I posted this @ 6/26/2007 09:52:00 PM.............Need a link?..........
EIGHT ARMS TO HOLD YOU
The Rules: List 8 things about yourself that no one may be aware of. At the end of the post, tag and link to 8 other people. Leave a comment at those sites, letting them know they’ve been tagged, and asking them to come read the post so they know what to do.
I'm not sure how I got tagged, but I figured why not do this on a sleepy Monday afternoon. Even tho I have a list of 100 Things about me, I'll see if I can come up with either 'secrets' that I might not have confessed before. The interesting part of this kind of game is... do you confess something silly and harmless or something heavy and embarrassing? The internet is faceless for the most part.
#1 - I used to shave my knuckles for a short period of time. I was very self-conscious of it at one point. I have such light (read: practically albino) skin and dark hair that it stood out. Once I realized that it was silly to even care, I stopped. So I'm perfectly ok with monkey knuckles.
Wow?! Can these secrets BE any sexier?!
#2 - I realize that several of the guys I worked with in when I was younger were unknowingly my secret boyfriends. Although, neither of us knew it. By that I mean, guys that I liked working with. Had we both been gay (or out for that matter) I would've been crushing on. Don't bother asking for names, Angie. I won't tell!! :)
#3 - I once killed a man for his boots.
You don't believe me on that one... FINE...
#3 (again) - I once showed up to work drunk. I wasn't super drunk, like i didn't just finish a beer before clocking in, but I was certainly still buzzed.
#4 - I made out with two guys the same day. Which I'm sure some people are thinking is tame and/or lame. But I guess you have to know me. That's not really my style. It was years ago. At the time, newly gay Cris, had a great day with one person, but not the evening he was hoping for. Another suitor showed up and unknowingly took his place. I guess it's a secret because I felt horrible. I really liked Guy #1 and felt terrible that I had led on Guy #2. It wasn't until seeing Guy #2 at a bar while with Guy #1, that he figured out what had gone on and confronted me about it.
#5 - I could probably include these as a list of their own, but it seems just as easy to list them like this. I don't have a good reason to not like these things, but I don't care for them: Calvin peeing on [anything] decals. Feeling obligated to tip someone. Industrial strength wholesale toilet paper. Hob-nob luncheons. People asking you to fill out a survey (ironic, I know).
#6 - I hate styrofoam. Seriously... I could have put this along with the others in #5, but I hate it enough to give it it's own number.
#7 - I've said some very horribly evil things to my father. But I'd be lying if said I didn't mean some of them. At least at the time...
#8 - Let's go with something whimsical to end things lightly. I'd love to sing if only I was ballsy enough to do it. Karaoke doesn't count.
I'm not going to tag anyone else. If you do this as well... let me know. I'd be curious to read it.
I posted this @ 6/25/2007 01:37:00 PM.............Need a link?..........
IF I COULD SAVE TIME IN A BOTTLE
Memory is a fascinating thing. It's amazing to me the details that a person can remember from seemingly innocuous events. I won't claim (anymore) that my memory is the best. I think the issue now is I just don't form memories as easily as I once did. It took my forever to remember Mark's middle name. I knew it, but I would always second guess myself and say it was something else. I won't say it here on the off chance he doesn't want it broadcast to the entirety of the internets.
An example of recollection played out Saturday night when I was over at Mike & Jen's. We got on the topic of school teachers, old coworkers, and traumatic memories. (Dancing with a girl in junior high!?! EEW!!) Jen was only present at the same school Mike and I went to for a short time. We were both able to come up with a lot of 8th grade memories and teachers that Mike was unable to. After a while we began to question if he actually attended Junior High his 8th grade year. My theory was A.I. replicant. Anything to get out of P.E. I suppose.
I can remember an English/Writing teacher that I had specifically because she questioned my use of the word viaduct. Even tho it is basically a bridge, I'd only ever heard the bridge leading to my house called a viaduct. I didn't know there was an appreciable difference. Don't bother looking it up. I honestly don't care at this point in my life. I remember the science teacher who was the school heartthrob. I can remember the math teachers I had. The one who taught both my 7th and 9th years. As well as the 8th grade one who later went on to have a mental breakdown.
I remember the layout of the school. If the building still existed, I could find my way around like it was yesterday. The footprint of the building wasn't very big, but it was a 3-story building with a gym basement. If you had gym followed by a class on the third floor it sucked. I remember being fascinated by fellow student because they also like Stephen King books.
The old grocery store across the street was the place for after school fights. It was also the parking lot for those country kids who were allowed to drive. I remember dreading home-ec and shop. They were forced electives, that you had to take for at least a semester than at your leisure from there. I hated home-ec, but I hated shop more.
Between the three of us, we came up with names of people that we'd worked with. Kids that were beaten up or did the beating up. Teachers that smelled like pot. Choir concerts. Crushes. I probably could still take you to where my locker once was if the school still stood.
Is this what we'll be like when we're septuagenarians? Except we'll be talking about stuff we're doing now.
I posted this @ 6/25/2007 12:28:00 PM.............Need a link?..........
JOHNNY ARE YOU QUEER? (revisited)
Wait a minute... You call someone a "faggot". You deny that you said it. The roomfull of witness say otherwise. You say it again at an awards show, pretty much forcing someone to come out. You admit that you said it. You go into therapy for being an asshat. You get fired from a top-rated drama and blame the "faggot" saying he should've been fired?
I posted this @ 6/22/2007 05:55:00 AM.............Need a link?..........
READ MY MIND
Why do you blog? Or alternately, why do you read blogs?
I was reading this from my daily selection and it got me thinking. I don't necessarily think I write like the little kid in the entry. There is certainly some Stream Of Consciousness writing going on, though. I'm not always serious, but not always fluffy either. I tell other people that some topic would make a good blog post more often than thinking it about my own life. Yet within the past few entries I've written about missing Mark, drying herbs, posted a couple funny You Tube clips, wrote about an amusing work story, and exposed a bit of my neurosis. Ask my friends... That's pretty much a typical week with me in person.
In face to face conversations I have a habit of starting stories with no lead-in. No build-up. I just jump right in to the topic as though we'd been talking about it for a while. I feel like my blog is the same way. Perhaps it's a bit whiplashtic, but it gets the job done. (Whiplashtic would make a great band name)
I couldn't care less if my blog was super popular. I know people read that don't know me. I often wonder what they must think of me. Not in an insecure way. Just the impression they must get of me based on what they read. Would they see me the same way as someone who's meet me in person?
I think most times the things I write about are just little snippets, topics, or tidbits that I want to share with... whomever. I don't write for notoriety. I don't write for online celeb status. I don't write to change the world necessarily. Other than to maybe make someone's day seem a little lighter.
I think my blog is appropriately titled. Comical? Sometimes. Rambling. Most times. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
I posted this @ 6/18/2007 04:05:00 PM.............Need a link?..........
HIGH & DRY
Sometimes I'm a dork. I know. I know. Try and contain your astonishment.
I have a couple herb pots growing basil and oregano. The basil will get a lot of usage being picked fresh from the plant. The oregano I don't have a lot of recipes calling for it used fresh. So this requires drying.
If you are a fan of Good Eats you might recall an episode where Alton Brown dried his own herbs MacGuyver style but placing them in between a couple of air filter and strapping them to a box fan. Maybe it was just TV magic, but I believe he said in 24 hours the herbs were dried. Employing a similar method I snipped a few sprigs of my oregano, bundled them together and strapped them to the front of my floor fan. I presumed the reason for the air filters in AB's method was to stopped the soon-to-be dried leaves from being wind blown around the room. I took the chance without one.
Let the 24 hours begin!
I did notice a slightly herby scent in the apartment which was fine with me. Occasionally I'd put the fan on oscillate and watch the herbs dance around. (See above: Dork) I would check the dryness of the herbs every so often to find that they weren't dry at all. They were just as supple as when I first snipped them. Hrm...
Twenty-four hours goes by and the only leaves that dried were two very small ones that were right next to the fan itself. Clearly this would take forever using my method.
Retreating to the Internet and all it's wisdom I found a site that said you could microwave your herbs for minute intervals to dry them. Seemed reasonable. But be warned... this might result in the herbs catching fire which the Internet cautions is bad for your microwave.
I tried it. I put a few sprigs in the between two paper towels and let them 'dry cook' for a minute. There was quite a bit of sizzling and crackling, but no flames. I checked them. They were certainly hot, but not what I would call 'dry'. Another minute... More sizzling and crackling. It definitely smelled like oregano in my apartment now. A little smoke after the second go around. Figuring this was a sign of bad things to come I would forego a third minute. I like my microwaves not on fire.
So I went back to the 'old fashioned method' of binding and hanging the herbs to dry. I'm sure I'll get a raised eyebrows from Mark when he sees my handiwork in the pantry.
I posted this @ 6/18/2007 09:10:00 AM.............Need a link?..........
I'M WONWLY. SO WONWLY.
It's weird what we miss sometimes. Not that I don't appreciate what I have when it's right in front of me. But sometimes I think it takes an absence to really remind you how important someone is. A touch. A smile. A feeling. A laugh.
Anyway... I'm just feeling sorry for myself on a Friday night.
I posted this @ 6/15/2007 09:07:00 PM.............Need a link?..........
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
So I managed to make it through the weekend without using a funny accent. Friday was an interesting game of phone tag. With calls between Mark and myself (Mark and I? Jay, help.) and calls between Mark and his friend Andy, my phone was busy. Andy and his boyfriend, Mike, had some problems getting out of Chicago. I can relate. Last summer I had my own O'Hare flight stories. Even boarding a plane in Omaha I overheard a TSA mention that anyone flying out of Chicago can expect delays and issues with actually getting on a plane. Not that I'm glad Andy and Mike had flight difficulties, but it's good to know it wasn't just me.
Once in town, we picked them up and stopped by Applebee's for a quick dinner. All I can say about dinner is... to the couple that were sitting next to us, that were on a terribly awkward first or early relationship date. You are a loser and a braggart. Your "important phone calls" didn't impress her. She could see you checking people out as they walked by.
But I digress...
It was a good evening and great to meet Mark's friends. I was telling Mark, that even though I knew parts of some of the stories, I laughed at the insight Andy was sharing about things. I'm sure, my best friend, Mike could tell tons of different stories from when we were kids as what I tell. A few drinks later and we fire up the dart board. I think it's safe to say that Mark and I did not win... by a landslide? I need to practice more, for sure.
I'm not sure what time it was that we actually fell asleep, but at some point the police paid a visit to my neighbors. You might recall stories of his loudness from when I first moved in. Or perhaps stories about how he really only talks to either of us when he is drunk. He can be friendly enough, I guess. Well, in the morning when I hear that police had shown up at the neighbors door, I wasn't surprised. Mark took his friends to their final destination, and the morning went on as usual, with little or no sound coming from next door.
Later on, I ran into my neighbor's neighbor. I told him that we thought cops were next door and he laughed. It turns out it was just another friend who had stopped by and pounded on the door acting like police. Nice... I'm glad my friends don't fake police calls. I'd be a nervous wreck. I suppose my behavior doesn't warrant a police call though either.
I posted this @ 6/12/2007 01:14:00 PM.............Need a link?..........
WHOOOOO ARE YOU? OO OO! OO OO!
I barely talk about my job, but this is a story I can't pass up.
As you might know, as part of my job I talk with high school kids about their smoking habits, or the lack thereof. One of the studies requires smoking teens to complete a short survey. We were hoping to get enough kids while they were still in school, but that didn't happen. So now we are taking to the streets to find smoking teenagers. Which is difficult to do. We've spent the better business part of two days looking for teens with little luck.
As we drove, and walked, around town we discussed some of the reasons why weren't finding kids. Teens don't hang out on the streets, sitting on corners, watching traffic? Those teenagers who are smokers also use other drugs/alcohol which you most likely wouldn't do while hanging around in public places? Teens don't smoke as much as the study was predicting?
I don't know the answer. I do know that our desperation in finding teenagers led us to get surveys any way we could.
We stopped by a local park one afternoon and found a couple cars full of teenagers. As we approached them, I thought, "we must look like undercover cops." I was even accused of being one. I certainly look like an adult, and have for a while. My other two coworkers looked college-aged. While we certainly don't look unapproachable, we don't look like the type of people who'd just be sitting around in a park with nothing to do.
Well, these kids started out suspicious, but quickly warmed up to the idea of a survey when they realized they could earn a gift card out of it. One kid was especially eager to take the survey. He was a good helper in recruiting other people at the park in taking the survey as well. That's when I first noticed something odd. Other than the group of kids that we first found, there were a lot of cars with just one or two people in them. Just sitting there... Even more single occupant cars would drive through the park.
A coworker asked me if I thought it was unusual. I told her yes and she proceeded to turn to the kids and ask. "Do you know that guy," pointing in the direction of one of the cars. The kids all shook their heads. "Do you think it's odd he's just hanging out by himself?" The kids really didn't respond to that at all.
During these surveys it's not uncommon to have kids ask us if we smoke. Depending on the group, some are indignant when I say I don't. Others will lament that they shouldn't have started. So the reaction is mixed. At this time in the park a kid asked and we said no. He said that he didn't smoke cigarettes. Instead, he uses meth. A coworker let out a surprised, "What!?" and he just laughed, "I'm kidding. I'm kidding."
Maybe he was, or maybe he wasn't. Pretty soon a UHaul truck pulled up and stopped a ways back from the rest of the cars in the park. One by one someone would get out of their vehicle and go talk to the guy in the UHaul truck. They'd stand there and talk for a moment and then climb back in there car and drive away.
This is when it hit... "Um, [Coworker], I think we stumbled into a drug ring," I said.
Now, I'm not completely naive. I will admit a certain trust that I have in overall situations until shown otherwise. In this case, I trusted that people wouldn't openly be using and distributing drugs in a park in the middle of town in broad daylight on a weekday afternoon. I wouldn't say it was naive. I would say I was just wrong.
Already thinking we looked like vice cops, this didn't help me overcome my awkwardness in approaching people to take a stupid survey.
Needless to say, we collected the remaining surveys and left, in case anything happened. So if you're ever in town, I can point you in the right direction to score a dime bag.
I find it my job to be somewhat ironic, in the Alanis use of the word. When I talk to high school kids about what my job is about people typically have one of several typical reactions. They either 1) admit they smoke and ask how they can do the survey; 2) sheepishly admit they smoke only after someone has ratted them out; 3) voiciferously deny smoking but quickly point out the nearby friend that does. (See #2).
When I tell someone who would not be considered for the study I am the one to have the odd reaction. I end up being the defensive one. "This is what I do, but I don't care if you smoke or not." Do I care about the overall health? Well, obviously, sure. But am I going to get on a soapbox and tell them day in and day out? No. That's just not me.
I find the presumptive stigma to be entertaining. Smokers thinking that they are going to get an earful for saying they smoke. While I think I'm going to get a freedom speech when I tell people I try and get kids to quit smoking. Is that irony?
I posted this @ 6/11/2007 03:55:00 PM.............Need a link?..........
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU
I'm a bigger dork in my head than I am in real life. Which may or not be surprising to you depending on how well you know me. For instance, I'm not typically nervous about meeting new people. At least not at first. It isn't til right before it happens that I worry that I'm going to start speaking in an accent. Seriously. I sometimes have to give it thought in order to not pull a Phoebe. What if I was to meet some of Mark's family or friends and suddenly slip into a British accent?
I've joked about doing it enough that I feel I might just do it unknowingly. I have a pretty easy time picking up certain accents (Southern, British, Irish, Jersey, to name a few). When I worked on the phones and would talk with a caller with a heavy accent I would have a hard time not talking back to them with the same accent.
I just thought I'd share a bit of my neurosis with you.
I posted this @ 6/05/2007 09:40:00 AM.............Need a link?..........
SMOKING IN THE BOYS ROOM
For a hospital I am often amazed at the state the bathrooms are kept. We have a cleaning staff that is there around the clock. While I don't expect perfection, I would expect that a broken fixture would be fixed after several complaints. Hopefully it wouldn't get to the point that a sign warning people of the dangers lurking in the bathroom would need to be used.
But today... this was the case.
After several people had been clobbered by the industrial toilet paper dispenser, someone had the sense to not only put up a sign, but all tape the dispenser closed. This apparently was the decision reached by the Admin Assistants during an impromptu meeting held outside the bathroom.
The sign read "BROKEN. FALLS OPEN. Be careful - falls open + hits you in head")
I posted this @ 6/05/2007 09:17:00 AM.............Need a link?..........
REMAINS OF THE DAY
What a weekend... It's been over a year in planning and I'm glad it's over. I can't guarantee that I'll be brief. This will be somewhat personal and cathartic. Yet, feel free to skip a paragraph now and then.
Over a year ago my Grandparents decided to have a household auction. The reason being my Grandfather's declining health. Would they need to move into a smaller house so he could get around better? Would they need to move him into a nursing home and put all their money into his care? In the end it was decided that their current house was their home and where they were the most comfortable. They would go stir crazy in a small house or apartment. So they would have an auction to reduce how much stuff they had.
My Grandmother began the long process of cleaning out closets and going through dozens of boxes. Their garage had been turned into an office/rec room years ago. Since then, it had collected boxes of belongings... theirs, mine, and others... over the last 80 years. Eighty years of stuff to sort through and decided what needed to be kept and what needed to be sold. She was able to do it as well as take care of my ailing Grandfather.
The week of the sale my Grandfather checks into the hospital complaining of problems breathing, weakness, and disorientation. They kept him for observation for a couple days. (Which, at his age, I take as 'code' for "in case he dies".) Two days before the sale and my Grandfather is in the hospital. My Grandmother was actually relived in a way. As bad as it might sound, he was at least not underfoot while she was preparing for the sale. Though, thankfully he was released last Thursday? I put a question mark behind that last statement because, as mean as it sounds, he would have been better off not being at home during the sale. Like I said, I know it sounds bad, but honestly...
Anyway, the auction was on Saturday. Friday night I arrived to ready boxes to be sold in the morning. That actually went smoother than I thought it would. My Grandmother mentioned there were still two walls (yes, walls) that had boxes stacked up that she hadn't gone through yet. What!? A year later and she is still going through boxes. Oh God... It turns out that she had sorted through them, but didn't recall what was in them. So as stuff was being put outside for the auction she would "look in them real quick" and see if it was something to be saved or sold. My concern was that she would not just "look" through something. That instead she would need to organize and sort through the box itself. Pulling out pieces of things she wanted to save. Stuff that said she'd done already. I was not completely wrong in that thinking.
At 7AM we began setting boxes out for the auctioneer to place where he wanted. With help from a few hired hands we started the three hour process of unpacking dozens of boxes. Kitchen stuff here. Bedding there. Odds and Ends over there. Tools. Toys. Furniture. Outdoor Christmas decorations. Boxes of plastic grave flowers. National Geographics from way before I was born (when they didn't use photos on the covers). And then junk... lots and lots of junk.
I told my Grandmother that she wasn't allowed to buy anything else. Ever. She laughed. I wasn't joking.
Seriously... as my Aunt Jenny and I were unpacking these boxes we'd come across random things that there was no point in selling. A plastic bag of straws? Folders from when I was in grade school that I'd scribbled and colored on? A box of old cell phones? This one actually was kind of funny. I set the bag phone (yes... BAG PHONE) out like a mother sow and lined all the smaller phones up to it like suckling piglets.
My Aunt Jenny wasn't helping too much at times when she would find something in a box and have to show it to me and ask if I remember when we first got it, whatever 'it' may be. Or if I fondly remember some photo that was taken pre-pubescence. Or if I she should put the encyclopedias in alphabetical order. While all possibly valid questions, under a time crunch was not the best time for most of those questions to be asked.
I probably should mention that these type of events bring out the 'worst' in my personality. When I get motivated to do something, I'm like a bulldog. I won't let it go til I'm done with it. Now, the key is getting that motivated to begin with. But that morning, for example, I had the energy and the drive to get that stuff put out there as quick as possible so it would be done and over with. I didn't have the patience to stop and look at a photo of someone when they were still in onesies. At a family reunion, maybe. But not right then, when there was a job to do.
People had been showing up off and on all morning starting to peruse the sale items. Eying certain antiques that they might want to bid on. The sale hadn't even started yet, and I'm pretty sure most of the furniture had at least one person interested in each piece.
I was surprised to see how defensive I became when I overheard someone mention the state and shape of something. "That's an antique!!" I'd say to myself when someone would comment on the shitty quality of something. I had to remind myself, that none of these things were 'personal' to anyone else but us. No one outside the family cared that the bedroom set was what I slept on when I grew up. No one cared that those vases were things that my Grandfather bought my Grandmother as an engagement present over 50 years ago before he went off to World War II. To them it was some knick knack piece of crap that had been sitting in the back of some closet on a shelf through several presidencies.
This sale wasn't just about 'things'. It was my Grandparents making their lives simpler. Less cluttered and cumbersome. It was a sale that otherwise would be happening in the wake of their deaths. They were saving me from having to do it later. After realizing that, I let any emotions attached to the sale itself go pretty quickly.
Physically and emotionally I was drained by 11AM. The sale had started. Everything that was going to be sold was outside. The predicted rain had held off, and the sun was shining. People were buying stuff that I had no idea would even be sold. Granted it was literal handfuls of items for a buck, but still it was sold.
Four hours, two automobiles, five rooms of miscellaneous furniture, and dozens of boxes later the auction was over. People were clearing out, taking their new found 'treasures' to their own basements, garages, and closets. My Grandfathered faired pretty well during the hustle and bustle of the sale. He didn't bark at anyone during an Alzheimer's flare up. My Grandmother seemed relieved. Exhausted mentally and physically as well. And the rain came just as the last pile of bought items was being collected. I'm sure someone with better words than I could make a metaphoric comparison to the rain washing away the collected memories, belongings, and dust of over 80 years of possessions. I am not that man.