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A bowl of corn, motherfuckers.

2002

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Is that an erection I smell?

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I'm loaded with tumors darling, and I don't even know it.

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   The State of My Fat Ass
                                          June 2002

June 27, 2002

-- I can't take the heat, and I'm nowhere near the kitchen; I'm almost never in the kitchen. It's obvious that the Earth has now slipped out of orbit and is hurtling toward the sun. You'd think CNN and Fox would be all over something like this, our planet being absorbed into a giant ball of fire? Yeah, well, apparently not. They're all talking about the Pledge of Allegiance this morning, ignoring the fact that we're all now living on a George Foreman grill. (Can you feel the slant? Me too!) It's gonna be really hard to hold our hands over our hearts once we hit the big Frydaddy in the sky, and become a giant basket of hushpuppies. Ya know?

Crap! I think my scrotum just burst into flames...

-- Even before I became convinced the end is near, I'd given up on buying a new car. Apparently nobody is going to agree to sell me a $25,000 SUV for nothing down, three hundred a month, so screw 'em. I'll just hang onto my little Toyota truck; I don't need their fancy-pants heated mirrors and six-CD changers. Me and my four-cylinder pickup are doing just fine. I feel guilty for even entertaining the thought of turning my back on my l'il black Japanese buddy. We've been through a lot together, and I'm not ready to end our relationship just yet. I would like to have one of those kick-ass XM Radio systems though. Do you think Best Buy will sell me one for half-price? They better, the fuckers.

-- I got the results back on my physical exam a few days ago. Apparently I'm healthy as a plow horse. Go figure. Thirty beers a week for twenty years, an all-beef diet, and I'm in tip-top shape. They said I passed "with flying colors," whatever that means. I can't tell you what a relief it is. I was convinced they were going to come back and tell me they'd put my name on the waiting list for a Larry Hagman press-on liver. I mean, how could there not be nuclear-winter organ devastation? I don't know, but I'm not taking this lightly. I feel like I'm being given a second chance, and I don't intend to blow it. After a three or four-day festival of celebration, it's strictly clean-living for me.

-- Seriously, I stopped drinking beer for six long months because I thought I was getting carried away with it (again). Just recently I began allowing myself the occasional Yuengling Lager, and so far it's working out well. I never really believed I was going to implement a full-blown prohibition; I mean, really... But something clearly had to be done about the Bon Scott quantities being consumed. I think I've figured out the key is to not have it around the house. Having a beer or two in a restaurant, or at a baseball game, is not the problem. The problem is the old refrigerator in the basement, packed to the hilt with hops and barley, calling to me through the floorboards. If I can keep that monster from regaining power, I should be just fine. Wish me luck, or whatever.

-- I watched a movie called Sour Grapes the other night, and laughed my jiggly ass off. It was written and directed by Larry David, the co-creator of Seinfeld, and the inspiration for George Castanza. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I was influenced by the critics who savaged the flick when it first came out in theaters, and I wrote it off as shit in my mind. I should've known better. Critics are generally a bunch of elitist, politically-correct, ballbaby bitches, so why give them any credence? I'm so ashamed... Anyway, I loved Sour Grapes for the same reasons they hated it. It's mean-spirited and crass, there's not a single likable character, and parts are racially insensitive. What's not to love? I give it the prestigious Surf Report seal of approval.

-- Why do people send me stuff like this? Hey, here's a picture of holler-dwelling trash, I think I'll send it to Jeff Kay... Should I be flattered or insulted?

-- Lucas has weighed in with his review of Pennsylvania Polka. Yo, check it out.

-- This is an absolute classic. Chris from Boone, NC casually mentioned in an email yesterday that he was having trouble with his homeowner's association. It seems they have a big problem with the concrete gargoyle in his front yard. I asked him to send me a pic of the statue and the letter he'd received, thinking it might be worth a few chuckles. But I wasn't prepared for what he sent. This shit is so whacked, it makes my brain hurt. Ho-ly fuck!

-- Toney made two different experimental salads yesterday, and both turned out really well. I had loads of both with dinner last night. One had broccoli, sunflower seeds, and bacon bits. And the other was black beans, onions, corn, and bunch of other stuff. I'm generally a little skeptical about these kinds of things, because there's usually some kind of garlicky sauce involved -- but both were damn good. The only problem is, I feel like my intestines are nothing but a pile of balloon animals packed tightly into my abdomen. The bunker is not a pleasant place to be this morning, I can assure you that. I'm about to lift off like the Space Shuttle Endeavor in here! Woo!

-- I bought a copy of "Don't Get Weird On Me, Babe" by Lloyd Cole for $1.99 through half.com, and I can't stop playing it. It's in perpetual repeat mode. That guy is yet another genius who nobody gives a shit about. He's the Charles Portis of Pop.

--  This cracks me up.  I just found this pic yesterday.  The guy on the left was my boss in California.  He was a rock star in the sixties!  He was driving a Jaguar at nineteen, had his face plastered on billboards, and partied with Jim Morrison at the top of some mountain.  He toured with the Rolling Stones (no shit), appeared in movies, and was on American Bandstand!  Then he got to work with me, finally realizing the full potential that had been there all along.       

-- Apparently our dog Andy killed a bird under our deck yesterday, or the day before. Toney found it, and told me I'd have to deal with it. She said she does everything else around here, she's not messing with dead animals. (Sometimes I feel like I've woken up on the set of Everybody Loves Raymond...) She also said she was going to try to trade Andy in under the lemon law! Can you believe that?! Anyway, I went out there with a snow shovel and scooped up the fallen robin, and walked him over to the edge of our property, where I whipped him into woods. To my amazement, the bird carcass stuck to a tree branch! It may have been impaled there, I'm not sure. But he was back where he was born to be, sitting proudly in a majestic oak tree... albeit with his head off. I went back later to take a picture, but he was gone. I think the neighbor's cat ate him. And I thought I had a rough day...

I think I'll stop right there. I was going to tell you why I think sleep is really creepy, but I'll save it for another time. My heart's not really in it, if you want the truth. It's too hot to write. I think I'll just spend the rest of the day sitting really still, and farting along with Lloyd, thank you very much.  Farting and sweating to the oldies. Woo!

Have a great weekend.

                           

June 24, 2002

Weekend update:

-- The pressure-washing experiment went better than I could've ever predicted. Nobody was decapitated, no windows were blasted out of the house, and I think we actually did a decent job.

I rented the thing from a place called Grand Rental Station (ha!) for around fifty bucks, and it was big as all hell: gas powered and heavy as a motherfucker. The cig-sucking guy at the shop helped me hoist into the back of my truck, and we actually had a little trouble lifting it off the ground. Shit, I thought, that's a lot of machinery. It's like something a professional construction crew might have. I'm in way over my head here. But he showed me how to use it and, despite its imposing size and implied power, it didn't seem too difficult to operate. I felt cautiously confident. And as I drove away I saw a well-dressed woman wheel out two or three hundred dinner plates on a flatbed trolley, and begin loading them into the back of a Lexus (??).

Toney and I spent the next six hours taking turns blasting the filth off our house and deck, and at one point I almost went over the side of our hill with the red-hot smoke-belching bastard in my lap. But that was the only problem we encountered. The guy at the shop, RJ Reynolds or whatever his name was, warned me at least three times not to use the "zero tip" attachment, unless I really knew what I was doing. He told me that it would bust up concrete. Those were his exact words: bust up concrete. I know most people would be like kids who were told not to do something, and be drawn to it simply for that reason, but I stayed the hell away from the zero tip. I have a West Virginia friend who I know for a fact would've used the Berlin Wall shredding attachment exclusively. There's no doubt in my mind; in fact, he probably would've tried to alter it somehow in an attempt to goose even more punch from it. But I used the wimpier beginner tips and they worked just fine, thank you very much. I saw no need to unleash the power of Zeus on the side of our house.

It was kinda fun in the beginning, probably because I was a little shocked I was actually doing it (hey, look everybody!!), but after six hours it got to be pretty tiresome. And tiring. Our arms were shaky and sore, and I was more than ready to load the fucker up and take it back to Philip Morris. I could've kept it until the next morning, but I wanted it out of my sight.

I think we did a really good job though. The deck looks brand new, and our house seems brighter and cleaner. It kinda sucked, but it sure beat paying the six hundred dollars some guy quoted us to do the job. It wasn't anywhere near six hundred dollars worth of suck, that's for certain.

-- Friday night we treated ourselves, and hauled our our shaky asses to a great little Italian restaurant near our house. We split a pitcher of Yuengling Lager, and it was some of the best beer ever created by mortal man. After we ordered our meals I started thinking about something Toney had told me, a year or so ago. Every time we go to this place it gnaws at me. One of her Pennsylvania Buddies said it's well-known that restaurants that serve great pizza have shitty pasta, and vice-versa. And "our" little place is famous for its pizza, therefore, this chick says, you should steer clear of their pasta dishes. She's one of these know-it-all locals, of which there are many, who never hesitates to voice an opinion or set you straight on some error you're about to commit. Of course I dismissed her proclamation as, you know, the caustic bleetings of yet another Pennsylvania asshole, but it bothers me deep down if you want to know the truth. She's got me doubting myself. I think their pasta kicks massive ass, but do I know what I'm talking about? Is it really shit, and I don't have enough good taste to realize it? I can barely enjoy a meal there anymore, despite the fact that it's really, really good.

-- After dinner we went to Wal-Mart to buy a couple of old-fashioned wooden rocking chairs for our front porch. (We're in a home improvement frenzy!) We'd seen them there earlier, and the price was frickin' incredible; thank god for the exploitation of third world children! It took us literally a half-hour of asking to find an employee willing to help us. The rockers have to be assembled and are packed in impossibly small boxes, and stored on a shelf roughly three stories above the sales floor. A surly man with a gut like a Volkswagen Jetta finally dragged them down for us, utilizing a motorized extension ladder probably designed for fire departments and professional window washers. I haven't opened the boxes yet, but I seriously don't understand how there's goddamn rocking chairs in there! A computer scanner maybe, but not a porch rocker. Shit. I have a feeling it's gonna take me a while to put those bastards together...

-- I watched Proof of Life Friday night. I'm still watching movies like a man with a obsessive/ compulsive disorder. Here's what I've seen in the past couple of weeks: River's Edge, Manhattan, Collateral Damage, Bonnie and Clyde, Happy Campers, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Carrie, Phantasm (and the director's commentary!), Proof of Life, and Highway. There's probably more, I just can't remember them off the top of my head. What?

-- Saturday morning Toney showed me a newspaper ad for a 1999 Ford Explorer, with power everything and low miles, for $11,800. It was way too low a price, something had to be wrong with it, but I needed to check it out. It would drive me crazy if I didn't investigate, so I went by myself. It's better sometimes to go to car lots alone, so you can tell them you need to run the deal past your wife, or whatever. It's a good escape plan. The place looked like a glorified "buy here, pay here" lot, but I tried to keep an open mind. I started poking around and a rotund man in shorts and a t-shirt made a beeline for me, and asked if I needed any help. This guy sells cars?! He looked like he should be washing cars. He also looked like he needed to get the prescription on his blood pressure medication refilled. I whipped out my newspaper ad and asked if I could see the Explorer. He immediately told me it was sold, and we stood there and bullshitted for a few minutes until he finally said, "Let me see that ad..." Turns out it wasn't sold after all. He'd made a mistake. Go figure. He whispered, conspiratorially, to follow him. We passed through the office, into the secret bowels of the operation, a cavernous room where cars are apparently washed and detailed. A creature of unidentifiable gender was back there with a rag thrown over its shoulder. It looked a little like Perry Farrell in a sundress, and had a butterfly tattoo on its back, as well as dozens of ripe nickel-sized zits ready to blow. Holy fuck! I've seen ugly before, but nothing quite like that!! He asked it about the Explorer, and it gestured in a general direction, and grunted like an animal. We went through a couple more doors, finally arriving in the alley out back. The Explorer was sitting there and looked pretty damn good from a distance. But it was all beat to hell. The front passenger door was caved in, and it was covered in little nicks and dents. The interior was riddled with random cigarette burns and the console was completely collapsed. Um, it's tempting, I told him, but I think I'll keep looking.

-- I mowed the forkin' grass Saturday afternoon, and it was a black-belt bitch. Ever since the wheel fell off the mower it hasn't been quite right. I don't think it even turns anymore; it feels like I'm pushing a sled around the yard. And it's been really hot and humid here. It's that gross kind of hot, where a haze seems to hang over everything. It's so miserable nobody even comes out of their houses. The few people you do see appear dazed and confused, like they recently suffered a severe electrical shock. I hate this time of year. Toney asked me yesterday if constantly complaining about it made me any cooler, and I think that it just might. There's power in complaining, I explained to her. She dismissed this theory though, and said I was annoying. Annoying!

-- Sunday morning I woke up with swollen and tingling hands. I felt like Mickey Mouse. Even today it's like I'm wearing a couple of first basemen's mitts. I don't know what's wrong with me. I bitched about that for an extended period, and read the paper. I saw a couple of interesting things, like this, and this. I also saw a lawn mower ad under the banner: "End of Season Sale!" End of season!! I told Toney, bubbling over with excitement, and she reminded me that it's not even July yet. "Don't kill my buzz, man," I pleaded. Finally I decided to take a shower.

I grabbed a t-shirt out of the drawer, and started rooting around for some underwear. I dug and dug, but there was none. I'd taken so many showers over the weekend, because of the heat and all the goddamn physical labor, I'd depleted my undergarment supply. Shit. I threw a load of whites into the washer, and jumped into the shower. Then I had to walk around with my junk flopping around freely inside my shorts for an hour or so. I don't like that; I prefer for it all to be tightly contained. I'm not a big fan of the glacier effect that takes place if too much freedom is granted.  Freedom is a fine thing for a nation of people, but not for male genitalia. (There's one for the Bartlett's Book of Quotations!) Plus, walking around with no underwear makes me feel a little pathetic; what am I, Todd Rundgren, circa 1974?

We'd planned to stain the deck but it rained all night Saturday, so it wasn't possible. Damn! We were both greatly disappointed. So we opted for a day straight out of Norman Rockwell instead.

We went to the park and watched kids playing in those big fountain-like things, where water shoots from the ground at unpredictable intervals. I ventured out there at one point, since it was so incredibly hot, and a jet of ice water rocketed up my back, which instantly soured me on the whole deal. Then we walked by the creek and across a covered bridge, and I tried to impress Toney with my rock-skipping abilities. It was fun. It sure beat the hell out of pushing a lawn mower with immovable wheels up and down a hill.

After the park we went to a local farm and bought a big bag of strawberries that had supposedly just been picked that day. They let you pick your own if you'd like, but fuck that. What do I look like, an idiot? Then it was off to Manning's for a softball sized ice-cream cone.  Oreo, of course.

If it hadn't been hotter than owl urine, it would've been a perfect day.

And that brings you up to date. Pretty exciting, huh? Oh, here's this week's donut shop pic. And here's a headline I saw this morning that made me laugh. Yes, I'm thirty-nine, what of it? Also, Toney talked to "Nancy" yesterday, and apparently she, her so-called husband Banana Nostrils (married on a beach by an actor amongst a pack of leaping dogs), and their brood of l'il translucent vegans will be paying us a visit in July. I can't wait. I've been having a hankering for some uppity left-of-Nader bitches to sleep in our beds, eat our food, and judge everything we do. I think I'm gonna put a big ol' framed picture of John Ashcroft over the fireplace, especially for the occasion.

Until next time...


June 19, 2002

A couple of things:

-- I'm reading a Nick Hornby novel, How To Be Good, and the narrator's husband (yes, Hornby, the man's man, is writing from a female perspective!?) is a bitter, angry bastard who finds fault in most things he encounters. In fact, he writes a newspaper column under the moniker The Angriest Man In Holloway. His wife is disgusted with him and what she perceives as his ever-escalating penchant for complaint. I laughed out loud when she mentioned that he once tried to write a column bitching about rubber-backed safety curtains, but couldn't come up with the required 800 words on the subject. "Shit," I thought, "This is me!" I'm the Angriest Man In Holloway. The only difference is, I wouldn't have any trouble coming up with a mere 800 words on safety curtains; I could do it in my sleep. Unfortunately, the character is supposed to be a foul person, an exaggerated cartoon designed for comedic effect. I'm not sure actually being like him is a good thing. I need to give this some thought...

-- My boss's boss is in town, along with one of his loyal lieutenants, and I got roped into attending a dinner party with them Monday night. Some unknown executive assistant called me with the secret location and time, along with the password ("streetcar"), and I reluctantly tucked in my shirt and left work a little early for an evening of discomfort and fake smiles.

"Your party is meeting in the lounge," said the hostess when I arrived, and everyone was already talking at inappropriate volume levels when I walked in. Apparently this was going to be an evening of debauchery, not some stuffy formal affair. Cool. Debauchery is one of my personal fields of expertise.

One of the people there was a guy who made several snide, sarcastic remarks to me the last time I attended one of these functions. He'd kept asking me if I liked to hunt and attend tractor pulls, and shit like that. I'd forgotten all about it, until I saw his face again. And we weren't seated for more than five minutes before he started it up again. "So Jeff, do you do a lot of deer hunting?" I mean, what the fuck?! What's with this guy, and the deer hunting?? It's not like I was wearing a straw hat and cradling a ceramic jug of 'shine in the crook of my arm. Being from West Virginia is sometimes a big cross to bear... Later, one of the other people didn't know what a portobello mushroom was and this guy blurted out, "I feel like I'm having dinner with a bunch of mountain men!" And I felt like Sidney Poitier in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Last time I allowed this, ahem, guy to bully me into ordering something I didn't want, but Monday I just let it all hang out and went with the Holler Dweller Special. Prime rib, well-done, none of that faggoty dick-sucker wine, thank you very much, bring me a damn beer. And it was good. Everybody else was eating bullshit designed to impress, like quail salad or something, and I thought I could detect a small trace of pain in their expressions. I have no doubt I was the only person there who actually enjoyed their meal. But then, I'm a simple man of simple needs. That's how my momma raised me, back on the farm.

After dinner Spencer Tracy excused himself, and the rest of us retired to the bar, where much alcohol was consumed. My boss's boss is a nice guy, but really hard to read. I've known him for years and I've never really been able to get a feel for his opinion of me. I guess since he hired me and paid to move us cross-country I should assume there's at least a little faith there. That's what normal people would think, anyway. But I imagine he's sitting there thinking, "What the hell did I do, hiring this hillbilly? He ordered prime rib, for god's sake!" Not only is the glass half empty in my world, but I'm convinced I'll end up washing it, drying it, and putting it away as well.

The lieutenant slurred that he needed to be sober enough to talk to his wife and kids, and I told him he'd better wait until day after tomorrow. People actually laughed at that one, which made me feel a little better. My previous stabs at humor had yielded nothing but the sound of crickets chirping in the distance. I decided I'd leave 'em wanting more, and took off. They were still slinging 'em back when I left. It was probably good that I left when I did. Considering all that had happened at dinner, if I'd hung around much longer this might've happened.

-- Incredibly, I couldn't work out a deal on that Blazer I mentioned last time. The guy predictably came back with a price slightly higher than what I was insisting upon, but he wouldn't budge. He wouldn't compromise at all! Sometimes I feel like I'm in a foreign country up here. It's supposed to be a negotiation process: you have your number, he has his, and you meet somewhere in the middle. Nope, not with this guy. He had his number, and you can go fuck yourself. It's a very unusual sales technique. But now it's back to square one, and the new-car fire in my belly is starting to wane a bit. I might just forget it for now. They had their chance to exploit me during a moment of weakness, but now that window is closing. In California they would've tied me to a chair and burned me with cigars until I signed a contract, but these people seem to not give a damn whether you buy a car or not. I get the feeling they're all about to grab their crotches and say, "Here's your new car, right here buddy!!" It's a whole different breed of cat.

I'm taking Friday off from work, and we're going to pressure-wash our house and deck. We took the shutters off yesterday, so it's getting kinda scary around here. I'm not sure I'll be able to update again until Monday, but I'll try. Either way, have a great weekend. If I blind myself with high-pressure water I'm sure Toney will come on here and tell you all about it, and you can all have a few laughs together.

Bye for now. -The Angriest Man In Olyphant.

June 17, 2002

-- Not to be overly dramatic, but when I learned of the existence of this CD last week I decided I wanted to live forever. And when I actually found a copy on the shelves of a Scranton record store yesterday, and held it in my hands, I briefly considered quitting my job and dedicating the remainder of my life to serving the Lord. Life is just so goddamn beautiful, I don't want it to ever end. And I sometimes feel the urge to send my compliments to the chef. I'm not kidding, I feel like I'm experiencing miracles on an almost daily basis anymore. Every time I read a book that makes me laugh, or have an ice cream cone on a nice evening with Toney, or meet someone with an impossibly fucked-up eccentricity, I get almost giddy. Maybe it's the mid-life crisis thing, feeling my mortality and all that, but I just can't get over the beauty of it all. Hell, the fact that I'm slowly edging towards full-blown pussydom even amazes me. Everything is just so kick-ass!

-- We went looking at sport utility vehicles this weekend. For some reason I have a wild hair up my ass (what does that mean, anyway... a hair up my ass??) to trade my little Toyota truck for something a bit more substantial. I want four-wheel drive, and something with enough balls to pull the small trailer we don't yet own. And I also want a vehicle that burns a lot of non-renewable fossil fuels, just to irritate people.

We took the bait of a full-page ad in Saturday's paper, for a dealership we weren't familiar with, and drove about twenty-five miles to check it out. The prices seemed really good, and they apparently had what we were looking for. But when we got there it turned out to be a "Buy Here - Pay Here" lot -- the kind of place where people on the run from federal authorities exchange cars. Many of the vehicles there, I'm sure, spent some time at the bottom of a lake, or wedged beneath the rear of a flatbed truck. We didn't even go in, and we could feel the stares of the work-release salesmen boring holes in our backs as we drove away.

Our second stop was a Ford dealership, a legitimate place of business where the cars most likely don't have blood stains in the trunks. They had two used Explorers, but they were really expensive and the salesman didn't go to any great lengths to make us feel like a deal within our prescribed parameters was even a remote possibility. Usually they'll throw their bodies across the exit so you can't leave, but this guy was completely cool with us just walking away. I got the feeling he hadn't yet found his true calling in life.

We headed for a Chevy dealership just a few miles from our house. We'd been all over northeastern Pennsylvania and were now shopping for cars in our own backyard. We should've started locally and worked our way outward, but what do we know? We're dum. Anyway, this may be the one. It's a '99 Blazer with 35,000 miles. It has power everything and looks absolutely perfect. There's not a flaw anywhere on it. I'll know something this afternoon. I'm being a bit of a hard-ass about the monthly payment, but they can make the deal if they want. The banks were closed on Saturday, so we couldn't get final numbers, but I made it clear to the guy that I wouldn't go one dollar over the amount I quoted him. He had a pained look on his face when we left, but it shouldn't be too much of a stretch for him to make it work; I'm not being completely unreasonable here. If not, I'll just keep looking.

-- It's nice to be in a position where I'm not desperate to get a car. I've been in that situation too many times in my life, and it feels good to have their balls in my hand instead of the other way around. I remember trying to make a deal with some guy, and the only down-payment I had was my worn-out Hyundai. We were standing there, my piece of shit parked on a small grade nearby, and I could actually see, out of the corner of my eye, a stream of motor oil making its way towards us as we talked. It leaked oil like mad. I had to keep a case in the trunk and pull over every few miles to pour more into the engine. It would go in the top and out the bottom with almost no delay. And I probably had a fourteen dollar net worth at the time. You don't really have a lot of leverage in that situation, and they raped me anally in celebration of the circumstances.

And once we were trading a car of Toney's and the engine exploded while they were appraising it. When an engine blows up in the dealership's garage it has a tendency to decrease the value a bit. So we've been on the other side plenty of times. Now's the time to savor the shoe finally being on the other foot. The fuckers.

And that's all I have time for today, boys and girls. There will be plenty to write about in the near future though (besides my Pulitzer going up in smoke, due to manifest dullness). We're preparing to start some home improvements -- I actually paid $225 for a screen door yesterday! -- and we're going to attempt much of it ourselves, if you can believe it. I'm going to try to pressure-wash our house and deck next week. Can you dig it? I'll probably knock out every window in the place, or the nozzle will fly out my hand and kill a neighbor. This should be good. Stay tuned.

June 14, 2002

-- I called my old office buddy Scott in Atlanta a few days ago, and he no longer works there. He got "the package," which is code for laid the fuck off. He's about the last hold-out from my days there, and now the door on that particular hunk of my life is pretty much closed. My Atlanta world no longer exists. If I walked through the old office now I wouldn't know anyone, except for a few humorless fucks that I never cared too much about anyway. For some reason it makes me sad; that group of people is supposed to be together, not scattered all over the city -- and especially not taking part in some fancy new group. They're supposed to be there, goddammit, whether they like it or not.

Scott's a classic. I've written about him before. He's older than me, but one of the horniest people I've ever met. He's completely obsessed with sex, to the point of it being almost sitcom-like. When the sales manager hired a woman upon whom God had been very generous, he was thrown into a sustained state of arousal that was more fun to watch than anything Hollywood could create. I remember him rushing into the office, all sweaty and flustered, dropping papers everywhere and barely able to speak, because he'd been walking behind the new secretary and had seen her bend over to pick up a piece of dropped mail. "That shit is correct!" he finally managed. I laughed for ten solid minutes.

And he added a phrase to my vocabulary that I still use to this day. He'd become literally angry whenever someone would stink up the men's room, and he'd sit at his desk railing about it for roughly five times longer than the situation warranted. He'd talk about all the bad fast food that people eat, because they're lazy and trashy, and how shit isn't supposed to smell that bad. Then he'd talk about how people should be ashamed of themselves if something like that came out of their bodies, and should flush after every turd, out of respect for their fellow man. (I'm not making this up.) Then he'd segue into how the person responsible probably has some kind of health problem, and then, inevitably, he'd deliver his immortal catch-phrase: "Somebody needs to see a physician!!" Not doctor, physician. Even now, whenever I enter a funky bathroom, those words leap from my mouth, almost involuntarily. "Woo! Somebody in here needs to see a physician!!"

I'll probably never talk to him again. His number is unlisted and I can't think of anyone who might know how to contact him. Maybe I can try to track him down at the porn shop where he works part-time? If I start calling all the jack shacks in Atlanta, one by one, and asking for Scott, I might find him by 2010.

Yeah, way too much trouble. The hell with him.

-- While we were in Cape May last weekend we had no choice but to put our dog Andy in a kennel for a couple of nights. The campground doesn't allow animals in their cabins, and we don't know anyone locally that we feel comfortable in asking to look after him. So, even though I knew it would be hard on him, we took him to doggie prison.

When we returned to pick him up, last Sunday, another family was there to retrieve their dog, so we hung back and waited. It was a woman with a strange accent, sort of a Queens, NY/Scandinavian combo, and three or four blonde-haired boys with tails in their hair. The kids were rambunctious and the bigger ones continuously pounded on the smaller ones. It was very frustrating, because somebody needed to step in and smack the shit out of the bigger kids, but the woman did nothing. She didn't know or care what they were doing to each other.

After the woman paid up, they gave her back the dog's food and play toys. She was handed a plastic sack, the size of a pillow case, half-full of dry dog food. Then another, containing more food of a slightly different color. She passed them to a couple of her criminals-in-training, who snatched them out of her hand and crashed through the door, presumably to their car. Then the cashier passed a length of battleship chain and what looked like a human pelvis across the counter, and she gave them to another of her tail-boys. What the hell?!

The cashier left, and a few minutes later we felt the walls shake and heard a deep snorting sound, like something you might encounter in a zoo. What in the honeybaked fuck?! I fully expected to see a rhinoceros come around the corner, but it was one of those big trailer park dogs: a pit bull or some shit. The thing was pulling at the chain like it was mentally damaged, and slobbering and honking. Fuck. I stepped back, and let the beast, and the three people hanging onto its chain, get past. Pictures were being knocked crooked on the walls as they struggled to keep him under control.

What is the attraction? I sincerely don't understand.

Andy was a basket-case. He wouldn't come to the woman who worked there, and Toney had to go back to coax him out of his cell. When he came out to the lobby he was all hunkered down and looking around frantically. When he saw me he apparently understood that his sentence was over, and he began yelping and leaping, like he was shitting a razor blade. When we got him to the car, we noticed that big hunks of his hair were falling out. Nerves. He's an absolute mess. Toney said we own the Woody Allen of dogs, and that's a pretty accurate description. It took him a full 24 hours to start acting like himself again. We'll never put him through such an ordeal again. He travels with us from now on.

-- I'm a little tardy with this, but here's this week's donut shop photo. Prepare to be dazzled.

-- Mark your calendar for September 3 folks, it's gonna be a big day!! My whole life has been pointing towards this moment.

-- And who wants to attend one of these classes, as a Surf Report correspondent? Do you have any frequent-flier miles, Rocky?

-- We still haven't heard anything back on our insurance exams last week. The woman showed up, right on time, and took my blood pressure (perfect!), made me step up on some scales ("You don't look that heavy," she said, which translates into "Shit, you're even fatter than I thought."), and measured my height (5'11'' and a half, but I tell everyone I'm six foot). Then she tied off my arm, like I'm a member of Blind Melon, and extracted blood. I didn't look, because I've been known to pass out. But she knew what she was doing, and I got through it without embarrassing myself.

After that much-dreaded task, she handed me a plastic cup with a lip in it like a pitcher, and told me to provide her a urine sample. I didn't know how much to give her. I didn't want to fill it to the top, with a big frothy head on it, or anything like that.  So I just gave her two fingers or so. She was sitting at our dining room table, with Toney, and she took my warm fluids and started casually pouring them into test tubes, while continuing to talk about a recent vacation or something. She was waving it all around without a care in the world, and I was standing there turning red in the face. Couldn't she be a little more discreet? Shit. Then she dropped a paper strip into the piss pitcher, let it sit there for thirty seconds or so, then fished it back out. "No sugar or protein!," she exclaimed. By the tone of her voice I assume it was a good news.

She put Toney through the same routine, but she told her she had "very nice urine," which made me a little jealous. "What's wrong with mine?" I wanted to ask her, "it's not like it's full of pulp or anything." But I was afraid she might decide to massage my prostate or something. I felt it was a little risky to rock the boat at that particular point.

We haven't received the results yet. I don't know how long it's supposed to take, but every day I check the mail for word on what they found swimming around in all that stuff. I'm as nervous as Andy, I swear to God.

And I think I'll stop right there; I better get to work. This weekend we're going to look at sport utility vehicles. I might trade my truck for something with four-wheel drive -- and something that could pull a trailer. The good news is that I don't have to do anything, unlike other times when I was desperate, so I can tell the obnoxious salesmen to go fuck themselves if I feel like it. I feel so empowered, like an ugly girl in a women's study program!

See ya on Monday.

June 11, 2002

On Saturday morning we got up and slurped coffee made with the pungent tap water from the bathroom of our little Beachcomber cabin, and plotted our first real day at Cape May. Except for an extended coughing jag, we hadn't yet heard anything from the Manson Family next door. I guess they were sleeping it off. But you got the feeling it was an extremely fragile silence, and wouldn't last.

After putting it off as long as I could, I finally hoisted my big ass out of the chair and began preparing for the thing I'd dreaded the most: the bathhouse. I slipped into the fancy pair of flip-flops Toney had purchased for me especially for this trip, and started getting my shit together. "What's that noise?", Toney wanted to know, and I realized it was my faggy shoes -- hissing. Every time I'd take a step they'd let out an extended sigh. Well that's just excellent. Where'd she get these things, Clown Outfitters? Fuck.

Luckily I had the bathhouse all to myself. There were no George Michael lookalikes in Wham! shorts or anything like that, so I was greatly relieved. It cost twenty-five cents for five minutes of hot water, which was a little annoying, but not the end of the world. I hurried and got it over with, afraid I'd have something all soaped up and the water would shut off, but it all worked out. While I was toweling off, inside my little individual shower stall, somebody came into the bathroom outside and ripped off four or five powerful bassoon farts in quick succession, then left. Apparently he'd come in there for that specific reason. I imagined him telling his wife, "I'm gonna walk down to the bathhouse and fart. I won't be long..."

The thing I quickly learned about Cape May is it ain't cheap. It felt like everywhere we went a vacuum hose would emerge from the floorboards and suck a little more cash out of my pocket. Shit. You can't even wash your ass without forfeiting some money. I tried not to bitch about every little thing like a crusty old man (we were on vacation, after all), but we were spending money -- seemingly on nothing. That kind of thing rubs me the wrong way.

We went to check out the lighthouse and got turned around somehow, and ended up on a beach where an old World War I shipwreck is still sticking out of the water. Kinda cool, but when we read up on it we found that the ship was constructed entirely of concrete!? Who could've thought that was a good idea? Did they make asphalt airplanes too? Weird.

We found the lighthouse and it cost five bucks each to climb to the top. The little old lady selling tickets launched into suggestive selling mode and tried to talk us into buying "discount" tickets for other touristy attractions around town. Irritating. The lighthouse was built in the 1860's I think, and has a 199-step spiral staircase inside. We started up and had a difficult time whenever we'd meet somebody on their way down. We'd have to put our back against the wall and inhale deeply so they could get past. It was a little claustrophobic, especially near the top where it was the most narrow. Finally we reached the top, and the view was pretty spectacular.

Inside the room where the light itself is housed there was a cool old guy there to answer questions. He was wearing a tie with lighthouses on it, and a keeper's cap, and was extremely enthusiastic. I talked to him for five minutes or so, and he was breaking out old photos and charts and things to illustrate his explanations. He was great! The guy was into that lighthouse, and I appreciated it.

When we finally made it back on safe ground we saw two extremely fat people at the ticket desk, and I practically shouted to Toney: "There ain't no way!! Give me my camera!" I mean these two weren't just a little chubby, they were sideshow fat. Both were sporting an elaborate network of fanny packs, camera bags, and purses, and each was huffing and puffing, apparently from the sheer exertion it required to mobilize themselves across a level floor. There was no way in hell they could climb to the top of that lighthouse! I wanted to stick around for the show, but Toney pulled me out of there before I could even snap a single photo.

As we walked to the beach I was incredulous. "I'm being served up comedy here on a platter, and you won't even allow me to grab the brass ring!!" I was hollering, completely beside myself with disappointment. "What if they get stuck up there, or what if one of them falls down the stairs?" I said, "It would be like Raiders of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford is running from the giant ball!" Shit. Maybe the lighthouse people pay them to occasionally climb to the top, to keep the inner walls clean? Maybe they're human pipe cleaners? A major missed opportunity!

The beach was cool. We walked around down there and checked out the old dilapidated WWII bunker, which was rather imposing and spooky. Supposedly during the war that thing was packed full of ammo and guns, to protect the American coastline. Several German submarines were sunk by men in that bunker, and now the thing's just slowly falling down. There was something a little creepy about it, that I couldn't really put my finger on. It must've been a strange time, living during World War II.

The rest of the day was spent walking around downtown Cape May, and checking out all the awesome old Victorian houses, and the scores of money-sucking businesses lining the streets. I've never seen so many bed and breakfast inns in my life. There must be hundreds of them. And almost all had No Vacancy signs hanging out front. Incredible. We made a mental note to return and stay a few nights in one of those kick-ass places at a later date. Yeah, it'll never happen.

I bought a Cape May coffee mug, like the Ugly American Tourist that I am, and some salt water taffy. I guess salt water taffy was invented there, when a candy maker's shop was flooded after a storm, or something. Sounds pretty horrifying; don't human placentas and wads of bloody gauze wash up on those beaches?! But whatever; the shit is good -- except for the tan ones. Stay away from the tan taffy, it tastes like a human ass.

We had expensive Maryland crab soup for lunch and it was really good too, then we decided to take another walk on the beach before returning to Spawn Ranch. Yep, it cost four bucks each to get onto that beach. It shouldn't have surprised me, but it did. I'm nearly forty and I've never had to pay cash to get onto a beach in my life! What a scam. But we did it (vacation, remember), and it was fun once my blood pressure finally worked its way back down to normal levels. It's a really nice beach, big and clean, so I guess it was worth it in the long run, but something ain't right about it.

When we arrived back at the Beachcomber our neighbors were in a full-on frenzy of drunken activity. The stereo blared: "I was gonna eat your pussy, but then I got high...", cigarettes bobbed and beer cans popped. Screaming kids ran all around and that goddamn screen door must've slammed a thousand times per hour. We busted out our Yuenglings and settled onto our screen porch for the evening. After a few beers it actually became semi-entertaining to watch. At one point a guy was screaming into a cell phone: fuckin' this and fuckin' that... it sounded like he was having a heated argument, but then he said, "Well, I just called to say hey," and hung up. The hell?!

And that's about it. That's our big trip to Cape May. After a quick thirty-dollar breakfast (thieving bastards) the next morning, we headed home. It was fun, and we'll probably go back. Heck, we may even stay at Beachcomber again. The place is nice and reasonably priced, and we couldn't get that "lucky" again with our neighbors, right? All in all we both came away from our trial camping run with a positive feeling. It was good.

More regular stuff in a couple of days... See ya soon.


June 10, 2002

As I've mentioned here many times, Toney and I have been considering submitting to the dubious cult of camping as a means of traveling on the cheap, and to consequently allow us as many experiences as possible before some major organ failure limits us to a life of Golden Girls reruns, TV trays, and a Tupperware prescription organizer. At least that's been the ongoing plan, in the abstract. So, our trip to Cape May this weekend was designed as a trial run in a strange new world.

Toney booked us at a place called Beachcomber Camping Resort, which received a five-star rating from Woodall's (yes, Woodall's goddamnit... get off my back). Two hundred nineteen miles from our house, according to Mapquest, so we were looking at, what?, three hours on the road? Not bad. A casual little jaunt to the shore. I like saying "shore." It sounds so aristocratic. It's the frickin' beach where I'm from, so "shore" makes me feel a little sporty. Anyway, the casual drive turned out to be anything but casual. We got bogged down in a Philadelphia cluster-fuck of cars that I didn't believe could be resolved. At one point I was convinced some person not even born yet would eventually find scores of skeletons strapped into metal boxes sitting in single file for miles and miles, and would stand there scratching his head in confusion. Our little trip ended up taking over five hours, and was nerve-wracking to boot. We passed several fresh wrecks along the way where people were obviously hurting badly, which is always frightening. People writhing on stretchers freaks me the fuck out.

But we finally made it, and I'd made a silent vow to not bitch about every little thing, so I was biting my lip when we passed through the gates. I was trying not to focus too much on the groups of junkies and scary-ass white trash/carnival workers we'd passed while driving through town. Fuck. What were we getting ourselves into?

But everything was better once we checked in at the Beachcomber. The place is huge, and obviously well-run. Kids and families in bathing suits were everywhere, zipping around on golf carts and walking about on foot. A playground with a giant concrete elephant in the middle was a beehive of activity, as was the swimming pool next to it. I got a good feeling immediately. They made me put down eighty-five dollars CASH as a security deposit, but I knew about that bullshit in advance so I didn't grumble too much. Then they gave us a map to our cabin, which didn't make any sense, so we were immediately lost.

The cabin looked pretty cool from the outside, with a big screened porch and everything, so we were getting pretty excited. When we pulled into the driveway and opened our doors we were immediately assaulted by very loud Afro-American style pop music originating from a couple doors down, but I remembered my vow and we went inside without any bitching. The inside was cool too. It reminded me of the sleeping quarters when I went away to camp as a kid. There was a bedroom and a tiny bathroom (no shower, just a sink and an airplane toilet), the main room had two bunk beds and a big open sitting area, and on the rear was a ladder leading up to a loft where more people could sleep, I suppose. Here's a picture of the inside of the cabin I snapped while hanging from the ladder.

As we carried in our stuff I noticed a shitload of dusty kids running all around, from the cabin next to ours to the campsite across the street, and back. Incredibly loud rap music was blasting from somewhere nearby and there was a lot of general hollering. On my second or third trip to the car I saw a fat woman with a cigarette dangling off her lips struggling with a huge log in her arms. "I want this log," she mumbled to nobody in particular, cig a-jumping as she spoke.

What the hell?! I felt like I was up some West Virginia holler.

Toney was getting upset, because we were apparently going to be camping next door to Squeaky Fromme and her family all weekend, and she fished out her cell phone and called the office to complain -- only minutes after arriving. Shit, I thought, these people are gonna know who's bitching, and they'll probably slash our tires in the night. After the phone call we went out for a walk and saw that our neighbors had a spread of liquor over there like something you might see on a cruise ship! It was unbelievable. They were obviously there to party, which made us even more discouraged. It was gonna be a long weekend.

On our walk we discovered that the rest of the place was quiet and sane; there was only one pocket of trashiness and our bed was situated right in the middle of it. It was 99% Norman Rockwell 1% Spahn Ranch, and I guess we got "lucky."

The matriarch of the group was the woman with the log, and she reminded me of Divine. She was a raspy-voiced broad, with God knows how many dirty kids in tow. And they knew the people across the street, and the folks in the cabin next door to them. They may have all come there as a group, but I'm not sure. Everyone had cigarettes surgically attached to their lips and the men were outfitted with muscle shirts and Coors Lite cans, while the women had unfortunate teeth spacings and margaritas. There were loads of teenage girls too, and they looked semi-normal from a distance, but up close, whew! I guarantee even the thirteen year olds have had three times as many sex partners as I have. Rough.

A cross-eyed boy sat next to the campfire and repeatedly sprayed lighter fluid into it, causing frightening flare-ups.

When we got back from our walk one of the men was swinging a Civil War hatchet, trying to break up the log the woman had "found" (it was probably being used as a table at somebody else's camp), and Divine was in the middle of the street hollering curse words into a cell phone. A station wagon with the back window busted out was parked in the road, and kids were running all around and screaming. Fucking 2Pac or some shit was blasting at ear splitting level, screen doors were slamming over and over: WHAP!, and somebody was repeatedly revving the engine of beat-up old Ford pick-up. I think their stereo was equipped with karaoke capabilities too, because occasionally I'd hear someone's amplified voice chanting along with the profanities. One time when I walked past their cabin I think somebody yelled "kiss my ass" into the thing.

That's when I decided to end my six-month beer moratorium. I found a liquor store nearby and purchased twelve ice cold Yuengling lagers. There was simply no other way; the gods had spoken.

That night we cooked burgers on the grill, and built a campfire. I wanted to roast marshmallows, because I always loved it as a kid, but it wasn't exactly like I remembered... with a recording of an angry black man yelling "Die motherfucker, die!" in the background.

The next morning I walked out on the porch with a nice cup of coffee, ready to hear the birds chirping and smell the bacon frying, but was met instead by the sounds of somebody next door having a violent coughing fit. Ah, nature...

There's lots more, including a little sightseeing, but I'll have to continue it tomorrow. I'm all out of time here...

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, New Jersey has fallen!

June 6, 2002

-- I was out on my bike a few nights ago and a group of fourteen year old boys started riding in circles around me. One of them asked if my bike came from Toys R Us, which is apparently the funniest question a person can ask, because they all convulsed with laughter. “What?” I said, thoroughly confused. “It looks like your bike came from Toys R Us,” one of the little musty-smelling booger-machines repeated. “No, it came from a Target store in Georgia,” I replied, “Atlanta, Georgia.” They kept riding round and round, trying to be menacing. “Why’d you go to Georgia to buy a bike?” one of them sneered, and I told him they’re a lot cheaper down there. More silent circling. Eventually the one with the Osama bin Laden “Wanted Dead or Alive” t-shirt told me he’d built his bike. Then he held up his hands to show me how dirty they were. “Today?” I said. “Yeah,” he answered. Then they rode off, presumably to find someone more interesting to fuck with.

Back in my day we would’ve thrown apples at a fat man on a bicycle. Kids today just ain’t got no style…

-- Earlier in the week I came back from lunch and there was a message on my phone that said, “Hey cocksucker, call me. I’ve got something to tell you about the Stanley Cup.” At first I thought it was my boss taking it to the next level, but it was Mark Maynard.

Apparently the Stanley Cup, the actual Stanley Cup itself, is out on tour, and made a stop in Ann Arbor where Mark lives. He told me that somebody from the cup’s entourage came into his office and asked him if it would be a problem if they moved it into his lobby, in the event of rain. He gave them his blessing, and they went away. He said there was a mind-boggling crowd in the park across the street gathered to look at the 100 year old hockey trophy, complete with a guy in white gloves who would practically lunge at the thing with a cloth to wipe away fingerprints the second they’d appear. He said people were not only snapping photos of the cup, but also of its carrying case. Eventually, of course, it started to rain, so they moved the thing into Mark’s building.

I guess it was a zoo. They set the Stanley Cup up on a table, and the room was buzzing with security, the press, and hangers-on. The guy in white gloves was in a frenzy trying to wipe away the rain sprinkles that had actually touched the precious silver. Mark went back to his office and continued working for a few minutes, until he heard a loud crash, followed by frantic swearing.

He ran out of his office and saw a gang of people huddled around the Stanley Cup, which was now in the floor. The guy in the white gloves was cradling it in his arms, like a dying baby. They pushed people back and moved the trophy to an inner office, away from the press. Mark said he had to actually body-block a herd of reporters who were trying to get back to see what was going on. “What’s happened to the cup?!” they wanted to know.

When Mark walked into the backroom he saw the white-glove man trying to pry open the top of the thing, which was now collapsed in on itself. He was sweating and cursing, and in a general state of panic. Somebody mentioned that the base had sustained dings in the past, but nothing had ever happened to the "bowl" before. This was huge! Mark said he considered retrieving a camera from his office and snapping a few pictures, but he lost his nerve. Somebody told him later that he would've surely been beaten down if he'd tried such a stunt, so I guess his instincts were good.

Eventually they loaded the trophy back into its case and everyone left. I told Mark he needed to write all this stuff down for my site, but he indicated that that wasn't going to happen. Then he began pressuring me for my next Crimewave article.

And so it goes.

-- The insurance nurse is coming to our house tonight. Yes, a complete stranger is going to show up at our door and we're going to dutifully piss in a cup for her, then allow her to plunge needles into our arms. Perhaps I should ask for identification first? I'm gonna be a nervous wreck until the results come back on this thing. I'm convinced they'll find I'm in the beginning stages of hoof and mouth disease or that I can expect to start shedding my skin, like that guy from Blondie. "Mr. Kay, I've never seen this before, but you have absolutely no platelets in your blood. Mind if I show this to a few of my colleagues? This is simply fascinating!" "Mr. Kay, is there anyone in your immediate family who might be willing to give up half a liver?" "Mr. Kay have you ever been to the Congo?" Fuck.

-- Yesterday at work I walked to the cafeteria to get a cup of coffee and passed a conference room full of people sitting around a large table. Outside of the room was an easel with the words "Corporate Culture" written on it. The hell? When I got back to my office I asked the department secretary what it was all about (I don't work for these people, I just hang out in their building and make them feel resentful), and she said it's a class that managers have to take. I busted out laughing and said, "What do they teach you, ass-kissing and ball-nuzzling?! Back-stabbing and double-crossing? Do they show you how to pretend like you have the exact same interests as your boss -- if he's a wine snob, you're a wine snob..." I was on a roll, until I noticed she was staring at me like I was a big retarded man in the midst of a fit.

-- I got a form letter from my employer a few days ago telling me an E*Trade account had been set up in my name, where I could wheel and deal in stocks for some reduced cost. For whatever reason I went to the site and filled out all the necessary forms, which took about ten minutes. After I finished a big red screen popped up that said, "Yeah, right. Who do you think you are, dick cheese? Get off our website. We're very busy here." I was mildly shocked.

-- A WVSR Insider Tip: bookcloseouts now has all four Charles Portis reissues in-stock for around four dollars each. Portis is a comedy genius. Drop a few lousy bucks on Norwood and I guarantee it'll turn out to be one of your favorite books, and will remain with you forever. I'd go down to the crossroads and cut a deal to be able to write like Charles Portis. Good God.

-- We're off to Cape May tomorrow morning. Toney rented us some kind of "cabin" there, so this should be interesting. I think it's a trial run for our future camping endeavors. If I have to take a dump in front of Carl from Charlotte though, there's gonna be some black-belt bitching going on. We'll see. I'm sure it'll be fun. I'm looking forward to getting away for a few days and relaxing a bit. I'd like to take along a cooler full of Yuenglings, but I guess I won't, because of my alcoholism and all. And I won't have Internet access the whole time either, which makes me a little nervous. But I'm confident I'll be able to tap into some unknown reservoir of inner strength and see it through.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I'll be back on Monday.

June 3, 2002

-- Something's going on with our dog Andy. He's become detached and dark. He stays to himself a lot, and seems generally aloof. I'm worried about him. I've never seen a dog brood before; he's like Dylan McKay now. It wouldn't surprise me if he starts smoking soon. First he apparently goes on strike and stops shitting, now this. I wonder if he's using drugs? In the past he would be right there when we returned from some outing, tail a-wagging and a big ol' smile on his face, but now we have to go looking for him. The last few times we've found him curled up in the bunker, fast asleep. I accused him of looking up cuts of meat on the internet, but he just walked away. That's not the way dogs act, it's the way cats act. What the heck's going on with this crazy hound? What could possibly be troubling him? He has the life of a flipping king! What's his beef? Should I take him to a pet psychic? Maybe he needs a brother to play with? I don't know, but it's very troubling. Whenever I'm around him these days I get the urge to throw on some Billie Holiday records.

-- This is gonna be brief because we didn't do much this weekend... I was at work until 9:30 Friday night, shoveling bullshit, busting my ass to move the pile from one spot to another. I've just about had it with that place. If it wasn't for the money they send me twice a month, I really don't think I'd do it anymore. Twelve hour days just ain't conducive to the Jeff Kay style of living. Know what I'm saying? And the stress and worry doesn't help either. Another week like the last one will surely punch a few holes in my stomach. I lost the friggin' lining last Tuesday or Wednesday and now the integrity of the whole bitch is in jeopardy. I'm thinking about slugging somebody in the mouth today, to see if that helps any. I don't have anyone specific in mind, I just want to knock somebody's teeth out. I'll let you know how it goes.

-- Yesterday Toney and I resumed our habit of attending open houses for homes we have absolutely no intentions of buying. The first was priced at $139,900 and was fairly nice, if a bit old-people smelling. Old people don't live there though, it just smells like they do. There were toys scattered about, and in the living room was a gigantic framed caricature hanging on the wall, presumably of the owners of the house. It showed their bulbous cartoon heads sitting atop tiny bodies in wedding clothes, and the words Just Married written off to one side. Absolutely hideous. Those things rank right up there with faux Old West photos, or pictures taken alongside cardboard cutouts of The Terminator. And it's one thing to have it hanging in an office or something -- but in the middle of the living room wall?! An obvious character flaw. But except for that minor irritation it was a pretty nice house, possibly even underpriced.

Our second stop was listed at $379,000, and for some reason I liked it much better than the first place. It was next-door to the house with the jars of human heads in the basement that I mentioned a few weeks ago, in a very upscale neighborhood. I always feel like the real estate agents look at us like we're wearing a parka of turds when we go to one of these mansions, but what do I care? Fuck 'em. This place had four bedrooms and three or four bathrooms, an in-ground pool, a huge kitchen with an island in the middle, a family room that looked like a ski lodge, etc. etc. Simply incredible. But guess what was hanging on the wall of the living room? That's right, a caricature!! I'm not kidding. It looked almost exactly like the other one, big as all hell and hanging right out in the open! Bad taste obviously doesn't discriminate based on annual income. I mean, what the fuck?! Why don't these people just go all the way and get a computer-generated mass of fucked-upness you stare at and eventually get to see a three-dimensional dinosaur? Why stop at the caricatures?

I was a bit shaken, but what we found upstairs moved beyond bad taste to full-blown obnoxiousness. The guy is obviously a doctor because he has a five foot stethoscope mounted on the wall of his office. Also his six or eight diplomas mention neck and head surgery, so I think it's safe to say he doesn't work for Stanley Steemer. But that's not the part I objected to -- it was the elaborately framed uncut sheet of dollar bills hanging over his desk! Is that not disgusting? I felt like leaving a hazelnut-scented urine sample in his pencil holder. The fucker. I could picture him sitting there, staring at his wall of cash and strokin' the tiny penis that drove him to all this in the first place. I mean, I'm not one of those class-envy people like my mother-in-law; the guy obviously worked hard for what he has, and deserves everything he can get, but don't be obscene about it. Ya know?

Also, there was a small turdlet floating in the toilet of the master bathroom. I have no doubt he left it there especially for me. Diabolical.

-- After our mini house tour, we went to Manning's Ice Cream for a cone. Manning's is a big dairy in the area and they have a few hole-in-the-wall ice cream shops around town -- and they rock the frickin' house. I'm doing pretty well in my ass-reduction campaign but my one weakness is Manning's. I want to go there every day! Toney has to keep me reigned in. I mean, it's the best ice cream ever, in the history of the world! Anyway, we went in there and they have a continuously changing roster of flavors to choose from, and I noticed one of the new ones is something called Barnyard Gravy! What in the holy hell?! That sounds like something you try to avoid stepping in, not something you want to sit on a park bench and savor. I tried to talk Toney into ordering it, but she wouldn't cooperate. Maybe next time. I'll keep working on her.

Toney tries different flavors every time we go there but I always get Oreo. We always have the same conversation after we leave. She doesn't understand why I'm not more adventurous, and I always remind her that once you've had the best, what's the point of risking disappointment? "I've found what I'm looking for," I always say, "...if Bono tried this stuff he'd never have to sing that song again." It's always the same conversation.

The only thing that bothers me about Manning's is the teenagers who work there always call me sir. That makes me sad. I feel more of a connection to them than I would at a city council meeting or something like that. But I probably look like Bob Dole to them. It's very disheartening.

-- After we left the ice cream shop we were driving through our neighborhood and Toney suddenly screamed, "Oh no, it's that Mary Kay woman! Keep driving!!" I saw somebody a few yards ahead sweeping off her sidewalk, and we zipped right past. Toney acted like she was deeply interested in something in the complete opposite direction as we passed, and I busted out laughing. "What did you think she was going to do?," I said, "throw herself on the hood if you made eye contact?" "You don't know this woman," she answered. I had visions of her pressed against our windshield screaming about medicated hand creams as I whipped the wheel back and forth, trying to throw her off. Hilarious.

-- Toney found this in the Sunday paper. Maybe this is what Andy needs?

-- And this is what I found in the Sunday paper: further evidence that I should've taken my life in a different direction. I could've been a sensation on the fashion runways of Europe!

-- The donut shop workers are obviously unionized, but it's coming along slowly but surely...

-- And finally, did I mention that Howard Stern talked about this site on the air recently? At least that's what I've been told. I guess it was around the time Mike Piazza called his bizarre little press conference and outed himself as a heterosexual, and Howard mentioned The Paycheck on his show. How cool is that? I wish I knew what he said...

And that'll do it for today, folks. Party on.

                     

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