Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Mean Green Cookiecutting Machine

A cute woman representing the Raddison hotel came to the front desk today with literature and rates for the hotel. She also brought a complimentary gift.

It's green plastic cookie cutter, Christmas tree shaped. It has the Raddison's addresses and phone numbers on it. What is the thinking on this promotional item? I suppose next time I'm baking sugar cookies, and using my trusty cookie cutter, I'll think Raddison.

I put it in the cafeteria with a sign that says in brown capital block letters "free cookie cutter! have fun! impress your neighbors!"

I'll bet it's gone already.

Or just maybe, I'll get lucky and some women will fight over it. I've always wanted to take bets on a post-menopausal catfight.
5:50 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Monday, September 23, 2002

A Big Secret

There's a short but enormous woman, Dolores, who works the dining room register at the beef & pizza joint where I deliver pizzas. I'd never seen her before when I showed up yesterday at 5pm. From across the kitchen she stared at me until customers came in, and once they left, she watched me more.

An hour later she walks over and tells me her work schedule, apparently trying to figure why she'd never seen me before. After a short bit of this she asked me to take a certain delivery.

I'm not sure if Dolores called first, or her friend, but she promised to send a cute guy to bring the italian beefs and fries to her girlfriend. "Don't check her out!" she says. "Too late.", my response. There's no way I'm going to NOT check her out after this kinda foreplay.

I arrived and got a good $4 tip from the woman, who rivals Dolores in the obesity department. The lady told me that she promised Dolores a full report, and she reminded me in some way of Alice from the Brady Bunch. I think I smelled cats. I have an allergy you know.

Huge women and young teenage girls both flirt like this. I think it's a combination of no confidence and no experience. Shyness, simply put. Like passing notes in class.

Fat women love me. I do not know why. I guess some attention is better than none, but they're more than I can handle, for sure. I wonder if they have a secret society. It would be hard to hide.
11:23 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Thursday, September 19, 2002

Ugly and Ornery

My neighbor Brenda tells great stories about bikers and heroin addicts, and occasionally, herself. Back one summer night in 1991, Brenda had been drinking heavily for several hours when it became time to head home. Her friend Tagger asked for her keys, since Brenda was so sloshed that she couldn't even stand up straight. She belligerently refused.

They haggled, wrestled, shouted and eventually calmed down. Brenda agreed to a compromise. She would sit in the driver's seat and steer, and Tagger would sit in the middle and control the pedals.

They drove through both lanes past the copshop, stopping and starting and turning and backing up. It didn't work very well. Somehow there were no police leaving or entering the station at the time they passed it. Dumb luck.

Tagger must've been drunk too if he agreed to try that.
10:35 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Sneaky Deaky

Once upon a time there were 5 guys watching Monday Night Football. They were hungry and broke. Several of these fine gentlemen are confidence artists, so they set upon scoring some free food from a nearby White Castle hamburger shack.

One of the guys secured a twenty burger meal with fries for some local sheriffs who were organizing donations for a celebrity basketball charity game. Supposedly, retired Cubs, Sox, Bears, and Bulls players were going to play hoops with the sheriffs to raise money for underpriviledged children. The sheriffs would place a banner ad in the gymnasium during the game if the restaurant would feed the sheriffs soliciting donations. False contact information was likely given.

Another, calling the same restaurant, called to complain about a drive-thru order, and did so angrily and convincingly. The manager on duty kept asking for a ticket number, but eventually found an order that must have been the screw-up, and gave our friend number 4793 to come and pick up a corrected order.

Those two and a driver went there, one through the drive-thru, (4793) and one inside at the counter. (the donation) At the same time. Could they really be so gullible? Two identical free orders at the same time, for completely different reasons?

As it turns out, yes, they were that gullible. I guess you could say they bought it.

Too bad all those guys bet on the Redskins, or they might've come out ahead.
10:28 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Daydream Deciever

My roommate does one thing. He gets stoned. That's all.

No job, no car, no places to go. No goals, no ideas, no motivation.

No, Nancy Reagan is not paying me off or sucking my dick.

Ahem. Yes. His mother pays his rent, sends him cash for food, weed, and clothing. He plays my Gamecube, watches my DVDs, and downloads South Park episodes on his computer, the one thing his father has provided. He doesn't have to do anything so he doesn't.

It's easy for me to judge him, but until late last year, I'd never learned to drive and I lived in my folks' garage, getting stoned and drunk each and every day after work. Unlike the roomie, I've held my current job for almost five years, not mentioning previous employment. But the basics are the same. Do as little as possible for as long as you can. Once I got the boot, it was do or die, so I did. One day he'll get the tough love treatment from his soft touch parents.

His Twilight Zone headspace in affecting the apartment itself. The blinds are all shut, and the lights are off. When I get home, all I can see is blue screen glow from the TV or monitor. Occasionally a reggae bulb will be lit. (a lightbulb, half red, half green, totally obnoxious)

I smoke it too, although it's not my sole activity. Between April and August, I smoked infrequently and bought none of it. Instead I chose to busy myself with long walks, weightlifting, woodcarving, and attending baseball games.

Lately I've been buying it and smoking it much, much more. My brain is slowing down. I've stopped noticing strange little things everyday that make living fun. I haven't carved anything in two months, drawn anything even longer, and I've lifted weights maybe twice this month. Once I get stoned, I don't want to go out. I just want to order pizza and stare at a screen. Am I just preparing for winter hibernation, or am I going back to my old ways of getting wasted and doing as little as possible?

I don't want to stagnate, and I don't want to lose my drive to better my station in life. On one hand, when I'm nice and sober I think all the time about a better job, as better home, financial security, etc. In essence I worry a lot, and sometimes grasp an idea, although I never pursue them. It's a depressed headspace, but an aware one. On the other hand, I relax, stop thinking, stop worrying and sort of enjoy myself when I get stoned. I'm also absent, a zero, a zilch. No emotions, just sweet nothing when I'm stoned. Smoke some pot and I've got a steady hum that drowns out both signal and noise.

I look forward to getting home and toking up each day now.

Now I'm starting to worry about that.
4:38 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Monday, September 16, 2002

In Which Nothing Of Importance Occurs

or "How To Have A Useless Day"

Yesterday was a Sunday. Upon rising at 11:30 am, a luxurious time to wake, I immediately set upon preparing for the Bears game. After relieving myself and showing, I went across the hallway to my old hippie neighbors' apartment. Barely awake, I smoked a couple bowls and drank a few sodas.

Brenda has ulcers, so she makes a curious chili recipe. All the peppers, onions, cheese and sour cream are all sides to be added upon serving. She goes heavy on ground beef and light on beans. My roomie thought it tasted like Wendy's chili. I disagreed. I was a good, thick, brown-sugary sweet chili. Add humongous slices of apple pie to the top of my heap and I'm waddling like an ostrich with osteoporosis.

The Bears won.

Cue pizza delivery time. I arrived late and still had to wait forever before any deliveries came up. I spilled an oreo shake all over the floor of my car. At least it was cool outside and didn't melt quickly. I was tempted to try and eat some of it to lighten the cleanup job, but I resisted temptation. I like butterfinger shakes better anyhow. I also would've been breaking the ten second rule of dropping food. Not to mention that this is semi-liquid semi-solid. I wish my floormat had been where it belonged.

After work I bought a bobble head doll. I kind of hate those things, but it was Brian Urlacher. Everybody loves Brian. I love Brian. My mother loves Brian. Now I too can make Brian dizzy just like he made Michael Vick dizzy yesterday. The circle of life is completed again, and everything is copacetic.

I also bought Sudden Impact since I needed some grumpy Eastwood action. Unfortunately I didn't get to watch it since the roomie was playing video games, monkey ball 2. He wanted me to give him weed before I went to bed and I said no, so he ate my food and stole my cigarettes from my car. That fucker. I'm taking my weed and my cigarettes to Chicago to watch Monday Night Football on a huge fucking television. It's disgusting.

I think I am going to buy some shoes today!
12:58 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Thursday, September 12, 2002

Springer Finger

My bud Steve got himself into a doozy this time.

Across the hallway from his sales office is a rehab clinic. Whenever he goes out for a cigarette, all sorts of troubled souls wander past thinking about drugs, be it finding them or staying off them. One of them took to bumming smokes from Steve. Her name is Bridget.

Eventually they started hanging out, and Bridget started bringing friends around with her to Steve's apartment. One of the friends, whose name I don't know, came to visit Steve last weekend. I'll call her Trashy.

Trashy came with three guys but had left them at a nearby bar to go visit Steve. She aksed him for some coke, but he didn't want to help a recovering addict get a fix, or maybe he couldn't get any, I'm not sure which. She asked him if he and Bridget had hooked up, and when he answered no, she busted out the porn dialogue and said "Let's fuck." They did, and she left.

About an hour later, three big guys broke the window of Steve's back door with a gun handle and let themselves in. Trashy had gone back to the bar crying and shaking, and she said Steve had raped her. The guys beat the shit out of Steve and broke his hand. Forunately they didn't shoot him or steal anything.

The moral of the story is this: don't hang out with cokeheads who don't have any. They behave strangely.

I'm going to borrow his gym card since he can't work out with a broken hand. Lucky me.
12:38 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Flourescent Orange Vest

I love stopping traffic.

I'm also a hypocrite. When behind the wheel and I'm making a right turn at a red light, I get twitchy and impatient when pedestrians are taking their sweet old time crossing the street. Then again, I drive 15 miles over the limit regularly, so maybe I have a nascar wannabe issue to deal with.

When walking, however, I have no regard for all the spinning wheels. I routinely walk in front of right-on-red cars, hold my arm straight out, palm up, and lay some Aretha Franklin on their asses. I've stopped turners for kids who lack the boldness and authority to do it themselves. That always cheers me up.

My favorite moments are when I go through a busy intersection without pausing. It's a matter of lucky timing to walk right up to the curb when the left turn arrows green.

Sometimes people aren't looking the direction they are driving and I have to jump or dive out of the way. I wish I had some eggs.
11:52 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Sex Shop Epilepsy

My neighbors are old hippies. Rob works at the local forest preserve doing outdoor maintenence, and Brenda is a cleaning lady. Brenda has no teeth, but her gummy bright smile is sweet in an infantile way. Rob is a short little skinny bald guy, and watches lots of sports. We get on well.

I went over to visit them on Sunday night. I hadn't seen my roommate since I left on Saturday morning, and while I was gone he'd disappeared and taken all of our silverware with him. Although I did find one knife, fork, and spoon each hidden underneath the empty silverware tray in the drawer. Curious.

I know a married couple that are just way too cute together. Mark is a painting and carpentry contractor, and Linda works at a sex toy shop. My neighbor, Rob, had driven my roommate over to their house. Linda had an epileptic seizure while driving her new car, so the roomie went to drive Linda around while Mark was working. Fortunately Linda was in a her parking lot when it happened and no injuries or damage occured. The doctors have fixed her epilepsy medication and she's back to normal again.

I went to visit them yesterday, and pick up my roommate, and she looks okay. She has a massive bruise covering her tiny birdlike right hand from all the IV drips.

I never did discover what happened with the silverware.
10:45 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Monday, September 09, 2002


It took me about 2 hours to get to Champaign yesterday. After waiting though about 45 minutes of crawling traffic in town, I found a parking lot adjacent to a Motorola building. It's still under construction, and the sand and dust were swirling with every struggling tire spin. About a mile away, perhaps less, stands Memorial Stadium, home of the University Of Illinois whatever-they're-calleds, a football team. (Fighting Illini, I think maybe)

It got hot. Really hot. Water was sold out during the 1st quarter of the game. The Bears were losing. Interceptions. Fumbles. Boo.

Of course, Da Bears love 4th quarter comebacks, and we beat the Vikings 27-23.

Yes, I am one of THOSE people who say "we" when I am not a Chicago Bear, merely a fan. I like it.

My mother was ecstatic. We both had lots of fun once we found the water fountains. All the TV commercials played on the jumbotron so we got commercial breaks even at the stadium. That really chafes.

If you ever see a Famous Dave's barbeque, and you're not a veggie, go eat. It is fucking great. They even have real trucker-looking rednecks cooking the food. I swear I saw a guy with a mullet and an apron. I wish he was my uncle.
5:04 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Use As Intended Only

About two months ago I received a batch of 3 different posters to hang up at work. I got about 50 of each in cardboard tubes. (they echo well when you shout through them) That's enough for a 5-story office. We are a mere 1 story building, an office ranch if you will.

I brought the extras home to give them away, or start campfires and grills, I don't really know.

My roomate came up with bright idea of coloring the blank sides. Instant homemade posters. He requested markers and pens and such, and I obliged him. (Did I use that word correctly?)

Now we have posters covered in what appears to be the following: an elementary school drawing of somebody shitting on a cake, Cartman from South Park, a junior high sketch of an naked elderly woman, a stick figure eating 3D poo, a wad of bathroom tissue soaked in red ink and glued on to represent a used maxi, a mouse crawling up a butt, several disembodied pussies, (all very hairy, like hippie rodents) and an undecipherable mess captioned as "chinese gangbang". You get the idea.

Him and a friend took down a U2 poster to hang one of these.I was astounded. I was not amused. The roomie does not understand why I dislike these brilliant works of sophisticated humor. He's 22, by the way. All of our friends are in the same age range. Most of them like the new posters too.

What is wrong with them? I still laugh at the occasional good fart, but that's as far as it goes. We're smarter, more mature, and more imaginative than this, right? Right?
4:53 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Friday, September 06, 2002

Sweet Home Chicago

It's a sports week for me.

I know a gentleman named Walt who works for the NFL. He maintains all of the fancy computers that hold statistics, and he goes over the footage with a team of people to determine who gets credit for plays made. They watch the footage in slow-motion, and they determine which player gets credit for assists, tackles, tipped balls, etc. He and the team do this for all Chicago home games.

Instead of paying Walt expense money for travel, (3 hours each direction, each Sunday) they've given him two extra tickets to each home game. They're doing this because the Bears are playing at U of I this year instead of Chicago, where they're building a new Soldier Field currently. Walt has to go there anyways to work in the scoring room, so obviously he doen't need the seats.

That's where I come in.

My mother hasn't seen a Bears game in person since she and my father went in 1971. That was the last year the Bears played at Wrigley Field. She's thrilled that the two of us are headed for Champaign to see the season opener. This is something I've wanted to do for her for a long time. It's either the Chicago Bears or Neil Diamond, and I don't knew if he's going to tour again, so the Bears it is.

Unfortunately, Walt hasn't shown up at work with the tickets yet. He's a good guy though, and I know he won't let me down.

Next week, if finances allow, I'm going to try to catch a White Sox game at Comiskey Park next week to complete a September Chicago trifecta, the Cubs, the Sox, and the Bears.

I am so lucky sometimes.
1:01 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Hot Blooded

Today I'm holding a blood drive at work. I expect that 15-20 donors will go home lightheaded today, including myself.

Last time I donated I was sick. I lied during the questions, and I had to eat some ice to bring my temperature down below 99.8, which was too high to allow me to donate.

What if I gave an injured person contaminated blood? Well, that's what they test the everloving christ out of the blood samples for, right? To prevent that. Besides, I couldn't skip donating when I'm the chairman and I've convinced 20 other folks to do it along with me. It would look bad.

I ended that day with much worse than a slight fever and a sore throat. I stayed up all night sweating and shivering, and the next day I felt better, if a bit drained. Alcohol always seems to be the best medicine for me. I've killed several fevers with whiskey, and it's an overnight cure that's never once failed me. Those old west doctors were on to something, apart from the bloodletting thing.

That night I had only 2 or 3 beers. It worked. Chloraseptic throat spray was a big help, too. I even went to work in the morning.

Tonight I figure I'll smoke some pot, drink a couple beers, and watch a movie or two. Nothing stressful.
12:41 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Wednesday, September 04, 2002


Yesterday evening was a fun experience. My roommate and I got stoned and left for the Cubs game in my car, and we took a roundabout path through Park Ridge. Park Ridge is a lovely suburb of bricks, ivy, and tall oak trees. Everywhere you look is green. Combine this with a good buzz and some soft golden sunlight, and you've got idyllic to a T. Add some Beatles songs and you'll feel like you're riding a hot air balloon in slight turbulence.

The busses weren't running on time so we walked about 3 miles from our parking spot to Wrigley. Weaving through the milling mobs and entering the gates, we made our way to the food stand and loaded up on overpriced dogs and sodas.

Our seats were right underneath the broadcast booths, at the bottom of the upper deck, right behind home plate. I could see everything on the field, and the announcer's speakers were directly above me. With the sun fading and the lights taking effect, the field seemed like a magical playground awash in a silver glow. The hum of voices was the breath of the stadium, the clapping the pulse. There are no strangers when you're in a place like this, only friends yet to be met. Everything becomes far greater than it really is.

I wish I could stay forever.

Cubs 10, Brewers 1
11:21 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Tuesday, September 03, 2002


I'm going to the Cubs game tonight. Yesterday the Cubs played a doubleheader, and they lost 4-2 and won 17-4. I hope they put on a good show for me tonight.

One thing I like about Best Buy is how the security guard at the doors is disguised as a greeter. When a good greeter is at the door, my spirit of community and goodwill is refreshed by the country store feeling I get from a good "Welcome, How are you today?" Especially if it sounds sincere. Even though I know better. Corporate policy, the employee's paycheck, and the lack of stained wood point out that there is nothing genuine about the greeting. The illusion, however, is very nice if you ignore reality.

I got drunk last night, my only day off in two weeks, and I ate way too much pizza. Today I am waddling about like a duck, drinking lots of water, and trying to adjust to my new body shape and weight. I've needed to gingerly lower myself into my luxurious swivel chair. I have had to hyperventilate (almost) because I am so full that my diaphram cannot expand all of the way and I cannot take in my normal breathing capacity. Naturally I skipped lunch, although I have heard that the little packet of salted peanuts in the vending machine wants me to eat it.
3:53 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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