Pumpkin Attack!

The best Greg and Dad pumpkin yet:

The Shot

Jen and Robert's wedding was great yesterday. It was wonderful catching up with old friends.

Many drinks were consumed and after we were "asked" to leave the reception, the seven of us walked over to The Tip Top. Some of us ordered drinks. Some of us drank water. One of the water drinkers, who we will call "Mr. G", grew quiet. Then, he quietly walked off behind a planter and reduced the load of wine and cookies in his belly.

Mr. G returned to the table as if nothing had happened.

A few minutes later, Mr. G wandered off again to the delight of everyone on that patio. We couldn't see Mr. G as he had wandered off down the street a good ways, but we knew when he was puking because the crowd down at the other end would release a "whoa!" every time he puked. They said "whoa!" about five times.

Mr. G returned and was very proud that he didn't get his tie dirty.

Ten minutes later, one of the people on the patio that had been yelling "whoa!" showed up at our table with a present for Mr. G.



It was a shot with a lemon on the side. I assumed it was tequila.

Holy shit we laughed. Mr. G took the shot from the dude and was very polite at trying to turn it down. The guy was insistent that Mr. G try the shot. For a split second, we thought he was about to take it. Then he set it down on the table and didn't touch it again.

A few scientific tests later we discovered it was just water with a lemon.

Whoever you are, Shot Guy, thank you for the laugh.

And thank you Mr. G for being a good sport.

Congratulations Jen and Robert!

Erik Eats: MARATHON!

For those of you unaware, Erik and I no longer work together. Let's just say that those sexual harassment "guidelines" actually stand up in court. What this means is that our "Erik Eats" segments are going to be few and far between.

The only good news to all of this is that the food we had stockpiled in my cubical needed Eats and Erik was on board to plow his way through everything we had left. So at my going away party at Hal & Al's in Columbus, OH, we did it.

So here it is: The Erik Eats Marathon.

A bright orange package arrives! What could it contain?


Open carefully!


Oh dear! A treasure trove of delightful solids and liquids!!


It's Super Supau Drink and Kuai Kuai Corn Snack!


And look! Some kind of lollipop thing and Preserved Fruit of Haw!


MORE?

Some kind of crayon shaped food. (With a premature thumbs up.)


Hyper Cool Gum!


How did this get in there?


Let us begin.

Kuai Kuai Corn Snack BAG OPEN!


Smell?


It's just the sweet, sweet smell of coconut.


Eat one.


Eat many!


Nom nom nom nom nom nom.


Erik says.... delicious!


Next!

It's Preserved Fruit of Haw!


It's Preserved Fruit of Haw in a pre-opened package that maybe we might have already gotten into because we were hungry!

Erik removes the last individually wrapped stick of haw fruit from the package.


Erik struggles to remove the wrapper.


Look! A friend has joined us. It's Freckled Jen to the rescue.


Even with Jen's help, Erik struggles to get the wrapper off. Perhaps it is the flashbacks to years ago as an awkward 24 year old when he had trouble getting a wrapper off something else for the first time?


Erik goes in for the age old "Lady and the Tramp" move.


Fail!


Failure or not, Erik goes in for the kill.


Decision?


STILL MORE TO COME!!

Grocery Store Stereotypist

I am a grocery store stereotypist. When I am heading for the line, I look for a few clues that get me though the line quicker. Sometimes I make assumptions. Usually I am right and in the parking lot while you are still counting your change at the self checkout line.

1. The longest line isn’t always the longest
Just because a line is further back than the rest does not essentially mean it will take the longest to get through. Check for families that are going through together. If there are four people and only one cart, chances are it will take them less time to get through than two carts taking up the same about of space.

2. Look out for split orders
When you saunter up to the line, be on the lookout for one person (usually a young woman) separating her purchases into two piles. This usually means she will be paying for part of the order with WIC or food stamps. This takes a good bit of time and a manager and explaining to the customer as to why Jell-o is not one of the approved foods.

3. Look at the nametag
If the cashier has a nametag that has a whole lot of stickers and ribbons and flair, hit their line. They have been at the store for years and know all the fruit/vegetables codes by heart including tomatillos and plantains.

4. Avoid the tobacco line
Many stores have a dedicated tobacco line. This is the only line with cigarettes. Unless the cashier is on the ball, it will take them five minutes to find the Lucky Strike Filter Soft Pack Buy Two Get One Free. You also have to worry about other cashiers coming over to pick up smokes for the people in their line that were trying to avoid standing in the Smoking Line in the first place. Smokers are also too damn chatty with the cashier. Shut up all ready.

5. Coupon people save money, not time
If you see coupons… avoid. The coupon people usually have an 85% fail rate at which one of their coupons is wrong or expired. They’ll whip out their coupon sorting system and try to find the right one. Coupon people also usually pay by check, just to piss me off.

6. Checkbookers
There is no way to tell if someone is going to pay by check. I have done studies. I have read books. I have watched endless hours of security camera tapes only to come up empty handed. I once was 100% sure that the kid in front of me was going to pay with cash/credit card because he showed the sure signs of not being a checkbooker:
a) he was a dude
b) he was buying beer
c) he had no apparent checkbook

What he did have was a single, folded up check in his pocket. Luckily he was buying beer so he had his ID available. If you know of some way to tell, please let me know.

7. Self Checkout isn’t always quicker
Just because you have two items doesn’t mean you should definitely use the self checkout. If there is even one person waiting to use the self checkout, scan the cashier lines. The self checkout always seems to have hiccups when they are full. Just last week I bypassed the self checkout with two people waiting on the four people checking out. As I left the store, one of the two people were still standing in line to use the self checkout.

8. Avoid old people
Sadly, old people suck at going though lines. They like to chit chat. They ask questions. They want dented boxes replaced. They like to pay with check. They don’t know how to use the card scanner. They like paper instead of plastic. They forgot an item and need the bagger to be a good boy and run and get some graham crackers no the ones in the blue box that’s a dearie.

9. Dodge vegans
Vegans are complicated in lines. They tend to buy the organic vegetables which causes a mix up when no one knows the product code. They buy weird packaged which causes a fuss when no one knows when the hell the tempeh expiration date is. They bring their own bags, which is great for the environment, but screws up the bagger. They usually pay in cash, which would normally be fine except that most cashiers have never seen the stuff before. I assume the line at Whole Foods never moves.

10. You can't avoid receipt checkers
Just like with the Checkbookers, it’s hard to know you are in line with a Receipt Checker until they start checking the receipt. You can notice them watching the screen as their groceries are being scanned. When the final price is stated by the cashier, you can almost feel the air being sucked into their lungs so that they can exclaim, “Oh my!” They’ll pay the total, but damnit if they don’t stand there, blocking your advance, going line by line through the receipt, looking for an error. And they’ll question the cashier as if they keep a database of prices in their head. The manager is called in and will hopefully pull the miser off to the side to examine the receipt in detail so that you can continue with your purchases and wait until the very end to pull out your coupons and checkbook and ask for smokes.

The Van is Almost Paid Off

I am not allowed to have new things. I break and damage them too quickly. So we buy used cars.

Four years ago, we were in search of a minivan. We knew we wanted a 2004 Honda Odyssey, but we did not know from where as there are several dealerships in Columbus. It was very nice knowing exactly what car we wanted because there was no wishy washy crap to go through at the car lots.

We found a suitable car at a Columbus dealership and I went in to discuss financing. Sadly, I got the stereotypical financing run around.

First they wanted me to bring our trade in to the dealership before they could run the numbers. I said, give me numbers and then we’ll look at the trade.

They then wanted to know what I wanted to pay a month. I tried to not do this, but ended up giving him a range. He came back with a number hand written on a piece of paper that was higher than my range. He said, do we have a deal?

I said, what’s the percentage rate? He said that he’d have to go back and check.

While he was checking, I called Miss Sally to double check on the price and she said it was $500 more than advertised on the internet.

The salesman came back and gave me a typed up sheet with ten or so random fees, the wrong price, a terrible percentage rate and all this paid out over five years. I told him this was not in my range and that we would need to lower the price of the car or get rid of the bullshit fees. He said he would need to talk with his manager. I said thanks and stood up to leave.

The salesman said, “If you are not happy with the numbers please talk to my manager.” I said no thanks and kept leaving. “Please don’t leave. I will lose my job.” I fell for it. We went to the back office and spoke with the manager. I said I was shopping around and not ready to buy. He told me my time was very valuable and that I was wasting money comparing prices. I said thanks and left.

That next week, I went out to Marysville Honda and had the opposite experience. After looking at the van we saw online, I went in to talk financing. The salesguy printed up a sheet with percentage rates and lengths of loan and monthly payments neatly in a grid. They guy even left me a calculator. I was able to make a sound financial decision from the information presented. Instead of going with a five year loan, I went with a four from the information provided.

As I was writing this up, I remembered that I actually recorded the conversation at the bad dealership. I sat and listened to myself talk to the salespeople and wonder how many other people get caught up in all the bullshit.

I know it is four years late, but I found my experience at Marysville Honda to be top notch and completely opposite of the one at skanky dealership.

BONUS STORY
When I returned to Marysville Honda to drop off my trade in and pick up the van, they had me leave my car up front. At some point, a guy came over and got my keys so that he could drive the car around and switch plates. I handed over my keys and told the guy that the clutch was tricky. Five minutes later, the guy came back in and said he could not get my car to move because the clutch was completely gone. Over the past year, I had become one with my disappearing clutch and able to find the sweet spot that allowed the gears to change. I jumped in and drove it around back. Later they came back around to tell me the bolts on my plates were frozen stuck and that they would need to cut it off. And to think they gave me $500 for the trade in.

Reasons Why The Idiot In Front of You Can’t Drive

I know you know how to drive just fine, but the asshole in front of you has no idea what the hell he’s doing. Here’s why:

1. Mirrors aren’t positioned right
Mirrors should be adjusted to eliminate blind spots. A passing car should be visible in the driver's rear view mirror and before it disappears, it should be visible in the side view mirror and then in a driver’s peripheral vision before it leaves the side view mirror. Most people adjust their side mirror to see if they’ve left the gas flap open and then leave it there.

2. Doesn't look through cars
Most cars have a good bit of glass in them. In most states, that glass has to be clear. What this means is a driver can look through the cars around them to see stuff. That’s right! Right through it. If they are turning left and the guy next to them is too much of a wimp to turn, they don’t have to wait for him, they just need to look though his car and see if traffic is clear. This helps with passing, too. Fuzzy dice are a problem with this theory. Fat heads too, which is why not a lot of people pass me.

3. Doesn't know how to yield
On ramps are launch pads. By the halfway point of the on ramp, a driver should be doing the speed limit, which I think is around 75. Yield does not mean “be a bitch”. It means playing a game of chicken with the driver they are about to hit. This continues until the mergee backs down or they merger give in and slides in behind him at the last second. Many idiots get up to 50% of the speed limit and start looking backwards at the traffic. Then they hit the brakes. If drivers do as I suggest, they will be at 75 MPH at this point and should pass them on the median.

4. Not a team player
Here is the biggest problem that idiot drivers have: they forget that this is a team effort. If there is a line of 50 cars at a stop light, the 50th guy has a chance to make it through if we all work together. The whole team is expecting that the #1 car has his shit together and will lead the team to victory. #1 car should be watching the cross traffic light. If they look close, they can see it change to yellow and then red. On yellow, the driver should take their foot off the brake as this will cue car #2 which will cue car #3 and so on. Watch their light turn red and make sure no one is going to run it. As soon as it is green, hit it. Don’t fuck around. Gogogogogogogogo!! Of those 50 cars, the first 25 can make it though in the first eight seconds. All cars need to commit! No slamming on the brakes if they get nervous, the team is counting on them! The last car through should be in the middle of the intersection when the light turns red. A team effort, people.

5. Sucks at left turns
I drove in Boston for about four months and the one thing I learned is that the car turning left always shoots through the intersection as soon as the light turns green. I am cool with this. It might piss off the car coming straight though the intersection, unless they expect it, which all drivers should. The second car in line should drive 49.9999% of the way into the intersection, almost nose to nose with the car doing the same on the other side. Drivers just need a bit of space to complete the turn. The second car in line to turn left should be on the #1 cars ass. #3 car should do the same. When the light turns red, all three cars go. Just watch out for the car in cross traffic trying to get the jump on the left turn.

6. Speeds up when you try to pass
While idiot driver is going 53 - 56 MPH on the highway, a normal driver might decide pass him. This is a challenge to idiot driver and they’ll speed up. I notice this all the time on my way to work because I slap the cruise control on for the first half of the trip and I am very aware of how fast I am going. My passing might as well be a reminder to the idiot driver that his genitals are still very small and he’ll take it out on his accelerator. Usually, they speed up just enough to match the passing driver’s speed. I’ve found that, within reason, speeding up and getting past them is enough to dampen their aggression and as soon as they see the bumper, they will slow back down to their widely fluctuating speed until they are passed again. That is unless it’s to get a better shot at you though your rear window.

7. Going straight in the right hand lane
Rights on red are legal in my state. If they aren’t in yours, you should move. Nonetheless, idiot driver in front of you wants to be the first guy at the light so he’ll stray from the left lane to block the right so that you cannot turn right. This is a dick move. They should stay in the left lane, even if there is an opening.

8. Sucks at passing
When an idiot driver passes, they’ll maintain their speed, even if it is .03 MPH faster than the car they are passing. It could take 12 days to pass at that rate. When a driver passes another vehicle, they should get a pair and pass it... now! They should make it thier mission to get around that slower vehicle as fast as possible and then pull over and resume their crappy pre-pass speed.

9. On your ass
(I realize this detracts from the “Idiot In Front of You” theme, but stick with me, it’s the last one.) I keep my distance behind the car in front of me because I do not want to ride up his ass when he slams on his brakes for a kitty cat crossing the street. Idiot driver behind thinks that somehow a driver will speed up if he rides their ass. This is just not cool and does not work into the whole team work theory we spoke of earlier. Drivers should back a couple car lengths. I have learned a trick where I step on the brake pedal with my left foot just enough to trigger the brake light, but not trigger the brakes. That usually freak them the hell back.

10. Does any of the following
Throws shit out the window
Makes out with girlfriend*
Can’t handle road head
Can’t find a CD under the seat
Doesn’t know how to talk and drive
Is out of windshield wiper fluid(guilty)
Is missing a mirror(guilty)
Smoks a pipe
Eats a footlong sub (guilty)
Masturbating (also guilty)

*To end this article, I tell you a story I swear is true: on my way home down 670 one fine evening, I witnessed a car swerving and sped up to see what the hell was going on. In the drivers seat sat a female. The passenger seat there was a male. The male leaned over and grabbed the steering wheel and the driver leaned over and, I assume, BEGAN TO BLOW THE PASSENGER. The car continued down the highway with the dude leaning over, swerving every so often. This continued for six or seven minutes, even as they transitioned between 670E and 270N, until the girl popped up and they pulled off an exit ramp.

For reasons which you may be aware, I have always called this Postal Head and think about it whenever I travel down 670.

Beer and Birth Control

As seen on the ground outside the Varsity Club after the Ohio University v Ohio State game.

Cleocin: Orange flavored dog turd

Greg had strep for the fourth time in two months and we were weary. We’d gone from the bubble gum amoxicillin to some antibiotic with twice as many l’s and i’s. None of them could kick the strep. We were weary.

The day after Greg’s birthday party, he had the now familiar red throat, belly ache and splotchy face. (Oh, that reminds me. If your kid was at Greg’s birthday party, you might want to be on the look out for strep symptoms.) We took him back to the doctors and they prescribed Cleocin.

I’m 40 years old and as a kid the only good tasting medicine we had was the orangey tasting baby aspirin. Cough syrup had a mild cherry flavor with an undesirable, bitter after taste. I think most cillins came in a needle back then. Kids these days have it easy on the taste buds. All of Greg’s medicines taste good. Orange flavored Motrin. Grape flavored Tylenol. I think I saw a crème brûlée bottle of aspirin in the back of the medicine cabinet.

But not Cleocin. Cleocin tastes like poop. Really. I’m being completely honest when I say it smells like a two week old cat box. It’s got an acidic taste that burns the tongue and leaves an awful taste in your mouth almost as bad as the 06' & '07 Ohio State National Championship losses. Almost.

The pharmacist tried to help by flavoring it. I’m not sure if you’ve ever eaten a dog turd, but I can guess that sprinkling orange flavoring on it does not really change the taste. She said it was nasty stuff and she was right.

That first night, Greg was in for a big surprise. Normally, kids’ medicines are dosed at 3/4 tsp or maybe 1 tsp once or twice a day. The Cleocin was two teaspoons every six hours. We loaded up a plastic dosing syringe and called for the boy. “Yummy! Medicine!” Sucker. I got it all in and he swallowed it before the tongue could talk to the brain. He looked up at me with a face of betrayal. “That was yucky.”

At the next dosage, he knew what was up and would not take the medicine. I will leave out the heart wrenching details of restraining him and forcing this medicinal vitriol down his throat.

The pharmacist suggested we mix the medicine in with other foods to mask the taste. Here is the list of recipes we tried along with the (taste factor) and outcomes:

Straight medicine
(yucky)
DO NOT WANT

Mixed with chocolate syrup
(wretched)
syrup acted like napalm sticking to mouth, extending the contact time with tongue

Mixed into chocolate milk
(still wretched)
bitter taste and could not drink the whole thing

Popsicle, chocolate square, then medicine
(cold chocolate turd taste)
popsicle was to numb mouth, chocolate to coat mouth and shield tongue from taste – failed

Mixed with chocolate pudding
(DNF)
he took one taste and knew the medicine was in there

Mixed with chocolate frosting
(pukey)
sticky frosting stayed in mouth, exponential wretchedness

My sister Amy's husband Joe called to give us some medical advice. He mentioned that there are Compound Pharmacists who will mix the medicine with other stuff to make yucky medicine palatable. For instance taking medicine and turning it into a lollipop. That gave me an idea.

I took two orange pez candies and crushed them, mixed in ½ tsp Orange Flavored Motrin, and a teaspoon of sugar substitute with the medicine. Mix well. It turned a pale orange so you know it had to taste good! Suck up in syringe. I had Greg chew up two pez and then with a lot of coaching and tears, gave him the medicine. IT WORKED!

We refined the recipe. It’s now four Smarties (they crush easy), 1/4 tsp of dry Tang power and the medicine with a few drops of water. Ta da! Take two Smarties, hit the syringe and chase it with a few other Smarties.

I think most of it is mental. You don’t want to tell your kid you are sneaking them medicine, but once they figure it out, they remember and make everything else that much harder. When you are up front and do tell them it is medicine, they fight you.

In the end, I think it was the orange color from the Pez and the Motrin that made him try the final concoction. Sucker!

Twins

Sometimes you accidentally end up dressing similarly to someone at work.

Sometimes it gets downright creepy.


Right down to the shoes.

The Insert Key Returns

Many of you may know that I do not like the INSERT key. When I get to a new job, I remove it. When I get ready to leave that job, I replace it.

So here is my keyboard now:


I am leaving my current job and taking on another.

I want you to all be aware that this may affect the frequency of "Erik Eats" segments. Right now I average about 23 Erik Eats segments a week (most go unpublished) and I will try to keep that number around 15 per week. This means that my son Greg will not be able to play any winter sports, but my readers are far more important than my children.

I did find one positive thing about cleaning off my desk. It makes for a very nice napping spot.



I'll let you know how things turn out. Wish me luck!

Meat Eaters and Vegetarians Agree

No one wants to see these on a plate together.

Gunnullostra

Gunnullostra (n) - The national sport of Chile. Usually played with two, 17 person teams.

Smallest car in the lot...

...can't seem to get between the lines.


I'll miss you, Smarter Doug.

Swedish Fish Dis

Two days ago I got a comment on my story about how 100 calorie packs of Swedish Fish are not as good as the full sized ones.

In the story I suggest that people DO NOT buy the smaller Swedish Fish and instead eat about 5 of the regular sized fish as they equal about 100 calories.

The comment was by someone named "Anonymous" and it said:
Your calorie count is way off. According to their website, 100 calories is about 14 fish (19 pieces are 140 calories) - http://www.swedishfish.com/products.html#red

So I said:
Hello Anon! You have issued me a challenge. I hope you understand what you have done.

I am going to go out, buy a bag of the regular sized fish and then I am going to math. I'm gonna math hard.

I'll post the results.

The winner gets a bag of Swedish fish.

Deal?


So I went out and purchased an 8oz bag of the regular sized fish and here is a photo of the Nutrition Facts:


Serving size is 7 pieces and a serving has 150 calories. Divide 7 into 150 and you get about... crap. let me get a calculator.

21.42 calories per fish

100 divided by 21.42 is 4.6 or about 5.

You owe me a bag of fish Anonymous! You can e-mail the fish to me at holyjuan@gmail.com.

condrariam

condrariam -n A word that Sarah Palin actually thinks is a real word and then when she finds out it isn't, makes up some excuse as to why it should be a word.

The “?!” and “!?” Matched Pairs Conundrum

I’m sure you know the uses of the question mark and exclamation point:

“Fuck me?”
“Fuck you!”

But what happens when you pair them? When should you pair them?

What happens when you pair “!” with “?”
The first thing that happens when you pair these two punctuation marks together is that your reader assumes your vocabulary is too limited to correctly transverbulate your feelings and that you need to fall back on punctuation to express your true thoughts.

The second thing that happens is that the reader will think that perhaps they are the idiot, that they missed something in the sentence, and they will go back and re-read your poorly written sentence only to find they were correct about the writer’s lack of transverbulation in the first place.

Lastly, your reader will attempt to figure out why your sentence ends with “?!” or “!?” and why you decided to use the combination you did. Which is why we’ll move on to the next bit…

When should you pair them?
When deciding between either “?!” and “!?” the first step is to not get mixed up with the chess playing punctuation definitions. Believe it or not, chess players utilize punctuation marks to express how devious or stupid moves are in a game. Wipe this shit out of your head because anyone who has time to punctuate chess moves obviously doesn’t have the time to read this kind of article. We don’t want to get mixed up with that element. Here are the definitions you should be concerned with:

“?!” – Loud question
Otherwise known as the ‘WTF?!”, this punctuation is necessary to harshly question someone else’s actions or previous statement with the expectation of an answer back. Some good examples are:
“Is that a herpes sore?!”
“When were you going to tell me you were married?!”
“How did you manage to spend $4,300 on your trip to Washington, DC?!”

“!?” – No Fucking Way
This is a strong disbelief in someone’s action or statement without the expectation of an answer:
“Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!?”
“You call that a penis!?”
“Gas is at $4.00 a gallon!?”

See how a statement changes now that you know the definitions:
“You are gay?!”
“You are gay!?”

Or:
“You are a sophomore in high school?!”
“You are a sophomore in high school!?”

All punctuation should be like the dollar .sign

The dollar sign comes before the number even though you say “twenty dollars” when it looks like this .$20 No one says dollars .twenty At first it seemed very .awkward

But then I realized that the percent sign comes after the number (20%) and so you don’t know what the number represents until you are finished saying it and then you’ve got to add the right .inflection That could lead to !embarrassment

Why not do the same as the dollar sign for all ?punctuation

As you can see, it works for punctuation at the end of the .sentence It gives you a second to finish up your sentence momentum and then come to an agreeable halt with the proper hint of .emotion

In *Spanish, they put the punctuation marks at the beginning and at the end of the sentence to give you a head start on your .inflection I think this leads to over enunciation and unneeded .inflection That’s why the Spanish speaking peoples always seem so dramatic when they .talk Our new rule for English will be one punctuation mark, but right before the last word of a .sentence I wonder if this will work for …?ellipses It !does

So here is a list of suggestions for new end of sentence :punctuation

%percentages
*asterisks
: colon
!!double exclamation
?! questioning exclamation
!? exclaiming a question

Please let me know if you need any assistance with any specific .punctuation

.P.S And all emoticons should be .banned !!Forever




*Both Mexican and Spanish as well as .Castilian

Aww... Kitty Got Sick!



Reason #7 Why I Have a Great Job
I find this kind of stuff on my desk at least once a week.

Ann's Pizza

Ann is four years old and her preschool class went to a local "take and bake" pizza place where they were able to make their own pizzas. The store was crazy enough to allow the four year olds to make their own crust as well as add toppings. The crust was very thick in places and even thicker in others. Most the toppings had gotten the hint from gravity and found a home in between the two mountains of dough. Some of the more stubborn toppings held on to the sides in some sad show of bravado.

We tossed the creation in the oven per the instructions and waited. I'm not sure if a stray gamma ray hit a still thriving colony of yeast, but the crust came alive and tried to negotiate its way out of the oven.


It reminded me of this character from "Space Balls."


We turned up the heat until it stopped talking.

Ann ate about three bites.