Archive for February, 2009

White Noise (not to be confused with White Snake or White Lion)

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The day I was born, the doctor decided I wasn’t done cooking yet and stuck me in an incubator.  I don’t conciously remember it, but I am willing to bet the incubator made a soft steady shhhhh sound that I now can’t sleep without.  White noise.  As a kid I went to bed with a humidifier.  Not the noiseless ones you buy today, but the old ’70s models that ran on a chainsaw motor.  These days I use a fan.  In the dead of winter when it’s 15 below, I’ll still have that sucker blowing full blast, shhhhing me to sleep.

But what happens when due to a mild snoring condition, your girlfriend requests you sleep in another room or risk accidental suffication by pillow?  Enter http://www.simplynoise.com/ .  Last night after being banished to the deathly quiet TV room, I googled “white noise”.  Google suggested I take it a step further with “white noise generator”.  I hit the jackpot on the first click with simplynoise.com.

Simplynoise really is simple.  You can download the white noise, but there really is no need as the site plays a continuous seemless loop of white noise.  You can control the volume and select from three types of noise:

White – the high end static of TV snow

Pink – mid ranged sound similar to a rushing waterfall

Brown – low end whoosh like a fan or air conditioner

Brown was the easy winner for me.  I set the volume, let it ride all night and slept like a baby in an incubator.

A conclusion paragraph normally requires multiple sentences, but in this case I am going to go with the Simplynoise motto: enough said.

Up dere in da UP eh

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Last week a business trip landed me and two of my friends in Marquette, MI.  I was in Chicago literally the day before and words cannot describe the cultural shift.  The locals were unlike any I’ve encountered on this planet.  Our first night at the bar, I met Rosie.  Rosie is a man.  A little man with a goatee and breath that could kill a horse.  So darn likable though.  He insisted he was a lover not a fighter and showed me a newspaper picture of the “best looking man in town”.  It was a picture of him for his engagement and I believe the paper was two years old.  Hold on to that 15 minutes of fame for all it’s worth buddy.

Rosie was the picture of normalcy though, compared to Goggles.  A guy about my age wearing ski goggles, a Panama City jacket and a green beret approached and said I looked familiar.  I told him I get that a lot.  He then asked if we were once comrades.  I asked if this possibly could have been in another life.  He confirmed that, yes, in fact it was.  Apparently we fought side by side in both World Wars I and II, just as we will again in World War III.  I was also relieved to learn that after World War VI there will be three thousand years of peace.  Don’t go liquidating that 401K just yet.

I had yet to see Goggles take a sip of alcohol and was going to ask if he had perhaps smoked an illegal substance, but then he left me and went over to the pool table.  There he and Rosie proceeded to do Kung Fu and somersaults on the floor.  I asked the bar tender if this was normal.  He said pretty much, but also Goggles was off his medication.  When on his meds he was actually a laid back nice guy.  Personally though I was glad Zoloft hadn’t robbed me of  a preview for the next four world wars.  I should make a killing on the spread.

Marquette is not the town that time forgot.  It is the town time never knew existed.  No one even knows what day it is.  We asked the cab driver if there was anything to do that night.  He said Sunday nights were pretty dead.  It was Monday.  I told the hotel clerk we would be checking out in three nights.  She confirmed check out would be Wednesday night.  Actually no that would be Thursday, but it was in the right ballpark.  We met at least three more people who either didn’t know or were a day off.  The scary thing is by the end of the trip we were staring to lose track ourselves.  Eventually it became Thurinesday.

The locals are not without a sense of humor though.  We were informed that although we were from down state, we could become official Yoopers with a simple initiation called the “One Eyed Keith”.  We agreed and the bartender poured Crown Royal into the shot glasses.  No problem as CR is our beverage of choice.  However the shot took a hard left turn when the bar tender placed a pickled egg in each shot glass, then topped it with tobasco sauce.  I asked how does one drink an egg.  They instructed us to do the shot then eat the egg.  We did just that and the egg was suprisingly tasty.  I think the locals were a bit diappointed we didn’t struggle more, but I admit a few minutes later the tabasco made it feel like someone had ripped duct tape off my lips.  The next night we asked other locals if they’d ever heard of a One Eyed Keith, but no one had.  Yup, we got played dere, eh!

On Wednesday night we were going to leave when suddenly Marquette became winter wonder hell.  13 inches of snow and 30 MPH winds prevented us from going five feet in any direction.   We asked the locals what we should do.  One bartender suggested we go surfing the next day.  I asked if he meant snowboarding, but no he meant actual surfing on Lake Superior.  It was ten degrees out but that didn’t stop them from hanging ten.  The bartender’s friend had been slammed into a breaker the day before, but didn’t kill him and even earned him a spot on the morning news.  What is wrong with these people??

Most of the locals told us to just go back to the hotel and “bunker down, eh.”  The thought of another day in this icy prison was unbearable though.  Our saving grace came in the form of a Jimmy John’s employee.  He told us of a secret  highway the state police had not closed off.  We hit the ground running and managed to cross the Mackinac Bridge just hours before the shut it down.  Apparently high wind was swinging it 27 feet.  Best not to think about it now.

If I ever have to go back to Marquette, the first thing I will do is look up Goggles.  The night we met he was out in the parking lot near my friend’s car which has a remote start.  After fifteen minutes of running, the engine will automatically shut off.   However, Goggles informed us that he had in fact shut off the engine with his psychic energy.  I haven’t figured out how to capitalize on this power of his yet, but I know I can make it pay off.  I’ll also be stocking up on pickled eggs to get us through WWIII.

Friday Fill-ins

Friday, February 20th, 2009

1. Give me a hamburger and I’ll gladly pay you for it on Tuesday.

2. Whenever, Wherever has to be one of my top five favorite Shakira songs.

3. I wish I was a little bit taller and a baller.

4. Rice Chex cereal was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world you must be able to breathe oxygen and deal with the funky gravity.  It takes some getting used to.

6. Other than this one, http://designbyfirgs.com/blog/ is the last blog I commented on.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to a coma, tomorrow my plans include rocking the Fenton High School 2009 Sadie Hawkins dance and Sunday, I want magic elves to unpack all my things and do my laundry.

Senior Year

Friday, February 13th, 2009

IN YOUR SENIOR YEAR DID YOU…
1. Did you date someone from your school?
Only dates I had were next to the raisins in my cereal.

2. Did you marry someone from your high school?
I tried, but Mrs. Wujakowski refused to leave her husband.

3. Did you car pool to school?
No, my car had no back seat. Or driver’s seat. Had a nice passenger seat though.

4. What kind of car did you have?
A red ’84 Ford EXP. Refused to start in the rain but on a dry day you couldn’t beat it.

5. What kind of car do you have now?
2001 Jeep Frankenstein. The new engine barely has any quirks.

6 Its Friday night…where are you now?
At my parent’s apartment in Chicago. It’s a real party pad!

7. It is Friday night…where were you then?
In the back seat of Mark’s Pontiac. I didn’t even qualify for scrub on the passenger side of my best friend’s ride.

8. What kind of job did you have in high school?
The price for the EXP was to “help” my brother with his paper route. Still trying to get the ink stains off my hands.

9. What kind of job do you do now?
I’m a cheese collector.

10. Were you a party animal?
No, I had a very fulfilling social life and had much better things to do with my time. Also I was never invited.

11. Were you considered a flirt?
I had a tendency to throw up when I tried to talk to girls, so I’m going to say no.

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
No, as a fifth string defensive back I was too busy being a jock.

13. Were you a nerd?
HELL NO!!! I was a geek.

14. Did you get suspended or expelled?
No, but I did get a detention for wiping a wet folder on a kid’s shoulder. It’s still on my permanent record.

15. Can you sing the fight song?
Go Vikings, win and stuff, we are so very gooder than the other team of opponent guys. (repeat)

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher(s)?
Mrs. Burnside, who last month asked me to call her “Patty” instead. Getting old is kind of creepy.

17. Where did you sit during lunch?
With the kids from the Juvenile Home. Guess I just blended with them.

18. What was your school’s full name?
Swan Valley High School. There were no actual swans or valleys in the area, as the school was founded at the height of LSD’s popularity.

19. When did you graduate?
1993

20. What was your school mascot?
Bob the Viking. I think his name was Bob. I admit I never tried to get to know him. If only you could turn back time.

21. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
I’d rather have my toenails chewed off by rabid squirrels.

22. Did you have fun at Prom?
No, I couldn’t work up the nerve to kiss my date. Should have practiced on a pumpkin or something.

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to prom with?
Never, but I hear she kind of went crazy, so that’s cool.

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?
Only if I can show up in a helicopter.

25. Do you still talk to people from school?
Both now and then.

26. School Colors?
Purple and white and yellow and some other colors too.

27. What celebrities came from your high school?
Define “celebrities”. I mean if we touch other lives then doesn’t that make us famous in a way that truly matters? Ok, we’ve got jack. So far.

Outtakes

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Furry little scene stealers!

Automotively Challenged (Part III)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

“I don’t have Stanky Leg!” I snapped at a sixth grader. I normally pride myself on rolling with the punches for any job. I also knew that DJing an inner city school would mean a tidal wave of requests for booty shaking songs I likely did not own. However I hadn’t planned on the pretty rainbow or the boiling pot of soup.

Rewind two weeks. After exhausting every potential financing option I could think of, I was about to purchase a car with a credit card. Upon hearing this my parents staged an intervention (or as close to an intervention as possible over the phone.) They convinced me that while buying a new engine for an aging Jeep was risky, it still beat putting twelve grand on my card for a new car. I admit this would have been financial suicide. So there, I’ve said it. My parents were right. It happens now and then.

Lowell the mechanic told me it would be no problem and would have it ready by Tuesday. On Tuesday I called and he said he hadn’t started yet, heavily backlogged, working 13 hour days, blah blah blah. He said Thursday, maybe. Thursday didn’t happen and neither did Saturday, scratching my plans to attend the Production Assistant Boot Camp in Detroit. Most frustrating.

Ryan asked how it was coming and I told him. He then called the shop to complain the delay was fucking up his world as there were DJ jobs I needed to cover. This was not true at the time, but he was so convincing even I bought it. The motivational speech must have worked, because my car was finished two days later. Only cost $2750. Chump change really.

I broke in my new engine yesterday with road trips to Hemlock (rescued my skis from the storage shed, despite the freakish sixty degree weather), then to Midland for some rollerblading. Nevermind that my blades were still in the living room. I resigned myself to walking the rail trail, but then Ryan called about DJing a job Wednesday for the new middle school. I hightailed it back to the gym where he had the contract ready for me.

Today I pulled up to the building and went inside to check it out. I can honestly say it’s the first middle school I’ve played that had a metal detector. The principal told me to pull around back to unload. I backed the trailer up to the door and moved the equipment into the gym. I went back to get my music case and that’s when I noticed the pretty rainbow.

It had been raining all day and the pavement was full of puddles. Full of pretty rainbow swirled puddles. Not just a little swirl here and there, but a whole rushing rainbow river. Which just happened to start from under my car. Well every car leaks a little, I thought. But then I noticed there was smoke coming from the car. I killed the engine and was horrified to hear a pot of boiling soup bubbling from under the hood.

I called Ryan and told him what happened. He said I overheated and gave me the shop’s phone number. I called and left a panicked incoherent voice mail. There was nothing else I could do, except my job. I went back in a tried to be as professional as possible. It was tough though when all I could see was my trips to Chicago and Marquette going down the drain in a pretty rainbow swirl.

The muscles in my back tightened and I grit my teeth as I played two straight hours of godawful booty shaking music. And the kids were relentless.

“Do you have Stanky Leg?” What?? No.
“Do you have Don’t by Soulja Boy?” No.
“Do you have Stanky Leg?” No.
“Do you have Diva by Beyonce?” No.
“Do you have Stanky Leg?” Still no.
“Do you have My Duggy?” No.
“Do you have Stanky Leg?” I DON’T HAVE STANKY LEG!!!!!

Stanky Leg. Seriously, what the fuck is this world coming to?

One of the little demons brought the song in on CD and I cranked it out. Stanky Leg was every bit the lyrical masterpiece I imagined and the kids went nuts. I’ve come close to crying on a couple jobs, but it looked like I finally had a winner. Just then the principle announced there was only five minutes left. Now they were tears of joy.

Although the hell was over, I worried that I would be there hours waiting for a tow truck. I went outside and was relieved to see a giant flatbed waiting for my car. My new best friend Harry was attaching hooks to the bottom of the Jeep. The hydrolic flatbad angled down and the cables pulled it right up. Then Harry hitched the DJ trailer to the back of the tow truck and off we went. Freakin awesome.

We dropped the car and trailer off at the shop and Harry took me home. An hour later Lowell called to say he could find nothing wrong. He did a pressure test, but no rainbows, no soup. I called Ryan who suggested it may be a broken thermostat. I left Lowell a voicemail with this info but won’t hear back from him till tomorrow morning.

And now I wait to see if I will be rollerblading to Chicago.

One word

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Where is your cell phone? – pocket

Your significant other? – toiling

Your hair? – shorter

Your mother? – worried

Your father? – concerned

Your favorite thing? – movies

Your dream last night? – cave

Your favorite drink? – water

Your dream/goal? – success

What room are you in? – TV

Your hobby? – gaming

Your fear? – rejection

Where do you want to be in 6 years? – bigger

Where were you last night? – gym

Something that you aren’t? – coherent

Muffins? – furry

Wish list item? – Mac

Last thing you did? – defunked

What are you wearing? – boxerbriefs

TV? – betty

Your pet? – freeloaders

Friends? – love

Your life? – fuzzy

Your mood? – awake

Missing someone? – sometimes

Drinking? – pro

Your car? – mobile!!!

Something you’re not wearing? – speedo

Your favorite store? – amazon

Your favorite color? – blue

When is the last time you cried? – Lions

My favorite place to eat? – Giordano’s

Favorite place I’d like to be at right now? – stage

5 Questions for February 7

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Every Saturdayish I will be answering five questions from my readers. To send me a question, comment here or email it to steve@stevegast.com

Friday Fill-Ins

Friday, February 6th, 2009

1. Please don’t tell it on the mountain, as I am afraid of heights.

2. Can you  call me angel in the morning? (Shaggy does.)

3. The color  puce makes me want to get loose, like a one eyed purple moose!

4. I have a craving for  mashed potatoes and Jack.

5. If my life had a pause button, I’d pause it at the movie theater when I have to pee.  (If only there were a way to pause movies!!)

6. Eyes are the window to the occipital lobe.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to  buying the finest party favors the dollar store has to offer, tomorrow my plans include canceling my plans as my freakin car’s not fixed yet, and Sunday, I want to  hang with the parents, provided we don’t talk about the car or unemployment.

The American Dental Association

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

knitmeapony is occasionally required to find mention of the ADA on the web.  So to potentially increase your readership by one, talk about them on your site.

It could be negative:

My gums are so rotten I can’t chew yogurt and it’s all The American Dental Association’s fault.

It could be positive:

I escaped a collapsed building by chewing through a steel bulkhead and it’s all thanks to The American Dental Association.

Or it could be a factual statement that doesn’t convey an opinion one way or the other:

Yesterday I took a bath in melted cheese sauce with The American Dental Association.

So give it a shot.*

*Results not guarenteed.  Also would it hurt to floss at least once a month?  Is that too much to ask?