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In which I explore the gayer side of DC.

Finally got a bit of downtime after this weekend, which was a real delight of a time, if expensive. I took a little trip up to our nation's capital for the bachelor party of (the male half of, anyway) dbwoodstock. While I was duly excited for the trip, and took Friday off work to fly up there, my elation quickly soured when my US Airways flight was delayed for 6.5 hours after they found a leak in an engine. They initially told us a part was being flown in and that it would then take an hour to fix...I'm sure that it will absolutely shock you when I tell you that they flew the wrong part in and eventually canceled the flight. By the time the flight was canceled, I was one of 5 people on the original flight that wasn't able to jump on another flight or take a flight to another DC airport. For one tantalizing moment, after I had already been put on late flight, the desk attendant got a call saying that the plane was going to be ready to fly within the hour, and that I, and maybe 5 others, would have the flight to ourselves - with free first class.

Could it be, I wondered? Had I finally reached the zenith of modern flight? Would this flight be a 2-hour nonstop flight direct to free cocktail town? No. Within 30 seconds of promising me the moon, she received another call saying the flight was canceled. Seeing my utter devastation, she offered me 3 mini Reese's Cups and $15 in food vouchers which could not be spent on alcohol, completely negating my loss of a day of work and a 6 hour delay. But she was a sweetheart.

Having finally arrived in DC, I immediately set about doing what any other red-blooded American male would do - that is, shave my beard into a handlebar mustache. Evidence below.

Feeling quite good about my lot in life, Oded and I set out to find Cole, another groomsman who lives in the city. On our walk to his place, we spotted certain harbingers of a certain state that had the city gripped limply in a waving hand. Windows, walls, capri pants - all of them emblazoned starkly with rainbows. Turns out we had picked Gay Pride Week to visit, perhaps the worst possible week to sport a mustachio in D.C., and were staying in Dupont Circle - which was loosely described to me as "the gay part" of D.C. All that, and it still took 2 days to get a compliment on the mustache.

Overall, it was a good trip. Dave's friend Cole is a professional poker player, and is quite honestly maybe the nicest, most polite person I've ever met. Really cool guy.

We went whitewater tubing on the Potomac in West Virginia on Saturday, and I lost my shirt to the river (along with a few beers) and had to buy one at the shop. I didn't really see what the shirt was, since it was stuffed in a Nalgene water bottle when I bought it, but here's what I was working with: The top says "Butt's Tubes", then has a picture of a guy bending over and sticking his bare ass through an inner tube. Then the slogan says, "Don't put your butt anywhere else." Now, the shirt by itself is no trouble, and I was wearing it without even really knowing what was on it. But as we were coming back into town, they had our street blocked off for something, so we had to walk about a mile to get to our hotel. Down the route of a gay pride parade. The last float we saw was one full of bears. There was so much leather, but somehow - not enough. I've never seen so many bare asses.

Now, walking through this parade with an over-the-top mustache was different for me, and the t-shirt only enhanced the experience. . I think my only saving grace was that I have absolutely no style whatsoever.

Add this to my bucket list

I can't recommend this article enough, and I'm surprised this hasn't seen any action on The Ocho yet, but this article utterly fascinates me. It's about men who put crazed ferrets down their pantaloons. For sport. Well, it's really about one man. The man who puts ferrets down his cinched pants for hours, rather than the paltry seconds managed by inferior men of greater genital sensitivity.

It also puts to lie words that I had taken to heart many years ago, namely "This is my ferret. He doesn't bite, don't worry," spoken by the esteemed John Kimble.

Based solely on the word of this man, I had crafted a fantasy world in which man and ferret coexisted peacefully, with man providing food and succor, in return for which ferrets are not constantly chewing our eyes out. Apparently, this is not the case. According to Reg Mellor, the current (and quite possibly eternal) champion of this great sport - which is called ferret legging if you have not yet clinked the link - ferrets are "cannibals, things that live only to kill, that'll eat your eyes out to get at your brain" at their worst, and "untrustworthy" at their very best.

I had a friend who had a ferret for a while. I handled that ferret, under the clear illusion of safety. That ferret seemed to me to be the calmest beast that had ever wrapped itself around the neck of a young child and snuggled its bewhiskered nose against that little cherub's meaty, delicious face. Who could have known that behind those dull eyes rested the insatiable hunger of a bloodthirsty killer?

There is a valuable upside to this story. Reg Mellor reinforces every stereotype I have ever held about anyone who hails from the English countryside. These are the kind of blustery men who drain tankards of Guinness for breakfast, bench press plow horses for casual sport and use the kind of lovably coarse language that one would normally attribute to Korean War vets.

"The world record was 60 seconds. Sixty seconds! I can stick a ferret up me ass longer than that."

My favorite exchange, asking about a time when Reg had stuffed a number of ferrets down his trousers:

"Why," Reg roared again, "I had 'em hangin' from me tool for hours an' hours an' hours! Two at a time — one on each side. I been swelled up big as that!" Reg pointed to a five-pound can of instant coffee.

I then made the mistake of asking Reg Mellor if his age allowed him the impunity to be the most daring ferret legger in the world.

"And what do ye mean by that?" he said.

"Well, I just thought since you probably aren't going to have any more children ..."

"Are you sayin' I ain't pokin' 'em no more?" Reg growled with menace. "Is that your meaning? 'Cause I am pokin' 'em for sure."

I can't help but feel that if Britain had a few more of these men running around, rather than those effete London fairies, the oil spill would have been capped in 4 days by a crew of rough-necked old men using nothing but brawn and country grit.



I forgot to mention that at the pancakes event, I was trying to write down every quote of substance, but stopped listening to Rep. Boyd after she claimed that there had never been an oil spill in the Gulf before. People who can't look back even 30 years shouldn't be allowed to make energy decisions of any magnitude (even if she has been a good representative for the area).

Work thangs

I've been meaning to post for a few days, and now I'm up at the front desk covering phones with nothing else to do, so this seems to be a perfect time for said activity. I feel like I'm settling in with the job now, having been here for about a month and a half, but there's a lot I'm going to have to work on - mostly from a personality standpoint. I figured this would eventually be pretty apparent, even from the initial introduction to the job I received from my old boss. Since we're a chamber of commerce, the lion's share of our events are focused on networking - a task that, despite any apparent social success by way of Phi Sig, that I have never been comfortable or successful with. It was especially difficult a few weeks ago at our business expo, which attracted a crowd of 600 people, of whom I knew maybe 15 (including coworkers). Everyone who works here is a PR person in some capacity, we are constantly trying to sell people on the Chamber, a task which is pretty difficult for me. I don't even like talking about things that I know to people I know. Talking to almost strangers about...anything is not a task I relish.

It's especially difficult after 8 months of exile, in which my primary conversation partner was Sora. To go from months of really talking to no one outside my parents and the one friend I had down south, to having to meet people - and remember their names ferChrissakes - has been quite an undertaking. It helps that for the most part, all the people I meet and work with are pretty awesome. It also helps that I've been given some writing work finally.

We had two big events last week, both political in nature (insofar as they both featured politicians). One was a visit from a dude* from the US Department of Education, who visited a few schools and then spoke about changes in education policy. The second was more of a networking event with a panel of Florida state representatives. That one was centered around a 7:15 pancake breakfast, and was exactly as much fun as you might imagine it would be.**

The visit from the education official was surprisingly fun, even though I had to walk around East Gainesville (not entirely the most appealing prospect in the world) in a suit beneath the hot Mexican sun for most of the day. I was able to avoid most of the networking aspects of the day by claiming (more or less truthfully) that I had behind the scenes work to be doing. I also had a nice little reporter's Moleskine to hide behind and look professional while I doodled. It helped that the guy, Massie Ritsch, was really cool to work with.

If you want to read how I write when I'm not allowed to use the f-word, check out this and perhaps also this. (I feel the need to brag that both of these were given near-clean sheets editorially with only a few words changed through 3 editors, no mean feat.)

This post just came to its logical conclusion as I picked up the phone, gave my warmest telephone greeting, only to hear Scafidi yell, "You got iced, bro!" into my ear. You magnificent bastard.

*offical title
**That would be not at all, in case you were getting the wrong idea.


Relieve me of my possessions

A reason I both hate and love (but mostly hate) pharmaceutical commercials. Just saw one for Simponi, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. The voiceover asks, "Where have all the arthritis sufferers gone?" Then it shows a printed sign on an apartment door of a women hugging her dog that says "Bye. Gone Out."

That commercial should've ended with a cut back to the door where it's hanging off its hinges with another sign below the original, "Knew you were gone and probably slow. Took your stuff. Bye."

In a perfect ad world.

I'm very tired.

Bit more BP

If anyone is interested in what BP is currently trying to do with the oil spill, there are a few very informative pictures behind the cut. If this works, the well could be capped (and leaking minimally) within 24 hours.

Plus, this guy is on the case, so what could go wrong?

If you are watching the live feed ever, they just had a giant yellow claw arm holding a section of the broken riser while an ROV with a chainsaw hand (lucky robots always stealing my dream appendages!) cut through the pipe away from the BOP to ease the tension at the top of the BOP. This is allowing some more oil to escape, but could allow them to cap it.

Pics behind the cutCollapse )

I BP'd myself.

Sorry to make my second post back even remotely political, but it's all I got if I want to keep posting at the moment.

Thanks to the arm-chair oil barons over at Fark, I've become somewhat knowledgeable about the oil spill in the Gulf (more knowledgeable, perhaps, then say...your average bear). I still have a decent amount of downtime at work so I've read pretty much everything Farkers have to offer and a fair portion of this awesome site, populated by people who actually know what they're talking about.

It is armed with this knowledge - at least of the mechanics, safety and procedures BP is using to cap this wellhead - that I knowingly set my blood a-boil whenever I'm in the car at lunch time. I've said before that I'll tune in to Rush Limbaugh's show to get my daily dose of wharrgarbl. This self-flagellation serves a manifold purpose:

First, it lets me know what crazy people are thinking. The more I know about the inner workings of the insane, syphilitic brains of people like Rush, the easier to spot - and thus ignore/destroy - owners of such brains will be. Jorts/mullets are also strong indicators.

Second, I occasionally get real information out of the show. This is rare, and must be carefully filtered from the torrent of shit that spews from Rush's lips, but is all the more treasured for its rarity (Ed. note: this has yet to happen, I just always dream that it might).

Third, sometimes it is just nice to be angry. This is perhaps the only real value of subjecting myself to these hateful ramblings. And I almost mean this both ways - in a society that has built up calmness and courtesy so much, it is nice to hear someone who is angry, even if that anger is most likely completely manufactured. The fact that it makes me angry is even better. Especially because I find very little in life to get angry about - or much less care about.

Today, Rush made me angry - even angrier than he did last week when he quoted an article saying that 50,000 gallons of oil seep into the Gulf naturally each year, so this oil spill was "no big deal" and that we should not be wasting millions/billions of dollars to get it cleaned up. That made me angry enough, just the simple comparison-fail of the words "seep" and "gush," the word most often used to describe what is happening at the site of the broken riser pipe. Today, I'm sure you'll be as shocked as I was to hear that Rush had completely reversed his position and was wondering (yelling wildly) why it was taking so long to clean this up, and that Obama was failing the country miserably by "doing nothing." By way of a twisted path through unimaginably dark corridors of his mind, he eventually brought the entire thing around to the search for alternative energy. I know the following may seem to be the conclusions of an infant's mind, but this is the work of a presumably fully developed adult brain:

Rush was talking about how we've heard a lot in the drive-bys (of course) about how we're reaching Peak Oil - not that he called it that - and would be running out soon. Then he used the fact that this particular reservoir had spilled so many gallons of oil, at such great pressure and depth, yet showed no signs of slowing down any time soon. To Rush, all the presence of massive amounts of oil in this reservoir means is that we won't be running out of oil (anywhere) anytime soon, and researching alternative forms of energy is just a giant waste of time. Rush, that's like looking at your trough of OxyContin and saying you'll never run out because it's still at its Tuesday depth. You'll still need another truck by Sunday. Bah.

Fucking oil wells - how do they work?

Oh, and speaking of BP, its CEO would really just "like his life back."

And we'd like to beat you over the head with your own spine, but we can't all get what we want.

Back again

Hello again, Dear Reader.

I hope my nearly three-month absence did not cause anyone any undue anxiety. I assure you that I missed you all just as much as you missed me. Unless you didn't miss me. I still missed you. Hater.

As always, the toughest part of writing is actually making the attempt. After having my life narrowed considerably to screenings of NCIS and American Idol for many months, the inspiration - if not the urge - to write was nigh nonexistent. Not much has changed on that front, but I've decided (not for the first time, as you may recall) to power through and deliver these poor missives unto you.

Also, I'm pretty fucking bored, so this is as good as anything.

To provide a quick update for anyone who happens to read this, but not my current purveyor of personal information (Facebook*), I recently got a job back in my old college town, Gainesville. I'm living in my sister's apartment while she's home for the summer. I'm doing communications (Web site management, newsletter writing and doing demographics research) for the local Chamber of Commerce. So far it's going very well, and I'm really enjoying it. But there's not a whole hell of a lot else going on at the moment.

So, while my horizons (such as they are) may have expanded, they are still a bit empty, spotted only with the occasional landmark. That looks like it may change, however. This summer is shaping up to be a real delight, starting with this past weekend.

As is right and proper, this Memorial Day was a lesson in all that makes terrorists hate us America awesome. My brother and his wife invited Oded and I down to her parents' house in Tampa for the weekend.

Awesomeness ensued.

Her dad is a police lieutenant/comedy genius, and the whole family is generally delightful. He took all of us to a shooting range, where four of us collectively fired about 400-500 rounds. It was nice to get some actual instruction, from a professional, rather than just taking a friend's gun that was most likely used in a homicide (at the very least, used to holdup a liquor store) and wildly firing rounds at the paper silhouette of what I have to assume is the world's foremost murderapist. This time we wildly fired rounds under the expert instruction of a man whose hands weren't shaking as they pulled the trigger. Because guns are terrifyingly awesome. I was not nearly as nervous this time around (my third trip, which pretty much makes me a veteran, I think), but it's tough not to be nervous as hell when you're shooting a police officer's service weapon. But it's also absurdly awesome.

And then we all went and got the tastiest burritos imaginable out of something called a...Taco Bus (let the implications of such a vehicle really soak into your mind. If you need a few minutes to collect yourself, please take all the time you need. I'll be here, dreaming of burritos). Then we visited a piano bar and had to watch the skankiest bachelorette party of all time dancing on stage to every song, whether it was a song to grind (as the young people are saying these days) to or not. To prove a point (which I don't really remember at this point), I got up on stage and started dancing on two of the girls for about 15 seconds before a bouncer told me to get off the stage. He was roundly booed by all my adoring fans.

We then wound up sitting in patio furniture in their pool, drinking until about 4am. Today we ate delicious ribs, drank more beer and generally lived like kings. Kings of America.

America. Fuck yeah.

Nosferatu also wanted for questioning

So, first, many thanks to mystee_sunrise for bringing this to my attention via Facebook.

A large part of me hopes that this is just one giant troll, but I have to assume that anyone smart enough to write this letter would be smart enough to pick a large Web venue than LatinoReview.com

But apparently, Universal's The Wolfman (itself a remake) like, so totally rip-offed Twilight: New Moon. As everyone knows Stephanie Meyer totally invented werewolves and vampires. But not weregacks. God made those, and put them in Tennessee (inside joke, heyooooh).

So, Universal I hope you feel the deep burn of shame that comes from plagiarizing one of the oldest literary/pagan beasts from one of the dumbest works of fiction, well, ever. For now, I'm off to tell Michael J. Fox, Warren Zevon, Lon Chaney Jr., and Michael Jackson's ghost that they should be ashamed of themselves.

Also, the comments on that page are fantastic.

Feb. 9th, 2010

New/old story at latrolite. New post soon.