Friday, September 29, 2006

Filthy Lucre

I submitted my two weeks notice today with a lot of relief and a twinge of regret. I am very excited about my new job -- I am in desperate need of a shot in the arm -- but there are a lot of things about, and especially people from, this job that I will miss.

15 minutes ago I almost caved. The head of our division brought me into his office and dangled a 25% raise in front of me if I agreed to stay. My jaw hit the floor. It is so nice to be loved the way a desperate trick craves his whore. And I almost sold my body...emptied my soul to fill my wallet. But I stood strong and realized that the utter hopelessness that plagues my workplace would not be solved by a higher paychek. I am overpaid and overfed as it is. Now I can be happy again too.

Man I could have used that money...

Friday 8-Track

Denver has a great radio station, 102.3 KCUV, that really plays an ecclectic mix. So driving back to my hotel from Coors Field on Tuesday I was tuned in and much to my delight they played some old-school Elvis Costello. I was very happy so today's mix is all about EC.

"Brilliant Mistake" - King of America

I think this is one of his "prettiest" songs with a lot of great imagery. The chorus is killer.

"Everday I Write The Book" - Punch The Clock

Some people have told me that they don't like the production on this track or think the literary theme is corny but I think it's clever as hell. "But you were up to your old tricks, in chapters four, five, and six."

"Opportunity" - Get Happy!!

This whole album just grooves and "Opportunity" is a good example of what Bruce Thomas' bass playing did for the early Costello albums. The melodic descension in the chorus is my favorite part.

"Lipstick Vogue" - This Year's Model

This song is angry as hell and sounds like a runaway train. I often expect it to crash through the speakers and fall to little pieces on the floor.

"Radio Radio" - My Aim Is True

In some ways it is best known for its allegedly off-the-cuff performance on Saturday Night Live -- the label supposedly wanted the band to play "Less Than Zero" but Elvis stopped it live during the intro and broke into this rallying tune. For me, this song proved that punk could have musicianship, melody, and well-crafted songwriting.

"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?" - Armed Forces

A desperate plea for peace that sounds like a war cry. One of his few covers (originally penned by longtime producer Nick Lowe -- a helluva songwriter in his own right), he and the band definitely made it all their own.

"King Horse" - Get Happy!!

I don't know why I like this song so much, I just know that I can listen to it over and over again.

"Watching The Detectives" - My Aim Is True

Hands down my favorite Elvis Costello tune. It has got reggae, punk, and New Wave styles all mashed together that somehow sound like the aural definition of film noir. The song is creepy, powerful, and shockingly good especially considering that this was his first album. The lyrics are so incredible and dig the two-track vocals on the last verse.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


More travel-induced wandering of the mind.

The Goonies is one of the greatest films ever made. No further exposition is necessary, but why do I bring this up? Recall the video for Cyndi Lauper's "Good Enough" which featured several clips from the The Goonies. It was around this time in my early cable years when I thought that any video that was on MTV had something to do with a movie -- if Mouth, Chunk, and Data were in a Cyndi Lauper video then, ipso facto, the same must be true of Mr. Mister.

Not possessing a highly evolved taste in music in 1985, I was under the impression that "Kyrie" was compositional masterpiece so I spent a lot of time waiting for the video to come on MTV (one never had to wait long). In fact, I was so enamored of the tune and video that I really really wanted to go see Welcome to the Real World, blissfully unaware that the byline at the end of the video was an album name, not the title of the movie from which the video was lifted. Of course I also thought that the chorus went something like, "Carry on a laser down the road that I must travel." I really wanted to carry a laser too.

Tales From Terminal A

Ever seen a grown man act like a child? I did this morning. The scene at the ticket counter went something like this:

Man-Child: "I don't want another flight, I want this one!"
Weary Employee: "Sir, I'm sorry, I can't give you a boarding pass for this flight."
Man-Child: "I want one!"
WE : "Sir-"
MC: "I want one!"

As I walked on by I am pretty sure I heard "I want one, I want one..." in an endless pouting mantra. Had I not been so anxious to check in for my flight I would have stayed to watch this individual begin stomping his feet and the ultimately collapse to the floor kicking and screaming.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Overcoming the Static Coeffecient of Friction

ACME Corporation

I am writing this letter to give notice of my resignation effective 13 October 2006. No wide eyes and no mouths agape; this was a Long Time Coming. It has been six-and-a-half years since my first day, the same day that I knew this would be but a brief layover as I sussed out whatever the meaningful thing was that I was going to do with my life. Six-and-a-half years plus one irrelative M.A. later and I am finally leaving to do the exact same thing somewhere else.

At some weary milestone along this road I learned two important things; my job does not have to be the supreme fulfillment of my heart's potential and I am very good at what I do. And at some weary milestone along this road, this company did not feel right anymore. I do not know if it is necessarily wrong but I do know that the sense of ease and enjoyment once found here, the same that allowed me to learn the aforemention lessons, is now gone. The hallways are sad, the offices sit shivah for our friends who have almost all left, and the lunatics have finally seized control of the asylum. It is time to go.

I will and already do miss my friends who I have spent so many hours bullshitting with. I will miss knowing every little thing that goes on. I will miss knowing who to trust and who not. I will miss the receptionist who wraps my Christmas presents. I will miss the facilities people who do me favors without the requisite paperwork. I will miss my missed opportunity to tell the Seventh Floor how desperately this company circles the drain.

I will not miss the feeling of doom and malaise that strikes every soul to cross our flourescent threshold. I will not miss being bored into hourly pacing the clock hands. I will not miss the obtuseness which plagues our contract proposals nor the utter uselessness that defines our middle management. I will not regret my decision to leave.

This was the best worst job I ever had...we were perfect for each other.

With Exasperated Sincerity,


Monday, September 25, 2006


I am currently on what I hope is my last boondoggle for work. It's not so bad but I would rather be at home. However I am trying to make the most of it by eating a lot of bison and catching as many Rockies games as possible. Anyway, air travel cause my mind to run like a meth addict so I decided to just start blogging some of my truly random thoughts.

The New York Times. I have rather capriciously decided that I do not like people who live in DC and read the NYT. It's one thing to pick up a copy every now and again or look for the book reviews. But to actually read it daily in lieu of the Post or even the Times is just...pretentious. And I engage in a lot of pretentious bullshit so I know what I am talking about, but to make a fashion statement with your source of news? That's weak.

Toad the Wet Sprocket. I've gotten hooked on them lately thinking back to all of those really great and underrated pop songs they wrote. However they are a bit of a guilty pleasure since they are only about one Psalm short of being a Christian Rock band. In fact, one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Little Heaven", is entirely about the rapture. And not in a good* way.

good [nounjective] - anything bent such that it lay within the positive spectrum of my worldview

I feel really dumb listening to this song about slavation and all that nonsense but the hooks are so damn good. I guess that's why I give them a pass; they're not bad* like all Chrisitan Rock is.

bad [nounjective] - anything bent such that it lay within the negative specturm of my worldview

More news. At 7am I found myself standing in front of Shell station trying to decide which newspaper to buy, The Denver Post or The Rocky Mountain News. The thought of being seen with the wrong paper when I showed up at work was to much to bear. I could not get a hold of my friend who is a reporter so I called another buddy who is a news junkie and has a brother who used to live in Denver. I figured he was the closest thing to a valid opionion on the state of Denver news, given my circumstances. He thought perhaps that "The Rocky Mountain News is kind of a bullshit paper." Good enough. I settled on the Post and then the machine ate my 50 cents. Sonofabitch.

So yeah, this was an utterly pointless typing exercise...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday 8-Track

Today's mix is all throwback to my Classic Rock youth. Sometime shortly after my early Zeppelin period, I became convinced that any music created after the death of John Bonham would forever be lacking (save for most of the AC/DC ouevre and of course 1984). So 105.9 WCXR, this one's for you.

Badfinger - "No Matter What" - No Dice

A great, great pop song. I wish I could write like that.

The Band - "The Weight" - Music From Big Pink

Truly a band in every sense of the word, the interaction of voices, instruments, and influences on this album is wonderfully organic. All in all a pretty simple song but the harmonies at the end of every chorus just kill me.

The Cars - "My Best Friend's Girl" - The Cars

Elliot Easton is a pretty underrated, or perhaps under-heralded, guitar player. This song is a nice display of how verstaile a player he is from the boogie riff in the chorus, to the chick-picking after the chorus, all the way up to that guitar solo that seems to come out of left field. What a fun band.

David Bowie - "Ziggy Stardust" - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

Mick Ronson added some serious balls to Bowie's androgynous flair on this album. Another slightly under-the-radar guitarist, he definitely brings it espicially on the semi-title track. Some heavy riffing neatly complements the angry lryical breaks; "Making love with his ego, Ziggy sucked up into his mind. Like a leper Messiah. When the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band."

Led Zeppelin - "The Song Remains The Same" - Houses of the Holy

At 17, seeing the Page and Plant tour at the Cap Center was the closest thing to Enlightenment I thought I might ever acheive. When they broke into this, possibly my all-time favorite Zep tune, I just about lost it. Right from the opening riff, through the booming shuffle beat, this song takes off like a runaway train. These albums, in my bedroom, is how I learned to rock before ever picking up an instrument.

The Outlaws - "Green Grass & High Tides" - Outlaws

Essentially the other "Free Bird," I like this one better. A Southern Rock magnum opus, this song has all of the necessary components -- 10 minutes of guitar wankery. I love it.

Sugarloaf - "Green-Eyed Lady" - Sugarloaf

A strange tune with a really cool bass groove. It does get old after a bit but then again, what doesn't?

The Kingsmen - "Louie, Louie" - The Kingsmen in Person

Yes, everyone has heard this song a million times. Yes, everyone could mumble through the unintelligble lyrics in their sleep. And yes, this seems like a really dumb and obvious choice. I however encourage you to go back and really listen to this record. The sheer trashiness of the drums, the unabashedly live and spontaneous element of the recording, and the absolute reckless abandon of their playing is exhilirating. This song will never, ever, ever get old.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Random Musings

There are times when I feel like I am aging backwards. The aching knees and stiff muscles I wrestle each morning when flopping out of bed assure me that my cells are in fact still dividing, yet there are signs to the contrary. For example, my attention span is receding on pace with my hairline. I was much more capable of focusing when I was younger but now my attention scatters like buckshot. My mother often compares me to the toddler she babysits from time to time, "You're as bad as Nathan."

One result of this is that I cannot finish reading a book without having started another one, or two, or three. I am currently finishing two books yet for some reason headed over to my local chain Coffee, Books, Coffee, Music, and Coffee outlet today and bought three more books to begin reading. I have a business trip next week so the new additions to my library at least seem appropriate and justifiable. Anyway, whilst meandering about the store I came across the "Favorite Picks" table with several paperbacks stacked all over it. Looking them over I was extremely surprised to see at least five different books by Zane.

For the uninitiated, Zane is a female "erotica" author -- erotica really being nothing more than stenographed porn -- who has quite a following. Different strokes, etcetera, but I was taken aback at seeing these books out in the middle of a middle-class suburban store knowing what lie between those pages. I would never have known who Zane was were it not for a female coworker who read a few passages to a group of us at lunch one afternoon. (I am confident that was the closest the Wing Factory ever got to hosting a Vagina Monolgues recitation.) Suffice to say that we were all both amused and aghast at what we heard.

There were the obvious references to rippled abs and 9-inch members of course, but what struck me were the excessively detailed descriptions of various sex acts. Mainly, I had no idea that cunnilingus could be so, hmm, intricately executed? And for so long. Appreciation of the creative arts requires the suspension of disbelief so perhaps the author was simply exercising her creative license. On the other hand, I could just be woefully ignorant. Which would explain why many of my not-so-many sexual encounters are rarely optioned for a sequel. It is plausible.

Where was I, oh, so I wanted to stick around and see if any unsuspecting Soccer Moms would thumb through a copy and cause a stink about offensive material but no such luck. I had to get back to the office and blog or whatever.

Anarchy, State, or Utopia

There is an interesting article in the WaPo today about Theodore Herzl's ongoing legacy in Israel. The debate about whether or not the remains of his son and daughter should be buried beside him in a Jewish cemetary -- both of whom are regarded as recreant members of the faith by ultra-Orthodox groups -- tellingly echoes one of the big questions that Thomas Friedman leaves readers to consider at the end of From Beiruit to Jerusalem. That is, what kind of place do Jews/Israelis want Israel to be?

Will it be a nation in the geo-political sense that also serves a return from the Diaspora? Or it will it be the the fulfillment of G-d's covenant with Abraham, a fully religious endeavor with the political ramifications considered a necessary cost? Friedman purported that this question must be answered before there can be any forward movement in the cyclical Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I tend to agree with him which can be wildly frustrating. What it means is that those of us who are indirectly affected by the conflict, the US and the Western World writ large, cannot help to bring about a resolution. It seems to be much like therapy; the first step is admitting that you have a problem.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Safe Guy

Not too long ago I quoted the Ben Franklin maxim about insanity being defined as the repetition of actions with the expectation of different results; something akin to banging one's head against the wall. Insanity as a component of the Male Condition may be the likely cause of my actions this weekend. That is, going down the same damn road and ending up in the same damn place.

I prefer to blame insanity rather than a breakdown in logic because that at least relieves me of some culpability. It helps to explain why I would agree to "hang out" with a girl I went out with a few times but politely blew me off several months ago. It explains how upon suggestion of us going to see The Devil Wears Prada, I said "sounds good." It explains why I thought it would be a great idea for her to come out later that night with my friends and me to the Pete Yorn show (which was really good). It surely explains why I would ditch my friends after the show to follow her and her crazy friends around Admas Morgan of all places. And it absolutley explains why I woke up alone on a couch in Dupont in the wee hours of the morning when I knew that was exactly what would happen after I received her first text message 16 hours earlier.

But my "insanity" is only a component of the problem. The larger issue is that I continually find myself in these situations where I am susceptible to doing stupid shit. And this is because of two reasons. One, I have a nose for undateable women. Like a moth to a flame, so I am drawn and the end result is always the same. Unfortunately for me my adroitness at sniffing out and getting involved with these undateable women is something I can neither control nor detect. I really am an idiot savant because I have no idea what I am doing; it only becomes evident after the fact -- in the wake of a couple of unreturned phone calls. So what is an undateable woman you ask.

An Undateable Woman is a creature who because of her large circle of platonic male friends, complex and frenetic social life, inability to do only one thing at one time, and a healthy dose of low self-esteem, does not date in the traditional sense. She hangs out. Pretty simple, right? Wrong. You see this decision to not date in the traditional sense occurs on a totally unconcious level -- much like my attraction to this kind of woman. Deep down this person does not want to date but she thinks she does and is therefore attracted to guys like me. Which brings us to reason number two as to why I find myself in these situations. I am Safe Guy amd Undateable Women love to date Safe Guy.

Safe Guy is the guy that will never burn them because they will be completely over him just when he is starting to get really infatuated. Safe Guy seemingly has a lot of dating options so he can be ditched with a mostly unguilty conscience. And Safe Guy won't put you in an uncomfortable postion because Safe Guy doesn't put the make on a woman without a written invitation (Safe Guy is kind of a pussy).

The fact that I am Safe Guy is exactly why my undateable little friend called me up out of the blue and my stupid bit of insanity is why I spent most of the day with her. There are plenty of people with whom Undateable Woman can hang but Safe Guy is a nice option because she can get a little more cozy with him. You can get all of the quaint benefits of being out on a date with Safe Guy without any of the costs. If you you are feeling bored and a little bit needy you can even make out with Safe Guy but with the safe assurance that he will not try and get into your pants because the one thing Safe Guy knows is that he does not get to have sex with Undateable Woman. Well he usually knows that but sometimes forgets although ultimately remembers once again. And that is because Undateable Woman only sleeps with guys she's not supposed to -- usually coworkers and bartenders. It's a really fucked up and complicated dynamic that takes years of working within to fully understand.

However there is a silver lining to this tale of shame and regret. I now have a working title for my derivative little piece of meta-fiction I hope to someday pen. You've probably already guessed by now; Safe Guy. I don't know what it is going to be about just yet but I do know the following
  1. The narration will be in the first-person,
  2. the characters will be an amalgamation of myself, my friends, and several Jungian archetypes,
  3. it will involve an Infatuation Triangle (or possibly larger polygon),
  4. and Safe Guy will remain single in the end but with a newfound sense of hopeful optimisim.

The rest is just words so it should only be a matter of time before it is published...straight to paperback.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Barry is Back

I must be getting old. While psyched to be seeing the Black Crowes tonight I am also very interested in the Barry Goldwater documentary that will be airing on HBO. Oh, the simple pleasures.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday 8-Track

The Guilty Pleasures Workout Mix. These are the tracks that I maaaaaay be listening to at the gym and hoping no one else can hear.

Kenny Loggins - "Nobody's Fool" - Caddyshack II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

That's right, the lesser known theme song to the horrible, horrible Caddyshack sequel. It's a bad song with a lot of 80's production value but it's got a decent hook and I actually think it's one of Loggins' better songs. Of course 'better' is a relative term since everything Kenny Loggins does sucks except for maybe "House on Pooh Corner" and like a minute of "Danny's Song."

Wheatus - "Teenage Dirtbag" - Wheatus

One of those silly dumb songs that kinda rocks. I like the Iron Maiden name-checking and all of the falsettoes. That's pretty much it.

Bon Jovi - "Raise Your Hands" - Slippery When Wet

Let's face facts kids, Richie Sambora can play. His style is cheesey and derivative and not too different from anyone else in that era but the guy has got chops. This is a fun track for anyone who has a hard-on for pinch-harmonics, dive-bombs, and any of that other cock rockin' crap. You know you liked this album at some point...un-ironically, I might add.

New Edition - "Candy Girl" - Candy Girl

What can I say?

Lita Ford - "Kiss Me Deadly" - Lita

Certainly a departure from her teenage days with The Runaways, I like this stuff better. I used to get really worked up for this video. A hot chic in spandex and a thong writhing around and ripping off some pretty decent guitar riffs was about all my adolescent libido could handle.

Akinyele - "Put It In Your Mouth" - Put It In Your Mouth [EP]

I'm sorry but this song puts me in hysterics everytime I hear it. I think it should be difficult for someone to get too upset about this song. It is so over-the-top in its misogynism that you cannot take it seriously.

Phil Collins - "Sussudio" - No Jacket Required

Synthesized bass, lots of horns, nonsensical lyrics, what more do you for cheesey pop hit? I would go but it would only pale in comparison to Brett Easton Ellis' analysis.

Wilson Phillips - "Hold On" - Wilson Phillips

Seriously, I am not gay.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Arizona Bay

Two of the best live shows I have ever seen were the two times that I saw Tool during their tour in support of the Lateralus release. As an "indie rock guy" I usually cannot stand arena concerts or elaborate stage shows but this band knows how to do it better than anyone else. For one, their live sound is amazingly precise. I don't know how they do it because at most arena venues the mix is muddled with way too much low end, ringing high ends, and mushy vocals. But at a Tool show the interaction of the four "voices" is very clear. And the stage show is something to behold with Maynard painted up and squirming like Gollum on his own little stage next to the drum riser and the band steadily playing away while the visual focus vacillates between the stage and the video monitors. One of the more exciting moments I recall was when the band was playing "aenema" and was perfectly sync'd with the song's video that was playing on the house monitors. Awesome.

Anyway, I am amped up because I got my tickets for their show at the Verizon Center at the end of the month which means for two hours I get to act like an angry metal kid. It will be good for the soul.

Fret for your figure and
Fret for your latte and
Fret for your hairpiece and
Fret for your lawsuit and
Fret for your prozac and
Fret for your pilot and
Fret for your contract and
Fret for your car

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


So I got the goods this morning. Let me tell you, it is a sad underclass of people that queue up in front of a Best Buy at 10am; universally male, somewhat sloppy, not very sexy, and a little bit ashamed. I fit right in.

Misplaced Priorities

In yet another brazen acquiescence to my personal priorities (over my seemingly more important professional ones) I cancelled my weekly "status meeting" with the explanation that I had an unavoidable conflict. Which is true. I am very conflicted. I hold my meetings at 10:30am every Tuesday to make sure everyone working the program is on the same page and since things are slow right now the weeklys have become more a formality than anything else -- yet one more reason as to why I am desperate to find a new job. But that isn't what we are here to to talk about today.

One dumb thing about holding meetings on a Tuesday, if you happen to be pathetically media-obsessed, is that Tuesday is national release day for new albums and DVD's. Today's release is especially important because this is now finally available to the viewing public.

That's right the original unaltered, unedited, un-ruined Star Wars Trilogy in DVD format. Fans have begged for years for this release and Lucas finally gave in, but not without a little "fuck you" to everyone that has called him a megalomaniacal lunatic over the pas ten years. Instead of giving us the beautifully restored version released on DVD two years ago with a new 5.1 surround mix -- a version that contained all of the blasphemies from the "Special Edition" release -- all we get is a DVD dump of the Laserdic release from the 80's with its Dolby 2-channel mix. But I will take it. And since Best Buy is carrying a limited run of The Trilogy bundled together in a special "collector's" tin, I have to be there before the store opens at 10am thus conflicting with my weekly status meeting. Fortunately for me no one around here is too nosey and I did not have to make up a lie about a doctor's appointment.

All told, after this morning I will now own four different sets of the Holy Trilogy in various formats and versions. And my mother wonders why I am still single...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday 8-Track (abridged)

The rock n' roll lifestyle has left me tired and short on ideas today. In other words, I'm punting. Therefore today's theme is an easy one, More Shit That Rocks, and I'll crank out as many as I can -- probably much less than 8.

The Toadies - "Possum Kingdom" - Rubberneck

A very cool song with an off-center guitar riff and a nice hook. There was a guy who lived on my freshman hall and would would randomly stick his head in my room and scream the chorus, "Do you wanna die!?!?" I wonder what became of Dave.

Ozzy Osbourne - "Flying High Again" - Diary of a Madman

This song is basically "Crazy Train" Part II but it still kicks ass. Randy Rhoads really shows his stuff on this one when he breaks into some classically-inspired arpeggiated shredding towards the end. Meanwhile Ozzy is his usual puckish self, "Momma's gonna worry. I been a bad abd boy."

Queen w/ David Bowie and Annie Lennox - "Under Pressure" - The Freddy Mercury Tribute [DVD]

Unfortunately my propensity to hyperbolize will likely soften the blow of this statement but: This is one of the best rock songs. Ever. The tune speaks for itself however this particular version is always in the back of my mind. I remember watching this concert on TV when it aired in '92 and along with Robert Plant's rendition of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," I thought this was a show highlight. Annie Lennox is wonderful and her performance of Freddy Mercury's part is the perfect complement to David Bowie. Dig that high wail that bleeds into Bowie's part on the bridge, "Insanity laughs, under pressure we're cracking."

Dropkick Murphy's - "Tessie" - Tessie [5 Song CD Single]

The punk counterpart to John Fogerty's "Centerfield," this song has once again become a rally cry for BoSox fans 100 years later. While their schtick can get old fast, The Murphy's are a cool band and this is a fun song. It gets me pscyhed for our fall softball season.

Social Distortion - "I Was Wrong" - White Light, White Heat, White Trash

This is classic Mike Ness catharsizing (yes, I just coined that word) all of the shit from his life before Social D. This one should always be played LOUD.

That's it. I'm crapped out. I'm surprised that I even made it to 5. Next week: Guilty Pleasures Workout Mix.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Man vs. Beast

Although an armistice appears to be in place, I spent much of the Labor Day weekend at war -- with a squirrel.

My building has three floors and I live on the top floor where a large tree hangs over my bedroom window and serves as the perfect walkway for squirrels to get onto my AC unit where they can then mess about on the window sill. Fine. No problem. It is usually amusing in a quaint sort of way however something changed this weekend. It seems that in Courthouse, the pact between man and squirrel has changed. Remember the Seinfeld episode where George ran over a squirrel that should have ran away when he drove near it? ("We had an agreement!") That is the way I assume the world worked: Squirrel violates Man's space, Man confronts Squirrel, Squirrel scurries away, Man remains atop food chain. How naive of me...

Saturday morning, extremely hungover (probably still drunk), I awoke at 7am to a horrible racket outside my bedroom window. At first I thought it was my AC unit grinding to a slow death so I blindly reached around for the remote to shut it off. Realizing that I had never turned it on, I looked over at my window and saw the shadow of a squirrel on the other side of the insulating material surrounding the AC unit. I threw a couple of pillows at the window, but the damn thing wouldn't go away. Angry and tired, I went over to the window where the little bastard had started clawing a small hole in the insulation. I banged on the window and the AC unit but to no avail. It would not go away so I was left with only one recourse; I punched the squirrel. Before you go calling the ASPCA, it was not a Liston-like haymaker or anything like that. I just sorta punched the insulating material of which he was on the other side. That finally startled him enough to go away -- for a little while. Later that morning I went back into my room and found three long gashes in the insulation. That fucking squirrel had come back and continued his damage. Now fuming, I ultimately resigned myslef to going back to my business as I could not find the little fucker after I ran outside in search of it. All was quiet until the next day.

Sunday morning I woke up to the same sound and lo and behold that fucking squirrel was back trying to put another hole in the insulation. This time I Was Pissed. I went over to the window and looked out one of the holes. That son of a bitch eyeballed me and sat there staring me down. Knowing that a stiff jab was not going to cut it this time around I had to elevate the situation. I went into my closet, grabbed a wire hanger, and jabbed the little fucker through one of the openings (relax, I used the rounded end). Looking out to see what damage, if any, I had done it was still sitting there. Eyeballing me. Not yet willing to crawl out onto my window ledge, I made another tactical retreat.

To date, said squirrel has not returned but I doubt this is the end of it. My family, having found no end to the hilarity of the situation, has been providing all manner of unsolicited advice. My grandfather, a man who has spent a lifetime defending his home gardens from vermin, offered some sage words of wisdom. So now I will be spending my Saturday covering the holes with duct tape and steel wool because, "squirrels can't chew through steel wool." Wonderful.

Of late, I really hate nature.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Corporate Noose

I was scrambling madly about my apartment this morning in search of the paper bag in which I stuff all of the neckties that I never wear -- which would be every single tie I own. 85% of them are novelty ties and the Tom & Jerry playing in a dixie band tie, the Gibson SG-shaped tie, the numerous Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia ones, or the kukui nut bolo tie just won't cut it. The VP's from the Seventh Floor are gracing us with their presence today and I was personally told that "program managers need to dress the part" and that means wearing a tie. I could almost see the word bubble that read "Go fuck yourself," forming in the room between myself and this individual. I hate wearing a tie. I have made a career of avoiding them.

It's not that I am a slob or don't like to dress nicely but rather I just don't feel the need to tie a knot around my neck in order to signify that I am prep'd for the occasion. I buy shirts that look good with an open collar. I buy blazers that complement a multi-tone shirt. I know how to dress and I disagree that the lack of an incidental piece of "men's furnishing" somehow suggests casual indifference.

One of the perks of engineering is that one typically does not have to deal with this sort of bullshit. The results, the functionality, are what counts. But sometimes you end up in a position you never wanted. You find yourself smiling at people you can't stand, pretending that real problems are just fine, eating catered lunches when there is work to be done, and looking underneath your bed for a necktie you were never supposed to wear.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Way Down In The Hole

There were three things that absolutley made my weekend:
  1. Not coming into work yesterday,
  2. a 4-run rally in the 8th on Sunday,
  3. and the season premiere of The Wire.

It is difficult at 8am after a holiday to briefly sum up what is so incredible about this program so fortunately just about every TV critic in the country has done it for me. I will toot my own horn a bit by saying that I have been a huge fan of this show since its very first episode and have long believed that it is the finest piece of original programming that HBO has ever delivered And I am a very big fan of Oz and Deadwood.

The show has spent its first three seasons quietly operating in the shadows of The Sopranos -- a show that got ridiculously self-absorbed after its first season and while purporting to be a character study in American Tragedy really just wallowed in its own celebrity -- and Six Feet Under -- something that, to me, was interesting but lacking a well-conceived story arc. But now with Six Feet Under concluded and, rightfully so, no one giving a damn about The Sopranos anymore, what may be The Wire's best season yet will have an opportunity to shine on its own.

I don't think I would recommend the new season to anyone who has not yet seen the show because it would be difficult to follow and really would not do the show justice. So I guess this is just an advertisement for the series at large. Got get the first three seasons on DVD. Watch them all. And believe the hype when people tell you that this is the most gripping, Real, and engrossing television drama to come along in a very, very long time.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Retail Therapy

Women often note that when they feel down or in a rut, they like to go shopping (shoes appear to be the most popular item) as it provides some form of temporary relief. I don't understand the whole shoe thing. What's the allure? How different can they be? Why does one need more than one pair of shoes for each likely life scenario (work, formal, workout, etc.)?

Of course yesterday I was bored and in need of a fun solitary activity so I went to one of my favorite places which I shoud never ever do on a whim. Because when that happens I usually end up whipping out the plastic and going home with something like yesterday's latest acquisition:
Did I need another expensive boutique effects pedal? No. Do I have something that could be "worn" for similar occasions. Yeah. Did feel awesome after I bought it, brought it home, and plugged in? Absolutely.

You can get a sense of how my "new shoes" feel, here.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday 8-Track

Now that Labor Day Weekend is upon us today's theme is, well, labor.

Weezer - "My Name Is Jonas" - Weezer (blue album)

A great opener to one of the best rock albums ever put to wax. "Workers are coming home."

Silhouettes - "Get A Job"

When I was a kid we took a lot of car trips and my dad was always playing Motown and old doo-wap tunes on the tapedeck. This song still makes me laugh, "sha na na na sha na na na na."

The Clash - "Clampdown" - London Calling

Working for The Man and the dark side of joining a cause. "Let fury have the hour, anger can be power." Could anybody else make such an overtly political statement yet still write a great tune? I doubt it.

R.E.M. - "Finest Worksong" - Document

It may be a sacrilege to say so, but this is the pinnacle of their output for me. Both Document and Life's Rich Pageant, the last two album released on I.R.S., are the best showcase of what I think is/was special about this band. Automatic For The People made them stars, but this is what made them great.

AC/DC - "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Ridiculously wonderful.

Soul Asylum - "Misery" - Let Your Dim Light Shine

Talk about paying your dues. I think this song got lost in the ether since it was the follow-up single to the album that finally made them famous. I always liked this tune especially because it has one of my favorite lyrical puns, "all you suicide kings and you drama queens."

Fountains of Wayne - "Bright Future In Sales" - Welcome Interstate Managers

I love, love, love power pop. The right mix of melody, harmony, and rockin' guitars...oh, yeah. This is probably the most lyrically "obvious" of the mix but hey, good song.

Uncle Tupelo - "Factory Belt" - No Depression

I thought I was King Shit in college when I "discovered" Son Volt and Wilco at the Record Exchange in Blacksburg. When I went to the counter the sales clerk stopped me and told me, "If you're buying these, then you gotta check out this band before you go." At times angrier than The Clash, faster than Husker Du, smarter than R.E.M., and more country than Merle or Willie, this was the first band that was mine and nobody else's. And they were long broken up by the time I found them. Believe the hype.