Saturday, January 31

I Have No Equal?

I think too many people stick it to the man. So I try to limit my man sticking to a few choice actions.

Each morning I enjoy a cup of coffee. Much like Quentin Tarantino's character in Pulp Fiction, my wife Anne buys the gourmet shit. However I need a little sweetness with my premium Java, and I tend to reach for a sugar substitute.

This time last year I bought a box of Equal Sugar Substitute. It cost too much. And I announced that I would never buy it again.

Stay in a hotel? Take the complimentary packets.

Visit a coffee house? Stuff packets into my jacket pockets.

I'll take Splendor and Sweet 'n' Low, but Equal is where it's at.

And my stash is staying large.

Damn it feels good to be a gangster.

Thursday, January 29

Where did these bad boys go?

If you lived in England in the 70s and 80s, there wasn't the proliferation of disabled parking bays and stickers you see today.

It was quite simple. If you were disabled, you drove one of these.

Always 3 wheels. Always light turquoise. Always parked in the Springs in Wakefield!

One mirror, electric (yep, 30 years ago), and you didn't even need a driver's license!

Tuesday, January 27

Ho My God

Dropped off some dry cleaning at a place near work today. As I pulled in, 2 things caught my eye.

The temperature display in my car said 11°F, and the girl propping the entry door to the dry cleaners was wearing next to nothing.

So granted, it gets warm inside the cleaners, but her sweatpants were pulled so low I could almost see her cooch. Throw in some cleavage and I began to track back to each time I visit this place.

The place is Flair, in Beverly. They are excellent Dry Cleaners. And I just realized that the owners tend to hire young girls who wear tight clothing.

Exploitative business practice? Of course, I never judge.

Sunday, January 25

Class. Act.

We received this card from our vet earlier in the month. Whatever the reason, she was always such a great vet to visit. Compassionate, friendly and good natured. She also looks like Aimee Mann.

I expect she writes a lot of cards, and I hope because of it, she retains clients when they get their next cat.

We probably won't get another cat, but I'll forever recommend Dr Widman.

Friday, January 23

3 Pieces at a Time

Johnny Cash didn't have to put up with this shit.

3 more things broke on my car this week.

Half of the lights that illuminate my heating controls went out. Half. Pisser.

Last month the clip that holds my bumper to my car snapped. Got that fixed, so imagine my surprise this week, when I saw this hanging by a sliver from the area between my wheel and bumper.

Oh, and my dash tells me I have a headlight out too. It's a Saab, so you cannot turn the damn things off. Very safe and worthy, but also very annoying when I have to replace them every 6 months.

Saab. Wankers!

Wednesday, January 21

And a few more things

Saturday in San Francisco riding the Muni to our friends house.

A guy gets on the train. His hat is like the one Bill Murray wears in Caddyshack, and his sweatshirt is warm and comfortable looking.

And he's not wearing pants. Just tight boxer briefs.

the poor woman sat opposite him basically has the bulge at eye level, and it wasn't that cold on the West Coast this last weekend.

And what I love about San Francisco, is that people are so accepting. Nobody even blinked.

Next day, we were walking thru' the Financial District and saw this. All of my research (I asked 2 people, and googled the word) leads me to believe that there is no connection between this building and the hardcore DC punk band of the same name.

It seems the band name comes from the Vietnam war slang Fucked Up, Got Ambushed, Zipped In.

That's all.

Friday, January 16

A Day in San Francisco

Had the shittiest of flights on United last night. But this morning ...

Awoke, showered and dressed (in that order), and then walked to one of the Piers in Embarcadero. They have a bunch of gourmet stores, you know the kind, artisan bread, an organic cheese maker, and the Italian word for butcher, but for all of their pretentious names and woodcut logos, damn did the food look good.

Anne suggested we go for some croissant/cheese delight, but honestly, I've been working on pre-packaged baked goods for the past few weeks, and those things have more calories than a white trash buffet.

Instead I opted for yogurt, with what I thought was granola. Turned out to be honey and oats, but I soldiered through part of it, complaining that the pineapple tasted funny. Anne told me, "That's because it's mango, and you like neither". She's a fruit expert.

Sipped coffee in the sun as we watched the ferries come in. Talked for literally seconds about our knowledge of hydrofoils and catamarans, and also discovered Anne went to the Bahamas as a kid. It's awesome when I learn new things about her. No doubt this statement will come back to haunt me, when I learn she used to be a Bulgarian spy or even worse a doll collector.

Figured after 3 mouthfuls of yogurt, I could use some exercise, so we headed for Telegraph Hill and one of the wooden staircases up to Coit Tower. Halfway up the beautiful winding stairs, among the garden flowers, we bumped into a sweaty UPS delivery guy bringing a dolly of packages down the staircase, one excruciating step at a time. Buoyed by my newly acquired West Coast niceness, I decided to break the sensible habit of a lifetime, and make small talk with him.

"Do you have to do this everyday?", I inquired.

"Oh Yes", he replied, in a tone that suggested he encountered stupid fucking tourists with guidebooks asking him the same question each day too.

Towards the top we heard a cacophony of squawking. I'd seen the documentary about the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and hoped we might see a couple of them flying around.

Holy shit, there were dozens of them! All in one tree by Coit Tower. And by their actions and noises, I'd say they were getting it on. It was like an aviary version of a Barry White concert up there. Feathers everywhere, preening, prodding and pleasuring.

As we watched the parrots get their groove on, I noticed a quintessential Cali guy walking to our vantage point. Great hair and tan, open necked white shirt. Unfortunately a parrot had taken a crap on the back of the shirt. Anne and I debated, "Would he want to know?" The consensus was Yes, but we still figured it was embarrassing for one of us to say "Dude a bird shit on yer shirt." So we left him to make his own discovery.

As we ambled down the other side of the hill towards Columbus, we passed a school and agreed there would be no better place to be educated. Also reminisced about the time we spent 45 minutes looking for a parking space in this neighborhood, when we took my parents to the Stinking Rose a few years back.

And so we headed back to the hotel, along the way Anne learned that painfully hip-hippy-hipster Beck is a Scientologist, and I learned that the Church at the foot of Telegraph Hill is not Grace Cathedral even though I always refer to it as such.

For the afternoon we pointed ourselves West. Walking thru' Chinatown, we (very) slowly walked up Nob Hill. At the summit the real Grace Cathedral. Took in a couple of little side streets, and then headed for Russian Hill. Fuck is that a steep hill. My main reason for heading here was to see Macondray Street, which was the setting for Mrs Madrigal's house on 'Barbary Lane' in the TV series of Tales in the City.

Afterwards we headed back down to Columbus and found a cool bar, with it's own brewed ales and delicious black bean dip. Got back to the hotel to see this guy from 30 Rock. OK, not the greatest celeb sighting ever (I once saw Chris Isaak on Van Ness), but still (slightly) noteworthy.

In the evening we headed for the Haight. On the way to the Muni we came across a Salad Bar with this byline.


After an evening of frivolity, gifts, (unfiltered!) sake and noodles with our friend Jeffrey, we hopped in a cab back to the hotel. As we drove thru' cool neighborhoods looking at the Victorian houses I was aware that we were silent, but comfortable with it. Evidently the cab driver wasn't. Suddenly out of nowhere, strains of the James Bond Theme came out of the speakers. Odd.

Speaking of odd music, shared wireless in the hotel means that guests often unwittingly leave their iTunes collections open for sharing. Last time I was here, I noticed one person had a huge porn collection on their computer. It was only possible to share the audio portion however. So far no porn, but plenty of Cranberries (?), Yo Yo Ma and Edith Piaf. Something for everybody?

Anyway. Great day.

Sunday, January 11

Time for an Old Story

I think I have a hernia. Whatever. It's not causing a problem, but it will ultimately mean a trip to the Doctor and a cold hand rummaging around my junk.

5 years ago I tried to have a vasectomy. In a vague way it was a birthday present for my wife. She'd womanfully taken the lead on birth control for years and I figured it was my turn.

My initial consultation was tricky. The general prodding and nudging was difficult, but I put it down to being, "One of those guys who doesn't like having his balls squeezed".

The day of the operation was a cold Friday morning in December. These procedures are popular on Friday mornings. You get the weekend to recoup, and then ease back into work on a Monday.

It's a local anesthetic. I was led into an operating room filled with health related posters, and a radio. Never been a fan of Christmas music, but the next 30 minutes would 'hardwire' this into my brain.

The nurse was great. What a thankless job. A bic and a roll of duct tape are her tools of choice. After a quick trim of my sides she proceeded to lift the 'Executive staff member' in a northerly direction and stuck it to my lower stomach with tape.

And there I lay for a few minutes, alone, legs spread, wearing those perfect fit hospital gowns, while "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" jauntily rode its merry way on Predictable FM.

The Doctor entered. "Hi, I'm Dr. D" was his intro. I'm not hiding his name for anonymity - he really said Dr. D.

After taking a look at the nurse's handy work, he told me what he was about to do. Essentially, we are talking; numb, cut, twist and tie ... repeat on other side. At the end of his little speech I said, "No problem, let's get going". In the distance Mariah was singing that all she wanted for Christmas was me.

First problem. Novacaine-loaded needle in one hand, he started grabbing at my balls trying to find the tube that he would need to numb. You'd think he was trying to locate a special lingo/bingo ball. He just couldn't find the tube. Meanwhile I'm 'expressing difficulty' at the sack squeezing I'm getting. He even tries to get leverage by leaning across my legs. I've had my legs in the same position for 10 mins now, and I'm feeling cramp approaching.

This goes on for 1 Christmas song, and a bunch of commercials. After 3 or 4 injections of the anesthetic, he takes out a scalpel, and makes the first incision.

I scream.

And he says, "You can feel that?"

And so he swabs me and picks up the needle again. John Lennon and his appallingly out of tune wife are singing that "War is Over". Thanks John.

More prodding and poking follows. I make the noise of a dying animal. Each failed attempt leads to more swabbing, and a little pyramid of red cotton wool is building up on the metal table to my right.

Finally I say "End this". One more try and another squeal later, the Doc concurs. "You're obviously the 1% who needs General anesthetic", he says with such douchebaggery that I want to hit him .. except my scrotum is still cut open and the tape is peeling off, one hair at a time.

He gets the needle and thread out. I am terrified to move my legs, but I realize they haven't moved in 25 minutes. "Keep Still" the Doc helpfully suggests.

Jingle Bell Rock plays. Realize it rhymes with cock.

As he pulls the thread a little too hard he says, "We could get this done, but it will take 90 minutes and that's not going to work for either of us is it?". Wow, a shitty doctor and a patronizing nursery school teacher I think to myself.

Afterwards I hobble out and Anne is waiting for me.

At the end of a long day, I go to bed a little sore. Anne offers to sleep in the other bed, more to keep the cat off of the bed. As she closes the bedroom door, alone, I reflect on my day of torture. I start to cry, and then realize I sound like Yoko Ono. The next day is a blizzard day and I have to shovel 12" of snow off of my car. Great.

Saturday, January 10

Richard! Quick! What is That?

It's a funny looking hawk, that's what. Really it looked like a regular fat old bird at 400% the usual size.

I tried throwing down some chicken on the back yard to lure it closer, but it wasn't buying it. Smart ass bird.

And how did I magnify the video? I put the lens of the video camera against my binoculars (which I got for my 12th birthday). Pow!

Oh Vic I've Fallen

And other comedy injuries.

It was icy earlier this week. Leaving the house, my foot touched brick at the bottom of the stairs, and I slipped cartoon style, ending up face down in the snow. I quickly jumped up, hoping nobody saw me and headed for my car only to slip again, Bambi style. This time I threw myself onto a parked car and managed to stay upright.

As I drove into work I remembered this comedy gem, and proceeded to spend the whole day recounting Vic and Bob punch-lines.



Cut to the end of the week, and the mildest of Thursday night workouts gave me a stiff back on Friday. Tried the glass of wine as medicine trick last night, and lo and behold I woke up this morning feeling like a younger man (insert childish gay joke here).

Until I tried to loop a belt through a loop hole. Heard the crunch before I felt the pain. Now I'm walking like a zombie ... on ice.

Saturday, January 3

Cake Wrecks

Big fan of the site Cake Wrecks. You'll find the cakes to be either amazing or terrible.

Friday, January 2

Dude

The other day, we had a plumber come by to fix a leaky kitchen faucet.

Mid job (ahem) the guy excuses himself and goes and takes a 'two' in our bathroom, then proceeds to open a cupboard, finds an air freshener and does multiple sprays.

At the end of the repair he asks Anne if we have used them before.

"Yes", she replies.

"Oh, OK, I would have given you a fridge magnet if not"

The reason Anne knows we have used this company before, is that the last time they were here, a different guy took a crap too.

I won't name and shame the company, they're actually good plumbers, but do they have to take a deuce each time they fix something?

Come, armageddon! come!

Run to your survival bunkers, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are nearing. The end of the World is here.

The Music of Seal on Ice. What the Fuck is that all about?

Thursday, January 1

Oh Asian? and Let's do Shots!

Day after Christmas at the Savannah Bar listening to some Rock 'n' Roll. Any band that starts with Mystery Train has my attention, and these guys were good.

During a break, I was mischievously asking my niece Mandy if she had visited a specific transsexual bar in her hometown of San Francisco. Mischievously, because her conservative dad was sat next to us.

I'd visited a few years ago with a couple of co-workers, and it left quite an impression on me. As I explained the strange combination of Adam's Apples and disproportionately huge cosmetic breasts I could see Russ wasn't too impressed.

But then I mentioned they were Asian, and he cheered up. Turns out he didn't want the ladyboys to be Americans. Asians, Europeans ... no problem, just not American!

At the other end of the table was my Sister-in-Law Joann. She suggested we started doing shots. Holy Shit! We kicked off with tequila and the whole salt and lime performance. Next Grape Bombs! Grape Vodka and Red Bull. And after that there's only one thing to do. Dance in an embarassingly drunk fashion. And so we did.

Excellent evening. This photo isn't poorly lit. It's been adjusted to simulate my vision at the end of the night.

Christmas in the Land of the Cleves

We did our usual Yankee Swap.

Emphasis on 'usual' after Ron's attempt to squeeze in some new rules went down like the Browns Season (4-12).

Another fine selection to choose from, here's the highlights ...


Joann chose the box that contained an Obama "Yes We Can", shopping bag, and a lapel pin that shows Hillary and Barack with the proclamation "Bro's before Ho's"


Jenn's first ever family pick was this battery illuminated clock that plays Hallelujah on the hour. It'll be downhill from here.


Natalie opens the Shit Box. A cardboard box that you shit in. Part of our annual Christmas get together is the wonder of seeing family grow older and saying "Shit" together. When Natalie eventually lost the Shit Box, I think I heard her say "Shit".


Poor, homeless and destitute Finance Expert Mandy snags the coffee.


Bud goes Price is Right on our ass and showcases the leather clutch with floral in-line. Nice.


Russ ponders what he will do with a flying monkey.

Well done everyone. Now next year let's go with a Blind 3 Trade Swap with a 2 second permitted shake clause. If we start explaining the rules now ...