Sunday, October 30, 2005

Baylor Homcoming 2005 Review

Joanna & I went back to Waco for Homecoming this past weekend. This is my second year as an alumni and I can say that college life continues without me. Before I start slow piano music and begin to open up about how old I felt - let me give you a quick review.

I have a new invention. I call it ConVo. It is sorta like TiVo but revolutionary. I think it could honestly change the way intelligent people approach life.

ConVo is a way to see life in on-demand. ConVo is a way to enjoy certain parts of your day and eliminate useless conversation at akward social events like Baylor Homecoming.

I probably made contact with 250 people over the course of two days in Waco. I saw people I hadn't seen since I was a freshman in 1999. I saw people I tried to avoid while at Baylor. I saw people who I thought I would make an attempt to keep up with - and didn't.

I don't think its a stretch to assume that of the 250 people I made contact with over the weekend - I cared to see less than 10%. I think it was probably around 15 - and that is high balling.

So what's with ConVo - how would it help me?

TiVo allows you to control your telelife by recording television programs you enjoy and watching them at your convenience. This means you can stop, pause or fast forward a program. You can rewind. You can speed through commercials.

By digitally recording the Texas-OU game I was able to watch the game - in its entireity - in about 50 minutes.

Imagine the ease of TiVo applied to life's most punitive social situations... that's ConVo!

I'll give you an example. I was at the Pigksin Revue on Friday night (sidenote - Pigskin is a broadway like show containing 8 fraternities and sororities performing in costumes - not comletely homosexual I promise) when a guy I knew from my undergraduate days made eye contact with me. He lit up with enthusiasm and began to skip in my direction.

Already his fake-dom had beaten me into submission and I hadn't broken a sweat. He approached and gave me a man-hug (back patting included). He then began to ask the usual questions: "Where are you? What are you doing? Hows married life?"

With each penetrating question I sunk lower and lower until my convexed spine was wimpering in pain. First - I am in Dallas. If I wanted you to know I would have made contact with you two years ago and let you know. Second - dont obligitorily ask me what my job is - I dont care for you to know anymore than you earnestly care to. Third - you can see my wife is sitting next to me so obviously we are not divorced and she is still living. What do you think my answer is going to be? Marriage blows? Come on - guy - get a clue!

Now, with ConVo, I could have fast forwarded through all of that nonsense and not had to cause myself acne over it. Thank you sir - you cause blemishes.

ConVo is still in development phases. We anticipate having a prototype in the second quarter of 2006, so keep you eyes open.

**Disclaimer regarding BU Homecoming 2005 Review**

If you saw me this weekend and are reading this now and think - hey, I wonder if he is talking about the conversation we had... do you think he would have like to FF through our special time of reconnecting?

Some things we were not meant to know. Other things are highly likely. I'm joking. But not really.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tiled Floors and Flabby Bodies

The men's locker room might be one of the most awkward places in the free world.

I work out at the local YMCA every day during lunch. And I sweat. So, as a refresher, I will shower before buttoning up and returning to my office.

The YMCA is a very nice facility - mostly clean - and I enjoy my time working out. It is the before and after I am bound and determine to change... the locker room.

There is no other place in the world you will find men ranging from 20-65 clothing and unclothing themselves at the same time. And believe me - it is not the nakedness that bothers me... wait, I dont want you to think I prefer old men in the nude... or men at all (young or old). Do you see what I mean? This is awfully uncomfortable.

I have some issues with the Men's Locker room I was hoping we could address:

  1. Is small talk necessary? It never fails. I am changing - let's say putting on a pair of socks, and some guy walks in the locker room. Instinct makes me look up - eye contact. Dang it! Now I am trapped. In a very non-thought provoking manner he musters, "Weather sure is nice." Am I required to respond to this? Do I need to talk about "weather" or "the game" with this dude who I have never spoken to before?
  2. Haven't we moved past the briefs? I guess small talk leads me to being the wardrobe consultant... because as I continue fighting through his babble of jet streams and his shock collar on his dog I notice that he has dropped trow and is standing in front of me in briefs. Nothing more - except the argyle dress socks. Briefs man! Briefs! Yes, Tom Cruise did a wonderful job in Risky Business and made them cool. Yes, at one time I wore them - actually painted the Ultimate Warrior's logo on them. But briefs! It is all I can do to prevent myself from drop-kicking this idiot in the mouth and telling him to go directly to Target for a nice plaid boxer.
  3. What about the spray deoderant? I swear to you - it doesn't matter where I am in the locker room - the second someone uses the spray deoderant I get that awful taste in my nose and my mouth. Not necessary! Get the stick and move on!
  4. Can we get a ruling on going to and fro the showers? Its bad enough that the showers are crawling with every type of eczema there is - but the trip - the actual walk to and from is really awkward. I dont want to be the guy who throws the towel over my shoulder and jaunts toward the showers. I dont want to be the guy who wears his boxers under his towel to the showers. Where can I fit in between? I prefer to confidently drop trow next to my locker (as a show of masculinity) and then cover myself adequately with my towel (in respect to those around me) to the effect that hands are not needed to hold the towel up (again - confidence).

These four things plague my corporate life almost every day. It's almost sickening to tell you the truth. And yes, I have thought to myself, "Why am I analyzing this so much?" Because I dont want to be the guy who over exposing his "welcome" (largely considered gay - not gay-gay, but gay) and I dont want to be the guy who squirrels in and out, unsure of his place.

Either way - you lose.

Okay - time to go work out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Potty Humor

I have to confess - I love the handicap stall. It's like having your own little room within a room.

Think about it - you get side bars, a separate sink, ample leg space - what is not to love?

This is where the joy of the story ends...

It was my junior year at Baylor. I was just a knuckle-head on his way home for Thanksgiving - cruising down I-20 trying to get to Sweetwater.

Let me pause... clarification is needed before I continue. Handicap stalls are the caddilac of public restroom amenities. Since being introduced to the professional world (and working in sales where you are out of the office for a good portion of each day) I need to let you in on something that can make your caddilac even better.

When in need of a public restroom - go for a hotel. Not a gas station, truck stop, WalMart (gross) or Wendy's. Head for the Hampton Inn or the nearest Sheraton. Why? Lobbies of nice hotels have very clean and seldom used restrooms.

Think of it this way - if you want to find a caddilac - are you going to go for this beauty?

Thats what the local Flying J has to offer. However, the hotels have brand new caddys just waiting. Okay, back to the story...

I was on my way home when I felt my stomach move. It wasn't really a move - it was one of those gurgles you feel just as much in your throat as in your stomach. I needed to find a "caddilac."

I knew the lay of this road well and a Love's Truck Stop was just ahead. As I moved closer to the exit the gurgling stopped - only because I felt it move south.

DISCLAIMER - Forgive my graphic description... hang in there... it gets better.

I think at that moment I knew what a water balloon felt like just before popping.

By the grace of you know who I managed my way to the truck stop, eased from my Geo Prizm LSI, and waddled through the store to the men's room. As I opened the door I was taken back by a line of men... a line? This is the Men's room! There are no lines in the Men's Room - you take care of it and get out of the way. I felt like the last guy to get in line for the Star Wars premiere... although the two stalls were a mere 10 yards away they appeared 100.

So what do you do? What could I do? I squeezed.

The line budged. One by one the truckers left their mark. Tall ones, short ones, fat ones and fatter ones - they each went ahead and prepared the place.

About 15 minutes later I was face to face with two stall doors. I didn't care which opened. When the handicap door came open and a hispanic man emerged, I was more than pleased.

So I built my bridge. Necessary in ALL public restrooms.

Then - paydirt. Jackpot. Relief. No side bars needed.

Tick tock, tick tock. Phew.

I knew people were waiting, so I went about my business.

Then I heard this noise. It was like a singing... humming... something tense. It sounded forced or irritated. It sounded just outside my door! Was this man trying to signal to me that I had taken my time and should move on? Was he trying to make me leave?

I am not a spiteful person - but I do have a healthy respect for spite. I waited for this stall - I am going to take my time.

The singing grew louder. More tense.

I cleared my throat. Eh - that will shut him up. That will tell him I know he's here.


Okay, I was just about ready to share my thoughts. I peered under to see where the guy was... and saw... a wheelchair?

Uh-oh. I am tearing up the handicap stall while a handicap person wait on me.

So I think this - I am bigger than this. I can win this. I do have a decided advantage.

Knowing he is preparing a "So you're the guy in the handicap stall who isn't handicapped" face, I put on my best "I crap where I want to - you can piss off" face and open the door.

Before I can deliver my face he delivers a bigger blow - he rams me in the shins with his chair!

That bloody muppet! The pain! Shin-shot by a guy in a wheel chair! I folded like Nancy Kerigan and stumbled to the sink as he went into the stall.

Moral of the story - there's not one. I still use the handicap stall - still prefer it. Just make sure to turn up your spidey-sense.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Concert Woes & Saturday musings

Its been a week removed since I went to watch Coldplay at Smirnoff Music Centre. It was the first concert I had been to in 3-4 years - the last being a Counting Crows performance in Austin while I was in college.

I love music. I would venture to say that at all times I have some song in my head. More than likely I am singing, whistling or humming said song. That being said... I dont know how to act at concerts.

A co worker and friend of mine attended the concert last week as well. He is a Michigander and very in touch with rope sandals, camping, outdoors and the like. We briefly reviewed the concert post haste - but wanted to wait until it had given us time to digest our evenings. This past Monday Lumburg, the co-worker I mentioned, approached me and delivered, "I dont know that the crowd reciprocated the energy that the guys put forth."

I had to let this marinate - you see I am a music lover but not a concert frequenter.

So I began to review the concert in my mind within the spectrum of Lumburg's claim. Again - I dont know how I should act at a concert. Now if I were at a rap concert (or hip-hop, etc) I would feel the beat and bob my head to an angle, delivering the lines as I knew them. If I were at a country music concert (signifying the end times) I would two-step, line dance, or tip my hat as the evening called for. But what do you do at a Rock/Alternative concert? Coldplay's music is methodical and not overly "rock" although most would put them in that category.

Bear in mind that I specifically remember being in this predicament at the show. I evaluated my options and came to a couple of possibilites:

1) I could ask my concert neighbor for a "jibber" and join the circle of wealthy high schoolers in a circle-toke. Probably not the best option...
2) I could dance around like a hippie, arms spread and head cocked, singing as though I wrote the songs. Not really my style...
3) I could stand with my arms crossed, feet tapping. The risk of this is that I look like I am not having a good time...
4) Purchase enough $7 adult beverages to let a lack of inhibitions determine my concertative actions. I was driving...

So I chose number 3. I crossed my arms and stood in a comfortable position - tapped my foot - and sang with the songs. I was sure to not sing so loud that those around me were uncomfortable.

Notice that my actions are opposite that of Lumburg. He did his best woodstock demonstration, and I stiffened up like a chapparone.

Again, back to our review... Lumburg's comments were, in essence, an observation of my actions. My rebuttle was simple - "Maybe the crowd didnt know how to express themselves and didnt want to look like the parents from Dharma and Greg."

He knew that I knew and I knew that he knew - smiling - his added, "What, you mean you thought everyone should stand around with their arms crossed like cigar store indians?"

"No - but that doesnt mean we should have all performed a rain dance either."

This was not a tense confrontation - more of a sparring of spite.

All that being said, I still don't know how to act at a concert.


On another note - not completely unrelated, please check out He-Man in this little ditty:

Obscure Star for the Day:

Todd Luiso

Luiso has been in 15 major motion productions - most notable in Jerry Maguire as Chad, the nanny, and Dick in High Fidelity. In both he plays a confused and possibly homo guy with an affinity for music - specifically jazz. Wow, way to avoid typecasting yourself in a completely irrelevant manor.

Congratulations Todd. World O' McCord salutes you.