Archives for October 2008
A couple nights ago I took a Tupperware-style bowl of clam chowder to work with me, and popped it into the microwave on my lunch break. And after the buzzer went off (two minutes, thirty seconds later) I opened the door, and the bowl was on its side in a sea of uncontained soup.
How is such a thing possible? What are the logistics? I’d removed the lid, and laid a paper towel across the top to cut down on splatter (ha!). And the shit went sideways on me. I had successfully completed the same mission many times before, but this time experienced a pronounced failure.
So, instead of enjoying a piping-hot bowl of chowder, I got to spend a big hunk of my lunch break cleaning a communal microwave. Good fun.
But seriously, how do you think it happened? What’s the science on something like that? Large, violent bubbles exploding inside a cold, thick paste? Would that upend a three-pound bunker-buster of Progresso? Help me out, won’t you?
Because I can’t have that.
Doesn’t daylight saving time end (start?) this weekend? What exactly is the point? It seems like it has something to do with farmers, or livestock, or grain, or whatever. I don’t know, and don’t care enough to find out.
Oh, it’s not as big an irritant as, you know, people saying “myun” instead of “mine,” but I’ve never much cared for daylight saving time. It seems rather cavalier to go monkeying around with the clock, all willy nilly, don’t you think? It’s fairly arrogant, when you stop to think about it.
Plus, it’s confusing. Fall forward, spring back? Spring up, fall in? Spring first, fall later? Spring backward, don’t get any on ya? Yeah, that catchy little phrase doesn’t help me at all.
Any opinions on this most curious of rituals?
And have you ever improvised a bit of comedy that went over like a cauliflower fart at Easter mass? I’m not talking about a joke that nobody laughed at, but one that actually pissed people off and changed the entire atmosphere of a room.
Of course I wouldn’t have brought this up, if I wasn’t leading up to something…
When I was in Atlanta, you see, Eric Clapton released the song “Tears In Heaven,” supposedly written after his son fell out of a window (or something) and died. It was a huge hit, and everyone knew the sad back story.
Well, I shared an office with two other guys, and one day there were several other folks in there as well. Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” came on the radio. And without hesitating, I said, “Hey, isn’t that the song about Eric Clapton’s kid?!” Learning to fly.
Immediately I realized I’d miscalculated, and saw that I was without allies. Most of them stared at their shoes, one guy looked at me like he simply couldn’t believe it, and another was openly hostile. “That’s a hell of a thing to make a joke about,” he blurted, as everyone slid away shaking their heads in disgust.
Turns out the guy who was angry, a semi-bigshot, was a HUGE Clapton fan, and had named his first son Eric.
Sheesh. People really need to get the Big Stick of Righteousness out of their asses. If you can’t joke about tragic infant death, what can you joke about? It’s political correctness gone mad!
And I hate to admit this, but I was just conned at Wendy’s. I consider myself to be a professional, needless to say, but the cashier got one over on me.
After ordering my usual #1 with cheese, no pickles, and a Coke, she said, “Medium or large?”
This threw me, because they usually ask the more general question, “What size?” And I always say small, because a small at Wendy’s is still pretty large. But since she didn’t offer small as an option, I froze-up and went with medium.
And this caused the price to shoot up by a buck, thus breaking the five dollar rule. And I was given an order of fries so large I needed one of those warehouse-worker lifting belts. The Coke was also a two-hander, and cast me in deep shadow throughout the meal. It was far too much of a good thing.
Never again! I will not be manipulated into super-sizing, by any more black magic fast food cashier parlor tricks. And you can make a note of it.
I hope you’re all pretending to have a Kraft caramel sealed to the roof of your mouth today. I know I am.
And yesterday’s comments, about bad hotel rooms, were flat-out hilarious. A fantastic collection of stories… I read most of them last night, after I got home from work, and was wiping away tears of laughter. Extra-good stuff. Thanks, as always.
I’m struggling today, and feel like climbing back atop the platform. So I’m going to stop right here.
See ya later. The couch and happy hour at the Piss Biscuit Bar & Grill are calling my name…
What’s the worst hotel/motel room you’ve ever encountered? I can think of three, right off the top of my tiny Duke head, that register fairly high on the ol’ turdometer.
So, let’s run ’em down, shall we?
I’ve told this story before, but when I was a kid our family made a stop at Niagara Falls on vacation. Since we’d never been into Canada, my brother and I lobbied my parents to stay norf of the border for a night. They were planning on the exact opposite, but we finally broke them down.
So, we drove onto foreign soil for the first time (exotic!), and chose a motel that looked OK. It had two floors, in an L-shape, with a pool out front. Kids were doing cannonballs off the diving board as we entered the parking lot, and it appeared to be a prudent lodging choice.
But as we were walking to our room, it became apparent that the place was actually pretty rough around the edges. It was painted and maintained to look nice from the street, but it was all an illusion. None of us said anything, but we knew we were about to bed-down in a shithole.
Indeed, the room was shabby, with beat-to-hell furniture. And roaches scampered in every direction when we turned on the bathroom light. Above the beds was a framed print of The Blue Boy, with one eye missing. It looked like someone had shot it with pellet gun, or was it a spyhole? Gulp.
My brother and I howled in protest, and said there was no way we could sleep in this terrible place. My Dad, who is usually pretty laid-back, got really pissed at us, and insinuated we were a couple of Niles and Frasiers, years before Niles and Frasier had even been invented.
So, there was massive tension in the air. Dad almost never flew off the handle like that. Mom? Well, that’s a different story… But it’s kinda disconcerting when the good cop turns on you. Ya know?
Yeah, we’d be spending the night with the roaches, and that one-eyed poofter in pantaloons, after all. A very distressing turn of events.
And as we were marinating in the bad vibes, my Dad looked over at a bottle of Coke (or whatever) sitting on the night table between the beds. The table had no legs, it was just a platform attached to the wall, and was radically slanted, as if someone had been sitting on it. And my Dad said, “If that Coke starts moving, somebody catch it, OK?” Pressure relieved…
We asked if we could go swimming for a while, and there was (I kid you not) a turd in the pool. Everyone scampered out of the water, screaming bloody murder, and the brown invader floated around, as if propelled by a tiny motor.
A boy, about our age, was providing the play-by-play, and announced to the crowd, “She’s breaking up! She’s breaking up!!”
And shortly after we moved to California, Toney and I came back to Atlanta for a desperate homesick visit. We stayed at the Red Roof Inn on North Druid Hills, and was assigned one of the worst excuses for a room I’ve ever seen.
It was normal-sized, I think, except for, you know, the elevator shaft running through it. Seriously, the elevator was almost literally inside our room. Oh, it was all walled-in, and everything, but it was inches from our bed.
So, all night that thing would run up and down, up and down. Rattling and clanking and wheezing… And the size of it ate up almost the entire room. I had to turn sideways to get to the pee-catcher, it seemed like the elevator was putting off heat, and the noise was just incredible.
I bitched like I was entered in a bitching contest, but they said they were full and couldn’t move us. I think they knocked a percentage off the price, but it wasn’t enough. I told them I’d never stay there again, and they told me that would be OK with them.
And lastly… an ex-girlfriend and I were having trouble, years ago. The writing was on the wall, but we were trying to make it work. We decided to visit the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, for a “romantic” weekend getaway.
Knowing it’s basically a tourist trap, we decided to just book a room when we got there. Hell, there must be a million hotels and motels in that area, right? Maybe we could find a cool lodge, or mountain cabin, or something.
Yeah, that turned out to be a tactical error. There was indeed a million hotels and motels, and every one of them had a NO VACANCY sign out front. We ended up staying at a scary-ass place, way out in the middle of nowhere, with tractor trailers parked all around it.
Wotta dump. The bathroom was filthy, the furniture was loaded with cigarette burns, and there was evidence the sheets hadn’t been changed since the previous guests checked-out. Blecch.
It was, in my estimation, little more than a long-haul trucker jack shack. The ghosts of a million Junior Samples yelling “Hee Haw!” haunted the place, and I slept fully-clothed, with a Wal-Mart bag between my head and the pillowcase.
Oh, and I almost forgot… It was located in a dry county, so we couldn’t even buy beer to take the edge off our disgust!
And outside our door some freaky guy sat in a lawn chair all night, staring silently ahead. His head was just a skull with skin over it, and he never said a word to us. In fact, I don’t think he even blinked. It might’ve been a cadaver, for all I know.
Yeah, it was a fairytale weekend, alright. Extremely successful. It wasn’t the reason my girlfriend and I broke-up, soon thereafter. But it sure didn’t help.
And now it’s your turn. Tell us about the worst, most disgusting hotel/motel rooms you’ve encountered in your travels.
And I’ll be back tomorrow.
And since I drive almost forty miles to work, and the weather reports are now featuring the word “snow,” I think I’d better bite the bullet and get it done. I’m going to take it to Sam’s on Saturday, and tell ’em to hook me up.
I like Sam’s for tires, because they post a price, and that’s what it costs. Other places insist on pissing me off by adding fee upon fee (stem fee, mounting and balancing fee, disposal fee, revenue-enhancement fee, fee for adding fees, etc.) and completely changing the complexion of the whole deal.
At Sam’s, at least, you know what you’re getting yourself into. You might not like it, but you know where you stand.
Like I’ve said many times before, though, I hate spending money to get back to where I was yesterday. You know, like when the washing machine shits the bed, and that sort of thing? This isn’t exactly one of those situations, the tires will be newer and safer, but it’s close.
I mean, they’re tires. Hundreds of dollars for sharper, more luxurious grooves? It’s hard to work up a good enthusiasm for such a thing…
Pass the beer nuts.
When I was a kid there was a telephone number you could call, to find out what time it is. Is that not hilarious? And everybody used it. In fact, I still remember the number: 344-5111. Does it still work? Any Charleston area readers want to test it for me?
Nowadays, of course, it’s not too difficult to get the correct time. In most cases, in fact, it’s not even necessary for us to swivel our heads (thank God). It can be found on computers, cell phones, DVD players, the coffee maker, the kitchen stove, the toilet paper dispenser, a meat loaf sandwich…
But in a bygone era (the 1970s), the current time was more elusive and mysterious, I guess. And we had to make a series of telephone calls.
“The time is… four seventeen.” Wonder what happened to that woman? She always seemed a little smug to me, like she was lording it over us. But it was hard not to appreciate the way she milked the suspense, like Regis on Who Wants to Win a Substantial Amount of Money?, or whatever that show was called.
Many years ago there was a local “comedy” show on public television in our area, called Dick’s Half-Hour. I wrote two scripts for it, and one featured the “time lady,” being held hostage by the phone company.
She was kept in a room, you see, with nothing but a desk, a chair, and a phone. And they forced her to tell callers the correct time, 24 hours a day. The best part of the skit was when the door opened, someone yelled “food!” and threw in a sandwich bag.
I was supposed to be paid fifty dollars for this so-called humor, but I guess the check got lost in the mail?
And speaking of time, I’ve never worn a watch in my life. Is that unusual? Toney thinks it’s nuts, but I just don’t like things strapped to my body. Perhaps if I added a counter-weight to the other side? Yeah, I don’t think that’s really the problem…
I’ve been given several nice watches as gifts, especially during my high-flying record weasel years, but they’ve all gone into the flat drawer, above the underwear and socks. I have no interest whatsoever.
For a few days, many years ago, I bowed to social pressure and experimented with wearing a watch. And it’s just not for me. I might be convinced to tie a thermometer to my leg, but a clock on my forearm is out of the question.
And you know how I said the word “snow” was starting to work its way into local weather forecasts? Well, check this out. It’s not even November yet! I guess I shoulda bought those tires last weekend?
I need a little help with something… This morning, before I hoisted my heft off the platform, Toney says the power went off. Probably because of the heavy-ass snow weighing everything down. And when it came back up, her computer wouldn’t connect to the internet.
I have the cable going into the wireless router, then continuing directly into my machine. Her computer connects to the internet through an antennae-type device, and it’s been working perfectly for several years.
I fired up the laptop, and it connected to the network with no problem, so the router is working.
I think the antennae might’ve (as we say back home) blowed-up. When we plug it into a USB port, the computer recognizes something is there, but can’t figure out what it is. We’ve tried various ports, and it just doesn’t work. Also, the light on the device doesn’t stay on anymore.
It’s fried, isn’t it? Any ideas?
Finally, I’m going to leave you with a question from the Stealing Clive Bull’s Topics desk: What do you think is the best TV theme song? I’d have to go with Green Acres, The Addams Family, and Malcolm in the Middle. What do you think? Use the comments link below.
And I’m going to get ready for work now, and prepare to slip and slide my way to the office.
See ya tomorrow, I hope.
Five Guys The older Secret doesn’t like it, for some unfathomable reason, so we only go when he’s off doing something else. On Saturday he went to a football game with one of his Hair Bear Bunch peeps, and we seized the opportunity.
For the first time I altered my cheeseburger choice, and requested (in addition to lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, and ketchup) green peppers. I noticed it on the list recently, and my WTF? meter went wild. But the more I thought about it…
Yeah, and it was really good. I recommend it, if you’re so inclined.
I wish they offered cucumber, ’cause I wouldn’t mind giving that a shot as well. It was a sangwich topping choice at a restaurant (bar) in Greensboro, and I thought it was surprisingly good. Perhaps I’ll smuggle in three or four slices of cuke next time, in a baggy?
Do you put anything unusual on burgers/sandwiches? How ’bout hot dogs? I saw a large-nostriled fellow load his hot dog up with a quarter pound of mayonnaise a few days ago, and I threw up a little inside my mouth.
Use the comments link to tell us about it, if you’re prone to the novelty toppings, etc.
And while we were enjoying our burgers (fukkin great, as usual) something strange happened. An older couple, probably in their seventies, went to the counter and placed their orders. Then they had a seat, and the woman immediately removed a brown paper bag from her purse.
And she proceeded to fill it with the free peanuts Five Guys has sitting around in crates. She acted like it was the most natural thing in the world; she didn’t try to hide it, or anything. She just stood there and shoveled handful after handful into her sack, then rolled down the top and sat it on the floor beside her purse.
Toney and the younger Secret had their backs to the action, so I was the color commentator for all this. And as I went on and on with “Can you believe that?!” the woman rose from her seat again.
And this time she grabbed one of the paper bowl-type things you’re supposed to use for the peanuts, and emptied all the iced tea lemon slices into it. Then she put another paper bowl over the top of it, and buried it deep inside her purse.
What kind of crap is that?! It’s almost shocking. Almost.
It’s the same kind of thing that ruined the one decent Chinese buffet in town. Shitkickers would go in there and fill a laptop bag with sesame chicken, load a Dairy Queen cup with shrimp, and waddle out with their Hammer pants sagging from the weight a dozen egg rolls.
The yuppie bar Toney and I like to get away for an hour a week, just the two of us. It’s often full-on chaos at our house, with everyone going in different directions, and all manner of craziness happening. So, we try to sit down with a pint or two on Saturday afternoons (or lately, Fridays during happy hour), and catch up.
This week we visited the yuppie bar on Saturday, before dinner. I don’t really like the yuppie bar that much, it always smells like a urinal cake, but we don’t have many options. Ever since our beloved Jim Dandy’s closed, we’re kinda stuck. Toney refuses to visit the dive bar, so we’re left with chain restaurants, or the Piss Biscuit Bar & Grill.
But, to be fair, they usually have a decent lineup of beers, at reasonable prices. So we tolerate the funk.
This time I started with a Victory Hop Devil, then switched to Newcastle Brown Ale. Both were tasty. I like Hop Devil, but it’s one of those situations where two’s too many, and one ain’t enough. I always limit myself to just one; it’s a good beer to start with.
We’re not usually at the yuppie bar so late in the day, and the dinner crowd was starting to arrive as we were preparing to leave. And you shoulda heard all the weird-ass “specials” the waitresses were flogging…
It makes me uneasy, if you want to know the truth. A bar should serve nachos, hot dogs, greasy burgers, steak fries, and not much else. When I hear the words “with a mint jelly glaze” I have a strong suspicion I might be in the wrong drinking establishment…
The liquor store A couple of weekends ago we experienced a false start to Bourbon Season. We had a bottle of Early Times in the cabinet, left from last Christmas, and got caught-up in the fallness of it all.
But it didn’t take hold, and felt less than genuine. The season is supposed to be kicked-off with a bottle of Maker’s Mark, not some leftover crapola from way back on a shelf somewhere.
So, we corrected the problem, and officially got the season underway this past weekend. And it seemed real this time.
Generally speaking, I’m not a liquor kinda guy. But during this time of year, a little whisky (or whiskey) hits the spot. Why is that? Why is there a Bourbon Season? The thought of Maker’s Mark in summer seems almost impossible to me.
It’s all tied to autumn, absolutely.
Target Toney had to pick up a few things, and we tagged along. And I decided to buy a copy of Dark Side of the Moon from their $9.99 rack.
I probably haven’t listened to that album in close to twenty years, and it’s not an exaggeration. I never owned it on CD, and almost never listen to classic rock radio stations. But I thought the price was good, and feel like every serious collection should contain it.
And yeah, it still sucks. I never liked Pink Floyd much. Oh, they had their moments, but overall… no. They’re artsy-fartsy and pretentious in my opinion, the musical equivalent of mint jelly glaze.
As far as I can tell, there are only four or five real songs on Dark Side of the Moon. The rest is just sound effects, and reminds me of those CDs stereo stores use to demonstrate speakers.
Incredibly lame. The most overrated album of all time? It’s gotta be way up there. Am I wrong?
What are the most overrated “classic” albums in history? This should be fun… Argue about it in the comments, my friends, and I’ll be back tomorrow.
See ya then.