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   The State of My Fat Ass                                  December 2005

December 30, 2005

-- Toney and I are in the grips of a powerful England fixation. We have it in our minds that we might actually be able to manage a trip there this summer (ha!), and are researching hotels, the London transit system, restaurants and pubs, and all the various tours we could take. The planning, I've learned, is almost as fun as the trip itself.

We've both dreamed of such a vacation, for as long as I can remember. In fact, I believe we made a vow that we'd go to Great Britain on our honeymoon. And when we couldn't afford that, we said we'd go on our fifth anniversary. And when we couldn't afford that.... You get the idea.

At some point, though, it becomes time to either shit or get off the loo. And we've decided that the time is now. If you wait for the perfect day, we're telling ourselves, it'll never happen. You've gotta make it happen.

So, that's what we've been doing for the past couple of days. Scheming and daydreaming. We have a reasonable estimate of what it might cost us, and it doesn't seem all that outrageous. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that a week in Orlando would be more. And God knows, I don't want to do that. I mean, holy crap.

We'll see. It probably won't pan out, but it might. Wonder if there's a way we could take our box o' beds with us, and eliminate a big chunk of the lodging costs? So much more research to do....

-- Last week I rented a Globe Trekker DVD about London, from Netflix. When my parents were here we were telling them about our highly-tentative plans, and they both said they have no desire whatsoever to travel to England. I don't get that (and they don't get us). But I thought I might be able to change their minds, by showing them the DVD.

I figured it would be like something off the Travel Channel, showing castle tours and fish and chips at a quaint old pub and whatnot, but it was nothing like that. Nothing at all like that.

The host was Australian, and was approaching his London vacation from a bohemian point of view. He visited some sort of hippie haven called Tent City, where you pay seven pounds a night for the privilege of sleeping in the dirt with a bunch of people sporting unkempt facial hair and wire-rim glasses. 

At first I thought we were watching old footage of the original Woodstock Music and Art Festival. And the thought of the Secrets running around filthy and naked while Toney and I paint each other wasn't really what we had in mind. For one thing, she'd need a roller....

After that, he went to a youth hostel, paid ten pounds, and entered a room that looked like a homeless shelter. He happily dropped his backpack on the floor, jumped onto a bunk bed, and wriggled his way into a sleeping bag that was already there. No. Fukkin. Way. Just the thought of it triggers a full-body shiver. It would be like breading yourself in a Shake n Bake fungus sack.

The tour also included a visit to an alcohol rehabilitation center (I shit you not), a gay bar where men dressed as very ugly women paraded about, and an afternoon spent with a group of hard-drinking New Zealanders living in a lean-to constructed of two-by-fours and heavy plastic sheeting.

"Well, I'm ready to book a flight right now!" my Dad said, with high sarcasm. 

So much for changing their minds. Hell, if it had gone on for twenty minutes longer, it might've changed my mind.

-- My friend Steve stopped by the Compound yesterday, and we had lunch and exchanged Christmas gifts. It's something we've done since we were kids, and just never stopped. I gave him this, and it seemed to be a hit. But check out what he gave me. Dat's right, a soup ladle signed by The Soup Nazi! How cool is that? It's a perfect addition to the Bunker Collection, and is already on prominent display there. Awesome.

-- Buck sent me this link this morning, predicting that I will someday meet a similar fate. Man, what a story! That baby has it all. Wonder if there's a way to buy the film rights, before Hollywood comes calling?

-- Do you have any new year's resolutions you'd like to share with us? If so, use the comments section below. In case you're interested, I'm planning to adopt an "early to bed, early to rise" approach in 2006, and finally finish my ridiculous little "novel" by putting in some serious writing time on weekend mornings. It's gonna be me, mugs of coffee, and not a single drop of the golden elixir until the first draft is done. Do you think I can do it? Yeah, I have some of the same doubts...

-- If you'd prefer to keep your resolutions private, just tell us what you're planning to do on New Year's Eve. Toney and I don't do anything special; the Secrets run out of steam early every evening, and Toney's usually not too far behind. Sometimes we do have a few cocktails and create our own party. Here's a picture of me, Toney, and Andy from a few years back, after three or four too many.

But I have a feeling it won't be quite so exciting this time.... Do you have anything special planned? Tell us about it; some of us need to live vicariously. Ahem.

-- Eninen have postponed their visit until next Thursday, due to vaginal illness. Didn't want to leave you hanging....

-- And this is, obviously, the final update of 2005. It's been an exciting year for TheWVSR, what with the LA Times interview, the Drudge craziness, on-air mentions by Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh, being approached by the National Lampoon about a book project (woops... that was supposed to be a secret), and all manner of bizarreness.

But the best part? You'll probably think I'm bullshitting you, but I'm not. I'm happiest about the sense of community that now surrounds the site. I feel like I'm with friends here.

Years ago, when I was still publishing my paper zine I was always jealous of people who could manage that, and couldn't figure out how they did it. Mark and Linette's Crimewave USA is a prime example. Reading their magazine was/is like hanging out with old friends. I always loved it, then hated it, then loved it again. What was their secret? What was the source of their magic?? It was goddamn infuriating.

But somehow it's happening here, and without any conscious effort on my part. And luckily, I'm not very deep, so I probably won't ruin anything by over-thinking it. All I can say is thanks. Thanks for coming here every day, and for participating, and for everything you do. I appreciate it more than my West Virginia upbringing will allow me to say. You guys are the best, and I mean it sincerely. Even if I don't answer your email.

-- And before I start weeping like a schoolgirl here, I'm going to turn it over to Buck, who, along with Metten and Jack Boston, have gone above and beyond the call of duty this year. Thanks guys, from the bottom of my beleaguered heart.

Now here's the latest news, straight from the holler.

See ya next year.

December 28, 2005

-- I was listening to Phil Hendrie last night while partaking of a sizable vessel of the golden elixir, and I think I might've blown something up inside my abdomen.

One of his characters was talking to an outraged caller, and the character kept insisting that she "sounds fat." She informed him that she's in the Army, just returned from Iraq, and is in tip-top shape. But he kept it up (needless to say). He said that she was probably over there shooting Iraqi civilians, because of her bitterness about being obese.

I'm not fat! she kept screaming. As if he hadn't heard a word, he said that he wouldn't be surprised to learn that she had machine-gunned an entire village because the mess hall was out of garlic mashed potatoes. 

It just went on and on, and I was buckled over in laughter.

When he said, "With all due respect, ma'am, I can hear the fat jiggling in your neck" I literally felt something pop inside my gut, and it hurt like hell. And there's still a dull ache there this morning. What do you think happened? Has one of my organs blown apart?!

It's been nice knowing you guys.

-- Now that Christmas is behind us, I have one question: who in the hand-rolled hell is Parson Brown?

-- I watched the remake of Bad New Bears a few nights ago. I wanted to get that into the official record, because I have a feeling that within a month I won't be able to remember ever having seen it. It's one of those flicks that's mildly entertaining while you're watching it, but evaporates quickly and leaves no residue behind. Like Mop 'n' Glo. 

It's in the same category as Along Came Polly, which I'm almost certain I watched, but can't remember one single thing about. Seriously, not one scene, not the basic premise, nothing. Mop 'n' Glo movies kinda piss me off.

-- Check out number five on the Miami Herald's Year in Television recap. Heh.

-- NPR's All Liberal Things Considered recently featured an interesting story about a real life West Virginia mystery. Sixty years ago, on Christmas Eve, a Fayetteville family's house reportedly burned to the ground, under mysterious circumstances. And when the dust settled, so to speak, five of their children had vanished. No remains were found in the debris, and nobody could explain what happened. Of course this fueled plenty of rumors and speculation, and folks there still have their opinions. Check it out here. It's really good. And I've got to give credit where credit is due... I believe it's the first NPR story that I've ever heard about West Virginia in which banjoes weren't playing in the background. It must've required remarkable restraint.

-- I just stepped on a Lego in my bare feet and it caused me great anguish. Just thought you should know. I really need to get back to work, before I paralyze myself and have to buy an ass-wiping wheel. It's just one thing after another....

-- I took my iPod to the oldest Secret's swimming practice yesterday, and listened to The Eels while he swam back and forth. It was great. Those practice sessions are only an hour long, but usually feel like an all-day car trip with no Stuckey's. Not yesterday. I was rocking in the free world, baby, and time flew by. Sure, it was just me and a couple of twelve year old girls sporting iPods, but I couldn't give one tiny seahorse-shaped pooplet about that. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that I'll now start noticing other parents sporting the white headphones, and leaving their hardback book props at home. All it takes is one person to break the douche-ice, and I am that person.

-- Have you seen this? It made me laugh, especially the part about the ten dollar bill. A couple of bad ass mofos...

And that'll have to do it for today, my friends. I might not update tomorrow; I'm thinking about just sleeping in and being a big wallowing hog all day. But check back; I could easily change my mind.

Toney informs me that Nancy's visit might not happen, after all. Apparently Nostrils is sick (again), and is bedridden with a hot water bottle on his vagina, or whatever. So it's all up in the air, as usual. I'll let you know what happens.

See ya tomorrow, or the next day.

December 27, 2005

-- I hope that everybody had, or is having (don't some of them drag out?), a great holiday. I'm sorry to have to report this, but ours was pretty nice. My parents were here, and that doesn't usually translate into good comedy. They come for short visits, stay out of our way when it's appropriate, and get involved when that's appropriate. They're really good houseguests. And I apologize for that.

Late Saturday afternoon Toney and I snuck away for our traditional Christmas Eve martini, at a local joint called Jim Dandy's. There were lots of locals huddled around the big bar, and many of them had apparently been there all day. One guy, who looked like Sgt. Carter, was roaring drunk, his volume sensor apparently burned-all-the-way-out by booze. It was nothing but hollering, funhouse laughter, and a perma-smile like some kind of high blood pressure Jack O'Lantern.

Merry Christmas.

We opted for vodka martinis this year, because the standard gin martini tastes like wallpaper remover. That shit'll make even the hardiest of jaws retract. But the vodka version was good stuff. 

I'm not really a liquor kinda guy, and was a little surprised that there was such a delay in the kick. I downed one in just a few minutes, then another, and felt nothing; cold well water would've had the same effect. Then about five minutes later...

"We'd better go," I said. I could envision a real-life Pogues song taking shape, and the thought of my parents bailing me out of the drunk tank on Christmas Eve was something I wanted to avoid.

We went home and prepared a big spread of food and ate until we'd reached a state of absolute misery, then free-fell into chairs and sofas. As required, I did a quick survey of the gifts we'd bought the Secrets, and convinced myself that it wasn't nearly enough. Then I stressed and agonized about it all night long. ...Yet another holiday tradition to cherish.

We'd spent a crazy amount of money, but the presentation around the tree wasn't as dramatic as I'd hoped. Next year, I vowed, we'd get more big stuff. I'm not sure if that's a sound shopping strategy, but I longed for greater gift heft. Gameboys and Playstation games are both expensive and tiny, and that's a bad combination when you're trying to make a big splash.

Oh well. I downed a few lagers as I contemplated the situation, and told myself I was certainly over the legal driving limit by now.  An emergency Wal-Mart run was out of the question, so it would just have to stand. Toney told me I was out of my freaking mind, that we were spoiling the shit out of them as it is. But I just couldn't stop worrying. Christmas comes but once a year. Or whatever.

Of course everything was fine, just as Toney predicted. The younglings were not only happy, but also thoroughly over-stimulated. As it should be.

Christmas Day was incredibly long (it had started at 5 am), and by mid-afternoon I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. At one point I was actually sitting in the middle of the living room floor playing solitaire. I mean, seriously. 

The oldest Secret had settled into a solid trance, playing some sort of Playstation ridiculousness called Destroy All Humans!, and the younger Secret was putting together a jigsaw puzzle with my Dad. Toney and my mother were dozing off, here and there, and it literally felt like I'd entered a different realm; I was being transported by dullness.

I finally went downstairs and began messing around with my iPod, before I went all the way over the edge and started working word-search puzzles. (Sweet Jesus, I just experienced a full-body shiver!) I had some troubles, as you might expect, but I was eventually able to load a CD onto it, and think I now understand the basics. What a great piece of gadgetry; it sounds incredible, looks cool, and is roughly the size of a Club Cracker. God bless America.

And those are pretty much the highlights of Christmas at the Compound. I wish I had something more exciting to report, like fist fights and people yelling "No, fuck you!" and whatnot, but nothing like that happened.

However... Eninen are due to arrive later this week. So stay tuned.

December 23, 2005

-- You know those excellent "holiday letters" that some folks are hell-bent on sending out every Christmas season, to bring friends and family up-to-date on their mesmerizing lives? Well, we didn't receive any this year, and I feel ripped-off. Maybe it's because I always reprint them, verbatim, on my website, then mock them? Perhaps that has something to do with it?

I don't know, but I'm now being forced to live vicariously through others. Here's one that a friend received last week, from a distant cousin.

Dear friends and loved ones,

Just a note to let you know my last name changed! I am a single woman again. My last name went back to Loveambition [the fuck?]. Bobby and I are roommates at this time. Bobby is planning on moving out in a few months after finding a place and new start in Phoenix, Arizona. He will go with my blessings, and friendship.

The refinancing of our house, now just my house, was successful [whew!]. It seems I will be able to afford it without too many overtime hours. I will look into getting a roommate if necessary in a few months. I plan to remarry within three years. If this doesn't happen, I plan to sell the house. I have four possible suitors at work [how much you wanna bet they don't know anything about it?], one in particular that I am most interested in. We have had a close friendship for ten months [they say good morning to each other]. Our friendship is being tested right now [he knows!], but I am managing OK. Meanwhile I will help Bobby in his life change [wink, wink] in any way I can.

I am so happy that I was able to keep the house! It's a little bit big for just little ol' me, but I have special plans, dreams, on an extended family [dozens and dozens of cats].

Merry Christmas!

And Merry Christmas to you, Ms. Loverollercoaster. Good luck with the three, the four, the one, and the ten.

-- I received my new fancy-pants aluminum iPod case in yesterdayís mail. And proving once again that everything I touch turns into a Buster Keaton movie, the thing is bent all to hell. It looks like somebody laid it on a sidewalk somewhere, backed up about half a block, then ran over it with a Schwinn Stingray.

I sent the people an email and they gave me a return authorization number, and an assurance that it will be made right. But itís going to take time, and I donít like that.

Stupid mangled non-closing twenty-dollar piece of aluminum crapÖ

-- On a related note, I received several hurtful emails yesterday from people taking me to task for avoiding the set-up of the new Surf Report Wireless Network.

One person swears that the process is simple (therefore Iím a douche), and proceeded to spell it out for me. He broke it down step by step, and I appreciate the effort. The only problem is, he lists forty steps. 


Because of my personal history, I look at this list and see nothing but a big Chinese menu of potential nervous breakdowns. Any one of the forty steps could easily send me right on over the edge. So, Iím not exactly boiling over with confidence todayÖ.

Yeah, bring me a #22 with a side of devastating aneurysm, please. Yes, and a root beer.

-- And finally, itís time for a WVSR holiday tradition. This is the ultimate in Christmas songs, performed by an honest-to-goodness relative of mine, Mr. Red Sovine. Iím not sure of his technical relation to me, but he was my paternal grandmotherís first cousin. So whatís that? Something something twice-removed? I just donít know.

Anyway, here it is. Oh, this baby has it all!

-- And thatís that, my friends. I tried to update earlier in the day but somebody, and Iím not naming names, is having a difficult time respecting the sovereignty of the bunker. (Ahem.) But no big dealÖ.

Starting Saturday Iím off from work for eleven days in a row(!). So, I wonít be working next week, but will be updating the site. Occasionally, anyway, and possibly at unusual times. So stay tuned.

I hope you guys have a great holiday! 

See ya next week.

December 22, 2005

A few quick things:

-- My parents are on their way as I type this morning; Jeff and Toney's Bed & Breakfast Inn and Old Country Saloon is about to open for the holiday season. And I still don't have my wireless network in place. I need to get down to bidness. 

It won't be so critical with my Mom and Dad, but once Nancy and her brood descend upon us, I'm going to require flexibility and freedom of movement. That is to say, I'll need the ability to email from the crapper and/or my idling Blazer in the driveway.

I'm a little intimidated by the set-up process, if you want the truth, and have been putting it off. Because everything I try to do, and I mean everything, turns into slapstick comedy. 

Tell me, am I going to be on the phone with a help desk in some country where you can hear elephants going off in the background? And will I be running my hands through my hair like a speed freak? If so, I'd like to know up-front, thank you very much.

-- I'm drinking my Eight O'Clock Coffee from a Strand Books mug this morning, and am currently listening to Ian Dury's New Boots and Panties!! Just so you know.

-- Are any of you familiar with a Canadian TV show called Trailer Park Boys? Several people have suggested it to me (usually adding that I'll likely recognize some of the characters from my own life!?), and then I heard Phil Hendrie raving about it as well. 

So... there was but one thing left to do. I've summoned the first disc of the first season from the nearest Netflix distribution center, and it should arrive today. I don't know a thing about it. Is it worth all the effort I put forth, double-clicking and whatnot? What do you think?

-- I was messing around last night and came across this picture that I apparently posted sometime in the past. It's supposedly taken in New York on 9/11, and makes me laugh every time I look at it. And I doubt there are too many pictures that fall into that category.

-- A year or so ago Clive Bull was wondering on the air what his radio station's call letters (LBC) would sound like in Morse code. This prompted a call that turned an old man into a full-blown cult hero. 

His answer to Clive's question is repeated multiple times per day, and is embedded somewhere in most of the promo spots for the show. Several listeners have even taken the clip and turned it into a tape loop, and are using it as the ringtone on their cell phones. 

And here it is, the person now affectionately known as The Doddy Doddit Man. It's the passion that makes it special. 

Wonder if I could talk him into doing one of those for TheWVSR? How cool would that be?

-- Speaking of Clive Bull, I'm going to steal another of his topics now.... Are you, or anyone you know, named after somebody famous? If so, tell us about it in the comments, why don't ya?

-- Our oldest Secret is on a swimming team, and they practice almost every night of the freakin' week. Those folks don't mess around, and run a tight ship. Most evenings I go straight from my job to the swimming pool, to catch the last half of practice and drive him home. But as I sit in the stands and observe, a few questions inevitably cross my mind.... 

Like, are all Indian people bad swimmers? I know that's probably unfair, to paint an entire big-ass nation with such a broad brush, but I have my reasons for wondering. I've collected a little data. Sure, it might be limited in scope, but it points in certain undeniable direction. 

I'm not kidding, you could throw a head of lettuce into the pool, and there's a good chance it would finish before some of the Indian swimmers. 

My findings, of course, are unscientific and ongoing.

-- And on that politically correct point, I'm gonna turn it over to Buck now, and drag my sorry ass into work.

See ya tomorrow.

December 21, 2005

-- There are a couple of local radio stations here that went wall-to-wall Christmas a few weeks ago, and I've tried to listen to them, I really have. I had visions of Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and The Chairman of the Board, and thought I might enjoy such a thing.

But it's nothing like that. Every time I turn it on there's some horrible "country" artist bringing me down with their dullness and mournfulness. Or even worse, a diva like Whitney or Celine, hollering and wailing, and taking their voices up and down, up and down. God, how I hate that. As my Dad might put it, it sounds like a dog shitting razor blades.

So, through my vast network of liars and backstabbers, I've been able to procure a CD that's just what the doctor ordered. Apparently it's sold through Starbucks, and the thing is almost perfect. Check it out. The only song I skip is by Nina Simone. Other than that... I'm swingin' baby.

Won't you pour me a Cuban Breeze, Gretchen?

-- On Sunday Toney and I went to Sam's, the exclusive club that we belong to, in an attempt to once and for all finish our Christmas shopping. It didn't work out very well.

The place was completely slammed with people, making me wonder, once again, about the toughness of their initiation requirements. I know that hazing has gotten a lot of negative press lately, but it's like they're letting anyone in these days. It's crazy. We couldn't even walk in the place, and everything was violently picked-over.

On top of that, there was some guy there with an elastic mouth, eating up all the food samples. The dude was fucking disgusting. I tried to get away from him, but he was seemingly around every corner I turned. Eating. And moving his rubbery liver-lips in an exaggerated fashion.

For the past couple of weeks there's been a thick rubber band in the bottom of the urinal at work. Apparently nobody has been able to summon enough courage to reach in there and remove it. When you pee on it, it opens and closes, lengthens and shortens. And it reminds me of that guy's mouth at Sam's!

Three or four times a day I'm revisiting it now, going through the whole ordeal again. Sometimes I actually close my eyes, and whizz on faith. I'm thinking about borrowing one of my co-workers' rulers, and lifting the thing out. But I don't want to be caught taking a ruler into the bathroom. Ya know?

Anyway, I reached the end of my rope when I saw the guy slurp and slowly relish a big hunk of chicken -- then down the "juice" in the bottom of the cup like he was doing a shot of tequila. "I'll be waiting in the car," I said.

I'm thinking about giving my parents an IOU this year.

-- Earlier this week I read part of an article in the New York Times about a kid who got himself caught up in a world of perverts and freaks, via the internet. According to the piece, he was a lonely thirteen year old with few friends, and started hanging out in chat rooms online. Here's the article, if you're interested.

Predictably, the kid was quickly beset by adult males with a sweet tooth for the boy ass. In short order they'd convinced him to remove his shirt and sit in front of his webcam, in return for cash and gifts. And from there it escalated (as you might imagine). Before long he was posting a masturbation schedule(!?), and doing his own pay-per-view specials. Or whatever. He supposedly raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years.

And I started thinking... all that money. When I was thirteen and fourteen I had to lug around heavy canvas sacks of newspapers every day, in the blazing heat and freezing cold, just to make a lousy sixty bucks per week. If we'd only had the technology then that we have today....

Then I remembered. In my case a paper route was probably the best option, after all.

-- On Monday I showed you this clipping from the Philadelphia Inquirer, in which a sports columnist got in a few tired old hillbilly jokes about West Virginians. Well, apparently it's making some waves back home in the motherland. A reader of TheWVSR in Charleston reportedly sent the link to several media outlets, and it's now receiving local coverage.

This morning there was supposedly a radio report about the piece, in which a spokesman for the Philadelphia paper was quoted as saying, "The guy that wrote it is from the backwoods of Pennsylvania and only started wearing shoes about five years ago. You shouldn't get too excited, we never pay any attention to what he writes in the first place."

Sounds like my boss!

When I checked my webstats this morning there were dozens and dozens of searches listed, for the words "west virginia surf report." So, it looks like we're getting a little of the credit for this one, somewhere. Let me know if you hear anything about it. Details are sketchy.

-- Finally, from the Stealing Clive Bull's Topics desk: what's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received?

And that'll have to do it for today, my friends. I have more, lots more, including a new Buck column. But it'll have to keep.

See ya tomorrow. No, seriously.

December 19, 2005

-- On Friday I received a highly non-specific holiday card from my employer, and on the inside it said:

In the spirit of giving... (the company) has made a donation to The Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada on your behalf.

Yes, there's nothing quite like opening a whimsical Christmas card with a colorful cartoon on the front, and seeing the words PROSTATE CANCER, right there between the snowflake illustrations. It takes me back to my childhood, when the family would gather at my grandmother's house for the holidays, enjoy a little eggnog, sing some carols, then discuss devastating, aggressive diseases of the reproductive organs.

...I'm sorry, I'm getting a little emotional here.

One question, though. Why Canada?! What in the hand-tossed hell is that all about? I know it's a terrible thing to admit, but I was far more excited about the iPod.

-- And speaking of that, I tried to heed your warnings and buy a hard case for my new Nano over the weekend. I went from store to store on Saturday, and returned home a frustrated fat man.

I started at Target and it looked like a gang of Vikings had ransacked the iPod section. Not only were there no actual players left in the case, but the glass door was also cracked. The few accessories that remained were strewn everywhere; nothing was in its proper slot. The only Nano case I could find, in amongst the rubble, was made of leather and cost $25. It looked like one of those fingernail clipper cases that old people carry, apparently to protect their investment. And it cost twenty-five bucks! Yeah, I was born at night, but not last night, baby.

Then I went to Circuit City and it was chaos as well. It's located in one of those shopping centers that you can get into, but not out of. And it didn't even pay dividends. They had the same leather case as Target, but wanted thirty dollars for it. What the hell, man?? I asked some slack-jawed zit monkey if they had any more Nano cases, and he looked at me like I was wearing a bonnet of turds. I hate that store.

I made my way to Best Buy, and saw people camping outside, apparently waiting for the next shipment of XBox 360s. Wotta grand gang of doucheketeers. They had some sort of space heater out there, and were all huddled around it, forming lasting nerd bonds. The store had no Nano cases whatsoever; I would've gotten the exact same result if I'd gone to Fashion Bug, or Carpet Factory Outlet.

Staples and Radio Shack were disappointments as well, and I finally just went home and had bourbon. Then I ordered an aluminum case through Amazon, and I've already received notice that it shipped, from NYC. I'll probably have it tomorrow. And somebody should drive up here and shoe me in the nuts for attempting to forsake the internet. They really should.

-- I got a new driver's license on Saturday. My old one expired on my birthday, about three weeks ago. I kept putting it off and putting it off. But I (Toney) finally decided that I needed to take care of it, before some mustachioed cop pulled me over, dropped his nightstick, and asked me to pick it up for him.

And it wasn't too bad. My last visit to the DMV was pretty typical; I sat on a metal chair for a couple of hours, while filthy children ran round and round their mulleted acid wash Pennzoil cap parents. But this time was different. I took a number and within seconds they'd already summoned me to the front.

I answered a few questions on a computer screen, mostly to do with my citizenship status. Then they asked if I wanted to be an organ donor, and made me confirm my answer when I said yes. Finally, I went before the camera.

The woman was very friendly and patient, actually taking four shots after I complained about the first three. Numbers one and two made me look like I'd just come off a four-day drunk, and in number three my head was thrown back like the Mylar balloon lady. Here's how number four came out. As you can see, I was sporting my new L.L. Bean Brokebutt Mountain jacket. Yee-haw!

I think it turned out way better than last time. What do you think?

After I finally decided on a pose, the woman asked me, for the third time, if I was absolutely sure I wanted to be an organ donor. "Well yeah, if they can salvage anything," I said. And I got the feeling that she didn't approve of my decision. I have no idea what that was about, but whatever.

I was there less than ten minutes, and had my new license in-hand when I left. More amazing than the freakin' Grand Canyon.

-- And finally, check this out. A reader in Philadelphia sent it to me. A real knee-slapper, huh? I'm simply convulsing with laughter.

-- Oh, one more thing... I did away with the old homepage link to The Forum (a graveyard if there ever was one), and replaced it with a link to the new reader map. Please make your mark, if you haven't already. 

See ya tomorrow.

December 16, 2005

-- I was at work yesterday and one of the big-shots wandered into my office, and started making small-talk. Nothing unusual about big-shot small-talk; I'm about halfway between his desk and the can, so he stops by quite regularly. But yesterday, right in the middle of our standard cynical conversation, he pulled a box from behind his back, handed it to me, and said, "Merry Christmas from (the company)!"

Th'ell? The thing had almost no writing on it, and I turned it over and over in my hand and quickly realized that it was a freakin' iPod Nano. He'd given me an iPod!

My first thought: Does he read my website?! Holy crap! Is this his way of telling me, without actually telling me, that I'd better watch my step? That doesn't make much sense in retrospect, but it was panic-thinking. 

My brain was spinning, trying to remember if I'd ever written about anyone in his department. Had I called any of his people pig-faces, or anything like that?? Sweet Maria.

But, apparently, it was just a coincidence. They gave the same gift to a few other people as well, and I'm almost certain that none of them are keeping a journal of sorts, updated every once in a while. So, the fact that I've been writing about my raging iPod fever, then somebody walks up and hands me one -- it's all just happenstance. Maybe I should start writing about wanting a big-screen TV next?

But how cool is that? Several years ago these same folks (not my employers, by the way) gave me a portable DVD player for Christmas. This was back when they cost, like, a million dollars, and I just about hyper-shat. Then there was nothing, for years afterward. And you talk about screwing with a paranoid's head... What have I done?! Why don't they like me anymore? Where did I go wrong??

Anyway... What kind of accessories will I need for my new toy? Any opinions of this deal? What about a case, to protect the screen? 

I'm so excited! I've got brand new gadgetry to screw around with.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: somebody should bottle the smell of fresh electronics, right out of the box. They'd be zillionaires within a month.

-- Our big "snow event" turned out to be a dud. We only got three or four inches, and that's hardly worth mentioning. The storm was at its peak as I was driving home from work last night, so that was kinda fun. I was blasting a Billy Squier CD and cutting right through that shit. Emotions in moooootion!! But the roads are completely clear this morning, and my dreams of being house-bound with stew all weekend, are now out the window. Stupid weather "experts."

-- My Adelphia internet was back up yesterday, Toney used it for several hours, then when I got home from work it was deader than Kelsey's nuts again. At this point I'm just taking it as it comes. I didn't even bat an eye when I saw the big error message on my screen, and the blinking lights on my modem. 

Because I know that there are hidden cameras in here somewhere, and people in another country, possibly Canada, are watching me on television. That's the only explanation for it; I'm now part of some reality show where they fuck with a man, and fuck with him, until he goes right over the edge. And I'm not giving them the satisfaction. The pricks.

-- Speaking of that, Clive Bull has been talking about a reality show in England called "Space Cadets," where the producers attempt to convince a group of people that they've been launched into space. Here's a BBC article about it. 

Man, that could be fun. They could stage alien attacks, and all sorts of things. Or they could screw with the people and have Mickey Rooney, or somebody inexplicable, float past their window for no reason whatsoever. 

They do better reality TV in Europe, I'm convinced of it. All we get are huggin' 'n' cryin' homosexuals, building new houses for people born without a spinal cord, and hollering into bullhorns. 

Wotta ripoff.

-- Here's a picture of Surf Reporter Todd sporting his fashionable TheWVSR shirt at his office. He claims that he receives lots of compliments on it, and I don't doubt it. It's a fine, quality-made garment. With a smoking fish on it.

And I know this is a bit abbreviated, but I had to shovel the driveway this morning. Give me a break. Jeez.

Have a great weekend, folks. I'll see ya Monday.

December 15, 2005

-- Our internet connection was down once again yesterday morning, and I spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with Adelphia, screaming and being an asshole. I was keeping it together for a while. But when the person told me that the first available service appointment was in mid-January, I just about lost my mud completely.

Like last time, I don't even know what I said; it was sort of a combination Joe Pesci/Jerky Boys episode. I think I actually yelled the phrase, "Hey, I ain't just downloading cookie recipes here, sister!" Whatever that means.

But after the dust settled, I was promised a visit from a technician early Thursday morning (today, not January 13), and have received a one-month credit on our next bill. We'll see how that works out.

And you guys can mock me all you want, but this type of thing just makes me crazy. We pay those pole-smokers a massive amount of money every month, and their trucks are constantly in our driveway. Something isn't working most of the time, it seems. And their casual attitude about it all makes chemicals slosh together in my brain, that are best kept apart.

I had uninstalled NetZero from my computer, because of their big-ass, retina-searing, always flashing toolbar, but was able to retrieve it from the recycle bin. So, at least I have back-up. And all I can say at this point is grrrrrr.

-- Following my Excellent Adelphia Adventure, there was but one thing left to do. And that was to go straight to Waffle House for a decompression session, over fried meat.

Toney and I dropped the younglings off at school, and made a beeline for grease. When the waitress said, "Y'all been to the Waffle House before?" I could feel the tension just leaving my body. Y'all?! Nobody says that up here. What do they do, import their employees from the deep South? Bring in speech coaches?? I don't know, but I like it. It's our own personal portal to sanity, almost within walking distance of our front door. Pass the freakin' syrup.

For the record, I opted for scrambled eggs, sausage, hashbrowns (with a neon-orange square of cheese burned into the top, thank you very much), toast, and iced tea. I never get the coffee there, because it's so acidic it'll burn a hole straight through your windpipe. Worst coffee in the world. They could use that shit to clean grime off the outsides of old office buildings. My advice: stick with the sweet tea.

And all I can say at this point is mmmmmm.

-- We're supposed to get hammered with snow tonight. "Significant accumulation" is what the experts are saying. I'm sure I'll feel differently in February, but right now I'm excited. I like the thoughts of a big ol' snowstorm, the house smelling like fresh-brewed coffee, all of us huddled under blankets watching The Adventures of Pete & Pete on DVD, and Andy curled up beside us.

Winter gets a bad rap, I think. It's so much better than stewing in your own natural juices in August, with a river of sweat rampaging down the canyon. Know what I'm sayin'?

-- Yesterday I sat in a chair that I never sit in, and saw the living room from a whole different angle. It was kind of mind-blowing. Everything looked familiar, yet different. Now I'm in search of other such magical spots in our house, but haven't found one yet. I'll keep you posted on this developing story.

-- What does o'clock mean? I've been saying it most of my life, just accepting it all willy-nilly, but it's sort of an odd word, isn't it? And a tad fancy-laddish. Now that I think about it, I can't even believe we still use it. Yo man, what time is it? It's almost ten o' the clock, my good man. We sound like a bunch of poofters! You'd think something like that would be erased from the language by now, and we'd all be pretending it never happened. ...Hello?

-- The new King Kong is 187 minutes long?! Well, there's yet another movie I'll never see. I mean, what am I, a complete asshole?

-- You know what I don't like? People who unplug stuff by standing several feet away from the plug, then just yank the cord. I think it shows a distinct lack of character.

-- Here's an interesting list of TV firsts. Like the first televised goddamn and so forth.

-- And this is an indication that the cast of LOST either believes they're special people and don't have to follow the rules, or the local police department has a hard-on for all them Hollywood faggots that have invaded their neighborhoods. I just don't know.

-- Finally, here's an article that lists Ten Reasons To Drink During The Holidays. You know, in case you were teetering on the issue. This is from Forbes? The hell?

And that'll do it for today, my friends. See ya tomorrow, from deep beneath the snowpack.

December 13, 2005

-- Toney signed up to be on the planning committee for a big year-end bash they have annually at the elementary school, for fourth graders. Apparently they throw quite the shindig for kids who will be transitioning to middle school next year. 

I've never heard of such a thing, but whatever. They pass out t-shirts with the students' names on the backs, do a yearbook-type booklet, and all manner of craziness. It's something they plan for months and months, and Toney likes to be involved.

But she's already fantasizing about strangling some of the other committee members.

She says that somebody shoots down every single suggestion offered, for fear of being insensitive, and nothing ever gets done. 

One woman said she objects to the tradition of putting a baby picture of each child in the yearbook, beside a current picture, because it might make adopted kids feel bad. She says that some might not have baby pictures, and they'd feel excluded.

I don't know this person, yet I can see her clearly in my mind. I bet she talks in a sing-songy voice, sports a big hand-knitted scarf, and is very pleased with the way she's turned out.

Another is insisting that they get signed permission slips before kids' names are printed on t-shirts. She claims that some parents are very concerned about child-abduction, and don't want the names of their sons and daughters "advertised" in the community. So they've created a t-shirt bureaucracy within the group, to manage and oversee the collection of permission slips.

One woman reportedly blurts out, at every meeting, that she strongly objects to a patriotic-theme. She says that she won't allow her own daughter to participate if there's even a hint of anything patriotic at the party. But the thing is, nobody has suggested such a thing. She's the only person who has ever said a word about a patriotic-theme. 

This is clearly her issue, and the reason she joined the group; by God, she's on a mission!

I have visions of her at the party, catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye and screaming noooooo! in slow-motion -- before throwing her body across a paper Uncle Sam hat, to shield the children from such a horror.

It goes on and on. Toney also found out that starting next year, the peanut allergy kids will no longer be asked to sit at their own table in the cafeteria. This practice, it is claimed, treats the students as outcasts, and might harm their self-esteem. (Frantically plunging a hypodermic into your ham because Payday dust is settling is apparently mainstream at this point.) 

So, they're switching it around, and making kids who bring peanut butter in their lunches sit at the "special" table. Within a year, I predict, they will have installed glass PBJ-eating booths at the school.

In any case... should be a fun party!

-- And since this update is so short today, check out this site. I think it augments things here quite nicely.

-- As does our good friend Buck.

See you folks tomorrow.

December 12, 2005

-- Before we get started today... Toney didn't care much for my "jokes" on Friday, about me telling her to shovel the driveway and warm up the Blazer.

Of course I was just trying to be funny. I don't tell Toney to do anything. I'm not that brand of asshole, for one thing, and she wouldn't put up with it if I were. Judging from some of Friday's comments, a few of you actually thought I was being serious. Like I was standing in the living room, in my fire engine-red hamburger pants, screaming, "Get outside and shovel the sidewalk, woman!" Yeah, my head would be wrapped in heavy gauze this morning, and I'd deserve it.

So, I just want it to be clear that the whole thing was an ill-conceived attempt at humor. Like so many before it. I guess I'd better just stick with the tried and true from now on.

-- And speaking of farts... I'd like to invite you to share your embarrassing fart stories with us all in the comments section at the end of today's update. I'll get the ball rolling with a few of my own, thank you very much.

When I was in high school we were tested for some kind of government-mandated minimum requirements in gym class. I can't remember much about it, but it involved a certain amount of chin-ups, and sit-ups, and running of laps, and that sort of thing. It was nothing hard; you'd have to be like I am now, at the age of sixteen, not to be able to meet Washington's lowball expectations. And only the tuba players in the school marching band fell into that category.

Anyway, one day I was doing sit-ups and tragedy struck. These were not the straight-leg variety of sit-ups, but the kind where your knees are bent and your feet are flat on the floor near your ass. My friend Tim was assigned to "hold" my feet, and I went to work. For reasons unknown, two or three girls had walked over while I did my test, and were watching. I was moving as fast as I could manage, up and down, up and down. And at one point my abdomen smashed hard against my legs, and it sounded like a whoopie cushion went off in there. It was relatively brief, but very pronounced. And I was just as shocked as the next guy.

One of the girls (Krista J.) spat, "That's disgusting!" and all three walked away with their faces contorted in high-revulsion. I looked down at Tim and he was still holding my feet, but his head was wrenched to the side and he was hollering in protest. I think I'd parted his hair straight down the middle!

Not one of my finer moments.

Another time, a few years later, I was in Charleston, SC, parked near the ocean with my girlfriend. We'd had a little something to drink and climbed into the back seat, starting to, as the kids say, "get busy." We were tugging at our clothes and thrashing about, when I contorted myself in a certain way and it sounded like an ocean liner had pulled into the harbor. Just incredibly loud, prolonged, and bassoon-like. I wanted to die, right there and then. It was nothing short of horrifying.

But we'd been staying at a person's house, where the bathroom was right off the kitchen -- the place where everybody hung out and talked. No way in hell I could have a sit-down inside that echo-chamber, literally five feet from a group of people nursing gin and tonics. So I'd been walking around feeling like the Michelin Man.

Eventually, after two or three days, the release valve gave-way. And I don't like that. I still tighten-up whenever I think about it. It's number 47 on the Big List of Cringe.

A few years after that, in Atlanta, Toney and I became friends with a couple who were full-blown yuppies. For a while we tried to keep up with all their traveling and hotel-hopping and crazy adventures, and it almost bankrupted us. Stupid, I know, but you live and learn.

One night we were all standing outside a restaurant in the Atlanta suburbs, talking and being sophisticated, when a strange noise suddenly became apparent in the lower half of the other guy's sportcoat. It was a little like the sound a horse makes when it gets excited.

There was a shocked silence, and finally the guy rubbed his stomach and said, "Oh my, I appear to be a bit gassy this evening."

Toney started laughing and just couldn't stop. Her face was beet-red, and she was a complete goner. I bet if I went upstairs and reminded her of the story right now, it would start all over again. It's just one of those things that strikes her as funny, and never fails to trigger a fit of laughter. It was the "Oh my" explanation that did it, I believe.

After a minute or so of Toney's unabating convulsions, the guy's wife finally said, "Well Toney, after all, it's a natural bodily function." And that only made matters worse. Good times.

Now it's your turn. Let 'em rip!

-- Will, the keeper of the Blanket, has sent along a few more quotes to be added to his list. And you can check them out here. Thanks again, dude!

-- We're almost finished with our Christmas shopping. Yesterday afternoon we waded into the surging sea of humanity, and made good progress. It was painful but necessary. And on Saturday we went to another of the oldest Secret's swim meets, down in the central part of the state. While driving we passed a Cracker Barrel, and I obsessed about it during the entire event. The announcer was hollering into his $99 Radio Shack public address system, "The next event is the 50 meter butterfly, swimmers take your marks!" And I was thinking, "Mmmm... pot roast."

So, needless to say, we went straight there after the meet was over. I got some sort of weird salad that included a big wedge of warm sweaty cheddar, and a full boiled egg, not sliced or anything. I think they were just winging-it in the kitchen. Next time I'll probably get corn on the cob and an ice cream sandwich. 

I also spilled my iced tea, while waving my hands around in a fit of animated ridiculousness. I believe I was trying to convince the Secrets that an old circular saw blade, nailed to the wall above our table, was a Seinfeld DVD. Tea went flying everywhere, and every head in the house turned in our direction. Simply excellent.

And that was pretty much our weekend. Once again I wasn't able to set up the Compound's wireless network. All the required equipment is in the floor, three feet away from me, but we were barely even home on Saturday and Sunday. And last weekend we had no internet access... So there you go.

It needs to be up and running no later than December 22. That's when Jeff and Toney's Bed and Breakfast Inn and Old Country Saloon opens for Christmas. My parents will be here for four or five days, then Nancy, Nostrils, and their passel of li'l translucent children will arrive for God knows how long. I need to be surfin' from the shitter by then, no doubt about it. And I'm running out of time.

-- And that'll do it for today, kiddies. Please don't forget the Amazon link at the bottom of the homepage, when you're doing your holiday shopping this week. Just enter the site through the link, shop as normal, and they'll credit the Surf Report account a small percentage of whatever you spend. It costs you nothing extra and supports the ridiculousness, all at the same time. I appreciate it, I really do.

Wait! This just in... Last night I asked Tim, the person who was acting as my sit-up spotter in gym class that fateful day twenty-five years or so ago, to write out what he remembers of the incident. We didn't discuss it, and he didn't know what I was writing. I was interested to see how similar our accounts would be to one another. Here's what he sent me:

That day is seared in my memory like a John Kerry Christmas in Cambodia.

Most days in high school gym class were strictly goof-off. But, in order to justify their existence, gym teachers usually had one day a semester where they got "serious". On this particular day, we were told that we had to achieve a certain amount of sit-ups in a one minute period in order to keep from receiving a failing grade. We were ordered to pair up, and Jeff and I usually partnered, in order to keep from being paired with some football jock who might scrutinize our sit-up methods so strictly that we'd end up taking gym class in summer school with Scooter Schwartz.

It's at this moment that the whole incident begins to replay in my mind like a scratchy, colorized Abraham Zapruder film. The gym teacher said "go", and Jeff began doing his pass/fail sit-ups as I held his ankles and tried to ignore the awkwardness of the moment. Being at a time of pre-meat parka, he was soaring through them without a hitch, as two young ladies of the female persuasion walked by to observe how a real man does sit-ups.

At or about sit-up #8, Jiffy Pop hair a full nano-second behind every movement, he let rip with a full throttle explosion that Coach Kuhl still shakes his head about. This was no *pffft* sound that sneaked out, something everyone could pretend didn't happen. This was the kind that used the hardwood floor as a springboard to launch itself and make my hair go "poof".

For some reason, my ability to hear disappeared. The young ladies who were observing mouthed something like "that's disgusting" and scurried away, taking our possible prom fantasies with them.

I was forced to make a critical decision. Let go of the ankles and seek cover, or leave my flaring nostrils exposed and allow him to pass the class. I stayed, my hearing eventually returned, and I'm saving THAT favor for when I need a kidney or something.

See ya tomorrow.

December 9, 2005

-- It's snowing like a bastard out there. I'd show you a picture, but I don't really have the energy to take on such a large project at this early hour. Just take my word for it, it's coming down. Schools are closed, and I'm not sure how I'm going to get to work. But I really need to be there today, so after Toney shovels the driveway and warms up the Blazer for me, I guess I'll give it a shot. Wish me luck.

-- Yesterday I mentioned Christmas bonuses. And it reminded me of an office party we attended in California years ago. I've told this story before, probably more than once, but I like it and I'm gonna do it again. So there.

Toney and I worked at the home office of the biggest of all big record companies, in Burbank. Yes, it sounds like fun, but wasn't. By the time we reached the California years, there was no joy in Mudville. It was like working at a ceiling tile company, or a place that sells bulk sod. The industry was in decline, and there was no room for laughter. Or smiling.

But every December the CEO opened his palatial mansion near Malibu to the great unwashed, for an office holiday party. It was quite the spread, with valet parking, free-flowing booze and incredible food, a fortune teller, a wandering magician, and the whole nine yards. Oh, it was the social event of the season. Some of my co-workers, I heard, even scrubbed their Adidas sneakers with 409 before attending.

I remember being slightly embarrassed to hand over the keys of my old car to the valet. I'm sure he's used to parking Porsches and Mercedes, I thought, not a battered Mazda Protege with a Scruffy the Cat cassette playing inside. But whatever. Screw that zitster.

And the house was unbelievable. I felt like we were in a fancy hotel, not a home where people actually lived. There was a room that was all purple, with a purple pool table and everything. And in the living room (I guess that's what you'd call it) was a big-ass fountain in the middle of the floor. I mean, the thing was big enough to swim laps in. The entertainment room had a massive screen, theater chairs, and a fully-stocked concession stand, complete with industrial popcorn maker. On the wall was a painted mural of the whole family buying tickets at an old fashioned movie theater.

The master bedroom had a bathroom off of it, with his and hers toilets -- facing each other! I just couldn't get over that. That's the thing that blew my mind the most about that day. I still ask, why?? To stare romantically into each other's eyes between bloops and splashes?! I just don't get it. And beside the two crappers was a magazine rack straight out of Barnes & Noble. They had dozens of titles in there, and newspapers from around the world. Amazing!

The party itself was on the patio out back. They apparently owned the entire hill, because there were no other houses anywhere close, and the view was spectacular. They had several bars set up, with professional bartenders waiting to cater to your every alcoholic need, and the food was both plentiful and freakin' good. Folks were in a full-on frenzy, trying to act cool, and not doing a very good job of it. It was culture-shock in its most basic form.

Toney's friend Renee was downing white russians like the Chinese missiles had been launched, and doing a fine job of getting herself bed-shitting drunk. She's one of those people who thinks the world is conspiring against her, and looked at the party as an insult. "He's just rubbing all this in our faces," she sneered. "I can barely afford to buy food, and he's got a fucking juggler over there." 

To Renee, the glass is not only half-empty, but she thinks she's gonna get roped into washing it too.

Shortly before we left, we saw her stumbling around outside, with a cigarette dangling from her lips. She was trying to light it, but her lighter wouldn't work. She started going from table to table, asking for a light. Toney and I just stood and watched in amazement. I thought she was going to go over the railing, and roll all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

She approached a group of older women, and asked if any of them had matches. One of the women said nicely that there was no smoking allowed at the party. 

And Renee answered, "Yeah well, thanks for nothing, bitch!" before turning around and wobbling away.

Needless to say, she'd been speaking to the CEO's wife(!). And, although she wasn't fired, she was told, in a roundabout way, that she could forget about ever receiving a promotion. I don't think she lasted another month at that place. Heh.

The following year I heard that the party devolved into full-on chaos, but we weren't there. We had a newborn baby, and couldn't make it. But there were reportedly gay men making out in the bright sunlight, people pissing in the bushes, and items stolen from the house. I believe they pulled the plug after that, and just started handing out spiral-cut ham coupons, or whatever. You can take the hillbilly out of the hills....

Do you have any office party horror stories to share? If so, we'd sure like to hear 'em. Use the comments link below.

And I'm going to go make sure that Toney's not half-assing the driveway. 

Have a great weekend, folks.

December 8, 2005

-- You wanna hear something completely nasty? ...Yeah, that's exactly what I thought.

Toney was talking to her mother yesterday, and she mentioned that she needed to go to the store to buy milk and coffee creamer. (These conversations are apparently nothing short of electric.)

Sunshine is addicted to those flavored "non-dairy" creamers, and buys it in comically-oversized containers equipped with a plastic strap-handle. She fills her cup halfway up with some horrifying "coffee," manufactured in the laboratories of the Kraft Corporation, and tops it off with liquefied chemicals mixed to loosely resemble milk. Then she leans back and enjoys another piping hot mug of Pancreatic Cancer Triggers.

And she drinks the hell out of the stuff, from dawn to dusk. She buys flavored "coffee," and adds in copious amounts of flavored "creamer," and I can only imagine how sweet and sickening it is. Buh-scusting, as one of the Secrets used to say.

But that's not the nasty part.... She told Toney that she'd run out of milk the previous day, and had eaten two big bowls of cereal -- topped with that creamer shit! For some reason that makes my lower jaw retract. Yech! Everytime I think about it, I have to fight-back a vomit. I don't know what kind of cereal it was, but I'm thinking Rice Krispies sweetened with several spoonfuls of Splenda, and saturated with hazelnut-flavored "cream."

Snap, Crackle, Puke.

-- Speaking of Toney's family, it's now that time of year when they start giving their traditional speeches about how commercialized Christmas has become, and how they're going to do their part to return the focus of the holidays to the basics of good food and good company. Or whatever.

Translation: don't expect much of a gift. Which is fine; I don't care about that kind of stuff, I really don't. I just enjoy all the high-horse proclamations. Nancy, especially, is a master at this type of maneuvering. The woman can justify her way to the freakin' moon. With not even a hint of consistency. She should've been a trial lawyer, and that's no lie. Put her in front of your average jury, and they'd be so confused and conflicted, they'd end up voting to let even O.J. go free. I know that sounds crazy, but I believe it's true.

Anyway.... Nancy was appalled, simply appalled, to learn that Toney and I have a Christmas Club account at our bank, and sock away money for the holidays. "You actually plan throughout the year for this orgy of commercialism?! You work toward it??" she said to Toney, all exasperated and righteous and everything. 

Ya gotta love 'em. Their kids will probably be receiving Chinese-made surge-protectors from the dollar store this year.

-- And about that Christmas Club, or Winter Account, or whatever it's called. We've found it to be quite helpful to us.

Years ago, when I was still a record weasel, I received a Christmas bonus at my job every year. It was generally two weeks pay, and was just what the doctor ordered. They'd pass out the checks during the first week of December, and everybody had a great holiday. Ho, ho, ho and pass the beer nuts.

But then I jumped ship and moved to a different division, and the bonuses dried up. Now we're required to do it all on our own. And with the Secrets here now, it can be quite daunting. So we squirrel away money throughout the year in anticipation of the December orgy. Are we the last people on the planet to have this type of account? It all feels so... 1965 to me. Yet useful.

And does anyone still receive Christmas bonuses from their employers? Tell us about it, if you do. I need to live vicariously through you. I'm glad I made the jump, I'd probably be long-gone if I hadn't, but I miss Bonus Day at the office. I really do.

-- Here's a funny (and really old) video clip of Siskel and Ebert unleashed. I could never tell if those two guys were mortal enemies, or giving each other two thumbs-up on the side. This clip clears up nothing.

-- If you haven't already done so, please make your mark on our Big Swollen World Map of Surf Report Readers, right here. Thank you very much.

-- And finally, I'm pleased to present yet another fine dispatch from our good friend Buck. Click here fo' dat.

See ya tomorrow.

December 7, 2005

-- A woman I deal with at work told me yesterday that she's retiring in less than a month. She lives in California and bought a house about nine years ago -- at roughly the same time we bought ours out there. She paid $120K for it, and just sold it for close to half a million bones. 

Is that not sick?? She's cashing out, moving in with her aging mother, and living off the money. Never again will she have to deal with Assholes In Suits. 

Yes, it's hard not to be a little jealous of the "retiring" part of the equation. That's everybody's dream, after all. But, at the same time, she's one of those crazy women in their mid-fifties, with lots and lots of cats and a spoon collection. 

So that takes away some of the sting.

-- Another person I deal with via telephone recently asked me to forward a spreadsheet to her home email, because the work system was down. She gave me the address and it was along the lines of LittleGuyTyler at hotmail, or some shit. 

I asked her if Tyler is her son, and she said no, it's the giant black African scorpion she keeps as a pet(!). "He sleeps on my headboard every night, right above my head!" she reported, proudly. She told me she also has several snakes, pythons, lizards, and spiders.

I took all this in, and said, "You named a scorpion Tyler?"

I could be way off-base here, but I think people who keep freaky pets usually have some sort of mental problem. I believe that, generally speaking, they fall into the same category as those shitpouches who mutilate themselves with radical piercings and tattooing, and have stainless steel balls surgically implanted into their foreheads and whatnot, then walk around saying, "What the fuck are you looking at?" 

Because they're always talking about these "pets" as if they're the most natural things in the world to have crawling and slithering around the house, and get a twinkle in their eye when someone recoils in disgust. Before, of course, climbing atop their high horse. ...Or high iguana, whatever the case may be.

Am I wrong about this?

-- We had to call a plumber yesterday, because the sink in our upstairs bathroom was leaking. I did try to fix it myself; I mean, I opened the cabinet and shined a light under there. But it didn't seem to do the trick. 

And when it finally got to the point where we had to keep a bucket beneath the sink, and remember to empty it before water comes rolling out into the floor, it was time to call the man

I fully support the calling of the man, but Toney tries to avoid it. This plumber, for instance, charges us $75 just to rise from his fart-ravaged chair -- everything beyond that is extra. But whatever. If it can't be fixed with a concentrated beam of light, what choice do I have?

-- Here's a joke I heard on Clive Bull's show yesterday. It works better spoken aloud, I think, but you'll get the general idea.

Q: What's a nine-letter word for constipation, first letter N, fifth letter N, and last letter N?
A: Nnnnnnnnn.

Made me laugh.

-- I've now officially adapted to the concept of the alarm clock being way across the room. You might remember that Toney moved the thing a few weeks ago, to force me to actually get out of bed and turn it off in the morning. She thought this would help me wake up at the desired time. Ha! At this point it's been absorbed into my subconscious, and is expected. I get up, stop the buzzing, crawl back into bed, and never even get close to waking up. The solution, I believe, is to hide the clock, and force me to go on an Easter egg hunt every morning. That might work. For a few weeks.

-- I'm listening to NRBQ at Yankee Stadium as I type this, and feel strongly that you should be too. I mean, seriously.

-- Surf Reporter Nate sends along this follow-up to my question yesterday about scotch eggs. Check it out; Ricky breaks it down for us. Awesome!

-- And finally, I linked to this yesterday in the comments section, but I'm gonna do it here too. Because I think it's cool as all hell. Please take a second to tell us where you're reading from, by making your mark on this world map. And keep it legit, OK? I'm really interested to see how this thing shakes out. And thanks again to Beerhound for making me aware of this deal. Good stuff.

See ya tomorrow.

December 6, 2005

-- I've got no time this morning. My cell phone is already ringing off the, um, hook, and people at work have yelled the f-word into my ear multiple times, all before 8 am. I guess I'd better get over there before somebody goes full-on Klaus with a forklift. But I'll do what I can here....

-- I keep hearing about this guy in California, named Tookie or Pookie or whatever, that's scheduled to be put to death in a few days. I'm no expert on the situation; I'd never even heard of the man until a week or so ago. But sometimes all you need to know is who's outraged. Ed Asner thinks he's getting a raw deal? And Susan Sarandon? And Tim Robbins? And a collection of old washed-up M*A*S*H stars? Yeah, I think I've got it....

Strap ol' Snookie in, put a wet sponge on his head, and throw the switch!

In certain situations you don't need to go to all the trouble of learning every single fact (that could take hours!), you can simply monitor the reactions of other people. I know, for instance, that if Michael Moore is for it, there's a very good chance I'm against it. And since I'm a busy man, I'll just let him do the heavy-lifting in a pinch. Or Barbra Streisand, or the Incredible Melting Senator Kerry, or whoever.

There's a young couple in our neighborhood that put up a bunch of Dennis Kucinich posters (printed on hemp with soy ink, no doubt) in their yard, during the run-up to the 2004 election. These folks are a valuable asset. There was recently an election here, for a lot of dull offices like county clerk and coroner and tax collector, and stuff like that. I don't know shit about any of it. But, if I'd happened to experience a burst of civic energy, I could've simply walked past their house with a camera, taken pics of all their campaign posters, and voted against every candidate they were promoting. No time-consuming research required!

Of course I'm exaggerating for comedic effect, but there's a nugget of truth in there somewhere. I think.

-- Last Friday, the day I couldn't update because I had no internet access, I thought to myself: well, at least I can go to work early, and get everything caught up. And then something snapped inside my head and I was yelling in anger while driving. "Oh, what a rich legacy you'll leave behind, fat-boy!" I hollered, "Why, they'll probably erect a headstone that says Here Lies Jeff, He Stayed Caught-Up At Work!" Instantly, I was pissed-off and an emotional wreck.

But is that really my role here on earth? To keep my corporate email in line, and my ass thoroughly covered? Some days I worry that it is. 

And I gripped the wheel, whipped myself into the parking lot of Waffle House, and had a nice leisurely breakfast at the "high bar," with a USA Today. I read an article about bed bugs, ingested sausage, and my email is still way behind to this day. 

It felt great.

-- A couple of quick updates on earlier stories: my internet is back up and I went with the jacket. And now we'll rejoin the regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

-- Have you ever heard of something called a scotch egg? Clive Bull was talking about them yesterday, and from what I could gather it's a boiled egg buried inside a glob of spiced meat, then deep-fried. Is that correct?! Because if it is, I don't know whether to be repulsed, or hungry. My first reaction is to howl in protest, but then I start thinking about it.... and it might not be that bad. Has anyone had one? Is my description accurate? How are they? I don't give a crap about the county clerk, but I need to know about this.

-- I watched Spielberg's War of the Worlds over the weekend, and enjoyed the heck out of it. I read lots of mixed reviews about the thing, but I thought it was a blast. Sure, it's not high art like Fellini, or whoever else people pretend to admire. But it was fun, and what, I ask, is wrong with that? It was also kinda short, and that's always welcome. Because a three-hour movie is a movie I will not watch. Again, I'm no expert, but I thought it was the best Spielberg flick in a long time. It felt like the good old days. Am I way off on this one? Let me know.

And I'm going to go to work now, and rack up more "accomplishments." See ya tomorrow.

December 5, 2005

-- And now it's Monday morning, and we still have no Adelphia internet here at the Compound. It went down sometime on Thursday, and never came back. Between the two of us we've spoken with those dingles four times, and have received, basically, four different stories.

The first woman told Toney there were no other outages being reported in the area, so she'd schedule someone to come out and have a look around. First available appointment? Thursday, December 8. Yeah, I don't think so. I called back and a guy told me there were indeed other outages in the area, and it's being investigated. He assured me that service would be restored in short order. The next morning nothing had changed, so I called a third time. No other outages in the area, I was told, once again. He wasn't sure what the previous guy was looking at.

At this point I lost it, and things devolved into ugliness. Bright lights were flashing in my eyes, and I have no idea what I actually said to the guy.

But when the dust settled I was placed on something called the Must-Do list, and was to receive a call from "dispatch" within three hours. That happened, and they changed my service appointment from Thursday to Monday (today). But, she said, there are other outages being reported in our area, and service may come back on its own. Is that not hilarious? I was starting to feel like I'd passed through some sort of portal and landed in Hooterville.

All these calls took place on Friday and Saturday, and nothing was going to happen until Monday, so I had to do something. No way in hell I was going all weekend with no internet, so I signed up for a free 30-day trial with NetZero. And that's what I'm using right now. And I must say... it's not too bad. Sometimes I can't even tell the difference between this low-cost dial-up service, and the high-dollar premium shit we usually use. These Adelphia people keep pushing their luck and I just might make the jump for good.

Yeah, right.

-- Speaking of arguments.... A crusty old security guard jumped my shit on Friday as I was leaving my job, and it got a little heated. He said that a couple of weeks ago a memo went out telling everyone that backpacks are no longer allowed in the building, and here I was, once again, with a backpack.

I don't know anything about it, I told him, and that was the truth. Memos and emails were sent, he said, now starting to get excited. I reminded him that I'm not actually an employee there, and don't receive those types of memos.

His reply was a classic case of taking part of what somebody says, twisting it to fit an agenda, and running with it. "Just because you're not an employee here," he hollered, "doesn't mean you don't have to follow the rules!" This pissed me off, and I started hollering too. He said something about me being a member of management and thinking I'm above everyone else.

Oh, now it's all starting to come out into the open....

I asked him how I was supposed to know about their new stick-up-the-ass regulations if I don't receive the memos? Am I supposed to just sense a change in the rules? He yelled at me some more, and I yelled at him, and we finally parted ways, each muttering obscenities under our breath.

How much you want to bet I'm made to empty my pockets this morning, and maybe asked to strip to my underwear? Iron a heat-transfer badge to the front of some peoples' shirts, and they think they're God.

-- There's another security guard down there that I'm almost certain wears a fake moustache. He's another old man, and has a nose like a rutabaga. I mean that schnozz is like something off cartoons: massive, misshapen, and bumpy. Some days he's clean-shaven, and the very next morning he'll be sporting a little twitchy Dabney Coleman 'stache. Then it'll be gone again. I don't really understand why, but I have a feeling he keeps that moustache in his glove compartment, and breaks it out periodically.

-- One of the Secrets participated in a swim meet on Sunday, at an area high school. Three whole hours inside a humid heat-box. And needless to say, I was starving the whole time, so I went in search of a concession stand. I located it and promptly ordered up a hot dog. The woman handed me two fat white wieners on a hamburger bun, in a bowl. When I gave her a quizzical look she seemed confused, so I just let it drop. But I couldn't eat it. I know it's the same concept as a classic hot dog, but the feel of the thing was way off. I tossed it in the trash.

-- Yesterday we put up our petroleum-based snap-together Christmas tree (made in China), and all the holiday peripherals that go with it. Like this, and this. Oh, it's mighty festive around here. Pass the beer nuts.

-- Check it out, the New People have apparently located Sawyer's secret stash.

-- And I need your help with something. I have a feeling that this is only a partial list. Can you help me guess what are rules six through ten? I'd be much obliged. Toney and I are starting to make our summer plans.

And that's gonna do it for today, kiddies. The Adelphia guy is here as I type this, and Andy is walking around with his hair standing straight up, like a razorback hog. Better go.

See ya tomorrow.

December 1, 2005

A few quick things:

-- Toney and I went to a parent/teacher conference a couple nights ago, and I felt... uneasy. Even after all this time it's difficult for me to view school teachers as anything other than people empowered by the state to keep my ass in line. I have a hard time with the notion of me and them working together, and being almost, you know, contemporaries. And that's why I let Toney do most of the talking, and I hung out in the background. It's just a little too weird, man.

After all, I once had a teacher remark, after giving me an F on a test, "and you know what that stands for, don't you?" What's that?! I'm almost certain she was saying Fuck You without actually saying it. A teacher! Another said she hated me, just right out in the open. And one even went to visit my boss at my job, to inform him that I was a "ringleader." That's the exact word she used, I'll never forget, because my co-workers thought it was high comedy. But she was a school teacher, and she tried to get me fired. Just think about that! Needless to say, we ran her boots up the flagpole the next day, and tied them off at the top. My only regret is that she wasn't wearing them at the time. Wotta ass-smoker.

So you can probably understand why I have some difficulty adjusting to this new dynamic of me and teachers being in cahoots. It's cats and dogs sleeping together -- Hatfields breaking bread with McCoys.... Some things are just not meant to be, as ordained by nature.

But I'm sure I'll eventually come to terms with it all. Probably around the time the Secrets graduate from high school.

-- Yesterday I mentioned that I was born almost exactly one year before JFK's Shitty Day in Dallas. And I meant to link to this, but forgot. Check it out, it's really interesting. It's an actual radio broadcast from that day, and, even though we all know how it turns out, it'll still send chills up yer spine. I love the way the broadcasters treat the news of "shots fired near the presidential motorcade" as fairly insignificant information, then throw on a Martha and the Vandellas record (or whatever). And then, very quickly, the party's over. I've listened to the whole deal at least twice, and I might fire it up again today. This is one of those things that make you mutter to yourself, "the internet is the greatest invention in the history of the world." Along with this, of course.

-- I was sitting at work yesterday and started thinking about, and craving, Danish Wedding Cookies by Keebler. Wonder where that came from? I'm fairly certain I haven't had one in twenty years or more, and don't even know if they're still being made. Do you remember them? They were basically balls of fluffy dough, covered in powdered sugar, and they came in a pink sack. Mmmmm... I wish I had a bunch of 'em right now. 

I might have to go on a wedding cookie procurement mission this weekend; it never pays to ignore a craving. Yeah, some people go hunting for deer or bear, but I'm gonna bag me a pink sack of delicate cookies, dammit. Stand back!

-- And speaking of obscure shit from the past.... Do any of you remember an old TV commercial, possibly a public service announcement, that featured a woman in soft-focus lying in a hammock? She was just chillin' there, reading a book, and a female voice was singing over the footage, about all the things she wanted to accomplish in life. One of the lines was, "And I want to write a novel that will bring the world to teeeeaars!" Then, suddenly, a booming male voice interrupts the song with "JANIE DIED!" Do you remember this? What's it all about? It was broadcast around the same time as those weird-ass blasting cap commercials, probably the early '70s. Help me out with this, people. I need closure.

-- Lucie sends this along. Supposedly there are 74 band names "represented" in the picture, and you're supposed to find them all, and maybe win a prize from Virgin, or whatever. She says she's come up with 56 so far. I started looking at it and my brain began to throb, so I quit. Can you beat Lucie's number?

-- And finally... a fresh dispatch from our old buddy Buck. He's back from the kill, and ready to rock. Enjoy.

See ya tomorrow.



The West Virginia Surf Report!
Copyright © 2005 by Jeffrey S. Kay.  All rights reserved.