Saturday, February 27, 2010

4th Annual Canary Open Today!

Very short one today folks. The goal of today's blog is to introduce you to an event we created a few years back that involves light yellow, heavy drinking, and minimal golf watching.

The Phoenix/FBR/Waste Management Open is widely regarded as the biggest party in golf. "Quiet" signs are patently ignored at this event, and this is generally the one time that golf fanatics can scream at their favorite golfer with no fear of repercussion.

What follows is a background description of the event that I sent out in an e-mail to our membership.

***The Canary Open is our yellow-clad takeover of the Phoenix/FBR/Waste Management Open. Founded in 2006, A group of forward thinking MEN decided to purchase the gaudiest golf outfits they could find and wear them to golf's biggest party. 4 years later, we've more than quadrupled our numbers and have been featured on multiple news shows for our antics (Erik Neal, ask Tre about our appearance on the "Art Mann Show"). The only rules are 1.) Your outfit must be primarily Canary yellow in color 2.) Your outfit must be golf related 3.) Your outfit must be primarily CANARY YELLOW in color.***

In a world of ephemeral corporate sponsorships and disposable promises, the Phoenix Canaries provide a measure of stability in the world of leisure. We're expecting a record turnout of 40 Canaries this year, and it all goes down in roughly 5 hours.

The powers that be can name the event whatever they want, as far as we're concerned, it's the Canary Open.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Dog-Walk Fiasco (Part Deuce of 2)

When we last left our hero...

There I stood at the edge of an open field with no port-a-potty, a leash connected to an eager dog in one hand and a plastic bag meant for his poop in the other. I was a mile away from the nearest bathroom and the potential colonic escapees were pounding at the gates. The situation seemed hopeless.

My brain went into high-speed mode. I quickly decided that I had only 3 options:

1.) Run up to a random house, pound on the door, beg for use of bathroom.

2.) Find some kind of cover and use Rookie's poop bag for myself.

3.) Give up completely, commence sobbing uncontrollably, and shit myself right there.

As quickly as I came up with the aforementioned options, I rationalized their viability:

1.) A sweaty, shaky brown guy holding a leash attached to a hyperactive dog, pounding on the door of a random home, babbling incoherently and trying to force his way into said home. Not Viable. Most likely result: soiled drawers in back of squad car.

2.) A sweaty, shaky brown guy trying to hide himself behind a fire hydrant, squatting over a Albertson's grocery bag. Not Viable. Most likely result: soiled drawers in back of squad car.

3.) Me lying on the ground crying, drawers soiled, dignity dissolved, yet relieved. Most Viable: drawers soiled in the back of ambulance as opposed to squad car.

This entire brainstorming process lasted roughly 3 seconds from start to finish. I was about to take the path of most viability and least resistance, but right then I saw my dog staring at me with a concerned look on his face and it stopped me dead in the tracks of unloosening my belt.

What kind of message would it send to him if I just gave up in the face of adversity? That it was OK to just roll over and die? That it was alright to take the easy way out and not give it everything you got? That it was OK to just crap wherever you wanted to, even on my expensive living room furniture , just because he didn't feel like going to a proper restroom?

I knew right then that this was about more than me and my sudden onset of IBS, this was about setting an example for those that look up to you. My mind made up, I did the impossible.
I increased the pressure of my buttcheek clench and started walking back home. This was by no means easy or graceful.

In retrospect, I must have looked like a stiff-legged marionette walking down the street, strings being pulled by a malevolent meth addicted puppet master who intermittently sprinkled sweat on me in-between jerks. Neighbors froze in mid-wave at the sight of me, faces wearing a mix of concern and fear. I threw my hand in the air in the approximation of a wave and pressed on.

I rounded the corner of the block and came to my street, sweating like a wildebeest in the mid February cool. A very pale wildebeest I might add. I managed to catch a glimpse of myself in a neighbor's window and it was not a pretty sight: I had lost two full shades of blackness and was approaching a green color not unlike that of over-steamed prison broccoli. The noises coming out of my stomach sounded like someone was strangling a cat with a bath-towel. I felt myself losing consciousness...can't...hold...on...

Rookie sensed the urgency of the situation and began to literally drag me down the street. We had less than five hundred feet to go, and my dog was lending me his strength to make it home. He refused to let his master be reduced to a bawling pile of incontinence in the middle of the street , digging into the ground with his skinny dog legs and pulling me behind him.

I don't remember the walk from the end of the block to the front door, but I do remember that I looked and felt like I had gone through a vision quest at an Indian sweat lodge. With hands shaky enough to put a tweaker to shame I managed to stuff the key in the lock and stumble into my house. I'll spare you the gory details of the bathroom, but let's say it was destroyed worse than downtown Afghanistan.

The moral of this story? Reward your dog for his loyalty and good behavior every chance you get, because one day he might be the one keeping your mess out of a public place.


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Dog-Walk Fiasco (Part 1of 2)

I woke up to two paws on the side of my bed and my dog’s nose inches from my face, his whole head cocked inquisitively to the side. I didn’t bother looking for a clock to see what time it was as I innately knew it was just moments after sunrise. I knew this because the second the sun’s up, the dog’s up, and the second the dog’s up, everyone’s up. He recognized the slow process of me fully waking and his whole body started to shake from the effort of wagging his tail. Damn his cuteness! I couldn’t be grumpy at that. I decided then and there I would reward his loyalty with an early morning walk.

I slowly dressed myself and stumbled into the kitchen where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee struck my nostrils. It appeared that my roommate had brewed a full pot before leaving for work and there was just about a cup left for me. Awesome! As any caffeine junkie can tell you, work-free coffee is twice as good as coffee you have to brew yourself. I deigned this to be my reward for rewarding my mutt, my altruism and awesomeness being recognized by the coffee gods. I took this offering gratefully and added a healthy dose of vanilla creamer. This was starting out to be an awesome day.

If only I knew what lay ahead.

I downed my coffee in two quick gulps, leashed my mutt, and trotted out of the house in high spirits. My dog, Rookie, picked up on my good mood in that instinctive way that animals do and set a high-stepping fast jog for us. Jogging down the block, I did my best presidential-type wave to my neighbors as I passed them. They smiled and waved back enthusiastically. What's more wholesome & endearing than a 20-something guy taking his dog for a run?

Well yeah, a 20-something guy would be incredibly endearing, but this half-black 30-something was all these people were gonna get so they made the best of it.

Rookie and I loped through the neighborhood and across the intersection on our way to the dog park. All told, the dog park is one mile away from my house, making it 2 miles round trip. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Nothin to it, right?

Right. Usually.

But then it happened.

The second my Nike's hit the turf of the dog park and my pedometer read one mile exactly, it felt like the contents of my stomach were attempting a gravity-aided jailbreak through my colon. I came to a a grinding halt and clenched my buttcheeks with a pressure comparable to an industrial strength bear trap. I broke into a cold sweat and instantly began shaking worse than Michael J. Fox. This was bad.

There I stood at the edge of an open field with no port-a-potty, a leash connected to an eager dog in one hand and a plastic bag meant for his poop in the other. I was a mile away from the nearest bathroom and the potential colonic escapees were pounding at the gates.

How was I gonna get myself out of this one??

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Home Office Fiasco

I am now the mildly concerned owner of a home office.

Do I have a business? In a word, no. Do I have a business idea? In two words, ummmm no.

So now you're wondering why I have a home office. Well, I'll tell you why: because Quicken said I did.

I'm not a businessman nor do I have any aspiration of being one: I wear a helmet to work, pull cats out of trees, and my biggest concern of the workday is what I'm going to make the crew for dinner. It just so happened that as I was doing my taxes this year, Quicken gave me the virtual equivalent of a raised eyebrow and asked me if I would like to "set up my home office?".

I know it's just a computer program and there wasn't a flesh and blood person on the other end of the screen reading my responses, but it felt like someone was asking me if I wanted some help in the same tone one would ask their invalid grandfather if he'd like to go poop in the bathroom instead of on the couch.

I clicked yes, and it went ferociously downhill from there. Quicken started in with it's prying, invasive, no-consideration-for-your-struggles-inquisition that they obviously modeled after the actual Inquisition. A brief excerpt follows:

Q: What is the size of your home office?
A: Medium sized closet. Sliding door style.

Q: ERROR- please give your answer in square footage.
A: 50?

Q: ERROR- "50?" is too small for human habitation
A: Sorry, my bad. 100?

Q: ERROR- "Sorry, my bad" is not acceptable.
A: I know. I'm sorry Quicken. I'm so so sorry...

Ad nauseam. In case you were wondering, the "Q" and "A" stands for "Quicken" and "Asshole", or at least that how I felt after the hour and a half it took me to complete the home office section.

After what seemed like an interminable interrogation period, Quicken relented in it's judgment of my humble Paramedical Consulting business and gave me my deserved deduction for having a home office. However, in much the same way there is no free drink without the purchase of a medium french-fry, Quicken slapped me across the face with it's caveat: the IRS has the final say on whether or not your home office truly is a home office and they have the right to inspect it.

I instantly felt the same way a 16 year-old boy feels when his 15 year-old girlfriend shows him the pink plus sign on a pregnancy test: cold sweat, rectal clench, random thought of what's for dinner later.

The IRS coming to check out my home office? Not only did this mean I would have to clean up my bedroom, but I would also have to have something that amounted to an office in said bedroom and not just a desktop pornography terminal attached to a printer.

It was time for action.

In a whirlwind of moving furniture mumbled curses, I turned my upstairs man-cave into what I hope the IRS will find to be an acceptable home office. The computer in the office has been renamed "OFFCDSKTP"( a sad departure from it's previous name of "NinjaPirateFlagship"), I have a filing box in the corner, and I even bought a plastic floormat for my manager-style rolling chair. To top it all off I purchased a paper shredder and started shredding coupon mailers. I mean, what says "home office" more than a half-full paper shredder?

So now, with my immediate fears allayed, I figured I might as well enjoy my new home office and get started on the only business I've ever really known: the business of writing. That way, when the IRS shows up here to check out my home office I can be justified in my Quicken-like righteous indignation when I start shouting "CAN'T YOU PEOPLE SEE I'M WORKING?!? IN MY NEW HOME OFFICE?!?"