Friday, March 28, 2008

Another Swift Kick in the Back.

A while back, I blogged about the single life. In a nutshell, I talked about how I had come to accept my status as a single guy, and that actually finding someone to date and settle down with had actually become low on my priority list. I enjoy my life, with or without someone "special" to share it with.

Later on, I blogged again about the topic, occasioned by a good friend's wedding. In that post, I scoffed at the notion that I -- or really anyone, for that matter -- needed a second person to complement us, to pick us up when we fall, to prop us up when we lack the strength to stand.

I recently had occasion to re-examine my thoughts on these.

And I've reached a slightly modified conclusion.

First, don't get me wrong: I am still single, I still enjoy being single, and I am by no means desperate to find someone to relieve me of my singledom. I still cling fast to the "if it happens, it happens" mantra and refuse to approach life as a one-track minded quest for personal partnership.

Nonetheless, my recent trip home, and my mother's exhortations (spoken truly from the heart) have managed to really pierce me hard-headed mindset.

I went back home for a week recently to be with my family because my mother had been experiencing significant pain in her back for the better part of a year. Finally, she went in for surgery to help her relieve the pain. Back surgery for a woman of my mother's age can be a big deal, and recovery an even bigger deal, so I returned home to spend some time with her. Not that I could really help much (I wasn't lifting her out of bed or anything), but I think my just being there made her happier and thus helped just a little bit in her recovery.

She was in the hospital for a few days after I arrived, first with a morphine drip, then with heavy doses of oxycontin and percoset. (I was tempted to steal a pill or two, but thought better of it.) Walking around was quite difficult for her, even with a walker. Her physical therapy treatments involved ensuring that she walked whenever she could, including the part about getting in and out of bed by herself. If you had to watch her do this, I assure you, it was no easy feat for her.

By the time she got home, she had markedly improved, but she still experienced some pain when moving around, and it's clear that she won't be running marathons anytime soon. But another part about my visit home was just to be at home during the day for those first few days in case she needed me.

One afternoon, as I was preparing some lunch for her while she sat on a stiff-backed chair in the living room, she said to me with all seriousness: "You really still don't have a girlfriend? Really, you need to find someone and settle down. If you should ever wind up like me, who's going to help you? You need to have someone around to help you in times like these."

(In case you're late to this blog, be advised that I have not come out to my parents, who still hold out the hope that one day I will meet a nice girl, get married, and have children. My poor, poor parents....)

Normally I pay little heed to what my mother says. But having seen her all week, struggling through such simple tasks as getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom, I realized she wasn't 100% wrong. What would happen to me if I were to suffer some kind of misfortune?

Spouses or other significant others kind of, by default, are expected to take care of you when you're sick, or when you're recovering from a major surgery. What happens when you don't have one? I'm not the kind of guy who feels comfortable burdening his friends. In fact, the last time I had any surgery at all, I felt bad begging friends to come over and just help me. An excerpt from a 2004 entry:

But the panic attack really started to hit me when I realized that I would be completely unable to feed myself if I got hungry and Tracy wasn't around. How would I be able to find something in the fridge? How would I prepare it? Suddenly, even something as mundane as a peanut butter sandwich, or a frozen pizza, or even a friggin' frozen tv dinner, would become a tremendous effort, involving lots of navigation that I would have taken for granted on any other occasion.

I think not being able to care for myself has quickly become my greatest phobia in life.

So what's a single guy to do? I have no answers, only generalized anxieties.

PS: Leave it to me to take a life event like my mother's back surgery and turn it into a "me" moment. In case you're interested, my mom was doing fine by the time I left; her pain had started to subside and she was able to scale back on her pain meds. She still needs a walker to move around, and probably will still need it for a few months, but she seems okay. And my sister-in-law took her to her follow-up appointment and reported that all seems decent.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Outta Here.

I am taking an unscheduled break from my Washington life.

I'll be heading home this morning for about a week.

Nothing more need be said about the matter.

Back soon!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Family Programming

One recent morning as I got ready for work I turned on the television and found it in the middle of the movie 300. Not having enough time to sit down and watch it, I hit the "record" button on my DVR and went about my way, anxious to watch it later. I certain didn't want to pass up what I'd heard was a movie laced with barely dressed men sporting six-pack abs in various homoerotic fight scenes.

This evening I finally got around to watching the film. So I fired up the DVR menu, scrolled over the "300" and asked it to "Play from beginning."

As sometimes happened, the machine caught the tail end of the show before.

As the closing credits of the movie before ran, my ears were accosted by the sound of "Somewhere Out There."

Yes, 300 -- rated "R" and carrying warnings of "graphic violence, nudity, adult content, and adult language" -- was being run immediately after An American Tail, starring this little guy:

Fivel's a good segue into blood and homoerotic violence, is he not? I note that 300 contained a scene wherein a good number of people were violently tossed into a deep chasm within 10 minutes of the beginning of the movie; an almost-naked woman dances around within 15 minutes from the start; and a rather steamy sex scene (with prominently featured female breasts) takes place within 25 minutes. (All times approximate; after all, my DVR recorded started early.)

Friday, March 14, 2008


I can't help thinking that CBS is going to have a major lawsuit on its hands stemming from this season's Big Brother.

Seriously, Natalie is a complete psycho-chick stalker, and eventually, she will hunt down and kill Matt, whether it's in the Big Brother house or not. Or at least she'll try to.

Matt's a total player -- hello, he even made out with one of the other chicks (I forget if it was Chelsia or Sharon) just to get a tactical advantage -- but usually that can be written off as part of the game. You can never be sure that anyone in that house is being genuine, whether it's emotions, or alliances or whatnot.

But Natalie, however, has convinced herself that Matty loves her. When he's not near her, she goes looking for him. He tries his hardest to push her away, and she keeps coming back like some puppy dog. He's rude to her and her best response is, "No, I know he still loves me and wants to be with me and wants to sleep in the bed with me."

"Matty why won't you get in the bath with me? Come o-o-o-o-on..."

The kicker for me: when she found out that Matt made out with another girl, it did not immediately shatter her "he loves me" image. It upset her, sure, but in the end, she was "torn." Seriously, she was "torn" the same way a new bride would be if she found out her husband had cheated on her during their three-year engagement. And Natalie's only known Matt for under two months.

I would think that a reasonable person would, after less than two months together and in the face of clear signs that he doesn't want to be with you, take the making out with someone else as firm evidence that he's not as infatuated with you as you thought.

Natalie is not a reasonable person.

Oh, and I cannot be the only one who thinks that, at any moment, she's going to break the tension in the house by calling out "You know what this room needs? THE PERFECT CHEER!" I mean, seriously. She's a spitting image. But then at least Cheri Oteri was funny.


Dear Lady Who Just Left My Office Building As I Was Walking In:

I know you saw me through the glass door. That's not a huge challenge.

I know you could tell I was coming into the building. That's not a huge challenge either.

Perhaps you don't realize that I saw you, too. One of the principles of glass doors is that usually, if you can see me, I can see you.

So I saw you walking up to the door -- yes, the same door I was approaching, from the opposite side -- and I saw that your arm was half way up, getting ready to push the door open.

Then I saw you actually put your arm down when you saw me on the other side of the door.

Uh, hello?

Are you little miss primadonna princess that you can't push the freaking door open yourself? Just because I'm approaching the same door doesn't mean you can't also push the door open too.

If you ever do that to me again, I'm going to open the door, all right... and then I'm just going to walk on through it and let it close behind me.

Just giving you a heads-up.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No Longer Subtle

I used to be really good at subtlety when it came to checking out random hot guys. I have mastered taking cell phone shots with the intended target wholly unawares. I have stared down fetching young fellows as they walk by me on the street, in the Metro, at bars. Usually they don't notice because, well, they probably don't want to, but hey, I have fun.

I seem to have lost that subtlety in recent days.

Never mind that, a few days ago, I was at a (straight) bar with some friends of mine and thought I could be all slick by taking photos of guys (with a freaking flash camera -- with red-eye reduction) without them knowing. (Shocker: they figured it out. I'm going to blame the Smithwick's.)

I offered to give away some items from my home recently and some internet stranger offered to come get it some of them. Great, I thought, I get to de-clutter.

The guy showed up at my office building as I asked and called me from downstairs, where I was to go meet him with a bag of my stuff. When I got to the front of my building, I saw him.

He was on a bicycle. Wearing a unitard bike outfit. You know the kind I'm talking about.

Okay, this guys was fully covered up, none of this spaghetti-strap stuff (though it might have been nice...). But when one thinks of bike shorts, really, one's mind can tend to drift toward other things, like wrestling singlets

and spandex

and even superheroes

but in the end, it all really just boils down to one thing: those outfits can leave very little to the imagination. One time I was sitting at a Starbucks, in the window seat, minding my business when a guy wearing a blue bike outfit walked down the street (where was his bike? I have no clue) and I swear not only I could I tell his religion, but I could get an appreciation for his manscape.

So back to this guy picking up some free stuff from me... try as I might, I was having a hard time struggling not to check out this guy's junk. I mean, really, it was just there, begging to be scrutinized. Not too shabby. I know it was horribly rude, but really now, when you wear that, you're kinda just asking for that kind of attention, aren't you? Especially if you're thin and fit, as this guy was.

Words cannot express how extremely happy I was that this guy was able to pick the stuff up from me during the work day, because if I had to arrange for him to come by my home to get it, there's no telling what I'd be tempted to do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


My avatar notwithstanding, I'm not a huge fan of cats. A woman in my office absolutely loves hers; whenever she mentions him, I provide a Maynard-G.-Krebs-like response* of "evil." I mean, they can be cute and all, but in terms of personality, I'm truly a dog guy.

But just to butter up you cat lovers who may happen to be reading this, I bring you this video just for you before I get to the meat of this post:

Okay, there.

Aight, so a trailer park community in Chantilly has decided that they're going to round up some 200 (feral, I gather) cats and euthanize them because, well, they're being general pests. Obviously at least one cat-hugger is "sick, sick" over the idea, but I don't care either way, really (which doesn't stop me from mocking the cat-hugger -- I mean, really, those things are evil and ungrateful and you feed them? Geez Louise).

Here's the WaPo article about this situation.

And here's the funny/stupid thing about the article:

By law, the trapped cats must be taken to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, animal control officers said.


[Fairfax County Animal Shelter spokeswoman Michelle] Hankins said today that the shelter had not been notified of the management company's plans to begin trapping the cats. The shelter was already running near capacity and not equipped to handle 200 animals, she said.

"Our hope is that the cats aren't brought to us," she said.

I read those two propositions together and my first thought was, "Where else can they go, if by law they have to go to your shelter?" I was thinking just how retarded she was, and did she even know the law which the Post just referenced?

Then I realized what she probably meant was that she hopes the roundup efforts won't take place at all. (I would still call it a combination of unfortunate phrasing and poor juxtaposition of the two propositions, though.)

Then I couldn't help thinking, "How hard could it be to just throw the things into a chamber as you get them?" But that probably sounds even more nasty than necessary, and while I retract that question, I've decided not to actually back up and delete it.

Yeah, just not a cat guy.

* If you know what I'm talking about, two snaps, I'm impressed. If you don't, Maynard was played by Bob Denver (yes, Gilligan) who had a knee-jerk, autonomic reaction every time someone said the word "work" around him. He didn't like the idea.

Wow, Gilligan was kinda cute. In a Shaggy (sans Scooby Doo) sorta way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Idiocracy, Continued

Remember this post? Well apparently she's back for more.

She emailed me again today to ask me to please change her email address in the system. Never mind that you can do that yourself once you've logged in.

So rather than give a woman a fish, I decided to teach her how to fish, and told her to just log in herself and change the email herself. Guess what? No dice.

She asked me to send her her password again. Never mind that just a few days ago, she had asked me to retrieve it previously.

Now, to give just a tiny bit of credit, she was probably have a wee bit of trouble because the only way to retrieve your password is if you let the system email it to you, and she was changing her email address because it had been disconnected. But still: don't you write things down?

Eventually I gave up and changed her frigging email address for her. But I did tell her that if she was changing her address because she lost her freaking job, she should change the rest of the information in there accordingly.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Badass Moron

There's usually no shortage of "interesting" people on the Metro. True, in DC, we have far more than our fair share of stuffed-shirt bureaucratic professional types, but we've also got a pretty persistent undercurrent of countercultural types. Kinda like Greenwich Village wannabe types. Not many, of course, but almost by definition those people don't give a damn what others think, so they can stand out.

Tonight a young man boarded the Metro with what appeared to be a wallet or business card type case dangling from his mouth. It's hard to describe. It looked kind of like this, but the kind with a key ring attached to it too:

Now as I said, this thing was dangling from his mouth. Upon first glance, I thought he had placed a key on the key ring portion of the wallet and simply put the key in his mouth. (Why would one do that? I have no idea... but then I suppose that's what made him him and not me.)

Watching him as we made our way along the tracks, though, I realized my initial conclusion was incorrect. He was not sucking on a key, or on anything that was attached to the end of that wallet thingee.

The wallet thingee was attached to his face as a eyebrow ring would be: he had pierced the lower part of his mouth and placed something through it; through that ring he hung a wallet.

Keep in mind, I'm not talking about a pierced lip. I'm talking about a portion of the skin just beneath the lip. Someplace where beards usually form.

And I thought how comically stupid he looked.

First, as I said, this thing was dangling on the edge of his face. Did he really think this looked cool?

Second, it was attached to his face. Attached. What the hell purpose does that serve? Is there an ID in there? Money? Business cards? He has to reach up to his face to retrieve any of those items. How bizarre is that?

Third, I presume the look is meant to project a badass attitude. "Yeah, I'm not, I've got a facial piercing that's not my ear and there's a big-ass thing hanging from it. I'm noncomformist and that makes me all badass." Thing is, I'm pretty certain that area of the skin isn't that tough. So if Mr. Badass with a Wallet Swinging From His Face were to actually get into anyone's face, I imagine it wouldn't be all that difficult to yank the damn wallet off. Then while he's howling in pain from a huge missing chunk of skin, you could do all kinds of things like kick him in the stomach and/or balls and/or shin, or maybe just run.

There's making a statement, and ... there's idiocy.


I've decided to work some new phrases into semi-regular rotation during my many conversations with random people. Feel free to join the fun.

1. "I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!"

I'm not exactly sure in what context I'd actually use this phrase, but I intend to use it nonetheless. Apparently all kinds of other people are already doing it, which puts me behind the curve.

Also, in gay circles, it invites a segue into bringing the boys to the yard, which can into a wonderful pick-up line.

Or not.

2. "What the French, toast?" and "Who are you calling a Cootie Queen, you Lint Licker?" (accent required).

(Bonus two-fer!)

That's some funny stuff right there, yo.

The first one is ready-for-prime-time with immediate usage irrespective of precise context. I suppose someone would have to use the phrase "Cootie Queen" before pulling out the second phrase... or not. I think maybe it would be even more fun to just pull it out of nowhere.

3. Scully-rific.

I'm making this one up myself. To the extent that it's even possible, I used to have a mad crush on Scully from The X-Files, whom I found hot and sexy and smart all at the same time.

(Unfortunately, House of Mirth did not leave me with the same love for Gillian Anderson.)

4. Craptastic.

I don't know where I read this first, but it's the funniest word ever (for now) and I'm going to put it into heavy rotation. Kinda like "ghetto fabulous," it's inherently contradictory and yet everyone who hears it knows precisely what it describes.

And it doesn't even necessarily have to do with bowel movements, contrary to what the photo above would suggest.

5. Anything from Heathers.

I mean, really, the lines were just classic. (Though the cutesy language of Juno will likely provide a run for the money. But they talked a little too fast in that movie so the cool jargon gets kinda lost.)

Examples of my favorites:
- "Fuck me gently with a chain saw!"
- "Grow up Heather. Bulimia is sooo '87."
- "Corn Nuts!"
- "What's your damage, Heather?"
- "Lick it up, baby! Lick. It. Up."
- "Veronica, why are you pulling my dick?"
- "I don't patronize bunny rabbits."
- "I love my dead gay son!"
- "Save the speeches for Malcolm X... I just wanna get laid!"

There's plenty more, but you get my drift.


There's definitely more phrases I'm working into heavy rotation, but these are the fun ones I want to start getting other people to use too. Go to it, people!