Saturday, May 26, 2007

Not so deep thoughts on a Saturday morning

It’s 5 minutes to 9 am and somehow I’ve managed to overload my small head of hair with enough water and hair gel that it’s currently dripping down my neck and on to my white undershirt. I think I will wait a few minutes before I put on the tux. I’m more nervous than someone who’s not actually getting married should be. I hope I don’t step on any of the ladies dresses. I hope I don’t fumble the ring. I hope I don’t mess up my speech. I hope I don’t embarrass myself, or the bride, or the groom.

In 30 minutes I head out the door, and in 2 and 1/2 hours, Braveheart and his fiancĂ© will be Mr. and Mrs. Braveheart. Last Saturday was the bachelor party: paintball, alcohol, and strippers-what a fine day. Today is the real deal. A summary of the wedding and all the embarrassing stories about Mr. Braveheart that I can cram into a page will follow next week-after Mr. and Mrs. Braveheart are safely away on their honeymoon and can’t read this blog.

But I procrastinate. The water and gel have dried. I must ready the tux and ready my nerves, and head to the wedding.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Paintball, the manly un-sport

I discovered this weekend that there’s something irrefutably manly about paintball.

Laugh all you want, but if you’re a guy and you’ve ever played paintball, you know what I’m talking about.

Go ahead and explain to me how it glorifies bloodshed, desensitizes guys towards the violence of real war, and is just a sad part of our “male dominated, violent society.” Damn right it is. Years of violent television, action movies, videogames, and playing with plastic guns finally have some sort of purpose—without having to go out and really get my ass shot (I’ll get back to you when I’ve figured out exactly what that purpose is). Anyways, sign me up.

It all seems hilarious when you look back on it though. The way you sling your paintball gun over your shoulder after a long “firefight.” The decibels that your voice goes up as you yell, “I’ve been hit!”

It all seems perfectly natural when a teammate yells for you to “Flank left and take those red team sons-of-bitches out.” No one has to tell you what to do when a teammate yells “Covering fire!” When paintballs come whistling your way, you try to dig into the ground like your life depends on it.

At the end of the day on Saturday I found myself in a particularly brutal “firefight.” Paintballs were hitting all around me and exploding on the trees and plywood that was my cover. Somehow I walked away without taking a hit. As I walked off the field and found my friends, I wearily took off my goggles and thankfully accepted a paper towel handed to me.

As I was wiping the paint and the mud from my face, one of my friends fixed me a concerned look and asked, “Dude, your hand’s shaking…are you ok?”

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I remember

Robert Novak of the Washington Post wrote a column on Monday about how Washington, DC was 50 years ago. Buried at the bottom, in the second to last paragraph is a mention of a man, who just so happens to be my great uncle. I will not tell you stories of his life, as I never knew the man, and only know the stories that my immediate family has told me about him.

I have not read his book, and I have not delved deep into his history. Before I read this column, the last time I thought of him was when I happened to find a Wikipedia entry on him and corrected a misspelling.

However, I do remember his death, 12 years ago. I remember attending his funeral in New York City, where numerous important people said nice things about a man I did not know. I remember being awed by New York, a place I had never visited before.

I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty, the UN headquarters, Broadway… and I remember taking a long elevator to the top floor of one of the World Trade Center towers. I remember looking down upon the yellow taxis and other cars that darted along the streets, and thinking, that from this height they looked like bugs. I remember being slightly disappointed, as we only had enough time to visit one skyscraper, and I had wanted to see the Empire State building.

That was the only time I have ever visited New York City. I would like to go back, and go to the same places and see the same sights. I want to go back to that time in my life when I felt safe, even in a city as huge and intimidating as New York. But I can’t, I can only remember. I can only remember the way things used to be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Note to the mafia, my grandmother is expecting your call

My plans to record my family history starting with my grandmother, as detailed in this post, are finally starting to take shape. I had to call my grandmother up on Monday evening to get some details squared away. Calling is always an interesting experience when you are dealing with someone who doesn’t have the best hearing. I still remember the last time I called her.

Me: MAWMA, IT’S MATTHEW.

Grandmother: Who? The mafia!?

Me: NO, MATTHEW!! YOUR GRANDSON!

Grandmother: Ohh, hey Matthew. I didn’t think the mafia would be calling me.

Luckily this time, when I shouted my name she understood. The conversation went well, and we worked out a date in the summer for me to head to NC and talk with her.

She ended the conversation by saying how good it was to speak with me and my new northern accent. Ouch, that hurts. I guess only family can cut you to the bone like that.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

If I went to a steakhouse, here’s what I would have ordered

In between 9 holes at the golf course and the time consuming business of tracking down the Real Killer™, O.J. Simpson likes himself a good steak.

Jeff Ruby, of Louisville, Kentucky is the owner of an establishment that serves just that. Unfortunately for O.J., Ruby isn’t a big fan of murderers. Read story here…

O.J.’s lawyer, Yale Galanter (with a name like that, you already know he’s a prick) is predictably saying that it’s racism. Racism, hmm, who would have thought? We’ve never heard that theory used before in connection with O.J.

What’s most amusing is the following comment from Galanter, “He screwed with the wrong guy, he really did. ”

Ohh, haha, someone is having a Johnny Cochran complex. I mean, the playing the race card thing, that was totally predictable, but getting all pissy about it? Wow, you sir are no Johnny Cochran. Get back to me in a year when you can make steakhouse rhyme with racism.

[Edit to add] Looks like View From Dupont has hung up her blogging cleats today. As the person who encouraged this monkey to first guest blog on her site and then to start my own, I owe her a huge thanks. Thanks View From Dupont.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

F U Office Printer!

Watching “Office Space” should be a mandatory requirement for anyone who is entering the workforce as a desk jockey or a cubicle monkey. Laugh now sucker, for soon it will be you having to put TPS reports on every document you submit and having to deal with crazy bosses and co-workers.

It’s only a small part of the movie, but the part that has always rang true for me, no matter what job I’m in, are the problems that the guys have with the office printer. I rarely curse at work, but when I do, it’s not a co-worker that’s gotten me angry, it’s the fucking printer. When I start dropping f-bombs, you know I’m angry, and nothing in that office has taken more verbal abuse than that printer/copier/scanner combo that is constantly jamming.

Trying to get jammed paper out of this beast of a machine is not as simple as just opening up a panel and pulling out the paper. No, it’s much more complex than that. I read a book once that had a scene with a farmer having to help one of his cows give birth. I think this is a good analogy for me having to unjam the office printer.

I’ve got to get down on my knees (must resist the urge to make a juvenile joke here…) roll up my sleeves and then stick my hands into the deep, dark innards of the printer. I feel around and try to locate the jam, all the while getting burned by parts of the printer that are still hot from the previous printing attempt. After burning, cutting, and scraping my hands some more, I’ll succeed in locating the paper. At this point, to chants of encouragement from my co-workers, I’ll attempt to pull the paper out. 1…2…3…PULLLLL! Some days I succeed, and others I don’t. Either way, my hands come out, bruised and covered in ink.

I would really like nothing more than to haul this son-of-a-bitch out to a field, and pummel it with a baseball bat a la “Office Space.” Someday printer…someday when you least it expect it…

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Spring Weekend in DC told through Photos

I hope to get back to regular posting soon. Until then, my weekend in photos:

Saturday night

I do not know where the flower came from. Somehow it ended up in almost everybody’s hair/mouth, etc this evening.

Another happy couple and that red flower…

The man who refuses to have his photo taken.

Ohhh, too slow grasshopper. Got you. Plus now it looks like you are flashing a gang sign. Word to your mother.

Sunday afternoon

The names and photos of the fallen. I noticed a number of kids slowly and somberly studying the memorial. We may have desensitized kids to images of death and violence, but 58,249 names on a wall makes an impression. I am optimistic about our nation’s youth.

The uniforms may change, but the faces do not. Top, Vietnam War Memorial. Bottom, Korean War Memorial.

I am currently reading a fascinating book on this guy. His character, intelligence and foresight alone were far grander than even this statue can convey.

Sometimes, there's just so much beauty in this world…

Looking out, across the river.