Friday, March 30, 2007

Running Late

Dang it, I left late for work today. I was going through my normal routine, which doesn't always involve me being late when I got enraptured watching CNN Headline News. Robin Meade was looking especially saucy this morning. She was talking to the sports tool and he was almost enough to make me tune out, when they brought in a hot college girl to talk about a college class that she was taking that involved going to the Final Four.

I was hooked again. I didn't catch a lot of what they were saying, but the professor was a genius to create a class so that he could go to one of the biggest sporting events in the country and take coeds with him. As the story came to a close I was about to hit the power button, when Robin began a story about the new "Girls Gone Wild" Restaurants that are going to be opened. What??? Double take. Additional video footage meant that I was once again transfixed to the television. I was always told in school that current events were important.

The story wrapped up and Robin introduced their Entertainment correspondent Adrianna Costa. Damn it, I was never getting out of there. Adrianna is one of my top three Entertainment Reporters of all time. She had some important news about movies opening this weekend or something, I don't know I heard her but not a lot of it registered at this point.
Mercifully, Robin threw it to a commercial break and I ran for the door. Several fishtailing-on-wet-streets minutes later I snuck in the back door (sighs, thinking about the obligatory "back door" jokes) and silently like the wind made my way to my office.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Family Projects/Put Your Child To Work Day

Last weekend was actually pretty productive. I told the kids that we were going to do some projects as a family. Kids love projects. They're fun and cool and special, not anything like work which is boring and sucks. No, these were "family projects" which meant we were going to embark on some things together. Kids also love family time. I don't know why. I guess it looks really good in movies or something. Walls got patched and painted, weed and feed was put in the yard, my daughters dresser was sanded and repainted. It was great. I was finally getting some return on my investment in the kids.

I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out. From now on I'm seeing a whole new world. One where they clean the bathroom tile, fold and put up clothes, and do the dishes. My mind is practically filling up with all the great "family projects" we can do. The kids can wash the dog, clean the gutters, put up a new fence in the back yard, rotate my tires......

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Office Ettiquete

I brought a salad and some chicken for lunch today. It's part of my plan to have million dollar abs by the summer. Actually, right now it's my entire plan. I'm eating hamburgers tonight.

So at 12:30, after having felt like I was starving for the previous hour, I finally went to the break room to recover my food from the community fridge. I threw my chicken in the microwave to reheat and stood nearby to wait. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't brought any dressing for my salad and was about to have a very bland meal. I went back to the community fridge expecting that there would be a host of dressings to choose from.

No such luck. The fridge had it's semi annual cleaning recently and there was only one bottle of dressing. It was some sort of natural poppy seed stuff that I had never seen before. I put a little on my salad, grabbed my chicken, and left. As I sat down to eat it occurred to me that whoever's dressing that was might not have appreciated my use of it. They hadn't put their name on it, so I couldn't ask. My mind was racing-Would they notice?-Will they be mad?-Did somebody see me, and will they turn me in?-Oh crap! Wait a second I told myself. You can't steal condiments. Condiments are free.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Dark Omen on the Highway

I was headed home from work last week when it happened. The skies had been cloudy all day, but it wasn't until I left the shelter of the office that the rain began to fall. Almost immediately there were flashes of lightening, and they were nearby. I started my drive home a little wet, and bemused that the weather had decided to wait until now to unleash hell. Hazy gray clouds, a torrent of rain, and bolts of lightening arching across the sky, all on a day when I was looking forward to coaching soccer practice. "Oh well", I thought "Those plans are shot".

At least the traffic wasn't bad. Considering the weather, I was making good time. Usually rain like that would have slowed things down. Then as I entered I-35 northbound, I saw it. A black semi with no trailer attached was bearing down on me. It was dusty and worn looking. The grill was battered and plain. As I accelerated to match the highway speed the truck surged past me. The windows were dark and I couldn't see the driver. It looked like one of those scenes that you see in a late night TV movie where the death trucker runs people off the road in his pursuit to kill some hapless target. As the truck moved forward I saw writing on the back of the cab. In 8 inch hellfire red letters was written that this truck was "40 Tons of Thunder". The maximum weight for 18 wheelers in the US is normally 36.2 tons. That means this trucker would always carry at least 3.8 tons of evil. I tried to take a picture with my cell phone and then I exited the highway as quickly as I could. I didn't want to incur this demon truckers wrath. Almost as soon as I got off the highway the rain stopped and the clouds cleared away. By the time I got home it was beautiful outside. I have since checked my cell phone for the picture of the truck with the writing, but it was all a blur. Apparently the supernatural powers of hell would not allow me to capture an image of their dark messenger.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Underrated Movies/Guilty Pleasures

Here's a quick list of top five movies that I enjoy and get a chuckle from, that don't normally get the recognition that I think they deserve.

5. Dickie Roberts Former Child Star - Before there was Little Miss Sunshine this movie had the shock value comedy of the child dancing in a much to mature fashion. Truthfully any movie that you enjoy involving David Spade has to be labeled a guilty pleasure.

4. She's the Man - I think Amanda Bynes is funny. There I said it. True this movie isn't Shakespeare or anything, but I thought it...what's that??.......Oh, this movie is Shakespeare! That's what I meant to say. Can't go wrong with Shakespeare.

3. Joe Dirt - Before there was My Name is Earl this movie had the shock value comedy that is white trash Americana. Truthfully any movie that you enjoy involving David Spade has to be labeled a guilty pleasure.

2. Josie and the Pussycats - Rachel Leigh Cook, Tara Reid, Rosario Dawson, Parker Posey, and Missi Pyle. Sold!!!! The DVD even comes with the music video from Du Jour, the boy band of the movie, entitled Back Door Lover. I thought this movie had some great lines and of course let us know that "brown is the new pink" and that Mr. Moviefone also delivers subliminal messages.

1. The Big Hit - One of the first movies I bought for my movie collection. We learn that even murderous hitmen just want to make people happy, and that the discerning masturbater will demand lanolin not that aloe-vera bullshit!

Narrowly missing the list was Bring it On. I enjoy this movie quite a bit, but it has gained too much popularity since hitting video to still be considered a guilty pleasure. I can attest to being one of the proud few who saw fit to see this movie while it was new in theaters. I've seen it about two dozen times since then.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Them's the Breaks

Well, it's official. I took my 11-year old son to the Orthopedic Specialist yesterday to have his arm examined from his injury more than a week ago and he confirmed that my son broke his wrist. He's now sporting a half cast covering most his forearm, wrist, and hand.

When they asked him how he had hurt it I felt the need to interject and said that he had fallen while playing outside with his friends and landed on the sidewalk. This was a true enough version of events. The more complete version of events included him having a dance off competition outside of his buddy's house after school. I'm not sure what maneuver concludes with you breaking your wrist, but truthfully I was never much of a hip hop street dancer. So in my haste to save my son from having to hear, "Oooooh, You got served" I might have answered too quickly. The doctor's assistant kept giving me suspicious looks afterwards. I'll probably get a visit from Child Protective Services some time this week as a result. Why couldn't my son have been playing football like a normal kid?

Note: This is not an actual photo of the event that transpired.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lady Girls' Soccer Update

We enter Spring Break after having pulled our season even at 2-2. In our game this past weekend we came from behind to win 5-4. It was good to see the girls not give up and to maintain their focus. In the past when the other team has scored first they've been quick to get frustrated and give up. This was one that could have gone bad quickly too. Although we maintained control the majority of the first half we couldn't hardly get anything to go in. While the other team who barely had any opportunities was finding the back of the net. Finally we started our come back from being down 4-1. My daughter asked to go back in the last quarter and play defense. Against my better judgement I put her back there and she really stood up to the challenge. She didn't allow anyone to get past her and threw herself in the way of the ball (when most would have gotten out of the way) to prevent any shots from going in.

As a follow up I went out to the local park and joined in the pick up soccer game with the vatos. This was my first time to make it out there in a few weeks and there was a large group of guys I didn't recognize. It was a lot rougher than it normally is and was the first time I thought a fight might just break out. I've got a number of bruises on my shins and I took a kick to the jaw, which was not entirely the other guys fault. I got to wear my new Chelsea soccer jersey, which I looked most awesome in. Also my new soccer ball, which I bought with birthday money, was a big hit. Here's a pic.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Kids Next Door

The teen age kid next door is having a party tonight. The entire street up and down my block is littered with cars that have extra big tail pipes and shit hanging from the rear view mirrors. Personally I was surprised, because the kid next door looks like a geek to me. My only guess is that he and his best friend created some sort of woman with supernatural powers by using their computer and a barbie doll. Then maybe she forced them to have a party to try and make them cool. I don't know, but that's what makes sense to me.

I used to have HBO, so I know what goes on at these kinds of parties when the parents are away (they've got to be , right?). My buddy Big Dirty felt like it was our civic duty to check in on them and make sure they weren't getting into any trouble. So we went in their backyard where we could hear a lot of activity. They got kind of quiet when we entered the gate and below is what transpired.

Party Kid - Are you here to pick somebody up? We can go get them for you.

Me - No we're not anybodies parents. We just came by...

Big Dirty - party!!!!

(Stunned silence)

Me - Umm, actually I live next door.

Party Kid - Oh, do you need us to turn the music down?

Big Dirty - No, it's cool. I've got some Creed CD's if you really want to get this party going. Hey, is that your girlfriend? (directed too loudly to the girl sitting just inside the gate)

Party Kid - (Caught off guard) Who? No, she's just....we're just friends.

Big Dirty - I know what you mean. No attachments. Keep it simple. This is my kind of party.

Party Kid - (Looks at the girl wide eyed, then back at us, then back to the girl)

Big Dirty - So, we were kind of watching the party from between the boards of my friend here's fence and it looks like there's some pretty fine girls here. Are any of them like really drunk or stoned or anything?

Party Kid - (Looking really nervous) I don't think so.

Me - (Quickly trying to recover) Because we don't want anybody taking the road that isn't fit to drive. If somebody needs a ride home then just let us know.

Big Dirty - (to me as if the teenagers can't hear him) I like where you're going with that.

Party Kid - Ok, we'll let you know if we need help.

Big Dirty - Maybe we should check everyone out just in case. That chick in the boots looks like she might be pretty messed up. I'll definitely take her home. Are there any you want Dagromm?

Dagromm - Well...what?

Party Kid - Everybody's ok, really. We'll come get you if we need your help though. Thanks for coming by.

Big Dirty - Oh...well alright. We'll be just watching on the other side of the fence.

Big Dirty and I have been hanging back at my house for over an hour since then. He's just concluded that they probably aren't going to come get us to give anyone a ride home. He's on the phone with the cops now complaining about the noise and how sure he is that they have drugs. He says he dropped a present just inside their fence just in case.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

This is Why I Love America

If you've never seen this news report and live in the South then you better check it out. You don't want to miss out on the riches that are out there to be had.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Scattershooting While Listening to My MP3 Player

I think if you were to try and encapsulate the average American's life in song it can be done by looking at the three most played songs on their Ipod. In this knowledge we would find keys to their personality and traits that made them unique as individuals. I also think that this would be a truer indicator than allowing somebody to pick what songs represented them, because I don't believe everyone would be honest with themselves. With that in mind these are the three most played songs in my MP3 player.

1. In 1984 the singer Sade cowrote and sang Smooth Operator. In her inherently sultry voice she croons the song that is equal parts sexy and political.

2. Smooth Criminal was originally relased in 1987 by Michael Jackson on the album Bad. The song inspired him to make the movie Moonwalker and subsequent video game.

3. Carlos Santana had a huge resurgence in 1999 with the release of his album Supernatural. On it, he collaborated with many artists for the differing tracks all with his unique sound. The biggest hit of the album was Smooth, his collaboration with Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20.

So that's my list. I'm not sure what it says about me, but it's probably pretty accurate.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Name Game

I was reminded of the Kanye West song "All Falls Down" yesterday. My assistant was cracking up while inputting some new employees benefit information into the computer system. She had come across an employee that was adding her two kids to her medical insurance. Their names were Porsche and Lexus. What made matters worse was the fact that Porsche was her son.

If I were going to name my kids after cars then I would have named my daughter Shelby and my son Bentley. Consequently, if I had named them after televisions then I would have named them Trinitron and Samsung HP -R6372.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Trading Post

I recently had some trade-in credit at Walmart. It's my default place for returning things that I have no idea where I bought and have finally realized that I'll never use. The bad part is that I get incredibly indecisive in situations like this. My goal was to return the object, with that accomplished I flounder with what to do next. There are too many choices and I don't know how best to spend my windfall. So I cruised down the aisles eyeing the gallon jug of Drakkar Noir, the leopard print steering wheel cover, and the value bin of Mexican movies (2 for $10!). Not seeing anything that caught my fancy I decided to check out the video games. I wanted to find something that was under my trade-in amount though and this proved difficult. I searched through several high priced games before I found one that fell into my budget and looked at least mildly entertaining. It was discounted and I knew it wasn't going to be that good, but it looked like it had a gratuitous amount of skimpily dressed animated girls and I was sold. I went searching for the employee that was supposed to be assigned to this section to ask him to pull the game for me so that I could look at the case.
I found the guy and waved him over. When I pointed out the game I wanted to see he got it out and the following conversation took place,
Walmart Guy - Are you sure you don't want to get a good game?

Me - I don't expect this to be great, but that's ok.

Walmart Guy - If you're going to get a fighting game I'd get DOA 4. It's much better.

Me - I'm sure it is, but this one's $20. DOA 4 is $60. So, I'll probably just get this one.

Walmart Guy - Or you could get Lost Planet or the new Medal of Honor game. They're much better then that one.

Me - Are any of those games $20?

Walmart Guy - No.

Me - Then I'm not interested.

Walmart Guy - If you're going to have a 360 then you at least need to get the good games for it.

Me - Not if they're $60. I'll just rent them.

Walmart Guy - Are you sure you want to buy that game? It's not good.

Me - Have you ever played it?

Walmart Guy - No.

Me - Do you know anybody that's played it?

Walmart Guy - No. I've worked here six months and never even sold one copy of that game.

Me - That would explain the discount.

Walmart Guy - What about Halo 3? You're not going to wait on that are you? I've already reserved my copy of the collectors edition that comes in the metal tin and has a special DVD. It's going to run about $150.

Me - I'm not really interested.

Walmart Guy - Halo 3!!!!????

Mom with kid - Can we see one of these X-Box games?

Walmart Guy - X-Box or 360?

Mom with kid - X-Box.

Walmart Guy - You know they don't even make those anymore. You need to get trade it in and get a 360.

He tried to dismiss the lady and her kid when he saw that I was leaving so that he could go back to berating me about my incomprehensible taste in games, but I ran for it.
Camping Just Got a Lot More Complicated

My son is finally leaving today on his school camping trip. It's a soon to be ending tradition in our school district that all of the fifth graders go for a week to this camp out of state. My son has been looking forward to this trip for a year now as he's never been to camp before. He had his eye on canoeing and archery and whatever other kind of crazy outdoor thing you can do. All of this semester we've been slowly getting the supplies he was going to need (sleeping bag, etc.) It seemed like every week we were receiving a reminder about forms that needed to be filled out or supplies that the kids needed to have. Needless to say we were all excited as this weekend approached.

So I'm also sure you can imagine what a kick in the crotch it was to take my son into the ER this weekend with an injured arm. He had hurt it on Thursday and by Friday evening his hand had swelled to a frightening degree. It looked like he was wearing a big inflated Mickey Mouse glove on one hand. The ER put a splint on his arm and referred us to a Orthopedic specialist. My son was devastated by the thought that he might not be able to go on his camping trip. He was relieved to find out that his dad's philosophy is that since camp was paid for he was going no matter what. So apparently he left on the bus this morning. When I took him he didn't want my help carrying his bags over to the waiting area. I guess he doesn't want anyone questioning his ability to go on the trip.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Get Your Motor Running

I was driving down the highway the other day (In fact I was rushing back to the office from an interview) when I was passed by a grizzled octogenarian dressed entirely in black leather on his custom Harley. He had a cigarette held tightly between his lips, black sunglasses, and a few days growth of facial hair. His biker jacket proclaimed the "gang" he belonged to. Clearly this was a man who had kicked some ass in his day and probably still kicked ass on a semi-regular basis.

He was moving at a good clip down the road and I sped up a little to keep up with him. I was sure to stay back a bit so he wouldn't spot me. I didn't want to anger him and come home to find his gang in my front yard destroying what few valuables I own and holding my family hostage. I was curious about what sort of mission would have him out in the afternoon daylight moving with such urgency. Possibly he was hunting down some sort of bounty that was trying to skip town. Or maybe he was transporting information on some heist his crew was about to pull off. Or what seemed most likely, he was probably trying to catch up with some police convoy to free one of the members of his gang in some uber-violent manner.

Suddenly the elderly biker swerved hard to the right and slammed his brakes. It was on! I slowed in eager anticipation of the ass whooping that I was about to get to witness. The biker was clearly agitated. Not wanting to come to a complete stop in the highway I craned my neck around while still driving to see what had garnered this solitary warrior's violent reaction. The cigarette had apparently fallen out of his mouth and gotten stuck in the crotch of his jeans. He was now slapping at it furiously trying to get it out and end the burning.

All I could think as I drove on was how well practiced he looked at slapping at his crotch while driving his bike. What a bad ass.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My New Best Friend

I have been busy with interviews and such lately. It comes in waves sometimes. So it has meant that I've had to disappear from the office for hours at a time a lot more than usual. In return I have a lot less blog time as I make myself more visible when I am at the office to cover for the fact that I've been disappearing a lot.

Anyway, yesterday I was called to an office of a prospective employer to take a test. I can't remember the last time I had to test for an employer so I didn't really know what to expect. Was it going to be an intelligence test (e.g. the Wonderlic) or a job knowledge test (on HR laws)? No, it was a test on prioritizing and use of Microsoft Office Apps. I was given a list of tasks to perform. Memos to send out. Spreadsheets to generate. And PowerPoint presentations to create. Ok, I use Microsoft Office daily. So no problem right? Well.......not exactly. Sure I work with Excel, but I have never had cause to use formulas before. I've delivered PowerPoint presentations, but I never actually had to make one before.

As I sat in the room looking at the computer like it had turned against me, I pondered what to do. I thought about standing up and walking out, but Dagromm's aren't quitters. Whiners yes, but quitters no. I thought about just letting them know that I would have my assistant or intern do all of this work for me and asking them when they wanted me to start. I also thought about using the work of the person that had used the computer before me, but I thought that might sniffed out pretty easily and it appeared that whoever it was that had the computer before me was less computer literate than I. I say this because I found his note of apology saved in the documents section. It said that he had tried and that if they hired him he would learn how to do these things. It was really kind of sad. I think he was one step away from suicide.

I finally decided to give it a shot and see what I could come up with. Luckily Clippy, my new bestest friend, came to my aid. Hell, Clippy practically created everything for me. Whenever I didn't know what to do next I just turned to Clippy and he took care of it. Clippy made my PowerPoint pretty and colorful. It wasn't the best I'd ever seen, but it looked about as good as most PowerPoints I've had to sit through. Clippy then helped me create a memo and other generic office offal. Thanks Clippy. You were there for me when no one else was.

Clippy says hi!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Heart Break

We've started off the soccer season the same place we started last season. Losing. It was a major disappointment as I think the girls that we added have a lot of potential and I had hoped the girls from last season would respond more favorably than they did. The girls looked too lost and made way too many mistakes in our first game. The second game they looked considerably better, at least for the first half of the game. This is the kind of thing that gets me feeling down the whole weekend.
After the game I huddled the girls together. I screamed that they had just ruined my weekend and that this was the worst birthday I had ever had. Then I grabbed my bags and ran away with tears in my eyes. In the world of coaching this is called motivation. I think they're going to come to this next game really inspired.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What's going on?

Every once in a while I catch my kids trying to get away with something that they know they shouldn't. For example, I caught my son trying to unplug my alarm clock this morning in the hopes that we would over sleep and let him skip school for the day. Little did he know that by the time the alarm goes off every morning I'm just laying there in mock sleep. The cat and the dog know what time I should get up and are quick to annoy me every morning until I pet them or feed them. So when my son came creeping in like a keystone cops bank robber he didn't realize I was in my mock sleep state. After he crept back to his room I walked in flipped on the lights and told him that as long as he was already awake he needed to clean up his room immediately, fix his and his sisters' lunches, and that he had just excused himself from video games for the next month.

Thinking about it now, I still get aggravated by the whole situation. The worst part is that I'm not sure whether it's because he tried to get away with something, or because it's something that could have affected me, or because of the very clumsy way in which he attempted it. Invariably when I catch him trying to get away with some mischief, after reading him the riot act I want to sit down and tell him a better way to have pulled the caper. I want to point out the flaws in his strategy and execution. I think it's better if I don't, but it's tough to watch your kids make mistakes.