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Friday, June 11, 2010

Do I need bangs?

(This blog is dedicated to my favorite customer, and new friend that I did not find at Target, as a token of my apprecaiton…sorry it took so long to write it up Marci…)
     No offense to anyone that watches HGTV, but I gotta say…If I hear one more goofball at a home show say to me when I am trying to talk to them about their project “Yeah, I watch Holmes on Homes” I may have to say STFUYSI…Really? Seriously?
     I have watched him a couple of times, he is good, but being that I am in the trades, I try to avoid the HGTV network. I like what I do, but I gotta have some escape. I am often tempted to ask, “Oh, you are an engineer? cuz I REALLY like *engineering disasters*”. The difference is that most of the homes on Holmes were probably not done by a reputable contractor. Most likely they were done by a conartistractor, the cheapest guy or a DYIer, where as the engineering disasters were committed by engineers…think about it…jus’ sayin’.
     Or I will switch the subject by saying “Oh really? Do you think I need bangs?” ( I stole this one from my friend Marci). I recently finished her basement, and during one of the coffee breaks on a 5 +week job, I was ranting about something and she popped that little gem…I really do not know what I was rambling on about, but it must have been some inane banter, with no point. I am famous for that.
     I recently completed the home show season. (March). I have determined that I am a weirdo magnet. Anyone that needs a few hours to kill and is looking for an ear seems to find me. It may be because I am pleasant and have that Howdy- Doowdy face, like Ritchie Cunningham. Someone suggested to me once that “It takes one to know one.” (fake chortle and yeah, whatever.)
     I may be a bit off, but hey it is not a perfect world. As soon as the human race accepts and embraces the complex diversity that makes up gene pool, the world will be *as one*…Deposit goodwill in the karma bank…I am trying to build up the deposits in my karma bank, with good credit, cuz lord knows I have done some mean and hurtful things in my walk on this earth.
     The problem is that there are weirdoes that are benign, like the lonely old man or the socially awkward goof that go to the trade show to have human interaction. These types will invariably find me and lock me into a fifteen minute diatribe about EVRERYTHING but a remodel project.
     Or if they do, in fact, have a project, they will be so HGTV’D that they will think it can be done for less than $1000.00 dollars and completed in one week-end…I call this tradingspacesitis, from the show Trading Spaces. A show where they think it is ok to put marble on the fireplace surround with construction adhesive. Just so you know it is NOT ok…. It will stay up for a while, but eventually it will come down. You get what you pay for. In karma and in life. BTW, I do not work weekends, (unless you count blogging) very often, and definitely not for you, moron…(I am trying to make some money blogging, click on my ads...HINT HINT...when  I hit $1000.00 I am throwing a hellaious party I'm at $33 and change right now HINT HINT...) but I digress…
     Another type of benign maladjusters is the goofball that just wants to tell me about the last conartistractor that did their last project. They complain and bemoan the delays and the overruns…you get what you pay for… “Do I need bangs?” that phrase keeps rolling around in my head along with “Man, I would cut off a limb for a beer right now.” Fortunately, these benigners are really not all that scary…I have found that picking my nose is not a deal breaker, they will keep on ChattyKathying until they run out of steam or I engage with someone else.
     The problem is that there are many malignant weirdoes. Some want to kill in the name of religion, or belief. These types scare me. Not for me mind you, because if they kill me, then I move on to whatever is in store after this life. I am scared for the innocents and others that I would miss. Grief is for the living. It sucks, but hey, that is part of being alive, rectifying death.
     Others that are scary are the weirdoes that think they are fighting for a just cause. Like bombing an abortion clinic. Kill the baby killers? Does that stop people from having an abortion? Nope. (I do not agree with having an abortion and I am not trying to open that debate, but hear me out.) Killing is wrong, by my morality compass. Violence does not solve violence. “BTW, do I need bangs?”
     One villain in this saga is ignorance. Ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds hatred, hatred breeds violence, violence breeds death. As soon as we embrace difference, embrace individuality and embrace tolerance we will be *as one* I do not believe we will see this in my lifetime, and that is a shame.
     People like Limbaugh and that other knucklehead Hannity, just spread the seeds of ignorance. They are so filled with vitriol and hatred for the other party, also Americans that they would probably be on board to nuke Washington if it would assure the rise of their party. (Not to say that the Dems, are not just as bad, but my blog leans a little left…)
     Greed is also a villain. Our society has put moola on a pedestal. I lost about a half million dollars due to greed of others. I too may have been a bit greedy, but I was the one that lost the cash. However, I heard recently that one of the guys that screwed me out of about 200K, recently got his comeuppance. He is in the process of losing everything. And may do some jail time. Greedy bastard and the karma of what you sow…
     His karmic catastrophe does not get my house or car back, but hey, it does not make me too sad. We all need to look at things from a broader scope. The things you do to others will ultimately come back to you. I would not say to him if I saw him on the street, “looks like you got what you deserved.” I might however say "F you!” but probably not. What good does that do for me? It only would rob my karma bank.
     When I am accosted by the weirdopatrol, (driving Norman the speel checker nuts today) I just smile and pleasantly nod, while trying to extricate myself from the blather and find a quality lead. We all do what we do to pay the mortgage. (sic. From Thank You for Smoking) *and I think to myself, what a wonderful world* and do I need bangs?

Just another day in paradise

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Save me…f- the whales

        As I was walking Tucker this evening, after his first escape episode, I realized how fragile our connections can be. He, like any of us, can be gone in an instant. So having no other good idea for a blog, I concocted a bunch of random images to piece together in some semblance of a point directed story. It centers on a long tossed out t-shirt and an old friend Brother Rob. (Bro Ro) I used to have a t-shirt that said simply “F-ck the whales SAVE ME.” Bro Ro was the reason I had this shirt. He was and is a part of what I used to be and who I am now. As I drive to the lakeshore every day recently, I reminisce the not so distant past.

Using my mind’s eye mind melding USB cable I have recreated this shirt in all its glory…

     Another of my friends, coincidently a friend of Bro Ro, Cindy, a grad of EKHS, and a work associate at a long ago job, had a video of her granddaughter riding a bike for the first time. It was pretty damn cool, to be able to watch a benchmark occur, thanks to this newfangled interweb thingy.
     A year ago, I would not even had an inkling of what Cindy was up to. I may have seen her at the next reunion. I may not have, but I do not have to worry, I can connect with her and so many others on daily basis. It is very life affirming. And if I want to, I can connect  in my bathrobe. 'cuz know ones sees me....yet....With or with out slippers. Even commando. (fighting visual) Or with my pants on backwards… Right Cindy? (I still giggle about that one)
     I normally do not watch videos, because the dinolaptop I use is so f’ed that I usually fall asleep long before the video is watchable. If I do get the damn thing to load the video, and it doesn’t freeze up and give me an error message, and I do not lapse into a compucoma, I am usually entertained.
     Life passes so quickly, we really need to hold on to everything we can, *hold on loosely, but don’t let go.* I started thinking of the (not too) distant past. Most of which I had, unfortunately, held on too loosely. Life has a way of taking care of your malaise, by introducing new friends and relationships, when you are remiss in keeping your connections close.
     I had resisted the FB thing for so long. I dug in my heels and scoffed at those that had become one with what I had considered the FaceBorg. However, being an applause junkie and needing an audience I relented.
     After a few months of cybersifting thru the maze that is FB, the epiphanyball started knockin’ my noggin with a very important fact. The world is interconnected. Humans are a social animal. The human race is a social network and we all want to be heard. The interweb thingy gives us all a voice. Yes, oh yes it does.
     Way back when, shortly after matriculating from EKHS, and long before I had any real vision of anything other than finding a girlfriend and making just enough cabbage to party and be a slackaround, I attended a couple of months of higher education at what was then GRCC.
     I was enrolled for the whole semester, but that was a bit more of a commitment than I really wanted. It interfered terribly with the things I loved most; chasing women and drinking. Something had to give. Much to my fathers (God rest his soul) dismay being care free and uninspired won out.
     However, before I actually dropped out of college for the first time, around 19, I met a guy that could have been my older brother. Enter Bro Ro albeit, motivated and educated but brother none the less. Rob was a salesman, and I was as VP of the Conservation Club, (hence the ad for Save the Polar Bears) in charge of fundraising .As fate would have it I too am a salesman of sorts. I am not very polished and not very suave, but I can be entertaining and great at parroting. As the Outlaw Jose Wales once said, *A man has got to know his limitations*. 
Bro Ro                                                                

Bro Bru

      The CC received a percentage of the item we sold for Rob’s company, and since I liked shooting the shit more than actually attending class, I was at the booth as many hours as I could possibly justify without looking like I had a man crush.

  Rumor has it that Rob made money to finance his various entities by painting the addresses on the curbs in EGR…. While this curb (pictured above) is not very legible, it was a long time ago…it may be proof of this rumor…

  I sold fauxglasses for him, out of my parent’s basement; while he was out in Cali, making more money, doing something that I think was a real job, but who knows. I went to art fairs and sold *Surf Shirts* that I *made by hand* *wink, wink* It was cool until I got booted from the Trenton Art Fair, for *Not Making Them By Hand!!!* Seriously? You must be joking. I have been kicked out of a lot of places, but an art fair?
     As time went on I actually got a real job at Farrell's Icecream Parlour and I had to, because my parents for some reason thought that I should not live at home and I should support myself. Hey, I was 19 or 20 after all, and that meant that I should stop mooching. This really put a damper on my party time…Bummer dude…
     We became friends. We have friends that are friends. He was instrumental in my being *Mildly Famous* by orchestrating the Street Music Scene in Saugatuck. I owe much of my *nearly famous* years to Bro Ro. He introduced me to Roger, the Tie-dye guy, so I had a place to land in Key West, when I eventually wandered down there for a couple of winters.
     I continued to work selling t-shirts, but reality and the Farrell’s job forbade me from doing this full time, but I worked at the biggest, baddest, coolest art fair in the world *The Ann Arbor Art Fair.* selling fauxglasses, surf shirts, and T-shirts. And trying to pick up chicks, get free beers and be the guy that I could not be the other 51 weeks a year.
     Occasionally we would sell the shirt off our back. Like some testosterone laden badge of honor, we actually gave the selling of a sweaty, stinky shirt a place of honor. I gotta say I would do the same today…Jus’ Sayin’…
     We became brothers. We told every one were brothers. It was a great gig. I got a once a year, a working vacation filled with late nights, early mornings and LOTS of Tequila. So much so that one year I got kicked out of a restaurant. The particulars are dim, margarita induced, visages of laughter and lunacy. Like I said kicked out of a lot of places, but a restaurant is a much better place to get booted than the Trenton Art Fair.
     To be fair, booted is not really the correct term, banned is more like it. Undaunted I snuck in the following year for the post party, and was recognized as the *guy who ate with his face*. (It was a bet and I won, but jalapeƱo in your ear is not a good thing.) and *the turtle breaker* I did break the ceramic turtle during a drunken speech, but I did glue it together and return it the following year. Returning the turtle (they did not even know it was gone) helped lift the ban, but so did the salesmanship of Rob. And the amount of money we were about to spend…
    I attended his wedding in up state New York, near Watkins Glen. I am not a big wedding ceremony guy, but that was the most awesome wedding I have attended. (Well, save my own wedding in a Pal’s Diner, taped by channel 8, shown on TV, wearing tie-dye that was more cool and awesome).the setting was like something from a movie, complete with a real, natural, waterfall in the background and Bro Ro in top hat, tux and tails. However, I think he was wearing Teva sandals….
     I drove to Upstate NY. I went thru Canada. I had to throw away my favorite bowl, because it would probably not go thru customs very well. Shortly after tossing the bowl, I also kind of drove thru customs and nearly got kicked out of Canada, for not stopping at the proper stopping area. That would be a bit bigger if not better than getting booted from Trenton. It was late at night and I was respectful and apologetic, so they let me go on my merry way. Right after checking the guitar case where mere minutes earlier I had stashed my fav bowl. Whew!!!
    BTW there are LOTS of farms in Canada. I stopped for the night off the highway in one of them. To be clear, I did so intentionally, not by accident, or reckless driving. I thought it was a dirt road, but it was a driveway. A long one. In the morning I realized it was not a dirt road and the rumble of the farmer on a tractor, was my alarm. They get up way too early. I really wonder what he thought about the long-haired guy sleeping in a car in his driveway.
     The trip should have taken roughly 10 hours drive time. It took me 19 hours of driving and it took me to see the skyline of Toronto. I guess I missed a turn or two. And I did stop in Niagara Falls long enough to see the awesome grandeur that is there and to pee ‘cuz all that water…*Sheila* would have had a cow….jus sayin….
     I did not pack a dress shirt. I was gonna wear my f-ck the whales shirt, as it was a come as you are affair, but that seemed, even to me, a bit classless. So I had to buy one. Coincidently, it is the purple shirt that I am wearing in my profile pic, at the Obama victory party. I may have been over-served at that affair.
    Bro Ro is a lot of things that I am not. I respect him. He is a great friend and like a big brother, looked out for me, which like a little borther, I mostly ignored...He has a stick-to-itiveness that I lack on many levels. That does not mean I cannot be tenacious, I can, but for the right things that is easy. My five year plan is often get thru the next couple hours, smoke some cigarettes and kill some bad guys. Maybe pop a top, or quaff a Crown and Coke. Mostly, it is to make it thru the day without pissing to many people off. Small successes…
     The years slid past, I remarried, and I moved from the lake shore. And Like many families, we lost touch. Life happens while we are doing something else. He has kids, and I think I have seen them once. MY BAD. I miss the holiday week end parties at his house and playing volley ball. I miss the fifteen game losing streak that I was on. Yeah RIIIGHT! It may have been longer I do not know. I really kind of suck at volleyball…
    FB may not change the world in large ways. It may not solve the world of problems caused by a bludgeoning population of wackjobs and zealots. However, it helps us all connect in meaningful way in an age of so many connections that are meaningless. It helps us connect with what was once real and was once the story of our lives. Not just every five years for a reunion, not just once in a while when you are driving thru the *town where you used to live*
    The shirt should have read, “F-ck the Whales SAVE US!! We all have a story and we are all connected, not just by the interweb thingy. The only saving our mortal life is our connection to the others in our lives. Celebrate life. Celebrate the highs and the lows. Share. To soon it will be over. The past fades, too fast if we let it, the present is only an instant, and the future is unknown but should be shard with the ones we love...
Just another day in paradise

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Magic red WHAT?

      If you want to avoid an argument I have heard it said that it is best to answer an emotional question with an intellectual response. That may be what we call good judgment. 
      We all know the world is full of judgment and pre-judgment as well as bad judgment, oh and…and good judgment, however, when it comes to sports it is all a judgment call. And most of the time good does not figure heavy on the deal. A fan of the game is passionate about the game. Passion is emotional.
     It may surprise you that I am superstitious when it comes to sports. I know that may be hard to believe, what with my focused sense of right and wrong and my ability to ferret out the *reality* of the world, that I have such a proclivity. I do. I am not ashamed.
     Anyone that watches a WINGS game or a LIONS game with me can attest to the fact that I have done some pretty outrageous things to insure a victory. And have done some pretty outrageous things during the game. It has been rumored that I may have even mooned the TV once. Notice I said MAY. Maybe twice… While my wife may disagree, I have toned it down, for the most part when it comes to a loss. That is not to say that my passion for my teams is not at times a bit childish or to some degree down right stupid, I do get caught up in the game.
     As a fan, I do know that my *lucky couch* or any other luck charm, routine, or particular pattern of ritualistic events may not have any bearing on the outcome of the game. Notice, I said may not…Believe what you want…I do have a responsiblity to the team!!
     During the cup run of 1997, I stopped watching the WCF, because I could not figure out the right combination of hats, shirts and beers that insured a win. I even went out and bought red underwear… But to no avail. After the Wings advanced to the finals, I started watching again, because it was the SCF, after all. GOOOO Wings…
     In 1998, it did not seem to matter what I did, they were going to repeat for Vladdy…Well, I did have my Ozzie sweater, (Eventually (this year) I got Ozzie to sign it) I wore it during the Playoffs, so they won…I know that had something to do with it…Well, that and all the Rolling Rock I imbibed. “33” There also was the ritualistic *washing away a loss* thing as well. FYI, do not use bleach, no matter how much your team stunk it up…jus’ sayin’

     In 2002, I had a series of different things that worked to varying degrees, but mostly it was my tie-dyed Litho signed Steve Yzerman long sleeve Tee-shirt I received as a Christmas present from my son.(I am a bad parent, as I really do not recall if my son or daughter gave me this gift. I remember it being my son…
     During the Cup run of 08, I had another pair of red underwear. I swear they were magic. The team won when I wore them. It took a few games to figure out how, when, and where I could wear them to the best effect. I am still not sure if inside out and backwards made any difference to the WINGS winning or losing, but backwards sure made it difficult to pee. I do not remember them ever losing when I wore them, but I am sure they did…
     (What if I did not wash them and got in an accident…OMG…well, I would be a lot less concerned about the cleanliness of my undies if I were in an accident than how badly I was hurt. And I would be even more concerned if they threw them away on a game winning night. With or with out the badly hurt issue)
     I do know this, I did not wear them all day, only during the game, ‘cuz you never want to run the luck out of your current lucky charm…It may have taken a while to figure out the when…maybe…
     In 2010, the team was decimated by injuries. The longest playoff streak in the history of pro sports was in jeopardy. My team was looking like a team that would not go anywhere. Most nights I thought I was watching the GRIFFINS, not the WINGS…for most of the season the Wings were in ninth or lower seed in the west…
     I was not jumping off the bandwagon or anything, I kept the faith, but like any good fan I knew I had to figure out the right mixture of things to help the team win. My Judgment was needed.
     I knew what had to be done to snap the wings out of the doldrums; I invoked the Magic Red Underwear. It was time to shake things up. Difficult choices had to be made! Foolish decisions be damned! The playoffs were at stake. A world record was at stake. Fortunately, my pride was never at stake. I was more than willing to take one for the team…
    Surprisingly, I was puzzled when they lost the first time I invoked the MRU… Something had to be done. I know it may sound a bit crazy….maybe crazy… However, I would try wearing them outside my pants. That coupled with changing the position of the Ozzie Sweater, and wearing the Yzerman tie-dye should really be enough to push them right into the playoffs.
     I may have forgotten I had them on when I went out to the kitchen to grab a beer. Notice I said may. My wife saw me walk by and said something. What I heard from my wife is debatable. My selective hearing was in hockey mode so I think she may have said, “That’s a great idea, honey…Hope it helps your team win!” she may have said, “jeepers, Bruce, You are an idiot!” better call Skulley and Mulder, because *the truth is out there.* we may never know. I think my daughter just rolled her eyes.
     BTW…It worked. The WINGS won!! And continued to win, and made the playoffs for a record 19 straight seasons, and finished in fifth seed in the Western Conference.
     I may have forgotten I had them on when I went out for the victory smoke. Maybe…Thankfully it was rather dark out, until I turned on the porch light. I am sure the neighbors saw me. Whatever….The WINGS won!!!
     The conversation they had most likely went something like this. “Hey that obnoxious jackass that lives next door is out side smoking a cigarette. I think he is wearing red undies out side of the pants.” The wife would probably say, “I wonder why?” The diehard fan would understand.
     I am sure that even though we have lived here for nearly one year, I have not said one word to them. I will not probably ever talk to them. And after seeing me with the magic red undies out side the pants, they will probably never talk to me. It is probably for the best. They are cat people, I am a dog person. (WTF does that have to do with it? Nothing, but it amused me…)
     I washed my Ozzie sweater the last time the day before Ozzie signed it and have not worn it since. And we lost in the second round…My apologies to all the Wings fans….I will be getting a Jimmy sweater soon, at least before the next season starts.
     BTW, I still have them. MRU…BTW, men’s underwear is only worn out when the waist band no longer holds the junk sack up. And then, it is still a judgment call.
Just another day in paradise