Dang it All
Trials and Travails of a 20-something
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Now that I've finally surpassed 50,000 hits, I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the good people over at the Pussyranch. Because of the amazing luck I had in getting in on their ground floor and leaving enough annoying comments to get a link, I now receive half of my hits directly from them. If not for Miss Cody's continuing eloquence with a keyboard, this blog might have stagnated away months ago.

My sincerest gratitude. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.
- Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Music playing right now: Bloodhound Gang - Hell Yeah


It happened last Friday night. I was driving home, the sky's lights had already gone out, and my headlights were woefully dim. I glanced down to adjust the radio and when I looked up again it was too late. I bumped over the animal with two thuds and then silence. My car has smelled like skunk ever since.

When I parked in the garage on Friday night I hadn't yet noticed, but after spending a couple of hours in that confined space, Rupert began to smell a little ripe. By the time I left for work Saturday morning, the entire auto was infused with the essence of skunk.

I parked it in the sun all day Saturday and on the drive home I was treated to the smell of hot skunk, a rare treat indeed. It rained that night and I left Rupert outside in the hopes that the water would wash away the offending odor. Apparently the sun came out too early, for I was left on Sunday with the particularly pungent aroma of humid skunk.

Sunday night I decided it was time to bring out the big guns. Chemical warfare was clearly needed. A liberal dousing of Febreze should surely do the trick. Allow it to simmer overnight and no scent should be able to survive. Right? Unfortunately, I underestimated the tenacious cling of this skunk to my car. Monday morning just brought a strange medley of fruity Febreze and rancid skunk. At this point I'm at my wits end. Maybe I just need to cover the inside of my car in pine tree air fresheners.

Can you wash an entire car in tomato juice?

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I think I bruised my hair.


Thursday, March 25, 2004

Nothing sucks more than buying a bag of Milanos all for yourself, hoarding them at home in a secret place, and then forgetting where that place is.

I wonder if they're moldy yet.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.
- Voltaire

Music playing right now: Nellie McKay - David


I went on my first mission trip in 1995 at the age of 13. The first of six. The inaugural voyage consisted of six weeks away from home on a singing tour with the Young Continentals. If any of you have ever heard me singing along to Alanis in the car, or rocking out to the mellow sounds of Tenacious D, you know that I'm not much of a singer. Nevertheless, I was somehow able to muster up enough talent to pass their incredibly un-stringent audition process and fork over my $3000.

I flew from Syracuse, NY to Kansas City in mid-July and spent a week learning music, how to set up light poles, run speaker cords, and dance the most inane choreography I have ever been exposed to. Then we were off. A concert every night. Two on Sundays. We spent the nights at the houses of churches we sang at. It didn't strike me as strange at the time, but I now find it a little odd that on our 'mission' trip we only sang at churches. Perhaps the lost were supposed to be drawn in by our heavenly tongues.

We traveled by bus all the way from Kansas City to Washington, D.C. and back. I have a picture in my room of the whole group of 30 of us in front of the white house. I found my place in the ensemble as the resident clown/humorist/tenor. Out of the entire group I can now only remember 4 of my new best friends names. I had so much fun that I went back the next year. I broke with tradition the next 2 years and went to Mexico instead to help poor orphans. But after that I spent another two summers singing, this time with the real Continentals, having graduated out of the young group.

One of the people from my first trip is still on my buddy list. I see his name pop up from time to time and wonder how his life has turned out. It's been 6 or 7 years since I even talked to him and my IM name has changed three or four times, but his has somehow traveled with me. I don't even know if he's still the owner and I doubt he'd remember me at all. But it's kind of comforting to know that there's still a remnant of my idealist youth out there somewhere. So here's to you Gabe. Keep up the good work.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Rejection

Dan: Thanks for sending this for consideration in
Pboz. I'm sorry to say we're not going to accept it.
It's an absolutely heartbreaking story, but it's just
so heartbreaking in a predictable way. I kept waiting
for Howard's patheticness to surprise me, I guess.

best of luck,

whitney pastorek
ed, pboz

Friday, March 19, 2004

Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.
- Buddha

Music playing right now: Jude - The Asshole Song


I had a moment of inspiration during a conversation today. It went something like this:

Me: you know, I think I'm going to start pronouncing the sh in asshole
Me: make it a-shole
Me: it's going to catch on, believe me
erin: haha
Me: you can even shorten it that way
Me: ex: "man, that guy was a huge 'shole"
erin: and little old ladies wont catch on for awhile, so youre safe to say it at church
Me: exactly
Me: dude. that satan is such a 'shole

Seriously, give it a month and all the funky-cool hipsters will be saying it.

There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.
- Edward Lucas

Music playing right now: Guster - I Spy


It's amazing how it works. Drink an entire pot of coffee and you just can't go to sleep. The black liquid doesn't care at all that you have to be up at 7:30 in the AM to meet the people installing the new toilet in your bathroom. You can read about Africa for an hour, watch two episodes of Cops, listen to the flaming lips for another hour, and still be wide awake.

Obviously, the only solution is to turn on Guster, brew some more coffee, and stay up all night.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Fear is the mother of foresight.
- Henry Taylor

Music playing right now: Aerosmith - Pink


The lightbulb in my basement is flickering. Sparking on and off like the hallway in a sleazy apartment building. I'm surrounded by faces and eyes. Paul Rueubens is to my right daring me to a staring contest. Bruce Campbell, Elvis, and the Village People peer out from the walls. May is boring a hole in my back. Kari is brandishing a golf club in an empty TV cabinet behind me. The smoking baby, tuxedoed monkey, and garden gnome are plotting something in the corner. And I swear that one of the skull's spongy eyeballs just moved.

If the freaky little lady from poltergeist shows up, I'm out of here.

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Big Question:

If you could pick somebody to be your stunt double, who would you go with?

Responses so far include:

Eliot: Marcus Epp
Erin: Gwyneth Paltrow
Kate: Amy Lee
Me: Betty White

Saturday, March 13, 2004

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.
- Bob Dylan

Music playing right now: Bob Dylan - If You See Her, Say Hello


Ladies, remove your tops. Men, break out the cameras. Bartenders, throw wide the liquor cabinet doors. Load up the VW van and head down to South Padre. Leave your textbooks on the shelf. It's spring break time again.

This is the fourth spring break of my college career. After three practice years, it's finally time to do things right. And so, after much thought, tough deliberation, and long rumination, I've decided to work all week. But I promise I'll be doing it in a vacation spirit. I'll put an umbrella in my coke at lunch.

Friday, March 12, 2004

I study myself more than any other subject; it is my metaphysic, and my physic.
- William Drummond

Music playing right now: Incubus - Privilege


They say whenever you study you should take a break every 40 minutes or so and do a few sit-ups or jumping jacks. Something to get the blood flowing again and get more oxygen into the brain. I don't do sit-ups, as evidenced by my burgeoning belly (Is there such a thing as the senior 15?). Instead, I go jogging.

I always jog at night, after the sun has gone completely down. I dress entirely in black, slink out of my garage, and prowl my neighborhood on chuck taylors. It's just me and the night. The black asphalt absorbs my feet with rhythmic slaps. The air mingles with my breath, ragged and shallow after the first mile and a half.

There are no people out in my neighborhood at 10:00. I'm the only witness to the possums scurrying furtively behind parked cars. The possums and I both watch the houses. The wavering glow of a hundred TV sets, the younger couple who eat dinner late, the older duo who are still coupling.

Nobody sees me as I blur past. I'm a shadow, an unsure blink, a furtive wraith at most. After a few miles I stagger home, heart pounding through my ninja ribcage. I put my hand on top and smile, knowing that I'm a few hundred calories closer to working off that pint of Ben & Jerry's. I open the garage door and totter inside, refreshed for another 40 minutes of Biology.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Punishment - The justice that the guilty deal out to those that are caught.
- Elbert Hubbard

Music playing right now: Steve Taylor - Am I In Sync?


Part 2

Earl was still alternately jerking, yanking, and heaving on the door. “Maybe if I just wiggle it back and forth.”

I’d resigned myself to our imprisonment and, after lining it with the tissue paper that passed for toilet paper, sat on the throne. “Don’t worry about it Earl. I’m sure the girls will come looking for us soon.”

Earl ignored me and continued his efforts. “I’ve almost got it. I can feel the bastard just about to give.”

I started becoming concerned when the floor beneath me began rocking. “Umm…you know, maybe you should be a little more careful over there.” I stopped swatting at flies and gripped the grimy edges of my seat.

Earl looked back and let loose a mischievous grin. “Whatsa matter?” Scared? Of this?” He gave the wall a shove and our Tupperware cell rocked like a giant sewage metronome.

There was no way in hell I was going to be both stuck in a port-a-prison and covered in the end result of two weeks of diarrhettic campers. I ascended to my feet, livid with fear. “Earl, if you rock this damn thing one more time you’ll…” I shook my sweaty fist. “…you’ll fucking regret it.”

“Well, congratulations, you’ve got some stones. Nice to know it. Now sit your narrow ass back down.” He pointed at my former seat, the toilet paper askew where it clung to my jeans as I rose. “I’m not going to push this damn thing over. By the way, there’s a fly on your face.” He reached over and flicked my earlobe with his middle finger.

I sat down, ear and face burning. Earl went back to his study of the door latch. The next five minutes were silent with the exception of Earl’s satisfied grunt whenever he managed to slap a fly. I started wondering how much methane gas one could inhale before passing out.

“Hey, you got a pen in those fancy pants of yours?” Earl’s question broke my scientific reverie.

I dug in my pocket and produced a ball point. “Yeah. Why?”

He snatched it from my hand. “Maybe I can lever the latch. A little pressure might pop this cherry wide open.” He pushed one end of my $30 pen into the bowels of the door and wiggled the other end back and forth. Nothing happened. He readjusted and jiggled some more. Nothing. His shoulders fell. “Nope. We’re still as fucked as a Filipino whore during R&R. You want your pen back?” He pulled on the cap. It didn't budge. Not only had he managed to get the two of us trapped, he’d lost my pen as well.

“Oops. Sorry about that. Don’t worry, I can get it out.” He yanked hard on my pen with both hands. I raised my arms in order to prepare myself for the likely event that he would lose his grip, topple backwards, and smother me in his sweaty girth. But my preparations were unneeded. My pen popped out with a great jerk. And the lights went out. The only illumination now came from the miniscule ventilation window above my head. “Hot damn! I knew I could pop this thing!” I could barely make out his form pushing on the door.

“Well?” I leaned forward, more than ready to leave.

“Bad news champ. We’re still stuck.”

“Stuck?”

“Tighter than a virgin’s asshole. And I broke your pen.”

Sunday, March 07, 2004

I want this. somebody buy it for me. I promise I'll give you some head. Or at least thank you profusely.

Friday, March 05, 2004

My hat is off and I am in awe of whoever created Safe For Work Porn

Monday, March 01, 2004

I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.
- Lord Byron

Music playing right now: James Taylor - Something In The Way She Moves


Part 1 (Title?)

“Hey Tim, c’mere, you gotta smell this. It’s like nothing I’ve ever smelt before. It’s like eating a handful of shit, throwing it up, and then stuffing the vomit up your nose. It’s amazing.”

“Wow. Great. Just a sec, Earl.” I couldn’t believe I had to be nice to this guy. It always staggered me that this man’s DNA had a hand in producing Liz. “Are you wearing pants in there Earl?” It was a valid question considering past experience.

“Oh yeah.” I heard a zip. “Ok. C’mon in, you gotta smell this.”

“Ummm…I think you have to unlock the door from the inside. As a general rule, I think they assume your port-a-potty experience is going to be a private one.”

“Oh yeah.” The thick plastic door swung open to the grin of my soon-to-be father in law and the buzz of 700 flies.

“Phew. That’s really stinky.” I turned around to leave. “Now that we’re done with that, we’d better be getting back to the others. It’s about dinnertime, isn’t it?”

“Wait just a gosh-darn minute there. Come in here and close that door. You’ve gotta get the full effect. It’s not every day that you smell something this shitty.” Earl’s laugh, really more of a guffaw, echoed in the plastic prison. “Get it? Shitty? It smells shitty…because it’s shit!”

“Heh. Good one. We’d better get back. How does this door work?”

“You’re probably right.” He slapped me on the back. “Man, I’ll be glad to get out of this shithole.” He guffawed again. “Shithole! Get it? Didn’t even mean to do that one. Just push that little slider over to where it says ‘unoccupied.’ The light’ll go off and the door will pop open.”

“That’s what I’ve been trying. It’s stuck or something.”

“Here, move out of the way, let a real man have a whack at it.” He pushed past me and wrapped one meaty hand around the metal knob. “Sometimes you just gotta jiggle it a bit.” His other fist strained against the slider. “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s tit. It sure ain’t movin’.” He looked at me with a look of supreme amusement. “I guess we’re stuck. Don’t worry though. Even girls have to piss sometimes.”

***
The camping trip had been Liz’s idea. She’d decided that her daddy and I had to start getting to know each other a bit more. The wedding loomed a scant four months away and I had heretofore managed to avoid Earl as much as possible. A giant belching gorilla proud of his “lion’s mane” of back hair had never been my idea of a best friend. If Liz thought that a weekend in the woods was going to change my every idea of culture and civility, she was dead wrong.

Two weeks ago the trip had taken on an even greater function when we discovered that Liz had become inadvertently pregnant. The hope now was that after buttering Earl up with a weekend full of Spam and free of hygiene, he’d be more receptive to the news that his only daughter was in the family way. Ten minutes earlier, when I’d left the campsite to retrieve Earl for dinner, I’d given Liz the signal. I was going to tell him. Now I wasn’t so sure.

I can’t imagine that many people ever find themselves locked in a national park port-a-potty with the father of the girl they’ve just gotten pregnant. It’s not a particularly joyful place to be. At least Liz and Maureen, Earl’s wife, should come looking for us soon.

When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.
- Oscar Wilde

Music playing right now: Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit


My prayer life

A couple of years ago I was in Paris with a group of friends. Whilst there, like any good tourists, we made a pilgrimage to Notre Dame. Stood in line, saw the hunchback carved on the side, were appropriately hushed when we tripped inside. They give you a brochure when you go in, a bit of fluff that tells you about the cathedral's history, relevance, etc. John, one of the guys in our little group, was standing near the front reading his.

One of the first things you notice when you walk into Notre Dame is the great number of candles lit for prayers. John was standing in front of these, reading his little pamphlet, when he leaned a little too close to the stand in front of him. His paper caught on fire and quickly erupted in flame. Being a conscientous tourist and not wanting to attract too much attention, he quickly blew it out. It wasn't until a couple minutes later that we noticed about 20 candles in front of John were no longer lit. We beat a hasty exit. Needless to say, I haven't been back.


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