November 30, 2005

This shouldn't surprise me.

Just when I thought I was done being so pissed off that I thought I was going to blow a gasket. Something happened today that just sent my anger back into over drive. I’m so pissed right now I can barely type. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the details at this time, so I don’t want prematurely to launch into a tirade only to do a retraction later. I guess that puts me a step up over the MSM.

As soon as I have all my facts sorted out I’ll share the fun with all of you, I promise. Until then I’ll just leave you with this teaser, when promoting someone it should be based on ability, drive and a proven willingness to do better. When telling someone they didn’t get the position they should not tell them stuff like, “You are limiting yourself because you are working too hard.”

Thanks to that kind of feedback I just lost one of my best producing minions. She now feels that she is being punished because she is a hard worker.

Did I ever mention my peers are farking dumb arses?!

Posted by Contagion at 01:01 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

It's not road rage if you're not driving.

I love to drive, however I do not like sitting in the car. When I go anywhere, my whole goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Be it from my house to the work or from one hotel to the next on vacation. I do have rules that I will not break while driving. Such as A) Try to stay with in ten miles an hour of the speed limit. B) Do not weave in and out of traffic C) Do not try to squeeze my vehicle between two cars. There are more, but these give you the main idea that I try to be courteous driver.

There is always a flip side to everything. I will yell at cars that are going too slow, aren’t paying attention to the lights/traffic around them or being jerks in general. There is nothing I hate more then being stuck behind some jag off doing 35 in a 45 or they aren't paying attention to when the light changes and sits there blocking traffic. I’ve been known to spout of quite a rant when this happens.

So it should be no surprise to me that my youngest, Clone, has picked up this habit. Last night on the way home from picking the boys up we were stopped at a light. As soon as the light turned green, I hear from the back seat, “Dude, go! Go dude go!” (Yes, I still say dude, shut up!) Boopie is in the front seat with me laughing; I’m laughing and trying to keep my foot on the break. I didn’t feel like running the COP CAR in front of me over.

To make matters even worse, since the cop was there, I was stuck doing the speed limit. Clone, not used to actually traveling at 30 MPH, felt we weren’t going fast enough and started yelling, “DUDE, GO! GO! GO! GO, DUDE, GO!” He repeated himself numerous times. I tried to explain to him “The dude is going.” That wasn’t good enough for him, it wasn’t until the cop turned off and I was able to speed up to 45 that Clone became satisfied with our speed.

This isn’t the first time he’s done this, he started doing it a couple of weeks ago. It is the first time he got so mad that his little blonde head became bright red in anger. He looked like a tomato with white hair!

The older he gets, the more of my traits I see in him. My poor wife is doomed.

Posted by Contagion at 12:58 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

History isn't PC.

My kids are going to grow up so well adjusted. Here's another tale for the "I'm a bad Dad" collection.

Over the weekend, I took some time to play with Clone. He had a bunch of little plastic Cowboys and Indians spread out across the floor. (Think little green army men.) It started with him picking up an Indian with a bow and saying, “My Guy”. So I picked up a cowboy that looked like he was about to gut shoot someone and said, “Mine!” Grinning, Clone picks up another Indian, this time he has a spear with feathers. My next choice was another cowboy aiming/shooting a pistol. Looking over the pile, Clone picks up an Indian with a tomahawk. I look at the pile and see an Indian with a rifle; I pick him for my team.

Clone tells me, “No, dada. You pick cowboy.”

Me, “What? No, this is Squatchmo. He’s a traitor to his people and works a guide/tracker for my cowboys. We bought him off with firewater and a rifle. Now he takes us around to where all the Indians hide.”

Clone looks at me nods his head and picks up a cowboy, “Dada, Traitor bring Indian rifle.”

I laughed so hard I almost passed out. Ktreva comes running in to see what all the ruckus is. When I tell her what happens she advised me I’m not allowed to give Clone history lessons while I’ve been drinking Jack Daniels.

Posted by Contagion at 04:59 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Set the house to blinding!

It’s Christmas time again. Everyone is starting the annual tradition of putting up Christmas decorations. Ogre is proud of his display. Tammi, whom promised herself she wouldn’t, put some up. Boudicca talks about her obsessive-compulsive disorder regarding Christmas decorating. These three are amateurs, combined they have nothing on the Christmas hell that I grew up in.

Let me establish the fact that Christmas has to be one of my LEAST favorite holidays. The only thing in recent years that has made it at all enjoyable for me is watching the boy’s excitement at it. Personally, I could live with out another Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, winter solstice celebration or whatever people celebrate this time of year. I’d say I’m the mix between Scrooge and the Grinch… but that is still too much of a Christmas reference for me. I guess that is why my childhood home at Christmas really grated on my nerves.

My mother had a huge selection of Christmas decorations. Our house had no less then two full sized trees and a third 2-3 footer. Every room had multiple decorations, (except my room, I’d put them away or sneak them into other rooms if they invaded into my territory.) Our main bathroom had a Santa shower curtain, Christmas toilet seat, various Christmas towels, washcloths, soaps, mirror decorations, even window dressings and rugs. A friend of mine, I believe LittleJoe, once described it as a “gay snowman threw up in the bathroom.” From Christmas china, silverware, serving ware, glassware and table dressings to comforters, sheets and even bathrobes the interior of our house was a Christmas nightmare. Red, green, gold and white was the theme from Black Friday to the 2nd of January. My mother had a very strict schedule on when decorations went up and came down. My mother would spend a week baking Christmas cookies. She would make at least 35 different types of Christmas cookies and candies and at least six dozen of each type. That wasn’t even near the worst part of it. Nope, that would be my Father.

Everyone jokes about how their house looks like the Griswold’s from Christmas Vacation. I hate to break this to you, but my house was the model for that! My father had in excess of 30 figurines, including a full manger scene complete with angels and animals. He built a five-foot tall steel star and hung it on the top of our flagpole, then ran lights down to the manger to show it shining light on it. There were two, yes two, Santas. One climbing down the chimney and one in a sleigh with his 12 reindeer. A four-foot snow man, a choir, 6 toy soldiers, 6 candy canes and two candles finished off his figurine display. Every bush and tree was covered in lights. That was 5 trees and 26 bushes. Each tree/bush had at least one string of 50 lights on it, the trees got up to five strings of 100 lights. The house was covered in lights. Around every window and along every edge, the house was completely lined in lights. Even our mailbox on the street had lights on it.

They were all multi-color lights as my father hated plain white bulbs, the thought they were too bland. He felt color was more eye catching. More eye catching. Just how eye catching did he want? At night, the neighbors with in three houses of us didn’t need to turn on yard lights as our spot-house would day glow the neighborhood. Whenever giving directions to my house I would just tell people head to this major intersection and head for the glowing house. They would laugh until they arrived, and then I would get. “You’re not kidding.”

My father would start the Friday after Thanksgiving putting up the outside decorations. If the weather cooperated, he would finish in 9 days. He would spend all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving from 7 AM to 10 PM just putting up lights and decorations. During the week he would rush home after work and continue putting up decorations until well after 10:00 PM. The following Saturday and Sunday, he would finish up. Of course, When I was around eight I had to start helping him put up the decorations. For those of you that have met me in person, this is where I learned my colorful vocabulary. As things would go wrong, my father’s language would get harsher. The older I got, the harsher it would get. When I was 17, I had this conversation with my father:

Dad: “The G*D DAMN lights aren’t working. What the Fvck is going on. Hand me the damn pliers”

Me: “Which pliers?”

Dad: “The pliers right there in front of yo… SHITE!”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “That whole string went out. I hate these types of lights, one bulb goes out, the whole damn line goes out. I don’t have time for this shite! Go check all the bulbs on this string.”

Me: “Son of a beotch…”

Dad: “Hey, don’t let your mother hear you use language like that!”

My father just loved most of the attention that he received after the lights where up. He made it in the news all the time and even once won an award for best decorated house in North America… or something like that. He was in newspapers and even a local magazine once. What he didn’t like was the miscreant attention he would get. Inevitably, with in a week of getting any type of media attention some numb nut would vandalize the house. They would steal or break figurines. Once time they took wire cutters to some of the strings of lights and cut them up… which caused a fuse to blow. Every time this would happen, my father would replace the missing or damaged decorations. I always felt bad for him when this would happen as I could see the hurt in his eyes. He spent all that time and energy just to “brighten up” the holidays and some jerk would ruin his display.

However, there were some other funny parts. My father installed timers and a separate circuit box just for the lights. He had to set the timers so that the lights would come on in three phases over 15 minutes. If he didn’t do this, it would actually brown out part of the neighborhood or trip a circuit breaker. Our neighbors joked they could tell when it was dark out from the way the lights would flicker in their house between 4:30 and 5:00 every evening. Commonwealth Edison, the electric company, loved my parents. We used to get a Christmas card from them every year. Now before you say they send one to everybody… no, they don’t. Our neighbors never received one and to this day, I’ve never received one from them. Friends of mine didn’t believe me about this, until the came over and I would show it to them, hanging on a door with all the other Christmas cards my parents received.

About 6 years ago, my father stopped putting up as many lights as he had been. He suffered his first heart attack and one of the things he had to cut out was the strenuous activities. His cardiologist advised that he could not spend the amount of time out in the cold putting up lights like he used to. My father got rid of all the figurines, and at least 80% of the lights. He also got rid of the star, the one that he spent a Saturday making himself, out of metal. The one he was so proud of because no one else had one like it. It was one of the few times I saw my father upset over any material possession.

Thinking back to all those Christmases, I remember the star. I took the star. I don’t have a flagpole, or any place really to hang it. So it sits along the wall on my back porch lighting it up. It’s mine now, and some day it’ll be Clone’s. That makes my father happy.

Posted by Contagion at 01:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

Your attendance is formally required.

T1G is putting together a little get together just after the Holidays for bloggers to get together at one of my new favorite bars, Fritz’s Wooden Nickel in Stillman Valley, Illinois. Since this is close to the Holidays and I know all of you want to get me a present or three. Yes you do. Don’t lie to yourself. Just shut up and do as I say! Ahem, sorry… arguing with the voices I’ve assigned all of you in my head can be aggravating at times.

Anyway, back on topic. I decided I’m making a list of whom I want to be there that I have not had a chance to meet yet. I fully expect each of these individuals to drop what ever they are doing and drive, fly, take a bus up here for this event. I’ll even offer my superb chauffeuring service for those that won’t have a vehicle. Lets get this list started, and in absolutely no particular order, here we go.

Bouddica of Bouddica’s voice. Even though she is a neglectful blog mother, I still am dying to meet her in person.

Machelle of Quality Weenie. Even though she gives me more crap then I feel I deserve.

Sally and Alex of Whimsy Capricious and Alex in Wonderland. Maybe they’ll finally bring me my haggis. Even though Sally says she's giving up blogging. I think she's just being a tease.

VW of One Happy Dog Speaks. One of my Blog Niesters (Niece/Sister) I’d like to see if my mental image of her is close to accurate.

Sissy of And What Next. My other blog Niester. I actually had a chance to meet her last June, but I decided to do a re-enactment instead. Silly me.

CalTechGirl of Not Exactly Rocket Science. Read her all the time. I’m curious if she has the same personality as so does in the blogosphere. Plus she drove within 2 minutes of my house on her way out west and didn’t have the nerve to even stop and say hello.

Blake of Laughing Wolf. Really I just want to hit him up for pelts. JOKING, That’s a joke. However… :)

Ogre of Ogre’s Politics and Views. I owe him some beer anyways and this would be a good opportunity for him to collect. Plus since I’m still currently his thrall, I should actually meet him.

Oddybobo of Bobo Blogger. After all of the meme’s she’s put me through, I just want to dot her eye! Actually again I want to see if she fits my mental image of her. (No Harvey that is not nekked smothered in Chocolate pudding)

Eric of Straight White Guy. I’ve heard so many stories about, er involving, er regarding him I would like to actually meet this living legend.

Johnny-OH of Closet Extremist. He just seems to be a kindred spirit.

ArmyWifeToddlerMom of Army Wife Toddler Mom. She just seems like a nice well-reserved lady. (I expect the payment by the end of the week)

Michelle of Letters from NYC. Yet another person that I have would like to put a face to.

Sarah of That’s Not Very Nice. I just want to see if she actually talks like my relatives from up der in Minnesota. Because when I read her blog that is the accent I give to her.

Omnibus Driver of Leslie’s Omnibus. She actually lives in the Northern Illinois region and shouldn’t have an excuse not to go!

Spurs of Pull My Finger. He’s in a couple of my football games I’m running and seems to be a nice enough guy. He can even bring Napster with… if he wants… it’s up to him… but strip clubs are more fun with out the wife.

Official notice has been served. If you fail to comply with this official notice I will be forced to... do something. I don't know, leave drunk/harsh comments on your blog or something. So start making plans... NOW! :)

Posted by Contagion at 04:41 PM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

The rest of the weekend.

After the fiasco that was Thanksgiving, we had to go have family pictures taken on Black Friday. My parents wanted a whole family portrait with them, my sister and my family. I agreed to this a couple of months ago. Then my mother hits me a couple of weeks back that we are scheduled to do it on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. There are two things in this world that makes me painfully uncomfortable; the mall during Christmas season is one of them. But I said I would do it, so I’m not backing out now.

We get to the mall about 9:00 AM; I drop the family off at the door and spend the next 20 minutes searching for a parking space. I got lucky and found someone who was leaving, so I parking lot sharked them. The photos were relatively painless. We did two outfits, the boys in blue and the girls in pink (My wife’s and sister’s idea*GAG*.) The other was everyone wearing Green Bay Packer gear with various props. My dad originally wanted this years ago, before Clone was born. Now that we have Clone I decided we needed to do an updated version with him in it. That’s right people, cheese wedges and all!

The pictures would be ready in an hour, so instead of leaving we decided to hang out in the mall. OH YAY! JOY O’ JOYS! What are we going to do for an hour? Me, “Since we are here, we can take Clone to see Santa and get the damn thing over with.” My mother, “Don’t be that way about Santa!” Contagion the Scrooge, “Why? Clone didn’t hear me, he’s riding up and down the escalator with grandpa, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been on Santa’s Naughty list since a certain incident in ‘88, if not there was that one in ‘97 that pretty much sealed it.”

We get Clones picture with Santa. For some reason he just will not smile with Santa. But at least this year he wasn’t screaming. While waiting in line Boopie comes up to me, “Dad, I found the perfect Christmas gift for mom!” My wife, his mother, is standing right next to me. After the photo, I go look at what he found. I will give the boy credit; it is a gift from the heart. He did his beast to get something he knew his mother likes. Since he was dead set on getting this, I bought and we took it to get wrapped. What made me most proud was when the lady rang it up and told us the price; he looked at me and said, “Dad, I forgot my money at home. I’ll pay you back.” The little goofball was going to buy his mother’s Christmas gift with his saved up money. Nah, not that day, I paid for it and told him he didn’t have to pay me back. My boy is growing up.

After we picked up the photos we went out to lunch with my parents and sister and then went and did some Christmas shopping at a local Irish store we hit every year on Black Friday. It’s our tradition. What was funny is that Phyllis, the owner, said as soon as we walked in, “It’s now officially Christmas, (Contagion) and (Ktreva) are here.” We picked up an item for those hard to buy relatives and headed home.

Saturday Ktreva started putting up the inside Christmas decorations. I’m waiting to do the outside until we get a tree. That way I only have to go through the lights once. It keeps me from going mad. (Post for tomorrow) Around 4:30 I decide to call my good buddy Graumagus whom seems to have forgotten to check his e-mail in the last week. He’ll tell you he’s busy working 9-10 hours a day, dealing with the kids, rubbing skin off the top of his feet. The Frizzen Spouse ™ answers the phone and tells me he’s working. For some reason I got it in my head it was a holiday weekend and except restaurants and retail, businesses shut down. BAH! Foiled again. I was trying to see if Grau was going to accompany me to Anger Management class and if he needed more anti-depressants (Blatantly and boldly stolen from Graumagus.) AKA going to the shooting range and does he need ammo.

Well I figured maybe he’d check his email when he got home for work, so I shot him off a third e-mail this week about going shooting. By 11:00AM Sunday and no response I figured he was NOT going to respond anytime in the near future. Then I thought to myself, do I dare call and possibly wake him up? I mean he is sleep deprived and all, and maybe he was actually sleeping. Then I remembered he’d kick me in the dick if I went shooting and didn’t at least ask him. So I called… woke his ass up, and after what sounded like some mumbled mushh about driving an Allen wrench through someone’s head, he advised me he couldn’t go. And since no one else had answered my e-mails about going, I decided to head off on my own with my new gun.

It took me an hour and a half to get to the range. Where I spend the next 40 (including a 10 minute shooting break) minutes burning through 200 rounds of ammo. That’s right. 200 rounds in 40 minutes, any one that says you can’t hand speed load a revolver is lying to you. In my shooting I discovered a couple of things about my new handgun. A) The sites are off, it’s shooting low. 2) The grip on it rocks D) I am much more accurate with the .357 round then the .38 special load. 4) I bought the right hand gun. I loved shooting it. It fit my hand perfectly, I loved the feel of it, and I had a good clustering, about 2 inches below the bull’s-eye at 25 yards.

I did scare the piss out of some kids at the range with it however. They where there shooting .22’s, air rifles, and .40 semi-auto. Even the .40 was relatively quite compared to when I was pushing .357s through my pistol. I was also showering the stations around me with powder as the revolver kicked out sparks along the cylinder. The kids ( I say kids, but I swear they were all 18 to 25 years of age) where awestruck by my revolver. During the shooting break one of them was asking me questions about it and I was answering him. Then he made the comment, “I just don’t like revolver’s because you only get six shots.” I point to the cylinder on mine (It was resting on the table in the “Secured” zone during a cease-fire. You can’t touch a firearm during that time.) and tell him, “Mines a seven shot.” He looks at it and counts all seven chambers, then tells his friends, “This dude has a 7 shot .357 revolver.” I felt like a weapons stud… but I know I’m not… but it still felt good.

After shooting I head back home, and decide to get a sixer and stop in and see ol’ Grau since I was in his neck of the woods, which is back water northern Illinois. We talk about shooting and I show him my pistol. He hadn’t had a chance to see it since I picked it up. He also asked me if it was normal for a callous to scratch his foot, I thought he just meant like to use it to scratch an itch. Nope, he showed me the top of his foot where it looked like someone use a wood rasp on it. It was much nastier up close then what he has shown in the picture. Then we watched the Packer’s lose to the Eagles. He also asked me if it was normal for a callous to scratch his foot, I thought he just meant like to use it to scratch an itch. Nope, he showed me the top of his foot where it looked like someone use a wood rasp on it. It was much nastier up close then what he has shown in the picture. It’s such a glorious year for my team.

That is how my weekend went.

Posted by Contagion at 02:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A New tradition is starting.

I’m here, I’m here. I’m sure none of you are wondering where I’ve been for the last 4 days. Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. While I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving, I did not. Nope, Thanksgiving day itself was just filled with irritance, anger and scathing words.

We spent Thanksgiving Day at my parent’s house with my sister. Mom also invited many of my aunts, uncles and cousins. This has been their tradition for many years. Notice I say “their”. Why is it their? Growing up my mother would either invite her whole family over to our house or we would go to one of my aunts. They traded off every other year. Not all of my mother’s brothers/sisters would show up being as they were married and would spend it at their in-laws. My father’s family lives way up in Minnesota and upper
Wisconsin and they never wanted to travel north this time of year, thus we were always there.

Now that I’m older I do not want to spend time with my aunts, uncles and cousins on the holidays, I want to spend it with my family. My wife and kids in our house. Maybe we visit my parents, maybe we visit my sister, but I don’t want to spend it with my mother’s family. I just do NOT like them. They are the touchy, feely, gossipy, prime and proper type of people. Where I take most if not all of my traits from my Father and his side of the family. We are distant, loud, obnoxious, tell you how it is kind of people. We just don’t mix.

Since I told my mother I would go, we had to go. Everything was going okay, at first. I tried to keep my mouth shut and not get irritated by some of the hippy “save the environment” BS that was thrown my way. Of course I had enough so I spouted off, “My view on the environment is ignore it, it’ll go away.” And “If I cared about the effects of cars on the environment I wouldn’t have bought a 10mpg beast just to drive around town.” Hey, I said I tried. I didn’t say I succeeded. Apparently my mother’s side of the family has some very hippy tendencies. The funny part is that all stemmed from me throwing away a beer can!

Dinner is served and we all sit down to eat. Clone is up to his usual, “There’s new people around, and how much can I get away with.” He didn’t eat his dinner. We’ve been having a problem with this. He only wants candy and desert. When he said he was done after only a couple of bites, I told him, “If you don’t finish your lunch there will be NO candy, cookies, pie, cake, anything. Am I understood?” He gave me a chipper “yes” and bounced on his merry way to go gamble. (My father has a slot machine; the boy loves to play with it. Sadly enough he’s won more then he’s lost) That is the standard rule in our house, no meal, no dessert/snacks.

After a couple of hours it’s announced that they are cutting the pies. Yes pieS, French silk, pumpkin, banana cream, key-lime, etc. My mom’s side of the family does food in huge and grandiose style. No one ever wants for anything. Clone decides he wants pie. NO! You did not eat your lunch, no pie. He’s only upset for a moment then goes back to trying to get three sevens. While getting my piece I’m asked if I’m getting one for Clone. I advise everyone in the kitchen (most of the family) “He did not eat his lunch, he gets no dessert.” For the first time I hear. “But he’s been eating carrots all afternoon.” Apparently he’s been running up to the veggie tray and snagging carrots. That doesn’t bother me, as it’s not candy/cookies/pie/etc. It is the holiday so even though he shouldn’t be snacking on it, I let it go. “Fine, I don’t care if he has carrots, but no pie.”

When I go back downstairs after getting my own piece I see my father feeding Clone pie. “Dad, he didn’t eat his lunch. He gets no pie.” My dad looks at me and says, “Sorry, I didn’t know.” Okay… fine. Sitting down to eat my pie Clone comes up wanting a bite. “Nope,” I announce, “You did not eat your lunch. NO desert!” Everyone in the basement heard me.

A lot of my relatives have heard this declaration three times now. After watching the Lions get manhandled for a while, I go upstairs and what do I see? One of my cousins feeding Clone pie with a couple of my aunts. Again, for the third time I announce. “NO, he did NOT eat his lunch. He gets NOTHING sweet.” I get the excuse back, “But he’s been eating carrots all afternoon.” To which I respond, “I don’t care, no pie.”

I have to move my truck so an uncle of mine can run home for a moment. When I come back into the house, sitting at the kitchen table what do I see? Clone sitting there eating a huge piece of French Silk pie, with my sister watching him. Walking through the kitchen exasperated I say, “He’s not supposed to be eating pie, he didn’t eat his lunch.” This is an excerpt of the following conversation:

Sister: “He’s been eating carrots all day, what is it going to hurt if he has pie? You need to lighten up.” (This finally breaks my patience)

Me angrily, “I’m his parent, if I say no, that means no. If you are going to undermine my authority as his parent, I can make sure you never see him again.” I start walking down stairs.

Sister, upset. “That’s not funny, you shouldn’t say things like that!”

Me, “I’m not joking, I’m dead serious. I’m tired of having this family continually disregard what my wife and I say about raising our child. Maybe it’s time I did something about it.” There was more, but you get the idea.

My sister goes stomping off. I go back downstairs to watch Denver and Dallas. First Ktreva comes downstairs and tells me not to be such an arsehole to my sister. Apparently she was outside crying. (Side note: I made the same threat last year when my mother and mother-in-law did a similar thing to her. Last year I was a good guy, this year I was the villain.) Then one of my cousins (One that my wife and I both think is a shallow beotch) comes down to yell at me, because she was the one that gave Clone the pie. She had heard me say he didn’t get any three plus times. I told her that from my sister’s comments, she gave the impression that she gave Clone the pie. Secondly, the same still applies. If this family cannot learn to abide by my wife’s and mine decisions then they can go with out having my family around. At which point she said I was a bigger asshole then she thought I was. To which I responded, “I don’t care.” She stormed off.

Since this has happened two years in a row. I’ve decided I am not going to do Thanksgiving with them next year. My family and I will do our own thing, start our own traditions, and actually enjoy the day. Not deal with a family that is so wrapped up in what it wants that it disregards everyone else.

Posted by Contagion at 01:42 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 24, 2005

Da Schnappster!

One last thing on TO, just because this made me laugh my arse off.

I read this article by Charles Robinson regarding who might pick up TO. He has the football quote of the year as far as I’m concerned.

Owens will be released in the off season, and he's destined to woo someone else. He's the league's answer to Peppermint Schnapps – sweet when you meet, but a headache waiting to happen. What's worse, you know that going in, and you still end up in the same place.

***Emphasis mine

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay maybe not everyone will find that as amusing as I did, but maybe it’s because it brings back two memories for me. The first being the movie “The Stoned Age”, when the two guys try to go pick up these chics they show up with this gallon bottle of peppermint schnapps. (The Schnappster.. **TING**) Even the girls won’t touch the stuff. It was just hilarious.

The second stemmed from when I was in College. Now, to tell this story properly I will need to slip into story teller mode, those of you that have seen me in person tell stories know what I’m talking about, those of you that haven’t… I’m sorry you missed the show.

One night when I was in college, my friends and I went out drinking. (All my good stories start out like that, I don’t know why) It was September of my sophomore year; my sophomore palls and I took a couple of freshmen that lived on our floor in the dorm to this party. We had Skippy (All he ate was Skippy peanut butter) and Spin (He looked like the lead singer of the Spin Doctors) with us. They seemed like nice enough guys, and we thought we would show them were the good parties are held.

At the second party we arrived at they had peppermint schnapps flowing freely to the ladies… and Skippy. Skippy decided he loved the schnapps. Unbeknownst to us, Skippy had never drank before in his life. He found the taste alluring and couldn’t stay away from the stuff. He ended up getting pissed drunk. When I say pissed drunk, I mean he pissed himself in the middle of the party. After wetting himself he was forced to stay out of the house, now we being good friends that we were… having just met the guy in the last couple of weeks… we decided to stay at the party, in the house, away from him. Now I could lie and say we had hoped he would sober up, but I was quite the asshole, and I kept sending people out to him with a shot every 30 minutes… just to keep him drunk. (He was blitzed by 10:00 PM; we stayed at the party until 4:00AM).

After a while just to make sure he wouldn’t get too drunk we started giving him shots of water with a splash of Scope (To make him think it was the schnappster) between the other shots. Maybe it was all he had to drink, maybe it was the fact that toward the end of the night he spilled more down the front of his face then he got in his mouth, either way he never noticed, UNTIL we were walking home. We had to leave when Skippy took a header off of the second floor balcony into some bushes. God loves the stupid and drunks, because he walked away with out a scratch. On the way home, between trying to bounce off every car, tree and bush, he finally let the urge to ‘gurge flow. Bear hugging a tree he opened his mouth and all the water, scope and peppermint schnapps he had been drinking came out of him with enough force to tip him over onto his back.

Picture if you will, Skippy a scrawny kid no taller then 5ft 6, laying on his back spewing like a fountain. The bile pepperminty fluid splashing back down over his face and chest. None of us wanted to touch the kid; he was covered in vomit and piss. Finding a large stick, which was actually a fence post we ripped out of the ground. We prodded Skippy until he got up and was able to get back to the dorm. As we were walking away he says, “Have I been drinking Scope?” We all start busting up.

Now you would think he would learn his lesson? Nope… the very next weekend he went out and did the SAME thing with peppermint schnapps. The whole semester went that way, every couple of weeks he would get blitzed off of the schnappster. In December, when he found out he was probably going to flunk out, I asked him why he kept drinking peppermint schnapps. His response was what made the above comment so funny.

“It’s like dating a girl you know is just using you. At the beginning of the night it’s great. Everything is sweet, exciting and sensual. By the end of the night you realize that for what you got, it cost you a lot, but it was so good you just can’t help going back for more.” – Skippy December, 1993.

Posted by Contagion at 08:41 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 23, 2005

Talk about unwanted!

The other night I was talking with my wife about life and blogging. Out of the blue, she observed something that I had to double check. Lo and behold, she was correct.

My so-called loving blog parents painfully neglect me.

First you have Graumagus, whom is sleep deprived, working some hellacious work hours and doesn’t make regular posts on his blog anymore. I could cut the guy some slack, but he’s even taken to not responding to e-mails or even checking on me. When he does come around, he does it when I’m sleeping or at work just to make sure I’m keeping up with things, but nary a comment.

Then there is Bouddicca, who is the Queen of Hurricanes and sick kids. She can find time to volunteer to be a den mother, treasurer for the school and visit everyone and their mother (except me). I don’t even know if she stops by anymore and there hasn’t been a comment from her in a coon’s age! Isn’t a blog-mother supposed to be nurturing and supportive? I see her at her other blog children’s sites spouting off love, just not here. Maybe the circumstances of my blog conception where just too traumatic for her to deal with.

Finally, there is Harvey, who is the social butterfly and the patriarch of half the blogosphere it seems. If he isn’t busy creating his own blog children he’s kidnapping others and adopting them as his own. At least he keeps up appearances and stops by ever 3-4 days to drop off court-mandated comments, so I know he’s still around. I accept I’m not his favorite, but does he really have to keep trying to deny my existence?

They really are emphasizing the unwanted part of “The unwanted stump in the family tree”.

However, I would still like to show my appreciation to my blog parents for inspiring me (or in one of their cases, brow beat) into creating this blog. Seeing as tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to the three of them. Even if BCFS (Bloggers Child and Family Services) is going to come and take me away due to neglect.

Posted by Contagion at 06:02 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

That's a loud signal to the other primadonnas

It looks as if the NFL arbitrator upheld the suspension and deactivation of Terrell Owens by the Philadelphia Eagle.

T.O.’s Season effectively over after arbitrator sides with Eagles.

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Posted by Contagion at 05:28 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

So that's what the difference is.

I've heard a lot of people talking about how some guys have guts to do something, or it took balls to do something. I always thought they where interchangeable... until today. Today I had a minion slip me a piece of paper with the definition of the two on them. arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being assulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to ask:
"Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?"

BALLS.... is coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass and having the balls to say, "You`re next!!!!"

It took guts for him to give me this at work.

Posted by Contagion at 05:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005

Mr Nice Guy

My job is very… unique in my company. There are only a handful of people that hold my position. Adding to the fact that I’m the Senior level, which makes it even more rare. That makes my job a lot more difficult then it really has to be. Why? Because no one else in my office understands all that I do. This has its ups and it’s downs.

The upside is that because they don’t understand what I do, including my manager, at review time I always do well as long as the goals are being received. They don’t know how I meet them, just that I do. Or if I’m not meeting them, they want to know why. When I try to explain, I can actually see their eyes glaze over. Just last week I had my manager ask me to explain to her some of the stuff that I do. After 5 minutes of just doing the basics, I could tell she was lost. The other upside is that when I do make a mistake there is a 99.99% chance that I can correct it before anyone can detect it.

The downside is that since no one knows all that I do, they tend to think I don’t do anything. Thus, they think I have a lot of spare time. This is absolutely positively not the case. I can see where they get that idea. Between gathering data and assigning work it looks like I’m walking around just chatting a lot. If they actually ever paid attention to what I was doing/saying they would see that yes, sometimes I do just chit-chat (like everyone else) but usually I’m talking about work. I’m checking on what the person is doing, what they’ve done, or trying to correct problems. Sometimes they see me sitting at my desk just reading e-mail. What they don’t realize is that I’m waiting for a program to finish compiling data for a report I’m running. While they system is doing that, I really can’t do much else until it is finished, it takes up a lot of CPU power. Hell even checking my e-mail is really slow. How slow? Think of downloading a 100k file using a 14.4 dial-up. Yea, that slow.

What inevitably happens is that when some new task needs to be done, I get volunteered to do it. Usually when I’m volunteered it’s followed up with the phrase, “He’s got the time.” That brings me to the hellacious day I had today. First there is a guy that has a related job to what I do, but they are not the same. It would be like he’s motor oil and I’m gasoline. He keeps the parts moving, but I’m making the engine run. With out the both of us the office stops functioning properly. There is a reason why corporate have two separate people doing these jobs. IT IS WAY TOO MUCH FOR ONE PERSON TO DO. Except in my office, when the other guy is gone. I have to do his job AND mine and heaven forbid something goes wrong with either. Does he have to back me up when I’m gone? Nope… he has too much work to do.

This other guy is gone this week for the holiday. The last Friday of the month is when my goals are measured, since the last Friday of this month falls on a Holiday that means I get until Wednesday. That means I loose two days of production and have lower goals. (For examples sake if I had a full 20-day work month I could only have 500 items left at the end of the month, but since I only have 18 I can only have 470. It’s hard to explain other then that with out spending three days and 5 posts.) Plus his goals are due next Wednesday and I have to do my best to meet those as well. Needless to say my life is rather frantic right now. Throw in system problems, two added assignments because I don’t do anything, and covering for a supervisor, plus my regular mentoring and my week has been hell. I know I’m good, but I’m not that good. Something had to give today, and it did. All the sensitivity training they had sent me to went right out the window.

There was no time for me to caress, finesse, argue or even instruct people today. It was barking orders, telling people off and basically taking command of the situation. Something I do a little too well from what I’m told. When I left today some of my peers where a bit annoyed, well okay they where down rite pissed at me for undermining their authority. As I told one of them, “If you had an inkling of how to do this part of your job properly, I wouldn’t have to do it for you.” When my manager came to me to talk to me about the situation I responded with, “You have me doing my coworkers job, I have my job, I have to conduct training, make sure the employees are doing their jobs, deal with system problems, help this other department, on top of trying to meet my goals that are due by end of business tomorrow. You have effectively taken away all my resources, made it so that there is a better then likely chance I will fail and you decide NOW is a good time to chat with me about my attitude? Do me a favor, schedule a meeting about it for next Wednesday, that seems to be what this office likes to do best and that is my next free time.” Her response was, “I don’t think this is a good time.” After she walked away I mumbled, “No shit, what was you first clue? The blinking red alerts on my monitor telling me we are in trouble or the blinking red alerts in my eyes that say disgruntled?”

Luckily I had enough sense to wait until she was out of earshot to say that.

***Clapping, with a big grin on my face***

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!


Posted by Contagion at 05:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 21, 2005

Acceptance of a problem.

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been behaving strangely of late. The time has come for me to share something with you. In order to help fix the problem, I must admit my problem. Well, that is what everyone keeps telling me. This is hard for me to do; even typing this much has been difficult.

I am a substance abuser, and I’m not talking alcohol. It started a couple of months ago, I was having a problem and a friend of mine gave me something that he said would make it go away. Sure enough as soon as I took it, my problem seemed to melt away. All was right with the world. I had never used before, and never thought that I would, but it only took that one time to get me hooked.

From that day forward, I found myself turning more and more to it. It started at once a day at home. Then I went to twice a day, once during my lunch period and once after I got home. Now I’m up to 6 times a day, it doesn’t matter if I’m at home, work or the store. When the need arises, I drop it. That familiar feeling spreads across my head and down my body.

I became so dependant on it that I would get upset when I couldn’t score the kind I liked, but I was so desperate that I would try other kinds. It always seemed that the dealer may not have my particular favored kind, but they always had others. The others worked, but not as well. They just weren’t satisfying. Thus, the next chance I had, I bought a huge quantity. I think it was meant for distribution, but I didn’t care. There was no way I was going to risk running out of my kind, my particular flavor.

Even after my wife found my stash, I lived in denial. “It’s not that I need it, I just enjoy it”, I screamed at her the night she found it. How I lied that night, I needed it, I desired it, and I craved it. Like a moth to the flame, I could not stay away.

Then something happened that changed all of that. Clone got his hands on some and took it. To watch his reaction at first was amusing. He was dancing and jumping yelling, “I like it, dada. I like it!” But I could tell he was lying, he was just trying to be like dad. Then the crying started, his little body could not handle the potency. It was hurting my boy, and I knew it was bad. My boy should not have to go through something like that, so I’m trying to fix myself. I’m also warning you my fellow bloggers, my readers, my friends.

No matter how bad your breath gets, stay away from the Listerine Pocketpaks, they're addicting.

Posted by Contagion at 05:00 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 20, 2005

Damn the alarm clocks, Full sleep ahead!

Oddybobo, an ex-favorite blogger of mine, decided that I had been left unmolested by memes long enough. That means she hit me with a meme. What really gets my ire is that this isn’t even one with a loot of room to play with the questions. It’s not like you can give really good disturbing answers like I’ve been known to do.

Let’s get this over, shall we?

1. Do you use an alarm clock to wake up in the morning?

Only on days I want to be rudely woken up by a screeching electronic device instead of waking up naturally. Which is any day I have to go to work. On the weekend I have Clone to wake me up before the crack of 7:00 AM.

2. What time do you set it for?

I don’t, my wife does. She sets it for 5:30 AM. However, like someone else I know, we keep the alarm in our bedroom set about 10 minutes faster then the other clocks in the house. Why? It’s an illusion that you are actually sleeping longer then you really are. Stop looking at me like that.

3. Do you hit the snooze button? If so how many times?

Nope. The clock is on the other side of the room from me, closer to my wife. When it goes off, she gets up and turns it off and makes sure my butt is out of bed. Then she goes back to sleep and I am her snooze alarm.

4. Have you ever abused an alarm clock?

One time when I was in high school I was given an alarm clock that was shaped like a baseball. In order to hit the snooze button you had to throw it. The theory was that after you threw it and the snooze alarm goes off again, you would have to get up and hunt for it, effectively waking you up. The theory was wrong!
Anyway, back to the story, one weekend I accidentally turned it on. It went off at way to early Saturday morning. After being rudely awoken by it, I very angrily grabbed it and threw it as hard as I could. I should have opened my eyes when I did because the next thing I heard was the breaking of glass and a splash. My blind throwing had put my bedroom window in the path of the ball. Then after demolishing the window it landed squarely in the middle of our swimming pool. That clock didn’t work anymore, and for some reason my mother decided not to buy me a new one.

5. It’s time to spread some “It’s Blogcess” linky love.
This isn't a question. Does it actually count?

Rules of the game, so I have been told:

First: Copy and paste #1 - #5 (Make sure to link to: “It’s Blogcess”, which is the link in #5. Because it’s always polite to link to the one who started the linky love.)

Second: Link to my site (because it’s polite to link to the site that tagged you).

Third: Go and tag up to five other blogs, or more if ya like.

Fourth: Email the owner of, or post on the blogs that you have tagged, to inform them that you’ve tagged them.

Oh, whom to tag… Normally I don’t tag people with these, but I’m feeling a little saucy, er I guess that should be sauced, this morning.

1. Ragingmom of The Splatter Zone… because I had a chance to meet her last night.

2. Talulazephyr of Koolaid and Love Stains… again because I had a chance to meet her last night and her blog mom changed the name of her blog from “Love and Koolaid Stains” to “Koolaid and Love Stains”. Don’t ask, you don’t want to know. Ah hell who am I kidding?

3. T1G of Drunken Wisdom. He just has way too much free time.

4. Spurs of Pull My Finger. They guy travels so much; he has to have some good alarm clock stories.

5. Virtue of The Rantings of an Indentured Servant. She was gullible enough to babysit for me last night and this is how I’m repaying her.

There we go. Now I’m going to go back to trying to pickle my head.

Posted by Contagion at 09:36 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 19, 2005

If Men ruled the world.

I received this in an e-mail. Since I hadn't seen it in years, I thought you might enjoy it.

1. Breaking up would be a lot easier. A smack to the ass and a "Nice hustle, you'll get'em next time" would pretty much do it.

2. Birth control would come in ale or lager.

3. Valentine's Day would be moved to February 29th so it would only occur in leap years.

4. On Groundhog Day, if you saw your shadow, you'd get the day off to go drinking. Mother's Day too.

5. St. Patrick's Day, however, would remain exactly the same. But it would be celebrated every month.

6. Garbage would take itself out.

7. Regis and Kelly would be chained to a cement mixer and pushed off the Golden Gate Bridge for the most lucrative pay-per-view event in world history.

8. The only show opposite "Monday Night Football" would be "Monday Night Football from a Different Camera Angle".

9. Instead of "beer-belly", you'd get "beer-biceps".

10. Tanks would be far easier to rent.

11. Two words..."Ally McNaked".

12. When a cop gave you a ticket, every smart-aleck answer you responded with would actually reduce your fine. As in:
Cop: "You know how fast you were going?"
You: "All I know is, I was spilling my beer all over the place."
Cop: "Nice one, That's $10.00 off".

13. People would never talk about how fresh they felt.

14. Daisy Duke shorts would never go out of style again.

15. Every man would get four, real Get Out of Jail Free cards per year.

16. Telephones would cut off after 30 seconds of conversation.

17. It would perfectly legal to steal a sports car, as long as you returned it the following day with a full tank of gas.

18. Instead of a fancy, expensive engagement ring, you could present your wife-to-be with a giant foam hand that said "You're #1!".

19. When your girlfriend really needed to talk to you during the game, she'd appear in a little box in the corner of the screen during a time-out.

20. Nodding and looking at your watch would be deemed as an acceptable response to "I love you".

21. The funniest guy in the office would get to be CEO.

22. "Sorry I'm late, but I got wasted last night", would be an acceptable excuse for tardiness.

23. At the end of the workday a whistle would blow and you would jump out of your window and slide down the tail of a brontosaurus and right into your car like Fred Flintstone.

24. Lifeguards could remove citizens from beaches for violating the "public ugliness" ordinance.

25. Hallmark would make "Sorry, what was your name again?" cards.

Posted by Contagion at 12:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Paris Hilton, an alien?!?!?

I’m not a Paris Hilton fan. I think she’s an unattractive skank-ho. That wasn’t very nice of me, okay, I retract that; she’s an unattractive skank. I have no proof people have paid her for sex, so I really can’t legitimately make that accusation. Graumagus and I have discussed this, and he thinks she looks like a grey.

I think we have proof that she is actually an alien. Her face never changes! I don’t know if they doctored the photos much, but it looks like they just lined them up. That is what makes this very creepy, yet highly amusing.

Posted by Contagion at 08:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I’m going to let my inner geek out a little bit this Saturday. Have you ever wondered what Picard, Riker and Data would be like if they were out on the town in the 90’s? Well neither have I. That is what makes this little animated clip so wrong; it means someone has. BTW, it may ear worm you.

What is TNG

Click picture to get full effect

In keeping with the Star Trek: The Next Generation theme. Check out this Seussicised version of an episode.

Posted by Contagion at 08:11 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 18, 2005

Why do they do things like this?

Going through my newsreader, I read this headline; “Deferred Success” is new term for Failure? Because my blood pressure hasn’t been high enough of late, I figured I should read this brief article.

The story is actually about a list of this year’s most “politically correct” terms. The top ten are rather musing.

1) Misguided Criminals. Leave it to the BBC and those crazy Brits not to want to offend Terrorists by calling them Terrorist. What’s next, calling politicians Misguided Profiteers?

2) Intrinsic Aptitude. The President of Harvard University used this term to explain why females are underrepresented in engineering and science. I think most of my female readers will take exception to this. Maybe the President of Harvard had some intrinsic aptitude in his speech writing ability.

3) Thought Shower. Apparently, people with brain disorders find brainstorming to be a bad idea. Since they have BRAIN disorders, I wouldn’t think they would have had time to have THOUGHT at all.

4)La Racaille. It’s French for scum… and was used to describe the Muslim rioters in Paris. Yea… that’s PC for you! Stupid French!

5) Out of the Mainstream. For all you political blogs, grab onto this baby. This describes political opponents that have an opposing opinion to your own. I always thought this was called a hippy.

6) Deferred Success. Again, those wacky Brits are at it. They don’t want their school kids feeling bad about themselves for failing, so now they have deferred success. I actually tried to use this term today in my quarterly review. When my manager asked me why I had failed to meet my goals, I explained, “I didn’t fail. I had deferred success.” Apparently, she feels this term will have the same deferred success as I do.

7)Womyn. They want to take the Men out of Women. I’m all for that. I’ve always found lesbianism to be art. However, I know quite a few ladies like the idea of men being in women. Yea, you know who you are!

8) C. E. (Common Era). This is going to replace A.D. (anno Domini, Year of our lord). What in gods name are they not trying to take gods name out of anymore?

9) The general de-Christianization of Christian holidays and making them gender neutral. You get stuff like “God Rest ye Merry Persons” and “Season’s Greetings”. Hey, let the Christians keep their holidays! What’s next, feeding them to lions? Wait a sec…

10) Australian’s not being allowed to use the term “Mate” to address members of parliament. What? No “G’day Mate”! No “Wanna throw some shrimp on the Barbie, mate?”! No “Do ya wanna mate, mate?”! That’s just wrong. What’s next, I can’t refer to the president as, “That Texas Dude”? I believe this one met with deferred success in Australia.

If I was easily offended, I think I might just be offended by the fact that they don’t want me to say, “Some woman teacher failed to teach my child chemistry because women just aren’t good in science. It didn’t help that she spent too much time brainstorming over how to teach about Terrorists and Muslim rioters in Paris in 2005AD. Maybe her hippy political beliefs are a result for the fact that her husband dumped in Australia on Christmas day saying, `Merry Christmas, Mate!’” It’s a good thing I don’t feel that way.

Posted by Contagion at 04:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The dark side of my mind.

Dreams. Some people say dreams speak of a person’s inner desire. Their subconscious creates fantasies of a person’s desires and hopes. Those dreams can be fun, they can be exciting, or they could be erotic. When fear overcomes you subconscious, you could even have nightmares, dreams so bad you wake up in a cold sweat. Occasionally a person’s dreams turn dark, not with fear but with anger and hatred. Some may call this a nightmare or a bad dream, but what if you enjoyed this dark dream? What would you call it then?

Let’s take a look at an example from last night. All names have been changed to protect me.

I’m sitting at Brian’s watching football with our buddies John, Jerry and Chuck. We are having a good time as the game involves teams none of us has a vested interest. There is a knock at the door. Brian answers it and it’s my “friend” Michael. Michael enters and starts talking bullshite about other people, about stuff I like and about anything. Brian, John, Jerry and Chuck are all going along, laughing, and playing it off. Even in my sleep, I can feel/hear my heartbeat accelerate. I’ve had enough of it, I yell at him, “Why don’t you shut the F*ck up? You’re nothing but an ignorant arsehole that only cares about what others can do for you.”

At this point, I stand up. Michael takes a swing at me connecting with my jaw. The blow was hard enough to sit me back down. From a sitting position in the chair, I lunge forward tackling Michael. We wrestle on the floor. We both are landing an equal number of punches. Remembering that I have my Boy Scout knife in my pocket, I try to get it. Dropping my protection, I reach into my pocket, pull it out and open it up with one hand. The whole time Michael is punching away at me. With the blade open, I slice Michael just below his belly button. With knife in hand, I cut into his abdomen. Blood is flowing everywhere, Michael is screaming in pain. The familiar stench of human bowel wafts up from the wound and I work my way up to his rib cage. Slicing through muscle, organ and tissue, I come to my prize. With my arm in his body almost to the shoulder, I can feel his heart beating. Finally letting go of the knife, I grab onto his beating heart and squeeze. With strength that can only come from a deep felt anger and hatred, I grip his heart in my hand.

Michael lets out a gasp and dies. Brian, John, Jerry and Chuck look on stunned. Too shocked to move, to scared to speak. I let go of Michael’s heart, grab my knife and start to pull out my hand. Just then, my “friend” Sara comes through the door. She starts spouting out mean and spiteful statements towards me. As my arm is pulling out, I grab one of Michael’s ribs and break it off. Standing, with Michaels broken rib in my hand, I walk toward Sara. In one fluid motion, like an eagle diving for a kill, I ram the rib into Sara’s left eye, through the bone and into her brain. She dies instantly. Standing there I laugh, I laugh at what I have done. My mirth is bolstered by the stunned looks on Brian, John, Jerry and Chuck’s faces.

Then I wake up, smiling. I think to myself, “That was great.” I realize it was only a dream. It didn’t actually happen. The anger and hatred flood back into me like magma through lava tube. Lying my head down I go back to sleep and have two more similar dreams; one involving the dealership and my truck, the other involving other associates of mine.

In the morning, I contemplate my mental health status. Is this normal to find that much pleasure and comfort in a situation like that? I know I wouldn’t actually do anything like that, but still. The pleasure and satisfaction was overwhelming.

…and no, I did not feel guilty at all.

Posted by Contagion at 12:37 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 17, 2005

Venting 101

I've got a lot of crap going on right now. Some annoying, some life changing. I think I'm hitting my overload stage. I've been mad, righteously pissed if you will, for going on 3 days straight now. From the time I wake up until... well even my dreams are filled with anger.

Each day brings something new, something else that just makes my anger spill over onto those around me. I'm trying so hard to control my temper, but it's getting harder and harder. I'm affraid of what I might do or whom I might hurt with my actions. I would never physically harm someone, but I might mentally or emotionally. Some people deserve it, it's the ones that don't that I'm more worried about. What is more pathetic is that the ones that do deserve it probably think they don't.

That is the way with the world today isn't it? Nobody deserves what happens to them. Me, I believe that everything bad that happens to me, I deserve. Everything good that happend to me was due to luck. Well, I think my luck has run out. I see dark days ahead.

As I sit here, I can feel escape. I can sense it just down the street. The smokey taste of a good scotch. The charcol bitterness of Jack Daniels. The fiery burn of Jose Cuervo and Tobasco. My nostrils are filled with the familiar scent of old friends coming to carry away the problems. My fingers are shaking as I type this. Shaking from anger, shaking from sorrow, shaking from desire. Desire to drown my problems again like I used to so many years ago.

But I can't. I have to think of my boys. My boys don't need to see their daddy like that. They don't need to know daddy used to live out of the bottle. They don't need to see me doing it again. Don't get me wrong, I still drink. I just don't drink anywhere near as much as I used to drink.

My boys are the foundation for any control I have left, which to be honest with you isn't much.

Posted by Contagion at 07:43 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

Contagion VS Dealership Part 2

After yesterday’s fiasco with the dealership, I brought Janine back to them to fix the door. My wife decided to come with to help keep me in check. She has seen me blow up in the past and thought maybe I might need the extra voice of reason today. My wife is smart.

As we pull in Ktreva spots the salesman that sold us Janine and her van. He comes over to say hello and to see how things are going. The first words out of my mouth are, “Andrew, I’m having issue with your service department, AGAIN.” He asks me to wait and he runs to get the Operations Director, Tim. Tim introduces himself and asks how I can help him.

Tim learned a valuable lesson today. Do start a conversation with an open-ended question to a customer you have been warned that is extremely unhappy. You could see the flood of information wash over him. He was swept away in the torrent of displeasure. After I finished my 10-minute dissertation that ended with the statement, “I love your sales department, Andrew is the best. But I will never buy another vehicle from this dealership because of the service department. I’ve contacted General Motors to find the next closest dealership that does warranty work, after my truck is correctly finished I will NOT step foot into this dealership again. I’m also making sure that everyone I meet knows about the problems I’ve had.”

My voice never reached the level of yelling. It didn’t need to. Being a re-enactor, I’ve learned to speak from my diaphragm so that my voice projects clearly. Everyone in that service area knew exactly what had happened and how displeased I was. Other customers were looking at my out of the corner of their eyes. Tim says to me, “Let me look into everything and give us a second chance to make everything right.” Much to his shock my response was, “This was your second chance.”

He walked over to Janine to check out the door. When he walked over to the door, he immediately noticed that it wasn’t sitting properly when closed. It wasn’t lining up with the rear door/front quarter panel. Plus when he opened it, it creaked again! He called over the Service Advisor, Joe, to look at it and he pointed out the problem. This actually gives me some hope that they will fix it correctly this time. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

When I called yesterday, I was told they would have a rental car waiting for me when I arrived. Since I went on my lunch break, and my wife was with me, we had a limited time to get in and out. Well to make matters worse for Tim, the enterprise rental people had left and there was no car waiting for me. They called and paged the guy for 30 minutes and he still hadn’t shown up. My wife was late back from lunch, so she called her supervisor to warn her. I’m salary so if I take a longer lunch, that’s okay. Finally, they asked if they could just drive us to work and have Enterprise drop off a vehicle. Since Ktreva was late, I said yes.

After getting to work, I have a call from the Enterprise rent-a-car agent. They are going to pick me up after work and get me the vehicle. All I know is that I’m getting a GM product. It had better not be a Chevy Aveo.

Posted by Contagion at 04:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Celebrating your tenth wedding anniversary at age 24.

Reading through my normal daily news stuff, I stumbled across this headline: Woman weds teen, spends honeymoon in jail. I knew that reading this was not going to be the best idea, but I couldn’t help but click on the link to read the story. Just like many of you either just did or will in a second. While reading this, two things popped into my head.

The first being, what is with this rash of older women sleeping with teenage boys? When I was a teenager, you never heard of stuff like this. Moreover, some of these women are actually good looking ladies. Can’t they find a man their age? What is the attraction of a teenage boy? It can’t be the financial security or their ability to provide. Think about it. They really have nothing to offer other then awkward teenage sex. Yet these women keep picking them up! Ladies, maybe you can help me understand the mentality there. If anyone has any clue as to why a woman would do this, please fill me in.

I’m not saying that when I was 15 I wouldn’t want some woman using me as her sex toy. I think that is every teenage boys dream. Stuff like this just never happened when I was a kid. This is a relatively new development in the last 10-15 years. If it did happen when I was younger, then the women where much better about keeping it concealed.

The second thing that stuck out to me was this little blurb:

”Under Georgia law, teenagers may marry as long as they are at least 16 and have the permission of a parent or guardian. Those restrictions are waived, however, when a female applicant is pregnant”

Okay… so if Bobby John 14 and Sally Mae 13 get it on and Sally is impregnated, they legally can marry in Georgia? That’s how I’m reading that. Is there a rash of teenage pregnancies in Georgia? I’m not saying that to be mean, I really want to know. When I was in Middle and High School, I remember girls and guys talking about getting married as soon as they turned 18. (You have to be 18 in Illinois). Some of these kids were really stupid; they were even talking about having babies.

In my mind, if this was the law in Illinois, I could see some of these couples talking it over and deciding they can’t wait until they where 16 to get married. They decide that since they want a baby anyway, they will have sex and get the girl pregnant. Some of you are probably thinking I’m exaggerating. No, trust me, I’m not. The four distinct couples I am thinking about I could see doing this. Why? In each case, the girl was pregnant by 15 because she wanted a baby!

If any of you are from Georgia and can answer the question on this law, I would appreciate it.

Posted by Contagion at 12:46 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Behold the cold.


Right now as I look out the window it is snowing. The lovely, cold white specks of crystallized frozen water is falling from the sky. It is slowly gathering in a fine dusting on the grass, pavement and vehicles. Ice is starting to form.

The flakes are twisting and turning as they fall to the ground.

I love it when my minions slip on the ice.

Posted by Contagion at 12:34 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

I Hate Lou Bachrodt Automall.

UPDATE 05/18/06: Since the time of the below written post I have had to take my vehicles back for other repairs. Things have improved, and I no longer have the same issues with this company. See the updated review here.

Orriginal Post:

For those of you that have been around a while, you all know how much I love my truck. When I first bought Janine, I shared with you part of the story as to how I was able to swing the cost of this truck. It all had to do with the Lou Bachrodt Chevy dealership in Rockford Illinois. Their service department sucks in ways most foul. In March of 2004, my wife was involved in an accident. The Chevy Venture we had just bought 7 months earlier looked like it was totaled. BTW, if you are curious as to what a Chevy Venture will do to a Ford Focus, let’s just say that the focus loses with injuries and the Venture my wife walked away from with out a mark. The accident was an off-centered head on.

This incident started the whole ordeal with the service department. The fixed it, we were able to pick it up in late May. When we went to get it, there were problems so we left it for them to correct. They did and a couple of days later we were happy to have our van back. After a couple of days, the ABS lights started coming on. We took it back, they said there was a problem with the assembly and replaced it. We were fine for a couple of weeks when the front wheel started making a funny knocking sound that you could feel through the floor board. We took it back they said one of the supports was bad and they replaced it. A couple of weeks later the brakes are grinding. We take it back. They say the pads and rotors are bad and need replacing. Fine, this was on one of the font wheels that needed replacing in the accident I thought. I pay for new rotors and pads. A month later, the brakes are grinding again. I take it back, and AGAIN they say the pads are bad. Every time we took it back between April and August, they would bill additional to our insurance. Why? They where the ones that didn’t do it right the first time. When our insurance stopped paying, they tried to bill us. That was when I got involved with the billing process. Fortunately, my insurance’s legal department became involved and resolved the issue.

After explaining that they where just replaced, they said sometimes that happens and replaced them for free. A couple of months later the van starts making a funny knocking sound from the front passenger side. We take the van in and drop it off early in the morning. I call them to see what is going on around 1:30PM and they ask me when I’m dropping it off. To say I was a bit annoyed that they lost my vehicle would be an understatement. They find it and say they can’t get it to make the sound when I go back that evening.

A couple of days later the sound is worse. I make an appointment and drop it off. By 9 AM, they call me to say they can’t hear the noise, can I come and see if I can get it to make it. I leave work to go show them how to check for a noise. Upon arrival, I am greeted by my service adviser and a technician. We climb into the van and go for a drive. We aren’t out of the parking lot when I hear the noise, I turn to the tech and say, and “You do hear that right?” He apologizes for bringing me down; he doesn’t know how he missed it. Later that day I’m told the front passenger brake assembly is bad and needed replacing… Wait, wasn’t that just replaced a couple of months earlier? As well with new rotors and pads? YES IT WAS! But they did it for free… So I was okay. It was this time that I noticed they where having a sale on trucks. This got me to thinking that maybe it was time for me to get a new vehicle.

We get the van home and you’ll never guess what. The same noise is there! We call the dealership and tell them we will be dropping the vehicle off on Friday. I’ve finally hit that more then slightly annoyed stage. When I called, I told them that I would be dropping the vehicle off BEFORE 7 AM, as I had to be to work by 7AM. I was told by the same service advisor I had used the three previous visits, Gus Santa Olalla, that he would take care of it. When I dropped off the van, I saw all the trucks there and decided I was going to buy one that day when I picked up the van. When I got to work, I called the sales guy I liked and told him I wanted to buy a vehicle, and set up an appointment with him.

When I hadn’t heard from Gus by 2:00 PM I thought I should call to see what was going on. When I called, he said he was waiting for me to drop off the vehicle. Now I finally lost control of my anger. I explained that I had again dropped it off early that morning. When Ktreva and I had gotten there at 4:00 they had the van in the service bay, and you could tell it had not been looked at. When I went to address my concerns, with my loosely composed self, Gus seemed not to care. He was busy focusing on other issues and customers paper work and just nodding. He didn’t even look at me while I was talking. Finally, I said to him, “Do you just not care about my concerns?” He became defensive, saying he was paying attention and tried to paraphrase what I had said. At this point, I didn’t care; it was the straw that broke the camels back. I told him that I did NOT want his people working on my vehicle anymore and that I will take it somewhere else. I collected the keys and walked into the showroom to tell my sales guy that I no longer was interested in buying a vehicle from his company.

When I tell him why, he asks me to hold on and talk to the GM. That is exactly what I did. After explaining everything the GM said he was sorry, he didn’t want to loose me as a customer and let him look into it while I look at the trucks. He said he would make me a good deal, and he did. It’s amazing how much anger a $12,000 discount cures. Now I didn’t put this in my original tale, but the day I bought it they told me I could take it home that night. I had told them I did not want their service department touching my truck. After the paperwork was done and I was waiting with the GM, a VP and the Financing Manager the Service manager comes in and tells me he can’t let me have it that night. Since it was April 1st, everyone thought he was joking.

Nope while washing the truck, one of his guys slipped and broke the driver side mirror off. It was going to take at least three days to order the part. The GM said he would take a mirror off another truck and put it on mine. (I have the fancy electric expand/retract mirrors for towing) I would be able to pick it up the next day by noon. True to their word, they called me at 10:30 and the truck was ready. They had called in some mechanics on their day off to fix it.

That was seven months ago. Why am I telling you this now? Well the dealership is up to old tricks. I took my truck in because the door wouldn’t open/close properly. They told me it was a simple fix; it probably was just the striker. I told them I didn’t think so, but they insisted. I left Janine with them this morning. When I went to pick her up at 3:30, I was apprehensive. They called and told me it was just the striker that needed adjusting. Fine, but I didn’t think that was going to do it. When I get there, sure enough the door opened and closed just fine. I thought maybe they fixed it, so after initially refusing to sign for it until I had a chance to inspect the vehicle; I went back and signed the paperwork. It didn’t cost me a dime.

All was well until I hit the road. Now it sounds like I’m driving around with my door ajar. Do you know that whistling sound you get when the door isn’t shut all the way or if you have, the window cracked open? That is what it sounds like, I rolled up and down the window a couple of times, and then I opened and shut the door a couple of times. Nope, it sounds open. So now, I have to take it back. I’m having horrible flash backs to the van problems. How many times am I going to have to take my truck back to get it fixed? If it weren’t for the fact it was warranty work I’d take it elsewhere. The problem is that all the GM dealers in Rockford that would do it, are owned by the same company.

Oh, and to make matters worse, they lied to me about the problem. I have the invoice in front of me of what they did. They replaced, completely, the striker AND latch assembly. There is a “charge” for a special order. Since it is warranty work, that means either they are milking General Motors or they really did and pulled it from another vehicle and have to replace that one.

Tomorrow on my lunch, I have to take my truck back and let them work on it again. They had better prey on all that is good and holy in the world they fix it right tomorrow. If they don’t, I’m not sure what kind of unholy hell I will raise.

Posted by Contagion at 07:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

I had a blast, literally.

Graumagus has been whining and complaining about not being able to go shooting for a while now. Just to shut him up our blogless buddy Jay and myself told him we’d go shooting. His crying was really starting to get on my nerves. The man can be such a woman at times. It had nothing to do with the fact that both Jay and I wanted to slay paper targets, really. We hate shooting. We didn’t want to go at all. We went just because we were his friends, and to here him giggle in glee when we said yes was well worth it. Really, would I lie to you? Don’t answer that.

Due to the length of this post, I put the rest in the extended entry.

First Grau tells me to meet him at his father’s house between 9 and 10 in the morning. When I pick up Jay, he tells me that Grau told him not to get there before 10. See, just like a woman, he couldn’t make up his mind. Since I picked Jay up at the crack of 9:00 AM, we had some time to kill. Yea, I wasn’t itching to go shooting. Deciding that we were hungry, we stopped at a restaurant to get breakfast. After we had sat down Jay points out how “redneck” we look. Now I’ll take Jay’s word on this, he is from Missouri (pronounced Miz-zur-a). Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I had to ask him how he came to that conclusion. At which point he points out that we both are wearing flannels, dirty jeans, boots, dirty baseball caps, grimy coats and pulled into the restaurant in a big truck filled with firearms.

You cannot argue that logic.

After breakfast, we meet Grau at his dad’s house. Before we go any further in this tale of humiliation, let me explain that I dig Grau’s dad with big shovels. I’m glad he’s not my father, but for the humor factor, he is a great man. The man believed that I worked for the FBI for years; in fact, he may still believe that. That is why I found it so humorous that he was worried that all the guns were going to be taken by the feds because they were unregistered. You don’t need to register your firearms; Illinois isn’t that strict… yet. Grau and I, in a futile effort, tried to convince him that they didn’t need to be. He was still worried about it, so this is where I pulled my trump card. I told him, “Don’t worry, I have friends in the government still.” I don’t know if he knew I was joking with him or if he believed me, but that was the last we heard about it. When asked what we were going to do with “all these guns”. Grau said we were just doing some target practice. At which point Jay smarts off, “Wait, I thought we were going to annex Canada into Wisconsin!”

As soon as we left, Grau tells me he needs to hit a bank and we needed to get more ammo. Can you really have too much ammo? Don’t answer that, the answer will come to you later in this story. We stop by the local Farm and Fleet. (Yea I know… flannels, firearms, truck and at the fleet.) I tried to convince Grau and Jay we needed more ammo for their guns, but NOOOooooo, we had more then enough. Grau only picked up a box of 25 .44s and a box of 20 .30-30’s. Jay said he had 50 rounds for his .380 and that was enough. Me? I bought an extra 200 rounds of .22. Jay also decided that he didn’t need the big earmuff hearing protection, he would just use the foam inserts. This is a decision that I am sure still haunts him today. While there Grau decided that he needed to get a hat to fit in. What does he decide to buy? A tree camo John Deer hat. Our transformation to the red side is almost complete.

Upon checking out, some older anti-gun hippy chic was working the check out. She wanted to know what we were doing with all the gun “paraphernalia” (They’re bullets lady…). She then told us not to shoot anyone. What the hell?!?!?! I couldn’t help myself when I smarted off, “That takes all the fun out of it.” After we left, Grau told me I should have said, “But they make better responsive targets!”

Next, we had to head to Grau’s bank. He told me that it was on 173. Since Grau lives out in “middle of nowhere” Illinois, I figured that he meant it was off 173 out in his neck of the woods. Thus, I started to head that way. After I’ve already gone the wrong direction he spouts off, “Wait, my bank is the other way.” Did I mention he could be such a girl at times? His waiting until after you are heading the wrong way to tell you such. Apparently, I need to read his mind as well, like a woman. So after going 12 miles out of my way, that’s a whole gallon of gas in my truck, we get to his bank. Now he can’t go through the ATM… no, he has to go in. Flash forward 30 minutes, he finally comes walking out of the bank. Now he tells me I need to take him to Steak and Shake because he’s hungry. At least he can make up his mind when we get there as to what he wants. I was worried that he’d again be a woman and spend 20 minutes deciding whether or not he wanted ketchup on his burger.

Finally, we are on our way. Grau asks if our weapon’s are in cases. I confirm that mine is, Jay pulls out a Crown Royal bag and says, “Yep!” I laughed so hard I almost crashed the truck. There is just something inherently redneck about using a Crown Royal bag as a gun case, leave it to the guy from Missouri to do that.

Upon getting to the range, we hopped out, signed in, and found three spots to shoot. Man did we have fun. The range was nice too. What really impressed me was that the gun club let a local Boy Scout troop set up and sell things like chips, hot dogs, chili, etc. My being a sucker for helping Boy Scouts, I ended up buying a chilidog. It was a nice facility; it even had all weather sections to shoot. We then spent the next 2 hours shooting the following firearms.

Grau’s .44 magnum. This is a big, loud handgun. It kicks, as Grau's said, “Like a rodeo bull with a hornets nest up its arse.” The first ten rounds I put through it, I hated the thing. The second time I tried it, I put 15 rounds through it and it wasn’t as bad. It’s fun to fire, but I doubt I’d ever buy one. Shooting this isn’t as bad as standing next to someone shooting it. Today it looks like I’m freckled really badly on the left side of my face from the powder burns. Grau was to my left and every time he would pull the trigger on that beast, I’d be showered with sparks and burning powder. In addition, it is loud. Jay and some of the other guys that didn’t have good hearing protection are probably still deaf today. The whole way home Jay kept yelling at us when he was talking, he couldn’t tell how loud he was being.

Grau’s .45 Colt 1991. I loved this handgun. Great action, balance, accuracy, it was just a pleasure to shoot. It didn’t kick very hard. I put probably a good 70 of the 150 .45 rounds we brought with down range. We tried to buy some more, but the range was out. That may have been a good thing because I may have bought 200 rounds and made them stay to watch me shoot it. I don’t think Grau realizes how close he came to “losing” that handgun in my truck. There is a good chance I may be adding one of these to my collection in the future.

Grau’s .30-30. This was a nice rifle. The more I shot it, the more I liked it. It wasn’t an instant love affair like the .45 was, but I wouldn’t mind owning one. I think he screwed up the sites on it though; it seemed to be aiming high.

Jay’s .380. I really thought I would hate this thing. It looked like a toy pistol and I haven’t heard a lot of good things about .380s. To my surprise, I actually thought this was a nice little pistol. It didn’t kick; it was light and easy to shoot. I’m thinking that it may be the type of handgun I buy Ktreva when I get her to start shooting.

My .22 Long Rifle. I have a .22 pump action Winchester model 62A in good condition. It was made in 1951 and my father bought it from a farmer in a bar for $20.00 back in the 50’s. It was a fun rifle to shoot. I shot a good cluster with it. The sites must be off, as it seems to aim a little high as well. The funny thing about shooting this gun was the reaction Grau, Jay and I all had when we first fired it. Every one of us thought to ourselves, “Did it shoot?” No kick, no sound, no smoke, we all thought our first couple of rounds were duds. Nope… it’s just a .22LR.

The funniest thing that happened at the range was when I caught some hot brass in the collar of my coat. I had been firing the .45 and they called a cease-fire. One of the shells must have landed on top of my hat, because when I pulled my hearing protection off the casing fell down the back of my coat. Of course, Grau and Jay laughed their arses off as I did the, “GOD THAT’S HOT” dance.

We ended up leaving because we RAN OUT OF AMMO! Well not all of us, I still have 150 rounds of .22 left. I told them they should buy more ammo, I told them. But does anyone listen to me? No! So to answer my earlier question; No, you can never have too much ammo!

After shooting, we stopped at this local bar called Vaj’s Garage. We thought the food was a little pricey… until they delivered it. Good mother of jebus, they don’t use plates, they use platters! The Chili fries were excellent. And for you counting, yes that is the second time that day I had Chili. WHEN we go back, this will be a definite stop afterwards at “The Vaj”. Good food, atmosphere and beer. If they only had nekked Swedish serving girls.

On the way back, it’s about an hour and 15 minute trip, we stopped to get something to drink and use the restroom.. Damn beer. About 15 minutes later, we had this conversation.

Grau, “Hey, stop at the mobile up the street. I’m sorry”

Contagion, “Why?” (Smell hits me) “Good lord! You Mother Farker! *Gag*” (rolls down windows)

Grau, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

Contagion, “We are only 6 blocks from your dad’s, you can hold it.”

Grau, “No I can’t, either stop or you’ll need to have your seats re upholstered.”

Contagion, “Are you telling me you went from not having to shit, to near uncontrollable bowels in less then 15 minutes?!?!?”

Grau, “Yes.”

We pull into the gas station and Grau waddles into the bathroom. Jay and I wait in the truck for no less then 10 minutes, but I think it was closer to 20. Remember Grau can be such a girl. The next thing Jay and I know people are running out of the gas station. One poor individual runs to a pump and starts to hose themselves with Gas. Jay figures the smell was so bad that they would do anything to get it out of their noses. Seeing this, I have the truck started and ready to roll when Grau comes out. He has a smile you only see on a guys face after a good hour of… well you know… ecstasy. We tore out of the gas station before it exploded.

We all had a great time and are already talking about going back in a couple of weeks. Maybe a little “Christmas/Thanksgiving” shoot or something. Next time I’ll have my .357, as I picked it up today.

Go see Grau's version here.

Posted by Contagion at 01:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

Die by my can...

All of us have heard at one time or another that drinking pop will kill you. This may be true, and I found a site to help you figure out how much caffeine is too much.

Go check out Death by Caffeine. "Pop" in your weight, select your favorite caffeinated beverage and see if you are drinking anywhere close to a lethal amount.

Man, it only takes 301 cans of Diet Mountain Dew to kill me. Good thing I barely drink it anymore!

Posted by Contagion at 05:07 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

I think I'm married.

Due to various issues at work, both my wife and I have been working long hours. If one of us isn’t working until 7:00 PM, the other is. To top things off we’ve been working on Saturdays as well. Today I’ve been at work since 6:00 AM, and I wont be able to leave until 3:30 PM at the earliest. Next Saturday my wife has to come in and work at least 5 hours. During the week it doesn’t look like the hours are going to be letting up any either.

Between the long hours, shier exhaustion and the other responsibilities we have; we have not been able to spend more then a couple of waking hours together over the last couple of weeks. I was discussing this with one of my co-workers today and she mentioned she sees her x-husband more then that each week.

This brings me to my question; does this mean my wife and I are now legally separated? If so I need go make sure I grab her back before she realizes her newfound freedom. The last thing I need is her realizing how much better then me she could do.

Posted by Contagion at 02:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I’ve decided to dump some money back into the blogosphere. It’s been good to me and I thought I should return the favor. After some thinking, I decided that I was going to do this by purchasing some blogwear. What do I mean by blogwear? I’m talking about shirts that people use to either promote their blog, support an organization, or just try to make some money. The problem is that there are only a handful of blogs that actually have t-shirts for their blog… in which I am aware.

I know that Blackfive has his shirt.

Harvey has a store of his own. (Does anyone else find it amusing that the name of his shop, Bad Example Goodie Shop, makes the acronym BEGS?)

Dr. Phat Tony also has a little shop set up.

But those are the only ones that I A) know of, 2) Read 4) like.

What am I going to do with all these shirts? Well I can be blog fashionable at blogmeets. Maybe I can promote blogging while shopping in local stores. Mostly I’ll probably wear them to exercise in so I don’t funk up my good shirts. Hey, what do you care? After I paid for it, it’s mine and I could use it to dust my furniture! You get the money either way.

If any of you out there have a little “swag” shop set up, and I missed it on your side bar, let me know.

Posted by Contagion at 12:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

Throwing hot lead.

Grau has been talking/posting about going shooting for a while now. With approval from Ktreva, I told him yes, hell yes I want to go. What healthy red-blooded male would not want to go shred paper by throwing high velocity wads of led at it?

Normally I only shoot primitive black powder. (That’s a flintlock to those not familiar with them). I own a couple of .22 long rifles. Okay, by a couple I mean five. But I haven’t had anything else in years. Just because of the kids, my wife’s discomfort of modern firearms and no justifiable need for one. Well other then I really, really wanted one.

That changed today. While at a local sporting goods a couple months back I saw they had a .357 magnum. I asked the guy working the counter if I could look at it. I liked it, nice feel, good grip and nice balance. In all this talk of shooting, I decided I was going to buy it. Dreams sometimes just aren’t meant to come true. Upon arrival at the store, they had sold it and had no more in stock. The only other .357 they had I didn’t like. Reserved to not buying the handgun, I purchased some .22 rounds and my hearing protection. On my way to pick up clone, I saw another sporting goods store. Something inside me told my brain I should just stop and look. What was it going to hurt?

I walk up to the counter and they have 7 different .357s on display. Looking through the case I didn’t really see one I liked. Then, in the corner of the case in an area kind of hard to see I saw it. Not just and .357, but the .357 I had wanted since I was in College. A stainless steel Taurus 7 round .357 revolver with a 6 ½ inch barrel It weighs 40 oz and is 10 ¾ inches overall in length. I thought to myself, the last time I looked at one of these, the store was asking around $500.00 for it. That was a bit more then I wanted to drop on a revolver that day. They had it on sale for a great price $279.00.

Faster then my brain could register, I pointed to the revolver and said to the guy behind the counter, “Me buy that.” Yes, that is exactly what I said. He pulled it out, removed the trigger lock and handed it to me. It fit in my hand perfectly. Looking up, I tell the guy, “This is the one I want, I’ll take it.” (I was much more eloquent when my brain wasn’t in shock.)

Here she is:

The only problem is that due to Illinois law I can’t pick it up until Monday. That means I wont have it for this weekend. The nice thing with the .357 is that if Ktreva wants to shoot it, to help her get over her fear of firearms, I can put the lighter .38 special round in it.

Posted by Contagion at 04:57 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Sharing the blood.

Today was the bi-monthly blood drive at work. YEE-HA! (Seriously, I’m not a redneck… I just hang out with a bunch of them.) I love giving blood, almost to a point that it is creepy. Oh, who am I kidding… it’s just down right creepy. I get giddy and happy. I start singing stupid songs from the Monkeys and the Bee Gees. My minions at work start to get worried. To quote one, “Isn’t this a sign of the apocalypse?” What a way to start the day, all the minions are in extra paranoid mode because I’m smiling, singing happy songs and have a little skip to my step. (See I’m not a redneck!)

Then the time came to give blood. I’m sitting in the booth while they ask me questions, check my blood pressure, and make sure my blood is good. When the nurse went to stick my finger, she asked me if I had a finger I preferred. She turned her back to get something, when she turned around, I’m holding out all ten fingers. With a smirk I respond, “One of these please.” She just laughed it off and grabbed the closest finger to prick. One of the questions they ask is, “Have you ever paid or received money for sex?” Being in such a good mood my tact switch was stuck in off and I just blurted out, “No, but if you’re offering….” She almost fell out of the chair laughing. I was her first customer of the day and she told me it’s always nice to start with someone that has a sense of humor.

When she was finished with me, and I collected my $20.00, she passed me off to the next nurse. This one was going to actually take my blood. She seemed to be in bad mood… until I came along. Everyone loves Contagion! (When it’s not work related) First question she asks me is, “Any allergies to latex?” You know where this is going, if you don’t then you must be new to this blog. “Nope, I love latex… do you have preformed or the paintable kind?” The nurse looked and gave me one of those knowing/naughty smirks. Ahhh… hit the nail on the head.

I’ve always had problems when I give blood, well not me as much as the nurses do. No, it has nothing to do with my incessant harassment! It has to do with the fact I have deep rubbery veins. They have a hard time getting them the first try. I warn the nurse about this, just as a precaution. She assures me she won’t have any problems. She grabs a needle, and is getting ready to insert it. I ask her, “Do you have a bigger needle?” She looks at me with concerns and asks if I’m nervous. With my biggest mischievous grin, I respond, “No, I just always thought bigger was better.” She started laughing… which in hind site may not be a good thing as she was about to jab a needle in my arm.

She tells me it’s okay to look away. “Nope, I like to watch.” I say dripping with double entendre. I think she almost slipped while inserting the needle when I said that. One would think that I would learn my lesson… but I don’t. The needle went in on the first try. When I remarked on how well she did, she responded with, “All you have to do is hold it gently, yet pull firmly until it straightens. Once I have you where I want you, I just slide it in.” Grinning like a schoolboy, “You have a very lucky boyfriend.” She turned a very interesting shade of red while she was laughing.

We get talking and joking about some of their worst patients. Then the machine tells her I’m done, I’ve given my pint. I try to get her to take a second pint. Telling her, “Look, I’m a big guy. I have extra blood! Hell, I’ve lost more then two pints from a minor head wound and was okay… minus the concussion.” By this time all the nurses on the bus where laughing and joking with me.

As I’m getting ready to leave, they remind me to eat something and “… drink a lot all day.” Whipping around I look at them and smart off, “Oh don’t think I won’t! Especially since you gave me permission to. Might not make my manager or wife happy, but I’m just following the nurses orders. It’s easier to get drunk after giving blood!” The nurses are rolling their eyes and giggling. Apparently, I haven’t lost that old college charm… yet.

Getting back into the office, I’m still smiles and laughs. I’m joking with people and just having a good time. Two of my minions speculate that the reason I’m happier and nicer after I give blood is that they drain away the evil.

I just like giving blood; I like the idea that with one pint I could save up to three lives. The feeling that I did something good and helped others is satisfying. Then again, maybe it’s the fact that I know my blood may be out there slowly converting others into minions of mine. Seriously though, if you haven’t given blood or don’t, you should look into it. It takes no more then maybe an hour out of your day, it doesn’t cost you anything and you are saving lives. Plus the free cookies aren’t bad.

Posted by Contagion at 12:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

For all the Veteran's.

To all the men and women in the armed forces;

To all of those that have served in the past.

Through peace and war, foreign and domestic, you have always been there when your country has called.

To all of you I say Thank You.

Thank you for protecting my family, my friends and myself.

Thank you for defending my lifestyle and freedoms.

Thank you for all that you have done.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

Posted by Contagion at 06:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

I'm against Home Rule in Rockford!

In an earlier post on how I was against home rule in Rockford, IL I went into some of the biggest cons of going into home rule. Over at Fix Home Rule they have a better breakdown and examples of how Home Rule, especially in Illinois, does not work.

Also, a small free paper called the Rock River Times has an easy to follow breakdown of what some of the possible abuses a government can do under home rule.

The more I read about it and the probable possible abuses that can be perpetrated legally by politicians, the more I find myself against it. I’ve actually taken to publicly speaking out against it in various forums. I just hope that the other citizens of Rockford realize the dangers before they turn over their only form of checks and balances to power hungry politicians.

If you want to see the rest of my posts on Home Rule in Rockford, Illinois, Click Here.

BTW anyone that would be so kind as to assist me in spreading the word, please link to this post. If, like most people, you just search for "Home Rule Rockford" all you get is pro-home rule sites.

Posted by Contagion at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Say cheese!

Last night Ktreva (my wife) and I took the boys for our annual family photo. Every November we get a new family picture taken. At the same time, we have pictures taken for our family Christmas cards. Since our first years together, we have always done photo Christmas cards. They are more personalized and the people can keep the picture if they want.

Since Clone is two and a half, this is his third time having a family photo. When he was only 6 months old, he was fine. All he had to do was lay there. Since he pretty much just slept, there was no problem with him posing. I don’t think anyone expects a great family photo involving a 6 month old. If they do, they never had kids.

The next year, when Clone was 18 months, we had problems. He did not want to cooperate at all. He would refuse to sit still, cry and scream. The photographer we had was a patient individual, but you could tell she was starting to be frazzled from the whole situation. None of the pictures where turning out all that good. Finally, the photographer was able to get Clone to settle down and smile on three different poses. It only took 45 minutes.

This year was the exact opposite. Clone, in a trait that is definitely not like me, loved having his picture taken. The photographer would tell him to say “cheese” and he would repeat it over and over. After the first picture, even before the photographer said anything he would start yelling out “cheese!” He sat still and did an excellent job of cooperating. He even tried to help the photographer rearrange the studio for different backdrops and poses just so he could have his picture taken again.

It was Boopie and myself that were the problems this year.

Boopie has been going through this ritual for the last 8 years, plus all the other photo’s he has had taken. This year he just could not keep from looking at the stupid monitor to see what the photo would look like. Finally, the photographer would get a picture where everyone looked good, except Boopie’s eyes would be glancing to the side to look at the monitor in anticipation of seeing the photo. This happened a good dozen times.

When it wasn’t Boopie looking off to the monitor, it was my stupid glasses. I’ve worn glasses since I was in kindergarten. Every year I had school photos, family photos, sports photos, etc. In every one, I was wearing glasses. I know how to hold my head so the flash doesn’t reflect off them. Not this year, this year I had a mental meltdown. I would hold my head normally and when the flash would go off, there was a big reflection of the flash covering part of my face. We had at least four photos that would have been perfect if I had tilted my head down just a little.

The boys were great and very well behaved. I only had to get on their case once, and that was when we were trying to check out. The ladies behind the counter where having difficulties with the checkout system. It took longer to check out then to have the photo’s taken. Both boys had enough waiting and wanted to get on to other things… like dinner and playing. They started to get a little loud and rambunctious. I kept telling them to settle down. There would be a moment or two of quiet and then they would start up again. This forced me to use my “mad dad, you’re really in trouble voice”. I remember what it was like to be a boy at these photo shoots. They are boring and you just want to go do something else. Both boys were just trying to entertain themselves. That does not excuse them from being little hellions.

All in all, it was a good shoot, the boys where cooperative and well behaved on the most part, and we should have our Christmas cards in about a week!

Posted by Contagion at 04:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is it bad to make money?

Oil Company Execs Defend Profits to Senate. Just reading that headline pissed me off more then I could fathom. Does the government not have something more important to look into? Wait, this involves money so of course they don’t. No matter what anyone tries to tell me, I have seen no proof in the last 12 years to prove that not all politicians are into politics just to make money for themselves and to spend mine for me.

So the oil companies made a huge increase in earnings?

ConocoPhilips earned $3.8 billion in the third quarter, an 89 percent increase over a year earlier. But Mulva (exec for ConocoPhilips) said that represents only a 7.7 percent profit margin.***”

*** Emphasis mine.

If I did my math correctly, that is a profit margin of $292.6 million dollars. Good for them and their stockholders! Since when is it wrong to make a profit in America? I thought that was the point of our society, the ability to work hard and make money. There are accusations that there was price gauging after Katrina and Rita to make this money. The companies are claiming they raised the prices to help reduce the length of time and the severity of oil shortages. I believe it was a little bit of both. I can picture an oil exec wondering what to do with the impending shortage of oil and deciding to raise the price. When the American public continued to pay the inflated prices, they just continued to let it sore.

Over the last two and a half months, I’ve had people ask me about my nonchalant attitude towards gas prices. While others where up in arms complaining about it, I just sat back and rolled with it. When others would complain how much it cost them to fill their tanks, I would think about my next oil change. How can I be like that? Simple, if I can’t afford to pay $3.75 a gallon, then I don’t drive… as much. Remember people, my vehicle gets 12 miles to the gallon. I thought about the gas mileage when I purchased it and said to myself, “If I can’t afford the maintenance/upkeep on this vehicle, then I can’t afford to buy it.” I knew what I was walking into. Okay, I didn’t know gas would rocket over $3.00 a gallon. Not everyone thinks like that? Tough. The poor didn’t buy a new car, right, but they didn’t need that 8-cylinder gas-guzzler either.

If the gas companies can get Americans to purchase gas at $3.75 a gallon, then I say let them charge $3.80! When the price of gas rises above what a reasonable person is willing to pay, the amount of gas purchased will drop. It’s supply and demand in action. Someone needs to explain to me why this is wrong other then, “The poor can’t afford to drive.” Hey, I’m not exactly rich, both my wife and I work to eek out a living. If they can’t afford gas, then maybe they need to look into cutting expenses elsewhere, cut back on driving or maybe start carpooling.

This leads me right into the next issue I have with this whole thing:

”Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers have suggested that oil companies should funnel some of their earnings to supplement a federal program that helps low-income*** households pay heating bills”

*** Once again emphasis mine

What you talking about Willis?! First off, if the government did decide to step in and prove that capitalism is bad, instead of doing something that benefits everyone, they are going to do something that benefits only a portion of the public. It’s nice to know that the lawmakers are thinking about all of the American public. Why is it that I highly doubt that most of the profits these oil companies made came from low-income households? Actually, I’m pretty sure that it’s those of us that have the bigger vehicles or do a lot of driving, and continued to do so after the prices rose, that those profits stemmed from.

This is bullshit! I am taxed to pay for welfare, Medicare, social programs, and social security. Then I’m basically forced to donate to charities at work. This is on top of my actually donating money freely to numerous charity organizations of my own free will. Yet, now they want to take the money that they say was wrongfully taken from me by the oil companies and instead of giving it back to me, they want to give it to someone else?

What the hell kind of restitution is that? That would be like having someone break into my house, steal my stuff and instead of my insurance paying me, they give it to the family down the street where dad hasn’t held a job for more then 3 weeks over the last 10 years. Why would they do that? “Because I have a job and can afford to buy new stuff and he is underprivileged.” That is essentially what the government is telling those that don’t qualify for these programs.

If the feds actually feel the need to do something about the oil companies, why not do something that would benefit everyone? Maybe instead of fining oil companies they should have them reduce the price at the pumps by so much over a period of time. This way those that actually paid for the profits can receive some of their “stolen” money back.

Some of you might think I’m being insensitive to the underprivileged. To those of you that believe that; I say, “Gum nudge my left testicle.” I worked hard to go to college, get an education and work my way up in a company that doesn’t appreciate anything I do… yet pays me decently. Others can do the same… and should have.

So what do you think about this whole thing? Discuss this over lunch and get back to me.

Posted by Contagion at 12:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 09, 2005

I didn't want to go there anyway.

It appears that imitative 901 passed in the state of Washington. This is the law I was complaining about in an earlier post. What the passing of this law tells me is two things:

1) The people in the state of Washington don’t feel that I am mature enough to make my own decisions. Smokers aren’t smart enough to quit and Non-smokers aren’t smart enough to stay away from smokers.

2) The state of Washington is now on my list of places I never want to visit. It joins the super happy fun cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, any place in South or Central America and all third world countries.

Posted by Contagion at 12:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Way to go Andy!

Others have been talking about the Terrell Owens situation in Philadelphia. I agree with everything they said, yet I was compelled to add my two cents.

I applaud Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles for the way they are handling T O. A four game suspension, including last weeks game versus Washington, and then they are planning to deactivate him for the rest of the season. By deactivating him, that prevents another team from picking him up. That also means they have to pay him for the rest of the season, outside the games he is suspended. Why would they do that? Two words: Salary Cap. With the signing bonus, if they released him now it would go all to this and next years salary cap. That more then likely would put the Eagles over the top and then they would have the penalties for it. By keeping him, yet deactivating him, it’s actually cheaper on their salary cap to do it that way. Moreover, they can try to trade him to another team so they could take some of that salary cap hit after the season is over.

Personally, I like the idea just because he can’t play then. He has always given me the impression of a man who only is interested in himself, fame and money. To me it seemed he would do anything to get media attention, either stupid stunts or shooting his mouth off in press conferences. Instead of relying on his talent, which to be honest he is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, he relied on controversy to get him into the spotlight. Every time I saw a press conference involving him, I saw a man that would promote himself and slander his teammates. By taking him off the field, they have removed him almost completely from the spotlight. There will be no announcers talking about how many touchdowns he made in a game, no analysis talking about how effective he was last weekend. More importantly no pre or post game interviews. You are hitting him where it hurts the most.

Players like T O are nothing more then a cancer to their teams. Football is a team sport. Guys like this don’t bring anything to the team. They actually eat away at the camaraderie, the unity, the morale and the goals of a team. Could you work with a person that continually bad mouths you, tries to grab the spotlight for themselves, and gets in your face when things don’t go their way? I know I can’t. The only way to get rid of a cancer like this is to cut it out. That is exactly what Andy Reid and the Eagles did. They realized this player is doing more to hurt the team then to help it. In a show of class, they decided they were not going to put up with his antics anymore. Good job guys, good job!

There are other primadonna football players out there beside TO. How I would love to see every team handle them in the same manner. That won’t happen, but it would be nice. I know that as soon as the Eagles release TO or start to trade him around, another team will pick him up.

Rumor has it that the Green Bay Packers are one of the leading contenders to work a trade for T O. I’ve heard this from three different sources, none of them confirmed from a reliable source. I pray this is just a rumor and not true. Many fans would rather suffer a 5-year losing streak then to have this cancer on our team. Actually, I don’t think this rumor can be true, why? Because of salary cap reasons. Green Bay just cannot afford to pay him his contract under their dangerously tight salary cap as it is.

Posted by Contagion at 12:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

What's next, outlawing alcohol?

It must be “tell me how to live my life” day. First over at Technicalities we have a fisking of a campaign to keep people from eating hamburgers. Then I find this article about how Washington State is trying to pass the most stringent anti-smoking ban in the US.

How stringent is this ban? Check this out:

“Initiative 901 would ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other indoor public sites and workplaces throughout Washington. It also would prohibit smoking within 25 feet of doors, windows or air vents of public places."

***Emphasis mine

It’s bad enough you want to take smoking away in bars… but to make these poor people exercise walk what could end up being blocks in a city is just mean!

25 Feet from a door, window or air vent?!?!?! WTF? Maybe you don’t smoke, but maybe you have a friend who does. You all go out for a night on the town. After a couple of drinks, your friend decides he wants a cigarette. Wait… He can’t smoke in here because of the law. They head outside, only to be reminded they can’t just stand outside the door. They have to be 25 feet away from doors, windows (open I’m assuming or it makes this scenario even worse) or air vents. Now your friend goes walking looking for somewhere to grab a cigarette. Everywhere he turns, there is a door, window or air vent. After thirty minutes, he gets irritated and lights up anyway, only to get a fine/ticket/arrested for smoking. Hopefully by now you are wondering where the hell your friend is and go to find him. Both of you end up losing a good hour out of your night because of this BS.

Maybe you’re a non-smoker and your saying: “Contagion, he should just quit smoking. This will help motivate him to quit.” To which I respond, “Why don’t you get off your high horse and quit thinking your better then other people.” Why should he have to quit? He likes smoking, he knows the risk, (Hell since the 80’s everyone knows smoking is bad for you.) why should he have to quit? Because you don’t like second hand smoke… Ahhh, well now I understand. Since you can’t stay the hell out of a bar or restaurant that allows smokers, the smokers should be punished. Got it… dumbass.

Okay, I’m a smoker. I know it’s bad for me, I know it is slowly killing me. I don’t care. It’s my choice. Maybe I want to drink, eat red meat, smoke and die a slow happy death. I know the risks and I’m a big boy, let me make the decision for myself. When other people try to take away peoples ability to smoke, it makes me want to smoke even more… Just because I know it pisses someone off!

Hey, I’m afraid every time a loved one or I gets behind the wheel of a car they will be in a horrible maiming accident caused my a reckless driver. Maybe I should lobby to have cars outlawed since I’m worried someone might hurt my family or me. I can disguise it as a bill to help the environment and promote safety. Okay, I’m going to extremes, but I rank both scenarios as being on the same page.

I always felt it should be up to the individual business to determine if they allow smoking or not. It should not be the government dictating to the business not to allow people to smoke there. If Joe’s bar doesn’t allow smoking, then I don’t go there, I’ll go to John’s bar that allows it. For people that don’t smoke, they can go to Joe’s bar. If a non-smoker wants to hang out with the smoker, one will have to compromise.

Posted as part of Breakfast.

Posted by Contagion at 07:47 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

But its quicker and easier!

Sometimes I swear my company does stuff just to make the employee’s lives difficult. At the beginning of September, we switched to an electronic/online system for reimbursement of work related expenses. This covers things like travel, conferences, client meetings, etc. The old system all you had to do was fill out a form, attach your receipts and give to your manager for signing. Then the manager would send it to the reimbursement department. In about 2-3 weeks, you would get a check for the amount submitted. It was relatively easy to use and you had a definite period for reimbursement.

This new system has complicated the process to the point of annoyance. Now you have to go online through their very user-unfriendly system called Concur. Then you have to create an expense report AND an itinerary if you traveled. If you used your company card, you need to wait until the expenses show up in the system before you can put in for reimbursement. Once gone through all that, adding each line and correcting all the mistakes that the auto transfer system makes you can “submit” it. What they mean is that it sends an electronic signature to your manager, and then it prints a copy for you to fax to another office.

Putting it like that makes it sound not so bad, IF IT WORKED! I went to Texas October 17 through the 21st. I paid for EVERYTHING with my corporate card. The items never showed up in Concur like they where supposed to. Every time I asked someone about it, they told me, just wait it can take some time. So I waited and checked every couple of days. Yesterday I received a Bill from the Corp Card company wanting payment. When I came into work today, my charges STILL were not showing. To say I was irritated would be an understatement. When I contacted the help department, I received the same song and dance. This time however I refused to listen to them and explained; It’s been over 2 weeks and nothing has showed up, yet I have a bill to pay the card. Now someone says, well it must not have transferred, lets look at it. Sure enough, it didn’t transfer properly and I have to manually transfer the charges.

Then when we first switched to this system, I was told that if you paid on your corporate card, you don’t need receipts. The system will accept what is received from the card company as proof of payment. Okay! That makes sense; they already have the charges on the card and can see from where the charge originated. Why would they need another receipt? Well once again, I was misled. Nope, if you have purchases for meals or taxi/limos/car services you still need a receipt. Now, it is looking like I’m going to be stuck with paying close to $100.00 out of my pocket, because I don’t have those receipts. I had them when I came back from my trip, but was told, “You don’t need them”. To the best of my memory, I believe I threw them out. That was AFTER I was told I didn’t need them because I used my corporate card!

Everyone that I have talked to that uses this new system hates it. They all have the same complaints and have run across the same problems, including the receipt issue. One person I talked to is still waiting for reimbursement from a trip they took back in September!

Under the old system, I would have submitted my form the day I returned and would have received payment by this Friday at the latest. With this new system, I may not get reimbursement until… ever

Posted by Contagion at 02:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I'm not really a redneck.

In the comments about the Blogger playing cards. Shadoglare decided that it would be cool to make blogger cards based on Magic: The Gathering. Apparently I don’t work him hard enough as he actually had time to go home and make some mock ups of Grau and myself… Yes, that is a bottle of Jack Daniels in my hand and a cowboy hat on my head.

…It’s a long story… a very long story… And no I’m not sharing it!

Posted by Contagion at 08:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

Jokers Wild!

Aaron is putting together a deck of Blogger Trading Cards. He’s looking for nominations for various bloggers to be in the deck. I’m not going to repost all his rules and regulations, if you want to know what they are go check out his post.

The question is do I nominate someone or multiples and who and why? That is a tough question, because anyone I regularly visit I feel deserves a nomination for various reasons. (Content, personality, assistance, etc) Nevertheless, I’m not going to nominate everyone. However, I am going to nominate three people. Why three? Why not… do I have to explain everything I do? You’re not my wife! (Unless Ktreva is reading, this and I’ll explain to you later) Just chalk it up to the fact that I like the number 3.

Here I go.

First, I nominate Graumagus of Frizzen Sparks for Spades. His Retrosexual code alone warrants him a nomination. His wit, that has been turned into chain letters and even hit various media outlets, would be enough to earn such a nomination. Throw in the fact that when he’s not trying to kill himself through sleep deprivation, and actually posts, he’s a pretty funny guy. That locks in my vote.

Secondly, I nominate Ogre of Ogre’s Politics and Views for Diamonds. I’m not sure if he even would want his own playing card but I’m nominating him anyway. Whenever I ask him for assistance or e-mail him a question, he promptly responds and assists me. Sometimes I wonder why the hell he stays in North Carolina with all of his posts. Anyone that can put up with the Carolina political problems and all of my questions deserves a nomination. Plus as his Thrall I believe I’m obligated to.

Thirdly, I nominate CalTechGirl of Not Exactly Rocket Science for Hearts. And not because she was begging for a nomination. Every time I’ve asked for technical help with code or with my blog, she has stepped up and tried to assist. My side bar very easily could have said I was a Thrall of hers if Ogre hadn’t beaten her to the punch. She’s even given advice on personal issues I’ve posted in the past. That and if I didn’t nominate one female I’m sure someone would label me a sexist. (That’s a joke CTG… Don’t hurt me!)

There you go my three nominees. As I said above, if I could I would nominate everyone on my side bar. A lot of you deserve it for various reasons, so please no hate mails/comments about how much I suck because I didn’t nominate you. However, if you really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really want to know why I choose those three over you, go ahead and e-mail me. I’ll be more then happy to lie to you! :)

Myself, personally… I don’t think I could qualify as the instruction card!

UPDATE: I added the suites for each person per this post over at aarons.

Posted by Contagion at 01:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

"My boobs, they are nice. Yes?"

This blog was part started as an outlet for various things; it seems as late it’s become an outlet for my frustration about people. Today I have another issue that has been bugging me about people apparent lack of common sense.

Guys, how many times have we heard a woman say she doesn’t like it when a guy is looking at their chest or behind? It seems to be a common complaint, and I agree that when talking to a woman one should look her in the eye. Some women don’t like to be “checked out” at all. They get upset if they find some guy giving them the once over.

Fine, that is their right. I’m not going to tell you not to wear clothing that compliments the shape of your body. It doesn’t matter because people will look anyway even if you wear a baggy t-shirt and frumpy sweat pants. Women are catty and guys just check everything out. Guys, you can deny it, but you know it’s true.

Just don’t wear something that forces the human eye to look at your chest or backside.If I’m not talking about figure enhancing cloths, then what am I talking about? Simple, shirts and pants with words on it. Over the last 6 months, I’ve noticed the trend of females wearing shirts that have phrases or logos right across their chest. They also wear pants that have logos right across their butts (usually sweat pants/shorts). If you don’t want people looking at your chest or ass, don’t wear items like that.

The human eye naturally is drawn to lettering to read it. It’s like a sign. I know personally I’ll see someone with a t-shirt that has writing on it, and with out thinking, I just start reading what it says. This gives the appearance that I am staring at their chest. No, I’m reading their shirt. When walking through the mall I see a girl wearing shorts that says something written across their butt. Before I can even think about it, I’ve read what was written, and to be honest in some cases I wish I hadn’t.

Not just guys do this either, women read what is front of them as well. Just the other morning I was at a restaurant with my wife. A girl came in wearing a white sweat suit. (BTW, what ever happened to proper dress when leaving the house? A sweat suit is not appropriate to go to a sit down restaurant.). After she walks by Ktreva says to me, “One should not wear turquoise underwear with a white pants.” I had no idea what she was talking about, so I reply with a “huh?” She tells me that the girl that walked by is wearing turquoise underwear under her white sweat suit.

Now here I am thinking my wife is displaying some lesbian traits and is checking out girls as they walk by. Fantasy time! Smirking, I ask her how she knows. She responds that as the girl walked by she looked up and she had “Abercrombie” across her butt, when she read it she could see the underwear. Fantasy denied! But it enforced the fact that if there is writing, humans will read it.

The manufacturers of these clothes know and understand that. They put the lettering and logos in those places for a reason, to help draw the eye there. This is fine if you accept and don’t mind people staring at our chest or bottom. If you mind, don’t wear clothes that have it. If you do mind and wear clothes like that, don’t get mad at me if I “read” what you are advertising. In addition, don’t wear the shirt that says, “Don’t look at my chest”, by the time everyone is done reading it, it’s too late.

Posted by Contagion at 12:49 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack


Eric of Straight White Guy is talking about cars he’s owned over the span of his life. This had me thinking back to the various vehicles I’ve owned in my 16 years as a driver. Originally, I was going to put a comment on his regarding them, but it was going to be so long I felt a post would be better.

1) An 83 Pontiac Phoenix, AKA The Phoeni AKA Death Trap. This was the first vehicle I owned for more then 7 days. (I had a cheap Buick I was given that had an 8 cylinder engine, but I swear only 3 worked) I owned this vehicle from September of 89 through December of 94. I put over 100,000 miles on it in that time. When I was in high school, my friends and I would hop in it and drive everywhere. It went all over Illinois and Wisconsin. It also once made a trip to Washington DC. It had its issues, hell I could dedicate a blog to stories involving this car. It was this vehicle that convinced me that Pontiac is French for “That damn ticking noise”. For some reason the vehicle always made a ticking noise… even when it wasn’t running. Every other Pontiac I’ve been around does something very similar.

One time I was driving it down a busy four-lane street when I see a tire rolling along side the road, part of the wheel assembly and all. Right as I thought to myself, “Where did that come from?” The Phoenix tips forward and I start a spin. Jumping the median, I miss an oncoming Semi by inches. After pealing my fingers off the steering wheel, I realize that was my wheel, part of axel and all. I took it to the local dealership because the service manager is a friend of my fathers. They have a mechanic fix it. When I go to pick it up the guy asks me how much I’m going to be asking for it. I had no plans on selling it; I couldn’t afford another car. When I told him that the mechanic looks at me and incredulously says, “You’re going to drive this thing?!?!?! It’s a death trap!” Hence the nick name. BTW, this happened in 1991.

Other mechanical anomalies with her include a Teflon steering gear was worn down and sometimes you could turn the wheel and the vehicle would not turn. When you straightened the wheel sometimes, it would catch and then the vehicle would turn. (This is real fun when it happens on a curvy road alongside a river such as Illinois 2) At the end of its life, it ran better with NO coolant or oil in it. If you put some in, it would sputter, loose power or stall out until it burned it all off. If you’ve seen the movie Uncle Buck, his car had nothing on the smoke the Phoeni would produce when it was burning off oil/coolant.

It was dubbed the Phoeni by a friend of mine one year when he noticed that while backing into the garage I had scraped the car on the garage door breaking off the X on Phoenix. That left the marking as “Phoeni”.

I finally got rid of the vehicle when it committed suicide. On the way to an interview, it had finally decided it had led enough of a life and threw its timing chain onto the road. It was now more expensive to repair the vehicle then to replace it.

2) 1983 Ford Fairmont. This vehicle was the only one I could afford. I owned it from June of 95 until December of 96. This was the first Ford I owned and I hated it. It was a POS. The Heating/Cooling system had three settings; Off, Deep Freeze and Blast Furnace. When the AC was on, unless you kept your foot on the gas, if the vehicle was stopped it would stall out. I was watching Boopie for my wife (before we were married), and I took him through a car wash. It was the summer and very hot. While in the car wash, I turned on the AC so we wouldn’t bake. At one point, I turned to check on Boopie in the back seat. He was sitting there, teeth chattering and blue lipped fascinated by the car wash. The AC was set on low.

One time Grau and I went to Menards to buy something for a project we were working on at his place. As we were driving back, the Check Engine light came on. We were out in the country and there was a gas station a couple of miles up the road. I was wondering if we could make it to the gas station, when I started to ask Grau “Do you think we could….” (BOOM!) The engine explodes… well not really, a hose on it exploded. Between the light going on until explosion, the amount of time to say, “Do you think we could…” The thermostat on it was stuck open causing the engine to over heat (There where no temp gages, just dummy lights). The pressure built so much that by the time the light came on, it caused the hose to explode.

This vehicle also committed suicide on me on the way to work in December. Again, the thermostat stuck open and caused the engine to overheat. This time however, there was no dummy light to come on, the engine just seized. There I was in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, a coworker came by and gave me a ride to and from work. The vehicle was beyond repair.

3) 1996 Ford Ranger (December 96 until April 2005) AKA Lucille. I loved this little truck. It was my first Brand New vehicle. If I were going to buy another compact truck, I would get a Ranger. In the 9 years I owned her, I never had a mechanical problem with it.

4) 1995 Ford Contour SE (April 99 to August 2003, Wife’s car). This is the last Ford car I will own. Ford engineering on their cars suck and this one was supposed to be one of there best ones. On our vacation from hell, this car broke down in Merrillville, Indiana. Apparently, Ford thought a plastic fan on the water pump was a good idea. I however disagree, because when the fan breaks sending plastic chunks through the engine costing me a lot of trouble and money to get fixed, plus a stay in the ever so lovely (note sarcasm) Merrillville.

5) 1998 Chevy Venture (August 2003 to present, Wife’s Vehicle). This is a rugged minivan. My wife walked away from a head on collision with out a mark on her. We’ve had no complaints about the van itself… just the dealership that can’t seem to fix it properly after the accident.

6) 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4X4 (April 2005 to present) AKA Janine. Even though my Ranger was in perfect working order, I needed a second vehicle that could carry the kids. With re-enacting, I also needed a bigger vehicle to carry the equipment. This truck fits both bills. I have the club cab so the kids can ride, as well as the extended bed for extra cargo space. I love this truck. At this point, I’ve had no problems with her and she’s worked better then I anticipated for our needs.

That is it, every vehicle I’ve owned.

Posted by Contagion at 12:41 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 05, 2005

Hey, do you have a smoke I can bum?

Here is a little something to ponder on a Saturday. Everyone knows at least one smoker. They are either a friend, co-worker, relative or an acquaintance. What you might not know is what kind of smoker they are or how they started smoking. Do they casually smoke; only smoke at work or are they a two pack a day chimney?

Over at College Humor they have a breakdown of the different kind of smokers. Now this is far from being a complete list, but for the four categories they have, it’s pretty close to accurate. I know myself I have bounced back and forth between the Conditional Smoker and the Unconditional Smoker… Except I buy my own packs of cigarettes… now. Currently I’m a slightly more involved Unconditional Smoker… A pack will last me 3-4 days. Unless I’m drinking, then a pack might last 6 hours.

I’ve been known to go weeks with out smoking, only to bum one off of a friend or to buy a pack because I know I’m going to end up smoking and don’t want to be a mooch.

Some of you are probably thinking, “He should just quit.” All I have to say to that is: No one likes a quitter!

Posted by Contagion at 11:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 04, 2005

Yep, there's that gag reflex.

I’ve seen sites where people make confessions about various things before. This site doesn’t offer much different or even anything all that orriginal. However, this confession is just wrong! (Click at your own risk!)

Excuse me while I go scrub my brain with a Brillo pad.

Posted by Contagion at 05:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Corner Back dilemma

I don’t live in Wisconsin, so I’m getting this information for a third party. But apparently, on WISN AM1130 out of Milwaukee they have a show called the “Packer Grapevine”. On the show, there is a correspondent, Mark “Grapevine” Daniels, who is a reporter from Green Bay. He gives the inside scoop on the team. Allegedly, (Because I have no first hand knowledge) He has said that Ahmad Carroll, the Packer CB who can’t seem to learn to keep his hands off the Wide Receivers, is the most hated player on the team.

According to this source, Carroll has an inflated ego with a matching attitude. He doesn’t see anything wrong with his play and continually blames his mistakes on others. IE The refs made a bad call, the Receiver pushed off; He lost the ball in the sun, etc. Allegedly, he takes no personal responsibility for when something goes wrong with his play; it’s never his fault.

This has made him very unpopular on the team by not just the other players, but the coaches and staff.

This makes me wonder then why we cut Joey Thomas (another CB drafted the same year as Carroll). If there was a problem with his play, why not try to trade him a few weeks ago before the trading deadline expired? Maybe we could have gotten something for him. He was a number 3 draft pick, hell even if we received a sixth round it would have been better then the nothing we got for releasing him.

If what is being said on the radio were true about Carroll, why would we not want to keep Thomas and start developing him more? He obviously doesn’t commit the penalties Carroll does, even if he isn’t quite as good… at this time.

Time will tell as he was picked up by New Orleans on waivers.

Posted by Contagion at 04:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Taxes and corruption.

Coming up this spring the city of Rockford, Illinois is going to look into possibly allowing Home Rule to return for our government. In Illinois if you have a municipality has a population over 25,000 they are automatically considered home rule, UNLESS a referendum is passed revoking that status. Rockford hasn’t had home rule since 1983.

What is home rule? Home rule can be best defined as placing at the local level the power to tax and to regulate with broad discretion any function pertaining to government and local affairs. Some of the items that local governments may regulate under home rule are: cigarette taxes, taxes on retail sales of new motor vehicles, parking taxes, reductions in mandatory fire and police retirement age, land dedications for schools and parks, zoning landfill sites, mobile home parks, low-income housing developments, and self-service gas. They also have the power to regulate health ordinances that conflict with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, noise regulations, branch banking regulations, and the disposition of unclaimed property, the reduction of officials’ salaries or discrimination based on personal appearance. In some of these areas, the state legislature may be able to delegate its power to local government, but without state action, home rule units cannot regulate in these areas.

They do not have the power to regulate, for public policy reasons, matters involving divorce and family law and real property. Trusts and contracts must be regulated by the state and cannot vary from one municipality to the next. That still gives a lot of power to local governments.

In this article about it in our local rag (It’s about as newsworthy as a high school newspaper); they list an example of one of the abuses of Home Rule in the Daley empire city of Chicago.

“Chicago in March 2003 when city construction crews, under the cover of darkness, tore up the runway at Meigs Field, effectively closing the lakefront airport. Who gave the crews the right to do so? Not the voting public. Not the Federal Aviation Administration. Certainly not the hundreds of pilots who flew in and out of the airport. The airport was closed for good on orders from Mayor Richard Daley.”

I remember when this happened. At a minute after midnight when the lease was up, Daley sent the bulldozers in and trashed the runway beyond repair. My corporate HQ is in Chicago and I know many a person that used that airport, to say they where unhappy about the situation is an understatement.

I don’t want to see something like this happening in Rockford. First, the city itself rarely if ever votes down a tax. Give the city the opportunity to raise taxes above the max that state law allows and I could see the vast idiots here actually voting into place a 25% tax increase to fix the roads. Then with all the eminent domain baloney going through the courts, I could see city planners use home rule to snag private property for some stupid “tourist” attraction that would be poorly located. Using the same logic, I can see them snagging peoples houses to make roads so it is more accessible.

At this time, I’m going to have to say I don’t want my local leaders to have that much power. I see the abuses in Chicago and some of the other surrounding communities and I don’t like it. Why would I want to subject myself to the same?

Posted by Contagion at 12:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Spirits from the spirits.

Stumbling through various news sources, I ran across this article: 320 people arrested for sorcery. I never imagined that Sorcery was such a widespread problem in the Pacific Islands. That is now what caught my attention in this article. It was this little tidbit:

“Cargo cults believe that western goods or cargo, first encountered through missionaries and explorers, are created by ancestral spirits. They have been known to build airstrips in the jungles in the belief that planes would land with cargo.”

Huh? Let me get this straight. The belief is that ancestral sprits poof into existence various items made the west (America, Europe, Mexico and to be honest China), put them on airplanes and deliver them to these people. Well once I put it like that, it sounds like BS that no one in a right frame of mind could believe. Maybe it’s more like the ancestral spirits were responsible for western culture to invent, produce and ship the items to them. That sounds more plausible, yet still hokey.

Now for their belief is that if they spend hours building airstrips, their ancestral spirits would have planes land with all the goodies they want. How are the planes going to know where to land? Why would some manufacturer or distributor ship anything to Bumblehead Island in the South Pacific? Has this ever worked?

Because if this actually works I’m starting an Alcohol cult here in the Americas. We are going to clear out cornfields to make landing strips so that my ancestral spirits will deliver planes full of good Scotch whisky and beer from the UK. (Hey, I like Guinness, Murphy’s, McEwen’s, etc.). This at least makes more sense… well to me. My Ancestral Spirits will be delivering my ancestral spirits (As in booze). I’m of Scottish decent. Looking at my family history, they would all want me to have the best liquor. I mean we are talking about a family that has traditions steeped in drinking, well on one side of the family.

The problem of recruiting members wouldn’t be that difficult, if it works. I think I might be able to find a recruit or two.

Posted by Contagion at 12:48 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Your goram right!

You scored as Capt. Mal Reynolds. The Captain. You are the captain of the ship, so the crew are your responsibility. You just want to do the job, get paid and keep flying. Why is that always so hard?

Capt. Mal Reynolds


The Operative


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


River Tam


Jayne Cobb


Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


Inara Serra


Simon Tam


Kaylee (Kaywinnet Lee) Frye


Shepherd Derrial Book


Which Serenity character are you?
created with

I found this over at Refractional Darkness, being a Firefly/Serenity fan I had to take it. Since I always tend to come out the worst possible result in these quizes, I'm kind of surprised that I turned out to be Mal, not that I'm complaining. I just figured I would have been Jayne.

Posted by Contagion at 06:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 03, 2005

Forget Apple, bring on the new Pumpkin!

With computer technology growing in leaps and bounds, it’s nice to see there is a homegrown industry still out there. In all seriousness, I’ve been known to carve pumpkins before Halloween, and carve them up with swords after. This guy however made a functioning computer out of one. This would be cool if it wasn’t for the fact that after a week it would start to rot. In addition, after 12 hours of serious blogging your house would smell like burnt pumpkin pie!

Posted by Contagion at 05:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's not pudding, but it'll do.

Over at the Spoon and Blade we have the latest Mortar Maiden, Fiona MacLennan ready and waiting for you.

Remember ladies we are always looking for new Mortar Maidens every month.

Posted by Contagion at 04:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

True Colors.

Steve the Pirate talks about an interesting story where a black conservative Lt Governor (Michael Steele) is running for the senate in Maryland and the black Democratic Party is slinging racial slurs at him. The kicker is that according to the article, they feel this is okay… because Steele is a Republican/conservative.

I just want to know, does that mean its okay to refer to a white democrat/liberal as a cracker?

Posted by Contagion at 01:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Here's to you...

I abhor when people talk about others behind their backs. I’m not completely innocent of this myself, and I generally don’t like myself for a while after I’ve done it. I try my hardest to say only things about a person that I would and do say to their face. Through various experiences in my life I’ve learned that when ever you talk about someone behind their back, it always gets back to the person.

The only thing that makes it worse is when “friends” talk about other “friends” behind their backs. Is that person really your friend if you are talking about them behind their back? What if it was your friend talking about you? Those people really, truly are not your friend.

How about if you are sitting in a room and other people are talking about a mutual friend, do you join in or not? Do you tell the person what was said or do you try to forget about it? Usually, I sit there and try not to say anything or just try to ignore the conversation. (TV comes in handy at these points) After the conversation, the next time I see my friend I don’t tell them what was said. Why? Because it can be hurtful. At this point in time, I’m thinking of changing my policy. I’m thinking that as a friend I should tell that person that someone is gossiping about them. Currently I believe the person should know what kind of “friends” they have.

I’m sure most of you have figured out what the origin of this post is. You would be correct; I found out that some “friends” have been talking about me behind my back. Right now, I don’t have all the details, but enough to know that it isn’t pleasant. Now I’m torn. I’ve known these people for quite a few years and counted them as some very close friends. What they are talking about is just absolutely asinine, and in one case an incorrect interpretation of events. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do about it, but I have some ideas.

The one I’m leaning toward is just to sever the friendships and go on with life. It’ll suck loosing some friends, but I can make more. Technically, I think I’m over my quota of the amount of friends I can socialize with anyway… I’m shy and not much of a people person anyway. :) Part of me doesn’t want to loose these friendships, but another part says this has been going on for a while and it’s not going to stop. After everything, can it ever truly be repaired, will I ever trust these people again? Many of the people I’m talking about read this blog both regularly and intermediately. If this post hits a little close to home, then it probably applies to you. The next time I see you after I decided what I'm going to do, I’ll return the knife that is sticking in my back.

All I can think of right now is one of my favorite toasts: Here’s to you, here’s to me. Friends forever we shall be. But if once we disagree, Fuck you and here’s to me.

But I’m curious, if you where in my shoes, what would you do? I’m not saying I’ll follow your advice, but I’m curious to see if maybe I’m over reacting.

Posted by Contagion at 12:53 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

It's not *CENSORED*

I need to go off on something that has been bugging me for a couple of weeks now. It has me so pissed that it’s interfering with my ability to think logically and control my uncivilized impulses.

Why do people that claim to be using their freedom of speech get so bloody upset when you voice a dissenting opinion and claim censorship? The best example I can give that most people will remember is when the Dixie Chics made their comments about G. W. Bush about 4 years ago. They spoke their oppinions; they had every right to do so. I don’t agree with what they did/said but it is their constitutional right to do so. Where they pissed me off was when their fans and radio stations disagreed with what they said and spoke out against them.

When the public voiced their dissention of what the Dixie Chics had said, these “freedom of speech” fighters claimed that people where trying to censor them. BULLSHITE! Those people were exercising their freedom of speech to say they disagree or to tell the Dixie Chics they where wrong. Why is it when they said something against what the President was doing it was freedom of speech, but when their fans said something against what they did it was censorship? Isn’t that a huge double standard? I believe it is. If burning the American flag is covered by the first amendment as freedom of expression, then bulldozing thousands of the Dixie Chic’s CD’s is also a freedom of expression covered by the first amendment. This however is old news.

There have been a couple of incidents in the last month that really set my blood boiling. I feel people have the right to preach/evangelicalize/”spread the word” about their religion. This is part of freedom of speech. But when you start preaching at me and I tell you I’m not interested, and then you persist to preach at me; you are starting to cross freedom of speech into harassment. When I tell you to get off my property and not come back because I think your religion is nothing more then a glorified cult, that is NOT censorship. Just like you have the right to tell me that I’m going to hell if I don’t follow Jehovah, I have the same right to tell you that you’re a nut job and to get off of my property. It’s all covered under freedom of speech.

People that have political beliefs have the right to stand out in front of stores to promote their beliefs and hand out fliers. (If the store approves, it is private property) The other day walking into a local store some hippy love child… well I don’t know he was a love child, but he looked (i.e. smelled) like a neo hippy. He was handing out fliers trying to get people to join an anti-Bush protest rally in Rockford, IL. He was also trying to promote some local vast left wing conspiracy newspaper. (To be honest, I always thought it was the right wing that are the conspiracy theorists. j/k) He had the right to stand in front of the store smelling like patchouli and body odor to spread his message. I had the right to tell him I’m not interested and walk right past him with out hearing another word. Freedom of speech/expression does not necessarily mean words have to be involved. By my ignoring his presence, I “spoke” volumes. This is not censorship. Freedom of speech does not give you the right to sit there and hammer me with a barrage of words in which I don't want to hear. Freedom of speech gives you the right to talk to an audience, it does not mandate that the audience has to stick around and listen to the message.
There is a Green Bay Packer flag hanging off my truck antenna. It is my freedom of speech to support my team proudly. Living in Illinois, this does come with some ribbing. Freedom of speech gives the local Bear fans the right to do so. See, that is how it works. I’m promoting my team, which is my freedom of speech. A Bear fan gives me a hard time for living in Illinois and not supporting the Bears, that is his freedom of speech. Now when the militant Bear fan tells me I should take that flag down because “the Packers suck” and I remind him the Bears haven’t exactly been a stellar team over the last two decades, I’m still using my freedom of speech.

To be honest this cretin didn’t say I was trying to censor him, but he did verbalize a hostile retort about doing something unpleasant with that flag and my lower digestive tract. But, it helps to explain my point. Now we had a whole freedom of speech back and forth there, until he threatened physical harm… or I guess in Illinois that would be considered Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault. Then you get into other legal issues that have nothing to do with freedom of speech.

My whole point to this convoluted post is that if you are going to exercise your freedom of speech, don’t be surprised if someone else exercises their freedom of speech with an opposing response. That is their right. They are NOT trying to censor you.

Posted by Contagion at 12:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 02, 2005

Boo! DidI scare you? Muahahahaha

In the comments of my Halloween Questions post, Spurs asked me how I made a high school student piss himself. Since I’m just a minor blog, and have six daily readers, and nine regulars, I feel the need to fulfill requests when they are asked of me… depending on what they are.

I have three styles of scaring people that I prefer. The style I use most is what I call the “Creep and Leap”. This is when your “victim” knows you are there and can see you. Some people sit in chairs and pretend they are a scarecrow; I walk around trying to intimidate the mark first. You are “creeping” through the area and making them nervous. It’s easiest to read your mark using this method to see if you are getting to them at all. Once you feel the timing is right, you make your move or “Leap” at them. Some sudden movement and sound is usually enough to get them to jump, scream or both. This method tends to work best on the timid and females. Guys tend just to buck up and save face.

The next method is what I call the “Lurk and Lunge”. This is similar to the above creep and leap, except that you remain hidden (Inside a coffin, behind a door, etc), out of site so your mark has no idea that you are there. I lurk in the shadows or behind large objects like bushes and vehicles. When the person least expects it you lunge at them screaming like a madman. You can get a good scare using this tactic. The problem is that it’s hard to hand out candy AND do this.

The last method I use, which to me is the most difficult to get right, is the “Stalk and shock”. This is where after the person has turned their back on you, you just follow them, many times, they will be involved with talking to their friends or looking at what goody they were given. Then when they either turn around or you finally make a noise you can get them to jump right out of their skin. This works best if they are walking away from your house and feel “safe” from you. That is when you get the best reaction.

Now the incident at hand happened 2-3 years ago, so some of the details may be a little off.

For years, I’ve decorated my front yard as a cemetery with realistic looking tombstones, fog machines, a life size realistic skeleton hanging from a poleaxe, a realistic zombie, severed heads, arms, hands, fog machines. I have a free flowing ghost that glows and moves about in my upstairs window, death on the back porch moving in a strobe light, various skulls, rats, bats, spiders, etc. I dress up as a demon lord of the Abyss, complete with a sub-professional form-fitting mask, demon hands that elongate my fingers and shoe covers that make my feat look skeletal. Every year I receive many compliments from people on how the house and I look. If I had, any pictures turn out this year I’ll post some when I get them.

I roam around the graveyard, run the fog machine, hang out on our large front porch, hand out candy and scare the bejeebus out of people that are over the age of 10. I absolutely refuse intentionally to scare little kids; I’ll take my mask off if they do get scared.

When I’m creeping about, I always look at people’s reactions to things to see if I can get a good scare out of them. Their screams in the night is like crack to an addict. I had just finished handing out candy to some kids when I see a group of four high schoolers coming towards my house, two boys and two girls. I figured the girls would be easy marks, as generally females scare easier… but scaring a guy is much more satisfying. It was too late for me to try to hide, so I pumped up the fog machine and engulfed the yard/porch in fog. As they came up the porch the girls were acting timid, but the boys were being were being “tough” and protecting the girls.

Eh… Fine. There is the next group. After I gave them their candy, (I give candy to anyone that shows up at my door in costume, I don’t care if they are in their 50’s. If you took the time to put on a costume, then I’ll give you candy. No costume, no candy.) I looked and saw no other groups where heading my way.

What the hell, the worst that will happen is I don’t get any reaction and waste my time. As the group left, girls side by side followed by guys side by side, I silently followed them down off my porch with my Trident (Plastic tip on a hoe handle to make it life size) and a severed arm. I’m quietly stalking behind the boys down my sidewalk to the street. I hear one boy say to the other how lame my display was. At that point, I’m half a step behind them.I thrust my trident with the severed arm impaled on it right between the boys into the middle of the group. In a raspy voice I loudly hissed, “This is what happened to the last person that ridiculed my domain”.

All four jumped and screamed. However, the boy that called the display lame must have had to go to the bathroom a while as a wet spot quickly formed in his groin region. SCORE!!!!! Not only did I get a four for one, but also I actually made a guy piss himself. I pointed towards his crotch and said, “Sorry about that” as I walked back to the porch to get ready for the next kids. I could hear the other guy and the girls make fun of him and rightly so. Being scared is one thing… pissing yourself is another.

Posted by Contagion at 12:53 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Halloween costumes: Good or bad

Harvey has this post regarding sexy costumes up over at Bad Example. From the post, I have the impression that Harvey and his friend are in the opinion that Halloween either is developing a “slutty adult theme” or has had one. I have to disagree. It’s not about slutty adult themes.. or even sexy adult themes, it’s about fantasy (not necessarily sexual).

Halloween really did not start getting the popularity it has now in America until the 50’s. Now the kids that really first started enjoying it are grandparents; adults like myself, are second-generation Halloween celebrants. When we were growing up it was told to us, “You can pretend to be anything you want on Halloween”. When we were kids, we could be Fireman, Indians, policemen, monsters, soldiers, knights, Ghostbusters, etc. What ever our imagination wanted and no one cared because it was make believe. It was pretend. My extremely religious parents were not bothered that I dressed up as demons and the devil for one day a year, because it was make believe. I was not really a demon or the devil.

As we got older, those of us that really embraced Halloween (It’s my favorite holiday) kept up the spirit of make believe. Some of us use it as an excuse to dress up as something we aren’t, but want to pretend we are. I’m not really a demon lord of they Abyss (Contrary to what my minions might say), but I dress up as one every year for Halloween. It fulfills a part of my psyche that wants to be a scary and powerful supernatural being that strikes fear into the hearts of humans.

In real life, I would never actually impale someone, disembowel them, dismember them or sever their heads. On Halloween night, my yard looks exactly like that is what I have been doing. I enjoy pretending to be the bad guy and scaring older kids and adults. Unlike when I scare them unintentionally through my daily actions, this is more satisfying.

Talking with many females and with my own wife, I’ve concluded that females that dress up in the sexy outfits do it for a similar reason. They like being attractive, having men look at them, maybe even be a little bit trashy. HOWEVER, that is not who they are. One night a week they can dress up very provocatively and pretend to be more sexually aggressive then they really are, and not worry about someone thinking they are a slut. They can let out their inner “Naughty Girl” and no one thinks twice about it because it is Halloween. Very few will hold it against them once Halloween is over.

I’ll admit my theory may be wrong, but with the 50+ females, I’ve talked to about it; I’ve received very similar answers.

Now on a separate, yet related note; While handing out candy on Halloween there were girls in middle school (they had the local middle school coats with them) wearing the sexy nurse, French maid, waitress, cop outfits. What parent in their right mind would let their age 14 or lower daughter leave the house dressed like that? Sure, it’s make believe (see above) but this is just wrong, even if the costumes didn’t look good on them because they didn’t have the figure for it. There are some creepy people in the world.

I also had High School girls (again local HS jackets/bags) wearing the same style outfits come by. Being older, I didn’t have a problem with it, at their age (16+) they are responsible for their own actions. However, these girls also didn’t look good in the costumes because they didn’t have the figures for them. The cut of the costume is meant for women, not girls. You have to have hips and at least some breasts for these costumes even to begin looking sexy. Most of these girls had very similar figures to my 12-year-old son. (IE, No curves) They thought they looked hot, maybe it’s because I like women and not girls, but I thought they looked funny… in the clown sort of way.

There was also one woman that came to my house wearing a “sexy” witch costume. I applaud large women that have a healthy self-esteem and can wear sexy outfits and not be ashamed. HOWEVER, if the outfit is so small that you look like an overstuffed bratwurst exploding at the ends, find something new. This lady was between 5’2 and 5’4, probably about 350 pounds. I’m not kidding; I may even be being “nice” on the weight estimate. You could see where the costume had burst in multiple spots and she had safety pinned it back together. The safety pins looked like they were on the verge of exploding off the costume. I was actually in fear for the safety of the children with this woman when those pins finally gave way.

Some of you may think I’m being cruel or insensitive. I’m fat man myself. The number of times I did not buy clothing or costuming because it was too small or too tight has been lost to the ages. I’m not embarrassed about my body. It’s not that. Clothing that tight just looks bad. If I’m wearing a button down shirt and it, looks like the buttons are about to come flying off at lethal speeds, that just looks tacky. It’s the same principle here. If the costume ripped putting it on and you have to strain safety pins to hold it together… you should NOT wear that costume.

In closing, remember: Adults in costumes are acting out some inner desire/fantasy to be something they are not or can’t be every day. If you buy a costume and it fits poorly (too loose or too tight), you probably don’t look good in it.

Posted by Contagion at 12:48 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 01, 2005

Halloween Questions.

I saw this over at Absinth & Cookies and decided to do it, a day late.

What’s the first Halloween Costume you remember wearing?
I was a fireman, it was a cheap costume, but I was like two or three.

What was your favorite treat in your goodie bag?
I always loved Kit Kats and Peanut Butter Cups.

What’s your best Halloween Memory?
Running through the neighborhood when I was kid to see how much candy I could get. One year I filled a pillowcase to near over flowing.

What’s your worst?
One year it rained so hard that none of the parents in my neighborhood would let kids go trick or treating. So I stayed home watching TV with my friends.

Have you ever bobbed for apples?
Yes, and anything else I say about this I’m sure someone will turn into something sexual and wrong.

Have you ever been to a grown up Halloween Party?
Sure have, it’s more fun as an adult.

If you were going to such a party, and money was no question, what would your ideal costume be?
I so would have Tom Savini come and do my make up as a zombie from Land of the Dead.

Ever been to sea, Billy? Oops, wrong quiz!
I’m not Billy… but no.

Ever had a paranormal experience? If yes, tell us all about it.
Yes, Yes I have. Multiple ones, but that is a post for another time, if ever.

What’s your favorite Scary Movie?
So hard to answer, the movies that scare me aren’t considered “scary movies”. So my favorite horror movie is Night of the Living Dead.

Have you ever played a Halloween “trick” on anyone?
Multiple times, the best was a couple of years ago when I made a high school kid piss himself.

Did you carve a pumpkin this year?
I helped Clone carve his.

Do you think we had more fun at Halloween then kids do today?
Definitely, the kids today have too many restrictions. Also not as many houses hand out candy/decorate as they did when I was a kid.

What candy are you giving out tonight?
Are you ready? Here we go: Snickers, Kit Kats, Reese’s, Butter Fingers, M&Ms, Crunch w/Caramel, Mr. Goodbars and Baby Ruths.

Will you be in costume?
HELL YEA! I’ve got a sub professional grade mask of a demon, along with the gloves/hands and feet covers, flowing black robes, “satanic” medallions and a skull trident that is mounted on a hoe handle. Did I mention I like to scare people? Now I have a rule, if they look like they are under 10, I will NOT scare them. In fact, I take my mask off if they do get scared.

Decorated at all?
Are you ready? One free flowing ghost in the upper window, death moving around the back porch, hologram in the front window, cemetery in the front yard. Life sized realistic looking mummy, talking skulls, another animatronics ghost on the front porch, fog machine, realistic skeleton hanging from a real pole arm. Giant spider web across front of house. Multiple skulls, lights, bats and severed body parts strewn all over the front porch yard. A zombie rising from the ground… and normally an animatronics tree, but they where calling for rain and I didn’t put it out.

Posted by Contagion at 06:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack