Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Time – or – Arts And Crafts 90’s Rock

Doing anything besides driving while listening to NPR makes getting things accomplished a lot more difficult. Although NPR is a vital news source and the stories are interesting, once I park my car I am usually depressed and I want to hide my head in the sand and wait for better, brighter days (Obama). This is most likely because NPR reports what is actually happening in the world, not the candy coated, un-news crap that most news sources latch onto. Regardless. I was at a Pumpkin-ing Gathering last night, maybe it was a party. There was Jameson Irish Whiskey, which is starting to seem ever present in my life, and there was cauldron of apple cider that went well with the Jameson, and there were pumpkins that demanded creativity, and there were friends who have been friends beyond belief so believe me they are friends, and if that constitutes a party, then I was at a Pumpkin-ing Party. We were, for some reason, listening to NPR, first All Things Considered, then local news, then the BBC news, then some story about poverty in Brooklyn. NPR seemed to sap both the creativity in the conversation between the pumpkin-ers and also the levels of joy in the room the pumpkin-ers were trying to “drink, carve, and be merry” in. The creative thoughts that were to be transposed from the pumpkin-ers brains onto the pumpkins were not dampened by NPR, possibly the opposite and many a good idea was born during this emotionally turbulent time, but once the radio was changed to a 90’s pop rock station with a catchy call number jingle, pumpkin carving productivity took a huge upswing, as did whiskey consumption and all around revelry. Although motivating, the musical selection was also conducive to increased levels of, “this song sucks,” and, “wow, this song really sucks.” The common response to these statements was, “yes, it does.” Long live crap music.

This is my Mobius strip Jack-O-Lantern. I thought it up myself

Behold, Alan and the helm of Pump-ed-ness and son (kin?)

What, you want pictures? Damn you.

Nights made of awesome are... awesome? Thanks.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seven Deadly Sins Project #3 – What The Hell Is With All These Damn Christmas Lights.

Maybe you know of the quantum mechanical theory that one object can exist in two different places at one time, and there for coexists in two different times at once. I’m am proof. I work in a greenhouse, but simultaneously I work in the darkest corner in the deepest pit of Hell. Today is Tuesday, October 28, 2008 but in the Gethsemane Gift Shop, it is December 24, the night before Christmas. How did this happen? How is it that Halloween isn’t for another three days, but today I was taking down spiderwebs and packing up skeletons while stringing up electric snowflakes, unpacking fake snow-covered evergreens, and hanging glitter-covered hotdogs and multicolored-feathered birds on a tree that was dripping with so many rhinestones and sequins that it could win a pride parade pageant. Needless to say, the fact that an object, like myself, can exist in a greenhouse before Halloween, and simultaneously exist in an Elf’s workshop months later, racks up a bunch of Wrath points in my little black book.

I hung those, in a not-so-silent protest. I developed a slight rash on my neck while completing this task.

Yes, that tree is upside down.

I may start messing with Santa on a regular basis.

One of the fourteen fake trees in the store. That's right. Fourteen.

Sin Tallies as of 7:34pm, 10/28/08.
Lust – 8
Wrath – 28
Glutton – 7
Greed – 1
Pride – 10
Envy – 3
Sloth – 3

Gluttony – For Sunday Family Dinner, a good Jewish friend of mine made Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf. I had three slices. Check that, they were slabs of Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf, not slices.

Sloth – I passed out shortly after Sunday Family Dinner on a pile of pillows, in front of a fireplace, with BBQ stains on my shirt and a chin shinny with meat grease.

Wrath (22) – One vote of wrath for every Christmas ornament I was forced to hang.

Sloth – I hid in a warehouse today to avoid putting up any more Christmas decorations. It was cold, dark, musky, and full of boxes. Totally worth it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

This Is Only A Fraction Of The Story - or - Turn Your Speakers Down, Really.

8:30 am. Before a 5 hour Sons Of Susan road trip to perform at Ryan's wedding in Michigan, Alan and I took a minute to know about the bird while waiting in a parking lot outside of a big white van. Here is evidence and proof that we were about to embark on something magical.

Trust me, there is enough material from this weekend to fill a book. I will tell you all about it as soon as I am done moving. Cheers.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

For Those With No Interest In Sin - or - I Just Wanna See Something Spin

If you came here for a cool video and not a long winded lecture on how long or bright I will burn, here's one I really like.
The future is now.

Seven Deadly Sins Project #2: The First Few Sins Are Just A Warm Up

I carry around a little black book and put check marks next to my deadly sins as I commit them. I call it, The Seven Deadly Sins Project. Here is the tally so far.
Lust – 6
Wrath – 3
Gluttony – 3
Greed – 0
Pride – 5
Envy – 4
Sloth – 2

Obviously, lust is getting the better of me. But before you react in your oh-so-predictable way by saying that I should get a hobby like building model airplane or by saying that I'll go blind if I don't stop doing that, let’s go over some basic ideology here. Lust doesn’t mean I’m banging everything in sight, even though this lamp looks like it could use a good rogering. According to wikipedia, lust “is usually thought of as involving obsessive or excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature.” This means that lust isn’t an action, but more of a distracting internal flash of lewd thoughts or breath stopping images that lures one away from a more pure train of thought. I figured that 80-95% of the time that I spend awake, I spend being distracted by beautiful women. That might also include time I spend asleep, come to think of it. But it doesn’t make me evil to think this way; it makes me horny. Once I figured that out, I started to wonder if I really wanted to keep track of every time that I was so overwhelmingly distracted by a woman that I would say to myself, “that’s a sin, and if it’s not, just add a bucket of friend chicken, a toilet bowl brush, an accordion, and a snorkel and flippers to make sure it is a sin.” But in real life, I don’t stop myself for thinking lewd thoughts to put a check mark down in my little black book. I think the thought through its logical end point (a hot wife, a huge house on the beach, 2.5 loving children that will do my bidding, and a huge pile of money and diamonds) and then come back to reality with a little smile on my face. If I just happen to catch a glimpse of a beautiful woman in a low cut dress, dancing her butt off at one of the weddings I attend weekly, am I really supposed to look the other way, whip myself on the back till I bleed and mumble “Impure! Impure! Shame! Shame!” Nope. I’m supposed to picture her naked, with a pair of handcuffs in one hand and a Chicago style hot dog in the other. That’s what balls are for.

I’ve been trying to keep track of some of the more interesting instances of my sinner ways. Here are some highlights from the first few days. Note that not all sins are accounted for. There are two reasons for this.

1) I sin and there is no morality or humor to be found in it.
2) Surreptitiousness.


– A coworker had a homemade meatloaf sandwich. It smelled fantastic. I wanted to poke her in the eye and steal it. By the end of my lunch break, she gave me a bite. I didn’t know heaven fit between two slices of bread.
Lust – I brought a date to see Devil in a Woodpile. I began to force myself to yawn to get the point across that I was too tired to stay for their second set. I brought her home between sets, said goodnight, and returned to the show because I wanted to talk to two other cute girls at the show that winked at me. They ended up wanting to talk about astrology, so I ditched them and got drunk with SexFist at the RedLine Tap.
Sloth – Getting drunk with SexFist will sure make you feel slovenly.


– Woke up with “questionable content” on my computer screen.
Sloth – 10 minutes late for work after hitting the snooze button repeatedly for an hour, and then being distracted by afore mentioned “questionable content”.
Gluttony – At lunch, I had a chicken Torta, a King Sized steak Burrito, a Chorizo taco, and a large horchata. I bought all this because the Mexican joint doesn’t take credit cards for orders less than $10 and everything on the menu costs $1.75. I didn’t have to eat it all, but I did.
Lust“Questionable content” was still on my screen when I returned home from work.

Side note – I recycled 10 large garbage bags full of Styrofoam peanuts that otherwise would have go into the dumpsters. That’s gotta clear me of at least a couple sloths and a glutton or two, right?


– I wrote a Rolling Stones medley for a wedding that The Sons Of Susan have been hired to play. After tons of micromanaging, the tune sounds fantanstic. I felt proud. We will no doubt screw it up at the wedding… that, and the first dance… and then the rest of the night. I love weddings.
Pride – I dropped a huge poo in someone else’s house. I then proceeded to stand in awe of my accomplishment, with the bathroom fan on, for a good five minutes. This sin links directly back to Gluttony, which is apparently a gateway sin.
Envy – A near and dear friend of mine went out to lunch with his whole office where they all proceeded to get drunk together and, upon returning to work, got nothing accomplished on account of the entire office being “buzzed” and, instead, watched The Office.


– An X-lover told me via IM that she still listens to music that I introduced her to. She asked me if that made me proud. I said, “Pride is a deadly sin,” which was closely followed with “yes, it does.”
Wrath – Said X asked me if “it was ok for [her] to still read my blog,” even though she doesn’t want to talk to me or contact me. That type of behavior would “hurt [her] sweetheart.” So, in essence, she anonymously keeps tabs on me via one of my creative outlets, can regularly laugh along with what I share of my life from a distance, and can see the world the way I see it, but the second she shows me a hint of interest in my life outside of these rants, it damages her current relationship. That pissed me off. I see it as selfish and childish to believe that peeking in on me is innocent but telling me that you are peeking is disrespectful to your new boyfriend. Bullshit. There is more here, lady. My answer to her question is this. “Yes, you can still read my blog. I would never want to stop you from reading it, but don’t be surprised if something like these last few sentences gets tossed your way.” Wrath is gonna be a tough one for me to keep under control.
Glutton – Arby’s Beef, Bacon and Cheddar melt. Nuff said.
Wrath – Finding parking in Naperville on Friday night means contending with enough BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, and Audi owners for one of the fourteen parking spots in Naperville. All the drivers in this town needed to be yelled at for being idiots. I proudly took up the job.
Pride – I was the only person / nerdfighter, out of more than 200, at John Green’s Paper Towns book signing that had a beard. His response to this observation was something along the lines of, "If all the nerdfighters were 16, I don't think that we'd accomplish much."
Pride – I briefly explained to John Green, who is a privately religious man, what this Seven Deadly Sins Project was about and then asked him to sign my list of sins under pride. He replied, “If you’ve only been guilty of the sin of pride four times in a month, you’re doing pretty well.” I told him it was day three. He laughed as he became check mark number five.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Seven Deadly Sins Project Part #1: This Project Is Spelled With A Capital Vice

When it rains, it pours. What also happens when it rains? Well, first off, not a lot of people think, “This is perfect weather for going to go house plant shopping.” If there is an economic crisis while it’s raining, even fewer people head towards the greenhouse. In essence, when it rains, it pours and people stay inside and I get bored at work. I had some free time on my hands during the rain earlier this week, and you know what they say about idle hands. I needed something to do, so I tried to remember the Seven Deadly Sins, or the Cardinal Sins, or the Capital Vices. I found it easier to remember them if I wrote them down. Lust, Wrath, Gluttony, Greed, Pride, Envy, Sloth. It actually took me an hour or so to remember them all. The paper on which I wrote them down was long and narrow, so it kind of looked like a shopping list.

“I need 4 cans of Wrath, a box of Envy, a big ol’ jug of Gluttony, and three pounds of sliced Lust. Some garden fresh Sloth sounds nice. Oh yeah, I can’t forget the shaved Greed and crushed Pride.”

Having this shopping list got me thinking about our American / Capitalist culture and how it seems that the entertainment for the masses these days focuses on as many of these sins as possible, as often as possible, all at once. The penultimate example I can think of is the MTV show, “My Super Sweet 16,” which is second only to live coverage of the House of Representatives on CSPAN. But there is no room here to rant about stupid television shows that I do not watch on purpose, or politics. There is room for a little statistic taking, though. Here’s my idea.

1) I will have a small black notebook and a pen on my person, at all times. The first seven pages of this notebook will contain my shopping list of deadly sins.

2) I will record a slash for each sin I commit as I feel I commit them. I have asked a few “watch-gods” to catch me if I miss one or two.

3) I will make records of my favorite instances of sin and post them on this website periodically.

4) At the end of two weeks, I will find an average daily rate of sin. With this info I will spend the next two weeks sinning less than average (hopefully by half, or more), and the following weeks sinning more than average (hopefully twice as often, or more) and find out which lifestyle is more fun.

There it is, the Seven Deadly Sins Project. I welcome anyone who is willing to join me in sinning up a storm in the name of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Obsquatchiness.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Think I Love Golf, Finally - or - Houston, We Have A Solution

This is the funniest thing I've seen in a while from the website Urban Prankster. They take the best of the "pranks, hacks, participatory art, flash mobs, and other creative endeavors that take place in public places in cities across the world," and post it for me to say things like, "I wish I had thought of that," and "If I were there, I bet I'd meet my future wife." This one literally make me spit Guinness all over my monitor.

What else is making me laugh these days? The first third of this book that was just released on Thursday, 10/16/08.

And, when it is making me laugh, I am laughing my butt off at a somber coffee shop filled with hipsters not laughing. Holy crap, is it Friday? And I spend the night in a coffee shop? Crap. Someone remind me how to have a life.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Buddy The House Plant #5: Who Likes Life? Who Wants More Of It?

I am moving out my apartment. I am moving into my own place. It has taken me 30 years to figure out that I don’t want to live with roommates anymore, so on Oct 25th, I’m packing all of my things into boxes and walking down one flight of stairs into the apartment directly below my current one. I am literally moving 20 feet. Arguably not a big move. Here’s the only problem, I will not have a dining room. I will have a dining room but not the one I have right now, which I use as a living room because my real living room is actually my bedroom, and that moved the living room into what was the dining room, which moved the dining room into half of the kitchen, which was then filled with houseplants, along with the dining room, the living room, and my bedroom, which is the new arboretum and which also maintains living proof that the chaos theory will not get laundry folded. The kitchen / dining room of my current place has east facing windows, the living room has a huge south facing window, and my bedroom has west facing windows. I do not have blinds on any of these windows because they are filled with plants. There are plants everywhere, dammit. Everywhere.

Even Ikus prefers to sleep in the soil of the Croton plant I put in his cage.

My new apartment is about the size of my current bedroom / living room / chaos theory chamber. There are two other rooms in the new place, but one is the kitchen and one is a strange entryway-cubical which will soon become my shoe / bike / bass / fish / snake storage room. This new place does not have nearly the same amount window space, so my plants will not survive. The cactuses will die shadowy shaded little deaths and the Wandering Jew will quit wandering, give up the lowly life of a houseplant, and become an investment banker or a movie director. The Ficus will fail, the Begonia will be gone-ya, the nepenthes will turn from a pitcher plant to a catcher plant and catch some kind of plant plague, and most of my jade plants will go to the great greenhouse in the sky. That is unless you save these poor, wretched botanical souls.

In short, I am going to give away the lion’s share of my house plants. If you want one, get in touch with me and I will give you a sadistic, maniacal, abusive life form of your very own. There are only a few that I won’t give up, including the 9-foot Aralia, the 5-year-old Jade tree, the 3-stem Dracaenia Tarzana, the Staghorn plaque and the Hawarthia bowl.

What are you waiting for? Come take a tour of my personal green house and take home a part of my life, and destroy it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Uplifting Songs For Chipper People – or – Let Me Drown

I didn’t put on pants today. Instead, I skipped a meeting, lied to rich woman about being able to take care of her infected cactus, thawed some frozen chicken, and wrote this song.

I woke up on the floor again this morning
My wallet’s here but all my money’s gone
There’s a throbbing in my head
As I make my empty bed,
But I tie my shoes and try to move along.

The church bells down the street are softly tolling,
And someone’s mourning a loved one they held dear
And as I’m shuffling by,
A tear falls from my eye
Cause I miss that girl and wish that she was here.

Ohhhhh, let me drown
This bottle is the only friend around.
The wheels are flat but this truck still runs
My back is good, but this load weights tons
And it seems the only way to go is down.

She used to lay her head down right beside me,
She used to whisper prayers into my ear.
And I sent her on her way
And regret it most every day,
My true love’s gone and I’m still waiting here.

Now the Angel’s share is in the Devil’s hand.
And there’s darkness in the heart of every man.
Mine surrounded her bright eyes,
And snuffed them out one at a time
Now I walk along the pathway of the Damned.

Ohhhhh, let me drown
This bottle is the only friend around.
The wheels are flat but this truck still runs
My back is good, but this load weights tons
And it seems the only way to go is down.
Music and Lyrics by Obsquatch ©2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

2nd Annual Sketchy Mustache Competition - We Have A Winner

Shawn moped up the opposition, and then the kitchen floor, with his hairy, sketchy, just plain wrong, face. Then he shaved this masterpiece.

If only Nick Cave had entered, he would have won.

Shawn, you win an honest to goodness pirate flag with a fake mustache glued onto it. Wave it with pride and stay away from high schools. Send me your address and I'll send you the flag. Congrats, my friend.

Final Score
Van = 8 1/2 very impressed and mostly totally unbiased votes

Obsquatch = 13 votes from sympathetic people in meaningful relationships that wonder, "Why? What happened to him?"

Shawn = 18 1/2 votes from people who will someday be running our government. That's a vote that I can believe in.

Thanks to everyone who either didn't shave or everyone who enjoyed the results. I love you all?