Found: Flashlight

I found a flashlight in our yard as I was mowing. It was extremely nice. When I turned it on outside, it made the sun dim a little bit. Once inside, I looked it up online and it was worth about $150. A very nice flashlight.  My immediate thought was to sell it on eBay. But I knew that this flashlight was nice enough that the person who lost it would be looking for it.  I created a cryptic post on our neighborhood website.

Found: Flashlight
"Why are you making a post about a flashlight?"
I know. It sounds silly, but it looks really cool, it's about as bright as the sun and when I looked it up online, it had a value of $100 - $200 dollars. So I assume that someone's kid borrowed it for Halloween, dropped it in my yard and some mom or dad is really sad that it is missing. If you are missing this flashlight, describe it via private message and I'll get it back to you.

Within 20 minutes I got a reply. The guy knew exactly what it was, make and model. He just lived down the block and said he could pop by.  I never thought in my life that the person would be thankful enough to make up for the quick $75 I could have made on eBay. He was so thankful. It had been a treasured gift from his son. It's a tactical flashlight. He was so distraught when he found it was missing. He is a cancer survivor. He showed me how it clicked into the special holster it came with. He is 65. He took that flashlight on all the walks with his dog at night. We shook hands. He said thanks for the third time. And he left.

Annie said he walked really fast for someone who was that old.

How to Fake Being a Beer Connoisseur

If you are like me, you don’t know anything about craft beer or imports or even the pale yellow stuff that comes in a gimmicky bottle. For the adventurous, one way of learning about beer would be to take one of the various beer tasting class where they teach you how to order, look at and smell a beer before tasting. But if you don’t have the time, do what I do: fake it.

Most people don’t care what you know about beer.  Friendly beer drinkers find out what other beers you like and make suggestions. But there’s always going to be that guy at the office or the girl who’s dating your best friend who tries to win influence and gain respect by throwing around terms like hops and Lovibond and Parnesian Slow Drip Open Cask Fermentation Technique. If you find yourself backed in a corner and you have to fake beer knowledge, follow these steps.

It’s best to ask your beer nemesis what they suggest.  Let them make the first move. No matter what they say, just reply, “Are you going to drink that out of a tall boy PBR can?” This will A) make them second guess their choice and B) wonder for the rest of the evening what the hell you were talking about. While they are still reeling, tell the bartender you’ll have the beer that has the most animals carved into the tap.

Somehow the color of beer affects the taste or the taste of the beer affects the color.  I don’t know. What I do know is that you can stare at a beer for a good long time. Take a couple angles on it: over the top, through the glass, from the bottom. Then, without a taste or a smell, send it back and ask for something else. When your companion starts to question your actions, ignore them, look at their beer and say, “Are you really going to drink that poisonous swill?”

Waft and Tent
Once another brew shows up, make a big show of smelling the beer.  I like to set the beer on the table and use both hands to shovel the air over top the glass into my face.  It’s best to make questioning noises at first and then work your way into agreement mumblings and finally full out orgasmic grunts.   Then, put both hands over top of the glass like a tent and stick your nose in the opening. Turn your head and exhale then dive right back in.  Once you are finished, proclaim that the beer is slightly earthy with an acrid tooth.

Hold the glass to your face.  Ask the beer connoisseur at the table if the beer feels too cold. If they touch the glass with their hand to test the temperature,  say, “Oh, you don’t use the Trappist Monk technique?” If they ask what the Trappist Monk technique is, smile and say, “I’m sorry, I've said too much already.”

Here’s where it gets tough.  By this time, your beer nemesis will be thrown off by your bizarre techniques and will want to step up with their knowledge of both taste and ingredients. Let them! Just reply back to anything they say with, “I can see where you would say that,” or “I’m sure that’s probably what you were taught.”  If they start to question your questioning, just gargle the beer while they are talking and then reply, “What did you say? I couldn't hear you during my Over Tasting procedure.”  If they start talking again, gargle louder.  After about three minutes of gargling, you should look down to see that they are gone.

Congratulations! You've won. Now order a tall boy PBR and let that cold, tasteless swill join the pride that fills your belly.  But not before you give it a good tent wafting!

Five Year Obituary Tradition

Obituaries are no fun if you can’t read them, especially when it’s your own. If everyone else is like me, people like to hear about themselves, both good and bad.  Most people have a yearly review at work to let them know how they are doing. As people, we only get one review and it’s after we die.

I have an idea called the Five Year Obituary.  Every five years, someone should write your obituary. Sum up what you’ve done with your awesome/miserable life. It will either be a tear jerking, reminiscent walk down a path paved with your successes or it will make you realize that you’ve got to get your shit together before you die.

While I have suggest in the past that you should write your own obituary, I think that this one should be written by a close friend that can drop the truth on you without you being too offended by it.  You should go into this with an open mind and allow your life summation to be both a pat on the back and a kick in the butt.

A yearly obituary would be tedious. If you only reflect on your life every ten years, you won’t have good opportunities to get your hearse pointed back in the right direction. 

Find a good friend and ask them to write your obituary. What causes have you donated your time to? Where have you explored? What lives have you changed? Who looks up to you? How many hot dogs can you eat in 10 minutes and how can we get that number up by the next Five Year Obituary?

Try it and let me know how it goes.  Mine currently just has a “born on” date, so I’ve got a bit of work to do with my life.

Ten Actual Han Solo Quotes That Sound Dirty

10. Thanks for coming after me. I owe you one.

9. No, no, no! This one goes there, that one goes there.

8. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.

7. Oh. I thought they smelled bad... on the outside!

6. Great, kid. Don't get cocky.

5. Besides, I know a few maneuvers.

4. Get in there, you big furry oaf! I don't care what you smell!

3. Great shot, kid, that was one in a million!

2. Now let's blow this thing and go home.

1. Sorry about the mess!

Crap that Shouldn’t Be Happening at a Wedding Reception

I was going to call this Top Ten Wedding Reception Pet Peeves, but I can’t stand people that have pet peeves. Instead, here is a list of ten items of which you should take note and try to avoid when planning a wedding reception. I apologize for making fun of you if you have already had your wedding reception and did one of these items.

Long Time Between the Service and Reception
I understand that you really wanted your service at Church X and that you couldn't have your reception anywhere but Place Y and that Photographer Z could only do the group shots after the wedding and to coordinate all those desires you have a three hour gap between the wedding and the reception. I know that you’ll be busy in that time, but I have absolutely nothing to do except to sit in a bar and drink. Now all of a sudden you got a reception full of people that have been angrily drinking for three hours. For your next marriage, (because there’s no way that anyone who planned that bullshit will ever keep a spouse) have both the wedding and the reception at the bingo hall. (Of course, there were two months between my wedding and the reception. Guilty as charged.)

Not Getting “The Business” Done
Once you realized that the wedding and reception should be back to back, you also need to understand that a wedding isn't a kid's birthday party where you need to spread out the activities through the whole event. In your planning, make sure you cram all that traditional crap all together in the first 30 minutes of the reception. I expect the Best Man / Chick of Honor speech to run right into the cake cutting and as you are wiping the cake off your face you should be having your first dance/dance with dad and then throw the bouquet. Then everyone can drink uninterrupted or leave as they see fit. Don’t be a prima donna and stretch out all the fluff and have everything perfectly staged and managed. Get in, get it done, get out.

Not Enough Bartenders
I am a big fan of open bar, but I understand that your friends are alcoholics and that a cash bar helps to slow them down. What I can’t stand is when a wedding of 200 has one bar with two bartenders. If I am stuck in line with an empty glass, that means that I’ll also be stuck talking with one of your spouse’s relatives. You don’t want me to talk to your spouse’s relatives because I might let the mountain goat story slide out and I don’t think the statute of limitations is up on that one, pal. A reception should have a minimum of two bartenders with one bartender for every 50 people. And while I think a cash bar is fine for wine and liquor, pony up the cash for a keg or two so that your poor friends that could only afford to get you a box of Tide as a gift can have something to drink.

BETH EDIT: I recently went to Beth's wedding and she had a great idea. As people moved from the wedding to the reception, (the wedding and reception were back to back, see the section "Long Time Between the Service and Reception"), servers made their way into the crowd with trays of wine and beer.  Everyone had a drink within five minutes. Absolutely brilliant.

The DJ Who Thinks He's Actually A DJ
Don’t trust your buddy with an iPod and two speakers to DJ your wedding. Hire a real DJ. But during your interview, make sure you tell them that 4/5th of their payment will be held back until after the event and possibly forfeited if they break any of the following rules:
#1 No Macarena
#2 Only ONE line dance
#3 Stick to the genres of music that will be provided to you before the event. Don’t stray.
#5 The DJ is allowed to give their phone number out to one pre-approved guest.
#6 No props.
#7 If I see a disco ball or a single multicolor rotating light, you will be beaten with a rental folding chair. Either come with a $35,000 lighting show or don’t bring anything.
#8 You get one drink when the wedding is ¾ done. You can drink any of the leftovers when the reception is over.
#9 Do you really need an assistant? You are hitting NEXT on an iPod for fucks sake.
#10 And most of all… don’t give color commentary on anything that any one is doing. You are to speak only when announcing events as they happen. Don’t tell us what song you are going to play next. Don’t tell us how lovely the bride looks. Don’t mention that Aunt Eleanor is really shaking it with that new hip. Just keep hitting play and you’ll get your check.

Release the Tables
If you can't afford the extra $15,000 to have servers bring the dry chicken and salty asparagus to your guests, you might decide to have a buffet. That’s fine because your guests aren’t really worth the extra money. But if you do have a buffet, don’t leave it up to your guests to decide when they should stand up to go stand in line. Release the tables by number or have a couple of family members do it for you. Just don’t pretend like your starving guests can regulate the line. Someone is going to ditch Aunt Elenaor and she has been pretty feisty since she got that hip replaced. I once attended a wedding where the father of the bride walked into a room with over 250+ people in it and said, “The buffet line is open,” and left. 250+ people looked at each other for six seconds and then stood up in unison to head towards the food. Miss Sally and I walked the fuck out.

Invite Guests at the Last Minute
Don’t invite last minute guests that you meet through the wedding process. It’s bad enough you have to invite the padre and the photographer. At a wedding recently, one of the guests asked about two of the scantily clad guests who were spending a lot of time grinding on relatives and each other. The reply was that the two girls were the strippers from the bachelor party and the groom took such a liking to them that he invited them to the wedding. TRUE STORY.

Cake Smash
Don’t smash the cake in each other’s faces. And if you do, plan it out ahead of time so you both do it to each other in some fun way that will make it to YouTube so that you can generate some ad revenue and pay for the third and fourth bartender.

People Not Dancing
This one has to do more with a combination of the DJ and the guests, but I clearly blame the guests for this one. Receptions must be successful. Even if the bride and groom do everything as instructed above, the reception can fail if you, the guest, don’t dance. Don’t make the bride pull you off your chair and on to the dance floor. Suck it up for one night and dance. If you see the floor is empty, tell your pals to get off their asses and at least sway out on the dance floor. This is the one opportunity for the DJ to use his “Line Dance” card. Make sure he doesn’t blow it in the first ten minutes of the reception. Come on… just dance. You saw Footloose, Willard… you know how to dance.

The “Kill You” Speech
I didn’t think this one was real, but I have witnessed it at three (yes, three) weddings. At some point during the Best Man speech, someone, either a family member or close female friend, will profess their family/friend love of the bride and then say something along the lines of, “…and if you ever hurt her, I (we) will hunt you down and kill you.” Are you fucking kidding me? You might be saying it in jest, but it makes you sound A) creepy and B) creepy. Just tell them how happy you are for them and sit down. And really, if you feel the need to say this, look at your own meaningless, empty life and try to figure out why you feel the need to say such things. There is still hope for you. Maybe.

You are familiar with this list and understand that some people make mistakes in the planning of their receptions. Now keep it to yourself, asshole. There is a time and a place to complain about a reception and that is the day after. Don’t bitch about the DJ or the bartenders or how long shit is taking during the reception. You are a guest and you should act like one. Get off you ass and dance. Stand in the bar line and chat it up with Uncle Chris. Laugh at the DJs commentary about how the Bride and Groom will be (insert sexual innuendo here) later. No one is perfect. Especially the guy who had his reception in a bingo hall, with no DJ except for a crappy CD player, had volunteer bartenders, and will never ever ever be allowed to help plan with his wedding reception again. At some point I will, I mean, he will have to throw a second one to make up for the first.


I met Freckled Jenn and Eric at a brewery called Lineage. She suckered be in by telling me they had a Wheat beer infused with Sour Patch Kids.  I went through two sets of tires driving to the place as fast as I did.

I was the first to arrive, seeing as I drove there so fast that my car tires made the Earth rotate backwards and caused time to reverse. I ordered a Kimmy Gibbler and sat at the high table that faces the parking lot. I only had to wait as long as it took the Earth to catch up with itself for them to arrive.

Freckled Jenn was very interested to hear about my trip to Turkey. I probably talked for 30 minutes straight about salty cheese and feral cats and carpenters that didn’t know how to carpenter. Jenn is a good listener and asked good questions like, “You know that prostitution is cheating, even if you are in a different country,” and “why didn’t you just buy a new pair of underwear?”

Eric rejoined us after speaking with one of his buddies who runs the kitchen. We immediately started discussing the women of Turkey. I hadn’t  an opportunity to go looking for beautiful people, so I had not seen a whole lot. There were a few very pretty people we saw at out and about, but none that I thought were stunning. I was convinced that I wouldn’t see beautiful woman the whole time. But then on my last night, I met one of Metin’s friends. She owns a Nutella store. Holy smokes she was pretty and very nice.  She spoke english and was very interested in what we were doing in Turkey.  But Jenn was tired of hearing about other pretty girls, so we decided to have one more beer and Jenn and I went up to the bar to get a round.

At the bar, we ran into a couple who were sitting near the end. They looked like a couple, but then again, Jenn and I probably looked like a couple. We talked about Bloody Marys and buying liquor as we waiting for the bartender to take our order.  We somehow got into celery salt and Worcestershire when I made a joke about my wife and Jenn’s husband. The other couple questioned if we were a couple and then they got excited and said, “Are you poly?”

Poly. Polly? Poly!

Oh! Polyamorous. Like, we would all go back to your place and roll on the IKEA carpet? I did think it was odd that the guy kept mentioning how he was texting his girlfriend, but that the girl next to him kept affectionately rubbing his back. 

Before I had a chance to say, "yes," Jenn said no, but she heard there were poly couples in the area. Jenn had recently seen an article in 614 Magazine and was familiar. The couple didn’t act disappointed as much as they acted disappointed.  We got our drinks, said our goodbyes and went back over to Eric, telling him about our adventure.  We all stared at them sitting at the bar, waiting for them to try and absorb another couple, but instead they left to go roll on their carpet alone together.

I did end up drinking a Wheat beer infused with Sour Patch Kids. It wasn’t as good as it sounded. I'm wondering what a poly relationship of Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, vodka and wheat beer would be like. Sans the carpet.

Chai, Two Lumps

I was in Turkey for three weeks working at a museum. My assumption before visiting Turkey was that I would be drinking a lot of Turkish coffee. But they don’t drink as much coffee as they do tea or, as they call it, chai. Chai was a part of everyday social interaction, business dealings and every meal. When someone offers you chai, you accept.  I did not accept on a few occasions and always ended up spending more time explaining why we couldn’t stay for chai than it would have been to just have had the drink.

Chai is served hot extremely hot. I secretly think this is so more time can be spent hanging out and talking while it cools down. Chai is traditionally served in hourglass shaped glasses so that any loose chai leaves get caught in the bottom of the glass.  

We were at the museum late one night, waiting for a shipment. In Izmit, large trucks are not allowed on the roads during the day, so we got shipments early or late. And when you are waiting for a shipment, you drink chai.  One of our interpreters, Setar, was helping with delivery and offered me chai via the security guards. I agreed and was asked how many sugars I wanted. I said two because it was late and I was considering this dessert chai. Two sugars is considered a lot.  Almost as many as three or four.  Setar then brought up a memory from his youth.  He said he remembered a Bugs Bunny cartoon where chai was being served and when Bugs Bunny’s nemesis asked for three or four sugars, Bugs hit him on the head.

Here is that clip:

I immediately found this both funny and interesting.  In the translation from English to Macedonian (I didn’t mention that Setar is 24 year old from Macedonia, moved to Turkey to go to school, showed up not speaking a bit of Turkish, was not allowed in school because he couldn’t speak the language and then worked in a restaurant over the next 6 months, picking up the language as he went along. His comment to me, “Once you know how a person is feeling, you can learn what they are saying.”) So in the translation from English to Macedonian, it was just translated as, “How many sugars to you want?” not “How many lumps do you want.” Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack.

Why is this interesting?  When I explained it to him (sugar = lumps = lumps are bumps) he “got it.” But either way, it was still something that he remembered and thought was funny, even though the actual joke was not revealed until 20 years later.   Bugs Bunny has that effect.

This is probably even more interesting because the translation in the cartoon was probably done correctly and that Setar was just humoring me with my observation.  Satar probably saw that I was proud of my clarification of the joke, knew that I was excited about my observation and that it would be best to leave it at that. Everyone happy. Everyone drinking chai.

The Rodney

I work with people that design Things and people that build Things. These people usually do not get along. The designers want the impossible and the builders want practical.  Somewhere along the way, they end up bruised and bloody, but in agreement and The Thing gets built.  The designer and the builder then go off and have a drink while the third, yet unmentioned party called the installer, takes The Thing in the field and tries to make The Thing that is too big/ too small / too upside down fit into a space that is too wet / too curved / too gravity.

The installer hates the designer and the builder because they always forget about her/him. Usually the installer ends up calling one of the two from 2000 miles away and asks them what they hell they were thinking when they designed/built The Thing. And because they are still out together having that drink, they tend to let the installer go to voice mail.

Recently, I installed A Thing as part of a much larger project. It was a decorative barrel. The designer and the builder had some really good ideas about how this engineered and scenically treated decorative barrel should look and function.  I do not think they had very many thoughts about how it would be installed. They created a steel frame that could be fastened to the wood floor with large lag screws. They made wonderful holes in the bottom the 36" tall frame in several locations so the barrel would be firmly attached.  The metal frame was connected to other barrels' metal frames so they would all hold each other up. It was a really nice design except for one item: the holes in the bottom were 36" away from the top and the metal frame inside only allowed for about 3" of access to the bottom. Imagine trying to stick a drill 36 inches though the tiny gaps in a Christmas tree made of 1" thick steel branches. It's mostly impossible unless you have a specialized tool.  So with a bit of improvisation, we created "The Rodney."  Not named for the designer or the builder, but for the guy that manages those two entities. And Rodney can take a joke.

So to get through the very small gap, 36" down to the bottom of the barrel, we purchased three 12" socket extension and a magnet.

The extensions connected to one another, but would fall apart when suspended. Using tape, I connected the three extensions together.

I then taped a magnet to the socket so that the lags would not fall off as they were lowered into the barrel. The fastener is not taped to the socket, ti just looks that way. The magnet taped to the socket holds the lag while being lowered into the barrel.

We christened it "The Rodney" and set off to try it out.

The magnet was so strong that I had problems getting it to the bottom of the barrels without it sticking to the frame.  Once the fastener did make it to the bottom and I would start the drill, the damn thing was wobbly as hell and it was difficult to get the lag to dig into the wood.  After several rough starts, the lag finally grabbed into the wood and The Rodney drove them through the frame in solidly into the floor.

There were five barrels in all and they each got a taste of The Rodney.  Then The Rodney was put on a shelf and mostly forgotten until now. In the end, it got stripped down so that we could use the magnet to fetch some metal bits from under an exhibit and someone had their own Thing to deal with and just needed one 12" extension.

No design is perfect. No fabrication technique is flawless. No installation is simple.  But when your back is against the wall and The Thing is making the situation seems hopeless, just remember that The Rodney will always be there for you.

How to Download Your Playlist from Grooveshark (for Chrome)

This is from reddit user akahomerjay42 

Grooveshark was a HTML5 website, so it stored data in the browser "Local Storage.". If you haven't cleared your cache since you last logged into Grooveshark, you can probably retrieve it.
2) Open Chrome's Developer Tools by hitting (CTRL+SHIFT+I)
3) Click on "Resources" tab
4) Expand the "Local Storage" tree
5) Click on ""
6) Find the key that looks something like "Library1414435" (it will be a 7+ digit number)
7) Look at its "value" (it's a JSON string). You should see something like this "{"lastModified":.....blah blah artist name...
8) Right-Click on that value
9) Click "Edit Value"
10) Copy it by hitting CTRL+C 
11) Now go to the webiste  and Paste (CTRL +V) the contents of your clipboard into the window 

12) Download the resulting .CSV file 
13) Open the .CSV file in Office or Excel

My Pineapple Heart

I wrote a draft of a play called "My Pineapple Heart."  In acquaintance of mine (yes, I am allowed to have an acquaintance,) MaryBeth, mentioned that she had a very small pineapple (smaller than normal) and my friendquaintance (one step up from an acquaintance) Wooz was taking plays for his yearly Valentine show at St. James Tavern.  This didn't get picked, but I thought I would share. It still needs a lot of work, but this is probably the last I will ever touch it.

My Pineapple Heart

Hi, anyone sitting here?

Not anymore.

I’ve seen you here at the St. James a couple of times. 

Oh yeah, you were playing pool?

You… you noticed me?

Ha! No. It’s just that there’s a pretty good chance that anyone coming here was or is going to play pool.

I can’t help but see that you have a pineapple strapped to your chest.

Oh? Is it noticeable?

Well, it’s a small pineapple. Smaller than normal.

His name is Charles, but I call him Charlie.

Do you carry it in case of a fruity drink emergency?


Is it some kind of Japanese fashion trend?


Did you lose a bet?

This is my heart.

Your heart?

My heart. The mass of muscle that beats endlessly and keeps us alive. My heart.

You mean it’s a symbol of your heart.

No.  My heart was taken from me.


Ripped out.  Ripped right out. I was lying there on the floor about to die, but I was able to reach Charlie. Somehow, I made it though. I fashioned this sling to keep it on me.

Who took your heart?

A guy. His name is Joe.

Is he the guy you come here with?

Yeah.  Used to.

So Joe, I assume, broke up with you, took your heart and this pineapple heart is the replacement.

The pineapple is perfect for me to replace my heart. It’s smaller than normal. It’s spikey in all sorts of places. It’s ugly. The core is rough and gritty. But if you know how to work your way in there, there is sweetness inside. Was. Not sure anymore.

I’ve seen you here before.  I’ve always wanted to talk to you, but you’ve always been with a guy. With Joe.

You’ve been watching me?

Not in a creepy way.

When you watch someone more than once and you don’t say hello, it’s creepy.

I think that Joe guy would not have appreciated me coming over to say hello.

Joe didn’t appreciate much.

How long are you going to wear that?

Forever. Until I’m dead. Whichever comes first.

Listen. I’m just the creepy guy playing pool that stares as you, but you’ve got to know that there’re other guys out there.

That… that is so cheesy. 

What I mean is this: this pineapple isn’t your heart. And Joe didn’t rip it out of you. You gave it to him. You let him have it. And he broke it.

Yes. I guess you are right.

But hearts aren’t made to give. They are meant to be shared. Equally. With someone who I… someone you loves you as much as you love them.

I… I think I know what you are saying.


I’ve been blind this whole time!


I don’t need to give my heart away, I need to share it.

Yes! Share it!

Thank you! I’m going to go find Joe and give it another chance.  Thank you!

But! But I..

I did it all wrong  the first time around. This time, things will be different. Thank you!

(She kisses him on the cheek.)

I don’t need this anymore. (She removes the pineapple and throws it on the bar.)

Joe! (She leaves.)

The guy stands up and watches her go. He then clutches his chest and bends over in pain.  With a gasp, he reaches for the pineapple and puts it on.