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Tuesday Morning Dream recap

Had a bad dream. Woke up at 4. Couldn’t get back to bed. To show the part of my subconscious brain that cooked up this dream that it isn’t the boss of me, here’s the dream.

Lyndsay and Tea were out of town. But 2 friends needed a place to sleep (2 friends, but not their kids, apparently…) so I said they could crash. All 3 of us tried to sleep on a futon underneath a Christmas tree, but for some reason, that just wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t Christmas time, the tree was just up. And lit. Because this is a dream, we weren’t at my house, but at my parents’ house. When it was clear the futon wasn’t working out, I suggested we all sleep in the actual beds.

So we all got up, off the futon and out from under the Christmas tree. When I walked through the kitchen, I noticed a light in the back bathroom. There was a dude in black sweats, white socks, and tennis shoes. Maybe those old low top Reeboks?

He was carrying a flashlight and apparently attempting to burgle, um, the medicine cabinet? Now I know the score – it’s a classic Home Invasion nightmare. So I turn the corner again to confront him, but he’s gone. I walk into the room and look out the window, into my parents’ backyard. He’s standing about 15 feet away, so I say, “Hey, I see you out there. Stop doing this.” He looks at me calmly and informs me that I’m dreaming and I should go back to bed. Nice try, buddy. I’ve seen this episode of Mad Men. It’s not a dream, you’re STEALING STUFF FROM MY HOUSE ONLY IT’S NOT MY HOUSE IT’S MY PARENTS’ HOUSE. Then a Cadillac drives through the back yard.

“See,” he says. “If this wasn’t a dream, why did a 1990 Cadillac Allante just drive through the yard?” That’s just garbage dream logic, I decide. A classic ploy. He’s still gonna burgle stuff! Plus, then I see another guy. Younger then the first guy. A nephew? Tough to say. The point is, even though a car drove through the yard in the middle of the night, they’re still trying to steal stuff. Now my voice isn’t working. It’s like the dream where you’re waiting tables and your legs don’t work. If I could yell at them, clearly I could intimidate them into not taking stuff, but without my voice, what do I do? I race back to the front of the house and see that 1-2 other guys have parked a car (maybe the Caddy, maybe not. Tough to say.) in the driveway and have started loading stuff in.

And to show how heartless they are, the only thing that I can see for sure in the backseat is Tea’s carseat. Of course, it’s not the one we have in real life. It’s black and gray with orange piping. But, I mean, look at these heartless creeps, stealing things that aren’t mine, from a place I don’t live, while trying to convince me that it’s all a dream (technically true) while I can’t yell at them to change their burgling ways. Only I was yelling. In real life, though, not in the dream. ANOTHER CRUEL IRONY. If I could tell that guy in the sweatpants and Reeboks that I was yelling in real life, and that real-life yelling worth more points than dream yelling.

What I’m saying is: I’m glad to be awake again, where no one is stealing my daughter’s car seat, where my yard isn’t Cadillac-accessible and where, if they were stealing her car seat, I could actually yell at them which would obviously make them stop.

friday afternoon monologue

Me (standing in the store): The Starbucks app told me I can get free refills on coffee. Is that true?
Barista (standing in the store): Yes, as long as you’re in the store.
Me (still standing in the store): Great… because… here I am…

After the characters of J.R.R. Tolkien have been box-office stars for years, the author himself will finally take center stage as plans for a biopic have now been revealed. True to the vision of executive producer Peter Jackson, the story will be split into 3 films – The Fellowship of the J, The Two Rs and The Return of the Tolkien.

Catching Fire, the second movie in the Hunger Games franchise, opens today and is expected to dominate the weekend box office. In it, children are forced to fight one another, risking their health and sanity for the entertainment of the masses. “Hey, that was our idea first!” shouted the producers of Toddlers & Tiaras.

A few weekends ago, we went to see the Packers at Lambeau. Below a few notes on The Lambeau Experience:

Green Bay may be the only place I’ve ever been where people park their cars on a stranger’s lawn before they start drinking.

In Wisconsin, the sign says “No food or beverages allowed inside the stadium,” but the sign means “Carry your Miller Lite tallboy right to the stadium entrance, then chug it and set it on the ground next to all the other empties.”

At Shopko in Green Bay, it’s about 20 feet from the front door to the main aisle. “20 feet” or “3 racks of jerseys and 1 rack of Aaron Rodgers action figures.”

Your green and gold pajama pants aren’t just around-the-house clothes anymore.

If you think you can’t crochet beer cans into a hat, think again.

If you think everyone’s forgiven Favre, think again.

And if you think bratwurst is an acceptable breakfast food, think agai- well, no, you’re right on that one.

Wisco Disco is a beer that exists. Because, what better logic for naming a beer than “hey, it rhymes with Wisco!” Hopefully next year, Stillmark Brewing will start selling their tributes to the West Coat (Wisco Frisco) and Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (Wisco Sisko).

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sunday night monologue

My latest social media trend? Avoiding social media for the 48 hours surrounding each new episode of Breaking Bad, desperately trying to avoid spoilers until the episodes arrive on Netflix.

Heat 2: It’s The Humidity starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy

Favorite thing I got to say last week: “I don’t see what’s so outrageous about a giant claymation head of Neil Degrasse Tyson.”

Oh. OH! Neil Degrasse Jr High! Has anyone ever thought of… Oh, they have. Nevermind.

Judging from the most recent estimates, by 2015, our house will be 70% filled with Things Our Daughter Wouldn’t Put Down At The Rummage Sale.

Our local dump is actually pretty nice. Are they going to have to call it something else?

I thought that spider hanging out by the front door was going to be a problem. Then I saw the wasps’ nest. Very quickly, I reevaluated my spider stance.

Spider stance, spider stance, does whatever in spider pants.
Does he walk? Does he jump? Does he stand by a bicycle pump?
Spins a web, on our stoop, where he’ll sleep and probably poop.
Lookout! Here got a spider stance, oh he’s got a spider stance!

Saturday night, I read a tweet from Steve Martin to Alec Baldwin. Then suddenly, they were in a movie together on TV. It was like Netflix time machine. Which, hopefully will be a sweet social media trend in 100 years. But if it is, I should know in just a minute, shouldn’t I?

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Saturday Night Mini-logue

I’m always looking for ways to make my life simpler. For instance, to be prepared for any future address, I’m changing my name to Current Resident.

Candy Crush doesn’t give you advice, it gives you badvice. Its trademark ‘flashing shapes’ alert is a great reminder ‘don’t make this move right here, unless you’re admitting defeat already.’

In talking about Tea last week, I neglected to mention her ability to identify by name just a few relatives, but every regular cast Muppet on Sesame Street. In particular, we’ve moved into the Elmo phase of childhood development. Anywhere, at any time, she can spot him. From 100 yards away – Elmo. A quarter-inch drawing on the back cover of a book – Elmo. Not watching Elmo – how about we watch him? Just watched Elmo – how about a little more Elmo? If toddlers were allowed to get tattoos, you can bet his face would be more prevalent than the Hula Girl and the Mom In A Heart combined.

Pulling dandelions and planting grass seed for weeks. Finally getting some grass to grow really well – in the cracks of the sidewalk leading to our front steps.

Drinking MDG lately and using the Punch-Top. I know, I know. I’m not sure that you can say for certain that it’s making the experience better. But you can’t say it’s not making it better, either. That limbo space is an advertising dream come true. It doesn’t affect the taste, it just gives you an effective anchor for your metaphors about boldness, difference freedom and AMERICA [rev motorcycles, cue fireworks, make impossible-looking billiards shot, high-five good looking friends, drain your Punch-Top can of domestic beer].

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friday afternoon monologue

I ran some errands at lunch yesterday. Two old ladies were standing near the snack food aisle (white hair, tight perms, embroidered sweatshirts) and one of them starts tap dancing. Because, of course, she’s wearing tap shoes. Why wouldn’t you be wearing tap shoes while doing a little shopping? She busted out a couple rhythm patterns and a full spin, just to show the friend that she’s still got it, I guess? Maybe it was like a senior citizen version of Step Up? (Step Up 4: Tapper’s Delight)

Old people (like babies) have a leg up in the cute game. They can be doing most any everyday activity and for whatever reason, it’s just so much more precious than when it’s done by someone in the middle of the age bell curve. But this was way beyond standard cute, old-people things like wearing a hat/holding a cell phone/chewing bubble gum. This was so powerful I got a temporary perma-grim on my face and as I walked past them, my head rotated to keep watching. Thankfully, it was a pretty quick performance, so I could readjust myself before walking straight into a Pepsi Max display or something.


On the opposite end of chronological, categorical cuteness, the Sweet Tea is quickly approaching her second birthday. The great thing for me is that I can finally stop counting her age in months. I’ve already started, using the phrases ‘almost 2’ and ‘she’ll be 2 in June’ instead of ’23 months’ but I’m looking forward to upcoming era of whole number/number-and-a-half age descriptions.

Almost-2-year-old fast facts:

Every person she sees from a distance of 10 feet or more is deemed a ‘baby.’ It doesn’t matter where we are or who you are; if you’re just out of arm’s reach, you’re a baby.

Every answer is ‘no’ before it’s anything else. I’m assuming it’s the first rule of toddler improv – Always answer, “No, and…”

She’s slowly but surely developing her own secret language. She says ‘yum’ instead of ‘yes’, she insists on calling cheese ‘guy’, she transposes the syllables in ‘cookie’ to ‘ki-coo.’ Bad news – it can be a steep learning curve and will probably lead to some hilariously embarrassing public conversation in the near future. Good news – a few more unique words and we’re eligible for our own Google Translate tab.

Thinking of making some custom bracelets:
WWDJJJD (What Would DJ Jazzy Jeff Do?)
Who wants in?

Also – if you didn’t see it make the rounds yet, watch this Fresh Prince of Bel Air ‘impromptu’ reunion and tell me you’re not a little shocked that Alfonso Ribeiro is far and away the best dancer on stage. And. AND! – that’s not even the best part of the video. The best part is that Bradley Cooper and Heather Graham’s roles on the show were basically reduced to that of background furniture, due to the Category 5 nostalgia storm caused by referencing a 20-year-old (!) TV show. In the land of too-long headlines, theirs would be: Oscar Nominee, Beautiful Actress Upstaged By Tom Jones Medley, Jazz Hands.


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friday morning monologue

Lebron James has finally done it – he’s won 16% of the championships that Michael Jordan has! Congrats! He’s gotta feel so good right now…

Upscale Wheaties promotional tie-in: LeBran Flakes.

Non-work quote of the week: “I’ve got a fruit tooth for grapes!” exclaimed my niece, selectively picking through the fruit salad. A fruit tooth. What a genius concept. Healthier than a sweet tooth, and way less gross sounding than a meat tooth or a cheese tooth.

Non-work quote of the week, runner-up: “I watched Star Wars Eye Vee and Star Wars Vee Eye.” The boy behind me on the bus, describing his afternoon to his mom.

Later in the conversation, she explained that there’s a movie in between those two which makes them a ‘trilogy’ and that means there’s 3 of them. “but there are 6 of them” he logically replied. Not to some of us there aren’t, kid.

Corporate buzzword that I just made up: unclude (uncluded, uncluding) – a much more passive aggressive way to describe exclusion. Use in conjunction with “pursue other opportunities”,  “best practice” and “big picture.”

Copywriting idea of the week: a series of ads where the copy is all vowels. Maybe an amusement park where the sweets & treats poster headline is “Ooooooooo!”, the Splashdown Flume Ride poster headline is “Aaaaaaaaa!” and the roller coaster poster headline is “Eeeeeeeee!” Don’t steal it. I swear I’ll get around to doing it eventually.

Sidenote: “roller coaster poster” is a great phrase.

Sequel ideas for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter:
Rutherford B. Hayes: Zombie Killer
James Garfield: Werewolf Poacher
Grover Cleveland: Ghostbuster

10.14.11 friday morning monologue

Happiness is walking around on the roof, clearing out the gutters with a leaf blower the day before it rains. Sadness is a neighbor’s late-turning tree that undoes all that progress after any decent breeze.

I wanted to use this joke on Vikings fans, but I thought of it a week too late, so let’s do some editing. How do you think Colts fans discipline their children? I imagine most threats start with “Come here right now! I’m giving you to the count of Oh and 5. I mean it, mister. Oh and 1… oh and 2….” See what I mean? Wouldn’t this have been better for the Vikings after week 3? I guess the experts are right. Timing IS everything.

A sign I’ve reached some kind of milestone in my career: “We need to come up with some funny and really bizarre activities for an upcoming team event. We thought of you right away.”

I don’t know that I could get behind a tax plan just because it was called 999.
But if it was called 3.14159265358? well, now we’re talking.

Bhutan prince marries staggeringly beautiful commoner.
Average-looking commoners rejoice.

Houston’s Brian Cushing bleeds dedication and intensity. That’s good, cuz if he was bleeding blood, they’d have to take him out of the game, right? Just to be safe, I hope the Texans have an IV of dedication and intensity in the training room, in case he gets low.

Just saw an ad for Hugh Jackman’s Broadway show that touts the fact that he’s performing “with an 18-piece orchestra!” I’m no orchestraologist, but does 18 sound a little low to anyone else? What’s the smallest orchestra possible? I feel like it’s gotta be about 18 pieces. I’d be way more interested in going if he was playing with a 1,000-piece robot orchestra.


10.07.11 friday morning monologue

Often, noticing grammatical errors is just a nagging reminder that ya done been smartified at a schooling-type institution earlier in your life. But sometimes they can create unpleasant images in your brainbox that are tough to iron out. Like when someone types an email imploring you to “bare with me” instead of “bear with me.” Guh.

A kind but firm anonymous note to someone:
Stop ordering the hard cider. Order a beer. Seriously. It’s time.

As many of you know, I’ve decided that my rap pseudonym is Fat Stacks. In case my daughter ever decides to get into the game, I’ve also decided on her name: Small Billz.

I wore black slacks yesterday and I realized that there’s a modern interpretative dance I do while attempting to avoid the cat rubbing up against my currently-cat-hair-free pant legs. A lot of stutter-step, a lot of off balance, a lot of spur-of-the-moment decisions. It’s sort of an Elaine Benes set of moves, but with a desperate, self-aware dimension added into it.

Mmmm, hot coffee!
Yuck, room temperature coffee!

A sign that I may be too cynical: Two people on the bus were having such a loud discussion about the volatile conversational cocktail of politics, money and personal investing that I was sure it was one of two things:

An elaborate con where they wait for some rube to pipe up, enter the conversation and have his vast personal fortune swindled away in a starry-eyed investment scheme loosely centering on Miami timeshares and The Franklin Mint.
One of those  hidden camera shows where they show a fictionally pregnant woman drinking in public and then they bait people into reacting and show it on Friday nights when no one is watching TV except I just admitted I knew when it’s on.

I was really, really sure something was going to happen because they were talking when they got on the bus, but then sat across the aisle from one another, each hogging 2 seats. Then, THEN – at the height of their conversation, the bus stops in the middle of the freeway next to a bus whose motor had blown up or something and our bus got packed to capacity.

C’mon! That never happens! Something was weird. Sadly, the excitement ends there. Sure, they kept talking; using phrases like, “I saw something on Yahoo Finance” and “it was just recently on the internet” but there was no dramatic reveal or retirement savings account changing hands. I’m holding out hope that they’re running a long con and that I’ll see them again, but in my heart of heart, I know the boring truth.


My backpack has just been voted “worse than a woman’s purse” by someone in my house to whom I am related by marriage. Geez, you forget to send a friend’s birthday card for three lousy weeks and people get all bent out of shape…

Work quote of the week: “Do you want me to look into sticks?”


09.16.11 friday morning monologue


I have this theory that all of life is just high school. If that’s true, (and, again, I think it is), a shockingly high percentage of your school day/life is spent watching your teacher/boss/classmate dealing with technical difficulties. From now on, no matter what piece of equipment is giving them grief, I’m going to try to refer to it as “a problem with the VCR.” Hopefully, it’ll catch on and in 40 years, it’ll just be an accepted colloquialism in an age where no one knows what the heck a VCR is.

This Wednesday, I was wearing this ridiculous jacket at work (long story). It’s shiny and red with vaguely Japanese patterning and it fits like a dream. Unless you like breathing. Then it’s a little tight. Anyway, I was walking towards the escalator and the director of the creative studio (my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss) walked up and complimented the jacket. I announced to her that it was a smoking jacket and to prove it, I pulled a pipe out of my left jacket pocket. She smiled, winced, held the right side of her face and said, “Oh, don’t make me laugh. I just had surgery.” What?!? I’ve only got one move. I have no ability to offer a funniness-free-conversation guarantee. One. Move. And she took it away. I don’t even have a tone of voice to go unfunny. Needless to say, the rest of the escalator ride was a bit awkward as I said nothing and hoped I wasn’t making a goofy face.

Plenty of hype about dry shampoo lately. Dry toothpaste? Not so much…

Oh, gross! I just googled ‘dry toothpaste’ (you know, to make sure it’s not really a thing…) and as I got to ‘dry tooth’, google instant search decided it would be a good idea to load grody surgical images of ‘dry tooth sockets.’ I thought moderate safe search was on! Isn’t there a way it can filter my image results to block stuff that’s explicitly surgical?

The Kardashian sisters have a new hype-maintaining attention ployclothing collection at that bastion of cutting-edge fashion – Sears. Here’s the problem – it’s not a Clothing Collection, it’s the Kardashian Kollection, which breaks one of my cardinal rules – Don’t ever change a word that starts with a C to a K because when it’s next to another word that starts with a K, it gives a subtle, hopefully unintentional racist undertone to it. Kim Kardashain Kollection? Please.

The bus collectively yelled for the bus driver to wait for the guy sprinting to catch the bus this morning. He waited, but griped that he didn’t have time if people weren’t at their stops on time. I was willing to listen to that argument until we got to the park and ride and just sat there idling for 5 minutes because he was so far ahead of schedule. He also drove over a road torn up for repaving, so this may count as his second strike already.

George Lucas to offer not-quite-the-version-of-Star-Wars-you-really-want on BluRay. Yesssss! I’ve been waiting for this ever since I finished watching not-quite-the-version-of-Star-Wars-I-really-wanted on DVD.

08.26.11 friday morning monologue

Feeling tired at the beginning of the day? Try this – after you pull the cord for your bus stop, pick your bag up off the floor, then let it slip out of your hand so the momentum of your arm muscles lets you punch yourself right in the face. I can tell you from recent personal experience that it’s a real energy boost.

Twice this week, my bus has been late. I think it’s my own fault, though. I’ve been making a lot of jokes about non-linear time lately, so I think the bus thing might just be some form of cosmic payback.

Just saw a billboard for Liquid Ice Energy Drinks. I’m sure it’s some carbonated can of sugar, but part of me really wishes they were simply selling water in a can.

I went to a training meeting this week for some new software that we’ll be using at work. At least, they told me it was new. What I saw on the screen looked more like it came free with Windows 98 and they just saved it until now. The presentation reinforced that feeling of time travel with quotes like: “you can do that in [Microsoft] Paint.” Other highlights included a technical failure 27 minutes into the show and another one at 49 minutes. I felt like I was in a high school English class and the teacher was having trouble playing the Lord of the Flies tape in the VCR.

Our cell phone contract must be close to expiring because AT&T won’t leave me alone. They send me daily emails telling me what great deals I could get, how great of a customer I am and how that shirt really brings out the color in my eyes. Yesterday they actually sent me a Hallmark card in the mail along with a coupon for 25% off any accessories at their store. Last time I was in the AT&T store, they tried selling me a cell phone case for $10. I wasn’t mad until I found a better case on Amazon – for 3¢. I love that they were thoughtful enough to send me a card to try and trick me into buying things, but I’m not going to seriously consider it until I get a singing telegram or a Whitman Sampler.

Had a great conversation this week where we were trying to figure out which street preacher someone was talking about:

“The black guy in the white robes?”
“No, the white guy in the black t-shirt.”
“With the megaphone?”
“No, with the stool.”
“Oh, gotcha.”

Here’s the thing – he’s always been a solo act, but he’s got a buddy now. The second guy is a silent partner who stands nearby wearing a sandwich board. Well, there’s no board on his back, just one on his chest, so I guess it’s like an open-face sandwich board, but you get the idea.

Going without shoes feels liberating. Going without a belt feels terrifying. Not like “these pants could drop at any second” terrifying, but like your default mindset is that your belt, wallet and prescription glasses are always on you. Then when you try to push your glasses up your nose while you’re in the shower or grab for your wallet in your gym shorts, your brain panics about whether this is all a crazy dream or you’re trapped in the Matrix or something.

I love seeing the tiny type that say “dramatization” on TV commercials. It’s not as truthful as saying “totally fictional” but it’s a start. What you’re seeing on screen isn’t what’s happening. That flea and tick medication doesn’t turn into tiny army men on your dog’s fur. We just made that up.