31 March, 2007

These damn kids

When I was younger, in my early teens, I was really into skateboarding, roller blading, biking and all those 'extreme' sports. Of course, I was also into the style of clothes and everything else that went along with riding a wooden plank or strapping wheels to your feet.

I remember the style well: huge, baggy pants, wide shoes (untied of course), and huge t-shirts. If you were wearing a hat it was a nice worn in baseball style cap. Long hair was pretty much the norm, but not like put it in a ponytail long. Most of my friends either had hair down to their eyes or a little longer, or short cropped hair, nothing really in between. The CCS catalog was pretty much a consumer's bible when it came to skateboarding. I remember getting my first 'skate shirt' when I was in 5th grade, the Etnies devil shirt.

This memory all comes about because I keep seeing skater kids around town, and they look nothing like I remember. The huge shoes are still there, but the pants are incredibly tight. This used to be a style rocked uniquely by Ed Tempelton and occasionally Mike Valley, but apparently it's the new thing to do. I checked out the CCS website to see if it was just a Philly thing, but tight jeans and tiny t-shirts are all they carry in their catalog now. It seems as if the 'kids' are wearing tighter everything nowadays. Makes sense I guess, it's just odd when I see a kid riding his skateboard and I can't seem to shake the established image of what I think he should look like. Does that makes sense?

Since I can't shake that image the whole thing looks completely ridiculous to me. Of course this brings me to the realization of just how ridiculous I must have looked in jeans that were about three sizes too big for me and a t-shirt made for someone standing 5'8". My parents must have had incredible patience while waiting for that stage to pass. It took all through middle school and up to about sophomore year in high school.

I'd like to think I look a tad less foolish than I used to, but I'm sure that to many people that is not the case. I don't suppose the mustache helps, but whatever.

And a few notes on the coffee shop for good measure:

- Earl Grey tea smells like cat shit, and tastes worse I would imagine. Peppermint tea on the other hand is downright splendid.

- No, homeless guy, I don't want you to wash the windows of the shop. I don't care if you 'do it all the time,' I'm not opening the register and giving you money. You don't even have a ladder, and the windows are floor to ceiling. What, are you going to jump?

- Note to the lady on the cell phone: Shut it. And stop rubbing my back as you pace around the shop, it's creepy. Also no, you can't have 'some more hot water' in your cup, because you are drinking tea and that's a refill.

- To the people that comment on the tip jar and the funny note/drawing on it (Tip people, not cows) and then don't leave a tip: Fuck you.

- To caffeine: thanks!

Lily Allen's 'Knock 'em Out' stopped me in my tracks and demanded my full attention. I'd heard of her before but it definitely wasn't what I was expecting from someone with such a nice name. I checked out her website and found that she sings another song I like. It's called 'Everything's Just Wonderful' on her site if you're keeping track.

....And as always, gratuitous makeout pictures on Facebook or MySpace make me want to hit people. Stop it. Just stop.

29 March, 2007

Carnival of Bauer, Prez. DeWayne edition

"Look, Daniels, I know we've been playing phone tag for a minute now, but this is ridiculous..."

This week's 24 was kind of nuts, and maybe not in a good way. While not entirely believable, there was a bit of killing, a bit of romance and of course there was the first time I actually rooted for Wayne Palmer when he did anything. Anyway let's get going on this blog carnival. There's 15 episodes down, meaning only 9 more to go. Decent!

Kyle Brandt spent some time interviewing the latest statistic on the Jack Bauer Kill counter (Yeah, he's still alive, only for real in the real world). There's some really good stuff here on the inner workings of 24. Definitely this week's must-read.

Amy of Remote Access gives us one of the more thoughtful blogs of the week. Among other things, she wonders if this is the season with no mole and what what really is up with Doyle and Johnson. Sounds like a sitcom, no? Anyhow, it's definitely worth reading.

Morning Maniac Dave drops a short run down on what he learned during the 15th hour of 24. Short, sweet, and hilarious if you are in the know (if you're reading this then you're in the know, go see it.)

Steve at Magic Lamp gives us his usual rundown of he show. By usual I mean pretty damn funny. It takes almost as long to read as the show takes to watch. It's worth it though. Done and done.

Carnival sponsor and all around nice guy Blogs 4 Bauer heard (from a little bird, of course) some good news about Cougar Bait. Drop by to find out (and in general.)
If you haven't seen the 24 in 24 site, you're missing out. There's a weekly blog, but the comics are the best. I wait for them to come out every week, and I always wish they were longer.

Emperor Misha I of Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler puts forth a lengthy but compelling argument for why Joel Surnow has 'jumped the shark' based on this weeks' episode. I'm not going to stop watching by any means, but it's always good to have a different view on things.

Rachel of Tinkerty Tonk noticed that the internet is the cause of the CTU info leaks. Insightful post including Chloe's MySpace. Stalkers go!

Jeff of Truth v. The Machine revs up the machine for a not so serious look at the 15th hour. "Watching Jack patronize Rain Man and then shove him out into harm’s way may be the most barfingly bizarre thing this show has done." HA!

Over at Cake or Death, jwookie notes that Jack likes helping the de-de-dee's, and there's a good (read:hot) picture of Nadia. And it's funny. Done and done. Go now, the force of Cake compels you.

King Tom enlightens his citizens with a recap of this week's episode and whining about the lack of Jack (hey, that rhymed!) Also kudos for using the phrase "someone with, shall we say, 'unique mathematical skills'." Well done.

Dean, being the Thoughtful Conservative that he is, urges people to get a grip, wondering what the deal is with the machismo Milo and the suddenly sentimental Jack.

Yankz of Sour Apple Jello, while not really focusing on this season of 24, has a great top 10 list of 24's Most Shocking Moments. Go and join the debate. Come on, Edgar dying wasn't in the top 10? Seriously go debate now.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

In order to better feed your addiction, remember to check out Blogs4Bauer.

28 March, 2007

Some suspect business going down

In season 5 of 24, Chloe is ousted from the CTU office and aids Jack from a laptop in some rando bar (suspiciously near Bill Buchanan's house.) Friday night this dude was in the shop near the end of the night doing something similar; of course I had to listen in to what I could hear of his conversation and stole a few glances at his laptop.

I don't think I'll be compromising national security protocol or anything by relating this because I don't think rogue CTU operatives wear giant TO Dallas Cowboys jersey's and Tims' while on the job, so read on. This guy clearly worked for some private company, maybe even a company he owns, that does surveillance on folks.

Here's the scene. The guy walks in, big dude, wearing a TO Cowboys jersey. He's on his bluetooth headset when he walks to the counter. He excuses himself from his conversation and asks me if we have wireless here. I inform him that yes we do, and he orders a Mocha and coffee cake and sits down.

I make the mocha and heat up the coffee cake and bring it to his table. He's back on his headset, staring at a screen which displays 4 video feeds. The feeds were of a streetcorner shot from various angles. I'm curious.

"I'm handling the situation" he says into the headset. "Don't screw this up we've only got one shot to get this guy."

Sweet, I thought. I 'did some dishes' for a moment, the sink being in sight line of his laptop screen. The guy moved the cameras around, zooming in on people's faces as they walked in and out of whatever corner location he and his silent partner on the phone were observing.

"You've got to get out of there," the guy said. "They're on to you...I don't know, tell them something. Just get out of there where you can talk."

Then moments later:

"Is this line compromised? Okay, I'm changing your password and login, I think they've got you bugged.... Yeah, make sure when the guy comes out you're on it, we're only got one shot... Hold there for a second, cross the street when I tell you... Okay, you've only got a few minutes, in and out man."

This guy and his partner were in on some crazy bust or something. Who knows what they were really up to. From the end of the conversation I could hear, I think they work for some private investigation company and they were setting up some sort of sting operation. Whatever the case, it was funny to see something like that happening right before my eyes (and ears). Also the guy tipped me a few bucks, so I'm on his side for whatever.

I really wanted to ask him what he was up to, but I was afraid of getting tazered. See the pictures below for a visual depiction of what happened to the fellow who tried interrupting Chloe while she was working:
Oh hey, sup?
Laptop huh? I got one of those for free from my office...
Tazzzzzzzzzeeee
Hey Jack, sorry about that. What's up?

On a similar note, it confuses me when I see people with laptops in bars. There's a few that have free wireless in the area (Doobies, McGlinchey's, etc.) Isn't the point of going to a bar to drink, not to make revisions to your Excel spreadsheet and the like? I guess I just have a different idea of what going to the bar means.

23 March, 2007

It's on the menu, dick. Figure it out.

Gwen fell asleep the other night with the remote in her hand. She had adjusted the volume and didn't have the energy to put the clicker back on the table. She later explained that it was probably her ingrained fear that once she fell asleep I would take the remote from her and put on sports. This if course is entirely true, as I discovered her in this position when I was coming over to do just that.

This tiny woman with Lisa Loeb glasses comes in today and mulls over the menu for a few minutes, weighing her options and 'humphh'-ing mightily to herself throughout. Speaking of Lisa Loeb she's really hot. Like really hot. Anyhow this woman in the shop who was decidedly not as attractive as Lisa Loeb finally turns around and approaches me. She orders a hot chocolate with skim milk and 'not too much chocolate.' Fair enough.

I go to the basement and get the skim milk because there was none in the fridge. I make up her drink, which was 'for here,' making it a large by default. Not my rules, but them's the breaks. So I make up her drink all nice and shit. I even made a little chocolate pattern in the foam on the top in the shape of the Eiffel tower. Kidding, it was actually a little grid pattern with rounded corners and shit.

Anyway I put the thing on the counter, and ring her up. Large hot chocolate, $3.60. With tax it's like $3.89. Yeah, it's expensive, but whatever, that's not the point.

She looks up in surprise and says "That's the most expensive hot chocolate I've ever heard of."

"Sorry, I don't set the prices, I just make the drinks" I reply.

"I'm not going to pay that much for a hot chocolate, you'll have to charge me less" she says.

"Would you like me to get you something else that's less expensive," I reply. "The prices are next to the drinks on the menu..."

She'd spent almost five minutes looking at the damn menu then acted all surprised and indignant when I rang the drink up for ::gasp:: the listed price. Fucking idiot.

She got a coffee and sat sullenly at one of the tables in the front. I gave her the change and sat in the back, satisfied with m piping hot, free hot chocolate.

Insider's tip: Here are the 'good deals' at my shop. A bagel with cream cheese, butter or jelly is like $1.63. A Chicken Salad Sandwich is like $4.05 (it's damn good chicken salad). If you're getting a drink ask for a small in a to go cup even if you're staying in the shop. And don't get the hot chocolate.

I shaved my beard. Now it's in the form of a Trot Nixon for the foreseeable future. I rule.
Speaks for itself. If you don't get it, there's a hot chocolate I'd like to sell you.My dad sent me this. I need this shirt. And I need to hang out with this guy.

21 March, 2007

Thanks to a variety of stimulants I am still conscious and functional

At around 7 am the manic jitters set in. The back of your legs start to sweat. Your eyes burn for a few moments. Motivation for anything is gone. Your fingers grow heavy and typing feels like you're banging sausage links against the keyboard.

Then, it all goes away. If you're staying up all night, this is the worst part. The afterward is one of my favorite feelings in the world though; that moment when the jitters go away and you feel almost normal again. When that first breath of fresh air fills you up when you step outside and the whole day is ahead of you, a whole day is behind you, and you're still experiencing it all without having slept.

Of course not sleeping isn't really the best or most healthy thing to do to one's body. It is, however, the best way to get work finished on a deadline. Especially if that work is finishing a layout in a program that you last saw before you were of legal age (Pagemaker 6.5), wrestling the beast to print to a PDF, and then proofing the whole 56 page fiasco.

However thanks to Vitamin water, Monster Energy Drinks, and a certain amount of personal tenacity, I made this situation a reality. Burned the damn thing to a CD this morning at 7:15 am and it's getting shipped off just as soon as I get off work.

In a related meandering, this morning was the first time I actually had something to do immediately after finishing what I had been working on all night. In college when I would pull all nighters, the absolute worst part would be the three hours or so I had to kill between finishing work and going to the class to hand in said work.

This morning I was actually worried that I might not get the whole thing finished before I had to open the Cafe at 8. It was great motivation not to screw around on last.fm or somesuch website. I got to work on time, opened faster than I ever have due to the fact that I wasn't 'still waking up' when I got here, made myself a bagel and tea and am now deeply concerned with the Philadelphia Weekly crossword.

Speaking of the Weekly, what the HELL is up with their cover story this week? Street games? Seriously? I suppose covering any sort of actual news is really left to Philadelphia Will Do, then.

I know people are sick of hearing about the impending Mayoral
elections, sick of hearing about the rising death toll this year, sick of hearing about lots of things. But seriously, a cover 'story' about Street Games? Basically the Weekly sucks. This is the latest in a long line of weak Weekly covers, which I have commented on before in this blog.

19 March, 2007

'Effing sinuses

"Are you sick?"

"No," I lie. "I'm fine."

Well, it wasn't entirely a lie. Four minutes before my mom called, I felt fine. Of course I got a bit congested for some unknown reason moments before her call, and by an hour later it felt as if someone had forced a rugby ball into my sinuses and inflated it.

I have never felt congestion like this before in my life. It's the kind that when you swallow, your ears pop and your tongue clicks a bit. The kind where you can't talk and breathe at the same time. The kind where you can't blow your nose because your sinuses are too impacted and yet your nose continually runs.

And of course wiping your nose every 15 seconds with prison issue toilet paper does wonders for the sensitive skin under said nose.

I have never had congestion come on so suddenly and with such veracity. I'm spending tonight with a carton of orange juice, the strongest decongestant I can find (suggestions?) and a box of those tissues with aloe and papaya or something.

Still, I don't feel sick. I am not congested in my chest. I don't feel feverish, weak, tired or otherwise ill. I hate congestion, it's the only part of winter that I would do away with if given the chance.

16 March, 2007

Co-Stan-Za, and other Seinfeld moments applied to everyday life.

Remember the Seinfeld where the pigeons wouldn't move for George and he ended up running them over? Same thing happened to me yesterday, only I was on my bike.

I was riding through the city on the way home from work, around 3:30 in the afternoon. As I do, I was riding in the street, and moving at a rather swift pace. I was quickly approaching a group of three pigeons, so I steered left. They moved into my way. I steered right, they moved back.

Dammit, these birds were persistent. I whistled to startle them. Nothing. I yelled. Nothing. This was in the span of about 3 seconds, mind you. So I am getting pretty close, and they're not moving. I slow down, and steer left. They move into my way.

To hell with these birds, I thought, and pumped the pedals. They'll move.

Of course they moved in the end, because as unintelligent as they are, pigeons know they're not going to win against a bike. A biker, however, is a different story. When they finally dispersed mere moments before I crossed their plot of asphalt, one of the rats with wings decided that it would fault me with making them move, and dive bombed me. Not in the shit on your hat and call it a day sense, but in the fly directly at my chest with claws out sense. Jousting being the state sport of Maryland, I should have seen this coming.

I tried swerving, nearly hitting a parked car, but the little bastard nailed me right in the chest, bouncing off like a riot gun beanbag. As I rode away, the pigeon had the gall to fly alongside me for a few moments before heading off to some wire, no doubt to high five his little pigeon buddies and collect on a bet.

George Costanza, I feel your pain.

In unrelated notes, at this writing, I have only erred on three of my first round picks on the NCAA bracket. Duke, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame, I'm looking at you. If Arkansas and Texas pull it out, an entire side of my bracket will be correct. This good fortune can't last. Because I had the thought "at least none of my Sweet 16's are out,' that means that at least 8 of them are going to tank tomorrow or Sunday.

I'm really pissed about the crap that Gwen had to go through at the airport all day today. First her flight gets delayed a few times, a total of three and a half hours, and it was ultimately canceled. She said there were only three announcements the whole time with updates on the situation, and I actually found out by looking up the flight status online that her flight was canceled before she knew.

So it's canceled, come home, right? Well there's the little matter of the bags. Apparently the bags couldn't be retrieved in any sort of timely manner, or possibly at all. Not that the runway attendants had anything else to do, what with all the flights being canceled and all. Well she waits in a few long lines and ultimately finds out that her bags may make their way to Boston first before coming back to Philadelphia. This is ridiculous since the plane never left the ground. Can't they unload them to the revolving belts and be done with it?

Anyhow she's been at the airport since like 11 this morning, and currently is still there, without her bag, and without any clue when she might be able to retrieve it.

And to think that it was 75 degrees but two days ago. Global warming? Still a myth.

Henry Waxman is the ugliest man on the hill. I watched him on C-Span this afternoon for a solid hour. I'm not even kidding. I missed the Plame testimony though, which was apparently very exciting.

Waxman could jump out from behind the desk and fly away with those ears, but might meet some wind resistance from that mustache of his. He looks like David Cross, if David Cross had no sense of personal grooming or style.

Seriously though he looks like a gargoyle.

15 March, 2007

Warm weather does not mean you should remove your underwear

She wanted it, and bad too. Without so much as checking to see who might be looking, the blonde at the next table took her panties off and slammed the rest of her drink.

"I hope he's ready for a good night," she stated bluntly.

From her conversation, I gathered that 'he' was the waiter, to whom she had slipped her number in the bill, and with whom she was anticipating big things to come for the rest of the evening.

Swiveling in her chair, she scoped the restaurant for a glimpse of the object of her affection. Gwen and I wanted a bite, and Drew's girlfriend Michelle works at Snack Bar, a tapas style restaurant, so we had stopped in. I didn't think dinner would come with a free peep show, but the spectacle played out.

It started when we sat down. The tables are close, so it became very clear very quickly that this particular blonde was a good way into her evening based on the volume of her voice and her assertion that she "wasn't drunk."

"I'm the most in control person you will ever meet" she told her more sober companion, who had just suggested she get some water or coffee. Sure you are hun. How about that water? No? Want to eye-fuck the waiter a bit more? Okay...

She undressed the waiter with her eyes, going so far as to lick her lips, as he went about his business. Then, with a sly glance at her friend, she reached down. Hiking up her skirt, she grasped her panties, yanking them down her legs and over her shoes.

She balled them up and held them aloft over the table. They were a muted gold and matched her skirt. Her friend covered her mouth in surprise, and the blonde stuffed her underthings into her purse. They they high fived, with the same hand she used for her recent undressing.

Not sure what the waiter's position on all of this was, but he certainly could not have had any idea of exactly how graphic her intentions were. Minutes after removing her panties, she undid the first four buttons of her top, plumping her assets together with her palms. This blonde wasn't messing around. Since her outfit was a one-piece skirt and top, and she had already undone the bottom two or so buttons, there were only about three buttons between her being clothed and being nearly stark naked. I felt it was my duty to inform him as a fellow male that this broad was ripe for the picking, and that it may be in his best interest to go ahead and give her a call, but I didn't.

Deciding that it was time for her to leave, she told her friend that she needed help finding her car, to which her friend replied that she should get some coffee or something first. She had been trying to get the drunk blonde to drink something other than wine and mixed drinks since we arrived, but with no success.

"I'll be right back," the blonde announced. She gathered her jacket and purse and left Snack Bar. She was clearly not coming back. Her friend watched her turn out of the door, and sat back down. The couple at the next table objected to her leaving.

"She needs to drink some water first," they insisted. "She's in no condition to drive like that."

"It's okay," replied the friend. "She's headed the wrong way anyway."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Based on my uninspired performance in last years March Madness bracket, I filled out five brackets this year, all on espn.com. One is based on this website. Check that shit out. These dudes don't mess around. I still wouldn't bet more than $5 on any bracket, but if I had to, I'd take these guys word for it.

Yesterday was opening day for a different season:

13 March, 2007

In the Navy (blue)

As I was getting to work today, an odd question came to me: When exactly did I become 'okay' with the color Navy blue?

For reference, I have never liked the color blue. I was okay with the other two primaries, but blue always just rubbed me the wrong way. I used to balk at blue clothing and shunned all foods with a blueish hue (note: skylight snowballs excluded, being the only snowballs I will eat.)

I pondered this seeming conversion for a while this afternoon, and decided that my dislike for blue stems from when I was 10 years old. I think it came about when I went from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. You see the Cub uniform is blue, as are many of the awards. The annual dinner for most scout packs is called the Blue and Gold dinner. The Boy Scout uniform is a light tan. I always enjoyed Cub Scouts, but when I finally got to the troop where I spent about 7 years, I realized I was having a lot more fun. I think I associated blue with less fun. Or something...

Anyhow I realized today on the way to work that I was wearing a blue t-shirt, blue sweatshirt, and blue jacket. I was also sweating because I had grossly misjudged the temperature, but that's not the point. Oh, and blue jeans. Two years ago I don't think I even owned three items of blue clothing and yet here I was. All three items were articles of clothing accrued during the time on the Sandy Beach staff, so it's not like I really had a choice in the color scheme.

I think I am over my blue phobia now, although I still don't wear much of it (owning to the fact that I have spent years avoiding it altogether.) I'm still partial to black, brown, green and gray, but I no longer avoid blue. Maroon, however, I still can't stand, save for one button down of which I am quite fond.

I haven't felt like writing in a while, and consequently I haven't done so. I haven't felt like doing much of anything lately, come to think of it. Working at the cafe, I spend a lot of time reading and sitting around, which is nice, but doesn't do much in the way of motivating me to greatness. That and I find that I'd really rather sit and read most of the day after quitting a job where I was on the computer 100% of the time.

Speaking of the cafe, I was hit with a huge pang of guilt today when I charged someone a rather large sum for a bottle of Fiji water. Seriously, that nonsense is a racket, but if someone thinks it's better or somehow more 'purified' than other bottled waters, so be it. It just makes me wish I had gotten in on the ground floor of that gravy train of an industry.

I also realized earlier today that there are five Tuesdays in March, meaning five paydays (there are five Fridays too, for those of you that get your dough at the end of the week.) This is pretty awesome, because it only happens every three months or so. It also means I'm going to be able to put an entire paycheck into my savings and not feel guilty or get behind on my finances.

Later this month we're doing a training weekend for the council COPE weekend staff. The COPE weekends themselves kick off in April, which should be great. I need to make sure my schedules allow for that, though, especially since I'm kind of helping plan the whole thing along with this guy Matt, who I've mentioned here before. Shouldn't be a problem though, I wouldn't imagine.Definitely not looking forward to driving a few hours to damn near Scranton each weekend, but whatever, it'll be fun once we're there. Plus now that Drew is on board, it won't be as awkward.

09 March, 2007

Because there really isn't much else to do on Fridays

This post is about justification. I enjoy keeping house in my little corner of the internet, and at the same time I love reading other blogs. In something of an irregular several part series, I'm going to go down my blogroll and justify why I have someone linked, if I know them or not, and other thoughts as I see fit. It's something I've thought about doing for a while since I pretty much click through all the links to the right at least once every day, sometimes more.

The "Keep In Touch" and "Self Promotion" sections are pretty straightforward. One is how to get back at me, and the other is places for which I do occasional work. Moving on, the "Tangible" section is a list of folks I know personally and have encountered on more than one occasion. Many were classmates at college, but some I know from other places such as camp. Here's how:

Sara Allen: I met Sara my junior year, when she was a freshman. I used to enjoy when we would frustrate ourselves over the crossword during my senior year.

TR Auclair: Met TR my sophomore year. We lives together my senior year at school. He is from Rhode Island and I have on more than one occasion stayed at his house during both the summer and winter.

Ryan Carey: He was a year ahead of me in school, and is pretty much nuts. One of my favorite parts of college was playing ultimate frisbee on the baseball field with he and others.

Amanda Digiandomenico: Not going to lie, I copied and pasted her name. Amanda roped me into doing some stuff for the yearbook my freshman year, and was also with the theater group. She's moving to Cleveland soon, but she's still a'ight in my book.

Ali Eaton: Some of my first and best college memories include Ali, among them late night Llanerch runs after tech and bitter nights in the Collegian office.

Seth Hetu: Not sure which summer I first met Seth, but he worked at camp for several summers with me. He's currently living in Singapore, but the bond among coffee drinkers is strong with this one.

Pat Hogan: Pat and I worked on the Collegian together, and he used to sleep less than pretty much everyone else I knew. He was my senior year's Ed Mahon, only more inclined toward Wii.

Drew Lazor
: I went to high school and college with Drew, and shared a house with him for the last two years of college. His knowledge of trivial pop culture and things NBA astounds me. It's pretty unnatural, really.

Justin Leo
: Justin went to La Salle with me, and he currently lives the life of a movie star (pre-fame) in LA. We are, however, in constant e-mail contact via-Nighthawks.

Steve Lipenta: I met Steve through Paul Tsikitas (more on him momentarily), and though he goes to St. Joes, I do not dislike him. He used to come to my house and play poker occasionally with several other people and play Radiohead covers on the acoustic guitar.

Denise Maher: Worked with Denise on the Collegian, where she was a fairly cutthroat news editor my junior year. I'm not sure why she hasn't decked me yet for all my misogynistic commentary, but she is quite the unflappable spirit.

Mike McGeary: I met Mike through Turco, and have seen his back covered in Nair (which wasn't pretty.) Mike slept on floors all across the country and ate Peanut Butter sandwiches for a year in the name of Democracy, and for this I admire him. He's also the voice of the Lady Jumbo's (Tufts) basketball team, and for this I mock him.

Megan McGee: I met Megan my junior year at La Salle, and spent many mornings in Backstage with her discussing a litany of topics and people. She is also an avid cross-worder, and we got along famously for that.

Adam McGrath: Adam was the entertainment editor for the Collegian before I, and inspired me to cut corners in the most effective way possible (that's a compliment.) I wish he lived closer than Chicago because we'd definitely hang out more often. He hasn't updated his journal since October, but I leave the link there in hope.

Joe Pelone: Joe was the entertainment editor to follow me at the Collegian. I still talk to him on occasion, and admire his devotion to his work despite the slackerish ways he attempts to show. The staff once tried to buy his edge, but he wasn't selling, choosing instead to give it away for free later. He's still cool, though.

Andy Rees: Andy and I worked at camp together, and he's currently a freshman at RIT. Why he's not pursuing a writing career is beyond me, but I suppose he's just smarter than writers. He's into computers and science, but writes in a quirky manner I very much enjoy.

Dan Somovilla: Dan went to college with me, and is an odd bird in the best way possible. He loves football and beer, but only in excess, and shares a dislike for the Eagles with me (although he does like the Steelers.)

Drew Stephan: Drew and I shared a hall for a year of college, then a dorm room for the following year, and a house for the last two years. He used to shower very infrequently but has since been cured of this. Because he lives two blocks from me, we still hang out all the time.

Duane Swierczynski: The moderator for the Collegian for a year while I was there, and the current editor in chief of the Citypaper. He writes (excellent) crime novels at night. He's an awesome guy and did a book reading at my house during my senior year in college.

Paul Tsikitas: Paul and I graduated together, and he's pretty much awesome. His taste in music is somewhat antiquated, but I don't hold that against him. Also he used to have excellent parties at his apartment.

James Turco: I met James when I was 15 when we worked together at camp. He's from Rhode Island and lives in Boston so I don't get to hang out as much as I'd like. He's bitter and cynical, likes baseball and music, and drinks both coffee and beer frequently, so we get along famously.

Gwen Tuxbury: I met Gwen my sophomore year in college after she transfered from Boston University. We started dating that spring and moved in together (officially) this fall. She's pretty much the best.

Pam Woodward: Met Pam my senior year in college, and for as reserved as she seems to be, she's great on stage. Also she seems to stay out of petty drama, which is always a positive thing.

So that's that. Oh by the way if I know you personally, you're reading this, and you didn't see your name above, let me know and I'll put a link to your little corner of the world wide web there as well.

In the next part of this series, which will be posted when I feel like it, I'll let you know what it is that makes me inclined to read through the host of other blogs that I do.

07 March, 2007

Slow day at the shop; my mind wanders

Are there people you know, or see regularly, that you can't fathom pooping? I know a lot of people like that (names withheld to protect the constipated), but it's kind of a silly thought to have in general. I mean, the book is right. If you don't poop you die. I'm unsure what all the taboo and fuss is about.

It would be great if people could feel normal simply acknowledging to others, as well as themselves, that defecation occurs. I know I relish my time enthroned in the bathroom. That's where I store my ESPN: The Magazine and The Week magazines. It's the only quiet room in my apartment with a sitting place. Plus nobody thinks I'm odd for reading with no pants on like they do when I'm sitting in Rittenhouse Square.

What I'm really getting at is, why do we have that inherent feeling of guilt whenever we excuse ourselves to the bathroom knowing that it's a #2, not a #1? It's the same thing that keeps people in the stall until everyone else vacates the bathroom. Not me, clearly, but some people. If I hear the rustle of toilet paper accompanied by a long pause, I generally make it a point to stay in the bathroom until the occupant exits the stall, simply to act as if nothing is out of the ordinary (it isn't) and hopefully break down their fear of stall-exiting.

There's no reason to feel guilty if you excuse yourself to the bathroom in the company of others and take a little extra time. It just means that you're running on a different internal clock. No harm done, just be sure to wash your hands. There's no need to feel embarrassed upon returning, because secretly everyone in your party is relieved that THEY didn't have to poop during the outing. The reason people feel guilty is because they know other people know they were pooping. My response: so what? It happens, no guilt need be associated.

Anyhow all shit talking aside, you know you have a good, or at least decent job, when you forget it's payday and are met with a pleasant surprise when the owner hands you your week's earnings personally.

Yesterday was a dandy at the shop in terms of the clientèle that breezed through. Oh, and chicken salad returned today, thankfully. I felt absolutely famished yesterday without it. But on to the story.

On about 5 pm, a woman who had been sitting in the shop drinking a Tranquility blend tea since before I started working (3 pm) made a call on her cell. She dialed someone named Frank, and spent the next 40 or so minutes braying in a desperately neurotic manner with Frank, for whom I feel the utmost sympathy.

The woman was discussing some sort of lawsuit for which she could not afford counsel, something to do with pensions or wrongful dismissal or something. Didn't catch it all. During the course of the conversation, she paced around and around the shop, alighting at times on the counter directly in front of the register and creating a line at one point for people waiting to order.

"I'm a big dumb idiot" she loudly proclaimed at one point. I kind of wanted to help this woman, but I am not really able to give out free legal advise, you know? At the same time I wanted her to take her loud conversation elsewhere, as she was gathering a collection of angry looks from the other customers in the shop.

"I have a headache, do you have a headache Frank?" she queried her captive audience, who I imagined had her on speaker phone as he watched Pardon the Interruption at 5:30. Yes, I wanted to answer, and I will too shortly, stemming from the fact that I can't hear people ordering drinks over your braying. This must be what it's like to work at Tiki Bobs, only this woman was more bearable.

Mercifully she decided that her headache and legal woes were to grand to continue the conversation, and she ended the call. Moments later she packed her computer and left. Now I ask you: why couldn't she have packed her damn computer 40 minutes prior and made her loud calls outside the environs of a quiet coffee shop?

There is a large gentleman who resides upstairs from the shop, and periodically he takes to stomping around his apartment, causing the lights suspended by fishing line filament in the shop to sway. I wonder if he ever comes in here, being that he lives upstairs. Since I don't know what he looks like, I can only assume he's in here on occasion but hasn't announced his upstairs residency to me yet.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On a completely unrelated note, I really dislike the band The Arcade Fire, and will not make purchase of their new album. I will listen to it in its entirety for the purpose of re-affirming my dislike, however.

AdamRiff.com
has had a litany of great posts up in the past few days. What a great blog.

The Jack line: It's not $0.99 per minute, you pay with your little finger

There are only three distinct occurrences of a full phone number being given out in 5 and a half seasons of 24, that I'm aware of. Once in Day 4, and twice so far in Day 6. Jack is the one to give out the number each time. In Day 4 he gave his number to someone, I forget who, and said to call him after some event or other. In the current day he gave out his brother Graem's number a few hours ago, and in this weeks episode he gave the unfortunately obvious soon to be deceased Russian fellow the number for CTU.

So being the huge fanboy that I am, when he gave out the number in Day 4, 310-597-3781. Again, being a fanboy, I called the number; it's a Spanish language recording for a Nextel 24 hotline. You can, from what I understand, leave a voice mail for Jack Bauer. Of course I saved this in my phone book for future amusement, and in the hopes that he would one day call me...

Anyhow I was super excited to hear another full phone number on Tuesday's show, and this time for CTU. I dialed it in and hit save to phone book. The following message popped up: "This number is already in use for: Jack Bauer." Man was I annoyed. I thought I'd stumbled on another little 24 quirk I could enjoy, but no. Smart to give out the same number, but I don't recall it being in Spanish last time I called.

Graem's number, 818-555-0175, just finds a message saying the number is not a valid one. Maybe it's because he's deceased now. Things to ponder.

On an unrelated note, my first cell phone was the one Jack used for most of Day 1, and the one George Mason uses for much of Day 2. It's the Nokia with the face that slides up and down over the keypad. I thought it looked cool when I got it, and I was proven right. I still have that phone somewhere, maybe I'll start using it again.

Anyhow, this week definitely played out like I've been hoping. Some action, some resolution, and some big 'well, duh' moments.

If you follow 24 at all you knew Reed Pollock wasn't going to go far as a bad guy. His plot line was too short-sighted and he didn't have a gun. His exposure was inevitable, but I'm glad it was Lennox who turned him in. In an e-mail from Drew: "Tom Lennox is kinda gully now." True, and now he and Karen Hayes can form an awkward little alliance in which Tom goes all Vigo the Carpathian and tries humping her leg. And of course Vice President Daniels wants to pin this all on Tom based on testomony and his flip-flopping on the plan to round up all the middle easterners. From my entry last week: "That said, I think the whole bombing thing is going to be blamed on Lennox." Just sayin...

The graphic of the 'shadow computer' inside the Russian consulate was almost laughable. As if that graphic has any bearing on the understanding of the nomenclature by anyone at CTU. If you need that graphic to go 'ah, now I understand, yes, you trace those messages,' chances are you're fodder for terrorist violence at some point during the day anyway.

Raise your hand if you think going into the Russian Embassy was a good idea. Nobody? Okay, raise your hand if you don't think this will come back at some point. Nobody again? Well good, you all get a 2/2. Though I feel this is more of a moment designed to demonstrate yet again Jack's willingness to sacrifice himself personally for the good of the country, I do think it's a plot ploy to make us fear the worst. Still, not a good idea breaking into an embassy. Pretty great that he speaks Russian, though.

It seemed perfectly clear the moment the Russian Consul cut his cigar with Logan that, at some point, a cigar cutter was coming in to play. As well despite his patriotic little foray away from the farm, I still don't like Logan. Unclear why exactly, but it probably has something to do his his being a giant bastard during day 5. The man responsible for the death of David Palmer isn't ever going to hold my trust again. He does however resemble Richard Nixon, so at least he has something going for him.

Man, things are getting good, and there's no way next week isn't good too. Jack still needs to get out of the consul, which will happen by subversive force from CTU of course. Bill Buchanan is the business for calling this in. I'm excited. His wife still has more balls than he does, though. It's true and you know it.

Sandra Palmer has been absent long enough that her whining bray has almost faded from my nightmares. Bet she comes back next week and bitches about Waild some more.

I'm excited yes, but still a little pissed that the Jack Bauer message line is a. in Spanish and b. always full so you can never leave a message. Come on Jack, check your voice mail. Than again, when has Jack ever checked his voice mail? Never mind.

06 March, 2007

Music and literature consume my life

Because I got a record player about a month ago, I've been thinking about getting some stuff on vinyl now because a. it's cheap and b. that's the original form. Today I purchased History of Eric Clapton from Rustic Music on 13th St. for $2. It's grainy, but sounds great just the same.

A lot of records are like that, such as the old Simon and Garfunkel or Beatles records I got from my mom when she gave me the player. Sure, they sound great on a remastered CD, but the urgent sound is lost. So too is the decision as to which tracks to put on the side people are most likely to listen to, and which to relegate to the reverse side. Kind of a neat process that's been lost with technology.

Like I'd mentioned before, I get to listen to whatever I want while I'm at the coffee shop; consequently, I played back to back to back live sets from The Slip yesterday. Recher Theater, Lupo's Dec. 29th, and Wild Duck Music Hall sets. Today I'm thinking some older stuff, followed by some Zox, Wet Confetti and Les Sans Culottes. I lead a diverse musical existence.

I finished the book The Sex Lives of Cannibals last week at work. It's not quite qhat it sounds like, but it was right up my alley. Basically a guy and his wife move to an island in the middle of the Pacific for two years. They move there so she can take a job, and he decides to be an 'author' while he's there, which is code for roving around aimlessly and documenting two years on the equator. I definitely enjoyed it, and it was decently easy to read.

Worked 9 hours at the bakery on Sunday and it was about as busy as it could be while still almost keeping up with things. Owning to the flower show going on upstairs, about 90% of the time at work was spent at the counter helping people, and there was a line even with two of us working the counter and two people doing other bakery things.

Last night was the first time I missed 24, but thankfully it's always available for hi-res, commercial free download from a perfectly legal *cough* website mere hours later. I finished receiving the episode, and it's torturous to wait until tonight to watch it. I'm doing the nice thing and only watching the first few minutes though, lest Gwen become angry that I watched it without her. I tried taping it but apparently programming the VCR is impossible. The myths about NASA scientists not being able to do it are surely true. I was positive that I did it correctly, but I came home to a blank tape. Man was I pissed.

Holy shiat, this is insane. Money says this dude found religion shortly thereafter.

Hunter S. Thompson was pretty much the best. Photos and the like.

03 March, 2007

Credit or Debit?

Every once in a while at the shop I'll get a phone call. It always begins like this:
Me: "Hello, Cafe Mocha"

The other end: Click or beeping sound "Hi, do you guys insert innocuous or blatantly obvious question here.
Sample questions are things like "Do you guys serve coffee?" or "Are you open right now?"
Me: "Yes."
Invariably the answer is yes.
The other end: "Great. Do you take credit cards"

Me: "Yes"

The other end: "Do you have one of those card readers?"

Me: "Yes."

The other end: "Thanks!"
Then they immediately hang up.

This happens 8+ times a day, and it's always the same. These people don't really care whether we are open or that we serve coffee; all they care about is selling me, and the shop, a credit card reader. That's what the clicking or beeping is about at the beginning of the call. Much like the telemarketers that interrupt any important activity you may be doing, they call 5-10 places at once, and the calls are transfered to an operator bank as they are picked up.

It's annoying only because their pitch is the same across the board. Innocuous question that anyone might pose to such a shop (only there is a 100% chance the answer is yes) to catch you off guard, then the real question, whether or not you accept credit cards. I wish just once someone would ask something like "are your fire extinguishers charged?" That's just funny enough that I wouldn't get so angry at being interrupted from my reading for the 8th time that morning.

Then there was the girl who, when staring at the menu, professed that she "would never have thought to order espresso here. I'll have to try it sometime."

That kind of stupidity needs no commentary.

I saw The Slip again Wednesday night and it ruled. I like the World Cafe, it's small and you really feel like you're near the stage even in the back. And the acoustics are fantastic as well.

The second band that played, Earl Greyhound, was pretty much brilliant. Right from the first song they had Paul and I hooked, which doesn't happen very often. I definitely bought their CD after the set, and it's damn good as well.

Here are a few pictures I took at the show using Gwen's camera. I'm forever grateful that she lets me use it to document my goings about at live shows. Maybe one of these days I'll get my own...
Singer Brad Barr

Bassist Marc Friedman

Drummer Andrew Barr on the Steel Drum

Brad and Marc back to back. Some fool's head jumped in the frame at the time of the shot, but I still like it anyway.

Other Pictures from the show are here.