Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Surviving Chick Flicks

I am writing this in hopes that I can help my fellow men out there. Winter is coming so this is the worse time of the year for this. No matter how much we try to avoid it, eventually we end up having to watch the dreaded “Chick Flick.” Recently it has happened to me.

After I had the love of my life watch “Trekkies 2” I was informed that I will now have to sit through 3 (three) “Chick Flicks”. This was done as some sort of punishment for the mentioned documentary. I found the movie good, not as well rounded as “Trekkies”. Though I have been asked if I was featured in this movie. (The answer is no, but I do have Sci-Fi convention stories.)

I am prepared though. I have researched and found several movies that Venusians dig, and that are watch able by us Martians.

The following list has been put together over the last several years. These are chick flicks that men like. Most are older movies. I update as I see them. Comments are very welcome.

To qualify to be on this list, the movie must:
Be entertaining, to both people watching.
Be sappy, tear jerker
Action is ok, but not an action movie.
I have had a tear fall at least once watching these movies

Ok, here goes!

An Affair to Remember – I refer to the Clark Gable version. I love this movie. It is sweet, funny, and has several tear jerking moments.

Say Anything – My favorite of the John Cossack collection. You could easily place any of his other movies in this list.

Fools Rush In – The only movie I like Matthew Perry in. Selma is awesome and the characters are very well done.

Return to Me – Plenty of laughs and a plenty of romance. Shows relationships from both sides.

100 Girls – Funny and heart warming. Though I was told once that this is a guy movie, disguised as a chick flick.

Life As A House – Kevin Cline is great in this.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding – Family and the relationship. Handles it very well.

Where the Heart Is – I own this one. The character development is incredible. If you have not seen this, go get it. My favorite by far in the chick flick grouping.

Shrek 2 – I always tear up during the “Holding Out For A Hero” part.

That’s my base list. I hoe that helps guys!

I may have to add “The Sweetest Thing”, but that is still up in the air. Seems to be a little too much oral sex and breast touching to be a chick flick. I have also got the recommendation of “Connie and Carla” that I will have to check out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Shadow Books

Last week I had decided I would hold off on the work-related blogs. I was just getting burned out with them. It was brought to my attention today, that by doing that I am disregarding a part of my reading audience. So that the shadows and grays have something to read I offer this reading list. It has been painstakingly put together during my lunch and break times. I hope this helps you get through those long hours when you cannot find anyone to snoop on. -bear

"How to succeed at business.... by downgrading everyone else around you"

"Blaming co-workers for your lack of a work ethic"

"Helpful tips to alienate your co-workers..."


"LARRY'S tips on how to mind your own business, and get a life”

Complaining Your Way To The Top" the whiner's guild to self-improvement.

The Brown-Noser's Guild to AssKissing

Backstabbing for Dummies

Friends, and how to stab them in the back

Believing you are better then everyone, even when it is not true

10 Habits of Highly Effective People . . . AND WAYS TO UNDERMINE THEM ALL!

“Yes! Those people in your office are evil!”

“Paranoia and you”

“Forgetting your roots and stepping on people on the way up!”

Ok, now I go back to none work related blogs

Monday, November 22, 2004

Santa -bear rides again!

I watched the movie “Elf” this past weekend with the kids. I found it funny and it brought back thoughts of the Christmas season that I spent as Santa. This was about 10 years ago. I was not one of the high class Mall Santa’s. I worked at one of those chain department/grocery stores. It was part time, about 20 hours a week for 4 weeks, plus the employee Christmas party. I do not remember the pay, and I do not think I cared either. What can be more fun then a playing Santa Claus?

The job interview was pretty basic; I think they hand these suits out to any Tom, Dick, and Kris Kringle that can fill out the application. Got my schedule and headed off home.
I was really excited about this. I modified the suit so that it was better. Little adjustments and added a belly. This suit had no stuffing at all.

My first day I showed up, changed in the employees break room and meet my “Elf”, Shadow. Yes, his name was Shadow. I know this was true because his nametag said Shadow. Shadow thought he was Michael Jackson. This is the mid-90’s Michael. The dark clothes, the couple strands of hair in front of his face, and the Mickey Mouse voice.
Yes, he was strange, but hey he was my elf and I accepted him as he was.

So we went out to my Santa Land, a chair over between paints and plumbing and house wares. Elf Shadow gave me a plastic Halloween pumpkin filled with candy canes to give to the happy children. Elf Shadow then stood beside the Polaroid camera and waited for the huge rush of children.

Okay, there was never a huge rush of children. A couple kids here and there. Mostly I talked to Elf Shadow, walked around, and said “HO HO HO” a lot. Well, and fell asleep a couple of times. That suit was comfy. The chair was comfy. I tried to avoid sleeping of course. I was working. Also, imagine falling asleep and then having Elf Shadow waking you up. That will fill your stockings with coal. Also when I was asleep, customers would mistake me for a display.

“Mommy! Can I get a picture with that plastic Santa?”

Over all, me and my Elf Shadow, did a good job.

I could answer all the questions the kids asked. Whether about Power Rangers or wrestlers or Pokemon.

Explained to one child that I was not the real Santa, just a Santa’s helper. He liked that answer.

The good aunt who brought her niece to see Santa, and even sat on my lap for the picture. The aunt was so good, she even gave Santa a kiss and her phone number! Helped me keep my chestnuts warm that winter.

The two girls, in their late teens, (I stress late) that asked Elf Shadow if they could both sit on Santa’s lap and get a picture. To which Elf Shadow replied: “Is that legal in Michigan?”

The only bad incident involved two teenage boys. I was coming back to my chair and there were children waiting. These boys were walking by and decided it would be fun to pull my beard down in front of the kids. I was pissed. I motioned to Elf Shadow to follow me and we went after the creeps. We cornered them by the door.

I have often thought what must have gone through their heads, when they turned and were confronted by an angry Santa and Michael Jackson. The first look was shock, followed by blind terror when I said, “You guys better get out of here, or Santa and his Elf are going to kick your ass!”

They left. Very quickly.

So the season ended. I said good-bye to Elf Shadow and never saw him again.
I do like looking back, thinking about all the pictures that were taken that season. That I am sitting on someone’s mantle, in a Santa suit, and there is a chance that I will always be there. If not at least brought out every season.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Just 15 Minutes

I pulled into the local smoke shop. A specialty store that I pass everyday on my drive to and from work. I would not say I am a regular at the establishment, I average a visit there about once every two or three months.

They have in stock a flavored clove cigarette that I like. More expensive then a regular pack, and if rumors are to be believed, a more dangerous type. I justify both of these by my irregular usage. I tend to buy and smoke only when I am feeling stressed. At times in my life I have smoked a pack a day. Those days seem to be past. I still like a smoke sometimes still.

I like having the power to choose when to smoke and when not to. After three months, I was now choosing to smoke. I am an adult, making an adult decision. Even if I was not feeling abnormally stressed; I just wanted a treat for myself. I had stopped at the video store and had picked up the kids the new animated movie based on a television show, which they were dying to see. Later I knew I would have to make a trip to the grocery store. At that moment I just wanted something that was totally mine that night.

The store sets on a corner lot of two very busy streets. I do not know what type of business was here before this one; I have not been a resident in this city long. I do know that they had opened up here shortly before I had relocated though. When you think of a smoke store, you probably are thinking of the small, 7-11 store type setting, with shelves of name brand and generic cigarettes. This is not one of those. Care was taken to set the right mood for a high-class shop.

I parked in the badly shaped, too small parking lot and walked to the door. It is a heavy, glass door. There are a couple promos of this or that tobacco product, and a picture of George Clooney with a satisfied smile on his face, sniffing a dark colored famous named cigar. I frown at the smile and push through the door.

I love the smell of this place. The fresh tobacco smell is smooth and tasteful. I do not think the word tobacco though. The majority of my life has been spent in the southern parts of our country. I did not even know I had an accent until I had moved to Upstate New York as a teenager. It was very much evident when I spoke. Once I meet a stranger, a middle aged woman, who actually named which county in South Carolina I had recently relocated from, just from my voice. While southern accents are seen as cute, they are also associated with dumb. So the accent went away. Now no one questions where I am from. Sometimes when I am very tired or been drinking too much, the southern sneaks out. Because I still think southern though, there are a couple of words that have never changed in my mouth. Tobacco being one of them. That said, I describe the smell of the shop as tobacca.

The lighting is also done perfectly inside. Almost like candle light. Nothing intrusive, just welcoming.

My clove cigarettes are kept behind the counter so I waited my turn in the calming atmosphere of aroma and light as the clerk checked out the person before me. I did not really look at the other customer, or the man behind the counter. I am not anti-social; I was not even in a bad mood really. I just was not in the mood to really talk to anyone. This was my time.

The customer finished his purchase and left. I stepped up to the counter and looked at the gentleman behind it. I did not know the man’s name. Sometimes he was working when I came in, sometimes someone else. A tall, clean cut man, around my age, 35 or so. Black pants and a red shirt. Why I noticed the red shirt I could not say, but it stood out to me. With out really looking at the man, I started to ask for my cloves.

As I said, I think like a southerner, and when I talk to someone I try to look them in the eye as a sign of respect. The moment I looked this man in the eyes, my request got stuck in my throat. This man looked like he was going to collapse any minute.

"You look tired." I stated the obvious.
"The flu." He responded "I was up all night with it."

We talked for several minutes after that. While I never learned his name, nor offered mine, I did learn that he works two different jobs. Never having a day off. Trying to keep his house, kids clothed and feed. Keeping the bank off the doorstep. Same as all of us. If not working, not getting paid.

"It struck me the other day," He said in a very serious tone, "That everything living in that house. The wife, the kids, the pets, and even the plants, I feed. Then I thought that there is another creature in the house I feed everyday, the bills."

He did not complain about whom got elected or the price of gasoline. He just said this is what I have to do so I do it. We talked for about 15 minutes. Comparing notes on family, jobs, money.

Then I paid for my cloves, shook the man’s hand and left. Got in the car, drove home, kissed the woman I love, gave the kids their videotape. Later I went out to the grocery store. Smoked a clove on the way there, and one on the way back. Went to bed, cuddled with the most fabulous person I have every meet and went to sleep.

I was not sure why the conversation with the smoke shop clerk had stuck with me. I was not even sure why we had had it. Then I started to realize. It was just pure talk. Two people meet, have a quick talk and move on with their lives. It did not last too long. It did not last too short. No guy thing, joking and laughing about life over a beer in a smoke filled bar. Just a pure, true conversation. Neither one of us wanting anything from the other. Just someone to talk too. In my younger days I would have even called it a moment. Today I do not know what to call it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich On Ebay!

Wow! A grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary on it! and it is on ebay! (ok, I wrote this to increase my blog hits today!)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Timmy's Stuck In The Whale?

Mr. Wizard: … and by that, Timmy, we increased our call volume on our island.

Timmy: Wow, Mr. W! I don’t believe it! How could five people, answer so many calls in one day! 550 calls! There were only 925 taken that day! Golly gee whiz! Makes my head hurt.

Mr. Wizard: You know Timmy, it’s a good think you big sister is cute and puts out, other wise I would tell you what to do with your golly, your gee, and your whiz!

Timmy: What? Puts what out?

Mr. Wizard: Never mind, ok I will explain again.

When the phone rings in the call center we answer it. Help the person on the phone. Make notes in the system, then hang up the call.

Now this is the tricky part. After we hang up the call, we pick up and answer the next one. We don’t walk around, or spend time chatting.

Timmy: But doesn’t that effect your call quality, Mr. W?

Mr. Wizard: Damn Timmy, You are lucky your mother likes being tied up. No, it does not effect the quality, the call itself is the same, it is the in between call time that is improved.

Timmy: Oooooooh kay! But what about the others in the call center? Aren’t they upset?

Mr. Wizard: You know Timmy, you are lucky your father gave me a reach around last night! It doesn’t matter if the shadow people and the grays get upset! Most of them cannot seem to get to work for more then two days in a row! Let them be upset, maybe they could start answering more calls.

Timmy: But Mr. W! Don’t you give more quality service if you only answer 30 calls in a day?

Mr. Wizard: Let me explain it this way Timmy. NO.

Timmy: Now that I understand Mr. W! Thank you.

Mr. Wizard: Yes, Timmy, knowledge is power!

550 calls in one day. No one is better then my island! Congrats peeps, doesn't get any better then that!

I am sick about writting about the call center, post coming, but will take a break from the call center/work crap! - bear

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Cum On Feel The (White) Noise

Because the office is not going to pot fast enough, we get this email today. Along with a constant background noise that is not in the background at all.

Good Morning CSR’s!
For those wondering why it sounds like a waterfall above us, it is the White Noise Machine. It has been inoperable since a lightning strike earlier this year. The purpose of this machine is to restrict our voices from carrying too far. Especially helpful in the call center!
Have a CSR day!
David Buznik
Group Lead

So as I write this, my head is hurting slightly as we get used to the constant static. I have had to before, never in a call center though.

It kinda reminds me of when I was in the Navy. When you are out to sea there is always a background hum of the engines. You do not even pay attention to it after a couple days. Next time you watch Star Trek, listen carefully, they try to recreate that “underway” effect by having a constant hum in the background.

The other time I got used to a White Noise Machine was with an ex-girlfriend. She used one to sleep. It could make several different types of noises, and she originally used the “Babbling Brook”. That setting caused me to have to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes, so that was changed.

She settled on to the White Noise setting. That was fine, I got used to it. Now though every time I hear White Noise, I get either tired or horny. Go figure.

As a result, now that I have to listen to White Noise all day at work, I am in danger of:

1) Flashbacks to being at war on a navy ship
2) Falling asleep during non-naptime
3) Getting horny

I do try to avoid all of these at work.

I have to wonder if this is some X-Files type government experiment. That they have hidden messages subliminally into the White Noise.

You will work hard.
You love your job.
Complaining is bad.
Eat in the building cafeteria.
Do not talk to other employees.
Playing with your nipples is fun.

Ok, I don’t really believe that. Just joking around. I am off for a special Wednesday night Penguin. Been a long day. And my nipples hurt.

A Brief Look In Our World

The shadow people at work seem to have run away and hidden. I am not surprised. They seem to disappear when a light is shown on them. Like cockroaches.

When I was growing up in Florida I once found a cockroach at the back of a bookshelf at school. It was white, like an albino. I was in forth grade so finding an albino anything was cool. I put the bug in a jar and proudly put it on my desk.

Something started to happen over the next hour. Being out in the sunlight started to add color to the white bug. Within a little while, it was no longer white, it was the same color as any other cockroach. I let it go. Why would I want a bug that when brought into the sunlight, was just like any other bug.

The shadow/cockroach people are not really on my mind this week. They are back in hiding, still thinking that they are better then everyone else. Not knowing that when they are in the light, they are the same as everyone else. Maybe they do know this.

Sometimes it is the Grays that bother me more. These people (Those people! You people! The I once meet a famous person and am now better then you people) are the ones that play on both sides of the field. They are nice to shadows, and they are nice to us, The Island People. (Hmmm yea, will have to find something better to call us. Penguin People maybe?”) At least I know where the shadow people stand, simple do not trust them. That is easy. The Grays though, you cannot trust most of them from day to day.

The office is funny. We are our own island, not usually invited to play any of the reindeer games, and if we are it is always as an after thought. So we as a group do things for us. Birthday cards, canoeing, penguin, Friday's competition. We have our own jokes and ribbings, we enjoy ourselves and we don't need the rest of the office to do it.

Well that pisses people off. How dare we have fun and they not be the cause of it. If we aren't playing with them, then we shouldn't be playing at all! “It is my ball, so you play by my rules, oh wait you have your own ball? That is so not fair!”
So they start looking for reasons to put us down. Like if we are having fun, then our work level must be low. Come on, everyone knows better then that. So they blame us for their lack of performance. "It is your guys fault that my numbers are low." or "Because your island is so tight, it hinders everyone else from working." or "You guys laughed so much yesterday, I couldn't have sex with my spouse."

Please. Time to get over it.
The truth hurts, and the truth is, we can and do the job as well, and a lot of the time better then the "old timers". That is what pisses them off, petty jealousy.

Let’s look at a typical day in the office for me. Maybe that can help you get over your high school frame of mind. Tuesday is a good example. Note that my numbers, and the rest of my island’s were above average that day.

I started my day at the office with a performance-enhancing drug. Now before you go running report “Larry takes drugs! He even confessed in writing.” I am talking about my tea. Sometimes coffee. Sometimes Diet Coke. Sometimes I mix them all together.

I talked to a couple people, and heading back to my desk. Funny how I feel responsible when there are calls waiting to be answered, and it is my job to answer them. I saw a supervisor ask someone who also answers calls, why she was standing around chatting. Once the supervisor left, this person commented to me about that awful supervisor. I told her, “Yeah, with 25 in the queue, I think you should be answering calls, too!” She didn’t like that.

We had a conversation about nuns and working. Winston making the point that he thought they take a vow of poverty. I being the nun expert, (I was a nun for Halloween once, and I thought my brother’s wife used to be a nun, though that turned out to be incorrect) managed to help turn this into a conversation of very bad nun puns. (tell her to fly over here, don’t get in this habit of expecting, she sounded very blue)

Steven received a text message from someone he doesn’t know. (Yea right!) It was a birth announcement. Us being the good friends we are quickly turned this into an episode of Maury Povich in which Steven is accused of being this woman’s child’s daddy. In fact, by the end of the day, Maury himself had sent Steven a letter asking him to appear on the show. I don’t know how he found about about this so fast! I cannot really show you the letterhead, but here is the body of it:

The Maury Show
15 Penn Plaza/Grand Ballroom
New York, NY 10001

Steven Manlove-Jones
Our office building
Near Lansing, MI

Dear Mr. Manlove-Jones:

We are requesting you presence on an upcoming show, scheduled to tape on December 7th, 2004.

We have received a request from Ms. Smith that you are among the possible fathers of her newborn baby.

We are asking that you submit to a paternity test to prove or disprove your paternity of this wonderful child.

Also can you provide us with your intentions if the results prove that you’re the father?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Maury Povich

Maury Povich Syndicated Talk Show

We really are geeks on our island, but we found this very funny.

That is my typical day. Study it. Learn it. Live it!

Now take care of yourselves, and each other.

(And yes, before anyone asks, I am so blogging on the White Noise Machine. Coming really soon.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Your (Freudian) Slip is Showing

As Steven and I were leaving the office this evening we ran into Wanda. Wanda, who not only is a member of the Thursday Night Penguin Club, She is also a top grade, heavy-duty babe. On top of that she is a top grade, heavy-duty person. Have known very few better people then Wanda.

We ventured a query on whether she will be joining us at the Penguin on the pre-planned Thursday ritual. This has been in question lately. Our Wanda went and fell in love and got herself hitched not too long ago. We are all quite happy for her, but we will miss the knee socks. And the knees. Since we had not seen her in the Penguin since the wedding, we did not have high hopes that she would be there anytime in the near future.

“I get to leave work early tomorrow, 3:30.” she replied as we were walking toward the elevator, “Otherwise I would be there.”

We teased her a little about this.

“Right!” I said.

“You can always just go there at 3:30 and wait for us.” Steven chirped.

“That won’t happen, she is a married woman now. Has to run off home.” I added.

“C’mon guys.” Wanda answered lightly “When I get to leave early, that’s the only time I get sex done in the afternoon.”

This brings Steven and I to a stop.

“Oh, I, Uh. What did you say?” I ask.

Steven looks at me.
“You heard the same thing I did didn’t you?”

“Heard what?” A confused Wanda said. “My early days are the only ones I that I get things done in the afternoon.”

“Yeah,” I say laughing “That’s what it sounds like to me!”

“WWWWWHAT?” (Wanda does that whinny girl thing great!)

“That is not what you said.” Pointed out Steven.

In her defense it had been a long day. It was a little slip of the tongue. Happens to all of us. But we know what she said.

Hopefully she will make it to the Penguin tomorrow to help celebrate Steven’s birthday. None of us will blame her though if she doesn’t make it. We know she has things to do on those early afternoons.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Good Ole' Grandma

I was walking to the bathroom, when I ran into Wendy. (damn, I make a lot of code names starting with “W”! Go figure.) She was heading out for the rest of the day, it was kinda early.

“My daughter has lice, have to go pick her up from school. I will be doing laundry all night.”

“Yea, and buying a bottle of “RID”. “ I said, “With that little comb!”

“Oh no, I use my grandmother’s old remedy. Soak in kerosene.” She replies.

“Kerosene!? Are ya crazy?” I was shocked! “Just buy a thing of RID!”

“No,” she said without pausing. “RID causes cancer!”

“and soaking in kerosene doesn’t?”
Old remedies are usually no longer used for a reason. Do not soak your child’s head in any type of gas product! Please!

Weasels of the World

I hate weasels. I can not explain it. I just do. All weasels. I do not care if you find them cute. I hate them.

See, I can respect a reptile. They do not think like us. Totally different. Weasels though. Ug! I do not want to see them. I do not want to see them in a movie or someone walking them on a cute little leash. I do not like them Larry I am!

Maybe it goes back to an ex-girlfriend. I was crazy about her, but she had two (can you believe it! 2!!!) weasels in her home. When I spent the night the damn things used to crap in my shoes. Love life screwed up by weasels.

"Wind in the Willows" had those evil weasels attacking poor Mr. Toad. Then the same weasels show up in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." What a way to ruin a perfectly good movie!

I do not have to deal with weasels in my everyday life. The mother in law has one, but I don’t visit there that often, and when I do I am not allowed to call it a weasel. The first time I saw it, I had walked into the house, looked at it and said, "Uh, did you know someone let a weasel in your house." Can you imagine, they had brought this thing home on purpose! Soon it will have all its weasel friends over, taking over the house!

Maybe it is some past life thing. Maybe I was a trader, eaten by some weasel. I do not want a weasel fur coat. I do not wish anything bad to happen to a weasel, just don’t happen anywhere near me!

Beware of the weasel. You have been warned.

(I bet you thought this would be about a different type of weasel!)

Let Me Put It Another Way...

MBR: I had a question about my Social Security.

ME: We are not Social Security. I would suggest calling Social Security.

MBR: Well, I called Social Security and they told me my Social Security would be reduced a third. Is that true?

ME: I have no idea, Ma’am. I do not work for Social Security.

MBR: It does not sound right. Is there someone there who can help me?

ME: Not on Social Security. Social Security is best set up on answering questions on Social Security.

MBR: I called your office yesterday, and the woman I talked to did not say anything about how my Social Security would be reduced.

ME: That would be because we are not Social Security. She would not know about your Social Security.

MBR: I just want to know if what they told me at Social Security is correct.

ME: If Social Security told you that, then Social Security is the ones to answer your questions.

MBR: So I have to wait to get the information from Social Security?

ME: Yes, Ma’am

MBR: I wish you guys had told me that when I called yesterday.

(really, what more can be said about this?)

My Photo
Location: Lansing, Michigan, United States

Desert Shield/storm vet. I am the one at work who comes up with the ideas on filling up those non-work hours. (ok, who is up for canoeing this weekend?) After several wrong turns, have finally found the love of my life.

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