Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I was RIGHT!!!!!!!

It seems like every few weeks or so I have something to say about driving. Since my work commute (50+ minutes each way per day) is a big part of my day it only makes sense that I'd get inspired to blog about it on occasion. Today is that day.

Part of my drive consists of traveling on a three-lane interstate (i.e. three lanes going each direction). The posted speed limit is 55 mph. This morning, I was in the right lane--let me stress that again: THE RIGHT LANE. This means that there were two, perfectly good lanes to the left of me. I was going 60 mph. If you fancy yourself a student of jurisprudence, then you probably realized that I just willingly admitted to a driving infraction. Now, did I mention that I was in the RIGHT LANE? That's going to be important later on.

So, I'm in the RIGHT LANE going FIVE MILES AN HOUR OVER THE SPEED LIMIT and Mr. Black Ford SUV pulls up behind me (this is the RIGHT LANE in case I didn't mention it). Apparently, I'm not going fast enough for him. The normal reaction in a situation like this would be to turn on your left turn signal, look for oncoming traffic, and then move over to pass in the middle lane (since I was in the RIGHT LANE). However, Mr. Black Ford SUV must have just gotten off a plane from Germany where he was driving on the Autobahn--where there is no speed limit and you indicate your desire to pass by flashing your lights or bright lights at the person in front of you. But wait, I'm pretty sure that even in Germany where people drive really fast (amazingly, they do this safely) they also understand that the RIGHT LANE is where the slower cars drive.

I'm used to people tail-gating me and it's not because I'm one to drive really slow. It's just become accepted in our country that everyone is in so much of a hurry that they don't think about the dangers or riding six inches behind another vehicle while traveling at speeds in excess of 60 m.p.h. Even though I'm used to it, I still don't like it--but I'm willing to let it go without getting upset (within reason). But since Mr. Black Ford SUV decided to flash his lights at me, I was livid. Someone please tell me what it was that I was supposed to do?!?

I'll tell you what I did--I put my arms in the air to indicate, "what am I supposed to do?" His response was to get REALLY MAD. Perhaps now would me a good time for me to point out that I was in the RIGHT LANE. I couldn't move over to the right so he could pass. That's the shoulder of the road and is used for emergencies. This will be helpful to understanding the story. Anyway, he popped into the left lane (didn't use the turn signal) and pulled up beside me. Then, to show his approval, he gave me a simple hand gesture to let me know that I was the "#1" driver. How cool is that?


Monday, July 30, 2007

Geek Squad...EXTREME

Today I saw one of those Geek Squad vans on the road. If you're not familiar with them, they're a company that goes out and fixes computers--mostly for residential users. I think they've partnered with companies like Best Buy to take over all of their PC repair and installation work.

Anyway, this particular Geek Squad van was loaded up on top with a plethora of long ladders. Now, I've installed and even repaired a bunch of computers in my day. Sure, I can barely change the oil in my own vehicles, but I CAN diagnose and fix a respectable range of PC issues. But I've NEVER, EVER had to use a ladder. These guys must be really serious about fixing computers--or the ladders are just for show.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dreaming of Good Eats

The other night I had a dream that my favorite cooking TV show host, Alton Brown, left Good Eats to take what was supposed to be a better job. Furthermore, after this happened the town of St. Louis held a big telethon to raise money in order to deal with how devastated they were. Now, if you're saying to yourself, "This makes no sense at all. Isn't Alton Brown from Atlanta, anyway?", you're right. But that's the kind of crap that I dream about. Plus, when I woke up, I had pureed my wife's hair in a blender while sleeping. Scary.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


A few years ago I worked in a very strange little place. I decided to give up my cushy, easy Marketing Communications job with a trade association and venture into the emerging dot-com industry (before the bottom dropped out in 2001). But this was no ordinary high-tech dot-com company. In fact, this was BARELY a dot-com company. It was BARELY a company. It was a mistake on my part, but one of those experiences where you learn a lot about life and that you'd never give back. There are so many stories I could share about this place (and another job that I'll blog about later), but I'll start with this one...

It was an online men's apparel store specializing in dress shirts and suits. 99% of the online stuff was handled by the owner who trusted practically NO ONE else with this. Thus, the rest of us were relegated to stocking, fulfilling orders, trying to look busy and helping with walk-in guests.

When you walked into the place (it was basically a big warehouse* with a pseudo-storefront in downtown Indianapolis), an alarm would beep so we knew someone had entered the building. It was our common practice to announce our names when we walked in so everyone could ignore the alarm. Most of us would just yell, "It's me!!" when walking in, assuming we knew each other's voices well enough--and this worked just fine. But there was one guy, Larry, who only worked with us on occasional Saturdays, filling in on the showroom floor for walk-in traffic. He had a history with the owner and supposedly knew how to sell men's apparel (but as I think about it, I'm not sure he had ANY idea what he was doing--but he was an incredibly nice man). Larry couldn't get used to the idea of yelling, "It's me!" or "Just me!" when he walked in like the rest of us. For some strange reason, what he did still cracks me up to this day--and I'm probably the only one that finds it so funny. The door would open and he'd hear the three beeps from the alarm (this is normal) and he'd nervously pause for a few seconds and then utter, "...uhhhh....Larry?" like it was a question or as if some machine was going to validate that it was, indeed, Larry. So, that's it. I know it's not a strong anecdote, but that's what I have today. Truly, to this day, whenever I walk into a door I almost always want to yell out, "It's me!". In fact, I even did it a few times when I first switched jobs.

*"It's like a secret warehouse in New York City" (that's an inside joke for just some of my readers)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Borrowing once again from the wisdom of TDJ

It's time, once again, for me to steal from the pages of The Daily Journal (the blog before there were blogs.

July 27, 1998
I just remembered my locker combination from my senior year in high school! Isn't it amazing how our minds work like that? It was something like 22-something-something, I think. Wait, I know there was a 2 in it. It may not have been 22. Man, that's amazing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Man vs. Coconut

One of our favorite shows in the Shumway household is Man vs. Wild starring Bear Grylls. The premise of the show is simple (and stupid at the same time): take the host and drop him off in some awful remote location all by himself (well, he has a camera crew, but they don't do anything for him unless it's life-threatening) where he has to survive and find help.

A recent episode of the show featured Bear on a Pacific island. One of the provisions on the island was coconuts and Bear had to demonstrate how to climb the tree to retrieve the fruit. At this point, I need to interject that one thing the wife and I have noticed about the show is the wealth of interesting facts and stories that are shared about survival. So, while climbing he shared this tidbit (and I'm quoting him word for word):

"People die every year from coconuts falling on their heads."

Now, you cannot laugh at this...right? It's not funny when people die. So, if you are laughing, you must stop immediately--and keep an eye overhead for coconuts.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Magic Kitchen Cleaning Fairy

This is in response to Mrs. Big Doofus's blog entry from today...

I specifically made arrangements for a Magic Kitchen Cleaning Fairy to appear last night at 1:00 a.m. and had it on good authority that he'd be there. Needless to say, the kitchen was a mess and I will not call on that service anymore.

However, when I first woke up this morning, I was missing two molars and had ten dollars in dimes under the bed. Woo'hooooo!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


This strip mall in Plainfield, Indiana puts three of my favorite things together in one location. Karate Guns Tanning sounds like a lot of fun (I heard a rumor that it might be slated for the 2012 Summer Olympics).

Sure, you can get into a hand-to-hand altercation with someone (while showing off your AWESOME tan), but if things get dicey, just pull out your 9mm and finish him off--that's how you roll!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Happines is...

I know I am.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Joy that is Sawasdee'

If you live in or near Indianapolis and like to try different places to eat, I highly recommend Sawasdee on the corner of 86th Street and Ditch Rd. In fact, I'll be heading there in just a few minutes for a bi-weekly ritual of #10--Thai Noodle Soup.

Sure, there are other Thai restaurants in Indy, but nothing comes close to this one. Ironically, the owner of the place goes by the name, "Ty."

They recently got in a new order of chop sticks ("chco sticks") with new (corrected instructions). Fortunately, I was able to scan the old instructions many months ago and will post them here for your enjoyment (click for detail):

If you are a big fan of "Engrish" like this, hop on over to www.engrish.com. However, note that there may be a few things on the page that are a bit off color.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

From the pages of TDJ

More from the pages of The Daily Journal (why bother with coming up with something new when I can post this from 9 years ago--and it's actually quite ironic when you read it)...

July 16, 1998
Have you noticed that with the advent of the fax machine and the Internet (i.e. E-mail) we have this randomly floating humor? People just randomly send out humorous (sometimes) messages and images to one another via fax and e-mail. I wonder if the same phenomenon occurred when the telephone first came out. Can you imagine someone that you barely know or don't know at all calling you up just to tell you a joke? Odd, isn't it?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

What happens at Costco, stays at Costco (unless I share it here)

While at the office today I needed to make a VERY QUICK run to the Costco Wholesale Warehouse just a few minutes away to drop off some film (Film? They still make that? Well, it's a long story.). "Quick" is the operative word and I was able to get in and out in a matter of minutes. Anyone that knows me well knows that I can easily forget where I parked my car--or even how to drive through my own neighborhood, for that matter.

Well, I thought I was having one of those moments as I wandered the parking lot looking for my 1996 gold Honda Accord. This time, I even thought I knew where I had parked it, but wasn't having any luck. Of course, there was a familiar looking gold car sitting at an odd angle in the middle of the lot, oddly enough, sitting diagonally behind the bumper of a white Jeep Cherokee. But what kind of moron would leave his or her car parked there? It's the aisle of the parking lot.

As you have probably guessed, that "moron" is me? I got out of the car so quickly, that I managed to pull the key out without putting the transmission into "Park." When I walked out of the car and toward the entrance of the store, it must have started slowly (I hope) rolling towards the Jeep. My guess is that it actually nudged into the Jeep's bumper and then rolled back away from it three or four feet. I didn't notice any marks.

As I approached the car, I noticed someone staring at it and looking into the window. "It's in DRIVE," he mentioned to me or anyone else who walked by to see what was going on. It's sort of like the phenomenon where traffic slows down because a few people want to stare at the accident scene on the side of the road.

"Wow, that's weird," I said, while trying to hide my Honda key chain with the big black Honda key.

"It looks like it might have bumped into that Jeep, but I don't see any mark anywhere," he added.

"Yeah. Everything looks ok." I was waiting for him to turn around so that I could quickly (again, that's the operative word for this blog entry) hop back into the car and drive away. But, alas, he kept looking at me. I had to tuck my tail (by this time, I had grown a five foot long white tail with purple spots--I'm already quite fond of it, but I digress...) between my legs and let him know that I was the moron. I drove away quickly, but not so fast as to make anyone suspect that I was leaving the scene of an accident. On the contrary, I was leaving the scene of an idiot.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Remembering "The Daily Journal"

My blog writing days goes back to the days before there were blogs (It was just a few months after the invention of color television and toaster ovens). Two pals and I used to write in what we referred to as "The Daily Journal." It's still there to this day, but none of us are contributing to it anymore. We had a good strong run of about seven or eight years. Some of these daily entries are just too good to let go to waste and will provide an excellent way for me to fill in the gaps on days like today when I cannot think of anything to write. So, with that, we open up the TDJ vaults to 1998. Enjoy...

June 28, 1998
Something about this day always brings back a funny little memory from my past. It used to be that every Sunday daddy would take us to the trash dump to rummage about for anything useful. Daddy would take whatever we found and turn it into a profit. On one occasion, he made nearly fifty cents profit on an old shoehorn ("the kind with teeth, people should get beat up for statin' their beliefs"... but I digress). Anyway, there was one Sunday where I was working through the northeastern corner of the dump and was bitten by what appeared to be a nest of angry rats. The bites were severe and I lost a lot of blood. To top it all off, I developed some sort of neurological disease from an infection and was on bed rest for nearly a month. Come to think of it, it's not much of a funny little memory after all.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Origin of Robotface Shumway

I have a confession to make. "Robotface Shumway" is not my real name. My real name is "Catshoes McCheese."

But seriously, folks. If you really wanted to figure out my name, I'm sure you could. I just decided to not make it all that easy. If you already know me, then you already know my real name. And my real name is "Candypants Butterbean II."

Actually, there's a semi-amusing story behind the "Robotface Shumway" name. Four or five years ago I wanted to participate in an NCAA basketball tournament contests where you pick who wins the games against your friends and against the nation. The winner of the whole contest was to get some ridiculous grand prize--like a lifetime supply of melba toast (or maybe it was a big wad of cash). But to enter the contest you had to register with your e-mail address, name, address, social security number, blood type, urine sample, etc. (ok, I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea).

I have a throwaway e-mail address for stuff like this, so that wasn't a big deal. If you don't have a throwaway e-mail address, I highly advise that you get one. Go to somewhere like g-mail or hotmail and get an account that you only use when you have to enter your email address for something that you don't care too much about. This will save you from getting hammered with spam via the e-mail account that you really care about. But I digress...

This time I also needed to give them my name and an address. I really wanted to participate in the contest (I love melba toast--and cash), so I threw away my natural instincts and entered. That's where "Robotface Shumway" came from. I figured that with such a ridiculous name, the person in charge of sending junk mail to people (and you know who you are) would see that name and say, "that's not a real person," and take me (i.e Robotface Shumway) off the list. Or, at least you'd think they could train a computer to do this--nope.

It was only a few months later when mail started showing up at my house offering Robotface Shumway a "once-in-a-lifetime" credit card or indicating that "Robotface Shumay" may have already won ten million dollars. Imagine the melba toast that I...I mean Robotface could buy with ten million dollars. I'm still holding out that I'll eventually win that NCAA contest.