Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On to the New Year


Every year I kind of have some resolutions, but this is the first time I'll actually be putting them out for everyone to see. This thread about resolutions was kind of an eye opener, in that tons of people fail at them. But I plan on doing every one of these, so hopefully another post in 6 months updating what I've done will help keep me on pace. Without further ado:
  1. Get trained in CPR. I took a CPR class back in high school, and was certified in using an AED and CPR, but that was 5 years ago now (sheesh....), and my certification has expired. It's a handy skill that doesn't get used very often, but the fact that I could save someone's life with it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Local colleges and town centers offer classes, all I need to do is look into it a bit more.
  2. Setup an IRA and get finances in order. Somehow I only managed to "save" 25% of my take home income. To put it mildly, this is terrible. Considering I have very few financial responsibilities compared to my peers, I should easily be able to save 40% of my take home pay and still be able to do pretty much anything I want to. So it's time to fix this. I've had a Mint account for a while now, but my primary bank account wasn't able to link with it. I'm taking steps to fix that, though, so I'll be able to do a better job setting budgets and keeping my finances in order. I also want to setup a Roth IRA to supplement my 401k. They say that every year you wait to start putting money away for retirement is another 2 years you have to push off actually retiring, so the time to act is now.
  3. Start doing Habitat for Humanity again. This is a big one. I was really into Habitat when I was in college, but since then I haven't thought much about it. The thing with Habitat is that there are lots of older gentlemen who have the know how to build the houses, but their bodies aren't willing anymore. I've got the construction know-how and a strong enough back to help out, plus it's a great feeling to see how happy the people are when they see their first house they can call their own.
  4. Go Skydiving. I did it once, during my freshman year of college, but now that Eric is finally healthy enough I think it would be a blast to get all the roommates together and go skydiving.
  5. Get up to 200 lbs, and stay there. This has been on my list of goals for a few years, but since my metabolism is finally slowing down I think this should finally be attainable. I've hovered around 190-195 all of 2008, but if I start working out more regularly and eating better I should have this accomplished by end of February. Just in time for...
  6. Visit another country. This one is already planned, but we'll be going to Florida at the end of February, and then taking a cruise to the Bahamas. This should be kind of fun, since I've only ever been to Mexico before. My passport should be coming by the end of January, so I get to stamp that right away in preparation for a larger trip later in the year, or in 2010.
  7. Get back into computers/take my job more seriously. This will be the hardest, and most important of all of them. I've been here for about a year now, and I've constantly joked about how I "do nothing." But the realization that people are losing their jobs left and right has lit a fire under my behind: I need to quit slacking off so much. I need to re-ignite my passion for computers that I had back in college, which is why I got into this field in the first place. So in that matter, I plan to either A.) build my own computer for the first time, or B.) begin upgrading my current home PC. I'm leaning towards the former, because it would be a good experience, plus then I could use my old PC for tinkering with different operating systems. The second major part of this is to take some more classes. Sadly, I've forgotten a lot of what I learned in my major, because I don't use a lot of it everyday. Perhaps getting refreshed in the fine arts of networking will allow me to do my job that much better. Plus it'll give me something to do and get me out of the house more. This probably won't happen until the fall, but doing better at my job can start on Monday.
So that's it. The Magnificent Seven resolutions for 2009. We'll check back in 183 days from now. to see how well I've done.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What a Year...

So let's look back to the beginning of 2008. I had just moved to New Berlin, with 3 people I had never lived with before. I'd soon be starting my first real post-college job. 2007 had probably been my best year, with tons of new experiences and meeting some great new people, but now everything was changing. It was time for a test, and the year 2008 was definitely that. For the first few months my schedule was terribly bland. Get up in the morning, go to work, come home and play video games/watch TV, and then go to bed. Repeat the next day. Work was rather 'meh,' but I survived thanks to BLaZE and Katie. Weekends were spent visiting friends in other cities, and drinking myself silly. I got to go skiing twice, so that was excellent.

As the thaw of Spring began, my spirits began to lift as well: I was finally getting over an old girlfriend, and Cabin Fever had me wanting to get out of the house as much as possible. We went to a freezing Brewer game in the beginning on April, which began my Summer long obsession over the Brew Crew. We got all dressed up and went to a martini bar downtown (and drank martinis with scorpions in them) towards the end of May. About this same time we all said goodbye to Chad, who up and moved to Florida to live the dream, so that was kind of sad.

Lot's of Brewer games, grilling out, Milwaukee festivals, swimming, and generally enjoying the summer followed that. Then came Summerfest, Carolyn's bday, more Brewer games, camping, Lawn Olympics, a new girlfriend, State Fair, softball. In short, summer ruled.

Next came the roadtrip with Charlie out west. It seemed like no big deal at the time, but the fact that we drove 2/3 of the way across the country without A/C and without killing each other is pretty impressive. I like to think of the trip as a introduction course to the country, because I found tons of places that I'd want to go back to and really dig into (who knew Utah was so beautiful?)

Summer slowly turned to Fall. I got to see Foo Fighters in concert, Chad made a surprise visit, brewery tours, MORE Brewer games, housewarming parties, Rock Band, a vacation to Door County. Fall was rather righteous also.

Winter was great too, with Halloween, FINALLY visiting the Milwaukee Domes, fancy restaurants and being the only person that actually enjoys the cold weather.

All in all, 2008 was great. It seems silly to think that "every year just gets better and better," but it really does for me. What does 2009 have in store for me? Well, we'll have a sneak preview of some of the stuff I have planned tomorrow.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Access Denied

Me on "Trailer Trash Fridays" at work

I was about halfway to work this morning when I let out a Charlie Brown-esque "Aaugh!" I had forgotten my ID badge, the one that lets me into my office building. I contemplated going back, but in the words of Hank Thompson, "We've gone too far." There was no turning back. So I get to the parking lot, and everything goes into slow motion. The best way to get into the building without having the security guard is just ask someone else to scan you in. Now I typically get to the office around 7:50 or so. The rush of people usually come in at about 8:15 or so. I have to time this perfectly if I don't want to be waiting outside the doors like a creeper, waiting for someone else to scan me in. So I peek around the parking lot. No one else in sight. I make my way towards the door, my head on a swivel searching for someone, anyone, to be making their way towards the door. No one within 50 yards. Drat.... WAIT! I see a lady making her way towards the door, from far away. This is what it looks like.

Not actual picture of the lady.

So I kick it into 3rd gear, carefully avoiding ice patches while continuing my path of interception. I've got the inside track, and I'm closing fast. Further inspection reveals to me that the lady walks with a slight limp, which gave me just enough time to cut across the grass and catch the door she just opened. "Hey, I forgot my badge today. Can you swipe me in?" I say, while batting my eyelashes and tilting my head ever so slightly. "Sure," she says with a smile. Mission accomplished! Now if only I can find a way to get out of here...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

Hey look, Superman is shoving Santa down the chimney! That guy...

I love the fact that we're having such a white Christmas year. I will not love it, however, if I end up in a ditch on the ride up to Edgar. Anyways, I'll be gone until next week Monday, so to keep you busy here's some fine reading and time wasters!
  • Play some Greg Invaders, courtesy of my good friend MrB. Yes, he has even more free time than I do.
  • Use your l33t hacking internet skillz to watch some of my favorite under appreciated shows such as Friday Night Lights, Farscape, and Venture Bros. Search around on Surfthechannel.com to find a bunch of their episodes.
  • Perhaps you'd like to take a trip back in time to Top 5 Week? Check out my Top 5 Video Games, TV Shows, Books, Movies, and Songs. I'm happy to see that I still agree with all of my choices.
  • Or perhaps you need a LOT of time to kill. Then I recommend checking out all my favorite links, organized by type. That should keep you busy until 2009.
Most importantly, I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. Christmas is a time to come together with friends and family and be thankful for all we've been given over the past year. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pt. 1


(Hey-o! BLaZE and myself are going to try something different for this post. We're both huge fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so much we decided to gang up and BOTH talk about the love of our respective childhoods. My comments will look like this, and BLaZE’s will be in italics. And the second half of this will be over on his blog. Let’s do this!)

While marveling at some of the greatest theme songs of the 80s I was pleased to see they including the perpetually catchy theme song for the original 80s cartoon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was a fan of GI Joe, Ghostbusters, and Legos when I was a kid, but NOTHING compares to my obsession with the Ninja Turtles. Originally starting out as a comic book, the Turtles branched out in TV, movies, video games, action figures, coloring books; if you can think of it the Turtles probably had a logo on it somewhere. BLaZE, do you remember how you were introduced to the Turtles?

Thanks a lot, that’s easier said than done with my alcohol riddled brain. How about we just go with my clearest memories? The ones that revolved around consumer goods! If it had TMNT and could be bought, I was begging for it. The one I remember most was a toy, turtle-mobile thing.

It was my first battery operated mechanized toy. It had a tube in the center that you could throw these plastic pizza discs down and they would shoot out the front of the vehicle tank thing. Your action figures could also use the little tiny holes on their feet to stick to it like they were riding! Many pizza discs were lost amongst my living room. My favorite item of all, however, was the plush Michelangelo.

He was my first carry-around-everywhere-non-blankie. He was my favorite and a ‘party dude’ Freud? I remember I brought that guy everywhere, I even got deathly ill and puked all over him once. My Mom was about to throw him away but I wasn’t having any of that. After being washed multiple times he was finally deemed quarantined and returned to me. By the end of his run he had lost one of his hard button eyes and his belt straps had all but torn off. I can’t go on without mentioning the TMNT bed sheets and pillow cases, I think those were essential for any boy my age. I also vaguely remember little slippers that had the heads of Leonardo bobbling on the front. Classic! Well Gregor, you probably have a clearer memory of the TMNT Toy kingdom, so can you please show me up ;-)


Indeed I do, mostly because I didn’t drink while I was playing with my action figures. I had the carrying case for all my turtles, plus I used a Ghostbusters case AND a cardboard box to hold all of them. I had far too many of them as a kid, but action figures were cheap entertainment for a 5 year old kid. Though I asked for the big playsets (like the sewer and the turtle van), I never got them so my parents improvised by helping me make the turtle sewer out of cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes. It would be two levels (the toilet paper rolls were pillars to hold up the second level), with secret trap doors and turtle stickers all over it. Whenever I got sick of the old one I’d just throw it away and start on a better one! And my parents got me a cheap plastic police van that fit the turtles perfectly, so I used my imagination that it was the turtle van (thanks to a helping heap of stickers once again.) My neighbor Paul had dozens of figures, so we’d take turns going by each others house to play all afternoon, with elaborate stories of heroes and villains. My favorite figure was the Michelangelo one from the second movie.

He was kind of soft and rubbery, plus he came with a can of ooze, hotdog stick nunchucks, and he looked like he stepped right out of the movie to my 7 year old eyes. Speaking of the movies (and tv shows)

For part two of our Turtle talk head on over to BLaZE’s blog!

K.I.S.S.

People don't come here for how the blog looks, they come here for hard-hitting editorials on political life, socio-economic diatribes, and celebrity gossip. And since I have a hard time coming up with that sorta stuff, I usually just write about bathrooms. As such, I'm just going to KISS and keep my old blog layout and color scheme. Please deal with it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Piecing it Together


I can be kind of a slacker when it comes to watching TV shows. The only one that I actually watch when it premieres is The Office, and everything else is either watched via DVR or online. Fall of 2008 was the beginning of Season 3 of Heroes, but since I hadn't watched Season 2 yet I didn't have it setup to DVR. After hearing BLaZE and Ross talk about this season every Tuesday I decided to catch up on Season 2 with the roommates using a torrent (and patched through MrB's Xbox 360 in what can only be explained as
magic). Season 2 was ok, but the Writers strike shortened the season down from 22 episodes to only 12, so the ending was a bit rushed. I find this fact funny, because nothing freaking happens in the first 5 episodes. Pacing was lackluster, that's for sure.

So anyways, after being hassled about missing out on Season 3, I decided to give it a go. I went to Hulu.com, but didn't find the first episode there. Hmm, well maybe the Heroes Website has it. But all they had was the last 5 episodes to watch. Jerks. So I was forced to use surfthechannel.com to find a watchable version of the show. Here's my gripe: If I want to watch these episodes, isn't it in NBC's best interest to have me watching it on their site (or on a site they're partnered with)? At least you're getting ad revenue if I watch it through the proper channels. Now I'm watching it through an illegal copy of it and you get squat! Oh, and about this illegal copy: the sound and the action on the screen are out of synch by about 8 seconds. So I'll see someone's lips moving on screen, and then 8 seconds later I'll hear what they're actually saying. It's kind of comical where there's action on screen, like a guy gets punched through the chest, but you don't hear the crazy sound effect for it until he's just staring at the screen.

I'm almost caught up to the point where I can start actually watching them on NBC's website, which will be nice. But having to piece together this last season from all these different sources really is a pain in the ass.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ch-ch-changes


Changing the layout of one's blog is a lot like changing the style of the clothing you wear. Is this "me?" Does this fit the message I'm trying to convey about myself? Do people actually as themselves these questions? Now, I pretty much wore carpenter jeans with a t-shirt and tennis shoes from 8th grade year until last year, nearly everyday. Now with a real job I am forced to wear dress pants and button up shirts every day, and when I get home I usually throw on sweat pants, an old t-shirt, sweatshirt and my Pluto slippers. I like it that way.

Did I know better when I was stuck in the t-shirt and jeans phase? Yeah, but I didn't have much money, and looking "fashionable" was pretty much second to putting gas in my van. Also, the stubborn belief that womenfolk would only care about my sparkling personality and dashing wit (and would overlook my plethora of high school football shirts and worn out frayed jeans) was still in effect. I think I failed to realize that dressing like a hobo would stop most women from getting to know me, and thus realizing I was the man of their dreams. Oh young Gregor, you were so naive.

Now is the part where I say, "well, then I started wearing the very finest in Corinthian leather, with blazers and turtlenecks." WRONG. I still bargain shop most of my clothes from Target or Kohl's, but they're fashionable enough for me to wear out and about. Chances are my $12 shirt from Target looks just as nice as your $68 Ed Hardy monstrosity. I still wear t-shirts, but I wear button up shirts more and more. In hindsight, changing the layout of a blog really isn't like changing your style. Styles tend to change gradually over time, and have a natural progression. Blog styles can be changed more easily, even everyday, with no monetary impact.

(Yes, this was my pathetic attempt to tie in the new look of the blog with a topic. FAIL. But what do you think of the change? Better? Worse? Font too big?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pocket Knife


In my never ending quest to be manly I've started to carry around a pocket knife. I had completely forgotten about this particular pocket knife until we went up to Door County a few months back. In preparation for the fishing aspect of the trip I found my old tackle box at home, and while checking the contents I discovered an old pocket knife. I scratched my head, trying to remember where and when I had gotten it, but like most of my things as a kid it must have been a hand-me-down from one of my brothers. The blade was rusted and dull, the handle was cracked and "A R" had been scrawled into the end of it, but other than that it was perfectly workable. I made a mental note after that to look into ways to rehabilitate an old knife.

From what I found, there were a variety of ways to go about it. Steel wool was recommended, so I picked up a pack at Fleet Farm, along with a sharpening stone. When I started the blade was almost completely rust colored, but after about 30 minutes of off and on wiping the blade looks like it does in the pic above. In person I can make out the feint outline of an arrow along with the word "Universe" on it. Then I carefully sharpened it, and while there are still some notches on the blade it took an edge very well. It cuts like a dream. I think as time goes on I might try their other recommendations like WD-40 or naval jelly to clean off the rest of the rust, but it's good enough for right now.

So why a pocket knife? Well, like always, Art of Manliness does a better job explaining it than I ever could, but the days of me opening boxes with my keys has come to an end. My job is very desk-oriented, but once in a while I'm tasked with more hands on work, and a pocket knife is perfect for cutting zip-ties, opening boxes, and generally looking like an old soul. I have now added the pocket knife to my arsenal of essential pocket items such as wallet and keys.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday Mornings and Weekday Afternoons


As a primer for today's discussion please go here and check out all the theme songs. Now I know that far too many people tend to look back on their childhoods with fond memories and say "man, such and such was so much better when I was a kid." But this one is for real: Cartoons when we were young are SO much better than they are now. And the proof is in the pudding, just see how sweet those opening songs were! And this is only a small handful of the quality shows we all grew up with. I personally watched the first 8 shows on that list (and have vague memories of M.A.S.K too), and straight up delighted in watching the intros for those shows. How can you not smile hearing the siren and then the synthesized "duuuh da da da duuh" of Inspector Gadget? Or that funky bass line followed by "Life is like a hurricane" for Ducktales? I just know you sang out "Ch-ch-ch-chip N' Dale, Rescue Rangers!" (And as a side note, it still amuses me that they were dressed as Indiana Jones and Magnum PI.) I used to watch Smurfs right before supper on weeknights, so much that my brothers called me "Gergamel." Those smurfing assholes. And I liked Alvin and the Chipmunks because there was me and my 2 brothers, and Alvin and his 2 brothers (though I always wondered why Alvin got top-billing). I haven't talked about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a while, but to be frank I was a Turtles freak when I was a kid. I'll get into that next week.
And Muppets? Well I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Muppets. We'll probably talk about that sometime too. But to tide you over check this out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What to Think About While Peeling Oranges


I think about how exciting/dangerous it would be to discovering oranges and apples and bananas and all sorts of vegetables and fruits for the first time. How many times do you think it took him/her to stop eating the orange rinds and just peal them off? Or how about, if he/she discovered apples after that, do you think they tried pealing them first? How about when they tried to eat the potato without cooking it? Ugh. How about the first person to stumble upon a pumpkin and ask "what the fuck is zat?" And yes, ancient man talks exactly like the Germans from Beerfest. In a time when every fun and exciting thing has already been discovered, how cool would it be to go back and watch someone eating strawberries for the first time? Imagine how happy they'd be when they realize how good they taste!

So yes, this is what I was thinking about while sitting as my desk peeling an orange this morning. And how wonderfully long my hands would smell like orange. And that orange is a fruit AND a color. And...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Piece O'crap Phone


I held out for as long as I could, but the time had come: if I wanted to be kept in the loop I needed a cell phone. I was in my first semester of college, and it hadn't struck me until I lived in the dorms that EVERYONE but me had a cell phone. Needed to make a phone? Well I'd bust out some quarters and try to find a pay phone, or whip out the calling card with only 6 minutes remaining on it. Ah, the good old days.

So I talked to my brother and he recommended Cellcom, a smaller cell company that was local to Green Bay. We went to the Wausau store and I went with one of their cheapest plans because, how much is a manly man sans girlfriend going to be talking on the phone. This was for emergencies only, I told myself. I picked out the free phone, a Kyocera K493LC. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but it had a built in flashlight. How cool is that? I ended up wearing out the flashlight on that phone, mainly because I used it to blind people, search for stuff, etc. It would constantly drop calls, it was darn near impossible to text, and the ringtone I chose was terribly annoying, but I loved that little bugger.
So tell me folks, just how crappy was YOUR first cell phone?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Twins


Now that you mention it I've never seen them together in the same place.....hmm....

Monday, December 8, 2008

The High Life


I'm a pretty simple guy, but every once in a while it's nice to get dress up and go to a fancy restaurant so I can feel like a pretentious asshole. Ric had won tickets to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra a few months back, and we decided to go see Christmas Pops this past Friday. However, since we were getting all dressed up we thought it would be nice to go eat somewhere fancy. Ross mentioned The Capital Grille, and it was near the Symphony, so I made reservations for 5:30. After coming home and changing, we headed downtown to the restaurant, got lost for a bit, and then finally found it. First rule of fancy restaurants? They have a valet service. We pull up next to the building, and the guy opens the door for Ric, gives me a stub with my number on it, and inside we go. We were a bit early, so we went to the bar for a drink. She ordered a martini, and I order a beer. I handed the bartender a $20, and he gave me back $2. Um...ok. That martini better be able to heal mortal wounds, for that much money. Anyways, it was dinner time. We get shown our booth and introduced to our server, Sabrina. She calls me "Mr. ", which I find funny. I think about remarking, "that's my father's name toots, you can call me Gregor", but decide against it. We're pretty much the only ones in the restaurant at the time (rich people apparently eat later than normal folks), and from where I'm sitting I can see the beautiful open air kitchen. Sabrina brings out a plate of different types of breads for us to try, and then immediately goes into a 3 minute long barrage of options for our meal. I manage to decipher out her recommendation of Delmonico Steak with a Cona crust and Caramelized Shallot Butter, Ric orders the Mahi Mahi, and we decide to get a bottle of wine while we're at it. For an appetizer we split a bowl of Lobster Bisque, and it was phenomenal. Tender pieces of lobster in a delicious broth. And that bread she brought out before? Amazing. There's a large piece of flat bread that I can't stop nibbling on, it's like manna from heaven. I show some restraint, however, realising that I have a 22 oz steak heading my way.

Speaking of the steak, it's time for the main course. And what a main course it was. I've come to appreciate steak more and more the older I get, but dear lord this was the best steak I've ever had. It was crusted with this Cona rub that brought out the flavor of the meat, and it was so juicy. Perfection, 22 oz at a time. It was quickly devoured. Then the manager of the restaurant comes over saying, "Hi Mr. , my name is John, I'm the manager, how was everything?" I chuckle and say everything as great, and he calls me Mr. again and is on his way.

After such amazing main course we still had room for desert (and the wine had no doubt loosened my wallet), so we decided to get a ice cream sandwich, made at the restaurant with homemade mint ice cream and the cookie outside pieces were like brownies. Way, way too good. As Ric excuses herself for the bathroom, I ask for the bill. $148.23? Oh vey.... But in all honesty, paying that much for such great food, beautiful atmosphere, and excellent service was definitely worth it.

After having the valet go fetch my car, we made our way to the symphony and had a very enjoyable time there listening to Christmas classics. I was so full I had a hard time staying awake during part of it, but it was really well done. A great night on the town, but just to even all of the decadence out the next night we went bowling and drank cheap beer. Sometimes you just can't escape who you are.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Randomings Vol. 3

*Shuffle*

Who dat? I don't know why I found this so funny, but I love this part:

Back in WWII, US fighter squadron pilots would often fly under radio silence. But things get lonely up there in the cockpit, so after a while there'd be a crackle of static as someone keyed his mike. Then a disembodied voice would reply, "Who dat?" An answer would come, "Who dat say who dat?" And another, "Who dat say who dat say who dat?" After a few rounds of this, the squadron commander would grab his microphone and yell, "Cut it out, you guys!" A few moments of silence. Then... "Who dat?"

*Shuffle*

So for some reason whenever I'm driving around in GTA IV I always change the radio station to Techno music. I don't listen to Techno in my normal life, so why do I listen to it in game?

*Shuffle*

Wes Welker gets downright LIT UP in this from Sunday. I have no idea how he walks away from it.

*Shuffle*

So right next to where BLaZE and I sit there's a so-called "free table." Basically anyone can put leftover food from team meetings or group lunches for anyone to take. And people go BONKERS for this shit. I thought the "OMG FREE!!!1" mentality was strictly a college kid thing, but everything vanishes from this table within minutes of being put there. People can just sense that some is on the table and some stampeding over. We got Toppers a few months ago, and BLaZE put the left over Stix on the table. I'm pretty sure they didn't last more than 4 minutes. Leftover pizza, candy, cookies, muffins, sandwiches (what? who makes a homemade sandwich and then leaves it on the free table. More importantly, WHO WOULD TAKE IT??), soda, you name it, it's been on the free table. There was even a slow cooker of brats out there this summer. I'm sure someone was sitting back at their desk, mowing down on a brat while doing some TPS reports. Man, some of the people that work here.....sheesh.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jumping on the Bandwagon #4: The Zipper


Sometimes I feel like I'm missing something special about being a man. Say I saddled up to a urinal next to another dude, it would always take me far longer to do my business than the other guy. Why was this? I wasn't curious enough to have a look, but it still stuck in my head for a while before just shrugging it off and accepting my slowness. But then one day here at work I got to the urinal at the exact same time as someone else. I started my usual unbuckling of my belt, then unbuttoning my trousers, but all I heard next to me is a quick "zip," and then the dude is going about his business. You gotta be kidding! Guys actually just unzip, and then dig around in their boxers to find their shlong, then pee? Why didn't I get the memo on this?!?? So next time I sauntered up to the trough I gave it a try. It ruled! So fast, so easy, plus no chance of my pants falling down. I'm a believer, Lord! I'm a born-again zipper-user! Now I just gotta make sure all my boxers have their button undone and I'm good to go!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where's my Money?


I love when I read something that triggers a long-forgotten memory. Take this story from my youth: Young Gregor is about 12 or 13 at the time, I believe. Anyways, my Dad's lumberyard lets people pay for stuff on traditional credit. Basically, you come in there, gather up all the stuff you need, and then a bill is sent at the end of the month. This is done mainly because some of the contractors that come in are working on multiple houses and jobs at a time, and they like to have separate bills for each of their jobs so they can be charged back to the homeowner correctly. Most of the people are very good about paying their bills, because they are down at the lumberyard all the time getting stuff, and my Dad knows them pretty well.

However, once in a while someone won't pay up, and my Dad has to go around and collect the money. The one time I remember going along for this was when we had to drive out into the country, and pulled off the highway on a gravel road that led to a beat up trailer house. There was broken down parts of cars and machines scattered on their lawn, which was about a foot high. Out in the middle of nowhere like this, I was a bit scared. My Dad goes "stay here," and he got out of the van and walked up to the front door of the trailer. The door opens, and a huge bearded man is standing there, looking like this guy from Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Minus the bone, of course. Now, my Dad is not a big man. He's probably 5' 9", probably about 190, balding, with glasses. He's got big arms and forearms, but this guy is standing over him about 6 inches. I grip the dash of the van, worried that my dad is going to say something wrong and this guy is going to pop him in the mouth. The windows are rolled up on the van, so I can't hear what they're saying, but my dad looks calm, and the other guy's beard is covering up his emotions. The other guy turns around and walks into the trailer, and my Dad...follows?? Immediately my mind starts racing. Oh my God, my Dad is going to strangle the money out of this guy. I grab a hammer between the seats, and crack open the door, being prepared to lend my assistance if I start to see the trailer windows being blown out with their fisticuffs. But then the door opens again, and out walks my Dad...holding a rifle!??! Did he just kill that guy?? What the hell is going on? The other guy is at the door, arms crossed and my dad turns back and gives him a head nod, and then gets into the van. My mouth is agape, but I manage to get out "What the heck happened in there?" He responds, "I told Jon that either I needed the money, or some collateral to hold onto until he pays the bill. This will have to do." I'm pretty sure I was in awe of my dad for weeks after that. And last week when I put my hunting rifle away I noticed that same old lever action rifle sitting in the gun rack, the one my dad had taken from Jon. Apparently he has never paid that bill.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Batista!

David Zayas, who plays Det. Angel Batista on the wonderful show Dexter on Showtime, will be on Kramp and Addler morning show at 7:30 am on Thursday morning. I've mentioned before, I love Dexter. I wasn't exactly sure where Season 3 was going at first, but the last couple episodes have ramped up the action and suspense, to the point where I don't know who's gonna make it out alive. Anyways, before being on Dexter David Zayas was all over TV, on shows like Law and Order, Numb3rs, Without a Trace, and Shark (apparently he has a taste for procedurals). Angel is probably my second favorite character on the show, and he's been nothing less than spectacular this season. So don't forget, 7:30 am on 102.1 FM on Thursday morning to hear David talking about the season finale. And if you miss it you should be able to get it here later on in the day on Thursday.

The Leaky Faucet


Other than an odd sense of humor and rugged good lucks, I also inherited from my dad a nose that is constantly running. Many of you that know me know I carry a Kleenex tissue with me wherever I go, just in case my nose starts running for some unknown reason. I've been doing this for about 10 years now. My dad carries around a "hanky" where ever he goes, and my grandfather did the same thing. I really notice it when I go hunting, in that the second I step out of the van on a brisk November morning the little man inside my head turns on the faucet. I spend the entire walk to my stand wiping my nose every 20 seconds, grumbling the whole way. A few years back I even had surgery, because a deviated septum + clogged sinus passages was giving me headaches and throwing a HUGE wrench into my scuba diving class (here's why/how). So I had the surgery, which sounds very similar to what happened to this guy, even had the same bandage on my nose. It cleared out my sinuses a bit, and reshaped the inside of my nose (it pops a little when I crinkle it now), but other than that it still runs like a Kenyan.


*sniff*

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time...


I like this time of year, mainly for the traditions that occur. Perhaps my favorite is reading the Lord of the Rings in the beginning of deer hunting season until Christmas. As I mentioned here, Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite books. When I first started deer hunting I remarked to my dad that I would get bored in the tree stand all day. He recommended bringing along a paperback book, and that I should read a paragraph or two at a time, then look up for deer, and then read another paragraph or two. However I was so amazing by the world of Middle Earth that I would devour chapters at a time before remembering to look up. The first copies of the book I actually owned were given to me by my mom. She had purchased all three of them, still wrapped in plastic, at a local garage sale. I mistakenly thought that they were the second edition of the books ever printed (they're actually the second edition of that printing of the book, as seen here), but I cherish those books like none other. Keep in mind this was about 1998, and the movies were just beginning production. No one knew how well a little known director from New Zealand would do on such a big budget expansive movie that many deemed unfilmable. We see how that turned out. Since then I've read the books nearly every year, played pretty much any video game with Lord of the Rings plastered on it (these two were my faves), saw the movies on the opening weekends (and then purchased the slick Extended Edition DVD sets), and even have an Aragorn action figure watching over me at work. While reading Fellowship of the Ring this weekend I saw that TNT was playing the whole trilogy, which got me jonesing to have a marathon movie session of all the movies soon, in full HD. And the great news that the excellent director Guillermo Del Toro is going to be making The Hobbit has me VERY excited for the next few years. It's been a good time to be a Lord of the Rings fan.
EDIT: So writing this has made me go and see if the Trilogy is on Blu-Ray yet, which it is not. This is a travesty. However, I DID find reviews for the Extended Editions from IGN, and they're really in-depth, loving reviews. If they can't convince you to watch the movies (if you haven't seen them before), than nothing will. Review one, two, and three. Also, my copies of the books like like the one pictured above. Neat!