Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It is Officially Pool Time

Finally, the weather is warm and the people are actually using their swimming pools. And even better than that is that the college age daughters are home from school. Today was my first sighting of the Summer and it was definitely a good start.

It was mid-70s today with a roaring sun. We had just completed our third job, a real shit hole where the family can best be described as the family from Malcolm in the Middle. However, this family is not the PG version FOX puts on, these people love smokin' weed. I found a 1/4 bag in the pump room last year and they have a smoking area in the backyard cut into their large forest of bamboo trees. There's shit strewn everywhere, including old clothes, miscellaneous swimming pool gear, pots, tons of garden hoses (yeah, I don't know) and a trampoline and rope hanging from a tree. Pretty much everything a stoner would want, less food of course. I really can't do the house justice in mere words, though.

Anyway, we finish up at this pool and are heading into Chevy Chase for our next job. The mom there is notoriously hot and when they signed up for Weekly Service this year, there was a company moment of silence in appreciation for these good bits of heaven god gives to us in our relatively dark days. The daughter I really hadn't seen in a couple years, so last I remember she was kinda chunky and too young for even Merv the Perv to find her worth looking at.

Apparently, she's now around 18 or 19 and things have changed. We arrive at the house, which is right on god damned Bradley Blvd (which makes it a real pain to get in and out of). We're unloading our stuff when the door comes slamming back at me and nails me on the side of my head. Needless to say, I still have a headache and I'm sure I entertained many of the angry drivers stuck on Bradley waiting for the light to turn on Connecticut Avenue.

So I'm holding my head, angry as all hell, then I have to unlock their gate which is not only locked by the standard fence lock, but also a chain with a clip....and I'm holding a shit load of stuff in my hands. Then I make a move towards the pool and notice her.

Looking hot, laying on her stomach on one of the many lawn beds, sunning her back. Smoking hot dumper by the way. My luck, I left my sunglasses at home, so my eyes are like laser beams and thankfully she's not looking my way. However, I try to compose myself and we make our way to the pool.

You would think this is the coolest thing in the world, but it actually is kind of awkward. Here I am trying to clean the pool and get my work done, while this girl is doing the exact opposite of any work at all...and she's really not wearing much clothing.

I'm fumbling around, loosing focus on what I should be doing, trying to not stare at her for fear she'll get all creeped out or her parent is inside ready to call the office because the pool guy is a pervert, staring at her daughter. I can sense my assistant, Cristian, is feeling the same tension, though I believe the lack of focus may be exclusively me since I just got fucking slammed in the head by a heavy-ass door.

We finish our work, head back to the truck, obviously after I had to explain to her that it's not safe to swim for a while. (come on, you thought I wouldn't do anything?) Decent rack, face could use some work.

It is at this point, that all the pent-up exuberance can be expelled. I almost wanted to give Cristian a high-five. Like fifteen year olds, we marvelled at the beauty we had just seen, and we both knew there would be more to come.

It is now official. Summer is upon us. Let the dawn of less clothing begin.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Hershey Park

It being a long weekend and all, Amy and I decided to take a trip up to Pennsylvania to visit Hershey Park. We originally thought we might spend the night up there, but since it's only 2 hours drive from here, we made it back the same night.

I had never been the Hershey Park before, and neither had Amy so this would be a new experience for both of us. My expectations were low because it's just another theme park like King's Dominion or Six Flags, but Hershey Park doesn't even have any characters to go along with the park. A walking Hershey Kiss is their big star, I found out.

So we take the two hour drive, and arrive in Hershey, pay our $7 parking fee and walk to the tram stop for our ride to the main entrance. The sky is about as gray as the bark on our newly deceased maple tree, and I'm wondering if we just drove 2 hours through the middle of bum-fuck Maryland and PA to get soaked.

We stood in front of the main gate for about 10 minutes deciding whether we wanted to pony up the $80 it would cost us to get into the park when it looked like rain was coming. In the end, we said, "what the hell" and went for it. Of course, the minute we're inside and I'm in the process of putting my credit card back into my wallet, rain starts pouring down. Sweet...like chocolate.

Now this would be a very terrible story if it continued to rain for the rest of the afternoon, so luckily for you and for us, the rain let up by the time we ordered and ate a funnel cake in the dry confines of one of the many food places in the park.

While we were waiting for our funnel cakes, the true reason for visiting a theme park sprung back to my attention. The freak show. Yes, I'm sure there's plenty of exciting rides and shows to be seen, and there's even a zoo in Hershey, but the best part of any trip to a theme park is the wide assortment of weirdos that go there.

So, here I am, waiting in line, and there I see him. A six year old boy with his family, and his mohawk. Yes, a mohawk. Apparently, the mohawk is the new mullet (or the north of the Mason Dixon mullet) as on the day I saw three mohawks and only one mullet, and it was of the femullet variety.

If this is a new movement, I believe the mohawk needs its own catchy phrase to counteract the "business up front, party in the back" bullshit. Here are a couple that have come to my mind since first seeing the boy.

"Move the party up front and center"
"The anti-sideburns"
"Why not live every day like Mr. T"
"Not just for her pubes anymore"
"Holy shit, I have a mohawk"

But, I digress. On to the rides. Luckily the rain scared a good number of people away so there really wasn't more than a 20 minute wait for any ride. Hershey Park pretty much stuck to the basics of any theme park. The one wooden coaster with the big drop. The other wooden coaster that you think is gonna fall apart. The sit down roller coaster with the loop. And the feet dangling underneath roller coaster. Sadly missing was the stand up roller coaster, though the one at King's Dominion had a casuality a few years back, so I really don't know if they're too popular anymore.

There was also a crazy looking one that shot you out at 80 mph immediately into a straight up then straight down hill, but unfortunately Amy chickened out on wanting to go on that one, so I wasn't gonna stand in line by myself. Plus, I'm a bit afraid of heights to begin with.

Which brings me to the low-light of the entire trip. We just finished coming off the "falling apart wooden coaster" known as the Panther, and directly across from it is this small funny looking ride called the Wild Mouse. The Wild Mouse runs a bunch of small cars that only have four seats through what can only be called a maze that looks a lot like the old kids game, Mousetrap. I'm sure that's where they must have gotten the idea. Anyway, it doesn't look all that intimidating and we've actually been on a few crappy rides (the kid's roller coaster is really not well defined in advance), so we get in line but I have low expectations.

We've been on a bunch of rides, already bought our picture taken on one of the rollercoasters, I've made stupid faces when I know the picture is coming on others, and overall, I'm feeling pretty cocky as we rise up the hill. It's a quick rise, not like the standard rollercoasters, and Amy and I are in the front of the two rows in the car. Immediately upon reaching the 150-200 foot peak, the car takes a SHARP left. I'm on the right side of the car, which seems like it is designed for mice rather than a lanky 6'0" man, and immediately I realize where the "thrill" of this ride comes. THERE IS NO FUCKING EDGE OR ANYTHING! I'm looking out at the park, with absolutely nothing obstructing my view, and inertia is sending me in that direction. We travel about 20 feet, then another sharp 90 degree turn left.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. I think this seat is not designed for me. My right arm is flailing out to the right and the side of the seat barely comes up above my hip. High school physics tells me that if more of my weight is below the axis, I shouldn't be able to flip out, right? Well, I'm not so sure that more of my weight isn't above the damned axis. And we just pulled another quick 90 to the left in about a 5 foot section, making a full 180 in a matter of seconds. WITH NO FUCKING EDGE OR ANYTHING!!!! Now a quick right, right. Amy's side, I'm recovering, but you can see everything, no obstructions. This is sick. Shit, another 180 to the left. Screw this macho crap, I latched my arms around the grab rail and I am holding on for dear life. The rest of the ride, I'm not looking out to my side and I am holding on like this seat is a winning lottery ticket.

The ride ends, Amy is laughing to tears. I'm swearing and looking for the exit. And there's my picture up on the monitor for us to buy...fear in my eyes, my arms latched around the safety grips. It needed to be done, I don't give a shit.

So, we continued on, went on a few other rides...none of the water rides though (too cold) and Amy bought some overpriced chocolate before we headed home.

By the end of the day, I had seen Jevon Kearse, Brian Grant, Shaquille O'Neal (in both his throwback Laker and more current Heat uniforms), Brian Westbrook, Tracy McGrady, Tom Brady (though he looked different each time), and Len Bias (obviously this was not the real guy) and numerous others I've forgotten. A decent showing, but again less than expected, much like the mullet.

On the high side however, were the number of exceptionally fat people, perhaps given the theme of the park and all. Perhaps they thought there would be a river of chocolate they could drink from like Augustus Glube. Glad no fat person tried to get on that mouse ride with us, or I would have demanded they stop the excitement. Sadly for the fatties; however, the only free give away was a Hershey's miniature after you endure the 20 minute Chocolate Factory Tour ride.

On the whole, I think I finally have come to realize that theme parks like Hershey Park just don't have the allure they used to. Perhaps it's because I'm getting older, or perhaps I'm just no fun anymore. Oh well, soon I'll be like those dads I saw at the park, who look beaten by life, holding one kid in their arms while the others whine and make ridiculous demands at their sides in line. Now that's a scary ride, for sure.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Pool Finale

Memorial Day weekend is a great weekend. In the pool industry, it signifies the end of the first rush for pool openings. Most people want their pool up and beautiful for this weekend, so the pressure drops on you like an anvil just before the weekend. The past three weeks, I've been working 13-14 hour days Monday thru Friday and then another 5-9 hours on Saturday. And yet, I'm sure there are people out there, angry right this moment, because something is wrong with their pool and if they call our office, they will receive this wonderful message:

"Thank you for calling. After a long and stressful opening season, our crews have been given a long-deserved vacation for the Memorial Day weekend. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 31 at 8 AM. If you have an emergency, please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you."

Gotta love the open-ended "as soon as we can." Let me just tell you, I'm the "we" in that statement and I'm gonna crack open a beer in about 4 hours, at which time the "soon" will immediately switch to Tuesday at 8 AM.

The fact of the matter is, when you're dealing with about 300 clients, all of which have a body of water, powered by something electrical, with a gas fired heater, somebody's gonna have an emergency and they're just gonna have to suck it up.

For now, my plan for the day is to go get my old lawn chairs back from my parents' house, pick up some beer, dig up my dying maple tree ($60 and it can't stand all the rain...fucking plants.), then sit and eat hamburgers and hot dogs for the rest of the day.

God bless the men who died so that I may grill out on the weekend (in their memory), and not worry about someone else's swimming pool.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Top 10: Crappy TV

With the finale of American Idol having occurred last night, it seemed only fitting that I bring up all those other crappy shows that everyone seems to love.

Top 10 Shows That Really Suck But Everyone Watches
10) American Idol - Star Search with obnoxious judges just doesn't seem like it should be a top rated show.
9) King of the Hill - Why in the hell is this show still on TV? It is downright garbage. Why don't Beavis and Butthead ever make a cameo and whack off in the camper???
8) CSI: New York - One show was good. OK, two is getting a bit pushy. THREE, you're fucking with me, right?
7) COPS - This is one of the longest running shows on television?
6) Anything with Britney Spears on it - You know you're going to watch it, but god is it crap.
5) Regis and Kelly - I know she's hot, but enough with Regis already. Didn't he have his moment with Millionaire...go back to your hole.
4) Saturday Night Live - When are they going to realize that no one on the show is funny anymore and fire everyone? Even Weekend Update blows.
3) Survivor - Trap people on an island with no food or shelter, then make them battle for our amusement. Who is the sick bastard who originally came up with this shit?
2) The Real World - How many times can you watch a gay guy, a black guy and an obnoxious redneck fight, then all have an orgy with the dumb chick?
1) Newlyweds - These people don't even do anything, they just live. That's as retarded as reading a blog by a guy who cleans pools for a living.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fuzzy Memories: The REAL China Buffet

As I mentioned in the last Fuzzy Memory, Chinese food (the real stuff) is my passion. There was no better place that I was able to display that passion than at the Chinese Buffet.

I grew up here in Maryland and for the most part, Chinese food outings consisted of going to one of three or four places, all of which were of the sit down and order variety. Your typical dinner consisted of walking into the place and receiving an over the top greeting. It was like an eruption of noises,

"Oooo, wong time no see"
"Oooo, de kids have gotten so big"

Then we'd get to a table, he'd already know what we wanted (anyone will tell you I really don't vary much on my food choices) and the feast would begin. But with that feast, you are limited to just what you order and to the size of their portions.

But then I went down to North Carolina. Most Chinese place around Davidson sucked, so one day we took a trip up to the neighboring town of Mooresville (home of NASCAR hero, Dale Earnhardt, YIK YIK YIK). And that's where I saw my life-long nemesis, The Chinese Buffet.

I had never heard of such a thing given my sheltered upbringing, but as I entered their halls and was greeted by the golden dragons and porcelain fish bowls, I knew I was in for a battle. And then I saw it, about twenty feet long, full of all my favorite dishes: Egg Rolls, Wonton Soup, Fried Wontons, Wonton Soup, Lo Mein, General Tso's, Chicken with Brocolli, Pepper Steak, Chicken Chow Mein, Crab Legs. WHAT??? Crab Legs?? Yep. I don't know why either, but the game plan was soon forged after several visits.

If you wish to beat the buffet, follow my sage advice:

Upon receiving your seat, you will be immediately confronted by your "waiter." He may seem especially friendly and helpful, but he is only here to hurt you. He will immediately offer you a drink. You will think you need one given his chipper manner and broken english, but you mustn't order anything carbonated. When you simply order a water, he will give you a disappointed face, but don't worry, that means you've already passed the first test. Beware though, the waiters (there are many surrounding the eating area) are ready to pounce the minute you take a sip, refilling your drink, baiting you to drink more.

How much have I drank? I don't know, my glass is always full.

These people didn't wreck the curves in your high school math classes for no reason, they are very calculating.

Onward to the buffet.

Your first stop on the buffet is the appetizers. Though they are delicious and very tempting, most are fried and contain a lot of "fried" that is really not food at all. Fried wontons and rangoon are the worst, you're barely getting 25% of the value out of eat piece. I can't pass up these things, but they are always working against me. Minimize the damage done.

Next is soup. You better be willing to lose to the buffet if you want soup. It's a guaranteed breaker. That's all I'll say about that.

Given this breakdown, fill your plate with an assortment of appetizers, avoiding too much of the fried stuff, though grabbing rangoon and wondering how exactly it's made (tug, tug, jerk, jerk) always lightens the mood early. Round 1 is complete.

Round 2, Fight.

Don't mess around. You know where the real money is at and you've got to bite the bullet. Crab Legs may not be Chinese, but for $9.99, you better fight that fat kid with the bad fade and the Rusty Wallace T-shirt for every last leg you can find. Fill a whole plate, and you can coast to a victory. The head Buffet monitor will pull some shit like,

"Oh, more wirr be coming, herp yourserf to udder suff whire e is made"

Don't try and pull that shit with me, Bruce Lee, I'm a pro at this. I'll just sit and wait.

Round 2 is complete.

Round 3, FIGHT.

You're probably feeling good right now, as the crab legs aren't that filling (NO BUTTER DAMMIT) and the appetizers are just starting to hit the edge of the stomach lining. Now you must go in for the kill. This round is exclusively Chinese meals. That's what you came for, you're on top, put this one away with style. Lo Mein is a sucker's paradise, but getting it is like getting dunked on when your team is already up by 20. Scoreboard baby. Scoreboard. There's about ten dead crabs that say I'm beating your ass by now.

But this isn't just about winning. It's about truly beating the buffet. Round 3 complete. Onward to the victory lap.

Final Round, FIGHT.
The waiters are pissed by now (Wait til they realize I'm gonna tip them by rounding up to the nearest dollar). You're mocking them and doing your best Chinese guy impersonation. Intentionally spilling water on the floor just to see if they'll keep filling up your glass. And you're about to give it the money shot...they've got soft serve. How sweet it is. Chocolate, Vanilla, Swirl. I just coats the stomach.

Victory is yours. You have now beaten the buffet. But wait, what's that pain? In my stomach? Ahhh.

"Oh no, victowy is awways mine" (GONG)

Man, I seriously have some issues. I need to go see someone.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Return of Dave

Sorry, I haven't published anything in a while. I have actually been writing stuff, but it's been more of the personal catharsis stuff, that is not really something anyone else would likely want to read.

If I had published them, you probably would think I'm either going insane or am in a deep depression. Perhaps a little bit of both, but work is hectic and that always puts me on edge, but who doesn't have their down moments. But I digress.

Last week, I picked up the new Dave Mathews CD, and I'd like to sing its praises for a while. Now, typically, I'm your standard music pirate, picking and choosing only the songs I want to hear, much like everyone I know. However, I've been a little let down by the quality of downloads I've gotten recently, and quite frankly Dave Mathews is one of the few artists that I can listen to an entire album of. Most artists are either too annoying (Gwen Stefani), repetitive (3 Doors Down), or just don't have enough good songs (The Killers).

That's the thing with the music industry now. If they're so upset that people are downloading songs, why don't they stop putting out crap where there are only like 2 or 3 decent tracks on the whole disc? I'd have to say that in the last 8 years or so, I've only found a handful of artists that actually put a decent complete album together. Linkin Park is one of those, and Dave Mathews used to be that way (Under the Table and Dreaming; Crash), but the last few albums have seemed like garbage. I've downloaded a couple of the songs, listened and been let down time and time again.

But then I read a review of the latest album. Several people had written in and commented that this album was a return to Dave's original sound...less commercial. Well, I don't really know what that means, but I like the "return" idea, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I went to FYE, used my $10 gift certificate (honestly, you didn't think I'd just go and pay full price for a CD when it's free on the internet), and walked away with the new album.

I've listened to it in its entirety about 5 times now, and it appears as if Dave has returned. The beats are all very eclectic, with the sax, drums and fiddling sound going like mad (Dave favorites of mine). The thing I always liked about Dave Mathews' music was that it really gave you a feeling that you were taking a pleasant journey as you listened to the whole album. Now, I'm sure the stuff I was smoking when his first album was out helped the journey, but I hope you can relate to what I'm talking about. Songs like Satellite, Lie in our Graves, and Jimi Thing just put you into a different place. And the new album starts off just like that.

There's a medley of slow and fast songs so I don't get board, and he's even got a song or two that incorporate that new computer-esque hard beat, like Linkin Park has thrilled me with. Needless to say, I'm happy that the old sound has returned, as music on the radio is starting to bore the crap out of me. Now I just hope I don't listen to this CD too much and grow to dislike it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Top 10: Movies

Not in the mood to be creative today so you're just gonna have to deal with my opinion. With the opening of Star Wars III today, I felt it only appropriate that I grace you with:

Top 10 Movies I Could Watch Again and Again
(notice the "I" fuckers, I don't want your backtalk)

Honorable Mention: Napoleon Dynamite - Rapidly climbing my chart, but I've only watched it about 5-6 times, so it can't crack the top 10 yet.
10. Last Samurai - This is new to my list, though it's in the same genre as Braveheart and Gladiator, which are classics in my eyes.
9. Serendipity - This is my only "softer side of the J man" pick for this list. Much like waitresses, women with British accents make me cream my shorts.
8. Spiderman - Who can beat the Bonesaw? I mean, honestly, this is the best comic strip movie. I even put it above Batman and X-men, which I'm a big fan of, and it shits on Daredevil and Elektra (what a waste of a hot actress in tights)
7. Matrix - Yeah, I guess I'm a nerd.
6. Good Will Hunting - I blame my friends for this one. I didn't used to even consider this movie, but the more I watched it (since they always seemed to play it) the more I recognized what a great movie it is. It may be the only Robin Williams movie I've seen where I don't want to kill him by the end of it.
5. Braveheart - Right up there with Gladiator, I'm a sucker for the epic violence.
4. Snatch - I just love the end.
3. Gladiator - I think I've seen the part where he "re-introduces" himself to the Emperor about 50 times. Sometimes I'll turn on the movie just to watch that scene. "...father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife...and I will have my revenge in this life or the next." Poetry.
2. Ocean's Eleven - Truly a classic movie with a great cast. Too bad they had to ruin it with a shitty sequel
1. Old School - I can't think of a time this movie has been playing and I haven't stopped everything that I'm doing to watch the rest of it. Arguably the greatest movie ever made.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fuzzy Memories: Chinese Food

Those that know me, know that I love Chinese food. I could probably eat Chinese food every day and not get tired of it. And I've come close. However, it was on one occassion during my High School Senior Year Beach Week, that my friend's love of Chinese food made my night.

My friends and I had gone to Dewey Beach, DE for Beach Week, which was pretty much the standard location for my high school. We had supplied ourselves with a shack by the beach, which smelled of natural gas and had two rooms that were no bigger than the size of a full bed, and PLENTY of beer. In addition, we brought condoms, because that's what beach week is supposed to be about. They were taped above each of the bedroom doors and referred to as ornaments...to make it seem less sleazy, of course.

Our Beach Week started off exciting, with my friend's car getting towed within an hour of our arrival and my car getting lifted to be towed before we paid off the tow guy to put it down. Fucking Dewey Beach and their parking restrictions.

Drinking ensued, as did toilet overflowing, and plenty of vomiting. My buddy, Zack, ate incense for god's sake! After our first day of drinking, we quickly realized that there was an excellent (it's a sliding scale) diner at the end of the block, called Theo's, which would accommodate our late night cravings more than you can imagine.

We'd stumble in there, grab ourselves a bite to eat and socialize with the other high schoolers and the oh-so-hot waitresses. Now, the waitresses probably weren't that hot in the grand scheme of things but you need to take into consideration the fact that I have a thing for women that serve me food and/or drinks.

Take your average girl walking down the street... I'm gonna walk right by her, maybe a glance if she's got something to look at. But if we both walk into TGI Friday's, and a few minutes later she comes over to take my drink order and ask me if I want some potato skins or cheese sticks, I'm ready to bone her, right there and then. Not sure if this is more the cause or the effect of what's about to transpire...Back to the story.

So we've eaten at Theo's several nights in a row and I've flirted with many waitresses, predominantly this one, however, Allison. I've told her we're staying just at the end of the street and that she should come party with us. She's shrugged off most of my advances, but she can't shrug off the old "keys left on the table" trick. Likely because I was shit-faced, though smooth in the end, I leave my keys at her table and she comes to our door at like 5 in the morning to return them. She sees the beauty of a 14 X 14 hovel that could light up from the gas fumes at any time, and makes a date to return another day when she doesn't have to work. Sure, sure.


But, whatayaknow. She and two of her friends show up for some drinking and listening to Bon Jovi (another funny story). We all end up walking on the beach, getting yelled at by the police for being on the beach after dark, and then return to the house. One of Allison's friends is ready to bail and things are looking a bit grim, as the second girl is looking to depart as well. It is at this point when Allison takes me aside and says that her friend wants to hook up with my buddy, Ben.

Benny and I weren't really that tight through high school so I didn't know if he'd be willing to take this one for the team. Though, free sex with no effort is normally not taking one for the team. And the girl was decently hot, as I recall, though it's a bit hazy. The fact that she was Asian is not hazy however, and as I spoke with Benny, all my buddy Zack could yell was, "Benny, you know you want some Chinese Food"

Well, Ben helped himself to a hearty helping of Sum Cum Nao, and I got my waitress. Needless to say, giving her a tip after I ate my sandwich the next night seemed a bit dirty, but again, nobody said I was classy.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hoop Dreams

I just got back from my rec league basketball game. Last you heard, we had lost in the first round of the playoffs in a second half collapse. Well the new season is now upon us, (well, actually it was upon us last week but the other team forfeited) and thankfully I have come away from the first game uninjured.

Tonights game was a bit of a debacle. We were short-handed due to lack of interest and injuries within our team. Several of the players from last season's team have decided to sit this season out, including our tallest and most dominant player. But we're a scrappy bunch, so we can win without him. And we can win with only 4 players playing the entire first half. Huh?

Yep, we had three at gametime, and player number four showed up three minutes into the game, allowing us to avoid the immediate disqualification. (We had five minutes to field a team of 4). However, if we didn't have 5 by the start of the second half, we would have to forfeit. We frantically made calls to everyone we knew, though most were too lazy or didn't wish to drive all the way out into the middle of Rockville in 15 minutes (if it was even possible).

Well, what difference would it make? We were four short white guys against 9 tall black guys...this could get ugly. Did I mention that our jerseys are green and have a clover with the number 33 inside it? Real ugly.


With two minutes to go in the first half, we are up by 2. They have called both of their timeouts and we have just called our second as well. However, there is no fifth man in sight. But he is on his way. Could this really be happening?

The half comes to a close; we're down by four. My brother and my buddy Greg are shooting lights out and we're able to defend their careless play with a 2-2 zone. And I haven't even gotten called for a foul yet. (usually the downfall of a short-handed team)

Then the countdown begins. We have two minutes for player #5 to show. One minute. Thirty seconds. I am pleading with the ref since he knows we were there last week and were forced to suffer as a result of a forfeit, and don't want to be disappointed again. And then he arrives. Our 5'2" point guard from last season. Not exactly Larry Bird himself, but hey, at least we can play the second half. And we come out gunning.

Within minutes we are running these guys into the ground. Sprinting back every possession and scoring on easy layups with ten seconds of touching the ball. They're winded, they're reeling, and they're down by 6 quick.

And then they realize. They are big. They are black (yeah, I said it...again). And Greg (our big man at a generous 6'2") already has three fouls. Now running a 2-1-2 zone, they start posting up inside and within moments Greg has attained foul number 4 and is forced to play timid. We're starting to lose steam as 15 minutes of 4 on 5 basketball is starting to show. But we're hanging in there. I'm starting to us some of my fouls, hopefully keeping their interior scoring down. Down by 2, up by 1, down by 1. And then we slip.

I won't go into the details of the finale, but we showed perseverence, stuck with a team that obviously was better than us, and we came up just short. It was arguably one of the more enjoyable games of basketball that I have played in a long time. Because all four of us knew that we stood no chance unless we gave it 150% for as long as our bodies could handle it, and that's exactly what we did. Outmanned? Overmatched? As a team, we were definitely not. That's why I love playing sports.

Just wait til we have 5 guys all game.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Wizards - Final Commentary

Sorry, I've been a bit delinquent in writing more blogs, but my fingers have been swollen for over 2 weeks for some unexplainable reason, and quite frankly it's tough to be creative when you're working 13+ hours a day in the heat (finally, it's Spring) and chemical-laden truck.

However, all these days of work give me ample time to listen to SportsTalk radio and hear the commentary about many things, including the Washington Wizards. Now, I'll be completely honest. I haven't been a diehard Wizards fan my whole life. In fact, I really only started liking the team once I got out of college and moved back here to DC. This is also around the time that they hired Michael Jordan as GM and the ensuing debacle that I refer to as the "Jordan-Set-the Wizards-Back-Four-Years Era" began. I told you it was hard to be creative.

Frankly, had Michael Jordan not come out of retirement, there is a very strong possibility that the Wizards would have been the worst team in the NBA in 2000-2001, which could have landed them Yao-Ming. Can you think of a better fit than Yao-Ming on the Wizards? The MCI Center is in freakin' Chinatown for god's sake. And having a big man like that in the East playing along side Rip Hamilton. That sounds like a pretty good foundation to me. I'd put them in the playoff picture in 2002 for sure. And maybe Kwame doesn't end up being such a bitch because there's less pressure when you're playing with a bunch of young guys and an interior presence, instead of "Pass me the Ball" Jordan.

But that's not how things went, and I must applaud the Wizards management for recognizing Jordan's shortcomings and doing an excellent job shipping him and his boy, Stackhouse, out of here and completing the "Big Three."

The team is exciting again and though they were swept by Miami, I can not say that this season was anything less than spectacular. Screw all the sports analysts who were talking bad about the Wizards inability to compete with the Heat. If you went up to any Wizards fan before the season started and said we'd make it to the second round of the playoffs, they'd be pretty psyched. Everyone on the team took a big step forward this year and with the youth on the team, they should be able to compete for the next 4-5 years.

Eddie Jordan is a great leader and I really liked how he handled the Kwame Brown situation and dealing with adversity throughout the season, including the injuries to Hughes and Jarvis Hayes, among others. He, and the whole Wizards management, have created a true "team" feeling and an identity to the Wizards which they have been lacking for as long as I can remember. Keep up the good work (read: re-sign Larry Hughes) and go talk to Dan Snyder, because he needs help.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Top 10: NBA Sucks

In light of the Wizards 0-2 start to the Heat and the excessive discussion of the possibility of bringing Kwame Brown back off suspension (Thankfully, it looks like they won't), I present to you:

The Top 10 Reasons I Hate the NBA
10. Michael Jordan came out of retirement and thought he could play for the Wizards
9. Michael Jordan retired because he thought he could play for the White Sox
8. Kobe
7. Bill Walton is rapidly becoming as annoying as Dick Vitale...and that's saying alot.
6. They changed my favorite team from the Bullets to the Wizards? If you can have a sodomizing rapist, a father paying child support to several different mothers, and a guy who claims to have slept with over 10,000 women play on your court, I think the fans can handle a team named after a weapon.
5. Why should I be expected to pay full price for a ticket when the players only try for 1/4 of the game?
4. 18 year olds are paid millions of dollars to sit on a bench because they're too young and immature to actually play (with some exceptions, of course), and everyone in the league is too gutless to make any changes
3. The playoffs have appeared more fixed than the WWE the last few years and David Stern still claims to be upset when anyone mentions that fact. Does anyone remember the year they tried to get a Knicks-Lakers final and the Blazers and Pacers got a foul called for farting near a player, while Shaq bitch-slapped Scottie Pippen and no one heard a peep?
2. If a player doesn't want to play for a certain team, he can just be a whiny bitch and eventually he'll get traded. I hope one of these days, one of the owners will finally say, "You don't want to play for us. Fine, fuck you. Go sit at home and we'll pay the rest of your salary, and then see what you can get when you're done, after sitting out for several years."
1. The Wizards got the first overall pick in the NBA draft and selected Kwame Brown.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fuzzy Memories: Panama Shitty

During my junior year Spring Break in college, my roommates and I decided to head to Panama City for Spring Break. Now, typically one would be excited for something like this, but we had a couple things working against us on this particular getaway.

1. We were driving there...from NC.
2. We were allowing our girlfriends and some of their friends to go with us
3. Our Spring Break was in late-February (can that even be considered "Spring" break)
4. All but one of us was under 21

As you can imagine, things did not turn out well at all. Let me recap some of the finer points:

Friday Night Fights
The first night we get there, it's just me, my two roomates and my girlfriend's roommate. We've come supplied with plenty o' liquor including a handle of Capt Morgan (my drink of choice), which we proceed to finish before heading out to the pool. Yep, sounds like an after school special to me.

Within moments, I have decided to dive on in. Oh yeah, I said dive. And whatayaknow, water's only about 5' deep. So for the remainder of the trip I have a wonderful chunk of skin missing from the top of my head where the pool plaster tore it off. I'm drunk, so it doesn't hurt at the time and we go about our business.

Not sure what happens next except I remember trying to help some chick who was more wasted than us in another room. I believe my "TIPS-trained" technique for seeing if she was OK was to slap her in the face, but everyone seemed to be OK with that.

Unfortunately, the slapping continued later, when my roommate the K man decided to slap me on my bare ass after I took off my wet clothes in the room. I pulled a Brad from "The Inferno II" as I ranted and attempted to fight my roommate. Unfortunately, as I've mentioned before, he outweighs me and all that I get is tossed into the AC unit and thrown onto a bed. As expected, a fight like this only bonds friends closer, I was fine by morning.

Mitsubishi Banging
This part of the trip is more amusing, but I'll make it brief. We finally got into one of the clubs and were able to drink, as one of the bouncers gave us a friendly stamping on the way in. When it was time to leave, I told the guys I'd drive my car (a 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse) back to the hotel to grab the other girls which had left earlier. Cabs are expensive when you're in college, so we wanted to avoid that. Anyway, my girlfriend decides to come with me to make sure I drive OK, and we head out to the car.

Twenty minutes later, my roommate the B man is wondering where in the hell we are since the hotel wasn't really that far a drive from the place. It's at this point that he notices that my car is still in the parking lot and there are people standing around it and looking inside as they walk by. So he walks on over, sees my bare ass (perhaps with a hand print still on it) banging away. Nobody ever said I was classy.

Girlfriend Insanity
This is two separate events when it became apparent that my girlfriend had gone stir crazy...or just plain crazy, who knows. Here's the lead-in, not so bad. There were 8 of us in this small room and it had been raining for most of the time we were there...cold the rest of the time. On one particular night the storm got really bad, right about the time that the toilet backed up. We called the repair guy but they were taking a while. Against everyone's better judgment, my girlfriend took off in an angry rage to go get a someone to fix the damned shitter. She was gone for about 10 minutes, and of course the guy came right after she left. So as you can imagine, when she came back completely soaked and with news the guy was on his way, she was pretty pissed when we said he already came and fixed it. I don't think she spoke with anyone the rest of the night.

And that silence continued into a second night...and this is when things got really weird. Refusing to talk and basically turning into the small child from The Shining, she latches onto my roommate, The B man's, wrist. I'm talking about to draw blood latching.

"Get her off me or I'm going to hurt her!"

She has no reply and a glazed look in her eye, as I try to pull her off. Like a scared cat, she releases her grip and reattaches herself to my arm.

Shit, this hurts! Well, I'm drunk and I'm in no mood for this kinda pain. So I give her an ultimatum.

"Since you're not talking and obviously are irrational, I'm gonna give you three seconds to let go."

(No response)




(digging in deeper)



So I grab her head with my hand and bang it into the wall. (Like you wouldn't have done the same thing) She let go and finally spoke...and punched. You can't ask for a better Spring Break than physically abusing your girlfriend in front of 7 of your friends, right?

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Bender

You're probably starting to read this one, thinking, "I wonder what drinking escapade the J man is going to talk about in this one." Sadly you are mistaken...because, though you apparently have grown to understand my lifestyle very well, this story is about another client of mine, "The Bender."

You see, I call her "The Bender" because she has the uncanny desire to constantly bend over. She's been a client of ours for over four years now and I have visited her house on many occassions. In most instances she is outside doing some unnecessary yard work, all the while plotting her next reason to bend over.

It's nothing sexual, at least from my standpoint, because quite frankly the Bender looks more like Jake Johannsen than Scarlett Johansson. Actually, I won't do her that much injustice, but she's just older (late 40's) and looks like she used to drive a big rig truck in her hayday. Today I visited her house to redo some plumbing (insert your own stupid joke now) which had a drip leak.

Having been to her house and knowing the expectations, I took it upon myself to count the number of bends on this service call. At first, things started slow...perhaps she's gotten wise to my amusement. On one occassion three or so years ago, my old roommate Rick came to work with me one day and we had to open her pool. I kid you not, she hit him in the face with her ass. Too difficult to explain, though I about near soiled myself.

But then she came with a flurry of bends that neither I nor my helper for the day could ignore. She must have done the equivalent of 30 sit ups in a period of 3 minutes, reaching for the tile line, expansion caulk, skimmer lid, remote buttons. Do they all need to be touched in rapid succession??? Are her knees unable to bend?? Please god, keep her boobs inside her spandex shirt.

When all was said and done, I counted 48 bends, one of which was completely unwarranted. There was literally nothing around. I think she was picking up a blade of grass, while in mid-conversation with me.

Perhaps she has some rare disease, like taurets that only affects her stomach muscles, forcing her to bend down for no apparent reason. Nonetheless, her antics are amusing to me, much like retarded people and midgets. And that's what keeps me going.

God bless, The Bender, may she always think someone wants to look at her ass.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Hunting for Shit

Yes, I know it is Sunday once again and I am writing a blog instead of a Top 10 List. There's usually more going on over the weekend that I can write about, so I will officially change Top 10 Lists to Wednesday, when there is usually nothing to write about anyway.

Several exciting things happened over the weekend, including hearing about a friend fighting a mugger, watching two people makeout through a window, and more time with The Dork, but I'm actually going to write about the pinnacle of my weekend. Something that has been several months in the making.

Today was, "Fuck it, I've Got to Clean up the Dog Shit in the Backyard Eventually Day."

My dog shits alot. I don't know why since she's relatively small and doesn't even eat her food all the time. She'll go at least three times a day, all sizable loads, all filling the backyard with little presents that eventually will need to be cleaned up.

Now I've owned Chloe since October and I've only cleaned up her poop once before, so you can do the math. It ain't pretty. I'm surprised she hasn't boycotted going in the backyard. I sure wouldn't walk back there, and apparently the lawnmowers that I pay for through HOA feel the same way. So I've got a backyard with about 18" high grass and two turds for every square foot. Something needed to be done.

The grass needs to be cut, so I'll suck it up. Though it's my only day off from doing anything work-esque, I have to clean the poop so that they'll finally cut our grass before I start seeing VC crawling around back there and I'm forced to napalm the whole lot. Nobody benefits from that, obviously.

So I grab my trusty pooper scooper and head out back. This scooper is top of the line, has a claw end that you can attach a bag to so you can scoop the poop right into the bag for easy disposal. I used a Target bag of decent size, given the task at hand...though even it proved to be overmatched.

The next 45 minutes and two bag loads (I ain't kidding) consisted of me, leaning down using the claw to push high grass to the side so I could find the lost treasures and dispose of them. I felt like Elmer Fudd with two hands on the scooper pole slowly wading through the marsh searching for wabbits.

Let's take a step back and ponder this scene. Freaking dog. Takes a shit and then here I am having to clean it up. Note to non-dog owners...remember that you have to clean up shit, and it smells. Add insult to injury, Chloe comes out and drops a fresh one for me as I'm scooping. Then the whole rest of the day, she's trying to hump my arm while I'm sitting on the couch watching the Wizards game. Her little brain is like, "Yep, he's my bitch. I take a dump and he has to deal with it." She stood out there the whole time, walking around, mocking me. Thank god I only do this twice a year.

Though the twice a year poop clean-up does allow you to see all the stages of poop decomposition. Some of these poops had mold on them and look like balls of cotton or wool. Imagine if somewhere in some obscure country they used this poop wool and made a sweater or something out of it.

"That sweater is magnificent, what's it made off? Cashmere?"
"No, dog feces. Wonderful stuff. Takes several months to grow and be harvested."

I'm sure if I'd find it anywhere, it'd be at Abercrombie. They sell crap already.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cinco de Mayo

It means the 5th of May...sort of like the 4th of July, but it's not even Mexico's Independence Day. It's just the day the Mexican Army beat the French Army in one battle. So obviously, that seems like good enough reason to offer drink specials at TGI Fridays?


That's worse than a flying monkey delivering beer to your front door at the end of a Jewish Holiday.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Where's the bathroom?

In my line of work, bathrooms are few and far between. Occassionally you'll get to a pool that has a nice bathroom in the pool house, which is hopefully not used often and stocked with TP and such. Most of the time, however, there is not a bathroom around nor a good hiding spot to try and duck behind for the occassional piss or the oh so scary #2.

Over the years, I've had some nice run-ins with the old bathroom problem, but today my brother and I (who were working together today) had a double dose of on-the-job bathroom follies. First, I had to piss really bad at our third job and though the equipment was covered by some bushes, it was still relatively visible from the house and these people haven't been very pleased with their pool lately. Finding me urinating on the equipment would probably be a breaker.

Now, in the past, I would simply excuse myself to the truck, either closing all the doors and hanging in the back area or standing calmly at the door, pretending to be writing something, all the while filling up a gatorade bottle with my own new flavor...it might taste better than that passion fruit they tried to pass off a while back. Unfortunately, today I had no empty gatorade bottle, so I gave it the old kneel and pray they don't come out piss. All went well. Phew.

So, we finish that job and then head to grab some food. Kevin orders bourbon chicken and I get Jambalaya. Now, you'd figure I may have made the worse decision here, but three hours later, Kevin proves me wrong. We are finishing up an opening and he has the pained look of a man about to die on his face. He has to crap, and he has to crap bad.

Dropping the duece is a much trickier endeavor. There's a lot you need to consider including where you're going to go, is it going to stink real bad, and what are you going to wipe with? On one occassion when things were real bad a few years ago, I got to the point of crouching bare ass in someone's pump room over an empty bucket, while my buddy continued servicing the pool around the corner. This could have been disasterous had I actually been able to relax enough to complete the assignment at hand, because I was terribly ill-prepared. No water in the bucket (this is an important fact I've learned since to minimize smell), I was in a small place the client would likely go to in the near future, and I had nothing to wipe with. That would have truly sucked. But no more than the time I found a nice bathroom in someone's pool house, though there was no electricity on.

The place was nicely done up, so I felt good to go. Took my time, did my business, went to wipe. Oh damn. No TP. Just the roll. Yup.....

I tore the cardboard roll into pieces and wiped with that. Man that sucked. Glad to end that disaster right....no water in the upper bowl. Are you kidding me! Luckily, I have a pool full of water and a bucket in the truck to manual fill that sucker and send me shit to sea. Hazards of the job, I guess.

On today's outing, I believe Kevin might have been willing to pull the old bucket move, especially given the look on his face, but luckily we were able to roll up to a Citgo, allowing him to destroy the premises. But that was only round one. After finishing our next opening, it was apparent that the bourbon chicken wanted out...fast. Even my joking about him shitting his pants fell on deaf ears as he could only muster the firm gaze of a man determined to not squirt in his pants. Citgo again saved the day (a different one no less), and all went well. Today was a fortunate day, they all don't end so well.

Thank you Citgo...for being there for my brother.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Fuzzy Memories: "Train" Wreck

It was my senior year in college and my roommate and I had just finished going through all of the women's eating houses (we didn't have sororities...too many eating disorders) and helping ourselves to some delicious leftovers. We're walking back to our apartment, with a serving tray of turkey, when this chick walks up to us, whom I believe we had been chilling with earlier in the evening while we were partaking in the drinking portion of the show.

Anyway, this chick is not particularly good looking, but appears to cling on to us and follow us home like a lost dog (of which, I brought many home during my years in college). The only thing I can remember about this girl is that she is best known for taking it in the duece by one of the filthiest guys I know on her recruiting visit the year before. Oh yeah, she was a freshman at the time of this debacle.

So we make it back to our room and find my other two roommates and another friend all chilling out and continuing with the drinking, excited we have brought back some turkey. Turkey dinner was so amazing..with stuffing and mashed potatoes. Arguably, my favorite meal...even better than beef tips. Mmmmm.

Well, I'm done with my turkey and crack open another beer. Meanwhile, this chick is still here, and she's laughing and loving pretty much anything anyone of us says. Now, I had a girlfriend at the time and this girl, as I mentioned, was disgusting, so this is not amusing to me in the slightest. And I would have to say the same for my roommates The B man and The D man. But my buddy (The I man) and my last roommate, the same one who was driving the golf cart in the previous fuzzy memory, are smelling opportunity. When the girl asks where the bathroom is, and excuses herself, The I man jumps to action.

"OK, we are running the train tonight!! K man, you're first, then me, B man you're third, D man you're clean up, and J man, you're last, since you already get ass."

Now, I immediately put up a fight, because I found the girl and because 5th is just disgusting. Then I'm like, whatever, this shit ain't gonna happen, whatever.

"J man, don't fucking put salt in this. If we're not all in on this, it's gonna fall apart."

Nonetheless, it has now become open season on stupid commentary and the B man and D man are following suit. Sensing the plan falling apart, I and K ask the girl if she wants to play a game in the other room.

Oh dear god.

Brace yourself for the stupidest idea for a game ever, courtesy of the legendary K man:

"We will roll two dice. If the number is odd, the person who rolls it, drinks. If the number is even, the person who rolls takes off an article of clothing."

Are you kidding me!? I nearly shat myself. And as the three of them excused themselves to the K mans room, we had nothing else to do put walk around to the window and see the outcome.

Outcome: Two naked dudes and a chick who showed the amazing ability to take off her underclothes while still staying dressed and drinking half the time standing awkwardly in a room. Something obviously went awry.

This train was derailed. And she ended up leaving soon after this. It's all for the better...trust me.

Oh, and we actually invented a game worse than this...Beatdown Craps. Think Craps but in an elevator and when you crap out, you get beaten until you reach either the top or bottom floor.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Top 10: Nationals No-No's

In following with the Washington Nationals game visit I had on Saturday, I present to you (one day late):

The Top 10 Things You Shouldn't Do At A Nationals Game
10. Forget to bring cash so that you have to stand in the longest line at the stadium...the ATM
9. Take the display beers from the beer stand along with the beers you have actually paid for
8. Order a pretzel with the expectation that it will actually be cooked
7. Order a hot dog with the expectation that it will not give you diarrahea
6. Try to help the grounds crew pull a tarp onto the infield
5. Yell at your son in the men's bathroom, demanding that he really, "Squeeze it all out this time."
4. Bet someone you can name ten Nationals players
3. Forget to piss before you leave to get on the metro
2. Sit anywhere near my group of friends and not expect to be offended at least twice
1. Consistently rub the bald head of an unknown large black man sitting in front of you

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nationals Game

I know Sunday is supposed to be Top 10 Day, but I have to write a little bit about the Nationals-Mets game that I went to last night. There's tons of things I could focus on, but I'll just pull out some of the highlights.

The first highlight is the metro ride down to the game. Normally, I am a big fan of metro rides, because I enjoy looking at all the odd things people do...it's like a people zoo. However, going to a Nationals game, and one that is on a Friday night, and is starting soon after the ending of a Wizards playoff game, makes the metro a terrible, terrible place. Going to MCI Center is fine because I get on at Grosvenor which means there are plenty of seats and I just sit the whole way, even as others are forced to stand. Well, RFK is on the Orange-Blue line, which means I ended up being one of those saps who was forced to stand this evening...for 8 stops...while basically engaging in the Luckiest Pierre (if you don't know, don't ask) with about 70 other people. Although one guy at the zoo had only 3 visible front teeth, so that made things a bit more entertaining.

So, I make it to the stadium. My buddy picks me up since he lives a few blocks away and we go back to his place for some grilling out and beirut. Beirut was pretty uneventful. Didn't really dominate the table or lose every game, just a whole lotta drinking. Though we did decide to bet $1 on each game...to spice things up. Unfortunately, I didn't have any bills other than a twenty, so I was like, "We'll get you back if we lose. I'm good for it." Then I remembered, I had some change that I brought for the metro. So I reach into my pocket, say "Wait, I got it," and fling a bunch of quarters onto the table. The disgusted looks told the story, so I simply told 'em, "That's how I roll." It was pretty funny at the time, you'll have to trust me on that one.

So we finish that up, and head over to the game...missing the first 2 innings. It's baseball, I'm not really there for the excitement of the game anyway. In total, there's like 17 of us, sitting in the upper seats out along the left field line. These end up being pretty money seats because around the 5th inning, the heavens open up, but we stay dry under an overhang. I'm pretty shitfaced at this point with the beirut and the beers at the game...$6 a beer while I sit in my $10 seat. Ridiculous.

They eventually call the game in the eighth inning due to the rain and that's when the true excitement of the game begins. The grounds crew is apparently not well trained at this point, because they are completely unable to get the tarp onto the infield. At first they have about 15 guys trying to do it and they make it to the edge of the infield before the tarp just stops. And it ain't budging. Words can not really describe the next 20 minutes (I'm not kidding) but before all is said and done, the tarp has been shaken, folded back and forth, twisted, and manhandled by more than 50 guys, several of which have fallen flat on their ass during the exchange. Even some fans tried to lend a hand, but they just ended up with a solid beat down at the hands of security. Truly, the most exciting part of the evening.

I am so glad baseball is in DC.