Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Fish Stories

This weekend some buddies and I drove up to Northern Wisconsin to go on an all out, alcohol infused, no holds barred, fishing trip. One of those trips where before anyone even steps foot in the cabin everyone agrees that no one will mention a thing about their respective jobs. No war stories about all those papers you stapled and collated, or that really unproductive meeting you went to a week ago, or even about the contents of the boring brown paper bag lunch you brought in to work on Wednesday. Just a lot of drinking and fishing, with a handful of off color remarks thrown in-between.

So I'm sure you know how it works, correct? You get in a boat and drive off to a spot that you're friend guarantees is going to be the "ultimate fishing spot." Usually the reasons for him deeming it "the ultimate spot" come down to these 3 things.
  1. He just has "that feeling," you know? i.e. he feels it in his bones and such.
  2. His electronic fish finder with a cheesy LCD screen shows a school of Walleye swimming by in 8-bit, old school, Atari graphics.
  3. There happens to be a few girls in Bikinis sun tanning at a nearby dock.

And you once you get to that "spot," you open your cheap, without a doubt, going to break by the end of the day, Styrofoam cooler, and start to drink beer like it's your job. Which is good cause it gives you something to talk about, since you're forbidden to talk about your actual place of employment.

Then you set up your fishin' pole, throw on a bobber, tie on the hook, stab a nightcrawler a few times with it, and then cast the thing off into the water somewhere, or if you're completely and utterly lazy you just just drop the line down right next to boat. One hand on the pole, the other hand on the beer. Working in harmony together, drink, jig, drink, jig, drink, jig, drink, jig, until either a fish takes off with your bait, leaving you with an empty hook, or until you get soo fed up with staring down at your bobber, that you put down the pole and see what you're buddy will do if you throw a nightcrawler at him. Which is usually, punch you.

And somewhere in this drunken mess of misguided, sloppy casting, numerous pisses off the side of the boat, and ridiculous slurred conversation on various topics, you sometimes get lucky and actually catch something.

His name was Old Gus. The old fisherman at the Marina Bar said he was at least 117 years old by their calculations and that the last man to successfully catch this 20 lb large mouth bass went by the name of One Eyed Frank. Back in the 1967 Frank singlehandedly caught ole' Gus with nothing more than a 4lb test line with an empty can of Pabst Blue Ribbon tied on the end. He relentlessly fought that fish for 2 straight days, and by the time the sun had set on the 2nd day, Gus had been defeated.

Frank, gasping for breath pulled the mammoth fish into the boat and promptly passed out from exhaustion. When he awoke Gus was gone and all that was left for proof was a rough sketch of the fish that Frank desperately scribbled out on a cocktail napkin. Unfortunately no one in the town believed him though because he really sucked at drawing. But the old timers said they still believed him, because they could see the fear in his eyes.

They said it couldn't be done. They said don't waste your time. They said that Gus had been terrorizing fisherman for more than 30 years, and that some of the best fisherman in the world had succumbed to the power of "the Gus."

That is until I stepped foot into my buddy's dad's fishing boat, with a case of Old Style beer, a cheap fishing pole and a tin of half dead worms from the local bait shop. Two hours into the trip I perfectly cast my line right into the lilypads that the old fisherman in the bar said were Gus's "hangout." Within minutes I was in for the fight of my life. 20 minutes and two spilled beers later, I had reeled in the impossible catch. When we pulled into the dock, there was a huge celebration at the Marina and shortly after the townfolk carried me on their shoulders into the center of town.

or if you want to get technical about it, I caught a few, very small, pathetic pan fish in two full days of fishing. But I can assure you that I was not sober.

and sometimes that's all that counts.

like when you really suck at fishing, for instance.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Inspiring Olympic Stories

So the Olympics have been going on the last couple weeks and if you haven't heard at least something about it you're probably living in a cave, a secluded cabin and may have some form of un-kept beard. At the same time I'll be the first to openly admit that I really don't give a shit about the Olympics. A bunch of dudes prancing around in tights, people running themselves ragged in circles, jumping really far and or high, swimming laps in various forms. To be honest I really don't care for it. And watching those inspiring stories of the heroic athletes spliced in between the events just makes it all the worse.

Now forgive me if I'm being insensitive, but doesn't it seem like every athlete has some inspiring story about how they defied all odds to make it to the Olympics because their grandmother has lung cancer, breast cancer, (insert body part here) cancer, is missing three toes on her right foot, and her last dying wish is that her granddaughter make it to the "big games" and breaststroke in chlorine filled water in hopes of winning a ribbon with a circular piece of metal on it?

And as they pan from the slow motion camera shot of the granddaughter breaststroking away in slow motion, with that inspirational, powerful music playing in the background to Bob Costas blathering some useless bullshit, you think to yourself, "Wow that is such an inspiring and uplifting story, I wish I could be in that pool stroking breast" or because swimmers aren't usually as hot as say... volleyball players, the more realistic, "I really want to stick my finger down my throat."

Now maybe that is a bit exaggerated or insensitive, or not giving credit to athletes who have worked so hard to compete amongst the greatest athletes in the world and for that I apologize. But I'm really not all that interested in hearing other people's uplifting, inspirational stories.

A few months back my Grandmother died. She was a sweet woman, I loved her to death, and while watching the Olympics, I often wonder what her last dying wish was for me. Did she think to herself, "Boy I hope my Grandson becomes the greatest Excel spreadsheet updater that has ever lived," or I really hope he is listed in the Guinness World Book of Records for most envelopes licked in a business quarter. But who knows what she was thinking. I'd like to think she just wanted me to be happy. But as of now I am not. I too want to be on TV in slow motion with inspirational music playing in the background.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

What Happened?

I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm getting old. I'm only 23 and sometimes I feel like I'm pushing 50. Last night after dinner I passed out cold on the couch, watching prime-time t.v. I mean granted reality tv has a tranquilizing effect, but nodding off at 8pm? It just doesn't seem right. It's contrary to everything that being twenty something is supposed to be all about. It's contrary to the definition of "Prime-time." What's so "prime" about it, if I'm passed out, sawing logs on the couch? Some days I just want to strangle myself with my tie.

I used to be so much fun, what happened?

Well if you want to get technical about it: 7:00am meetings, rush hour traffic, stale bagels, cubicle walls, 8 hours of staring blankly at a computer screen, meaningless business related telephone conversation, the licking of one too many envelopes, bland, guarded, lifeless office chatter with co-workers, brown paper bag lunches, putting paper clips on documents of varying importance, those fake smiles that crack on your face throughout the day, the authentic smile as you push the door open to leave for the day, coming home to bills in the mail, the actual paying of said bills, eat, drink, sleep, lather, rinse, repeat.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Another Cellular Sob Story

This weekend I had hoped to go to AT&T wireless to buy a new cell phone.

Sometime Thursday or Friday night in a drunken haze I lost my credit card.

When I discovered this, I grabbed my cell phone and attempted to call my bank to disable it.

This was a measure I had hoped to take so that degenerates weren't prancing around the greater Chicagoland area swiping my credit card and purchasing high definition televisions and silk boxer shorts and whatnot.

A couple of weekends ago I spilled beer on my phone and the "8" and "3" buttons no longer function.

The phone number for my bank is 877-226-5663.

I couldn't dial my bank's number to deactivate my credit card because my phone was busted.

I couldn't buy a new phone because I lost my credit card.

Some people would call this a Catch 22.

But some might just say, "dude you totally fucking lost."

And I ask "well who won then?"

and someone off in the distance says, "well the guy with the new high definition tv and silk boxers, I presume."

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Office Snacks

I used to be in shape. I used to be somewhat athletic. Not in a quarterback of the football team, meathead sort of way, but reasonably fit. Going off to college in Milwaukee, ("The Brew City") didn't help continue that trend, but at least I was walking from my shitty run-down beatup college house to classes I would inevitably sleep through. That provided some sort of exercise and allowed me to do keg stands and beer bongs as well as eating mystery meat gyros and fists full of freedom fries yet still keep my "figure." Wow, did I just say figure? Let's just forget that happened. ok?

Anyways now that I've entered the workforce, I have discovered yet another reason how "the man" is keeping me down.

There's something about sitting behind a desk 40-50 hours a week, that just does wonders to your body. Swiveling back and forth in my office chair just doesn't seem to burn the calories that it should; nor does picking up and putting down the phone, putting random things in manila file folders, or all the vigorous right and left mouse clicking that goes on during the day. Which I gotta tell you is highly unfortunate cause neither does my daily walk from my apartment to my SUV, or from my SUV to the office door. and then theres....

Office Snacks
This is a phenomenon in the work place, that must be stopped. Were you thinking about making Rice Krispie Treats or a Bunt cake for everyone in the office? Well don't, cause not only are you a brown noser but you are making all of us fat. Cupcakes, fruit cakes, upside down cakes, double chocolate happy birthday, yellow sponge with frosting on top, to make you forget you are trapped in this cubicle cake. It all must be put to an end. There is no way to fight the power of office treats. Sitting there on the counter staring at you ever time you wander past the break room to fill up on another cup of watered down decaffienated coffee or on your way to yet another meeting where the same bullshit you heard last week will be regurgitated into something different, yet somehow completely similar.

And yeah I know that some people bring food into work as a genuinely nice gesture, but just stop. Because when you bring something in, then everyone in the office feels obligated to bring something in, and the next thing you know there's sugary frosted crap all over the place. And in ten years when I look at myself in the mirror, I don't want to blame Betty in Accounts Receivable for her wicked peanut butter chocolate brownies. I'd want to sue the Golden Arches for my obesity like any normal person would.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Receiver

Many times in the past I've layed out in great detail the reasons why I am the owner of the worst cellular phone ever manufactured. More than a year ago in a sweatshop in China some 12 year old kid working for a buck an hour was responsible for the creation of this phone. I often wonder if after he had cranked out his 5,000th phone for the day and started off on his walk home, if a faint smile cracked on his face because he knew that the 5,000 items he just helped create will ruin peoples lives? For instance; mine?

Now in the past, I've gone into great detail about my hatred and deep loathing of my Nokia 3560 "suck phone", but I'm not going to do that today." Because the problem I'm currently having with my phone has nothing to do with the creator of the phone, but rather the operator.

The Weekend
It was one of those wild, drunken, blurry, tripping over your feet, hopping on Chicago elevated trains of various colors in different patterns in hopes of getting to random parties, pounding beers with those whom you tend to play games of ice hockey with, sometimes known as a team, and a crazy, out of control clown you knew from college kind of night.

And at some point I spilled my beer. This happens sometimes. You know? and sometimes it's unfortunate and heartbreaking and your friend says, "oh no, I'm going to need to wipe this up with a generic brand paper towel," or "I'm going to end your life for spilling that Michelob Ultra on my mom's designer couch, because that 2.6 grams of carbs will never come out of this priceless upholstery", or sometimes you just laugh and put a newspaper or a magazine over the spill hoping that maybe it will just magically go away, but it doesn't, and its sticky, and it's a mess, and it's only funny if it's not your apartment. But sometimes none of that happens and you spill the beer all over the face of your cell phone.

Yeah your phone. Which is great. Cause cheap plastic phones that didn't work well in the first place usually tend to work so much more effectively when they've been doused with a healthy splash of barley and hops. or not.

And my vote is not, based on the evidence I've collected as a result of being the owner of a phone which recently got it's first taste of booze.

The Morning After
I woke up the following morning and was introduced to my new phone, or shall I just call it a receiver. Three buttons were casualties. the "8" button, the "3" button and the "contacts" button. Yup, they no longer work. So what does this mean?

Well there was a number "3" in the password for my voicemail. so much for getting messages. The "contacts" button ceases to function. So that's the swan song for my address book. And pretty much 9 times out of 10 most people's phone numbers will likely contain an "8" or a "3." So what I now have is a receiver. People can call me, I can answer, that's about it.

The Girls
So, fuck!!. What do I do now? I mean with like 5 million girls all over the Chicagoland area scrambling to give me their phone number to go on dates or partake in summer flings, what's a entry level sales and marketing jackass with a beer soaked phone to do?

I hate to do this girls, but if you have a "3" or an "8" in your phone number, it's just not going to work out. It's not you, it's not me, it's my motherfucking cell phone. I know you are very heartbroken. My apologies in advance.