Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My First EVER Product Review

There I was, in the men's toiletries area of my local grocery store, and I grabbed some generic shaving gel (as I had recently decided to resign from the ZZ Top Fan Club). Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the new Barbasol Ultra Shaving Cream (With Extra Conditioning Action)!

"Whoa!" I thought to myself. "This is $.38 cheaper than what I was going to buy!"

For those readers in Manhattan with money enough to not concern themselves with $.38, well, you save that 10 times, you got yourself a somewhat overpriced 22 20 oz. beer at a neighborhood pub. Put in that perspective, I'm sure you can understand how such bargains are definitely on the radar.

So I went with it. "How different could a cream be than a gel? And should I use 'from' rather than 'than' when I write My First EVER Product Review?" I pondered.

Without further ado, My First EVER Product Review, of Barbasol Ultra Shaving Cream (With Extra Conditioning Action):


1) It kinda sucks. Cream just really isn't as good as gel. My face was fairly dry by the time I got to my neck.

2) Can graphics weren't as cool - and this is against a f*$king generic.

3) Music playing as I shaved was sort of ho-hum, whereas, when shaving with gel, things seem to RAWK! Granted, this could be unrelated to the cream itself.


1) WAY awesome shaving cream snowman making ability. Gel doesn't even come close.

Conclusion: While I truly would enjoy that overpriced 22 20 oz. beer a tad more after accumulating the savings of 10 cans, I think I'll stick with the gel. Unless Barbasol buys the rights to use Jane Fonda's image as "Barbarella" on its cans. Then I'm in.

[Full Disclosure: I am not employed by any company related to the shaving industry; nor do I shave nearly often enough, according to numerous stupid* girls that I've known.]

* "Stupid", in this context, refers to said girls' behavior in coming close enough to me to know that I don't shave nearly often enough, and not said girls' intelligence in general.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts From The Shallow End Of The Pool

[NOTE: This post may be updated without notice during the hours of 7 and 10 midnight MST on Sunday evening. I may be in a rambling mood.]

A lot of the time we look toward music, or paintings, or stories, anything to find something to identify with, when we’re feeling a little lost. Most of the time, I think, we can find something that comes pretty close to help. For me, it’s mostly lyrics, as it is for some close friends as well.

Some songwriters just know how to string words together; but more importantly, how to leave a little wiggle-room so that we distraught poor sonsabitches can make it fit our lives, no matter what he or she (the songwriter) was thinking when they wrote them. I wonder what those people think when listeners tell them that they must have been writing about them, when maybe it was the most private thing in the songwriter's heart? Dunno. Must be a little weird.

On the other hand (okay, there's not really a first hand there, but I'm trying to make my edits explanatory rather than simple deletions. And no, that's not explanatory, it just doesn't make sense, but SHUT UP.), I'm a believer in the world as influencing us pretty strongly, rather than each human being an independent agent making every choice balancing all history intelligently without bias.

Well, duh.

So maybe some of us choose to make our lives fit into the songs (or paintings, or stories) that we like. We see a storyline that we see as romantic, in the classical sense, and choose (however subconsciously) to emulate it. I've read dissertations on stupider theories than that.

[UPDATE 7:36] ZOMG!!111! Wait! What if, even if the world truly was deterministic, and we really had no self-determination, we believed that we did? That would explain this evolutionary dealy that came along that we call "consciousness" (as it's quite evolutionarily advantageous, you know, trying to survive because hey, damnit! I'm different! (yes, I know this doesn't really fit in the theory of evolution, but I'm just trying to see if I can nest parentheses)).


But maybe what really matters is that we believe we have the ability to shape our future, not whether we really do or not. How the hell did I get here from thinking about song lyrics? WTF?

[7:55]: I'm not sure that true empathy exists. I mean truly feeling what another person feels. But now I'm thinking that song lyrics are the opposite end of the spectrum - someone writing something (without even knowing that you exist), but that you think simply must be about you and the way you feel, vs. someone actually speaking to you trying to say something about the way you might feel, but not really doing a good job of it. I guess that's why they make the big bucks ... you know, driving in buses all day and playing in Meridian to a crowd of 1000, as one of the best songwriters of the age.

Life ain't fair, apparently. Good thing there's more of it left.
I'm a world-weary man, and I'm ready to lie down
Time to shuffle off this moldy mortal coil

And I lived ok I guess, heaven's even odds at best
but I'm ready, if I could only see you smile
I ain't see you really happy in a while ...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ooh! Ooh! I Wanna Play!

Quote Of The Week (because all of the cool blogs are doing it):

"You don't have to drink it if you don't want to ..."

- The Live Acorn's mom, making a late surge for Mother Of The Year by not forcing the 13-year-old Live Acorn to drink champagne on Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'll Say Goodbye To Love ...

Dang it.

The doctor just called and said he'd like to speak with me about my cholesterol levels. I fear this means the end of my love affair with bacon. Sweet, sweet, bacon.

For some reason, I've always wanted to stay under 200 lbs. It's an arbitrary weight, I realize, but it's a nice round number (ha!), and slightly under that seems okay for me. I've often flirted with 200 lbs (and occasionally done more than flirt - and believe me, staying under 200 lbs isn't always a good thing! Thank you! Thank you! I'll be here all week!), but have managed to avoid going over. So during the pre-fight weigh-in last week at the doctor:

Nurse (asking me to get on the scale): Okay ... 201.

Me: Umm, well, these jeans and shoes weigh at least a couple of pounds. I'd say 199.

Nurse: Well, I have to put down what the scale indicates.

Me: Oh. Well, let's see. I think the Colt .45 in my sock weighs at LEAST two pounds. ONE. NINETY. NINE.

Nurse: Y-y-yessir.

Tom Waits - Heart Attack And Vine (I thought about going with something by The Strokes for some cholesterol-related music, but TW wins out.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Tannen Bomb

How to build the best Christmas tree EVAH:

Step 1: Get a branch like this:

Step 2: Make the obligatory "we should make a giant slingshot next summer and launch water balloons at the Dang's and Sweeney's houses!" comment.

Step 3: Get some sticks. And a bad dog, if you don't already have one.

Step 4: Have the dog chew the sticks to the appropriate lengths while you have a well-deserved beer.

Step 5: Tie the sticks on. Gouge the dog's eyes out and replace with glowing devil marbles.

Step 6: Put lights on. The more, the better. And use the blinky ones. If you're looking for something not gawdy, you're reading the wrong website, sissy. Go talk to Martha.

Step 7: Garland first ...

Step 8: Then the pink flamingo lights ...

Step 9: Oh jeez, this poor bastard lost his head ...

Step 10: And then the bird's nest birdhouse, the rest of the ornaments, and the tinsel. Don't be shy about adding more things as the days go by. Yes, beer cans are fine.

There you go! Remember, Jeebus knows how much thought you put into celebrating his birthday, and believe you me, HE will remember.

[UPDATE: An astute and eagle-eyed reader in Qatar asks about the art on the wall that can be seen in steps 5 & 10. Why, yes, that is the album cover from the Kiss multi-platinum classic Rock And Roll Over! Good catch, fellow Kiss Army soldier! And yes, that is an Idaho State Bengal helmet serving as the angel. Many thanks to Cha Cha for the contribution.]

Could I Just Take A Quick Look At Your Diploma, Doctor?

So I went to the doctor this morning for a checkup. He was asking about lifestyle habits and such things, which I tried to be relatively honest about.

Doctor: "Well, I think you should probably try to cut back on the alcohol intake. In addition to potential damage to several organs, it can lead to stress and irritability."


I then drove up Broadway to Jim's Alibi.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Who Am I, George Bailey?

I’ve noticed for quite some time that people in other cars tend to not see me when I’m driving. It seems that I can’t make even the shortest trip without someone pulling out in front of me (and I’m telling you people, the brakes aren’t in any better shape than the rest of the car, so wake up!). It’s as if I’m not there, like I don’t exist – people just stare through me as if my life on this earth is without meaning or value.

It’s as if I’d never been born.

I know that there is probably a perfectly rational explanation for this. The car is grey, fairly small, and I don’t have 3 gazillion high-intensity super-nova spotlights mounted all over the thing, but still … it doesn’t help with my self-esteem issues.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And No Religion, Too ...

We had a multi-area holiday Christmas pot-luck today at work. For readers unfamiliar with my employment, let’s just say I work for the Government. While it’s not the United States Federal Government, it is a government that establishes separation of church and state (Idaho Constitution, art. 9, § 5). So when the sign-up sheet came around, with the potentially offensive title “Christmas Party Signup Sheet”, I lightheartedly, though with the more serious intention of perhaps alerting the organizers to their (most certainly unintentional) insensitivity, wrote in “Channukah”, “Kwanzaa”, “Solstice”, and “Ramadan” above the word “Christmas”*. I had hoped for at least an acknowledgement that there are non-christianists in the office.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, it was quite a spread. There were no less than 4 different types of pork products, and feeling awash in the state-sponsered spirit of the Virgin Birth, I chose to send a hearty “Screw you, Jews!” by foregoing salads, rolls, and vegetables, instead gorging solely on various hams, hickory Spam (yes, Hickory Spam!), and pork’n’seeds.

In case anyone has issues with this, please be aware that I will be telling one Jesus joke per day as I plug in each bulb on my desktop menorah (no candles in the workplace … thanks, OSHA):

Day 1:
Q: “What did Jesus say as they took him down from the cross?”
A: (falling forward) “FEET FIRST! FEET FIRST!”

Day 2:
Q: “Did you hear about the girl who started going to church ‘cause she heard there was a guy hung like this (arms spread out like Jesus on the cross)?”

And so on …

Say, is that thunder I hear?

* No, I didn’t include Boxing Day. Fuck the Canucks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Maybe She Doesn't Know My New Phone Number ...

This "six degrees of separation" theory is crap. If it was true, then surely Juliana Hatfield would know of, and have responded to, my marriage proposal by now. She must be the one person on the planet who I don't have some obscure communication path to. I mean, it's been 12 years, and I'm still waiting.

Universal Heartbeat (from Only Everything):

I'll wait forever, Juliana, but it would be nice to be able to tell Kate Pierson one way or the other.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Neil Sedaka Is SO Wrong

Remember, today is the start of Breakup Season (1st Friday in Dec – Feb 15th). In these times of economic turmoil, we all look for ways to cut back a little on our excess spending. That, my friends, is what the season is all about. Think of the savings – no Christmas presents, no expensive New Year’s Eve extravaganza, no Valentine’s Day* gifts! And that’s just the monetary aspect – we’ve all experienced the emotional strain of buying gifts, wondering if it’s just right (is it too much? not enough? Oh god what if he/she doesn’t like Dom PĂ©rignon?). One slightly uncomfortable conversation, however, and you’ll feel the weight being lifted from your shoulders.

Don’t go overboard, of course. You’ll need to really be able to sell the “I’ve missed you so much” line come the ides of February. The tried and true “I never really knew what I had until I lost it” approach is classic, but there are many alternatives, and there’s really no right or wrong way to make up. Try to avoid allowing your significant other to set conditions, particularly ones that are objective and measurable, however. The goal is to get back to where you were December 4th, not “improve” your “outlook” and “behavior” for the “sake” of the “relationship”.

So break it off, kids! We’re over a week into Drinking Season, so you’ve had plenty of time to make it easy for him/her to accept it, or better yet, preempt it! See you in 72 days!

Well I got a bad liver and a broken heart,
Yeah, I drunk me a river since you tore me apart
And I don't have a drinking problem, 'cept when I can't
get a drink
And I wish you'd a-known her, we were quite a pair,
She was sharp as a razor and soft as a prayer

Tom Waits, Bad Liver And A Broken Heart

* Not actually having a girlfriend does not preclude you from telling the Victoria’s Secret salesperson that she’s the same size as your girlfriend and asking her to try that little lilac lace number on.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just In Case Anyone's Feeling Too Cheery Right Now

Here's a light little ditty by James McMurtry, recorded live in the WNKU studio:

Ruby And Carlos (from Just Us Kids) - and a short little interview at the end.

Her body still could rock all nigh
But her heart was closed and locked up tight
Holding back the flood
Just don’t do no good
You can’t unclench your teeth
To howl the way you should
So you curl your lips around
The taste of tears and a hollow sound
That no one owns but you
No one owns but you

Thanks a lot, McMurtry. Would it kill you to sing about flowers and rainbows? Just once?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Water, Water, Everywhere ...

Those of you who’ve been to my house at times other than when I’m expecting a few or more people may have noticed that I sometimes shy away from doing dishes in a timely fashion. You may also have attributed this to sheer laziness, an attribution not altogether unsupported by some of my other behaviors (or lack thereof).

It’s not so.

I have never … never … done the dishes without ending up drenched from my belly to my knees. Usually, it happens while washing a bowl – the thing’s half full of soapy water, my thumb slips, and KERSPLASH! a tsunami-like wave of suds (Palmolive – now with microbeads!) is sent over the edge of the sink, cresting just past the counter, and crashing down upon my midriff in a manner not unlike scenes from The Poseidon Adventure or The Perfect Storm.

Square Tupperware containers are worse. Somehow the corners can generate a lot of extra force, and the impact has, at times, left bruises. I’ve taken to just throwing them away after one use.

I came close to success once. I had done the dishes the night before (and had dried myself and the floor), and had nothing but a cereal bowl on the counter. I carefully filled the sink (just a quarter full – you don’t give your enemy extra ammunition during battle), put on slip-resistant rubber gloves, then ever-so-slowly immersed the bowl. I held it against the bottom of the sink to minimize the chance that an errant muscle twitch would unleash some aquatic fury, and ever-so-gently, washed, then rinsed, and finally, oh sweet jesus, finally set the bowl down in the rack to dry. I looked down, and not a drop had touched me. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that I had finally won, and reached for the spoon ...

I don’t know a damn thing about non-linear fluid dynamics. I do know, however, that a tablespoon can launch a shitload of water.

So please – rather than judge me on what might appear to be pure sloth, keep in mind that it’s something of a hassle to get in and out of a wetsuit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Into The Wild

Well, I left my regular backpack over at a friend’s on Thanksgiving. It’s just right for riding to work – it fits a change of clothes and my lock, has a little cell-phone pocket on the shoulder strap, and is pink with Hello Kitty on the back.

So this morning, it’s either the man-purse fanny-pack manly waist-mounted equipment transport system, or my backpacking pack (yes, I actually have a real backpacking pack, and no, it’s never been used by me. I loaned it to a friend once.) This thing’s got about 500 straps and pull thingies and all kinds of stretch cords and a hydration system. And no Hello Kitty on the back.

I laid out all my supplies as if I were heading into the Sawtooths for a week-long solo trip and went over my checklist:

* Pants
* Shirt
* Belt
* Banana
* Apple
* Lock
* Phone

And by god, off I went into the wilderness, Sir Edmund Hillary on a bicycle, for my 15 minute, 3 ½ mile survival trek.

I’ve never felt so alive.