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Archive for December, 2004

We need to talk about your flare

I was recently thinking about jobs I’ve had in the past. The first job I had upon passing the ivory towers of the university was a telemarketer for the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association (TDPSOA).

NOTE: If you receive a phone call from someone taking donations for the TDPSOA, hang up. If you’d like to donate to the peace officers (or firefighters or any other public service organization) you can donate directly.

So my telemarketing job was rather monotonous. I did well at this job but after six weeks or so, I decided to spice things up a little. I used to call people and the conversation would go something like this:

Person eating dinner: “Hello?”
Person eating dinner: “Hello?!…”
Person eating dinner: “HELLLLOOO?!!!!!!!”
Josh: “Hello! Mr. Jack Kerblashulsnuckitz?” [Actual pronounciation: Smith. All telemarketers are required to butcher your name]
PED: “This is him.”
Josh: “Hi Mr. Kerblashulsnuckitz, this is Josh Janicek with the Texas…”
PED: “Actually, it’s Smith. Mr. Smith.”
Josh: “Right. How are you doing this evening Mr. Smitherblashulsnuckitz?”
PED: [Sighs] “Fine.”
Josh: “My name is Josh Janicek and I’m calling on behalf of the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Assocation and the reason for this phone call is that the DPSOA is needing some help this year…”

And I’d go on with my pitch. Fifty percent were naive and gave me their information so I could send them ‘something’. The other half screamed and cussed and told me where I could put my phone.

Employees couldn’t deviate from the script. I noticed the high turnover in this telemarketing cube farm so I decided to make my job more fun. I did so in adopting aliases because nobody bothered to know anyone’s name.

PED: “HELLLLOOOOO?!?!?….”
Josh: “Hi Mr. Uzbekistan. My name is Mike McCready.” (Guitar player from Pearl Jam)

The guy in the cubicle next to me overheard my conversation and snickered.

I overheard his next phone call.

PED: “Hello?”
Guy in next cube: “Hi Mrs. Jones, this is Ronnie James Dio.” (Singer for Dio)

This went on and on. We tried to out-do each other all day with obscure rock star telemarketing alter egos.

One day one of the managers came to talk to me. The managers were the guys who wore headsets and walked about the cube farm. They wore headsets so they could listen in on our telmarketing phone calls. This particular manager came and sat down next to me to tell me how great of a job I was doing.

He said: “Now Mike, you’re doing a great job. There are some areas we can work on, but all-in-all, great job. Mike, how do you spell you last name? Is it McKreedy?”

I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. Not because I was being recognized for doing good work, but because I had to tell him how to spell McCready – my alter ego and the guitar player for Pearl Jam.

At 5 O’clock when the siren sounded and the work day was over, the managers always gave us a pep talk. On this particular day, my manager said: “And congratulations to Mike McCready for getting top sales today!”

I turned beet red. Everyone clapped.

Ronnie James Dio sat at his cubicle, looked directly at me and laughed his ass off.

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Christmas 2004

Christmas of this year has come and gone. I just couldn’t get into the mood this year. Perhaps it snuck up on me. Perhaps I’m getting older and grumpier. Anyhow, it’s over and I wanted to write about it before I have to get up from here to run out and purchase lights, gifts, cookie ingredients and greeting cards for Groundhog Day.

We woke up at the crack of dawn last Thursday, drove to Dallas (stopping at the Czech Stop in West – as always) and caught our plane to Chicago O’hare. We had an hour layover and we were both hungry. Seeing how I’d never been to Chicago or spent any significant time in O’hare, we decided it would be fitting to find some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Our on-foot scouting led us to no deep dish pizza. So we settled for a cup of soup and a sandwich.

We finished watching Napoleon Dynamite on the iBook as we flew to Des Moines. Elise’s mom and dad picked us up at the airport. We made our way out of the terminal into the blistering cold to load our luggage into the van. Luckily the weather wasn’t as cold as I was expecting. It was only 5 degrees outside. It wasn’t the 1 degree that I was expecting. Whew – what a difference that made!

Joanne made a 7 layer dip and chicken breasts with black beans and stewed tomatoes for dinner. Steve and I went up to the office and I cleaned up their computer. Eric came over later that evening and we all chatted for a while.

On Friday we woke up had breakfast and went our separate ways. Steve and I did went to Walgreens and to the local computer shop. Elise and Joanne went Christmas shopping, picked up some groceries from the Italian market and picked up Grandma T. Steve and I made it back to the house a lot sooner than the girls. Steve had to iron his shirt before lunch so I took a nap.

The girls came home and we were soon off to church.

I go to church once a year (assuming there are no weddings or funerals) on Christmas eve. I had recently considered becoming a Catholic but ultimately decided against it. My reasoning: Catholics are greedy.

I’ve been with Elise for almost seven years now. No matter how politely I ask, every time we’re in church and it comes time during mass where the congregation goes up to get nachos and cherry Kool Aid, Elise never brings any back for me.

After church we went back to the house where Joanne made tortellini soup with focaccia bread. After dinner we drove around Des Moines for almost three hours looking at Christmas lights.

Saturday was Christmas. I called my parents and then built a Texas-sized snowman (everything except snowmen are bigger in Texas).

Eric and Kim came over after spending time with Kim’s family. We had a great prime rib dinner with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. We opened presents late in the afternoon.

Ingrid came over later that evening. Eric and Kim went home shortly after. Steve, Ingrid and I stayed up for a while before Ingrid left and the rest of us went to bed.

Steve, Joanne and Elise went to church on Sunday morning. I stayed back and finished working on Steve and Joanne’s computer and hooking up their new DVD player. Steve and I drove over to Grandma T.’s to hook up her new computer monitor and to install a crossword puzzle game. Steve and I then went to CompUSA and Best Buy to scope out printers and scanners. In the meantime, the girls were returning gifts and doing more shopping at Younkers. We met up for at a local Chinese buffet for dinner. It was shortly after dinner that the cold Elise had been fighting had been passed on to me. We all went home and watched Rudy on DVD.

Sometime during the night, I had a nightmare that didn’t leave me with much sleep. Steve and I went to Dahl’s for candy ingredients and Alka Seltzer. Eric and Kim came over for lunch. Eric and I went to Felix and Oscar’s while Kim and Elise went to Burlington Coat Factory. Eric and Kim treated us to a nice dinner at Greenbrier Restaurant & Bar where Heather met up with us for a nice visit. After dinner the four of us went back to Steve and Joanne to watch the Blue Collar Comedy Tour on DVD.

We woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday so Steve and Joanne could take us to the airport. I was still very much under the weather. We had breakfast in the Denver International Aiport and caught our next flight to Dallas. We watched Heat on the iBook to pass the time. Luckily all of our luggage arrived and we made our way home.

We stopped at the Czech Stop again for more kolaches and finally made it home to Austin. We unpacked and I took a nap for a couple hours. I woke up, called my boss and told him I wouldn’t be in to work on Wednesday as I was still sick. I went back to bed around 11 p.m. and didn’t wake up until around 12 today. And am I glad I took the day off. I’m still feeling under the weather but should be better tomorrow.

So, Christmas is over. I’m beat and ready to take on 2005 with a fist full of nachos.

Click here for more photos.

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Didderen

I had a dream yesterday morning that woke me up in fear of my life and unable to open my eyes.

It was 3:30 in the morning when the phone rang. I immediately woke up and answered it. The voice on the other end was my old boss. I said: “John, 1) why the hell are you calling me? and 2) why the hell are you calling me at 3:30 in the morning?”

He was speaking incoherently. I never made out a single word that he spoke. That was the end of the conversation. I don’t remember if the conversation just ended or if one of us hung up on the other.

The next thing I remember, I was driving to work.

I get to work and there are tons of people about – some walking around the warehouse, others were standing in a long line waiting to consult with my boss, the pharmacist. It was a very stressful, hectic and what seemed as if a time-sensitive scenario.

After putting my things away, I attempted to assess what was going on. I walked alongside the long line that lead to my boss. He was wearing his white lab coat, sitting in a small chair and consulting ‘patients’ on an individual basis. I walked up to him and said “Kevin, what do you need for me to do?” Without looking up or diverting his attention from the current ‘patient’, he stressfully responded: “Do something… do anything!”

I walked back up the line to find someone that I might possibly help. Almost all of the ‘patients’ were staring blankly ahead with no expressions on their faces. I walked to what seemed close to the middle of the long line where I found a young woman who was intently reading a piece of paper.

“Excuse me. My name is Josh. I am Kevin’s assistant. Is there something that I can help you with?”

She looked up at me like I had been sent to save her life. Her name was Maria. She pointed to a line on her piece of paper. She said: “My doctor gave this to me but I don’t understand. I don’t understand what ‘dithering’ is and I need to find out before I go any further.”

“Come with me – maybe I can help you with this.”

We walked over to a small desk near the bay door of the warehouse. Maria took a seat. Before I sat down I told her: “Maria, I’m not well versed in these clinical trials. I know what dithering is as far as graphic design and photo manipulation…”

My first inclination was to use the computer at my desk to query ‘dithering’. Before that thought process was complete, there was a loud crash.

The lights went out.

There was a brief moment of silence.

Before I could make sense of what had just happened, someone screamed: “It’s happening!”

I heard a few people scream: “Oh my God, please, someone help her!”

I heard another voice yell: “She’s coding!”

“Help!” – “This can’t be happening!” – “Someone help her!” – “Do something!” – “Make it stop!” – “Help her!”

‘Her’ wasn’t Maria as I could tell she was still sitting at my desk.

I assertively yelled: “Jerry, get me a crash cart.” (yes, Jerry from ER – I don’t know why I pulled him into my dream)

Jerry didn’t move.

The warehouse was still pitch black. All anyone could use was the sense of sound. Nobody was moving except for the commotion that was coming from off to the side where the screams had come from earlier.

“Jerry, get me a crash cart!!”

Still no movement exept for the screams and the unnatural sounds of motion coming from directly across the warehouse floor.

I stood up and hastily began flanking my way toward where the sound was coming from.

I had no idea why all of these ‘patients’ had been in the office today. I wasn’t aware of any sort of epidemic. Something in the world had obviously changed and I was about to find out what it was.

Before I could make it toward where the screams and shrieks were coming from, I heard a very unnatural sound. Something had seen me and had made its way to its feet. It sounded like bones clanking on the cement floor.

It was still dark but I could see something in my mind’s eye. I could make out what was about to come after me. It was, in fact, a woman, but she was grossly disfigured. This epidemic had completely deteriorated her body to the point where she was a nightmarish inhuman skeleton. She was more ghastly disfigured than Stephen King’s Zelda from Pet Sematary.




She made it to her feet and quickly wobbled her way toward me. Clank. Clank. Clank. All of this happened in a split second. I had no time to react.

Before I knew it, she was on top of me. The screaming stopped. My eyes clenched shut. All I could hear where bones, loosely covered with decaying flesh clanging against one another as this figure enveloped me.

I woke myself up but couldn’t open my eyes. I could feel the cadence in the mattress all the way down to my feet as my heart pounded.

My mouth was frozen open because it was so dry. Who knows how long I could have been uncomfortably asleep with my mouth wide open. I couldn’t breathe. I was afraid to open my eyes because I didn’t know if the nightmare was over. Without motion I laid there for five minutes. I finally pried my eyes open. My heart started to slow down.

I saw frost on the window. With my eyes still open, I didn’t move for half an hour or so. I opened and closed my mouth to sum up enough saliva so I could comfortably breathe again.

Cautiously I got out of bed and went to the bathroom for a drink of water. I went back to bed. Elise stirred and asked if I was alright. I told her I had just had the worst nightmare. She fell back to sleep before I finished my sentence. I stared at the ceiling for what seemed like forever before I fell back to sleep.

dith·er

n. A state of indecisive agitation.

intr.v. dith·ered, dith·er·ing, dith·ers

To be nervously irresolute in acting or doing.

[Alteration of didder, from Middle English didderen, to tremble.]

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Getting ready for Christmas travel

I’m officially on vacation. It hasn’t set in yet but when it does, I’m taking full advantage.

This year Elise and I are traveling to the artic village known as Des Moines, Iowa to celebrate Christmas with Elise’s family. I was informed today that it is currently 1 degree in Des Moines. It’s supposed to be colder than 1 degree on Thursday when we arrive. Colder than 1 degree… how the hell is that possible?

I will pay someone to travel to Des Moines on my behalf. I love my in-laws and everything, but colder than 1 degree? That leaves me nothing but a 0 and then on to negative numbers. Life ceases to exist in those temperatures. I’m going to die.

For those who don’t know me, I hate cold weather. I can actually tolerate the cold weather. What I really hate is when it’s cold outside and you have to bundle up to go outside only to get to your inside destination where the heater is cranked and you’ve got 40 lbs. of cold weather clothes to lug around. That and the hot air from heaters and furnaces dries the hell out of my nose and makes for an itchy face.

So I have all day tomorrow off – in Texas. I’m going to make the most of it before I’m shipped off to my frozen grave.

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El Arroyo Christmas party

Elise and I went to Philip’s apartment on Friday night after not having seen Philip in months. Rob (Philip’s roommate) came home from work and we all stayed up and watched I, Robot, The Chronicles of Riddick and then we watched Rob play Grand Theft Auto and eat tortilla chips.

We didn’t get home until around 3 a.m. and slept until around 10:30. We went to Hoover’s for chicken fried steaks – after a late night, we needed hearty comfort food.

After lunch we went out for more Christmas shopping. We found one of the items we were looking for but had to head back to the house because Elise had to drop off a catering that evening. I went out to the backyard and pulled up our garden. After her catering, Elise came home and we stayed in and watched TV.

I woke up early on Sunday and washed all the vehicles. We went to Best Buy, Sam’s and Central Market to get more Christmas presents, then home to get ready for El Arroyo’s Christmas party.

The Christmas Party was held at some bar (I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me) adjoining the Spaghetti Warehouse. The party was fun – we apparently missed all the fun because Elise and I were to old fogies who left relatively early. We heard that people fell off of bar stools and a few people were even fired. Too bad we missed all of that!

Monday morning came early. I went into the office and dealt with e-mails and phone messages that had accumulated over the weekend. I found it hard to get anything done because this week is a short week for me. I’m working tomorrow and then that’s it!… I’m taking the rest of the week off and Elise and I are off to Des Moines on Thursday morning.

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Etiquette at its finest

Since Elise and I have been married, I have written an annual Christmas newsletter every year. I like to create something clever and witty that recounts the events of the past year. This year December snuck up on me and due mainly to work, haven’t been in the cleverest state of mind. I stayed up late one night and poured my heart and soul into a newsletter that turned out to be as funny as a eulogy given by Bob Saget.

So my loving wife stepped up and wrote a Christmas newsletter that later turned out to be a collaberative effort. I took the few funny parts from my newsletter and incorporated them into what Elise had written.

What kind of collaberative newsletter wouldn’t be without a signature dilema? When Elise wrote her newletter, she signed it:

Love,

Elise and Josh Janicek

Now, I grew up in the south where we say things like “Sir”, “Ma’am”, “fixin’” and “y’all”. All of these being terms of endearment and respect. Elise grew up in the midwest where they say things like “pop”, “caucus” and “snow plow”.

I’ve always assumed that it was proper for the husband’s name to appear first on any correspondence signature. Elise says it doesn’t matter – whoever wrote the letter signs his or her name first. This has been an ongoing debate.

To settle this argument, I consulted the Etiquette Queen.

This data was submitted on: 12/14/04 00:01:41

Subject: Party411 Etiquette Queen Question
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 00:01:41 -0500 (EST)
To: [email protected]

Name = Josh
Area_Code = 512
Phone = 123-4567
E-Mail =
Comments = By traditional standards, what is the proper way to sign a letter from a married couple? Is it Dick and Jane? Or if Jane wrote the letter, does she sign her name first?
Where_Heard = Search engine
Notify_Me =

[email protected] wrote:

First decide who the letter is really from, you, you and spouse, etc. Then decide how formal you want to be. I always sign mine with my first name. If it is from both of us, I would use both first names. The return address will have the last name.

Josh wrote:

I’m still confused. Case-in-point, my wife is writing a Christmas newsletter for our friends and relatives. Should the newsletter be signed:

Love,

Dick and Jane Smith (is this the formal/traditional format?)

or

Love

Jane and Dick Smith (because she wrote the newsletter?)

[email protected] wrote:

Yes, it should be.

Josh wrote:

Which one is it?

[email protected] wrote:

For once and for all, it doesn’t matter. Whichever way you prefer.

Josh wrote:

Gee, thanks. Etiquette at its finest…

So that hasn’t settled the debate. Whichever way I prefer, or whichever way my wife prefers?

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The Blue Bus is Calling Us

I have to preface this story by stating that I spent my formative years in a small town. I graduated from high school among a class of 83 other students.

That being said…

I commute from Austin to my job in the small town of Marble Falls, TX. The population is somewhere near 5,000. It’s an eclectic town, but small nonetheless. In the six months that I’ve worked here I’ve done a little Main Street shopping where you can find some very nice shops that sell an array of housewares, clothing, antiques, knick knacks and furniture. There are some nice restaurants, not-so-nice restaurants and some restaurants that serve up some damn good down-home comfort food. There’s a Super Wal-Mart and a McDonalds. There are tire shops, mechanic shops, saddle shops, boat stores, car dealerships and vendors selling various crafts and other fruits of their labor on the sides of roads. It’s a small bustling town by day that is nestled right off the Colorado River AKA Lake Marble Falls which hosts national powerboat races during the summer.

All-in-all, this town is neat. I wouldn’t live here, but it’s still neat. A few months back a coworker and I went to one of the damn good down-home comfort food establishments for lunch. Just before entering the front door, I notice a burly man wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves torn off. He was also wearing blue jean shorts that used to be a full pair of blue jeans. He was wearing work boots that were laced up quarter-calf. He was a caucasian man with leather-like skin from obvious outside work and manual labor. He was a hairy man. A manly man. He was wearing a blonde wig, bright red lipstick, blue eyeshadow and dark mascara. It wasn’t Halloween. This guy was serious, hairy arms and all. He was walking into the same restaurant right behind us with his friend, a man similar in manliness sans the orientation dilema.

I didn’t think much of it at first since I’ve lived in Austin for over ten years and have grown accustom to witnessing the unexplained. I then stopped and thought: “Wait a minute, we’re in Marble Falls.” It was a weird sighting. This dude was seriously trying to pull off being a woman.

That was funny.

I’ve had a Quizno’s coupon for $2 off a large sub burning a hole in my wallet for a couple weeks now. I decided that since today is Friday, I should treat myself. I waited my turn in line at the Quizno’s and ordered the Black Angus on Rosemary Parmesan Bread. It wasn’t a whole black angus, just part of the cow that was butchered and cooked. I decided to dine in seeing how I spend too much time at the office as it is.

I strategically found a table at which to eat and began devouring my lunch. A few minutes later, the group of six that were sitting nearby all stood up and were soon to exeunt. Four women, two men. The eldest of the women, probably in her mid-forties piped up and what seemed like out of nowhere proclaimed: “Well, I think if yer a Meskin and you can’t speak English, then you should just go on back tuh ware you came frum.” She was telling this to one of the people she was with. There were no patrons of Mexican lineage in Quizno’s at the moment. It didn’t appear as if she were saying this in response to anything. She just made this announcement to her lunch dates.

I chuckled and half choked on a banana pepper when I heard that. I should have stood up on my chair and shouted “I’m queer and if anyone doesn’t like it, I’ll just rub these banana peppers on my nipples.” Then I would have done that river dance thing.

Before I could muster up the courage to stand up on my chair (which I wouldn’t have done, but still would have been pretty cool to do), the group left. I went back to eating my sandwich and was quickly beginning to forget about what I had just heard and focus on some other random thought. I watched the group walk out into the parking lot and around to the side of Quizno’s where they all piled into a full-sized school bus that had been hand painted medium pale blue. The inside had been gutted of the standard school bus chairs and had been replaced with love seats.

And just like that, they were off. I was waiting to hear a “Git-r-done” as they rumbled off – probably on their way to Super Wal-Mart.

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Spreadsheet lunch

I was searching one of my work folders on my computer this afternoon for a spreadsheet that I used back in August to analyze our company’s printing costs. I was very important that I find this spreadsheet because there was a new number that I needed to plug in to a formula.

I couldn’t find it. Now I have to remember 14.4 cents per sheet so when I do find that spreadsheet, I can forget which column 14.4 cents per sheet goes under.

I did, however, find another very important spreadsheet. I created this spreadsheet almost one year ago. I carefully named said spreadsheet “2004 Josh’s Hours.xls”

A year ago, my boss-at-the-time made a particular comment that didn’t sit well, so I started logging my hours. I was working over 40 hours per week, but now felt it was necessary to meticulously log my hours at the office. I went so far as to log my lunch breaks – what I ate and if I ate out, where I went. Ninety percent of the time I ate at my desk. Usually it takes me all of 3.4 minutes to eat a generously constructed brown bagged sandwich. For padding, I would log that I took 15 minutes for lunch if I ate at my desk.

I maintained my log for nearly five months until ownership of the company changed hands and we consolidated offices in Marble Falls. Although I had no reason to be, I realize now that I, as well as others, were paranoid. Big Brother. Micromanagement. In that 30 seconds that it took me to maintain that log on a daily basis, I could have been putting the new cover sheets on the TPS Reports before they went out.

Elise called me earlier this afternoon. I joked and said “Wanna go get lunch?” We work some 60 miles apart. Having lunch together would end up being an all day affair for the one who opted to travel, assuming we didn’t meet somewhere in between. In my “2004 Josh’s Hours.xls” spreadsheet there are many “Lunch at Central Market with El” entries. I miss those days. Life is too short to not have lunch with your wife.

So, the moral of the story: 14.4 cents per sheet.

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37th Street lights

Ten days left until Christmas. It’s funny how years and years ago, I counted the days until Christmas dating back to somewhere around mid-October. Now Christmas just sort of sneaks up on me.

Most of the Christmas shopping has been taken care of. Elise and I collaborated on the annual newsletter and finished it last night. The season has caused work to slow down a bit so I have a little breathing room.

I left work early this afternoon to pick Elise up from her office. We had a quick dinner at El Arroyo. After dinner we parked off of Guadalupe and then walked up and down 37th Street to see all of the houses decorated with Christmas lights – a very cool, very Austin experience for the holiday season.

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How to get a Playstation for Christmas

Kids, here’s a surefire way to get your parents to buy you that PS2 for Christmas.

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Christmas party and pricy cranberry juice

This past weekend was great. Last week was very stressful at work so I decided to destress on Friday night by watching Ultimate Fighting Championship 47: It’s On! Watching grown men beat the hell out of each other in an octagon-shaped ring made me fell a lot better for some reason.

I slept until 12:30 on Saturday. I slept and slept and slept. I would wake up, roll over, look at the clock and say to myself “Nope. Not yet.” And fall back to sleep. That felt great. I haven’t slept that late into the day since last I was stricken with the Ebola virus. Or was that the day after my 21st birthday?

I greeted the early afternoon by running a few errands. I got my ears lowered, returned some Christmas lights to Wal Mart, office supplies, Christmas shopping.

Elise got home from her catering around 6 p.m. and we were off to the company Christmas party at my boss’s house. We had a lot of fun. The food was great as was the company. My boss also owns a pharmacy so I was able to meet most of his staff from there. After a brutal white elephant gift exchange where Elise’s gift was taken four times, the party started livening up. Someone brought out the Patron and shot glasses – that’s when my boss and I ducked out, went downstairs and played old Neil Young songs on the guitar.

Late came quickly and it was time for Elise and I to head home as we had the furthest to drive.

I woke up early on Sunday and played with Annie out in the backyard. Elise got up not much later, we suited up and headed out. By suited up I mean shorts and flip flops. It is mid-December in Texas. We had hot wings at Pluckers for lunch. My stomach is still killing me. I don’t know why I do that to myself. Unlike a lot of other wings restaurants, the hot wings at Pluckers are actually hot. And good.

We did some more Christmas shopping in north Austin until Elise’s kidney spontaneously combusted. I vaguely remember receiving a kidney recall notification for the 1975 Elise, but haven’t had the time to make an appointment to take her into the shop. That and I know if I took her in, the mechanic would probably sell me on some noise reduction muffler tip and a set of Yosimite Sam mud flaps.

Instead we went to Whole Foods and picked up a $9 bottle of cranberry juice. Apparently expensive cranberry juice is supposed to cure kidney ailments. That or induce wild hallucinations.

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Soldiers of Fortune

One of my oldest, nearest and dearest friends posted a comment on Janicek.com the other day – letting me know that the wit has ceased and I have basically sold out. I was pissed. I was pissed so much that I deleted his comment. I was pissed because someone called me on it.

I’ve been having a hard time recently. Work has really gotten to me. I’ve been stressed. I question Elise’s and my future. I question my place on this Earth. I question why diet cat food makes the litter box stink like all hell.

I’m really upset and stressed that I spent hours on the 3rd annual Christmas newsletter and it came out like crap. I went so far as to ask Elise just last night: “When was the last time you laughed at something I said or did?” She went on to say “Oh, there was something not too long ago…” Nothing.

I find myself waking up, brushing my teeth, taking my vitamins, taking a shower, shaving, underwear, shirt, pants, shoes, breakfast, glass of water and in the truck on the way to work with one eye still trying to wake up. The work day usually starts with “So and so called, wants you to call him back. He sounded upset.” Lather, rinse, repeat. Then something breaks. We run out of something. I don’t want to relive it right now.

I drive home, somewhat enthused because the work day is over. An hour commute home leaves me with finding something to eat, paying bills, fixing something, maybe catching some TV and hopefully some time to hear about Elise’s day.

Keeping up with the Jones’. I don’t even know any Jones’.

I know, it’ll get worse after a kid. I know. Time isn’t the issue. I can make time. I just need more active dry yeast. I think I just lack motivational experiences in my life right now. Six months ago I was riding my bicycle to work every day. That was a varying experience. Work wasn’t as stressful because I managed only a small amount of tasks. Now my job leaves my brain a tepid bowl of grits at the end of the day. I need something to clear my mind. That or a new job.

I’ve chosen the latter. I’m going to quit my job, move to Barbados and become a cattle flatulance analyst. This job is beneficial to society as it has been proven that cattle flatulance is a leading cause of ozone depletion. That and the job would probably give me better things to write about on the website – not iPods and cars.

Mom always said it’s not the things that make you – it’s how many platinum tooth caps you can fit up in yo mowf.

It’s you who makes you.

So I wrote my friend an e-mail and told him he was an asshole and should die. He wrote back and said it like it was. He told me he was concerned that I was becoming too wrapped up in a job, a house and “things”. All very true. I’ve started on a path that leaves me with little time to find the more important things in life. Like cow farts.

So I’m now going to make a conscious effort to live life for what it is, take in my surroundings, ride the spiral, keep one foot in the gutter and find the dude who stole my wit and down his throat I’ll take a…

I’m keeping my current job. I honestly love my job and am learning everything about running a small business. Just yesterday my boss gave me yet another title: Comptroller. Short-term goals: find out exactly what a comptroller is and enroll in an accounting class at Texas Tech’s satellite campus in Marble Falls.

And live.

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Bah humbug

This holiday season has been less than magical thus far. I went shopping for lights with which to decorate the house this past weekend. That was stressful. I’ve never been so compelled to drop kick frenzied holiday shoppers. I had to stop, take a breath and carry on. I think next year I’ll lose it.

Anyway – the house is covered with lights now.

The most recent bah humbug: the annual Janicek Christmas newsletter. I’ve spent a few hours on it so far. I read it to myself a few times and could barely muster a chuckle. Elise came home tonight, read the newsletter and I could have sworn she was reading insurance paperwork.

I’ve been sucked dry of all creativity. It’s not looking good.

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