Friday, September 30, 2011

Internet Problems

Good Morning,

"Borrowing" an internet connection at the apartment has been a little difficult recently... so it may be a few days until I can get our own connection set up... so don't be startled if you don't hear from me for a few days. The surgery yesterday morning went fine, I've just been away from work the past two days because the swelling & soreness is pretty bad... and let's face it, nobody really wants to see me looking all Phantom of the Opera anyway. Been there before after my car accident when I was 16 & don't need any of that. Not nearly that bad though... just a square inch of my cheek taken off & about a dozen stitches to seal it up. Just don't want to push it & cause it to be something much bigger than it is... and four days of nothing will really help those odds. Didn't hear about the basketball game last night... but I assume we lost or forfeited. Lame... sorry guys... but there's hope. At work, some of the guys are talking about starting a team in the same league... so maybe we can combine forces instead of struggling to get five people every week. I'll keep you posted.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm at the Starbucks right now using their connection but need to get back to the apartment for rest, relaxation & recuperation. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Randy Newman Can Keep It

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well, had a basketball game Thursday night… and we did okay… but again, the officials kind of reamed us good in the 2nd half once we started getting our sh*t together. Then a few people on our team lost their tempers a bit, more like just voicing their opinions more than once & it just went downhill from there. I had the play of the game with my first in-game dunk in a long time. Spin move along the baseline, spinning up at the hoop & BOOM goes the dynamite. We lost though… so whatever.

After the game, Nurse was excited to watch her new DVD purchase of “Bridesmaids” starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph & Rose Byrne, so I joined her as I kept hearing it was “The Hangover for girls” which is quite a bold marketing ploy. Then again… it’s not like there’s a lot of movies out there saying that they’re “Dirty Dancing for guys” or anything. Anyway, the story is about a woman (Wiig) whose best friend (Rudolph) is getting married, which is awesome. However, there’s a new friend in the mix (Byrne) whose rich, pretty & a bit of a b**ch at times… so catty hijinx & craziness ensues for some reason. Yeah, the plot didn’t really appeal to me… but yeah, it was pretty hilarious. I’m sure that most of you who are going to ever see it have already… but I’d recommend it. By the way, on a side note, I want to be Jon Hamm when I grow up. “This is awkward because… I kind of want you to leave, but there’s really not a way for me to say it without being a dick.”

Remember a while back when J-Mo & I went to see “Captain America” in theatres… and we talked about going to see “Thor” in theatres (apparently a few weeks late)? Well, I finally got “Thor” through Netflix, so J-Mo & I met up to watch it. By the way, he’s got a great new job near closer to work than where he was before… so congratulations to J-Mo!!! Anyway, back to “Thor” starring Chris Hemsworth, Sir Anthony Hopkins & Natalie Portman. This is another one of the Marvel comic book adaptation movies that are leading into “The Avengers” next year (along with Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, etc) to be directed by THE Joss Whedon (“Firefly”, “Buffy”, etc) in a culmination of awesomeness. However, I’ve heard from multiple sources that this was the worst of the bunch. We shall see. The story is about a prince among the Nordic gods named Thor (Hemsworth) who is a bit of a childish arrogant war-hungry prick… but after starting a war between his people & interstellar frost giants bent on domination of Earth (no, that wasn’t a typo, I said frost giants), his father King Odin (Hopkins) strips him of his powers… and casts him down to Earth to… I don’t know, sit in the corner or something. Meanwhile, his evil brother Loki is in cahoots with the frost giants (gasp, spoiler alert, but not really) so that he can become king instead of Thor… and while on Earth, Thor meets a superhot scientist (Portman) and learns how to think of others & be selfless… but will it be too late for Earth? Anyway, check it out. It was pretty good… but yeah, I would have to agree with the worst of the Marvel bunch thus far. Not really director Kenneth Branagh’s fault (“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” & Shakespearean adaptations mostly) but the source material was the toughest to make plausible and work with the other titles. Also, another great line that I’d love to use one day from the movie… casually walk into a pet shop & yell out “I NEED A HORSE!!!”

Friday after work, I headed straight to Malibu… as I was told that the weekend would be spent there. Long story short, I drove through Malibu for about 5 minutes Sunday morning… the rest was in Woodland Hills, West Hollywood, etc. No worries. The drive down there Friday night was pretty boring by myself… but luckily I was entertained by good tunes, lightning storms & of course… wildfire. Since it was dark the whole 6 hour drive (pretty good time given delays, but Gretchen goes 80+ very easily on the open road), it was appreciated. Got to the hotel just before midnight & would meet up with Filly & her family the next morning.

Saturday, I met up with them at a nice little brunch place… next door to the Church of Scientology. The food was pretty good (Eggs Benedict & some great French toast).

The rest of the day was spent doing thrift store shopping & wandering around WeHo… then out to the LaBrea Tar Pits for a few minutes (free wandering of prehistorical stuff) then I took Filly to Venice Beach, but because it was a little gloomy & chilly, the freaks were nearly non-existent. She felt let down… but hey, I was there, so it’s all good.

Saturday night, we went to a Gothic horror rock opera that Filly’s sister was starring in called “CarnEvil” at a theatre in West Hollywood (I think, got so turned around & can never tell where neighborhoods start or end in LA). The story is about a family carnival… and the dark twisted history involving the family… chuck full of magick, suspicion, betrayal, murder, shadow puppets dream sequences, alligators, fetuses, dancing, love, torture, and above all… music. The actors were pretty fantastic… but you could tell that a few of the actors were only there for dancing… but overall, I thought it was great… and you know that musicals aren’t my thing. It was very interactive, small venue of maybe a hundred people in attendance, special effects were pretty good for the budget too. The sound could’ve used some work… but it was opening weekend, so I’d highly recommend going to check it out. I want to say it was the Sacred Fools Theatre or something of that sort. Google CarnEvil.

After the play, we went out for a few drinks at a nearby bar with some of the actors & had a few beers and laughs. That evening, Filly wanted to just drive around LA a bit… so I took her down to see the lights of downtown by LA Live, then back across town… and around 2 AM, I was pretty bored so we parted ways & I drove back to my hotel getting there around 3:30 AM thanks to 405 being closed & rerouted. Yay! Traffic jam, even at 3 AM, gotta love LA. Randy Newman can keep it as far as I’m concerned.

Sunday, I met up with Filly & her family again for brunch at The Shutters on Santa Monica Beach… and then said my goodbyes as they were heading to the airport & I was heading northward towards San Francisco. The drive back wasn’t that bad either, just getting back around 10 PM or so. Good times! Filly was a little agitated with her family (they can do that) but I was there… and again, she really makes me feel like her best friend… and she’s certainly one of mine. I know that she would do anything she could for me… and vice versa. The world needs more great friends like that.

Monday, we won at softball again… and we went to a nearby bar for beer & pizza afterwards. We talked about doing it after most games now… you know, to keep the undefeated streak alive & build comradery. We’re even talking about doing a winter league too… which would be great because practice makes perfect… and I’m doing okay, but I don’t like being a weak link or anything. I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday night, I got a surprise. After nearly two weeks of hounding the doctor’s office for an appointment, they finally called back & let me know that there was an opening Thursday morning for the minor surgical procedure that I needed. Kind of last minute… but hey, I’ll take it. Work was okay with it. Now I just have to get used to the idea of wearing a pretty noticeable bandage on my left cheek for a bit (and probably bruising, etc). Oh… and that’s after somebody cuts out a piece of my face. Okay, so it’s really better than that… but hey, it is what it is. Of course I’m a little worried, but I know it’s just minor. It’s not even that big of an area. I plan on working Thursday afternoon… but after speaking with the doctor, it might not work out that way. They recommended that I plan on taking the full day off. We’ll see though. I’m a pretty big guy.

Oh… and more good news about the trip… Filly FINALLY remembered to make me a copy of the Halloween pictures from last year (11 months later). What does that mean? Well… tomorrow… when I’ll be at the apartment recovering from a minor surgery instead of playing basketball… you may get to FINALLY hear the incredible stories & see some of the beautiful sights of Halloween in the Big Easy. You are so lucky that I decided to go on the trip this past weekend.

Anyway, I guess that’ll do it for today. Sorry it’s been so infrequent with the postings… but hey, I’m a busy guy. Three more weeks until my dad comes to visit for our male bonding weekend. Plenty of things going on between now & then. Have a great day everybody!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Observing Birds of Prey

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

The past few days have been fairly busy. The weekend was watching a lot of football though… and I’m sad to report that the Philadelphia Eagles will NOT have a perfect season this year. I know… I know… but it really wasn’t a thought to begin with… just would’ve been nice to f**k with the Dolphins & Patriots, you know? Anyway… watching the game Sunday night against the Falcons, I realized a few other things about the team, football, etc. that I would like to share with you…

  • The perfect season idea is over (but it really wasn’t there to begin with)

  • Michael Vick is still human

  • The only man that could stop him though… was another Eagle

  • Vince Young is hurt? F**k!!!

  • Mike Kafka hadn’t thrown a pass since he apparently threw 78 of them in his last collegiate game three years ago

  • LeSean McCoy is a lot like Barry Sanders when he’s healthy

  • DeSean Jackson is probably mad that he’s not getting paid more but…

  • Jeremy Maclin is the one with over 170 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns… and surprisingly no headaches

  • On defense, the ultimate secondary basically picked off every pass that came their way

  • However, because the linebackers were guarding Tony Gonzalez, he had a few touchdown catches

  • There is only ONE Tony Gonzalez… and he’s pretty f**king amazing

  • There is a weakness in the new nine-wide defense… just run at it

  • Trent Cole is a “BEAST”!!!

  • So… both our kicker… and our punter… are six-foot Caucasian rookies with the last name Henry who look alike in uniform. If I ask if they’re brothers, does that make me racist?

  • Best thing though… after our $100 million quarterback going down & going straight to a cold 3rd stringer who hasn’t thrown a game pass in years, more cheap shots from Dunta Robinson on our receivers, and a brilliant performance by the team that finished with the best record in the NFC last year… they only lost by four points in the Georgia Dome & it went down to a Hail Mary in the closing seconds. I’m optimistic.

  • There’s a reason that we were able to sign former All-Pro running back Ronnie Brown at wholesale

  • Sidenote: Why haven’t they just given Ronnie Brown robotic knees? We have the technology

  • Secondary sidenote: I totally envision that as Ronnie Brown looking & sounding like RoboCop in fast forward

  • Third sidenote: If the NFL allowed robotic appendages, I guarantee that the following week… Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis would look like the evil robot in RoboCop 2. He is THAT dedicated to football… it’s his drug… and he could totally pull it off

  • Borderline rant: I’m really liking the idea of cyborgs playing football now. I’ll write a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Does anybody else remember the video game “Mutant Football League”? I would totally watch teams comprised of cyborgs, full-on robots, mutants, ninjas, armored warriors, and yes… barbaric weapons could be used, I guess. Why not? A few areas of the playing field could be booby trapped as well.

  • I may need some psychiatric help

Anyway, just some observations. Monday night was softball… and we won again… and I played a little… and we had a few drinks afterwards. Good times. I really like the coworkers / teammates on the team, we have a lot of fun & we play hard too. Great bunch of guys & gals. Other than that, not a whole lot going on… just busy getting ready for road trip to see Filly in Malibu this weekend. So here’s some other news…

Expendables 2 Updates – Okay, so these updates are all rumors gathered over the past few weeks where I haven’t really been keeping you entertained… my apologies… but hey, this isn’t paying the bills. For one, producer Avi Lerner has offered the legendary Donnie Yen a 'tailor-made' role in the upcoming "The Expendables" sequel reports Twitchfilm. A spokesperson from Yen's company confirmed the offer but the actor will not decide until he sees if the script appeals to him or not. One key factor may also be that Nu Image is in talks to partner with a Chinese distributor for the upcoming "The Expendables" sequel and will likely shoot some scenes in that country reports The L.A. Times. The deal is expected to generate about $8 million from the local company with which it works. More importantly it guarantees the film a release in China without having to worry about navigating the strictly regulated system imposed on foreign films. The Chinese government allows approximately twenty "revenue-sharing slots" per year for imported pictures. The first film missed out on that, so it had to sell rights to a local distributor for a flat fee said to be under $1 million. The film went onto gross an impressive $32.1 million in the Chinese market alone. There's a catch, to ensure the film can shoot scenes in China it has to be approved by government censors and thus "can’t be detrimental to China" according to Nu Image’s CFO Trevor Short. Nu Image tried to score such a deal for its recent "Conan the Barbarian" reboot without success. Movie business pimpin’…

Anyway, Yen joins the likes of John Travolta, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme who have also been rumored as potential stars in the follow-up. Even that f**king werewolf from “Twilight” (Taylor Lautner) has been rumored. In more confirmed news though, shooting is currently slated to kick off in October… but it’s not about who might be in the movie… it’s about who WILL be in it… and at last update, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis have reportedly just closed deals to take “substantial” roles in Simon West's "The Expendables 2" for Millennium Films and Lionsgate reports Deadline. Schwarzenegger and Willis made cameos in the first film, it's expected they'll reprise their characters for this outing along with returning cast members Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews and Jet Li. That’s right… Arnie will be making his theatrical return, after a pretty hilarious political career writhe with scandal, and it will be in this movie. Awesome! Also, some Aussie kid named Liam Hemsworth ("The Hunger Games," "The Last Song") has joined the cast of "The Expendables 2" for Lionsgate says The Sydney Morning Herald. 21-year-old Hemsworth, brother of "Thor" star Chris, will be the youngest cast member in the sequel. He will portray a sniper… and if I’m a betting man, I don’t think he makes it through the entire movie. Just saying… there’s a lot of star power here. Maybe they can get Danny Trejo & Rutger Hauer to cameo as Machete & Hobo with a Shotgun too. I’m just trying to think of people they might have missed to be in this movie. Oh wait, I think I found the scheduling conflict…

Hatfields & McCoys - Tom Berenger (“Sniper” & “The Substitute”), Powers Boothe (“Tombstone” & “Sin City”) and Mare Winningham (?) have all joined "The Hatfields and McCoys" miniseries for The History Channel reports The Live Feed. The project follows the former friends and Civil War comrades (Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton) who return home after the war to properties on opposite sides of the Tug River border in Kentucky and West Virginia to increasing tensions that bring the neighboring states to the brink of another war. Berenger will play Costner's warlord uncle, Boothe is Costner's level-headed older brother, while Winningham will play Paxton's beleaguered wife who loses her children and her mind to the feud. Kevin Reynolds ("Red Dawn") has signed on to direct the miniseries which will air next year. So that basically accounts for everybody except… Mel Gibson? Oooh, Kurt Russell. What’s he up to? Anyway, that sounds pretty damn good for a miniseries on the History Channel.

Anyway, all this talk about manly men stuff makes me want to go work out… so I think I’ll go do that… and then probably the next time that you hear from me will be after my road trip to Malibu to see Filly… so hopefully I’ll have some good stories to share by then. Have a great weekend everybody!!! GO EAGLES!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kind of a Downer

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well, as the title might tell you... this one's going to be a little different... but hey, I'll be sure to keep it somewhat light. First off, Thursday was not the greatest day ever. Work was extremely busy... and towards the end of the day, I was the only one in the office. About that time, I got a call from the dermatologist, my results were in... and they weren't horrible... but they weren't peachy. Basically, that thing on my cheek was more than a thing. It was basal cell carcinoma, which is really nothing per se. It's very treatable (they usually just cut it out with what's called a Mohs procedure) and since it's been there for a while, they'll check to make sure they get it all. Then again, we're talking about a little cancer... the other c-word, right next to my eye... so I was a little frazzled to hear about this at work... but hey, I'll survive & it could've been a lot worse.

About that time, one of the managers came in and... long story short, I wasn't in the mood for certain criticisms... and I kinda snipped at her. Nothing major & it may very easily be forgiven & forgotten (I did apologize) but then again, you never know. We'll see. Not proud of myself at all... but it happened. Can't take it back, right? So yeah... not the best day at work.

After work, was a basketball game... and this game was pretty good. We were down early by about 20, but then we figured out a strategy (and they finally gave me the ball down low) and we pulled back to within 4... but then the referees screwed us. It was seriously one of the worst officiated game I've ever seen or been a part of (and that's a statement). I came out of the game looking like I joined Fight Club... and made it to the line once. We were playing spectacular defense & not even coming close to touching them... and we'd be called for fouls. It was ridiculous... and we lost by 8... but we also know that when we have a strategy, we can win... if the refs don't dry f**k us over a barrel. Whatever. F**k em.

Friday was much better. Still busy at work, but I didn't have the ten hour day that I was expecting, just the standard constant eight hour day. Still gotta go in Sunday morning for a few but hey, that's what they pay me the big bucks for, right? Speaking of which, watched a movie called "Outsourced" the other day & it was pretty good. It's about a guy who's office gets closed because the jobs have been outsourced to India... but they want him to train his replacement in the new office. So he goes down there, learns the culture, meets the people, finds a woman, the usual movie stuff... but it's pretty good. Go check it out.

Okay, so as you all know, there was the recent 10th anniversary of September 11th & the tragic attacks in New York & DC. Since I didn't do this blog back then, let me give you a little background into who I was at that time. I was 20 years old, bit of a nerd, funny, virgin, scary intelligent sometimes, yet naive... you know, like most college sophomores. I was an engineering major (because I was great with math & physics, but didn't really care for it), was on the practice squad for the University of Utah men's & women's basketball team, no scholarship but made my money with this full-time job that wasn't too bad but paid the bills & had great benefits. Maybe I'd just do it while going to school. They even had sent me to Jamaica for five days for a business trip in which there was very little business. The flight back was on Monday the 10th. I had the world by the BALLS!!!

That Tuesday, I was getting ready for school. I had just moved back into my dad's basement because he was only charging $200 a month for rent in a place that I was only there to sleep & the dorms were over four times that for a shared apartment. Took a shower, was wearing a towel, nuking some pizza from the night before for breakfast, typical morning. I was about to head downstairs to get some clothes when I got a phone call from my stepmom. She was a little frantic but told me to turn on the TV... so I did... you can guess what I saw. It was like a bad movie. Only it was really happening. How could I tell? The reporters were all struggling for words. Even in the bad movies they have some cheesy line of exposition... but nobody knew what was going on. My first thought: China! Don't recall why exactly... but I think right before that we had a spy plane go down in China & maybe it was retaliation for that or something. It was a first impulse. I didn't know what to do... so I gathered myself a bit... and went to class. Class obviously was pretty focused on the events... and I remember one of my professors breaking down from an engineering perspective HOW the towers fell... and how it was suspicious because (referring to the book) the burning temperature of the gas is this... and the melting point the steel in the girders is this... and with reinforcement, blah blah blah. You don't care.

So... what has changed since then? Well, obviously I'm 30 years old now... and where my job used to send me traveling, now I have to travel to find my job. I'm still pretty nerdy, funny, super intelligent sometimes, downright moronic others, still pretty naive... but I cashed in my v-card. There was about 7-8 years where I didn't play basketball much... but I'm getting back into it. I've had a lot of friends, coworkers, colleagues, acquaintances come & go... and I've honestly forgotten most of them... unless they're on Facebook. Oh by the way, I know how to use the internet now. Didn't really back then. Did I ever tell you that I had never seen the internet or used email until I was in college? Just never really happened in high school. We didn't have computers that did more than word processing for our creative writing classes. Gotta love public education even back then.

When I was 20, I had these aspirations that by the time I was 30, I'd be considering an early retirement from basketball to save my knees or something... after a few championships, millions in contract money, movies, advertisements, business ventures, wife, three kids, make sure all the family & friends are set too... cuz it ain't no fun if the homeys can't have none. Obviously it didn't turn out quite that way. Played semi-pro ball for about a month before the team folded, bounced around majors until I settled on Marketing Management after 7 years of school (and tens of thousands of seemingly wasted dollars). Oh... and that job for while I was at school... I had my 11th anniversary with them... and have worked at five different offices in three western states.

Where will I be ten years from now? Who the f**k knows? The Apocalypse is apparently coming next December, the global economy is in ruins, there are still crazy religious sects with nuclear weapons (including us, there, I said it), global warming, possible pandemics, all these big things that could destroy us any day. Then again, I'm crazy & self-indulgent enough to just say "phukit" and go about my daily life in spite of threats on all fronts. Let's see, ten years from now, I hope to cross off a whole bunch off my bucket list. It'd be nice to have a family... but there's honestly no real prospects at this time. Kairi & Vinny will be teenagers... so hopefully that won't bring about the Apocolypse. The parents will be older too... and I worry for them... but hey, it's not going to change anything. When your number's called, your number's called. I guess... I'll just live one day at a time, take a few chances, see what happens. Wish me luck!!! Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's the Plan?

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

This weekend was pretty good, thought fairly uneventful. Friday night, after a rough week at work, I went to get some drinks with Bubbles in the Inner Sunset & we enjoyed the fine beers of The Social Club, followed by a stint at Yancy’s. They were pretty nice places. The main part of the evening though… was hanging with Bubbles again. It had been a few weeks with both of us traveling and being so busy with our social calendars… and I’ve missed hanging out with her… even if we’re working together all the time, it’s obviously not the same. We had some catching up to do.

During the conversation, she asked me what my plan was. “Well first, I’m going to finish this beer… and then maybe work on the fries.” Obviously that’s not what she meant. She meant a Plan with a capital P, like my Career Plan… for the long term. See… she said that I seem the most miserable that she has ever seen me be. Granted, there were a few years when we were in different states that she didn’t see me much except when I was on vacations in Vegas or the holidays back in Utah, but I got her point. She meant miserable at work… which I’m not really… but obviously I don’t have the bounce in my step that I used to. I don’t think that anybody does really since the whole recession (and yeah, like everybody else I’m going to talk a bit about 9/11) but again, I see her point. So what is my plan? I honestly wish I knew.

See, you all know that I’m an infinite optimist, fully loaded with abilities & creativity that others would kill for, a charmer, easy on the eyes, hard working, well-educated, healthy & built like a marble sculpture, but I simply have no idea what I want to do with my life. Do I want to keep in my current career? Do I want to go “Into the Wild”? (By the way, Bubbles said that’s a stupid idea… and on a certain level, I have to agree… but then again) Do I want to use my college degree for something other than campfire kindling? Do I want to continue my education? Learn a new trade? New hobbies? Knock up somebody random and do the family thing? Where do I want to do these things? Here in San Francisco? Back home in Utah? The Peace Corps? Germany? China? Start my own business? I mean… I’ve got a bucket list… but as far as an end goal, I am without. Anyway, we chatted about that… and I thought about it a bit when I got home… and the next day… and most of Sunday. The sad thing is… I still don’t really have an answer. There are several paths that I could take in my current career… and I like it here in San Francisco… but it’s not like I’m surrounded by family & friends here, though slowly but surely I’m at least building casual friendships & acquaintances. I don’t want to let my talents go to waste… but I just don’t know how to utilize them. But hey, I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday was a laundry & cleaning day… and it was pretty gloomy and cold outside so I went out for a few walks for fresh air, went to the gym for a few hours, but really not a whole lot else. I watched “Your Highness” and then “Spirited Away” with the roommates. The latter is a Japanese animated movie brought stateside by Disney and it’s about a young girl who travels with her parents… and they stop at some tunnel… and then go on what I can best describe as a magical journey of absolute craziness involving dragons, bouncing heads, witches, giant babies, and… you don’t need to have a good buzz going to watch this movie. It takes care of that for you. I recommend it though for a kid’s flick… but you may be asked some odd questions by your kids that you don’t have answers for them like “What’s going on?” “I… I don’t know… but it’s pretty.”

Sunday, I was told to await the Direct TV guy between the hours of 8 & 12. Now, if you remember my trials with Direct TV in Tahoe, then you know that as long as they show up by Halloween, it’s an improvement. So I waited… and waited… and then finished up laundry… and cooked some bomb low fat white cheddar mac & cheese with chicken sausage… and waited some more… all the while checking my phone for a message from the cable guy & simultaneously seeing my Eagles dominate the Rams statistically… but it’s just not the same as on the big screen… or in person. Well, he got there a little after 2 PM (and a call to Direct TV) and he got it hooked up just in time for me to catch 3 touchdowns in a minute at the end of the 49ers / Seahawks late game. So now I have TV… and it only took a week or so… and get this, less than HALF what it was in Tahoe. Seriously! My share in Tahoe was MORE than the whole bill here in San Francisco. Is that not f**ked up?

Speaking of football, I was talking with my dad… and he’s decided that he wants to go to the Chiefs – Raiders game the weekend that he comes to visit (the Chiefs are his team) in October… and also, my Uncle D will be in town going to BOTH games too!!! So I’ll have plenty of male bonding that weekend… and the tickets are pretty good too. 7th row, 50 yardline, right behind the Chiefs bench (closer to the field) and about $100 each, so about half what the 49ers tickets were last year against the Eagles… and I get to check out the Oakland Coliseum first hand. BOOYAH!!! Just over five weeks away too…

Monday started off with a trip to the dermatologist to ask about my cheek (I have a little pimple-sized growth thing that my mom has really wanted me to check out) and it was pretty standard. Really only took about ten minutes total. They did a little biopsy thing so that they could scan it… but because of that, I have to wear a little band-aid on my left cheek for the next week or so. It’s okay though, I totally pull it off. The best part is… when people ask me about it, I’m responding with “The first rule of Fight Club is… you know what, never mind.” A few people have gotten the reference. “You should see the other guy.” My personal favorite though was when I responded with, “She didn’t tell me about her piercing… until it was too late.” That’s a $teve original. Go forth & spread the word.

After work was the company softball game & BBQ against our rival company. The barbecue was excellent (and free) and the game was absolutely gripping, by far the lowest scoring defensive struggle of a softball game I’ve ever seen. We just weren’t getting any good hits… and through four innings, they had pulled out to a 5-1 lead… and the fans started to leave. “You’re going to miss the comeback!” Long story short, we ended up winning 6-5 thanks to a few walks and finally scoring some runs. Still undefeated… but yeah, we got a little lucky. Why was the game so close? Well… they didn’t play me. That may have had something to do with it. I’m not sure how… but maybe I’m just good luck or something. Every other game I’ve been in, we dominated. I already let the coach know during post-game drinks with a few of the other teams & he liked the idea. Good times.

Tuesday night was my first San Francisco Giants game… and first of several trips I’ll be making to AT&T Park in the next few months (Utah-Cal game & Kraft Hunger Bowl). Bubbles was originally going to the game with me… but earlier in the day, she was having terrible female pains… so I asked around to see if anybody wanted a free last minute ticket. Carmen accepted!!! So we went, had a few $10 beers & some food, and enjoyed 7 innings of a great game (that ended up being 12) but after a long day at work, we just didn’t want to be hanging out until midnight when we’re really not interested in baseball in the first place… but I’ve been to a Giants game now. I’ve also been the only person on a public bus now too. It happened for the last mile or so of my bus back from the game. I may live a little outside of the city officially. Anyway, best thing about AT&T Park… is the view… even from the upper upper decks. Observe!!!

Wednesday night, I just needed to relax after another busy day, so I hung with the roommates and we watched “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” starring Zach Galafinakis. It’s the story of a kid who is under constant pressure to achieve from his parents & friends… so he has suicidal thoughts… so he checks himself into a mental institution for a week for observation… and he meets a colorful collection of crazies… and of course a girl… and you can guess how it goes from there… but it actually IS kind of a funny story. The title was surprisingly fitting. Go check it out if you’d like.

Well, that’ll do it for me today. Lucky you… you don’t get to hear my ramble about how things have changed for me in the last ten years… but maybe I’ll get around to it next time. I’ll put it this way, I still work with the same company, I still have the same family, but basically just about everything else has changed. I’ll elaborate more sometime… if I remember to. Maybe I'll fill you in on The Plan too. You never know. Have a great night everybody!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Buried Life

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Such a fantastic weekend! Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? Friday, the work day was a busy one, like VERY busy, especially given the holiday weekend, and throw in that it was a short day… I was ready for a drink. So as advertised last time, I went to Harrington’s with some coworkers (all female, cuz that’s how I roll apparently) for a 3 PM happy hour… that lasted for a few bars on Polk Street as well… and I was pretty buzzed after about 7 hours… and it was barely dark outside. It was a great time getting to know my coworkers a bit… and it was kind of a birthday celebration for one of them. Around 11 though, I went home, drank some water, & was in bed by midnight. I rock hard!!!

Saturday morning, I woke up & decided to do some much needed music shopping at Best Buy. The mission was to get the new Jay-Z & Kanye West collaboration CD “Watch the Throne” (surprisingly mediocre, basically a lot of James Brown songs with a thicker bassline & a few lyrics but nothing groundbreaking) but I also stumbled upon some good $5 bin deals for greatest hits of both Journey AND Heart which I did not have in my collection (shocking, I know). Might I just say though… there’s an acoustic version of “Alone” on the Heart album, that basically brought a tear to my eye. Oh yes, I highly recommend that you add them to your fold. Oh… and I also got the new Richard Cheese CDs through the email too (“Live at the Royal Wedding” & “A Lounge Supreme”) and of course, they’re amazing.

After some grocery shopping, I got home & saw that my view from the backyard, which was overlooking a stank mudhole is no fast becoming an actual park. Allegedly with a baseball diamond & BMX track or something. That’s when I decided that I wanted to start fixingmy backyard up so that I could entertain back there… or at least not cringe at the thought of going through the sliding doors. I even went to far as to map it out & jot down a few ideas for when I asked the roommates if they wanted to chip in, since I’ll be DAMNED if I’m paying for everything. Little did I know how prophetic this would be later in the day… Anyway, my brother sent me a text wanting to play video games online, and I had nothing better to do so I played some “Golden Axe” (yes, old school Sega Genesis) with him, then went outside to chat with him where I could get a signal.

While out there, I got a call from my buddy Boz down the street & they were having an epic LAN Party BBQ, so I had found my entertainment for the night. It was amazing. I’m not much of a gamer like these guys… but this time, they had 4 screens & a full 16 players, a full barbecue with kegs, and they had actually fixed up their backyard similar to what I was plotting for earlier in the day. They had made a little garden area (we already have some calla lilies that nobody waters), placed woodchips on the ground and had a nice grill & patio furniture setup, complete with tiki torches to help light the area & a little grill / firepit in the middle for making s’mores. Totally awesome! Aside from all of that, the company was great, we got to beta test some new kick ass games that I believe will eventually be the ULTIMATE party game (but patent pending so… sorry) and it was just a great time all around… even if it was a bit of a sausage fest.

Sunday morning, I spent hanging out with Pixie & her friends, which is always a treat. We even briefly chatted about fixing the backyard… and she was totally down for it… but we’ll see when the budget numbers comes in. One of her friends is moving to Berlin (with her boyfriend) in a few days so she’s crashing at our place while moving things around. That’d be awesome to move to Germany I would think… but yeah, I’d hate to go solo. If I’m going to be a dumb American, I need someone to be dumb with. The best news of the day though… was that my dad is coming out to join me for the Utah – Cal football game at AT&T Park on October 22nd. It’s going to be amazing. Did I mention the 2nd row tickets? Because that’s kind of a big deal. It’ll be his first time out here since I moved in January but it’s really just for the weekend… so fly in Friday night, game Saturday, do something Saturday night, Sunday maybe watch football somewhere (possibly at my place with a newly fixed backyard setup), then I’ll more than likely have to work Monday because it’s just how it is, so he’ll have the day to himself to explore & then he’s flying out Monday night. Still, it’ll be great to see him… and the game will be amazing… even in rain. Knock on wood…

Sunday night was dinner at Carmen’s where we made our own pizzas… and that was a lot of fun… and again, I was the only guy rolling deep in women. We just had a great time catching up, planning the Vegas trip (they’re still tentative so I told them about the EPIC things that were going to happen… and the Grand Canyon is what sold ‘em the most), and just having a good relaxing time with good food & good peeps.

Monday was the day that I REALLY started looking into the backyard adjustments, like taking measurements and checking websites for some pricing & locations to get… well, everything. If I were in Utah, I’d be set because I have all the tools back there… but out here, I’ve got a pair of gloves & a few roadside tools. I also looked into getting TV again… because they have a lot of the promotions with the Sunday NFL Ticket with Direct TV… and rather than pay an incredible amount of money to get it on my PS3 (and still have to deal with slow internet) then I could get that (same price as first 8 months of TV) and the roommates would have it… and I could cancel Netflix… and we could share the financial load so it works out to $12-18 a person. We shall see. The first roommate I asked about it was more stuck on the cost of backyard fixing than TV that she wasn’t going to watch. Damn Hulu has made everything affordable anyway.

That night, I watched “I Love You Philip Morris” starring Jim Carrey & Ewan McGregor. Now, my brother had told me that this was a stupid movie… but he’s an incredible homophobe (imagine when he was visiting San Francisco a few weeks back). This true story is about a con man (Carrey) who goes to prison for fraud… but then finds the love of his life (McGregor). Basically it’s a twisted love story about two men in prison and how he’s willing to do anything to be with him including using his skills of manipulation & an ability to learn to do just about anything. It’s good old fashion Jim Carrey comedic timing too… so I highly recommend it if you can get the chance. Just for an example though, one of my favorite scenes… is when they’re dancing together & having a moment to their song… but in the background, the cops are yelling to turn the music off… and the other prisoners yell back… and so a whooping ensues… but they’re completely unphased. I liked it.

Tuesday was softball… and long story short, we dominated yet again (17-5) in a foggy game. I showed up a little late because of my schedule but went 1-1 with a single and a walk while playing right field. Good times. Not really much else to say about it other than next week is our big barbecue softball game, so that’s awesome!

Wednesday, I found a show that I thought was surprisingly good for being from MTV – “The Buried Life” which is basically about these four Canadian guys in their twenties, who drive around in a purple bus completing their bucket list of things that they want to do before they die. Also, as they cross one off for themselves, they ask strangers what they’d do… and help them along the way. It’s a great circle of Karma. I was sold when one of the episodes was “Ask out your dream girl” and of course… it was Megan Fox. I could be down for that. So at that point, they figure out how they’re going to get into a movie premiere to do the deed… and that’s half the fun. Anyway, after a few episodes, I was basically trying to figure out how I could feasibly do this… and the answers are pretty reassuring. It could be done. Not unlike my “Into the Wild” sensation that I get every once in a while where I sell all my earthly possessions and wander the Earth, there are sacrifices & risks… but there are also great rewards. I asked Jackie D about it… and she’s totally down (at least via text) so we’ll see if I can get a bus to roam the world in & a crew to help out with the list.

The epiphany that I had while watching this show… was I’m not entirely sure what my bucket list would look like. I mean… yes, there are things that I’d like to do before I die… but I don’t have an actual list. I should probably start making one… and checking them off periodically. Sigh… but where am I going to find the time & creativity to do such a thing? Well, I can always start. The journey starts with a single step… so here are a few things that I want to add to the list, in no particular order… and yes, I stole a few from various sources… but I still want to do them.

  • Play Basketball in Front of a REAL Crowd

  • Go “Office Space” on a computer

  • Fly a Plane

  • Sail a Boat

  • Visit the Seven Continents (3 down, 4 to go)

  • Fall in Love (sappy, I know)

  • Have a Three-some… with two girls

  • Get Married in Vegas

  • Sky Dive

  • Party at the Playboy Mansion

  • Make a Toast at a Stranger’s Wedding

  • Help Delivery a Baby (maybe my own)

  • Design & Build a House

  • Write a Children’s Book with my Brother Illustrating

  • Get Someone Named After Me

  • Kiss the Stanley Cup (I’m not even a hockey fan)

  • Get a Noble Title (Sir, His Majesty, etc)

  • Sleep in a Haunted House

  • Make a Million Dollars


  • Go to Space

  • Buy something with a suitcase full of money

  • Gold Bouillon also works

I don’t know, that’s a good start I guess. By the way, I checked out their list of 100 from the show… and I’ve already done 24 of them. Not a bad start there… but this is my list. Also, if ANY of you would like to share something that you’d like to do before you die, please leave a comment… and maybe we can figure it out. I’m already seeing a few of these that can be done in November in Vegas.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got going on right now. Just been about a week so I thought I’d catch up. Have basketball in a bit so… I’d better get ready for that. Have a great night everybody!!! What do you want to do before you die?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Premier Provider of Pretty Panda Poo Pots

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Not much going on the past few nights. I played a few pickup games Tuesday, chatted with Pixie & one of her friends, Nurse picked me up In-N-Out Burger on the way back from the airport, introduced Bee Master to “Eastbound & Down” and she finds it hilariously offensive, just like everybody else. Last night, I watched this British show called “Skins” with Nurse about evil teenager drama with semi-irritating accents… and it’s alright, but I was watching… and I asked Nurse, “Is that douchy pretty boy the kid from ‘About a Boy’?” “It sure is… I think I preferred him as a chubby pre-teen.” Eh, that’s about all I’ve got to say about that… except there was one scene where a kid dropped a baby that struck us as hilarious for some reason. Mostly because it wasn’t even really acknowledged that the baby had just been dropped… apparently on a hardwood floor. Don’t worry, no babies or puppies were harmed in the filming of this show.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to the Utah vs. Cal college football game when they come here in October. I even already have 2nd row seats. That’s right, b**ches. Football is BACK!!! I’m also thinking that I might need to go check out a Giants game before the season’s over in the next month… and I’ve been getting emails about the Kraft Hunger Bowl on New Year’s Eve, where the Utes may also be playing (since they’re in the Pac-12 now) and even if not them, then still a great game. So in summation, I must just have an inkling to go check out AT&T Park since I haven’t been there yet. I may just go for the trifecta. Gonna see if my dad wants to go with me to the Utah-Cal game, give him first dibs for an early Christmas present or something. I figure if he can make it out here for the weekend, I’ve got free room, board & entertainment for him when he gets here. It worked for the Eagles-49ers game last year, so we’ll see. He’s got about 7 weeks to plan ahead.

I also watched “Insidious” starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne & Lin Shaye and directed by James Wan (“Saw”). It’s the story of a family of five whose eldest son suddenly & mysteriously went into a coma. Almost immediately, strange things start to happen around the house, so they move. However, they soon find out that it wasn’t the house that was haunted… it was their son in a coma. Now, I wasn’t expecting much given that it was from the director of “Saw” and the premise seemed… a little stretched. However, I stand corrected. It’s PG-13 (a little language & frightening situations) and it did start out a little slow… but there was definitely a creepy mood established… and it wasn’t completely over-the-top, very subtle… and then sh*t gets real good. I don’t want to give anything away… but I really liked this horror flick. It’s a lot like “Poltergeist” where it’s just genuinely terrifying but not overly gory or anything. I highly recommend it. Go check it out!!! Anyway, here’s some news…

Vick Update – It warms the cockles of my heart to bring you this next story… because I know that some of you out there STILL don’t care for Michael Vick… but as my buddy Charlie sang to me this weekend, you can’t keep a good dog down (Too soon? Or is it because it’s an “All Dogs Go to Heaven” reference?). Just more than two years after being released from prison, out of work, mired in bankruptcy and facing an uncertain future, Michael Vick is again on top of the world. Vick, who served 19 months at federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, on felony dogfighting charges before joining the Philadelphia Eagles as a third-string quarterback two years ago, signed one of the richest contracts in NFL history on Tuesday. Vick’s six-year, $100 million deal makes him the third-highest-paid player in the NFL, behind only Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. “It’s a lot of money, how ever you look at it,” Vick said. “Obviously, it’s going to create a lot of demands. I know what comes along with it, and I know how to handle it. But it’s not even about the money. It’s about the changes that have been made in my life. Kids have an opportunity to see that you should never count yourself out. But at the same time, don’t put yourself in a position where you’ve got to make a miraculous comeback. That’s not what it’s about.” Vick, twice a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons before he went to prison, said there were times while he was in prison he wondered if he would ever get back what he once had. “Sometimes as a man, you fear what you can’t see,” Vick said at a press conference at the Eagles practice facility. “Nobody can predict the future. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Tomorrow’s not promised. The only thing you can do is live your life, hope for the best, continue to have faith, believe in yourself. The thing for me was believing in the people who were there for me in my time of need. … You never know what’s going to happen. Expect the worst and hope for the best, and that’s what I did. God was on my side, and I’m here today.” Amen! He was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2010 after winning eight of 11 starts, throwing a career-high 21 touchdown passes and rushing for nine more. The Eagles retained his rights by signing him to a one-year, $16 million franchise tag, but his new contract runs through 2016. “This is a great story all the way through,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “This is really what America’s all about. Second chance and Mike took full advantage of that. And then when he was given a second chance to start in the National Football League, he took full advantage of that and turned it into this.” Vick became the first player in NFL history to sign more than one $100 million contract in his career. On Dec. 23, 2004, with the Falcons on their way to the NFC Championship game, where they lost to the Eagles, Vick signed a 10-year deal worth $130 million. But he played only 32 games under that deal before legal problems derailed his career. “I’ve learned … don’t take anything for granted,” Vick said. “I did that at one point when I had the big contract in Atlanta, and I think that will definitely help me now in understanding what’s most important and how to move forward in my life.” Vick said his legal problems and lengthy prison stay will always drive him to excel, no matter how much money he’s earning. “It’s always something that’s going to be a part of me. It’s the reason why I work so hard each and every day. It’s the reason I come to work dedicated to become the best that I can be. Nothing’s going to come easy in life, and I’ve learned a lot of lessons, some the hard way, and I think just the things that I’ve been through have helped mold me into the person I am and what (is in) my future and that’s continuing to do things the right way.” Tell me this isn’t a great story of a man learning his lesson. TELL ME!!! Next stop: The Super Bowl? “The common goal is to bring that ring back to the city of Philadelphia. That’s why we play. That’s what we’re all working for. As a competitor, I don’t feel my career will be complete without that.” Well, even I never thought that he’d sign a nine-digit contract again… so now that I think he can bring Philly it’s first NFL championship in over 50 years, anything’s possible. Congratulations on redemption, Mr. Vick!!!

Most Trusted Celebrity – Okay, so I don’t expect Mr. Vick to top list any time soon but… it seems like former "Golden Girls" actress Betty White also has the Midas touch. White, 89, is both the most popular and most trusted celebrity with Americans and the person most likely to drive up the business of a brand she might choose to endorse, according to a poll released on Wednesday. But the Reuters/Ipsos poll suggested that companies should stay away from Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen if they want to promote their products. The socialite and reality TV actress, and the fired "Two and A Half Men" star topped the list of the most unpopular and least trusted personalities and were deemed most likely to damage any brands they choose to support (except I’m pretty sure that if you made an energy drink called “Tiger’s Blood” right now, you’d be selling like hot cakes). White, the only surviving member of the key cast members of TV's "Golden Girls" 1980s comedy, has enjoyed a career resurgence in the last few years as a saucy senior in films like "The Proposal" and the TV show "Hot in Cleveland". She also won an Emmy Award last year for hosting satirical sketch show "Saturday Night Live". White scored an 86% favorable opinion in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, beating Oscar winners Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock and Clint Eastwood in the survey of the 100 most popular personalities. Some 44% of those questioned said they would be more likely to do business with a company if White endorsed it. At the other extreme, 54 percent of the 2,012 Americans questioned for the poll said they would trust a company less if it were endorsed by Sheen, with Hilton coming in second. Pop star Britney Spears, actor Mel Gibson and golfer Tiger Woods -- who lost several major endorsements after his 2009 sex scandal -- also fared badly. Below is a list of the top 10 most popular personalities with their "favorable" rating by percentage of voters.

1. Betty White - 86% favorable
2. Denzel Washington – 85%
3. Sandra Bullock - 84%
4. Clint Eastwood – 83%
5. Tom Hanks - 81% (Forrest?)
6. Harrison Ford – 80%
7. Morgan Freeman - 79%
8. Kate Middleton – 79% (why?)
9. Will Smith - 77% (hmm…)
10. Johnny Depp – 76%

Below is a list of the top 10 most unpopular personalities with their "unfavorable" rating by percentage of voters.
1. Paris Hilton - 60% unfavorable
2. Charlie Sheen – 52%
3. Britney Spears – 45%
4. Kanye West - 45%
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger – 44%
6. Tiger Woods - 42%
7. Kim Kardashian – 38%
8. Mel Gibson - 33%
9. Donald Trump – 31%
10. LeBron James – 29%

Okay, so… a few observations from this list. Favorable side: People like older people who do voice-over work & just keep to themselves. That’s cool. Unfavorable side: I find it interesting that Arnie is more hated for banging the cleaning lady than Tiger is for banging half of the porn industry. Why? Tiger apologized. Kanye is arrogant as all hell, but he never went on a drunken rant about Judaism & then leave threatening voicemails for his gold digging girlfriend. So why is he higher on the list. What exactly has Kim Kardashian done besides get f**ked by Ray J on tape & be linked to a bunch of athletes? So I’ve figured it out. People love you & trust you if you do what they expect you to do, not necessarily what you want to do. Pop quiz: Has anybody in the top 10 played the villain in a movie? Okay, Morgan Freeman & Johnny Depp have a few times… but very rarely. Sir Anthony Hopkins could be the most trustworthy individual on Earth… but because of his choices to take challenging roles, including Hannibal Lechter, you wouldn’t want to be in the same room as him. Now, look at the bottom 10. If they’re not portrayed as greedy or rich socialites, they’ve made horrible mistakes… yet some are much more reviled than others. The key is to at least feign remorse for what you did. Paris? I never expect anything from her anyway. I’m borderline on whether she’s really a celebrity & should be on this list. Charlie, Kanye, Arnie – all brash & unapologetic for who they are. Tiger, Mel, LeBron – Apologized to a certain extent… and seriously, why does everybody hate LeBron? He made a mistake in the way of presenting his “Decision” or whatever… but he’s still a good guy & amazing athlete. Interesting tid-bit, Michael Vick isn’t on the bottom 10. Think about it. Sigh… and he’s going to have another $100 million dollars. That’s Trump money!

Make Your Own Money – Well, there’s one way to have that kind of money besides earning it… making it. A small town in central Italy is trying to go independent and mint its own money in protest at government austerity cuts. Filettino, set in rugged hill country around 100 km (65 miles) east of Rome, is rebelling against a proposal to merge the governments of towns with fewer than 1,000 inhabitants to save money. Filettino has only around 550 people, but instead of merging with neighboring Trevi, mayor Luca Sellari is trying to go it alone and set up a "principality" along the lines of the famous republic of San Marino to the north. He has started minting Filettino's own bank currency, the "Fiorito," with his photo on the back, which he says is already being used by the townsfolk. "We aim to achieve real autonomy from Italy and we have the financial resources to do it," Sellari said in an interview on the town's website. There was no immediate comment from the central government in Rome. Mayors from all over Italy are up in arms about proposals to cut local government funding and merge small towns as part of a 45.5 billion euro ($65.3 billion) austerity plan to balance the country's budget by 2013. Mayors plan a protest in Milan Monday although media reports say the government is preparing significant changes to the budget, including a substantial dilution of the proposals on local government. Well, we’ll see how long this lasts… but yeah, it may be difficult to get everybody to convert to your money. I’m just saying… if Disney can’t do it, what chance does a little town in Italy have? Do they still do Disney Dollars or whatever at the parks? Oh well, there ARE better ways to get that pa-per…

This Week In Pimpin’ - Prostitutes (a.k.a. Schlampes) in the German city of Bonn must carry a ticket purchased from a new parking metre-like machine while working the streets… or face hefty fines from tax authorities in a scheme launched Monday night. In Germany, ladies of the night pay income tax (the level of which varies from region to region) but compliance is difficult to enforce with women seeking business on the street. Germany's first "sex tax meters," from which prostitutes can purchase a ticket for 6 Euros (about $9) per night, will ensure the tax system is fairly implemented, a city spokeswoman said. "Inspectors will monitor compliance -- not every evening but frequently," the spokeswoman told Reuters. If caught without a valid ticket, offenders will first be reprimanded, then face fines and later even a ban (GASP!!! Illegal prostitution?). About 200 prostitutes work in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. Due to protests from residents, city officials have limited the areas of operation to specific quarters. But critics say this has made it easier for prostitutes to ply their trade (duh). The city has erected what officials call "consummation areas," wooden parking garages where customers driving cars can retreat to with prostitutes. Hmm… better than alleys… but not better than motels. Well, at least the government has found a way to get their cut. Basically it’s like parking… but for hooking. Simple, produces revenue, enforcement will be tricky but hey, they’re still getting their cut. This could catch on. Not $100 million contract strong… but could pay for some new roads or something. Still… not my favorite way to make money that I found today…

Panda Update - Zhu Cheng, a Chinese sculptor, created a statue with the help of nine 11 year-old art students in the central Chinese city of Chengdu, the home of a giant panda breeding centre (and kick-ass place half the world away). No, it’s not a statue of a panda… but rather a replica of the Venus di Milo… made from panda poo. According to the Henan Business Daily newspaper, it has already been purchased by Uli Sigg, a Swiss businessman who owns the world's largest collection of contemporary Chinese art, for 300,000 yuan (about $50,000!!!). Mr Sigg, who was formerly the Swiss ambassador to China, told the Henan Business Daily that he thought the statue was "full of creativity and innovation". "We made the statue in October," said Mr Zhu. "We took a clay mould of the statue and then pasted panda dung onto it using vegetable glue," he added. "I have been thinking about using panda dung in my work for years (who hasn’t?). After all, pandas are China's national treasure, so anything relating to them is interesting. It was quite hard to get hold of the dung, however. The first time I applied they declined, and I had to write a letter explaining what I was going to do with it." Imagine reading that letter for the first time. No, no, you don’t understand. I want to take these massive amount of panda dung… and replicate the Venus di Milo. Oh, well in that case… Anyway, the rest is history. The statue is currently on display at a charity exhibition at the Zhengzhou Art Museum in Henan province, where it has drawn large crowds. Items crafted out of dried panda dung (which is said to have a relatively neutral smell because of the panda's all-bamboo diet) have been sold at the gift shop of the Chengdu Research Centre for Giant Panda Breeding since 2007.

In case you were wondering… I was there in 2006, otherwise I just might have some panda dung in my collection. The shop said its panda dung paper and small pots were particularly popular. Mmm… pretty panda poo pots. That’s not even a joke. Huang Xiangming, a spokesman, said the centre used to pay 5,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan a month to dispose of the waste, but was now using it to generate revenue. Adult pandas produce around 45lbs of dung a day (JESUS!!!). China currently has 312 giant pandas in captivity, with 31 successful births this year. Mr Sigg has been collecting Chinese art since 1985 and is said to be the only collector who has witnessed the whole development of the Chinese contemporary art world since its infancy. Wang Weiwei, who coordinates the China Contemporary Art Award, which was set up by Mr Sigg in 1997, said the collector had a number of agents buying up Chinese art for him. Congratulations on your purchase, sir!!!

But let’s get back to the numbers, shall we. They used to spend… let’s say $1000 a month to dispose of panda waste. Now, they have 312 pandas producing 45 pounds of poo per day, so roughly… and I’m NOT joking… just over 5 MILLION pounds of poo per year. Go ahead, do the math. So you see, that’s roughly a dollar for every 400 pounds cost, which really isn’t bad if you think about it. However, if they can instead sell it to tourists, artists, students, scientists, fecophiles, or an aspiring entrepreneur looking to corner the market on premium odorless panda fertilizer, even at something like $1 per pound… then you’ve taken what would’ve been an expense and turned it into a profit maker… of roughly $5 MILLION a year. Now, I’m in business & I know those numbers aren’t going to be all profit… and even the dollar per pound might be ambitious… and I know not all five million pounds are going to be sellable… but hey, it can only turn into a good thing. Turning scat into gold, my friend. All it takes is somebody with an idea & the ability to sell it. If I can be the Father of Panda Porn to help save the species, then I can be the Premier Peddler of Prime Panda Poo to make some mother lovin’ money.

So those are some of my ideas for making money so that I can enjoy a few good sporting events at AT&T Park… or finance my upcoming Vegas trip… or just cushion my mattress with dolla dolla bills y’all so that I can feel freshly laundered notes against my bare skin. Whatever… it’s my money. I do what I want with it. Have a great day everybody!!!

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