Archive for April 2007

April 30th, 2007

The Bell Car

As those of you who have had the pleasure of doing some riding with me know, I rarely use my car horn.

There are many good reasons for this, not the least of which being that, for their ’88 Nova, Chevrolet engineered a horn that emits a comical little “meep” not unlike that of the Warner Brothers’ Roadrunner…only less threatening. This would actually be fine for “alerting other drivers to possible hazards,” which I seem to recall learning the purpose of the horn was, and which, let’s face it, no one has in mind when they are using it. No, a beep is criticism. Or even an insult (“Learn to drive, jackass!”). If you’re the beepee, it’s hard not to take it this way. (“Alright! Alright! I’m moving! Happy…? Jackass.”) This no place for the voicings of a lovable cartoon character/internet service provider mascot.

Truthfully though, even if I had one of those menacing, twelve-notes-at-
once semi-truck arrangements that you have to activate by pulling a cord, I wouldn’t use it. (Except, of course, when kids rode by and gave me the classic “pull the horn” signal, which I’m pretty sure kids do not give anymore, seeing as how they each have their own personal in-car DVD player/MP3 player/gaming stations to keep them amused.) I am a chronically non-aggressive, non-confrontational person, and somehow — for in my experience this is more of an exception than a rule — these characteristics actually remain intact when I get behind the wheel.

This is how I ended up sitting directly behind a guy at a stoplight last week for probably half-a-minute after it had turned green. (I couldn’t actually see, but we can assume he was on his cell phone.) It was amazing. I waited patiently as time rolled by, confident he’d wake up any second. We idled there, with the permission to proceed right in front of us. Eventually, I grew sure one of the many people lined up behind me had noticed the green by now, and that one of them would feel obliged to offer the helpful suggestion to this dude that he f-ing go. Surprisingly none of them did. Probably they were looking to me to handle the situation — as second in line, it did kind of seem like my responsibility. I placed my thumb on the horn, but just before I depressed it, Kevin-Spacey snapped out of it and we were off.

While this incident was slightly frustrating, I was never mad at the guy. Everyone has a lot on their mind these days. I zone out all the time. (Except, of course, when I’m here with my eager readers. You guys always get my utmost care get my utmost and attention and and utmost attention.) I did, however, want to give him the vehicular equivalent of the “They’re open down there” you give when you’re at the bank and the person ahead of you doesn’t notice when a teller becomes available. The closest we have to this is the “tap,” which, with it’s forceful jabbiness, isn’t that much better than really laying on it.

This is why I have decided that we should all equip our cars with a second, altogether different noise, so we have options. My recommendation? Bells. Something similar to the ringing of an old-fashioned phone.

Sounding your car’s bells would be the new “friendly honk.” It would say “Person-on-the-sidewalk-I-know, look over here,” “So long, relatives whose house we were visiting. It was fun…we’ll miss you…we can’t wait to be home,” “They’re open down there.”

Now you have choices. What does that person who cut you off deserve? You’ve got your bell and your horn. Ring or honk. “Jing” or “’eep.” Helpful motorist who understands we are all in this transportation thing together, or mean-spirited jerk.

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April 16th, 2007

A Few Quick Pittures

After almost three years of blogging, I’m going to start posting photos I’ve taken on the site. I shoot pictures at every occurrence and event I’m present for, major and minor, but it would have been way too involved to feature them regularly on the Flash site. HTML is much friendlier for stuff like this.

Sooo…this past week I went to Pittsburg for work. I only spent about 24 hours there, but here are the four pictures I came out with:

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1. It turns out Pittsburg is, like, a city. With skyscrapers and stuff.

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2. Here we are on a bridge, which, according to our cab driver, Pittsburg has more of than any other city in the world.

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3. Sandwiches there are the size of a grown man’s head. My co-worker Jason snapped this as our waitress plopped the plate down in front of me and said, “Good luck.” I then vowed to myself that I would finish the entire thing…fix her wagon…. I ate about a third of it.

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4. Obligatory out-the-plane-window picture.

The End.

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April 4th, 2007

Mazal tov…ya’ll!

That’s right, today I am truly a man!….

Ok, maybe that’s taking it a little far, given the reality of the event I’m about to purvey…. But today I am truly a bluegrass musician! That’s pretty exciting too.

I have claimed to be a banjo player for years, meticulously mastering “breaks” (in styles both Scruggs and clawhammer) and learning songs with names like “Old Joe Clark” and “Cripple Creek.” But it wasn’t until a few days ago that I, after years of curiosity, got the chance to sample some of the infamous, homemade beverage that is permanently attached to southern folk music.

Yes, I’m talking ’bout “The ’Shine.”

“White Lightnin’.”

“Mountain’ Dew.”

I’m sure you’re just dying to know all about the circumstances and supplier. Yeah, it would be fun if I put those juicy little details online, wouldn’t it?…so I can get sued and fired and into all kinds of unimaginable trouble. You’d like that wouldn’t you? Well my better judgment is telling me to keep all this stuff anonymous. Nice try, internet.

I think I can safely reveal that a) it was given to me in an ordinary drinking-water bottle that had been opened, emptied, refilled with the precious liquid, and then had the lid screwed back on and b) I began consumption after receiving an: “A little goes a long way.” A succinct caveat, but, being the only caveat I think I have ever heard from this person, I knew the stuff was to be used with caution.

Well…. Well, after all this build up, I feel like I owe you some sort of crazy drinking story. And I wish I could give you one, but honestly all I did was take a grand total of three quick swallows from the plastic bottle. Quick, terrible, awful swallows.

I can take a hit or two of normal, store-bought liquor, be it vodka, tequila, or whiskey, right from the bottle, hardly cringing at all, and I can tell you this stuff was on another level. After each swig my tongue and throat felt like I had swallowed a shot of gasoline and a lit match (in that order). I then flooded my palette with Coca-Cola. I ceased any and all consumption less than a minute from when I’d started.

I did have a pleasant buzz for the next several hours, despite only consuming about 3 oz. of liquid, which is kind of cool. So while I may not have an anecdote about how I got stuck in my dorm’s elevator at 2:00 am and the cops had to come get us out and I was totally underage and I had to keep my cool or I would have been arrested, to offer up to you, I do have these widely-applicable words of advice:….

A little goes a long way.

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