Just Not Horny Enough

I like Christina Aguilera. That’s one guilty admission, from me to you. Christina Aguilera is all right in my book. I liked her in her “Come On Over Baby” days—I even have that CD, though I bought it for a dollar at a used CD store in Edinboro, Pa. I thought her “Beautiful” song was unusually affirming for a ladysinger of her ilk. And I like the decade-bending of her latest work. Except.

Except she had a full compliment of horns on SNL this week and did not use them. All they did was provide that percussive “Bop. Doo-dot. Bow.” on “Ain’t No Other Man.” As I watched it I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them, you know, I could hear them thinking, for this I spent 14 hours a day in a practice room through my late teens and early 20s? Christ. You’ve got a full compliment of horns and you’re trying to create echoes of the big band era. Write them a chart or something. Let them wail.

The appearance did nearly redeem itself with her duet with Tony Bennett. But not quite. I would have been happier to see him perform with Jane Monheit, or to have seen the time allotted to those HORNS in the first act.

Jessicacita and I watched The Station Agent…a weird but worth-watching film. It has a midget in it. I don’t really think there’s much more that needs to be said.

Here at my office, we’re getting ready to move. We’ll move on Fry-day, even. And there are people coming in to the office apparently considering moving in to this space, so periodically, people will pass my office at that sort of “just browsing” lumbering pace—and sort of look in. It makes me want to jump on my chair and start acting like a chimp.

If I get through the week without throwing my own poop at somebody, someone owes me a cookie.

I think my Mama will like the new theme I just found and altered today. It appropriates from a design of yore that she was fond of because mamas like to see pictures of their kids when they’re kids, and she was just telling me that she thought the one I’d just gotten were a little too “generic.” I like it. I’m still detailing. But I like it.

Spoilers! All of Youse!

I deliberately left the television OFF last night to save the best television of the week for later, so as not to kick off my first week back post-convention on a lip-doodling, junkie-like vegetation at the hands of the cathode nipple. That’s what Tivo is for. However, thanks to the kind folks at the Stern Fan Network and HuffPost, I already have a pretty good idea what’s going on at The West Wing. The Interweb is EVIL. Evil, I tells you.

I am back in the office today. My plant was dried up because I fergot to aks anyone to tend for her. But she got an extra dose of water and will soon get some plant food. I have already filled the recycle bin nearly to the brim with crap I didn’t have a chance to git rid of because I was too bizy with convention crap. I have begun on one or three top-urgent projects. I have posted a “see you next year” graphic at the convention website and am formulating a new Web strategy for next year’s convention and an off-the-wall marketing campaign involving the New Orleans Zephyrs.

I was definitely feeling the crush about a month out, definitely feeling it hard, as I’m sure a lot of us wuz. But it’s over, and it was a hell of a fuk of a good convention. That is awesome. And it makes you get back to your office full of new ideas and ambitions and excitement and junk. And that lasts about three weeks, tops. But I like convention because of this buzz. It’s pretty cool.

Just stop telling me what happens on The West Wing, and don’t give me ANYTHING on The Sopranos or Grey’s Anatomy, riiiiiight? And, also, comment spammers, ya’ll can give up now. These comments is moderated, riiiight? Riiiiiight?

Howdy from Las BlahBlah

The desert air isn’t good for people, I think. It really dries a person out. I drink the water and apply the lotion and Chap Stick, but man, one can’t help but feel like a sandpaper-face out here.

It is a good convention, the best, actually, by our most specific measurement of success—attendance is at 4,150-some and counting. I am tired already. It is fun to run the raffle machine, but it is exhausting.

I think I flew in with Paula Poundstone, D.C. to L.A. She was nodding off at the gate and just about didn’t wake up in time, and I told her I was about to nudge her awake. If she wasn’t Paula Poundstone, she was her twin sister.

I look forward to getting home where there is actual moisture in the air and to a point where I am no longer in convention season and can be a reasonable human being again.

Time to go do some more conventioneering.

You Better Get Right…

Whilst in sunny Illinois: I couldn’t help but read the bumpersticker out loud in the back of the cab. I wish I hadn’t. But it made use of an ol’ Southernbaptisism that I only know because it’s a Jennyanykind song. It was sort of in rhebus form somehow, and it said, “you better get right with God,” and so I read it out loud and went “hmmmmph.”

The coworker next to me said, “That’s right.” Then said, “What, are you not a true believer, Aaron?”

Now, my religious beliefs cannot actually be written on a notecard. I tend to follow the thinking of many of our Founding Fathers, most of whom were Deists. However, I also tend to believe in some form of reincarnation. But I do not tend to accept Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. Call me a skeptic, or call me a person who was not * raised * with any particular faith. More certainly, call me someone who has noticed that belief in Jesus Christ has been one of the most politically misppropriated forces of the universe, evar, and that this trend has been on a spectacular rise as of late. You may also call me somebody who has found more universal truths in Frank Zappa’s Only In It For The Money than from any book in the Bible. Finally, call me someone who thinks a tale that spans from virgin birth to resurrection is only slightly less goofy than the one about the winged horse flying thousands and thousands of miles in an evening or the fella what found holy documents based on the advice of an Indian ghost. But how do you explain this to the Suthun belle sitting next to you in the cab after the wine and the prawns and in a still semi-work environment yet?

So I mumbled something like, no, but I appreciate folks who do have faith. Which I do. As my answer trailed off, she chimed in with a “Veddy intedesting.” Which I thought was weird. Her editorial comment was as if to say, how very strange it is that you say you don’t believe in the Christ. Wow. You really are a weirdo. And I find it sad as a progressive that this country hasn’t gotten further than this, that in fact the government has been infiltrated by the Lubavitch of Christianity, and that just admitting that you believe differently than a Christ-worshipper grants you an eyeroll.

I once, seriously, had a fella tell me that the Constitution guarantees us freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Seriously. So, by this guy’s mandate, I’d be game to be locked up in the stocks because I tend to believe that some fortuitous spark, not an ethereal being who watches over us like Santy Claus and requires us to kiss his ass every Sunday, is what led to all of this?

Anyway, I know I’m probably overreacting. I often do. Still, I sort of wish I hadn’t read that stupid bumper sticker out loud.

No. But There Is A Phylum.

I just got something in the mail from the Society of National Association Publications.

Hold the phone…there’s a society for publications of associations?

Is there a guild for such societies?

Is there an association of such guilds?

Is there a kingdom of said associations?

If so…how do I join?

*

I am losing my mind.

The printer calls. Aaron, he says, I don’t believe you sent the postage check.

Oh, sure I did, says I, I just sent it a day early, so you must have it.

We hang up. He tears up his plant looking for it, digging through garbage cans, looking in files, his co-workers are going, what the hell are you looking for?

He calls back. No check.

So I go tearing through my office looking for it, pulling up papers, looking in files, sweating bullets because I would look so very foolish if I had indeed lost the check.

I remembered tearing the stub off and filing it, so I figured at least if I had the stub, I would look somewhat responsible, and perhaps I could acquire a copy of said check…

As it turns out, I seem to have filed them both.

It is Friday, isn’t it?

*

Me: What’s that?
Our Company’s Computer Guy: That’s a UPS.
Me: What’s it do?
Our Company’s Computer Guy: It’s a UPS.

The Fishin’ Hole

In my office, every day at approximately the same time, one of my co-workers starts whistling The Fishin’ Hole, also known as The Andy Griffith Show Theme Song. This is a new development, and a bit strange.

You see, a few years back, I met Barney Fife.

Well…sorta. I met the man who is probably the most effective Barney Fife impersonator in the country. His name is David Browning, and he’s as close to the “official” Barney Fife impersonator there is. Even Mr. Knotts approves…

Browning came out to a Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Johnston County to help celebrate its opening. He was funny. Very effective as the bungling lawman. He had the car, the hat, the buggy eyes, the awkward stance…and yes, Virginia, he had the bullet in his pocket. It was a brilliant performance, brilliant enough to make my front page that week. (Sure, it was a slow newsweek. ALL of them were slow newsweeks in Johnston County.) And, frankly, brilliant enough for me to become a fan of the show and a novice trivia buff…(quick, why’d Fife decide he could put an “M.D.” in front of his name?)

Sometimes, I miss Raleigh so damned bad. I miss the incredibly lush quality that the foliage has there. I miss REAL barbecue. I miss being a stone’s throw from Chapel Hill. Hell, I miss Fuquay-Varina, believe it or not. And I really miss it every time I say “hey” to a stranger in this particular metropolitan area just to be walked through like I’m a ghost. So much as open your mouth in some parts of Carolina, and you’ve just shot the next 45 minutes on friendly conversation.

But I can’t ever deny that my spiritual home is D.C. I began the process of adopting this place when I was 13 years old. Visits with Dad showed this generally medium-sized-college-town youngster what the metropolitan life could offer. There’s no decent Thai food in Kent, no expansive art museums where you might actually see a Dali, no public transit. Of course, there’s not much chance that an airplane will end up flying into Brady’s Cafe. I guess a large part of life is picking your dangers. Proximity to the dastardly deeds of terrorists, or, um…boredom? Yep, I think I’ve pretty much made my pick.

But. I really wish they’d stop whistling that.

Buried in Paper

A bit for you today regarding how my mind works, as if you might find this topic fascinating…

As I have slightly lamented in this particular column, I have recently moved from a Nice, Big, Windowed Office into a less nice, smaller, windowless office. As I have said, I must say again: I am pleased as hell to have an office at all, or, for that matter, to even have a job and the wits with which to perform it reasonably well.

::kicking dirt:: I still miss my damned window, though.

Anyway. When I was in my bigger office, and after I inherited the additional responsibilities as Webmaster for my organization, I had to do some detective work, which meant I had to spend some time cleaning out the office belonging to the previous Webmaster. (I didn’t ogle anything personal, bro’. Don’t fuss.)

Now, personally, I’m not sure how this lad ever got anything done. He was buried in paper. Piles of it, reams of it, acres of it, everywhere could find it, there was paper. I think he had the entire Webmonkey Cold Fusion tutorial printed out twice (it’s several hundred pages long). So, I pitched about half of it, kept the receipts and some of the stuff that looked like it would contain vital information, and I dumped those papers onto an empty tabletop in my nice, roomy office. As I had time, I would sort through the mess of papers, pull out the 5 percent of what was worth keeping, and recycle the rest. Despite my best efforts, deadlines were my real priority, and I didn’t mitigate but perhaps a third of the pile.

Of course…in my new office, there’s no tabletop. No room for one.

So all that pile of stuff that I haven’t gone through, it’s on the floor in front of my desk.

Oh, I could put this pile in the drawer of the filing credenza. There’s enough room there, and it would remove this unsightly mess.

If I do that, though, what will be my incentive to actually clean the mess up? If it’s out of sight, it will be out of mind, and it will continue to be an unmanageable stack of obsolete paper. If I leave it where it is now, and I get enough “tsk tsk” noises clucked at me, I will have a grand incentive to actually send pounds and pounds of this useless paper packing.

Do I think too hard?

The Office

My senior year in college, I worked as in intern in Washington, D.C. No, not one of those kinds of internships. I spent two days a week at a little media group that tended to work with leftish non-profits, or not-for-profits, or whatever you call ’em. When I worked there, I formed one notion of what I wanted to achieve after college: A job in Washington, D.C., an office with a big window, and a reasonably comfortable life. I was essentially shooting for a job as a newsletter editor and a nice place to live in Northern Virginia.

You know what? For awhile, I had all of that. Today, though, I lost the office.

I now reside from nine to five in a smaller, danker office without a window. And…um…well, there’s this STENCH…

Yes, friends, life just keeps getting better and better. And better. (‘Sokay, ya’ll. I got my eyes on the prize. I’ll get there someday.)

Bait

Show me the way to the next sushi bar. Oh, don’t ask why. Oh, don’t ask why.

I tried sushimi while in Vegas. I didn’t order it directly, I tried somebody else’s. Not to be unsophisticated or anything, but blech!

I also tried sake. Also, blech.

I’m home now, and ever so happy to be here. I got in at 1:30 a.m. Stayed up ’til like 3. Woke up and had breakfast with Uncle Johnny. Glad to be home. I missed the feta cheese and spinach and tomato omlette at Metro 29. I missed Alice the Cat (I’ve renamed her “Alice.” Don’t ask.) I missed having my own computer. I missed not having to wear a tie every day.

Now that I’m home, I can start telling everyone to read Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men. Every American should read this fabulous book. Yes, that means you.

And now, to go recover from Vegas.

Elevator Musik

The Bellagio has perfected elevator muzik.

When you step onto the elevator, there is no music playing. Then, once the elevator car begins its descent, music starts to play. It is always a different genre; sometimes it plays show tunes, sometime Sinatra, sometimes Baroque. It’s little details like this that makes a week’s stay at this place interesting and pleasant.

From my room, I can see the fountain waters dance. The water streams, I’ve heard, are directed by little explosions at the pool bottom. You can turn on the television in your room to a particular channel and listen to music the water dance is coordinated to. I actually stood at my window a few nights ago and watched the waters dance to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”

And it was actually pretty cool.

Our convention has been successful. My program with the author G.D. Gearino went over very well. I’m going to write Dan a big thank you note when I get home. “Dear Dan,” it will read, “thank you for making me look good.”

I’m ready to go home now. Unfortunately, the convention schedule disagrees with me. I have one more day.