Friday, August 12, 2011

Song Spotlight: Thirsty Merc - Tommy and Krista



There are a few ways into my musical good graces. The first is to be an Aussie band, because I'm a total sucker for a whole lot of them. The second is to sing a song that tells a story, especially if it is a true story but even if it's not I'm a sucker for the Billy Joel style. Another thing I love probably also comes from my early love of the piano man and that is an accent in a song. I always loved when Billy sang "Don't axe me why" in his Long Island accent, which was also a testament to the differences in recording process from then till now.

There are many other things that will make me love a song, but the list above is all contained in this track by Aussie group Thirsty Merc. Not only is it a him and her song about Tommy and Krista but with the Aussie accent it becomes Tommy and Krister. It's also catchy and doesn't beat you over the head with a happy ending even if one is hinted at. Enjoy:

Well Tommy met Krista at the age of 19
The prettiest girl that he’d ever seen
And there was not a lot of waiting
They started dating
They used to hang out at the coffee shop there
And the weather was nice, the stakes were quite high
And one day Tommy made Krista cry
A little mix-up, do wop started a fight
And Krista went and said goodbye

She used to be in love with me
And now she’s gone and taken all the love away
She used to be in love with me
And now I’m just a memory.
She used to be in love with me
And now she’s gone and taken all the love away
She used to be in love with me
And now I’m just a memory.

Well a couple years on he was out with his friends
When Tommy walked into a room and saw Krista again
The crazy thing was it was all still there
So Tommy said Hey you wanna drive somewhere
So they drove to the city where the lights shine low
And Tommy had the feeling that his heart could re-grow
But, in a second he was down at something she said
Tommy I’m with someone else
Tommy I’m with someone else

She used to be in love with me
And now she’s gone and taken all the love away
She used to be in love with me
And now I’m just a memory.
She used to be in love with me
And now she’s gone and taken all the love away
She used to be in love with me
And now I’m just a memory.

Well Tommy never turned to aggression or fear
Instead he started working it he new year
But at night she’d invade his thoughts and his dreams
He can’t keep his mind away from Krista it seems
And so cold but funny enough
Krista and her boyfriend were broken up
But until they meet again and the time feels right
This is how is tonight
This is how it is tonight

She used to be in love with me
And now she’s gone and taken all the love away
She used to be in love with me
And now I’m just a memory.
She used to be in love with me
And now she’s gone and taken all the love away
She used to be in love with me
And now I’m just a memory.
_________________________

Friday, August 05, 2011

Song Spotlight: Clare Bowditch and Lanie Lane - Now You're Home



With all the time I've been spending away from home over the last month and a half this song was of particular interest to me when I heard it. I love Clare Bowditch and Lanie Lane to begin with but when they start harmonizing a little ditty that speaks to loved ones being forced to spend time apart that's a hit in my mind. Inky and I only have to spend two more weeks apart and then I get to move back to my real office and spend my nights at home with her and the Captain.

In the meantime enjoy the song...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Song Spotlight: Missy Higgins - If I'm Honest



I was really excited to hear that Missy Higgins was down in Nashville working with Butterfly Boucher on a new record. Well, that work has now apparently all paid off and the new record should be out late this year or early in '12. Her last disc came out in '07 so the wait has been substantial.

But I ain't mad at her.

Missy headlined the Australia Rocks the Pier concert at Santa Monica pier a few weeks back and she graced the crowd with four new tracks. I hadn't herd Deep Red Dirt, Tricks or Cooling of the Embers yet so I'm still digesting them. But I had herd If I'm Honest when she performed it at Lilith Fair so this rendition was more familiar to me. Skip ahead to 3:03 to get to the start of the song. Enjoy:

Darling, if I’m honest
you’ve been on my mind
On my mind all day.
And lately, if I’m honest
I can’t bring my self
To think no other way

I’ve been finding all kinds of reckless ways
To forget your face.
Like going out on the town
Throwing around all that love I kept for you

But no one touches me like you used to
It’s a shame but it’s true
Nobody loves me the way that you used to

And darling
I’ve been moving
through seas of faces
hoping to meet your stare
And dancing
towards any stranger
with your crazy eyes
or way with golden hair

I’ve been trying of all kinds useless ways just to push it all down
Like spinning around, spinning around till I fall on to the ground
But no one touches me like you used to
It’s a shame but it’s true
No body loves me the way that you used to

So I painted over all the cracks
But now the paint is pealing back.
Oh Yeah
Oh Yeah, Yeah

It’s a shame but true…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Does Something Like This Get By Me?



The other day a few of the people in my training class were talking about this video and I had no idea what it was. So, when I got back to the hotel tonight I checked it out. God damn is this shit hilarious. I hope to hell this guy is for real and not just playing a "gay with attitude" for the video, because it is a riot.

The combination of the classical music, the NatGeo video and Randall's narration mix to form the perfect web video. His other videos are good (I also like the bullfrog one) but nothing could be better than Honey Badger. For me the only thing missing here is video of Randall watching the footage and narrating. If this guy wants to start his own nature show I'd watch for sure.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Away From Home

Since I'm spending so much damn time here at the Double Tree in Marlton NJ I thought I should give a little tour of my home away from home. It's a nice hotel and as welcoming as any place that you have to spend two months away from home it. The only thing missing is Inky...

...and a computer for the desk in the living room/office. I get pretty tired of walking down to the "business center" which consists of two computers and two printers.

It's nice to spend some time on the couch watching the TV after work. In a regular hotel when I traveled on business in past jobs you get the bed and maybe a chair. And even if you get a couch it's normally in the same room as the bed. The separate rooms allows for a sense of normalcy in that when I'd done watching TV at night I can "go to bed" in a whole other room.

The refrigerator is also a nice touch. I go shopping at the local Wegmans each Sunday night to get everything I'm going to need for breakfast for the week. That way I can have some OJ, a granola bar and some Greek yogurt in the morning while I sit on my couch and watch Sports Center.

The sink area is also quasi-separate from the living room and bedroom which allows a lot of room to get ready in the morning or to clean up after my trips to the hotel gym.

While this bed can't possibly live up to the high standard set by the Captain it's been getting the job done. The biggest downside to 40 nights in a hotel is I seem to be falling back into bad sleeping habits. Namely: sleeping on my back which causes me to snore. Inky did a great job of breaking me of that over the 15 years we've been together and now I'm regressing.

Lastly, it's nice to have a second TV in the place so when I want to lay in bed and watch TV I can. Then I can just turn the light out and fall asleep. Inky and I used to have a TV in the bedroom but we never used it. We'd always just rather talk to one another before falling asleep. I can't wait for that to be full time again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Song Spotlight: The Living End - The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating



I was struggling trying to come up with a new tune to post this week and then Inky reminded me that the new record from The Living End came out this week. This is the first track off the new record (of the same name) and it is fantastic. I'd expect nothing less from TLE who have been consistently making great records for over fifteen years now. This track is a worthy successor to other great Living End songs like White Noise, Long Live the Weekend, Prisoner of Society and Roll On.

We are the wounded soldiers
We are the refugees
We are the dead eyed workers
I am you, and you are me

We are the model citizens
We are the absentees
We are the politicians
I'm exactly like you, you're just like me

We are the tired and weary
We are the restless and bored
We are the start of something much better
We're the end of what came before

The ending is just the beginning repeating
The ending is just the beginning repeating
Everything goes away but comes back some day
The ending is just the beginning repeating

We're not always survivors
There are no guarantees
We have our drink, we drink to our health
And I am like you, so have one on me

We're getting tired of waiting
And the rain always comes with the storm
And they always say lightning never strikes twice
But then came the knock at the door

The ending is just the beginning repeating
The ending is just the beginning repeating
Everything goes away but comes back some day
The ending is just the beginning repeating

We are the tired and weary
We are the restless and bored
We are the start of something much better
We're the end of what came before

We're getting tired of waiting
So we're running into the storm
And they always say lightning never strikes twice
But then came the knock at the door
____________________________________

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Every Day at A&J

While most of the rest of the people in my eight week training session have opted for sit down chain restaurants for lunch, I was looking for something different. I've always thought that if you could skip a chain for a local place then you should, so I did a bit of shopping around during my first week here in the Philly burbs. Then I found my joint and I don't need to look any longer.

It's called A&J Deli and Grill on North Maple Ave in Marlton NJ. If you are in the area I strongly suggest you stop by. The first thing I had there was the Roast Pork with Provolone and Broccoli Rabe (picture above). It was so good it was also the second, third and fourth thing I had there. It got to the point that when I finally ordered something else on my fifth visit the guy behind the counter said that as soon as they saw me walk in they had already started slicing the pork for my sandwich.

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows... your order.

It was hard for me to stop getting the pork provolone and broccoli rabe. The pork is perfectly roasted and sliced to just the right thickness for it to be substantial but not chewy. It mixes so well with the sharpness of the cheese and the bitterness of the broccoli rabe that it is one of the most well balanced things I've ever eaten.

But, I didn't want to be a one trick pony, so I opted to explore the menu a bit the last few times I visited. I've had a buffalo chicken wrap, a turkey club and "The Bing" which is just like the pork sandwich but with a fried chicken cutlet in the place of the pork. So far they've all been amazing although I'm afraid that I may be messing with my weight loss plan a bit. I may have to have a grilled chicken wrap or sandwich or a panini in between some of the more classic deli fare over the next 4 weeks that I'm here.

Either way, I'm happy to have found such an amazingly high quality joint to eat at while I'm in my training exile.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Web Detox

On of the strangest side effects during my stay in New Jersey is the loss of my Internet appetite. During my career interregnum I spent quite a lot of time on line. I was looking for jobs, fucking around with fantasy teams and checking out new music. In addition to that regular stuff I spent an inordinate amount of time reading blogs to keep fully up to date on what was happening in the ever changing worlds of movies, music, sports and hot women.

Now that I'm in the hotel five nights a week with no lap top I've found that I can quit most of the habit with no withdrawal at all. I still check my email and look at FaceBook once a day and god willing we'll have a football season soon so I can get started on fantasy for the year. But all the other stuff sort of just fell away. And once it did a funny thing happened: Nothing. My life didn't become any less fulfilling or anything. I haven't once been embarrassed in a situation where someone was shocked to know that I hadn't heard about the latest on line gossip.

So not only did I get a new job out of this deal, but going to Jersey for two months has also cured me off the wild turkey.
__________________________

Friday, July 15, 2011

Song Spotlight: Cults - Abducted



I've always found it interesting how I can hate the personality of a band or singer but love their music. I think Bono and Michael Stipe are both pretentious as all hell but I really enjoy U2 and R.E.M.s music. This phenomenon is most prevalent for me in the indie music scene since I downright loath hipsters, but I do find that they make some good music.

You don't find two folks who check off as many hipster boxes as Madeline and Brian from Cults, but their songs are right catchy. There is a lot of "retro girl group sound" going around right now, but I don't think anyone captures the vocal end of it quite as well as Madeline. The songs are well written and produced, and make for a great soundtrack to a lazy summer drive. Enjoy.

I knew right then that I'd been abducted
I knew right then that he would be taking my heart
I knew right then no one was above him
I knew right then that he would be breaking my heart

He tore me apart because I really loved him
He took my heart away and left me to bleed out, bleed out
He broke my heart because I really loved him
He took it all away and left me to bleed out, bleed out

I knew right then that she'd been abducted
I knew right then that I would be taking her heart
I knew right then that I'd never love her
The reasons I hope the dream hasn't left her scarred

He tore me apart because I really loved him
He took my heart away and left me to bleed out, bleed out
He broke my heart because I really loved him
He took it all away and left me to bleed out, bleed out

He tore me apart because I really loved him
He took my heart away and left me to bleed out, bleed out
He broke my heart because I really loved him
He took it all away and left me to bleed out, bleed out
___________________________

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Movie Review: The New Pooh Movie



If you've been paying attention to my posts here on Greazy's blog then you know I can't stand Pooh. He's a total airhead, a bad representative for our kind and a poor loser when it comes to women and cards. But, what's true in the human world is true in the teddy bear world too. Sometimes the best and brightest (like me) get left behind to suffer anonymity while the worst and dimmest (like Pooh) are thrusts into the public eye and held up as something to celibate.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Pooh is to the teddy bear world what Paris Hilton is to the human world.

And time and time again these bimbos get rewarded. Pooh gets another movie, Paris gets paid to open some club in Vegas and people just sit back and let it happen. Wake up people! We can't sit back while the pretty and the dumb rule our world. I'm calling on all humans to boycott this pile of shit and put Pooh in his place. Likewise, we should boycott anything staring a tart who made her name by fucking someone on camera and leaking the tape to the public to gain their fame.

Are you with me?
____________________

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quiz Show

It's been a long time since I was worried about grades, but my new job has me thinking a lot about them again. In the first 4 weeks of my 8 week training I will take 8 quizzes and two exams. I have to get at least an 80 on each of them to pass, and if I fail one more than twice my employment is terminated. That's a much more severe penalty than I've had in some time. The same was true of my first corporate job when I started it way back in 2000. I aced all the tests I took then and I'm doing quite well on the ones I'm taking now, but I've always been pretty good at taking tests.

Well, good in so far as I lived up to what ever MY standards for the test and the time were.

I was once overjoyed that I got a 62 on a final exam in college. The professor told us on the first day of class that the final counted for 100% of the course grade and that she had no attendance policy, among other things I'm sure. But, that's all I heard and I took it as a challenge to not go to any classes for the whole semester and then show up on the day of the final and see how I could do. And so I did. I got a 62 on my Western Civ II final based solely on my previous knowledge of the subject.

I was stoked. My parents didn't see it as the accomplishment that I did, however.

There was, however, another side to the coin. XL and I had one professor in our major that we both just couldn't crack. No matter how hard we tried we just couldn't get A's from the dude. Tests, exams and projects all yielded us a steady stream of B's and it pissed me off to no end. Sometimes it mattered to me, and sometimes it didn't and in most cases there was no rhyme or reason why.

Now, some 13 years on from my college days I still take the same approach. I measure myself against my own expectations while taking into account what I am expected to do. I need 80's on these tests, but I expect to be over 90 on each. And so far I am 6 out of 6 in that quest. Some of them I've studied for, and some of them I just trusted that I paid enough attention in class, or new enough going in to get my requisite 90.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
_______________________

Friday, July 08, 2011

Song Spotlight: Flogging Molly - Revolution



What do you get when a Celtic-punk band that already speaks for the common man sets up shop in Detroit to write their new record? Revolution, that's what. At least that's what happened when Flogging Molly decided to do their writing in the Moter City. Almost a decade after "Drunkin Lullabies" things around here have gotten a whole lot worse and Detroit is just about the perfect example of the cost of capitalism on the working man. Since lead singer Dave King and band mate/wife Bridget Regan both live in Motown they see an awful lot of evidence of where we're headed in this country and they did a great job of spelling it out in this tune. Enjoy:

I spent twenty-seven years in this factory
And the boss man says, 'hey you're not what we need'
The penguins in the suits they know nothing but greed
It's a solitary life when you've mouths to feed
But who cares about us?

Now I'm back on the streets
With my hands held shut
I'm a working man without any work
Well is this the way it's meant to be
Because I signed on the American Dream
Now, I write my name to the welfare scheme
The money in the bank, it's history

So take me down to where the worlds collide
And leave me here 'til I'm satisfied
So let the Revolution begin

Now I drag these bones
'Cross the barren land
Where once a city, now an outstretched hand
We can't lose our sense of dignity
While the fat-faced cats lap up the cream
Another disappearing act falls up their sleeves
While the shirts on our back seek refugee

So take me down to where the worlds collide
And leave me here 'til I'm satisfied
'Cause there'll come a day
When all of us will show, we won't be afraid
Although we're crashing, we won't burn
Let the Revolution begin

I spent twenty-seven years in this factory
And the boss man says, 'hey you're not what we need'
The penguins in the suits they know nothing but greed
It's a solitary life when you've mouths to feed

So take me down to where the worlds collide
And leave me here 'til I'm satisfied
Do take me down to where the worlds divide
And leave me here I won't compromise
'Cause there'll come a day
When all of us will show, we won't be afraid
'Cause from these ashes we will grow
So let the Revolution begin...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Find Me Somebody to Love

After all the trouble I got in for my antics last week I'm really starting to see that I need a stabilizing force in my life. I have to face facts. I'm a 34 year old Teddy Bear with no nose, chipped eyes and a split tail. I can't keep chasing random hook ups any longer.

I need a lady in my life.

I blogged about this back in March and it's more true now than ever. With Greazy on the road and Inky hard at work writing I have a lot of spare time on my hands. Sure, I hang out with Bedford and Gray Dog but I need a physical connection to go along with and emotional one.

To that end, I've done painstaking research and come up with the "the one" for me.

Her name is Aurora and we are perfectly compatible. She's 10 inches tall, and I don't mind a lady that's a bit taller than me. She's a panda which didn't matter as much to me back in the day as it does now. I've had a few chats with her on line and we have so much in common. Hell, I'm ready to make one of those match.com ads where we talk about how we met.

Perhaps the most important factor in all of this is her price. I know that's a sensitive subject in the world of love for most humans but sadly it's just how us stuffed animals have to live. Greazy wasn't exactly open to my previous requests for a mate, partly because they were expensive and he was on his career interregnum and partly because they were total skanks.

But Aurora is a total angel and more importantly (to Greazy at least) she's less than a Hamilton! If I had fingers I'd be keeping them crossed right now that Greazy and Inky are going to be surprising me with a companion soon.
________________________

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A Boy and His Tivo

While it could never compare to how much I miss being away from Inky, I have to say that being away from my DVR is for the birds. We got our first Tivo way back in '04 and I dare say we were the first people we knew with one. At that point I think a lot of people looked at it as a frivolous extra expense but not Inky and I.

We knew the truth from day one. It wasn't just about being able to pause live TV and circumvent millions of dollars worth of advertising dollars. No, for us it was about cutting the cord that tied us to the picture box.

I'm not one of these people who says "I don't watch a lot of TV" because: A) the term "a lot" is relative, and B) this is America jack! We watch TV here. But what I never wanted was to be held hostage by the TV and there were times that we were. We didn't want to miss a show and we didn't feel like programing the VCR so we just stayed home and watched it. Or, there were two shows on at the same time that we liked so we watched one and recorded the other on the VCR. It was so prehistoric!

Well this work induced exile to the Garden State has cast me back in time to a time I think of as B.D. or Before DVR. For example, tonight there happens to be two shows on at 10:00 that I like. So I have to decide if I want to watch Tosh.0 or Covert Affairs at 10 and which of the two I'll watch on the DVR when I get home. I know, it's barbaric.

Soon enough this training will be done, and I'll be back in the White Rose with Inky and this will all be a memory. A sick, twisted, pre-2004 memory. Till then I guess I'll just have to be brave...
____________________________

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Another Weekend Behind Me

Time just keeps on marching on. I was so excited to get home to Inky on Friday afternoon but now it's Sunday night and I'll be heading back to Jersey tomorrow. This week I had the benefit of the holiday to give me more time at home but next week I'll have just about 48 hours at home.

This is going to take some getting used to. I doubt I'll actually become accustomed to it, but if I did I'm sure it would be right around the 7th week of my 8 weeks away. That's how these things normally work. I really don't know how my old man did this for almost a whole year when I was a kid. He worked Monday through Friday out of Headquarters in DC and came back to see us in Jersey on the weekends.

I have it light compared to him, so I guess I should keep my complaining to a minimum. Especially since all this time away is for a new job that I needed badly.

So I'll transition into talking about my most recent attempt to better my minesweeper score. It didn't go very well, but then again, I'm not spending a ton of time on the computer while I'm home. I was listening to the new Death Cab record while I played this 92 second game, and all in all, it's about as good as I could hope to do these days.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Song Spotlight: Arctic Monkeys - Brick by Brick



Knowing I was going to be on the road for the foreseeable future I didn't think I'd be getting to do another Friday song spotlight so soon. But then when I was driving from the office back to my home away from home the other night I heard one of the new Arctic Monkey's tracks on WXPN. I've been meaning to pick up AM's most recent disc for a few weeks now, but the career interregnum kind of got in the way. But after hearing Alex Turner channeling his inner Jim Morrison on Brick by Brick I was compelled to stop off last night at one of the local indie record stores and pick the record up. Hitler and UK fans might not like it, but I sure do and I hope you do too.

I wanna build you up
Brick by brick
I wanna break you down
Brick by brick
I’m gonna reconstruct
Brick by brick
I wanna feel your love

Brick by brick
Brick by brick

I wanna steal your soul
Brick by brick
I wanna rock ‘n’ roll
Brick by brick
I wanna rock ‘n’ roll
Brick by brick
I wanna rock ‘n’ roll

Brick by brick
Brick by brick

I wanna brick by brick
Brick by brick
I wanna blow by blow
Brick by brick
I want an empty soul
Brick by brick
I wanna brick by brick by brick by

Brick by brick
Brick by brick
Brick by brick
Brick by brick
__________________________

Thursday, June 30, 2011

While Greazy's Away

The stuffed panda will play. Sure, Inky is around but she is so busy working on her next novella that she hasn't noticed that I've been running amok for the past few days. Yesterday when she was downstairs clacking away on her laptop I was hosting a high steaks poker game up in Greazy's home office. The really nice thing about being less than a foot tall (other than all the free upskirt action I get) is being able to host a lot of my friends in a very small room.

During the poker game things got kind of out of hand and before I knew what was happening Whitey, a polar bear friend of mine, had caught Silky, one of Inky's friends, cheating. Whitey confronted Silky and the next thing I knew the knives were out.

There's nothing more scary to a stuffed animal than a knife, believe you me. So they go back and forth with the threats and taunts and the next thing you know Silky had cut Whitey's fucking head off. There was stuffing everywhere and we had to call in the wolf to clean things up. Not Harvey Keitel's character from Pulp Fiction, an actual stuffed wolf who's really good at covering up that kind of shit up.

Inky was still down stairs typing way when we got that taken care of, but then I got a bit of a booty call from this little stuffed bunny that lives up the street. She's got this total Toy Story 3 thing going on with the chick she grew up with, you know how it goes: best friends for years and years and now she's old enough to drive and the stuffed bunny gets no attention.

Well I fixed that!

As much as I miss Greazy I have to say that not having him around has been great for my social life. He can be a real where my cock would be if I had one block sometimes. He'll be back tomorrow night, so I guess I'll have to cool out a bit for the weekend, but come Monday night it's Stuffed Animal House!
________________________

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Home Away From Home

In my past jobs I've been required to travel from time to time and sometimes extensively. So I've gotten used to the occasional business hotel stay, which for me means two things. Number one, I'm not on vacation even if a ton of other people there are. So while they are making merry by the pool or yucking it up at the bar, i'm thinking about the task at hand. The second thing a business hotel stay means for me is no Inky.

Not to get too mushy on you but, this it by far the hardest part for me. In the past these jaunts always came to an end rather quickly, however, so it didn't bother me too much. After two or three nights on the road, I'd be home to the lady I love. In rare cases like trips to Seattle and Nashville it was more like a four or five days, which seemed like an eternity.

Now, I'm faced with that eight times over. My new job requires that I spend 39 of the next 55 nights out of town, which is I find daunting. That's a whole lot of time away from Inky, Bedford, Teddy and all the other trappings of our lair. It's also a lot of meals to be eating out, which could really wreck all the good work I've done losing weight. Lucky for me this place has a pretty nice gym.

All in all I'm trying to see this as a net positive, even though the loss of time with Inky can't really be overcome by anything. I'm happy to have a new job, and excited about what that can mean for our future. I just wish there was some way I could train closer to home and closer to Inky.

Maybe one of these weeks I'll have to kidnap her and bring her along...
________________________________

Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Called Back Up to the Show

As I mentioned yesterday I'm starting a new job today. But more important than that is what type of job it is. It's in the big leagues! Not literally, of course, since I've already worked in baseball once and I'll never do that again. What I mean by the big leagues is what a lot of people might take for granted. Things like benefits, 401K, vacation time and good pay.

Sadly, those were things that seemed like a pipe dream during my career interregnum. So when my time sucking the dole banana was coming to an end I had to find a job even if it didn't have all the trappings of the bigs. So I did, and I quickly became aware that I was in the minor leagues, and not the cushy AAA minors. No, I was in the bus riding low minors.

The job was better than the alternative, but only just. Working six days a week selling people things they don't need would be bad even if you were doing it for a top quality company. But when you're doing it for a company that seems to revel in being shady it is hard to get out of bed in the morning. Add to that the fact that they shorted me money in my paycheck the whole time I was there and I knew almost immediately that I needed another chance.

Then I got a great birthday present.

I got a call from a number I didn't recognize while I was sitting at my desk selling. So I let it go to voicemail and checked it at my break. It was a headhunter calling about a really great opportunity after seeing my resume on line. The funny thing is they might not have called me if I hadn't been at that shitty job. So in the end it ended up being like a rehab assignment where an injured big leaguer gets send down to the minors to get a few at bats to get the skills sharpened.

After a phone interview I had about a week wait till I got my in person interview up in Harrisburg. As I drove home from it I told both Inky and XL that I felt really good about how it went, and I hoped I would hear soon. As it turns out I heard about four hours after the interview that they wanted me.

A whirlwind week followed and now I find myself in Jersey for training. I'll be here during the week and heading home to Inky each weekend. I'm not sure what it will be like living out of a suitcase all week long, but I am very excited to have this opportunity. Or, as Crash Davis would say: "We gotta play 'em one day at a time. I'm just happy to be here, I hope I can help the ball club. I just want to give it my best shot, and the good lord willing, things will work out."
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Quick Little Game

It's been a bit of a hectic weekend around these parts so I haven't had a whole lot of computer time. Inky and I went out to celebrate a few things last night most notably the release of her second novella, which you can find out more about by going here. The other thing we were celebrating is my new job. Not the new job I started back on May 24th, my new new job that I start tomorrow. But more on that later.

As I said, with all this going on around me, I've had very little time to spend with the computer. But, I took the time to play a little minesweeper last night because I won't be able to while I'm on the road training for my new job. For the next two months. Sadly, the best I could muster was a 102 second game but I only played a couple so I could get back to spending time with Inky.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Song Spotlight: PB&J - Dig a Little Deeper



There are three realy top notch songs on the new Peter Bjorn and John record, and this is one of them. It's hard for me to day Dig a Little Deeper is better than Second Chance or May Seem Macabre but it's the one I'm going to feature today because it's the one that's been stuck in my head for the last few days. That is when I'm not bopping along to Contact High by Architecture in Helsinki. It's been a good year for music so far... enjoy the tune:

You think you’ve got it made
I’m trying to have some fun
You think you know it all
I’ve only just begun
You’re sliding on the surface
I’m reaching for the bottom
The past is always present
The future fades away
And if you think your brain is hollow
You just have to scream
And dig a little deeper

All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper

You enjoy the silence
When I want to discuss
You like to keep tidy
I wanna mess it up
I defy definition
Of what’s supposed to be
I don’t want recognition
If you don’t recognize me
And if you think your brain is hollow
You just have to scream
And dig a little deeper

All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
All art as been contemporary
Dig a little deeper, dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
Dig a little deeper
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

But I Don't Drink Coffee...

It's a scenario we've all seen it a million times, like for instance, in the case of ballet dancer Maureen Cummings. Born with the talent, but not the will. For her, ballet was "a life of wishing I found something I loved instead of something I just happened to be good at" but for me it's sales. I'd make a lousy ballet dancer anyway, I'm not very turned out, so that needs work...

I don't know if there is a more overdone yet spot-on archetype in pop culture than the salesman. From Ben Affleck in Boiler Room and Michael Douglas in Wall Street to the granddaddy of them all: Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross this roll has been done again and again to great effect. It makes for interesting characters but the one problem with larger than life characters is kids (notably little boys) want to grow up to be like them.

There are scores of men my age who wanted nothing more than to grow up to be Maverick from Top Gun. There are also tons of Italian-American men who saw one too many mob flicks and thought they were wiseguys. But both of those groups are positively dwarfed by the number of douchebag sales guys who grew up wanting to be Jim Young, Gordon Gekko or Blake barking about how "coffee's for closers only". I think of that line as the sentence that launched a thousand shitheads.

I am who I am, not what I do. I sell things for a living, and I'm pretty damn good at it. It doesn't light my fire or get my competitive juices flowing. It doesn't make me feel superior or alive. It just pays the bills, and even that is an accident. I was a senior in college working at a TV station as a sports photographer when the sales manager said I should put all the BSing I was doing to work and offered me a sales job for after I graduated. Fast forward 13 years and I found myself deep in my career interregnum and having to go back to the sales floor.

I downright loathe the very mindset of sales. If I had a dollar for every time a sales manager has quoted the "nothing happens till someone sells something" line to me I would never have to sell anything ever again. But, in the end, I'm pretty good at it. It basically comes down to the fact that I've never met a person I couldn't talk to from strangers on a plan all the way up to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or my childhood hero: Cal Ripken Jr.

I like to talk, and more importantly, I like to listen. I have a pretty good knack for picking up on people's subtext and body language and perhaps most importantly I have empathy and the ability to put my self in someone else's shoes. So if I'm selling how I like to, the person buys what they need and no more. They will buy from me again and again and they will never feel like they've been taken.

To me that's how business should be done, but that's not how sales managers see the world.

They want you to get every last penny out of the mark's pocket. Sadly, I can do that too. I can scare an old lady into buying something that I know she not only doesn't need, but that she can't afford. And unlike many of my brethren, I can make her feel like I did her a favor.

I am not a salesman. I am a man who, thanks to a few twists and turns on my career ladder, sells things. I really don't know what else I could do anymore. My resume screams sales, and to borrow a line from another Affleck movie, when it came to sales "I could always just play." I won the Dale Carnegie Sales award at 22 besting a hotel ballroom full of guys who had been selling since before my mom met my dad.

But then again, that meeting was nothing more than sales. The old man walked up to my mom at a party and upon seeing her in a two piece bathing suit asked her "does that tan go all the way up?"

But then again, he drank coffee.
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Things are starting to look up a bit around here. I'm on my way to getting called up from minors (the very low minors, like rookie league) to a major league job again. Inky is back from 10 days away, which I never enjoy and to top it all off I played another game in the 80's. I got a great assist from Kate Upton yet again and this time my musical support came from Glasvegas since I was listening to their new song Shine Like Stars while I played this game.

I've found the hardest thing to do as an adult is to navigate the highs and lows that life can throw at you. I've had my fair share of lows over the last two years, but I'd like to think that Inky and I have weathered the storm as well as any two people could in our circumstance. Now that it looks like that storm may be passing I'd really relish the chance to be a gracious winner for a bit.

I promise that if I get a few breaks my way I won't be a dick about it. Hear me world? I'd like my breaks now.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Song Spotlight: Architecture in Helsinki - Contact High



Here's a one of the new tracks from another Aussie band I really love. I'm not sure just what it is that I like about this band, but I really love them. The new track is just the perfect song to blare through your speekers as you drive around on a summer day. Enjoy:

If one of these two walls could speak
I'd turn the lights down long enough to hit repeat
Right now my vision is gone and magic's to blame
It's silent down here, hey I want to get loud again
You'll hold the thunder while I bring the rain

I might be dancing doing nothing but I've had my share
You've got a strange infatuation with the elements in the air

Contact high
I'm done dreamin that we can fly
Am I guilty? Boy you decide
I've got nothing to hide

Four letter words won't hold any sway
And in a paradise that shakes the word romantic to the bone
Mystical forces are circling me, while perfect nostalgia is dating the enemy
Lost in the ether with no one to blame
It's silent down here, maybe I want to get loud again

Contact high
I'm done dreamin that we can fly
Am I guilty? Boy you decide
I've got nothing to hide

When we touch I get a
Contact high
I'm done leaving if we can try
Am I guilty? Boy you decide
I've got nothing to hide

I might be dancing doing nothing but I've had my share
You've got a strange infatuation with the elements in the air

Contact high
I'm done dreaming that we can fly
Am I guilty boy u decide
I've got nothing to hide
When we touch I get a
Contact high
Contact high
Contact high

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aussie Slang: Flat-Track Bully

As Inky and I have immersed ourselves in Aussie culture over the years we've picked up quite a bit of the language. Sure they speak English, but so do people in Birmingham Alabama and England and I can assure you that it sounds like a totally different language. It's not all accent either, although that can play a huge part in understanding well. What really gets you bogged down in trying to understand another English speaking country's pop culture is lingo and slang.

In Oz and the UK alike they love to use rhyming slang which is all but impossible to pick up with out some help. Another main source of slang is sports, which isn't all that different to us Americans. You can hit a home run in business or go to jail after your third strike and so on. Likewise, in some of the Dominion countries cricket slang has crossed over into everyday life. And that is where today's slang term comes from.

Flat-Track Bully (f-lat tr-ack bul-ly) Noun. 1) One who dominates inferior competition but cannot beat top-level opponents, usually in the realm of sports.

I first started hearing this term used during Aussie Rules games, and most recently it has been hurled at Geelong's James Podsiadly. The J-Pod seemed to kick a lot of goals in games that the Cats played at home and won easily but sometimes went missing in big games against top level competition. As a Geelong fan, I vehemently deny these claims and throw them right back at Nick Riewoldt, but that's not what this post is about.

How great is the this saying? At first blush it appears very simple, but when you take a second to think about it and play a scenario out in your head it is wonderfully descriptive. I'm sure everyone knows more than a few people either at work or in their personal lives that embody this saying. I can think of four or five who are currently running for the Republican nomination right now. If you've ever wondered what the un-tough did when the going got tough they just might have turned in to flat-track bullies.

I intend to upload this term into my own personal slang-waggon as of this moment and I suggest you do the same.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Scent of Greazy

I'm a big brand loyalty kind of guy. When I find a product I like, I stick with it for years. And years and years. Inky is the same way, and over the years I've adopted some of the loyalties she had when we got married. For instance, when I was a kid we ate mostly Jif peanut butter but Inky is fiercely attached to Skippy's Super Chunk, and I became a convert. I suppose we're not unlike a lot of other people who can be picky about one brand over another. Like the people that will only drink Coke and if the place they are at doesn't carry it they will have water rather than drink Pepsi.

The first thing that crossed from the "I'll get that if they have it at the store" category to the realm of "if they don't have it, I'll go to another store" for me was deodorant. Namely Old Spice High Endurance Fresh deodorant. After hitting puberty I would put on whatever deodorant my mom got for me and my family begged me to use. When I went off to boarding school at 14 I remember that I used Mitchum spray, but sometimes she got me something else and I just rolled with it.

When I came back home to go to public school for Junior year I stumbled upon my brand loyalty. My dad wore the original Old Spice that came in the cream colored cylindrical container with the screw on top. Some times mom would get a deal on it at Price Club and give me one to use, but I didn't want to wear the same thing my old man did. So one day Mom got me the High Endurance Fresh scent and I liked it immediately.

Back then I also wore cologne because I was legally mandated to as an Italian-American male resident of New Jersey who worked in a pizza parlor. It goes without saying that I wore way too much, so if you asked someone what I smelled like they would have said Drakkar Noir.

I know. Such a stereotype. What can I say? I was 16.

By the time I got to college I hardly ever wore cologne any longer, but I still wore my High Endurance Fresh. Now nearly 20 years later, I can't imagine wearing anything else. It's just what I smell like since I don't wear cologne or aftershave and god knows I have no need for shampoo these days. A few years ago I picked up another one of the High Endurance line by accident and I only made it a few days before I went back to the store to get the right one.

I'm not OCD or anything. When it comes to a whole lot of other products I couldn't care less what I get. Most times I make my choice based on price. But with deodorant there is only one that smells like Greazy. If they ever discontinue it I'll have to buy cases of the stuff like Elaine did with the sponge on Seinfeld.
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

I'm Still Alive

As much as it kills me to admit that my little 9 inch tall stuffed buddy is right, he is. I've been pretty lax about blogging these days. To say going back to work has been a damper on my "Greazy time" would be a massive understatement. I work noon to 9 Monday through Friday and 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays. So when I get up in the morning before work and when I get home at night I'm always more interested in spending time with Inky than surfing the web, blogging or playing minesweeper.

So this afternoon I sat down to do a little of all of the above. First I put together this 104 second game while listening to Megan Washington cover Paul Kelly's "Everybody Loves You Baby". Then I caught up on some web surfing before writing this blog post and a few others that will post during the week. It looks like Sunday is going to have to be my do everything day until I find another job with a more traditional schedule.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Anyone Seen Greazy?

I know Greazy was upset about turning 35 a few weeks ago, but he didn't have to up and disappear. It's like a ghost town up here in the computer room these days. If someone asked me what he's been up to I'd have to shrug my shoulders... if I had shoulders. I rarely see him since his so called "career interregnum" ended three weeks ago. He was still blogging during the first few days but I think the long hours are taking a toll on him now.

Greazy and I have spent our whole lives together, and I've seen him in some situations he wasn't happy with, but this current scenario looks like it may take the cake. Not only are the hours long, but he seems to complain a whole lot about his co-workers, the in's and out's of the job and company. In short, I don't think it's his dream job. In fact, when I do see him at the computer early in the morning or late at night it seems like all he's doing is applying for jobs.

I sure hope he works it out soon. God knows he can't lose any more hair over this.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Throwing My Hat in the Ring

As of about 22 minutes ago I am now 35 years old. Let me just pause for a moment to let that sink in... Alright, with that done I'll get to my point. When I was about 15 years old I came up with the idea that the only three birthdays that matter in your life are your 18th, 21st and 35th. At 18 you can buy cigarettes, lotto tickets, porn and also vote and serve in the military. At 21 you can legally during and at 35 you can be president of this ramshackle of states we call a country.

I voted in '96, '00, '04 and '08 but only because I had to pick someone else to do the job while I was ripening. Now that I have blossomed into a Constitutionally legal 35 year old it's time to throw my hat into the ring. So here goes:

I, Greazy Tony, am announcing my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States.

Wow, it feels good to finally type that and get the process under way. I will run on a platform of CFS or "common fucking sense" coupled with a solemn vow to do what is best for real people and fuck over every large business who puts their hand out. I'll rob the rich of the money they robbed from the poor and turn around and give it back to the poor. And, perhaps most importantly, I pledge to invade Canada within the first 100 days of my presidency just because I don't like the way they've been looking at us of late.

I'm Greazy Tony, and I approved this message.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

My Style Has Been Cramped

The absolute worst thing about the end of my career interregnum is that I don't get to spend my days with Inky any longer. All the rest of the shit that goes along with my new job is a distant second to that. All those other little things I miss about my life are just that: little compared to only seeing my wife a few hours a night.

All that said, my minesweeper game in particular (and internet time in general) has really suffered in my first week back among the gainfully employed. My new desk doesn't even have a computer on it, and if it did it wouldn't be hooked to the web. I don't have a smart phone, so after hopping on the web for a few moments in the morning I'm away from all the goings on till nearly midnight.

The other night I tried to play a few games of minesweeper before bed and I was so taxed by the day that the best I could manage was this 95 second game. If this is indicative of my summer let's just say I'm not happy. But, a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do right?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Renaissance for "The Bad Kind"

Anyone with a computer, eyes or ears will know all about the new Lonely Island song "3 Way (The Golden Rule)" which premiered on SNL last week. In addition to being incredibly funny it also shines a light on an issue that doesn't get enough attention these days, namely: The Bad Kind.

Just what is the bad kind? I'm glad you asked. In the realm of the menage-a-trois there are two sides to every coin: the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind is two girls and one guy meaning that the bad kind is two guys on one girl as portrayed by Justin, Andy and Gaga. In our heavily homophobic/overly macho society it's usual to hear guys saying they would never take part in the bad kind.

Lost in this whole thing is the fact that most of the guys taking about this shit (myself included) couldn't ever hope to get in to a menage neither good nor bad kind. But it is all part of this crazy society we live in where it's totally hetero to shower with 45 other naked guys as long as you just finished playing football together but if you and another guy are both having sex with the same girl then you are somehow both gay.

I never understood it, but I'm glad to see this short video explain that "it's ok, when it's in a three way." Recently this topic also popped up on Richard Grieco's new Showtime show "Gigilos" which, by the way, is a gift to all humankind. Since there are many guys out there who want to have the bad kind with their wife and another guy, but don't want all the strings of finding someone, a lot of these couples hire a gigilo.

In a shocking lack of attention to the maxim "the customer is always right" these man-whores are careful to lay down all sorts of rules about how the guy can stay and watch but there can be no man on man touching. We get it Brace, you're totally straight (even if you do really seem to love getting colonics) but why not give the lady what she's paying for?

Let's hope that the good public service performed by Justin, Andy and Gaga will remove some of the stigma from the bad kind.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teddy v Inky

This year Greazy invited me to play Dreamteam with he and Inky. For those who don't know, Dreamteam is to Australian Rules Football what Fantasy Football is to the NFL. I don't know a whole lot about Footy since Greazy refused to take me to Oz with them either of the times they went, but I have picked up a bit over the years that they have been watching.

But not enough I guess.

Inky's team: Fanta Pants Dance is 4-2 and in 6th place in our league. My Baltimore Bears are 1-5 in 14th. She is averaging 1932 points a game while I am at 1703 ppg. So she is obviously a better Dreamteam player than I am. But, anything can happen this weekend. Maybe I'll get lucky and beet her.

These games are no fun unless you have something other than pride riding on them, so you have to bet. I liked the bet where if she lost she'd have to get a spray tan and if I lost then I'd have to get my white fur dyed pink. Ultimately we settled on a slap bet like from the show How I Met Your Mother. If I win I get to swing a paw across Inky's face and if she wins she can panda-slap me.

Bring on the games!
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's So Damn Hot...

I knew when I took a job that required some door to door sales it wasn't an ideal situation for a number of reasons. First, I really don't like selling, which is odd, because I've done a whole lot of it in my career. Second, even though I've lost a lot of weight in the last year, I wasn't looking forward to walking around some of the crazy ass hills in this town. Lastly, it's just about summer here in the Mid-Atlantic region which means the dreaded 90-90 days. 90 degrees with 90% humidity.

That's what I found myself in today during my second day on the job. After spending all day yesterday inside filling out paperwork, watching training videos and such today I had some field training. I walked about 12 miles of those famous York PA hills in that dreaded heat and humidity. I thought getting in shape would keep me from being done in by this type of exertion but I was mostly wrong. While I'm sure it would have been way worse back when I was north of 280 it still took it's toll on me at my current weight.

I didn't know before hand that I would be going out today so I had no water with me for the first three hours of the day. So when we went to lunch I drank two XL unsweetened Teas in about 25 minutes and avoided crappy food. Before we headed back out I got a liter of water and a small Gatorade to get me through the rest of the day. Now I'm home and I'm sure I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight. I know I'll get used to this, but it sucks to know there's worse conditions coming in June, July and August.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lil Greazy's First Day

Um... wow. 692 days is a looooooooong time to go without punching a time clock. That was abundantly clear to me when I finished up my first day at my new job. It's going to take me a while to condition myself to nine hours in an office again. I really thought that all my time at the gym would serve me well when I finally wrapped up my career interregnum, but it hasn't.

I was sure that dropping 50 pounds and being in the best shape of my life since before I could legally buy beer would make me more resilient in the face of a long work day. I was wrong. Or, at least, I am wrong now. I'm hoping that all my hard work will pay dividends in a week or two when I get acclimated to the grind again.

One huge plus, that would probably be a huge minus to any other 35 year old is that I work noon to 9 PM. Most people my age would hate working "so late" but these are my perfect hours coming off the interregnum. For much of that time I woke up between 8 and 9 and went to bed between 1 and 2. So getting up at 7 AM for a regular 9 to 5 would have killed me.

The one huge downside about the new job is not specific to this one job, however. During the 22 months that I was out of work I got really used to spending a fuck ton of time with Inky. There may be some people who have been married for 12 years who couldn't stand to spend all day, every day together but we really had a blast. I'm really going to miss spending my days with her, even if we never had any money do do anything of note.

I guess I should get ready for bed. I've gotta be up for work in the late morning.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bird Watchin'

To say I've had a lot of free time over the last 691 days is a massive understatement. My career interregnum has led me to places that I've both loved and loathed. It's always that way when you have a ton of time to think, but not a ton of money to do. Even with all that said, I never thought I'd find myself staring out the window at birds.

Just like an old man.

I am about to turn 35, but that's not old enough to be a bird watcher, in my mind at least. But the other day as I was making my lunch I noticed this fat little baby bird just standing on the railing of my deck. He was just sitting there looking skyward all throughout my tuna making process.

Just as I was finishing my lunch prep, I saw that my little friend was also waiting to get his grub on... or worm. His mama flew in with a worm in her beak and fed it to him. As moments in nature go it was on the low end of the awesomeness scale, but I still found it cool to witness. Long after I had packed away my meal lil Bird was still out there waiting for seconds on his. In fact he stood out there for almost two hours.

I peeked out at him from time to time, and ended up snapping this picture from the upstairs window because, well... I had the time. I'm not really the bird watching type, but it was kind of cool to see him just sitting there probably a little to young to fly and get his own eats.

Not to sound too much like a tree hugger, but it was a bit of free entertainment provided by mother nature.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

They Have Risen!

Just a few days ago I did a post about losing the pair of sunglasses I bought in Sydney back in '05. Well, today I rolled back the stone and found that they had risen! I like to think of it as sunglasses Easter.

I was taking some household junk up to the dumpster that our community provides once a year when I found them. I had been driving our second car the weekend they went missing and although Inky and I had both looked in it, we failed to look between the passenger side seat and door. I guess I had put them on the seat while driving and when I took a bitchin' left hand turn at some point they must have tumbled over the side and lodged themselves there.

Now, the are back where they belong: on my face or upside down on my hat. I'd love to say I prayed to St. Anthony to get them back like we used to do when I was a kid, but the truth is I just caught sight of them as I reached along the back seat to get an old boom box I was throwing in the dumpster. Either way it's nice to have them back.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Song Spotlight: 1996 by The Wombats



As a child of the 90's I love that we're starting to get some good 90's nostalgia these days. It's crazy for me to realize that at the start of the 90's I was 14 years old and getting ready to go into high school. Even though Murph, the Wombats lead singer, is 8 years younger than me I'm still really getting a kick out of their new track 1996. I was only a teenager for a few months of '96, but I totally understand the basis of this song. Plus, it's a kick ass song from a kick ass group. Enjoy!

I had no cares in the 1990s
I knew of no downfalls
Though war was breaking out all around me
My concerns were with prank calls

She kissed me on the cheek
She kissed me on the cheek
Right in front of the older kids
Well my self belief, my self belief
Wasn’t scarred by the modern itch

'Cause now it feels like
We kissed with one eye on our TV set
And the more I give, the less I get
Using fairground rides just to spark a smile
There's little here to miss
Bring back 1996
Bring back 1996
I want to beat those teenage kicks
Bring back 1996

We were cloning sheep in the 1990s
We were building telescopes
And sugar filled the whole of my body
As I urged it on to grow

I kissed her on the cheek
I kissed her on the cheek
Just to impress the older kids
But my self belief, my self belief
Wasn’t lost in the modern glitch

'Cause now it feels like
We kissed with one eye on our TV set
And the more I give, the less I get
Using fairground rides just to spark a smile
There's little here to miss
Bring back 1996
Bring back 1996

Stop talking, stop talking
I need a lover, not a friend tonight
I’m leaving, I’m leaving
I'm not cut out for the modern life

I’ll never beat those teenage kicks
I’ll never beat those teenage kicks
I’ll never beat those teenage kicks
Bring back 1996
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kate Upton Seems Like a Nice Girl



I asked Teddy to take a week off so I could devote some time to Ms. Kate Upton. It's only a matter of time till she breaks on to the Top 5 List, which I'm sure will be a bigger thrill for her than all this fame she has stubled onto at the tender age of almost 19.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You're Welcome World

Do you love eating Buffalo Wings but hate getting your fingers dirty? Do you love the taste combination of spicy wings, tangy blue cheese and crisp celery but hate all the hassle of dunking the wing in the blue cheese and then eating the celery? Then do I have a product for you.

It's Greazy Tony's patented* "One Bite Buffalo Wings"! Hi, I'm Greazy Tony and my One Bite Wings will change your life. With bite sized pieces of chicken fried and tossed in Anchor Bar sauce on a fresh piece of celery and then topped with blue cheese you now have an efficient and delicious way to eat your wings. They're great for the big game, poker night with the boys or Bar Mitzvahs. Just send $19.99 to Greazy Tony's One Bite Wings, PO Box 1000 York Pennsylvania. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. Sorry, No COD's.


*Not Actually Patented
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

RIP: Aussie Sunglasses 05/01/05-05/07/11

I don't know why, but I've always had a real problem when it comes to sunglasses. I would always forget to take them on trips, causing me to have to buy a pair in places like the Caribbean, Las Vegas or Australia. But as fast as I was forced to buy a new pair, I would just as quickly lose them by leaving them on the table at a restaurant or in a rental car as I did with the ones I got in Nassau and Vegas.

But all that seemed to turn around in early May of 2005. Having once again forgotten to bring a pair of sunglasses with me, I bought the pair you see in the above picture at the Harbourside Shopping Centre in Sydney's Cockle Bay Wharf. Even when I bought them I was sure I would end up losing them, probably even before the trip was over. It turns out that was the best twenty bucks I would ever spend on sunglasses.

Not only did those glasses make it through our first trip to Oz in '05 but they also made a triumphant return trip home in '08. They also went to Vegas, New York City, Virgina Beach, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Nashville, Niagara Falls and on a bunch of trips to Maine. Not to mention that I wore them all the time on regular days that included trips to and from work, and all around the area.

In short: six years is a long ass time for me to own a pair of sunglasses. They shaded my eyes as I looked upon sights both amazing and banal, but all good things must come to an end. Sadly, my six years with my Aussie glasses was no different. Some time during my daily errands on May 7th I mislaid them, and now they are gone forever.

I guess I shouldn't be too down about this, since it did take about twelve times longer for me to lose these than usual. Plus, on the up side, losing them means that I have to replace them with a like pair. And as we all know it's lovely in Sydney this time of year.
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I should be way more excited than I am about this 81 second game. After all, 81 seconds is a really great time and was my fastest time ever just a few weeks ago. The problem is, this was the game that could have very easily been my first in the 60's. If only it wasn't for my damn mouse.

I know, I know. A good craftsman doesn't blame his tools. Blah, blah, blah. I think that's bullshit. If Norm Abrams had a shitty lathe in the New Yankee Workshop that ended up ruining every table leg, I'm pretty sure he'd be like: "Hey PBS, I need a new lathe because this one blows. So sell some more tote bags and get me a good one so I can finish this chest of drawers and go home and pick all the saw dust out of my fucking beard."

I'm only guessing that's what he would say, but you'd have to consult him to see if it's accurate.

Back to my thing. For the last few weeks I've been noticing that sometimes when I try and move the mouse to the right the mouse is moving but the cursor arrow is stuck in one place. I've tried cleaning all the crap off the little bars inside but it still keeps happening. Maybe that's what I get for still having a rollball mouse, but I'm poor. Sue me.

The end result of this mouse-function is there are times in a minesweeper game when I can't get to the square I need to mark with a flag or click on. And that kills good scores. This week I was grooving to some Priscilla Ahn while playing when I got the greatest gift a minesweeper could ask for: a quick start. I clicked on a new game to get started and half the boxes cleared leaving the perfect opportunity for a really fast game. By the time I was down to 9 mines left to go I was only at 55 seconds and I started to get excited. (I know, my life is kind of sad, but what can I do?) Then the mouse started fucking with me and I ended up having to pick it up and tap it down to get it to move right.

By the time I made it through the next 9 mines I ended up with this 81 second game, which didn't live up to the high standard set by Kate Upton's breasts in the background. I'm sorry Kate. I'm sorry. It was all the mouse's fault, you have to believe me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Anatomy of a Perfect "Man Day"

Not only is my career interregnum winding down, it's getting ready to crash headlong into a 50 hour, 6 day work week. No doubt this 180 degree transition is going to be a shock to my system, like jumping out of a sauna into the Arctic Sea. So before I take the plunge I thought I should have a bit of fun. Inky and I talked about taking a trip somewhere, but now didn't seem like the right time to spend all the money it would take to do something fun. So Inky, being the 12 time defending Wife of the Year that she is suggested that I take a day out for myself to do all the things I love to do. So that's what I did.

So on Thursday I left the house after noon and set my course for Charm City. On a trip like this it's always important to keep your strength up, so my first priority was getting some grub. I headed to the Highlandtown neighborhood to a place called the G&A Restaurant. Long famous for their Coney style dogs, I was torn about what to get. I opted for a Coney dog appetizer followed by their signature sliders which were amazing.



The burgers were cooked perfectly, and were complemented very well by the ketchup, mustard and pickle. The fries were also excellent and arrived pipping hot, fresh from the oil. I'm sure I'll be back to Eastern Ave to try something else from their menu, but with no AC it might have to wait till October or so.

After the G&A my next stop was just a few miles away on Baltimore St where I was in search of T&A. If forced to choose between a place like the G&A and a good ole fashioned strip club, I just don't know what I would do. Luckily, I don't have to make that choice and I followed up my lunch with a little trip to Uncle Larry's, better known as Larry Flint's Hustler Club. Once inside I spent a few hours enjoying myself in the company of a few otherwise bored strippers. Being the afternoon shift it was just me for the first hour I was there and I became kind of like their pet, albeit a buck at a time.

After getting only my second ever menage-a-lapdance I thought I might be done for the day, but alas the spiked heal of fate had other ideas for me. One of the dancers accidentally kicked me in the shoulder on stage and to thank me for being cool about it she offered me an extra long dance. To turn down such a thank you from a nice young lady would have been ungallant of me. Four songs later I was faced with a dilemma which saw me phone a friend for help Regis style.

I had enough money left for another lap dance (and there was one more dancer I had my eye on) or enough for a ticket to the O's game. I texted XL to see what he would do in my situation and when he heard about the embarrassment of riches that was my afternoon of denim grinding he implored me to go to the ballpark. For one thing, the O's best young pitcher in years, Zach Britton, was pitching. Second: the weather was about as good as you get for a ball game. And third, it was Vladimir Guerrero t-shirt day. So off I went.

I opted for a cheep dinner outside of the park at a sandwich place called Jimmy Johns which is a chain new to the Baltimore area. Once I packed away my #5 Vito, chips and about five cups of Tea I went over to the ballpark not knowing what to expect from by beloved O's.

Times are tough in birdland these days with the team failing to even finish above .500 since 1997. But, I always try and remain positive, even when the last 13 years have shown me that I probably shouldn't. On this day, however, everything clicked in to place. Britton had about as good a game as I've seen a 23 year old throw in years posting 9 innings of shut out ball while walking none, striking out 5 and giving up just 3 hits.

Sadly, the Seattle's Jason Vargas was nearly as good (9/7/0/1/4) and the game went into extra innings with no score. I thought my perfect day might be ruined when Ichiro scored for the M's in the top of the 12th but there was a bit of Orioles Magic waiting in the the bottom. The good guys loaded the bases on a single and two HBP's and after one out J.J. Hardy singled in 2 runs to win it.

I drove all the way home with a big smile on my face, after what was a fantastic day. When I got home I got one more reason to smile when I tried on the free t-shirt I had picked up at the game. (picture above) It's been a real long time since I've been able to wear the shirts they give away, but now I can. The only thing missing in my day was a bit of company in the form of Inky or XL, but we'll have plenty of time to try for another perfect day later.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Not Because It's Friday...

I really hate today's date. I'm not bothered by the whole Friday the Thirteenth shit because I don't get down like that. I'm pissed because this date represents the one day of the calender year that Inky and I have been in Australia more than once. We left Melbourne on May 13th back in '05 (also a Friday by coincidence) and we arrived in Sydney on the 13th in '08. So on this day I can think back both three and six years to what was going on our two trips down under.

It's also hard because it is almost as if we are missing our date with Oz. We had every intention of going back this year, and we almost certainly would have gone in May. I'll borrow a line from the Flight of the Conchords song "Business Time" when I say that "It's when everything is just right". Even though Aussies speak about the May weather like Floridians talk about their November weather Inky and I find it divine. It's not too hot but it is far from cold. Most days in Sydney or Melbourne will be around 50. Perfect jeans and sweatshirt weather. Plus, in the Outback or the Northern cities it would only be in the 80's as opposed to well over 100 in their summer.

Besides the weather, the Aussie fall is also when the AFL is in full swing. So Inky and I can go see the Cats play, which is always a good thing. One of the major reasons we like going, however, is that April and May is one of the cheapest times to go Down Under. Off peak season is just fine with me, though, so don't tell too many people or they may start going then too and Qantas may start raising their rates.

Maybe we'll make it back to Australia next year. And if not, it'll be the year after. One thing is for sure, I'll be back some day soon. Till then, I'll do some more borrowing, this time from my Jewish friends. On this May 13th Inky and I will raise a glass and say "Next year in Melbourne!"
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Keep the Peace, or We Could Be in Pieces

While many people see this photo as a cute mishap between a loved pet and a loved stuffed animal, I see it as a crime scene. Where's the yellow crime scene tape? Where is the chalk outline of poor old Scooby? More importantly, where is the justice?

This lovable lil guy is Frank The Tank, who is owned by the lovely Lauren Phillips of Melbourne Australia. Inky and Greazy follow her on Twitter because she dates Gary Ablett Jr who used to play for their Aussie Rules team. I'm sure she, like most of you humans, value their living pets above their stuffed ones, but we have feelings too. If you prick us do we not spill stuffing? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you leave us out in the rain do we not mildew? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?

That's right motherfuckers, I read Shakespeare too.

I was lucky growing up in that Greazy's family didn't have too many pets. By the time they got a dog full time I had moved to Pennsylvania with Greazy for college so I never had to worry about being torn limb from limb like Scooby. I did have to survive a dozen or so dicey years ducking the wrath of Greazy's older brother who loved nothing more than torturing me. I got back at him by fucking his beloved stuffed dog Jennifer.

In the end I just want to remind all of you to look out for all your fluffy friends. Keep the stuffed ones away from the breathing ones and we'll all be happy.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two Sides

This week is a lot like the last week of August to me. Back in the days when I trod the grass of a college campus like wild animals once roamed the frontier I was always conflicted in the last week of August, or thereabouts. Of course, no matter what the seasonal calender may tell us, we all know that the last week of August is the herald of the end of summer. Once Labor Day comes everyone is back in school.

I know what you're thinking: "But Greazy, didn't you love college?" Sure I did. I loved hanging out with my friends. I loved doing shit just because I could and I loved living a life where fifteen credit hours and a bit of studying was considered full time. But truth be told, I also dreaded each new semester and the reasons behind those feelings have crept up on me over the last few days.

While most people who meet me would come away thinking that I am extremely confidant, some would say overconfident even, that couldn't be further from the truth. I didn't send out my first college application until February of my senior year of high school. Hell, I didn't even take the SAT's until a few months before. I wasn't going to go to college. I was going to go into the Navy. I didn't think I had what it took to make it through college in six years, let alone four.

I have very little self confidence, and none of my early successes could assuage that feeling in me. I made it through college, despite always thinking I was one semester or class away from not being able to make it. I got jobs after graduation despite doubts that dealt less with my ability and more with my desire, but they kept coming nonetheless. But still I have always been nagged by self doubt.

It always cropped up in late August as a new year of college beckoned, and now it is gnawing at me again as I prepare to end my career interregnum. I'm going back to work next week, and I'm being haunted by all those same feelings I had way back when. Part of me is excited to be getting back in gear, while the other part is full of questions and doubts. It's as if you could draw a line down the center of me and I could have to diametrically opposed views on what is about to happen.

I just hope the side that used to always win finds away to notch another victory this time around. I'm sorely in need of one.
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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Swan Song?

I just didn't have it this week. I played a few games early in the week and got some absolutely awful returns. My poor performance may stem from the fact that my wait is finally over and it looks like I'm going back to work next week. That should make me excited right? Well it would if I had managed to find a job making what I once made doing what I once did, but alas that is not the case.

I'll be working six days a week for a lot less money than my resume dictates I should make and all the while I'll be doing something I out and out hate. So, even thought I'm happy that I won't have to sell bodily fluids to pay the mortgage, I'm still a bit down and out this week. And it showed in my minsweeping.

I tried to recapture the magic of listing to the Geelong pre-game show in KRock while I played late Friday night, but the best I could return was this 90 second game. If you look at the picture below, it's almost like Kate Upton is saying: "That's the best you can do? 90 seconds? Doesn't my amazing chest do anything for you?"

I'm sorry I let you down Kate, I'll try harder next week. After that, who's to say what will become of my minesweep time trials. Working between 45 and 65 hours a week will mean a lot less computer time to be sure. So, that might bring the minsweeping, let alone the blogging to a halt.