Dear Saturday Morning Rain:

You suck.

Not that I was looking forward to playing volleyball this morning or anything. Not that this is my last weekend in Chicago, or that I was really excited about spending some last moments with my teammates warming up for our big game on Tuesday. Not that playing volleyball on the beach is one of my favorite thigns in the world right now.

No, I just really did want to wake up at 9 on a weekend morning and hear your pitter-patter on the window sill next to my bed. It would have been worth it for some beach ball. But not to move my car and then come back to my apartment.

All I can say is, I have a concert to attend tonight, and it had better be a pleasant evening. Or you and I are going to rumble.

Sincerely yours,

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This is not my ass. Mine is better.Okay, as promised yesterday, I am using the power of my blog to direct you all to Decision 2002, also known as Savage Love's "My Boyfriend Sure Looks Hot in His Tighty Whities" Contest. This important poll of our most crucial opinions is brought us by Dan Savage.

If you want a little background on why this contest is happening, or why some people get offended because Dan wants to look at pictures of hot men in their underwear, click the Dan Savage link above. Or use this one if you like it better.

For the record, I think I look my hotest in boxer-briefs. But that's only my opinion. And no, my picture is not included in this contest, in case any of you were wondering.

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Under a week to go at the job before I go underground. It's a very strange feeling. I'm beginning to feel very sad, but certainly not because I will miss the work or anything. Probably more so because my colleagues have given me more to do socially in the last four months than I have known what to do with, and I'll miss it and them. That and all the beautiful ladies who give me the great privilege of allowing me to call them "co-workers."

With a little bit of good fortune, I will land my 100th recorded hit to the Hose Monster Blog sometime in the next few hours. I know 100 hits is piddly, but it's 100 more than I had when I didn't have any way of dealing with the most random of my thoughts. I don't know if it's five of you reading my site 5 times a day or what, but regardless of who's responsible for these numbers, you're super and I appreciate your silent or commented support.

Send friends or co-workers anonymous tips. I told my sister today that she has commendable gas control. Take a moment and tell someone they have commendable crotch hygiene or poor dormitory fire safety. You can even send me a tip at goosefood at yahoo dot com and I will laugh and try to correct my evil ways, unless you tell me that I have an obvious toupee, in which case I might have to throw myself screaming from a building.

A preview for tomorrow: a big vote for who looks good in tighty whities begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow. I will take you to it. I expect you to place a vote for your favorite.

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The front page of the Sun-Times today reads, "Bulls Charge Back." This headline comes in reaction to the Dow closing up nearly 500 points yesterday.

I cannot stand the Sun-Times. It's the most sensationalistic, pander-to-the-basest-impulse-to-increase-circulation paper I know of that's not sold on a supermarket checkout stand or in Europe. After the last few months of generally negative market news, one day of good trading causes a major newspaper to throw the word "bull" on its front page because that's what people want to see, and people seeing what they want to see translates into people buying papers.

I must be naïve enough to think that newspapers still preserve some touch of objectivity in their job and the nature of their work is important enough to sustain it, not the circulation numbers.

I used to work on the campus newspaper when I was in college, and while we all knew that it was a pretty crappy paper (an award-winning crappy paper at that), at least on a very superficial level, the youthful exuberance of the kids and their perhaps idealistic view of the importance of a free, objective press gave me plenty of reason to overlook the often poor quality of the reporting and writing. (I was a photographer, making me immune, of course, to my own criticism.)

I think the absence of a quality major newspaper is one of Chicago's major drawbacks. Residents ostensibly have the choice of either reading the Sun-Times or the Chicago Tribune. I've already claimed the Sun-Times is a tabloid running under the auspices of a reputable paper; I think the only redeeming quality of the paper is its emphasis on local reporting (which, to be fair, is well done) and their blind passion for the Bears. While this may not make for quality stories, in this city, if you don't read every word on the Bears Monday morning, you're not a true Chicagoan . (And for the record, I'm not.) So at the very least, the Sun-Times has its finger on an important pulse of this city.

The Tribune, while not a bastion of outstanding journalism, is at least on a similar level of writing as some other major metropolitan dailies. The writing tries to be high-brow enough to look like a respectable paper. Too bad then that the Tribune has sacrificed all possible appearance of objectivity to its conservative tendencies. I used to read the Trib because I needed to read something, but after all the editorials and the coverage around the 2000 presidential election and 2001 Supreme Court decision, I just couldn't take it any more.

Yes, I did vote for Gore, so my bias is now clear. On the other hand, I didn't buy his "I won the popular vote" argument for a damn second. (Al was I believe the 3rd presidential candidate in history to receve the majority popular vote while losing the electoral college vote. In a country often guided by precedent, Gore sounded like a big moron, and so did everyone who bought his argument. That's just the way it goes here.) But with phrases in beat stories like "Gore clinging to a sinking ship" and his "refusal to let the voters' decision stand," not to mention editorial titles with wording like "Give It Up, Al" and "The Voters Have Spoken, But Who's Listening?", I had to shake my head and abandon my readership. Yes, editorials, by their nature are supposed to be opinionated. I guess I just believe that it's possible to demonstrate an opinion without resorting to cliché or the bully pulpit. In my opinion, that's the responsibility a truly excellent paper embraces.

No wonder so many people in this city read the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times and completely eschew their local papers.

On a much more positive note, what a wonderful surprise to arrive at work and see that Ashley (of Tony Pierce fame) had visited my blog and left a comment. True, I may have upset her with my writing just a touch, but I'm sincerely flattered that she even found her way to my page and bothered reading it. Makes me wonder how she got here. Anyway, Ashley, if you make your way here again, even though we may or may not have differing opinions, you're an angel. Thanks for visiting. And for the record, I thought today's guest blogger talking about searching for midget strippers was pretty entertaining.

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So exactly one week from today, I leave my job as corporate problem solver and prepare myself for my new vocation.

I'm going to become a night watchman at a library.

I have a lot of blog postings that I am thinking about writing, but none of them have yet reached the level of interest that I hope I provide here. So you'll have to forgive me for the moment. In the meantime, I'll scour the Internet in search of something interesting...

Moxie writes about her best and worst date. What a story. What a sad thing to happen to such a gorgeous lady. But hey, shitty things happen to not-as-gorgeous people every day, so sometimes you just have to suck it up.

Tony is back from his absence due to a faux case of carpal tunnel. Good thing too, because many of the guest bloggers sucked it up in his absence, with the exceptions of Kitty and Maddie, whose posts were both pretty good. (I wanted to try my hand and providing something worthy of his site, but the great idea I had still hasn't made it out of its infancy).

Find out all sorts of things about you. Who you were in your past life, what obscure band you are, etc.

Freshman year of college, we used to take purity tests now and again. I remember how green I was at the time. Having just taken a few of these tests (fun for parties!), it's interesting to see the things I've done since then. Not that I'm telling any of you, unless you find a really good test with fun questions. Then maybe.

Oh, and my low score is 25 on this course. If you can beat it, I'd love to know about it.

I'll try to think of something more interesting next time around.

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I've been having these rather odd dreams the last couple of nights. I'm wondering if I should be troubled by them.

The larger problem is that I cannot remember my dreams. This is very normal for me, because when I dream, I usually wake up lucidly remembering the events in my subconscious as I sit up and bitch out my alarm clock, the man who made it and all his unborn children. A minute later when I am beginning to run the water in the shower, the whole thing is gone, and all I can remember is that I had a dream.

This morning I was washing my face when I suddenly heard myself griping in my head "¡Puto champú en mis ojos! Estarán rojos por el resto del puto día" and I realized I had another of my strange Spanish dreams. All I can remember is a lot of dust. Maybe I was in some Spanish western town, hearing the rustle of the breeze blowing a tumbleweed through the single thoroughfare of the town as I squared off with El Guapo Malo or something like that.

But I cannot remember. And I really feel that I should.

Maybe tonight I will stick some paper next to my bed and in the morning I'll jot down a brief synopsis of my REM explorations. Then maybe I'll be able to figure out what's really bothering me.


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In my past life, I was a damn fine-looking...

What Was Your PastLife?

I can believe it. Can you? What were you in your past life?

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I was sitting on our blue couch one night reading Don Quijote for class the next day when it occurred to me that I had been reading the same two pages of the text for the last hour. Reading the Cervantes text in the original was no small challenge, but I certainly should have been making better progress than two pages an hour. Yet my mind wasn't in the book. I was thinking about a girl.

I had been thinking about her all day. I had been thinking about her for days prior. It was getting to the point where she was seriously interfering with my daily life.

I'm tempted to claim that one of my greatest attributes is my ability to focus on things I want. Once when I was trying to get a promotion at a job, my boss asked me if I had ever not gotten anything I really wanted. After thinking, I had to reply that no, I had not. He promptly told me to not worry about things then, and we went our merry ways. I later got the job offer.

The point is that when I want something, I generally put all my efforts into getting it. This is not to say that it happens right away (I waited a year and a half for my first real girlfriend, and by the time she fell prey to my wily charms, I had almost moved on. Strange how things go), but eventually I wear down the opposition or whatever you want to call it. Not always, but my success rate has been pretty good.

Remarkable then that this single focus on what I wanted was suddenly becoming so detrimental.

I put a bookmarker on Cervantes, hopped on a train, took an hour's ride and a four block walk and knocked on her door. At 10 at night.

She wasn't home.

I guess I had come down just to tell her that I was nuts about her. I knew she already knew all of this, just as I knew that my foolhardy risk would never turn into anything. It was just something I needed to do, maybe so I could focus on Don Quijote, maybe so I could know I had made every possible effort to get what I want, maybe because of a temporary insanity.

Anyway, I had gone to all this trouble, and I really did need to finish reading that night. Plus, being completely spontaneous is not always my nature, so I had to ride it out. When I called her, I lucked into catching her right as she was coming home. I told her I'd wait for her, and then paced the street in front of her place trying to figure out what I was going to say to her.

I crashed and burned that night. I probably sounded like some horrible Keanu Reeves romance.

But some time later I remember that night somewhat fondly, which might be quite odd. Nothing like taking a ridiculous risk and jumping without a parachute. And hey, I finished my Don Quijote reading for the next day.

This all came back to me last weekend when I walked into the room where this mystery girl and I had our little heart to heart. Funny, the things I remember.

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My right arm would be hurting like nobody's business were it not for the enormous bottle of crappy champagne that I consumed beforehand and my fire-retardant racing suit. As it turns out, today was just another trip to the doctor's office to get poked, prodded and asked interesting questions.

(My favorite questions come when I'm giving blood: Have you had unprotected sexual intercourse in the last year? Have you had sexual contact with anyone who you did not know previosuly? Have you had unprotected sexual intercourse with any member of the opposite sex not hailing from the contiguous 48 states or the island nations of Trinidad and Tobago? One must have a sense of humor about these things.)

My blood pressure is 118/70, my pulse hovers between 55-65, depending on how many amazing people are around me and I can still pee in a cup on demand. No word on my cholesterol count just yet, but I should find that out once the small vial of blood I donated today gets analyzed.

How do I stay so healthy, you ask? Well, copious amounts of alcohol, staying up late, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Or something like that. Oh, and yearly physicals. Take advantage of your wellness benefits, my friends, and pay a visit to your doctor every year. Tell them the Hose Monster sent you. You'll be glad you did.

I changed my comments provider last week, and so far I'm the only one who has left a comment (and I'm well aware of what a loser that makes me). Since I fearlessly claim that I need attention, if you're reading these words, be my friend and leave a comment, just so I know that the damn thing works. I give you full license to make fun of me for as long as you want. Just click on the link that says "Shout Out" below. And if you can suggest a fun web site to look at, I'll feature it here. But it must be at least half as cool as Dan Savage (Not for the extremely conservative). I love reading about the weirdos who write to him every week and enjoy even more how he not so politely points out that they are morons.

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