I'm always extremely flattered when someone links me, especially when it's unknown to me that they're doing it, because it means they came to my site by some random way or another and liked it enough to give it some sort of seal of approval. I'm really stingy with my links because I would never want to direct anyone to anything I didn't patronize on a daily basis myself. Anyway, I'm excited because I just discovered that Meesh linked me today (using my real name and everything). I'm feeling very special at the moment.

About five years ago one of my friends introduced to the concept of hidden mickeys in Disney-related items. We were running aroun Disneyland like a bunch of immature children when he started telling us about how Disney engineers and designers would slip certain Mickey-shaped items into the attractions. It's become quite a cult thing to do, and I have even found people dedicated to describing their hidden mickey encounters. Around the park, there are various items placed in the three circle combination that would make up Mickey's head. Anyway, people spend whole trips to Disney parks in search of this stuff.

I think most of these people are nuts and they're really seeing things. It seems they are so eager to play the game that they'll see Mickey in rock formations and the like. I don't know. Maybe they are all much more imaginative than I am.

But I did find a few obvious ones yesterday while booking around the park in Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I'm now as nuts as the rest of these people.

It's amazing how vacation can sap the creative energy out of you. I hope the Blondemaster will breath some interest back into this blog. Only two days remaining!

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Some day I will go bald.

It's not the most exciting thing I think about. As I creep into my early 50s, I'm fearful of seeing my abs turn into a paunch, my pants getting progressively higher up my waist, my New Balance shoes being replaced by a pair of slip-on boaters. These are all things I can control, theoretically speaking, if I keep myself in shape and I preserve my killer sense of style.

The balding thing is a different issue. On the other hand, it could be worse. I know friend my own age who are confronting baldness now, or at least the primary stages of it, while my locks continue to grow at a weed's pace. I'll enjoy it while I can.

But in all actuality, balding does not frighten me the way the "It's a Small World" song does. In fact, bald men can be sexy, with the right body and proper New Balance shoes.

The thing is, if you're going bald, have some dignity about it. Accept your baldness and explore its beauty. Don't try to hide it. Be proud of it like my man Tony Pierce is. Let the hair grow wildly where it still grows, but shine up your dome and and let the world enjoy it.

And for god's sake, PLEASE don't resort to the combover.

Seriously, nothing makes you look less dignified than something like this. I was at a show last night, and I saw the worst combover in the history of mankind. Then guy only hand about three strands worth of hair to even comb over, but dammit if he didn't do it anyway. I almost felt sorry for the guy because he just looked so bad.

Anyway, I got to thinking about it, and I started wondering why the combover had not generated the same kind of enthusiasm and ridicule as its equally ridiculous friend the mullet. But fear not, my good friends. A plucky lad on the other side of the pond has already started the worship of this awful style move, and it's worth taking a look.

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Say what you will about my former co-workers (and it had better be something nice, or I will come roaring to their defense), but those people sure know how to show a fella a good time and wish him well. I enjoyed many a fine spirit last night at my farewell bash. And the night ended in the most perfect of ways, with us getting kicked out of the bar/restaurant and arguing about it in our more wonderful drunken way. Then we made up on the train going home, and we said things to each other we're not supposed to say sober. I was mostly quiet the whole night. It was good.

Anyway, change of scenery...

Southern California is cool because I get to drive around town in a fun fast convertible looking like the stud I'm really not. But hey, it feels good.

The weirdest thing about being back in the area is seeing people with whom I used to work and/or go to high school. That feels like forever ago.

Anyway, I'm here, it's 100 degrees outside but not at all humid, and there's a pool in the back yard beckoning for me to come pay a visit. I'll have to comply soon.

Three more days until the Blondemaster enters your world. Are you ready?

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Hello Chris!

Who's there?

Look underneath you...

Well hello Mr. Toilet Man! What brings you to start a conversation with me today?

Well, the last guy that was in here was jabbering away, and I thought he was talking to me, so I decided I'd talk back to him.

And how did he respond?

He didn't. He was on a cell phone talking to someone else. Which made me feel kind of lonely. So I'm talking to you.

He was chatting on the phone while he was on the hopper?



I know.

There are certain times when it's just absolutely improper to be on a cell phone. While you're in the can is one thing. When you're in a public can in an office building is absolutely undignified.

Could you imagine being on the other end of that conversation? "What's that noise?" Oh nothing, that's just Johnson. We had Taco Bell for lunch and it's not sitting properly with him." Gross!

Seriously, out of consideration for the other person on the other end of the line, just wait the three minutes until you're back in your office. Could you imagine talking to one of your clients while they were in the middle of doing their business?

I only talk to clients while they're doing their business. I'm a toilet.

Good point.

But still, I personally feel it's very rude when they come in here to consult me on their bodily fuctions and then they spend the whole time chatting with someone else. It's not like they're paying me for my services. They could at least show me some consideration and focus. But no, instead they have to be so rude because they cannot be off the phone for five minutes in an afternoon.

You know, cell phones are great modern conveniences. I have one and it's made my life so much easier. And I don't pay exorbitant fees for long distance anymore. But I'd seriously be okay without my cell. I really feel like some people wouldn't.

Phone manufacturers should start issuing manners books with their phones, complete with illustrations on how and when to use and not use a cell phone phone.

Like on public transportation. Call them back when you're alone for god's sake. I was on the bus once when this girl was talking to her grandmother, and I guess the g-ma asked about this girl's doctor's appointment or something, and in the loudest possible voice, the girl responds, "Well, it turns out I have spores." I shit you not, everyone within a 10 foot radius of this oblivious girl pushed to the front of the bus. Damned most uncomfortable bus ride ever.

I hate when people scroll through their ring options in public places too. Very rude.

Agreed. What about bad ways to use a cell?

In the can or in the locker room. One of my buddies who works in a gym told me once that one guy was standed stark naked next to his locker when he picked up his phone and said, "hey ma, what's for dinner?"


How about the drunk dials?

Those can be good if they're booty calls from hot girls. But hot girls don't make 2 in the morning booty calls to me. But I love watching other girls in a bar sit and call every name in their address book to tell them they had 17 shots of absynth and didn't start hallucinating until the sixth one or something.

My, you really don't like people with cell phones, do you?

Not the case at all. In fact, I think most people living in a city with a busy life should have a cell. It's just that you need to consider other people around you and the fact that most people don't want to hear conversations about your spores. With a cell phone, yeah, you can be connected anywhere, but please realize that sometimes you shouldn't be or shouldn't want to be connected everywhere.

You should rule the world Chris. It would make a lot more sense.

I'm just a humble guy taking a pee. Speaking of which, I'm about done. Nice chatting with you.

Good talking to you. Take care. Oh, and a word of advice. Don't be cheery with Mr. Sink or Mr. Soap Dispenser. The last six visitors to our office completely ignored them.

Not so good.

Such is life. See you in a few hours!


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T minus 1 and counting.

I know I am generally well-liked by my co-workers, and I really hope they all know that I adore them. So the thought of leaving them today for my new job as the night watchman at a library has me a little sad. But sometimes little moments like this make you remember one more time why you love all these people in the first place.

The last few days have not been as productive as normal because I've spent a lot of time reading and answering email from well-wishers. I have not been sleeping quite as much the last few days because I've been out at night spending time with people I may not see for quite some time, if ever again. And I just got a phone call from one of my most important friends (who's just down the hall) just to check up on me. It's the little things that really do matter. My whole body is a smile right now.

As awful as some parts of the last two years have been, on the whole, I really think the last two years have been the most wonderful years of my life to date. Certainly full of adversity and tremendous mistakes, but also peppered with tons of laughter, good times and memories to cherish.

To my friends, enemies and lovers who've so wonderfully impacted my life: here's to you. I'll miss you greatly.

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I hadn't more than a few months as a staff photographer under my belt my freshman year of school when my editor called me in the early afternoon one day to tell me that we had a really important shoot and the person who was going to do it had just backed out at the last minute. He was begging me to take it.

I had nothing to do that afternoon except read some really awful novel, but I was feeling pretty lazy and was about to refuse him when he said, "Actually, it's really just an interview shot with Drew Barrymore."

When celebrities came to our campus to pitch their particular causes or give speeches on various subject material or whatever, our paper usually managed to steal about an hour away for an interview and pictures. During my four years of college, I had the change to hang and listen to Jerry Springer, Patricia Ireland, Oliver North, Wyclef Jean and Tori Amos, among others (I don't remember all of them). Good times. On the whole, they seemed to be pretty cool people. I especially enjoyed talking with Patricia Ireland and Oliver North.

Anyway, Drew had come to campus on this pleasant April day to talk with us about the female condom.

So suddenly offered the prospect of spending an hour with the girl who had many years earlier brought Gertie to life for all of us, I decided to forego my studies for the day and go shoot Drew. (Ironically enough, this is the same day I met my girlfriend. The female condom had nothing to do with our developing a relationship.) I think the deciding factor in my decision was the knowledge that years later I would want to write about the experience in my blog.

During her interview, Drew talked about the importance of women being able to provide for their own sexual safety and how great it was not to have to rely on immature college boys to be packing their Trojans. I didn't so much join the discussion (as a freshman, I was still pretty intimidated by people who appeared to know what they were doing) as much as I witnessed it, but I was right there the whole time. Drew laughed a lot and generally seemed pretty cool. And I've never known anyone to be so enthusiastic about condoms, ribbed for her pleasure (eeewww), glow in the dark, stealthy or otherwise.

I managed to steal about two minutes to take pictures with her (which the paper never used). Then I went on my merry way to have some dinner.

Later that night, Drew was participating in a panel discussion on the female condom, which was open to the public (the discussion, not the condom). I learned on this evening that the best way to get kids to listen to a mature discussion on condoms is to invite a celebrity to be part of your panel. Students swarmed the room to see Drew and ended up learning a lot of wonderful things about the possibilities latex opens up for all of us.

Toward the end of the evening, the panel opened it up for questions. A few scattered inquiries here and there yielded nothing interesting. I was in the mood to be entertained, so I stood up to ask about the availability of said female condom. I think I said something to the effect of, "At what point are we going to be able to buy these? I haven't seen them on the shelves of 7-11 or anything." For some reason this provoked a riotous laughter in the auditorium, and I'm sure most of the students were thinking, "well of course this numbnuts hasn't seen them at 7-11. We don't have a 7-11." It's true. White Hen Pantry was our campus convenience store. Quite a step down from 7-11, let me tell you.

Drew gave me a quick laugh. Perhaps she recognized me from our earlier meeting. Then she said that I made a very good point, and that since the female condom was still relatively new, it had not pushed its way onto many retail shelves. She then implored us to start asking our convenience stores to start carrying them. I immediately thought of the humor of a guy like me walking into 7-11 and asking for a female condom. Might be fun to do some day.

A quick aside: I actually love buying things like condoms. It's great to see the clerk ringing up the sale trying to supress that "someone's getting booty tonight!" face. People in line are even worse at it.

Anyway, that was the end of that. After the panel discussion ended, I had to run upstairs to develop my film from that afternoon, which they never used. Still, hanging with Drew was better than reading Jane Eyre for a few hours. I should probably go retrieve my negatives some day and see if I got anything good that day. Oh well.

And just so you all know, this was written mostly for the benefit of the Daisy Princess.

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T minus 2 and counting.

My friends may tell you sometimes that they can get me to tell them things about myself without too much trouble. On the other hand, I have felt somewhat reluctant to explain away large parts of my character in this forum, because, aside from the handful of you who read this and who actually see me every day, when you read this, the only real things you know about me are my thoughts, my methods of writing and my appreciation of attractive women.

But sometimes certain stories need telling.

When my sister and I were wee tykes, we used to stay at my grandparents' place every once in a while so my parents could go and enjoy life without having to worry about our constant needs as little pestering children. Anyway, I remember once that our grandmother was trying to think of something for us to do during the day and it occurred to her that we would love to go down to the pond in the park and feed the ducks. My sister and I agreed.

I could not have been much older than about three at the time, and even though I generally have a hard time remembering much of my life before about the age of 6, for some reason I remember this two-hour span vividly. I had on a pair of sweet red shorts with an elastic waistband and white trim around the edges. My grandmother also made me wear the tattered Atlanta Falcons windbreaker that I had somehow inherited from somewhere. This was well before the Falcons switched their colors to black, so I was basically a study in red that day. We piled into the Oldsmobile and away to the park we went. My sister got the privilege of holding the loaf of bread in the car, but I didn't mind.

Ducks are a pretty tame creatures, but usually they prefer their own space. I've fed ducks in more recent years, and I remember I always have to ball up the little bread chunks and toss them in the water before the birds will eat their treats. But this particular family of Donalds came right up out of the pond, practically taking the bread from our hands. They would stand at our feet and we had but to drop it on the ground and boom, Donald and Daisy had themselves an easy way to fill their tummies.

This went on for some time. I kept trying to get the ducks to take the bread from my fingers, but they wanted none of that. But I kept trying.

At some point, a rather large goose joined our feeding party. As it started shuffling into the feeding group, the ducks started gradually retreating to the water, leaving the much larger animal to mop up the free meal.

Keep in mind that I am still only about three years old, so with the exception of the knowledge that one word meant "stay seated" and the other word meant "get up and chase me when I tap you on the head" (unless you're from Minnesota, in which case you would use the term "gray duck." You're also very weird if you fall into this category) the essential differences between "duck" and "goose" were pretty much lost on me. I was simply thinking, "ooh, big ducky! Big ducky eat bread!" So I held out a nice big hunk of Wonder white between my index finger and thumb.

The goose took the bread. He also took my thumb.

I screamed the way only a dumb three year old boy being molested by a mammoth waterfowl can scream, but the damn brute wouldn't let go of my thumb. My grandmother actually had to come running up and kick the bird in the gut before he would let go. I cannot remember if the bite actually hurt all that much or not, but seriously, at three years of age, if an ugly honking bird grabs you, aren't you going to be just a bit freaked out?

The best part of the whole experience was that the goose left a nice little U-shaped pattern of dots with his little teeth on the top of my thumb. For the first few hours, looking at it scared the crap out of me. Over the next week, I adjusted to it until it disappeared.

Years later, when it came time to invent an yahoo email address, I couldn't think of anything I liked. Then someone said to me, "pick something traumatic from your past that no one will understand until you explain it." Actually, no one said that to me. I just made that up. But I came up with the idea for GooseFood anyway. And that was that.

And I don't try to have any animals eat from my hands any more. They can just wait for me to toss it to them.

Flattered: that Alfred has called me a modern day Renaissance Man. Why? I don't know.

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The market had another good day today. Two years ago, news of the second consecutive day of market gains would not have been news at all. These days, it's almost too much news to be adequately put in perspective.

Last week I bitched about how the Sun-Times really overreacted to a good day of trading. That bitching then got parlayed into me griping about how Chicago newspapers suck, and I once again got off topic. Oh well.

CNN today pulled a similar move following today's trading. The word "bull" creeps into the headline; not an error as egregious as the Sun-Times move, but still, it makes me wonder just how desperate we are for positive economic news. I certainly want to watch the market averages climb (and see my investments grow), but history teaches us that this growth will happen, so I relax and think about beautiful woman who will never talk to me. That it might not happen at the same levels as those seen in the second half of the last decade should not cause us to have a shit fit when the market loses 200 points or uncautiously throw the word "bull" into our stories when the markets make three-digit gains. At least not at this point.

Sorry. I'll come down from my soapbox. And Adam, thanks for the link.

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A few weeks ago, my home samovar was telling me things he wanted me to write about in this here blog. One of his proposals was the always puzzling "If you were marooned on a deserted island with only one person, who would you want that one person to be?" question. I had never really thought about that, so I started mulling over the possibilities.

Being a normal guy, my first thought was "okay, so which beautiful woman am I going to take with me?" Elizabeth Hurley was the first to come to mind, but I've heard she's quite bitchy, and if I'm going to be stuck on a desert island with someone, I'd prefer them to be nice. So I went through a list of other women in whose lives I wouldn't mind being the only guy like Gillian Anderson and Heidi Klum. But ultimately I didn't think it would work out with either of them. Gillian's pretty pale, and I'd be worried about her getting skin cancer all the time. She's also somewhat short, and not being a giant myself, we'd have no one to reach the coconuts. And of course, Heidi is married, so she might not succumb to my wily charms at all, though I find that somewhat hard to believe, as I know you do too. Plus both beautiful ladies are more mature than I am, and who knows if they would want to take advantage of all the fun a deserted island has to offer? (Watch The Blue Lagoon if you're curious about this.) So I initially settled on Britney Spears. She's smoking hot, young enough to want to have fun, and has admitted that "it's hard to wait." (Not that many believe she has, or anything. But I'm cool with that.) Plus, on our island paradise, Britney would have no television toward which she could direct her energy and sluttiness, so I would have to oblige her. Rats.

But then I started thinking about why I wanted these particular ladies to be present with me on my island. Yeah, I'm not very deep, so it pretty much came down to lust and being horny. But how would they do at helping me survive? I cannot say that I have as much confidence in their abilities to build a raft out of coconuts and palm fronds as I do in their abilities to make me want to do other thinigs besides building rafts out of coconuts and palm fronds. (This is not to say that they wouldn't be great survival mates, but I'd like a little more insurance than a luck of the draw type scenario.) And since we'd be on a deserted island, after a while all the birth control I packed would run out, and pretty soon we run the danger of having little Britneys and Chrises around. And then my responsibilities would grow even greater because I'd have to come home from work and keep an eye on the children. How could I ever have enough time to sit back, enjoy a nice mai-tai and figure out how the hell we'd get off the island when I was ready?

So having a really gorgeous lady on my island for sexual purposes started to seem like less and less of a good idea. Besides, when I finally return to civilization after surviving being marooned for a number of years, I would become an instant celebrity anyway. And since hot celebrities only date other hot celebrities, and since I'm already beyond hot, I'd get my beautiful famous lady in due time.

So back to the drawing board.

I briefly thought about taking some of my buddies with me because a lot of them are quite resourceful and I generally get along with them pretty well. But computers and emergency science and a knowledge of slavic languages will only get me so far on an island paradise. Plus, since these people are already my very good friends, the first month wouldn't be spent hating each other before we realized our necessity for each other. Then I couldn't play the sensitive guy who discovers that his island mate is a person too with feelings and hopes and dreams. And if I don't get this opportuinity, my own character will not develop enough to the point that the audience becomes sympathetic to my plight. So that option didn't work either.

I thought about recruting my dad, but if I am marooned on a deserted island, I may never grow up to be as successful as my father. I could live with that if I didn't have to know that he was watching me not be as good as he is every day. Nonetheless, I bet he'd build a kickass raft but forget something really important that wouldn't become apparent until we were four days at sea. Then he'd figure out a way to solve his oversight with a beautifully strung-together set of expletives.

So as much as it pains me to say so, taking a hottie lady with me is not a great idea. Nor is taking a buddy or my dad. What to do? I almost decided to go it alone, but then nobody would read my blog at all, so that idea got nixed as well.

Admittedly, I was pretty stumped until I rather fortuitously stumbled upon the answer while reading Jam Sandwhich.

The solution to my greatest mystery


Seriously, who could be better? Unlike that piece of shit professor on Gilligan's Island who could create a transistor radio from some seaweed and install modern conveniences in the castaways' huts but couldn't for the life of him make a functional raft, MacGyver would be the problem solver to take with me, the uber castaway with which to share an island.

We'd be eating like kings on lobster caught in nets made from finely tied kelp and blowing things up using fermenting banana peels as explosives until we got bored with our island and decided to build a hovercraft out of some old crab claws and pineapple. Plus, he's fairly dark skinned, so we wouldn't have skin cancer concerns, and while he would be on equal celebrity footing with me upon our return, making him also eligible to date hot woman, he's a little "past his prime," meaning that the coolest girls of all would come to me first.

Sometimes I'm astounded by my own genius.

MacGyver, wherever you are: It would be my privilege to share a deserted island with you. Just leave that guy Pete back at the Phoenix Foundation. He always screws everything up.

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T minus 3 and counting.

I'm not the type to have lots of friends. However, I am the type to have an amazing capacity to screw up good friendships inadvertantly. both facts considered, I occasionally feel shocked that my friends do such cool things for me now and again, like having a nice farewell gathering on a pleasant Sunday evening or sending me tips just like I told them to do. A special bonus to my certain friend who told me that I am anal. I was not previously aware of my compulsions to neatness.

I had another enormous and wonderful surprise this morning when I discovered that Meesh had visited my blog and deigned to tell me about her visit. Very exciting stuff. Visits from *Ashley* and Meesh within the same week will go straight to my head and make me think that I do have some redeeming purpose to this whole blogging thing. Could you imagine my excitement if I got linked (unsolicited, of course) on some of these great sites? Wow.

Shameless plug for my mysterious friend Alfred. He's been provoking some wonderful laughter in me lately. Unless you're dead, he will likely make you laugh as well.

Sneak preview: the Blondemaster is coming. The Blondemaster is coming.

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