Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Give It Up.

Alright. I've been in Boston for three weeks and have met only 2 new people. I'm out there, but the other students in my class haven't arrived yet. That has Vavoom feeling a tad lonely.

Lucky me -- I've got all of you to keep me company.

Today I have a simple request. Leave a comment. Any comment. I want to hear about your ingrown toenails, your new cordless phone, your plans for the weekend, anything. I know many of you visit and don't leave your calling card. I need you.

I'll start with my comment about nothing. I'm a sucker for hats. I bought one yesterday that's similar to Gilligan's hat, but it's rust colored. It's a preposterous hat, but I love it and I'm wearing it all day today.

Your turn. Help me cure my loneliness. Tell me something, anything.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Animal Magnetism.

My brother is a physician. I've begged him to call me whenever something strange happens in the emergency room. Last night, I got a call.

To imagine how ridiculous all of this is, let's imagine that you're a construction worker. You find two magnets at your job site. Each one is shaped like a half donut. There are signs stating that these are high powered magnets, not to be disturbed. What would you do? With the assistance of your friends, would you pry them apart and then decide to put them on your penis, thereby forming the world's heaviest magnetic cock ring?

Well, that's exactly what some guy did yesterday.

The story doesn't end there. Imagine the pain is terrible. You decide you'd like to take these magnets off. Gosh, it hurts. You decide to try and use a wrench to get them off. Imagine that you've never heard of ferromagnetism. Guess what? The wrench clings to your magnetic friends downstairs. Now you have a heavy wrench and two magnets attached to your penis.

According to my brother, the emergency room is notified that a patient is coming via phone. He picked up the phone and heard, "Male, something years old, heavy magnets and wrench attached to penis." Typically, my brother has to figure out what resources he'll need to treat the incoming patient. He yelled out, "I need a pile of KY jelly and muscle relaxers, STAT!" All of the nurses turned, looked at him and broke out laughing.

Man, I'm in the wrong business. Nothing that bizarre ever happens around here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Networking.

Have you ever stopped to think how many life changing moments you've had? Really, on how many occasions could you say that your life changed as a result of some moment in time or string of events?

As usual, it's 3 AM and I can't sleep. While lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling I asked myself, "Vavoom, how many times can you look back and say 'Man, that changed everything...'?"

I'd rather not delve into some convoluted discussion of network theory, but in a sense, don't all of our decisions and subsequent experiences formulate a web of possibilities? I'm relatively young. As such, I can only point to a few moments that have changed my life significantly. Since its late and continuing with the online show and tell that is Tedrow Drive, I'll share one moment that changed my life years ago:

I had received the call. They said it was a heart attack. A pretty bad one. I hurried home and saw my father in the post operative clinic. I looked at him. I couldn't believe that he was sick. My Father, sick? It's not possible. "Hi Dad, can you hear me?" His eyes open slightly. He tried to speak, but couldn't. From his dry, cracked lips, a slightly recognizable smile emerged from his face. "You're gonna be alright, Dad, everything's going to be alright." Suddenly, his smile disappeared. He clutched my hand slightly and in an instant his hand went limp. Alarms sounded. I was quickly pushed away by the medical team. They huddled around him and yelled medical jargon back and forth at one another. "This is it. He's going to die," I thought. For reasons that even now I can't explain, I ran out of the room. "He's dying, get back in there," I told myself. All I could do is lean my head up against the nearest wall and sob. I spent an hour, motionless against that wall. Suddenly, I felt a hand on the small of my back. "He's going to be okay, Vavoom. He needs to rest. He's stabilized. You can see him tomorrow morning."

My Father's illness to this day terrifies me. It's certainly changed my perspective on life. Certainly I've learned how to cope with it. Still, the day I learned of his heart condition is one that I'll never forget. My Father suddenly became mortal. I can't help but think, had he died I would have never forgiven myself for leaving the room.

As always, I'm curious. What are some events that have changed your life? How do you think things would have changed had you acted differently?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Shredding Documentaries.

If you take a look at the definition of a documentary, you'll find the following:

1. Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.
2. Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.

As a young pup in college, I took a fantastic history course from a Pulitzer Prize winning historian. I went to his office hours once to tell him about a great documentary I viewed. His response, "Vavoom, a good documentary leaves out the opinion of the creator. It allows a balanced view of a situation through the perspective of many that witnessed or played an active role in the event or phenomena in question. I'm afraid the documentary you watched does not meet those high standards."

Last night I watched "Supersize Me." It was interesting, it was funny, it was an editorial masterpiece. Yes, I agree with the premise of the movie -- we're fat and have poor nutritional habits and influences. Yet I didn't feel like the movie was really a documentary by definition, certainly not by the standards my old history professor set.

The same thing goes for Fahrenheit 911. Again, I agree that W is not the sharpest tool in the shed, we went to war in Iraq for the wrong reasons, etc. Still I can't help but cringe when I watch Michael Moore editorialize. His perversions of the truth are tantamount to fascist propaganda. Yes, I said that -- fascist propaganda. That's not to say that the Bush Administration isn't guilty of twisting the truth as well. Just as much as George W. Bush may be failing as a President, Michael Moore is a failure as a documentary maker.

Have we lost touch with what a true documentary should be? Have we learned to use editorials to validate our own opinions and feelings, thereby dooming the potential success of balanced studies of worldly events? What do you think, is the documentary a lost art?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gas Leak.

I took the elevator this morning. I simply wasn't willing to climb stairs. As I entered the elevator I decided that now was a good time to let go of some back pressure. To put it politely, I expelled gas. I was alone, nobody would notice... or so I thought.

Two men entered the elevator carrying two cylinders of gas, each. They started talking and one of them suddenly said, "Oh shit, do you smell that? You got a sulfur tank, right? It could be leaking. Hurry up, we've got to get out of this elevator!" As the doors opened, the other student said, "Hey, you, don't stay in here... it's full of sulfur!"

I simply couldn't let these guys think they had a leaky tank. "Actually... I'm the one with the leak. It's not your tank. Sorry." "Oh, Jesus... that's fucking gross," one of them mumbled. They stepped out of the elevator onto their floor. As the elevator doors closed, I observed the look of disgust on their faces. I couldn't help but laugh hysterically. Not a bad way to start the day, methinks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Poopapalooza.

You all know that I think poop is hilarious. I went to dinner last night and had the time of my life swapping poop stories and jokes with someone. This got me thinking, what makes poop so funny? Nothing, really. It's just one of those things that makes me laugh.

What gets you giddy? Is there something that you find hilarious that is strange or otherwise not funny to the general public? What do you think formulates our preferences, humor wise?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Socialites.

It's never ceased to amaze me, politics. They were present at Berkeley. They're present here at Fancypants University. It's absolutely incredible the level of commitment I've seen people make to politics. Nearly all of the scientists I interact with are more focused on social climbing than they are on science.

I've argued time and again that science is in deep doo doo. Pardon the venom that cometh. I'm frustrated.

There exists members of my current group that are some of the worst scientists I've ever met. Honestly, I've tried hard to find scientifically redeeming qualities in each person. They just don't have "it." I've found that politics and social climbing are inversely related to scientific prowess. Of course that's a qualitative observation.

The aforementioned group members are vicious. They'll back stab, lie, cheat and steal to make it to the top. Of course, when someone "important" is around, they'll strap on their gear and start climbing the wall of social status. They don't really care about science. No, they're here to build upon their already inflated egos.

I'm sure this exists in every field. How do you folks cope with such nonsense?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Lesson Learned.

I just returned from A2's seminar. I came ready to thrash. During his talk, I wrote down notes, found the fatal flaws in his reasoning and subsequent experiments. Honestly, it was one of the worst talks I've been to in a long while. When the talk was over, my posture changed. I was ready to attack.

The second that his talk was over, a flurry of hands reached for the sky.

A2: Yes.
P1: I find your reasoning completely unfounded -- you claim to have proven X, Y and Z, but have simply asserted that through experiments that do not address X, Y and Z at all.
A2: Well...
P2: I agree with P1, I don't really see how your conclusions are justified at all through your experiments.

It went on like this for about 20 minutes. Everyone took their turn smacking the kid around like a pinata. By the end, I thought we'd all have delicious tootsie rolls in our hands. Suddenly his advisor's voice reverberated through the hall:

"I agree with the criticism of your work. It seems like you haven't thought things through at all. I'm disappointed."

I've never seen someone get manhandled so badly in my short scientific career. This guy was being schooled and I didn't have to get involved. As I walked by him on my way out, he was clearly shaken.

Outside the room I overheard two faculty members speaking to Prof. Stuffy. I quote, "I know, I know... what can I do? The kid is arrogant and generally has a bad attitude. Hopefully this situation will ground him a bit."

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Preview.

Overheard in the elevator at Fancypants University:

A1: Man, that janitor is such a f*cking idiot. God, how do service people live with themselves?

A2: C'mon, we need idiots like that to empty the garbage. Think about it... we're at Fancypants University. We're the intellectual elite in this country, the cream of the crop... we can't expect everyone to be like us.

A1: I guess you're right. I guess it's alright to have lesser downs around here, as long as they're pushing a broom.

V: Hey, I couldn't help but overhear. My name is Vavoom. I work for Prof. Bigshot.

A1: Hi, I'm asshole #1.

A2: I'm asshole #2.

V: Who do you guys work for?

A1: We work for Prof. Stuffy.

A2: Yeah, I'm giving a seminar on Monday. You're welcome to come. Just don't bring any idiot janitors with you.

A1: Hahahaha.

V: No, but I'll be there. Let me ask you this -- you think you're so good that you're better than the janitors, right? Since you're so good, I'll be at your talk. I'll be asking questions. We'll see how good you really are.

I'm going to spend the weekend in Cape Cod. On Monday, I'll be back to teach this boy a lesson he'll never forget.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Optimist.

Color me optimistic, but I've always believed that people are fundamentally good. Yes, hope springs eternal in my mind -- I truly believe that I'll eventually find a working environment where people are decent to one another, a place where politics and greed don't abound.

I had originally started in science, firmly believing that it was a noble undertaking. How could it not be? It is the search for truth in an environment of learners and teachers. Of course, I've learned that a considerable amount of science is conducted in the harshest of political arenas -- academia.

I've only worked in one company my entire life. There the social milieu was not unlike the academic one. Given my limited experience, I can only surmise that the political ferocity that I observe in academia is present in every job.

The last few days, I've been rather pensive. I'd like to spend my life in service of others, absent all of the nonesense that accompanies human organizations. I haven't figured out what that magical job is, but I'm optimistic I'll figure it out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Running Scared.

I stood there, my mouth agape. How could this be?

I had eaten fried okra the night before. That couldn't have done it, could it? We have a single user restroom for our lab. When I arrived in the morning I felt that "not so fresh" feeling. I needed to go number two. By the time I finished, I looked down at the toilet. It was a mess. I couldn't explain how things worked out that way. In my mind, I tried to imagine the fecal trajectory responsible for the mess. Physically, it just didn't make sense.

As the day progressed, I kept hearing from my labmates, "Hey, did you see what happened in the bathroom?" "Yeah, it looked like someone was filled with shit and exploded in there," another responded. "God help the poor custodian that has to clean that thing up."

I felt terrible. Mind you, I didn't leave a mess outside the toilet. Still, it was pretty embarrassing. "Vavoom, can you believe what happened in the toilet? We were talking and figured it must have been some crazy homeless guy that did it." "Yeah, homeless guy," I responded. Would they find out that it was me? This is the stuff urban legends are made of. I'd become "that guy" in the department. That's the last thing I want.

At the end of the day my advisor, who lives relatively close to me, asked me if I wanted to walk home together. As we walked, my advisor said, "You know, Vavoom, I was the first one into the lab today. I used the restroom. It was clean when I left. I saw you were the first student into work. After you came in, the toilet was suddenly a disaster." "What a coincidence," I said, "I noticed that too. I wonder who used it." "Don't give me that," my advisor replied, "I know it was you. This one is a gimme. The next time you pull that crap, I'm going to rat you out to the rest of the group."

"I'm thinking it was you," I said, "It had to be one of us that did it. For all I know it was you." I started laughing hysterically, as did my advisor. When I came into work this morning, I opened my desk drawer and found a toilet scrubber. On it was a note reading, "Seems like you'll be needing this --xoxo Prof. Bigshot."

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tax Free Weekend.

Massachusetts has a weekend where all purchases are exempt from state taxes. Seems like a pretty good deal. We'd never seen anything like that in California. One problem -- to buy the things we needed/wanted, we had to get in our car and drive to the nearest consumer parlor.

Now I've heard plenty about East Coasters. Allegedly, they're rude, obnoxious and elitist. I can happily claim that I haven't noticed any of that while speaking to people here. I have learned, however, that when you put an East Coaster in a car, well, things get rough.

First of all, driving here has been interesting with the narrow roads, one way streets and rotary structures. By and large, the most difficult task is dealing with the other drivers themselves.

Here I was, meek lil' Vavoom, driving 30 mph in a 25 zone. One car pulls up behind me and "HOOOOONNNNNNNKKKKKK, HOOOOONNNNNNKKKK!" The driver decided to speed past me while yelling, "Yah killin' me, yah friggin' killin' me!" I decided I'd speed up since everyone behind me seemed to hate me. Everyone was riding me hard. I'd never had a car so firmly on my ass before. Yet another car zoomed by, "Why don't yah learn ta' drive, sunshine boy!" Ahhh, now I see. My California plates must be tipping everyone off that I'm a newbie. I decided to be an East Coaster, automotively speaking. "Hang on," I told my wife.

I zoomed through the roads, honking and driving more aggressively than I ever have. Strangely enough, it worked. I was instantly one of them. I even tried yelling at other drivers, "C'mon, yah got the green... move yah caar already!" Yes, I used the Boston accent. Why not?

When we reached Costco, my wife, white as a sheet, turned to me and asked "So, yah think they sell thems paddle systems ta' jumpstaht my haaht?" She continued, "Seriously, when the snow falls, you are not allowed to drive the car. We'll get killed."

She's probably right. With the aggressive driving I've seen, I'm not sure how the roads here aren't a complete disaster in the winter.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Scaffolder.

I have a beautiful desk. It really is something else. It's a corner office on the top floor of a science facility here in Fancypants University. The view is absolutely amazing. I haven't enjoyed the view lately, however.

The building next to us is undergoing major renovations. As a result, they're having scaffolding installed all around the facade. I never really considered how scaffolding is installed around a five story building. Much like that trip I made to the slaughterhouse when I was younger, now I wish I never knew.

A team of five construction workers waltz around on these metal catwalks, slowly erecting the scaffolding. The frightening thing is -- they aren't strapped onto anything. These guys first install the metal scaffold and then place wooden planks on them. Note, the wooden planks are not fastened to anything, they slide around like crazy as these daredevils walk on them.

This has made it very difficult for yours truly to get anything done while at his desk. Everytime I look over I keep thinking, "God, please be careful. You're walking on that crap five stories up!"

Yesterday was the worst. They were passing the wooden planks up in a vertical assembly line fashion. One of the workers lost his grip on the board, reached over to save it from falling and nearly fell himself. Good old me, I screamed out in horror, "OH JESUS CHRIST, LOOK OUT!"

Mind you, I work in a a quiet laboratory space. Everyone ran over to my desk, wondering what was wrong. I said, "The, the scaffolder... he almost fell... look out there." As my coworkers looked out, the scaffolder looked all of them, smiled an waved. "What are you talking about, Vavoom? The guy's fine." My coworkers started grumbling, "Man, the new guy is really wierd" as they walked away from my desk.

I looked back out the window at the scaffolder. We were at eye level with one another. He shrugged, saluted, smiled and went back to work. I couldn't help but think, "You've won this time, scaffolder. Next time I'll make you look like the fool!" Barring nudity in the workplace, I don't think I'll be able to draw his attention the way his mishap did mine. In that case, I guess my imagined threat was an idle one, at best.

Anybody know where a guy can get a good set of blinders in Boston? I think I'll need them if I'm to have any chance of getting anything done at my desk.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ted Sketchmeister.

There's a guy in my group that's 38 years old. That's old in scientific years. Very old. To protect the not so innocent and convey all sentiment correctly, let's call him Ted Sketchmeister, Sketchy for short.

Sketchy is a pervert. I'm not joking. Every woman that passes is the recipient of a whispering "Oh, yeah" from Sketchy. As you can imagine, this makes Sketchy an annoying guy to hang out with. The undergraduates have started arriving here at Fancypants University. Freshman are an interesting lot. Having just left home and everyone and everything they know, they are understandably uncomfortable with their new surroundings.

Sketchy has decided that this is the perfect opportunity to strike. He's now decided to hang around the main quad on campus and pick up on unsuspecting freshman girls. If Sketchy were a nice guy and really was looking for a relationship or even a little fun, I'd have no problems with all of it. No, Sketchy is now trying to see how many freshman he can bag in the next month. He's put a ridiculous tally up on the board just outside his desk. As I walked in this morning, the first victim was scrawled on the board.

There's something about a 38 year old man preying on poor 17 year old girls that really bothers me. I'm going to foil his plans. Here's the idea -- I'll hang out with him on the main quad. Just when he starts talking to a young girl, I'll say something like, "Hey, remember that thing you did with that snake -- how long did you say it took before you could take a crap?" or maybe "Hey, I finally figured out what caused that sore on your penis."

Perhaps I'm being an ass. You really need to meet Sketchy to see why this is all very disgusting. Now it's your turn -- give me your best anti-Sketchy line that you would use to turn off a 17 year old girl. I'm curious to hear what you guys can cook up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gang Activity in Boston.

I've had the great opportunity to go to Filene's Basement. Filene's is a major department store here in Boston. The basement is filled with discount clothing that's absolutely amazing. We had made our selections and sauntered over to the fitting rooms.

Upon entering, I realized that this was a fitting room, not rooms. Yes, the clothing comes cheap, but you'll have to participate in a gang change if you want any hope of buying stuff that fits. About twenty sweaty men were disrobing to the tune of Meatloaf's "I would do anything for love" as played by some failed jazz pianist. "When at a tuxedo party, wear a tuxedo," I thought and started to disrobe.

While standing in my underwear, briefs not boxers, two men next to me started talking:

"I think your ass looks fine in it, honest, it really looks good."
"What about my hips, what do you think about the hips?"
"They look good, really, I mean it."
"I don't believe you, you say everything looks good."
"Hey you, what do you think, how does my ass look?"

I kept about my business, praying he wasn't talking to me. "Yeah you, with the Red Sox hat on -- help me out, how does my ass look in this?" "I, uh, it, uh, looks, uh, fine, I guess." "What do you mean, you guess? It either looks good or it doesn't."

There I was, with one leg in my soon to be purchased pants staring at this guy's ass. He was clearly sticking his ass out to accentuate it, but that wasn't helping the evaluation. "You look great, really, you look great." "See, I told you," his friend responded.

Here's where things got really unnecessary.

"Well, put your pants on and we'll let you know how they look," the man told me. "You know, I don't really need that feedback. I just buy whatever's comfortable." As I slid the other pant leg on, and buttoned up, I suddenly heard, "Oh, yeah, your ass looks really good in those. The length is a bit long, but the ass makes up for it. What do you think, Mike?" "Wow, things didn't look too promising when he just had on his underwear, but his ass is lookin' really good in those pants." "Try on that shirt. Let's see how they look together."

Clearly, these two men were having a field day. "Listen, I'd prefer to be left alone." "God, what a bitch," one of the duo responded, "try and help people and they just throw it in your face."

The pants actually do look pretty good. My ass does fill them out quite nicely. That's my opinion, of course. Next time I head to Filene's Basement remind me to bring a screen to disrobe behind.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Transporting My Sidekick.

Plenty of people dislike cats. They'll kick at them, throw rocks at them, typical human behavior. I'm not one of those people. Since I was young I've loved all animals. 12 years ago I picked up a kitten with gray hair and bright green eyes. He's been my sidekick over the years. Those of you that know me personally, know how important the cat is to me.

Bringing a pet across country is a bit tricky. To minimize the stress on him, we decided not to drive across country. We'd bring him on the plane with us, as a carry on item. To do so, we needed to get a rabies certificate along with a bill of health from our vet. Also, we decided to tranquilize him during the journey.

Before our trip, the vet suggested we do a test run. A couple days before we left, we tranquilized the cat and put him in the cat carrier. Immediately we thought, "Great! This is going to work perfectly!" Think again. After about two hours my beloved cat spilled his feces all over the inside of the carrier. Cleaning him and the carrier was loads of fun, I tell you.

On gameday, we gave him a small amount of food, water, insulin (yes, he's diabetic) and his tranquilizer. This time, everything was perfect. He fell right asleep and handled the first flight in Olympian fashion. (Fancypants University wouldn't agree to put us on a direct flight -- cheap bastards!)

Our layover was in Phoenix. Again, my noble steed lay dormant in his carrier. We decided to get something to eat and that's when the trouble started. I set the cat carrier down on the chair next to me on a four person table. There was no way I was going to leave him on the floor where people have been kicking at our bags for the past twenty minutes. We began our meal and suddenly this strange man showed up. Despite the plethora of empty tables all around us, he decided to throw his very heavy bag on one of our chairs, sit down and eat.

Remember, I said this was a table for four. I've mentioned that myself, my wife, my cat, the man and his bag each resided on a chair. Hmmm. That's five things. Four seats. Guess what chair he decided to throw his heavy bag on? Yup, on my cat.

The cat woke up immediately and squealed. I sprung up and threw the man's bag off. "What is wrong with you," I yelled, "There's an animal in there!" The man looked down at the carrier. The cat was in a frenzy, meowing left and right. He looked at me, smiled and said nothing. "Aren't you even going to apologize," I continued, "You could have seriously hurt him." The man shook his head no, then started snickering. I clenched my fists. It was the first time, in a long time, that I was fully ready to deck someone. Every second he sat silently my rage grew. I slowly started his way and felt my wife's gentle touch on my arm. "Relax, Vavoom," I heard her say, "The cat will be okay. This guy's a jerk. Let it go."

Suddenly this strange man raised both hands in the air over his food and started reciting a prayer. He collapsed both hands together and begun praying while rocking himself. "You've got to be kidding me," I said, "You're religious and you won't even apologize for hurting an animal? Who are you praying to -- Satan?"

We garnered our things and walked away. "Such hypocrisy," I said. As we walked through the terminal, I realized that I was about to clean that guy's clock for a simple mistake. Here I am claiming to be a peaceful Muslim and I was about to thrash him. Looks like he wasn't the only one behaving hypocritically in that situation.

Have you ever experienced religious hypocrisy firsthand?

By the way, the cat made it through the trip without further incident. He seems to really dig the new apartment.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ed The Toothless Trucker.

"Youse Vavoom? Yeah, I'm comin' ta' pick youse up at 10:00 AM. Sharp."

"Here goes. The move is on," I thought to myself. We had been packing at a feverish pace, hoping that we'd finish in time. When the 18 wheeler arrived, a total of three men hopped out. One fellow had the physical stature of Butterbean. The other was a fast wirey guy. Those were our loaders, I figured. An old man gingerly stepped out of the drivers seat. It was Ed the toothless trucker.

"Vavoom, right? I'm Ed. Let's get your stuffs moved."

As he spoke, I noticed his front teeth had been worn down to black nubs that protruded from his bright red swollen gums. The nearest full tooth had a strange greenish hue that still makes me ill upon every revised consideration. The rest had large black stains on them.

The loaders loaded and Ed and I chatted. He told me all about his reckless childhood and how he was a real hellraiser. I kept thinking to myself, "I can't believe we're entrusting this man with all of our things." We started talking about life on the road, "Say, youse wanna see the inside of my big rigs," Ed asked. "Sure. Why not," I responded.

As I climbed into Ed's humble abode, I noticed a milk jug half filled with a frothy yellow liquid. "This is a bad idea," I thought. We sat in the rig for about half an hour. Ed told me about his service in Vietnam, how things had changed when he returned. He was a P.O.W. and experienced the worst prison camp had to offer. "How'd you get into the military," I asked. "Well, the judge says to me, he says, 'Youse gots two choices -- 30 years in prison or da military.' So I says, I says, I'm goin' military. There I was, Vietnam." "Don't do it, Vavoom. Don't ask him what he did to potentially get 30 years," I kept thinking.

"So... What'd you do to deserve 30 years in prison, Ed?"
"92 counts of whaddya call it... aggravated assault wit da' intent ta' kill. I was real young. Long time ago, that was."

A silenced swept through the cab of his 18 wheeler. "My God," I thought. Suddenly, Ed erupted, "Hey, youse like vitamins?" "Uhh... well... I just..." "Here try this," he said as he poured some goopy orange syrup into the cap of a bottle with a name like "Truckers Delight." "C'mon, takes it. What, youse too good for my vitamins?" I kept thinking about his teeth. Clearly I wouldn't drink any elixir that could've contributed to Ed's failing dental health. "Oh, I never take vitamins. I hate them. Really, I hate them. Ask my wife, she'll tell you," I reasoned. "Your loss. C'mon boy, come here." A mangy dog sprung out of the back of Ed's cab and started furiously licking up the "Truckers Delight" out of the cap Ed offered. As the dog lapped up the orange liquid, Ed said, "Wives. My first wife became a, whaddya call 'em, quadrapalegic on a count of a swimmin' accident. I racked up $500,000 dollars in medical bills tryin' ta' save her life." "Man, you must have declared bankruptcy from all of it," I responded. "Nope. Just finished payin' it off. She deserved all ofs it. I was a youngun and I was all broken ups when I learned that it wasn't gonna work. She died. I promised myself I'd pays da' bill off, sos I did."

I realized this toothless man was a remarkable guy. From further discussion, I learned that he was a fantastic person, strange, but fantastic. Just from his demeaner, I had thought he was a simpleton, a real nutjob. He served his country, paying a heavy price, turned his life around, and honorably cared for his dying wife. He did a fantastic job for us, hauling our junk across country. We've talked a couple times since he dropped off our things. Ed and I will chat every now and then, while he makes the lonely trip across country, ferrying people's dreams to their final destination. I'm proud to have befriended him and once again I've been reminded not to judge people by their physical appearance.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Our Stuff Cometh!

I'm going to have to pull a bit of a fast one on all of you. Originally, I was going to write #1-5 yesterday. However, I received a morning wake up call. "Your stuff is ready for delivery."

YES!!!

No more sleeping on an aero bed! We received everything. Not one item was missing. Not one item was broken. It was a real pain in the arse living with nothing for the past week.

I'm going to start opening boxes. I promise to write more tomorrow. Sorry for the shoddy blogging. I've been rather busy getting settled here.

Let me repeat -- not one item was missing... not one item was broken!!!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hello Boston!

It has been a while since I last posted. There's so much to write about. I'm not sure where to start.

Saying goodbye to everyone at Berkeley was tough. Really tough. Now that I'm here, sitting at my desk at Fancypants University, I realize that it was all worth it. Shockingly, I really like it here. Boston is a great town. Fancypants U is very impressive.

Here's the run down of what happened in the last week. Let's have a vote. Tell me what you'd like to hear about and I'll post about it tommorrow:

1) Moving: Vavoom learns a valuable lesson about trucking, vitamins and toothless men.

2) The cat: Vavoom learns all about transporting a pet across country. In that time, he also learns about religious hypocrisy.

3) Office politics: Vavoom learns that we are just one desk away from greatness and jealousy.

4) Saying goodbye: Vavoom learns how to say goodbye to the people and town he loves.

5) Saying hello: Vavoom embraces his kick ass apartment and new environment.

Here goes, folks. Step right up. Let me know which of these stories you'd like to hear about and I'll provide the juicy details. To be honest, I'm partial to #1, but I don't want to influence your vote.