Thursday, January 26, 2006

24 Hours With Sid

They say that sometimes you can’t change a behavior until you’ve hit rock bottom. I hit rock bottom this week. We’re talking in the gutter, wearing your own puke rock bottom. That’s right… I caught myself watching Skating With Celebrities this week. I didn’t mean to watch it, and I’m blaming it on Mrs. F’er. I take that back, as I need to take responsibility for my own behavior. Here’s my story….

It all started with Super Bowl XXXIX – that’s 39 for all you that didn’t take Roman in high school or haven’t dated a big, strong gladiator like me. After the game last year, Fox decided to show the two-hour season premiere of XXIV (24). I didn’t see the first three seasons, but I finally decided to see what all the hype was about. Mrs. F’er looked on with disdain as I wiped the nacho cheese sauce from my chin and tuned in to my 12th consecutive hour of television that day. Desperate for some quality time with me, she reluctantly joined me on the couch and we introduced ourselves the men and women of CTU.

The show kept my interest for a few weeks after that, but I have the attention span of a gnat when it comes to most things and I slowly lost interest and focused my attention on more important activities such as tie-dying my underwear. However, guess who kept watching? That’s right, Mrs. F’er. At first I was amused, but then the Kiefer Sutherland screen savers started showing up on the computer. Then the posters and calendars began covering the house. The fan club membership including the honorary CTU badge and Chloe decoder necklace arrived in the mail. I went out of town one week last summer for work, and I’m pretty sure she spent 72 straight hours watching Seasons 1 – 3 on DVD, stopping only to check the Kiefer fan sites for updated photo galleries at the top of each hour.

That brings us to 2006. I suffered the physical abuse of being placed into a suffocating headlock after talking during the previews of the upcoming season. Needless to say, both televisions in our home were tuned into the season premiere, just in case one experienced an untimely malfunction. Desperate for some quality time with Mrs. F’er, I reluctantly joined her on the couch and tried to keep my mouth shut. It didn’t matter since I lost interest after about 23 minutes into the 1,440 scheduled. I found other important activities such as converting Neil Diamond lyrics into Morse code to amuse myself and avoid subsequent suffocating headlocks.

That brings us to last week. The tables are turned and Mrs. F’er has business out of town and leaves me alone at the house for a week. I’m pretty sure I spent 72 straight hours eating cans of cake frosting, stopping only to pray for a Growing Pains reunion show featuring Kirk Cameron since a Growing Pains reunion that doesn’t include Kirk cannot in good conscience call itself a reunion show. But I digress. Mrs. F’er called to interrupt the frosting binge and ask a small favor. It seems that her return flight happened to be scheduled during this week’s broadcast of 24 and she needed somebody to tape it. Ouch, bad planning, babe. I recognized my superior bargaining position and asked what it was worth to her, hoping that she would agree to a threesome with the brunette girl at the sunglasses store that looks like a younger Charlize Theron. Unfortunately, it was actually worth her not expending the energy of putting me in another suffocating headlock. So I grabbed a videotape and tried to figure out how to program the VCR since I’m 78 years old and nobody born before 1950 knows how to work them. Not wanting to risk screwing it up, I decided the best course of action would be to just turn on the damn TV, put the tape in, and hit the button that said “RECORD” in large red letters. The only remaining challenge was that whole crazy time zone issue, which caused me to turn on the damn TV one hour early. There I was greeted not by my nemesis Kiefer Sutherland, but by an extremely gay Scott Hamilton and the cast of Skating With Celebrities. Somehow I was instantly transfixed. I could not turn it off. I waited to learn the premise of the show and waited to see what would happen next. And I’ll review what happened in my next post.

Just so you aren’t left totally hanging, I did successfully record the said episode of 24. I was rewarded for my completing my challenge, but I still can’t figure out why she kept calling me Jack…

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sid Sweet Home

Believe it or not, the firm I work for convinces people to employ my services at what I’m convinced is an unconscionable rate. I know hookers that charge less than I do. Sure, their spreadsheets aren’t as pretty as mine, but I never thought my work would demand higher rates than poontang. But I shamefully digress.

A client in Chicago wanted to have a meeting, but the guy in our Chicago office that should be handling it is busy attending a soybean festival or something in Decatur that day. Since I have had the unique experience of having dated a girl from Decatur, Illinois and a girl from Decatur, Texas I was chosen as most qualified to take his place. The client balks at paying my travel expenses, thinking that I travel in a private jet flown by Buzz Aldrin and eat at exclusive restaurants featuring unicorn steaks served by Oscar winners (not including Michael Moore), while subletting Oprah’s condo for accommodations. Finally, it’s agreed that he’ll cover my travel expenses if I go via covered wagon, don’t bill him for my travel time, only eat rice cakes, and share a sleeping bag with the dude in the alley who thinks he’s Leif Garrett. Who knows, maybe it really is Leif Garrett. As usual, I’m already beaten down before I even book my ticket, but then I’m told it’s a Friday afternoon meeting. Normally this would be a bad thing, but with family in Chicago I can stick around for the weekend and satisfy familial obligations with no added cost. I book my return trip for Sunday and ask my sainted mother if she can remove the meth addicts boarding in my old room for the weekend, and the plan is in place.

I roll out of bed around 4:30 a.m. Friday morning so I can catch the first flight of the day to Chicago 802 miles away, because soybean boy can’t walk down the street a few blocks. Then I hop the train at the airport for the quick trip downtown. Rather uneventful except for the babe that got on at the Jefferson Park stop. She appeared to be a cross between my favorite CNN Headline News anchor Robin Meade and a yet to be identified Latina porn star. I offered her $50 to read me the headlines in a sexy voice, but instead just got gouged in the eye for free. I behaved myself the rest of the trip, dutifully exited at Washington and walked the 4 blocks to our Chicago office. Soybean boy had failed to tell his staff that I was coming, so when I walked in with my duffel bag they assumed I was a homeless guy that got past security and gouged my other eye before I could introduce myself. Eventually, my eyes quit tearing, I got the files I needed and was ahead of schedule, so I called our client to see if he wanted to have lunch before the official meeting. He already had plans, but invited me along so I braved the cold winds and made my way to his office. I was standing on the corner across the street from his office waiting for the light to change when I noticed a sign that said “Sears Tower Parking.” I didn’t realize it, but I had been standing within 25 feet of the Sears Tower. That’s not as oblivious as it sounds. Pretend you’re standing on the corner and Marty Casey walks up next to you. You would obviously recognize the boy, tell him you’re a fan, maybe take a picture with your camera phone, and try not to fart. But suppose Marty was 1200 feet tall. You might walk right up to that giant shoe and not realize you’re standing next to him. You might even fart, and then he would step on you like a smoldering cigarette butt and you wouldn’t even get a photo of his instep. But I digress.

I finally met up with the client and we strolled back over the Sears Tower and had lunch at some Italian place, and I didn’t get either eye gouged although there was a close call with a rampant breadstick.

We returned to his office, where we managed to stretch the meeting out to about 90 minutes after which I was dismissed for the weekend. Glad I could help.

My next assignment was to meet Mom at the train station where we would ride together out to the wild west suburbs and on to my sister’s house for a family dinner. About 12 of my relatives gathered there, but I think they really just showed up for the pizza. Then we celebrated my birthday 9 months late (or 3 months early) because my 2-1/2 year old niece likes cake and birthday parties. I also got to meet my 6 month old nephew for the first time, which is always uncomfortable since I don’t have any kids and have never been around babies. Surprisingly, he didn’t answer when I said, “Hey, Joe, what’s up?” He just made a weird face and spit up on my shoulder. I thought that might relieve me of baby duty, but they forced us to continue bonding. I told him about my meeting and he appeared to question why we didn’t take advantage of modern telecommunications to work more efficiently. I briefly explained the benefits of face-to-face client contact and the nuances that can be lost if one relies too heavily on technology. He nodded in agreement and spit up on my other shoulder.

The next morning I hotwired my mom’s car and met my uncles for breakfast. Nobody spit up on each other, so I guess it was a success. Back at mom’s house, I spent the afternoon rewiring the cables behind her upstairs television. To make it more interesting I pretended I was defusing a bomb in some blockbuster TV show and if I made the wrong connection it would set off a string of deadly explosions and the terrorists would win. Eventually, I successfully accessed the Lifetime channel, wiped the sweat from my brow and was the new household hero. As a reward, I was fed a nice Italian beef sandwich from the hot dog joint down the street since you can’t get those in Dallas. I think you need some sort of special permit in Texas to open a restaurant that doesn’t serve exclusively BBQ and they only issue 2 of them in election years.

Since everybody thinks kids are cute, I was offered the opportunity to babysit that evening but I was running out of clean shirts. Fortunately my uncle and cousin took me out to shoot some pool. I warned them that I took a billiards class in college, but they didn’t seem to care. I even confessed that I got a B in the class, which is technically “above average” but it still didn’t shake their confidence. After we got kicked out of a couple bars since my cousin is still technically underage, we finally found a table in the lounge at the local bowling alley where they didn’t seem to care as long as you weren't vomiting in the ashtrays. As if it made a difference, we tried to find a cue stick that wasn’t as warped as your typical reality show star and racked them up. We must have appeared racist because the only ball we were pocketing seemed to be the white one. Eventually, some other players showed up to put us out of our misery and we retreated back to mothering bosom of their home for some poker.

I was never a big card player and have resisted the latest poker craze, instead waiting patiently for the Old Maid craze to begin. And waiting. And waiting. But I digress. We added another cousin and a couple friends and suddenly had a game. They briefed me on the house rules, which included no eye gouging, thankfully. Turns out that Lady Luck was in my pants that night and I won the first round and pocketed $20 in winnings. We played another round and I got my ass kicked, but was still up $15 big ones. Apparently Lady Luck had left me to go watch SNL in the other room or something.

Next morning, Mom bought me breakfast because I think she’s under the impression that I’m still making minimum wage and my wife is selling Chiclets downtown to help pay for food. We stopped by my sister’s again, where my niece presented me with a gift of colored sand in a small bottle. I asked her what the hell I was supposed to do with it, and she replied, “Screw you, Uncle Sid,” and wiped a glob of non-toxic paste in my hair. Actually, I graciously accepted her gift and carefully packed it in my carry-on, waiting for airport security to grill me about the unidentified chemical reagents in my bag. Then I remembered they would be easily distracted by my nail clippers and allow me to breeze through.

My bottles of sand and I made it safely home that day, and they’re proudly displayed on our mantel right next to my 5th grade bowling trophy. The End.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sid, Neve & Gliz - Torino 2006

Crap. I’ve been alerted by Neve and Gliz that the Winter Olympics begin next month and I haven’t even started training yet. Neve and Gliz are the official mascots of the 2006 games. Neve is supposed to be a “soft, friendly and elegant snowball” but really appears to be a cross between Lemonhead and the Cingular Wireless logo. Gliz claims to be a “lively and playful ice cube” that is obviously a hybrid of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and the AOL guy. Some Portuguese artist actually won the competition with those drawings, but I allege it was fixed and demand that the judging panel be drug tested. But I digress.

It’s not looking like I’ll be there for the opening ceremonies in 2006, but maybe it’s for the best. You see, I’m a dirty two-timing bastard. I’ll explain in a minute.

Way back in the old days when the athletes were still wearing fur togas and participating in primitive events like the icicle toss and the hardest nipple competion, Moist Rub and I were sitting around watching Olympic coverage. It was that or attempt some Theoretical and Applied Mechanics homework. Being the patriotic type, I donned my red, white and blue skin suit and dutifully tuned into the proceedings. Seeing as my career in engineering wasn’t working out as planned, I considered life as an Olympic athlete and began to peruse the events.

Downhill: I have the feeling that these guys get all the chicks. While this aspect intrigued me, I realized that I really didn’t have a chance competing against an Austrian guy whose mother gave birth to him on a chairlift and who completed his first run before the umbilical cord was cut. So all alpine events are out. Alpine events include any events in which gravity will likely kill me while trying to chase down guys named Franz. I went skiing last year and my 62 year old instructor suggested I stick to snow angels while she worked with Mrs. F’er. Just as I had swept out a perfect angel, they both came skidding in and covered me and my angel in a pile of fresh powder, laughed, and then went to drink hot chocolate at the chateau with some charming studs with French accents.

Freestyle: The Winter Olympic Committee was having a breakfast meeting trying to figure out how to increase the ratings, when one of them glanced over at the Wheaties and noticed a gymnast on the box. “Those gymnasts always get all the attention!” he declared, and vowed to bring the acrobatic grace to the slopes. Unfortunately, the dope smoking slackers that signed up for the freestyle skiing competition weren’t nearly as endearing as the diminutive pixies of the mats. I think I could handle the dope smoking part, but I’m not sure I could land on my feet while altered. Better not take any chances.

Ski Jumping: Face planting into the side of a mountain is pretty low on my list of things to do before I die. Also pretty low on my list of ways to die. I need to update that list. Each year a few additional ways occur to me and they must be properly ranked. That way people can consult the list after my demise and decide how much to grieve. If someone tries to tell Mrs. F’er, “That’s the way he would have wanted to go,” she can just pull out the list to confirm and punch them in the nose as needed.

Cross Country: Eliminates the threat of gravity, but seems too much like jogging in really crappy weather. I don’t even like jogging in nice weather. I don’t even like jogging on a treadmill in a temperature controlled health club with a cold bottle of water by my side while watching Full House reruns on a color TV in the corner. I did a 10k once that was part of the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth. If you go slow enough, stop for all the water breaks, and take a couple cigarette breaks you can finish about the same time the first marathon runners are coming in and people will mistake you for one of them. At least they might if you aren’t wearing a velvet track suit and Princess Reeboks. I don’t care how bad my country needs me, I’m not signing up for this event.

Nordic Combined: A combination of ski jumping and cross country. Weren’t you listening when I said I’m not doing cross country? Or face planting into the Alps?

Biathlon: Combines cross country skiing with… I told you I’m not doing… wait, what did you say….? I get to shoot stuff? Like bad guys? Wild turkeys? Just targets? Nevermind. See above. Besides, it’s probably a real pain in the ass to get your rifle past security on the flight to Italy, then you have to try to jam that and your skis into the overhead bin. Besides, I don’t think I’d like to participate in any event where the competitors carry artillery. I’m sure there are rules against capping the competition, but I just don’t want to take that chance.

I’ll be going snowboarding at the end of this month. If anyone is short of cash, meet me there with a digicam and I’m sure I’ll provide you some footage that will lock up first place on America’s Funniest Home Videos of Cute Babies, Hilarious Pets, and Stupid People Being Severely Injured. I have a fear of being tethered to stuff. I think it started when Greg Brady got hit in the head with his own surfboard after mistaking the dangerous Tiki idol as a good luck charm in Hawaii. Then I hit myself in the head with a racquetball racquet and became the first person to draw his own blood in that sport. So I’m not holding out hope that the Olympic Committee is going to be recruiting me anytime soon for this event.
Besides, I’m an old man and don’t know what the hell Jim McKay is talking about when he starts throwing down terms like whoops, waves, banks, kickers and spines during the half pipe competition. I thought that’s what they had to smoke before starting their run.

Figure Skating: Any activity that requires wearing sequins is not a sport, and I’m not wearing sequins. However, some of those skater chicks develop quite the little cupcake asses, so I might be talked into the pairs competition if you can hook me up with one of them hotties. But then there’s always the chance that a jealous Mrs. F’er will club me in the shin with a lead pipe and then I’d forever have to watch a clip of myself on television crying in an ice rink in my poofy sequin shirt. I’ll never live that down with my buddies down at the steel mill.

I’m not sure why Ice Dancing is in the Olympics, but if they’re going to include it they need to raise the difficultly level so that there are more crashes. Or maybe set themselves on fire. I heard they were going to eliminate this silly event, but then they saw the ratings for Dancing with Desperate Out-of-Work Stars and Skating with Fringe Celebs and decided “what the hell - those dumbass Americans will watch.”

Speed Skating: I almost joined a speed skating club one winter, but hockey looked like more fun. Then I got hit in the ankle with a puck and the speed skaters laughed at me while I sobbed in a snow bank. Bastards.

Ice Hockey
I don’t want to play any sport in which it’s considered a miracle if the US wins.
They added women’s hockey at some point, but I don’t think anyone noticed.

You know those guys at the gym that just do curls all the time and have huge biceps so they can wear tiny shirts and impress chicks, but never work out the rest of their body and have those skinny disproportionate legs? It’s not that I’m checking them out, but they crack me up. But I digress and it’s not that kind of curling. Olympiad curling is just like hockey except you can’t hit the other team, and instead of firing high speed shots at the other team’s goal while on skates, you just kind of walk around the ice in your loafers and play shuffleboard with a broom. Kind of looks like a janitor’s convention at an ice-age bowling alley. I’ll pass.

What we used to call sledding when we were kids. I painted “Rosebud” on the deck of my bad-ass sled, but none of the other kids got the reference. Dumbasses. Other kids showed up with the round plastic disc sleds that were fast, but had no steering mechanism and usually ended with a fiery crash into the monkey bars at the bottom of the hill. OK, so they weren’t fiery, but it wasn’t pretty. It ain’t pretty after the pretty leaves you ass up in the snow. The third class consisted of the poor kids that would raid the garbage of the more debt ridden families for the discarded boxes of large Christmas purchases and use the flattened boxes as makeshift sleds. Worked pretty well unless it was a wet snow which would leave one sitting dejectedly in a pile of wet pulp, until one of the disc riders knocked himself out and allowed his disc to be commandeered.

The skeleton competition is all about speed, so you have skinny guys in aerodynamic skin suits lying head-first upon a light-weight carbon cookie sheet attached to razor sharp speed skating blades going about 130 km/hr. That’s about 80 mph for those of you that never adopted the metric system. Kind of makes the Olympics a pain in the ass. The course appears to be a juiced up water slide at Wet n’ Wild except the water is frozen and instead splashing into a refreshing pool at the end, you crash into a sheet of ice if you screw up. The rough ice and friction shred your skin suit, burn off your skin and other necessary body tissues, leaving just a pile of bones; hence, the name skeleton. High penalty for failure, so I’m out.

Looks about the same as skeleton, except these wusses go down feet-first because they’re scared. Instead of medals, they should just give them chests to pin them on. Huh?

This incorporates the same Roid Rage Water Park that skeleton and luge use, but with a little more protection offered by the sled. This could work. All I needed was a teammate. I recruited Moist Rub and the US Bobsled Dream Team was formed. We would start our training right after happy hour next Friday. Surprisingly that didn’t work out, but the dream lived on as we attempted to build our own sled out of the plethora of emptied aluminum Stroh’s cans scattered amidst the house using only a staple gun and a psychology textbook. We never got to try it out, but it was probably for the best. I’m also thinking that there might have been some sort of issues concerning commercial endorsement. Not from the Olympic Committee but from Stroh’s for denigrating their brand.

A few years later (probably four, to be exact), LA Ray and I were sitting around watching Olympic coverage at the local tavern. It was that or get off our stools and play darts at the local tavern. LA Ray began to extol the greatness of curling. I was skeptical at first, but after careful thought I realized he was onto something. It doesn’t require much physical training. Low risk of death. Canadian chicks dig you. And you can probably drink beer while competing as long as you keep it hidden in a brown paper bag. That night the US Curling Dream Team was formed. We would order our brooms after happy hour next Friday. Surprisingly that didn’t work out, but the dream lived on.

To date, approximately three Olympiads have come and gone. Neither Moist Rub nor LA Ray has called, so my double dealing has not been exposed. But now I’m just afraid they’ve gone behind my back and have plans to form their own 2 man luge team. Sure it’s a little gay looking, but I just don’t like being left out. I hope the wife didn’t throw out the skin suit.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Improv Rub

So StivOO and I were walking around the city, looking for unexploded fireworks left over from Thanksgiving, and all of a sudden, we were at Piper’s Alley, the home of Second City. There, some weird lady, wearing an ironing board as pants and wire hangers for curlers in her hair, lured us in with a sign that said “Free Sex and Money”. StivOO and I made a pact to go for the money only because we would be able to pay for sex with it, which is always more fulfilling than getting sex for free. When we walked in, to our astonishment, there was neither free sex nor free money. Immediately, we were swooped upon and placed before an improv training recruitment officer. After twenty minutes of berating, spitting, bull whipping and orifice violating, StivOO and I had enrolled in the beginner’s level of improv training offered by Second City. That’s right, they wouldn’t let us in unless we violated some of their orifices, including light sockets.

Our first class was Thursday, January 5. Upon arriving, we received our official Second City Training Center Student ID card (pictured). As you can see, this card tells us that Second City does not have a graphic designer on staff, as a lemur with a lisp could have designed a more professional card. I would have expected at least a caricature of Steve Carell on it. My card expires March 5th. This way, if I’m no good, they can keep me out of their hallways after putting up with me for a mere two months. That is assuming my talent doesn’t earn me another card for the following session. And by talent, I mean two hundred and sixty dollars.

StivOO and I entered a windowless training room, which, as we learned later, also serves as the staging area for the Second City skybox stage. I spent the first ten minutes sniffing the carpet and walls hoping to get a wiff of Tina Fey sweat from years gone by. All I could sense were gallons of Rachel Dratch residue, which, I’ll admit, is funnier, but not as sweet smelling as Tina’s. Our instructor, Jackie, eventually showed up and told me to get my nose off the wall and have a seat.

Jackie entertained us with about fifteen minutes of introductory yak yak. Then she demanded that we partake in our first exercise. I don’t know how much actual improv we’ll end up doing in this class. I think it’s more wax on, wax off type training. Before we know it, we’ll know how to inflict karate on unsuspecting whale watchers. The exercise consisted of the eighteen of us trainees meandering around the room, making eye contact with others and saying “hi”. I, being the overachiever when convenient and easy, chose to say “hello” and “howdy, pardner” to some of my fellow classmates. They seemed to enjoy it and I can tell they really, really like me a lot. StivOO and I avoided each other, as we have made eye contact plenty of other times and have even said hello to each other on occasion. Next, Jackie expanded on that motif and told us to continue doing the promenade, but this time, introduce ourselves and provide a one sentence statement about ourselves. This is where I was thrown off, a little. I stuck to the rules, stating things like, “I have shoes”, “I get itchy when bowling”, and “I’ve never been eaten by an alligator.” Consequently, I rifled through the entire class. Classmates I met tried conversing with me, but the rule was to say one thing, so I turned my back on them right quick after their first comment. Then I noticed everybody was paired up and talking. That wasn’t the direction. We were only supposed to say one thing! And, Jackie did nothing to prevent it. So, I went back to sniffing the carpet until the next exercise commenced.

Next, we circled our blossoming improv chuck wagons. Jackie instructed us to shout out our names while accompanying it with a unique physical movement. She demonstrated by shouting her name and doing a karate type kick. We were to all repeat what she did, using her name and movement. So we did. People decided to follow the rules this time, if you can believe it, which was good because sniffing the carpet was starting to make me gag. Then, we began doing our own with the group repeating the name and movement. I screwed mine up. I attempted to do the Brady Bunch “Keep On” single knee kneel-down with the flamboyant arm circle, but it came out more like an around the world bowling move. I have never been more embarrassed the entire month. StivOO chose to go with the classic 213 Thumper move. I won’t describe it, but he did it wrong, too. I corrected it when it came around to me. We were both failing miserably as improv-ers. Jackie turned that ordeal into a game where one person would start with her/his own name and move and then say another persons name and do their move. That person would pick it up and lay it down to pass it to another person, and she told two friends, and they told two friends and so on and so on. I presume the intent was to get us to learn each other’s names and loosen up in the process. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think it worked so well since the only people's names I can remember are Crotch Grab, Nipple Tweak, Squat Kick and Take Your Leg Off (amputees are welcome at Second City, by the way).

Once that was over, we maintained our circle. It’s a symbol of unity and it promotes ensemble behavior, which is a cornerstone in improv communities. OK, I don't know what I'm talking about, but it may be correct. We did stay in the circle formation in order to play a game called Time to Start Sweating and Hurt Yourself. You may know this game by its other name, Kitty Wants a Corner. To play the game, one person starts in the middle of the circle. Jackie volunteered since the rest of us didn’t know how to play. The person in the middle of the circle, the Kitty, is supposed to go up to one of the people on the perimeter and say, “Kitty wants a corner.” The person spoken to was to instruct the Kitty to ask one of his/her next door neighbors and point to which one. Then the Kitty would go to the person next to the first person, as instructed, and ask the same question. The point here is to show how stupid cats are, since circles have no corners. Not in this dimension, anyway. While this was going on, the other people on the perimeter were supposed to be trying to make eye contact with each other. Once two people achieved that, they had to attempt to run across the circle and switch places. The Kitty’s goal was to usurp one of the switchers and commandeer an empty spot on the circle, causing a new Kitty. The people on the perimeter had no incentive to switch places, but that didn’t seem to matter. I guess the incentive was to try to screw over one of your fellow classmates by causing them to become Kitty. So much for the ensemble unity. This is where the sweating and injury came in. Cinderblock walls surrounded three quarters of the circle. In order to get to the opposite open space without crushing my skull, I had to accelerate and decelerate faster than a driver’s ed student on the first day. My metabolism didn’t like that very much, so I began to drip. My knee didn’t like that very much either, so I began to think, in between the intense pulses of pain surging underneath my knee cap, about having reconstructive surgery . My pain was eased when I later learned that StivOO twisted his ankle. What a dork. Old people shouldn’t play improv games. I never had to be Kitty, so I guess I won. It helps when you stop switching places halfway through the game because you’ve blacked out from trauma shock. Besides teaching us why cats are retarded, this game got our blood running and facilitated some incidental collisions and fondling, otherwise known as foreplay, further promoting the ensemble unity.

Finally, Jackie stopped the insanity with an endearing, “Game Over.” Before I could go take a shower, Jackie had us splitting up into pairs. I ended up with Ron, otherwise known as Belly Scratch with Tongue Out. He’s a fifty-year-old orchestra leader. Nice guy. StivOO, conveniently, ended up with one of the four women in the class. I’m sure it was coincidental and the fact that she has the body of a professional athlete (soccer player) had nothing to do with it. His partner was Erin, aka Put Your Leg Behind Your Head. This exercise was boring so I won’t get into it too much. It involved intensely examining your partner, turning around, closing your eyes, and turning back around to try to figure out why your partner’s zipper was undone and he was wearing a shoe on his head. I like to think I won that game, too, since I didn’t fall down and I stopped sweating. The fact that it wasn’t a game doesn’t matter. I won.

After a short break, we all took a seat around the room. Since we did such a fine job in the prior exercise, Jackie asked us to pair off again, where your partner was the person sitting next to you. As luck would have it, Erin was sitting next to StivOO. I was also sitting next to StivOO, but I was on the wrong side of him. Erin and StivOO were partners, again, amazingly. I turned to look to my left to find Richard, the ADD, attention-deprived, trust-funded, unemployed spaz sitting next to me. Also known as Point at Yourself. Our task was for one partner to listen while the other partner told her/his life story in five minutes. Then, the listening partner would summarize the life story to the class in one minute. After half the class’s stories were told, we switched and the listener in each pair got to tell his/her life story to the other. I finished recapping my life to Richard about a minute early. It’s not that there isn’t much to tell. I don’t pay attention all the time, so I’m not sure what happened in my life. Consequently, my story was pretty boring. Luckily, Richard lives in his own little world, and the class now thinks I co-starred with Mel Gibson in Braveheart, I’m a champion dart player and I make up two of the six children in my family. Richard was so all over the place with his story to me, it was hard to keep track. I ended up keying my portrayal of him on an incident in high school where he quit the wrestling team because a teammate was leering at his tallywacker in the shower. After living through that, I’m guessing anything else that happens to him is trivial. And then there was StivOO and Erin. Oh, they are both so cute and successful. They had a grand ole time relaying each other’s stories. It made me sick. Physically sick. I had to re-swallow some puke, I tell ya. Of course, StivOO brought up Marty, which brought about some interest from the class. However, there were only about three or four people in the class that were familiar with him. And it turns out Erin is the granddaughter of hall of fame baseball player, Red Schoendienst. Relatives of famous people, isn’t that cute? But the worst part was that StivOO had the numbskullity to tell Erin that he and I are friends and that I am the funniest person he knows. And, she remembered to tell this to the class. Thanks a lot, StivOO. Nothing like setting everybody’s expectations of me super high so they can scorn me when all I got is poo comments when we get to the improv stuff. I would have run right out of there if my knee hadn’t been swollen to the size of rutabega. Besides ruining my improv career, the point of that exercise, as far as I could tell, was to give a chance for people to brag about themselves through a proxy. I tried to brag, but my fireman coloring trophy in kindergarten didn’t seem to stand up to the Iron Man triathelete chemical engineer with an MBA, or the woman with five thousand college degrees writing a mystery novel, or the computer wizard dude who designed his own coding language when he was twelve and whose hobby is to use one hundred dollar bills as post it notes.

Jackie finally dismissed us. I put my head down and limped out. On the way back to my car, the spirit of John Candy appeared in front of me and said, “You should have gone with the One Handed Cartwheel instead of that weird bowling move.” It wasn’t a bowling move, John Candy, Mr. Dead Smarty Pants! This is going to be a long eight weeks.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Moist Rub Legal

As many of you may know, I am a high powered investor in the stock market. In fact, it comes so easy to me, and I’ve made so much gad durned money doing it, I’ve taken to investing in only one share at a time in order to even the playing field with the other investors. Sure, it’s difficult to earn money doing this, but I told you, I’m good, plus I have plenty of money left over from my soap opera days (You may remember me as the suave veterinarian, Dr. Dizzy Havaids, on "As the Chimp Yearns". It was a big hit in the late seventies/early eighties, riding the Every Which Way But Loose and BJ and the Bear anthropomorphic ape fad.) Recently, I found myself in a bit of a legal telephone pole climbing competition with some litigious gutter snipes from the shareholder service of a given company of which I owned one share. Apparently, over the years that I owned this share, the company was bought and sold a number of times. Eventually, supposedly since my one share was raking havoc on their books (but probably they feared my presence was a takeover threat) they asked me to cash out and pocket my $32.43. Since the stock price had not yet hit my sell point, I continued to hold. So, they sent me the stock certificate. And then they foolishly sent me an undeserved additional one. I filed both documents appropriately by placing them somewhere on my bar.

Time past, supposedly correspondences were sent to me, phone calls were made, parties where had utilizing my bar, things were spilled upon, information was learned and forgotten and forgotten again, and then sort of remembered, but not really, and maybe a deja vu here and there, and all of a sudden, I received a FINAL REQUEST letter, via Fed Ex, from some brie-eating, clean-shit-smelling pseudo-legal type fellow demanding that I return the ill-gotten stock certificate or they would kick me down and pester me with "herewith"s and "nisi prius"es until I caved. This irked me for two reasons. First, lawyers suck. Second, their FINAL REQUEST was the first I heard about this heinous matter. And third, (I lied, there are three reasons) it’s only one goddam share!

Below is the FINAL REQUEST letter I received from the corporate legal weasel. Below that is my response to him. My hope is that others can benefit from my experience, as I will be living in a shoe horn box in the street soon, unless justice (as if there is any for oppressed, little people like me) prevails.



November 23, 2005


Moist Rub
Some Huge Castle
Chicago, IL 60010

Re: Give us back our stock certificate, you sniveling little nobody

Dear Mr. Rub:

As indicated in prior correspondence, you were sent certificate #38393 for 1 share on or about September 2, 2005. You were not, in fact, entitled to the shares. To date, you have failed to respond to our requests for the return of certificate #38393. If you continue to fail to respond, we will have no alternative but to take legal action to recover funds that are the subject of this demand. Such legal action may include referral of this matter to a collection attorney or the filing of a lawsuit or both. We look forward to your response within sixty (60) days of the date of this letter. If you do not respond within that time, we reserve the right to take any legal action to which it is entitled under applicable law.

Please remit certificate #38393 to us in the enclosed, postage paid envelope (ed. note: remember this for later). Once we have received the certificate, we will release you from its claim.

Please forward that correspondence to Asswipe Shareholder Service, Personal/Confidential: Attn: Willie Fukyerass, Esq., 3rd cubicle on the right in the basement, Canton, MA 02021. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.


Willie Fukyerass
Assistant Counsel

Cc: Some other bitch that will sue you if I’m unsuccessful


January 2, 2006

Re: Blow me

Dear Mr. Fukyerass, Esq.,

I received your threatening letter regarding stock certificate #569857. Very nice. Asswipe Shareholder Service (ASS) screws up and may or may not have sent me something they shouldn’t have, and I’m the one that gets threatened with a law suit. This is such a wonderful legal system, undoubtedly built by frog-assed lawyers.

As you stated, I was "not, in fact, entitled to the shares." Then why did you send them to me, allegedly? As if I was "in theory" entitled to the shares. Or maybe I was "for Pete’s sake" entitled to the shares. Or, possibly, I might have been "assumed by a third party" entitled to the shares. I’m sorry. I don’t understand why you used the phrase "in fact" in that sentence. It seems extraneous - probably a pretentious lawyer thing. It does, however, insinuate that somehow I was at fault for allegedly receiving these shares (actually one share, but you used the plural, probably to cover your ass in case your company sent multiple shares, but you wouldn’t know that because nobody there knows what is actually going on, otherwise, none of this would have happened). It doesn’t sit well with me.

Let me revisit a point I made earlier. ASS screws up and then threatens to sue me. That is rich. Did I tell you I love this legal system? Speaking of screwing up, in the letter you sent me "VIA FEDERAL EXPRESS" (a letter that stated FINAL REQUEST, which was a relief to me at first because I thought, "great, maybe they’ll get off my back now.") you asked me to "remit certificate #84802 in the enclosed, postage paid envelope." But, there was no "postage paid envelope" enclosed. Imagine that. Yet another screw up. Or, maybe it was a lie. I’m pretty sure you lawyers have some law made up on the books to sue me for that, too.

To make things more clear for both of us, allow me to outline the situation as I see it.

1. ASS screws up.

2. ASS sends a FedEx letter, which I assume asks for the certificate back, but I never received the letter since FedEx doesn’t leave the letter at my door and expects me to take time from my regularly scheduled life to go pick it up because ASS screwed up in the first place.

3. It gets fuzzy after that because I stopped paying attention. ASS may have sent another letter via FedEx that I didn’t get because they would have sent it to my house on a weekday when I wouldn’t be home because I was at work, and they must have once again expected me to take time from my life to go fetch it, but I’m not sure. There were maybe a couple of phone messages left, too. I don’t remember, exactly. Feel free to sue me for not returning telephone calls. There’s gotta be a law against that, too.

4. I get the FINAL REQUEST because I happen to be home on a vacation day, and it pretty much ruined my New Year because I was worried about the big mean lawyers suing me because ASS screwed up. So, I let it fester in my head for about a month or so, because the lawyer guy said I had 60 days before they crush me. As if there is anything significant about 60 days as opposed to 59 or 61.31 days.

5. I waste more time of my life writing this silly letter because ASS screwed up and I’ll get sued because of it, which will undoubtedly waste more time from my life and dry up any cash I have laying around paying for other lawyers to fight the lawyers who represent the people who screwed up in the first place. But then the ASS lawyers will win, because my lawyers are probably no good since I don’t have a lot of money to pay them. So ASS wins the suit, but I have no money left to pay the settlement because my lawyers ripped me off, and ASS takes everything I own and forces me and my kids to live in the street picking the beards of bums hoping to find a discarded morsel of a crouton as sustenance.

Here’s the deal. Send me a postage paid envelope to my work address (below) as I’m there during the day. If you send it to my home address, and I’m not there, and FedEx expects me to come get it, forget about it. This fiasco has already wasted too much of my time here on Earth. But, this time, actually send the envelope. Don’t just brag about having sent it merely to impress the ladies in the Steno Pool. If I find the certificate, I’ll send it back. Honestly, I’m not really sure where it is or if I even have it. Sue me for being an unorganized slob. There’s gotta be laws about that - just ask my ex-wife. I know that you are still only an Esquire and probably haven’t memorized all of the laws yet, but if you look hard enough, I’m sure you can find a law to sue me for being a sloven, as well as other laws to get me for all the stuff I’ve written in this letter. If you plan on spending your life suing people, you had better cut your teeth on defenseless plebians like me who don’t really give a crap before you start knocking heads with the big boys.

Thank you for my time.

Moist Rub
Work Address: (withheld from blog, I don't want to drag you into this mess)

p.s. You have one hundred fifty-six (156) arbitrary days to do this, otherwise I may have to come up with threats to combat your threats regarding temporal restraints you placed on me.

p.p.s All of this for one lousy share. I hope your cases get bigger as time goes on so you can sue some real important people.

Rock Star Resolutions

Yep, that time again… new year’s resolutions. Seeing as I have already reached the pinnacle of personal achievement and success, I decided that my time would be spent more wisely helping others. So why not start with Marty Casey and our other friends from Rock Star: INXS. As usual, in order of not roitness:

Dana: Drop acid, attempt trip into the 21st century.

Wil: Refrain from using seductive gaze to create uncomfortable feelings in unsuspecting bloggers with no previous homosexual tendencies.

Neal: Eat cheeseburger, quit passing out from malnourishment.

Daphna: Stop wearing wedding dress to job interviews (and while singing Clash songs).

Heather: Continue to promote world harmony and unity by tattooing butterfly on ass.

Tara: Apply for job driving Zamboni at local rink. Save 10% of income toward down payment on own Zamboni.

Brandon: Quit pulling out acoustic guitar and breaking into a sing-a-long of “Sweet Home Alabama” anytime more than three people congregate. Learn chords to “Gimme Three Steps”.

Jessica: Have vagina lowered, push low rider jeans to new limits.

Deanna: Get divorce, go back to dating assholes, write hit album of Alanis Morissette inspired tunes.

Ty: Write letter to Mark Burnett proposing Rock Star: Thin Lizzy, put out kick ass performances week after week, accuse George Bush of not caring about black people if not victorious.

Jordis: Become more comfortable in front of camera by posing nude for art students at local community college.

Suzie: Quit wearing hat proclaiming self “Queen of the Menstrual Cycle” every time period starts.

MiG: Quit referring to penis as good friend Brian May from Queen.

Marty: Quit writing silly songs about trees and begin collaboration with Moist Rub.

JD: Return to school to finish PhD in neuroscience because while other students are learning about brains, I know them because I love them.