Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jeopardy Knows Its Champions

I just turned on the TV while I was eating dinner and Jeopardy was on. After watching for a second, I saw that it was the "Tournament of Champions" and three dorky guys stood there answering questions. And what were the categories for these questions? Seriously...this is not a joke...this was honestly on TV...the real Jeopardy...not a SNL sketch:

"Star Wars, Star Trek or Harry Potter"
"Action Figures"
"Dinner for One"
"In Need of a Date"
"Still Living with 'Mom' and 'Dad'"
"You Have No Life"

There are just way too many jokes I could come up with here, that to print just one would be doing this set-up an injustice.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm Bringing Sexy Back

It was only a matter of time before the need to "do" my hair would grow old to me. After not cutting my hair for the entire wired jaw escapade and the two months prior to that, due to sheer laziness, I could not deal with the jew-fro, curly side burns, and borderline mullet anymore.

Others also had noticed that my hair had gotten out of control and commented that a change needed to be made. So, go ahead, be gone with it. Cropped, styled, and back in business.

It's just another sign of the rebirth of the J-Man back out into the civilized world. Get your sexy on.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Don't Mind if I Do

So today, I'm back out on the road visiting some pools that have some issues that really required the master's touch (too many jokes could be made...I'll leave it to you). So it's mid-day when Kev and I make our way to this one pool in DC that apparently has been losing water this year. We had done a complete retiling and replastering of this pool, so we wanted to make sure that none of the new work created this water loss, thus giving the pool the final approval that the construction work was satisfactorily completed.

Since I don't regularly go out on the road, even less now with the jaw issue, I'm ill prepared for what would be needed for this particular job...swimming. Yes, at my job, swimming is part of the job description...read it and weep. But wait, there's more.

So, luckily Kevin is prepared for this scenario and switches into his swimsuit to begin dye testing the pool returns and suction ports for any leak. Last I remember of Kevin swimming, he was two years old and in an inner tube, so I don't ever recall if he learned to swim. Apparently, he did, but really only passed the remedial "swim enough so you don't drown" stage. As you can imagine, this makes diving to the bottom of a deep end and unscrewing a drain cover a bit of an ordeal.

Now I'm not really complaining, because while he's swimming, I'm sitting in a lounge chair making sure he comes up routinely and doesn't drown. Yes, at my job, I spent several minutes sitting pool side in a lounge chair...read it and weep. But wait, there's more.

So, you would think I'd be content with my lounging, but frankly we had a bunch of other jobs to get to, and Kevin wasn't feeling well to begin with, so that's making things even worse for him. An executive decision needed to be made, and I was not afraid to make the bold call.

"Kev, get out of the water. I'll handle it from here."

Yep, I'm gonna jump into this guy's pool in mid-day, in plain view of two of his neighbors and possibly his wife inside...in my underwear. So I strip down to my drawers...thankfully they were black or Kevin and any other unfortunate souls would have had to gaze upon my bulge and my nugget pouch...and in I jumped. After swimming around this guy's pool for about 20 minutes taking care of business, I jumped out of the pool, and toweled myself off as I stood in his backyard in my underwear. Yes, at my job, I stand in my client's backyard in my underwear...read it and weep.

It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. Now if only I could find a way to play Madden while waiting for a pool to drain?!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lunch Hour

The wires are off. The time had come. I had waited 52 days, and today I was finally able to eat at a restaurant again. And not just any restaurant, a restaurant I had never dined at before. You see, as I mentioned in the last post, I still can't eat anything that requires me to chew. And as I've mentioned in several posts before, my love (bordering on obsession) of Chinese food has always presented me with some sort of food option I can work with. So after ordering Ma Po Tofu delivery as my first real meal last night, eaten in the privacy of my own home to ensure that I could actually eat again, my tongue enjoyed the privelage of solid foods once again. And now I know what I that solid food is...tofu.

It's like meat, but soft enough that it will just smoosh in my rehabilitating jaw with little effort. Lathered in a tasty sauce, it will pass as the greatest food in the world...since my options are slim. So, today, when I am confronted with the possibility of eating out at a restaurant again, my mind immediately turned to tofu. And where do they sell tofu exactly?

Well, how about at the place in Rockville that I have driven by before that has a bunch of Chinese (Korean??) letters and then the words Tofu House. I mean, there's really no doubting that a place like that has tofu. But I've never been there before and it's in the middle of an industrial area, and it looks kind of shady. Should I really go there?

And that's when you realize that your standards for food drop dramatically when you are starving and have little options to choose from. So, I turn to my mother at work, and make the bold call. "We're going to the Tofu House."

As we arrive at the Tofu House, we are both very skeptical. In passing the place in the past, I really hadn't taken a strong look at the establishment, but now as I parked my car in the lot, I realized how many Chinese (Korean???) letters there were all over the place. And then we noticed a family of Asian people walk in. And then we followed them up the stairs, past the three newspaper vending machines. But these weren't the Washington Post and USA Today, these were written in the same Chinese (Korean????) letters.

And then we walk in the door. If a juke box had been playing, I swear it would have stopped. All eyes turned towards us as we entered the building. The wait staff is rattled but a girl comes up to us and waves two fingers, and I nod that there are, in fact, two of us as she takes us to a seat. The place is very nice, with a traditional Asian feel with the rich wood in grids all over the walls. We are seated and then the girl walks away.

The silent looks that my mother and I are giving each other confirms that I'm not the only one who noticed that we're the only ones in the place that don't look like Jackie Chan. And why didn't the hostess give us a menu? Oh, that's because there's a piece of paper in a plastic stand on the table with Chinese (Korean?????) letters on it. Thankfully, there's also English subtitles below the letters, stating the main ingredients.

I immediately see Beef, Pork, Tofu, Soup under one of the lines, and decide it's best I not bother looking for much else...though there's only 12 things on the list to begin with. The waitress returns and sets two glasses on the table full of a clear liquid with a slightly brown tint. Holy Crap, where the fuck did I make us come...the water is brown!!!

The girl asks us if we're ready to order and as my mother starts to stumble from the daze, I quickly chime in that I want the Beef and Pork Tofu Soup. Apparently, that was too many English words, because what I got back was, 'You say number." I'm so rattled by everything, I've completely forgotten that my jaw was ever broken as I grab the menu from my mother and see that I want the #7.

She turns to my mother, and suggests she get #10 or #11. Apparently, these are the items for the non-Jackie Chans: ribs or sliced steak. She goes with the steak, and we both order Coke, because I know I ain't drinking that brown water. I give it a smell, just to see, and the waitress informs me that it is corn and barley iced tea. Uh, yeah. Could have just as easily been dirty water, because that's what it tasted like. Glad I ordered that Coke.

A few minutes later the girl returns with our Cokes along with four plates of different vegetable looking things, a bowl of an orange liquid with what looks like cabbage in it, and a clay bowl of rice. There at the table, she spoons two helpings of rice from the clay bowl into metal bowls and places them next to both of us. She then pours some sort of liquid into the clay bowl over the remaining rice and places it on the table as well. What the hell just happened? What is all this stuff? Are we supposed to eat it? We begin doing what any other confused white American would do in this situation, we looked to see what the other people were doing. I think they're eating it, but I'm not sure what to make of the liquid in the rice bowl.

Before we can make an awkward move towards any of the dishes, the waitress returns again, this time with a bowl of Tofu soup with pork and beef, and sliced steak on a plate with sesame seeds on it. Sweet!!! I know what this is. And then she throws me a curve ball.

She places a raw egg on a plate on the table. She is obviously aware that I have no idea what this is for and I even read that a raw egg comes with the Tofu soups (I guess I did read a little more on the menu after all), so she gives me the run down. You put egg in soup.

Put a raw egg in my soup???!!!! Uh, no thanks. Apparently facial expressions are not the universal language because my disgusted face does not get through to her, as she apparently thinks I just didn't understand her. She motions towards the egg and makes a move to bring it towards me, as I give her the undeniable head and hand shake off. No she's got it. Hope I didn't offend her.

And then I turn towards my soup. Despite all of the awkwardness and confusion that has preceded this moment, I am completely at ease and in a zen moment as the broth hits my tongue. Dear Lord, how I have missed eating real food. And this shit was awesome. I mean, really awesome. I couldn't have asked for a better, more easily consumed first meal out, as I surprisingly finished the entire bowl as well as dabbled at a few of the smaller vegetable items, which I could swallow whole.

I could not explain my situation to the waitress (that would have been a nightmare) but she had just filled a young man's dream of eating normal food again. I can't even explain the amount of joy that I received upon completing that meal. Food has always been one of my passions (I even close my eyes sometimes when I eat a great steak or sushi piece to savor the taste) and to have been without it so long makes this meal that much more intense.

And thus my obsession has been strengthened. The Chinese have come through once again. Providing me with a meal when others could not have provided it. God bless the Chinese...or were these Koreans??????

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A New Face in the Mirror

Seven weeks, three days, and 19 hours after my jaw was cracked in half, I am once again able to open my mouth. As I entered the doctor's office this afternoon, I knew there was a possibility of him removing the wires that bound my jaw together. I had been thinking about it since my last visit two weeks ago, when he suggested he would do it if the X-rays showed the bone had healed.

So, there I am, sitting in the patient's chair after my X-ray, when he says it. "I'm going to take the wires off now." I was thrilled, but at the same time frightened. Though I want to eat food, speak properly, and return to normal, I am afraid of what I might see when he removes the wires.

The last I saw my teeth, they were split at the gum, pointing in two different directions and barely visible through all the swelling. Now, the bone has healed, they are repositioned, but are they back to normal. Over the last two weeks, I have been exploring my jaw with my tongue, losing myself in thoughts of crooked teeth, an offset jaw, or the possibility that the only reason my teeth were still even in my mouth is because my mouth is wired too tight to allow them to fall out. These thoughts haunted my dreams each night, and the joyous occassion of being able to move my jaw again was slowly fading as the fears of what is to come overwhelm me.

And then he began to cut the wires. In a matter of seconds, they have been removed and he is asking me to try to open my mouth. This seems like a simple task, but when you haven't asked your jaw muscles to do anything for almost two months, they aren't very repsonsive. With his aid, I slowly opened my jaw. A dull pain ran across my temples as my jaw opened about 3/4" of an inch. The doctor didn't want me to open it much further, and quite frankly I don't think I could have. And then I began trying to move it on my own. Something didn't feel right. Something still doesn't feel right. My mouth doesn't feel like it's my own. It's like a piece of machinery attached to my body. It is not a part of me.

It doesn't close the way it used to. My teeth don't meet in the same way they used to. And the roof of my mouth feels like it is falling off like burning wax, melting over the backs of my teeth, only to be pushed up by my panicked tongue. I'm overwhelmed with thoughts and anxiety as I leave the office, instructed that I still can not chew anything and must limit my diet to extremely soft foods or anything that does not require chewing for the next two weeks.

I get into my car and gaze into the rearview mirror, the first time I have had a chance to see my new look. Tears well up in my eyes as I see a reflection that is not my own. You take for granted what you look like each day, knowing that when you look in the mirror, you will look back. You come to expect the person on the other side. Little will change, with the exception of the occassional new blemish or wrinkle.

I began to get dizzy, but pulled myself together and tried to remind myself that I am alive, able to move my mouth, and in the process of rebuilding myself, not completed. I called my mother on my cell. phone, letting her know that my mouth has been unwired and that I am trying to maintain composure and consciousness as I drive myself home. I don't feel like going back to work. I need some time to digest all of this.

Am I a hideous monster? Disfigured like a Frankenstein? No. For those that have seen me over the past few weeks, I am moderately the same, with the exception of the new long hair and 164 pound (yep, lost a few more) frame. But my jaw has changed. My teeth almost look too perfect, oddly positioned along my jaw line like a Howdy Doody doll, moving up and down at a nearly vertical motion as opposed to along an axis. And my teeth, those that were pointing down and out after the accident are chipped and slightly out of alignment, still partially hidden behind the metal bracing that the doctor left in place for the remainder of this rehabilitation.

Am I happy? I guess. I can speak again, and I just ate soup for the first time in two months without having to put it in a blender first. But I am also terrified of the new face that I see in the mirror. It is not me. It does not feel like me. It does not feel like a part of me. Please god, say that time will make it feel and look like a part of me again.

Friday, August 18, 2006


So this afternoon, I'm replacing a non-functional time clock at work, and I am throwing a voltage test on some wires to see where the problem is. Both my hands are on the fully insulated volt meter leads and yet as I go to take my second test, I feel a tingle in my left finger and a jolt IN MY MOUTH!!!

Yep, not sure how, but my mouth is a massive conductor thanks to all this metal, and I get a full on shock across my entire jaw line. Needless to say, this hurt like hell, and still has my jaw throbbing a bit now, almost 3 hours later.

Then I'm all bitter from getting shocked so I throw the volt meter down, and turn away from the time clock, only to smack my shin on a gas line regulator (a hard metal thing). My brother was amused, but I'm just wondering how much more pain I can inflict on myself before I just stop wanting to get out of bed each day. Yeah, Friday!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A History of Violence

I may only be one week away from having my jaw unwired, so that I may once again enjoy food in a form other than completely liquid. And already I'm thinking about the possibilities of returning to the source of my injury...playing football. You see, my annual outdoor football league is set to begin on September 10, and having played in that league for the last 7 years, it just wouldn't seem right to not begin a September or October Sunday with a trip to the local field for football.

But, J-Man, you got your jaw broken playing football and have been miserable for the past 6 weeks as a result. Do you really want to risk going through all that again? The simple answer...Yes. You see, many people have weaknesses in their lives...things they love and can't seem to do without...and mine is playing recreational football. I've been playing a variety of touch, flag and tackle football since I was probably 10 years old and I never seem to get tired of it.

There's something wonderful and fulfilling about making an interception, or catching a touchdown amongst several defenders, or taking down an opposing quarterback to win your team the game. It's a time when I can line up on the same field with complete strangers, and we can all forget our jobs, our mortgages, our kids (well, not me) and our stresses, and focus on one common goal...getting into the endzone.

Is playing risking another injury? Yes, but so is living everyday, driving a car, drinking a beer with buddies, or even just walking up and down the stairs of your house. Hell, I've been injured numerous times in my life, doing all sorts of things, but I just move on from the regular cuts, bruises, finger jams, and injuries such as these:

4th Grade: My older brother tied my sweatshirt sleeves together behind my back and tripped me, cutting my chin open to the bone, requiring me to get 20 stitches.

6th Grade: My younger brother pushed a clothing rack in a store off of a ledge onto my head, cutting my forehead open. The amount of blood that covered my face made it seem much worse than it actually was.

7th Grade: An inside pitch in a baseball game hits me in my left knee, knocking my knee cap out of place, and chipping a corner of it. My favorite part of this moment is my older brother, and several other players on the team, telling me to "walk it off."

12th Grade: In an outdoor football game, my buddy Tim spears me while trying to take down a pile of players, giving me a concussion and a life threatening, baseball-sized bruise on my right temple. Despite the injury, and the fact that I couldn't see clearly for about 45 minutes, I drove myself home and even went to work that night. It was only the next day when I realized how bad things were and the doctor wasn't happy I waited so long.

Sophomore Year in College: After a Spring Break night of drinking, I badly sprain my right knee slipping on a hill on a rainy night. You would think I would have mastered the art of walking by this point in my life.

Junior Year in College: While throwing beer bottles at a 'sorority' adjacent to my fraternity, I pass out mid-throw and come to with a faucet of blood pouring from my nose. A drunken trip to the emergency room is always fun, but when B-Man (who came with me) knocked over some sort of gas container and it started hissing, we were definitely made to feel unwanted. I still have a hole cut in the cartiledge between my nostrils to this day.

2001: While I attempted to steal the ball in basketball, the opposing player slashed his arms around, bending my right thumb back to my wrist. Six weeks of physical therapy and a cortizone shot later, and I'm good as new. Honestly, the cortizone shot was really the difference maker...that is some amazing shit.

2004: An opponent in a football game dives to prevent me from catching a ball, only to land with his shoulder on the outside of my right knee, twisting it in until it slammed into the back wall of the endzone. A partially torn MCL, a month of wearing a metal knee brace, and two visits to a physical therapist and I'm running again.

June 30, 2006: Everything goes black after I dive for an onside kick recovery, and here we are 6 weeks later with my jaw wired shut.

Injuries are part of life, and I'm not giving up one of my favorite things without a fight.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Return of the Redskins

Last night was the first preseason game for the Redskins and although the outcome of the game was pitiful at best, I'm still excited for the start of the new season. For the first game of the year, Brunell looked relatively (loose term) sharp, with the exception of his interception, which may have been a mix-up by Brandon Lloyd, something that will hopefully be ironed out by the regular season. Lloyd's catch earlier in the drive was definitely the high point of the game, and I think he's going to end up being a very solid #2 wide receiver this year.

The starting defense was also stifling, with the Bengals first posession dropping them back 16 yards in three plays before punting the ball. Having the defensive tackles healthy this year could lead to a huge increase in the pass rush, which will hopefully turn into some turnovers...something they were really lacking last year. However, Carson Palmer was sitting on the bench for this game, so we can't

The biggest downside to the game was obviously the injury to Clinton Portis. The takedown on that DB was pretty damned cool looking, but I wish he hadn't separated his shoulder giving that guy the 'Rock Bottom'. I would hope Gibbs takes this as a warning to just let him rest for the next few weeks, if he's even capable of playing. I like Ladell Betts, and I think he'll be able to fit in nicely if Portis isn't ready to go, but we're definitely not the same team with him in there. So, overall a so-so start to the game.

And then the second team came in. I really hope that this is a product of scrubs versus scrubs, because we just looked confused and horrible. The second team O-line was getting worked over and Todd Collins looked like he wanted to reinact the scene from Unnecessary Roughness and run behind the ref to avoid getting killed. He even resorted to throwing the ball at the D-Linemen to keep them away. What a schmuck!

And the defense didn't look much better. That one DB, Wright, I think his name was...he sucks. I hope he's not our Nickelback, because he's making me wish we kept Walt Harris with the bumbling moves he made yesterday, and nobody benefits from thoughts like that.

But we can always fall back on the Joe Gibbs "Vanilla" defense, and claim we weren't showing anything in the preseason game. That's our story and I'm sticking with it. Nonetheless, the Bengals team just looked more in control throughout most of the game, audibling with ease to the same out patterns for 6-12 yards, while Collins and even Campbell floundered. But I guess this is to be expected when the team is once again instituting a new offensive scheme.

Thankfully, the Skins schedule is pretty easy to start the season, so hopefully they'll have things all together when the tough competition rolls into town. And hell, I'm just happy to see football back on TV again.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Moment of Reflection

Today I received a comment from someone who located my blog while searching for some sort of help in locating a pool repair online. Needless to say, she/he did not find answers for the problems that they were looking for. What they did find is my rantings about my life and with it some of the not so fine moments I have in dealing with clients. (don't bother looking for the post, I have removed it following their prudent commentary)

From their comments, they were likely offended and would likely not use my company for service at their pool. And they are entitled to their opinion. If they were offended, I apologize. If they don't wish to use my company's pool service, that is their prerogative. I purposely do not use my real name, the name of my company, nor any of our client's names on this blog for that reason.

My intent in writing this blog is not to educate people on pool service nor to attempt to promote my company to enhance business. This can be seen by my relatively scarce postings about pools and when I do post about them, it is not from an educational stand point but rather to express my feelings, as a human being, dealing with my job and my life.

I imagine that everyone has difficult days in their life when they hate their boss or their co-workers or a client of theirs, if they are in that type of business. I choose to share these experiences, along with other experiences, with my friends (the people who this blog is truly intended for...though I have never password protected it) for the humor that is involved in some of my stories, and for them to relate to some of the issues I encounter.

Obviously, some people with swimming pools, perhaps even in my local area, may stumble across this blog. All I can hope is that they look at this blog as a caricature of life, the stories of someone who encounters some of the same life issues they do (work, girlfriend/wife, pet, home maintenance, travels, etc.) and not as a reflection of me as a professional. Because frankly, I don't write blog entries about the clients who love the work that my company does and have been satisfied using us for 10-20 years.

Nonetheless, though you haven't found a pool website, you have found a pool man...so if you're having a problem, write me a comment asking me for my input and I'll gladly provide you with a completely unsolicited answer. I can assure you, I know what I'm talking about. Allow me to "inspire" you.

To avoid future confusion, however, I have changed the tag line under my title to not include anything related to pools and I have removed some of the past posts related to work that I feel may be offensive.

Thank you for your input, it is always appreciated.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Bad News about Good News

Today I visited my oral surgeon for my routine check-up just to see how everything is progressing. Basically, he doesn't do much except ask me if I feel any pain and checks to see that the wires are still holding my jaw tight. Today makes 5 weeks of having my jaw wired shut and now I'm down to a consistent 168 lbs., down 17 lbs. since the day of the injury.

So he does the routine, feels my jaw to make sure I don't flinch or express any pain and then he drops this wonderful line to me:

Well, why don't you come back in another two weeks, which will be seven weeks, and we'll take an X-ray and make a decision whether we can take these wires off at that point.

Of course, I'm pretty psyched as I was actually hoping he'd take X-rays today and see that I'm "ahead of schedule" and tell me that he'll definitely be taking them off earlier than expected, but I guess I can't be too pushy given my luck lately.

So with the possibility of wire removal in two weeks, I decided to inquire exactly what this entails. And here's where he choked the good news with a hearty helping of bad.

First, we're just going to take of the wires that are holding your top and bottom together. That can be done here in the office and it's painless and pretty quick. But then I'm gonna want to leave the bars that go around your teeth on for another 4-6 weeks until we see how you're doing and whether you're able to eat, etc.

I nearly started crying right there. (Yeah, screw you for judging me) Just when I thought this disaster would be behind me in two, maybe three weeks, here he drops another month to a month and a half on top of this. It makes sense, in case things aren't quite healed, it'll be easier to re-wire my jaw, which would absolutely be the worst thing ever.

I guess I sort of knew I wouldn't be 100% after he took the wires off (people had mentioned re-strengthening my jaw), but I figured at least I'd look normal again. Oh well. At least I may be eating something other than soup in two weeks, so that's a tiny miracle.

Y'all are just gonna have to deal with the new Lil' Jon and Nelly inspired J-Man, and my barbed wire grill in September. YEAH!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006


Here we go again. Why does God seem to have it out for me recently? (Well, aside from the years of mocking retards, the handicapped, excessively surfing porn on the internet, and a lack of practicing any sort of organized religion) He obviously does not want me to get a good night's sleep at least. Because, there I am, dead asleep at 3:30 AM last night, when the sound of heavy rain pelting my skylights wakes me up. It's coming down like sheets that echo on my skylights like a tribal drum, beating rapidly, accompanied by the periodic flash of lighting and loud bang of thunder.

This continues for several more minutes, the banging of thunder getting louder and louder, now waking the dog and putting her on alert. And that's when it happens. A flash at my window so bright the whole room lights up even with the blinds drawn, and an immediate bang, like a gunshot, loud enough to shake my bed.

I usually enjoy the sound of rain and thunder, but that's when it isn't accompanied by the sound of my smoke detector going off. YIKES! So, up I jump from bed, anticipating the worst, yet again. Did my house get hit by lightning and something is on fire? Oddly, the smoke detector stops after only a few seconds of operation and the power is still on. Weird? Maybe just a surge...guess I'll have a look around just in case.

So I walk out into the hallway and notice that the light in the spare room is on. The door is shut and I haven't been in there for over a week??? I'm pretty sure I couldn't have left the light on for this long. So, who turned it on? And why is it on now? I open the door to find the light on and no one inside, so I go to flip the switch off. Wait...it is off. I think this is probably creepier as I'm retelling it, much like the TV in Poltergeist, but this light is all about staying on, regardless of whether the switch is on or off. That's definitely not a good sign.

On to the breaker panel, once again. All the rest of the power is on in the house so I'm not too freaked out as I make my way down stairs. The rain and thunder are still echoing through the house, but my real fear now is fire. I'm about halfway down the stairs to the basement when the smell hits my nostrils. Oh crap! If you've never smelled the odor that accompanies an electrical fire, it is very distinct and nothing like that of a grill or campfire. And that's what I'm smelling. At this point, I'm moving considerably faster as I open the breaker box. There's no obvious fire spilling out and aside from the odor, which is more potent by the box, everything seems normal. Well, except for the light that controls itself upstairs.

My immediate thought is to shut off all the breakers for the upstairs so that the light (which is likely the source of some issue) is not continuing to receive a power supply. I flip off about 8 breakers which are all labelled as upstairs components, though none says 'kid's room' or 'spare room' or anything like that...stupid previous owners not labelling shit. I race back upstairs to see if this has shut off the light, but the damned thing is still on! FUCK! Three more trips and a series of shutting off groups of breakers, and I've finally located the right breaker. Thankfully, that has stopped the power supply to the light upstairs. But the smell still persists.

I've gotta get inside that breaker box. I run upstairs to grab a screw driver and quickly undo the screws that are holding the front panel in place. To my surprise, I am not greeted by a roaring fire. Instead, everything seems perfectly fine. Nothing is scorched or smoldering. What the hell?!

I make my way up to the spare room to examine the light switch itself. After undoing the screws, I pull out the switch. Again, no fire, no scorched wires, or any smoldering. Maybe the breaker being shut off stopped the problem? I again head down the two flights of stairs to the basement and am still confronted with the odor of electrical burning. It does not appear to be disappearing. It is pouring rain, but I step outside, hoping (well, in the sense that at least I'd know what's wrong) to see some sort of char or burned area. Nothing.

What do I do? It's 4 AM. Everything in my house, with the exception of the one light, appears to be working fine, except I'm smelling a burning odor in my basement. I debate calling my father for some quick advice, but at 4 AM I don't want to burden him and have my mother up for the next 3 hours worrying that my dog and I are going up in flames. Then I debated calling the Fire Department, but I really don't want to deal with all that hastle at this time of night, when there isn't anything obvious.

So, perhaps it wasn't the smartest move, but I decided going back to bed, having left the breaker off. Of course, I'm not going to sleep unprepared. I packed a bag of clothes that I wanted to wear along with Chloe's stuff and my keys, wallet, etc. and placed the bag by my bed, along with a fire extinguisher and a flash light. And now I lay myself back to sleep, prepared for the worst...a more shocking wakeup to the sound of a smoke detector going off without stopping, and the smell of both electrical and wood fire burning in my house and filling my lungs with smoke.

At 7:00 AM, my alarm (clock) goes off. I'm not on fire, but I am completely exhausted. My eyes are burning, not from smoke, but from lack of sleep. My body is weak from all the commotion I endured, so I call my brother to tell him what happened and that I am gonna come in a bit late today. I'm still alive, so falling back to sleep is much easier this time around.

At 10:00 AM, I wake up again, and decide it is time I get up and go to work. I begin my normal routine and eventually head downstairs to let Chloe out. FUCK! There's still that damned burning smell. It's been six hours! Something is still burning! Now it is not too early to call ol' Pops. After a quick recap of my late night events, we concur that the best step is to contact an electrician to check into this matter. He places the call, and they suggest we call the fire department as well.

And that is where my last two hours have been spent. First the fire department came and three firemen checked the breaker panel, the light switch and my attic, and concluded the same things I did. Nothing obvious...maybe it's the breaker that smells...wait for the electrician.

And then the electrician arrived. He went to the breaker box and turned to me to say, "the smell isn't coming from here." Is this good news or bad news? He suggested I check to make sure the washer and dryer were still working...check. Then he suggested I see if all my electronics devices were still working. Big screen...check. DVD player...check. Receiver...check. CD changer...check. TiVo...TiVo? TiVo?? How do you turn this thing on. The remote has no button for "on", so I push all the buttons. Nothing. And then we smell the box. TiVo is on fire. I completely unplug it and throw it out into the garage, the odor following me as I move it away. TiVo has been burning in my basement for the past 6 hours.

So, the light switch was replaced and TiVo is no more. So long "Comedy Central Presents...Mitch Hedberg" and "Making the Video: Boots are made for Walking," you had been there for a while. And so long to the newest episodes of "Last Comic Standing" and "Dog the Bounty Hunter."

Well, the mystery is solved. You've been Thunderstruck.

Yeah, it's alright.
We're doing fine.
So Fine.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Top 10 Funniest Movies

Well, Friday night rolled around and with it came the opening of the newest Will Ferrell movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I'm a huge Will Ferrell fan so, of course, there I am with my brother and his roommate to see the 7 PM showing on opening night. My expectations were high, and though the movie didn't rank up there with his previous greats (Old School, Anchorman), it did have some solid parts. I'm sure it'll be a lot funnier once I've seen it about 5 more times and can start throwing lines from it into my everyday conversations.

So, like I said, this movie didn't rank up there with his previous movies...but how exactly do those other movies rank up with what I would consider the Funniest Movies I've seen. So, it seemed only fitting that I whip out:

The 10 Ten Funniest Movies Ever
(Let me just start by saying Jim Carrey irritates me and I don't like Ben Stiller's sense of humor, so some of their 'finer' works are missing)
10. Mallrats - Jason Lee is freakin hilarious in this movie and Jay & Silent Bob have their moments as well. All in all a solid movie with several laugh out loud moments.
9. Austin Powers - It's basically a bunch of gags one right after another and is too solid a movie to have been left off this list. The sequels had their funny parts (Fat Bastard) but I'm giving the overall nod to the original.
8. Anchorman - The news team fight is amazing, and Will Ferrell could just be standing there and I would laugh.
7. Happy Gilmore - Adam Sandler has always been a favorite of mine and having watched this movie probably 20 or more times, I can say with conviction that it is one of the funniest movies around. Hell, he fights Bob Barker.
6. Wedding Crashers - My expectations were perhaps a bit too high when I first saw this movie, but Vince Vaughn and his rants always keep me entertained. It may drop with time, but right now it's still a top movie.
5. Billy Madison - Another Adam Sandler movie makes an appearance on the big board. This was his first and his finest, and nothing beats throwing a ball at small children to make me laugh. (Hell, it's the only time I laughed when I saw "Bad News Bears")
4. Van Wilder - Though I feel like I wanna puke when the Frat Boys are eating the eclairs (yeah, you know the scene), there's too many hilarious parts to this movie for it to not make the list. And having just seen it on Comedy Central again today, it's jumped a bit up the standings.
3. American Pie - My brother debated this movie even being considered for this list, but Stiffler alone makes this movie a Top 5. Plus, who doesn't love Eugene Levy...well, except for the movie, "The Man"
2. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle - This is arguably the funniest movie ever, but nothing can really unseat the overall greatness of the #1 movie. Then again, the NPH cameo is pretty damned amazing. If you're doubting me...go watch this movie again. You will laugh out loud.
1. Old School - Come on. Was there any doubt? This movie is one of the finest pieces of work ever made in the comedy genre and will be cherished for years to come. We're going streaking!!!

Now I'm sure there will be plenty of debate if any of my 20 or so readers actually brings himself to type anything, so let me do you one better. If you actually care, and want to make your voice heard, post your own top ten in the comments section and I will award 10 points for any first place vote on down to 1 point for tenth and then I will repost my top ten with your adjustments next week. Seems like a fair compromise? And here's a few movies that didn't make the cut that you may want to consider as well.

40 Year Old Virgin
Animal House
Dumb & Dumber
Something About Mary
Tommy Boy
Super Troopers
Half Baked
Scary Movie
Don't Be a Menace to South Central...
Nutty Professor
Duece Bigelow
National Lampoon's Vacation
Naked Gun
Meet The Parents
Bad Santa
Ace Ventura

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Earlier in the week, I met my brother at a job site to give him a part that I had picked up for the job he was at. When I pulled up next to the service truck, however, I noticed that there was something on the hub cap. It looked like a "D" and it was spray painted on there. Where in the hell did that come from?! I'm sure I hadn't seen that before. My brother was also unsure, and it wasn't until I got back to our warehouse that I realized where it had come from.

There, in our parking lot, sat several other trucks, spray painted by vandals with the word "DARK" tagged in random locations. One truck, that has been sitting in the lot and hasn't moved in a while was completely tagged up. They had spray painted the entire passenger side window and rearview window white and painted "DARK" over top of that, in addition to the 6-8 other locations the word and other drawings appeared all over the large box truck.

Wow! Where did all this spray painting come from? Hmmm. Let me think. There is a warehouse spot in this development for a realty company, a gym supplier, a framing store, that weird guy that looks like the Riddler, and... an underground autobody shop that specializes in spray painting designs on cars and only works at night because they probably don't have a license to do car work in our warehouse development to begin with. Hmmm. Who could have done this? I'm stumped.

So, we call the building supervisor and mention what has occurred and who we "think" might be responsible for it. Of course, he's being a big vagina and refuses to take any action because no one actually saw anyone do it. That's right, no one saw them do it...but these are the same guys that spray painted all over the inside of their warehouse walls, and even on their own cars, plus all of the trucks that were tagged were either directly in front of their warehouse spot or just out of view of the main traffic. But he's right, that would be circumstantial evidence. And who would be stupid enough to spray paint right in front of their own shop. Certainly not punks who sit in a warehouse inhaling spray paint all night. Definitely not.

On to the police. So we give them a call and inform them of what occurred. They're more concerned as to whether "DARK" is a racial slur and whether this was a hate crime. Are you kidding me? Hate crime? I don't know about you, but I don't particularly "love" getting spray paint put on my vehicle. Fucking "hate" crime! When we told them it wasn't, immediately we're not important and I still haven't heard anything from them since. But I expected that.

So what's the next step...vigilante justice, of course. No, I didn't break anything of theirs or spray paint their vehicles or anything like that. The thought crossed my mind, but I'm not trying to get thrown in jail or fined or some crap like that. I mean, they just sprayed a 'D' on my wheel. They did much worse to other people's trucks. Certainly the other guys would be just as mad as me. Right?

So I walked my ass down to the guy who owns the sign shop, who happened to have two trucks he was working on (putting signage on them) tagged up. Now, this guy is an animal. I know, because he has come into my office and bitched at me because my guys are parking in his parking spots. Now, let me tell you. If you saw how mad he was over taking his parking spots, one can only imagine what he would do when someone elses' vehicle, in his care, got vandalized.

Let me just pay him a quick visit. And that's where I'm gonna end this particular tale. You can finish it however you see fit, but make sure you include a lot of curse words, because that would be truest to form.

Yeah, I poked the bees' nest and perhaps I poured honey on these spray paint guys, without any solid proof, but hey...what else am I gonna do to keep myself entertained. They shouldn't have messed with my truck.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A New Addition

If my retarded stories weren't enough to keep you coming back, I have now added another way for you to waste your day instead of working....FROGGER.

Yep, scroll down to the end of the links on the right and you'll find good old Frogger at your disposal, all day, every day. You think you'll only play one go round, but trust me you'll be hooked. Enjoy the new addition, I'll post something later.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Top 10: Building the Franchise

Last night, I'm sitting in bed watching TV when I flip to ESPN and see that the Red Sox-Indians game is in the bottom of the ninth and the score is 8-6, with the Sox at bat with a man on first and no outs. As some of you may have already seen, the next batter proceeds to get walked, and ESPN is already panning to David Ortiz, moving to the on-deck circle, as Mark Loretta comes to the plate.

Let me just start by saying that I really don't like the Red Sox. I was raised a Yankee fan and with that comes some standard requisites, one being a hatred for the Sox. But as I'm sitting in bed watching this game, I'm starting to get goosebumps, because I know what is about to happen. The Red Sox coach does not option to have Loretta sacrifice bunt, which would move the runners, but leave 1st base open for an intentional walk. Instead, he lets Loretta swing away, and to the Sox delight, he does not hit into a double play. He pops out in the infield and the runners are still at 1st and 2nd when Big Papi comes up against Fausto Carmona, the new Indians closer.

The rest is like a Michael Jordan highlight. Game on the line, the closing moments, this is when the real men dial it in. And Ortiz did it again. The first pitch in the strike zone, he nails it to center field and walks off with a 3-run, game winning homerun. Even I cheered, he's just simply amazing.

But moments like this got me to thinking, with a guy like David Ortiz, and the Nationals move to not trade Alfonso Soriano at the deadline yesterday, if you could build a baseball franchise today from scratch, who would you start with? I discussed this at work the other day, and here's my newest top 10 list:

Top 10 Players to Begin a MLB Franchise With
10. David Wright 3B NYM - Most people would probably say, "who?" and wonder how a guy like this even made it onto my list. The fact of the matter is, this guy is probably one of the best overall talents in baseball right now, and he's still very young. If you're looking to build, this is a good place to start.
9. Ryan Howard 1B PHI - Before the All-Star break, you would have probably said "who?" about this guy as well. After the Home Run Derby, however, you're probably now aware that he is a monster talent and a batter to be feared for years to come.
8. Andruw Jones CF ATL - Atlanta has been winning the NL East since I was still in high school and one very consistent piece of that squad is the best centerfielder in baseball right now. He brings power at the plate, as he displayed last year, and you can't overlook what having a great defender patrolling the outfield can do for a baseball franchise.
7. Johan Santana SP Minn - He's arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball over the last several years and he's still got plenty of years left to build on his legacy. They say pitching wins championships, and although I don't think I'd begin a franchise with a pitcher, he'd definitely be the one I'd choose.
6. Alfonso Soriano 2B/OF Wash - Do I even need to say anything to support this call? He IS the Nationals franchise right now, and I hope that the lack of a trade is an indication that they are going to try and sign him long-term.
5. Ichiro Suzuki RF Sea - Aside from the fact that he is an INTERNATIONAL superstar, which brings a whole new fanbase to a franchise, he is arguably the best leadoff hitter in baseball, and that does a lot to change the complexion of a game when a pitcher has to think about a steal threat while he's trying to get through the heart of the lineup. Ichiro isn't too shabby in the field either.
4. David Ortiz DH BOS - This goes back to the story of last night...and the stories of the ALDS, that I won't bring up. Ortiz is the most clutch hitter in baseball, and I wouldn't want anyone else up to bat with the game on the line. That's obviously saying alot because to build a franchise around someone who only makes an appearance 3-6 times per game would usually not merit a #4 on a ranking sheet. Or an AL MVP???
3. Derek Jeter SS NYY - He's been through it in the past and has proven that he is a clutch batter, fielder and leader. He makes the whole team better by his presence and could arguably be my #1 selection.
2. Alex Rodriguez 3B NYY - Some of the other Yankee fans (and baseball fans, in general) can boo him and get on his case for having a bad spell right now, but the fact of the matter is, is that he is the best player in baseball over the last decade. Yeah, he strikes out when the game is on the line every now and then, but he also contributes to the fact that the game is never "on the line" for the next 3-5 games after that. Hate him all you want, the guy produces.
1. Albert Pujols 1B STL - Pujols is the second coming of A-Rod. And at only 26 years of age, he's already in his 6th year of putting up absolutely ridiculous power and average numbers. If anyone has a chance at the triple crown in the foreseeable future, it's this guy. And if you're talking about building a franchise, there's not even a debate in my mind that he's the guy I'd want.