Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What Makes The Perfect Weekend?

What makes the perfect weekend? For me the first ingredient has to be a destination. I need a goal or a focus; be it a destination or an activity. This past weekend I was traveling to Central Mass to spend a few days with my girlfriend Colleen. The second ingredient in a good weekend is an early start, if you do not get an early start I estimate that you lose more than a third of your weekend if you are not on the road by 8 o'clock in the morning.

Fortunately this Saturday found me up early and on the Mass Pike by 8 o'clock on the button. I was armed with a full tank of gas, a change of clothes and a mix CD designed for Colleen. As is my custom I preview any mix disc that I burn for friends, think of it as a quality control measure. As is my car's custom on any long trip the CD player began to skip like crazy. This more than anyother reason is why I want an iPod. I can not take the stress of a hour in the car with a skipping CD player, because there is no remedy. I have tried cleaning the discs and the player itself. and I have switched the discs, I have tried numerous inventive ways of inserting the disc, slowly, quickly, gently ect. The end result is always the same the disc skips and I am forced to drive my car gingerly.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

The problem with trying to drive anywhere gingerly at roughly 75 miles an hour is that it cannot be done, and it is exceedingly exasperating to attempt. Thankfully my CD player finally calmed down and I was able to drive like myself again and enjoy the trip to Colleen's house.

Colleen's house rocks. It is the coolest house into which I have ever been invited. For starters it is about as old as this country is and that gives it a sense of history. He family is just as cool as the house and they have always made me feel welcome there even though I am on my best behavior. Why am I on my best behavior? Because Colleen's house is chock full of cool stuff and I have ADD. That means the minute I walk through the door all I want to do is play with all of the cool stuff inside.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

So I try to be on my best behavior so that I do not break anything. I keep my hands to myself when I am there, I don't even touch the armrests on the couch. Sometimes this requires an enormous amount of will power on my part. Especially when I am watching a Lifetime channel movie with Colleen and only a few feet away in plain sight is both an antique cash-register and an antique telephone. Its so hard to resist. But so far I have preservered.

The highlight of the weekend had to be Saturday night when Colleen showed me that there was a little slice of heaven tucked away in one corner of the Providence mall. She took me to Dave and Buster's. For those of you who do not know this is a restaurant that caters to a more adult crowd. You go there eat food, and then play video games for the rest of the night. We played a ton of games and I learned that Colleen is much better at driving simulators than I am; however we are more evenly matched when fighting our way through hordes of bloodthirsty zombies.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

What could possibly be more romantic than a boy and girl fighting off zombies together in a haunted house. Nothing! The only thing that would make that scenario more enjoyable would be to have a few ice cold Red Stripes on hand.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Not Quite Number One...Yet!

Attention this just in:

If you search for a "civilian flamethrower" on Google, in .24 seconds you will see that the # 5 result is the Tepid Inferno.

This day should get a full page in your journals tonight.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

When I Wake Up...

When I woke up this morning my sister asked me why I get up so early if I do not have to be to work until one o'clock. The simplest answer is that I love the mornings. I have always been a morning person, or an early-riser. I remember staying over my grandparents house and going downstairs early in the morning to pull up all the shades and watch the sun come up with my Grandmother while she made breakfast. Even when I was in highschool I would wake up an hour and a half before the bell rang just so that I could get to school early enough to hang out with my friends. I love being the first one in the building and I love being the only one awake and out of bed in the house.

I have a very simple morning routine, I wake up at around 6:30am and then I slip into my green bathrobe and go downstairs to make a pot of coffee. A lot of people will start a pot of coffee and then hop in the shower while it brews. I did this for a little while until the coffee-maker began to spill all of the coffee all over the floor. There is nothing so devastating as seeing you coffee in a puddle on the ground and realizing that you do not have enough beans to make a second pot. Because of this incident I like to hang around and watch the coffee pot to make sure that nothing goes wrong.

As soon as the coffee has finished brewing I pour a mug, and head upstairs to take a shower.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

When I take a shower there are two things that I must have, the first is a radio and the second is plenty of cold water. I know some of you may be cringing right now but I love cold showers, some people would call them invigorating but I believe that bracing would be a more accurate term. How cold are my showers? Let me put it this way I don't even fog up the mirrors. I have been showering with a boom box for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I listen to the radio but most of the times I will pop in a CD to sing along with.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

Sometimes I select one song to enjoy for the entire length of my shower, maybe its a fun song that I happen to enjoy or that happens to place me in a good mood. Other times it may be an anthem that will get me pumped up enough to triumph over the challenges that the new day brings. Either way one thing is certain I will play that song at the loudest volume that I can get away with, despite the fact that my brother and sister are most likely still sleeping. I also like to sing along with the radio...I can't vouch for my siblings but I think that I happen to have a pretty good singing voice. As soon as I finish with my shower I will drink my cup of coffee to warm up. This is the best part of the day for me, hot coffee after a cold shower and I still have breakfast to enjoy.

After my shower I get dressed for the day and go down to the living room where I like to watch some T.V. or read for a little while. This is the best time of day to attempt this because nobody else is up yet.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

I watch a little T.V. and eat my breakfast in peace. Sure I may not be the most considerate person in the house when I wake up; what with the coffee grinder and the singing in the shower, but I am not a hypocrite. I never yell at anyone else for waking me up because I have a very simple motto: If I am up then everyone else should be up too. I wouldn't want them to miss the best part of the day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Thank You For Wasting My Time

I switched shifts with my boss today. This means that I am in the library and the sun is still shining. There are a number of problems or obstacles that this arrangement creates. The first obstacle that I encountered today is the presence of other employees who are not subordinate to myself. This annoys me because it results in a constant stream of people in and out of my office to tell me that they are going to the bathroom, or that they are back from the bathroom, or they just wanted to steal a piece of candy from the candy dish.

All of these exchanges amount to nothing more than interruptions, and interruptions keep me from meeting the goals that I set for myself at work. Goals like drawing a few illustrations to post on my blog. Or reading a few chapters of a novel, or perhaps even completing some makeup work.

If you are lucky you can retrain your coworkers to conduct themselves in a manner that will not irritate you. For example I try to lead by example by just disappearing from my desk when I have to go to the men's room. I do not alert half of the staff or update my IM program, I just stand up and walk into the john. I figure should anything really terrible happen to me my coworkers would most likely be the last people I would want coming to my aid in the midst of a crisis. Sadly this method has not worked for me, but I wish you the best of luck.

If you still find yourself being needlessly hassled I recommend employing these devilish counter-dullard defense mechanisms devised by Strongbad. I have found methods three and four to be the most effective in my workplace.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Truth Is Out There

When I awoke this morning I realized that my back was hurting. It was not the normal kind of morning stiffness, it was more of a twisting, shredding kind of pain. I immediately went downstairs to wake up my Mom. My Mom was a pediatric nurse and thus she possess a great store of healing knowledge; besides everyone goes to their mom when they hurt themselves.

As my Mom and I tried to arrive at the appropriate therapy for treating my back ache a number of theories were postulated as to why my back would be causing this much discomfort. We tried the usual suspects but they did not seem to fit the clues. I hadn't been lifting weights or doing any kind of physical conditioning this week. My Mom felt that the most logical explanation was that I strained something when I had been shoveling the day before. I rejected this hypothesis because I could not understand why the pain would lie dormant for three days and ambush me out of the blue.

My mother offered a few more scenarios but I began to have my own suspicions.

When I went to bed last night I felt fine. I was the picture of perfect health. I slept in my regular bed in my normal sleeping attire and my traditional sleeping position. By all accounts I should have had an uneventful nights sleep. So if there were no internal reasons for my back pain it must be the result of external forces.

Drawing By: Mike Posted by Hello

I surmise that I was taken from my room last night by beings from another planet. Only an advanced alien civilization would have the technology to remove me from my room with out my knowledge. They most likely employed some form of sophisticated tractor beam and anesthesia technology. That would explain both how they transported me and my lack of memories from the incident.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

Unfortunately even Alien technology is not one hundred percent perfect. I believe that their tractor beam momentarily malfunctioned and I plummeted from the sky and injured my back when I landed on the ground. Thankfully the alien anesthesia did not fail and I have no memory of the incident.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

This is the only scenario that I can come up with that fits all of the available facts; but if you think that you have an alternative please shoot me an email so that I can clear up this mess.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

May the Force be with you...

If you take away my family the only constant thing in my life is Star Wars. I can remeber staying up late to watch it on T.V. for the first time. I remeber sleeping over my friend Matthew's house and watching The Empire Strikes Back on HBO. I remeber how he covered his eyes when ever the Wampa was on screen but I watched. Yes even back then I was a monument to bravery. I have had a VHS copy of the trilogy for most of my life and for a long time I would watch these movies every single night. As a result my brother and sister also saw Star Wars just as often as I did. I have always know that the original trilogy has enriched my life, but my little sister has always remained skeptical. Until yesterday.

My sister is currently interning in a classroom for preschool children affilcted with autism. One of the boys that she works with tends to injure himself on a daily basis. Yesterday when Hayley went over to his table to draw with him she noticed a familar shape. A circle with a line around the equater and another circle a bit further up the page. She instantly identified the picture as the Death Star. And the little boy was estatic, when he asked her how she knew about Star Wars she told him that I am a huge fan, so he drew me a picture of R2-D2 and C-3po.

Drawing By: Matt B. Posted by Hello

According to Hayley thanks to her skills and a little help from the Force yesterday was one of the first times that this boy has gone home without injuring himself; and I recieved thanks from my sister for making her watch Star Wars so many times.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Secret of my Success

One of the interesting things about my life is that I work two jobs. Some nights I work in a library and other nights I work in a hospital with my dad. Today I will tell you a little bit about my job at the library.

I am not a librarian. My official title is Evening Circulation Associate; a more concise way of putting it would be to say that I am the "Night Guy." Essentially I do everything that they do during the day with a tenth of the staff but I get to kick all the patrons out a midnight and use a PA system. Its a trade-off but one that I am quite happy with.

To the untrained eye it may appear that I do not have enough work to justify an eight hour shift. This is not the case; as any professional librarian could explain, there is plenty of work to be done. It just so happens that I am an extremely efficient individual. What takes the average librarian two hours to complete I can finish in roughly twenty minutes. Sometimes with greater accuracy then the trained librarians.

So what, you may ask yourself, is the secret to my success? I can attribute my success to two factors the first being my ADD and the second being the blunt and condescending manner in which I handle the patrons. For many ADD is an affliction but every once in a while it can be a bit of a blessing. The upside to being constantly distracted by just about everything around you is that you are very rarely bored. Everything around you has the untapped potential to suddenly become the most interesting thing on the planet without warning. Sure this is a liability when sitting in a classroom, or on a jury but when you work nights at a library it becomes a godsend right around ten o'clock when things start to slow down.

Who says Add is bad. Drawing by Mike Posted by Hello

The ADD was a gift from God; but the condescending bluntness...well that took years of working in a Longmeadow CVS to cultivate. The simple fact of the matter is that 90% of college students do not know how to use the library. I can understand that figure, I am still appalled by it but I understand. The fact that 75% of them do not know the name of their professor six weeks into the semester I find irritating. When someone asks me for a book on reserve and they do not know who the professor is or what the name of the class is I get irritated and I let my irritation show.

Drawing by Mike Posted by Hello

Thanks to my ADD and my unique approach to customer service I have plenty of free time at work to work on other things like homework, reading, the occasional blog post...with illustrations.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Dreaming of Dreams

I once had a friend ask me if I felt that there should be some sort of warning notice placed near everyone's bed. She felt that this notice should warn people that if they fall asleep they run the risk of having a dream. Her thinking was that once we begin to dream we enter an altered state of consciousness and the public should be warned that this is about to happen. I cannot remember if I agreed with her at the time but if she was to ask me again I would say YES.

Dreams are crazy things, you never know what you might encounter within one...Freud tells us that dreams are a product of the unconscious mind. He may have even said that the unconscious is trying to tell us something. I have decided to share three recent dreams with you and you let me know what you think my unconscious mind is trying to tell me.

Dream Number One:

I am driving a yellow school bus through an indistinct town/city I pull over to the side of the road and Eddie Van Halen climbs on board. He has a guitar with him. We have some generic chit chat and he starts to teach me how to play Running with the Devil on the guitar. Things seem to be going pretty well...although I have no idea how I was able to drive the bus while playing guitar at the same time...until the next stop.

Panama!! Posted by Hello

I open the door and David Lee Roth climbs on board walks past Eddie and I and sits in the back of the bus. After about a block he starts singing the chorus from Ice Cream Man and making fun of Eddie. I begin laughing because he is really funny. Eddie demands to be let off the bus and flips me off as I drive away.

Dream Number Two:

I have to drive a pickup truck from point A to point B. Which just happens to be at the other end of a particularly narrow winding street. The pickup truck has a standard transmission which I cannot drive, but I give it a shot anyway and seem to do an okay job. Things are going fine until I see a crowd of people watching me at the bottom of a hill and I realize that I can not stop the truck. The keep watching me as I careen towards them...then I wake up.

Have you driven a Ford off a cliff lately? Posted by Hello

Dream Number Three:

In this dream I am packing boxes in my Sunderland apartment when suddenly the door comes flying off the hinges towards me. I stand up and see this knife wielding fiend with a crazy beard and head of hair come charging towards me. I let out a cry and then another and then I wake up. I am pretty sure that when I woke up I shouted out loud.

Zoinks!!! Posted by Hello

The funny thing is that I love these kinds of dreams that cross over into the waking world. I love the sensation of falling in my dreams and then startling myself awake. I had a friend who was convinced that if you fell off of something in a dream and hit the ground then you would die. I remember thinking that he was an idiot. If the person died while dreaming how the hell would you know what they were dreaming about? I still think he is an idiot.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Infamous Flamethrower Post...It Note?

A Nor'easter deposited another six inches of snow on my parents driveway the other day and the job of cleaning up the mess once again fell upon the shoulders of my brother and I. My Mom was at work and my Dad was in Las Vegas. I invited my cousin Shannon outside to join in our snow removal fun but she declined. As Tim and I began shoveling the snow my mind once again became occupied with the entire concept of snow removal. Let us be honest here, snow has been falling on New England pretty much since the dawn of time but you still only have three viable options for clearing a path. Shoveling, snow-blowing and hiring someone to plow your driveway.

Three options...until now!!!

Why not use a FLAMETHROWER to melt the snow away.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

Before you start to post comments about the potential dangers give me a minute of your time so that I might outline some of the potential benefits of removing snow via FLAMETHROWER.

For starters Flamethrowing is much more practical than shoveling.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

You will not be putting half as much strain on your body. If you can sling a backpack over your shoulders you can now clear your driveway. Think about it for a minute, snow removal without wrenching your back. Sounds like a little slice of heaven. Why even the elderly should be able to handle this, if the aged can clear their own walkways it would mean that they would be less likely to fall and break a hip on the ice...and of course you wouldn't have to do it for them.

For those of you who use a snow-blower think about this for a moment. What is the biggest drawback to snow-blowing? Why having your hand torn off and spat across the street by a big piece of machinery.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

Think about the bleeding and the screaming...think of the children who might witness this event. If you could use a flamethrower you would never have to worry about selecting a jaunty prosthetic after clearing the driveway ever again. The second major drawback to snow-blowing is having the wind blow snow into your face and down your neck. While operating the flamethrower I am confident that the air would feel almost tropical. It would probably feel like a mini-vacation.

Now nothing in life is perfect; you would have to pay close attention to which way the wind is blowing while you are operating the may want to install a weathervane for more accurate forecasting. No matter how tempting it may be I would not recommend using the flamethrower to clean the ice off of your car in the morning because it could result in accidental incineration. It might be a good idea to always stand with your back to your house just in case.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

But those are the only potential drawbacks that I can foresee; besides there are still a ton of benefits to a civilian flamethrower. Once the Zombies rise from the grave, (and believe me they will rise) your flamethrower would make a handy defensive weapon because Zombies are afraid of fire...and they burn.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

Once you have successfully toasted all of the Zombies you could set up a stick with some weenies for roasting.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

I swear there is no end to the potential benefits and uses of the flamethrower...besides I bet that they would be a hell of a lot of fun.