Monday, August 30, 2010

Angel Soft is NOT

I was all set to begin a new feature here on IYROOBTY, Public Restroom Reviews. (I'm sure you're looking forward to that.) But that will have to be put on hold for the time being due to a more pressing issue.

Recently, I was in the grocery store and among my items to pick up was toilet paper. My normal choice is Scott Extra Soft or Cottonelle. But lately my local store only sells Cottonelle in the 12-roll Jumbo size, or what I like to call the bad-Chinese-food pack. I refuse to buy anything bigger than the 4-roll size, or what I like to call the bachelor pack. On this particular day they were out of Scott Extra Soft, so my choices were Angel Soft, Quilted Northern or Charmin Ultra Soft.

I'm not sure what happened, but you know the little guy inside your head that keeps you from saying and doing stupid things? Well mine must've taken a few seconds off -- maybe he was gawking at the cute cashier or something, I don't know -- because in that instant, I violated one of the cardinal rules of life: Never go cheap when it comes to toilet paper, tattoos, and hookers. (Not that I have any experience at all with the latter two.)

In my inexplicable moment of poor judgment, I decided upon the least expensive of the three options, which was Angel Soft. What can I say, they lured me in with that picture of a soft baby and fluffy clouds. I mean, how bad could it be?

Well, I don't think I am capable of answering that question without cursing, so we'll just move along.

I got one-and-a-half rolls into that four-pack and had to go back and buy another brand -- the toilet paper equivalent of walking out of a movie early. So if I appear a bit bow-legged, please understand.

After investigating a bit further, I found out Angel Soft is manufactured by Georgia-Pacific. Isn't that a railroad? No wonder! Might as well buy toilet paper made by Stihl. And I don't see the soft-baby-fluffy-white-cloud connection at all! Maybe you'll cry like a baby when you use it?

For now, I'm on the Charmin Ultra Soft train. That's the package with the momma bear and baby bear, if you're curious. And as their slogan says, "Using less never felt so good."

In the end I'm left with a valuable, if painful, lesson relearned; two full rolls of the Angel Soft; and even more proof of what a sensitive guy I truly am.

"Please don't squeeze my Sharmon. Don't hold her so tight. You'd best heed my warnin', it's the last one tonight..."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In a parallel world...

I'm afeared Blogust has lost its steam. Or maybe in some parallel universe somewhere Blogust still has its steam and I'm writing like a man possessed... with writing.

I've decided to reassess and adjust my goals. Not that I don't still plan to someday set the world record for most consecutive games of Freecell won and run a half marathon -- although not in the same day, probably -- but I think it is time to put those dreams on hold for a bit.

In another universe, Parallel Me has probably already run a half marathon, backwards, while wearing leg weights and thinking up new higher dreams that I don't even know we have yet.

But here in the yellow sun universe, I need to set some realistic goals that I can reach, preferably without a lot of effort. Things like updating my resume, which is probably about seven years old. And I'm pretty sure was saved on a 5-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk.

Or how about hanging up the remaining three 2010 calendars, of the six I received last Christmas. That seems doable. Maybe. When I have some extra time and nothing good is on ESPN. Parallel Me probably doesn't even need a calendar. He probably has one on his computer. Or a day planner.

Another goal could be, not having a conniption each day at work. This one may seem a bit far-fetched. Also I'm not exactly sure how much control a person has over having a conniption or not. But, so far so good.

I wasn't sure if conniption was the right word there, so I looked it up: "A sudden, violent emotional outburst generally characterized by a tirade of strong language and signs of frustration and/or rage." Yep! That's definitely the right word.

So I've reassessed and plotted a new course, at least for the short-term. And things are already looking up. For example, earlier tonight I achieved a goal I didn't even realize I had set for myself, when I threw away some turkey bacon (dated June 17th) which had literally turned green.

In a parallel universe, I wonder if that turkey was still good. Parallel Me is probably enjoying a delicious BLT right now while he writes his 25th blog entry of the month.

Sometimes I really hate that guy.

"If I was someone else, would this all fall apart? Strange, where were you when we started this gig? I wish the real world would just stop hassling me..."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Turning two

Saturday kicked off my busy fall social season, also known as the toddler birthday party circuit. Nephew Bone and I attended the first fall informal of the year, a birthday gala for the godson at Kywana's house. It was boys night out. Or, boys morning out, as he tends to get sleepy around 2 in the afternoon. And to be quite honest, so does his uncle.

The godson officially turned two yesterday, and Nephew Bone hits the big dos maƱana. The cool thing about turning two is it's the only time in your life that your age doubles in a day. I've tried explaining this to Nephew Bone, but instead of blowing his mind he seems instead to take it all in stride. I'm like, "OK, but don't act all confused next year when your age only increases by fifty percent."

The other cool thing about being two-years-old is that you have no idea who your friends are, so your parents just invite whoever and tell you, "These are your friends." The red-headed kid down the street? That's your friend. The son of your mother's college roommate? Another friend. That frees you up to concentrate on more important things, like eating cake icing and... pointing at things.

Overall, it was a decent party with delicious cake and a pinata, which I didn't get to hit. And like any happening party, there were girls there, including Setup Girl and her daughter, formerly known as "the kid who was almost mine." Setup Girl is expecting another child, which we'll call "the kid who is definitely not mine," and also engaged. So Nephew Bone and I steered clear and headed for open waters.

At one point, I started playing with this super cool bubble blower and began to lure some of the younger kids away from the pinata. In my plaid shorts, I was beginning to feel a bit like the Pied Piper. But I thought it best not to march out of town. You never know how parents these days are going to react to something like that.

The party started to fizzle out around the break of 12:15, and I decided to take Nephew Bone to see his grandma. On the way over, "Lovefool" came on and of course I turned it up a bit and was singing along. In the middle of the song, I glanced in the back seat to see Nephew Bone "dancing" to the music. "You like this song, buddy?" I asked. He smiled and nodded.

While we were at grandma's, I caught myself still singing the chorus because, well once that song is in your head, it's there for awhile, and let's face it, I'm always singing something. Right after I sang, "Love me, love me," Nephew Bone hummed, in tune, "Ha huh, ha huh."

Sigh. I must have done something right.

And how about one more Nephew Bone story for the road? Alright, you talked me into it. My sister was telling me that while cleaning recently, she had moved Nephew Bone's piggy bank from one end of his dresser to the other. So a couple days ago, he was standing by his dresser and pointing up. When she picked him up, he grabbed the piggy bank and moved it to the other end of the dresser, where it usually sits.

"I think my kid might be a little OCD," she said. "And I'm the complete opposite of OCD, so I don't know where he gets it from."

"Hmm, I have no idea," I replied, reaching to straighten the ever-so-slightly-crooked mouse pad on my desk.

"Love me, love me, say that you love me. Fool me, fool me, go on and fool me..."

Monday, August 16, 2010

On cases of interfaith marriage

I have a crisis.

You remember my friend Wolfgang, right? The Darryl who just got engaged? Well, as soon as he started dating this girl -- we'll call her Joy -- I began dropping subtle hints. Things like, "Just don't get married on the day of an Alabama game." OK, so maybe not so subtle. Whatever.

So when he texted me "she said yes" I texted him back, presenting him with three different Saturdays that Alabama was off this season and told him to pick one. I thought it was a helpful gesture.

Naturally, he (or more likely she) goes completely off course and picks a Saturday when they have a game. And a pretty big one at that, against Arkansas.


I don't understand. Bama only plays twelve (regular season) games a year. And this year, one's on a Thursday and another is on a Friday. So that's only like ten Saturdays you need to avoid. Is that too much to ask? Am I being unreasonable?

I even went out of my way to make a special exception and said that if they had to get married on the day of a game, then I would allow them to get married on the day of the Duke game. Even though that went against my entire being and everything I have been raised to believe. And that still wasn't enough. So you tell me who's being unreasonable.

What do they think, "don't get married on the day of an Alabama game" is just something folksy that people say in passing but don't really mean, like "good to see you" or "you better save for retirement?" That these stories about parents who didn't attend their child's wedding because it was on the day of the Alabama-Tennessee game are fables?

No. They're real.

They're passed down from generation to generation for a reason. And that reason is, so that you don't put innocent fans like myself into situations where we're forced to reveal where your friendship falls on our list of priorities. And it's not even so much your friendship, just your wedding.

LJ and I were discussing the situation during a sultry round of golf a couple of weeks ago when he informed me, "I think the last time Wolfgang got married, it was on the day of an Alabama game." Hello! You'd think that'd be a bad omen, wouldn't you? (Also, side note: Another bad omen? The Omen III.)

There is a sliver of hope, however, as they still haven't decided if they're having a wedding or just going to the courthouse. But I did get a text: "Hey, if we have a wedding will you be a groomsman?"

How did I respond? Well I, um, haven't exactly gotten around to replying yet. What? I don't deal well with hypotheticals.

What do I do? Can I really not go? What's the worst that can happen -- I'll be ostracized from the community? I gotta be honest with you, I'm not sure how much a part of the community I am in the first place.

I don't want to become known as the world's first groomsman-zilla here. But if these people are going to openly flout the rules, they are going to have to live with the consequences.

And this is precisely why it's never a good idea to marry outside the religion.

"Your best friend Harry has a brother Larry. In five days from now he's gonna marry. He's hopin' you can make it there if you can, 'cause in the ceremony you'll be the best man..."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lakeside revelations

I've discovered that I now divide the nation/world into regions by bloggers that I know. For instance, my dad is in North Carolina this week. North Carolina is (a) Sage's old stomping grounds and (b) near Pia. I refer to this as Geoblography. And that is the end of the Geoblography part of this post.

In other keeping-tabs-on-my-parents-until-God-help-us-all-they-start-tweeting-someday news, we got Mom moved into a house a couple of weekends ago. It's funny, had I typed "home" there in place of "house" that would have had a whole other connotation, even though it is her home. Anyway, we had five men of the Bone extended family on hand for the proceedings.

There was my cousin's husband and me; my sister's husband, who'd just received a cortisone shot in his back the previous day; my uncle R, who had back surgery earlier this year; and my fave aunt's 72-year-old husband, which I know makes him my uncle, but as it's her second husband I guess I'm slow to acclimate, even though they've been married for fifteen years. With a crew like that, who needs Two Men & A Truck?

After all that heavy lifting, plus the added pressure of Blogust and the general stress of just being me, I decided to take a three-day weekend this past week. And I spent much of it near, on, or in the lake. Which makes me think of a joke I heard on the radio recently:

What's the difference between a pond and a lake?

If cattle relieve themselves in it, then it's a pond.

So this was definitely a lake. I hope.

One highlight of the weekend was getting to drive/ride around on this little two-seater motorized mini-catamaran-like watercraft. I had never seen anything like it, and apparently a lot of other people hadn't either, as it seemed to be the talk of the lake. We got a "That's pretty cool!" and a "What is that thing?" or two.

At one point Saturday, this pontoon boat slowed down and waved us by, then one of the guys yelled, "Where do you buy something like that?" At first, I thought they were talking about my trusty gray Gilligan hat, but no. Later, when we docked to have lunch at a lakeside restaurant, one guy quipped, "That's all motor, no boat." There's no comeback for that. I spent a good ten to fifteen minutes trying to decide if "all motor, no boat" could possibly be a euphemism, but was unable to come up with anything.

Recounting other less exciting events, I managed to not roll the jet ski, and I may or may not have fallen asleep on the boat, but most likely did. You put me in the sun and stop talking for about twelve seconds, I'm gone.

There were a couple of points where the lake houses and noisy jet skis gave way to quiet, narrow channels. These no-wake zones were lined with trees, wildflowers and more lily pads than I have ever seen. We also were fortunate enough to see a couple of blue herons perched along the banks. I thought of the oil spill.

All in all, it was a super relaxing weekend, letting nature fill my senses and having no other place in the world to be. I'm pretty sure my blood pressure dropped about fifty points, if blood pressure is even measured in points.

I'm also pretty sure I realized that a sparrow and a robin are the only two birds I can identify for 100% certain. (I thought the blue heron was a crane.) Maybe a cardinal, unless that's different from a redbird.

The lake isn't quite the beach. (It also isn't a pond, but that's neither here nor there.) But it's still water, and there's still a breeze. Sitting on the pier in the evening, watching the sun reflecting across the water until the very last sliver dips below the horizon, there's nothing quite like that.

After all, we only get so many sunsets.

"Stars are dancin' on the water here tonight. It's good for the soul and there's not a soul in sight. This boat has caught its wind and brought me back to life. Now I'm alive, and well..."

Monday, August 09, 2010

For my friend

If I took you for granted
I could not apologize enough
And if I kept you at a distance
Well, that's just how I've always been

And if we could have been something more than we are now
I cannot help but take my share of the blame
And my share is a lot

If I took you for granted
I could not apologize enough
And if I ever pushed you away
Well, that's just how I've always been

And if we could be something more than we are now
I cannot help but want to take that chance
If there is a chance to be taken

If I took you for granted
It was never my intention
And if I ever pushed you away
I don't want to anymore

And if it's too late
Well, that's just how I've always been

"Friends get scattered by the wind, tossed upon the waves, lost for years on end. Friends slowly drift apart, they give away their hearts, maybe call you now and then..."

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The time Google saved me 300 bucks

Blogust rolls on. We're on our 4th consecutive day of over 100 degrees here. Don't tell anyone, but I secretly love the heat...

One night last week on my way to go for a run, the keyless remote wouldn't unlock the car door. Shifting seamlessly into MacGyver mode, I used the key-shaped object attached to the remote and was somehow able to manually unlock the door. I figured maybe the battery in the remote had died.

When I got to the park, I noticed something else askew. The interior lights wouldn't go off. I opened the door and closed it again, took out the keys, got out of the car, closed the door and waited for thirty seconds. I did everything but march seven times around the car blowing a trumpet. The lights were still on.

Finally, I discovered if I turned the dimmer switch all the way down until it clicked, the lights would go off. However, this meant that they wouldn't come on when I opened the door. And also that I would scarcely be able to see the speedometer, gas gauge, and most importantly, the radio, when driving at night.

Befuddled, I googled a couple of things and found a site with several suggestions of things to try. Such as, disconnect the battery for ten minutes, check to see if a button in the driver's side door might be stuck, take out all the bulbs, sell the car for scrap, etc.

The situation grew even stranger the next day when I discovered that nothing on the driver side door panel worked: mirrors, windows, door locks, my Dixie horn (kidding!), nothing. So I decided to call Dad and see what he thought. He said he'd drive over Friday afternoon to look at it.

In the meantime, I googled again with my new details. This time I found a site where a couple of people had suggested that there was a short in a ground wire in the driver's side door.

Well, long story slightly shorter, that ended up being exactly what it was. After removing the rubber boot from the door revealing a cluster of wires, we found a large black one that had been completely snapped in two.

All that was left was a trip to Radio Shack to give them my phone number and pick up some crimps and extra wire. Total cost, about ten bucks. So thank you, And thank you, Google. You are amazing. I predict that pretty soon, people will be performing medical procedures on themselves.

I can see it now: "I'm sorry, Mister Bone, but it appears that you used AskJeeves to perform your self-tonsillectomy. Unfortunately, that is not one of the preferred-search engines covered by your insurance."

As we got into Dad's van to go to Radio Shack, he put on these huge sunglasses. Before I could say anything -- and believe me I was going to -- he spoke.

"Are these women's glasses?"

"Uh, yeah, I think so."

"Oh me."

"Let me see 'em." I tried them on and looked at myself in the mirror. "Yep, they're women's."

"It's hard to tell the difference."

"Yeah, it is sometimes."

"Well," he continued, slipping the glasses back on, "I went back and bought a different pair, but I still wear these in the car."

So in closing, if you should see a 60ish man driving around in a white van with Paris Hilton glasses on, I don't know him.

"Fixin' up my car, workin' for a livin'. Drive down to the seashore, lookin' at the pretty women. I'm an American boy..."

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

On the third day of Blogust...

What? Two posts from Bone in four days? That can only mean one of two things: Either you've been joyriding in the DeLorean again and traveled back in time to 2005, or more likely, it's Blogust!!!

That's right, blogging friends. It's the month you've all been waiting for. Time to celebrate and procreate. Or, just create. So string up the lights and light up the tree, I'll be writing like mad for all the world to see.

Blogust -- not to be confused with Blog Lust, whatever that is -- is very similar to Blogtober which I invented last year. In fact, it's exactly the same, except I couldn't wait until October this year because, well, my blog was dying. The basic premise is that I'll make myself write for at least 30 minutes a day for the entire month, which will ideally result in a few more blog entries. Also, I'm hoping the increase in writing will carry on beyond the end of the month this time.

I should warn you. I'm already feeling rejuvenated, like I've discovered the blogging fountain of youth! Or it could be I've just had too much caffeine today. Either way, feel free to join in or just read along.

I'm also proclaiming this the 3rd annual National Blog Something That's In Draft Week. Or NaBloSoThaDraWe, as it is as commonly known. (Sometimes written as National Blog Something From Draft Week -- or NaBloSoFroDraWe -- especially in parts of Minnesota and Iowa, among certain nomadic peoples of the American southwest, and last year on this blog.

Boy, for someone who doesn't blog that much, I sure invent a lot of fake blog holidays. And if someday, perchance, I am credited as the person who saved blogging, well so be it.

Anyway, NaBloSoThaDraWe is a week I created back in two-double-ought-eight for the blogging lull which occurs for many of us during these dog days of summer. You are all invited to join in. I have no doubt that amongst the weeds and tall grass of your meadow of drafts, there is a radiant flower just starving for some blog-light. Also, for you history buffs, you can read more about the origins of NaBloSoThaDraWe here.

So Blogust and NaBloSoThaDraWe occurring at the same time! That's like having a full moon and a total eclipse on the same day!

(OK, so upon further research, it turns out that a lunar eclipse can only occur when there is a full moon. Who knew?)

Now without further adieu, let's get it started. On the third day of Blogust, your true Bone gives to you, his entry for NaBloSoThaDraWe. It's a piece I like to call "Facebook Stranger." I have a tune in my head that goes with it, but it's hard to convey a tune with a keyboard when one doesn't know how to write music.

Facebook Stranger
by Bone
from the unreleased album Take Heed 'Cause I'm A Lyrical Poet: Words Without Music
(For NaBloSoThaDraWe 2010)

I've never met you or I haven't seen you in twenty years
I guess we can catch up on the past that we don't share
Not sure why you friended me, I'm thinking of clicking deny
But then if I do, it makes me question what kind of person am I

Facebook stranger, you're no friend
All these pseudo-social decisions, will they never end
You've got mafia wars to fight
And what you loved about Glee last night
I don't really care to read again
Facebook stranger, you're no friend

I doubt you'd even stop to speak if we passed on the street
Yet you send me these friend requests at least every other week
Not sure why you friended me, what's the point of it all
Do you really want to poke me or am I just a number on your wall?

Facebook stranger, you're no friend
All these pseudo-social decisions, will they never end
You've got mafia wars to fight
And what you loved about Glee last night
I don't really care to read again
Facebook stranger, you're no friend

"You better put on the Hammer, and you will be rewarded. My beat is ever boomin' and you know I get it started..."