Tuesday, July 28, 2009

aCute fear of Flying

Housing update: Officially, as of last night, Mike and I have secured living arrangements* for at least the next year. We will be living with Chris, who graduated from Duke in ’07. He is an enthusiastic guy who likes HBO shows and living in nice townhomes. I originally thought the house was part of a rental community, but we actually have a landlord; he owns two connected townhomes, one of which we will be living in. I however, will be living in both. The girl who is currently occupying my lavender colored room isn’t due to move out until September, so I will be staying in

a room in the adjacent townhouse. Therein lays the benefit of having a landlord that owns both. I am going to shift my stuff to the garage tonight, say goodbye to Chad and Lauren in the morning, and wash my hands of Flemington Rd. forever. I will miss the perpetual marathon of Friends, and the tasty ice cubes that our freezer managed to birth.

*Disclaimer: we found this place through Craigslist, so any future jailtime or brain damage resulting from said discovery should be blamed solely on one WGK. Address: 213 Columbia Place West, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

I just bought a bike on the internal company “For Sale” mailer. It’s a sturdy beast, and it now sits snugly in the back of the Intrepid. If my car has any presentiment skills, it would do well to crush the bike before I can unload it. I have a feeling that any travel outside of work will be done via my new trike, minus the training wheels. If I leave the training wheels are, they are sure to poke holes in my diaper.

Disconsolate Dreams: On Thursday night, I had perhaps the most depressing dream I’ve had since I was five; only the second real nightmare in my life. When I was in Kindergarten, I had a dream about a red sponge brontosaurus being lynched and screaming in pain. I remember I woke up crying. On Thursday night, I dreamt of running through a small desert in Spring Lake (my hometown) barefoot. I was sidestepping poisonous snakes, successfully dodging through to the other side where my family was standing. One of the snakes managed to nip me, but it was just a small flap of skin, like I had cut myself with a piece of paper. When I pulled at it though, it revealed that my entire foot was empty and a rotten black; it was being eaten away by the poison. So, for the rest of the dream, I had fifteen minutes to run around town and say goodbye to everyone who was ever important to me. My family was on the other side of the desert, so I grabbed them first, fiercely. I was able to find everyone, extended family and all, in fifteen minutes. I went to the Heins’ and then the Mikrut’s, finding Jake with his shirt off (typical), and shared a few laughs with him and his mom. The only people I didn’t get to say farewell to were my Dad (because he was on the phone with Poison Control, trying to find a cure) and Bert. I know I can’t adequately describe my fear, but let’s just say I discovered that desperation can undoubtedly equate to terror.

Big Berth Day: With that dream being my weapon of mass portent, I set out to invade the weekend. Friday night was dedicated to the celebration of Sumertime Susan’s birthday. The setting was Rum Runners, a dueling piano bar in Raleigh. The characters you all know and love. Mike paid $10 for them to play the Michigan fight song, and then some cretin paid $11 for them to stop and play Ohio State’s song instead. It was a great night, and I now reserve a special part of my heart for the love of piano bars and Gypsy’s Shiny Face Diner, where we ate afterward.

Was he hot? Was he sweaty? On Saturday, I hung out at Wisconsin’s pad with him and his friend from Atlanta. Also in attendance: Zhang it! and a guy from Wisconsin that has been here for a year, Luke Skyhook. Skyhook was telling us about how he lived next to a football player when he was in the dorms back in college. Whenever he would walk by down the hallway, the guy would be completely naked, lying on his couch with naught but a hand towel hanging out on his “front porch.” Apparently, the guy was a 300 lb defensive lineman. Without really thinking, I said “Was he hot?” In response I got shocked looks from everybody, and several pointed jabs at my sexuality. Trying to rectify my mistake, I said, “I meant, was he sweaty?” Again, nothing but shock and awe. I finally was able to communicate that I was only trying to find out why he was naked and not trying to visualize him for my own mind vacation. Still, I’ve managed to plant a seed of suspicion in my colleagues; as it has long been said, curiosity killed the cat and prying polished off the pussy. While the rest of the group joined the neighbors in an outdoor session of beer pong, I lay on a towel in the parking lot and made friendship pacts with a robot dog (a terrierist from Yorkshire) for, quite literally, at least two hours.

Snitches ain’t Snit Sunday: Went to an outdoor mall with Aaron to escort him to the AT&T store to set up his iPhone. Stumbled about Best Buy for awhile, bought a Livestrong t-shirt (in support of Johnny One-seed) and an outdoor volleyball at Dick’s. We played a few games of volleyball, and when I ran back in the words to fetch an errant serve, I almost stepped in a three-foot-long black snake. Déjà revuelta. (My best foreign language pun to date! Stop revolting... this have happened before.)Went to see the most recent Harry Potter at night with Mike and Zhang it!, and it was actually quite ambitious, much better than those previous and what I had expected.

Peach Pitney: Tonight after volleyball I am hoping to meet up with Rachel, a friend from high school. She has ties to my sister (volleyball), Bert (girlfriends!), and Duke (boyfriend!). I assume she is looking for a job related to nursing, but I guess I will find out more tonight if we are able to meet up. I need to snatch my glasses from the vision center, either tonight or tomorrow morning, so I look good for the Great Lakes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"An inferior elephant is still way cooler than almost every other animal"

I set up an e-mail mailer list today that includes all the new hires I know. I am trying to reach out and connect with other new hires that aren't in Information Technology (my organization.) I'm a bit miffed that we have no idea who exists out there outside our realm. In the e-mail I said:

New hires are as precious as elephant teeth around these parts, and us jewels should band together so that we have more bargaining power.

Almost immediately I was called out by Mike (6-pack,) who said that the tusks of elephants are not actually considered teeth, and that the "cheek" teeth themselves had almost no value. I was horrified that I had helped to propagate a misconception, and I began to draft an appology e-mail. I was about to send it when I came upon this site. It helped me show Mike the error of his ways, and made me feel a bit better about my statement that elephant teeth have some worldly value. Mike admitted to me that he was a bit of an elephant "connousier" and that they had been his favorite animals since 2nd grade. I felt this was an important turning point in our relationship; Mike admitted that he was wrong (which he rarely is) and he also found out that I repect his choice of an elephant as his favored animal. You need only read the title of this post to see how much Mike thinks of elephants, especially African ones.

We all know the meerkat is the favorite child of Mother Nature, however.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Is that a hacker in your pants or are you just trying to scare me?

The pace of work was not quite up to what I thought it would be and I had no assigned activities for the afternoon; I thus became obsessed with making my laptop and phone talk to each other. In order to accomplish this, I would have to take advantage of something known as Bluetooth technology, where information can be transferred wirelessly through connected sources. Twins and triplets have been using this technology for eons, but I have faithfully avoided it because I hate people who walk through the grocery store seemingly holding palavers with themselves.

After about ten computer restarts and some in-depth process switch-knifing, my computer finally announced that it could “see” my phone. This capacity, however, as with many such capabilities, came at a costly penance; my self-respect. About an hour before I finally got the connection to work, a lady sitting about 50 feet from me stood up and shouted “Who is trying to hack my computer?!!” A bunch of people gathered around her and chattered as she showed them her screen. “It says ‘Please enter the access code for Blackberry XXXX-XX!’” Thankfully, because everyone was distracted by the chaos, nobody noticed me writhing in my cube with my head down, yanking my battery out of my phone. “There,” she declared, “it’s gone. Hope that wasn’t a security breach.” I heard her asking who had a Blackberry, and I threw the phone in my bag and went for a walk.

More to come: housing update, worst dream ever (snakebite/death warrant), Summertime’s birthday weekend in downtown Raleigh, mailbox, HP6

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Christmas in Calamityville

Most of the time I wear my badge proudly; it perches illicitly on my pocket like a motel-room purchase on a credit card statement. Sometimes it falls off. Sometimes it catches the glare of the sun and reflects my features to the heavens, announcing my wonder (and confusion). Mostly, it just watches the world stand still while I sift through the crumbs of my daily bread. There are times, however, when it slips inside my pocket to rest. This normally happens when I am done with work and tuck it in so it isn’t swinging in all directions and rubbing things the wrong way.

It doesn’t appreciate being tucked.

I drove over to the gym after work on Monday. I approached the door, bedecked with handheld accessories, athletic shoes to complement my athletic stance, and a bag full of workout clothing. In my pocket, the aforementioned piece of plastic with a pompous personality. With my hands full, I am at a loss for what to do to access the building. At first I consider putting everything down, but then I ideate and decide to bifurcate from that stupid idea, opting instead to press the card to the reader through the lining of my pants. I lean against the building, but my hips are too low slung to reach the reader. I lift my leg up, so that I look like a dog marking his territory with the musk of the misinformed, but my badge slides away from the reader and inches closer to the area marked Private Access. Next, I swing my leg open, touching the inside of my knee against the wall, so that now it looks as if I am attempting to mount the sexless and decidedly impassive card reader. This almost works, but in order to spark this particular electronic happy ending, I have to thrust upward against the wall. The door beeps; I realize I have no available hands to open it, but a man steps up from behind me and opens it for me with an amused flair. I briefly lose interest in living.

At some point during my time at the gym, perhaps even while I was pushing my dignity through the business end of a nutcracker, Lily Pad’s pad was getting robbed. Thousands of dollars of goods were taken but the neighbors saw nothing, and the thieves were bold enough to attack during the day. I couldn’t fall asleep last night after hearing Lily Pad say that the police didn’t really have any ideas on how to follow up on the crime. Into the wee hours of the morning, I poured over satellite images of his neighborhood, marking points where lookouts would be posted and where they likely loaded up the goods. There is an access road running along the pond behind his house – a great place for a getaway vehicle. I would like to ask the people at the end of that access road if they saw anything interesting, but I likely won’t. I think I’ll let the cops not do their job.

Before that late night of detective work, I went over to Brandon’s house to help load up the Budget truck he had rented to move back to Michigan. I put to use my excellent moving skills: twisting couches around corners, tossing hutches through tight spaces, and pinching mattresses in such a way that they practically carry themselves. I still remember the first time I ever helped anybody move. It was a lady from church and I was maybe eight years old. She bought everyone pizza after, and I fell in love with being helpful. The next time I volunteered to help someone move, I kept a keen eye on the relocater, waiting for them to order food for everyone, and started to get nervous when the vehicles were packed and my stomach started to throw punches. I remember asking, “When are we getting the pizza?” and getting shoved roughly aside and told how inappropriate I was being. Since then, I have always harbored some suspicion toward people that are moving, but my suspicions turned out to be merely passing pigeons last night, as it was agreed upon early that we were working in return for grub. I demolished a large container of sweet-n-sour chicken with my deft chopsticking skills, which I picked up from Zhang it!.

Mike and I have a late date (10:30 PM) tonight to checkout a possible living arrangement procured through the online intercourse haven known as Craigslist.org. There are some nice three bedroom townhomes not a stone’s throw from downtown Chapel Hill, and a nice young fellow is looking for two more to round out his chic adobe abode. It isn’t adobe, it’s brick, but I can never say “No” to anagram soup. Anyhow, the guy is coming back from D.C. tonight, and understands that Mike and I are jonesing to sign on a place, so he told us to come over late tonight. I plan on keeping my back to the wall, as usual, and I told Mike to bring a gun, so we should get out of there safely. If I don’t come back, however, split up my things accordingly. All I ask is that my EEYORE mug gets donated to charity. Which reminds me of the time in high school when Bert and I went around asking for donations to the Battered Women’s Club instead of the Hooved Animal Rescue. Needless to say, we got more donations than anyone else.

In a quirky turn of events, I went to pay my cell phone bill with Alltel yesterday and instead of owing them $80, they owe me $220. So, if someone out there put three hundred dollars on my phone account, declare yourself and I’ll treat you to an ice cream, because there is no way I’m calling up Alltel to complain. If it was a mistake on their part, then it is literally Christmas in July. And I heard Summer Santa doesn’t really care whether you’re naughty or nice.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh no! Gawd-zeera!

So since Tuesday I have been working the phones at work and am starting to get a bit of a feel for the deal. It feels especially fulfilling when I ask to be granted access to their desktop and I am given a resounding “Yes, take me!” Honestly, they never say no. I rummage around for a bit on their computer, address the dilemma, and then ask if they would like to upgrade to premium service for a small monthly fee.

“Just make that check out to Wesley King, yep, $15 please.”

“Hey, Leslie?”


From the time when I used to check out library books as a timid young homeschooler, many have asked “Leslie?” after I say Wesley. The librarians demanded that I whisper, and they misunderstood quite frequently. I fail to correct, and this may someday be my downfall.


On Thursday, I was shadowed by an awesome Jamaican guy who is looking to buy a home in the area. We traded war stories, as the calls were coming in quite frequently, and it was a good time. My second favorite call was from Italy, where I could hardly make out what the man was saying. At the end of the call, the man said “Thanks Leslie, Ciao!” When Mr. Jamaica busted out laughing and asked what the Italian had called me, I said “Chow.” He thought this was the funniest thing in the world and started referring to me as a little doggie treat (Haha, chow) and he probably thinks my name is Leslie. I don’t mind, I like people with accents.

On Thursday night we went out to celebrate Andy’s birthday, an engineer who has been here for a year. Before I went over to join the festivities, I went to an elementary school to see if I could pick up any little kids. When I realized that I had mistimed my abduction (it was 5 PM,) I kept on rolling to the playground, where I got out and went to the basketball court for a “New Hire” event that Summertime Susan had coordinated. It ended up being only I, Candlewick, Summer, and Man U., due in no small part to the fetal and skittish nature of Interns and the fact that many people went over to celebrate Andy’s b-day after work. We four disbanded, after consoling Summertime, and I headed over to join the birthday festivities.

At the point in the evening when the celebrations and libations were winding down and we began to dread the next planned event, going to see “I love you, Beth Cooper,” we found ourselves shoved in the stuffy corner of a place called “Brixx.” Despite the two x’s, there were no scantily clad Midnight Cowgirls – we were only there having a drink. We made Andy order the most womanly drink possible – a maithai – and he asked the waitress for as many umbrellas to put in the drink as she could carry. She refused, citing some faux prose about their being out of umbrellas, so Andy requested tiny plastic swords. While she was away getting them, Zhang it! said something along the lines of “Did you guys see something outside?” and I immediately turned to him and said “Gawd-zeera!” in a perfectly flowing Asian accent. This joked worked quite well on many levels; everyone had been making fun of him the rest of the night for being Japanese even though he is decidedly Chinese. Countless times he had said “I’m not Japanese, bro.” What could he do when I brought up the most fearful monster ever to walk the streets of Japan? Hang his head and chuckle, while everyone else enjoyed my joke. After tossing out another line, “Four swords and seven beers ago…” I had done a sufficient night’s work of hooking the crowd and convincing them that you don’t mess with the best – especially when the best is Wes.

I’m not even going to mention how bad the movie was (13% approval rating). That might have counted as a mention.

On Friday, Michigan Mike and I convinced some people to come up and enjoy the pleasantries of Chapel Hill. I got to show off my Duck Crossing sign, and had enough “social juice” in me to go up to a group of peoples at the bar and start the conversation of how dominant the Big Ten is. One girl was from Penn State, her boyfriend from New York, and we had quite a good time talking to them. However, on the other side of the table sat a guy from Fort Bragg and his Flossie, and we had a hard time getting them to smile. Apparently he had his civvies in a knot.

Saturday I got an eye exam, glasses, and contacts that added up to more expensive than my car and my sense of accomplishment combined. Though my line of “Hey babe, I got vision insurance” didn’t quite have the potent effect that I’d hoped for, it did significantly lower my expense. I find it a bit nauseating that the only time I can knock $400 dollars of a bill is when I am gainfully employed; makes me feel a bit guilty. Well maybe someday I can write a book on the psychological damage inflicted on 22-year-olds with no fear and no emotions that for the first time in their lives find themselves with insurance… but probably not. I guess for now I’ll just grin and bare it. Har har.

At one point when I was picking out my glasses I had six ladies surrounding me, judging my looks and sightlines. Four were employed by the vision center, one was picking out her own pair before I came in, and one looked homeless. Well, this is America, and her opinion counted two (speeling?). I had narrowed it down to about ten pairs, and these ladies helped me get to two, and then there ensued a striking debate between several ladies about which pair I would take home with me. Deciding factors included but weren’t limited to: local female preference (southern wedding belles?), fashion trends, my strong cheekbones, my “native” complexion (what?), dress style at my workplace, weather patterns, and my penchant for skipping causation and going straight to effect. It was an orgy of opinions, and after it was over I had to go home and check myself for visualizational diseases.

This is how I will look when I put them on:

At 1 PM, Michigan Mike and I checked out a cute little piece of a place within walking distance of downtown Chapel Hill. As we were leaving, the realtor of record, maybe a few years older than us, looked at the floor and said in a whisper “There is one other interested party.” This was spoken with so little passion and such obvious acquiescence that I had to stop myself from laughing in his face. If no other places pique our interest over the next few days, we will probably end up there, unless that “other interested party” swoops in like a bird afowl.

Chilled at Lily Pad’s for the rest of the day, at another infamous southern Barbie-queue, thus leading us to an eventless Sunday afternoon. Well, there was the library trip.

I decided to walk, since I had about 100 pages left to read in my book, and I found myself with about ten left when I got there, so I sat down to finish in the lobby. It was there that I encountered my first legitimate OCD sufferer. A man with a bike helmet on was on his way out, but had to perform a specific task first. He would walk almost all the way to the sliding doors, and then walk back and stand on top of one particular tile, circle it, and walk back toward the door. He must have done this 7-10 times before he left. I was quite somber afterward, and had trouble finishing the last few pages of my read. I can’t imagine a life with such a burning need to ignore all else and only replicate movements; a life replete with repeat. As I finished reading, I looked up to see a tiny Asian boy bouncing on the bathroom door. He was looking and me and giggling; bouncing over and over again, and opening the door a little more with each bounce. He finally pushed too hard and fell all the way through, with a look of shock etched on his face that reminded me of how I feel when I think there is one more step at the top of a dark stairway and my foot hits the flat floor instead. There was a crash from in the bathroom, and then he bust out with a huge smile directed at me. It made me feel a bit better about watching the guy with OCD, but no less guilty.

In brighter news, I found the other book my Elliot Perlman, the author of Seven Types of Ambiguity, which is my favorite book. The guy is a barrister in Australia and has only written two books, so this was quite a pick-up, at least for me. After the library, went down to work to play some bball with Zhang it! and Wisconsin, and a few frolicking others. I’m quite spent, like a vial of tadpole spit after a pond frog drinking contest. Now I sit, getting ready to read, getting ready for a new work week, and looking forward to a trip home after this next weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it

I must seem quite smarmy when I glance over my left shoulder at whoever should be unlucky enough to be shadowing me at the time. This isn’t because I’m cocky, and not because I’m rude, but because most of the calls that have come through to me have been ruefully simplistic. There have been a few instances, however, where the look I cast back is one of horror; where my eyes are spilling treasonous tears; where my mouth is contorted into a scandalous depiction of a bat cave.

I had to make a tough choice between going to see Harry Potter’s latest video adventure and going to eat some brats and burgers at a co-workers house last night. I chose the latter mostly because I love food and because I’ve never been athletic on a broomstick. The cookout was in a housing division so fresh out of the box that it didn’t exist on Google Maps, so I printed the directions out, and consequently left them at work. I found the place anyway; I don’t need a dowsing rod to find water and I don’t need directions to find dead animal meat.

As I was walking by my manager’s office after printing off directions to the cookout (waste of paper!), he called me in and explained for the first time how I ended up in the call center. He basically said “During the interview… you were lied to.” He assured me that this was unintentional and that the position I was hired for was not the same as the one I ended up in. I told him to nevermind the noise and screams, I perform well under torture, and I like it. It was then that I was sprinkled with my daily shower of embarrassment.

Greg: “You don’t have to worry about anybody judging you; we understand you are smart and will pick it up quickly without us pushing you. You might feel a little stretched right now, but just know we have your career in mind and we want to help you achieve your goals.”

Me: “Oh… I haven’t been stretched in awhile.”

Both of us: stunned silence. I glanced awkwardly at the wall, focusing on a spot where the paint looked exactly like all the spots around it. Greg unclasped his hands from his knee and checked something on his computer. I backed slowly out of his office and continued to my desk. Sat down. Placed my hands together with palms facing outward, and stretched.

Getting an eye exam this Saturday, as well as looking at a possible future living arrangement. Going to lunch today to celebrate the grand exit of the guy who is going back to Michigan. Ate a whole box of blueberries for lunch yesterday. I know, I know; what an exciting life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I know a shark who knows some Sharks

Last night my brain waves were crashing relentlessly - and my mind's beach was a pathetically empty shoreline. I had a lot to tell, and today, I tell it:

I knew it was going to be a good weekend based on what happened to me on my walk back from lunch. The cafeteria where everyone congregates is a good 10 minute walk, and as skipped and danced along hypnotized my iPod, I noticed a car far ahead that was stopped in the street with its nose pointed in at the parking lot. It took me at least 30 seconds to get to where it was and cross in front of it. It was a car full of Indians, all smiling at me and gesturing that I cross in front of them. I would literally have to have been racing at an all-out sprint on rollerblades for them to even consider stopping for me. It is with the knowledge that I had just been paid the highest respect – respect that I surely did not deserve – that I completed my workweek.

At dinner before Bruno on Friday, Zhang it! ( a fellow U of M grad) taught me how to use chopsticks, thus completing my earthly education. The one skill that has eluded me through all my years was the ability to manipulate two straight twigs to pick up inanimate pieces of food. With this expertise newly gained, I see no reason why I shouldn’t be considered God’s #1 draft pick in any possible challenge that he becomes involved with. For example, if he ever becomes a former NFL quarterback that looks like the runt of a litter of homeless weasels, and cheats on his wife, and if further his street-maiden pulls a gun on him while he is sleeping post-coitus, I will step in and pick the bullets out of the air with chopsticks. That is the kind of friend I am.

At dinner, I learned from Man U. (Indian friend) and Zhang it! (Michigan engineer) that waitresses are treated with zero deference in other parts of the world. Man U. showed us how you snap your fingers at a waitress and scream “Check please!” with chivalry. Zhang it! talked about how in China waitresses are yelled at, unappreciated, and never tipped. This conversation on the gross mistreatment of lesser humans was a great precursor to a meal of raw fish and a movie with raw footage. For the sake of maintaining some semblance of sanity, I have repressed most parts of Bruno. You should laugh at the image of me weeping and gagging on skittles in the front row of the theater while the man on screen swept humanity one step closer to chaos, and save your money. Movie reviews: 3 and counting.

After the movie we headed downtown Raleigh (note this: each in a separate vehicle) to party like we’d just been assigned a substitute teacher with a “don’t behave, I’m clueless” personality. Energy sparkled from our fingertips as we procured free parking and finished off the last of my fingers (skittles, I meant to type skittles – what is wrong with me?). We sprinted to the door of Ugly Monkey (pronounced “dive bar”) and got in line. Well, everyone else got in like. As we approached the door, I realized I had left my driver’s license at work, because I had to scan it and send it to Wachovia Bank to once again prove that I wasn’t an errorist (or terrorist.) My pending lack of access temporarily confused my line mates, with a few offering to step out of line and hang out(side) with me. I would have none of it; I ordered them to go in and have a good time, saying that if I couldn’t convince the bouncer to let me in then I no longer deserved their respect or concern. I did a quick circle around the block to figure out the bouncer’s foibles, and came up with a plan.

I jogged back to my car, grabbed my ID badge, and opened up Facebook on my phone. I scrolled down the webpage to where my birth date and picture were displayed; I now had both a physical photo ID and digital proof that I was born more than 21 years prior. I practiced holding these two objects up in unison, pretending that I was an agent busting through the caution tape after a Fall Out Boy concert. “Who killed these (a)pathetic creatures, Lieutenant?” It was the music, sir. It was just so awful. Finally able to strangle myself with self-delusional wire, I dragged myself back to the Ugly Monkey, only to find the bouncer trading pleasantries with a cop.

I could only imagine myself going up to the two and requesting entrance. The cop glancing at me, automatically sensing my fear and feeding off it: This fresh looking young man wants into a club, not to drink but to play pool (according to him,) because he is driving his friends home later. Without a license. And look at him, flaunting his fancy Smartphone. I’ll show you smart, you bastard. And thus the senseless beatings would begin. I wasn’t about to give the man a chance to show off his nightstick or tasing skills, so I did a two mile loop and came back. He was still there. Two more miles, and he was finally gone. There now remained only 25 minutes before the bar turned on the lights and turned off the glamour; I thought I would try anyway. I pushed play on my rehearsed act, and swiftly got shut down. The man asked me if he looked like an idiot, and I briefly entertained the thought of pretending this wasn’t a rhetorical question, and answering him. Instead I just turned and walked, sashaying my hips so that he would know just what he was missing out on.

It seemed only a few short miles later that my friend called, requesting my presence. I jogged back, and listened to Zhang it!’s story about how his heart was crushed when I wasn’t allowed in. He demonstrated this painful process by pretending his fist was his heart, and showed how it was crushed under the weight of a thousand oceans by my absence. It was, quite frankly, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. It was agreed upon that I would be driving everyone to Chris Candlewick’s apartment, in his car. Mr. Candlewick had blessed us by joining us for the movie, and bringing his girlfriend along as well. 6 people, one car. We had hoped to meet up with Summertime Susan, but events unfolded in such a way that only one outcome was possible: bed and sock tricks. It was as if sock tricks worked as a black hole, and once this idea entered our heads, the “event horizon” had been reached, and our fate was sealed.

Candlewick’s astounding girlfriend, Laura, has sock tricks. She promised that we could see them at Chris’s apartment, but only after we stopped at her parent’s house to tend to the “dogs.” Said dogs turned out to be pugs, which, as some of you may know, aren’t actually classified with any such dignified title as “dogs.” They have been called the Rats of Society, False Friends, and Flat-Faced Viruses… and this is by their owners. One of the creatures turned out to be blind and considerably demented, and the other anomalous to a grease fire – intent on getting one’s attention by whatever means necessary.

When we got to Chris’s place, I claimed the couch, two others claimed the recliners, and Zhang it! got stuck with a Wii yoga-mat on the floor. None of us got blankets, but we all got a pick of Chris’s fleece jacket stash. We found solace from our sparse surroundings through entertainment – Laura started with the sock tricks. She did the figure 8, and the figure 8 with “extra.” Adjectives used to describe sock tricks: beautiful, crazy, rapid, are you a cheerleader?, MJ would have loved this, extravagant, and zzzzzz… (Man U.).


A gentle poke from Man U. woke me up on Saturday. “Wes, it’s 9 AM. Wes, 9 AM.” He said these things as if it was my idea to get up at 9, or as if he was doing me a favor. He poked everyone else in the same way, which brought me no comfort. We all took sips of Chris’s reverse osmosis-ized water, and then it was time to fetch cars. As Chris would now be driving his car, not me, and everyone was sober, 6 people in one car was now at issue. To fjord the river before rainstorm, I walked straight to the trunk and told Chris to pop it. He did, and I climbed in. No matter that I was the biggest of the group by 4 inches and 30 pounds, when you call the backseat and get a busy signal, you know what you have to do. I guess growing up with wolves and being baptized a Chameleon sometimes has its benefits.

Fetched my car and headed home for a three hour break before heading out for Wilmington for the beach trip. I looked for two-room houses/apartments, and read a letter from a friend telling me how awesome I am. While I am by no means egotistical – the opposite in fact (as any egoist would say) – it never hurts to roll around in compliments like a piglet in a fresh mudhole every once in awhile. I tried to schedule a last minute eye appointment, nope, nip, nein. Packed the tent, and packed my bags, and I was off to Wilmington for the evening. Attendees for a Saturday night on the coast: Wisconsin and his girl, Michigan Mike, and Lily Pad. Lily Pad has been here for a year, and is a talkative man of indiscriminate age. He is a lovely conversationalist, and a great addition to the Saturday night festivities. On the trip down we played a game where you have to pick out what the theme of the picnic is based on the items that are being brought. My items: battery, human brain, peach pit, tampon, etc. The theme of my items: Things that are meant to work best when inserted. It is things such as these that makes car trips fly (I just invented flying cars! Or at least car trips.)

When splitting two beds between five people, it is imperative that one person volunteer to bring, and consequently set up, a small tent. For this trip, I played that role. When asked why I didn’t just sleep on the floor, I responded that the floor didn’t come with privacy or a rain flap. And, as it turns out, the rain flap would come in handy. Wisconsin and I napped while the others when to a local sicker store to grab drinks. When they got back, we pulled the blinds over the window and proceeded to come up with inventive ways to torture our livers. When we opened the blinds after two hours, it was still light out. This twisted our brains more cruelly than looking into God’s diary or trying to divide a stitch in time by nine. By the time the cab got there, the sun was starting to set. And it was at this point we found out that Lily Pad will flirt with anything that moves or has a heat signature.

Lily Pad flirted with Dan the cab driver, waxing poetic about life in North Carolina, and asking him at least three times for his phone number and telling him that we would call later for a ride back. When we stepped out onto the street, Lily Pad flirted with a 14 year old skater and told him he would buy him a drink if he told us a good place to eat dinner. More flirting later; for now, the fireworks. The skater told us to eat at Vito’s, a fine pizza place on Wilmington’s main drag. Little skater kids were scared of Lily Pad, but we were getting along just fine until Wisconsin’s eyes happened to cross the wrong sector of the wrong part of a certain young female’s anatomy. Wisconsin’s woman stormed out, I went to calm her down, and Wisconsin just smiled his charming smile (that apparently won him some cutest baby contest, I’m hoping when he was a baby.) When I came back in the 16 year old girls said they would talk to us if we bought them pizza; I just gave them a stanky face and made some comment about them being born in the same decade as the Jurrasic Park movie. We moved on to other places, but the mood was no longer romantic and the energy was dying, dying, dead. Wisconsin and she headed back to the hotel, so Michigan Mike, Lily Pad, and I went to the beach and explored the dark shoreline.

Lily Pad flirting with an old guy playing an arcade game (“I LOVE YOU, what’s your name? LARRY!”) and then we caught a cab back to Waffle House, across the street from our hotel. I told the cab driver a joke I had heard about Michael Jackson – “Did you hear MJ died of food poisoning? No? He had 13-year-old nuts in his mouth” – and then stepped out to get some late night biscuits and gravy. Someone asked us why our shorts were wet, and I declared “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and that little boys have the right to the pursuit of happiness and to splash around in the sea with floaty toys.” I didn’t actually say this to them, but to myself, as I went to bed that night in my tent, after Wisconsin made up with his woman, and she poured water over my tent to test the rain flap.


We all woke up at 9, and then went back to sleep for an hour. We went to eat and meet friends at Flaming Amy’s. Insomuch as I expected something to be aflame, or at least that our waitress would have a dyke spike, I was disappointed. Instead, the place offered an array of tasty burritos, and I partook of a healthy meal. It was at lunch that I found out that shark attacks were non-existent in this particular locale, but jellyfish kisses cost only 10 cents per dozen. I put away my shark knife, and thought about possible protection from the floating puss-bags, and came up with two ideas. First, I designated Catie, Wisconsin’s woman, as official Urinary Relief Coordinator. She was disallowed from peeing until a jellyfish attacked a member of our group. Second, for my own personal protection, I bought a jar of peanut butter while everyone else was getting beer. Unbeknownst to them, I smeared a small dab on the bottom of each of their boogie boards, ensuring that the jellyfish would attack them while I splashed safely beyond their reach. As a last resort, I burned myself mercilessly in the sun so that I would have my own personal “firewall” against any attacks. Take that jellyfish. Sorry, skin. Hello, cancer.

While most people were busy being surrounded by horny jellyfish, I was tossing around the ol’ waterlogged Nerf ball. At some point during this process, a charismatic tween boy worked his way into the circle and started demanding the ball. His friends were calling him back, but he just kept confiscating our ball whenever possible and then submerging it so it would be heavier. He might have had Tourettes, because whenever a big wave came he would chest-bump it and scream unintelligible curses. After several minutes, when he didn’t calm down, I tackled him when he got the ball, and then swam away. When he came after me to the ball back, I turned back to him and said “Boy, I know sharks who know Sharks. You might not want to mess with me.” He continued to play after that, but had lost several pints of enth-ooze-iasm, and he must have fallen victim to a horde of whorish jellyfish, because we didn’t hear much else from his direction.

We played a little sand futbol after that, and I did my best bicycle, and fell haphazardly onto my burned back. Such is the curse of the talented though, and afterward I never acknowledged that I had fallen to anyone. All I would admit to was having done the coolest thing they’d never seen.

I was quite popular on the car ride back; I remembered the aloe. Everybody looked so sexy with a thin layer of gel on every visible inch of skin, and we were flagged down several times by tourists who wanted pictures of local seamen. If this offends you, then enjoy a milder child.


Today I was slated to take calls, but tomorrow, Tuesday, has been announced D-day. I will try to be cordial as I am escorted from the premises sometime tomorrow afternoon. I also blew a perfect chance to show my charm today. After I got a fair amount of groceries, I went up to the Redbox to grab a video for the night: Valkarie. As I walked up to the machine, a fine looking young woman backed away and said I could go; she didn’t have a credit card with her, and had to wait for her friend to get there with one. I was so focused on finding the movie that I didn’t even think about just getting her movie and having her give me the dollar in her hand. Only when I had made my selection did this cross my mind, and I tried to jam the buttons so I could reset my transaction. It wouldn’t let me, and after I snagged my DVD I asked her if she just wanted me to put it on my card. At this point, however, her friend was only minutes away and she politely declined. How much easier could it get? “Ok, well just make sure to return the movie on time so I don’t get a late fee on my card. I should probably just get your number in case you don’t return it…” Gods above, bless me with the ability to rewire my synapses; I need some fresh soil to plant some new dendrite bushes. I guess I’ll be hanging out by the Redbox machine in Harris Teeter at 7 PM every night, ladies.

In other news: Jake and Kent, friends from the dirty north, will be making their way down to visit in early August. I will be riding back with them from Michigan; maybe I can introduce them to some fun car games. This ties into my second piece of news – I no longer will have two roommates, but only one. The eldest among us has decided to return to Michigan to try his hand at tearing through the bloody waters of some other corporate cesspool. Michigan Mike and I had brief hopes of getting a house with Summertime Susan, but those plans never got clearance from the control tower. To top it off with a cheery cherry, I found out today that my tiniest sibling laid low the AP Spanish test by shredding through its toughest questions and earning 4 out of 5. At this level, he basically is granted citizenship to Spain and gets a complimentary key to Mexico City. This test is so rough that it is uncommon for a native Spanish speaker to get 5/5. Think about it… I sure am.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quick Fry

After I go to the on campus gym for a bit, I am heading down to Briar Creek, a swaky collection of buildings, to have dinner with some cohorts. We then plan on going to see Bruno and then going downtown Raleigh somewhere.

Dinner and Scattegories last night. I impressed competitors with an answer of "Extra Scoop" for an ice cream flavor starting with "E." Not much else going on. I saw a lady at Harris Teeter whose gums were bigger than her teeth, and gray. She said she was a fan of professional football and then bought two bottles of wine.

I found out that my company calls white-out "correction fluid." As in, "Honey, I can't see the road. What's worse, the whetherman is calling for a total correction fluid flurry tomorrow."

Revolutionary Road won't make you giddy, but it is a pretty good movie. Leo was awesome. I hate Kate Winslet, but she is good at acting pissed and acting depressed, so it is a good role for her. After a while though, I just couldn't take how she looked. I found myself wishing for a rouge iceberg to find its way on set.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Ghost in the Lasagna

A night full of twisting (but not twisted) thoughts left my eyes looking like they'd taken more bloodshots than a vampire on his 21st (century) birthday. I have now been here for three Sunday nights, and for two of them I have failed to initiate a timely sleep sequence. I must not be as completely acclimated to switching from work to play that I thought I was. I was finally able to go to sleep after counting foil-wrapped brains climbing a ladder. I distinctly said to myself: I am not going to count sheep… how ‘bout brains, wrapped in foil, climbing into the sky? Laugh if you will, but it worked, and I was only mildly braindead at work.

Monday was the start of my “every 20 minutes” experiment. My goal is to eat (or drink) calories every 20 minutes throughout the entire workday. I am trying to kickstart my metabolism again; my body has told me, in few words, that it is time to pause my assault against gravity’s hold on me. After about 16 months of steadily getting lighter, I have been at the same weight for about a year. Anyhow, turns out it is impossible to eat every 20 minutes – how practical is it to stuff dark chocolates down your shredder during a video-conferencing meeting? Every time I take a bite, I hear “Hey, that kids been eating dirt, get him outta here!” I’ve compromised (with myself,) and have decided to eat something small in every two hour increment throughout the day.

After work, I went for a jaunt through the corporate countryside with Summertime Susan. Keeping a good ratio of run to walk wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and we ended up running about 3 out of the 4 miles. Shoulder to shoulder running makes time and feet fly, and it is much easier to talk about family, being homeschooled, and living la vida loca while sustaining a controlled breathing pattern than I ever imagined. I was invited to a lasagna dinner with Wisconsin and his female friend, and I couldn’t help but attend myself (people should attend themselves more often.) The main course was fronted by a strawberry vinaigrette salad, and posthumously flanked by some type of banana-crusted cake. It was delectable and truly invigorating, especially as it was accompanied by a documentary on the exuberant profitability of cocaine transportation from God-knows-where to Miami in the 1980’s.

On the long drive home, the locks on my car started seizuring and the lights began to dance. I turned down the radio and threatened the Intrepid, “If you keep it up, I’m going to pour acid on your VIN number and remove your brakes.” The dastardly ghost sensed the fallibility of my threat, and continued on for the entire ride.

Tuesday was eventful, if you equate full with less, and the day passed quickly. The highlights: a lethal few hours of volleyball and a quote from a colleague’s well-meaning and innocuous snippet of writing, “she was unsuccessful in finding her first period” (in reference to a girl’s first day in a new high school.)

Side note: while I write this, Chad chatters into a microphone outside my room door “My grid just failed. Shit, shit. Do you want me to flip the [unintelligible word] on? Should I shuffle the crodo-diz-bill? BEN IS DOWN! BEN IS DOWN!”

I also met with my manager, and the old tug-of-war/1-on-1 ended quickly when he found out I was a Portuguese man-of-war. He seems genuinely determined to rake the coals around me to make me glow. This is precisely what I need in a manager. He introduced me today to the rest of the team during a video conferencing meeting – and you could see from my visage on the big screen that I was ready to impress. I did the ever-impressive head nod at each of the team members overseas (Amsterdam, London,) and they looked back at me over steaming mugs of tea and biscuit crumbs.

We new hire sires had lunch at the mall today with some of the interns and a social hour after work with some hires from years past. On the way home, I stopped for a dairy treat, and picked up Revolutionary Road. This may very well make me the least eligible bachelor in my house.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stampede, in the Pride Lands

I walked into the movie theater and paid full price, my student ID sitting wasted on top of my desk at home. When I asked Lady full of Angst behind the window why I couldn't get $2 off my movie ticket even after paying for four years of college, she just grunted and asked what method of payment I would be using. I can't remember the last time I went to a theater all alonesome, I'm not sure if it has ever happened. I got good news via text from my brother just as the movie was starting: "I've seen that movie, and it was horrible." Thus I knew I was in for a lovely ride with my good ol' friends Tommy Gunn and Johnny Deep Eyes.
Woke on the breakfast side of noon on Friday, just barely, and dipped over to the bank to make my last stand. The four people at the front desk, who were serving an empty lobby, deferred me once againt to my good pal Stuart, the investment specialist. He proceeded to slam out of his office and chastise the man who had called him on his "business" line, interrupting Stuart's conversatoin with a customer. Stuart finally saw me, huddled like a schoolgirl in a stiff lobby chair, wearing my Great Bible Reef shirt. He made me sign a form, and told me he hoped to see me again soon. I do not pretend to know what he meant by this, and didn't even bother to to gratify his statement with one of my own.

I stopped at a lake on the way home, did a few laps in the wonderfully warm water, and then roasted myself in the loving embrace of the sun. When I got home, I tried to read, realized I was wiped out like a convenience store floor, and decided a nap was my best option. Lauren was gone home for the weekend, and Chad is in whatever fault line he calls home, so I took leave right there in the living room. I stripped of my pond-scum encrusted shorts, and my shirt (my skin was itching from Solaris' touch.) So there I lie, and sleep, until Lauren busts through the fron door two hours later. Apparently needing to pick up a bag she had already packed after getting out of work. I am startled out of a sun-burned nap, which is greatly disorienting. Lauren and I, standing askance, one of us wearing only one piece of clothing, having only known each other for 3 weeks. It is at this point when I knew my Friday was going to be dazzling.

After Lauren left I went to Raleigh to meet up with Wisconsin's youngest son and his visiting female friend. I was introduced to the latter over a cup of sweet tea which turned out to inhibit a wee bit o' Grandpa's honey. We three, only one of us a King, made our way to downtown Raleigh, what the locals call "Glenwood." We met up at an Irish Pub with Summertime Susan's boyfriend, an electricity pusher posted at NCSU. Summertime wasn't there, but we met her boyfriend's roommate and his friends, and continued down the chummy hallway between late evening and early morning; and then a verbal karate match broke out. As it will be told in the history books: Wisconsin Lady hurled scholastic insults at the electrical engineer, and he refused to swallow the static without some witty insults of his own. We high-stepped out in low gear, and found traction in a place not far down the street.

The next day's event-horizon found me sucked into a black hole, and inside the hole was a projected moving image about Transforming pieces of metal that shoot each other. I was there with Mr. an Ms. Wisconsin, and one other Michigan graduate. From there, we made all the day's decisions based on the answer to the following: "What is the most American thing we can do?" So after being lazy at a bad movie, we stopped by the fair, planning on seeing the fireworks. It turned out to be a collection of hot dog stands and rusty "antique" bolts. A "turkey shoot" lured us all the way in, while I promised my mates that I would bag us a turkey for dinner, but shooting BB guns at a black and white target seemed the greatest letdown of the year after dreams of picking off a turkey at 500 yards with a high powered rifle.

Forget the fireworks, we decided that the next best American thing we could do would be to hop the fence of Wisconsin's community pool and have a few brats and burgers. These fine meats were accompanied by a two pound bag of cherries, chips and smashed tomatoes, watermelon, and strawberry shortcake. During this encounter, my phone was misbehaving, having flown out of my pocket during the fence-hopping exercise, and falling to its near death on the concrete. As such, I received none of my Independence Day phone greetings. This sadness was partially countered by a few games of Apples to Applecider. With promises of a trip to Wilmington beach, I left a happy American.

Sad to say, rain dampened our plans of playing shark tag today, but another time for that adventure. Don't get me wrong, I love sharks, but, in similar news, I am deathly afraid of being attacked. This is why I always have, and always will, swim with a knife.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

One Two Mucho

I had to stand up from my desk today and take a 10 minute walk to cool off. This rarely happens to me when I'm working alone, but I just couldn't stop laughing. None of the following are killers stand-alone, but for some reason coming across them all one after the other put me over the edge.


Cow poop

Date: 2009-05-25, 8:30PM EDT

We have cows that keep pooping and it's more than we can handle. Every day there is more cow shit piling up and my husband is starting to panic. He works at Jiffy Mart and doesn't have the time to figure out what to do with all of it. I work too, and I dread coming home each night only to see the cows have pooped another mountain. Please, if you know what can be done about this situation, please let us know as we are at wits end. The stench is becoming unbearable here and I can hardly eat my salad right now as I type this.

Wanted: Taxidermist who watches a lot of Kung Fu

Date: 2009-05-26, 5:37PM MST

I am looking to hire someone with the means to obtain and stuff animals in fashions I choose, which will be Kung Fu for now. When I was younger I convinced a friend of mines dad to create two squirrels Kung Fu fighting. I still think about it from time to time and have decided to get my own Kung Fu animals, I understand this is a bizarre request. Serious inquiries only, please E-Mail me the species of animals you commonly hunt or can obtain and your rate for taxidermy of each in various Kung Fu poses. Mounting preferred. Once again I feel I must state this is serious. If you can show any of your previous work it will probably give you an edge on the competition. Please respond via/e-mail. Thank you.
  • Compensation: There will be payment, decent pay. Depends on quality of work and product which will vary.
Everyone is going home for the weekend, it seems, so tonight I have made plans with myself to got watch Public Enemies with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. This is a test of my patience with Christian. I used to think of the British-born chappie as one of my favorites, but the Dark Knight and Terminator have tainted my stained-glass visage of the actor. Work today consisted of more training, minus the bras, wheels, and diapers that usually accompany such events. I will likely update tomorrow... because I have work off!

Praise corporate holidays. I need to figure out my banking situation tomorrow, and that is all. Adios, fellows and cheerleaders.