Monday, August 10, 2009

Exclamation points - Girls use them & Guys confuse them!


   



The proportion of written compared to verbal communication I do is increasing at an alarming rate.


For the most part, I've adjusted. My text messaging speed is fairly impressive, and I've become one of the foremost advocates of the predictive text. On Gchat or Facebook chat I'm sure to give my friends prompt responses, and in email I've gone so far as to attach a song just to provide the appropriate ambiance.

Still, I don't claim to know it all.

The exclamation point, in particular, has really been playing tricks on my mind. Every three or four text messages from a girl has an explanation point.

"Thanks for dinner"
Is the just polite.

"Thanks for dinner!"
Basically means that you had the best night ever, and things are on track for a trip to Vegas to elope.

"When are we going to hang out again"
Is what you say to an old friend.

When are we going to hang out again!"
Means, if you're still awake come over.

"Wish you were here"
Is basically just a space filler.

"Wish you were here!"
Is an abhoration of love, and if the sun is down a sexual encounter missed.

I surround myself by the classiest of women, so it's safe to assume that my interpretation of the exclamation point is off base. But help a brother, and just leave it out next time.

More to come!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Budweiser Salutes You (me) Mr. Cotton Candy Vendor

I promise this will be my last post about cotton candy for a while. They play this about 1/5 of the games, and it instantly increases sales.





I have a lot to post later this week.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just to help you visualize the cotton candy vending ...

Usually smiling ...
Always making deals.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recent observations

The Braves are following up NASCAR night at Turner Field, with an event called Braves Go Green.

The specifics for Braves Go Green were explained to the fans fans as the sweet smell of gasoline permeated through the air. A train of authentic race cars circled the field, revving their engines and sending up plumes of smoke, while the same fans were encouraged to bring a bottle to recycle.

-----------------

The McDonalds on  Ponce has a traffic cop that stops traffic from approximately 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, he isn't doing a public service. Instead he's giving every McDonalds customer preferential treatment.

As a result, every person travelling up and down this road is delayed. I'm a pretty big fan of free markets, and such, but a cop standing in the middle of a six-lane road for 15 hours a week during high traffic times just isn't right, and I'm guessing breaking some sort of law.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Question: When is it logical to operate illogically?

Maybe, if you're trying to compose silly pictures.


Or maybe if you've run away from home, and your parents are asking each other, "if I was running away, where would I run to?"


Or maybe when girls don't like me, I try to act unlike myself. I do things that don't seem like they would be in my best interest, just to give it one last shot.


The Answer: Never. If you are knowingly being illogical, then you're doing so logically. Sadly, logic can't be avoided.


Now that I've solved that popular question, I'll proceed with my weekend.





Thursday, July 16, 2009

Confessions of a Cotton Candy Vendor

I've arrived.

Hundreds of thousands of fans have watched me apply my trade on the largest HD television in the country.

Young women (12 and under) have screamed my name, I've received cash with older women's phone numbers on it, and at the end of it all ... I've taken a bow.

It took a mockumentary commercial (based on the coors light series "we salute you beer man" played on the big screen at Turner Field) to realize that I'd reached the pinnacle of my career.

Like most ascents to greatness, there were times of struggle.

I've climbed to the top of section 409 after being hailed by a excitable teenage boys just to hear a them ask me where the popcorn guy is, and as I trudge back down it hurts to listen to them snicker.

I've looked at former classmates redfaced, and told them that this is what I was doing to hold me over.

And I've been berated by drunken rednecks, too impatient to wait for the beer vendor, calling me derogatory female terms.

At first this bothered me. Now I can sense who's ready to buy, I embrace my craft, and I sell them.

Instead of getting as close as possible to my customers, I pass my cotton candy down a long aisle of seats, attracting the attention of every kid on the way. I ignore people when I'm going down the stairs, and sell to twice as many on the way up. I give you your change before you have time to complain about the ounces of product that I've just sold to you for $5. I smile, I run, I linger, but most importantly I sell.

For three hours I get paid like a stripper. I'm the Brett Favre of cotton candy vending. I don't really want to continue, but I'm still too good to quite.

(I will post the video when I receive it.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Allow me to reintroduce myself





For the last year or so I’ve tried to write thought provoking, entertaining entries. I’ve thrown away things that made little sense, and focused on providing fleeting insight from my 25-year-old mind.

Why I thought this was a suitable plan, I don’t know – but it stops today.

From now on I won’t concern myself with such sillyness. I’ll post when I’m drunk, and mope when I’m sad. I’ve been bombarded by no less than four people, semi-enthusiastically requesting my return to the blogosphere. I couldn’t let them down.

I apologize for my absence, but with or without your help, I can get back on track.

And so it begins …

Today I had a single drop of sweat from my forhead run down my nose, drip onto my right shoulder, proceed just to the left of my belly button, accelerate through the hairless part of my upper thigh, and get within 18 inches of the ground. A total distance travelled of nearly five feet.

At one point I had to lay on my side, but I’m proud to say it made it below my knee before getting obscured by my leg hairs.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Male pattern betting

Nobody likes to lose.

Gather a group of men who have found general success throughout their life, and that desire is increased exponentially. My brother doesn't beat me in ping pong, and I don't lose at Twister.

The addition of money only furthers this concept. I was reminded of my disgusting desire for glory a couple of nights ago when I unemotionally bet that the Cavaliers would beat the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. A $40 bet now dominates my thoughts.

My beloved Hawks have been defeated, so emotionally I could really care less. However tonight, as I watched the Magic vs. Cavaliers game I was completly attached to the Cleveland team. A missed shot hurt my heart and as their chances faded my mood turned negative.

A lighthearted bet with a good friend is now among my top concerns.

Win or lose, I lose. It isn't worth it, but I will continue to make needless, rash, and uneducated bets. I'm a man, that's what we do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fearing my newfound freedom

I’m not sure if I should tell you what I’m doing right now.

By law I should be enthusiastically seeking employment. Maybe I should be in the gym. There is even a possibility I should be moping around my house feeling sorry for myself.

I’m not sure if I should tell you what I’m doing right now, because if I was at work and was doing what I’m doing right now it would have made me spitefully jealous.

So what am I doing? Aside from nothing, I’m drinking a pitcher of $3.25 beer. I’m watching this girl with a fedora drinking a diet coke at the establishment I’ve ended dozens of drunken nights. I’m typing this nonsense with a half smile on my face.

I’ve been granted an excess of free time. For the first time in my life I don’t know for sure what I’ll be doing tomorrow, next week, next year. And without a concrete decision I’ll continue to do nothing. My singular goal through this process is to avoid falling into something. I want to pursue something – a volunteer position, a job, a business – but I don’t want to happen upon the next thing that can sustain me comfortably.

Undefined amounts of free time are somewhat of a curse. Society, both fairly and unfairly, frowns on idleness. This principle has been ground into my brain. So I’m making lists, driving around town doing research, and begrudgingly checking job boards.

If someone calls I make a point of mentioning no less than three things that I’ve completed that day. If someone asks what I’m doing tomorrow, I’m likely to give them a dozen imperative tasks.

However, all too often I’m doing these things without happiness. I don’t pretend to think that there is a career out there that I will enjoy every day, but there is surely something I will be proud of. Right now I’m hoping that something involves me revolutionizing the Atlanta popsicle scene, but I’m ok with other equally important undertakings for which I’m capable.

Surely there is a future for a hybrid journalist/product manager with a gift for flipping the most perfect omelets.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Unpaid vacation

Let me start by saying my trip to Europe was near perfection.

I shared a bottle of wine with a member of the opposite sex, my feet dangling over the Siene in Paris.
I danced with Spanish girls, with whom I couldn’t communicate, in the most impressive club I’ve experienced in Barcelona.
I experimented with mind-altering substances in Amsterdam.
And I drank pints of unfiltered cask ale with an obnoxious Brit.

But that is only in retrospect. If I consider my objectives before leaving, it was a near-failure on every account. I had several reasons for making the trip, but my reasoning was questionable by most standards.

I was kind of chasing after a girl that I’d met a few years before, and kept up with since. We’d spent time together when she was in the U.S., and video chat flirted when she wasn’t.

She’d tell me I should come to London frequently, but it was the kind of invitation intended to stimulate conversation. The same way phone sex only works if you have plans to meet at some point in the near future. Just we weren’t discussing sex. She’d tell me about the amazing Italian place that she’d just found or a new market she’d discovered, and end each sentence with, “we can go when you visit me.” The constant invitations, and my constant, “Ok, I’m really going to come,” made the distance feel much more conquerable. And while I tend to get prematurely over interested in girls, the concept of going to London to chase her felt romantic.

At the time I was employed at AIG. The deteriorating insurance giant, that owes the government over $100 billion. I sensed that my non-critical analyst job could easily be dropped, and the thought of failing to use my paid vacation hurt my heart. So I planned to use all of it on a single trip, and when I returned I could live without the fear of not having an opportunity to use my paid vacation.

Lastly, I had some extra cash that I felt like throwing around.

I’ll quickly summarize how my trip turned out:
• The girl is now a close friend.
• I got laid off before I could use all of my paid vacation.
• And it turns out that cash wasn’t really, “extra.”

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every once in a while you get gum in your hair

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if your peanut butter is crunchy or creamy.

One example is when you get gum in your hair.

It’s true, some things matter and others don’t, but figuring that out is a tricky proposition.

On Tuesday my friends and I went to the Clermont Lounge for Karaoke.  It’s an infamous location, and like most nights seedy and memorable were in perfect harmony.

One of the hosts, named Oslo, sang his part of Johnny Cash’s ‘Jackson’ flawlessly, as a lanky white stripper struggled to sing hers. All the while a hefty black dancer named Blue was doing the robot behind them.

People were having a good time, and I was taking it all in.

With the aid of a few unnecessarily large tips most of my friends managed to get on stage, and as last call was being announced three of my friends were on stage singing ‘Take me home tonight,’ by Eddie Money. (if you play the below video, I guarantee the song will be stuck in your head.)



It seemed like I had an undefeatable smile, as my friends were experiencing the overwhelming maximum fun that we know as karaoke.

Seconds later my attention was focused on a wet glob of gum stuck that someone had thrown into my hair. Angry, slightly drunk, and frustrated that I wasn’t focusing on my friends’ performance I tried to gather myself.

I could start a scene. Or I could let it go, walk home and apply peanut butter.

I can’t imagine the this person's intentions. I’m a social-setting chameleon, and I was wearing the least flashy of my western style snap up shirts. I hadn't said anything derogatory, and had tipped the bartenders well.

I glanced around with a pathetically disappointed look, hoping to instill guilt in the perpetrators heart. I’m not sure what I wanted other than a confrontation and an apology. The thought of getting on stage, taking the mic, and figuring out who did it crossed my mind. I’ve been in zero fights, but I wasn’t worried about that. People that throw gum aren’t good fighters.

Unemployed me getting in a barroom fight at the Clermont would be a treasured story for decades, but sadly drunken altercations aren’t my M.O. (which my brother recently told me stands for modus operandi).

Instead, I fruitlessly picked at the gum, and when everyone got off stage asked if they were ready to go.

Walking home I did my best to forget about it, and was relieved to see peanut butter sitting in my cabinet when we arrived. A few minutes later the situation was over, and I was peacefully sleeping.

I was wrong when I said that it doesn’t matter if you use crunchy or smooth peanut butter. If you use crunchy, you’re left with a bunch of peanuts in your shower.

Some things matter, and some don’t.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

C'est la vie AIG

With minimal regret, I must report that I’ve been laid off at AIG.

I lasted physically for two years, two months, and five days. I had been absent mentally since November, when the first round of layoffs was announced.

My suspicions concerning unemployment were confirmed in Amsterdam. I was checking my email in the hotel lobby, which allowed marijuana smoke, but not the cigarette variety.

My pot tolerance is admittedly low, but the consistent thick haze was enough to give a veteran a contact high. With my mind functioning at 58% I first considered the most recent life-changing news.

The ‘upset’ emotion wasn’t evoked. Instead, I dreaded walking back into the office and saying goodbye to everyone. I didn’t want to deal with the overly firm handshakes or the unlikely ‘keep in touch’s.’ I didn’t want to fill a cardboard box with items that I will never go through. And I certainly didn’t want to face the prospect that I might not be able to figure something else out, and I could end up in an eerily similar cubicle a month later.

I walked outside for some fresh air, and was greeted by the insoluble mix that is the Red Light District and daylight. The long shadows of night weren’t there to cover the urine stained walls, and the florescent lights were pathetic beneath a clear blue sky.

I felt bad for the stocky middle-aged day shifters that inhabited the booths, as well as the bargain hunting clients they successfully seduced. In that moment my future was put in perspective. I will not grant myself a second of self-pity.

C'est la vie to my 12 square feet of blandly carpeted space, the 52 mile roundtrip commute, and Excel spreadsheets that that need to go beyond the 70,000 row limit.

And hello to who knows what.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Popsicles - a lifelong pursuit

I made my first popsicle today.

Maybe I should clarify. I froze a number of substances in mouthwash-sized paper cups for the first time today.

I wasn’t alone. A fruitful trip to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market with my friend John yielded $70+ dollars of produce. My brother, and business associate, joined us shortly thereafter for a soon-to-be rewarding trial creation session.

With the information provided above, it might sound strange that my brother and I intend to open a popsicle (or paleta) store in the next two months.

I don’t know if it is unfounded confidence, or untainted genius, but I think I can successfully run a profitable business.

It’s been a brotherly discussion for a couple years now, and if it doesn’t happen and I find myself back in Corporate America, I won’t have enough stories to earn the label of “one of the most interesting white guys on the floor.”

So I look at it as an investment.


Upcoming blogs:

1. European adventures
2. Popsicle taste test
3. Status of "cubicle"

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Evolution of the Locker Room – Naked to Narcissistic

Growing up I would tag along with my dad to the gym every once in a while. I don’t remember what we did, but I do remember the locker room.

My specific memories:
- naked men blow drying their hair
- naked men getting in and out of the hot tub
- naked men sitting on the couch watching tv
- naked men standing around talking to each other

True, at 4’4”, I was positioned at the ideal level to survey those that were and were not partaking in underwear. But who am I kidding, if there is a naked man lounging around me nowadays, I’m still going to notice.

Today at the gym the naked man is the exception. And if he does exist, it’s as brief as possible or he’s over 50.

The showers have curtains and too much blow drying still takes place, but it’s of the clothed variety.

In our increasingly internet-based culture, we know more about each other than ever. I know your high school, your last four jobs, and your favorite movies. And yes, I’ve seen the Halloween picture where you’re wearing the super short shorts.

But we’re hyper sensitive about our physical privacy. It has been hammered into our heads that, “my body is nobody’s body but mine.”

Man-to-man nakedness has gone the way of the jock strap, football players are all for it, but the rest of us … we’ll keep our man stuff to ourselves.

Calling all internet based dream interpreters

I dream often, but remember rarely.

This morning as I awoke, it was as if I’d just returned from an unnamed grocer.

Dream recap:
I was buying fresh ravioli. There were five or six options, and they were each $5.


After settling on a portabella mushroom variety, a manager approached and told me that they were running a special – 25 five packages of ravioli for $25. He informed me that the ravioli is typically good for about 10 days.


After thinking it over, I decided I would spend $25 on ravioli. They only had 15 packages in the refrigerator case, so he went to the back to look for more. I waited and waited, but after about 10 minutes, an assistant insisted on replacing the missing ravioli with chocolate cake, multi-colored jello circles, and potato salad.


As he loaded my cart, my temper flared. I aggressively refused these items (which I actually enjoy). After ten more minutes of waiting I stormed out of the store, purchasing nothing.
Any ideas what this could mean?

Sorry for wasting your time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Weekend – is it really worth it?

If individual nights of the week were for sale in a market, a typical Tuesday night would be worth about $6.

On the other hand, Monday mornings are so bad that I currently require approximately $75 before tax in order for me to partake in them.

You get the idea. Clearly, Friday and Saturday nights are the most valuable traditionally. High expectations, generally positive attitudes, and an abundance of available activities all help to increase demand.

Below I’ll review a handful of nights over the last couple of weeks, the amount the night cost, and what it was really worth.

Wednesday, 2/25/2009 – Delta Spirit concert. (Cost: $25)
I consistently overrate bands after I see them live, but in my mind this was one of the best shows I’ve seen and Delta Spirit is now one of my favorite bands.
ACTUAL VALUE: $60

Friday, 2/27/2009 – Dinner at Tin Lizzy’s followed by a drink at The EARL. (Cost: $35)
Dinner was enjoyable, and conversation interesting, but I was looking for more on a Friday night. I returned home early on a dreary Friday night longing for more.
ACTUAL VALUE: $25

Saturday, 2/28/2009 – Oysterfest, drunken paint session, and dance off at Cavern. (Cost: $110)
An unforgettable night that produced one masterpiece, a photo shoot with various hats and wigs, and new friends.
ACTUAL VALUE: $150

Sunday, 3/1/2009 – Watched Lebron defeat the Hawks by one point. (Cost: $30)
I was tired, but watching the most amazing athlete in the world is a good experience. If this is possible, the Hawks lost valiantly.
ACTUAL VALUE: $30

Tuesday, 3/3/2009 – Cooked white chili at Nick’s. (Cost: $4.75)
Unfortunately I missed out on all preparations. Instead of my nearly-inedible-because-of-jalapeño version, it was quite enjoyable.
ACTUAL VALUE: $8

Friday, 3/6/2009 – Went out to eat and then watched Friday Night Lights with a member of the opposite sex. (Cost: $70)
It’s hard to beat spending an evening with a beautiful woman (Saying I was with a woman still sounds a little weird. If I had my way I would say girl, but I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea). The hummus was tasty, but my steak with no sides was awkward, and a Friday night with only a few drinks left me with way to productive of a Saturday.
ACTUAL VALUE: $70.01

Saturday, 3/7/2009 – Dinner at Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt followed by bar hopping in the Highlands. (Cost: $75)
Started strong, and ended drunkenly. Always good to have a night of carousing with the dudes, but we struggled to stick together. Highlights include Complex games of chance to decide dinner and bar destinations, Que Wraps (BBQ pork wrapped in bite sized dough fried crisp and golden), and shutting down Neighbors with Frank.
ACTUAL VALUE: $50

Monday, 3/9/2009 – Quesadilla and TIVO’d episodes of Chuck and The City (Cost: $2)
My lone quesadilla topping, banana peppers, was lacking, but Jay left my girl Whitney making up for everything negative that happened that day.
ACTUAL VALUE: $6

In conclusion, the weekend is a pretty sure bet for a good time, but be on the lookout for value buys during the week.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How quickly we (do and don’t) forget

A friend and coworker, who I talked to daily about work and non-work things for over a year, left on Monday.
I’ve already forgotten what it is like when he was here.

The memory isn’t repressed … if I want to think about his oft-creaking chair or relentlessly vibrating cell phone, my brain retrieves it in nanoseconds. Still, unless I’m given a reason, he no longer exists.

And this is sad. He was one of a handful of people that I truly trusted at work.

At the same time, an unanswered phone call that I made Monday evening, to a person I barely know, has dominated my thoughts.

We don’t have control over where our mind wonders, or in my case, where it stalls. The true beauty of human nature is rooted somewhere in this concept – the idea that the same brain that is constantly nagging you to do basic tasks like take out the trash, can just as easily nag you into something beyond yourself.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hug it out. \(-,-)/


FYI, I’ve never actually hugged it out.

It seems like an unreasonable solution to any genuine disagreement, but if one could heal with the power of a hug … it is probably me.

My mom has always told me I’m a really good hugger. Just like she tells me that I’m fantastic at giving back rubs. My brothers are vehement that it is simply a ploy by our mother to get me to perform the two activities more frequently, and this may be so. But it has worked.

Now, at age 25, I believe I’ve reached the peak of my hugging career. I’ve kept in pretty good shape, and my strength is contrasted by a hint of softness that comes with age.

You probably have tens of thousands more hugs to perform in your lifetime, so I’ve listed some things for below average huggers (you know who you are) to think about.

Tips from the pro:
- Confidence is key, avoid all hesitations.
- If you encounter a group, hug everyone. Do not be a selective hugger.
- Do not pet or pat unless you are doing a comforting hug.
- If it’s a man hug keep it brief, unless it’s a goodbye family man hug … then let it linger.
- Never clasp your hands together in back.
- If your hug counterpart is crying, wait for them to let go.
- Make sure you are properly clothed for a front hug, if you’re shirtless just go for the side squeeze.
- If you’re a woman, and trying to sex it up a little bit, go for the vertical arms hug or the around the neck hug. (Men avoid both of these)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day






Thursday, February 12, 2009

Generation Y – Destined for Greatness or Disappointment?

Today is my second anniversary at my current employer.

Missing was the congratulatory handshake, confetti, and cookie cake. In my time here I’ve had four bosses, three different job titles, and two cubicle moves.

I’ve managed to accumulate the best keyboard, the most impressive rubber band ball on the floor, and a sample award from the marketing department (pictured above).

Our coffee has recently been upgraded to a brand called Highland Estates, and we even have a new machine, imaginatively named the Cream n’ Sugar dispenser, that provides dehydrated cappuccino and hot chocolate.

Given the current circumstances, I’m happy to be spending my days reclining at various levels in my lumbar supported computer chair. I keep busy, and have gained a marginal amount of respect from my peers.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was growing up, but it didn't involve the words auto insurance. Still, by all conventional measures, I’m doing well for a 25-year-old.

As I spend more time considering my next career move, my dad is consistently surprised. He doesn’t understand why I would ever leave a highly paid job with room for advancement.

He spent 30 years working his way up the corporate ladder at Hormel, and in time a job changed from a means to an end to an obsession. This isn’t even a joke, he is passionate about meat.

It’s not a new story, but things don’t work like that anymore. In part corporations have dictated the public’s current job-hopping tendencies, but I think the biggest reason is a unparalleled sense of entitlement. An entitlement that we cultivated as we were raised by the wealthiest generation in the history of the world.

I don’t mean to say that I’m not willing to work hard, but I might be reaching for something that doesn’t exist in the first place.

I was told I can do whatever I set my mind to … to follow my dreams. But we can’t all be astronauts, presidents, and firefighters.

Does entitlement enable us for greatness, or send us on a path to despair?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Taxi's are great, but free is better

My walk home Saturday night (2.0 miles):


View Larger Map

After spending no less than $50 on alcohol, cover charges, and unjustified tips, I rarely feel like paying for a taxi. And since my pheromones are the equivalent of a late night lady repellent, I’m constantly on my own at night's end and there is really no rush.

Excessive alcohol, while debilitating physically, makes a potentially dangerous and long walk home seem like the obvious solution.

It’s the same drunken logic that convinces you to call, recall, and continue to recall an ex. Persistence deserves success, and there’s nothing to lose. Two blocks or two miles will be overcome, and you don’t have anything better to be doing.

Plus, you see some interesting things.

Saturday was no exception. About halfway home, I was walking by Blake’s, a gay friendly bar near Piedmont Park. The crowds were still dispersing and a group of three young guys were not far behind me, seemingly on the same route.

I heard them all start to giggle, and before I could turn around they came prancing by me on both sides, pants down, boyish white butts highlighted by the surrounding darkness. One jumped to the side and hopped off of a brick façade. And 20 yards later they were back to normal.

I’m not sure of their intention. They could have been searching for a homophobic reaction, or a possible lifelong lover, but I left them flustered with my completely unfazed acknowledgement. I gave equal attention to their white bouncing butts as I did to their euro-inspired faux mullets.

They continued along, and eventually, from a safe distance, yelled back to ask where I was going, in addition to other long range small talk.

Nothing else notworthy took place, and they took a side street a couple blocks later. I was alone again, getting closer to my place. The safety of the gay community was now long gone.

I got bored and started to run, much to the delight of passersby, who had limitless witty comments ranging from my inability to find a companion to the mere fact that I was running in jeans and button up shirt.

Soon enough I was approaching the home stretch. And regardless of the hour, the same shady men seem to be milling about on the corners.

Prematurely winded, and trying not to attract attention, I returned to my lanky gait. My pace couldn’t be mistaken for a swagger. It’s certainly not “hard,” but if needed it can convey the I’m-intentionally-keeping-my-head-down-don’t-mess-with-me image that can be necessary in downtown Atlanta after 3 a.m.

I made it to my car, and drove the remaining three blocks. I figured I would be ok on the back roads, and my car probably wasn’t safe where it was parked.

I probably only saved $8 or $9 dollars, but I’m pleased with my decision. Still, if you think you see me walking down a pedestrian averse road early in the morning be a pal and pick me up.

Friday, February 6, 2009

[Expletive] Yesss “So … you’re 18?”

I try not to make a habit of hanging out with 18-year-old girls. Guys either for that matter. Last night I danced with hundreds of them.

I was at a monthly event called Fuck Yesss at The Drunken Unicorn, a venue/club just down the street from me. Typically, as I get older, the 18-21 group seems to appear increasingly younger, more tender – the opposite of wise.

Looking back, I can’t imagine how we didn’t attract attention in high school as we drank indifferently in public places. Sure, our hemp necklaces and witty t-shirts were shared by our college-aged peers, but it certainly wasn’t an adequate disguise for our baby faces and scrawny proportions. I couldn’t have been a convincing 23-year-old, as my ID suggested, but I was never hassled as I walked out of countless gas stations with a case of Natural Light under each arm.

That said, I witnessed a phenomenon last night. It was midnight and the place had just opened. We were standing at the back of an unexplainably long line, which, 30 yards ahead, turned into a clump of over-anxious weeknight club goers. The mass of people near the front was prime for line-cutters. After five minutes, and no line advancement, we gave up and headed to a neighboring bar.

Expectations for the night were pretty low, so a PBR and a game of Big Game Hunter would have been enough. But since there are three S’s in Fuck Yesss, we decided we should give it another shot. When we got back the line was a lot shorter, but after a few minutes we realized it still wasn’t really moving.

Then someone asked, “Are you guys going to be drinking?”

I do like dance, but dancing sans alcohol is risky, “Yeah, why?”

“The 21 and up line is up there.”

Turns out, there wasn’t really a line, just because nobody else over 21 was waiting. I glanced back at the line, not fully comprehending that the hundred or so people that were behind us were under 21. I guess we were important because we would probably be giving money to the bartenders, instead of the local Xanex or ecstacy dealer.

The music was average, but the place was absolutely packed. Every square foot of space was occupied except a three foot area around the DJ on stage. I started to fade around 2 a.m. and had work in the morning, so I headed for the door.

Bars in Atlanta stop serving alcohol at 2:30, and close at 3, but there was still a line when I left. Since they wouldn’t be drinking I guess they still had an hour, even so I’ve never seen a line for a club this late, especially a line 50 deep.

It’s true, I’d had a valiant run of white Russians (I have half a gallon of milk left, the official expiration date is today.) before I left, and I probably wasn’t at my sharpest. Still, that’s when I realized what my mind had been thinking all night.

Hipsters look old. It adds anywhere from three to five years to your appearance.

I’m guessing that probably 75% of the crowd was under 21, but I couldn’t tell. I could have been dancing with a girl who has health class in the morning, but every single person looked like they were in their mid twenties.

It’s the perfect match. Excessively skinny bodies, thin patchy facial hair, and longish unkept hair are associated with both hipsters and teenagers. It’s the perfect cover, and I now understand why it’s a popular lifestyle choice. Don’t get me wrong, emo music can be catchy, but they really just want to look older.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Bromance at LA Fitness

I've been going to the same gym since I started my current job, which is about two years now.

Occasionally I half-heartedly lift weights, ride the stationary bike, or swim in the pool, but 90% of my time is spent on the abbreviated basketball court. It has two goals, but the three point line nearly reaches half court and instead of sidelines, there are plaster walls. It is the perfect size for the everyman who has been idle at work for the last eight hours.

It’s hard to say who’s going to show up. I’ve guarded Dominique’s brother, former NBA player Gerald Wilkins, and I’ve guarded overweight 14-year-olds, who, full of fear, shoot the basketball the second they catch it, regardless of location. There are guys who throw themselves alley-oops off the backboard, and a broad-shouldered, overweight guy that plays in wrestling shoes.

Regular players come and go, but there is a handful that I’ve now known for a long time – eight percent of my life to be exact. It’s strange to consider, but during this time period I’ve seen these guys more often than my parents, my friends, and just about anyone else.

I don’t know much about them outside of the gym. I know James is a cook at Wild Wings, just because I’ve seen him there. And supposedly Stat is a rapper, but I’ve never heard any of his tracks.

I do know who is going to be a ball hog, who will make an overdramatic fuss if they don’t get the call that they want, and who will give me the best chance of winning.

Despite conversations that rarely meander far from the world of sports and entertainment, I feel like I know these guys. I know them by the way they carry themselves. I guess a big part of it is their consistency. Same time every day, same jokes, same ugly jump shots.

Basically they're my bros:

DZ – 5’5” Guard. He’s round. He’s loud. And he will literally lay on the court until he gets his way. Loves to shoot, and although he rarely makes it, when he does, he’s sure to make a spectacle.

Damien – 6’3” Guard. One of the best players. Always sporting a backwards cap. Kind of a jerk, but nice if he’s winning.

Chris – 6’4” Center (280 pounds). My arch rival. He’s considerably stronger than me, but luckily he’s lazy.

Ivan – 5'9" Forward. Jovial, but unexplainably slow mentally. His left arm is seriously attrophied and cannot support the ball on its own. Loves to joke around.

James – 5’10” Forward. Quietly confident, except when he’s not quiet. Usually among the first to arrive, last to leave.

Cliff – 6’ 1” Forward. Ultra aggressive. Our heads butt occasionally, but if I’m 48 and have an attitude like this guy then things must have turned out pretty good.

Ado – 5’ 8” Guard. His typically broken English is interrupted by his catch phrase, “Let’s play,” which he yells every time before the ball is checked.

Jay – 6’3” Guard. My main teammate. Probably the best athlete in the gym. Can take over, but makes a point of involving his teammates … if he feels like it.

Russ – 6’ 0” Forward, overweight and overconfident. He played for about four months with a cast on his shooting arm. This didn’t stop him from taking shots five feet behind the 3-point line.

Me - 6'3" Forward. Sweatiest guy on the court. The kind of sweat where his t-shirt maintains a consistent color because it is all drenched.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

One Man, Three Gallons of Milk, Expiration date: Feb. 5

Things rarely go as planned. I envisioned my White Russian themed party as a hip affair featuring a beverage that appeases two of my vices – alcohol and dairy.

In the end I got my fill. By midnight I had indulged in approximately five of the featured drink and pushed as many as I could upon my guests.

If your White Russian count has reached two hands, you’re playing with fire. Milk and vodka both have the potential to wreak havoc on the stomach, add in the intensely sweet flavor of flavor of off-brand Kahlua and you can easily find yourself sober and heaving into the toilet.

With the shrewdness of a man who had recently reached the quarter century mark, I refrained from pushing the limits of creamy goodness and settled on rum for the rest of the night.

I woke up in an unexpectedly sprightly mood the next morning. The party had been a success and my twice proven method of intense dancing without drinking to end the night had once again rendered me hangoverless.

Still, my planning must have been flawed. It seems I overestimated my power of influence, and underestimated exactly how far a gallon of whole milk goes when making White Russians (my current estimate is 40).

When I opened my fridge the following morning I was greeted by nearly three full gallons of milk. Two gallons of whole milk, which I can barely drink, and the majority of a gallon of 1% were instantly a liability.

My mom said I should return one of the gallons, but who does that? So the last few days I’ve been on a mission. I’ve been overeating cereal and taking my milk and cookies obsession to the next level. I was mixing the 1% with the whole milk, but I've now finished the good stuff and barely put a dent in the heavy variety.

I’m a pretty big milk fan. I live by myself, but still buy full gallons. But two more gallons on the heels of a three day milk binge might be too much to handle.

I’m not afraid to push the limits of expiration a few days, so I’d say I’ve got about a week left. And I need your help.

Whole milk is great after a long run, or to add some body to a nice cup of cocoa on a chilly night. Stop by with all your milk garnishes. I'll provide the main course.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My fruit tree

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First try in the Second City

CHICAGO – Good Midwestern ladies. That's what we were looking for. After all, my mom is from the Midwest, and it's probably the most socially acceptable construct of the whole Oedipus concept, right?

I didn't have a good reason to be in the Chicago. It wasn't the right time to be visiting; the night I arrived it went down to -40, supposedly the coldest day in a decade. Our room had a view of Lake Michigan, and people tried to describe an elusive beach that locals consistently claimed would appear a couple months later. Instead, we looked out over a white expanse with strangely symmetrical wind blown patterns scattered as far as I could see.

My friend had a med school interview, and his dad got him a room at the W hotel. Chicago seems like a place everyone should see, and I’d never been. So on Tuesday night I bought a ticket that left late on Thursday.

On Friday I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, something I would treat with marginal irrelevance in Atlanta, but as a visitor it seemed imperative. After taking in some of the most cutting edge art our country has to offer, I felt like I could return to the W with my head held high.

While trekking around on foot afterward, trying to absorb the city, I was forced to purchase my first scarf. An item that is appropriately bemoaned in the South by men, but necessary for all in the hellish climates to our north. I was unable to replicate the standard scarf wearing techniques, and settled for an arrangement I call the double noose.

Despite the temperature, I was really impressed with the place. And as we headed to dinner at a Chicago style pizza establishment, I had a good feeling about my decision to come.

All day we had been inquiring every friendly faced individual under the age of 30 for the ideal location to enjoy a night full of overindulgence. Our list was unrealistic:
• Attractive girls
• Authentic
• Lots of energy
• A grandpa like bartender, who loves to tell stories about the good ole’ days.
• Reasonably priced drinks
• Other acceptable establishments nearby, in case things go awry

Surprisingly, nothing fit our requirements, and we settled for a place named Rockit.

When John proposed I come with him for the weekend, he claimed that together we would "take the city over." True, Chicago is the third largest city in the country, but he rarely lies and we set out to do just that.

We bought an overpriced beer, and continued our now five hour long dialogue. Basically we were vibing. So much so that the only women who paid any interest to us were less than three feet away. Our vibe must have been misconstrued due to our new geographic location because they said, "you guys don't look like you're having fun."

Grateful for the new company, we immediately switched into hilarious mode. John took a liking to one of the girls, and after about thirty minutes I caught myself wondering.

Enter Jolene, the singular animate love of my trip. I’m not sure if that's a Midwestern name or not, but she certainly fit the wholesome prototype I was searching for – a simple seeming girl, who's an honest to God straight shooter.

Girls from the South are often referred to as 'sweet.' I think girls in Chicago would take offense to that adjective. I don't want to exaggerate, but I got the sense they were more interested in visualizing their independence than creating heart shaped cardboard cutouts for their significant other.

I love the feeling of freshly cut cardboard in my hand, so I’m not sure which I prefer.

Anyway, I'd like to think Jolene and I hit it off, but she left less than an hour after we met. Disheartened, I resigned to tagging along with John and the girls he was sitting casually with now.

About an hour later, after a 1/16th of a mile taxi ride, the girl John was with got a text asking her to give me Jolene's number. I instantly texted her, but she was in bed. However, she asked if we wanted to come to a party the next day.

We danced, drank, conversated, and checked our coats in and out of numerous coat checks.

After 3 a.m., regardless of consumption, I begin to sober up. Tired and approaching grumpy I snuck out to get a taxi, thinking I was doing John a favor by leaving him with his special lady friend. A couple minutes later, in the middle of a conversation with my driver about typical seating arrangements in taxis (I always try to sit in the front seat, and he claimed I shouldn't as a safety concern), I get a text from John asking if I'd already left.

He arrived home a few minutes after me, and we fell asleep with all of the lights on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My President


Eight years ago, before I was eligible to vote, I was at the first inauguration of George W. Bush. It was an unforgettable day. I could feel the attention of the entire world focused on the stage that was laid out in front of me.

The inauguration of Barack Obama will unquestionably be more closely watched, but this time, instead of just attention, the expectations of the billions will weigh much more heavily.

Today, sitting in my office 638 miles from Washington DC, I’m more excited than I was in 2001. And it's not excitement concerning the lavish celebrations and parties that TMZ will doubtlessly be diligently covering.

I’m glad Obama will be the face of our country, but I’m ecstatic about the energy that he’s brought to so many lethargic citizens. At 24 I don't have the most perspective, but I know this day will take up significant space in U.S. history books.

Driving in to work this morning, I noticed dozens of lingering McCain bumper stickers.

Several of the stickers remain thoughtlessly, yet most of them are respectful and not so respectful protests to the decision that our country made. A decision that is made every four years, which divides our country into groups. One group a couple of percentage points larger than the other.

There is no way to know what the future holds, but I feel like there is more at stake with an Obama presidency. With great hope, comes the opportunity for great disappointment. However, to me, the fact that everyone agrees there is so much at risk embodies why we’ve made the correct choice.

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I just watched as much of the inaugeration ceremony as I think I could get away with.

Nearly 60 people crammed into our cafeteria to watch a 21 inch television that only plays CNN. Tears welled in my eyes and a lump in my throat as Obama bumbled over his few statements as he was being sworn in. Aside from the humm of freezers and clanking of pans, the only noise came from the TV.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Me and Jenna Jameson's unpaid intern

It can cost a lot to decorate a home. And after six months I’ve finally made it to the third of three rooms in my place. The bedroom.

I’m not talking about anything too serious, but my cliché urban loft motif just doesn’t match a hand-me-down floral bed spread.

We’ll just call it a bed makeover, and my bed, obviously of the female variety, was equivalent to a grandmother from the Great Plains. I’m going for something more Scarlet Johansson.

A trip to Ikea, the mecca of affordable and urban furnishings, yielded an adequate duvet cover and I headed home without even stopping for 50 cent ice cream cones or a plate of meatballs.

It’s a small room, and with a donated mirror-centric decoration hanging above my bed it seemed adequate. It wasn’t Scarlet, but it would do, and I ambled around in the evenings satisfied with the lady I would soon lie down with.

In my mind I was done, until my mom stopped by and said that a black bed skirt and sheet set would really make it my bed ‘POP.’

My sheets, although comfortable, were starting to look ragged, so I complied.

Black sheets have a stigma, but I figured if my mom, a deacon in our church, was suggesting them, then it couldn’t be too bad. I’d just be sure to stay away from satin, and I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Desperate for the ‘pop’ that I now felt I had been missing all along, I started a fervent internet search. I scoffed at the Playboy black satin sheets, clearly Jenna Jameson, and settled on a mysteriously low priced Egyptian cotton 600 thread count set.

They arrived a couple days later, and I eagerly opened them. From the packaging they looked about like what I wanted, when I put them on my bed I was horrified.

Scarlett had certainly eluded me, what’s worse, I’m now sleeping with Jenna’s unpaid intern.

I always included the bedroom in the tour of my place. Before I would prepare my guests by saying I haven’t gotten to my bedroom yet – now I just blush.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Challenging the bite-sized paradigm

I’m a pretty big fan of snacks in general. They are the sole occupants of the top right drawer in my desk at home, a primo location usually reserved for the likes of pens, post-it-notes , and scissors.

The most obvious reason my desk operates as a miniature pantry is to free up one hand during the trip from the refrigerator to my computer. Instead of struggling with tattered packages of half eaten bags of cookies, I can practice sign language or snap along with the relentless pop melodies in my head with one hand as I carry a glass of milk in the other.

(side note - I’m a big fan of the new Oreo packages. You wouldn’t think the sticky stuff would last long enough to make it through the whole package, but they do. It’s easy to open and an overall delight to work with.)

Other reasons have been suggested to me. Silly notions like I want to keep them all to myself and nobody would look in the desk for food, or the even more amusing idea that I’m lazy.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a snack drawer at work, but there always seems to be something laying around that appears like it would be enjoyable to eat - from old Halloween candy, leftover cheesecakes from the executives board meeting, or chicken fingers from the pot luck that the girls in marketing unsuccesfully tried to organize.

However, more often than not, the snacks don’t fall into these nice categories. Usually, you’re faced with a wild card. And as an open minded individual, more often than not, I partake in these wildcards.

A couple weeks ago I spotted a box of chocolate covered cherries. I’m not sure why these are always disappointing. It’s a solid concept, but why is the middle composed of a cherry mash, instead of an actual cherry?

Not easily deterred, I picked one up and took a bite, or more like a nibble. Still in stride, without thinking, I tossed the rest into the trash can.

It took me a second to realize what had just happened. Sure, it didn’t taste good, but I’d just thrown away the majority of a overpriced, sugary snack. This had never happened before.

Until this point I’d never considered this strategy. It's a 'bite-size' snack, and I couldn't bring myself deviate from the instructions that are there very being. But for the last week I’ve been walking around sampling the foods my office has to offer, and if I don’t like it … throwing it away.

I wont' say I'm an innovator, but this is the type of forward thinking that gets people places in life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another date recap - because now I can't influence what she's already said

When I suggested to Reneé de la Curée that we get together, my intentions were two-fold.

I wanted to manufacture something to write about, but selfishly I wanted to read a straightforward assessment of my first impression.

She said that she was expecting me to be geeky, but later wrote I was a “cute young professional who was confident, polished, and completely unfazed.”

My expectations for her weren’t any better. I was expecting a self conscious overly eager slut, but she ended up being the innocent and sweet type, the kind of girl that takes the time to remember your family members' birthdays. The girl I would normally assume is more interested in holding hands than performing some type of sexual maneuver she only describe in her blog only as “the piledriver.”

It really made me wonder about how well I really know some of the girls I’ve met over the years. Is it really this easy to put on an act? Or is my distinction between sexual promiscuity and outward appearance seriously flawed?

I guess I'll never know.

With first impressions over and written in our respective blogs, the most interesting development is the difference between our perceptions of what happened that night.

I remember smiling on my way to dinner as I considered sneaking in my recorder. I really wish I would have now, but there were a couple moments that still stood out.

As noted in her blog, the first thing she said was, “what’s your out?”

To me, this was completely impractical. It’s clear that you’ve put in the time to think of what you’re going to say if things are going bad. For her it had something to do with an opportunity to use a special telescope, but bringing it up just means you won’t be able to use it as intended. It means you are trying to manufacture conversation, and it struck me as a comment that someone a little unsure of herself would make. Not a person who confidently talks about her mastery of the opposite sex.

My guess is she was attempting to catch me off guard, and although it did, I don’t think it could have had the desired effect.

We talked a lot about past relationships. I never mentioned sex, but she felt compelled to reassure me that her sexual promiscuity was limited to a small and exclusive group.

She wrote that I came off as arrogant, which I think I’m rarely regarded, while my impression of my comments were more self deprecating.

For example, when we were waiting at the valet, she said, “Now I get to judge you by the car that you drive.”

“Judge away,” I responded. “It’s only the hottest brown Pontiac Grand Prix you’ve ever seen.”

And oh yeah, after my friend read her entry yesterday, he asked, “so you split the bill?”

“No,” I answered. “It was actually 60/40.”

Friday, January 9, 2009

Post-date reflections

When you read a book and then see a movie, the cast rarely matches the mental image you had created.

Since each of our mind's are superior to Hollywood casting agents, the characters’ images never seem to exceed expectations, they’re usually let downs. And when this happens it usually ruins the movie, but the integrity of the book remains.

In social situations, this is a dangerous dynamic. I guess this is why they don’t have online dating services that operate without pictures. No matter how much looks don't matter to you, they still matter a lot. It takes less than a second for your brain to make the decision, and then when you get to know someone, your mind can do its best to alter that image.

I hadn’t thought about this until I got to dinner last night, and sat in front of someone that I knew only from periodic blog entries.

I’ll admit she was prettier than I had envisioned. She lacked the attention grabbing bar attributes that I assumed were a prerequisite for her risqué tales. Her gentle features didn’t match the often obscene things I’d read about her doing.

She was reading a book when I got there, just as I had intended to do if I had arrived when planned, but I would have been reading something that I would have hoped impressed the opposite party. She was reading a history book of sorts, so instead, I just felt old (I later found out she’s 2.92 years younger than me).

She had a glass of Chardonnay when I arrived, which I noted was quite classy, an adjective she said she strives for, but is rarely considered. I'm sure if she continues to date guys that she meets online, it will only occur more often.

We spoke comfortably, and she noted, to my delight, that I was much more confident in person than in my blog. She wasn't phased when I told her that I had met dozens of women online, and then a little surprised when I told her I was joking. She had a pension for pulling on both sides of her longish brown hair during conversation, as I arranged and rearranged my silverware in geometric patterns.

The conversation kept coming back to our blogs. Not so much content, but why we do it. She explained that she wanted to eventually write a book, and her current work would be a good foundation. And I confided that it makes my corporate existence slightly more palatable.

As things wrapped up, she said she was going to go to a bar down the street that night. I didn’t press for an invitation, I had a football game to watch, and I didn’t want to push my luck.

I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t say that it was a good date, but I’m anxiously awaiting her next entry. I think there is some type of holdout until i wrote my post-date entry. I think I'll have more to say after she blogs about it. My guess is the highlights will come from the night after we split up.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Preparing mentally for my first internet romance

First date jitters – not so much. I probably should be nervous, though. I’m going on a date with a girl that I've never seen.


Here’s the thing, I met this person on the internet (read that aloud to make me sound even more pathetic), and she wants to meet me at a place called ‘the big house.’ Well it’s actually called Casa Grande, but my attempt at a joke isn’t as obvious for my English speaking audience, so I thought I should highlight it.

I’ve envisioned a couple scenarios that could lead me to jail (or the big house … just to drive it home):

• She’s insane, and when I don’t compliment her matching neon green earrings, necklace, and stilettos, she goes mad. My efforts at self defense get misconstrued and I’m hauled to jail for domestic abuse.

• She seduces me with her blogging prowess and takes me home. Seconds after it’s too late, she informs me that she is underage, this is a set up, and a police officer will be in to escort me to jail as soon as she gives the signal.

• In an effort to spice up my mundane blog, I decide that I’m going to abuse hard drugs for the evening (a la Hunter S. Thompson). Conveniently she tells me a place I can get some. Since we’re in separate cars, she says I should pick them up while she picks up her place a little bit. After the purchase I’m heading over, and can’t resist a small sample. Being a drug novice I think I have cocaine and ecstasy, but it turns out I have ether and mescaline. The results aren’t as anticipated. I crash my car into her lobby. A foot chase ensues, but I’m caught lying in the pond at Piedmont Park, body submerged, attempting to breathe through a straw.

So if nothing like that happens, it should be a good night.

This mystery date has a blog of her own, and commented on one of my posts a couple of weeks ago. After reading the majority of her blog, I decided it would be interesting to meet this person, more interesting to write a about the date, and even more interesting to hear what she has to say about me.

I have my first date rules, but this won’t be a typical first date. I've never heard her voice, but I know about her and her friends' sexual encounters with random flings and ex boyfriends that she has refers to as A-I.

The good thing is that I have zero expectations, so nothing can go wrong. If it goes great, wonderful. If it goes awful, then that’s probably better material for the reader.

I’m guessing she will be slightly confused on exactly how to play this because, while I write about problems in the bathroom, she seemingly bares her soul.

We meet at 6:45. I better go.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Casing my own house - An open door policy


This morning, after my consistently rushed 20-minute routine, I noticed that I had left the door to my loft cracked overnight.

I did a quick inventory of my valuable items: television, laptop, iPod. At this point I realized I don’t own much of value. For a second I empathized with a potential robber – this place would be a total bust.

My beloved fridge and other appliances would require disassembly in order to begin the painstaking trip down the narrow stairwell. My alcohol inventory is highlighted, not by Dom Pérignon, but wines purchased at Trader Joe’s and liquor priced under $30. And my artwork, not yet precious, is either my own creation or a collaborative effort with a good friend of mine.

This may be why I sleep so well.

In my youth, I would lay in the top bunk, eyes wide open, running through scenarios for a potential house invasion. I wasn’t as inventive as McCauley Culkin in Home Alone. In fact, each time I came to the same solution. I would have time to get two shots off with my paintball gun. I would have to hit each of his eyes, and while he’s dazed, round up the family.

Nowadays, locking my front door probably happens just over half the time. And it’s not like I feel like I’m living in a safe neighborhood. I’m confident the hotel around the corner is running some type of prostitution ring, I’ve awoken more than once to cracked out homeless men conversing below my window, and to me the sound of sirens have the same effect as the sound of a summer night or running stream that some plug in a device to listen to.

I guess I just figure that if they go as far as checking the door to make sure that it’s locked, they’ve probably already gone far enough to figure out a way to get in. So maybe if it's left unlocked, they'll figure there is nothing worthwhile.

That said, the whole leaving the door open thing must stop.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My name is Steven, and I’m addicted to the internet

I was sitting at brunch with a good friend yesterday, enjoying my cilantro corn pancakes, discussing what to me has become an absurd search for the ideal significant other, when I realized I don't have a New Year's resolution.

We talked through a couple of ideas – drink less when binge drinking, exercise at least five times a week, eat fewer cookies, spend more time painting, writing and reading. With food completed and conversation topics exhausted, we split the bill and I headed home.

I was driving back to my place  satisfied physically, but mentally something remained unsettled.

I had a couple hours to kill before I had planned on meeting up with some friends to watch football. When I walked through the door, like usual, I headed directly to my computer.

I went through my typical internet routine:
• Check email.
• Look at Facebook.
• Open my blog to check for any comments (there rarely are … thanks readers).
• Check headlines on espn.com, nytimes.com, and ajc.com.

No emails, no ex’s or girls of interest changed relationship status, nothing happening on my blog, the news is heavy and I’m not up to tackling the latest in Israel.

Completely free time is rare, so I decided to attempt to sit in my cliché ultra-modern, highly uncomfortable chair from Target and read my book. I made it approximately three pages, at the blazing speed of a page every four minutes, and had an undeniable urge.

Something was happening on the internet … and I needed to know about it.

So I satisfied my impulse. No email, no new pictures of people I barely know, my blog is still featuring the same disappointing post, and the news is still overwhelming.

I chose a new song, and head back to my book. Ten minutes and two pages later, I’m back at the computer.

This is when I realized the absurdity of my internet addiction. I’m checking and rechecking things as if they are of the utmost importance. As if I’m getting a Facebook invite to party of the century that happens to be starting six minutes from now, or an email from the editor of Esquire requesting permission to feature their blog in an upcoming magazine, but I have to respond by 12:17 p.m.

I spend eight hours a day sitting at a computer during work. I probably spend two or three more when I get home, and sadly another two or three anxious about what I’m missing.

My New Year’s resolution this year is to check email and Facebook less than 10 times a day. I can read as much news as I like, but I can’t just click around from site to site looking at headlines.

It might not seem like much, but it’s a start and I need your support.
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My pathetic attempt at reader participation:

Please post your resolutions for 2009. If you don’t have any, say so, and I’ll come up with one for you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hello MMIX, goodbye MMVIII

Until I decided to show up at work today, 2009 has been all a guy could ask for.

On New Years Day an impromptu party swelled to 25. Attempts to prepare the requisite New Year provisions may have caused irreparable damage to my kitchen. With my hosting skills in overdrive, I barely had a chance to watch Georgia defeat Michigan State, but I was able to remain undefeated in 2009 in Twister.

When I woke up this morning on my couch, a friend comfortably tucked into my bed, depleted alcohol receptacles, uneaten food, and more dirty dishes than I knew I owned covered all elevated surfaces.

It seems like 2009 is going to be alright, but before we get too far along, I would like to take a minute to properly thank our good friend 2008.

Thanks for:
1. Not sucking.
2. Kindly leaving after your 365 day term.
3. Being an even number.
4. Having a name that is easy to rhyme with.

And with that, let’s continue to develop our relationship with 2009.