the music swelled.
Good for him?
Sharon Osborne did offer to squeeze his little golden "bum" for him. He turned around and waggled it a bit and the crowd went, "Woooo!"
I am new to the America's Got Talent. I am sure this has been asked before, but why are two of the judges for an America's Got Talent show, from England?
I know they stumbled across the perfect combination of judge-types when the same production company created American Idol.
They're using the same format here.
An English prick.
A woman who was part of the music scene, on some level.
And the fat black guy. The Hoff.

The Hoff had a hell of a nice shirt on. You go, The Hoff.

**channel change**
Just For Laughs. I never heard of this show before. It was on ABC. Again, big company, again, prime time.
I guess it's a hidden camera show. The premises were such stretches they were beyond absurd. And it was presented with no speech track. It was just music with laughing at appropriate (?) intervals. I believe it was all shot in Mexico or somewhere else, because it was weird in a not-American way. Going to be hard to paint a clear picture of what I'm trying to say, but I'll give it a shot.
I made it through two segments because I think I was hypnotized.
The first was of a man in a hospital johnny (remind me to tell you my johnny story), who is on the sidewalk with an IV wheel-around thing. You know the IV poles on wheels? I'm getting married to a nurse, you'd think I'd know what to call it. In any case, there he is, in black socks, and a hospital johnny, with an IV pole on wheels, trying to get into a series of taxis.
Try to picture how odd this is. No speech. Just gesticulations and some wacky music and a robotic laugh track. The gesticulations were not even wild at all. If you were going to try to imagine what they were saying, it looked like it would be something like this:
"I need a ride. I have this IV pole on wheels."
"You are in a johnny. That is odd."
"What about that IV pole on wheels? Isn't that odd, too?"
"Ah yes. That is odd. Do you need a ride somewhere?"
"Yes. I do. But how will I ever get in your cab with this IV pole on wheels?"
"Why don't you hang it out the window?"
"Why don't I sit in the trunk, with the top of the truck open, allowing the IV on wheels to wheel along behind me?"
"That seems like an odd idea to me. It could not possibly be legal here in America. Oh, wait. We are in Sao Paulo where the traffic laws are much more lax. What was I thinking? Hop in."
"In I hop."

The second was more amusing, but disturbing.
A man, who is feigning blindness, BADLY, is walking by a Lazy River type attraction at what appears to be a water park. Because, this happens all the time. Blind guys love to stroll through water parks.
He makes a show of finding the leaves on a bush, then, fiddles with the fly on his shorts. He pulls a short tube out of his shorts. He is wearing a backpack which must have pressurized water in it, because when he pushes a button, water shoots out of the tube coming out of his fly.
Blind guy. Lazy River with people floating by. Pressurized water being shot out of a tube coming out of his shorts.
He stands near the bush and as people float by, ALWAYS with the backs of their heads to the man, he pushes the button and pretends to pee on them.
Their reactions are not believable at all because all of their reactions should be them getting out of the water and beating the guy senseless. Blind or not, people don't like to get peed on.
Even in Sao Paulo.
Unless they are at least asked nicely first and perhaps dropped a 50.

When I woke from my stupor, I found I had tied all the socks in the apartment in knots, so I know I was hypnotized.

**channel change**
Ellen Barkin in Sea of Love. Whew. Once you get past the puffy shouldered 1987 pleather jacket, she was Das Bomb-o. In order to really enjoy the movie, you gotta try to keep Al Pacino's face out of your eyeballs, though.
Nothing against Kate Beckinsale, or Jessica Biel or any of the other hot chicks of today, but man, give me 1987 Ellen Barkin. Just, whew.

**channel change**
Bronx Bunny. This is supposed to be a comedy puppet show on STARZ, or some other channel, it really doesn't matter. Slapped together puppets who are being controlled by people who don't seem at all interested in controlling a puppet, talking to Chris Jericho about...

**television off**

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

why blog?

Friends of mine who have found out I've started blogging have stated that they would never bother writing one because nothing interesting ever happens to them.
Come on, now. Something interesting happens almost every day. You just have to be open and pay attention. Is it going to necessarily be interesting to everyone? Maybe not. But what the hell? Who cares?
Here are some interesting things that happened or were said during my scene study class last night at the Gamm theater.
This is the second class I have taken in the past six months or so. First class was way beginner level. Not much experience. It was an into to acting class so this was appropriate.
Last night's class had some students with theater degrees, some who had been in several productions and others who just seemed to know what they were doing.
Damn it. I need people who are just about able to speak coherently so I appear talented in comparison. Now I'm in class with trained, experienced actors and I'll have to work. What the hell is that?
Anyway, what interesting happened?

One guy walked in wearing a "Frankie Say Relax, Don't Do It" t-shirt. But he was not able to come up with the name of the band the t-shirt represented and had never heard of Welcome to the Pleasuredome. Zang Tumb Tuum? Just forget about it. Then again, you probably don't know what I'm talking about, either, so I won't hold it against him.
Turns out he just graduated from high school. So he was, er... Let me do the math here. He was negative fifteen years old when the album was released. Bastard.

During the round table introductions, one lady mentioned that in her real life, she is a nurse practitioner, that she spends much of her time now doing presentations, but that she still gave a "mean" enema.
I couldn't help but ask, how she defined a "mean" enema.
She told me a "mean" enema was a Triple H enema. I asked if a Triple H enema meant that she put the patient in a pile driver or sleeper hold prior to insertion.
She didn't laugh much, but said, the three H's were, "high, hot and a hell of a lot".
I asked her if this was something she did for recreation, but again she didn't laugh much, so I left it alone.
There were six more enema references during the course of the evening. I won't detail each of them. Just know they were there.
During the introductions people were asked to mention what they thought good acting was or for an actor that appealed to them. One guy said, "Bugs Bunny. Because Bugs can always improvise his way out of any situation." The teacher began to explain that animation was anything but improvisational and that every frame was very carefully planned and that what the hell was he talking about Bugs Bunny is a cartoon, but the guy stopped him by saying, "I also really like The Muppets."
Now, I don't have a good read on this guy yet. I don't know if he is an innocent, and really believes what he is saying, or if he is massively pretentious and these were the most interesting, off the wall things he could come up with.

One lady mentioned a movie she had seen with a lot of real good acting in it. It was Lady Chatterley's Lover. I vaguely remember this movie had boobies in it, and could not remember a hell of a lot else about it, but she seemed to be very moved by it. If I was in a group of people I knew better, I would have made a boobies joke, but got the sense it might not go over well.
People who know me might be surprised to find out that I have the ability to self-censor.
I have a response for them, but will not print it here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

the best line ever...

I think I am at least somewhat amusing. Most people who know me laugh a lot at the stupid things I say, and I get much joy from it. I love making people laugh. I have done some writing and stand up comedy, as well as improvisational theater.
I feel I am reasonably clever and good at the turning of phrases.
I guess most of the people who bother blogging feel that same way about themselves. If you didn't think you wrote well and had an interesting way of saying things, at LEAST you think, would you bother?
I believe these things about myself. I believe I am the most clever and humorous in the room and I believe I am right 99% of the time.
I also believe that I do not hold the record for what, in my estimation is, the best line ever.
My friend Steve holds the belt for that one.
This is the story of the best line ever.
Many people have heard this story, but Steve feels I do it justice, so, for the uninitiated, or for those who would like a slightly more detailed version...
The story of the best line ever.
Note, I will make a rare exception to my self-imposed no profanity rule to be true to this story.
Steve and I were Matrix fanatics. We watched the original probably a hundred times between us. When we heard there were going to be sequels, to use anti-hyperbole, we looked forward to them.
I will define my own level of fanaticism, and let you draw your own conclusions about Steve's.
Beyond watching the first movie and unhealthy number of times, I bought everything that came out on DVD about the movie, including an incredibly long and, to use on of Steve's favorite words, W-Brother's hubris filled documentary on the making of the movie. I have played every Matrix themed game, from the excellent Path of Neo to the suck factor five Matrix mmorpg.
I made ringbones out of the phone ringing sounds in the movie as well as system sounds for my PC captured from the movie.
I own an Agent Smith action figure and referenced the Agent's attire when Jenn asked me what I wanted to wear to our wedding.
I am carrying most of the first movie's soundtrack on the very device I am typing into now.
I was/am into it.
I say was, because the sequels were not what I wanted. I am slightly more forgiving of the second; Steve seems slightly more forgiving of the third.
Just the fact that I have thought about which of us is more forgiving of which sequel should tell you something.
I won't go into our issues with the sequels as I think all that could be written on the topic has already been done. If I think of an original thought on it, I will let you know.
Hopefully, I've given you some vision into how seriously we might have been taking The Matrix Reloaded.
We were second in line for the night before opening day midnight show at The Providence Place mall.
We used to see a lot of movies there. It's gotten a little better now, but we had to stop for a while. It was getting to be a drag.
We saw Freddy Vs. Jason there at, like, 11pm. This is a movie that could not have been a harder R at the time. We were continually disturbed by the small children crying in the theater. Disturbed like our movie going experience was being messed up and disturbed on a deeper civilization is failing level.
We go into the theater and land choice seats directly in the center of the auditorium. Lovely.
Steve is a rather large individual. He refers to himself as fat, but that is not accurate. While he could drop a few pounds of fat, fat is not what makes him big. He is just big. I am not small, but compared to Steve, I am certainly small-ish.
We leave a seat between us when we go to the movies, whenever it is possible. It is not a gay buffer seat. It is a seat of practicality.
We figured that luxury was going to be beyond us as we assumed a packed house, but we utilized it as long as we could.
The group of guys who filled the rest of our row, making us lose the seat of practicality, is responsible for the speaking of the best line ever.
They were bigger. They were big in a Samoan way. Sometimes, when I tell this story, eyebrows go up. Maybe the word Samoan doesn't paint an immediate picture for everyone, so I will attempt to clarify.
They were brown, not like African-American, more like... Damn it. They were Samoan. Look it up.
While this is not a reference to anyone who might look Samoan, it did leap to mind when I saw them. They looked like they'd be comfortable following Genghis Khan around, agreeing with what he thought would be cool to do on any given day.
"I'd like to go pummel an entire country with big, heavy sticks. You guys up for that?"
"Yeah man. Sounds cool. Now where is my pummeling stick?"
There are enough of them to fill up the rest of the row and cause Steve to move into the seat of practicality.
The lights go down somewhat and the previews began. Remember when there wasn't a half hour of commercials before the previews? I think this was during that time.
While the previews are going on, and I cannot recall what any of them were, the Samoans are talking, loudly, in what I guessed was, Samoan. I think they were planning to sacrifice someone to a volcano, if they could find a volcano.
They were doing this loudly like they were in their Samoan living room. But, it was okay. It was just the previews.
Then the actual movie began with that first orchestral almost tuning up deal from the first movie that gives me chills. Matrix people know what I'm talking about, the rest of you may read that last line as:
Then the actual movie began.
The Samoans dropped the level of their conversation not at all. In fact, they did not seem to notice the movie had begun. In fact, they did not seem to notice the rest of humanity.
Now a word about my friend Steve's temper. Steve himself would probably tell you he could back it down a notch, maybe "chill out" a touch. He actually has, I think, but then, he was full on.
Steve and I share a problem. We both expect people to do what they should do. We expect people who are banging a basketball off the wall of our house at 2am, to realize what they are doing, say "Ooh! What the hell am I doing?" and stop.
Steve and I would both lay there and give that person more than reasonable benefit of the doubt time to realize and stop. So, by the time either of us decides to do something about these behaviors of others we are WAY more pissed than we would have been if we reacted sooner.
This was going on in the theater. Steve's anger is like a change in air pressure, a change in the weather. It comes off him in waves and has been proven to effect the growth of vegetables.
The anger waves were hitting me in the side of the head while I watched Trinity do cool stuff with a motorcycle helmet.
I waited.
They kept Samoa-ing just as loudly.
I squinted, hunched my shoulders, and waited.
Steve turned to the nearest Samoan and said, the best line ever.
"Do you think you guys are going to find the time during this movie to shut the FUCK up?"

Find the time. Are you going to find the time? Brilliant.

Why? Why is it brilliant? Why is it the best line ever? Because it completely messed with the head of its recipient and his group.
They shut up immediately, but not because Steve asked them to, because they were processing.
Wha... Find the time...? Does not compute. Need a luau...
The other thing they were calculating was the odds. The guy Steve spoke to looked at him, then looked at me, who obviously was the only other person with Steve, then looked back at all of his guys, and I think counted them, then looked back at us.
He must have figured we had guns or were cops or knew kung-fu or something, because all he said was, "Hey, you don't have to SWEAR at me. Geeze."
He didn't actually say "Geeze.", but I wanted it in there to give you a sense of HOW he said what he said.
And that was the end of the encounter. They were silent for the rest of the movie. I fully expected some pain experience, either emotional or physical or both after the movie, but none came.
I think Steve apologized and I think the guy grunted and walked away.
Great lines have impact and I've never witnessed more impact than that.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

concert info...

Someone I work with informed me that she was going to see a "band just like Dave Matthews" at Club Hell.
I thought that was very wrong and yet very appropriate.
If you need this joke explained to you, please stop reading now.
Also, if Becky should read this, I am sorry.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

this is the blog..

I wrote while Steve was driving. I was making my friend Chuck laugh with the following joke.
We were complaining about traffic in and around Boston, when someone mentioned that their friend had been held up by Jesse Jackson, like, Jesse Jackson being in town caused a lot of traffic.
I said, she got held up by Jesse Jackson!?
"Now here's what I want you to do.
Get the money out of your shoe..."
My friend Chuck, God bless him, was giggling like a little school girl. Well, like a gigantic school girl. Chuck weighs like 360.
Chuck thinks I am a riot.
Yay Chuck.

tv right now...

I like that there are two shows on television right now that are in essence, exactly the same show, but with somewhat different names.
There is The Singing Bee, a name which just, just sucks and Don't Forget the Lyrics, which is, if not imaginative, at least straightforward.
Both shows seem to be trying to get a lot of mileage out of the same... uh, joke, I'd guess you'd call it.
I'll give you an example.
Contestant is singing. "The Devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal he was in a bind, 'cause I don't know the rest of the words to this song...". And they keep singing the last part in the tune of the song. Heh. That's funny maybe, MAYBE, once.

Here is a list of new shows coming out next season.



One and a Half Men and Another Man

Nowhere to Be Found

Are You Brighter Than a Student Four Years Out of High School?

Agreement Or No

The Altos

You get the point.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This was a copy...

I managed to post two posts of the same post and was unable to find how to remove/delete one of the posts so I now have this post which will exist as a monument to the double post I could not delete.

the gym...

Oh, how I hate you, the gym. On the original attempt at typing that first sentence, I wrote that I hate the gyn. From stories I have heard, I assume that would be true as well, but right now, I reserve my hate for the GYM.
It is disgusting. It kinda smells bad and exercise itself makes me sick.
I mean, physically sick. I never quite come to the point of throwing up, but I come close quite a bit. Some people tell me that is because I am doing it right, some people tell me it is because I am doing it wrong. That's something else I hate about it. No one knows what the hell they are talking about.
Too much weight.
Not enough weight.
Eat more protein.
What are you eating? That's way too much protein!
Do more cardio.
No, seriously. Do a lot more cardio.
Did you do cardio yet?

I am at the gym at least four times a week. Sometimes five.
I hate every second of it.
I don't hate what it has done for my physical appearance, however. I don't hate that people cannot believe I am 38.
One especially demented girl not long ago told me she thought I was about 26.
Jenn laughed and laughed at that. I assume she laughed because there is no way someone as well-spoken, well-rounded and mature as myself could possibly be only 26.
Yes. That is what I assume. Shut up.
I can say this:
Jenn and I found my passport recently. The picture in it was taken almost ten years ago. I look older and more haggard in that picture than I do now, a lot more.
Those who know me will tell you my life was quite a different place ten years ago and maybe that had a lot to do with how I looked then.
Maybe I'll get into that someday. What my life was once like.
Maybe I've gotten into it enough already.
We'll see.
Here's a funny thing. For a normal guy walking around, I am in pretty good shape. For a gym guy, I am pretty much a mess.
To resume the original topic, there is one thing I REALLY hate about the gym. People who want to "work in" with you. I am in the middle of my stupid exercise on my stupid machine, resting between reps when some lummox comes up and moves his lips at me. Moves his lips because I have headphones in. This invention has been around for sometime and I would guess that everyone knows when someone has headphones on THEY CAN'T HEAR YOU, so standing there moving your muscley face at me isn't going to do you any good.
What's even better is the freaks who stand in front of you and stare without saying anything until you take your headphones off and ask them what the hell they want, nicely, because sometimes they look like they could eat your car.
"Mind if I work in with you?"
Yeah. I kinda do mind.
"Well. Are you gonna rest between sets?"
At this point I look around at the 17,000 other unoccupied machines and look back at him. Is there nothing else you could do with your bulk while I finish here for God's sake?
Could you go bench New Jersey or something? I don't want to watch you make a big show about sliding the weight selector alllll the way to the bottom of the stack then move it waayyy back up to my puny selection when you are done.
I am really trying to keep this area expletive free, but oohh I wanna swear at you right now.
Go do some cardio and get off the damned computer.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I wanted to write about AT&T...

As I was collecting my thoughts for a post about AT&T, which is a pain in the butt to type, my mind made a connection about the size of AT&T (bleagh) and my high school. When I eventually write about AT&T (GOD!) you will see the connection.
I think every blog should incorporate some level of foreshadowing.
My high school was huge. It contained students from Fall River, Swansea and parts of New Bedford, and Somerset and Attleboro and Houston... The truth is I can't remember where all the students came from, but man there was a lot of them. I can remember periods of time when I didn't see the same people in the hallways twice in a week.
My classes were massive and people turned into faceless, nameless unrememberables.
I sometimes wonder how much of that was my own fault. Maybe I just wasn't as well liked as I thought. Maybe I was the ultimate unremeberable.
In any case, I signed on to Classmates.com to check my memory. Maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought it was.
Well, it was as bad as I thought it was. 95% of the people who are on the site and who claim to have been at my school when I was at my school? Their names don't ring the tiniest bell.
Forgive me for this. There was something insane like 1100 people in my graduating class.
I remember sitting in an ocean of graduates, feeling small and mostly meaningless. Due to the enormity of the class, each person was only allowed to have two people come to the ceremony, so I bet a lot of students were feeling the same way. Way far away, where you can't even see them, only four eyes are recording this moment.
Classmates.com. I saw some names that were meaningful to me. Some more so than others. I want to tell you the story of one interaction I had with someone from my past.
Her name popped up and my face flushed immediately. I know you are thinking this was an old flame of mine, or someone I had a secret crush on. Neither of these are precisely true.
I happened upon her profile and checked it out. I didn't realize at the time that damned Classmates.com immediately tells a person if you look at their profile. Like some bratty little sister or something. Swarvey was looking at you! Swarvey was looking at you!
She noticed that I was on her profile and sent me this: (Note. The names have been changed to protect, well, everybody.)

Hi Swarvey,

Not sure who you are exactly but you signed my classmates profile on a day that is very very meaningful to me....How do you know me?


I sent this in return:


I do not realize the significance of the day for you. I guess that is just coincidence.

I believe we went to (name of a middle school) together.
If you are who I think you are, you played a significant role in my understanding who I was as a person.

Did you go to (name of a middle school)?


Her response:

Wow....yes in deed I did attend (name of a middle school) for 7th and 8th grade. My gosh that seem like soooooo long ago.
You stated in your email "If you are who I think you are, you played a significant role in my understanding who I was as a person." Can you be more specific on how I did this?
But before you tell me....I hope that it was a positive expeirence in life for you and not negative. If your wondering if I have changed...lol...not for one minute. Be who you are in life as long as it makes you happy because nobody and I mean nobody can tell you that your doing it wrong....they may be the ones that are actually living wrong....lol.

You have my mind wondering back to those days....lol...Thank you...I really did need that.

As for the signifigance of the day you emailed me. When I was 18 I was engaged to be married to (a guy's name)....he died that year in 1986 and that day you contacted me...it was his birthday....March 26th. I just thought it was ironic.

Well I want to keep this short because I can't wait to recieve your reply email. Please dont keep me waiting too long....although...I always preach that patience is a virtue and good things come to those that wait.....

Please note....I do have a sister named err... Lithuania? that is 18 months younger than me and attened (name of a middle school) as well....maybe you are thinking of her?


Okay? Gaaahhh. So I send...

It's pretty embarassing...

I was an awkward kid at that age. I did well in school. I got really good grades and my teachers loved me. Most of them anyway.
Did you have Mr. Raznard? Creepy guy with weird glasses and the worst dry sweat stains I've ever seen on a shirt?
How about Mr. Cloodgy? He ripped my 3D glasses in half. Jerk. He also told me my Dad swept the floor of the Post Office, when my Dad probably made twice what he did.
I believe they were both at (name of a middle school), but I moved halfway through middle school and finished at (name of another middle school) before going to Durfee (there were so many people in my high school, I really don't care about protecting them).
In any case, I fell in with a bunch of guys, mostly because they were the only ones who would hang out with me.
I guess they were my friends, but I can't remember most of their names, which is sad. Johnny Silvainia, I think was one. He was okay. Kind of an outsider himself. I think all of us were.
So, they had a passtime in the 7th grade. They would grab girls. Either their butts or worse. I didn't want to do it. Didn't seem right. (Jesus. DUH!!)
I think this was the only time in my life that peer pressure had any effect on me. If I wanted to stay part of the group, I had to do it, too.
I was against it, but didn't feel like being alone again. So I did it.
I believe it was you, who I did it too.
I grabbed your ass and... well, I fainted. I probably could not have been more of a geek than I was.
I have felt awful about it ever since and, while I wouldn't be surprised if you don't remember, I am sorry that I did it.
So you helped me figure out who I was, because I knew I didn't want to treat girls/women that way, and that I wasn't going to bend to pressure from my "friends" again. I've been my own person, and true to myself, ever since.
But I'd love to be able to go back and not do that.

So. She never responds, which I guess makes sense. I probably would not respond either, especially after the significant day, guy she was going to marry dying on his birthday stuff. Perhaps I could have held off and not been so selfish as to feel it was okay to clear my conscience at that time. Put that in the Big Book of Things I Could Have Done Better.

Further. I remembered a few days later that I had the wrong girl, anyway.

i prayed to Al Gore

And Al Gore did smite the workers of fire by sending forth a torrent of rain to silence them. And they were silenced.
Praise be to thee Al Gore.

The rain was too hard and the sound of it on the roof kept me awake anyway.
Damn you, Al Gore.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

For the love of...

I am American. I am patriotic. I love my country. But it is now the 8th, EIGHTH, of July.
Do we really still need to be having fireworks displays?
Come on.
Where is Al Gore on this?
Don't fireworks cause global warming or Man-Bear-Pig or something?
I gotta get up early, drive to North Kingstown, then drive to Narragansett, then drive to Franklin, MA.
Stop with the popping and the banging and the blowing up already, will you?
God Bless America

so this movie...

This movie, as it is, it's being presented as a dark comedy. I guess the production company feels that that designation gives them more license in some areas. Like, because it's comedy and could be viewed, I guess, as a parody of sorts, it's not wrong and they won't get sued to have a script dealing with "slayers" with a character named Xander. With those not familiar with the Buffy-verse, I direct you to wikipedia, or the internet in general. Let's just say this is ground that has been covered by others and is all copyrighted and stuff.
Jill, from the production company, she's the one who wrote the script and seems to be mostly in charge, calls me to schedule a time on the following Saturday morning to have my werewolf teeth fitted. This was a week before the 4th of July and they are located in Bristol. For those of you not familiar with Bristol, they take the 4th very seriously. There is traffic.
It took me quite a bit longer to get there than I thought it would. I was going to be about a half hour late. I called Jill to let her know. She said to not worry as the make up guy, Brian, was also in traffic, and would be late as well.
Oh golly, I thought, that is a relief. I know that sounds sarcastic, but it really isn't. I hate to be late and was relieved. I might have skipped the oh golly bit, though.
I get to the house about 20 minutes late and was expecting Brian, the make up guy, sometime soon after that.
I ring the bell for the apartment and Jill let's me in. Because I am trying to be kind, I will not describe what Jill looks like. Don't ask me. I'm working on a karma re-distribution thing and hope the Universe notices how I am not saying anything about Jill's appearance.
Universe? Are you taking note? This is not easy.
I enter the small apartment and am immediately hit in the face with a mesh bag full of thick, moist cat feces. The cat feces enters my throat cavity through both my open mouth and now raped nostrils. I am drowning in a brown whirlpool of stink and gagging up my soul.
On the inside.
It only feels like this is happening.
It's all in my mind.
It's just that it smells like a cat box that had not been changed in six months.
The other people who are in the apartment, do not seem to either notice or mind. I am agog and flummoxed.
I am invited into the living room and I situate myself in front of a blowing air conditioner, hoping for a pocket of fresh air.
I sit in the chair, and realize that I am still breathing crap-air, only now it is very cold crap-air.
I sit there for a period of time, trying to make clever conversation while not breathing at all. It is tricky.
I ask to use the bathroom and enter the heart of darkness.
The cat who lives in this house is a saint and has at least some level of engineering education.
A saint because most cats will say screw you if their box is dirty and will leave their poop out in obvious places until you clean it.
An engineer, because it does not seem to mind using a box that had not been cleaned in, it appears as though my original estimation was off, a year. In order to keep using the box, it has had to stack its turds in complicated designs. It look, in some areas, as though the cat has set up games of poo Jenga.
I do not feel clean when I leave the bathroom.
Brian seems to have gotten trapped in MUCH worse traffic than I encountered and is MUCH later than I was. One and a half hours later. That's a lot of time to sit in a pocket of cold stink, watching CNN. I mean, at least put on a good movie or something, or offer me a drink or a gas mask.
When Brian shows up, I am relieved, but it is premature.
Brian walks in, lays a fake gun down on the counter and asks who is getting the teeth.
I stand up and say, "Me.". I stand up both because I need a reason to try to move and possibly find a small spot of clean air to breath, and because I don't have a clue what I'm doing.
This becomes very apparent when, after I jumped up to be immediately available for make up, the make up guy takes another 15 minutes mixing up a small bowl of lumpy concrete. That's what it looks like anyway. It's the material to capture a mold of my teeth so that my werewolf teeth can be custom fitted. I don't want werewolf teeth off the rack, after all.
Once it is mixed to a lovely lumpy grey thickness, he slaps an ice cream scoopful of it onto a large dental protector thing like Rocky would wear when going up against Clubber Lang.
Combined, it is large. It is a lot of stuff and when he tells me to put it in my mouth and bite down, I ask him to put something of mine in HIS mouth, only to not bite down.
Brian is not endowed with much of a sense of humor, I guess and he just stares at me.
Everyone is watching and while I do not in any way feel this is a professional organization, I want to act like a professional. I stick the whole thing in my mouth and bite down.
It is unpleasant. It tastes like greasy grit, but with a hint of mint, which is nice.
Of course as soon as I bit down, most of the mass is displaced and heads for the back of my throat. I cannot brush my back teeth for long, as I have a sensitive gag reflex.
I was soon wishing I was sitting in my nice pocket of cold stink without four pounds of wet minty sand tickling my tonsils.
It is unpleasant. I know I said that before, but I am trying to make a point. It really sucks. I do not recommend it.
Brian tells me it has to stay in for about five minutes. I laugh as best as I am able, but Brian, with the no humor sensing thing, stares at me some more.
For five minutes I juggle a grapefruit made of Silly Putty in the back of my throat. I can honestly say I am amazed that I didn't swallow any of it.
I kept having to swallow, though. It is one of those things your body likes to do. We do it all the time without even being aware of it. Like blinking. Try not blinking or swallowing for the next five minutes. I'll wait.
How did you do? Sucks, right?
Put a mushy softball in your mouth, ALL the way in your mouth and try again.
What do you mean you don't have a mushy softball? Geeze.
The five minutes go by. I survive. He pulls the whole mess out and it is followed by a quart (approx.) of saliva that I was not able to swallow. He recoils and drops my mold on the floor. It is embarrassing. When he recovers it, there is a lot of blood on it. Apparently I have gum disease. It is embarrassing. He covers the mold in some paper towels and holds the whole thing like I had asked him to hang on to a sample of some of my bodily fluids for me.
Actually, in a way, I guess I did. Sorry Brian the make up guy.
As soon as Brian was done, I was out the door, thinking for not the first or the third or the fifth time that I should disengage from this project.
I've got this thing though. When I tell someone I will do something, I have to have a REAL good reason to go back on my word. I have not found it yet.
But, I am looking.

more on the acting stuff...

We decided the final session of our acting class should be a showcase of everything we've been working on so far. Students had monologues (I am just going to say right now that there will be spelling mistakes along the way. Mobile blogging doesn't allow for elegant spell checking... Strike that. It actually is pretty straightforward... Huh. Where was I?) and short two person pieces. We invited those close or important to us to come and see what we accomplished in the two months of the class. I only wanted Jenn to be there. Only her, for two reasons:
A. She loves me a lot and would not want me to continue doing something if I was making a fool of myself, so she would be honest.
B. Even though she does not go to church, she is very Irish Catholic, so she is honest to an almost painful degree. If you know any Irish Catholics, you know what I'm talking about, if not here is an example of a possible exchange with an Irish Catholic.
You: Hey. Look at this shirt. I love this shirt. Isn't this the best shirt ever?
Them: You smell like a pile of innards.
In any case, I knew she would tell me if I was wasting my time.
The girl from the movie invited the whole production company. Seven people.
In the weeks between the acting class showcase and the post-teens pretending in their Mom's backyard, the production company learned from the girl in my class that perhaps I was of a caliber slightly higher than that of a mere extra. Now, I was going to have the option to read for two roles that needs to be filled. One was that of an older deli owner and the other was a werewolf who meets a guy, head butts him, wipes the blood from the guy's now broken nose off his face, puts on some sunglasses and walks away.
Hmmm. Tough choice.
I expressed some interest in the werewolf role, having come to terms with the reality of the film.
I know it's a silly little thing, but if I get to head butt a guy, I don't really care.
The showcase begins and ends. Everyone, I think, does a good job. When it is over and people are being introduced to the various attendees, this tall blonde dude, who looks like he might be in movies one day, walks up to me. He introduces himself as one of the key players in the production company and one of the stars of the film.
Then, in tones of great gravity, he says, "I think we have our werewolf.". He says this as though he were offering me the role of Indiana Jones after Harrison Ford broke his hip. Very seriously, he takes it.
I am informed I will be contacted for a time to have my teeth fitted.
That is the next story...

Saturday, July 7, 2007

this happened last week...

I am attempting to.persue, if not a career in acting, at least a very serious hobby in acting. In this, I have met some people who have varying degrees of connection with the trade. I recently completed an acting class at the Perishable Theater in Providence. A girl, I am 38, she is 20, I think calling her a girl is appropriate, in my class tried out for and got a role in a low budget movie being shot in and around Bristol. She informed me they were looking for people to be extras in large fight scenes. She gave me the contact information for the company and in a couple of calls it was arranged for me to drive out to Bristol to take part in a massive practice fight "on set".
The "set" turned out to be a backyard, where people who looked like they still might be concerned about getting to home room on time were preparing to pretend to wack each other with nerf-swords.
I have done many silly things, and I am sure I will do many more, but man, I could just not get my head around that action.
I made up some excuse and bailed, feeling really good about the decision because I was feeling so bad about being part of it.
My ego, it seems, was open to further negotiations even though the rest of my conciousness was not.

jenn is concerned...

Jenn is concerned about the appearance of impropriety (sp?) in my writing about hearing her voicemails as they are confidential. She is concerned about this even with no mention of either her last name or the name of any patients. Or the fact that my stupid little blog exists lost in a massive landscape of billions of other webpages and the odds of someone from her work stumbling across it are so far in the "against" column we would need C3P0 to calculate them.
She said "Wouldn't you pee your pants if someone from my work DID stumble across it?"
I told her that I would pee my pants, and not from shock, as an act of penance. I would stand in a corner and say, "Jenn, you were right. I now pee in my pants."

jennifer and her job

On the way home from the bookstore, jenn decided she wanted to listen to her voicemail from work. She had the phone on speaker and was listening until I had to ask her to please take the phone off speaker mode and just listen normally. Her voicemail was upsetting to me.
Jenn is a Hospice care coordinator. She was a hardcore go-to-actively-dying-people's-homes-and-care-for-them-until-they-die kind of a Hospice care provider until she destroyed her back doing so. There was a lot of lifting and manipulating of people who could not move themselves.
Jenn's work voicemails, from what I've heard, typically have some of the following phrases in the:
Bleeding out- this is where the body loses the ability to maintain its hold on its own blood and the blood starts coming out of all the body holes.
Unable to take fluids- you cannot get your throat to do what you want it to do, because you are actively dying. The same holds true for food, but fluid is worse. Often, husbands, wives or family members will want these people put on introveinious (sp?) fluids to keep them alive, because they do not understand...
The natural course of things- this is where the person you love is coming into the final hours of the actively dying process. Loved ones fight against this. They are often misguided by their own love and want to keep the person alive at all costs, even if the person they love is in some level of torment, or drugged state of not-even-the-person-you-love-anymore. They don't know what they're doing. We all, me included, before anyway, assumed some level of alive is better than none. That is often not the case. Especially in the land of Jenn's voicemail.

Friday, July 6, 2007

blackberry blogging

It occured to me, when I had my curve for a couple of days, that I would like to start capturing thoughts as they occured to me. The curve makes this quite easy, bordering on pleasurable. Interesting.
So, while Jenn was doing her Jenn thing in the bookstore (the Jenn thing is wandering aimlessly, allowing her attention to be drawn to whatever catches her eyeballs/mind. She is distracted quite easily and I often find myself a little jealous at how much she enjoys just looking at stuff. I mean, if you get a lot of fun out of looking at stuff, you have many options.) I set this blog up and posted this first post.