Jason's BLOG pages

 
 

 


How Did I Get Here?

(and what is that smell?)

February 2005

 

 

 


What's a blog, you ask? It stands for "weblog" and it's basically an online journal of daily thought. We'll see how long I can keep this up (as though I don't have enough to do!)

If you must have a title, I'll go with: The daily thoughts/rants of a Marine Officer, father, scholar, husband, marathon runner, Flash cartoonist, computer nerd.


Quote of the Day:

"I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter."

- Unknown

Monday, February 28, 2005

No Wonder The Yeti Howls

Talk about a Kodak moment.

Two things conspired today to test my sanity. First, it snowed. And it wasn’t little storybook fluffiness gently gliding earthward. It was “let’s see how big we can make these flakes so as to resemble a cotton candy cart blown apart by an RPG." In other words, there were beHUGE flakes coming down.

As you can imagine, the kids’ schools curled up in the fetal position and will spend the day sucking their thumbs and urinating all over themselves over it.

I, on the other hand, got tired of whining about being out of shape and not committing to a solid workout plan. In other words, another typical Monday.

But today, I would not be deterred. I was determined to brave any obstacle in my way and get this running plan off the ground. Well, actually above ground. OK, out of the 400 foot hole I put it in over the last few months.

Although the snow was coming down rather impressively, it was not all that cold. The ground was warm enough that it didn’t really stick so the footing wasn’t all that bad. In fact, the only thing I was worried about was my ears. I have no earmuffs (a topic I complained about even though my wife told me she offered to get me a pair earlier in the season when they were actually still available. I recall nothing of this conversation and have determined she is a filthy liar. Anyway, as I told her, I had my headphones. Oh, wait…)

ANYWAY…. like I said, it was not that cold and looked worse than it actually was so you can imagine the looks I got as I trudged through the snow. I had thought ahead (I know, it freaked me out, too) and brought my running tights, my running jacket, and running gloves. I was all set.

Going out wasn’t too bad. I got all the requisite weirdo looks and my thoughts hovered around the fact that just because there were huge snowflakes coming down, it really was no different than any other day where you go out and run at lunch. It’s just that people get intimidated at the scenery and think it’s too barbaric to be out running.

Meh, I piss on that.

These were the thoughts I had going out to the 2 ½ mile turnaround point.

Coming back was a bit of a different story. You see, I was going WITH the wind going out and now I had to turn around and face the wind on the return trip. Oh, and I should add, it was like a freakin’ hurricane of ice cold air hitting me the entire way back.

OK, at this point it was just pure survival. I put my hands over my ears at the 1 minute walk breaks and just ducked my head the rest of the way back, every once in awhile brushing off the collection of snow that seemed to have targeted my groin. It was a banner day in the life of Jason.

NOW I understood why this wasn’t such a good idea and why there was a legitimate reason I only saw two other runners the entire way (dressed better than me, I might add).

But I completed the run. I got out there, I did it, froze my onions off, and likely bought myself a double ear infection. But day one on the road to the Wild Wild West completed.

Again.




Free Advice for Today:
“Wear expensive shoes, belts, and ties, but buy them on sale."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you."

- Unknown

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Ugly Girl Gets The Oscar Nod

I would be forced to hand in my blogging license if I didn’t write about the Oscars. This is a bit more challenging since I didn’t exactly watch them but I will do my best. But in my defense, I did TiVo them and plan on zipping through them, stopping only at the interesting parts. It should take about 40 seconds.

I really wanted Jamie Foxx to win. Why? Well, since I have yet to actually see Ray (I know, but I’ve been busy. It’s not like my wife rented it and I let the 5 day period elapse without seeing it or anything. OK, maybe it is like that). I have to admit that it’s not because of his performance as the blind superstar. I just want to see Ugly Girl holding an Oscar. For those that have no idea what I’m talking about, Jamie Foxx was on the 80’s staple In Living Color and played a character named Ugly Girl. He jutted out his already full lips, crossed his eyes, wore a really bad wig and oversized breasts, and adopted an attitude somewhere between Shanaynay and Kelly Osbourne. (And if you don’t know who Shanaynay is, well, I just can’t help you.)

Back to my point (note I often have to bring you guys back to it), just the sight of the guy who played Ugly Girl earning an Oscar is just rich for my sense of irony. I mean, it’s like one day seeing Carrottop holding the Oscar. OK, bad analogy because that falls in the “I hope you’ve found God because all this is coming to an end” bucket.

I had mixed feelings though because Jamie Foxx is starring in the movie version of Jarhead, the worst book I’ve ever read and an insult to anyone who ever earned the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. And now they are going to put “…starring the Academy Award winner for best actor, Jamie Foxx…” all over the advertisements which will, unfortunately draw more viewers to what is sure to be a travesty of cinemagraphic work just as it was to the written word.

I was also pulling for Hilary Swank just because I saw the Million Dollar Baby movie and like both her true life (damn you, Oprah!) and movie underdog story. Oh, and she’s oddly pretty but ever since Boys Don’t Cry, I feel like a bit of a fairy if I think about her being attractive. She’s another one of those “can be pretty or pretty scary” depending on the moment. Unlike me whose BEST moments are in a category that’s somewhere near “doesn’t scare most kids.”

Just a side note, I thought that Jimmy Fallon’s impression of her a few years ago (in a skit of an awards show, interestingly enough) was one of SNL’s funniest moments. We’ll just call that another one of those “gotta be there” moments. But if you know what I’m talking about, you’re still laughing.

Spoiler Alert!! If you didn’t see the movie and don’t want to get the thing ruined, skip over the next paragraph. OK, but you’ve been warned.

I had a good idea that Hilary Swank would get the Oscar for the simple reason that the moment I saw her get disabled, I knew Oscar would smile upon her. If you’re retarded, disabled, or terminal then by golly, that’s what Hollywood wants. Forrest Gump? Bring it on. Philadelphia? Check. Slingblade? MMM-hmm. So when Ms. Swank got clobbered and became a veggie tale, well, that was her golden ticket. Foam up that blood for the Oscar nod, Hilary. That’s it. And….scene.

The rest of the awards, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass (a phrase I’m still confused about after all these years. Would it be better to actually GIVE a rat’s ass? And why a rodent’s rectum the metric of caring about a particular subject? Wouldn’t “not giving an elephant testicle” be just as meaningless? Just wondering, you don’t have to get mean about it.)




Free Advice for Today:
“Just for fun, attend a small town Fourth of July celebration."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me."

- Unknown

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Is One Really The Lonliest Number?

Well, my brother is single again. Not that he was married, he never has been. But he “sans girlfriend” again.

“What did he do? Cheat? Get dumped? Fondle a young boy?”

What do you think he is, a rich pop star?

Since you asked, NO, none of the above. Without going into details of his personal life, it was a mutual decision and he decided she was not the girl for him. The way he put it to me makes sense and he can’t be faulted for it: he wants someone he races down the highway every day after work because he’s half crazed to get home to see her. Kind of like me and Krispy Kremes.

So the guy knows what he wants.

But at this rate, I may never get any nieces and nephews from him that I can spoil and buy drum sets for.

I don’t know, maybe he’s scared. See, he was the wild one and I was the bookworm. (a subtle raising of the eyebrow is acceptable but did you really have to do the whole faux shock look. That was downright uncalled for!)

I always thought that because fate has a sense of humor, I’d get the wild kids and he would be blessed with the Uncle-Jason-like calm kids. But since I have two kids that anyone would be forced to admit are nearly as good as one can hope for, that leaves the hellions to be had by Chris. And maybe he has good reason to be scared.

His new idea is to move in with a high school buddy who also will likely never get married. This worried me at first because I imagined the unfettered wildness that is two males living on their own who’ve known each other since high school, thus invoking the obligatory “Glory Day” syndrome. But my brother assures me that they are too old for that kind of crap and while will “howl at the moon” every once in awhile, the majority of the time they will be content with chillin’ at home and getting some sleep before work. OK, we’ll see.

As long as he doesn't get a "life partner", everything will be fine.




Free Advice for Today:
“Install smoke detectors in houor home."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant."

- Unknown

Friday, February 25, 2005

Spank Of America

OK, I’m raising the BS flag. School was cancelled again and this time just on the rumor of snow. My God, no wonder high schoolers can’t write an essay these days. It’s not like they don’t go in at 8 and get out at 3 already but … oh forget it. It’s a losing battle and I’m just happy my kids are considered advanced which puts them about in the “normal” range for my expectations. So the others will serve fries. So be it.

On to other subjects…

Have you heard about the tapes that Bank of America lost? No? You should really read up on the news more, it was all over the place.

I guess they lost these tapes that had a bunch of personal information on them and then the news splattered the story all over the news.

My reaction was “Bank of America, you dumbasses. Good thing I don’t bank through them if this is the way they do business.”

Then I get this letter.

Oh yeah, it seems that my Government Credit Card is through them. So just to let you in on this little drama, the Marine Corps forces me to use this government credit card they set up by awarding a huge contract through Bank of America. Now I’m no conspiracy theory guy or anything but if you think that some department or individuals don’t get or didn’t get some kind of benefit of sliding a multi-million dollar contract to a private company, then you are more naïve than me. And do we see whatever benefits that this huge contract elicits?

No. In fact, we are forced to use it for our business expenses. And we get the bill and the trouble if we let a payment slip. Trouble not only to our personal credit and dealing with Bank of America but now through the military. Skip a payment and you get to do a tap dance for the Old Man. Two for the price of one! And who says double jeopardy is not alive and well?

Now that we have swallowed the fact that we have to use this card, that we don’t get any points or bonus miles we would get if we used our own cards, that we have to deal with the payment system on our own (getting reimbursed AFTER the payment unless you are quick on the draw with the travel claims) and even the government’s annoying policy to send the majority of your travel reimbursement straight to Bank Of America even if your account is settled, … the most heinous of these injustices is that we have to provide our personal information to whatever company the government gets in bed with.

Now that all this is said and done, they go and lose my personal information. And their reaction to making this retarded mistake?

A letter starting out saying “At bank Of America, our first priority is our customers and the security of their financial information” followed by explanations minimizing their mistake and then another sheet of paper that says, in essence,

We screwed up really bad so here is what YOU have to do to cover our ass. Take time out of your life to scramble around like an idiot, making sure our incompetence doesn’t ruin your financial stability. And remember, at bank Of America, our first priority is our customers and the security of their financial information.”

OK, I feel better. Now all of you stop charging all those high priced electronics on my card. Knock it off!




Free Advice for Today:
“Regarding furniture and clothes; if you think you'll be using them five years or longer, buy the best you can afford."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Outside of a dog a book is a man's best friend, inside a dog it's just too dark to read."

- Groucho Marx

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Fudrucking

The criteria for snow days around here is pretty loose these days. Questionable, even. Back when I was going to school, we had to be in an ice age to even consider not going to school (inject the “old geezer” tone in, if you will. Thanks.). Here in the educational Mecca that is Virginia, the smell of snow is enough to close down the entire school structure. Sad, just sad.

So, yeah, the kids got to stay home and I got to go into work. Am I bitter about this?

I don’t want to talk about it.

Despite the Spotsylvania moratorium on all things educational today, the Earth-death snowstorm didn’t prevent life to continue such as my daughter’s post-season basketball dinner at Fudruckers.

Fudruckers. The name never ceases to make me giggle. Yep, I’m 6.

So let me set the scene and see if any of you can relate to this.

We have about 8 little girls each with some combination of parents and siblings. Let me state at this point that we sucked as a team. I’m not bashing the coach but because the way things work around here, kids tend to be on the same team year after year so you get little dynasties. The leftovers and/or new kids get thrown on one team who then go on to get the life crushed out of them every week as the dynasties pummel the Bad News Bears handedly.

If you didn’t figure it out already, we were the leftovers.

OK, with that said, there was not a lot of excitement generated by the parents and we were pretty much in console mode after each game. Another effect of this situation was that we really didn’t get to know each other all that much so this post-season party was really the first social interaction most of us had, despite seeing each other at the practices and games over the last few months, avoiding the knowing looks that we su-HUCK..

So naturally, tonight we all did the same thing: secretly judged each other based on the abilities (or lack thereof) of their child.

Fair? No. Rampant? I’m guessing yes.

So we all kind of ate separately, made a little small talk, and finally the coach made a few remarks as he handed out trophies and team pictures.

I’ve been a coach before for kids basketball and t-ball. I know the position this guy was in when he had to come up with impromptu praise for each girl, varying it enough that meant it was tailored to each player. The toughest, by far, is the ones that, well, let’s just say that aren’t heading to the WNBA.

“Well, she was a real team player who learned a lot during the season. She had a lot of hustle, was real eager to learn, and improved drastically over the season. Oh, and she didn’t lose EVERY game for us and managed to stay off her ass at least 40% of the time. Thanks sweetie. See you next year.”

After all this was done, we all ate cake and wrestled with the decision of when it would be socially acceptable to get the hell out of there and go home. Stephanie was having fun and Carrie was the assistant coach so we had to stay just a bit longer than the norm.

I, on the other hand, got a real good look at all the sports paraphernalia on the walls of the restaurant. I don’t mean to be unsocial but I was likely never going to see any of these people again and didn’t have a lot in common with them anyway, except that our daughters got spanked each week playing basketball. And as you can imagine, that subject was not a real icebreaker.




Free Advice for Today:
“When renting a car for a couple of days, splurge and get the big Lincoln."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies."

- Unknown

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Turkey Troubles

It was simply a suggestion.

"Hey, why don't you make a turkey?"

The setting was at the commissary. Things were slow at work so I thought I would join my wife who wanted to get some grocery shopping done before the big snowstorm hit.

You see, I love turkey. Not in an unholy way so stop it, you pervs. I just think that I shouldn't have to wait until Thanksgiving before indulging in a big, succulent turkey feast with all the fixings. Why not at other times of the year, like.... now?

My wife is kind to me. She let's me indulge these unheard of ideas and when we got to the frozen turkey aisle, there wasn't much of a selection. In fact there was NO selection. If I wanted a turkey, it was THAT one. You must have a quantity greater than "1" to have a choice and this was not the case.

We grabbed the turkey, which looked about decent size (9 lbs) but Carrie noticed there was no price tag on it. No price per pound, nothing. Oh, what the hell, let them figure it out.

When we got to the register, the turkey-price situation came to a boil. The cashier had no idea how much it was per pound and it didn't have a bar code or anything. So she calls the unseen price-checker who likely, at that moment, was wondering how she was going to wipe her ass without a spare roll in the stall.

We waited which, if you know me, is my FAVORITE thing to do. The poor random lady behind us started unloaded her collection of groceries on the belt as we stood there, waiting for Miss Price-Checker to wipe.

10 minutes pass as we all look at each other uncomfortably.

Now everyone is looking at us like we're lepers. Like WE are at fault because we had the audacity to pick out a turkey in February and was the cause of this complete standstill on cashier aisle 6.

After another 5 minutes, I said "you know what, just forget it."

This ended up being a lucky move since right as the cashier was handing us our final receipt, Molasses-Mary with a bacon strip in her panties shows up and tells us it's $2.07 per pound.

WHAT? Does it have a cache of gold dabloons up its mud-chute?

You have got to be kidding me. You are going to stand there and tell me that you are going to charge me more per pound of turkey than per gallon of gasoline?

I’ll tell you what, why don’t you take this 9 lbs of turkey, which would cost about a buck and two bits in November, and see if you can fit the entire thing clear up your ass.

No?

Well ironically, that’s my answer for continuing with this purchase but I really appreciate you making me wait here in line for 15 minutes.

Looks like a turkey feast is back on the waiting list for Jason. But I ALMOST got to see a 9 pounder crammed up a keister. Eh, probably wouldn’t have been worth it even then.




Free Advice for Today:
“Don't think that sending a gift or flowers substitutes for your presence."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Be nice to your kids. They'll choose your nursing home."

- Unknown

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

PSSDOFF

I hate license plates you can’t understand.

It used to be that a vanity license plate was unique. In California, it seemed they weren’t in too much of abundance so if you had one, well, it meant you felt strongly enough about something to go out of your way and come up with a clever combination, expressing something about you.

And I’ll fully admit, I had a combination in mind from the time I was still enlisted working toward a commission. When that wonderful day came about, I went out and got Trucky Truckasaurus the license plate that I had been dreaming about for years: PVT2LT.

This would last me 4 years because it covered both 2nd Lieutenant and 1st Lieutenant. It wasn’t until I picked up Captain that I had to make a change and when that came about, I waited too long. It took 3 months to get the new one in and then they totally hosed it up so I had to send it back. You just can’t trust penitentiary workers these days. Bastards.

At the same time, I had a dilemma because I only had 7 characters to work with. My “PVT2LT” was well within the limit but the next logical progression would have been “PVT2CAPT.” For those of you lacking a 4th grade education, that’s one digit too many.

There was only one logical alternative and that was to take out the “A” but this left the unsavory abbreviation for Captain as “CPT.” Why is this unsavory, you ask? Because it’s the way the Army abbreviates Captain as opposed to the Marine Corps (and thus superior) version. But I had to live with it and after 6 months of ribbing for having an outdated plate, I got my “PVT2CPT” plate.

Back to my original gripe; I hate license plates you can’t understand. Because I have to commute an ungodly amount of any given day (defined as “more than 1 minute"), I get to see a lot of car asses. And in Virginia, I think it’s mandated by law that you MUST have a vanity plate. No, you have no choice. Like teenage shotgun weddings, you are forced because I think they believe it ordained by God Himself that you will have a vanity plate. They might even ban you from cigarettes and Budweiser if you’re caught without one.

Some of them I can figure out. And some of them are obviously the initials of the couple (with the tale tell same last letter). But then you have the mysteries. I see these things and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what they are going for and some of them I determine to just be so bizarre that even if they mean something, there is no way the general public would be able to figure it out.

And this pisses me off.

Why would people spend the money and the brain cells to come up with something no one can figure out? And don’t give me that “well, if it means something to them…” crap-argument. NO. The very reason for vanity plates is for the sole purpose of conveying an idea to the general public. THAT’S the audience; the complete strangers on the road.

So if we can’t figure out what you mean, why go through the trouble of getting it? It’s just idiotic! See, my blood is rising just describing it.

So for all you “FTR-MRTs” and “GYI4LPDs” out there, I just have one thing to say to you. NO CIGARETTS OR BUDWEISER FOR YOU! GO TO HELL!




Free Advice for Today:
“Resist the temptation to put a cute message on your answering machine."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Very funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes."

- Captain Kirk

Monday, February 21, 2005

This Day Will Live In Obscurity!

Presidents Day? Hmmmm…. I guess this should mean more than just a day off.

I mean, I am a patriotic American serving in the United States Armed Forces so I should do more on President’s Day than sit around with a couple of days growth on my face, lounge around in my pajamas, robe, slippers, and coffee mug, right?

Well, in my defense, what are you really SUPPOSED to do on President’s Day? Come on, be honest. Unless you want to go buy furniture or a new car, I think this is pretty much an excuse not to work. I mean, come on, I’m in the freakin’ military and he’s my Commander In Chief and I’m at a loss to find a suitable observation for this holiday.

You say it’s a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the Presidents? Or is it a combination of the old Washington and Lincoln birthday celebrations? (as I understand it, they had to be combined in order to make room for the MLK holiday). Or, could it be a sad commercialization for every schlep wanting an excuse for some big sale.

The most egregious example was a computerized caricature of President Lincoln and President Washington teaming up to hawk carpet. The radio equivalent had them arguing about who should symbolize some furniture store sale: Lincoln because he is on the penny or Washington since he threw a silver dollar across the river. I nearly vomited.

It was at this moment that I fully comprehended the bastardization of this holiday and take some of the blame for not giving a rat’s ass about the actual celebration. When they come up with a better gig that super sales for this holiday, I’ll lend it more of my attention.

Until then, I’m gonna get some more coffee.




Free Advice for Today:
“Surprise loved ones with little unexpected gifts."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"i souport publik edekashun."

- Unknown

Sunday, February 20, 2005

If You Have a Dog Named Buster, Crack Your Lip... (smack, smack)

I'm always asked what kind of dog Buster is and it always causes me a bit of stress to try to explain. But I'll go over it one more time.

Buster is a cross between a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a pit bull. Yes, a pit bull. Is he a blood-thirsty child-neck biter, you ask?

See, this is why I hate explaining this. Because now it's a no-win situation for me. If I go on and on about how timid, gentle, and all-around dopey he is, it sounds like the explanation you hear after a pit bull tears out the entrails of some kid somewhere.

Then I have to get into this whole discussion about how pit bulls are actually a good breed of dogs for family and they only have their beastly reputation because if you brutalize them and make them mean, yes, they will go cuckoo for cocoa puffs on you. But that can be said for any breed. Or even a guinea pig. Or me.

See, I'm doing it again.

OK, here it is. I've had Buster for a couple of years now and I'm the best person in the world qualified to make this assessment: Buster is about as brutal as a marshmallow. And not those Satanic mini ones. I'm talking the big old campfire roasting variety.

And if you want to limit my assessment to only Buster as some freak aberration of a pit bull gone good, so be it. The fact remains, Buster is too stupid to be vicious. He'd scare himself in the process. Hell, when I swear at the computer (and the bastard deserves in most of the time), he cowers in the corner shaking until I assure he that it's OK. In fact, around my house, we have been conditioned to start the "It's OK" routine in the same breath as raising our voices for any reason. As a family, we've responded well to this classic conditioning.

So let's review: yes, Buster is half pit bull. But he has such arrested development that he thinks he's still a puppy with the accompanying attitude that scratches and petting is the pinnacle of life.

With all of that said, let me relay the startling announcement that Buster drew blood today.

How did this happen? Well, old Buster and I tend to get in wrestling matches which mostly consists of me trying to grab his front paws. He, of course, thinks this is more fun than a bag full of water balloons at an old folks home. I often find it stunningly impressive that he can move his front paws faster than the speed of light. He looks like he's in the Matrix blocking punches.

Because I always have to temp fate, I instigate this little game and he playfully nips at my hands while I try to grab his paws. When he does manage to find pay dirt in the form of my hands (I am not Matrix-speed enabled), he very gently places his mouth on my hand, wrist, arm (whatever he can catch) but applies no pressure. The only scratches that ever occur from this little game is when I try to suddenly rip my arm away and scrape it across his teeth.

Right about now you are thinking "Yup, he claims Buster is gentle but he must have evoked the canine instincts and received the legendary arm-rippage from a "gentle" pit bull."

Don't make me slap the piss out of you.

Here's what happened.

I leaned over Buster who was in his playful stance. This consists him with his forearms on the ground while his rear is in the air, ready for a playful pounce.

Just to clear things up, we were facing each other. Oh, and I'm going to beat your ass for what you were thinking. You better start running.

I don't know what happened next but Buster got it into his pea-brain that he should suddenly stand up and thrust his head upward, which would have been fine if my mouth wasn't in the arc of his upward thrust.

*smack*

That was the sound.

The sight, from my perspective, was a very bright light.

I knew instantly he had got me good and instinctively, I grabbed my mouth and ran to the bathroom. Pulling my hand away, I saw some blood on my hand. Looking in the mirror, I saw the full extent of the damage.

Big, fat lip. He had smashed my lower lip against my tooth and the cut was minor, compared to the expanding bubble of blood that was just beneath a transparent layer of skin.

He knew the second he did it that things weren't going to be jolly in the Grose household. Unknowingly, he unleashed an aspect of my personality I'm not proud of. When I get hit in the face, whether on purpose or accident is of no consequence, I lose it. I can't take a punch. Anything to the face and I'm instantly insane. I did not resort to violence but let's just say the cursing was epic and the pouting was in full effect.

So that's the way the rest of the day went. I gave Buster to evil eye for the rest of the day and true to form, he gave me a wide berth thinking I was mad at him.

Yeah, real vicious.




Free Advice for Today:
“Never mention being on a diet."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Consciousness: That annoying time between naps."

- Unknown

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Don't Call The Morgue Just Yet

OK people, I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Go ahead, use the old “it might be a train” joke. Hardy, har, har, I haven’t heard that since I was… yesterday.

What I was going to say before you injected one of the oldest idiot-jokes in the book (and it’s a very sad little book at that) was that I don’t think I’m going to die within the next few hours. It was touch and go for a little bit but I think I’m on the mend. At least that’s what that glowing person with wings is telling me.

Yes, my head still feels like it playing a rousing game of hide the snot but at least I can get out of bed for more than to answer Nature.

I want to thank all of those that helped me through this difficult time. My wife, who had to deal with Pitiful-Jason (and if ever there needed to be insta-Sainthood bestowed, she would need to be there in line because Pitiful-Jason is, well, we won’t go into it.) Next, thanks to my kids who I don’t know what I would do if they didn’t swoop in and take advantage of my ailment to covet the computer and play continuously for the last few days.

To Buster, who loves this whole sick-in-bed arrangement. Don’t tell him I was sick; he thinks I was just spending quality time and accompanying him on his daily walk with unconsciousness.

And last but not least… NO ONE ELSE. Geez, people, not even a “why Jason, you seemed to have fallen off the radar for a few days; is everything OK?” It makes me worry that I will end up as one of those people you read about where they’re dead for weeks before anyone finds the body. A little attention, here, please, before I house maggots.




Free Advice for Today:
“Never refuse homemade brownies."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don't give a damn."

- Unknown

Friday, February 18, 2005

Pregnancy, Kidney Stones, and Bleeding Nose Bridges

Day four of the Plague and I’m starting to see dead people.

I’ve determined that I have a severe head cold and a slight ear infection. But having a “slight” ear infection is like being a "little" pregnant. And at this point, I’d rather be pregnant. A lot pregnant. Anything to stop this pain.

They say kidney stones is the most intense pain a person can experience. I beg to differ but then again, I’ve been begging God for relief for the last 4 days to no avail so my begging leaves a lot to be desired. Plus, I’ve never had a kidney stone so the comparison would be a little lop-sided.

Wait, I’ll just shut-the-f$%#-up now about never having kidney stones. I obviously did something really bad to miff off the Man upstairs so why tempt Him with the whole no kidney stone bragging? Must be the searing pain affecting my judgment.

But hey, at least I blew through every tissue in the house and the little skin bridge between my nostrils is raw to the point of bleeding. So I got that going for me.




Free Advice for Today:
“When playing golf and tennis, occasionally play with someone better than you are."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth."

- Unknown

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Crossfire To The Onions

It’s kind of hard to come up with new stuff to tell you since all I’ve done since yesterday includes a lot of shifting, more than a small amount of drooling, and a general lack of anything resembling a will to live.

So, how was your day?

But just to show you that I still care, I found this highly publicized confrontation between Jon Stewart and the butt-stains on Crossfire.

You can go watch it but be warned, it’s like over 13 minutes long but well worth it. They thought they were getting Jon Stewart, the funny man from The Daily Show, but what they got instead was the liberal, outspoken activist Jon Stewart who isn’t afraid to call these guys out on their own show.

I don’t know whether to respect this guy or write him off as another media yak-head bitchin’ about this and that. Ol’ Jon has made me laugh so often, and so testicle-bursting deeply that it’s hard not to like him. But I also believe a celebrity should stay in one’s genre lest you mutate to he Sharon Stones of this world.

But you gotta give it to Jon, he really ambushed them.

(BTW, I tried like hell to capture this so I could save a copy to my site but they got it nailed down pretty good. I tried to dig it up in my Temporary Internet Files but this little ploy, which normally works, was ineffective at ifilms.com. I tip my hat to you, you fascist buttholes! Eh, probably too much space required anyway.)




Free Advice for Today:
“Before criticizing a new employee, remember your first days at work."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off."

- Unknown

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Never Argue with Your Body; It Owns All The Pain Receptors

It was about 1100 before I knew I existed.

OK, that isn’t completely true; there were the bouts with intense pain crushing my skull. But other than that, me no worky today.

Here how it DID work for the entire day. I wallowed around in pain trying to find a single position where I didn’t feel like stabbing scissors into my jugular. When I found that certain spot, I would covet it like a finger grip on the side of a glacier. I would stay there, wondering when the tremors of pain would finally subside until I could fall back into oblivion.

This would last about 10 to 15 minutes. Then my body would start the conversation.

“Jason?”
“Uh… yeah?”
“You know we can’t stay here much longer.”
“Huh? Why?”
“Because you’ve not suffered that much for the last 10 minutes.”
“That’s kind of the idea, isn’t it?”
“Oh, you want to play smartass. OK. Let’s try…this.”

10,000 rockets explode between my temples.

“Oh, you mean NOW?”
“Yes, now that I got your attention, let’s talk about finding another position.”
rat bastard…
“What was that?”
“NOTHING.. nothing..”

Then I would shift around, throwing arm here, a leg there, cranking my neck downward just a bit, until I found that sweet spot, defined as “Not making me wish I was sucking on a business end of a 300 ot six.

This wonder-position would do just fine for another 10 to 15 minutes until I heard that familiar “Jason…

And thus my life went on all day.




Free Advice for Today:
“Ask your grandparents to tell you stories about your parents while they were growing up."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"How about never? Is never good for you?"

- Unknown

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

My God, It's Full Of Stars...

The day started with my Rio sticking again and with nothing to lose, I tapped (notice I didn’t BANG) it on my desk at work and it shaped up. But of course the face cracked a bit more so that I’m down to seeing about ½ the display. Things were going dandy.

If this was the worst thing that happened today, that would be OK. But I had to ask the question, “What else could go wrong today?”

Somewhere behind a cloud, the sky giggled.

Today was Day 1 of The Plague.

It started mid-morning when I was at a meeting. Suddenly, the world caved in my head. I’m pretty sure a black hole formed inside my skull as gravitation increased to a point to where not even light escapes. My sinuses were the event horizon.

I stumbled back to my office, changed over, and caught the first Amtrak home. I didn’t even have the strength to unleash my full-on hate for Amtrak (but I will note that it was hot as Hell in the car AND two different attendants asked me a total of three times for my tickets. May they sizzle in HELL!!!!!) OK, maybe I could unleash the whole hate thing. Who’da thunk? I, for one, am impressed.

I got home and in one continuous movement I walked up the stairs, dropped my bag, walked on the second flight, dropped my clothes, and curled up in bed.

“What are you doing home?" Came the question from my wife?

“Sick.”

That’s pretty much the last thing I remember.




Free Advice for Today:
“Be cautious of renting lodging accommodations described in the ad or brochure as 'rustic'."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message."

- Unknown

Monday, February 14, 2005

How 'Bout Some MPGS Instead?

After over 16 years of marriage, you would think we'd have this timing thing down by now. But without going into detail, I will just say that the whole V-Day thing is on a bit of a hiatus this year. Don's ask, it'll pass.

OK, so here's a cheap blog where I’ll blow all my funny new videos in one shot. And pay attention because I’m crushing all kinds of room on my space allotment here and probably blowing through some copyrights, too, so be duly impressed (or at least dully). Here we go.

This is oddly addicting. If you are not hooked and laughing hilariously at first, give it another try. If you are confused, just wait. You will be coming back to it within a couple of days. Its addictive powers rival heroin.

Keeping with the cat theme, you gotta see this. There’s simply nothing funnier than a cat doing a serious face plant into a wall. Enjoy.

For all you dog-lovers, check this out. I was stunned into silence.

The best for last. I really had to watch this a few times to believe it. Just…go look.




Free Advice for Today:
“Search out good values, but let the other guy make a fair profit on what you purchase."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits."

- Unknown

Sunday, February 13, 2005

May My Pocket Protector Live Long And Prosper

I am a geek. I know this. I accept this.

So it’s no surprise when I find some minuscule capability in some program that totally makes my day. It’s sad. Like underwear-labling sad.

For example, I discovered the cross-fading in Windows Media Player.

(pause until the “Wow” effect dies down…)

As you know, I have like 2700 MP3s (Ok, I’ll admit, I only consistently listen to a couple a hundred, mostly consisting of Sarah McLachlan but you are getting TOTALLY off topic here so shall we return? OK with you? Because we can pursue this if you want…no? Glad I could oblige. Thanks.)

Now that we are all back, yes, I discovered the cross-fading. For all you uninitiated in this nifty little feature, it basically fades out the song at the end and fades in the next song so that it sounds like a radio transition. Or at least a good radio station, not those where they total farkle up the transition and then talk on the phone, oblivious to the fact the listeners can hear them. You’ve heard it.

In Windows Media Player you can do this and then set the transition time. I choose 2 seconds and it sounded really good. Or it did when I tried it alone but when I called my wife over, all excited like I’d figured out how to turn lead into gold, I happened to randomly pick a song with dead silence at the end of the song AND a long silence in the front of the next song. So the effect was “Wow, Jason. You’re the king.” And yes, it was dripping with deadpan sarcasm.

But anyway, try it, it’s cool.

I’m SO far into the Geek Forest, I can’t see the Trekker Convention through the 12-sided die.




Free Advice for Today:
“Stop and look up when anyone approaches your desk."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers."

- Unknown

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Way To Go, Super Dad

We had a belated party for my boy which, by his request, consisted of having three of his friends join him at the ice-skating rink and then having them spend the night. What can I say, the kids still love the ice-skating.

I, on the other hand, preferred not to pay money to form monstrously painful blisters on my feet while attempting to stay vertical atop a layer of ice, connected to said ice by a thin shard of metal.

But I was game and went to the rink to read a book and watch them frolic as much as they wanted. Carrie was willing to go out there so all seemed well, even when I excused myself to wander over to Borders to peruse a few thousand books.

I don’t know what happened. My mood just went south for some reason. I really wasn’t mad at anyone in particular, I just wanted the entire world to go away and leave me alone. See, that’s all. Simple, right?

I thought I could just ride it out and try to be to myself. I had 4 boys and a girl running through the house for the rest of the night and I tried to climb into the computer. I only yelled when things got crazy-loud but I guess this makes me the worst person in the world.

So that’s how the night went. I banked on my boy being totally absorbed in his party and I figured he was old enough for me to be out of the way and let him party it up with his buddies.

I guess I can't swing for the fence everyday. I still think the boy had fun but it'll be a bit chilly around here for a few days.




Free Advice for Today:
“Hang up on anyone you don't know trying to sell you a financial product over the telephone."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy."

- Unknown

Friday, February 11, 2005

Baffling Them With Stunning Logic

A few weeks ago I showed up at the train station and when I put my ten-trip ticket into the validation machine, it spit it back at me saying it was expired. I then pulled out my spare 10-trip ticket but it said the same thing. WTF?

Well, to understand what’s going on here, you’ll have to endure a bit of a history.

I get free train fare. The government provides train vouchers every few months that I can cash in for real live train tickets. I get these vouchers in $30 increments so I always have to do the math to figure out how best to purchase a combination of tickets as to not waste any of the leftover value (you don’t get change).

With me so far?

It used to be easy because the ten-trip tickets (OK, I’ll waste the trons just in case. You get ten trips on each of these tickets) used to cost $29.60. I could deal with the .40 cent loss, I’m not THAT cheap. (OK, it really burned my ass. Happy?)

But then they decided to hike up the prices because they are the crust in Satan’s taint.

So now they cost just over $30 and it makes the math harder. But I had a plan. I would outsmart these taintified ass-monkeys by cashing in all my vouchers at the old price and thus have a deep well of tickets they would have to honor. The plan was airtight and sung to every atom of my penny-pinching fiber.

All went well until that fateful day. The ass monkeys rebelled.

Seems the tickets are only good for 6 months. (cue the ass-monkey schreech…)

But Gentle Reader, do not fret. I still had a few arrows in my quill. (how come that sounds extremely dirty?)

For the short term today, I had a free ride coupon that I could use. I did use it but what often happens is they don’t even check once onboard so I had to use the same one coming home. Did I feel good about it? No. Yes,…no/yes…I’m going with…yes… NO!

I justified it by promising myself to validate twice when I got all this straightened out.

I called VRE during the day and explained it all to them and they said it was no problem. Just send the unused tickets in and they would send me some replacements. Why they have expiration dates if they will just replace them anyway, I don’t know and frankly, don’t care since it benefits me. I’m TOTALLY one-way when it comes to things like this. Am I proud of this? No. Yes,…no/yes…I’m going with…yes… NO!

When I got home, I was in a particularly geeky mood and sat down to pen a letter explaining the entire situation. But it turned ugly as I got into it because of a few extenuating circumstances you will read about, if you dare.

The circumstances (as opposed to "circumcisions" which, upon further consideration, is not beyond the realm of possibility for these monkintos del ass) center around the difference in cost between the old tickets and the new tickets. Throw in that I had a ten-trip ticket that already had some rides used up and it gets worse. Finally, mix in the fact that I had 2 ten-trip tickets from Fredericksburg to Quantico (my normal route) but also one that had the full ride from end to end (more expensive) and you have the mess that is my letter to them with a BRILLIANT set of ideas. See if you can follow:


Dear VRE,

I am enclosing 4 ten trip tickets that have expired and request an exchange. Because I bought all of them prior to the most recent price increase, I understand I must pay for the difference in cost. I would like to know if I could just use two rides of the partially used ten trip tickets from zones 9-1 to make up for the cost.

Here is what I propose:

I exchange the 2 full ten trip tickets from zones 9-6 which comes to a price difference of $3 each that I owe. ($6 total)

I receive 3 single trip tickets from zones 9-6 (I already used 7 of them) which comes to a price difference of $.30 each that I owe. ($.90 total)

I receive 4 one trip tickets from zones 9-1 (since the ten trip ticket was partially used). I have 6 left on the ticket but I want to use 2 of them to reimburse for the price difference of all the tickets.

The math on this one is tricky but here’s my logic.

The difference in the old 10 trip ticket from 9-1 to the new 10 trip ticket from 9-1 is $11.30. Split that 10 ways and you have $1.13 per ride. Since I’m asking for 4 back, that comes to $4.52 I owe.

The total then comes to $11.42 I owe as the difference for all tickets.

For the credit side, I have 2 rides left on a 10 trip ticket from 9-1. When I bought it, the total price was $61.60. Split ten ways, this makes each ride worth $6.60. So for the 2 remaining rides I have left, that gives me a credit of $13.20.

So I would owe $11.42 and I would be returning $13.20 in credit.

Please let me know if this is acceptable.

Jason D. Grose


I know, you are sitting there amazed. Well, I DO have a knack for this so don’t be too impressed. I bet they were passing this letter around the VRE office, in awe of such intricate mental gyrations.

What are you looking at?

Well, here is the letter I got back from them. Basically they ignored everything I said and just gave me over and above the value (2 full ten trips from Fredericksburg to Quantico and one for the full ride). I guess they didn’t want to get burned, getting too close to the heat of my brilliance.




Free Advice for Today:
Attend parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Who me? I just wander from room to room."

- Unknown

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Heavy Handed Electronic Repair 201

It was still working great when I went into work this morning. Although my Rio Karma had a rough track record of sticking, requiring me to give it a good smack on the back of it, the $200 investment was playing nice until this morning.

While changing over in my office, getting ready to hit the gym, it simply stopped. No problem, I thought, I’ve seen and fixed this before. Step aside, mere mortal, I'm a professional. I will just perform the Neanderthal maintenance that worked last time.

I grabbed the Rio and brought it down hard on the counter, flush.

All I saw was the immense crack instantly appear across the screen. As fast as it made contact with the counter, the face cracked. I just stood there, frozen in stunned silence.

Well, there’s no sending it back now.

I could still see 3/4 of the screen. And it started working.

This is like a bad dream. Now I can’t trust the damn thing and slamming it might work but will likely continue to shatter the front. I can’t return it.

And for all you snickering bastards out there…OK, you’re right, I’ve been a little lofty in my views of owning this ….this…. #%$#@ @#$%@%@#5 mother$%$#%$ #%#$% son-of-%$%#$@ piece of @#*&(*&

(just a moment, I’ll be done shortly)

%$$#@ cracking #%#$%@$ ass^%$^%$ sucking #%$#....

OK, I think I’m done.

And to cool things down, here is something that made me laugh. This kid really nails it.

(be patient, it's like 8 MB. I'd just right click it and save as. But that's just me.)




Free Advice for Today:
Don't overschedule your children's extracurricular activities."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public."

- Unknown

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

See Where An Anti-Procrastination Attitude Gets You?

Today I decided to do something about SOME of my half-completed projects that stare at me day in and day out, saying “Remember me, you lazy, good-for-nothing…

(And they wonder why they wallow in inattention. They can be quite rude.)

True to form, I tackled two of these projects that had a lot to do with each other and, as it turned out, cancelled each other out.

Let me explain.

As I wrote about before, I have a laptop that has been sitting around my house doing the job of “Most Expensive Dust Collector.” Many vie for this auspicious title but the laptop tops the bill. The reason for its sitting status is simple: the hard drive crapped out and as I explained in my January 15th and January 16th blogs, I had ordered a new drive, received it, installed it, put all my programs on it, and it then proceeded to crap out. It was a stellar day at the Grose household.

Undeterred (actually I was very deterred but I was in about $100 so I had to reevaluate my "deter" status), I boxed the drive up and sent it back. And quite frankly, I was satisfied that I had actually done something and waited until now to actually face the reality that I should have heard something back by now.

So now I was forced to investigate further and thus take the risk of receiving bad customer service and what naturally follows: a few layer-strippings from my soul, much like a potato peeler against one’s ass.

I finally got around to calling them and started to explain my situation. It’s always a bad sign when you try to simplify a situation, staying away from contrary tones, and all you get is a dead silence on the other end of the phone when there should be a reassuring “Uh-huh” or something.

(dead silence).

Very funny. You asses.

Anyway. The guy tells me that he will look around and get a replacement in the mail as soon as he can. I hung up, happy that I had at least put off the inevitable catastrophe that would be this situation. I was in a “plausible delay” state where, using a well-worn analogy, the football was in their court. OK, maybe I screwed that up but you get the idea.

While all this is happening, the Staff Sergeant that runs the S6 shop next cubicle over had heard about my laptop woes (probably from my incessant whining about it) and told me to bring it in so he could have a crack at it. (Note: when offering to fix a computer, never use the verb “crack” anywhere within the maintenance cycle.)

After a little bit of this and a little bit of that, he gets the hard drive to at least start to boot up (farther than I had got with it) and then reformats the drive. I freak out yelling at him there was some irreplaceable data on the drive and then he puts me in a strangle hold until I see plaid butterflies. OK, all that was a lie after the reformatting part but I could see it happening.

By the end of the day he has Windows XP all loaded up on it and it’s working without a glitch. Why is it working now? Thanks for your insightful questioning, there Geraldo. I don’t know, OK? Is that a good enough answer for you? Or do you want something like, I’m a worthless techno-turd who couldn’t fix a jammed stapler? Huh? Kick a man while he’s down. I see how you are.

And in case you are keeping up, yes, I now have a working laptop with its original drive and another supposedly perfectly good one on the way.

OK, laugh it up people. There WILL be repercussions.




Free Advice for Today:
Never give an anniversary gift that has to be plugged in."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"I finally got my head together, and my body fell apart."

- Unknown

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Heavy Handed Electronic Repair 101

I shouldn’t have been so smug.

I think that could apply to a lot of situations in my life but let me be more precise: I shouldn’t have been so smug about my Karma. Just days after loading it up, it simply decided to stop.

I took it for a run, the first time I tried to use it on the run, and at about mile 3, it simply decided to stop (a lot like me lately but let’s try to stay focused here, people). I was just a tad upset.

My thought process went something like this:

1. Shit
2. F%$
3. Shit - F#^$
4. F#$% - shit
5. OK, maybe pushing the little reset mechanism will make everything right. Please, oh, please, I paid $200 for this thing, please let it be something simple..please…

When I got back to work, I used a paperclip to reset and it turned off. So far, so good (as “good” as having a $200 piece of electronic gear potentially crap out on you can be).

The next step was to turn it on. And pray. So I started rubbing it and telling it how sexy it looked…oh, wrong kind of turn on. Maybe that “on” button. Hey, if only… never mind.

I turned it on but it got to a certain point in the start up procedure and just sat there. Nothing. It just kind of looked at me like Buster; totally devoid of any intelligence.

It was a bad ride home on the train. I read but was distracted because I wasn’t quite sure if I had waited too long to return it (remember, it was refurbished) and what exactly my options were.

I got home and scoured the web for discussion boards. I authored an email to the people I bought it but decided to give the web another look before I sent it.

OK, if you are coming back to look, this is where I really start subscribing to “Moron Monthly.” Yes, give me the three year subscription. Thanks.

I find a discussion that describes exactly what is happening to my Rio and the resolve for this is the give it a nice hard smack on back of the unit.

Now people, I am a former Avionics Technician for Harrier aircraft. I not only went to the basic avionic course but also attended the Advanced First Term Avionics course so I know that you should never, EVER use brute force to fix a piece of electronic equipment.

So I’m smacking the shit out of it on the floor….

After a few tries, the only result is a loud clicking sound I didn’t remember hearing before which is identified on the discussion site as the hard drive sticking. Thus, the smacking to unstuck it. Sounds reasonable, right?

I give it one more forceful smack and to my utter amazement, the thing starts working.

So many emotions at this point.

First, I know I can’t return it because how do you return a working unit? But then what if it plays nice for a few weeks, when the warranty is nice and dusted and I can’t return it? Does smacking the piss out of an electronic device really seem right?

But it works so I have to go with it.

Suckers!! Who has the most MP3 room now, bitches?

(…cackling laughter fading off into silence…)




Free Advice for Today:
Don't make the same mistake twice."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"The 50-50-90 rule. Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong."

- Unknown

Monday, February 7, 2005

Entering The Teen Years ... Again

The last time this occurred was 16 years ago.

What is this event? I’m living under the same roof with a teenager. Who was it last time? My wife Carrie (we married when I was 19 and she was 18).

Who was it this time? My son, Alex, turns 13 today.

God have mercy on my soul.

It also marks exactly 18 years to the day that my wife and I met. So for you geniuses out there, our son was born 5 years to the day after we met. And for you uber-geniuses out there, there is no 5 year gestation period for humans so no, we didn’t HAVE to get married. I swear, you people….

So I got a lot to cover today.

I was drunk. Oh, sorry, we’re talking about when I met my wife. Come to think about it… never mind.

Believe me, the events leading up to this would take up several thousand blogs so I’ll skip over most of it and just say that I was out with a friend at an underage dance club looking for a God-fearin’ woman who would one day house my spawn. OK, I was prowling. I was about 18 so before you judge, remember that … I was 18. OK, that should buy me some time.

To fully explain the full hilarity of this scene, you’d have to see me as I was then. My half-Mexican blood ensured the fake-and-bake tanning I was involved in made me a deep shade of purple in February and the 3 oversized cans of Budweiser I downed in the car hit my 120 lb frame like a freight train. Got the visual? Does it look like an overtanned version of a belligerent Ralph Machio. OK, then you’re getting there.

This was 1987 so yes, Duran Duran was blaring, I had the white coat, stone-washed jeans, and a shirt that most likely involved a solid pastel. I am not proud of this folks. Please be gentle.

Anyway, if we can move on (keep down the laughter), I got separated from my buddy as I danced my fool head off (please, PLEASE don’t try to visualize this. It’s imminently worse than you can imagine) and found myself alone with a rather short-skirted vixen.

This was not my future wife but it adds to the story so what the hell. We sat on the steps (the only place to sit at the time) and my hand kept creeping up her thigh. When this finally became too much for this innocent doe in the snakeskin skirt, she grabbed my hand and stated “If that’s the kind of girl you think I am, I might as well just leave right now.”

And what was my instant response as learned from The International Gentleman’s Handbook?

Looking side to side before fixing my eyes on hers, I simply said:

“Bye.”

Yes, I was a bastard.

She promptly got up and left. I don’t remember why. Chicks.

Minutes later, Jeff found me and the first words out of his mouth was “Do you want to go to a party?”

I would like to say in hindsight that my response was a witty “Does Chewbacca’s balls itch in summer?” but one-liners of this stellar quality were not in my repertoire at the time. I think it was more on the lines of “F%$#% yeah!!!”

“I met this girl…”

Oh no, here it comes. I can just FEEL it….

“…and she has a friend..”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

The old “… she has a friend…” situation! And I assumed she has a wonderful personality too!

Jeff, knowing the Dude Code, told me to go take a look and that my prey was wearing a Coca-Cola sweatshirt (yes, very fashionable at the time so shut up) over by the pool table. So I danced over across the floor (and I actually did, God forgive me) and looked all around the pool tables but no one with a Coca-Cola sweatshirt was present. By the time I danced my way back (and yes, since you keep asking, I did, in fact, dance my way back) I found Jeff dancing with two girls. One had a Coca-Cola sweatshirt.

And she was tall.

And she was beautiful.

Now here was the deal from her side. She had gotten off work at KFC and was dragged to the club by her friend, Lisa, and didn’t even want to be there. Then Lisa hooks up with Jeff and puts Carrie in an awkward situation she is not too happy about. It seems this wasn’t the first time Lisa had put Carrie into this kind of mess.

So with that in mind, I come stumbling onto the scene, all Rico-Suave’ed out with my tan and my moves, drunk as ten monkeys swilling Everclear.

Yes, Carrie’s dreamboat had arrived.

She hated me from the moment she saw me.

I was drunk, I was obnoxious, and I was a legend in my own mind.

How my kids came to be is a complete mystery. Kids, if you are reading this, be scared. In hindsight, you should not be. There is no reason for your existence.

The next thing we know, I’m with Carrie in the back of Jeff’s car (an old Mustang without heat) pulling the not-so-subtle stretch move where my arm ends up around Carrie. The only thing more obvious was the eye-rolling I got in response and the laser beams shooting out of Carrie’s eyes at Lisa’s via the rearview mirror.

We got something to eat and by the end of the night, Jeff and Lisa had swapped enough spit to douse a forest fire. When Lisa slid Jeff her phone number, I turned to Carrie and said “Oh…yeah,… um.. can I get your number.”

It might have been the singularly dickest move I HAD ever or HAVE ever made. How she ended up giving me a real number I can only attest to … well… I can’t. But she did and the rest will have to wait because this blog is like way too long already and I haven’t even got to Alex yet.

Fast forward 5 years. Exactly.

My boy was a tough birth. At least for me since Carrie slept through most of it (the running joke I get dirty looks from Carrie every time I use it. And I use it A LOT).

Carrie’s mom was in Yuma with us for the birth and the boy was already a week late. They were going to induce but the day they planned it, Carrie’s water broke. The hospital was packed thanks to Operation Desert Stork (the name the hospital gave it because it was 9 months after the end of the first Gulf War).

Carrie was in labor all night and things weren’t exactly progressing as planned. In the morning when the regular nurse came in and looked at all the charts, she figured out what the problem was. Because Alex’s heartbeat slowed every time she contracted, they figured out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and while the body was in labor, other parts knew that things weren’t right and to resist. Thus, the centimeters were not cooperating.

So what was the answer? C-section, baby (an announcement that made me drop my donut and coffee right on the hospital hallway).

By the time I got in there, they had already given Carrie the medicine that stopped her contractions but it also had the unfortunate side-effect of given her the shakes. Not that watching your wife going through hours of labor, sleep-deprivation, and the drama of having a first child wasn’t enough, now I walk into a room after they tell me they are going to gut my wife who has a newfound resemblance to Shakes The Clown.

Lovely.

They wouldn’t even let me in to see the cutting. Bastards.

They got most of it done and then rushed me in to see this tiny woman dive her arm elbow-deep into my wife’s open body cavity and pulled out a perfect little man. Sure enough, the cord was around his neck but not tight. They just unlooped it. Because there was no trauma of going through the birth canal, he was not all mushed up and/or misshapen. He had no body fat so for all intents and purposes, he was a proportioned little man.

They handed him to me after they let me cut the cord. The first thing I did was to kiss his head, a practice he still allows me to do.

Now it’s 13 years later.

<sigh>

The good news: I’m pretty sure I can still take him.




Free Advice for Today:
When someone offers to pay you now or later, choose now."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well."

- Unknown

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Super Death Sunday

Ah, the big day. The day when diets are put on suspension. When grown men can spend the day totally free of any responsibility by simply invoking the age-old defense “But Honey, it’s the Super Bowl!

It’s also the day when it’s virtually impossible to find a good time to take a piss since the commercials are part of the event. So I just go right in the Lazy Boy, but that's just me. But Honey, it’s the Super Bowl!

I don’t know if anyone noticed but it surprised me to discover that the game didn’t even start until 6:00. I mean, come on, I was ready for a day filled with beer, snacks, football, a fire, and falling asleep before halftime only to wake up at the 2 minute warning. In other words, like every other Sunday during football season.

Actually, I wanted to spend the day watching the spectacle but had to wait until the end of the day to even start. So what did I do? Well, like most weekend days, I don’t quite remember but I’m sure it was exciting, useful, and well-deserved (yeah, OK, likely reading and napping).

I really didn’t give a crap who would win. Sorry folks but it just didn’t interest me that much and I was a definite fair-weather fan minus the actual desire to see someone win. I was in it mostly for the commercials. Oh, and the blinding violence. Can't forget that.

So what did I think? Well, I noticed that a lot of the commercials had to do with death. And not just the funny fall-down-and-bust-a-skull-open funny. I’m talking the really violent, leave-the-room-silent kind of death.

For example, when a guy was scared to jump out of the plane, his parachute instructor throws out some beer and then what happens? The pilot runs over and jumps.

Now at first you just think that the guy will definitely jump now since there is no pilot on board but you’re missing the point. What really happened to the pilot? Is this not a tad violent for my virgin sensitivities? If I wanted to see something like that, I'd hop over to Ogrish.com.

OK, granted, we'll assume he somehow makes it to the beer on time. He better be a fast chugger because if it was me (assuming I’d be painfully stupid enough to go chase brew out of an airplane without a parachute) I’d be getting my drunk on before I went kersplat.

Or maybe his plan was to catch up to the other jumper and hang on for dear life. If you were that guy, wouldn’t you be beating the piss out of some idiot with a death-grip on a six pack while plummeting to the earth sans parachute? OK, OK, yeah, assuming you did somehow snag the beer away from him in the process. Whatever, make up your own scenario, I’m trying to make a point here.

I started noticing the “death” pattern when they showed the War of The Worlds commercial. Does the scale get any bigger? Enough said.

Then there was the one where the shop owners thought the guy talking on his cell phone was robbing them. While this didn’t really end in death (as far as I know), getting pepper-sprayed, tazed repeatedly, and hit with a bat isn’t exactly a day at the beach. (If so, you should really find another beach. There are plenty out there).

For all of you cat lovers out there, you know I couldn’t have a “Death-Themed Super Bowl Commercial” blog without the cat one. It seems the white cat knocks over the spaghetti sauce and while the guy is holding a knife (fixing the salad as part of the surprise dinner for his girl) and as he picks the cat up (accidentally dabbing said kitty in the sauce), is caught in the compromising situation of holding a splattered cat with a knife in the other hand when the girl walks in.

The only grief I have with this commercial is that they didn’t end it by having the guy punishing the cat for ruining the surprise dinner. After standing there like a dufus holding the cat, the dude should have just let out his frustration. Repeated and violent knife attacks on the cat would have been a fitting end. But that’s just me and it’s not like the guy had his boob hanging out or anything. I mean, we gotta have standards, right?




Free Advice for Today:
Never buy a chair or sofa without first sitting on it for several minutes."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools."

- Unknown

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Laughable Links

I mentioned in my last blog that I came out to see the light of day in the cyber-world of bloggers. Let me explain two that I’ve found most interesting.

The first one I came into my life like most things of these type: totally random and unforeseen. Long story short, I had seen a photoshoot of Rachel Ray, the cooking chick, in one of those Maxim-like rags and was looking up to see what the cooking world in general thought of their innocent, motherly Rachel doing a cheesecake spread. Yes, really. What are suggesting? Pervs.

Moving on , I came across Charlie’s post about it and the tone was vaguely familiar. After contemplating it for a few moments and trying to drain the rest of the coffee out of my nasal passages, I thought, oh yeah, it was EXACTLY what I shoot for when I’m trying to be funny. TRYING. (Most of the time when I TRY, I’m not. When it comes out, it strikes gold. Go figure).

Anyway, here is the post I found and you can read it at your leisure (but come back, dammit, I’m not a free advertising agent over here!!).

The more I read of Charlie’s blog, the more hooked I got and now it’s a daily read for me. And, as a fringe benefit, I finally get to experience what some of you tell me that made me scratch my head about for years; the need to contemplate someone else’s view of life, twisted as that may be. You want to know what makes ME laugh? Go give Charlie a visit.

And in case you were wondering, yes, the design of Charlie’s blog did influence some of the redesign of my own. Notice the new date headers and the new name. I just thought that “Jason Grose’s Blog” was a big dry and the new name “How Did I get Here (and what is that smell?)” kind of captures most aspects of what I write about.

The second one I found as a link off of Charlie’s blog. Just the name was good enough for a read but you have to go see it for yourself. It’s called Big Stupid Tommy. As Master Yoda would put it "Disappointed you will not be."

OK, so if you are keeping count, that makes three major influences on my page and the only three links I’ve really bothered to prominently display from my webpage:

OddTodd
Where The Hell Was I?
Big Stupid Tommy

What this says about me, I'm afraid to ask. But go have a laugh.

I think it only fair that I also make an honorable mention to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show and Dave Barry, both of which make me laugh until I pee (which is quite embarrassing when I’m home on vacation).




Free Advice for Today:
Become famous for finishing important, difficult tasks."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Shin: A device for finding furniture in the dark."

- Unknown

Friday, February 4, 2005

You Talkin' To Me?

If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve added some commenting capability to my blog. It’s worked out well and it was one of those things that just happened when I actually came out of my cyber-shell and actually looked around at my fellow cyber-denizens.

Looking around I found one in particular that I liked (www.wherethehellwasi.com) and noticed he had a commenting feature. Naturally since I’m damn near retarded, I thought it was a feature of whatever software he was using to do is his blog and since I maintain an old-school (A.K.A. Neanderthal) approach to my blogging, I was never to enjoy the sweet nectar of online feedback. (Fast forwarding ahead, there has been minimal nectar, people!).

I wrote Charlie about this but again, because I have the patience of a 4-year-old hyped up on Lik-M-Stiks, I did some research and came across the YACCS site.

Here’s how these things go on Planet Jason:

I only plan to look into something that looks interesting. Then something else catches my attention (likely because it’s shiny) and then I start in on discovering every nuance of it. I scour the internet on how it works, what people are saying about it, and what features are included. Then I set it up and when it doesn’t follow the exact script I’ve set up in my mind, I lose it and am convinced the entire world is in a conspiracy to make my life a living hell. That phase lasts only a few minutes, luckily.

I usually get whatever it is working at least to the minimum specs but rather than leaving well enough alone, I try to enhance it just a little bit. Now two things happen from here on. If it works, I go on to the next improvement. This goes on until the second option occurs: total wreckage resulting in a personal and spiritual melt down of epic proportions.

Over the years, these episodes have lessened but somewhere deep inside, they are still there. Many a night (and early morning) have been spent in a vendetta-induced battle of the wills between me and some functionality that end in either me being incensed that it got the better of me or incensed that it took half the night to get it right. Either way, I’m tired and grumpy the next day.

So was the case with the commenting function. I got it designed and working and so far, been happy with it. But like all of these kinds of things, when mixed with my personality, it comes at a cost (a cost my wife has been paying for years).

But I must give credit where credit is due. The service is free but if you want the better features (like them sending you email when someone comments on your blog) then they accept donations. They suggest $5 but I thought, hey, $1 per month is not a lot to pay for such a great service. So I shoveled out the 12 smackaroos and got the wash, wax, and towel-dry treatment. So comment away and I will answer where appropriate. But abuse this capability and I have a defense. I shoot out ink like an octopus.

OK, not really but I can edit anything I get. So I can make you say some pretty offending things, not that I would put words in your mouth or anything. I'm just saying.




Free Advice for Today:
Never buy just one roll of toilet paper, one roll of film, or one jar of peanut butter. Get two."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Flashlight: A case for holding dead batteries."

- Unknown

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Ego-Surfing: Not For The Faint Of Heart

Have you ever ego-surfed? It can come up with some disturbing information.

What I’m talking about is typing your name into a search engine like Google and seeing what happens. Since I have my own webpage, and it’s been housed at various places over the years, I show up all over the place. Every once in awhile, I do this again just to see if anyone is talking behind my back (and you know who you are, you rat bastards!).

Up until today, the worst of it was a gay guy living in Australia that happened to have the exact same name as me. And for the record, I’ve NEVER even been to Australia. And for God sakes, I hope he found someone because seeing my name associated with a SEEKING gay man was uncomfortable at best and at worst, I don’t want to talk about it.

But this has even that beat. Once you are done looking, please take a look around my website, paying particular attention to the pictures. Note that I do not resemble this guy in any respect.

Disturbing Link

I guess I’ll be obeying the speed limit the next time I go through Indiana.

(As an aside, another thing you can do is Google your social security number, your address, or your telephone number; just to see what you get. Happy sleeping.)




Free Advice for Today:
Don't think people at the top of their professions have all th answers. They don't."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat drinking beer all day."

- Unknown

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

I Got More Space Than Picasso Got Paint

I am now in possession of more MP3 space than humans should be allowed to carry around. I mean, I don’t want to brag but come on people, 20 gigabytes of room. It was a long hard road to get here but here I sit, ready to load every one of my MP3s, all 2700 of them, almost everything up to this point that I’d ever want (and then some) and we’re talking about filling up HALF of this monster.

I went through all the steps, upgraded the firmware, and everything seemed to have worked. For the rest of the night, I made playlists.

For those uninformed few, the need for playlists is simple: you don’t want to hear “Baby Go Back” and then suddenly be thrust into “Butterfly Kisses.” It’s just wrong and quite jarring. So you tell the thing what you want to hear and with such a wide variety, it takes a long time to come up with and create a good playlist.

Have I tried the “Just put them all on there and let Fate be my DJ” method? Oh, yes sir, I have. And Fate is a bastard.

Fate seems to like country and classical which, ironically enough, are also the only two genres that always seem to come in crystal clear when driving cross country. But I digress.

So now that I have all the music I ever wanted stored in a package a little bigger than a pack of cigarettes, you’d think I’ve arrived, right?

Well, now all I need a case for it, a power plug for work, and an FM transmitter for the truck and then, only then, will I be happy. Right? Hello?

As long as we are on the technology theme, I found a TiVo hack that is actually quite useful. It started from reading another blog that talked about the Super Bowl and how all the TiVo owners were reprogramming their sets so they could record the famous commercials. I pointed out that you really can’t program a TiVo to skip commercials but instead can skip through them upon playback.

I got impatient waiting for an answer so I researched it myself and as far as I know, I was right. But what I did discover is that there is a lot of hidden crap you can do to your TiVo. Now were they just putting the “fun” in functionality or did they just forget to include these in the directions? I don’t know but it seems there is a lot of things you can do.

The useful one that I found was to program one of the buttons to skip ahead 30 seconds.

(If you have a TiVo, the rest of this will make sense. For everyone else, Good Lord, get into the 21st century and get a TiVo! (notice how I become a techno-snob when I acquire new things. BTW, I have more MP3 space than you.))

So here it is. You know if you push the little button that looks like a turnaround loop, you can go back 8 seconds. I’ll wait while you try it.

Back? Good.

On the other side of the remote is a similar button that had an arrow pointing to a straight line. This button is normally used to skip forward to live TV if you’ve paused it at any point. This is the button you will reprogram because frankly, if you are recording a program, I don’t know why you would want to skip over all you’ve recorded to get to the end.

Here are the buttons to push: {select} -> {play} -> {select} -> {3} -> {0} -> {select}

Now when you are watching a taped program and want to skip through a commercial, just push the button and you skip ahead 30 seconds.

Like my Karma, so far it’s worked great.




Free Advice for Today:
Put on old clothes before you get out the paint brushes."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Quote of the Day:

"The things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those who got there first."

- Unknown

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Putting the "Hyper" in "Hyperventilation"

For the second time in my life, the skies have opened up and bestowed me with a gift from the heavens.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am (pause for dramatic effect and to wipe away the tears from my eyes) going to see Sarah McLachlan in concert again in May.

Now before you cram my comment box with requests to take you with me or to inform me that I don’t deserve this level of ultimate musical experience, there’s more that sends this into the stratosphere.

I might have seats within the first two rows.

(Jason faints.)

Wha… what happened? Oh, yeah (faints again).

Here’s how it happened. I remembered seeing that Sarah was coming to Norfolk but they hadn’t started selling the tickets. I figured they would start and checked the website where I found, sure enough, they were on sale.

Initially I went to Ticketmaster only to see that the only tickets left were on the second deck of the stadium. Sucker seats compared to where I was last year in New York.

I remembered another little nugget of info someone sent me was that they had got their tickets through the Official Sarah McLachlan Fan Club and got pretty good seats. So I thought I’d check it out and log in.

OK, we’ve covered this before and I’m only going to explain it one more time. Yes, I do belong to the Official Sarah McLachlan Fan Club and yes, I did pay an annual membership fee and finally, no, I am not a lesbian. God, people, will you ease up?

Not that I owe you an explanation but there were CDs that were only on sale to members of her fan club so to get to them, I joined the only fan club I’ve ever been part of. Happy?

Now it seems there might be another benefit. I logged on and read through how the whole fan site ticket sales work.

The first thing I learned is that to be eligible, you have to be a current member at the time of the concert. Because this concert goes in May and my membership is up before then, I needed to pay for another year’s worth of membership and thus endure the continued ridicule from those of you who do not posses the ability to grasp the ethereal nature of Sarah’s perfect music. So I shelled out the duckies.

Basically, you sign up for tickets and they only tell you if they have them or not. You agree to pay whatever price they are going for and you don’t find out where exactly you are sitting until you pick up your tickets at Will Call the day of the concert. I don’t know why they do this but they say that normally, the tickets are within the first two rows.

(Jason faints).

So I signed up and they sent me confirmation that I had tickets. So potentially, I have front row tickets. Breathe, Jason, breathe….

I also like the way they alter the concert date page on the site once you’ve been confirmed.

This is too much for one man to handle. You have to understand: I live and breathe Sarah McLachlan music every day. EVERY DAY! In my truck, in my headphones, at work, at home, on my runs, during my workouts, and even piped through my TiVo.

Now, I may end up a mere few feet from that voice… it’s just….

(faints)




Free Advice for Today:
Remember that anything worth doing is going to take longer than you think."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

BLOG entry for this day from 2004

BLOG entry for this day from 2003


Email -- jason@grose.us
Web -- http://www.grose.us/