Thursday, June 30, 2005

Under Siege!

I am under attack. At this point, I’m not even sure if I will be able to last, much longer. They are taking over, and no matter how many of them I kill, they continue to infest my dwelling. They just keep coming…and coming…and coming. I have tried peaceful methods, and I have also resorted to lethal measures. Both have yielded negative results, thus far. As I write this, they are probably mounting an offensive that will cripple my main defenses and leave me vulnerable to a blitzkrieg invasion force to be reckoned with. I am left at this point, with the choices between firearms, and a strategic nuclear strike. These roly-poly’s must die!

The roly-poly (armadillidium vulgare) threat is known by many names. Woodlouse, pill bug, armadillo bug, sow bug, slater, ball bug, potato bug, or doodlebug. Most of us know them as roly-poly's, and they are one of the few insects that even little girls will pick up and play with. Why not? They are…cute. They roll up into little balls, when they feel threatened. That’s so cute! They are the soccer ball of the insect universe, and they appear to be completely harmless….they APPEAR to be.

Recently, I moved into a ground-floor apartment. Up until this point, I have always lived on the upper floors; never lower than 3rd floor. I never allowed myself to have neighbors above my head, and I lived in relative comfort and peace. For this most recent home, however, I was forced to accept a lower level unit. I knew this would cause problems and possibly even a pinch of stress; I also knew that I could handle these problems and adapt to my new environment. Besides, the cheap rent and nice location was too good to pass up. After the first few days, I saw the first signs of my new enemy. I would find them in the bathrooms, in the living room, in the den. They would invade my personal bubble and come into the kitchen, laying there like grey portents of chaos. Most of them would keep to themselves, but some of them would cause trouble. They would steal dishes and eat my food, and order porn on my digital cable DVR. They would have parties while I was away at work, and they never cleaned up after themselves. After the first month, I was already reaching my breaking point.

I offered a truce; a compromise. When I found them within my residence, I would simply pick them up, and carry them outside to the porch, while whispering positive reinforcements. The porch would be their domain…an area that they could call their own, without fear of annihilation from myself or others like me. This new arrangement seemed to work out nicely, and everybody was happy. I took comfort once again in my new home, and began to relax in such a way that my new apartment became my new home.

Then, the little roly-poly bastards pulled a fast one on me. They began to not only come into the apartment, but they did so in droves. Hundreds, thousands of them began to jump the wall and enter my home illegally. They went there to live, to work, and to squander my natural resources. Many of them came to die, also. I would find them dead all over the place…lying there, lifeless and still. My apartment had become a giant roly-poly graveyard. I would sweep them up and discard their remains in the most respectful way possible, only to be met with new resistance and hostility from the new recruits. With each batch thrown buried, new batches sprung up in their place. I began to see that I was winning the battles, but somehow still losing the war.

In an effort to help quell the invasion, I formed an alliance with the local spiders. In this new alliance, I allowed them to form webs in discrete corners of the apartment, in return for the slaughter of any roly-poly’s that entered nearby. This few and fragile alliance seemed to be working; the invading forces were beaten back. I found fewer and fewer roly-poly corpses, and the spiders started to become fat with the blood of my enemy. For a time, everybody was happy.

Then, I began to notice the spiders becoming a bit too fat; they were growing in size, and they were growing in arrogance. They began to venture outside of the designated corners assigned to them, and they began to build webs of destruction in other places that were not a part of the original treaty. I was forced, then, to counter strike with such force, as to wipe out every spider I found. The arachnid genocide was quick, and soon I had lost all of my allies. This was necessary; for spiders bite and crawl and are a dangerous mercenary to employ. Soon, I was alone in the battle once more…and I began to grow weary. I found myself leaving roly-poly corpses around my home, in an attempt to scare away future invaders. This did not have the desired effect.
The roly-poly’s will not be deterred. They cannot be bargained with. They do not feel pity, or remorse. They cannot be bribed, or reasoned with. And they absolutely will not stop, until they have taken over my apartment.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Learn to Read!

Submitted by Greg

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Whew! I need a rest!

Stupid Blog Template Bastard!

Ok, that's it. I can't stand this crap anymore. For whatever reason, this new template I'm using likes to screw with me. Sometimes, when I load up the page, things have mysteriously vanished. Like my links, for example. Sometimes, they are just gone...until I move my mouse cursor around the general area of blank that used to be my blog links...then they appear, as if by magic...or some sort of backwards Etch-a-Sketch. This drama must stop.

I thought about just changing my template back to what I started with.
Or, I could simply keep things they way they are, and learn to deal with the cranky template.

What do you think, faithful but few readers? Let me know in the comments section!

Monday, June 27, 2005

My Weekend: Short Version

Random song from the weekend: Dragostea din tei (the numa numa song)

Hangover Movie: Team America: World Police

Hangover Drink: Gatorade Fierce Grape

Hangover Food: Chinese

Most random phrase heard: “She doesn’t give better head than me. What do you want to do, have a ‘blow off’ to prove who’s the best?”

Bottles of mead and wine consumed: 5

Number of puppet sex scenes watched: 1

Number of Jager Bomb shots: 4

New book started: King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild

Best moment on Xiaolin Showdown: Omi shrinks down in size, and is forced to confront an army of ants.

Saturday morning breakfast: Cheesy eggs and toast

Random Movie Trivia learned: Bruce Willis received $5 million for his role in Die Hard

Nickname given to me by a drunken bachelor: Mr. Goatee Guy

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

@#$% You! I'm sorry.

Yesterday, I decided to take a walk down to my local Best Buy store, and pick up a new DVD for my viewing pleasure. As I walked along, whistling to myself and enjoying the nice summer air, I came to a crosswalk…the ominous place where the sidewalk and the street come together in one cosmic point. To cross the street and continue my journey, I would need to keep things as safe as possible. So, being the law-abiding citizen that I am, I pushed the little “walk” button that stops traffic and gives you that cute little green picture of a man walking, so that you and the cars around you know that it is your turn to have a piece of the road. As I walked during my “pedestrians welcome on the road” time, and began to cross the street towards Best Buy…I noticed something strange.

There was a car coming towards me.

It was a car who was turning left, making it way to me at a fairly fast pace. In fact, when he saw me, he seemed to accelerate. I stopped and stared at him for a moment…wondering if I was really seeing a car bearing down on me, or not. Thoughts of hit and run, mob connections, and drag racing began to bounce around in my head, as the car came closer, and closer. Then something strange happened to me. I began to get angry, that this crazy person was bearing down on me, as if I were not supposed to be walking across the street. I had the little green man saying “walk” and I was allowed to be here. HE was the one who shouldn’t be there! How dare he try and scare me into jumping out of the way of his stupid car?

So I stood there, and held my ground. I threw my arms up in a “what the heck are you doing?” gesture, and waited. I could see the other cars across from me, sitting at a red light and watching the events unfold before them. Maybe they thought I was crazy. Maybe they thought I was stupid. Whatever they thought, it was obvious that I was the center of attention for that time and place.

As the car came closer and closer, I continued to hold my ground. Then, finally, the car slowed down, and almost stopped. I slowly began to walk around it, and it a fit of anger shouted “Hey, nice yield, you @(*%# ! Pedestrians have the right of way!”, to make myself feel better. Then, without pause for reflection or guilt, the driver leaned his head out of his window, and shot back: “FUCK YOU!..............I’m sorry!!”

And with that, he drove away, leaving me to ponder these strange events on my own. I thought to myself, “Did he really just curse at me, and then apologize? Or did he apologize to me, while cursing at me? Can you even DO that?” I thought about this all the way to Best Buy, and as I purchased my new James Bond movie, I came to the conclusion that the whole world is crazy. Then I realized that anybody strange enough to use the F word at me, followed by an apology clearly has issues…and I’m lucky he didn’t run me of the friggin’ road, or something. He’s probably brushing his kitten with peanut butter, as I write this.

Next time, maybe I’ll get out of the way of the car, instead of trying to make a point about traffic safety.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wacky Wedding Weekend Woes

Wedding Season. As a young child, I was not aware such a season existed. In my humble Texas academy of learning, we were brought up to believe in only four seasons: Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall…that was it. There was never any mention of this elusive fifth season of cake, toasts, and starched shirts. As I have grown older, and supposedly wiser, I have come to the realization that there is, indeed a fifth season every year, and it is a joyful, stressful, annoying, fun time.

This weekend, I was privileged enough to enjoy not one, but two weddings. Saturday night was the wedding for Jenni’s cousin, while the Sunday was wedding was in honor of my friend Steve’s wedding. We had fun at both, although the amount of fun we had during the Saturday wedding, hindered our ability to have optimal fun at the Sunday wedding. Greg even drove in from Wichita for the Sunday wedding, and the three of us (Jenni, myself, Greg) spent most of the time sitting at a table in the corner, nursing hangovers and trying to seem as though we enjoyed being there. Well, the truth is we DID enjoy being there, but the headache and the upset stomach and the bright lights were a bit too much for us, I think. If Steve’s wedding had been on another weekend, things would have been different.

Regardless, the Saturday wedding was the big hit of the weekend, even with the pre-wedding countdown show that is called Irish Catholic Mass.

We arrived at the Lady of Sorrow Who is Named Elizabeth Catholic church in our Sunday best; which for Jen was a nice summer dress, and for myself was an itchy, uncomfortable white collared shirt with too much starch, and a tie. We met up with Jen’s brother (also uncomfortable) and mother, and sat down to begin the wedding/mass ceremony of joy.

I have been to a Catholic church, before. So I was a bit prepared for what was to happen. I was hoping that since this was a wedding, that I would be spared some of the intricate details, rituals, and awkward moments…I was wrong. From what I could see, the mass was conducted as if it were Sunday; with prayer readings, rituals, and bible readings. Every now and then, the priest would say something that would spark a response from the congregation…minus the people like me, who had no clue what was happening. Most times, I felt as though I were in the wrong class…everybody around me seemed to know the answers, and had read the material…while I sat there like a deer in headlights, frozen. “As long as he doesn’t call on me, I’ll be fine” I thought to myself as I knelt down in prayer. Crazy Catholics, and their kneeling. Those little bumper pads they have you kneel on don’t seem to help, too much. Especially the muscles in your butt…I walked funny all day Sunday, because I’m not used to sitting like that for more time than it takes to put the DVD into the player.

By far, the best part of church had to be communion. Up until now, I had pretty much kept to myself, and tried as best as I could to get through the mass, without bursting into flames, or making a huge mistake that would get me banned from all Catholic churches, everywhere. The only time I spoke was at the beginning of mass, when Jenni’s mom tried to give me some grief about something or other, and I whispered “Hey! Don’t give me sass in here! This is GOD’S HOUSE!” which elicited a response of laughter from the women behind me, who seemed to think I was the coolest thing since Vatican II. After my moment of glory, I spent the remainder of the service in quiet solitude and respect.

Then came Communion. The priest addressed the congregation, and said something along the lines of the following:

“We will now begin the act of communion. For those of you who are Catholic, please come up to the front, to receive the Holy Blessing of Communion. For those of you who are not Catholic, please come up to the front, with your arms crossed over your chest, and ask for a blessing from me.”

He was basically saying, that if you weren’t Catholic, you could not participate in communion along with everybody else. Even though I had been baptized, and I had taken my Confirmation class at my church, and I had been participating in the ritual of communion to honor Jesus since I was 14, this guy was telling me I wasn’t allowed to worship God because he said so. The insanity and hypocrisy had finally taken its toll, and I could no longer sit there in quiet reflection and respect. I found myself shaking my head, and suddenly I heard myself say out loud, “That’s WEAK!”

For a second, there was silence. I saw Jen slowly turn her head towards me, brandishing a look that would cause most men to cower in their seats, and wet themselves. I held my ground, and stared right back at my girlfriend with a ‘so what?’ face…and then I heard the chuckling. The women behind me, as well as others in the rows in front of me, thought this was hilarious. They lost it. When I say “lost it” I don’t mean to imply that they started laughing and hollering, rolling around on the floor, or slapping their knees. It was ‘church laughter’ which is quiet and reserved, but present, nonetheless. The point had been made: this was bullshit, and their laughter made me feel better.

So as I knelt there, stifling the laughter trying to erupt out from inside of me, I bowed my head and began to pray in my own way, and decided that I would take communion as a SPY. I asked Jen how to look Catholic, and how to cross myself, and all of that. She showed me, and soon I was prepared to take communion as a pretend Catholic.

Before they began the ritual, they played bells. They chimed the bells when the priest blessed the bread and they chimed them again, for the wine. I held back the laughter once more, at the thought of the “Catholic Dinner Bell” signaling the time to eat the body and blood of Christ.

So I took communion as a spy, and was able to complete my worship. The rest of the mass was pretty standard, except I noticed there was no singing, which is different than I’m used to. After the mass, there was the shuffling of feet, and the general disorder and confusion that follows a large group of people trying to exit from the same location. We all headed to the basement, where the reception was to be held. How is THAT for irony? Booze and drunkenness occurring in the basement of a Catholic Church.

The reception was fun, and I had the privilege of enjoying a chocolate fountain (which I’ve decided I MUST have at my wedding), free drinks, and good food for my reward of surviving mass without much incident. I noticed there were no Catholic Dinner Bells this time, so I just ate my food and went on with my life. I met lots of people from Jenni’s family…and I forgot most of their names, almost as quickly as I learned them. We got to dance, drink, and be merry while I avoided the hands of some of Jen’s more inebriated aunts (I got my ass pinched 3 times that night). I also had the privilege of having one of Jen’s family members tell me that because Jen was tall, that she would give me a large, strapping boy when we procreated.

Gee, thanks.

All in all, the wedding was fun, and I had a good time. I’m glad that the Wedding Weekend is over, though. I think I have just enough time now, to store up energy for the next wedding, of the season, which is set to take place in a few weeks.

Ah, the joy of the Wedding Season.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Winter: 1 Eric: 0

I hate winter. This fact is well known to those close to me, or even to helpless bystanders who happen across my path as I hurriedly scrape the ice and frost off of my windshield at early in the freaking morning. Winter is not my friend. In fact, ever since I was dragged up to this Midwestern haven of ice and snow and devil’s white play-dirt, I have looked at winter as my enemy. As such, we have had many battles over the years, usually ending in a stalemate that does nothing to quell our desire to destroy one another. This year, however, winter struck a mighty blow; one that will take at least a week to fully heal.

Winter gave me a fucking sunburn.

Now, I know that sounds strange. Believe me, I know how strange it would sound if somebody said that to me. I assure you, however, that this statement is true: winter gave me a sunburn. You see, Old Man Winter is a tricky old bastard, and when engaged in a full-out battle of wills and determination with an unusually stubborn and head-strong individual such as myself, he is forced to be extra-sneaky in his attacks. This is one of those times.

Throughout this winter, I remember thinking that the weather was unusually mild; almost too mild for the Midwest. As I could count the number of times I had to scrape my car on one hand only, I reveled in the fact that this year, I had won. I had WILLED winter away from me; simply by wanting it to be so. I enjoyed the lack of snow and ice and blizzard wind so much, that I dropped my guard and turned my back….and winter stepped up, bent me over, and called me its bitch.

You see, winter gave me a false sense of hope that summer was already here; and so I would open the windows, and go outside in shorts…only to be back in my trusty leather coat the very next day as I chattered my teeth all the way from the parking garage, into the office. Then, a few days later, the sun would return and the warm weather would begin, anew….only to be subdued by the icy frost of winter, yet again. This trend continued for so long, that I became wary; I began to stay indoors, just to be safe. The snow and ice were replaced with rain and wind, and so even on “nice” spring days, it would be gloomy and dark and depressing. Winter was winning.

Then, out of nowhere, the clouds parted! The summer sun shone down upon us, and I rejoiced with the knowledge that winter’s icy grip had not tightened around my unwilling body. The time of summer had begun, and I chose to celebrate this new era of happiness with a trip to the swimming pool with Jen.

We lay by the water, enjoying books and relaxing under the sun, as the crisp breeze blew over our backs and the birds chirped. It was a wonderful time…until I began to notice a slight stinging occurring all over my body. Curious, I began to poke and prod my skin, searching for the explanation to the sudden and uncharacteristic feeling of pain I was experiencing. It was then, that the realization struck me: I was getting a sunburn.

Winter had fooled me. I had let my guard down, and during this period of ignorance, winter had been slowly causing my skin to become soft, pale, and weak. The constant rain and cloudy days caused by the cold air of winter had turned my skin into a giant, white, body-covering vagina that stood no chance of surviving an onslaught of rays from the hot sun.

So here I sit, a victim of my own over-confidence. My skin is lobster-red, and throbs with pain. The ibuprofen I took this morning has worn off, and the waves of heat roll off of me in a tsunami of discomfort. I yearn for the chance to leave work and purchase the sweet nectar of burn relief: Aloe. For the next hour, however, I must remain at my desk with throbbing limbs and itchy flesh, and count the minutes until my release.

Good form, winter…but damn you. I will not be fooled by you, again.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Mo' Money

With my new job, I am now making $50 less, per month.
With my new apartment, I am now paying $65 more, per month.
After applying to KU and getting my student loan payments back on track, I am now paying $100 per month.

That's $215 less money I have, per month. All of this has changed, in the past 3 weeks. All of the sudden, I find myself hurting for cash again, as I was when I first got back from Europe. So it seems that my plan to go back to school was a bad decision, and moving to the new apartment was a bad decision, and losing my old contract with Sprint SUCKED worse than I thought it did.

If anybody is hiring, I can type fast.