Saturday, April 30

I'm Going To Puke My Pants.

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OFFICIAL PLACE - 3713 out of about 13,500

That right there is a goal achieved! I'm happy, I'm proud of myself and I'm limping around the house like a loser. (I forgot the camera, so there's no pictures right now, but maybe some will pop up later.) If you want to double-check my work and look at some of the other results, check out the official page.

I got there 90 minutes early, plenty of time to get the Missus (along with my Mother & Grandmother) settled at Camp Randall. I took a shuttle bus to the starting line, and milled around and stretched for about an hour. (I spent most of this time in the State Captiol, because it was about 40 degrees this morning, and I was freezing.)

I eventually ran into Suzie, (the co-worker who had talked me into this mess), and we decided to start together at around the 8-minute pace starting line. She's a distance runner, and I knew there was no way I was keeping up with her, but I wanted to see how long I could pace with her anyways. Deep down I wasn't competing with anyone but myself, I just wanted to finish in under an hour. The gun went off, and we were on our way.

I held pace with Suzie for about 2 miles before I left her behind. I didn't do it on purpose, it just happened. I was feeling pretty good for the first couple miles, as the course was relatively flat and comfortable. I was breathing fine, and my legs were working well. I had no idea that I could run 2.5 miles without feeling any problems at all. Then the course started screwing with me.

A huge, uphill climb put a lot of people out of commission, and I probably passed 500 people on it, but at around mile 3 I started to suck wind through my mouth and feel a bit tired. The competitive person in me made it impossible to stop though, and I just held pace with people for a few seconds before eventually passing them. My legs started to get weak, though, and I started to get dizzy and winded. The distance between mile 3 and 4 was horrifying, and I started to stumble around like a drunk for a bit before I calmed myself down and got back on track. The distance between those 2 markers seemed endless.

In this time, Suzie managed to catch back up to me with 1 mile to go. Looking at the clock, I realized that I was at around 36 minutes, and I knew I was going to reach my goal. Suzie slipped by me in the last mile, eventually beating me by about a minute. Coming around the corner and into Camp Randall was amazing, and I couldn't believe that I could run 5 miles without stopping to walk or die. Let me make this very clear to you, I DON'T RUN. I haven't ran anything longer than a mile since High School. Only in the last several weeks have I gone out for a mile or so every few days. There's a good chance that I will not do this again, but I'll make that decision once my legs feel better.

I could talk about this longer, but I think you get the picture. Many thanks to those who gave me good advice, those who laughed at me and said I was a loon, and a very special thanks to my I-Pod Shuffle, which got me through the last 3 miles. Here was the random "3-Mile Mix", in case you were wondering:

Kick De' Bucket - Liberator
Pete Jackson Is Getting Married - Less Than Jake
Lifestyle of Rebellion - Against All Authority
Horror Business - The Misfits
Symptom Finger - The Faint
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House - LCD Soundsystem
Float On - Modest Mouse

So, there you go. I've done it. It's done. What do you think?

Oh, by the way, here's that cartoon I promised. It was made for me by Andrea, the around-5 year old daughter of Suzie. (Suzie does payroll, so that person is saying, "Where's my check?")

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Never underestimate the sheer brilliance of subtlety. It's way funnier than a big, overblown-

I just crapped my pants.

Friday, April 29

You're Creepy.

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I wore my emo-rimmed glasses to work yesterday. I sometimes do that when I'm trying to look studious and hip (instead of the usual, unshaven and disoriented). I know what you're thinking. "What work activity could possibly cause you to get up early to shave and wear sexy glasses?" The answer is pretty simple.

Take your daughter to work day.

I am a simple man. I have simple needs and desires, hopes and fears. As one of the youngest individuals at my office, I have no problem catching the eyes of lonely widows and women in loveless relationships. I'm used to attracting that sort of attention. As I grow older, however, I find myself more and more out of touch with what the young people find "cool". My solemn vow to never lose touch with teenage trends has faded into a sea of Sweet Corn Festivals and talk radio. I have no idea what these kids are doing, and take your daughter to work day was my last chance to infiltrate the complex system of the teenage female brain.

I learned something that I forgot I learned when I was a teenager. I'm not really missing out.

You want to know what teenage girls are doing? They're buying CD's by bands they hear on the radio. They're picking out dresses for a prom that's 5 years away. They stress over their weight, but still make fun of fat people. They're hitching rides to the mall from older guys with cars. (By the way, teenage girls that date older guys are NOT cool. They're just going out with a guy who can't find a girl his own age, because they all know better.) Basically, they're doing what they've always been doing, mystery solved.

We don't need Oprah and Good Morning America warning us of their sexual exploits and designer drugs. The thing about the jelly bracelets and weekend orgies? The television promising you that your daughter is a whore and a liar? Not as prevalent as you might think. Trust your kids. If they want to tell you something, they will. If you're overly suspicious and yell before you think, they'll get pregnant on your bed. Simple as that.

I used to think teenage girls were a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in Dr. Pepper lip gloss, sporting ultra-low cut pants. In honesty, young women are pretty easy to figure out. If they like you, they'll find every possible way to cross your path 20 times a day. If they don't like you, they'll still pass you 20 times a day, but they'll talk loudly about how you creep them out. Either way, you'll get the picture.

Girls are still territorial and mean to other girls, that's just never going to change. Guys will get into a fistfight and emerge as best friends. Women will methodically lie and do everything they can to get their way, but they'll do it to you with a big, friendly smile on their faces. It's amazing, and should be an Olympic event. This isn't true of all women, of course. For every awful girl, there's a wonderful person who truly loves and respects everyone. This makes her an easy target for every bottom-feeding jackass on the planet. There's no way to win in High School, so pick a personality and run with it. You'll probably end up crying either way.

I should have you know that I did most of my research in secret. These women didn't know that I was evaluating them when I was pretending to work. Every now and then I would emerge with a question, just to see their response. Example:

(A young lady is playing Minesweeper on her Mother's computer. She looks up to find me standing there, looking dashing and sweaty.)

ME: "Hello, young lady!"
YL: "Um...hello? Are you looking for my Mom?"
ME: "No, I'm looking for you. Can I ask you a question?"
YL: "Um...well, I guess."
ME: "Capital! What do you think of Snoop Doggy Dogg?"
YL: "Um...don't you mean Snoop Dogg?"
ME: "Excuse me?"
YL: "Snoop Dogg."
ME: "Precisely. What do you think of him?"
YL: "Um...he's alright, I guess."
ME: "Fascinating."

(I continue to stand there, scribbling away on my clipboard.)

YL: "I'm...gunna go get a candy bar."
ME: "Shall I join you?"
YL: "You shan't."

I'm telling you, nothing has changed. I ended up having the most fun with Andrea, the 5-year-old daughter of our payroll manager. She was hilarious, and I made her a personalized name tag because I knew she'd like it. She didn't want to leave, but I promised her that I'd see her again, and I let her keep the name tag. In tune, she made me the funniest cartoon I've ever seen. (I'll post it next time.)

Here's 5 important things before I go:

1. I'm finally running that 5-mile race tomorrow. I'll give you a full review this weekend.

2. If you press the numbers 1-2-3-8 and 4 on your telephone, it sounds like the new McDonalds jingle. I'm lovin' it! I figured that out at work, and it blew my mind.

3. I met a really nice guy named Andrew on Tuesday. He's an old-school Mediocre At Best fan, and he managed to track me down. I hooked him up with some MAB-robilia, including a one-of-a-kind live CD. He has beautiful hair, and it was nice to meet him. (If we sound really nice and friendly, maybe he'll post on here.)

4. My book review is in the new issue of Core Weekly. Check it 'oot.

5. This month is on pace to be the biggest-ever here at the CDP. I've had over TWO THOUSAND visits in April, which is very close to the record set in December of 2004. Thank you very much. I want to take you all behind the shed and beat the crap out of you as a sign of my appreciation.

I have to go and massage my thighs now. I've got a long day tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27

Our Girls Were Looking So Good.

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You said, "My life is like a bad movie."
I said, "That's true of all of us."
You said, "I've got to wake up so damn early."
I said, "Maybe the Director's turned on us."

Today marked my final day as acting receptionist at work. For the last six weeks I've put my mounds of paperwork on hold to cover for the normal receptionist, on a six week leave after giving birth to a young child (quite young, only six weeks from what I've been told). I can now finally get back to whatever the hell it is that I do at the office. I honestly cannot remember what I used to do, for the thousands of phone calls and hundreds of walk-ins have turned my short-term memory into Nestle's Quik.

This afternoon, a young woman no older than me came in. We exchanged witty-yet-intelligent banter with each other while she waited to talk to someone else. She looked at me a little crooked and said, "Do you watch The Office?" (I assumed that she meant the new American version and not the British version that's never on when I'm available. I mean, 10:40pm-11:10pm? What the hell is with the English not adapting to a more sensible scheduling grid?)

"Yes, I do." I said, as she stared uncomfortably long into my chin.

"This place really reminds me of that show!" She shot back, beaming an infectious smile that made me fire one back without even wanting to. She was right, though. Our office looks almost exactly like the set from the new mid-season TV series (that's almost certain to be cancelled after winning an Emmy). I wanted to explain to her that although I wished my job was more like a mockumentary, it was usually more painful and depressing. It seems ironic that I find joy in watching a show were people pretend to do my job.

Instead, I lied and told her that my job did remind me of "The Office" as well, and politely went back to my work. Five seconds later, I looked up to find her still staring at me. She was almost certainly waiting for me to do something wacky and unexpected, like the actors on the show.

So I punched her in the neck and told her to get the hell out. She didn't laugh, but I think she understood why it was funny, which is sometimes better than laughing.

Tomorrow I have not four, not six, but THREE articles in the newest issue of Core Weekly. They now owe me $6.00, which I will put towards an oil change. I also need to get out in the miserable weather and do some final preparing for the big race on Saturday. We'll talk again tomorrow or Friday, whichever comes first.

So long, Constantine. Nobody likes a phony.

Sunday, April 24

She Is Your Marrow, And Your Ride Home.

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So, several years ago, me and Aaron had the distinct pleasure of meeting Weezer in Milwaukee. They were touring in support of the Green Album, and were nice enough to take a picture with us.


Make Believe comes out on May 10, you can listen to clips of 2 new songs here. I've got running to do, we'll talk again tomorrow.