Friday, December 31, 2010

Winding Up 2010

Quickie Post.

Before I say anything else let me just properly greet and welcome all of you new followers that I've noticed popping up. I'd also like to thank all of you who have have been leaving clever and encouraging comments. You're all my enablers, each and every one of you and have been sufficiently feeding my new-found lust for attention.

********

Next off, I received, not one, but two blog awards. I'd also like to thank dbs @ think.stew for awarding me with the Guide Blog Award:


And Semi True Torystellar @ Can U Relate? for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award:



Thanks, guys, I'm truly touched (And I don't mean in a way that requires legal proceedings or awkward promises of commitment).

********

Having only started in September this year I don't have a "Best of the Year" list, not this year anyway. Even though I really do love some of my more recent posts:

Cleaning Out My Closet - Where I reveal details from my sordid past.

Some People Need To Feel In Order To Learn - Spoiled brats annoy me and, apparently, they annoy you too.

But my personal favorite has to be: The Wonderful World of Blogging - An in-depth analysis (Yeah, right!) of the mental and emotional changes experienced by us new bloggers.

Okay so I do have a list.

Sue me.

********

Last, because so many of you expressed the same concern as I did in my most recent post, I searched my archives and pulled up an essential training video to help us face an alien invasion.

From the people at HISHE:


Here's hoping you all the best for the upcoming year. I'd say don't do anything I wouldn't but you guys are more fun than I am and I don't want to tie you down.

Happy New Year, guys!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's More Random Than Nature?

Well I hope everyone had a great Christmas weekend. Mine was... eventful. As usual, it was filled with family, nog, turkey and ham.

Hey, you know what I think about when I think about ham?


Big shout out to Keely, the Un Mom for making Random Tuesday Thoughts possible.


Sunday night.

We're sitting at home on the couch. After a weekend of holiday family visits, we're tired and are warming ourselves in front of the glow of our TV.

Rumble, shake!


My wife looks at me, " What was that?!"

"Earthquake." I reply. The fact that she acknowledged it confirmed that it was real.

RUMBLE! SHAKE!


Mrs. C springs to her feet, eyes wide. She looks around the room. Quickly, she heads inside to check on The Old Woman (her grandmother, who has been living with us for the past few months). She noticed it too.

We brace ourselves... and wait...

All this time, I'd been playing it cool. Mrs. C tends to be the expressive one. If she's scared, worried, happy, sad, you'll notice. Me... I put up a nonchalant front most of the time. In this instance, I decided to be the calm one again, as usual. However, this was only a front. An outside appearance I put up to avoid feeding into my wife's panic. Inside was much different.

"What should we do? Stand under a doorway? Get under a desk? SHIT! We don't have a desk! How could we not have a desk?! We can't survive nature's onslaught without a desk!!! Maybe we'd be safer outside. No! That's not right. Why didn't I pay more attention?!"

Nothing.

"Maybe it wasn't an earthquake. Maybe it was the aftershock of some kind of explosion. Nah! We would've heard something. An explosion big enough to rock our apartment twice would have clearly made some kind of sound. A loud one."

"OH.CRAP! Alien attack!"

I try to remain calm as I move to the window. Nothing. No strange, bright lights, no ominous dark silhouettes hovering in the night sky. Still, I don't trust it.

"Okay, think! What do you when the aliens attack? SHIT! I can't remember. What have I been doing all this time?! I've been watching sci-fi movies for as long as I can remember. I should know this. What am I saying? This is why I shouldn't have watched Skyline (not that it had anything to do with the situation. It was just 90 minutes of my life I wasted on that crap and I'll never get them back. And now that the aliens are attacking! I could have been preparing instead!)"


It was, in the end just an earthquake. The news said it was a 4.7 off the north coast. Just four or five seconds of Mother Nature reminding us that she owns our asses. Just an example of how one random act of nature can fuel some crazy random thoughts. I'm going to go buy a desk now.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Seasons Beatings!

It's been about a month since I first gave out my "Tanned Hide" award and, in the season's spirit of giving I've decided to give out a few more.

I'll keep this one short and sweet because I didn't get a wink of sleep last night. Since exams are over and I shouldn't have an excuse for not sleeping, I guess I should explain:

It started with a phone call from Mrs. C who called me from work last night. The conversation ended with her saying these words:

"I don't care what you have to take. Coffee, energy drink, whatever. I need you tonight. All night!"

What followed her getting home took place in every room of the apartment. We did every possible thing imaginable. We swept, dusted, changed the curtains and bed sheets, polished the furniture. We even baked the ham...*

What..?

Oh, you thought...

Perves!

* In case you're wondering, no, none of these are code for anything else.

Anyway, now that I've got your attention, on to some award giving:

Once again:

As I mentioned when this award was first given out, the "Tanned Hide" goes to bloggers who hold a mirror up to society and its members who may have somewhat gone astray and often smash them over the head with it provide insight as to how those situations should be properly handled. - I just love how that sounds.

This time I've chosen three recipients who get to take the happy couple above home:

Peter V of Triton Cove - Like me, he's tired of the materialistic BS the media - and their snotty-nosed little mascots - try to shove down our throats.

The Didactic Pirate - Scourge of the high seas & bratty college students. Up until some recent redecorating his motto used to be "The beatings will continue until morale improves, or I get tired." Nuff said.

Nubian - Her blog's private but, without a doubt, she doles out well deserved punishment with true elegance. And she doesn't even spill a single drop of wine in the process.

Like before, this award is rule free and the recipients are free to pass it on to those who know have been handing out the ass whoopin' without fear of favor.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a nice coma to slip into.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Being Proactive Sucks

It's my last end of semester exam today but I just had an experience that I had to document somewhere so I could refer to it in case I needed evidence someday. I just came from school. I used my lunch hour to get next semester's registration organized. I'll admit that I can be a bit of a procrastinator at times. For the last two semesters I've had to pay late fees along with my registration because I missed the deadline.

Not this time.

This time I was going to be proactive. I was going to be organized and do it right and everything would be perfect.

Boy, was I wrong...

Let's start at the top, shall we:

I go online and print all of the required documents in the office so I could get processed more quickly. I strut confidently from work to my school which is only a ten-minute brisk walk away.  The air is crisp. It's bright but not too sunny. As I walk, happy little humming birds dance around my head. It's just that perfect.

I get to school, no line. Excellent. I walk up to the counter and ask for the GATE form (we fill this out so the government will pay the bulk of our tuition - a total lifesaver). The girl at the counter asks me for my forms (the ones I printed in advance). I proudly present said forms, filled with pride because, yes, I was proactive.

Me: Here they are (voice all sunshiny).
Girl at Counter: Do you have your student email?
Me(Chest puffed, fists on hips, looking off into the distance - the ceiling needs dusting) Why, I most certainly do. Got it when they first came out. (Even further evidence of my overflowing proactiveness.)
Girl at Counter: Did you print it?
Me(I look down at her) Print what?
Girl at Counter: Your email.
Me: No... Why?
Girl at Counter: That's one of the documents you have to produce.
Me: (Chest quickly deflating): Since when?
Girl at Counter: It's our requirement for this coming semester.
Me: I didn't know that. Did you guys give some kind of announcement?
Girl at Counter(Shrugs) You need...
Me: (Chest returned to normal size) Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can't get the GATE form or pay my registration fee until I bring it. I.know.
Girl at Counter: You can use the computers upstairs.
Me: (Growl)


I shuffle across the lobby to the elevator to get to the third floor. At this point I'm in totally the opposite mood than when I started. It isn't only because my attempt at efficiency had been thwarted, but also because the school's computer system is wols (so slow I had to spell "slow" backwards).

On the third floor I find a free system. I log on and, OHMYGAWD, it takes FIVE MINUTES just for the little log-in dialogue box to come up:

Slow-Ass PC: Your password has expired. You must change before proceeding.

Why, of course it has. I'd expect nothing less at this point.

TWENTY minutes later (which was basically made up of me pacing, banging my head against a nearby wall, swearing silently and crying a little), I'm printing my email info and, CRAP, I only have access to the printer on the second floor.

Hell no, I ain't going through this shit again! I send two prints and stay logged-in on the third floor slow-ass PC while I run down the stairs to the second floor to check the printer. I find both copies waiting for me in the printer. YES! Something went right. I run back up the stairs third. I log off (which went quickly, mercifully) and head back down to the lobby.

Me: Here (not so sunshiny this time around).
Girl at Counter: Thanks. Here is your GATE form.
Me: Thanks (grumble)

I fill the form, take my copy and proceed to the cashier to pay my $75 (TT) registration fee. I hand my forms to the cashier.

Cashier: That will be $280 (TT)
Me: Huh...
Cashier: $280.
Me: It went up? Since when?
Cashier: That is the fee, sir. (Her tone clearly was saying, "Not my damn problem. I didn't raise the fees Now hurry up and pay so I can get back to my Twilight book.")

Outstanding...

I paid. I decided it was best to just get it over with before I came back and realized there were even more forms and fees required the next time. By this time, counter-girl had made herself scarce so I wasn't able to thank her properly for the head's up. Counter-guy had taken her place.

Me: The fees went up?
Guy at Counter: Yes, sir.
Me: It would have been nice if they announced something like that.
Guy at Counter: (Shrugs - They've been trained well) I guess.

I leave. Thoroughly defeated I trudged back to the office. At least, I managed to make it back to work just as my lunch hour ended. Next time I have to do this, I won't make the mistake of being optimistic.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cleaning Out My Closet

I never thought I'd actually get around to writing this. In fact, even as I write it, I'm debating with myself as to whether or not I'll actually post it. But, in a weird, totally unexpected way, I ended up having to deal with what had gotten me into blogging in the first place. In my very first post I only said that I'd “been through a lot of stuff” in the year prior but never actually come clean on the tangled web of circumstances that brought me here today.

Oddly enough, the reason I finally ended up writing this, believe it or not, is because my calculator died.

******

Yesterday morning, I was studying for one of my end of semester exams. I reached for my calculator and realized that the screen was all black. It was old so I knew its demise was at hand but that didn't solve my problem. Mrs. C had one but even that one needed batteries and it was never unpacked from our last move. Since I did need it, I proceeded to search. I rummaged through boxes with no success so I hit the closets next. In mine were a few boxes full of odds and ends I'd never gotten to throwing out. I searched until I came to the box. The one I didn't want to go through. The box containing, among other things, the items from my previous job. In it was all the junk I'd accumulated over the five years I'd spent as a banker.

Old, battered & worn looking, isn't it? Hard to believe
 that this box hold five years of what was my life.
In one of my past posts I only briefly mentioned that I was once employed in the banking sector. “Was” being the operative word here. I was forced to make a hasty retreat from this scene and the abruptness of that departure sent my life into a tailspin. Aside from the loss of income, I experienced a loss of identity. I questioned my faith, went into a state of depression and lost all sense of direction. In short, I was a fucked-up mess (for anyone who's been paying attention, that's my first blogging f-bomb).

Eventually, though, the dust settled and during those long days of unemployment I began to take stock of myself and what had brought me to that point. I explored different avenues to deal with what I was going through but, somehow, I always ended up coming back to writing – a hobby I once had in my teenage years.

I was a naïve and innocent twenty-six year old. Too naïve and innocent for that age. Before banking, I'd only worked for small companies doing basic grunt work and this was my first foray into the corporate world. A world where, if you weren't careful, the backstabbing, deceit, and never ending supply of users, abusers and self-absorbed douchebags that exist in it will eventually start to seep into you as well.

And I wasn't careful.

For the most part in my banking career, I was in loans (let's not start hating me all at once, here). There's an inside joke in loans that you have to learn the proper art of bullshitting to do it right. You have to be friendly ALL.THE.TIME. You also have to be ready to drop down and kiss ass at a moment's notice and because you were always representing “the bank” this brown-nosing applied whether you were on or off the clock. I had to adopt that phony personality. I became a “salesman”. I learned how to talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk and became a proper bullshitter. For a while I was doing okay but the truth was that this person I had become simply wasn't me. Soon enough the cracks began to form.

I became this person I didn't recognize. Added to that, I experienced betrayal, dishonesty, egotism and cutthroat ambition at a level I'd never before known (and if you knew some of my relatives, that's saying a lot). Slowly, it chipped away at me. It broke down my childish optimism I had when I first went in and, before I even realized, it sucked me in. Soon enough I was one of them.

Still, I don't really blame the job. In retrospect, I mostly have myself to blame. When faced with the situations I encountered I have to honestly admit that lacked the mental and emotional maturity to handle them. I made mistakes. I compromised on more that a few occasions in areas where I shouldn't have. I was a passive aggressive ball of bitterness and anger. If you knew me then, you probably wouldn't have liked me. Truth is, I didn't like myself. Worst of all, it was damaging my marriage. To be honest, I'm not sure how much longer we would have lasted with me being in that state.

What banking did have going for it is that it paid well. Really well. My, then, coworkers and “friends” (none of whom ever tried to get in touch when I left) griped and complained constantly about how pathetic they thought their salaries were. And I sang along in tune. Even after I found another job, I was amazed to learn just how little some were willing to work for – and they didn't complain half as much. Being surrounded by so many who didn't appreciate what they were getting, I never realized how full of shit we were. If I could go back there right now, I'd bitch-slap the lot of them just for being such ungrateful, whiny brats.

Will I ever go back to it, though? I'm slightly older and a whole lot wiser now and have had a lot of time to figure out where I went wrong. But, no, I probably wouldn't. I've rediscovered my priorities and realize that that wasn't the life for me. If I did, it would only be for the money and I'm not sure if that would truly be worth it to be back in that world again. To be honest, even though I still have a lot of damage control to do on some parts of my life, I like who I am now. Some of the naivety and innocence is gone now. But I think that's a good thing. This world will swallow you whole if you let it.

******

Yesterday, I finally threw it all out. The promo buttons, the pins, the bags, the t-shirts, all the worthless shwag and, hopefully, the last little bit of regret and resentment I'd been hanging on to for the last year and a half were all stuffed into a plastic grocery bag and put out on the curb. It amazes me how small all of this baggage actually ended up being. It sounds cliché but actually I feel lighter now.

For those of you who made it all the way to the end of this ramble and are interested, I did eventually find my wife's calculator. It was after I had forgotten that I had been looking for it in the first place. By accident I noticed the small gift bag Mrs. C kept it and some other stuff in on the shelf above her own closet. Had I looked there in the first place that box would still be sitting ominously in the corner of my closet waiting for me to face it one day.

Funny how things work out.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Battle of The Sexes Reach Da Streets

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pondering Humanity's Downfall To The Machines & Other Random Thoughts

Well, another week has gone by and it's Tuesday yet again - actually, it's been two weeks since I last did a RTT. However, I submit that my argument is still valid since weeks do occur on a weekly basis so, if you think about it, a week has gone by since last week. Go ahead, think about it. I dare you.

Wow, even that intro was random. Anyhow, the fact is, I just can't stay away. Might as well face it, I'm addicted to:


RTT is a product of Keely the Unmom and brought to you by the Mystery Background Ham. Actual randomness of this post may vary. Some randomness may appear more random than they actually are.

Great! Now I have Robert Palmer music stuck in my head...

- Hey, I wonder what ever happened to his robot backup girls. Are they in storage somewhere? Some kind of warehouse or something? Someone should really check into that. I mean, they're like a ready-made skynet army... Yes, the first wave of terminators will be hot and will also play a mean electric guitar.

Humanity is so screwed.

- I have a neighbor that has taken to blasting Christmas music every morning for an hour from about five o'clock. It's so loud that, when he cranks it up, it can jolt you right out of bed from five houses away... I live three houses away.

Outstanding...

- I read that the third annual pole dancing championships were held in Japan last week. Pole dancing “athletes” took home wins in female and male categories, as well as a winner in the new disabled division category was added this year... Ummm, yeah, let's leave that one alone.


First of all, pole dancing is a sport? Second, I have to wonder, does this "sport" have scouts like basketball? Do they trawl strip clubs worldwide night after night hoping to find the next pole dancing phenomenon. You have to admire such determination to endure these rigors for the cause. Organizers hope that the "sport" will make it to the Olympics one day.

- No, seriously, someone get on that shit with the killer robot chicks.

I'm going to be basically phoning it in for the next few days (I submit this post as Exhibit "A"). End of semester exams are looming and I've really got to hit the books (and if that doesn't work I'll probably try reading 'em).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When Vinny Met The Diva

There are a lot of things in life I can say "I just know" to. Like, whenever I tell Mrs. C that someone in work or school flirted with me, I just know she'll ask when would be a good time for her to pay a visit (being about 1/3 Venezuelan - don't hold me to the math - her first instinct whenever her territory is encroached upon is to "cut-a-bitch"). Again, whenever I talk to Big Momma C, I just know the conversation will eventually go to the grandbabies - or lack thereof that we've provided so far (one of my younger sisters has already provided three but me being her first born and only son makes her especially eager). Also, I just know that, nine out of ten times, whenever I leave for work the stray dog that sleeps in front of the apartment building we live in will embarrassingly follow me for half a block jumping and playing and making sure everyone knows it's me she's following.

WARNING! The following is a sappy, sentimental tale of a boy meeting his first love which may-or-may-not result in a boredom induced coma:

Fourteen years ago I was a teenager working in the upstairs office of a local fabric store. I was a gopher/messenger and would usually be out delivering and collecting things for the office. Often when things were slow upstairs I was asked to go down into the store itself to lend the girls a hand. In retail, I noticed several girls come and go. Some were attractive some weren't. Some were "DAMN!!!" fine. You know, the kind that leave you having to wipe the drool off the side of your mouth when they walked by. Being a teenager, of course I objectified women sexually (one day I hope to eventually figure out how not to). But, I digress. There were some that were friendly and talkative and some I became friends with. But, since I was shy and awkward (and clueless) none of these friendships became anything more than that.

Until one day, when I had just returned from one of my gopher runs I stood one of the street entrances just for a few seconds, looking in. It was September. The Christmas season was about to begin and soon there would be barely any room in the store to stand with all the women - with tired and frustrated husbands in tow - looking to buy new fabric for their traditional Christmas curtains and table cloths. Then, something zipped passed me and quickly disappeared into the lobby which lead to the upstairs offices and storerooms. I only saw her for a second. She was petite, even shorter than I was and really damn cute. One of the porters assigned to help the salesgirls with the heavy lifting was close by and I did something I never did before: I asked about her.

"That's the new girl. She started today." was his reply. He didn't know her name. All he knew was that she worked the same table as K. (K was the only male sales clerk and the store's resident drag queen. K would proudly show the guys and girls photos of himself decked off in evening gown and wig. He wasn't too convincing, though. I think, maybe, it was because he refused to shave his mustache.)

But, I digress again. As I was saying, this girl caught my eye in an unusual way. I learned her name in our first conversation that day. It was unique. To this day I've yet to actually meet someone with the same name. We'll call her Diva for now. It's a nickname I gave her because of her amazing singing voice and because she could be a bit of a brat, when she was ready.

Unknown to me was that I caught also her eye as well. And, unknown to us both, our mutual attraction was noticed by K and his merry band of gossips long before we knew the feeling was mutual. Because they thought we'd make a cute couple - and because working in a fabric store leaves you with little much else to do - they hatched a plan to get us together. It was a pretty simple plan. The guys would drop hints that she was asking about me. K and the girls would always send Diva to the storeroom for stock and suggest I go with her to help with the heavy lifting. This left us usually alone on the poorly lit, abandoned floors of the building looking for toweling or tablecloths (before your imaginations run wild and you get revved up I'll dispel any illusions here and now. We just talked... Honest!).

Perves...

Anyway, it wasn't very long before asking her out became the obvious decision. Being a shy, awkward, introvert I must admit I took my sweet time to work around to it. I'll admit it, I was insecure, but I decided to go for it. I decided to ask her out after work one Saturday in October. We were repacking a table and talking. It was now or never for me. I couldn't keep putting it off. I felt my nerves on edge.

Me (to myself): "Dammit, man! Stop being a little bitch and do it already." I imagined slapping myself in the face a few times since I figured doing it for real would diminish my chances somewhat. I took a deep breath and opened my mouth to say the words when she suddenly interrupted me.
Diva: "You want to meet in the pizza place around the corner after work?"
Me: "Okay..."

I won't go on to tell you about our adventures during our seven years of dating until, one day, we just knew it was time to tie the knot and Dive became the Mrs. C we know today (you're welcome).

Even to this day, Mrs. C asks me what it was that attracted me to her. I try to think up an explanation but the truth is it was one of those things I just knew.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Wonderful World of Blogging.

When you first get into blogging you often don't know what to expect. We all get into it for different reasons, of course. Sometimes it's to cope with day-to-day stress or to help deal with a traumatic event or even to test your skills as a writer. Whatever the case, you may not often realize how entering this new world can affect you:


At first, when you start blogging you think to yourself, "I don't care if nobody reads this. It's my blog and it's for me." (Let's be honest. If you really didn't care about who read your innermost thoughts and ideas you'd have just bought a diary in the first place)

Things progress harmlessly enough. You publish post after post and, while you're sure no one reads your ramblings, you keep at it. You read other blogs from much more interesting people than yourself and leave a comment or two. Eventually, though, you see an actual reader has left a comment about the nice post you put up. This happens again and again and then, one day, you see it. Your first follower has appeared! That's when things get interesting. All of a sudden and without even realizing it, all you can think about is blogging:

Oddly, I haven't observed anyone saying that they've experienced any weight loss from blogging.
And all you want to talk about is blogging:


Over time, as you more gain followers and get more positive comments, you start to think, "Finally! People who get me." Blogging becomes all-consuming. It dominates all your free time and permeates every aspect of your life. Pretty soon, all you do is find opportunities to tell everyone about your blog. Your friends, your family, your coworkers, they all must partake in you genius:



You're hooked. You try to post daily. You want to post daily. All for fear that your followers may lose interest and find something more interesting to do. Blogging has taken control of your life and soon you want nothing else but to publish that next post:


Well, almost nothing else. Let's face it, for some things there aren't any substitute.


Meanwhile, you forget about the real reason you started blogging in the first place. This isn't your personal therapy session any more. No, now it's about the followers and the comments. You start to feel you can do no wrong and every keystroke is a magical pearl of wisdom and wit that is born out of the teardrops of angels.

Not so:


You aren't really as good as you think and you won't always get the validation you desire. You can sometimes find yourself taking it personally:

_____________________________________________________________________________


Before too long, real life starts clamoring for attention, like the needy little attention whore life is. Petty annoyances like bills and loans and your job/kids/hygiene, whatever all decide to get in the way of your new, happy world. You can even suffer a bout of writers-block (Yeah! I can say it. I am a "writer" now so why not?).

Eventually, through trial and error and for reasons as varied as the reasons for getting into blogging in the first place, you find you do eventually find a balance. (If you're lucky you may even realize you aren't as good as you think you are and stop being a douchebag.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Tuesday - So Even More Randomness

I've been kinda AWOL from blogging for a few days. Mostly because my lecturers seem to be on a drive to make my brain explode. Another contributor is the fact that HOLYFREAKINCRAP, it's been a boring week! I've literally felt the boredom drain the life out of me these last few days. The highpoint of the last few days was going into the city with Mrs. C on Saturday just to do some errands. Even then, while we were in the cosmetics store, I was trying to figure out how much force I would need to employ in order to impale myself through the eye with a make-up pencil. But I got a barbecue pork sub out of the deal and I still have both eyes so it's all good. But, it's Tuesday and you know what that means. It's time to get random.




Of course, shout out to Keely, the Un Mom for making Random Tuesday Thoughts possible.


- The office was smelling like ass today. Then the cleaning lady came and now it smells like a floral bouquet... and ass.

- With enough practice, you can fool people into thinking you actually listening when they're telling you stuff you didn't ask and don't really care about.

- Had no coffee today. Someone started a conversation by asking me, "You know what I'm thinking?" and I came this close to replying, "Not really. So, either I'm not really a psychic or you're lying about thinking."... This is further proof that it really is in everyone's best interest I maintain some level of caffeine intake.

- If I could harness the power of static electricity then, instead of always getting zapped by doorknobs I could use my powers to help those in need. Or zap 'em. That would be more fun. On a side note, people who enjoy it every time I jerk my hand away from the knob and yell "Son of a bitch!", are getting zapped first.

- I had a dream the other night that the world was being invaded by alien plant people. I believe the steamed vegetables I had for lunch the day before may have had a part to play in this.

Ahhh... I feel much better now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Submitted For Approval - Airline

Monday, November 22, 2010

Further Advances In Stalking & Sharing The Pain

Two-For-One Post: A Bit Lengthy But There Are Lots Of Pictures.

Saturday night I was lying on the couch, watching TV (Yes, I know, all wild & crazy like that. That's just how I roll). Anyway, an ad came on for a website called mylife which is supposed allow you to search who's been searching you on the net. Mrs. C was in the kitchen and she overheard the ad. Since we both found it interesting I decided to check it out. I wasn't really expecting to find much. I've tried similar sites in the past and they generally don't allow you to even access their search without a valid US zip code. Plus, I've googled myself a few times and always come up with bupkis.

(Somewhat depressing -um- "fun" fact: I recently googled asvinnycsit and found my blogger, twitter and facebook links... I guess I should be happy that, according to the web, I exist in some form, at least.)

But I digress. I pulled up the website and put in my info which, not surprisingly, wasn't that much. If you've never tried one of these sites before, all they usually request is your first and last name and zip code. Mylife was the same: first name, last name and, of course, my zip code (Hoo-boy! Here we go again!). Surprisingly, I got in with the five zeros I'm supposed to enter. Not surprising was to find the results coming up empty. Once again, I resigned myself to a life of relative obscurity and was about to move on...

Until I noticed this:


Now since I never really got this far before, I don't know if the "Jealous Lover" feature is a standard for these types of sites. Of course, I couldn't resist trying it out:
Do they give you extra pages if you have more than three "Gals"?
Yes, you can jealously keep tabs on who's checking out your significant other... and your other significant other... and your other other significant other and so on.

Oh, c'mon. How could I not have fun with this?


The results were somewhat surprising, though:



When I was tired of it, and at her request, I searched out my wife's stalkers and found none. I have mixed emotions about this...

________________________________________


In other news, I actually made a blog award. This is thanks to the keen eye of Semi True Toristeller over at Can U Relate. I, being a little bit slow sometimes, probably never would have thought of this.

It all started in a recent post where I recanted my adventures while visiting the pharmacy (Oooh!). It was here I expressed my ideas about improper parenting - to put it mildly. I then made a suggestion about how this situation I observed should have been handled. Insert shameless self plug here: Click on the link and read the post if you don't know what I'm talking about. It was in my retelling of this incident that my award was born.

Behold! I bestow upon you:

The Tanned Hide!!!


Now from what I understand about the tradition, I'm supposed to pass this on to a few others and not just hang it on my own wall next to my wedding photos - Even thought I still might do just that anyway.

In creating this award I had to first decided it's purpose and then who should receive it. The first part was easy. It isn't to be presented to bloggers I wanted to give a spanking to... sorry. Also, it isn't to go to bloggers who I want (or think may want) to give me a spanking either... sorry again. This award goes to bloggers who hold a mirror up to society and its members who may have somewhat gone astray and often smash them over the head with it provide insight as to how those situations should be properly handled.

The next part was hard: who do I give this award to? I had a really hard time with this part. It's not that there aren't deserving bloggers out there that easily come to mind. That's just the problem: too damn many do. And, since I can't give everyone one - which we all can agree is really dumb and pointless - I had to narrow the list down. I decided to go with five. Because so many blogs I read fill the criteria so well I had to give this some serious thought. Then I got a headache so I just chose at random - because I'm lazy like that.

The first "Tanned Hide" recipients are, in no particular order are:
  • Dr. Cynicism @ Cynicism 101 - He's got a PhD in verbal ass whoopin'.
  • Miss Nikki @ my cyber house rules - Tellin' it like it is and not pulling any punches.
  • Simple Dude @ Simple Dude in a Complex World - He says he simple but his blunt delivery is genius.
  • dbs @ think.stew - Giving stupid the "stink eye" on a regular basis.
  • Semi True Torysteller @ Can U Relate? - Not just because she suggested I make this award but she holds the mirror up to herself first and that kind of brutal self honesty is something that reminds the rest of us to always be true to ourselves.

Please remember that if I didn't pick someone it isn't because I didn't feel you didn't deserve it. I'm trusting that if this gets circulated by it's recipients it'll eventually come to you and the work will be done for me (like I said: lazy).

There are supposed to be rules to these things but, you know what, I already have a headache, plus, the way I see it, society has too many rules as it is. I'll only say this much on the matter: if you choose to pass it on, give it to other bloggers who have been handing out some well deserved positive punishment to all the jokers out there.

As for me, I'm gonna go sleep this headache off.

Peace.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Conversations With Mrs. C: Pillow Talk

Early morning hours: I'm awakened by my wife just coming to bed.

Me: Hey, you. What time is it?
Mrs. C: About half three.

I suppose I should shed some light here. My wife doesn't work a regular daytime job. She works from afternoon into late evenings doing end-of-day data processing. On top of that she developed insomnia about two years ago - partially thanks to the job hours - which comes and goes. It's become common for her to finally turn in at these kinds of hours.

As usual, we quickly discuss the plan for the day ahead and settle in. After a few seconds of silence:

Mrs. C: I think we should stop using toothpaste.
Me: Huh?
Mrs. C: Fluoride is unhealthy. You know it's actually a poison?
Me: Who have you been talking to?
Mrs. C: Nobody. We should probably try to get spring water too. For drinking. Don't they put it in the water too?
Me: I don't think they don't do that in Trinidad.
Mrs. C: Oh. Well chlorine isn't good either. Anyhow, you can make your own toothpaste from coconut oil and salt and...
Me: I'm guessing we can kiss minty fresh breaths goodbye, then?
Mrs. C: I'm serious! You remember when you talked about moving to the country and starting a farm? I think we should do that. It's much cleaner out there.
Me: (Pretending to be asleep)
Mrs. C: We could raise or own livestock. All the meat we get now is filled with chemicals.
Me: Do you know how to slaughter a cow?
Mrs. C: Well I was more thinking chickens. (She didn't wait for me to ask if she knew how to slaughter chickens) Besides, country people are friendly. One of our neighbors could do it for us.
Me: You've been up surfing the net all night, haven't you.
Mrs. C: I!... A little...
Me: Okay, I think you need supervision, or something, whenever you go on the net. You always end up freaking yourself out. The web's not controlled. Anybody can say anything there and you can't believe it all.
Mrs. C: I know that, but...
Me: Time to sleep now.
Mrs. C: 'K.

A few more seconds pass.

Me: You know I'm totally gonna blog this, right?
Mrs. C: (Pretending to be asleep)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some People Need Feel In Order To Learn.

Have you ever had the urge to just put someone over your knee and give them a good spanking? I don't mean in some kind of freaky, sexual fetish kinda way (I know you were thinking it. Don't lie). What I mean is, sometimes I see people out there who seem to desperately need a little positive punishment just to let them know that their behavior is unacceptable. You know who I mean. This applies to most celebrities, Wall Street execs and basically all politicians everywhere.

Public figures and corporate moguls are not the only ones this would apply to, of course. There are a lot of average Joes and Janes out there that we interact with on a day-to-day basis that need a good old hide-tannin'. Like people who text while driving, or chew with their mouths open, or insist on trying to hold a conversation with you while you're on the phone. Basically people who should have had a bit more discipline instilled into them as children.

Case in point: The other day I was in the pharmacy. I was at the counter waiting to get a prescription filled, just happily minding my own when, just a few feet away, I hear a young boy begin a rant about some health drink supplement his mother was buying him.
"Please, Jay, relax." his mother urged, "It's good for you."
Jay, who I'm certain couldn't be more than about ten or eleven, replied, "You know what's good for me? Soda! That's what's good for me." and he stormed off to the other end of the drugstore, leaving his mother there at the counter.

You sure it's wrong to just leave 'em there?
If young Jay's little outburst, or the way he ignored his mother as she sheepishly and unconvincingly called out to him, wasn't enough to rub me the wrong way, what came next would surely seal the deal. Defiantly, he stomped across the room but soon noticed that the energy he was investing into his tantrum was being wasted as his mother was engaged in conversation with the pharmacist. It was then he decided to amuse himself in other ways. As I watched, he picked up some candy from a small rack and shoved it into his pocket. He turned to walk away but then he noticed the security guard's stern eye on him and he quickly replaced it. He then turned his attention to the cashier behind one of the counters. One by one he picked up every single item on the counter and ask every question possible about them. The poor girl, trying to be nice (big mistake, because he clearly didn't deserve it) patiently indulged him. Meanwhile, his mother, who's attention was back on him returned to her timid chant of, "Jay... Jay... Jay..." over and over and over again, which, of course, he continued to ignore.

I know many are against the idea of striking children. But then you run into the gems like my friend, Jay, here and you can't help but question those beliefs. But, for those who are against corporal punishment being used on children you'd probably be right. The truth is, while the boy's behavior was bad enough,  his mother obviously needed to be way more stern with him than she was and her obvious failure to assert some more authority only served to enable his behavior. As we say here, "some children are brought up and some are dragged up" and I shudder to think what kind of adult she was preparing to send into the world. That's why I think you'll all agree with me to nominate Jay's mom to receive the honor of:

"The Tanned Hide"
Point of Note: If you're going to google the word "spanking", make sure your
safesearch is at least on moderate. There are sick, sick people out there.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Barbershop Babblings

There were four of us in the barbershop this morning: the barber, two other patrons - who were friends - and myself. I was in the chair and the other two were waiting their turn. I, having had only about four hours sleep was intently focused on not falling asleep in the chair (for fear of secret paranoia# 8: If I fall asleep in the chair the barber will get mad and give me a jacked-up haircut).

Anyhoo, crazy paranoia aside, I was, however able to overhear the following conversation which took place right after one of the other guys went out to take a smoke:

Patron 1 to Barber: You know, me and Patron 2 were liming (hanging) at a bar last night and he asked me if I thought a small, medium or large penis would feel better.
Barber: Wha...?
Me: Wha...?
Patron 1: That's what he asked me, if I thought a small, medium or large penis would feel better.
Barber: Dawg,... What'd you say?
Patron 1: I - I couldn't answer.
Barber: You crazy, yes. So you left right?
Patron 1: I couldn't. It was 2 in the morning and he was my ride home.
Me: (Stifled laughing)
Barber: Well, with that, I was walking for sure.

The conversation hadn't gotten much further when Patron 2 came back inside after finishing has smoke. Skillfully, the barber changed to a new topic to avoid the awkward silence.

I'll say this much, at least I wasn't sleepy any more.

School Project


I just spent the better part of my Friday night into Saturday morning finishing an assignment for one of my classes. We are to required to complete four journals on based on four different topics. I chose gender for my first. I thought I'd share what I just emailed to my lecturer.

ARE MEN LOSING THEIR PLACE?

There was once a time when men knew who they were. They were called the protectors and providers and breadwinners of the household. These were just some of the labels that once defined males in society. A man was characterized by his strength – physically and emotionally. Boys were taught not to cry, to be level-headed and not to let emotion dictate his actions. When someone said the phrase, “A man's man” or “A real man” a mental image could easily be conjured up in one's mind and you knew what was meant. That was how it was... at one time.

It wasn't a perfect system. Not by a long shot. Gender roles were steeped in the man's favor and women were forced into a role of subservience, relegated to cooking, cleaning and child rearing. Women held no position of power or influence and though there were some women who dared to stand up and be recognized as more than just baby factories and etch their name into the history books, they were generally reviled and ridiculed by both men and women alike. But they also became examples and were secretly idolized by other women who longed for more but felt trapped by the roles society had assigned them based solely on gender.

But, like they often do, things changed and the waves of time washed over the lines in the sand which once clearly marked the separation of gender roles. Women slowly began to gain a greater role in society and the lines between these roles began to blur.

I, for one, have no problem with this redefining of the traditional roles. I've never believed that any one should a position of dominance over the other and that both male and female have something equally valuable to bring to the table. That's why one's strengths compliments the other's weaknesses. To me this is why it makes sense both genders have an equal say. There are those, however, who would still try to hold on to the so-called glory-days of male dominance. As such, many men harbor resentment towards women for what they see as usurping their authority and taking what they see as being rightfully theirs. Likewise, there are women who seem to have gotten caught up in the hype and see this current wave of change as a chance to snuff out the oppressors' rule once and for all and show them how it's done. In my experience, however, history has shown that the tighter you try to grab on to something that isn't truly yours the faster it slips through your fingers.

Man is no longer seen as the sole providers and breadwinners in today's household. Let me be clear, again, I have no problem with this. The problem as I see it is that he is constantly being told the things which once made him him are now laughable and the male as a gender is left confused, floundering, searching for a new identity to replace the one he lost. Nowadays, even to say the phrases “A man's man” and “A real man” sound like vague and abstract clichés that have no place in today's society. How we look, shave and dress is always under scrutiny and the male image is constantly being redefined. Today, movies, commercials, television, music and all other forms of media try to tell both men and women what should define them – and this it does for often self-serving motives such as to make a sale. Get the right male celebrity to put on a strapless, sequined evening gown and throw a few rappers and/or athletes in and all of a sudden you have the next big fad. This only shows how lost the male as a gender has become.

It's clear, to me at least, that before anybody tries to jump into the driver's seat that people stop bickering about whether the job can be better handled by either a man or woman and everyone truly assess the situation and stop being so smug and self confident and power hungry. Idealistic? I guess. Utopian? Sure. But look what the alternative has brought us.

Vinny C.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Living With A Ninja

I'm one of those lucky people who looks younger than he really is. While it's true I don't often get enough sleep and don't always maintain a healthy diet, I have to attribute my youthful appearance to living an otherwise boring healthy-ish lifestyle. I keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, I've never smoked and, for someone who's **cough** only a little **cough** overweight, I keep pretty active. None of this is to in any way pat myself on the back but to come to the point that, taking all of this into consideration, even I can't totally resist the ravages of time. I realize that the gap between the age people think I look like and my real age in slowly narrowing. This was helped considerably by the fact that I recently left a very demanding, very stressful job in banking which caused me several extra pounds and some dark circles under the eyes - which have mostly faded, thankfully. I've managed to hold the wrinkles at bay but I'll often get a reminder from Mrs. C in the form of a, "Don't make that face. I causes a "line" on your nose bridge." whenever I make my signature "scowl of disapproval". And, of course, the appearance - albeit brief appearance - of the odd gray hair from time to time is unavoidable.

Now, if it were up to me they'd stay right where they were. "Live and let live." I always say. As long as no harm's done. My lovely wife, however, has made it her personal campaign to fight the signs of aging tooth-and-nail and to the bitter end and, thus, has put Father Time on the top of her personal shit-list. In her ongoing battle, she has acquired certain practices and skills to aid in her "War On Time". She has developed a vigilant, undying resolve that keeps her ever on the lookout for any incursion old Father Time may attempt to make into our lives. She has even developed a ninja-like ability that grants uncharacteristic stealth and resourcefulness.

Bring it, old man!!!
source

To illustrate what I mean by ninja-like skill I'll give an example: There was this one time I was, only by pure luck, able to wake up to find her slathering some vitamin e extract "ninja brew" around my eyes to "...soften the skin and prevent wrinkles..." SHE'S BEEN DOING THIS TO ME WHILE I SLEEP! For how long? I don't even know. I'm scared.

As previously mentioned the appearance of gray on my scalp is very brief. Once these little buggers make an appearance, they stand out against the sea of jet black follicles they try to cohabitate with and, once they're spotted, they're gone. This is where her prowess excels.

The first instance was innocent enough. We were getting ready to go out and she said to me, "Is that a gray hair?"
Since I was looking in the mirror at the time I turned my head to see the side she was looking at, "Well, so it is." I replied causally,  "Hmph.", and continued about the business of getting my tie to the right length.
At this point she got the tweezers and quickly plucked the lone rebel from the side of my head, "Not having that." - This would later become her battle cry, of sorts.
I'm not sure if was my protest at the sharp, sudden and unexpected pain I received or if it was my statement that this was a natural process of time and you couldn't fight it, but whatever the case, she decided to get clever after that.

Her level of skill became even more evident in a following instance: I was hunched over my computer, casually minding my own business, she was on the couch watching TV... Or so I thought. Without warning I, once again, felt that sharp, unexpected tug on my scalp followed by the newly adopted "NOTHAVINDAT!" battle cry.

I consider my peripheral vision to be excellent - superhuman, even - but she was able get up, go into the bedroom for the tweezers, return (which involved passing right behind me to get there and back, no less), stand behind me and grasp offending hair with tweezers (not to mention that she was initially able to detect a single strand of gray hair from about ten feet away). Impressive, you say? That's nothing compared to a time after that while we were watching TV together. She was sitting, I was lying down with my head on her lap - cozy, no.

Then, suddenly...

"NOTHAVINDAT!" Pluck!
"Ow!... What the hell!?! Are you carrying the tweezers around with you now?"
"No."

I believe her.

I should have suspected something earlier, though. The most obvious sign that I should have noticed was where she lived when we were dating. The house was at the top of a hill with these steep concrete steps leading up to this front door. Now that I think about it, that really does resemble an ancient Japanese temple.

It's eerie how similar this looks to the steps leading to my wife's home back then.
source
Another sign is that no matter where I hide ANYTHING, she is able to somehow sense that something is hidden and know where I hid it.
And there was the time...

"NOTHAVINDAT!" Pluck!
Ow!... What the...!?! Oh, c'mon!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Vinny Goes Random

On my way home from work, I don't know why, but I was struck with few random thoughts that for some even stranger reason I thought I'd share.
(Of course, the credit must go to Keely: The UnMom who totally owns - in every sense of the word - Random Tuesday Thoughts):



- When you think about, the only difference between doves and pigeons is that doves got better press.

-Why isn't the neighbor's dog running up and barking like wants to rip out my throat anymore? Was it something I said?

- There's an LDS church close to where I work. The other day I noticed a basketball post in the courtyard and I thought to myself, Mormons play basketball? Then I felt bad for thinking it.

- I want to grow a mustache for Movember next year... But, first, I have to grow some balls and stand up to my wife when she says no again.

- I'm pretty sure that fourth cup of coffee was overdoing it.

- I realized recently that I work five minutes away from where I go to school which, in turn, is five minutes from where my wife goes to work. I figure if I suddenly make a break for the beach that that giant white bubble thing from "The Prisoner" will come after me.


Well, I've thoroughly exorcised the randomness from my head and it's time to actually start paying attention to my lecturer before Rover (yes, the big white bubble actually has a name) comes along.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fighting Temptation

This morning:

Me: Hey, lemme handle the groceries myself. I got a million things to do today and I'll get this done faster on my own.
Mrs C: You sure?
Me: Yeah, no problem.
Mrs. C: Alright, let's do up a list.

We sit down and quickly prepare a list of the items needed.

Mrs. C: Now, we're on a budget so be sure to stick to the list.
Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah...
Mrs. C: I mean it. Stick.to.the.list.
Me: Relax. I'm on it.
Mrs. C: 'K, thanks.

So I head out. I breeze through the produce market - even saved some money with some smart shopping. Then it's off to the supermarket to finish up. I cruise through the lanes, grabbing the necessary items and feeling proud for maintaining such strict discipline in adhering to the oh so sacred list.
Then, while in the freezer section the following inner dialogue begins:

Inner Vinny: Dude. Dude! Hot Pockets! When was the last time we had those.
Me: It's been a while, hasn't it? Too bad we're on a budget.
Inner Vinny: C'mon! It's just this one thing. Oooh, look! They have Ham and Cheese. We love Ham and Cheese! Meatball and Mozzarella's good too. Ooooooh, we've never had the Chicken Melt and Bacon. We could totally...
Me: STOP IT!!! You heard her, we're on a budget. We're sticking to this list!
Inner Vinny: But... Hot Pockets...
Me: No!

I continue to get the stuff on the list, "...detergent, hand soap..."
"Hot Pockets!"
"No! Quiet!"
"Whimper."
Just then the phone rings with the ringtone I set for my wife.

Me: Yo
Mrs. C: Hey.
Me: 'Sup?
Mrs. C: How're things going?
Me: Good. Almost done. Stickin' to the budget.
Mrs. C: 'K. That's good. Anyhow, listen, I need you to pick up a few more things. I think I'll have salad for lunch a few times this week.
Me: Salad?
Mrs. C: Don't worry. It's just for me. I know you don't like salads. Pick up some black olives, cucumbers and lettuce too.
Me: Black olives? Aren't those a bit more expensive? What about the budget? Remember?
Mrs. C: (Cutesy voice) I knoooow. But I like black olives better.
Me: Well...
Mrs. C: 'K, thanks. Bye. Luv ya.
Me: Uhhhh, yeah... You too.

Call ends.

Me: ...
Inner Vinny: I want the Chicken Melt and Bacon.
Me: 'K.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Crime Of Fashion.

In my last post I made mention of men wearing skinny capri jeans. This proved to be a claim so outlandish that the mere idea of such a thing existing sparked confusion and doubt and an overwhelming demand (actually it was just one person, but she was demanding nonetheless) for proof of my claim. In an effort to provide such proof and kill some time restore my honor, I set out on my mission. Risking life and limb, I scoured the city streets.

Surprisingly, at first, I wasn't having much luck. After two days of searching I was almost fooled into believing that the fad was either dead or dying. Unfortunately, I was soon informed that it was still alive and well amongst the teenager population and could be frequently sighted around local malls and movie theaters on the weekends.

My search continued. I researched earlier sightings:
Initial sightings, like this taken by my younger sister at a local bank a few months back, were of poor quality similar to recorded images of UFO's, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster leading many to believe the whole idea of men in skinny capris was some elaborate hoax.

Refusing to give up (and not really feeling a trip to the mall this weekend) I continued my search. Until...


SUCCESS!!!

Today, my search came to an end. This sighting provides undeniable proof of the existence of the dreaded mens' skinny capri jeans...

See for yourselves:

GAAAAH!!! This one's got cuffs!
And, there you have it... Heaven help us all!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Getting To Know Me A Little Better (Be Afraid, Very Afraid).

I never mentioned this before but, aside from being an office drone, husband and working on being a father, I'm also a student. That's right! I'm sloooowly grinding my way to the degree on evenings after work. (This is why you don't procrastinate, kids). Now that I've given a further glimpse into my life I'll continue.

For many of the subjects where I study we have group projects and yesterday I was on my way to one of these study groups. We currently have a project due and we hadn't done a thing yet and the deadline was in three days we were so dedicated we decided to meet despite the possibility of really bad weather due to a tropical storm in the area. Yeah right! It actually turned out to be the HOTTEST.day.ever! I mean, people were actually looking up at the sky going, "When's that damned storm gonna get here, already?" (I joke but seriously, even though Tomas decided to go in another direction, he seriously tore some of our neighbors a new one and I refuse to be an insensitive prick.)

So, if I'm not going to quip about how the nation went into panic mode for three days (which includes the pre-storm ritual of crowding local bars hoping to guzzle as much alcohol as possible before the storm blows it all away) then what am I writing about? Well, since you asked - or didn't, whatever - while I was on my way to meet up with fellow procrastinators... I saw a girl in a white dress... and a bright blue cape. A cape...

Now, we don't really celebrate halloween here - not until a few years ago and it's something the whole country hasn't accepted (YET! Give it about five more years). I decided that her just being on her way to some halloween party made the most sense (party-goers are just as dedicated it seems). Because the whole thing isn't so much of an event in T&T it took me a few minutes to finally come to this conclusion and for few minutes my mind ran one-or-two other possible scenarios - more specifically, the first runner up, which was that this was, yet again, some new fashion fad. It's the runner-up that concerns me. While this idea was rattling around in my head for however long it was there, I was actually thinking, "SWEET!"

I've never liked fashion fads. I don't believe "real men wear pink" and I especially detest the current men's skinny capri oxymoron fad (I sincerely hope they all become sterile from crushing their nads in those things.) Maybe it's because it would satisfy some wannabe superhero complex but, somehow, I couldn't help thinking that if capes became the new thing that I'd be totally behind that one... How messed up is that?