Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great Moments in the Life of: Pat O'Brien, Vol. II

*The second in a continuing series...*

On the eve of his 25th birthday, I thought it would be nice to add to the series. So...

Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Society...I call this story:

The Tale of Gymnastics Camp and the Big, Bad Wolf

The summer after 5th grade, I went to a summer camp. I'm really not sure exactly where the camp is/was, but it was somewhere in the mountains of San Diego County. That summer, Sean went to a surf camp down there. I know, right? Why didn't I go there? I dunno. I went to a regular camp. It was fun, though. Two weeks of eating terrible food, getting filthy and not wanting to use the communal showers, playing basketball, playing aussie-rules football, playing baseball and generally having a pretty good time. 

Each week, each kid got to choose two activities...a morning activity and an afternoon activity. The morning activity I chose each week was basketball. 5th Grade Me lived for basketball. I was a really fuckin good 5th grade basketball player, let me tell you. The counselor, who played at the University of Arizona, told me to not forget about him when I'm playing college basketball one day. Yeah, I know.

After the first week of camp, my little brother Patrick came to the camp for just one week. At the end of my first week, some of the people I had gotten to know left for home, and new ones replaced them. So I was sort of a seasoned veteran at camp, and had quite a few dudes I had gotten to know. One of these guys, I forget his name, seemed like a pretty cool dude. We'll call him Lance, because that's a pretty douchey name. He was good at basketball, but not as good as me, and so we were sort of buddies. 

I was about to enter the 6th grade so I was probably not that inclusive of Pat, who had just finished 3rd grade. I mean, he was what...nine? And, to make matters worse, for whatever reason, Pat signed up for the "Gymnastics Camp." Now, as I got older I realized, gymnastics is probably pretty cool. You get really strong and chicks think you have a sweet body. But of course, most dudes from age 8-15 think gymnastics is "super gay." I think Pat's buddy did gymnastics back home and talked Pat into it. Patrick, care to chime in?

So Pat was one of "those" kids. I didn't get to see him much because gymnastics camp kids didn't get to choose an activity. Also, the cabins were split up by age group, and you sat with your cabin at meals, etc. For Pat and the gymnastics kids, gymnastics was their activity, morning and afternoon. So there just wasn't a lot of time to see him, anyways.

Middle of the week, probably Thursday night, there was a dance on the basketball courts. I mean, I was a pretty cool dude at this camp, at least among the dudes. I was talking with a group of other dudes as we awaited the ladies to make their way across camp to the dance.

I look across the court and I see my little brother Pat with some people. It appears he is sort of getting teased by Lance. Probably for being in gymnastics camp. Possibly not altogether undeserved, but still. That's my brother, and if there is one thing our dad taught us it's that you always stand up for your brothers. 

I keep my eye on the situation from a fair distance for a moment or two to see if it will just resolve itself. I should probably mention here that not only was I not inclusive of Pat during that week, but I don't think anyone other than the counselors even knew we were brothers.

Suddenly, I see Lance shove Pat. Probably not hard, although Pat can chime in on that. But just a douche bag kid trying to be a bully to the kid who wears a leotard and prances on a balance beam while we are playing basketball. Nonetheless, Pat is my brother.

Have you ever seen the cartoon "Lambert the Sheepish Lion"? If not, watch it here. It's a Disney short wherein a lion is accidentally delivered by the stork to a mother lamb. Even though he's a lion, Lambert loves his mama, and his mama loves him. He's kind of a pussyfoot of a lion, though, being raised by a lamb and all. But at the end of the movie, a wolf is dragging Lambert's mother away and something in Lambert snaps! He sheds his sheepish exterior (figuratively speaking, of course) and beats the crap out of the wolf to save his mother.

Not that I was ordinarily sheepish, but if you've seen the cartoon, I was like Lambert when his mother is being dragged away. Something snapped. Mid-conversation, I sprinted across the basketball court...probably a good 30 yards. And even in 5th grade, I was built like a little tank. Solid as a rock. I just destroy this douchebag Lance. I swear, he flew a good 20 feet into the fence surrounding the court.

In a daze, he looks up at me, bewildered.


I wasn't messing around, you know.

He stammers something about not knowing he was my brother. As if that excuses his being a douche to some kid 2 or 3 years younger than he was. I think he then began apologizing profusely. He was probably crying. I don't know.

Pat seemed stoked and everyone else was pretty stunned. There were no counselors around, so not one got in trouble. And whenever the story is told, my dad beams with pride.

Ok, so maybe this is more of a story about me than it is about Pat. But so what... it's my damn blog.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This Won't Be Terrible Exciting, But It Should Kill A Couple Minutes of Your Otherwise Jobless Day (Lisa, Ryan...I'm Looking at You)


Exam Day! Such a wretched/blessed feeling. How is it possible to loathe and love the same thing so much at one time? I think the loathing part is clear. Who likes exams? Especially law school* exams. But, I also love exam day. My long national** nightmare finally ends. Four months of frustration, reading, procrastination, studying, procrastination, not reading when I should be, attending class, skipping class, and feeling miserable for skipping class all comes to an end in three*** short hours.

I think but am not sure that today is the first time in my law school career that I managed to sleep the night before my exam. Usually, in a manic state, I am up for at least 24 hours before the exam. Of course, I know it's not helpful. Nor healthy. By the time I get to the exam, everything is a blur and I am ready to tear my eyes out.

Today, though. Oh, today. Today would be different! With some helpful encouragement from a certain boo, I got a good night's rest. I took some NyQuil**** and fell soundly asleep at 1am.

Sweet dreams were had all around.

I wake up at 6am sharp. Shower immediately. For breakfast, I had some yogurt and granola, and boy was it delicious. Finally, after much procrastination, I decide to download the exam taking software I need. 

Why put it off to today? No idea. But, to take the exam, you have to use this program called ExamSoft. Basically, it's a word processor that keeps you from accessing ANYTHING on your computer besides the exam program while you are taking your exam. You start it, begin the exam, it reboots your computer, and when it reboots it boots directly into the ExamSoft program and your exam begins. 

The trick for me can't use Mac OS with ExamSoft for whatever reason. But you CAN get a real copy of windows installed and use that. So at Thanksgiving, the brother who didn't bail on his family that he's known for almost 29 years****** installed Windows on my new Mac. 

I boot to Windows, plug in the ethernet cord... and there is no internet. No internet means I can't a) Download the ExamSoft program; b) Download my exam; c) Turn in my exam.

I have no idea how to fix this. It's 7am and my exam is in a few hours. OH EFFING HELL.

I jump up and head to campus. I get there around 7:15, but the Internet Help Desk is not open till 9. So I head to the library and get online to seek Pat's guidance. He says I just need my Mac OS boot disk to load some drivers. Well...I don't HAVE the freaking Mac OS boot disk with me because I had no idea I might need it.

I am flippin pissed. It's now like 8:30 and I decide to head back over to the Internet Help Desk to see if just maybe they opened early. So I walk back across campus...

Lights are on! Yay! 

Door is locked! Booo. 

But the guy comes walking out and says, "Oh sure, no problem" when I explain my sitch to him. 

And then I pull out my Mac. "Oh...this is the new one. I don't think I have all the right drivers on this Disc because it's for the old one."

My head starts spinning. My knee******* did not love the walk here this morning and it surely won't like a walk back home and back to campus even more. He decided to give it a shot... and whaddayaknow... the damn thing works. Phew. I download the program, download the exams, run the test...and everything seems to be working.

Crisis averted!

The moral of this story is simple. No matter how much sleep I get before an exam, something is bound to almost go horribly wrong for me.

The most important question out of all of this, though is:

Tommy, why are you writing this blog when you have an exam in less than four hours instead of studying for Constitutional Law? You are still unclear on the nuances of Procedural Due Process. You still don't understand when and how to apply the O'Brien Test********. 

Touche, my dear self. Touche.

*I am most certainly sticking my nose up in the air as I type this sentence
**Ok, personal. I just like the phrase Long, national nightmare. Don't you?
***God, help me get out in 2.
****Yes, I AM sick, but damn...that stuff is straight from God's lips to mine own.
*****Can I just say...that Trader Joe's French Village or whatever yogurt is the BEST!!!!!! It's got a sharp bite that I oh so love.
******Sean, I don't think you read this, but I'm kidding. Kind of.
*******Stupid god damn knee.
********Isn't it ironic, don't ya think?

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Faces of Wall Street

The economy is in turmoil! The financial system is crumbling! Capitalism is doomed!

That's true. But, alas, I am an optimist. I like to search for a silver lining, no matter how dark and ominous the cloud. So, over the last couple of weeks, nothing has amused me quite like looking at the ever-horrored faces of Wall Street traders. Call me cruel, but taking delight in the self-created misery of others is one of my favorite past times!

Here are some of my favorites. If these don't cheer you up, I don't know what will.

"I'm thinking I might take that new chick from Logistics. If things go well I might be showing her my O-face. Oh... Oh... Oh! You know what I'm talkin' about. Oh!"

What is his mother going to say? She loved that full head of hair.

Guys, guys. This isn't golf. Lower numbers are BAD.

Poor Christopher.

We only wish you (all) had before you screwed up this badly.

I think this unfortunate fellow just found his daughter on a porn website.

Hand over the mouth is pretty standard. But, look at the guy way in the back. What the hell is going on with his tie?

I...have no idea.

That guy belongs in movies. Such a great conveyance of emotion.

You'd think there was another 9/11.

Gosh...where have I seen that photo before? Oh, right!

See? It could be worse. Keep that in mind.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Serious Moral Dilemma

I'm at a coffee shop in EDH right now (called Habit) and there is a potentially disturbing situation going on. I'll copy and paste a convo to make things quick. If you've never seen the movie Hard Candy, you should. But if you haven't, the opening scene is a 30-something photographer and a 14 year old girl talking online and agreeing to meet up at a coffee shop. They flirt and it's creepy and the movie only gets creepier from there. With that said...
(1:53:13 PM) Me: so
(1:53:15 PM) Me: im at a coffee shop
(1:53:34 PM) Me: and there are two people at another table that creepily remind me of the opening scene of Hard Candy
(1:53:53 PM) Me: the guy is a bearded redhead...maybe 25-30 yrs old
(1:53:56 PM) Me: and the girl looks...13
(1:54:02 PM) Mikey: how great is that movie
(1:54:04 PM) Me: and they are talking about how muscular she likes guys
(1:54:08 PM) Mikey: hahah
(1:54:09 PM) Mikey: ew
(1:54:14 PM) Me: im creeped out
(1:54:17 PM) Mikey: so am i
(1:54:20 PM) Me: it's a coffee shop just like the one in the movie, too
(1:54:43 PM) Mikey: lol
(1:55:08 PM) Me: looking at not sure if 13 is too old. could be 12
(1:55:16 PM) Mikey: ask her
(1:55:20 PM) Me: oh gosh, they are talking about how she's in gymnastics
(1:55:25 PM) Mikey: hahahah
(1:55:25 PM) Me: he could be her super creep-o coach
(1:55:30 PM) Me: hard to say
(1:55:32 PM) Me: but this is wrong

(2:06:09 PM) Me: omg omg omg
(2:06:10 PM) Me: im not kidding
(2:06:18 PM) Me: the 12 yr old and the dude are talking about condoms
(2:06:20 PM) Me: WTF
(2:06:24 PM) Me: i feel like i should call the police
(2:06:39 PM) Mikey: uhh
(2:06:52 PM) Mikey: this just took a very disgusting turn
(2:06:53 PM) Me: she's talking about how she found some "at the warped tour"...i cant hear much, but it is an inappropriate conversation
(2:07:17 PM) Me: i need to know how old she is. i suppose she could be a young looking...15. 15 is the oldest i can imagine
(2:07:25 PM) Me: if i wasnt right in her view i would take a pic for you
(2:07:27 PM) Mikey: either way, not legal
(2:07:29 PM) Mikey: lol
(2:07:35 PM) Mikey: very kind
(2:07:37 PM) Me: because then I'D be the one going to jail
(2:07:37 PM) Me: haha
(2:07:51 PM) Mikey: can just snap a pic in a few days of the MISSING poster
(2:08:07 PM) Me: hahap

So, serious question...I suppose I should and have and will mind my own business...but this just seems so wrong. I am curious about what you would do in this situation? What if it was your daughter or sister? Would you want me to say SOMETHING?

UPDATE: They are now talking about she works at Posh Punkins, a baby store a couple doors down. Which means she must be at least 16. I guess gymnasts do look young, but damn. Sixteen, of course, would be illegal to have sex with...but having coffee with a 16-year old is less creepy than a 12-year old.

FINAL UPDATE: Creepy 20-Something Gingerbeard just left. A flamboyant gay 30-something guy who she apparently knows came in and sat down next to her and took over the conversation. Finally Redbeard got up and left. They hugged when he left, but at least he left alone.

I suppose it's still a valid discussion for future reference. This is a weird fucking coffee shop.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I Might Have the Plague? Or Maybe I Just Saved the Bay Area from The Black Death...

As I walk into the legal clinic I "work" at, I was not terribly excited. Thursday nights are a "classroom" type of session. No clients, just boring lectures and questions.

I proceed to the end of the long table, where I always sit, and place my bag down behind my chair. I turn around and stop dead in my tracks.

This guy, I shall call him Utah, has a...rodent. In his hands. And he is feeding it a coffee creamer.

I stand there, not wanting to sit down and put myself closer to the rodent until I have more information. I survey the scene. There are about a dozen people in the class, and I am the second to last person to arrive. Everyone else seems perfectly comfortable with Utah holding a rodent. I think to myself, "Well...maybe it's his pet?" I look around and see no cage. "And why would he bring his pet to the class?" I ponder.

I am still standing and I try and determine what kind of rodent it is for sure. My initial reaction was, "It's a freaking squirrel. A SQUIRREL." But I think to myself, "No, no one can possibly be that retarded. Maybe it's a rat? Definitely not a rat. A guinea pig? Nope. A...squirrel. It has to be a squirrel."

"Is that...a...squirrel?" I ask, incredulously.
"Yeah," Utah says, still feeding this squirrel the creamer.
" squirrel?"
"Where did you get it?"
"I found it in the parking lot. He looked super hungry."


"So you picked it up and brought it in here?"
"Yeah," says Utah. He seems confused at my reaction.

After pondering my next move for a few minutes, I have to admit to myself that the squirrel is pretty cute. No. No! It's a squirrel! A vehicle for the black death!

Utah puts the squirrel into a small cardboard box once the lecture starts, and I can hear it scurrying around.

Finally I say, "You realize that you could get the plague from that thing if it bites you?"
"What plague?"
"The...bubonic plague."
"haha yeah right."

I proceed to explain how I grew up in Tahoe and how campgrounds were routinely closed down due to outbreaks of the plague. He starts to get worried. We get quiet and continue on with the lecture.

During a short break, Utah asks me again about the plague. I tell him I have no idea, but maybe they transmit the plague by biting you? His face goes cold as the guy on the other side of me tells me, "Whoa, that thing was gnawing on his finger." A girl who came in after I did, and seems equally confused by the presence of the squirrel, chimes in that she believes they just carry fleas with the plague, and the fleas will jump off the squirrel and that is how humans can contract the plague. Now Utah is really freaked out. And actually, so am I.

"Dude, I had no idea. I was going to take it home to my kid."

That's right. He was going to take it home to his kid. A wild freaking squirrel. I have no idea how old he is...maybe 30? And he not only picks up a wild squirrel who is too weak to move, but he is going to take it home to his KID. Later, as I thought about the ridiculousness of the situation, it occurred to me that there is actually a pretty good chance the squirrel has rabies. I remember being taught that if a wild animal like a squirrel or a bat allows you to pick it up because it is so weak, it probably has rabies.

So maybe the Bay Area is safe from the Black Death. But Utah's kid is definitely foaming at the mouth as I write this.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why Can't I Be More Like Cheez-Its?

Forewarning: This will be somewhat depressing and self-deprecating.

And by somewhat, I mean very.

I wish I was a Cheez-It. I am sitting at my computer in my cramped new room (woo!), surrounded by boxes and blank wall space*. I am clandestinely eating these delicious Cheez-Its** and a thought occurs to me, "Man, I really freaking like Cheez-Its. I love them, in fact." I have loved them since...well, I can remember loving them when I lived in Newport Beach, which means I was around 5-7 years old. That's a long time. In all that time, Cheez-Its have stayed the same. They never let me down with their salty, Cheez-it-y goodness. I mean, I can eat Cheez-Its until the cows come home. I have to be careful, or I'll eat the whole box***. I can eat Cheez-Its and eat 'em and eat 'em and not get sick of them. A little bit of water if it starts to get pastey in my mouth, and I am good for another handful. Or five.

Unfortunately, I am not like a Cheez-It. I am like a Triscuit****. Now, don't get me wrong. I love Triscuits. But I can't eat a whole box of Triscuits like I can a whole box of Cheez-Its. When I first open that box of Triscuits, I am super stoked. "Triscuits...sweet." Sometimes I throw some cheese on there. Sometimes I eat them plain. The other day I dipped them in cottage cheese and it was delicious.

But, inevitably, the Triscuit cracker begins to wreak havoc on my mouth. They are quite the abrasive cracker. Sharp edges. Rough sides. Large. The roof of my mouth gets cut up. The salt begins to dry out my salivary glands, and coupled with the Sahara-like dryness that is the Triscuit, I am soon gasping for water. I usually end up choking on some loose, dry Triscuit fibers, and it takes me a while to recover.

I love Triscuits, but I pay the price for a Triscuit binge for a few days. I wish I didn't have to go through that. I wish I was a Cheez-It.

*I REALLY could use a Beatles painting/mural thing. Hinthint.
**Clandestinely because the landlord/roommate has a rule against food in the room. Shh!
*** Looking at the Nutritional Facts, that would amount to around 2700 calories. That would not be good.
****I realize this analogy isn't perfectly apt, because Cheez-Its do start to give me a stomachache after a while, but I am taking creative license here and limiting the analogy to the Cracker-In-Question's effect on my mouth only.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Thinks I Think

  • Dr. Seuss might be my favorite author. And, yet, I feel like I could write those in my sleep.
  • Los Angeles isn't as bad as I thought it was. I guess it depends on the company you keep.
  • I miss Todd Packer on The Office
  • My fantasy baseball team is suddenly struggling. Not good times.
  • School loans are NOT sweet.
  • Whoever gave the greenlight to "The Bill Engvall Show" that I keep seeing commercials for should be fired. By a firing squad.
  • It really bugs me when people use the word "nite" - it can't possibly be correct. Why is it accepted?
  • You know it's bad when you side with PETA - Why DO jockeys still whip racehorses?
  • And why can't they figure out how to save horses that break their legs instead of just euthanizing them?
  • How long do you suppose it takes to break in a pair of new basketball shoes? The blister (really, it's now an open wound) on my toe really hurts.
  • I'd like a daily massage. Just putting it out there.
  • Hillary Clinton is a selfish bitch. I was kind of neutral on her before. No longer!
  • Dude. Seriously. Chicken salad? So damn tasty.
  • I don't care what you say, Jeff. I think Andy Bernard is funnier than Michael Scott.
  • But Dwight is the funniest of all.
  • The Epic Question of Our Age: Robin or Lily? I'm not into redheads, but Lily almost makes me choose her. Robin is sometimes bloated or something. I'd go with Stella over either of them, but I guess I'll maintain my longtime redheadhatred and go Robin.
  • Indiana Jones - if you didn't like it, I don't like you. Not really. But I don't get it. Look, have you SEEN the old Indiana Jones movies in the last fifteen years? They are cheezy and they have horrible dialogue, "I HATE snakes!" "No time for love, Dr. Jones!" etc. etc. They are hokey. George Lucas has got to be one of the worst dialogue writers of all time The Stars Wars films have absolutely terrible dialgoue. But we saw them when we were 8, and we loved them, because they were fun films. If you can't go to see the new Indiana Jones and pretend like you are eight years old again, I feel sorry for you. I had a blast, personally.
  • I try and get into soccer, I really do. I want to like it. I especially want to like international soccer...I like the passion and nationalism involved. So yesterday I decide to watch the U.S. play England. What happens? The same thing that happens every time I watch the U.S. soccer team play (at least, every time since the 2002 World Cup) - they play lazily and get their asses handed to them 2-0. It should have been like 6-0.
  • Why can't I shake the feeling that Hillary Clinton is going to somehow connive her way into the nomination? This Florida/Michigan shit is getting ridiculous.
  • On my dentist's recommendation, I flossed today. Ow. My gums are all sore.
  • Seriously, have these been the worst NBA Playoffs in recent memory? What a letdown. I thought the West playoffs, especially, would be EPIC. Instead, we've had like 2 good games. There have been very few close games. And other than the first day of the playoffs with that double-overtime game between the Suns and Spurs (which I didn't even get to see because I was at a wedding), there has not been a single "one-for-the-ages" type game. The media tried to play up last night's Celtics/Pistons game. Sorry. That game sucked.
  • Alright. The album "In Our Bedroom After the War" by Stars is one of the best albums I've ever heard. I can't get enough of it. No homo.
  • CBS is showing How I Met Your Mother twice a week this summer, starting with the beginning of Season 2, to try and build the fanbase. I like that. I wish they'd start with Season 1 and go 3 times a week, though. Season 1 is one of the greatest season's in TV history. Yes, I said that.
  • One thing I always liked about sports was the descriptive terminology. For example, a wounded duck in football. What a perfect way to describe the thing it describes.
  • Crap. I have been neglecting the book I'm reading, even though it is very good.
  • Hey did you hear? The LOST season finale is tonight! Aren't you excited??? Yeah, me neither.
  • Just for kicks: "It's a Wonderful Life" - and it is!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great Moments In the Life of: Pat O'Brien

*The first in a continuing series...*

The Tale of B.J. Cohen and His Capgun

When young Patrick Liam was just a wee lad, a kindergartener in fact, we were roaming around our neighborhood, as children are wont to do. We were with this half-retarded* kid named Alex Detarr ("Detarr's a retard!"), and we came across this older, grossly overweight dude named B.J. Cohen. His name is B.J...enough said.

B.J. Cohen is 3 years older than me and thus 5 years older than Pat. B.J. lives behind our house, sorta, and we are over near his house when he comes walking up. B.J. is carrying a capgun! Guns weren't really allowed in our house, and certainly not capguns. Oh, those liberal parents! Pat and I ask B.J. if we can shoot his capgun. B.J. considers this for a moment and says that we can shoot his capgun only if we climb this tree we were standing next to.

Keep in mind. This is a freaking pine tree. And the Lake Tahoe area was in the midst of a long drought, so many trees were dead or dying, and all were very dry and brittle. You can probably tell where this story is going at this point, but I shall forge on.

Wisely, I pass on the offer. Those are little branches, and I was a muscular 2nd grader:

Pat, however, did not have my foresight. And after ignoring my repeated warnings, Pat begins to climb this pine tree, determined to get his hands on the capgun**. Pat was a feisty little kid, and he got pretty fuckin high, truth be told. I'd say he was a good 20 feet up. Maybe 25. I dunno. I mean, I was like 8. But it was really high! I kept telling B.J. that Pat had gone far enough. "No, he has to go higher," B.J. kept repeating.

Suddenly, Pat takes a step and *SNAP*

And down comes Pat. Wisely, although painfully, Pat has the wits about him to hug the tree. Had he fallen backwards, he perhaps would have died had he landed on his head or something. He definitely would have broken bones. Unless he'd landed on that fatfuck B.J. Cohen. That would have been like jumping on a waterbed.

So yeah. Pat is sliding down the tree, hugging it with all his might. Was he shirtless? I don't remember. But his entire torso and thighs are torn up by the time he gets to the bottom. He's like 5 or 6 and he's bloody and crying. Like any good brother, I tell Detarr the Retard to run and get my parents whilst I hoist Pat into my arms and begin carrying him like Forrest carried Bubba.

Oh. And of course that douche bag B.J. Cohen ran home instead of helping me. So Alex, the retard he is, slowly moseys his way ahead of me to my house. My parents would later say that when he got to the front door, he knocked half-heartedly, and slowly said, "Pat got hurt." My parents run out the door and The Retard points them in the right direction. By the time they are to the sideyard, I have carried Pat's bloody, lifeless*** body all the way to the house. My dad grabs Pat out of my arms and I sorta collapse, exhausted from carrying that dude over 100 yards.

Check that scale. A good 100 meters or more! Pat goes to the hospital where he is cleaned up and whatnot. I am given a Congressional Medal of Honor for being such a Good Brother, and B.J. Cohen probably overdosed on cocaine at age 20. So all is right with the world!

*Note: He wasn't actually half-retarded. He was just one of those idiot kids. You will see what I mean as the story unfolds.

**To this day, I am convinced that B.J. Cohen was such a fat asshole that he would not have let Pat shoot the capgun, anyways.

***Ok, not lifeless.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ode to an Old Friend

"Earlier this week, I started putting stuff in a box. And that box was labeled 'Stuff I Have No Use For Anymore' ...Maybe you belong in that box."
-Theodore Evelyn Mosby

From the first time we met, years ago, we got along famously. You weren't glamorous or shiny, but neither am I. We just fit each other. Since that day, you have been there for me through so many ups and downs, so much sweat and so many tears. Trusty, comfortable. You never let me down. Well, maybe once or twice. But we recovered and together did our best to make things work. Long after others would have cast you off, I kept you around. I didn't care what people said. I ignored their questions about why I continued to keep you around. We had a bond that I hoped would never be broken.

But that day finally came. I kept putting it off longer and longer. I made excuses for why I should continue to keep you as a major part of my life. became practically dangerous. I'm still not embarrassed by you, on the contrary... your foibles are endearing. I know all your little peccadilloes. "People call these things imperfections, but they're not. Ah, that's the good stuff."

Nonetheless, I cannnot in good conscience keep you as part of my daily life any longer. You are, quite literally, a threat to my health. The buffer you served to protect me from the outside world has grown too thin. So, yesterday, I finally found your replacement. It pained me, but it had to be done.

Do not fret. I won't throw you out on the curb.
As the song goes, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." Though the harm to you has been irreparable, I'll keep you around. We can say hi every so often if we bump into each other, and I'll fondly remember all the time we spent together. But for now, you've been replaced...sadly.

Goodbye, old friend.

Monday, April 21, 2008


This will be rather short but sweet.

It is interesting to me all the little subcultures that develop in our society. As a kid I always got a kick out of the fact that other Jeep drivers (my dad had an '87 Wrangler) would honk (or perhaps it was a flash of the headlights or a wave, I forget) at my Dad as we drove by. My dad would return the gesture. Some sort of unspoken, "We drive Jeeps. We drive offroad. We are not being suffocated by collared shirts and ties," acknowledgment.

I see the same things with motorcycles. The motorcycle gesture is a little more low-key, but keep an eye out for it. They kind of point downwards, but a little bit out towards the other motorcycle. I have not yet determined if crotch rocket types are included in this ritual, or if it is strictly a bad-ass motorcycle thing. Perhaps there is a hierarchy in this subculture (as there should be). I shall report back.

What prompted this thought was a dude coming up to me just now and trying to bum a cigarette. Now, I have never smoked (anything) in my entire life. So I politely told the dude, "Sorry, bro. I don't smoke." So he asked the bartender and she politely gave him a cigarette.

Does this happen with ANY other marketplace good? I mean, I don't walk up to a dude in a bar and ask for a beer because I'm out of cash. I don't go to In N Out and say, "Hey, dude. Can I bum some french fries off you?"

Right? What is it about cigarettes, or perhaps more accurately...smokers, that makes them so generous. Unless it's their last cig, smokers always give someone a smoke. Now, I realize...they think, "I've been money left, or not in a place I can get a cigarette, and I badly need one right now." But why doesn't this work with other products? Is it the physical craving? When I'm hungry I don't NEED french fries (specifically) when I walk by In N Out. But if I was a smoker, nothing can satisfy my craving but a cigarette.

I just find it fascinating.

Post Script: It would be kinda cool, in some futuristic Gattaca-like world, if smokers had a little tally above their head, a +- number to notate how many more cigarettes that person has bummed off of someone else versus how many they have given away. That way, a smoker could know, "Hey, this dude is an asshole and obviously never buys his own cigarettes. He's a negative-1,315!!!" Or, conversely, "This guy is a +1853, I should give him a few to let him know I appreciate his contribution to our kind."

Just a thought.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thomas and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.


by Judith Viorst

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At breakfast Anthony found a Corvette Sting Ray car kit in his cereal box and Nick found a Junior Undercover Agent code ring in his cereal box but in my breakfast cereal box all I found was breakfast cereal. I think I'll move to Australia.

In the car pool Mrs. Gibson let Becky have a seat by the window. Audrey and Elliott got seats by the window too. I said I was being scrunched. I said I was being smushed. I said, if I don't get a seat by the window I am going to be carsick. No one even answered. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

As school Mrs. Dickens liked Paul's picture of the sailboat better than my picture of the invisible castle. At singing time she said I sang too loud. At counting time she said I left out sixteen. Who needs sixteen? I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I could tell because Paul said I wasn't his best friend anymore. He said that Philip Parker was his best friend and that Albert Moyo was his next best friend and that I was only his third best friend. I hope you sit on a tack, I said to Paul. I hope the next time you get a double-decker strawberry ice-cream cone the ice cream part falls off the cone part and lands in Australia.

There were two cupcakes in Philip Parker's lunch bag and Albert got a Hershey bar with almonds and Paul's mother gave him a piece of jelly roll that had little coconut sprinkles on the top. Guess whose mother forgot to put in dessert? It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

That's what it was, because after school my mom took us all to the dentist and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me. Come back next week and I'll fix it, said Dr. Fields. Next week, I said, I'm going to Australia.

On the way downstairs the elevator door closed on my foot and while we were waiting for my mom to go get the car Anthony made me fall where it was muddy and then when I started crying because of the mud Nick said I was a crybaby and while I was punching Nick for saying crybaby my mom came back with the car and scolded me for being muddy and fighting. I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I told everybody. No one even answered.

So then we went to the shoestore to buy some sneakers. Anthony chose white ones with blue stripes. Nick chose red ones with white stripes. I chose blue ones with red stripes but then the shoe man said, We're all sold out. They made me buy plain old white ones, but they can't make me wear them.

When we picked up my dad at his office he said I couldn't play with his copying machine, but I forgot. He also said to watch out for the books on his desk, and I was careful as could be except for my elbow. He also said don't fool around with his phone, but I think I called Australia. My dad said please don't pick him up anymore. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

There were lima beans for dinner and I hate limas. There was kissing on TV and I hate kissing. My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas. When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me. It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My mom says some days are like that.

Even in Australia.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's Wrong With Middle America?

I hate to get all preachy and serious but...

First, watch this video.

For those of you too lazy to watch a video (seriously, what is wrong with you? It's a video), a teacher in Indiana was suspended for a year and a half without pay (she cannot teach in the district until after the 08-09 school year) for teaching a "banned" book in her classroom. Insubordination, it was termed.

"This must be some horrible book," I thought.

So I decide to see what this book, The Freedom Writers Diary, is all about. Socialism, no doubt!

Um, oh.

The Freedom Writers Diary, is a true story in the Stand and Deliver/Dangerous Minds vein. No doubt, The Freedom Writers Diary script is already in the works in Hollywood, just as the aforementioned true stories were dramatized*.

I haven't even read this book, but reading the reviews on Amazon is rather inspiring. This 23-year old teacher is thrown to the wolves, 150 "at-risk" kids who no one else wanted to teach, and she manages to turn their lives around. They all graduated high school and many went on to attend college. You couldn't make this stuff up.

So why would this be banned? The book contains the diaries of these kids from Long Beach, CA. I'm sure those kids have hooked many-a-left on 21st and Lewis (word up, Warren G!). Stories of racism, abuse, etc. no doubt abound. This reality is too much for these kids in Indiana to handle? Isn't that just silly?

This type of story is not alone.

A friend pointed me in the direction of this story. A state representative from Oklahoma declared the "homosexual agenda" a bigger threat than terrorism. Really. Really? I found rumors that her husband used to be a KKK leader. Positively shocking!

We all know the story of school districts in Kansas teaching Creationism as a scientific possibility. Yeesh. And some people actually believe it to be true, and aren't sure if the WORLD IS ROUND and think that NOTHING PREDATES

I don't hate religion or anything. It's not really my thing, but if it helps other people, what's the harm? But when religion starts to instill bigotry in people, that's where the line is crossed. Homosexuals aren't hurting anyone and they're not trying to take down American society, Rep. Kern; Hello, Kansas. The Bible is not meant to be read literally. God didn't create the earf in 6 days and it is ROUND.

What causes people to be so strange?

I try not to blame individual people. Most people, even intelligent ones, have similar political/social beliefs as their parents. There's a line from the Oliver Stone movie JFK that seems appropriate, "How do you know who your daddy is? Because your momma told you so."**

*Yes, I am now aware that it is already a movie. You can all stop telling me. Sheesh.
**I realize none of this is groundbreaking social thought. I just had to rant.

Afterword: On the way home today, a beautiful sparrow did a nosedive right into my truck's moving path, dying in an explosion of feathers. I took this as a sign that I had angered the Christian God, and edited some inflammatory things out of this entry. I pray these changes will suffice, and that a rhino does not run me over on my way into the gym today.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Trails, CWebb

Yes, Chris. I did hear that you're retiring!

Ye shall be missed!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Beauty Tips Needed

But, Thomas, you're so handsome, you're thinking. This is true. You are not mistaken. However, I have a specific beauty tip I am in need of.

About a year ago, I made a lifestyle change. I resolved myself to stop biting my fingernails. A nasty habit, to be sure. And not the least bit attractive when you have fingernails bitten down to the quick. Painful, too! I quit cold-turkey, so to speak. However, there is an issue.

I'm not sure if it's from years of biting my nails (that doesn't make too much sense but whatever), but I have weak ass fingernails! I've seen other people's...mine are very thin in comparison. So they break ALL THE TIME. I can catch the corner on my t-shirt and it splits. Horizontally. So then I have to cut the damn thing way short to ensure it doesn't split downward (it's sort of like a windshield crack, no?), which sort of defeats the purpose of growing them out. And they're not THAT long, either.

I don't think many people read this, but can anyone tell me what I can do to stop this shit from happening? I searched the internet and only found stuff about vertical splits, which I do not suffer from.

Sorry for the half-assed (and vaguely to terribly metrosexual) post, loyal reader(s). I just need some help!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Folsom Really Sucks

Written in the Key of Zine

Dear Scarlett's Bartender With the Sweet Painted On Beard and Steroidal Physique:

We didn't get off to a good start, did we? As I walked into an empty Scarlett's to celebrate my friend Jeff's birthday, you were seated at the table with my friends, and I figured you were what you are...a bartender who had made himself a little too comfortable. As I said my hellos, interrupting your oh so important run-down of the delicious "Ladies Libations" that your fine establishment has to offer, you shot me a dirty look and paused in annoyance. I really went too far, though, didn't I, when I stepped in between you and Kelly's line of vision to give her a hug. I hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks, but of course you don't know that. You paused even longer this time and shot me a harder look and I thought that perhaps you actually know Jeff or his sister and you weren't on-the-clock for Scarlett's*. I politely apologized and sat down. You weren't having any of it.

You looked like Hulk Hogan when he was with the WCW** with that ridiculous painted-on-looking beard. And that's alright. We all make fashion mistakes. You'll look back at pictures one day and say, "Yeesh," as you and your wife laugh***.

When I went to get a round of drinks for the table, you looked right passed me, even though there were no other customers waiting to order drinks. It was early, and the bar was empty. But that's a good point. It was more important to cut some extra limes instead of taking my order. You can never have enough pre-sliced limes!

I stood there another five minutes, doing the usuals...head-nods, raised eyebrows, and everything else I could think of (short of my battle-tested raised hand. There was a cute girl right next to me, please!) and you twice took someone else's order instead of mine. Finally a second bartender came down from the other end and took my order. Thank goodness!

At the end of the night, I wanted to get my friend Jeffrey a shot of tequila, seeing as it was his birthday and all, and close out my tab. I stood there...for 10...fucking...minutes. Luckily, that cute girl was still there and I enlisted her feminine wiles to get your attention****. The second she turned towards you, pulled the front of her top down (it was a cute top, too) to reveal some more cleavage (and it was awesome cleavage), you turned toward her and she directed you to me. She sure was a nice girl. And hot. I don't blame you for paying close attention to her.

I asked you to close my account, and as you swiped my card, you overheard us laughing and me talking about how I never would have gotten out of there without the help from this beautiful girl and her feminine wiles. I know you overheard us because you turned to me, pointed to your ear and said, "I can hear you."

"I don't really care," I said.

And I didn't.

"I was just trying to compliment the lady," I said.

And I was.

I really should have gotten her number. Damnit.



*but of course you were
**thanks to Phil for that call
***Of course, she will be laughing through her fat lip and black eye that you so lovingly gave her the night before.
****I really did say, "Would it be possible to enlist your feminine wiles to get a bartender's attention?"

Friday, March 7, 2008

So...I'm an Uncle

It's pretty rad. Ok, so I haven't really done anything besides hold her for a few minutes (I was responsible and washed my hands first!) and give her little forehead kisses and say "ew" at her umbilical cord nub. But still. It's pretty cool.

The sister-in-law seems in good spirits. She didn't freak out when she handed the baby to me. She didn't seem stressed as I poked and prodded. She'll be a good mom. The Big Bro seems a little uneasy underneath. He's putting on a smiling facade, but I can tell he's uneasy. He has two good role-models, though, and I'm sure he'll be fine.

When we first found out the baby was a girl, I was a tad disappointed. I really wanted a nephew that I could teach how to throw a spiral and shoot a jumper, and block his shot every time he tried to score on me.

But she's pretty much perfect and now I could not care less. Besides, I realized when I was holding her, there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do with a baby, as an uncle, for a few years. Especially now. She just kinda lays there. In a cute way.

Fuckin Togo's.

Man, fuck Togo's.

I'm cooped up in this hotel room all day, counting down the minutes until free drink time (210 minutes exactly as I type this), and I decide I'm gonna grab my book (The good through 50 pages) and head down to the pool. But it's 1pm and I haven't eaten anything (The Old Man told me that the free breakfast went till 10:30, so when I go down there at 10 and I'm told that on weekdays it actually ends at 9:30, my morning was fucking ruined. Ruined.) besides an apple and I'm really damn hungry, you know?

So I walk out the hotel here in lovely Arcadia and take in my surroundings. I got a Tony Roma's and a BJ's. A Starbucks and a sushi place. And a Togo's. Now, I haven't been to a Togo's in years. I strongly considered BJ's, but I long ago learned the lesson to avoid that place at all costs. The food is terrible and I always find myself sitting there thinking, "Why the fuck did I come here AGAIN?" Right, beer. But for a brewery/restaurant, their beer sure is terrible.

So I decide on Togo's. As I walked in, I knew I had made a mistake. The dude behind the counter was just some stoner fuck who couldn't give two shits about making a nice sandwich. It's not his fault, though. I'm not really complaining about him. If you go into a chain sandwich place, you know you're getting a stoner who doesn't care about your sandwich.

Initial complaints: That menu is bare. There are hardly any choices. There are no prices. Nothing is prominently displayed. There is no listing of standard and available fixings. It's the worst menu I've ever seen.

Anyhow, I look at the menu. There are literally like 8 sandwiches in all. Three are vegetarian: "Cucumber and Avocado," "Cheese and Avocado," and "Cheese."

I hate avocado with all that is holy, so that leaves me one option.

I go with the cheese sammich. It's easily the worst sandwich I've ever eaten. I don't like mayo, so every time I order a sammich, I order extra mustard. I never have a problem, but the dude takes this to mean I want a gallon of mustard on my sandwich.

And here is why it's Togo's fault:

They have these super high counters that extend over the sandwich making counter so that you can't see your sandwich being made. I don't see the gallon of mustard being poured onto my sandwich. Honestly, it must have been pooled on there. The bread was completely soaked with mustard. The veggies and cheese were thoroughly saturated with mustard. It was revolting.

This high counter also prevented me from noticing that the guy put about a pound of cheese on my sammich. This may be hard for people who love meat to understand, but when I order a cheese sandwich, the cheese does NOT serve as a substitute for meat. Honestly it was about 2 inches thick of cheese. Of course this is more easily fixable than the mustard, it's obnoxious nonetheless. I don't like biting into a block of cheese anymore than the next guy not named Jeff Sample.

Why these high ass counters? I recall the last time I WAS in a Togo's they had this very same setup. I assume it's standard.

I'm already bored with this. The veggies were wilty. There's not enough vegetables. Bell Peppers...would it be so hard to have some god damn bell peppers? And it's expensive as hell. $9.68 for a terrible sammich, a small drink, and a tiny ass bag of Lay's?

Man, fuck Togo's.