Friday, October 27, 2006

Holy Shit

Well, I had every intention in the world of updating this every morning. Alas, after only one week, I have already failed at doing that. Ah well, them's the breaks, as they say.

Been a rough week here at the Toy Company. Quarterly Sales Summary time. Every quarter we all get together and present the goings on the sales side of the business to rap about what the hell is going on. My presentation focused on our overseas distributors. I will not bore you with the details, suffice it to say, it went went off without a hitch. Well, that's what people are telling me anyway. I have the feeling they are coating their crititques in candy - and I will not know how they truly feel until about six to eight months from now, when they either increase my respondsibilities or decrease them. That's just how it works around here.

Tomorrow marks the start of my military mission to downtown Pittsburgh. Wheels up at 10:26 in the morning, back home at 3:29 on Sunday. I am going to be wiped. I should have taken Monday off, still might.

More later.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Seventeen. Seventeen. That's how many folks are attending the Pittsburgh wedding. Seventeen out of eighty invitees. Hilarious.

The back story here is long and laborious. But the short of the long of it is as so: Troy Arnold (the groom) is, quite possibly, the biggest buffoon on the planet. Not in a bad way, mind you. In fact, his persona is damn near possible to describe. Basically, though means well and has a good heart, he annoys the piss out of 99.9% of the people he comes in contact with, but he has no clue about it. Delusions of grandeur. Exactly. He also thinks he looks like Eddie Vedder and loves the number 29 - utterly inexplicable.

We met him originally down in Tuscon freshman year. And we knew right then and there that he would be with us forever, whether we like it or not.

I called him last night to get the download on the wedding, he was down and out and ready to reevaluate all his 'friendships'. Ready to 'crawl in a hole for three months' once the reception comes to a close. He is sure to lose a ton of money at the post-reception rave since no one will show up. (According to him, if a similar 'rave' was held in Europe, 3000 people would attend, but Americans, according to him, are a bunch of idiots.) And yes, it is a rave. Non-stop DJ music and candy-flipping. We are thirty years old, Troy. Once you hit 30, you are not allowed to attend thumping raves with laser light shows and do drugs anymore. It's in the rule book.

Not to mention that I don't do drugs anymore. Do you know how poorly DJ Shadow goes with beer? It is like putting a turtle in a cage match with a leopard. Ugh.

All that said, I am looking forwrad to it, mostly to see what the fuck Pittsburgh is like on Halloween weekend as well as to see Rob and Dave, old high school and post-college friends, again. Dave and I are actually on the same flight. Pre-wheels-up bloody marys anyone? I'll have to dry clean my suit next week. REMINDER.

Contrary to what was written a few days ago, I am actually contemplating bringing an over night bag. A toothbrush, some jeans, a sweater. Flying home hungover in last night's vodka soiled suit is also something one is not allowed to do once they hit 30.

Re: Surburban disenchantment briefly mentioned yesterday.

Been feeling a little under the weather lately. It, of course, might simply be because of the weather this week. Dark, rainy, low, damp. But I also think it runs a little deeper than that. Yesterday I mentioned the joy one finds in being a part of something bigger, and I just do not have that right now. I have my wife, my pup, my home, all of which I love to death, but living out in the burbs has left me without a feeling of a neighborhood, of a time. And for that reason, I have had this overwhelming desire to go to a bar in uptown (why uptown? could not tell you) and drink heavily, on a weeknight. Spend a dank Tuesday night holed drinking beer and getting progressively louder in my laughter. Watching the cars rolls past the wetness the lights reflecting the ears chilled. Pedestrians clinging. Sounds glorious in theory, but in practice it would just leave me with a hundred clams lighter in the wallet and more than likely with a pounding hangover. Anything worse than a Wednesday hangover? No.

But the feeling is still there. Something bigger, sick of the small life. Maybe I just need to get out on the road. THAT is one aspect of my life that there is nothing small. Large looming trade shows in large looming distant cities. Jumbo jets screaming down runways pitching through night skies. Coming home again.

Atlanta, January.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blowing Smoke

Nearly a complete disaster this morning, as with every other morning. My commute goes something like this: my wife drops me off at a major intersection near our home where I catch the bus that brings me, and other like minded folk, downtown for the Day's Work, my wife then drives to her office. (We are a one car family, but that is a story for another day, as is the the bus, I'll note them in case I ever stumble on a lack of something better to write about:

Future topics:
1. One car family
2. The Bus


At the major intersection, there is a coffee-shop, one of those suburban chain joints that all look the same from Blaine to Lakeville, from Stillwater to Zimmerman, a Caribou to be exact. The bad news for stockholders is that the company is in the toilet, financially, but that's good news for consumers, as the improvements they are making to get back into the black are actually quite nice. There is a new dark roast, of which I am a huge fan. And the staff must have received orders from up top to skip the attitude and smile at the folks who come into the fucking store to give you money. A prime directive, so to speak.

The shop has a warmth to it, which I appreciate on fall mornings, it is bright but not too bright. It's nice. Much better than the coffee-shop of my college days: the Purple Onion in Dinkytown. They served their mud in beer glasses and the floors were painted a sickly blue. There was very little warmth to the Onion, but it still served its purpose. That is, it gave me somewhere to go. Be it winter, spring, summer, or fall, you could find me in the smoking section, reading, writing, laughing, sometimes alone, sometimes not, drinking my beer glass full of mud, smoking reds, with a sweater and a collar, actually feeling like I was connected to something bigger than myself, a city, a neighborhood, a university. A time. A place. Which is a good feeling, one that I miss, for it is never about what we own, but always about what we are apart of. But that, again, is a topic for another day:

1. Surburban. Disenfranchised. Apart. Small


I digress: Onto the catastrophe!

I had no money. Normally in the morning I have at least four dollars on me, two for the cup of joe, two for the bus. (Yep, that's right, the bus costs two freaking dollars. It is not a special bus either, it is just your usual ratty city bus with 300,000 miles on it and with holes in the seats. Buses should be free.) Again, I had no money. I had left my four dollars on the kitchen table. Damn. This was trouble. No coffee and worst of all, no bus.

I got cash, I got coffee, and I even caught the bus instead of having to wait twenty minutes for another one.

Catastrophe averted.

It's not the destination folks, it's the journey.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Discount Tent

Good morning. It is mornings such as these that inspire. Inspire to what, I am not sure. But something about rising in the darkness, heading to downtown in the fog, walking through the grey, something about learning to live again without the summer that inspires each of us in a different way, but inspires nonetheless.

Yesterday, I purchased two new books at the downtown Borders that I am excited to read. London's The Call of the Wild and Shackleton's South. Unfortunately, before opening either of them, I have to finish Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. The book has been enjoyable to say the least. But now he has reached the biology section, the birth of life on our planet 4 million years ago. It is interesting, but quite dry. He was able to find humor in quantum physics and extinction level earthquakes, but is wholly incapable of bringing his wit into the submit of single celled organisms forming at the dawn of time. I still have to wade through another 200 pages or so, I hoping it picks up a little. For I want nothing more than to join Shackleton's crew and head south.

Last night, I caught the fourth episode of NBC's 'Heroes'. This after watching season three of Northern Exposure and season one of Twin Peaks over the weekend. Two fifteen year old shows versus a brand new one. Not really a fair comparison, so I will not attempt it here. But let me say this: just as we would not exist without the DNA created in the anaerobic (or non-using oxygen) world; slick, cool, fun shows with a ethical twist would not exist would Lynch's Twin Peaks. Revisit them. Please. The 'fish out of water on steroids' character of Special Agent Cooper is one of the most influential characters in television history.

There, I said it.

Also, last night, I drank one and a half glasses of 'Herding Cats' Cabernet. It was terrible. I dumped the remnants into the sink. Tasted like grey poupon and grape jelly. Avoid.

Despite the first paragraph, I am feeling rather uninspired all of a sudden. Only took two paragraphs to get there, too. Not a good sign for things to come.

My boss just got in this morning. She was attending the mother-daughter mass at her daughter's school. Reminds me of Friday morning masses at St Francis de Sales - my school from 1st through 3rd grade. Not much else to say about that. But those masses stick with me, more than the those of the Sunday variety that I twiddled my thumbs through every week for the first 14 years of my life. Not sure why.

I have feeling the blah attitude I am feeling right now has something to do with choosing the office coffee over Starbucks or Caribou. Life is too damn short to drink shitty coffee. Too damn short indeed.

And there's my wisdom for the day.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Monday morning, rainy Monday morning, cold, rainy Monday morning, damp, cold, rainy, dreary Monday morning. And so on.

The good news is that coffee always tastes better on days such as this. Ten times better, in fact, then it does on those hot, humid July mornings. Unless, of course, a thunderstorm is promised. Summer morning thunderstorms, while quite rare, are always one of the highlights of summer. Honestly, though, I do not think we had one this year. Still time, though, yes the calendar says fall, the window says fall, the trees say fall, my mood says fall, but we still have a little time left for magic before winter comes crashing down around us.

The funny thing is, I look forward to winter. To the first snowfall, to sweaters and scarves and getting warm again. I think we all do to some degree, though most folks here are so ingrained to compain about the cold and the snow that they are disinclined to admit it. January SUCKS, yes, but December holds much to be desired.

Dark. Yep, that's the one thing that gets to me, the darkness. Dark when you leave, dark when you get home. Dark, dark, dark. Oh, and the dry skin. That sucks, too.

We attended yet another wedding over the weekend. An outdoor affair. It was miserable. Also managed to spend some quality time in the yard on Sunday afternoon, which was a brilliant afternoon to be out and about. High blue skies, warm, even the highway was quiet. I cleaned out the sticks on the side of the garage, raked, mowed, and took the bags and bags and bags to two different drop-off sites. The second one took me by our first home. The lawn needed mowing.

Upon finishing, I slurped a bottle of beer on the front stoop with my new friends, the pumpkins. I do not plan on carving them, just got them to give Oxford Town a taste of the season.

There is a picture of me with my mother and siblings that was taken about three weeks after my father passed. I was thirteen or so, mom an already old 40, sister 15, brother seven. We were with our carved pumpkins, so obviously striving for normalcy. It is a terribly sad photo, and I think of it whenever I think of pumpkins. As such, I have not purchased or carved them in my adult life. Buying pumpkins yesterday was a big step for me.

Murray got one, too. His only cost a dollar.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Here at the toy company, we have half-day Fridays April through September. It is one of the perks they offer because they can't pay any of us half of what we deserve.

All summer long, I would bolt from the office at noon, head home, take Murray for a long, leisurely walk, work in the yard, and have some early beers. It was great. Now it's over.

This is my first full Friday since half-day Fridays ended (I was off last Friday: picking up a tux for a buddy's wedding and then watching the Twins fail to push the sun back into the sky and give me one more day of summer), and I am dreading it. Friday at about three is the worst time of the week. It is worse than Monday at eight in the morning, or Tuesday noon-ish. The good news is that marketing manager and I are bolting at nine to tour potential winter party locations (Calhoun Beach Club and the Minneapolis Club, for you locals), then we are heading out for a long lunch (no cocktails), so that will break up the day a little. The bad news is that I have two projects looming (well, three, but I refuse to crank the widget on number three on the first full Friday since March).

It is still cold here. Bitterly cold. I was heartened this morning to hear that it was supposed to warm up over the weekend, but the weatherman had to ruin it by saying: 'good chance to get out and rake those leaves!'

Fuck you.

You know, I hate when weatherman get bossy. 'Better throw a sweater on before heading out the door' or 'Better pack an umbrella' or 'Crack those windows, gonna be great sleeping weather!' Fuck you, mom. Don't tell me what to do! Who do you think you are??

Yesterday, I booked a flight to Pittsburgh for a buddy's wedding. Going stag. Should be interesting. I am not packing anything, as I fly in that afternoon and out the next morning. Bringing my wallet and my cell phone. Gonna sleep in my suit.

I remember an old Rolling Stones documentary, they were talking about one of Jagger's girlfriends, and how she was a spontaneous person. Without the benefit of diction, this always piqued my interest: 'she was known to get on a airplane with nothing but a credit card in her pocket'. I always thought thought that was cool. Still do. Finally, I get to experience it for myself.

Of course, I am going to Pittsburgh, and Jaggeer's girlfriend was probably going to Morocco to do coke with Brian Epstein and James Taylor.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Well, it was a fine day, I guess. Woke up a little sore (we need a new mattress), shaved with a razor that is too dull (I have a fresh one waiting in the wings, but am saving it for a wedding we are attending on Saturday and considering Mach 3 razors are, I believe, around $1700.00 a pop, I try to make them last as long as possible, and do not really feel the need to have a perfect shave for a Thursday at the office when the boss is out of town), dressed in a sweater, dress shirt, pin stripe combo that looked much better in my head than it did on my person, but that's what I get for trying to dress like Dr. Joel Fleischman (the pinstripe GAP pants were a poor substitute for the thick cords he favored, but, hey, this is 2006, I don't think I could find thick cords if I wanted to, and I do). Walked outside. Fuck. Cold. Excuse my french. Fuck. Cold. October 12th and I am forced to wear gloves. Yes, I know that this will not last. But I would appreciate a swan song, Autumn, instead of a slap in the face, you owe me a swan song.