Friday, January 25, 2008

Tag! I’m It!

Amy tagged me with this meme & I figured, since I’ve been a flake about responding to tags for the past, oh, 3 years or so, I’d play along. Except that I won’t be tagging 5 people to carry this on, as the only two bloggers that I know have already done (or might do) this anyway. So, without further ado, here we go:

10 Things That I’ve Done That No One Else Has…At Least That I Know Of

1. ???

OK, I’ve stared at this thing for 2 days now & have no idea what to write. I’ve lead a pretty mundane life, people. I’m pretty sure that most everything I’ve done would be met with a "Meh. Been there, done that" by many people out there. So, with Amy’s blessing, I’m going to put a twist on this little meme. I’m going to list 10 things about me; it’ll be up to you, Loyal Readers, to figure out which one is a slight embellishment. Leave your thoughts in the comments section & next week we’ll find out how well y’all know me.

1. I’ve been in a music video.
2. I’ve found myself in the arms of a queen.
3. I’ve had my artwork exhibited in public.
4. I’ve had an out-of-body experience.
5. I hold dual citizenship: US & Canadian.
6. I’ve never drank, smoked or taken illicit drugs.
7. When someone says that something is “better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick,” I know, firsthand, just how true that is.
8. I’m related to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, former Vice-President Dan Quayle & pilgrim John Alden.
9. My grandfather was a WWI vet, my dad a WWII vet, my step-dad a Korean War vet & I’m a Gulf War vet.
10. I have a hard time differentiating left from right &, as a result, have resorted to just pointing & saying “Thataway.”

There you go. Feel free to play along. If you do, leave a comment so I can hunt you down see what you wrote.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The One Eyed Man In The Land Of The Blind

I’ve just started my second semester in school.

What? I never told you? Yup, I’ve gone back to school to get me some learnin’ & a proper ejumacation.

Anyway, last semester, being my first time back in 10 years, I took one class – Speech. I find it funny that I’m working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Programming so that I don’t have to deal with people as much as I do now & the first class that I took toward the goal was one that required me to stand up in front of 30 strangers & regale them with my thoughts on b-movies, why Star Wars is better than Star Trek & a recounting of the horror that was my first camping trip.

Got an A in the class, though. Go me!

The classes that I need to take really aren’t that hard. I’ve already got a few under my belt & my Air Force basic training covers any PE requirements, thank goodness. All I need to do is take a few more general ed classes & then I can move on to the local university & knock out a few more computer courses. The only problem is that, due to a defective math gene, I have to start out in the bonehead math class & work my way up through just under a dozen more math classes to calculus.

Oh joy.

So, my plan of attack is to take at least two classes per semester: one that I’ll (hopefully) enjoy & a math class. My hope is that I can get a better grasp of math in college & jump past some of the classes that the school deems necessary. If I follow this plan, I should have my degree just before my 87th birthday.

But, I’ll have a degree, doggoneit!

This semester, I signed up for a history telecourse (gonna see if I can buckle down & follow a class that’s televised & has only 5 meetings) & bonehead math. I’m finding the math class to be a bit difficult, but not in the ways that you might be thinking. The things we’ve been going over are very, very, very, very basic. No, the problems I’m having are a) the instructor’s from Russia & has a very pronounced, Natasha of “Boris & Natasha” fame, accent (if she ever calls someone “Dah-link” or says “Moose & Squirrel,” I think I might die laughing) & b) the class is populated with idiots.

I’m not kidding.

I didn’t think anyone could be worse at math than me. I think it’s more than just that they have a hard time with numbers – I’m surprised that some of these people can blink without instruction. And I mean just one eye at a time – I think their brains would explode if they tried the extremely difficult “Double Blink.” I’m pretty sure that most of the class would have great difficulty counting to 5, even if they were allowed to take their shoes off to quadruple their personal computing power. Granted, the instructor’s teaching method is a bit hard to follow at times, but, so far, we’ve studied basic addition, subtraction & multiplication - things that even I have a firm grasp on. Based on the reactions & questions posited by some of my classmates, you’d think she was teaching Advanced Hyperdrive Mechanics in Huttese. They have a hard time grasping the simple concept of shutting up & taking notes. Or just sitting & listening to the lesson. I am quite literally surrounded by morons. Not just dim bulbs, mind you – no, that would be merely annoying. I’m talking Grade A, 100%, glassy-eyed, slack-jawed, mouth breathers that make me want to do horrendous things to houseplants & barnyard animals.

I swear, if my next course isn’t License Plate Making 101 in San Quentin, it’ll be a miracle.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I’m Not Listening!

*fingers two knuckles deep in ears* LALALALALALALALAAAAAAA…

Anyone who knows my movie watching habits knows that A) I don’t see a lot of (good) movies & B) I generally don’t care if someone tells me the whole plot (including ending) of a movie. By the time I see the movie, I’ve pretty much forgotten what I was told about it or have read about it online. Heck, I looked up & read the script for Episode III a few days before it came out (Oh, c'mon, it’s not like I didn’t already know how it ended).

I’ve made an exception for one movie, though. This weekend, after months of speculation, wondering & staying away from sites & articles about it, Cloverfield will be coming to the local Bijou.

And I am soooo stoked!

Unfortunately, my cellmate, Miguelito, broke & read some spoilers over the weekend & is absolutely frothing at the mouth to tell me something – ANYTHING – about the movie. He says that he won’t say anything unless I ask - & then begs me to ask him something. I’ve managed to make it for the first hour & a half today so far, but I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. I was tempted mightily over the weekend by the Ain’t It Cool News review & was barely able to close the browser window before I read too much.

Darn your red beard, Harry Knowles. Darn it to Hades.

It’s gonna be a loooong week, Loyal Readers.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Machinehead: The Aftermath

My quest for a machine-like physique is off to a painful start.

I can barely lift my arms. My back is sending death threats to the rest of my body. My thighs feel like a gang of midgets went all “A Clockwork Orange” on them. Just making my eyes water sends spasms of pain throughout my body.

I almost made it through the inaugural “Turn Jay Into A Machine” workout routine. I decided to stop at the second round of ab curls (the last torment exercise of the circuit). I did this because A) I was about to throw up & B) I was about to pass out.

“Russ” was on duty last night & I really didn’t want him to perform CPR on me.

I stumbled my way back to the locker room, past the bevy of middle-aged men in various states of undress & poured water over my head in a vain attempt to keep my brain from popping out of my ears, all the while praying that I wouldn’t puke up my spleen. Then came the horrifying realization that, because the parking lot was so full, I’d parked waaaay far away.

I honestly contemplated curling up in a locker & calling it a night.

The drive home went something like this: press gas pedal, scream in pain, press brake pedal, writhe in agony, turn steering wheel, pray for death, etc. This was followed by the walk up the stairs to my apartment, which, I swear, the managers added more steps to.

Later, I actually couldn’t get up off the toilet without using my arms, which weren’t much help. I’m pretty sure that, while I was blacking out at the gym, someone removed all the muscle & bones from my thighs & replaced them with grape jelly.

I spent rest of the evening being laughed at by The Boy. This morning, hearing my cries of pain, he asked me if I needed help putting on my shoes.

He is so out of the will.

So far, the whole “Turning Jay Into A Machine” is going something like this:

Women look at my crumpled body laying on the floor & giggle.

Men laugh at me as I cry like a girlie-man every time I blink.

Children poke my broken heap of a body with sticks. And laugh.

The Boy’s friends all think I’m a boneless loser. They all laugh.

Animals are starting to hover over my near lifeless form. I shoo them away by making various whimpers & gurgling noises. If they could laugh, they would. Especially the blue birds. Jerks.

All of Canada’s laughing at me.

Tom has deleted my profile on MySchpace. While laughing his head off.

Dave Coulier still hasn’t returned my phone calls. Probably too busy laughing.

Not exactly what I pictured yesterday.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


One of my silent resolutions this year is to get back to the gym. It's been a few months since I've gone on a routine basis &, hey, I'm paying for it whether I go or not, so...

Anyway, one of the reasons that I've slacked off on going (besides my inherent laziness & aversion to undue pain) is that I felt like I'd been spinning my wheels as far as working out went. I started out trying almost every torture implement exercise machine in the place, tried out the free weights & then just settled on the treadmill & the stationary bike. I didn't know the proper way to use the machines &, regardless of how strenuous I thought the workout was, I never felt like I was accomplishing anything. Well, other than scarring my psyche by seeing Ol' Man Dangly Bits au natural in the locker room.


So, I decided to take the gym up on their offer to sit down & talk to one of the trainers & set up a routine that might actually produce some results. It was here that I was introduced to Cameron, a hyperkinetic individual who really, really likes to talk about working out & eating right (I know this because he told me so). Imagine, if you will, a terrible accident in a cloning lab that inadvertently combined the DNA of Ty Pennington & Ryan Reynolds & you’d have Cameron.

So, after talking about what I was looking to achieve & what I’d been doing up to now, Cameron gave me the following workout routine, which I started tonight:

• Lunges – 5 each leg
• Chest press – 8-12 repetitions (or ‘reps’, as all the cool kids are calling it these days)
• Pulldown – 8-12 reps (check me out! I’m hip, yo!)
• Upper back – 8-12 reps
• Leg press – 8-12 reps
• Ab curl – 8-12 reps

“Do this for six weeks,” he said, “& you’ll be a machine!”

Yep, you read that right – a machine, baby! I can see it now:

Women will swoon & want me, but, alas, can never have me. Unable to get my machine-esque figure out of their heads, they will all shave their heads & become lesbians or join a convent.

Men will be jealous of my machine-like physique, but, alas, will leave the gym, despondent, once the realization sets in that they can try all want, but will never achieve my level of machineinessosity & will have no alternative but to cry like girlie-men into a carton of Ben & Jerry’s.

Children will speak in hushed tones as they pass my home.

The Boy’s friends will think he’s the coolest kid at school, simply because of my machine-like awesomeness.

Animals will burst into song at the mere mention of my name & will create clothing for me out of the finest linens, gold thread & blue bird slobber.

World leaders will ask my advice on foreign policy & whether or not Canada should just give up the façade & become the 51st state, North North Dakota.

Tom will beg me to be his friend on MySchpace.

Dave Coulier will return my calls.

Yes, Loyal Readers, all of these things will come to pass…

…just as soon as the spasms in my arms stop, I cease dry heaving & I can get up off the floor without assistance.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Insert Witty Title Here

Was that an actual tumbleweed that just rolled past? I mean, it hasn’t been that long since I posted, has it? It’s only November, after all.

What’s that? January? 2008? Are you sure?

Jumpin’ Judas on a pogo stick! How long have I been gone?

Lessee – what’s happened since November 12th? Hmm…well, we had one of T’s friends spend about a week with us & did the usual Hollywood/Beverly Hills/Santa Monica pier routine. Oh, & we also went to the Griffith Observatory, where Jersey Girl (T’s friend) was told by a pimply faced representative of the Observatory to extinguish her cigarette or face a $1200 fine. Her argument that she could smoke where she wants in Jersey were countered with a friendly reminder that the hills all around Griffith had recently burned & the management really didn’t want a repeat of that as they’d just finished refurbishing the place.

You can imagine how well that went over.

Shortly after that came Thanksgiving. This year, it seems that everyone in the family had somewhere else to be. So, T, The Boy, my mom & I made reservations at a restaurant in Oak Glen & had one of the best Thanksgiving dinners ever, with turkey, ham, veggies, bread & desert (there was so much food that they had to serve it on multiple plates).

And there was ZERO clean-up, to boot! Score!

Capping off the Month o’ Company, T’s parents came out here to celebrate Thanksmas. It was nice to not have to travel this year, but by the time they’d left, I was interested in finally having the house back to normal, without the extra bodies roaming about.

While they were here, though, we went down to the San Diego Natural History Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit.

Along with 50,000 other people.

Imagine, if you will, trying to look at a piece of paper the size of a tooth with an indecipherable language written on it, from about 15 feet away, over the heads of 20 other people, including the one moron who feels the need to get 2 inches from the tooth sized item & inspect it for an hour.

Lather, rinse, repeat 30 times.

To say that the exhibit was a bit of a letdown would be a massive understatement. SDNHM, if any of your representatives should ever stumble across this little missive, let me offer this bit of advice: offer guided tours of no more than 40 people through the exhibit at a time. This will keep the flow of bodies moving & make for a far more enjoyable experience. Arming me with a speaker shaped like a paddle & turning me loose in a crowd is a bad, bad idea.

Now, this is not to say that the whole museum was a bust. Oh, no. Quite the contrary. You see, while all 49,995 of the other people were herded into the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, The Boy & I found that the rest of the museum was quite sparsely populated & a lot of fun to explore. And the Natural History Museum is not the only museum on the site. There’s a photography museum, an art museum, a model railroad museum – simply too much to take in in a day.

A few days after the in-laws left, The Boy had his first band concert. Although I couldn’t see him from where I was sitting, I got some good pictures of the top of his baritone. His band did very well for being a first year class. The 5th & 6th graders, on the other hand…remember the ghoul band from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” when they try to play “Jingle Bells” & it sounds like a funeral dirge? That’s exactly what they sounded like. Their saving grace was one little trumpeter with a red horn. He got up there, be-bopped around & played his heart out. They all were trying, but he totally stole the show.

That next weekend, T & I attended the Company party. It was a nice excuse to get dressed up for the evening, although it was hard to identify anyone I knew from work, as I seldom see any of them in anything dressier than a shirt & jeans. The party had a casino-night theme &, since we were given $1000 in play money, I had no problem betting aggressively (read: stupidly) in Blackjack. As it was the first time T & I’d played the game, it was fortunate that we had a dealer who not only showed us the ropes, but also gave us hints as to when to hit & when to stay. A lot of fun was had, but, alas, we once again walked away empty handed. T & I have yet to win any kind of raffle or drawing.

*sigh* I was so looking forward to a new mp3 player.

The week before Christmas, Miguelito gave me two gifts: the first, a mega-cool Darth Vader lightsaber, perfect for keeping the office in line without leaving bruises; the second gift was the Filipino Flu. As I’d planned to take the whole week of Christmas off & Civ my brains out & ended up spending it in bed, you can imagine my joy in receiving that particular gift. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a fever & snot.

I promised Miguelito that there would be swift & severe retribution for ruining my week. I daresay I’ve not failed to follow through on that promise.

I learned a couple of things during that time: one would be to read the friggin’ label on the bottle of Ny-Quil. While just about any type of Ny-Quil will knock you out for a few hours, the kind that does not contain acetaminophen will do nothing to help break a fever. Another would be that they warn you on the bottle not to take the medication for too long for a reason. Not being a drinker, my tolerance for alcohol, even the tiny bit in Ny-Quil, is understandably low. To this very day, a full week since my last dose, I’m still having trouble remembering things. It feels like someone replaced my frontal lobe with a baggie full of wet sand. T thinks I’m just being my usual lazy, procrastinating self, but, the truth is, I can’t get my mind to function properly.

What was that? “Since when has that been a problem?”

Oh, real funny.

We rang in the New Year with some friends of ours at their house, where we spent the evening eating, chatting & playing Balderdash. For those of you not familiar with the game, it goes something like this: one person chooses a word from a card & the rest of the group write the definition that they think is right. Then, the reader reads the definitions & everyone votes on which one they think is correct. I lost, but I think I had the most fun, making up the most inane definitions for the words given. For instance, who knew that a ‘nurdle’ was a term used in Tiddlywinks & not a terribly unpopular, socially inept, but computer savvy, turtle?

Actually, I did. Big surprise there…

So, there you have it – the past couple of months. I’ll bet it was every bit as exciting as you thought it’d be, right?


*crickets chirping*

Oh, whatever…