Thursday, July 28, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I am. I love football. I love Chicago. I love IM conversations all day long at work.

PGS DenMILF: i downloaded a desktop theme for my 'puter today!
Fish: setting yourself up for disappointment
PGS DenMILF: The "waiting" cursor is a little tiny referee
PGS DenMILF: am not. dude listen, we've got romeo coaching now AWESOME
PGS DenMILF: and
PGS DenMILF: Braylon Edwards
PGS DenMILF: no, this year will be awesome
PGS DenMILF: romeo: defense covered. edwards: offense covered
PGS DenMILF: it's going to be awesome
Fish: oh ok
PGS DenMILF: so awesome that i have to keep repeating key words twice
PGS DenMILF: Did you know the Browns actually play the Bears this year? During the season?
Fish: battle of the titans
PGS DenMILF: They play twice, pre-season and week 5
PGS DenMILF: we have a bye the week before, we will be rested
PGS DenMILF: too bad it's in Cleveland, it would have been awesome to go
PGS DenMILF: in my brown and orange
PGS DenMILF: fuck some bears
Fish: they probably will too
Fish: the bears suck
PGS DenMILF: i know, that's why i feel so at home here.
PGS DenMILF: white sox are fucking up my shit this year. i can't handle living somewhere with teams that are good
PGS DenMILF: it confuses me and screws up my world

Friday, July 22, 2005

An Important Announcement

After many years of abstinence I have rediscovered the mouthwatering joy of Nacho Cheesier Doritos.

Carry on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sheep Counting Alternatives

Things to try when you find yourself wide awake for no apparent reason at 2:00 a.m.

1. Call your cat. Over and over and over until she gets sick of listening to you and climbs in your bed.

2. Pet the cat. Then grab the brush and try brushing her.

3. After the cat runs away, drink a glass of warm milk.

4. Send a text message to your bartender. Wait 30 minutes for him to either call or text you back. Give up.

5. Lay in your bed, stare at the ceiling and think "I have to fall asleep. I really really need to fall asleep right now."

6. Masturbate. Um, for a while.

7. Lay there for 10 minutes wondering why you're not asleep after all that masturbation. Make a mental note to put batteries on your grocery list.

8. Sing. Out loud. To yourself. Christmas carols.

9. Ponder what your friends would say if they knew you were singing Christmas carols to yourself in the middle of the night in July. Make a note to post it on your blog so you can find out.

10. Masturbate. Er, again.

By following these simple steps you should finally fall asleep around 5:00 a.m.

The phone call you gave up on getting from the bartender will come at 5:30 a.m.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I Hate Feet

My feet are going to be the death of me, I swear it. I was awake all night because of them.

Here is the problem: It's hot in Chicago right now. Really hot. Even with the air on in my apartment it's freaking hot in there. Consequently I am hot in there. Especially my feet, which seem to be the temperature control center for my entire body. If my feet are cold the rest of my body is freezing; if my feet are hot my body is on fire. Fix the temperature of my feet and everything else will follow. I do have air conditioning, and also a fan. So when I go to bed, if I could just put my feet by the fan, all would be well, right?

Well probably, but I can't do that you see. In order for me to sleep, my feet have to be covered. Because if my feet are covered, nothing can get me. And I'm not talking about some flimsy bedsheet either, I mean a substantial blanket must completely enclose them or I risk being dragged off by the boogyman. Currently I am being guarded by an old Pokemon comforter that used to belong to my youngest son (before I did his entire room up in Ohio State colors, the way a boy from Ohio's room should be decorated). It is thick and comfy, but above all it is warm. Extremely, unrelentingly warm. So not only am I not able to put my feet by the fan, but I am also having to tuck them away inside a poly/cotton blended furnace.

I tried making a little hole at the bottom for the air from the fan to get in, but the boogyman could penetrate that so easily I might as well not have a blanket at all. I tried covering just my feet and nothing else, but since my whole body is controlled by my feet, that exercise was pointless. I tossed and turned all freaking night, staring at my clock and waiting for daybreak so that I could stick my feet out (the boogyman melts in the sun, you know). Tonight doesn't look too promising either. I hate my feet.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Bookworm

Lest you think that I'm faking this whole "Amber is a geek" thing so I can score with nerds, let me tell you about my weekend. I read the new Harry Potter book. And pretty much that's it.

Well, not entirely. Steve and Chris G. decided they would like to have pork for dinner Saturday, so they roasted a 100 pound pig and invited several hundred of their closest friends over to share. I stopped in for a few hours, but I couldn't fully perform the requisite mingling as my mind kept wandering back to the shiny new book I knew was sitting on my coffee table. The bartender had stopped over as well, but had to be at work by midnight, so I used the fact that he's been borrowing my car to get him to drop me off at home on his way to work (a figure of speech as coming from Steve and Chris' place, my house is not remotely on the way). That way I could get a few chapters in before bedtime (which, because I'm lame, is usually right about the time the parties are getting started anyway). I fell asleep at some point during the train ride to Hogwarts and dreamed of wands, and cauldrons, and bland English food.

I was jolted from my slumber at 5:45 in the morning on Sunday by a text message from the bartender, which was basically a commercial: SOCIAL DISTORTION AT HOB SEPT 25. TICKETS ON SALE NOW! I was briefly annoyed at being awakened at dawn on a Sunday to be told that there will be a concert two months from now. That is until I realized that as long as I was up anyway, I might as well use the time constructively and read me some Harry Potter. Consequently, when Fish arrived around 2:00 I was four chapters from the end while he was only four chapters in. This proved to be disastrous. I will not put any spoilers in here, but by the end of the book I was, quite literally, sobbing. Bad enough for Fish to get up and bring me some Kleenex. I was completely heartbroken. I needed someone to talk to, to commiserate with and pool our collective sorrow, and Fish was only on fucking chapter 10. I snapped at him when he put his book down to try and comfort me. "KEEP READING!" I shrieked. "The longer you try to make me feel better, the longer I have to wait to talk about it!" Of course he left before he finished it, so I had to wait all the way until today to talk about it with someone.

I really don't see how this is a children's book. I mean AT ALL. People die horrible deaths, or get gruesome injuries. There's a whole bunch of reanimated dead bodies running around doing whatever reanimated dead bodies do. People are swearing. People are sucking face like it's an Olympic sport. Don't get me wrong, the book is AWESOME. I just wouldn't give it to my 10 year old any faster than I'd give him a copy of Playboy or front row tickets to a beheading. I was so depressed by the end of it I started reading a book of Dilbert comics to cheer me up. Then I got all depressed again when I realized I would have to wait years, YEARS to find out how it all ends. That is just completely not fair. Oh Madam Rowling, you torment me so.

Friday, July 15, 2005

That's What It's All About

Do you know any of those people who think the entire world revolves around them? You know the type: Constantly steer the conversation to themselves no matter what it was originally about, overdeveloped sense of entitlement, little if any consideration for the feelings of others, excuses for every untoward thing that they do, obsession with their own appearance, bound and determined to be offended and hurt by remarks not directed at them? For example, you say something like, "I'm enjoying being in a committed relationship." and they respond with "Oh, what, so I'm a big fucking whore? You're calling me a whore? Where do you get off saying something like that to me?" Or maybe they run a traffic light and hit someone else's car, and then insist that it isn't their fault at all because they were being rushed to get somewhere, and in fact, the driver they hit should be at fault for making them more late? They're the ones who frequently leave you thinking "Where the hell did THAT come from?" or potentially "What a fucking asshat." Do you know any people like that? Or worse, are you, maybe, one of them?

If so, then let me let you in on a little secret: It's not about you. Really, it's not. I know it seems like everyone is trying to hurt you, or that the length of your hair is important enough to effect the tides, but none of that has anything to do with you. At all. Trust me on this one; I know.

Because it's about me.

Seriously, look at the evidence! The spiders? They're all after me. They seek out not only the location of my bedroom, but then position themselves directly above my bed to maximize their ability to jump on me. They've even taken to attacking my friend Heather in an attempt to torture her into betraying me. Also, baseball: directly related to me. I lived in Cleveland and rooted for the Indians and they sucked. But I move to Chicago and start rooting for the Cubs, and suddenly the Indians are pretty darn good, but now the Cubs suck. Sorry Cubbies fans, that was me. And the nastygrams I get from people if I don't update my blog for a week? I'm obviously the primary entertainment in the lives of millions, checking back day after day in the hopes of learning more about me. Just the other day the entire city of Chicago turned around to check out my ass. The bar around the corner from me keeps my favorite Cleveland microbrew ON TAP. Why? Clearly, it is for me. The crew at my local D'Agostino's knows me by name, I just have to tell them my phone number and they know it's me*. My cat cries if I don't pay enough attention to her (though strangely enough that only happens in the kitchen). My favorite color is green, and the leaves on the tree outside my front window are green. Coincidence? I think not.

See? It's so clear. It's not about you, people. It's about me.

*Actually, Fish has to give them my number. I'm scared talk to the pizza man on my own.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Funniest Geek You Know

Excerpted from an IM conversation I was having with Thugglife yesterday:

Amberance: The stupid thing is that I warned him this is what would happen, and then I turned around and did it anyway. Everything is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen.

Thugglife: Dork.

Amberance: Who is the bigger dork, the dork, or the dork who gets it?

I crack myself up sometimes.

(It's a Star Wars reference for those of you who don't get it. (Mary))

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Shopping Misadventures

I'm not good at shopping. Like, really not good at it. It involves a whole host of things that I'd rather avoid: going out in public, talking to strangers and more recently, finding parking. None of these are my forte, which is why I try to shop online as much as possible. Nevertheless, I found myself out shopping yesterday, being that it's Fishy's birthday tomorrow and I was pressed for time.

I did start out online, though. I started out online some time ago when I was reading Dear Abby and she mentioned this cat book, about the history of cats. Fish loves cats, and also Mary loves cats, the bartender loves cats, Kelly and Simone both love cats, and so on. So being the quick thinker I am, I carefully write down the title and author of said book, figuring that I'd hit up a book store and buy half a dozen or so of them and hand them out to the cat people as opportunities arose (also one for me!). I wrote it on a post-it, stuck the post it to a receipt and stuck the receipt back in my purse. And went about my life.

So now weeks have gone by, it's too late to get the damn thing from Amazon and I need to find a bookstore. My awesome brother, practically a north side native now, informs me that I can find a great big Borders at Clark and Diversey and not only that, the mall across the street has a garage I can park in. Which of course, since I'm not paying attention I pass the first time and have to go around the block and start over. But hey, at least I found the place. So I hide my backpack under the seat, grab my purse and head for Borders.

I find the animals section and reach into my purse to get the receipt with the sticky note on it. Surprise! It's not in there. And since I wrote it down, I didn't bother to memorize the title, let alone the author. As I'm making a mental note to flog my smug self, I hear a voice behind me say "Can I help you?"

OK, let me just say something right here. I do not like talking to people who are strangers. Most especially I don't like talking to people who I perceive as having greater knowledge about the subject at hand than I do. For example, I am terrified of asking for drinks in a bar, because the bartender knows more about making drinks than I do. Even with my bartender friend I am afraid (blessedly he pretty much knows what I like and rarely asks me anymore). The most feared groups for me are bartenders, librarians, and the pizza guy. But just about anyone who is working somewhere when I need something will turn me into a quivering pile of jelly. So whereas a normal person hears "Can I help you?" and is grateful, when I hear it I turn into a stammering nut. The fact that I have no idea what my book is called or who wrote it is not particularly helpful. Not surprisingly, the guy can't find my book based on my half-assed description. I try to explain about the note, that it must have fallen out of my purse, but the guy obviously didn't care and scuttled off to go make fun of me behind the counter with the other people who are smart at finding books and remembering what they're called.

I continued to shop, making it a point to avoid the area where the guy tried to "help" me and eventually find a few things I think Fish would like and buy them. And go back to my car. The parking garage I'm parked at is an unattended lot. To get out you have to go to the little kiosk, put your ticket in and some money, and it will validate your ticket so that the gate will let you out. I put my ticket in the kiosk. $9. I have $5 in my purse. Fuck. I hit cancel and start thinking about where I can find an ATM. But then I see the sign that says I can pay with a credit card. So I put my ticket back in. And now I can't find a slot for my credit card. I tried one slot and realized it was for bills. I hit cancel again. Maybe it's broken? It doesn't look broken. I put my ticket back in. I look around me. No credit card slot that I can see. Hit cancel. Debate whether I want to walk up to the one on the 4th floor and try it there. Decide there has to be something I'm missing. Put my ticket back in. Nothing. Hit cancel.

Finally it dawns on me, what the little pictures are trying to say. That the credit card goes in the same slot as the ticket! Who knew? I smack myself on the forehead. Problem solved, I put my ticket back in the slot. And the machine spits it right back out at me. "Invalid ticket" the machine tells me. What? I try again. Same thing. Apparently, you can only put your ticket in the thing so many times before they decide you are so stupid you should have to pay full price for a lost ticket. Swell.

When I finally got out of the garage I went over to Target because I needed some wrapping paper for Fish's gifts. In the aisle labeled "wrapping paper" I find all kinds of great paper...for weddings, baby showers and graduations. For your average birthday boy there is nothing. NOTHING. The aisle on one side has greeting cards, on the other side candles. This is the only paper they have? I think. What the hell kind of Target is this? I start thinking maybe I can get one of the plain white bags for weddings and color it or something. Which seems ridiculous for anyone over 12, but I am desperate here. I decide to think on it a while I wander over to the toy section to find some goofy Star Wars thing I can give to Fish (which I found: a Darth Vader bobble head pen). Heading back over to the wrapping paper, something brightly colored caught my eye. It was more wrapping paper! Four aisles away from the other wrapping paper aisle. Seriously, whose idea was that to put wrapping paper in two totally different places in the same store? I find some paper appropriate for a mid-20's male and make for the registers.

Walking across the parking lot, I pass a guy who is sitting in his running car with gansta rap blaring loud enough you can hear it 6 blocks away. As I walk by he turns the music off, leans halfway out the window and SCREAMS at me, "Woo! That is a fine ass! I mean, that is a FINE ass! Can I PLEASE get your number?" The entire city of Chicago turned around to look at me. People, I know I am an attention whore, but there are limits. For instance, calling everyone within a 10 mile radius to examine my ass.

I get in Alistair and curse myself for losing my sticky note, being unable to figure out a garage pay booth by myself and not having a stash of wrapping paper already in my house.

From now on I am only shopping on the internet.

Post script: Today on the train to work, I pull the book I am reading out of my backpack, to discover my receipt/post-it combo marking the place where I left off. Fucking A.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Shiv & Lemon

Yesterday I had lunch with His Holy Fishness and spent a good part of the afternoon hanging out with him and Thugglife Chris at their place of employment. And I'm pretty sure I'll never be invited to do that ever again. Also, it is clear to me that, while they think I am the crazy one, the reality is that they just fail to see the incredible brilliance of my idea.

I'm hanging out in the store talking small gamer talk (ok listening. Truthfully I had no fucking idea what they were talking about) and wound up somehow having two items in my hands: A Nerf-like lemon thingy from Jamba Juice and one of those little metal hook-like hanging-thingies you put on the wall and hang shit from when you want to display it (Fish is currently shaking his head at my extremely articulate description of this. But you all knew what I was talking about right?).

And being that I'm hanging out in a video game store, as well as the fact that I'm a jackass, I randomly start slashing at things with my display hook. Which I've now begun to imagine is some type of shiv. After a particularly vicious slice to Thugglife's chest, I remember my "lemon" and say "Oh hey, wouldn't it suck if I had actually cut you? and then squeezed some lemon juice into it with my real lemon? If I had one? Boy that would be totally mean."

That was when it hit me, and what hit me is this: Wouldn't that be an awesome video game? Your character slashes people in battle, pretty bad alone, but then he squeezes some lemon juice in the open wound? I mean, that's just brutal. Did you ever get some lemon juice in a cut? That shit hurts! Why simply cut your enemy when you also pour citric acid in the wound? Man , I am so brilliant.

I run this great discovery by Fish and Thugglife. Their identical reaction being to stare fixedly at me and blink. But no matter, I'm on a roll now.

The patented move in the game is this spin move, see. You spin around so that you lead with your slasher hand, cutting your enemy, and then the spin carries you through for the follow through with the lemon squeeze. I twirled around the store in demonstration* of the beauty of this move. "and I even know what I'm going to call it," I announced. "It's great. I'm going to call it Shiv & Lemon."

"That is never going to sell," announced Fish in his Retail Voice of Authority. "Never. You're better off with your original idea." The original idea he was referring to was my first attempt at video game concept generation, a game I tentatively titled "Kill Things and Take Pictures". The inspiration of this was my horror at a story Fish told me. Apparently, back when he was the Ubernerd, he once was playing Everquest and killed the same frog over and over again for 12 and a half hours. That's real time folks. His motivation? It had a pretty earring, and Fish wanted his character to have the pretty earring, and to get it he had to sit there for over 12 hours repeatedly killing a frog. And, living in reality (or rather next door) as I do, I found that to be...a tad excessive. As in, when I want an earring I got to the store and buy one. I don't massacre tiny reptiles just so I can look pretty. But apparently, in Everquest, that is what you do. And it seemed, I don't know, fruity? that boys were bludgeoning things to death for charms and body glitter. So I was trying to think up another reward system for all that brutality. And what I came up with is, every character has a little camera, and when you maul something to death, you get to take a picture. Then you can show it off online to all your other reality challenged fantasy gaming friends and prove what a manly stud you are. At the time Fish insisted that that was the dumbest gaming idea ever, but now he had cast his previous disdain onto Shiv & Lemon.

"No," I insisted, "You don't understand. It will have a cult following. It will be bought by people like me just because they think the title is funny. I mean, c'mon, Shiv & Lemon! And what will happen then is, they will like the game so much, they will tell others, and they will like it, and tell more people, and suddenly it will be flying off the shelves. You won't be able to keep them in stock. AND THEN, after Shiv & Lemon is such a big hit, then I will release Kill Things and Take Pictures. I'll get James Earl Jones to voice the commercials. Like this (in my best girl-trying-to-sound-like James-Earl-Jones-voice), 'From the makers of Shiv & Lemon (long dramatic pause) comes Kill Things (shorter, but equally dramatic pause) and Take Pictures'. Oh, this is so going to rock."

"No, it's really not. No one is going to buy that, I'm telling you. No one." Fish, obviously just jealous that I thought of it first, continued to try raining on my parade, with Thugglife Chris standing behind him nodding in hardcore agreement.

They refused to understand, and also refused to let me go get a second opinion at Best Buy. I refused to shut up about it, and also refused to stop running around the store like an ADHD toddler.

Shiv & Lemon people. I am telling you. It's genius.

*Yes there were customers in the store. Yes, I asked them if they thought Shiv & Lemon was the greatest idea ever. Yes, they left quickly without buying anything.

Back With A Vengeance

Let me preface this post by saying that my boss is really a lovely person. He is very sweet and very thoughtful, kind, mostly cheerful, loves his partner and absolutely adores his dogs. He asks after my kitty, brings me chocolate for no reason and remembers to call his mother.

On the other side of that particular fence, you have the fact that the guy is a complete spastic. Everything in the world is a major crisis. He flits around the office in a panic all day long, frets over tiny details, hems and haws, gets underfoot, and makes a general nuisance of himself.

He was just out of town for three weeks, two of which he was out of the country, and moreover off the continent. Today is his first day back in the office.

I am going to kill him.

I don't mean that I am going to just hurt him. I mean that I am going to push him right out yonder 28th floor window, with nary so much as an umbrella to break his fall. I had gotten so used to being able to get things done, uninterrupted, being able to concentrate, and it is gone. So, so gone.

So far today he has:

-Forwarded me 27 e-mails that he received while he was out, with a note attached to each: "Did you get this?" ...right above the original header containing my e-mail address.
-Brought an old copy of Baron's to my desk to look up something wasn't even in it in the first place, and left it here.
-Spent over 2 hours trying to figure out the answer to a question I answered for a client three weeks ago. Despite my telling him it had been handled, he resolved the problem, got the same answer I did, and copied me on the e-mail he sent to the client.
-Actually asked me if I was positive that EuroPacific Growth was an American Fund (apologies to those of you who don't work in this industry. Let me assure you, my readers who do are currently smacking their foreheads incredulously.)
- Came back to see if perchance he'd left the Baron's over here, looked in it for 10 minutes, and left it here again.
-Came to ask me if a client's June 30th statement came to me in the mail last Friday, that day being mere hours after the markets closed on the month of June (i.e. NO).
-Called because he thought he needed a password to open an e-mail attachment, then actually tried clicking on it after he called me, and found out he didn't need a password after all.
-Called to ask me to e-mail him something so that he could then e-mail the same thing to someone else...and copy me on it.
-Called back after I e-mailed it to him to say nevermind, just tell him where to find it on the network.

I'm going to get some lunch right now before he does one more completely irritating thing.