Thursday, December 29, 2005

Panic on the streets of Birmingham

I pride myself on my skills of making mix CDs. I don't think I could make a comprehensive list of all the people I've made one for (including tapes, of course) over the years, but to date, my favorite is for my friend A. I have made her three over the course of our friendship, but the best one I made for her 35th birthday, remixed ever so slightly to be more for me:

1) Close (to the Edit) by Art of Noise
2) Lo Boob Oscillator by Stereolab
3) Redemption Song performed by Joe Strummer
4) Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy
5) I Was In the House when the House Burned Down by Warren Zevon
6) Pepper by Butthole Surfers
7) Polyester Bride by Liz Phair
8) Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand by Primitive Radio Gods
9) When Yer 22 by Flaming Lips
10) Pink Moon performed by Walt Mink
11) Habanera from Carmen by Georges Bizet
12) Alabama Song performed by the Doors
13) In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry
14) Oh Carolina! by Shaggy
15) Salsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel
16) High and Dry by Radiohead
17) Question by the Old 97's
18) Atlantis by Donovan

Basically I replaced two songs, but it didn't interrupt the flow of the CD. I used to make myself a CD every year for my birthday, basically a collection of songs that I had been listening to for the last year, things I liked, things I thought were important at that time. Then I got a job working at Tower, and, well, there was just too much, and making double CD's for oneself seemed a little silly. I should get back into that habit, though, now that I'm all corporate again. Except, of course, that now that I've worked in a record store, I hate everything. Well, almost everything.

Anyways, I turned on my shuffle again this morning, and it hit on track two almost right away, so instead of posting the first 10 tracks or so, I thought I'd write about this CD.

Doesn't make much sense, does it?

I don't make much sense today. I got home yesterday with the insurmountable task of making my apartment look like I live like a pig. After all, I have an important guest this weekend and I'd like her to be comfortable in my apartment. The difficulty with my apartment is simple. I have lived there for 3 1/2 years. When I moved in, my roommate at the time owned, well, basically nothing. A bed, a desk, a small dresser, and a chair. Me, I had more than enough belongings to fill the rest of the space.

Fast forward to last spring, when said roommate closed on his condo and moved out. I had the option of staying in the place by myself, which I naturally could not practically afford, although I did for a painful ramen-eating month, or to find a new roommate. My best friend stepped up, got out of the apartment with a very bad roommate and moved in. The only problem? We both have enough furniture and belongings to fill my place.

I'm not trying to complain. I love living with J again. We are very symbiotic. She hates taking out the trash, I hate, as you well know, doing dishes. Solution? I take out the trash, she does the dishes. But we are so cluttered and on top of each other it looks a little silly. Efforts have been made to reduce the clutter, but with my crazy hectic lifestyle, I just don't have the time necessary to invest in such a project. Perhaps now that we're resetting the vacation time for a new calendar year, and providing that I don't get laid off, I should really consider spending the time.

Fuck it. I'm hiring a maid service. I'm too damn busy anyways. Enough about my skills as a DJ and my lack of skills as a housekeeper. I've got to keep awake this morning, and I'm doing a fairly shitty job of it. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

In progress.

I'm too busy writing pub quiz to post something of substance. Here's some fun stuff I've come across today:

First, the legal Canadian swingers clubs. Interesting. I wonder if Jack Ryan tried that spot out.

Second, and probably my personal favorite, the Star Wars dreidel.

Last, but certainly not least, Rest in Peace, Mr. Vargas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Yes, I'm bored.

Our overnight guy is a friend of mine, who told me I had to look up the Chronicles of Narnia Rap from SNL. Because this is the slowest day of the year in the financial world, I decided to check it out.

My review?


Can't help myself: shuffle meme part 846

Randomize is treating me well this morning:

1) Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot
2) Welcome by Land of the Loops
3) Where Does the Good Go by Tegan & Sara
4) La Nina de Puerta Obscura by Paco de Lucia
5) Eyeball Kid by Tom Waits
6) Texas Sun by the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash*
7) Devil's Haircut by Beck
8) Rock the Bronx by Black 47
9) Death or Glory by the Clash
10) Nashville by Liz Phair
11) South Australia by Gaelic Storm
12) Consequence Free by Great Big Sea
13) If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven by Johnny Cash
14) Breaking Bread by Johnny Cash
15) Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song) by Warren Zevon

*I just brought this CD in today- I thought I already had it here. Rockin'.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ever since I was a little boy

I don’t want no candy
I don’t need no toy

Ha ha.

I'm in a celebratory mood. Why? My company, which we weren't sure was going to give us bonuses, gave us bonuses today.

Honestly, I'm planning on running to my bank later to make sure the damn check clears, but I'm happy as can be right now, being quite a bit richer.

Makes me feel less guilty about spending the money I spent on myself, for my latest toy.

Synapse overload

My brain is working overtime this morning. Some free-form blogging ought to help me sort it out:

Last night, my friends, I did 90% of my holiday gift shopping. I know what you're thinking- "Dave? Holiday shopping? I figured an atheist grump like him would never do such a thing." Well, despite my convictions, I still live up to family expectations. Are my gifts wrapped in holiday-specific wrapping? No. But they're still there. Anyways, the point is this funny fact: last night, at Tower, my total, was $111.11. Kinda eerie, no?

Shopping there, by the way, takes about twice as long as anywhere else, as everybody who I worked with there wants to spend time catching up. I'm not complaining- not at all- especially since the customer service I get there is well above what most people get.

My good karma seemed completely used up this morning when I got to the train station, just in time to watch my train roll away, and noticed that I smelled food. As there are no restaurants on that particular block open at 6:08 in the morning, I sniffed around to discover my lunch container had opened. Juices and condensation from my lunch leaked into my bag, ruining a notebook and partially ruining the CD I bought for myself last night at Tower.

We keep running out of plastic spoons at work. This wouldn't be a problem, except that today we are also out of coffee cups, so I can't make myself my usual breakfast of oatmeal. I am hungry.

I tied a yellow ribbon 'round the old maple tree last night.

I can't remember who it was, but somebody sent the that mouse printer jam picture. Whoever it was, thanks.

More later, once the brain settles down a bit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I owe apologies!

To the following people:

L, one of my closest friends from high school. Her birthday was December 3rd.

L, one of my closest friends from college. Her birthday was the 10th.

And to Ceerock, who's birthday, if I recall, was Saturday. Next week, when I'm doing karaoke, I will call you when I sing Country Roads. My gift to you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I never realize it while it happens, but I got a far too early start on the day today. I even hit the snooze on both alarms twice. I just can't figure out where I really made up the time. I didn't shower or shave particularly quickly, but by the time they announced the Merchandise Mart stop, I looked at my watch and saw that it was 5:27 am. I still had two stops before I hopped off the train, and 33 minutes before I had to be at work.

So here I am, awake, at work, and getting ready to buckle down for some pub quiz action. I will pay for this later tonight, when I finish up my hosting duties. I should be a certified wreck by then.

I look forward to it, too.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My usual M.O.

On Mondays, I typically tell you all about my weekend, which is normally full of fun activities. Not this weekend. Too cold. Wasn't motivated.

I do, however, have groceries to last me the rest of the month, and laundry got done.

I feel somewhat accomplished.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Moments of humility

Here's one of them. My friend sent me this picture:

Supposedly, there are more than 70 band names in the picture. Here's what I've found so far:
Queen, B-52's, Prince, Matchbox 20, Smashing Pumpkins, Blind Melson, Lemonheads, Blur, Talking Heads, Eagles, Guns N Roses, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Black Flag, The Zombies, The Cars, Whitesnake, Gorillaz, Butthole Surfers, Alice in Chains, Green Day, Cowboy Junkies, and Radiohead.

Now, I worked in a record store for four years, had a radio show in college, and was a DJ for a while, but when the hell did I become so unhip? I got 24 out of 70? I suck, people. I suck.

Oh wait. I got one more. Pixies. I was wondering what they were doing with that. Nice.

Anyways. I used to be hip. Sometime in the past. What happened?

I hear noises

There's nothing like being an idiot and volunteering to be the guy who comes in at the unfortunate hour of 5:30 to work. The day after the company's holiday party, too.

I, dear reader, can be a real shithead from time to time.

For the first 40 minutes or so, I sat in the dark. It was nice. I played music. I checked the voicemail. I rolled my eyes at the messages. I wished I was back in bed.

I still wish I was back in bed.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Part II

Also, starting off my day, I had a wonderful dream.

I will say there was sex.
I will say that the sex was good.
I will not say who it was with.
I will say it was a good dream, though.

When it rains shit, it really rains shit.

I was having a moderately ok day until about an hour ago.

Ok meaning I was pissed at my landlord, angry with my nemesis customer, but it is payday and our holiday party is tonight, so I'll be rich and drinking on the company dime, so things aren't nearly as bad as they seem.

Then she e-mailed. Red. The last person I wanted to hear from. Ties were cut. Let them stay severed. What did she have to say? Nothing fresh. She just reinforced all the reasons that we shouldn't ever have been together in the first place, and she did it in 3 lines of text.

Amazing how life works, no?

Then, during a particularly busy part of our day, I pick up a line on hold. Who's there? None other than my nemesis customer. I was on the phone with this pigheaded, frustrating, asshole for 30 minutes. My co-workers were heard to say "I think Dave's going to lose it."

How close I came.

So, I went for a walk, deposited my paycheck, and I'm back.

We'll see how long I last. I can start drinking away today in 73 minutes. And counting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


What a lot of people don't know about me (not that this is a secret) is that during my first trip through the collegiate meatgrinder, I was a linguistics minor. One of the things I do, usually without noticing it, is observe people.

Today, as my modus operandi dictates, I took a cab to work. After telling my driver where I was going, he continued his phone conversation in Arabic. What struck me as odd was his codeswitching. Codeswitching, FYI, is changing languages while having a conversation. It can happen at any point in the conversation, even mid-sentence. He, whenever speaking about time or numbers, would codeswitch from Arabic to English. He went as far as to say half an hour in English instead of Arabic. I thought this was odd, but, being not that experiences with Middle Eastern languages, this could be the norm. Has anyone noticed anything similar? Am I missing a cultural norm? Just curious.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The highs and lows of the weekend.

High: getting in a nice workout on Saturday.
Low: stepping on the scale before said workout. I am not happy with those results.
High: at the Clark & Lake stop, I saw a collection of pigeons huddled under the heat lamps on the inner loop platform.
Low: see previous.
High: finally getting all my laundry done, cleaning my bathroom and cleaning Mia's box.
Low: spending my entire Saturday afternoon doing laundry, cleaning my bathroom and cleaning Mia's box.
High: surprise and impromptu backrubs from a pretty girl.
Low: pretty girl is too young for me and taken.
High: surprise visits from friends I haven't seen in ages, one of whom just finished their masters.

So, I came out ahead this weekend, which was nice. The only really, really bad thing to happen was this morning, I woke up with my internal alarm clock going off. My "get up and get to work" alarm went off a grand total of 4 hours 24 minutes before my actual alarm was set to go off. So there I was, wide awake at 12:36 in the morning. When did I finally get back to sleep?

Four in the fucking morning. Needless to say, I'm pretty tired right now and measurably pissed off at my internal alarm clock, which seems to be set for Reykjavik.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Sweet mystery of life, I've... finally... found... you?

I, somehow or another, belong to a couple dating sites. I don't really remember asking to be on them, but my guess is I saw someone pretty on the "Onion Personals" and wound up with a profile. I took a test over on Everything Jen(nifer) the other week and got stuck with another profile. Hm.

Here's the thing. All of the sudden, all these accounts that I haven't logged into for months are getting all kinds of hits. Suddenly, everyone wants to meet me.

It took me a minute or two to realize what was going on. No one likes to be alone over the holidays, even me. Hell, last year I went out with 3 women Xmas night. One punjabi, one jewish, one recovering catholic, and yours truly, the atheist. We got drunk together at a Mexican restaurant. Good margaritas.

New Year's is coming, too. People are looking for dates. Me? I've got a name penciled on my dance card, so for now, ladies of the Chicago area, see you next year.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

In Memoriam

I am wearing my Yellow Submarine tie today.

Takin' it up a notch.


Yesterday, despite being deliriously tired, I opted instead to walk up to the Jewel by my house and pick up my groceries. I didn't really opt for said task. I needed groceries. Out I went, facing the balmy 10 degree temperatures (-12 C) to trudge the 4 block walk to the store. "Crunch, crunch, crunch," my feet said.

Finally, on my arrival, I took off two or three pieces of my out layers of clothing. I beelined to the produce department to purchase my green pepper and onion, and while retrieving the little plastic bags, I was sidled. You see, on my way in, an older man made eye contact with me, not really leering at me, but definitely not a quick glance, either. I nodded a hello to be polite, then went about my shopping, lo and behold, the guy snuck right up on me and I damn near knocked him over as I turned to buy my veggies. I was rather surprised and a little pissed off that my personal space was violated. I also checked my pockets to make sure I still had my wallet. Paranoia strikes deep when I'm sleep deprived.

After trudging back to my house and warming up, I started cooking. I, culinary moron turned reasonably-able chef, cooked two meals simultaneously and had them both turn out rather well. Once finished, I packed up the leftovers and lunches I had made, and adjourned to the couch for a movie. My choice? Downfall, a movie I saw back in March. I enjoyed it the second time through, but alas, the overwhelming power of sleepiness conquered my consciousness, and I fell asleep.

Tonight, I plan on finishing the movie and getting back in the habit of not keeping my Netflix for 2 weeks at a time. After all, it is winter outside, so I should get used to spending some time on my couch with a good movie, right?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Slightly runny oatmeal

Not only is it what my brains feel like this morning (not hungover, but very, very tired), it is also what I had for breakfast. Needless to say, I am not going to make sense, please stand by.

It is December 7th, and I am already sick to death of the holidays. Bah, etc, etc. Just let me be.

I can resist anything but temptation and good conversation, which is partially why I am so damn tired today.

This morning downtown looked like a postcard. I liked it. Then I fell asleep while doing the Sudoku puzzle.

If Maria, new Canadian Citizen and all-around dynamic woman does make it to Chicago, she has a standing invitation for both buffalo wings and Mexican food. I, with my poor eating habits and penchant for ignoring medical advice, know more than enough places to fill a fortnight of eating wings for lunch and tacos for dinner.

Out of a habit that stems from growing up with 3 other guys with my first name all through grade school, I cannot, without discomfort, write down my first name without writing my last name. You'll notice this if you ever watch me write out a birthday card. The pen shakes after I finish the e.

Although my plans have not solidified, I can guarantee a kilt will be worn by me on New Year's Eve.

My father sent me this today. I nearly wet myself. Warning: there's a lot of swearing towards the end.

I once had a goal in mind of my blogroll including blogs representing every letter of the alphabet. Currently, I am missing H, I, J, K, X and Z. I should work on that.

I sign almost all of my e-mails with a lower-case d.

My favorite answers to last night's pub quiz were responses to the following question in the round of Pat Morita trivia:
9) Everyone remembers “Wax on, wax off.” Name 2 of the other 3 chores Morita has Daniel-san do in the first Karate Kid movie.

The best one, in my opinion, was by me, joking with my co-host: "Shave the coinpurse."

I'm going to pull a Costanza now, and try to take a nap under my desk.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Learning something new every day.

In my research for this week's gala pub quiz, I came across a site where you can enter your year of birth, and then see the most popular names given in the US that year. Wouldn't you know it, both my first and middle name are right there in the top 5.

I usually joke about having extremely common first and middle names, but an unusual last name, by saying that I have the two most popular names from the 70's. Surprisingly, the name John hasn't been the #1 most popular name for baby boys since 1923. Even I got that beat- #1 in 1960!

Anyways, I last made the joke when I was flying to Toronto in November. At the check-in counter, I handed my license and birth certificate to the attendant. She asked what the M stood for. "Michael," I said.

"That's what I was going to guess."

"It was the 70's, my parents just weren't that creative."

Check yours out.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I was right.

Last week, I told you that I believed that I had made the switch from party animal to former party animal. I also said that I might not make it all the way, as I had friends coming to town who are notorious for being party animals. The stars just weren't behind one of their trips, so they stayed in their respective city, the other, however, was here. So, let me recap the weekend, and we'll decide together whether or not I am still the party animal that I think I am.

Friday I went out with co-workers downtown to celebrate my co-workers eminent departure from our hallowed halls. During the day, one of our supervisors went to lunch, which included a game of Golden Tee. I, having spent so much time in bars over the last 13 years or so, have learned almost every bar room "sport" that there is. I am no slouch at pool, a fairly good dart player, a very good pinball player, and yes, a reasonably good player of Golden Tee. I remember living in NYC years ago, and going to this hole in a hole in a hole in the wall in Brooklyn with a buddy and playing GT 98 for hours.

Anyways, our supervisor wanted to play some more Golden Tee, and suggested a Pro (one of our platforms) vs Express (the platform I support) game. I backed up the bet, knowing that I have some skills, calling for a skins game with shots. This was acceptable to everyone. Fortunately for the Pro people, that bet didn't happen. Myself and Express co-worker B, who had never played before, whooped ass. Of course, my hole-in-one on the 17th probably helped.

After all that, I headed back home so I could sober up and make the show I was supposed to go to. Alas, I didn't make it. After an exhausting week and some power drinking, I stayed in, watched movies, and went to bed. By watched movies, I should say I attempted to watch movies. I put in Dead Man, the Jim Jarmusch Western. I've seen a few of his movies, but this one really bored the living shit out of me. I just couldn't get into it, and turned it off after about 45 minutes or so. So much for that.

Saturday, I had been asked to help my friend A move a big-screen TV from her mom's house to her house, which required quite a lot of physical work on my part, rewarded by a lovely breakfast and 3 pints of Guinness. It was myself, A, and her boyfriend I, who matched my Guinness intake. I had previously met him, but didn't have much of a chance to talk to him. He and I have quite a lot in common, so we hit if off spectacularly. He is a Psych professor and counselor, so we got to talking shop, including talking about lucid dreaming. It was nice to talk with someone so well versed in what I almost made my life's work, very refreshing.

I had intended on spending my Saturday afternoon grocery shopping and doing the ever-mounting pile of laundry. Needless to say, I didn't get these things done. I did, however, get to the Osco for some needed supplies. That's when my friend D called, letting me know she was on her way to pick me up to start our evening of drinking and debauchery. The time? 4:02 PM.

I stalled, as I needed a shower and was still at Osco. She picked me up at about 5:15, we were at the Irish Oak by 5:40. My fourth Guinness of the day was consumed by 6. This was the first of many. We were at the Oak for a couple hours, chatting with an old friend who was bartending, then left for the Nisei Lounge for some pool and to partake of one of the best jukeboxes in the city. We played pool for shots, and D and I won repeatedly, until, of course, the shots took their toll, after which we pretty much gave up.

D, by the way, it probably the prettiest girl I know. By prettiest, I mean, conventionally pretty. I find beauty in almost all women, but I have tastes that don't necessarily follow the norm. D is extremely attractive, with blonde hair and pretty blue eyes (what is it with me and blue eyes lately?). She has a very attractive body as well, and is usually the center of attention for every horny guy in any bar we go to. I like it, because I'm occasionally asked to play the jealous boyfriend and step in. I am not jealous, nor am I her boyfriend (aside from some serious flirting, kissing and random petting, we've never hooked up) but I'm happy to help out when necessary. I can also be pretty menacing when I need to be.

So, we partied there for a while, then went up to Gio's for some karaoke, the first time I've gone out for karaoke since I was partying Canadian style with Sass and the Redhead and her husband, the illustrious Accordion Guy (whose post of Scorched Earth made me so happy I could cry). A first happened. I had requests. Me. People asked me to sing specific songs. This is new. I kinda like it.

My set list included the following (but, as usual, is incomplete):
Stuck in the Middle with You by request.
Draggin' the Line with D.
Wish You Were Here for a certain someone on my mind.
Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash was requested of me, I chose the song, though.
I Wanna Be Sedated C introduced it as "this should be really fucking good..."
Every Rose Has Its Thorn by request to finish the night's karaoke.

I also sang with the KJ, C, and his roommate Y. We call ourselves DYC. We did at least 3 songs, but I can only remember doing Down on the Corner. I know we did a Journey song, but I can't remember which one.

Sunday, I woke up bright and early, and pissed that I didn't sleep in. I haven't stayed out that late in a while. I needed a shower, as I smelled like an ashtray from the previous night, and I went to the Globe for my football game, then headed home, did laundry, and camped out for the night, ending a fabu weekend of proving to myself that I am still, whether I like it or not, a party animal, just not as much as I used to be.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The switch.

I think that whatever it is that happens that turns the wild, party-animal types into the yeah, I don't think I'm that much of a party-animal type anymore type happened to me.

Suddenly I just wanted to stop. Perhaps it was the 4 shots of Jagermeister I told you about yesterday. Perhaps it was the weekend of drinking (ew) Miller Lite. Perhaps the cold that has dwindled to a very annoying, yet persisting cough did it. Perhaps I'm just getting older.

Perhaps this is only a temporary situation. After all, I have two friends coming into town this weekend who are rather heavy hitters, and I will be expected to bring my A game all weekend.

Have I really made the switch? Ask me on Monday.