Monday, November 30, 2009
I actually knew Matt and Gina separately in their early days without knowing it. I knew Matt was dating a Gina and vice versa. Actually - before I met Matt - I met Matt in a tattoo parlor. We got our first tattoos next to each other (with a short wall between us) while Gina, my sister, and my mother talked behind us. Then when Matt and I met again it didn’t click with either one of us.
Anyway – I’m getting a new best friend-in-law. Joshy. Josh is engaged to my other bff, Natalie. I’ve known Josh for years and like Gina, he’s a friend in his own right – but with pending nuptuals it’s clear that Josh is totally here for the long haul. This should be interesting because Josh, well . . .
Josh is fucking nuts.
My friend Zahra convinced me to go to their house in the sticks to talk wedding stuff instead of doing what I had my heart set on- drink until I can justify eating my body weight in fried food.
At Josh and Natalie’s house I found a mouse in a bucket in their garage
“Run and tell Josh!” Natalie said.
Zahra told Josh and soon he came skipping outside with unadulterated glee. He grabbed the bucket-o-mouse and went to the side of the house to fill it up with water. Then he timed how long it would take for the mouse to drown while I stood back HORRIFIED. It made me realize that this would be the scene where the Mad Hatter and March Hare shove the Dormouse in a teapot if Lewis Carroll had written Alice's Adventures in Backwoods West Virginia
Later, while I’m fighting both the urge to pass out on Natalie’s couch and the even stronger urge to eat her entire pan of pumpkin bars, Josh showed me his arsenal of gun ammo. While he’s playing with a 1911 .45 that weighs more than one of my legs I’m having flashbacks to the mouse and realizing “Torturing small animals? What is that an early sign of? Serial killer? Serial killer with the basement of a postal worker? Aaaaaaahhh!”
When I went back upstairs we eventually found ourselves in the garage again (yes, it’s where the beer is) this time Josh shows up with this telescope thingy that I was using to look at passengers of low flying planes. It didn’t take long for it to click in my head. Guns & ammo? Telescope thingy? Sadistic homicidal tendencies? Of course Josh is my friend! Because I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if he were my enemy!
Now – Natalie has a recurring night terror where she can swear she sees someone on their upstairs landing from her bed and this person is just standing in the shadows watching her. While she’s lying next to Josh, who is laying on top of the amount of protection that can only be rivaled by 40 armed Pinkerton guards.
I think that in some alternate plane of existence, there is a man, standing in his house – unable to sleep because he has a recurring night terror that Josh is waiting in that dark bedroom.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
One of my favorite expressions is "tit for tat" - the dictionary defines it as "retaliation in kind" and lets face facts, people . . . I'm all about retaliation. Sometimes the "in kind" part gets blurry for me and I tend to get carried away. You know - if someone sticks their tongue out at me maybe I'll punch them in the nutsack.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The people, who know me, know me as quite the pessimistic, sarcastic type, who always seems to be down on his luck. I mean the grass is always greener, when you live where there isn’t any grass to begin with.
Well I’ll let you decide. Let me tell you about my 2009.My 2009 story starts with the end of 2008. Not only did my boss decide to not give me a much anticipated Christmas bonus, but my mother-in-law was visiting. Recently my MIL (not “MILF” - sickos) moved to Mexico. She got in her car and drove the 40+ hours to island paradise, all the while racking up over $15,000 on my wife’s credit card. So, while she was visiting at the end of 2008 a giant argument ensued about this money and the $350+ per month in payments and interest accruing at an astonishing 25%. Sure you may think “oh who cares? A stupid argument…” – True, a stupid argument, to the untrained eye.
See I was supposed to graduate college in the Spring of 2009. Green grass, flowers blooming, sun shining – ever shining emitting its’ ultraviolet and gamma radiation – beautiful in its’ way. But no, my stupid department head for the Industrial Design department wouldn’t work with me on a schedule. I explained to him that I was no longer eligible for financial aid and that only taking one class in the Fall 2009 semester would be very difficult, with student loans coming due. (You have to take at least 6 credit hours to defer the loans). He made it exceedingly clear that the college would not be setting any sort of precedent for me, seeing as I would be taking the class as an independent study. I pleaded with him explaining the recent credit card snafu and the fact that the last 3 jobs I have held were Industrial Design related and that I couldn’t quit my job at the time as is will be providing internship credit. Nope, would not budge. So, here I am taking my last class with the loans coming due next week, with no real job prospects – since I can’t work full-time – because I am taking this stupid class! And if that’s not bad enough, the class is so easy with no attendance policy. I am building a model flashlight and giving a brief presentation. I suppose that’s what you get when the school you are attending gives scholarships to students who think cars are made of wood and you must put molten steel in the freezer to solidify, and that aluminum will melt at 500F!!
So back to my 2009…. For 15 years I have played the drums. I was given formal lessons, played in the school band, marching band, jazz band, as well of my fair share of rock bands and punk bands. I owned a professional level drum set and was recently playing in a rock/pop group with people from my wife’s high school. We were pretty good. We gigged all over Denver and were set to record. Let me clarify – not just record, but record at one of the most famous recording studios in the business. The kind of studio where the Beach Boys and John Mayer recorded. You might ask: “how did you get that opportunity Matt?” well, let me tell you that a former friend, roommate and co-worker had struck it rich playing in a very successful band: OneRepublic.
I sold the drums, cymbals, stands, cases, sticks, everything for $2,000 (assuming $5,000+ brand new).
Which leads me to my next set of shenanigans from 2009.
As many of you already know I am re-restoring my 1972 VW Beetle standard. Due to a hasty novice restoration, hard driving and a Maaco paint job I had discovered too much rust on the heater channels and rear quarter panels to let go. I took the car up to Longmont in December 2007 to a “VW Specialist” in Longmont, CO. It was going to be a ‘spare time’, fill-in work for the shop and for the extended time schedule I would be getting the repairs for a discount. (I had gotten estimates for $7,500-$14,000 to restore a car that was $2,000 new from the dealer in 1972) I told the guy that I wanted a daily driver. I needed to mitigate all of the rust and repair a broken Bakelite heater piece that was near impossible to access without lifting the body off of the chassis. He told me that I showered too much love and sentimental value on the car and that I should just take it back to Maaco and drive the car. Asshole. Maaco is what got me into the rusty pickle in the first place. I picked the car up early 2009 (yeah the car was there over 13 months) and the repairs were awful! I think he was learning how to weld on my car. Body panels weren’t lined up properly and welds were not treated with etching primer and/or seam sealer. He took the liberty to remove a portion of my wiring harness and left important bolts loose or missing. He had to cut a new shock absorber off of the front spindle. (I was able to remove the stuck bushing with WD-40 and wiggling.) I saw his booth at a recent car show where he had patched a hole in a late model Beetle with liquid nails and self-drilling, zinc-plated sheet metal screws. I towed the car home and began fixing the new set of problems that he had installed on my beloved Phyllis. Now thanks to the douchebag band people, my car is at a reputable body shop that has gone above and beyond to help repair all of the cosmetic things that I am unable. With my luck, the body shop will burn down with my car inside.
Other winners of 2009:
-Getting 7 fillings in one day – 4 had to be repaired
-Horrible permanent joint pain from playing the drums – Like Van Gogh, I want to cut my hand off.
-Ongoing adult acne
-My parents thinking that I go to a community college and thinking that I will be a Mechanical Engineer…WTF?
-Un-sellable PT Cruiser due to 2 accidents
-Dropping my knoedel at Oktoberfest
-Dumb renters trashing the $2,500 wood floor that my wife and I laid by hand.
-My sister getting a 2nd college degree before I got my 1st college degree.
-Woody’s closing down
-Crazy dramatic neighbors who can’t control their kids.
-My wife getting laid-off 2 weeks after I quit my job.
-Getting in the middle of a riot at a rap show where DMX didn’t show up.
I figured out why the grass is always greener - because it is covered in toxic manure and chemicals. It looks better but when you get there, you are worse off than where you started.
So here we are at the end of November 2009. Sure a couple of good things have happened. I am finally graduating, which is pretty scary. My birthday was pretty fun, going indoor skydiving, gambling and winning, and going to the Bug-In. Getting a car for nearly free. After all this, will 2010 be better or worse?
Monday, November 23, 2009
Before I run out to revel in the fact that I have no class today I have to get this out of my system . . . otherwise I've hit the point where 1 beer will make me explode on someone - and not in the hot way.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Anyway - my battery of tests. They would be designed by top minds in academics to determine exactly how far the test taker can reasonably expected to go. If they score low (I'm talking to you, Associate Degree seekers) then give them the general classes and a couple specialized ones to make them feel special if they score higher and can reach for that Bachelor's. If they score higher and could pursue a Master's or Doctorate - skip the bullshit and let them get down to business. How many brilliant potential doctors are there in the world that didn't give it a chance because they didn't want to be in school - and I'm talking POINTLESS classes people- for 10 damn years. Multicultural Studies requirement? Kiss my dick! I want to know that someone prescribing ME medication was able to focus solely on their clinicals without also having to stay up late working on a paper about the great Chihuahua revolt or some crap like that.
I feel very strongly about this because it was the hurdle of these bullshit classes that's caused me to be the oldest guy in my classes today.
Well - that and the fact that school was a very low priority for me until my early 20s. With that in mind I'm taking responsibility for my irresponsibility and I'm writing a strongly worded letter - to my 19 year old self.
Dear 19 year old Chad,
Hey, hows it goin'?
I'm just writing to let you know that, thanks to you, I'm a poor college student at 28 years old. What the hell are you doing right now? Let's see, its nearly midnight on a Friday night so you're probably at some club, or fooling around with god knows what kind of venereal infested swamp sow, or there's a good chance you're at Denny's or Perkins - chainsmoking and drinking coffee. Let me tell you right now, 19 year old Chad, that this is a habit that your teeth will totally pay for. Trust me.
That being said, here's my advice for you. Enjoy yourself. Have fun with your friends. Work your hilarious little jobs. But please, whatever you do - don't enroll in school until you are ready. Even if you don't take your first class until you're 22 - that's okay. We won't be any worse off than we are now, in fact we'll be better off because we won't have wasted - that's the optimum word, 19 year old Chad, wasted - an amount of money that I don't even want to calculate, valuable time (it's your youth! Savor it), and an academic track record that will make your future self cringe when you're asked to submit "ALL COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS".
These classes that you should not sign up for are meaningless and no one should have to take them. But the sad reality is - you have to anyway. Go to school when you're ready. It'll be better for us both. You can enjoy yourself and I won't be burned out.
Well, have a nice day!
28 year old Chad
That was kind of fun!
Should I write I letter to 19 year old Matt?
Dear 19 year old Matt,
Any day now, Chad is going to sing the incorrect lyrics to Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Just go with it. After all, "the girl with colitis goes by" is WAY funnier than "the girl with kaleidescope eyes", isn't it? Ooooooh, also - when he laughs at you for putting a porsche engine in a VW Bus (I believe his exact words were "putting syrup on shit don't make it a pancake") just smack him and tell him he'll understand why you did that in a few years. Yeah, He'll get one in 5 years or so.
Talk to you later!
28 year old Chad
Haha! While I'm at it, why don't I send a letter to Chad two years ago!
Dear Chad two years ago,
You may be enjoying the freedom to fix up your little house - but I warn you - save your energy and get out of the suburbs now. Flee! Flee! You'll thank me later!
Monday, November 16, 2009
She may be doing this because I told her to . . .
Lindsey is baby sitting her friend's 6 month old today. She told me that the baby is freaking adorable, which it must be - Lindsey doesn't mess around with the baby=cute myth. She'll see an ugly kid (and there are A LOT of them out there) and suck her teeth while wearing an expression that can only mean "it's a wrinkly, incoherent, bald, pooping thing. WHAT is cute about that?! People pay to have adults with these traits locked up so no one has to deal with them."
Anyway, I've digressed.
When Lindsey told me she gets the jibblies when someone thinks it's her kid I said "just have fun with it!". When someone asks how old she is, maybe pause in thought for an uncomfortably long time before giving a vague answer . . .
"Well, my episiotomy site isn't sore or itchy anymore . . . so . . . she's older than two months. Maybe 1ish?"
Haha. I've been in her situation once in my life. Well, almost. It was in Boulder with my cousin Melissa and her adorable baby Clayton (who, by the way, is like 8 or 13 or something now). People thought he was ours. "Look at the new parents!", their looks said. I must admit, I was more jarred by the thought of knocking up my own cousin than I was being mistaken for a parent.
Melissa was in school when Clayton was a baby, so on my days off I would watch him. I said it was to help her out, but really it was because he was one of the few babies I loved and I felt it my duty to give him a break from being a coddled baby and let him run amuck my apartment.
It was amazing! I would feed him cream cheese on EVERYTHING because he was starting to lose his fat, baby limbs. Not okay with me. I was obsessed with how he looked like a stay-puft marshmallow baby.
And this, people? Is why I should not be a parent. Probably ever. But I AM determined to be that "cool uncle" that everyone has (well . . . I guess I don't, but I've seen them on TV) and not that "creepy uncle" that no one admits to (THIS I got).
I already practice on Matt and Gina's dogs. When they're not home I spoil the hell out of those dogs every chance I get. Be that as it may, no one has ever mistaken me for their father. It could be that there's little family resemblance, but I prefer to imagine that word has got out that people like me eat their young . . .
Still - it would be fun to mess with people just to teach them a lesson in assumptions.
We are cursed.
Take for example my 1972 Beetle ("Phyllis"). The car was purchased in 2001 in a dirt lot in Aurora. My first car. I got what I paid for and I only paid $250. Phyllis needed everything. Literally. She got all new paint, door and window seals, new seats, bumpers, radio, dash, switches, etc. etc. Over the course of 6 years I spent over $15,000 fixing up and restoring Phyllis. Phyllis broke down a lot in the first years. I quickly learned how to nurse her back to health, and she became a reliable daily driver. Then came the rust.
The thing about a Maaco paint job is that they don't do any preparation. The heater channels and rear quarter panels totally rusted out. I decided to re-restore her. Here is a picture of some of the rust.
I decided to take Phyllis out of comission and get a VW shop to do some of these rust restorations for me. It took an entire year and $2,500 more to get these repairs done. Poorly. I went through the repairs and had to re-repair. Phyllis is now at the body shop getting a full makeover. Here is a picture of her bad repair.
Here is Phyllis at the body shop almost ready for primer.
One thing about having an older unreliable car is that you can eventually get fed up and go overboard and purchase a brand new car. Never buy a new car. They depreciate too fast! I made this mistake a few times. I purchased a brand new 2006 VW Passat. The price was around $18K. Hmm, who thought a college student who works gluing rocks together can afford that kind of payment? Stupid! So I accidentally totaled that car and decided: hey, I should buy another NEW CAR! Let's go for the 2007 VW Passat! And while we're at it get a 2007 Jetta! Stupid. Traded all that crap back in and got a used 2003 Passat and a PT Cruiser! The Passat does okay, but is now nickel and diming us to death. dang it! I know - I'll get a new car....
I recently just made a deal with our neighbor friend to aquire their old 1991 Nissan Pathfinder. Sure the car has 270,500 miles, but she runs great. I'm sure this will end well. Beggars can't be choosers. We are happy to have the wheels. Actually the owner took really great care of the vehicle. Starts, runs and shifts great, and everything works. Try to find that in any car older than 1995!
Part of the problem living in the suburbs of Denver (listen to: Styrofoam Plates by Death Cab for Cutie) is that you absolutely need your own vehicle, if not two vehicles, when the other is in the shop. My wife recently tried to take the bus. Not only does the bus drive past you when the surly drivers don't feel like picking you up, but the bus costs more than driving your car to and from work. And way more inconvenient. Eff the bus.
Chad on the other hand, has 4 cars (and 1 scooter). We frantically try to get things fixed, but with fixing anything, boats, houses, cars, planes, you need to throw enough money at the problem until it goes away. We are putting an engine together for the 1975 VW Bus and he is collecting parts and putting together an engine for the 1967 Ford Mustang. The Poor 1996 BMW is near death and the 1972 VW Super Beetle was a donor car for the Bus. Maybe when Phyllis is fixed I can sell Chad the Nissan....
What is it about older cars (say 1998 and older) having 25 ashtrays and no cup holders? I guess people figured that as long as you were smoking you wouldn't be thirsty. And since everyone smoked back through the '40's through 'till the '90's nobody was thirsty. Maybe that's what archaologists will discover in 200 years. People smoked to avoid dehydration. Wait, that makes no sense - why does my chain-smoking great aunt look like beef jerky?
P.S. this isn't my great aunt, but doesn't she look like she's in Flavor Country?
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
For example, on my last birthday we went indoor skydiving. I had only seen a commercial for the venture and boom, I was interested. It proved to be a very fun experience, without the risk of jumping out of an airplane.
I am not bashing tradition, don't get me wrong people, in fact discovering Oktoberfest (a delightful weekend of dressing up in lederhosen, eating delicious food and swilling about a gallon of beer) and the Bug-In (classic VW drag races, where slow little VW Beetles are souped-up to run 10 seconds in the quarter mile) as new things, and are some of my favorite annual traditions. And if the Bug-In gets boring, go gambling. Throw $30 into a video poker machine and see what happens. You win, that's what happens.
I'm not saying that all of your new experiences will be good ones. Take for example last winter when it dumped a bunch of snow. I decided that it would be a greaty idea to go sledding down some of the steepest hills in the area. Yeah I know I'm 25 whay am I sledding? But I fugured what the hey? I got on my little plastic saucer and headed down a 65-yard long, 45-degree incline. One thing about that incline is that the snow likes to slide down, not keeping a protective layer of snow on the sledding surface itself. On the 3rd run, I hit a rock the size of a bowling ball with my ass bone. I couldn't sit for a week. The impact ripped a hole clean out of my newly purchased purple saucer sled. Watch the video...
My "try new things" caveat also has applied to my employment life. As of this year I have had about 26 different jobs, and never been fired. But I think that is a post for another day.
Summary: Life is short people - live it up.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Oh well, here is a picture of that carburetor, in case you thought I was exaggerating.