Saturday, December 31, 2011

Edwin's Last Straw

If you don't remember Edwin & Eloise, then you should familiarize yourself with their disgusting, voyeuristic habits.  Well, it looked like things were the same this year.  Walking around at night, haunting the denizens of the full Tahoe house over Xmas break.  Business as usual.

They were at least nice enough to keep their waking-hour discretions in the guest room this year.

Not that they are any less demonic, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to finding Eloise's jokes mildly amusing after a 46 oz margarita at the local Mexican restaurant.

She didn't seem to find me half-shabby this year, either.  Probably all of the red wine.  Next thing you know... Bam!  Makin' babies.

Apparently, Edwin walked in while we were in the middle of doing the nasty.  It's hard to hear anything else going on, if you've ever heard me making whoopie.  But I was awakened by Eloise's screams as she pushed off my heavy, muscular arm and excused herself to the bathroom to clean up the mess I made.

Edwin had apparently been disregarding the rumors that Eloise was sleeping around on him.  The scene that he found solidified what he had heard, and it was too much for him to handle.  It's what the evil fucker deserved anyway.

Happy New Year,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Google News Saved Me $58

I compulsively check several things online throughout the day:  Facebook, Google Reader, Blogger, and Google News.  If you've ever seen me on Facebook for what felt like an entire day, making posts every 15 minutes or so, then you have some idea of how often I do this OCD cycle of checking all the things that keep me informed on either 1) the world or 2) my life.  I open a New Tab, check each of those 4 websites, then close the tabs for a minute or two (and pretend I'm doing something else) before repeating the cycle.  Gmail isn't included in this list, because it is open continuously on my computer, and my iPhone lets me know when I get new mail whenever my face isn't attached to a monitor.  So, technically, I always have that.

Until today, this craziness has never given me back anything other than personal satisfaction and typically-useless News knowledge.  Until today.

This morning, in between quick Chats with Annie where she provided me a list of things to finish, I managed to briefly check Google News.  I didn't actually read the article, but my eyes glanced by the headline "Oakland enacts five-minute 'grace-period' on expired parking meters".  It registered so low on my active memory, that I later wouldn't be able to recall where I had seen it without extensive Facebook/Google searches.

So, I go on with my morning, which consisted primarily of wrapping Xmas presents that I was going to mail off today to relatives in MI and FL.  I drove to the post office, bought $1 worth of parking time (which is 30 minutes), and walked inside to take care of my business.  It wasn't the most efficient Post Office trip I've had, but it honestly wasn't that bad on my scale of shitty Post Office trips.  Upon walking outside, a woman was writing me a ticket.  I thanked her, pulled it off of my windshield, and sat in my car reading it.  Then I looked at the parking payment receipt on my dashboard.

My time expired at 12:16 pm.  The parking ticket had been printed for 12:20:44 pm.  I was, indeed, within my 5-minute window, and it made me try to remember exactly what I had briefly read earlier.  Was the grace period being voted on, or was it just an idea?  Luckily, the parking ticket lady had to stop to write a ticket for the car parked in front of me.  (I'd imagine that Post Offices are as easy to write parking tickets for as bars are for drunk drivers.)  Anyway, I walked up to her and politely (though it took me a while to get her attention, since she was in a heavy cell phone conversation) asked her about the grace period.

I said I wasn't sure if it had been enacted yet, and I'd be happy to take it somewhere if that's how the process was supposed to be.  Instead, she took both the ticket and the parking receipt and said she would get it voided when she got back.  She also notified me that they were told to leave the ticket unless the person explicitly referenced the new 'grace-period' policy.  So, for once, it actually paid to be informed.  Thank you, Google News!

Off to spend at least $58 on fixing my car,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Job Interviews

It's my second-to-last day at work, so I'm spending most of my time updating LinkedIn, my resume, and searching for employment in Lexington.  It's really made me think of how awful the interview process is.  If an employer really wants to start to understand me, they should start by not giving me stock questions off the internet.
Interviewer:  Think of one time where you worked in a group and part of the group didn't agree with one of your decisions...
Why shouldn't you?  Because you're asking me to lie to you.
RoB:  In one of my engineering classes, there was an elderly woman who had some mobility problems and clearly wasn't an ideal candidate to be the last member of the group we had just formed.  But against their disagreeing, I asked her to join our group.  I knew her life experiences would pay off in dealing with whatever difficulties getting her might had formed in our group.  Not only was our final project one of the best our professor had ever seen, but it was submitted to a national competition, and we took First Place.
And unicorn farts mixed with fairy dust turned that Google Search of 'common interview questions' into a win.
Interviewer:  How would you deal with a member that's not pulling their fair share of the work?
Honestly, I'd probably just do their work.  Or, I'd split it up between the rest of the group.  Life's too short for me to clearly detail how much of a worthless piece of shit you are, so I'll do what you were supposed to do, and probably better, and we'll move on.  I'll even give you credit for doing your share.  If you can live with yourself, then that's your moral dilemma.  However, any promotions or awards for productivity should immediately be forfeited to me.  Thanks.  Otherwise I may have to light your cat on fire.  You can be worthless behind the scenes, but if you wanna go toe-to-toe in front of everyone, then let's do this shit.
RoB:  First of all, from what I've read about this company, teamwork is ingrained into the corporate structure, so I find it hard to believe that I would ever be faced with this circumstance.  However, for the sake of the possibility, I believe clearly stated objectives and timelines help to move groups along in situations like this.  Rarely does someone not want to pull their fair share.  I believe it's always a result of miscommunication.  Have a meeting every morning with that day's objectives and overall timeline for the project, and if anyone's falling behind, it can be addressed early, before more drastic measures have to be taken.  It gives everyone equal responsibility and a calm pressure on their shoulders from everyone else relying upon them.

Thanks, Kristen, for sending me this last year around this same time.

This has no direct relevance to anything that's happened to me recently.  I just thought of it in the shower the other day, and it immediately irked me.  Make me prove to you that I'm a worthy addition to your company.  Don't waste both of our times with stupid questions where I'm perfectly capable of making up more-than-adequate answers on the spot.  I think quick, I'm smart, and I'm witty.  You have no chance.

I imagine that I'll have some sort of interview in the upcoming months.  Maybe I should just be honest.  If nothing else, it'd be a good story.

Happy Job Hunting,

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #12

I'm a diva.  We all know that.  Let's top off these 12 Days of Xmas Videos with my soul sister, Whitney.  That voice is gone forever, but at least I have all of her records to cherish what was once the greatest singer ever.  Bow down to my Gospel Jaw Goddess.  And whatever holidays (or lack thereof) you're celebrating this season, enjoy them!

That's right.  No studio altering/fixing.  No auto-tuning.  Just amazing.

But seriously kids, crack is whack.

Happy Holidays,

Bonus Track!  This was a specific request earlier in the 12 Days, and I figured I might as well please the masses.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #11

With just one day left, my spirit of inclusiveness is shining like the north star.  12 Days of Xmas primarily centers around treats for your ears, where the videos only supplement the wonderfulness.  Here's one where the video can replace the song, for those of our friends with hearing impairments or that can just understand ASL.

Who am I kidding?  I liked the song, sent to me by one of my 12 Days participants, and this was the best video version I could find.  Does anybody else think that this guy looks like John Krasinski until he starts talking?  Then he looks like Aaron Tveit.

Happy Holidays,

Saturday, December 10, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #10

Back to the fun ones.  My family is totally redneck, and I'm surprised I wasn't taught this song as a child.  My family isn't really the 'rebel yell' and confederate flag kind of redneck.  More like barefoot and mayonnaise sandwiches.  I guess they might call that white trash... (pink necks?)

Happy Holidays,

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #9

This music video sucks.  Sorry, Bianca.  It does.  But I still love this song.

Happy Holidays,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #8

Eight is popular.  Not only is it Annie's favorite number (emblazoned on her custom Michigan jersey, as well as her old soccer jerseys), but it happens to be the number of days in the Festival of Lights.  So, I'd like to take this opportunity to give an Xmas shoutout to my Hebrew readers.  Enjoy this Hot Box remake of a classic Xmas song.

This is the music video quality that makes people like Rebecca Black famous.  I'm surprised we don't already know the names of the ladies in this video.  Maybe because it's just half-assed enough to entertain us without taking itself too seriously.  I just imagine that this was a karaoke session that someone posted to Youtube from their iPhone.  (The original iPhone, circa December 2007.)


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #7

I've lost more Weird Al CDs than you've probably ever owned.  And though you probably know this song already, it is made oh so much better by the animation.

Happy Holidays,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #6

This appears old, or something.  I actually have no clue who Benny Bell is.  However, considering the overwhelming popularity of the dirtiest Xmas video I've posted so far, it looks like I'm going to be scouring the interwebz for more of the same.  Unfortunately, there isn't great animation to accompany this song.  You'll just have to appreciate the lyrics.

I'm blown away by how much this song has been stuck in my head since finding it.  Don't underestimate it's power, even though it looks like it should be on the Lawrence Welk Show.

Happy Holidays,

Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #5

Originally, the plan was to include this song in my 12 Days of Xmas Music 2011 list, but my version comes from a CD that skips and therefore has 3 or 4 awful, scratchy moments.  I found this video with surprisingly good sound quality.  So, enjoy the harmonies.  (♫ Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays ♫ is still their best holiday song.)

I'm a child of the 90s.  So, I took sides, and I was a bigger fan of the Backstreet Boys.  But if we're being honest, I was really in it for the Spice Girls.  They were to me (well, one of them) what these boys were to leagues of little girls.

Happy Holidays,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #4

I'm even able to come across (actually, be given) an Xmas video so fitting to the main themes of this blog.  The first time you play it, you should close your eyes and let the innuendos build images in your mind on their own.  Then open your eyes and watch some vivid claymation to supplement all of the dirty jokes you just giggled at.

Never, ever, has Santa ever brought me sexy lingerie.  I don't think he likes me.  Plus, I don't even know where the video was trying to go with the ♪ stuffing stockings all night long ♪.  It's not even trying to be an innuendo...

Happy Holidays,

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #3

One of my favorite Xmas songs ever is the tenor-licious The Broadway Boys' version of ♫ Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ♫.  It was a classic song that I always disliked because it was boring, and they really rock'd and diva'd it out for me in their version.  This song was included in the 12 Days of Xmas Music on December 5th, 2009 (Day #5 of its inaugural year).  (If you have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about because you weren't included in that very small email list in 2009, then you can see the video [with un-spectacular sound quality] here.)

Anyway, Jesse Nager (the genius behind the Bway Boys) is one of the few Youtube channels I follow.  Thoroughly scouring the interwebz for more tenor-diva madness led me to this gem of a video.  Danny Calvert (singer on the right) was always my fave, but they went and snagged Marty Thomas for an epic diva-off of the hands-down best holiday song written and released in the past 2 decades.  Enjoy Mariah Carey's modern-day classic!

Word on the street is that these 2 fight over the chance to wear those sparkly blazers out on the town, since they refuse to be caught with both of them wearing them outside of performances.  Danny apparently is winning that battle, and Marty apparently really wanted Danny's lips to sparkle for this performance.

Happy Holidays,

P.S.  If more than half of this post made no sense to you, don't worry.  This goes out to my fellow Broadway geeks out there!

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #2

Pentatonix won The Sing Off, but weeks before that I did some hardcore, online stalking of the members.  The best thing I found was Kevin O's (the beat boxer's) Youtube feed, where he has a bunch of really modern and interesting cello and beatboxing videos.  He even included a holiday video,  just for me!

One interesting thing to note is that Kevin is very religious, and it was due to him that Pentatonix sang "Oh my Gosh" to the lyrics of Usher's ♫ O.M.G. ♫ as well as dropping the 'booty' line from their version altogether.  Morals on reality TV?  No way!  (Ok, maybe for the stuffy group of Mormons from BYU...)

Happy Holidays,

12 Days of Xmas Videos - Day #1

This is my third annual installation of 12 Days of Xmas Music, which is a daily email that I send out for the first 12 days of December.  The email includes a new/original/updated/interesting Xmas song to help freshen up the holiday playlists of my close friends.

Since I'm in such a festive mood, I thought that I would make a similar segment for all of my loyal blog followers.  I suspect most of you actually get my 12 Days of Xmas Music emails, but a double dose of holiday cheer isn't going to hurt anyone!

If you're reading this, and you're not on the email list for the '12 Days...', then I'm sorry to inform you that I don't like you.  j/k, I probably just forgot about you (not that forgetting is any better).  Or you're an ex-girlfriend that I continue to Facebook stalk but haven't quite prepared myself for regular conversation.  If you are really interested, and you have my email, hit me up, and I'll be happy to include you.  There were definitely some people on Facebook that didn't have their emails listed, so I skipped 'em.

Anyway without further ado, enjoy the animated music video that goes along with the song that I sent out today!

Happy Holidays,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2 Wins & A Fail*

Since disappearing for (almost) the entire month of November for NaNoWriMo, tons of things have happened.    I'll have to use a few blog posts to explore all of them, but the biggest is that Annie and I are leaving downtown Oakland, CA, and moving to the not-so-bustling college town of Lexington, KY.  Annie's job is transferring her there for a temporary assignment, and aside from Zumba, I've got nothing that I'm attached to in CA.  In fact, I'm super excited to not live in CA.  Yes, that means that I have to return to the ranks of unemployed until I find something there (but at least it's dramatically cheaper to live, and Annie will be making more $$).  This brings me to the wins and fails.

Win:  I found a job that I can do from home that pays better than my work at the wind power plant.  (Thanks, Jill!)  It involves editing online homework/tutorials for engineering textbooks.  Currently, I'm working my way through Alexander's unreleased 5th edition of Fundamentals of Electric Circuits.  I'm pretty much being paid to do engineering homework, and it couldn't be a more perfect job for me.  It will also allow me to bring in a little bit of income during the transition so that I'm not 100% relying on my sugar momma.

Fail:  For the first 10 days of November, I was on track with NaNoWriMo.  I wrote over 20,000 words, covering 40% of the competition's goal.  At one point I told Annie that "it's writing itself".  It had direction, and I was piecing together a fictional story that was feeling very new and interesting.  It wasn't perfect, since it was practically a continuous word dump, but I was enjoying it, and I was going to win.  Then, I found the job above where I could make money from home.  I had to start a few days a week, immediately, and my novel took a back seat.  Here we are at the end of November, and I haven't written a single thing after the first 12 days or so.

Win:  Pentatonix won The Sing Off last night, and they deserved it!  Unrelated to me, yes, but relevant.

Pentatonix: 5-member a capella group from Arlington, TX.
At the beginning of the season, I posted how Delilah blew my mind.  That was the last time that they impressed me.  *Lied, ♪ Dream On ♪ was bomb ass.*  I'm still madly in love with Amy, the girl who sang the lead in ♫ Grenade ♫, *and I just found out she's Mormon*.  In the background of the first few weeks, Pentatonix continued to impress more and more.  At a disadvantage compared to groups with tons of people for big harmonies, their futuristic a capella sound was original and consistent each week.  I found myself watching their youtube videos over and over again.  Here are some of my faves:

I was posting individual videos when I came across that one with most of their best performances.  ♫ Video Killed the Radio Star ♫ was their best performance of the season.  I find myself randomly singing the chorus of ♫ Love Lockdown ♫ now.  Best Youtube comment:  "I heard Kanye covered this song."

Most true Youtube comment:  "That's one bad white boy..."

This is only on the list for the ♫ Motownphilly ♫ riff.

Just like The Voice, it's really refreshing for the best talent to actually win.  Thank you for ruining that concept for half of a decade, American Idol & the Bible Belt.  Granted, The Sing Off episodes are an hour too long, but I didn't listen to a single intro or any of the judges comments, so I got all of the episodes down to about 20 minutes.

I'll be doing a 12 Days of Xmas Music Videos, so start tuning back into the blog every day starting December 1st,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homemade-ish Shrek Costume

Halloween planning started almost a year ago when Annie saw the musical production of Shrek.  She called me on the phone, after seeing people running around in souvenir Shrek ears, to tell me that it would be a great costume.  I already look like an ogre, and she thinks she's a princess.  Perfect.

But this wasn't our first spectacular costume idea, so I was surprised when I started going through the motions to pull it off a few weeks ago.  It started at the Goodwill in the Tenderloin of San Francisco.  I needed a Shrek shirt.  So, I took these pictures and sent them to Annie for approval.

I picked the shirt on the left, and it cost me $2.50.  I also picked up the sweater below, that I intended to turn into a vest, for $7.50.

Angel is helping.
I chopped off (but saved) the sleeves and the bottom.  Though not pictured, I cut a line up the middle of the front, and I cut a strip from each side to tie together.

Then I went and got a $4 bald head.  Annie's Fiona wig ($18) was the only official thing that we bought, and it's pictured below.  Since she was going as human princess Fiona (even though I thought she was going as ogre Fiona for months until she told me that she didn't have the bust size to pull her off), she didn't need the ogre ears.  We pulled them off, and I cut the bald head so that they slipped through and held themselves in place against my head.

(I'm probably naked.  That's how I roll.)

Add to the whole ensemble a pair of brown, woman's tights that I bought from Wal*Mart for $6 and a brown belt that Annie uses to tie her sweater dress.  BAM!  Shrek!!

Like I said, we bought the Fiona wig.  Annie found a hideous nightgown at Goodwill in Oakland.  You can see what it looked like initially, and how she was taping off a pattern for the Christmas ribbon.  She snagged the tiara from the dollar bin at Target.

Annie used gold Christmas ribbon for her waist and neckline.  Then she used a glitter pen to make the sleeve piping and the flowery details.  We bought a dog's cowboy hat for Angel, and we removed the red strap and used it to line the hat.  We glued some yellow feathers to the hat, and added some black felt above his trail-climbing booties.  Finally, I took my leftover sleeves from cutting the vest, put them on my legs, rolled them down, and draped them over my Merrills to make ogre boots.  I did have to sew a little, to reinforce the vest under my arms, but since we didn't make the clothes, I feel bad saying it's entirely homemade.  Oh well.  The final product:

Shrek and Fiona and Puss in Boots wishing you Happy Halloween 2011.
There was one great moment where Annie was working on the neckline of her dress, but she had already done the waist.  She needed something (or someone) to wear the dress while she was pinning and Fabri-Tac-ing, etc.  She made me put it on.  Worse yet, the waist part couldn't go past my shoulders, so the whole outfit was scrunched around my neck, with shitty nightgown fabric draped down over my body.  Nowhere to put my arms, unless I reached them out from under the dress.  It was probably the best sight of the whole process.  We spared you the picture.

Making a Shrek costume (including $2 green Wal*Mart makeup):  $22.  Buying the official Shrek costume at a Halloween store:  $42.  Plus, if you actually pull off a good homemade costume, you feel super cool.

Up until the afternoon of the Saturday before Halloween (since it's on a Monday this year), our plans were to just go wander around San Francisco.  We're not really the type of people to pay a cover to go hang out with sexy nuns and schoolgirls where a DJ is playing.  We wanted something laid back.  At like 5pm we discovered online that there was a dive bar in north Oakland that went all out for Halloween.  It was described as looking "like a Spirit Halloween Store threw up everywhere".  We decided we could do that (and we could walk to it from our closest friends' apartment, whom we convinced to pull costumes together and join us).  It ended up being really fun, fairly inexpensive, very drunken, and everything we wanted out of Halloween.

Go Us!

Happy (belated) Halloween!

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Where's the Schnapps?"

One reason that our recent Michigan trip was so long was because I was a groomsman in a wedding for 2 of my closest high school friends.  They started dating sporadically the summer after high school (I like to think I had a big part in them getting together), and now they're married!!  It was a fun wedding to return home for, and I thought I'd detail some of the more interesting points of the whole proceedings.

Angela Gerber Photography

It started 2 nights before the wedding, when I went with the groom and his family to pick up our tuxes.  At one point, the fine chap whose store we were renting tuxes from offered us beers while we were trying on the rentals.  The groom and I laughed it off, yelling outside that people should drink up.  It tuns out that the guy was politely standing outside of the dressing rooms speaking only to us, and nobody heard him offer beers.  So, we kind of unknowingly ignored him, which is way awkward retrospectively.  The groom's father also made some comment about how gay the guy was.  Well, at some point, guy had his hands all up in my slacks trying to fix the fitting, so that image entertained dad very much.

The next night was the rehearsal.  I'm pretty sure it's the smallest, country-est church Annie has ever seen, let alone been in.  The quote of that night was "the organist couldn't be here because he's pulling wheat."  Classic farmtown convo.  The Best Man is the groom's much younger brother, who was hidden from us for most of his childhood.  He really likes me, as the person that made it out of Monroe and all the way to L.A. He said he was freaking out about his speech, so I told him to send it to me, and I'd give him some feedback.

And the day of the wedding started quite usually.  We all met at the bride's grandfather's, since we'd be driving around in his classic cars to get to the ceremony and pictures.  It was in his driveway that a mosquito was caught sucking on my new tattoo.  It was also the first time that I got to go through their shed of classic/antique (mostly Nash) automobiles.  It was pretty cool.  Oh, and one of my best friends who missed the rehearsal and all of the plans due to another wedding showed up already in his tux.  We'll call him G-raffe.  The rest of us had our tuxes at the church, and we were planning on going out to breakfast in comfortable clothes.

So, we all sat at Bob Evans and had breakfast, alongside one of us in a full tux.

On the way to the church, we realized G-raffe had brought a flask, but didn't fill it yet.  So, in a line of classic cars, we had to try and figure a way to get to a liquor store without the rest of the procession following us.  We managed to pull off with only one person following (bride's father, whom we told that G-raffe had to pee really bad), but the place only sold wine and beer.  Not acceptable.  So, instead, we drove to the church, dropped off dad, accidentally missed the driveway, and drove to another nearby party store to fill the flask with rum.  We claimed we were just showing off the car.

Skip ahead 2 hours.  We're all tuxed up.  All of us, this time.  The groom's mother walks in with smelling salts.  She's really worried that the Best Man is going to drop in the middle of the ceremony.  So I stuck one in my inside pocket, in hopes of saving the day if Best Man goes down.  Then we're off taking a ton of photos, like this:

We finished and headed off in a shaded area with picnic tables, behind a big wall blocking us from the parking lot and church.  G-raffe pulls out the flask, swigs, passes it to me, I swig, and then nobody else would even touch it (don't even get me started on the utter lameness of half of these guys).  That was until the groom's dad came rolling around the corner.  "Where's the Schnapps?"  I'm pretty sure he didn't know that we were flasked up, but it was a classic line, well-deserving of some rum.  The bride's dad may or may not have partaken, also.  The groom's dad went on to tell us about how he got pulled over on the way there this morning.  The cop ended up following him all the way to the church to confirm that he wasn't lying, but it's really no surprise.  The groom is always late, and has a plethora of speeding tickets, so I could see it being a little genetic.

The wedding was great, but really hot up in that full tux.  It was so ridiculously hot in Monroe for the first weekend of October, and I was dripping mid-ceremony.  At the end, I poked G-raffe and asked him if I had white stuff around my lips.  It always happens when I get really dehydrated.  He just looked at my lips with 'what the fuck?' face, which meant I did, so I had to vigorously wipe them on my sleeve before walking down the aisle.  I also spent the first 2 minutes of the ceremony trying not to giggle.  Something about uber serious situations does that to me.  I picture the maid of honor letting off a little toot, or the flower girl falling over, and then it's 5 minutes of me trying to keep my shit together.  I also may or may not have grabbed G-raffe's ass a few times.  And 'swiped a credit card'.  ;)

Throughout the pictures afterward, we had to keep returning to my rental car to 'check on the baby'.  I had stolen a cooler from the ringbearer (they stuffed it with is lunch) and had filled it with pre-mixed Jack 'n Cokes.  We shoved G-raffe and the bride's cousin, we'll call her Lately, in the rental, and Annie drove our slowly-getting-intoxicated asses back to the bride's grandfolk's and then on to the reception.  Not before I peed in an ancient outhouse at the grandparent's.  (They have plumbing, but it's there as a shout out to old times.)

We showed up to the wedding in fine shape.  And here's where things got interesting.  Open bar?  Yes please.  We continued to drink.  At no point was I really drunk, or anywhere near black-out like I had been at the last wedding I was in.  (Sorry, B&G!)  The Best Man won the speech battle.  I really thought the maid of honor was going to pull out all the stops (since she's super smart and competitive), but with the help of my speech, he kicked her ass.  #winning

At some point, somebody handed G-raffe a microphone and asked him to say a few words.  He kind of freaked out, thinking it was to the whole audience.  So, he called over Lately and I.  What a trio we were.  I'm pretty sure I detailed some things on that video that should have never been spoken aloud.  (Sorry, B&T!)  Then, on the spot, Nate and I made up a song and sang it, straight outta 'Whose Line is it...'.  I can't wait to see that.  It's gotta be epic.

Then Lately went on to steal the blog-worthy show.  At one point she was retelling an incident between her and an aunt of hers, who asked about G-raffe.  Her response was, "Yeah, I blew him like 10 years ago, but there's nothing there now."  She didn't know, but the bride's mother was standing behind her.  And Lately is far from quiet.  The bride's mother escorted Lately out to the hallway for a little 'picture'.  Lately had another great moment later where she was detailing how the flower girl was all hyped up on sugar and going crazy while we were trying to eat... or something.  The flower girl's mom was within earshot, and dragged the flower girl over to Lately to apologize.  Which was all kinds of awkward.  Lately begged the flower girl's mom (by the way, the bride's new sister-in-law) not to force her daughter to apologize.  That it really was no big deal.  The mom skulked off, but she sat at the main table with pissed off face for a while.  Nice job, Lately.

G-raffe & Lately may or may not be shown here, in the bottom left.  I'm the top right.

Other notable moments from the night were my dancing.  This blog set me up for really high expectations on the dance floor.  I feel like I fulfilled them.  There was one moment where I was in the center of a big circle gettin' jiggy wit it.  And killing it, if I do say so myself.  But when I danced my way to the edge of the circle, in came a green man.  Straight out of 'It's Always Sunny...', totally stealing my thunder.  It was entertaining, but scorned I remain.  There was also a fun moment in the photo booth with G-raffe where I was pantsless in a half-assed attempt at reenacting the creepy, tucked, mirror scene from Silence of the Lambs.

I guess there is one other quote that's worth mentioning.  An old female rival (both voted Smartest in 8th grade), whom we'll call Moo Mist, made this comment about the Best Man, who as I've mentioned we were hidden from for so many years.  "I mean, him and the groom look nothing like each other.  I'd fuck Best Man.  I mean, not that the groom is ugly..."  Paraphrased, but pretty spot on.

And I think that's about all I'm allowed to publish about it online.  Anyone seen that video yet?

Congrats, again, B&T!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hella Occupy Herbstreit

First of all, I am pretty sure that most of my blog readers are not Californians.  So, I have to explain something. In northern California (the good part... sorry L.A. folks), if you want to emphasize a verb (or adverb), you don't just say "really, really".  Or "uber".  You say "hella".

"I hella love chocolate."

Yes, it sounds ridiculous.  No, I don't actually say it.  However, the FREE 'Hella Occupy Oakland' poster prints that they were distributing last night at Occupy Oakland were pretty awesome.  So I thought I'd give a shout out.

On another note, I've been reading tons of blogs since I started blogging.  The whole subculture of bloggers and blogs is pretty addicting once you find some really good ones and become one yourself.  (Not that I'm a really good one, but I enjoy my blog very much.  Or I wouldn't put so much time into it.)

These two topics are related, in that my current favorite blog (which Annie found) is Occupy Herbstreit.  I hella like it.  It's really just a tumblr site, but I'm pretty sure it counts.  Here are some of the gems from that blog:

Forgive student loans & B1G game performances.
This economy intentionally sucks so it can draft Luck.
Since Annie and I are simultaneously granola eatin' liberals and sports geeks, this was the first Occupy movement that inspired us to participate.  So, we braved the tear gas and police brutality.  We went out to Occupy Oakland to add our voices.
Corso needs the mascot's head of the next Great Depression!!
Oakland picks bad mayors as often as Dr. Lou picks Notre Dame
Annie Occupying Herbstreit
So, that's that.  When we grow up, we can proudly tell our children how we fought the good fight.  We smelled the Occupy movement, and it smelled like cigarettes and homeless people.  I'm not gonna lie, there were a significant number of skinny jeans there, too.

We sent our pics off to the Occupy Herbstreit blog.  Here's to hoping that they're included.  If not, we'll just consider them our first Halloween costumes of the weekend.  *Update: they were included!*

ESPN Gameday is ending as these last words are being written.  Michigan is about to steamroll the Boilermakers.  We were happy to be two more lost Gameday fans Occupying Oakland.  #StandWithOakland

Go Blue!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I hope this isn't just me.  I fear it may be.  I also fear it may help Annie prove that their is something wrong with me.  She claims I have Asberger's.  Or some other ailment that hasn't been diagnosed yet.  She calls one 'super focus'.

I see the number 215 everywhere.  Sometimes it's broken up like $2.15 or 2/15.  But it still follows me around.

2/15 is my birthday.  That's why I started to pay special attention to the numbers as a child.  Tons of things always seemed to be scheduled for that day.  A $1.99 thing at the store would come out to $2.15 with tax.  It'd be the number that my mom drew at the deli counter.  The address of the place we were going would be 2115.  Or 1215.  I'd be customer/receipt #215 at Taco Bell.

Granted, sometimes it's a stretch, but I'm going to start pointing it out to Annie now that she knows what I'm thinking.  We'll see if it's true, or if I'm really just crazy.

Does this happen to everyone?  Is this just a birthday thing?  Or is the number 215 actually everywhere?

Please, please, please tell me that it isn't just me,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oakland Under Fire

Not since Michael Jackson's death (a.k.a. the Craziest Day of My Life) have I heard so many helicopters.  Once again, it sounded like we were under attack.

At 4:30 am this morning, Oakland decided they were going to kick Occupy Oakland out of their downtown encampments.  No big deal to me.  I mean, I like the motion that Occupy Everything is creating (especially Occupy Herbstreit), but I'm not one to live like I'm homeless for a cause.  I don't even like living like I'm homeless for fun (you might call it camping).

Cops using gas on Occupy Oakland

The big thing is that Annie and I live about a mile away from downtown Oakland where all of this is happening. (Since you have to walk around a lake, it's about 1.8 miles away.)  And, as I said before, they used choppers to help their police.  So, yeah, it was loud and annoying at an awful hour this morning.  And it kept going on 'til about 8am.

We kept the news on, to find out when the streets were safe enough to take Annie to work.  You know, since Annie works a block away from where these protesters are standing off with the police.  The roads were closed, and BART closed the nearby station.  We finally took our chances and went in at about 8am, and made it through fine, but I'm interested to hear what happens.

The news is saying that now-awake protesters are starting to return and throw things at the cops.  The professional protesters from Berkeley and San Francisco (donned in ratty 'Save Darfur' and 'Impeach Bush' shirts) have shown up to help make a scene.  And they know what they're doing.  The word has gone out that Occupy Oakland will reconvene at the downtown library at 4pm today.  And that's where things get rough.

2 nights ago.  Tonight should be much more interesting.

Daytime Oakland protests and public gatherings are typically real protesters.  As soon as it starts to get dark, and if there's reasonable resistance to the cops already, the more news-worthy Oaklandites show up to riot for real.  Like, burning streets / looting rioting.  They don't need to be involved or even support the movement; they just want chaos and crime.

And that's what we're looking forward to tonight.  I really want to play volleyball, too, but it's also in the same block that will probably be called Ground Zero tomorrow.  Maybe I'm just pessimistic, or maybe Annie and I can just recognize patterns.

So, yeah, umm... Oakland RIOT!?!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Last Friday, I was driving a friend to the Oakland Airport in the morning.  I got off at Hegenberger (no clue, but I always pronounce it "HEY-zhen-burr-zhey" like it is some classy french word).  The friend that I was driving, who was in the back seat like Miss Daisy, pointed to the Wal*Mart in East Oakland and noted a marching band parading around in the parking lot.  There was a huge group of people congregating outside in front of the entrance.  It made me laugh, and I assured her that I would come back and check things out after I dropped her off.

And I did.  Turns out it was a Grand Re-Opening of this Wal*mart.  There were tons of great cartoon characters in real-life form.  A preacher was praying.  Some city council people were there talking about how Wal*Mart has done all these great things for East Oakland.  (East Oakland is the rough side of Oakland.)  And a marching band.  My life is so random and awesome.

Then, they cut the ribbon, and we all piled inside.  It was really awkward, since 75% of the people there were employees.  20% were official people in business formal.  4% were in costume.  And then there was me.  As the employees walked in, they lined both sides of the aisle, like cheerleaders greeting football players onto the field for homecoming.  I actually needed something from Walmart:  green makeup and brown tights for my Halloween costume, so I thought this would be a ridiculous atmosphere for doing some mundane shopping.

All throughout the store were these characters, and little booths that each one manned giving away freebies.  Dora the Explorer was cutting Grand Re-opening cake.  The Coca Cola polar bear was making root beer floats.  Cowboy Twinkie was continuing to add to the obesity of our children.  So on and so on...

It actually took me back a decade.  If you knew me in high school, you knew that I was a very dedicated Wal*Mart employee.  Back when Wal*Mart actually had a star in between 'Wal' and 'Mart'.

I primarily pushed carts.  I also carried out big items.  And I emptied the full can return machines.  I actually loved it.  It still remains one of my top jobs ever.  It kept me in good shape, I got great sun, and I got to enjoy the continuous circus that is Wal*Mart employees and clientele.  We had a Grand Re-opening when I worked at the Monroe Wal*Mart on Telegraph in Michigan.  (It's since moved across the street and turned into a Supercenter.  So jealous.)  The Grand Re-opening was planned for a day that you probably remember:

September 11th, 2001.

No joke.  We worked for weeks to prepare.  Everyone was staffed almost like it was Black Friday.  Carts were allowed (for the first time ever) to take over some close parking spots as a holding spot for the mad rush of craziness that we were expecting.  And nobody came.

You saw footage of long lines at gas stations where people were freaking and getting gouged.  But, apparently, nobody was that worried about stocking up for impending doom.  Just gas?  Really?  A few people came, but at no point was there more than 1% customers and 99% employees in our huge, sparkling store.  At one point, I think I fell asleep on top of a row of carts out in the parking lot.  It had been a rough day.  They even sent me home early to 'spend time with my family'.

So, aside from NYC, and the twin towers, and terrorism, and one of my best high school friend's 16th birthday, September 11th will always be the Grand Re-opening of the Monroe Walmart.  I'll take that with me forever, too.  Thanks, East Oakland Wal*Mart Grand Re-opening, for reminding me of that.

Once, just once, I had to clean up poop in a bathroom.  It was everywhere.  It was like explosive peas.  It was not awesome,

Friday, October 21, 2011


A few weeks ago, what must be the fattest mosquito in Northern California tormented me throughout the night. I could hear him buzzing around.  And he bit me.  I covered myself up to my chin (fat people can't cover their faces with blankets cuz they'll die of overheating).  Yet, it still wouldn't leave me alone.  I feel like I was up for hours, shaking the blankets near my face so that it would leave me alone.  So, I got up and stomped out of the room to go sleep in the drafty living room.  It woke Annie up, to which she just looked at me.  I responded to her odd look with, "fucking mosquito won't leave me alone!"  And I went and slept on our couch.

The next morning, Annie asked me what happened.  It turns out that my actions didn't seem as put together as I though they were.

I saw:  a frustrated ~RoB making a logical decision to move to a portion of the house where the breeze would keep the torturous mosquito away from me.

Annie saw:  a sleep-drunkened, senseless boy stammering off into the hallway mumbling something about mosquitoes?

She thought I dreamt the whole thing.  The mosquito didn't bother her at all.  They never do.  They're always more interested in the sweet nectar that is my blood.  They annoyed the hell out of me everywhere in Michigan. One even went so far as to suck on my fresh tattoo.  Little fuckers.

These weren't the only notable mosquito mishaps in recent memory.  One actually embarrassed Annie.

We're at the Michigan Men's Soccer game at their fancy, new stadium in south Ann Arbor.  We snuck in with ancient MCards, and we sat adjacent to the student section.  Within a few minutes, Annie's jaw dropped as Stu Douglass and Tim Hardaway, Jr and some other stars from the Michigan Men's Basketball team showed up and sat a section over from us.  We were trying to enjoy the game when a mosquito decided he wanted to play 'tough guy' and start annoying the hell out of me.  So I kept trying to kill it.

I saw:  an annoyed ~RoB slapping at an evil mosquito in an attempt to kill it before he bites me, makes me itchy, and forces me to scratch myself until I'm bleeding.

Annie saw:  a mentally underdeveloped boy celebrating his trip to the soccer match through slow, sporadic applause.

Actually, who knows what Annie saw.  It's possible she understood.  However, she could also see that the MBB team was sitting right beside us.  She grabbed my upper, right arm, looked into my eyes, and in all seriousness said, "Stop.  You look special."  It's very possible that, at that moment, I could have looked really special.  It made me laugh.  Hard.

So, yeah.  Mosquitoes can go to hell.

Apparently, it's bug week here at ~RoB-ing the Line,

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Last week, the How to Do Everything podcast (the one Annie was featured on back in the day alongside Lisa Lampanelli) announced a spider statistic that has been haunting me:  you're never more than 1 meter from a spider.  Or something like that.  1 meter is not very much.  It kind of freaks me out.

Spiders and I have a relationship based on their location in relationship to me:

In a corner or on the ceiling far away from me?  We're cool.
Within hands reach?  Dead.
On me?  Super dead.
Within Annie's peripheral vision?  Probably dead, depending if I'm home or not.

I'm just not a huge fan.  They're either hairy or look spiny.  They have saliva.  They move funny, and they bite.  Some can even kill you, or just cause your tissue to decay.  No biggie.  What scarred me initially?  Arachnophobia, the movie.  I've posted about it before, not sure if it was here or not, probably Facebook.  I've heard I should watch it again to see how ridiculous it is.  I can't bring myself to it, though.  Seriously, seriously psychologically scarred.

I still, more often than not, check around the toilet before I sit down for a little poo time.  Similarly if I'm about to stick my hand inside a lamp shade.
When Google Imaging 'spiders', add the word 'cartoon'.  Trust me.

Now, I'm going to tell you a story about how a spider wrecked my computer room, and almost killed me earlier this week.  I was sitting at my computer, minding my own business.  And by business, I probably mean porn, but maybe not.  I think I had something to do in a few minutes.  I think I have some sort of amnesia.

Anyway, out of nowhere, a very large spider comes out from behind my monitor and starts going straight up in midair on some magic floating device.  Yes, I know they have webs.  Calm down.  Due to the size, the fact that it freaked me out, and it was at hands reach just seconds ago, he fell into the dead category.  I went off to go find a flip flop.

(Side note:  my mom told Annie and I a story about how she killed this giant, hairy spider with a thong.  The mental image was crazy funny.  Her with a G-string, snapping it at this ferocious, hairy beast with pincers.  Turns out that my mom still calls flip flops thongs.)

I walked back into the room with an old flip flop.  By this time, the spider was near the ceiling, over my computer.  The step stool is all the way in the kitchen.  The dining chairs are closer, but still all the way in another room.  So I rolled my computer chair over.  I stood on it, and it didn't feel particularly stable as I was reaching for the spider.  Being the engineer that I am, I got off, shoved it against my computer desk for stability, and climbed back on.  I'm a dancer dammit, I can control my weight on a rolling chair just fine.  Whack!

My first swing was close, but not a direct hit.  The spider started to freak and drop and move its legs around.  I didn't have much time, so I took another swing at him.  Which led to the chair rolling out from under me and smashing against the wall behind me.  I fell down onto the computer desk, bounced off and belly flopped on the hardwood floors.  But not before shoving my hand under my falling (super expensive, HD) monitor.

I laid there, sore, and unsure rather my crushed hand actually saved my monitor or not.  (It did.)  The top of my computer desk was all fucked up, and all I could think was:  the spider's probably still alive and crawling on me somewhere.  I found it alive 2 days later under the top of my computer desk.  I don't think I've ever hit a spider that hard.  There's still a leg sitting there for other spiders to see.

Fucking spiders,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Best Thing Ever

Since I'm manning up and trying to find a reason not to work at the wind farm any more (by either finding another job, or convincing Annie to fully support me, or convincing her to move), I figured I'd do a few segments on the personalities I deal with here.  There are a few people here that make coming to work fun and worth it.  Those people don't need to be discussed in the blog.  They make me happy.  But there are those that make me wanna walk into traffic.  One in particular:  Best Thing Ever guy.

It usually starts like this:  we're sitting around at lunch.  We're discussing some random thing.  Best Thing Ever pulls out a "have you guys ever heard of X?"  None of us, ever, have ever heard of what he comes up with.  "Oh, it's just the best thing ever in regards to X."  Doesn't matter what.  Movies, Coffee, Dystopic Novels, Tequila, Video Games, Models, TV, Life.  He's just so happened to not only have heard of, but also experienced the best thing ever of whatever you're discussing.  Just thought that he'd slip that into the convo.

Or, somehow, the conversation will be slipped to a place where he can be Best Thing Ever guy.  "Animal Planet, eh?  You know what the best animal is?  Cows.  And cows make leather.  And leather makes shoes.  And I just so happened to have tried these pair of shoes from the West Indies that are the Best Thing Ever.  Seriously, you can look them up on Google."  How the fuck did we get to shoes, again?

He's also the geekiest name-dropper I've ever met.  "My old boss was a Fulbright, Rhodes, [everything else].... Scholar who blah blah blah".  I think he just reads things on reddit.  But no, he's 'met' these people.  "I talked to X, he's only like the most influential person in Y, and you haven't heard of him?"  Nope.  In my free time, I watch porn.

And he smells.  In his defense, it's gotten better since the first 2 weeks.  The first 2 weeks were brutal.  I almost quit, since I was forced to train him.  The whole building I work in smelled.  He made some jokes at lunch about how it was because he's playing StarCraft 2 so much.  No seriously, you smelled awful.  Clean your ears.

And now you are thoroughly familiar with Best Thing Ever guy.  Sad that these 4 small paragraphs so accurately describe him.  He kinda irks me if it's not obvious.

He tells me how to do my job, or how he knows something more than me one more time, and a baseball bat will 'magically' appear in my hands.  Needs more days off,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Awkward or Special?

You know those people.  Sometimes they're tall, and when they walk their shoulders have to jut forward to keep balance.  Like their shoulders are rotating on an entirely different body than their waists.  Or that they're pushing their shoulders through some sort of thick jelly, while they're waists are just trotting along.  There are also those average sized people that aren't ridiculously fat, but aren't particularly skinny either.  And there are those that just look lost... all the time.

I guess it would be more appropriate to say 'Awkward or Special or Foreign'.  Cuz when I'm interacting with somebody that doesn't speak great English, the first decision I have to make is rather they are foreign or special.


I play volleyball every Tuesday with the 'good people' at my sports club.  Apparently, Thursdays are for people wanting to play less pretty, back yard barbecue volleyball.  Every once in a while, we get someone who mistakenly shows up to play with the big dogs.  They usually pick up on the cues that they're just not as good as us, and they hop out after a game or two.

Then Tuesday happened.  This massive guy (tall more than wide) was hovering around the edge of the court for most of our first game.  We usually let people come and go in the middle of the game, but people also just like to watch us, so we don't really ask people to join.  They can if they want to.  He hopped in at the beginning of the 2nd game.

In just a few short minutes, it goes all daddy-hit-mommy silent and we are all giving each other the 'what the fuck can we do' face behind his back.  He's slow.  He didn't understand the concept of a setter position.  One time he took a swing, missed it, and the ball hit him in the head.  We've got real eastern Europeans here trying to draw blood, and there's just no room for somebody who doesn't help at all.

But nobody said anything.  And nobody confronted him.  I pray that we were all thinking the same thing.  We weren't sure if he was special or not.  At least that speaks to the kindness of strangers, that they'd be happy to let somebody ruin their extremely competitive game just to give somebody a chance to feel connected and to be a part of something.  But then I wonder, what if he wasn't special?  Is that even worse?

Not really related at all, just hilarious.

Watch me try to shoot a basketball, and you could write this whole post about me,

30 by 30 #1-25

I've heard of a few blogs posting lists like this, and I think it's a great idea.  Below I'll list (and check off) 30 things that I would like to do before I'm 30 years old (I'm 26 now).  I don't have great ideas for all 30 yet, so I'll be posting it in increments of 5 as I come up with them.  I'd be happy to hear what you think (you can add comments or Tweet me ideas @roberree #30by30)!

30 by 30
1. Travel outside of the U.S.
2. Read either Moby Dick or Anna Karaninarova??.
3. Take a singing lesson to find out if there's any hope.
4. Learn how to make crepes.
5. Weigh less than 200 lbs.
6. Get a tattoo.
7. Live in a house (as opposed to an apartment).
8. Clear all of my credit card debt.
9. Return to graduate school, for the last time, to finally get my PhD.
10. Take Annie to Disney World.
11. Go to a Chicago Bears football game at Soldier Field.
12. Eat at Chez Panisse.
13. Finish writing 5 short stories.
14. Learn how to make mole negro.
15. Attempt Fenton's Banana Split Challenge, if it still exists.
16. Go to a Tennis Major outside of the U.S. (there are 3 others).
17. Eat the spaghetti at Scarpetta (any location would count).
18. Purchase (and use) a road bicycle.
19. Start playing my trumpet again.
20. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes.
21. Try a yoga class.
22. Re-dye my favorite black dress shirt.  (If I still have it.)
23. Go to an away Michigan game where I have never been before.
24. Read Anthem.
25. Perform 5 chin-ups in a row.

I've added a whole new page on the blog for this topic, so that I can check them off one by one.  Find it here.

Here's to getting the things you always wanted,