Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Saw Two Butterflies on My Windshield This Morning...

...they were screwing. Just kidding.

On a trip to Wisconsin to visit some suppliers and take in the
beginning of the Kerry Collins Titans era.

I already have a good story to tell tomorrow and hope to garner
a few more for y'all's entertainment in the meantime.

A teaser-"Joan Jett meets the cheeseheads."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

No They Di-in't!

From today's Nashville City Paper:

Man, The Dry Spot is getting kinda dirty lately. I'll have to write some posts about butterflies or some crap like that soon to get the taste out of my mouth.

Shopping for Lambskins

Les Jones is talking about buying condoms.

The first time I ever bought condoms (no, it wasn't last week, smart alec), I went to about ten different stores to build up the nerve and find some that weren't behind the counter until I ended up at the Kroger in Bellevue all jazzed up on the six cokes I had bought at various stores along the way.

I looked around for awhile until I finally asked a guy stocking the shelves where I could find them. "Condoms? My man! Follow me. The ladies are especially appreciative of these!" he said as he led me down the aisle and pointed to some ribbed ones. "Turn them inside out for YOUR pleasure."

I thought I had it made until I got in line. Who was the check-out lady? That's right, my third grade teacher from Westmeade Elementary School. She recognized me. I recognized her.

But I was embarrassed to be buying rubbers and she was embarrassed to be working at Kroger; so we both grunted hello and completed the transaction. On the way to the car I decided that I was the one who had something to be happy about. And later that night, I was. Twice.

I Am a Rude Slacker...

...for not acknowledging Kerry Woo's response to my whiny plea to have something named after me.

I am honored and humbled.

(But does this mean I have to pay to replace our crappy scoreboard?)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Last Word on this Subject

Final tests are in.

All is well.

Thank you for your concern.

Some Post-cruise Observations

1. Apparently all the salt air must have shrunk my clothes somehow. Nothing seems to fit the same anymore. How unfortunate.

2. Cruise food is like having an endless pantry of pop-tarts. I saw people leave the 8:15 dinner seating and head directly upstairs to get in line for the midnight buffet. Hmmm...that might have something to do with number 1.

3. Mexico is much closer to the equator than Nashville. The sun is apparently stronger. Double your SPF.

4. No matter what the nice local tells you it will look like, do NOT get your hair braided while onshore. It will look, at best, hideous and at worst, tragic. Plus you'll probably burn your scalp really badly. (See #3)

5. I heard a cruiser who wasn't part of our advertising convention group complain that the people on the ship were "too rednecky." I didn't really notice that. Do you think it could have been us he was talking about?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Apparently, It's a Motif

88 miles later in Blount City, Al-another Stuckey's stop. (I'm traveling with the TBC-Tiny Bladder Club.)

Another stuffed cat on the counter and a stuffed dog on top of the nasty hot dog machine that turns the pork tubes over and over on a bunch metal rollers covered with 10-W-40. Truly unfortunate.

Despite conventional wisdom, travelers visiting a Stuckey's should leave their pets in the car when stocking up on pecan pies and misogynist bumper stickers.

Sweet Home

From the "Only in Alabama" department...

On the way home from the ship, we stopped for a bio-break at a Stuckey's in Verbena, Alabama. As we entered the store I felt something vaguely disquieting. I couldn't put my finger on it until we approached the counter to pay for our pecan logs.

Oh that's it. There's a stuffed cat and a stuffed schnauzer on the counter. Ex-pets, we discovered.

"Hello, is this the Alabama Department of Health and Sanitation? Oh, you're on a four-year backlog? Never mind."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Having the Technology is Only Half the Battle

Imagine my surprise when woke up docked in Cozumel and my phone was beeping to let me know that emails were coming in.

Cool! I can blog internationally via Treo. I feel Woo-tastic.

Not that I have in particular anything to say...

Maybe later.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Now THERE'S a Good Idea

We had our lifeboat drill as soon as we got on the boat. The disconnected ethereal voice over the loud speaker who is supposed to keep us calm in the event of an emergency assured us that "these lifeboats are constructed of a material designed to keep them afloat even if they are fully submerged in water."

Why don't they just build the whole damn ship out of that material?

I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I Guess I'm Metrosexual...Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

Our traveling party spent last night with a friend in Mobile. So I'm sharing a bathroom this morning with three gay men and a woman.

It's somehow an affirmation to realize how many of the same soaps, shampoo and shaving products I have in common with them. I use about 1/10 as many, but it does mean that RUABelle made wise choices when she bought them for me.

It's kinda like eating in the Chinese restaurant where all the Chinese people eat.

Well done!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Sad Update

I just heard David Schnaufer passed away a few hours ago. Apparently yesterday was the first day that the pain had started to get to him, so it was time to go.

He's much better off. We're all the poorer.

Godspeed, buddy.

Won't You Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruise

I'm on the board of the southeastern region of the American Advertising Federation. Many of my friends and members of our industry were severely affected last year by Katrina. Advertising and media have had a really tough time bouncing back and figuring out strategies for recovery as the population and tourism trickles back into the Gulf Coast.

So how are we celebrating the one year anniversary of Katrina? That's right, we're having our annual Leadership Convention on one of the FEMA cruise ships that was docked in New Orleans. I'm driving to Mobile today to board the oldest, smallest ship in the Carnival fleet, the Holiday. Picture Tunica insead of Vegas.

I'm not sure whether the irony of this is intentional and reverential or just damned unfortunate. Either way, I have to go represent the state at the District board meeting, so I'm just going to keep my mouth shut.

Think good thoughts and wish Tropical Storm Debbie away for me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Naming Rights

I think it's natural to wish for some sort of immortality to combat the transient nature of our time on earth. I've always wanted to have something named after me.

I donated some money to my old high school to get my name on a brick in the sidewalk, but you can't really find it or read it. When they built a new wing, I inquired as to how much one had to donate to get your name on something and figured out I could afford to get my monikor inscribed on the crank of a pencil shapener. (Does anybody even use crank pencil sharpeners anymore? Or pencils, for that matter?)

I tried to have a game named after me at our semi-regular poker gatherings. We played variations of standard stud poker named after some of my old friends who most people at the table had never even met. But everybody knew what "Isherwood's Revenge" and "Chaffin Standard" and "Charlie's Folly" were since we played them frequently.

One night we played a game I called almost all night. And I won big. I couldn't lose with the cards I was getting. Somebody posited, "Cee, we should name this game after you."

Choked up, I said, "You mean *sob*, something like 'Cee Standard?'" My day had finally come.

Somebody else at the table said, "As much fu*kin' money as you've taken off me tonight, we oughta call it 'Di*k in my Ass!'"

Guess which name stuck?

So then I thought maybe I could get something named after me at my local watering hole, the Sportsman's Grille. I go there so often, I decided it was easier just to get my mail forwarded there. Perhaps my regular order could become my legacy.

Nope, it's pretty hard to corner the market on Miller Lite draft and a basket of hot wings at a sports bar. My name just never caught on.

Then, Dr. Funkenswine decided to open Mothership BBQ. I was there from the beginning. Hell, since before the beginning. We've been friends for years, and I did all I could to support his floundering catering business until he could get the restaurant up and running. If any food item was ever going to be named after me, it had to be here, right?

But there's only about five things on the menu, so it didn't look good. It's not like he's got a beef tongue and pastrami sandwich he can name the "Maury Amsterdam."

And, woe is me, my bloggerque buddy Kerry Woo beat me to the punch. He eats there at least as regularly as I do and always orders the same thing. Two pork shoulder sandwiches with extra burnt ends and cole slaw on top. It is offically referred to as "The Woo."

Now I can't eat that much. I usually order about half that. As a matter of fact, I'm officially going to co-opt Kerry's order and make it my own.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold "The Demi-Woo."


Well, That Was Pleasant

I just got a phone call from my newly-assigned Metro Health case worker. Apparently, the news of my negative syphilis test hasn't made it through the system yet.

He was a nice enough fellow, but I'm pretty much ready to put this incident behind me.


Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm Afraid We're Fixin' to Lose a Good One

A good friend of ours from the Sportsman's Grille is not doing well. David Schnaufer is acclaimed as one of the greatest mountain dulcimer players in the world. Nashvillians may remember him from Walk the West or The Cactus Brothers, two of the most entertaining local bands of the 80's.

We know him as a gentle soul who always dressed like he just walked off the streets of 1920's Galveston into the bar. Which he probably had. You expected swinging bar doors to squeak behind him when he came in. The only time I ever saw him without a smile on his face was when he was showing concern for someone else.

I'll always chuckle thinking about how he always demanded to roadie whenever he played at a big concert, even though he acknowledged, "Hell, it ain't got but four strings and three of them are tuned to the same note. It makes a nice sound when you drop it."

David has worked with orchestras around the country and been a favorite on the Bluegrass festival circuit for years. He has also served as the only dulcimer teacher on an reknowned music school faculty in the world. At Blair, he has taught scores of students, including Cyndi Lauper and Michael Stipe.

He was diagnosed with cancer recently and it had already spread throughout his body. He is currently in hospice care and deteriorating quickly. But his spirit and soul will never diminish in our eyes.

RUABelle and I are very sad. He is just a great guy. For updates, go here. Lots of good thoughts and prayers are headed his way!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Intelligent Design?

Why did God invent chiggers, and why did he send 20 of them to
attack my "bathing suit area" after yesterday's yard work?

Update-for my (lucky) readers who have never encountered chiggers, I've included a link to the wikipedia article on harvest mites. No, I don't need to go back to the Lentz Clinic.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Freaky Friday

I was checking my sitemeter to see where my visitors were coming from and noticed that somebody found The Dry Spot by Googling "George Goldtrap," the chalk-throwing wethaerman from Channel 4 years ago.

Then I noticed that there was a new comment on the two month old post that the Google result pointed to. And it was from George Goldtrap.

Dude! George Goldtrap's been ego-surfing the Dry Spot!

Maybe he can work something about syphilis into his latest sermon...

Ooh, My Head...

I stayed out way too late last night with a couple of West Tennessee bloggers. I'm not gonna name names or anything...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Live-Blogging My Syphilis Test

There, I knew that would get your attention.

But it wasn't just a gambit to get my site meter numbers up. I really did spend this morning at the Lentz Metro Health Clinic in the STD lab. Pull up a carpet square, little kiddies, and let Uncle Cee tell you a little story.

Long-time readers of The Dry Spot know that I'm a frequent platelet donor at the American Red Cross. I wasn't surprised to get an envelope from them in the mail earlier this week. They call all the time telling me about a specific cancer patient that has my blood type and send me free tickets to the races out at the Speedway as a thank you, so I figured it was something like that.

The letter began with the typical, "Thank you for your recent donation on August 4. We appreciate the time and effort you spent to donate blood for others."

"Why, you're welcome," my internal monologue beamed.

Imagine my surprise when the next paragraph began, "When we tested your blood, we obtained results that indicate that you may have an infection with syphilis."

Huh?! That's a great big ole' WTF! Let's see, I've been in a monogamous relationship with RUABelle for almost 16 years. And I know I've been a good boy. Promise Keepers good. And RUABelle is a kindergarten teacher, ferchrissakes! Beyond reproach and suspicion.

Plus, I have given blood products 75 times in the last ten years and had my blood tested every time for every STD known to man. So obviously, there must be some sort of mistake, right?

I availed myself of the Red Cross counselor hot line number on the letter to inquire about false positives. The woman on the other line sounded very friendly and positive until she got my file and called me back.

I told her that I was in a monogamous relationship and that there was no way I could have contracted syphilis. "Yeah, we hear that a lot," she said drolly. "All I can tell you is that your test was positive and that you need to seek medical care immediately. We have to report this to the Metro Health Department, and you are now deferred from donating any blood products indefinitley."

Well, f*ck you very much, too.

After doing some internet research, (which I always tell other people not to do since it only makes you hysterical) I tried to make an appointment with a urologist that is covered by my health care plan at work. No dice. They were all scheduling into October. What is with all you guys out there taking up all the appointments for us in need? Maybe they were looking for a cute young female urologist with slender fingers and left me with nothing but an ex-wrestler named "Stubby."

So I opted for the walk-in clinic at Lentz. No appointment necessary, and confidentiality ensured. (Until you blog about it.)

I got there this morning and went to room 116 down a secluded hallway with the window covered by black construction paper. Nice confidentiality touch, I thought. The waiting room was spacious and there were only a few people waiting before me. In the interest of decorum, I won't describe any of them, but I will say that there wasn't a lot of eye-contact going on in that room. The receptionist was helpful and discreet. I was issued a number which was how I was referred to for the rest of my office visit. Another good touch.

The Lentz Clnic is on an "ability to pay" basis for services, and I certainly have the ability to pay. But the entire visit was free of charge. They offer testing for all sorts of STDs without judgement and in a very confidential manner. Even though I could have had the whole menu of test done, I already had good results from my last blood donation. Oh yeah, except for that syphilis thing. So why don't you please just test that.

After waiting about 30 minutes in the lobby, I was called back by a smiling nurse. She sat me down immediately and started to take my history. I hate it when they call you from a waiting room and put you in a smaller waiting room. I appreciated the quick attention.

I handed her the letter from the Red Cross and started to answer her questions. I detected a very small bit of skepticism from the beginning, but it rapidly shifted to confusion, especially after she saw my blood donation record. She said, "That's not right," and left the room to confer with a doctor.

"That's not right" good? or "that's not right" bad?, I wondered. I heard mumbling outside the door which ended with. "Well, draw some blood and we'll figure out what the hell's going on."

I hoped that meant it was a good "that's not right." She came in, tapped one of my veins which might as well have a shunt for the amount of times the Red Cross has accessed them, and took the samples to the lab.

While we waited for the results, she took me on a wonderful pictorial journey through the symptoms of syphilis. "Nope, haven't seen it look like that." "Uh, no, I believe I would have already sought medical care if it was falling off like that." "Which way is up in that picture?" "That looks like a pizza."

I know she was probably required by procedure to fully inform me, but I was pretty much put off of eating for the rest of today. She finally told me that my tests should be ready and she didn't expect them to show anything. She left the room and returned immediately with a smile on her face and said, "Yup, it's negative."

Now I always get confused about whether a negative test is good or bad, just like I never remember which is worse-first degree or third degree burns. But her smile let me know that everything was ok. She has to send off a confirmation test which I won't know about for a week, but I know (as I've always known) that there's nothing to worry about.

So in summary:
CeeElCee doesn't have the syph.
RUABelle and I are fine and faithful.
I still can't donate blood again for a year, so I might as well get a tattoo. (Any suggestions?)
I'm not bitter at the Red Cross and will donate again as soon as they will let me.

And most importantly of all, if you ever have any suspicions about any sort of STD, go on down to the Lentz Clinic on 23rd Avenue North. They are professional, confidential, efficient, affordable and an extremely valuable resource for our community. They can also offer counseling and treatment. Don't be embarrased to get checked. They are not judgemental. Catching a disease is unfortunate. Spreading it because you won't get tested is tragic.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It Was Noisy in the Sportsman's Grille Tonight...

...and I was watching the Orioles/Yankees game. What did they just say?

They found the guy who killed Jack Benny in Bangkok?

I never even knew he lived in Colorado.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Messing with a Sleeping Bear

Long time readers know I've had some, ahem, disagreements with the Internal Revenue Service. I settled their last issue with me by sending them a form I accidentally didn't mail in 2004 and a check for a couple hundred bucks.

But here's the rub, apparently I overpayed or they didn't figure the interest correctly. So now the IRS owes me money. Ninety cents. Did they just send me a check? No.

If they owe you less than a buck, they send a notice that if you want your money, you need to send them a request for your money. So let's all do the math, I have to send a letter (paper-$.02, envelope-$.05, postage-$.39) to get my check for $.90, which I'll have to drive to the bank to deposit (gas-$1.00).

Everything logical in me says not to do it. But the Libertarian smart-ass in me thinks that if I owed the IRS $.90, I'd damn sure have to pay it. How vindictive do you think they are? Should I kick this sleeping bear? I've always been as honest as possible with my taxes and generally decline to try and find extra loopholes. Is it time to make a stand or give the gub-mint a little slack?

Just doing my part to help balance the federal budget.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Follow Me to Freedom

RUABelle and I just went through a weekend with no internet access. Since the thunderstorms of Thursday night, we have had something wrong with the Comcast connection that has rendered us incommunicado. The timing was unfortunate since she has her first day teaching a new kindergarten class coming up and was depending on the web for some ideas.

But to me, it was actually fairly liberating. I admit that I didn’t catch up on that Doestoevsky summer reading I had planned, but I did get some household and yard tasks accomplished. I also got all of my news through traditional media outlets for the first time in a long time. I decided that it is too slow for me, and don’t like not being able to choose where I get my info if I have to watch 30 minutes of one news show.

The surprising thing was that you can actually get a Comcast service call on a Sunday afternoon. The bad part is that there is no guarantee that they will actually get anything done. It was entertaining to watch the tech rep have to sit on hold with the same Comcast customer service interminable wait that the rest of us do when something goes wrong.

It turned out that when I stood in line at Comcast headquarters on Saturday to get a new modem to replace the one fried by the storm, nobody in customer service actually registered the new device with their system. I had thought about buying a new modem instead of being the last dumbass to actually rent one from the cable company, but the Geek Squad dude at Staples said that Comcast’s system is so screwed up and proprietary it’s actually worth the couple of bucks a month to make them fix it when it screws up. He told me that he rents his modem even though he sells them.

She also took a look at our TV signal which had become sketchy, at best. It turns out that the “new” cable box I had gotten on Saturday was actually a bad one that had been returned by a customer because it didn’t work. Errr, thanks, Comcast. I think next month I’ll pay my bill with a bad check that’s already been returned by another creditor because there wasn’t enough money in my account.

The biggest drama came from the damage that the Comcast rep inflicted on our house. Apparently her van was leaking oil, because now I have a huge nasty puddle in my driveway. But the worst environmental offense was from the tech rep herself. I hate to talk bad about someone, but Jeez! This woman had the worst BO we’ve ever encountered, and like the used car in Seinfeld, it has taken over the two rooms she was in and won’t go away. We’ve tried Febreze, candles, Lysol, Oxyclean. Nothing works.

Any advice on how to defunkify our office?

Friday, August 11, 2006

But Who's Counting?

I had to go to a visitation yesterday after the death of a good friend's father. On the way over I realized that I have been to eight of these since my father passed away last June. Eight friends. Eight fathers. Gone. I reckon we should all get together and put a good drunk on next June 17th for Father's Day.

I remember that after my dad turned 70, it seemed like I was taking him to a friend's funeral every month. I guess it makes sense that my friends and I are reaching that age where we are supposed to become the older generation.

All I know is that when my friends' kids start turning 40, I'm taking up hang-gliding on acid. What will I have to lose?

Rainy Day Women

She: I really like this long, soft soaking rain. It'll help our lawn start growing again.

He: Crap.

Some Advice

Y'know, a working knowledge of your city's bus system can come in very handy on days when your car won't start for no apparent reason.

Like today.


Sent from my Treo

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Where I Officially Become the Laziest Blogger EVER

I've whined more than once about my cramping right hand and index finger. (I'll head you off at the pass, Knuck. I do alternate hands every now and then.)

I'm pretty much of a pick-n-peck typist, and 75% of the work falls on that one finger. And my laptop at home has a trackpad that only works well when used by that poor digit. So despite my efforts to do stuff like elevate my keyboard, move the mouse to the left side and improve my posture, my right hand, wrist and forearm ache pretty much all the time.

In a further attempt to improve my quality of life, I am making the following bold gesture. I will not type any more unnecessary letters that don't change the meaning of words.

No, that doesn't mean that I'm going to convert to the vernacular of a twelve-year old girl texting her girlfriends. Besides, there's so many parents' guides to text abbreviations out there, you can hardly get away with anything any more.

What it does mean is that I will no longer refer to a portly man as "rotund." That sumbitch is "round."

Rex L. Camino will not be "amicable." He is now "amiable."

Aunt B.'s car
is no longer "inflammable." It is merely "flammable."

"Irrespective" and "irrational" do not mean the same thing as "respective" or "rational," but I shall not use them in blogging context ever again.

"Irregardless" is not a word. The use of it acts as a de facto IQ test, IMHO.


I feel better already.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hazy Wednesday

I've been feeling kinda out of sorts today. I finally realized what it was. Teresa Weakley's not around to wish me a "Happy Hump Day."

I'll have to muddle through somehow.

Update--TWeakley's back, and it sounds like she has the same summer cold that has been beating me down this week. I swear, RUABelle, I've never met her. I don't know how we got the same cold.

Must be a computer virus.

Still no "Happy Hump Day," though.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's "Brush with Greatness" Tuesday

I woke up today listening to "Morning Edition" on NPR. The feature story was about a friend of Fishwreck and me who we went to college with. What has he been doing since college while we were striving to learn where all the secret levels were on Super Mario? Apparently going to Yale law School, Oxford for graduate work and getting elected mayor of Newark, NJ. Now, as a staunch champion for the rights of the underprivileged, he is serving as mayor while still voluntarily living in a public housing project, despite death threats from gang-member "neighbors" and no hot water. He admits to being a "trekkie sci-fi nerd," [hence his friendship with Fishwreck 8^)] but he had to recently sell his TV to concentrate more on running the city.

I guess my once-a-week bus ride kinda pales in comparison to what Cory Booker is doing for society. Go here to hear about him. What a stud!

On a lighter note, here's a fun music video produced by my good friend Roger Nichols. RUABelle and I have known Roger for years since he was the creative force behind one of our favorite dearly departed Nashville bands, Dreaming in English. Check out his newest project with MixMasterMandy as she professes her love for a certain toupee-wearing, ex-Bozo, semi-retired Today Show weatherman.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Overheard at El Mariachi on Thompson Lane on Sunday Night

The scene:

Two guys in their mid 20's. Tank tops and baseball caps. Sharing a pitcher of beer and eating chips and salsa. Both screaming into cell phones to their respective girlfriends.

#1 No, we're gonna go see Ricky Bobby!
#2 We're at El Mariachi.
#1 Naw, the movie! The Talledega movie!
#2 No, not Hooters. El Mariachi. On Nolensville Rd.
#1 (Thompson Lane.) The Will Ferrell movie.
#2 I mean Thompson Lane. We're eating chips and going to see a movie.
#1 The funny one you said you didn't want to go see.
#2 I swear we're not at Hooters!
#1 Naw, Pamela. We're not at Hooters! That was just Jimmy Wayne telling Lurleen we're not at Hooters. We're at the Mariachi.
#2 I know you heard Bo talking about Hooters. He was just telling Pamela we ain't there.
#1 We're eatin' Mezican. Not wings! There's no wimmen here!
#2 Now why would I tell you we were at the Mariachi if we were at Hooters?! I'd just tell you we were at Hooters if we were at Hooters.
#1 Yeah, that's Bo talking about Hooters...but we ain't there. (Stage whisper) Shut the hell up, Bo!
#2 Hell, I MET you at a Hooters. Why the hell would I be afraid to tell you we're at Hooters?!
#1 OK, baby. We're just gonna go to the movie and come right home. Uh-huh. I love you too.
#2 I ain't got no more time to listen to your fool ass. We're going to the movie!
#1 All right. Bye.
#2 We'll talk about this when I get home! Don't forget to feed my dogs!
#1 She pissed?
#2 Fugger. Let's go to Hooters.
#1 Pablo?! El checko!

A Great Way to Start a Work Week

Monday morning

6:55 am

Downtown MTA Transit Mall

Some dude was going absolutely batshit crazy, yelling threats at the top of his lungs for no reason at anybody that walked within 10 feet of him.

Funny, he didn't look like my boss...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mark Your Calendars

For some inexpensive fun next year, do what RUABelle and I did today. Spend part of the afternoon of the Saturday of Tennessee Tax-free Weekend at the SuperWalmart in Decherd, TN. For people watching it can’t be beat. It was like a Sociology class field trip.

We do a lot of shopping at this store since it’s the closest one to our Sewanee cabin, but today was extree special. For some reason, I noticed the aisles were clogged with an unusually high number of Rascal/shopping cart hybrids. The folks driving them would park them right in the middle of the aisle and then get out to comparison shop between Crisco and Sam’s Choice Brand Rendered Shortening. Then they would return to their chariot and swerve down the aisle to the cookie section.

Let me tell you, the Dale jr. notebooks and “Git-R-Done” camouflage baseball caps were flying off the shelves, with nary a tax penny going to the state. And it would take a braver man than me to enter into the scrum that surrounded the pile of UT Vols backpacks that were a door-buster special.

However, I can’t think of a better place to buy a computer today. The poor fella manning the display table with their laptop and desktop specials looked as lonely as the Maytag repairman. Then I found out why. First of all, the brand names were completely foreign to me as computer manufacturers. I had no idea Westinghouse made anything more complex than a light bulb. “Who makes these for Westinghouse?” I asked Clem.

“I reckon Westinghouse,” he replied. I’m pretty sure that’s not true, but his earnestness did make me feel pretty stupid.

“Do you know if this is wireless-enabled?”

“Naw, but it does have a really long wire.” There, that made me feel better. I realized Clem was probably on some rung on the Walmart career ladder between greeter and the guy who hands out samples of Fruit Roll-ups what he’s cut up with a pair of scissors, but I couldn’t figure out which way he was headed on that ladder.

We didn’t buy the best thing we saw, and not because it wasn’t tax-free. Wally World is making an effort to go a little more exotic in their meat and seafood department. This was available for only $3.98.

“Great for Paella,” it said. Uh-huh. Yeah, I bet there’s some great Moroccan cooking going on in Estill Springs. I don’t know what you call it in Bentonville where you come from, Mr. Sam Walton, but around here we call crap like this bait.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Welcome to the Nerve Center

Kerry Woo has asked me to particpipate in the "What's on your desk?" project. At first, I thought it would be an interesting idea. Then I actually stood in the corner of the 10' x 10' cell I call my office and took a picture of the rubble.
Damn, I couldn't clean this place up with a flamethrower!

Truthfully, I've always been a slob and a packrat. But I'm the guy who when somebody else needs a copy of some supplier memo from three years ago can probably find it with no more than five minutes of searching. The guy who's job I'm doing retired about two years ago. He never kept anything. He didn't have a PC. If something couldn't be cleared off his desk in 1 hour, he threw it away. If he needed it again, he asked his secretary to call somebody and fax him another copy. Or he walked down to my office and asked me to find it for him. I admire that.

I have to write everything down. Here is three years worth of notes.

I keep hard copies because I sell paper for a living. But I also back up everything to my Treo 600 since I hate to carry my glacially-slow laptop on the road with me. Plus I think it's a good gesture to be the last guy carrying notes around on paper. Believe me, my boss has used this notebook on more than one occasion while giving a disposition on various HR issues. I've got a perfect record so far in bailing him out.

Since my dad passed away last year, everyone has expected me to move into his office, which has been preserved as a shrine since he retired five years ago. I never did it, for lots of reasons. Eventually we promoted someone else to the President/CEO position at my recommendation. I'm very excited to be working with/for him. The big difficulty is that they announced he'd be moving up while I was on vacation and moved everything from my dad's office into mine on the day before the July 4th holiday under cover of darkness. I don't have anywhere to put all this stuff, and his decorating style could best be described as "Early Jetsons." Here's a little swatch of his shag carpet I preserved when they changed out the decor.

His office always reminded me of being in the back of a van. Don't ask me about my experiences in the back of a van. That's for another post.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Ford Freestyle

Ford can call it a "Crossover vehicle" or a "car/SUV hybrid clone" if they want to.

That sum'bitch is a minivan!

I still want one, though. 27 MPG!

Does that officially make me old?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We Interrupt This Snarkery for the Following Commercial Announcement...

I debated with myself about revealing the online company I work for out of fear of appearing too self-serving. But then I decided, hell, I voted for Rex L. Camino and I've eaten a truckload of Mothership BBQ, so why not introduce my cyberfriends to another side of me? I might actually be offering some of them a valuable service, and I could possibly make literally ones of dollars from the exercise.

The cheesy picture from yesterday's post comes from Congratulations to NewsComa, BusyMom, Nashville Knucklehead, saraclark and CanIBFrank for guessing correctly and to Kerry Woo for guessing frequently. Your prizes are in the mail. (honest.)

Idea Art is a company which I own with my two brothers which we bought from my father when his Parkinson's Disease became too advanced for him to run it anymore. Idea Art sells preprinted letterheads, brochures, greeting cards, business cards, postcards, certificates, etc. which are all designed to run through your desktop printer so that you can look like you created a really cool professionally-designed piece.

We also sell blank paper which you can put your own designs on, as well as some of that crafty confetti, Fiskar scissors, raffia sorta stuff for making your own fancy invitations.

I'm not real talented in that way, so I appreciate the instructions that come in the catalog.

We do most of our business through a mail order catalog which we send literally millions through the USPS every year. Our web business is constantly expanding, and my buddy over at Fishwreck is responsible for the growth and the kickin' redesign of the website. Feel free to give it a visit.

If any DrySpot readers do want to purchase any of these products either online or at (800) IDEA-ART, go ahead and use the discount code "SPOT" and you'll receive 10% off of your order. Just because we're cool that way.

We now return to your regularly scheduled blog.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Internet Scavenger Hunt

Alright, kiddies. It's time for a little game. I have prizes for the first five readers who can identify where in the internet this cheesy picture of me comes from.

Here's a few hints:
1.) It's a company I work for.
2.) It's local.
3.) You've probably never heard of it. (That's my fault.)
4.) You can buy lots of cool paper stuff from it.
5.) You might have gotten a catalog from them this week with my ugly mug on page 3.
6.) Said picture makes it look like I have a mohawk.

Email your guesses to thedryspot at gmail dot com.

p.s. Here's what I do look like with a mohawk.

Did I mention I'm a bit of a rabid Titans fan?

What's Up With Blogger?

Those last two posts were originally sent from my Treo a couple of weeks ago during our Napa vacation. Apparently blogger is working through some sort of blockage and just now putting them up. Cyber-laxative?

Please feel free to put them back in their original context, if you care.

That is all.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Winetentions

We really planned to hit 5-6 different wineries today. In reality, we made it to three. By the end, I was using the dump bucket and spitting out our tastings. I'm normally a swallower, not a spitter, but today I was carrying precious cargo, RUABelle. (Take THAT, Google searchers! My hits should go through the roof now...)

We have nine wineries planned for tomorrow. The over/under is five.

We had a wonderful dinner at Hurley's in Yountville. We told our extremely friendly server how much we had enjoyed our last meal cooked by Bob Hurley a couple of years ago, and he sent the chef out to our table for a personal chat. What a great day!

RUABelle said she felt like a princess today. I must be doing my job well. I'll try to live up to it tomorrow.