If You Give a Bum a Beer

March 26, 2010

One Saturday night, after I got off of work, I decided to stop by the grocery store and buy a little booze. In California, you can buy liquor at the grocery store, and at all hours of the night – pretty cool. As I was walking into my local Ralph’s I noticed a bum sitting outside of the store. This isn’t very uncommon up there to be honest, but the bum this night seemed to be less of a lazy bum, and more of a bum who was just down on his luck. How did I come to this conclusion… don’t really know. I was just in a good mood that night so that’s how it went. I decided that I would be generous and help a bum out. I decided that I wasn’t just going to drop him some change though. I was going to surprise him with a gift, but I was torn on what kind of gift. What would a bum rather have – a beer or a sandwich? Well sometimes when you offer a bum a sandwich, they get mad at you and beg for a beer. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Since I was in the drinking mood that night, I went with a beer. Just a single beer, but a beer still. And I didn’t go complete bottom shelf. I got him a Bud Light. That’s better than some college kids drink! So I went to the checkout and paid for my stuff. Then I walked outside and dropped a bag in front of him with the beer in it and said, “Hey, you want a beer?” His response, “I don’t drink.” WHAT? Really? I mean, I guess I could respect that… but I thought most bums drank! I thought it was still a safe pick! If I was at that point, even if I was hungry, I think I would still take the beer if it was being handed to me. He didn’t want it though. I felt kind of bad that I didn’t have a sandwich for him, but I kind of already spent the money that I was willing to spend at that point. I took a 50/50 shot at it and went out with a swing and a miss. He was adamant about not taking the beer, so I took the beer, and I went on my way. He still seemed like an alright bum though, so I sure hope someone got him a sandwich that night. I also hope that it wasn’t a really dry sandwich; otherwise he’ll really be kicking himself over it later.

It’s warming up here in Los Angeles, and it got me thinking about how both men and women are going to be getting ready for beach season. Hitting the gym, getting tan, and getting a Brazilian? (Well, at least for women anyways.) That thought alone got me thinking – why do they call it a Brazilian? It can’t be named after the country’s geographic region. That country has no real defined shape. It looks like a childlike drawing of a seahorse. It’s just kind of all over the place – not very Brazilian. Is Brazil simply the capital of pubic technology? I don’t know. I guess it could be possible. I don’t know a lot about their country. I have no idea what kind of government they have, or their imports and exports. Maybe they just have development teams working on this kind of stuff. It’s not all that crazy! It really seems to be taking off based on the common use of the term here in the 90’s and 2000’s! Maybe it’s one of the things that Brazil prides itself on – their soccer teams, track & field athletes, and their waxes. I can’t say for sure. I’ve never been there. If it is a staple of their country, would that mean that there are classes and college degrees in it? Could one acquire a Bachelor of the Arts in Brazilian Waxing?

Since I didn’t know that much about its origin, and I’m curious like a cat, I decided to Wiki it. A Wikipedia search on Brazilian waxing proved both humorous and more graphic than I expected from Wikipedia. I did find my information about its origin though! Apparently it dates back to a letter written in 1500 AD which says (translated into English), “their private parts were so exposed… that looking upon them we felt no shame.” Probably one of those letters he didn’t expect to go public, explaining how he spent his entire voyage starring down the natives. Our very own Tiger Woods of 1500 AD – “Just another business voyage overseas honey!” Though how could this man from the letter possibly contribute to the spread of this fashion? Seems like a hard thing to sell to his wife… “Honey, you won’t believe what the women over there do with their genitals!” That’s quite a hole you’ve dug yourself there, sir. However it happened, this letter proves that it’s not a 90’s and 2000’s thing, but a 16th century thing. What it didn’t say was whether this was a consistent trend or if it left and came back like bell-bottom jeans. Not enough letters were documented to really know. Evidence based on jokes about the evolution of Playboy magazine’s photos from the 1970’s to present time would support it being a fad that’s simply making its way back around.

I realize that I may have spent a bit too much time pondering this whole thing, but you just get curious sometimes about the origin of things and just need to throw around the possibilities. Like who first agreed to let their friend pee on their jellyfish wound? Well, that’s a trip down imagination lane that I’ll have to travel another day.

The other day, I enjoyed a delicious burrito from Chipotle – steak burrito with the rice, pinto beans, cheese, and the hottest salsa of their three (extra hot salsa on the side). Amazing combination that is clearly too much to eat in one sitting, but I always rationalize doing so. Let’s face it, the last few bites at the bottom of the burrito are the best, and there’s only one way to get there. While I was eating said burrito, I quickly came to realize… this is one of the worst foods to have with someone you are trying to make a good first impression with. In no time, you will find yourself digging out pieces of tortilla, rice, steak, and cilantro that have all, at some point, found themselves lodged into the spaces between your teeth. There’s no good, or easy way to fix this situation other than to constantly have a toothpick in hand, or throw a fingernail into your mouth to clear things up. I know there are other foods that are also difficult to deal with and should be avoided, but I think I’d tackle a bowl of spaghetti marinara, or even try my chances with a live salmon covered in bbq first. At least with those I have a fighting chance! In no way am I knocking Chipotle’s food because I think it’s one of the best things since “Don’t Stop Believing”. I just think that it’s better to eat there with company you are more familiar with and who are less likely to judge. The other option is eating back to back with your new friend, which actually wasn’t all that weird.

The other observation that I made during that particular Chipotle trip was less about Chipotle, and more about the four police officers sitting at a table near me. How often do you think police officers find themselves in the middle of one of the best meals ever, and then get an emergency call where they have to bail on their awesome food? And on the flip side of that – how often do you think they mute the call and finish eating? I mean, it’s not every day that you get to order the surf and turf, and this thing basically JUST hit the table. I’m going to finish this lobster. It’s a hostage situation… they’ll still be there in a half hour. I’ve thought about it, and all I’m saying is that if I were strapped to some C-4, and the bomb squad showed up to save my life and happened to be holding $5 foot longs, I couldn’t be too mad (as long as they were chicken, bacon, ranch). I get it. That’s a great sandwhich! Maybe next time bring me one too. I’ll get you back for it once this whole situation is cleared up and I can get to an ATM.

In a related note – when are we going to see Jack Bauer have some human, day-to-day moments? I want to see that man do some normal stuff in one of these episodes. Let him show up to bring in a lead with a bag of peanuts in his hand. You know the man’s hungry! All that running around sure deserves a snack at some point. During what episode are we going to see Jack Bauer curled up in the back seat of the SUV taking a cat nap? Just from 2:15pm to 2:30pm. I would pay money to see some of this stuff! The whole season of 24 is supposed to take place in one day’s time, but we never get to see some of those every day activities. Jack: “Chloe, give me the schematics to get a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and some waffle fries!”

No More Hiding

November 20, 2009

As many of our Made of Bees followers may know, I moved to Los Angeles and have been living here for several months now. What you might not know is that I may have been doing this somewhat illegally. See, upon entering the state for residence, you are required to register your car with the DMV which everyone knows is inconvenient, a hassel, and often results in paying them money – none of which I was in a rush to do. Instead, I chose to live my life on the road much like a weed-dealer who had to walk past a police station to get to the high school. I found alternate routes, low-budget disguises, and other ways to lay low, but still always a bit on edge when I took [my car] to the streets. I managed to do this pretty well though. I took the back roads to work and the grocery store (not the same place, but I may need a second job one day, so stay tuned), I opted for the windy canyon road to Hollywood rather than the 101-freeway, and sometimes when I couldn’t avoid the main roads, I would simply leave the car cover on to Under Covertravel. I was practically invisible in this town! You can never be too careful though. I was always ready with a good excuse when I got behind the wheel. On the chance that an officer decided to pull me simply because of my out-of-state licence plates, my go to line was “SIR, I’M JUST VISITING!” (volume = confidence, confidence = trust). The more times that I traveled, the more worried I became, and the less I believed my own lie. “Surely they’ve recognized this car by now”, I thought. I considered the disguise approach to continue avoiding a trip to the DMV. I went straight to Google in search of an ice cream paint job. I hear good things about them. I also hear it’s a bit pricey, so I passed. I kept on with what had become my normal routine in California, “$h!t! There is a solid 1-in-7 chance this car behind me is a cop. Surely I need to make an immediate stop in at this Check ‘n Go!”

They say stress can kill a man, or at least make a face break out, neither of which is good. Lucky for me, neither really happened, but, as I lay in bed thinking about it, I did feel a huge weight bearing down on me. I pushed her off, sent her home, and showered in regret. Then thought more about the increasing risk I was putting myself in with each day that I drove unregistered in the state of California. Was this really worth all the worry? Should I just go to the DMV and face the music. The music which is probably most comparable to a 2-hour loop of Shakira’s howling in “She Wolf” (ah-oooo). God help me. Let’s do this.

I am proud to say that today I have cleaned up my act and I’m not looking back. I admitted my problem and confronted it. Let me tell you, I have never felt better. A weight has been lifted. It’s a nerve-wrecking life to go out in the world without the proper documentation and always have to wonder when you will be sent out of this beautiful country… or just forced to pay a traffic fine. It’s possible that I had my SSN stolen and reused by another during that DMV trip, but hey, let’s just think of it as me giving back in some roundabout way. Today’s bottom line: the bills are paid, my mind is free, and now I can live life to be all I can be.

RH

A Day in the Life

July 14, 2009

Harry Potter comes out July 15th! Eeeeeeee!

Unpack your cloaks and wands. Grab your glasses and practice drawing your best lightening bolt scar. The new Harry Potter movie is about to come out and the excitement is building among its enormous following. It doesn’t seem to be an abnormal practice to dress the part of your favorite character when going to see this movie. Harry, Ron, or Hermione – it’s your pick! Tom Riddle? Don’t be a jerk. Stick to the good guys. With this event coming up and all that goes into it, I got to thinking – What would it be like to participate in this event, or another thing like it where you go dressed the part and commit to fitting in with a crowd that may be somewhat outside of your own?

I’ll start by stating that I’m not a big reader, so I haven’t read the Harry Potter series, and I may have actually missed out on watching the third and forth movie (don’t worry loyal fans, I can still catch up). With that being said, there’s a part of me thinks it would be awesome to participate in dressing up to go see the new movie Wednesday at midnight. I’m in a point in my life where I’m all about life experiences, and what better way to do so than stepping into someone else’s shoes for a day. If “Have you ever dressed in character to go see your favorite movie?” showed up on a checklist for things that I’ve done, I can’t honestly say yes, but wouldn’t it be kind of cool if I could? Just to say that I had done it and seen what it’s like. To totally commit to an idea such as this that may be outside of your norm and live in the world of another for a night could be a very interesting experience.

The idea originally started for me when I took my younger brother to a Strike Anywhere concert at Alley Katz in Richmond, VA. It wasn’t necessarily my normal type of group to go out and see, but my brother needed someone to go down there with him and his friends, so I stepped up to the plate and decided to see what it was all about. I went about it all wrong that time though – showing up as the only person at this punk concert in khaki shorts and a navy blue American Eagle shirt. At first I just felt out of place and started looking like the awkward older guy, but then I decided that if I was going to be there that I was going to commit to this and get the full experience. That night, I jumped around in my first real mosh pit and I did a stage dive for the first time! I was so scared that the people below me wouldn’t catch the American Eagle kid, but at least half of the people underneath me were working on holding me up. To the people who weren’t… well thanks for being in the area to simply break my fall. It was a pretty big rush though to jump off of that stage and just hope that people didn’t clear a huge gap for you to fall into and face-plant on the concrete floor! I would describe it as being kind of like riding your first roller coaster or skiing for the first time, or maybe just like diving into the pool… but one filled with people. Still very exciting! That’s just my take on it. You may have to find out what your own take is.

I would like to get out and try more things like this. Maybe I could stand on the corner of 18th and Broad St. and panhandle for money for a day, or get fake tatoos and leather clothing to drink beers at a biker bar. I think there are so many things out there that we could do and we don’t always break out from our own norm to try these different things. We only get one life to live, but that doesn’t mean we have to live one way every day. Try new things. You never know what you may get out of it. If nothing else… it’s a story.

Today I came across SI.com’s article “The Fortunate 50” which lists the 50 top-earning American athletes. Topping this list is Tiger Woods who earned $99,737,626 LAST YEAR ALONE! $92,000,000 of his earnings were made through his endorsement deals with companies like Buick and AT&T. This leads me to realize that it’s not about the salary that you earn, but the endorsements that you contract.

I’ve started brainstorming about what kind of endorsements I should start looking into in order to improve my spot on a list like that. Well, I work in a project management-type position on an email production team. Maybe AOL will cut me a deal! I could create a lot of good buzz by putting my face on each of their AOL Free Trail disks that they send out. I can picture it now: a shot of me from the waist up throwing out my best thumbs-up with Word Art across the bottom that says “Diiiiiaaaaal UP!” So there’s one deal down. How many people still use those? Eh, I’m sure it’s in the high millions. That should be a really solid start. If they like how that’s going, I also have a very good voice which I feel could be used to replace the outdated “You’ve got mail” with something young and hip like “May… May-may-may… Ma-il Tiiiiime!” Male time? Um, we’ll need to work on the wording of this, but I swear the voice over for it will be killer! Money in the bank!

The next thing that I’ll look into is how to get endorsed as an improvisor! I can surely rock an ad for Converse shoes. We can take a whole new angle on it. We can market it as the “performance shoe”. Not so much for the comfort of a lightly cushioned sole or actual boost in athletic performance, but I think we can highlight how awesome they look  during a show where we go anywhere our imagination takes us. Blue Ridge Mountains, space craters, inside the ribcage of a lion – I can take you there, and that Converse All-Star will be showcased every step of the way (no pun intended). The way an improvisor changes characters from scene to scene also shows the shoe’s versitility, and all of that combined can really stack up some Jacksons!

These ideas are just the start. I really think I might have a future with this, and don’t worry, I’m not the tContract Negotiations Openype of person that goes crazy with his money once he gets it. All I really want is a simple jetski – a $550,000 simple jetski. Nothing too fancy. So, if you think you might want to endorse an average 9 to 5er, or a man just trying to express himself while trying to entertain the world, give me a ring-a-ding on my Blackberry Curve (wink!). We can grab a refreshing Miller Lite and discuss the future of advertising. Looking forward to it, Corporate America, looking forward to it.

Contract negotiations open.
__

As I work my way back into the dating scene, I have started to think about what kind of questions to ask to make for good conversation while also trying to find out more about the beautiful “Maxim” model sitting across from me (Oh, me? I’m really into dreaming.). As we grow older, I think we find ourselves trying to get to the more important questions earlier on in the process of dating. Maybe because we have learned more about what we want Couple Datingin life and in a relationship, or maybe because we have come to realize that there is not enough time in this life to date every love interest for 2+ years in order to figure these things out. Let’s make our time count by simply asking the important questions. I found a very useful website in narrowing my focus and getting down to the real questions. With these three questions, I’ve learned so much. Thanks Salary.com!

What is your job title? Project Manager. (that’s an actual job… nice!)
What is your ZIP code? 23223 (city ZIP… tends to go out a little more)
What level are you at/you’d like to get to? Project Manager III ($85k-$108k… awesome!!)

See how much we learned there! She now has a identifiable job, you know that she’s into a more fast-paced lifestyle that the city provides, and that she is ambitious enough to stack up some serious cash! Some critics may say this is materialistic, but I disagree. This is about more about finding common ground between two people who just love to love. Maybe we then find out that we both love in-ground pools and trips to Caicos. Maybe we both love jet-skis on the weekends and the taste of steak dinners courtesy of Ruth’s Chris. Maybe we like the simple things in life, like pillow fighting on a bed covered in money. Who knows, right? That’s why we have to ask. It’s all about being on the same page! This is your direct way of getting there! There’s my gift to you. I share with you, Salary.com. Enjoy!

Some days work just feels like work. Some days you need to just get out of the office and get back to neutral. Sometimes that means thinking outside of the box. Today, a co-worker and I took our lunch break and went back in time. A time when parents feared you because of your germs, and life’s consequences were always an after-thought. We did this the best way we knew how. We made a trip to the Fun-N-Games arcade! One of the best places that a kid can be a kid! (Well, maybe it’s not necessarily the best arcade, but it’s sufficient)

The way I see it, that lunch hour is yours to do as you please. If it makes you  feel less guilty about having that much fun during a work day, put a pack of Airheads in your back pocket and call it your lunch (dibs on the white mystery flavor!). I spent part of my afternoon shooting aliens and drug lords, racing NASCAR and some sweet motorcycle game, playing skee ball, and winning a rubber snake and crazy green witch-finger. For that hour, I was lost in the wondrous coalition of interactive lights and sound. I was 7 [years old] again, and filled with simplistic joy, amusement, and even a sense of victory and achievement. Today, I came back from my lunch with bragging rights. My achievements surpassed those around me today… today I earned a personal best, and a new high score on Whack-a-Mole! More important than that, I came back re-energized because I had a blast goofing off and making the most of my lunch hour.

My point is that this is the one hour between 8 and 5 that is YOURS. Throw the pigskin with a friend, play on a jungle gym at a nearby park or school (preferably if school isn’t in session, creeper), or just get out and do some random stuff that’s borderline illegal but makes you feel alive! That’s what this is all about! If the repetition of a job ever gets you in a rut (and believe me, this can come and go at any job at some point along the way), seek out some new ways to time travel. Take control of life, and get back to never growing up.

Open for the Grammy’s

June 24, 2009

Someone suggested, upon the debut of my remixed verse of “Ego“, that I could maybe open up the Grammy’s with this song. Realistic? Doubtful, but… what if? What if… just as the beat came in, I could enter the stage on a syrupy slide of goodness, only to bounce across a spongy stage of cratering nooks ‘n’ crannies? Some nooks, some crannies pre-filled with a chocolate syrup that formed pools of delight – this done in an organized fashion that draws up a childish smiley face for the aerial shot. I could be surrounded by beautiful and friendly Aunt Jemima dancers with warm, but seductive smiles. I’d be out there singing every note on key, “got such a big egooo”. For the finale, puffs of whipped cream would be shot towards the audience from a cannon, and strawberries and waffles would fall from the sky. Just as the lights begin to dim, Samuel L. Jackson steps out for a cameo on stage left – “This shit is INSANE! WOO!” Lights fade to black.

The blind man begins to see, and the infertile woman now bares the seed of life.
The power of music.

This is my Eggo vision. This is my masterpiece.

Today I went to Chick-Fil-A and basked in all its glory. As I slowly devoured that delicious combo #1 (w/ no pickles) I couldn’t help but to recognize all of the reasons why I love that place. Those reasons I can’t help but to share.

1- Service – Smiles from ear to ear behind every register as if they each worked for Bill Gates himself. The joy they seem to have for working in fast food makes you want to hug them upon concluding your order. And who is that kind, elderly person hanging around? It’s as though Chick-Fil-A has their very own host for their dining room! A person designated to serve as the party liason to this fried chicken gala. Hugs to that person as well. And yes, ma’am/sir, my meal was enjoyable.

2 – Food – Few places can take the exact same product and divide it into more combos than Chick-Fil-A. McDonald’s, you’re a wannabe when it comes to the chicken sandwich. “But what about the calories?” Pipe down health nuts! This meal is worth every blood clot that could come of it. This fried slice of heaven comes with an accompaniment of waffle fries and an assortment of sauces. Have you even tried them?! Buttermilk Ranch, Buffalo, and BBQ chickfilacomplete my combo meal. Dress it up with those and you can pretty much take this thing to prom.

3 – Special Thanks – I want to end this post with a special thanks to the person who took charge in making my fresh squeezed lemonade. Just water, pure cane sugar, and fresh squeezed lemons – that’s what they claim… and I believe them! So thanks to you, Captain Lemonizer. Job well done.

-RTH