Friday, August 26, 2011

Scattered To The Wind

Why, hi!
I'm back from vacation, caught up on work and this blog's best friend's personal life, nearly ready for my fantasy football draft and now have time to share some random thoughts.  Consider yourselves lucky because, according to the over hyped news machine, the most destructive and scariest hurricane since Katrina is  bearing down on New England.  It's going to kill everybody, man!!!

So this might be my last entry.  Enjoy. 

-  Let's start with work first.  My second day on vacation I get a text from a coworker that reads 'Call me'.  So, since I do what any text tells me to do, I call her after I get home from the beach have a gin and tonic, a shot of Goldschlagger, and open a beer.  Yeah, it was that type of vacation. 

Anyway, she goes on to tell me that they laid off a bunch of my coworkers and they want me to go to the new outsourced company when they take over in the new year.  Good times!  Oh, and thanks for ruining my vacation.  She adds that our manager will be calling me soon to go over what the hell is happening in this crazy company. 

Sure enough, he emails me asking to chat.  I tell him tomorrow morning even though he would like to talk that night.  Fuck that!  I'm already well into my third beer and I know if I get pissed I'll wind up losing my job.  I have a hard enough time keeping my trap shut when I'm sober. 

Next morning arrives, I take the call on the couch of the condo we're renting, Wifey is puttering around getting breakfast made and packing for the beach.  While listening to my side of the conversation she keeps motioning me to 'Calm down'.  That was until my manager says 'Unfortunately, you're move will involve a slight paycut' and I respond with 'Define slight pay cut'. Wifey whips around and mouths 'WHAT???!!!'

So, yeah.  They 'want to keep' me on board, but they're moving me to a different company, making me take a pay cut, and basically taking away my ability to do my job in any effective way.  My response: I now have a head hunter working to get me the fuck out of this place and my attitude towards everybody is horrendous.

But, hey, this is a 'global economy', right?  As my manager said, 'At least you have a job' which was small consolation when I found out the laid off employees were getting paid through the end of the year.  Fuck, give me that instead.  I'll do contract or temp work and get double pay for three months. 

-  We're in the midst of a religious experiment, by the way.  My mother in law called to tell me she was 'praying' for me and my job situation.  Let's see if her god helps me out at all.  Although I suspect the gods of headhunting will be much more effective. 

-  Heard through a reliable grapevine that CIO (who is spearheading this outsourcing model) got his ass reamed by our CEO because of the way things were handled.  It's not looking good for him, which I couldn't be happier about.  It's only been a week and we've fired two of the contractors brought in to replace the laid off workers.  Well done.  So far the experience has been less than ideal.  I get the feeling it's only going to get worse, too. 

-  Let's talk about my (sort of) relaxing vacation.  Excluding the job drama, we basically beached it every day, my brother in law caught a 41 inch, 29 pound striped bass which we all had for dinner, I drank my fucking face off for six straight days, and managed not to get sunburned.  All in all a great week.  Wish I were back there now. 

-  School is starting soon, so my life becomes dictated by the boys' schedule once again.  I love summer for a variety of reasons, but not having to drop them off every morning ranks right up there. 

-  I'm supposed to visit the Philly office next week, but Irene (that would be the DEADLIEST HURRICANE EVER) is causing travel problems.  Already canceled my train tickets and will probably just drive down when the storm passes.

-  I should point out that all this hoopla surrounding the hurricane means it's probably going to blow out to sea and not bother us in the least.  That's usually how it works.  Stupid news whores. 

-  JC Monahan - my morning weather hottie - is off this week, too.  Not only is she the sexiest forecaster in Boston, she's the most accurate.  I want her take on this hurricane before I make any decisions. 

-  Just like old times:  I had a lovely and long over due conversation with DA who still possesses one of the greatest laughs in human history.  Nothing makes my spirits soar higher than making her laugh while she calls me an asshole.  Twice.  Got her to do it twice. 

-  Also, like old times, she nearly ended my marriage for the third or fourth time.  Long story, but if you ever met DA, you'd completely understand.  Miss you, my friend. 

-  Speaking of assholes, my six year old called another kid that exact word and nearly got into a fist fight with him while doing so.  My older son broke it up before anyone was hurt and six year old spent a LONG time in his room.  But, as I told Wifey when she called me about it, in his defense that kid really is an asshole.  Sort of proud that 1:  he stuck up for himself and 2: he used the term correctly. 

-  Oh, hey, we had an earthquake here.  One I actually felt while I was working.  I leaned back in my chair and suddenly thought I was suffering from vertigo.  Everything swayed, my bookcase shook a bit and I immediately texted Wifey with 'Either something exploded or we just had an earthquake'. 

I thought earthquake immediately because a few summers ago I had experienced what an explosion felt like when one of the power grid's huge transformers blew up.  It brought down everyone's computers at work and made the lights flicker dramatically.  We could see the black smoke a few blocks away.  Ever smelled an electrical fire?  Man, it is nasty. 

Earthquakes make everything sway, explosions make everything shudder.  You can definitely tell the difference.  Not sure if I should be glad I know that. 

-  Between Japan's tsunami, the first major earthquake the east coast has felt in decades, birds and fish dropping dead without explanation, my brother in law actually catching a fish, and me writing a new entry I'm thinking the Aztecs were right:  Maybe the world is ending in 2012.  In which case we're all going to look like idiots for keeping those 401Ks.  If French or 10 pop up with a new blog entry I'm going to be really freaked out, man. 

-  Went out drinking with some coworkers last night and was introduced to Scholar's on School Street.  Enjoyable, spacious and the prices were surprisingly low for the look of the place.  Five bucks for a bottle of Sankaty Light (it's made in Nantucket).  Plus they have a HUGE upstairs with pool tables and a second bar.  Highly recommended.  My only issue was the seemingly overwhelming number of lawyers that were there.  I could do without them. 

-  Speaking of beer, a west coast buddy of mine shipped me a huge bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale (which I can't buy around here).  Very hoppy and bitter, so it's not an every day beer, but I loved it.  Hell, it's beer.  Of course I loved it. 

Need to get ready for a conference call now.  Maybe I'll do a running blog of Hurricane Irene over the weekend.  Here's a preview:

-  It's windy.  And rainy. 

-  Yep, still windy and rainy.  Hoping those two trees blocking my view topple over. 

-  Just windy now.  Rain has let up. 

The end. 

Today's distraction:  Six people who screwed up entire economies.  I can relate to number six.  Enjoy your weekends. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ponder This

I'm going on vacation next week and, since my adoring public would be apoplectic if I neglected to post anything before taking off, I've decided to give everyone a few questions to ponder while I'm gone.  Feel free to leave any significant answers in the comments section. 

I should point out that these come from a game called 'What The Fuck?' and was used to entertain myself and DA during slow work days (every day was slow for DA) for months. 

Oh, this can also be turned into a drinking game by placing bets on who you think will answer a particular question a certain way.  Basically this is the greatest game ever invented. 

Enjoy! 

1:  Which career are you more suited to?

a:  Guidance Counselor
b:  Porn Star

My answer:  Guidance Counselor.  Don't think I could 'perform' when the girl just shot up with the latest designer drug and snorted Ecstasy. 

2:  What would you rather change your last name to?

a:  Pickles
b:  Snodgrass

My answer:  Snodgrass.  Much more hilarious. 

3:  Would you eat a banana slug if doing so vaccinated you against colds and flus for the rest of your life?

a:  Yes
b:  No

My answer:  Abso-fucking-lutely, which isn't one of the options but you get the point.  I hate being sick and would do anything to avoid feeling like shit 2 - 3 times a year. 

4:  What would you rather give up for a year?

a:  All dairy products
b:  alcohol

My answer:  I'm pretty sure I inadvertently gave up all dairy products for alcohol my junior year in college.  So I know I can do it. 

5:  Would you ride a bicycle from California to New York for $25,000?

a:  Yes
b:  No

My answer:  I would walk that for 25 grand. 

6:  You are captured by a pirate ship in the middle of the ocean.  What would you rather do?

a:  Become a servant and love slave to the entire crew
b:  Walk the plank and try to swim three miles to a nearby island. 

My answer:  Definitely B.  I'm a strong swimmer and prefer my anus to remain one way.  However, I will reconsider if said pirates are smoking hot models rebelling against the beauty establishment. 

7:  What would you least like to have dropped down your pants?

a:  six lit charcoal briquettes
b:  a dozen fire ants

My answer:  Def A.  The fire ants you could squash pretty quickly. 

8:  If you suffered brain damage that caused your IQ to plummet, how would you prefer to be referred to by others?

a:  gifted
b:  special

My answer:  Why would I care?  I'm brain damaged and probably can't even feed myself.  Screw everyone else. 

9:  Who would you rather have living in your attic?

a:  Your significant other's parents
b;  A poltergeist

My answer:  Poltergeist simply for the entertainment value. 

10:  Which item would you rather wear for a full day at work?

a:  a plastic diaper
b:  a rain bonnet

My answer:  B.  Plastic diaper would probably get really uncomfortable after a while.  Now a REAL diaper? I would have to think about that. 

11:  You are thrown into jail and have your choice of cellmates.  Who do you choose?

a:  The cross dressing arsonist
b:  The anorexic gang member

My answer:  B.  Dude probably weighs 80 pounds.  I could push him away with one hand if he starts any shit. 

12:  Where would you rather spend the night?

a:  In your neighbor's dog house
b:  In bed with your significant other's parents

My answer:  Dog house.  Hands down. 

13:  What would you rather be for a day?

a:  a member of the opposite sex
b:  an eagle

My answer:  B.  I'm thankful every day I'm a guy. 

14:  What would you find more flattering?

a:  Having a newly discovered star named after you
b:  A 1-900 dating service wanting to run your photo in their ad

My answer:  This is actually a tough one, but I'd have to go with B.  Nobody cares about the universe anymore. 

15:  Would you beat up a member of the clergy for $100,000?

a:  yes
b:  no

My answer:  I've already done this for free. 

16:  Who would you rather receive a phone call from?

a:  The mayor of your city
b:  Satan

My answer:  B -  I have so many questions.

17:  You save a witch from drowning in a vat of butter.  She offers you a choice of rewards.  Which do you accept?

a:  a book of usable spells
b:  her flying broom.

My answer:  The book of spells which probably has one on how to make a broom fly. 

18:  What would you rather be?

a:  a superhero with powers that only work when you're naked
b:  the world's most talented painter, but you can only paint when dogs are barking

My answer:  Without a doubt, A.  I hate barking dogs. 

19:  Would you let your butt be used for a dart board if the bartender promised you free drinks for the rest of  your life?

a:  yes
b:  no

My answer:  B, but it should point to a problem if I had to give this SERIOUS consideration before deciding. 

Lastly....

20:  Would you go the bathroom in your pants for two days - without changing clothes - for a $10,000 shopping spree at your favorite mall?

a:  yes
b:  no

My answer:  Hell no.   This is way too disgusting for me to consider.  I'm betting women take longer to consider this than most men. 

Carry on, friends.  Catch up to you in a week or so. 


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alcoholic Haze

Bear with me while I set the stage a bit. 

Back in the day* I did my share of heavy drinking.  I know!  Who would have thought?  Fortunately for my liver, I have some strong Irish blood flowing through these veins.  It pulses with super human tolerance for beer, gin, and - occasionally - tequila. 

* Back in the day in this case is defined as between the ages of 16 and yesterday. 

My favorite Wifey story:  When we first started dating, I was introduced to her party friends.  Many of them were guys who were fond of Wifey and immediately wanted to test my meddle.  How do you test a man's endurance?  Apparently by offering shots of expensive 180 proof vodka.  Several shots of this flammable liquid and many, MANY beers later, we left the party. 

The next morning Wifey and I were at the beach doing our usual thing.  Several hours later those party friends show up looking like death.  Several of them give me a skeptical once over, realize with a shock I'm not even slightly hungover and stay far away from me the rest of the weekend.  As Wifey says 'They didn't know who they were dealing with.'  And, yes, she says it with some semblance of pride.

Pre Wifey era produced more debauchery than I care to share.  Let's just say my college years were spent in a surreal, semi translucent fog of pot, booze, and occasional studying.  I shared intimate moments with people I wouldn't recognize if I passed them on the street three days later. 

My partner in crime for most of this time was my Best Man.  I will refer to him as such going forward.  We've been best friends since 1st grade and have had more forgotten, great moments than most friends have in a lifetime.  Just after we graduated college we road tripped to Virginia Beach on a spur of the moment decision and drank nothing but Budweiser the entire time we were there. 

Two quick notes here:

1:  Best Man was living with his college girlfriend at the time and didn't think she would let him go.  So we made up a story about us working an out of state job.  Since this was pre-cell phone era, he would only check in once or twice a day from a pay phone.  When we wanted to prolong our stay, we checked the weather in Massachusetts, saw it was raining, and told her the rain had delayed our work so we would be late a day or two.  I don't have to point out that relationship didn't last too long.  To this day I don't know how he explained that not only did he not get paid, but wound up dropping $300 in Atlantic City. 

2:  Don't ever drink only beer for an entire week.  It wreaks havoc with your digestive system.  By the time we were ready to leave both of us were shitting rabbit pellets. 

It is also with this Best Man that the 'Alcoholics Club' was created.  One of our friends started going to AA because he thought he had a drinking problem when, in reality, he just couldn't keep up with us.  So we created the AC in response to his sobriety.  Our mission statement was to get everyone drinking everywhere we went.  We were a rousing success for years. 

Flash forward to last week.  I met Best Man out for 'a few' beers and bumped into high school classmates of ours.  After our obligatory 'What are you doing for work' and 'how are the wife and kids' bullshit, we asked one of them about his time as a Boston police officer.  I distinctly remember boozing in Fanueil Hall one night and a Boston cop started yelling at us to come over.  I mumbled 'Don't stop' and started walking away. 

Turns out it was this dude from our high school class giving us shit.  We all go over and he laughs because he can tell we're halfway to trashville.  I mention this to him and he says 'I was never a Boston cop.  I was one in Osterville for a few years, though.'

If you're not familiar, Osterville is down on Cape Cod, more than 80 miles away from Boston.  I look at Best Man and say, 'Man I could have sworn that was him'.  Best Man replies 'I thought so, too'.

There is a pause before he offers 'We didn't wind up in Osterville one night, did we?'

I start to laugh at the absurdity of this suggestion, stop, look at Best Man and ask 'Wait, did we?' and we spend the next few minutes trying to sort out the details in our beer soaked brains.  

Now, if there is a lesson to be made here it's not that drinking is bad.  I would offer that I have had more good times with beer than without.  It probably isn't that beer messes up your brain, either.  That I remembered the encounter at all should be proof of the opposite.  Frankly, if beer destroyed brain cells I would be in a vegetative state in some state hospital. 

The lesson really should be this:  If you party a lot, there is a solid chance in the distant future you'll be trying to figure out if you wound up 80 miles from where you thought you were and if Osterville looks at all like Fanueil Hall.

And you won't have an answer. 

Or, as I said after a moment's consideration, 'Fuck it!  You ready for another?'


Today's distraction:  More 'At the right moment' pictures for your viewing pleasure. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's ALIVE!!

Yes, I'm still alive and kicking.  Yes, I know I've been slacking when it comes to this space.  Yes, C, I read your comment and you can consider this one dedicated to you.  Yes, DA, I know you just took exception to me dedicating this to C, but tough.  She at least comments now and then in this space.

In my defense, I've started two or three entries only to be interrupted with work or family or spectacular summer weather.  Those are pretty much trashed, although I do have one I still have drafted that I'll post soon.  I'll even give you the working title as a tease:  Alcoholic Haze.  Let your imaginations run wild. 

Let's get caught up, shall we?

-  Forget the free agent signings, questionable and risky trades by the Patriots, and the non stop coverage from ESPN, nothing matched the flurry of emails, texts and phone calls after the NFL lockout ended than fantasy leagues frantically putting together their draft day.  Mine is September 3rd and I'm going to get wrecked. 

After the draft is over, of course. 

-  Spent last week in a technical training class.  It isn't often I get to hang out with others in my line of work so when I do I marvel at my uniqueness.  See, most technical people don't have what we refer to as 'social skills'.  They can barely talk about anything besides work and simply making eye contact is a bit of a challenge.  I was somewhat alarmed that every single member of the class (save one) was VERY over weight.  Is that where I'm heading?

-  One dude I did get along with was the one guy who opened lunch with 'who likes football?'.  We proceeded to spend the week passing updates along.  I briefly won a bet in which I said Albert Haynesworth would show up out of shape.  After all, lockout + untold millions + bad attitude from big guy = heart attack in week one of camp.  We thought that's why the Pats pulled him on the first day of practice only to have them announce he hadn't taken his fitness test.  I still wasn't buying until it was confirmed he was practicing the next day. 

-  Spent a weekend in Vermont in which Wifey decided to bring our dog along for the trip.  We were visiting her brother who had his own dog.  His dog is obsessed with fetching any and all balls that are thrown.  During our last visit, she wore herself out so much she walked with a limp for two days. 

Anyway, our dog and her dog sniffed around each other for a bit, ignored each other for another while, then started running after each other.  Then a ball was introduced and my dog had the shit kicked out of him when he went for the ball.  Female is very territorial with her fetching apparently.  Neither dog was hurt, but the pecking order had been established for the rest of the weekend. 

-  Vermont advertises maple syrup, mountains, serene rivers and spectacular views.  Know what they don't tell you about?  Flies.  Millions of relentless, biting, annoying fucking flies.  Bug spray won't kill them, repellent doesn't repel them, you can't kill them all because they are infinite (I call them hydraflies because I'm convinced two come back when you kill one), and their bites itch for weeks.  And this was during a bright, sunny day.  I didn't dare go out when the sun went down.  The boys had no such issues and spent an hour jumping on the trampoline.  The next morning my youngest wakes with a bite on the side of his head the size of a walnut.  I would not have been surprised if one of these fuckers showed up

-  I'm 90% convinced this entire political gamesmanship over the debt ceiling is all theater.  My cynical nature knows there has been a deal in place for a while, but both parties needed to show they were willing to fight for their people.  It's all bullshit and makes me hate everyone involved that much more.  Both Obama and CryBaby Boehner should be ashamed of themselves.  When is the black man in Obama going to show itself?  When is he going to simply say 'I'm the fucking President and we're doing it this way.  Don't make me bitch slap you in public then dunk on you in our next pickup game!  I'll do it, mothafucka!'  Maybe I just want Samuel Jackson as President. 

-  Last weekend was our long awaited clambake.  This was something we bid for at silent auction almost a year ago.  It was for 15 people, the catering company provided everything (including napkins, plastic utensils, lobster crackers, linens for the tables and trash cans) then took everything away when it was over.  The only evidence they were ever there was everyone's full stomach and a burn mark in the grass where they put the boiling pot down.  It was great! 

Quick movie reviews:

Captain America:  Better than Thor, not as good as Iron Man, entertaining enough. 

The Tourist:  Watched this and was bored throughout.  You can only watch Angelina Jolie walk through a crowd with a smirk on her face for so long.  Great job making Johnny Depp devoid of any personality.  In short, this was a train wreck. 

Easy A:  Perfect role for Emma Stone (who stole my heart in 'Superbad') and hilarious supporting roles.  Story seems a bit far fetched, but enjoyable all around.  Stupid ending. 

City of God:  Got around to watching this on the recommendation of several readers and was not disappointed.  Not for everyone as there are several gut wrenching scenes of children being maimed and killed as well as doing the maiming and killing, but it stays with you.  Probably forever. 

The Last Airbender:Ang.  Not Ung.  Fucking ridiculous.  The terrible acting, dialog and zero sense of humor didn't help.  Maybe it's me, but I don't remember there being a dragon tutoring Ang, either.  Did I miss that in the series?

One quick television note:

If you have Starz, check out 'Torchwood: Miracle Day'.  I never saw the original series, but this one is interesting and entertaining enough for me to seek it out.  Basically everyone in the world stops dying and the Torchwood team is brought in to figure out why.  Seems like a British version of X-Files with more explicit content.

Am I missing anything?  Probably.  The old noggin' ain't working like it used to.  I'll get to work on finishing the other entry as soon as I can. 

Until next time. 

Today's distraction:  A timeline of the seemingly endless Debt Ceiling negotiations.  Be interested to see what irrelevant and needless bills have been tacked on to this agreement.  Politicians suck.