Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas trees.

1. Young: It's sad, but this tiny tree is giving off more heat than our radiators.

2. Trupe: We have a seven foot tree but it doesn't fit anywhere in our new place. So, no Christmas for us this year.

3. Mom: [via e-mail] holden has knocked down my little xmas tree in the family room overnight. earlier today there were 8-10 ornaments on the ground. i am now trying to protect it by angling the rocking chair and putting another barstool in front of it!?!?!?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Uh oh. I just broke a giant glass Award of Excellence at KunkleCo.

[Correction: I just broke a giant crystal Award of Excellence at KunkleCo.]

Monday, November 28, 2005

We belatededly celebrated Meador's 28th birthday.

What did he do on his actual birthday?

"I went to someone else's birthday party."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I got back to the apartment to find that Young had really classed the place up over the weekend. Winterized the windows. Cleaned the bathroom. Set up a tiny Christmas tree. Arranged the fold-out chairs in the living room in a way that is more conducive to fold-out chair conversation.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Driving along the tollway from Ohio back to Chicago, listening to Sufjan Stevens' album, 'Greetings from Michigan', and driving very close to the border of that state, I started thinking about N, and her family, the ____________s.

N was probably home for Thanksgiving. Right that moment she wasn't all the way over on the other side of the country, but sitting in the _________ living room.

I wasn't actually driving anywhere near their town, but skirting the edge of their state, I felt like I was slowly driving past their home, trying to get a glimpse of something through the front window.

[N's last name, by the way, is so endearingly ridiculous that it's probably my favorite last name ever. It's a shame that you'll just have to know it as ___________.]

A couple dozen miles later, listening to far less melancholy music, I changed my mind about N being in Michigan for Thanksgiving. She probably didn't have the money for two holiday trips. She was definitely in Arizona at that moment in a nonspecific place, doing nonspecific things.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Mom's birthday.

Somehow I ended up as a go-between for Mom and Dad on the phone, trying to decide where we should meet for Mom's birthday dinner.

Dad: Where does she want to go?
Me: Where do you want to go?
Mom: Applebees or Cheddars.
Me: Applebees or Cheddars.
Dad: Well which one?
Me: Which one?
Mom: It doesn't matter to me which one.
Me: It doesn't matter to you? She says she doesn't care which one.
Dad: Well it's her birthday.
Me: Which one do you want to go to, Mom?
Mom: How about Cheddars then?
Me: I thought you liked Applebees.
Mom: I like Cheddars too.
Me: It's your birthday.
Mom: Let's go to Cheddars.
Me: We're going to Cheddars.
Dad: Alright, see you at Cheddars.

{after I hung up}

Me: Why didn't you want to go to Applebees?
Mom: I like Cheddars too. Plus, your father's been so sweet to me this week, and he likes Cheddars.

{at Cheddars}

Me: Wow, it's really busy.
Dad: Everyone's tired of eating their own food.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Hometown, Ohio Thanksgiving.

Ty and I were already back to being best friends.

Mom explained that the dishwasher and garbage disposal were both not working and that when she said we all had to clear our plates, she really meant it this time.

Dad surprised Mom with a birthday cake a day early.

Sherry seemed to be in a better mood than usual, suggesting we play Trivial Pursuit and playing nearly to the end.

Julie and her husband, Matt, poured over the advertising inserts for the next day's 5am "super-sales".

Allie called from the hotel where her volleyball team was staying. They'd lost a game they "should have won" so there wasn't a lot of celebrating and "lights out" had been moved up a couple hours.

It was my first Thanksgiving home in years and I was very happy to be there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Ty and I reunion.

I was curious whether he'd remember me. Mom and my sisters kept saying that whenever they'd show him a picture of me and ask, "Who is that?" he'd say, "Ar-nie." But is that him remembering me, who I am, or is that like pointing to a cow in a picture book and asking, "What sound does the cow make?" Ty is very good at naming things you point at. As Mom says, "He knows a lot of animals."

When I saw him again in person he seemed a little shy and confused. "Who is that?" Julie (his mom, my sister) asked, "Is that Arnie? Is that Arnie?"

Ty hesitated as if he wanted to point to my picture on top of the entertainment center. That's Arnie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Drove into Hometown, Ohio, tonight, a couple days early for Thanksgiving. When I arrived everyone was out at a basketball game. So it was just Holden and I.

Holden has been sneaking up onto the couch and chairs at night, so Mom and Dad have started leaving bar stools on them to keep him off.

Thanksgiving Break

Heading to Ohio for a few days. I'll be back with updates this weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Spent a good amount of time cutting the personalized section off of the personalized stationary of KunkleCo empolyees who are no longer "with us."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Big baby birthday weekend.

Saturday. Hansen's daughter, Catherine, celebrates her first birthday. Hansen is loving and protective of his daughter, but also not above making very dark jokes. Like, while videotaping her, "This looks a lot like those drunk driving ads. 'AND SHE NEVER SAW HER SECOND BIRTHDAY.'" When everyone stares at him agahst he responds, "What? It'll be her own fault for driving drunk."

Sunday. Nick's daughter, Jane (pictured), celebrates her second birthday. Young mans the videocamera for Nick. At one point, Jeanine leans in to tell Young she's sorry to hear his uncle passed away. They have a brief conversation about recent losses. Then they realize everything they're saying is probably being picked up by the camera recording Jane opening her presents. "Sorry Jane," Jeanine says, "people die."

But most of the time at both parties is spent trying to get each baby to smear birthday cake all over their face. This is all anyone wants to see, myself included. The cake comes out, the cameras come up and everyone whispers and coos in giddy cake-face anticipation. Catherine and Jane were both surprisingly reserved and tidy, though, eventually leading a frustrated grandmother or aunt to get in there and smash the child's hand into the icing for them.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


After my old improv group, James Jackson, was disbanded, I was lucky enough to be asked to join Otis. So now I'm the new guy, being initiated into all the team traditions... like Otisgiving, a pre-Thanksgiving dinner.

Everyone made incredible dishes. I brought two pies (apple and pumpkin) from the grocery store. At one point turkey-grease-smoke set off the smoke detector, but I had just had a similar problem at home making a frozen pizza, so I snatched out the battery before the noise became too disruptive.

Later, everyone was too stuffed to even touch my (storebought) pies. I didn't really care, but Shelly (our host) kept trying to get me to take them home. I declined, explaining that I'm allergic to fruit. Shelly pointed out that pumpkins might not in fact be fruit, which, if true, would mean that all these years I could have been eating pumpkin pie.

To be honest, though, fruit or not (and I think it is), pumpkin pie doesn't appeal to me. But I will continue to bring it to [blank]-giving events because it's easy.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Cooking tip: After you've finished making your meal, don't forget to put the batteries back in the smoke detector.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

While looking for old pictures of Dad on his birthday, I found a number of journals I kept during college. Spent some time reading through one of them today.

Most of it was about the fact that I couldn't seem to get over a break-up with a girl, M.

"I know some day I'll look back on these passages and shake my head. ('Why so much? Why so long?') but this is what journals are for, aren't they?"

I didn't shake my head, but I did have to wonder, "why so much, why so long?" M was wonderful, but my own personal melodrama that followed it was way out of proportion with the actual relationship. And went on seemingly forever. Through more than one journal. Longer, in the end, than it will probably take me to fully get over N.

And I also thought, "this would be a lot more interesting with some pictures."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I took this picture the morning after Holden bit me (three and a half months ago). This was also the morning Allie left for college. We had no idea how Mom and Dad were going to react to the bite, and it didn't seem outside the realm of possibility that they'd have him put to sleep.

"I took this picture," Allie said, "just in case this is the last time I see him."

I'm looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, Allie won't be there. But Holden will. I wonder if we'll have an awkward reunion.

Me: You bit me.
Holden: I don't remember that.
Me: Well, you're a dog.
Holden: Hey, let's go outside.
Me: You were just outside.
Holden: [bite]

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


One of the bosses came up to the reception desk and said, "When you get a chance, try to figure what all these keys go to. They must open different things around the office."

Setting aside the fact that this is sort of a silly task, I'm not sure when she expects me to do this. The biggest rule of working the front desk is... don't leave the front desk. Am I supposed to use the phone, the internet and deductive reasoning to figure out the proper home for each key?

I worry that she means I should casually test 20 keys (exactly) in every lock during the (unpaid) time at the end of the day when I put on my coat, turn out the lights and leave.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Called Dad to wish him a happy birthday.

"56," he said. "Getting old. Getting old. I still think of myself as a young man. But you can only take that so far, I guess."

I called him as he was being seated for his birthday dinner.

"It's a Monday night and guess what, the Cheddar's parking lot is full. Can you believe that? Monday. It makes sense. They have quality food and a wide selection on the menu."

He really loves that place. I'm glad he got to go there for his birthday.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

This can't be good.

I mean, it is autumn, but not everything that turns from green to yellow and red should fall to the ground.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I got a little behind schedule updating the photoblog this week. It may have made some people worry about me. Mom sent an e-mail asking if I'm doing alright, and just in case I'm not she seems to have sent socks in the mail.

Don't worry. Things are going well. Plus, now I have new socks to look forward to.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Just when I thought I wasn't going to hear from them, Jellyvision called.

"I have some good news and some bad news," they said.

I'm one of four people on the "short list". But the project start date has been moved back to January or February. So, unless something goes awry, or I totally misread what they told me, I should be spending much of 2006 writing educational wisecracks.

Today was also the last day of blue face work.

What's next? Three words: Giant. Ear. Costume.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Most of the people doing the blue face work are actors and improvisers, like Mike [pictured]. Mike has done a lot of promotional event work.

Mike: The worst weird job I ever heard of anyone doing was this friend of mine who got 12 prostate exams for $50. $50 total so 12 students could practice giving him prostate exams.

Mike also did Tony and Tina's Wedding for a while, which is an interative play where you go to a "wedding reception" and the actors perform the show around you.

Mike: A guy died once during one of the shows. He was dancing with one of the actors, he walked back to his table, had a heart attack and died. No one knew what to do. They told us to stay in character. The girl who played the nun character said a prayer over his body. After the ambulance came we did the rest of the show for the people who chose to stay.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hung out with Tom and Steph the night before they start moving into their new condo.

Tom: At first I thought beer boxes would be great for packing my CDs, because they sort of fit perfectly. Then I realized there's no way I could drink that much beer between now and the move.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A recent conversation.

Nick: I painted the bedroom today.
Trupe: What color?
Nick: Swan Sea Blue.
Trupe: Swan Sea Blue? That's what color we used in our place!
Nick: [high five] Swan Sea Blue!
Meador: I'm thinking about this color, from this wall... Pumpkin Butter.
Nick: Pumpkin Butter? Isn't that a euphemism for ball sweat?
Trupe: Arnie, have you decorated the Sleep Chamber yet?*
Me: Not unless you count dirty laundry, no.

* Trupe refers to my bedroom as the Sleep Chamber, since it's a giant bed in a tiny room.

Monday, November 07, 2005

KunkleCo Industries again. One of the bosses asked me to make a label that reads, "TERMINATED."


[Later in the day: More label requests. "COMPENSATION" and "COUNSELING".]

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hansen points to the side of his head, where (under his hair) he has a huge bruise from being hit with a lead pipe.

Thursday night, coming back to his office after going out to a work event, Hansen was jumped by two guys, one of whom beat him in the head twice with a lead pipe (later, "it was probably a PVC pipe, but you get the idea") while yelling, "How do you like that, bitch?"

Luckily, he was able to fight his way free ("They were nuts. They weren't exactly ninjas.") and run away. A police report and just-in-case CAT scan later, he seems to be alright, except that he has a headache and can't wear a hat for a while.

Hansen's Bruise Tally:

Pipe to the head (2)
Scratch to the face (1)
Brain Damage (0)

Crazy Attackers' Bruise Tally:

Kick to the kneecap (1)
Punch to the neck (1)

[Trupe: I can't believe you punched one of them in the neck.
Hansen: I was aiming for the face.]

A little time has passed, and Hansen's downplaying the whole thing, and the jokes have already begun... but Hansen, I'm glad you're alright.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

While getting food and drinks after a Whirled News Tonight show, Jordan demonstrates the importance of the tie tuck.

"That stain would've gotten on my tie," he said, and then untucked the tie, covering up the new stain on his shirt.

Friday, November 04, 2005

While working downtown today, I decided to take a moment to step into a bank and deposit my paycheck via ATM.

By the way, if you walk into a bank with your face painted blue, it makes everyone really nervous.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

When I'm behind on my laundry, I resort to wearing the 'I love you!' boxers that N gave me (actually the third pair of heart boxers she gave me over six years). They don't seem as cute as they used to.

Neither do my frighteningly white feet.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

One of the pictures Mom sent was of my sister, Sherry, at work. Sherry doesn't like having her picture taken period, let alone posted on the internet. So, instead, here's the back of the picture with this helpful caption written there by Mom.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A little temporary office work at... let's call it KunkleCo Industries. Fairly easy, answering the phone, buzzing people in the front door. The hardest part of the day is at noon when I switch from, "Good morning, KunkleCo Industries, how may I direct your call?" to, "Good afternoon, KunkleCo Industries, how may I direct your call?"

Also, anyone who's worked reception will understand the beauty of the phrase, "how may I direct your call" and why it is far superior to "how may I help you".

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