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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Day #103: Ultimate JayWalker

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The Story:

 

Rules of Ultimate JayWalker


  1. Players can choose to be either the pedestrian or the motorist. There must be an even number of motorists to pedestrians.
  2. Player will then roll dice to be randomly assigned a character from the pool of 24 unique characters of the game (12 per motorist, 12 per pedestrian). Example of motorist characters include: Dry Ice Trucker going on two hours of sleep, Soccer Mom Minivan driven by emasculated dad, Clutchless VW Bus Stoner, and Ice Cream truck driver who just lost his A/C. Example of pedestrian characters include:  deaf little old lady with walker, crazy homeless guy with awesome beard and walking stick, 10-year-old boy on a Schwinn with a sling shot, young mother on her cell phone with two small children, and zany sign-spinning Spiderman who’s got nothing to lose.

  3. An official of Ultimate JayWalker will then outfit each player with the appropriate character vehicle and/or props. Once all players are outfitted, they will be escorted to the Ultimate JayWalker closed course.
  4. Players will be randomly assigned, one motorist per pedestrian.
  5. Objective is simple, motorists and pedestrians will instigate collisions and the last to back off, without actually causing impact, gains the most points.
  6. Pedestrians should be creative in their approach. Bonus points are awarded for ingenuity. Cartwheels, walking on hands, a zig zag motion or the crazy eye stare while frozen in motorist’s path are just a few effective examples.
  7. Colorful language, expressions, or threats of harm are all part of the game and could also earn bonus points based on creativity.
  8. Points are assigned by a panel of three officials overseeing the game. Highest points win.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Sometimes driving in this city is more than I can take. Especially on the road to the Orlando International Airport… are there some interesting characters on that leg or what? The speed limit on this particular road is up to 55 mph for most stretches and it is a six lane bustling artery hedged by strip malls, fast food joints and ratty billboards for Spanish-language attorneys. Not a road you would choose for a relaxing Sunday afternoon stroll, to say the least. Unless, of course, you are a certain gentleman with a very bushy white beard and a devil-may-care attitude… a man I had the pleasure of encountering today on the way to collect Andy from the airport. As I’m coursing down the road in the middle lane, going about 60mph, I see this man decide that now would be a good time to cross six lanes of bustling traffic. Walking at a snail’s pace, he meanders across the street, narrowly escaping certain death several times and manages to end up in my lane just as I am approaching. I think, maybe he’ll speed up a bit to avoid an afternoon meal of my fender… I think wrong. If anything he slows down so I am forced to slam on my breaks and pray that the Rav4 behind me can break in time too. Going from 60 to a full stop in a matter of seconds, I am a little shaken and very pissed. I could have been a gnat for the amount of attention this jaywalker paid me. I was half tempted to give him a little nudge with the front of my car as a way of punishing him for his carelessness… but I managed to suppress that urge and continued on my way. Some of the pedestrian characters are based on similar jaywalkers I have either personally come close to hitting or witness being hit while driving on this same road (the mother on her phone dragging her three-year-old across the street was perhaps the worst).

Come on girly... try me. I got alllll day.

Love & Squirrels.

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Day #102: Hot Mess

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The Story:

She checked her reflection again for the tenth time. Seeing a hair out of place, she gently swept it off of her forehead and checked again. After spending more than two hours getting ready, Heather believed she was ready to finally head out the door.

An hour of that time had been spent changing her outfit about two dozen times. Each time she would model the change in wardrobe in the full-length mirror in the bedroom. Tucking, untucking, cinching with a belt or trying a different necklace, she just couldn’t find the right combination. And that didn’t even account for the time she took to pick out her shoes.

Another hour was spent applying her makeup and styling her auburn tresses. Every application of foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow and mascara was with extreme care. Pressing some powder on her nose, Heather peered discriminately at her nose, and wiped the excess powder off. Now… the hair. Blow-drying, and styling for about half an hour, Heather smoothed each strand into place and covered her whole head with a douse of hairspray.

One last look, from head to toe, Heather nodded in approval. Time to get going or she’d be late.

She walked out the door and immediately her hair went limp and frizzed out in every direction, she began sweating through her silk blouse and linen trousers and her makeup literally began to melt off of her face.

Sighing, Heather shrugged her shoulders. “Gotta love Florida summers!” Heather mopped her brow and hopped in her car and was off.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Tonight I had the pleasure of joining some great friends for the celebration of their son’s birthday. Dinner was at 5pm at a Hibachi & Sushi restaurant to be followed by cake and gifts at their new home. Now, I don’t have many occasions to really get all dolled up, so I thought I might as well take advantage of tonight and spend some time primping and beautifying myself. I tried on a bunch of different outfits, spent time actually blow-drying my hair (if you know me, then you know that’s sayin something) and got my makeup just right. I was all ready to go and then… I walked outside. For those of you who don’t live in Florida or who have never spent any time in the Sunshine State during the summer months, this may not seem like a noteworthy event. For those of you who do live here, then you know…

I was a wreck in a matter of minutes. I looked as if I had just stepped out of a hot shower and then proceeded to apply my makeup while still dripping wet. My hair, which had looked pretty decent before crossing the threshold was now curling in strange directions, my bangs were stuck to my forehead and the frizz… dear God, the frizz. My clothes were already sticking to me, in a matter of minutes and I still had a 45 minute drive ahead of me. Joy. All that trouble to go to a restaurant where they cook inches from your face over an open flame. Double Joy. Oh well, I had a great time, despite looking like a melted Strawberry Shortcake doll and was super excited to reconnect with my friends.

Maybe that's why she always wore that hat... clever girl.

TWO:    Heather is the name of my very good friend who I got to see tonight. Hi Heather!!! :o)

Love & Squirrels.

 

Day #101: Trashed

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The Story:

Jessica sat stock still. Shutting her eyes she prayed for this moment to be over. “How could this sort of thing be legal, let alone company policy?” she wondered to herself for maybe the fiftieth time.

Opening one eye, Jessica peeked behind her to see she still had company. “Damn it,” she almost uttered out loud before checking herself. Turning back to her computer screen she tried to move as little as possible, as if part of her believed that if she didn’t move her presence in the room would be unnoticed. She was wrong.

Hello,” the heavily accented word practically punched Jessica in the gut. Giving a short nod in reply, Jessica stared straight ahead and tried her hardest to melt into her chair. She shut her eyes again as a last-ditch effort to remove herself, if even a little bit, from the situation.

For years, things had been fine. There had been no incident. She came in, did her job and went home. And then, she came in one day to find a memo waiting on her desk. Her life had been a living hell ever since. Sleepless nights, loss of appetite, paranoia… the stress got to such a point that her hair had begun to fall out in clumps.

She spent hours running through all the possible things they might have discovered about her. What private information had they gathered? The thought terrified her. “Why was this happening to her?!?” She felt like screaming.

Finally, after what seemed like a decade, she heard a plastic bag rustle and the sound of fabric moving and realized she was once again alone in her office. Slowly opening her eyes to confirm, Jessica slouched down in her seat in relief, “Thank God for that,” she muttered.

Swiveling her chair to face the back corner of her office, Jessica recoiled at the sight of the newly-replaced garbage bag that had been placed in her waste bin. “This is ridiculous,” she said in weak protest to the violation that had already occurred.

Jessica hugged herself and shivered a little. “I mean I’m sitting right here,” she was beginning to get heated now. “There’s just something wrong with another person taking someone else’s trash while they are in the room. It’s not right, I don’t care if they are housekeeping,” Jessica pouted.

After the change to the company’s housekeeping schedule, the housekeepers were now picking up office waste bins a little earlier than in years past. Some staff were… not adjusting as well as others to the change.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Things have changed at work. And where there is change, there is griping. Recently, our building has changed it’s trash disposal policy. We have been given cute little blue recycling bins for paper and plastic, and a littler black bin for all wet waste, i.e. food and perishables. On top of that, our office trash cans will now only be emptied once a week on Fridays instead of daily. I know- the horror. That’s not even the worse of it. We now are required, as individual staff and faculty members, required to empty our own bins of food waste each day. Can you imagine? Faculty and administrative staff actually having to sully their hands with their own garbage? This cannot continue… there will be a revolution if this policy remains in place… mark my words.

Seriously though, as I was tying up a few things before leaving for the weekend one of the housekeeping staff came into my office and began to empty my trash can. It was kind of weird, sitting there, trying not to be uncomfortable as this stranger practically went through my garbage mere inches behind me. There was something off-putting about it. Maybe I’m just sensitive, but I would rather not be in the room when some stranger is taking out my trash… honestly, I’d rather do it myself.

Love & Squirrels.

 

Day #100: In or Out…

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The Story:

In celebration of her second best-selling book flying off the shelves, Silvia contemplated a raucous “Girls Night Out”.

 

 

.

.

.

On second thought,

she was already sitting down…

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      100 posts down! Whew, I can barely believe it. I thought I might celebrate tonight, do something special to mark the occasion… but meh. I have the house to myself for the weekend, starting tonight and as sad as it may sound, all I want to do is veg on the couch and watch some good TV, maybe even a movie. I know, lame. But I embrace the lameness. So to honor my 100th post milestone I’m cracking open a fresh ginger brew (really potent ginger ale… seriously, this stuff burns on the way down) and snuggling up with my boy, Joey and the remote. Hello, my name is Sam, and I am a homebody.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #99: Disconnected

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The Story:

Dale was finally faced with the decision he knew would come, he just wished he had had more time. Having been handed the ultimatum more than 16 hours ago, he only had 8 hours remaining before the choice would be demanded… or made for him.

Dale had lived an unexceptional life for the majority of his thirty-six years. He had been a C+ student in high school, managed to graduate from a state school a little over four years later. It seemed Dale was destined to coast for the rest of his life, never really excelling but not failing either, just… maintaining.

That all changed the day Dale bought his first cell phone.  At first, he didn’t really notice anything change. It was only when he took a call while he was visiting his sister and her husband that he was made aware of his peculiar behavior. You see, Dale became incredibly productive, almost manically so, when he was on his cell phone. It didn’t matter who he was talking to, how long he talked or if he placed or received the call. Upon hanging up, Dale would find he had achieved some incredible feats while he was shooting the breeze. The house would be cleaned, his car would be washed, four course meals would seem to make themselves, stocks were traded, Dale had even managed to write a novelette over the course of several conversations with his long distance girlfriend at the time, it was a best seller.

There were other successes thanks to this peculiar behavior, not to mention the fame it brought him. Soon Dale was living in the Hollywood Hills, lending his expertise or productivity to anyone who requested it… for a hefty fee of course.

It got to a point that Dale refused to do anything unless he was on the phone for the duration. A cell phone or blue tooth was constantly attached to his ear (he had even contemplated having one surgically attached one night after a few too many beers; had it not been for the inability for him to update the device once it was attached, he might have gone through with it). This, as you can imagine interfered with his ‘in person’ relationships, including his relationship with his fiancé, Gillian.

Hold on, Carl, I'm going through a tunnel..... ok, can you hear me now?

Gillian, a patient soul by nature, put up with the ‘quirk’ because she loved Dale and knew if it came down to it, he would hang up that damned device if she asked him too. But, over the years, she began to doubt that conviction, especially as it became harder and harder to hold his attention for more than the few minutes it took for him to end one call and begin the next.

The breaking point had come the day Gillian received the news of her mother’s death. Turning to her loving fiancé for comfort, Gillian was instead met with a finger held up to her face as Dale continued his phone call and the oil painting he was working on. Heartbroken, Gillian left a voicemail on his cell and then left. The words were difficult to understand through the sobbing, but the message was clear- Dale had 24 hours to decide, lose the phone or lose her.

And now he only had 8 hours left to make the biggest decision of his life. Panic was beginning to set in. He loved Gillian, he loved her more than he loved anything else in the world- including his phone. But what if he gave up his phone and then lost everything, his contracts, his friends, his business partners, his money, what would happen to him? Dale did the only thing he knew how to do when faced with a problem in need of a quick solution… he picked up the phone. He spoke to his mom, his sister, his best friend, even the bar tender at his favorite pub; no one seemed to give him the reassurance he was looking for. Finally, an hour before the deadline, he hung up the phone.

Wincing from the stress, he shut his eyes and rubbed them with the back of his hands. As he opened them, he noticed the canvas across the room he had been painting when Gillian had given her ultimatum. Instead of the original work, which had been a still life of some fruit, the canvas now bore a beautiful rendition of Gustav Klimt’s famous work The Kiss. It was Gillian’s favorite painting, and as he peered closer to his recent work he noticed that the face of the woman in her lover’s embrace looked a little- off. It was Gillian’s face. He had painted Gillian’s favorite painting with her face incorporated flawlessly into the masterpiece. It was clear what he had to do.

Dale smiled as the little girl on the swing set waved to him and kicked her legs wildly as she rose higher into the sky. Wondering where the girls’ mother might be Dale scanned the park and found her- she was talking on her cell phone. Leaning over, he kissed his wife’s forehead, as she lay outstretched on the park bench next to him with her head on his lap. Gillian smiled without opening her eyes and instinctively cradled her swollen belly, happy in this moment and happy knowing that her nap was in no danger of being interrupted by the chirruping of a cell phone.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      As I may have mentioned before, I am not a phone person. It’s maybe my least favorite means of communication. Now, having said that… I was thrilled to see my friend’s name pop up on my caller ID this afternoon and spent at least an hour and a half catching up and chatting. While engaged in conversation, I have this need to be moving or doing something, I can’t just sit and chat. So, as we chatted I cleaned the kitchen, walked the backyard for several laps, played fetch with my dog and started dinner. All using primarily one hand (as I needed the other to keep the phone pressed to my ear). After hanging up and seeing how much I had accomplished (in comparison to my usual sedentary state) I started to wonder if that was a normal phenomenon. Of course I took it further and wondered if I were to talk on the phone all day, how much could I get done? I may just have to try that sometime.

TWO: Gustav Klimt is my favorite (or at least in the top 5) artists and The Kiss is one of my absolute favorite of his works… I actually got to see it in person on a trip to Vienna, Austria many, many moons ago. I mentioned it in the story because while taking a cat nap at work today (yes, I nap at work sometimes during my lunch break… have I mentioned how much I LOVE having a door to my office?) I dreamt about that painting. I don’t remember the context but thought it worth including.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #98: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

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The Story:

“You seriously didn’t see it?” Tobias looked practically flabbergasted by his friend’s admission.

“I seriously didn’t see it. I don’t know what you are making such a big deal about. I’m not totally convinced you aren’t making it up anyway, just to mess with me,” Joel replied a little curtly.

“I swear to God, dude. It was right there,” Tobias pointed to a section of the parking lot only about 20 feet away from where they stood. About half an hour prior, the entire lot had been full of spectators, all there to watch the model plane expo that had come to town for the weekend. As the two boys watched the final aerial display, Tobias happened to glance away from the action taking place in the sky for a second and when he did he saw something that he would never forget.

He still had trouble believing what he had seen, but he knew that it wasn’t a figment of his imagination. It had been there. No one else, including his friend Joel, seemed to notice which made the sight all the more unbelievable. Add to that the fact that it had been there the entire time of the expo, and Tobias’ head was spinning.

Years later, Tobias’ group of friends was still giving him a hard time about what he claimed to have seen that day. Despite the good-natured, if not constant ribbing at his expense, Tobias never relented and stood behind what he knew he saw (only when he was alone would he begin to second guess himself, terrified that for years he had been wrong).

Joel was the worst about it, and never let his friend forget how crazed he had been that day. While Joel, Tobias and a few of their buddies shared a bucket of beers at their local watering hole, Joel started in on Tobias again. Just as he was getting into the full swing of it, he noticed that the other guys had stopped laughing and were staring intently at the television screen behind Joel. Wondering what had his buddies so stupefied; Joel spun around in the booth and looked up at the screen and dropped the bottle he had been bringing up to his mouth for a swig.

No one at the table reacted to the shattering glass, all were transfixed by the image now being displayed behind a pretty blonde news anchor.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      In my usual state of astuteness, I wondered around my house today and after several hours noticed things were…missing. Turns out Andy needed some things to dress one of the movie sets they were shooting today at the last minute and raided the house for anything he could find. While I noticed a few things out of place immediately, a cabinet in the bathroom gone from the corner for example, other things were not quite as obvious to me, but they should have been. Have you ever gone to turn on a light only realizing that it is not there as you reach out your hand? Ever done that twice (two different lamps)? Ever stared at the corner of a room and not realize something that has been there for years is… not? Yeah. Master of observation, at your service.  I started to laugh at myself after several more attempts to find or use something that I was sure was there only to realize, with some surprise, that it is not. I think I might need to get some sleep…

Love & Squirrels.

 

Day #97: Something’s Brewing

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The Story:

“Blast you woman, if you can even be referred to as such. You try my patience. Either reveal to me the foul ingredients of that horrid brew or I swear on all things holy you will be rid of that head of yours by day’s end,” Owen pierced the witch with a stare only men chiseled of stone could deflect. Still, she would not speak.

“Very well, you leave me little choice,” Owen turned to one of his men waiting in the shadows and gave a brief nod. The man quickly disappeared further into the shadows and when he reappeared minutes later, the witch’s eyes grew wide with horror at what he carried with him.

“You bastard,” the witch hissed. After several more seconds, the gnarled woman tore her eyes away from the object of her horror and bowing her head whispered, “Ye shall have what ye seek. And may ye and all yer kin be cursed because of it”.

“Your empty threats do not frighten me, you beastly wretch. Now tell me what I need to know!” Owen leaned as close as his nose would permit towards the foul woman.

“First, ye must offer sacrifice to the dark Lord. All life is precious save one, choose wisely what you lay on his alter,” the woman wiped a bit of spittle from her mouth and continued, a feverish look in her eye.

“Boil, in an iron cauldron, water collected from the banks of that mystic river the ancients named Styx. Collect all of the following and let steep in the water until the mixture has turned the color of the blackest ink. Should ye upset the order or add too little or too much of any, ye have doomed yourself…

“Listen well, I will nay repeat myself. Find and kill a young male fox. Chop up its spleen coarsely and set aside half.

“Next ye will require a mature rat, also male. Remove its vertebrae and roast over an open pit until all moisture is sapped from it. Grind the remaining bone into a fine powder. A hand’s full should do the trick,” she smacked her lips as if tasting the bones she spoke of.

A tribute to my favorite witch reference (from my favorite movie)

The list went on and was equally bizarre: the eyes of ten sparrows, dried; the femur bone of a calf; putrefied lizard tongues, eight to be exact; the brain from a raven; the stomach of six ferrets with their contents; the skin of a bat; sand from the bottom of the Dead Sea, the blood of a newborn lamb and honey gathered from the hive of bees living in the catacombs of Italian monks.

“Is that all witch? Are those the ingredients in their completion, I warn you do not play me false!” Owen growled.

“There is one more thing. But I doubt ye have the stomach to see the task done…” the witch smirked, flashing a mouth full of blackened teeth.

“That is of no consequence to you; now reveal it to me at once!” Owen could hardly contain his anticipation; finally his quest may produce some fruit for its eleven years of labor.

“The final and most important ingredient, without which ye would have nothing but a cauldron full of muck must be obtained carefully. Ye must seek out and slaughter a wizard of the third degree. Remove his staff of power and grind it down. Only the man who fells this great man of magic can then add this final ingredient to the brew. Once it has been added the curse will be complete,” the witch collapsed in exhaustion and seemed to shrink into the ground at these last words. Before Owen or his men could react, she was gone… leaving nothing but a pile of soiled robes and the chains she had been bound by.

Stunned by what they had witnessed, Owen’s men stood transfixed for several moments before their leader could rouse them from their stupor. “Men, we now know what we must do. If that despicable creature uttered any truths, we shall soon discover for ourselves. Let us move on,” Owen kicked the robes into the fire and the troupe moved towards their mounts.

And so, their journey began.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      In an effort to earn “girlfriend of the month” award, I promised to make Andy a batch of my homemade chai concentrate, something he had been craving for a few days now. While the results are delicious and fragrant, I can’t help but feel a bit like a witch mixing her steaming brew when I make this stuff. There are quite a few ingredients so I tried to pass the time it took to grate, peal, chop and measure by assigning them each an unpleasant alter-ego if in fact I was making a potion instead of a delicious drink.

First cup of my brew... I mean, chai. Strange... anyone else see that shadow?

The ingredients & their made up counterparts in the story are listed below… and I gotta say, I think I would make a damn find mistress of evil (aka witch).

The cockroach I killed before getting started (first one of the summer….ick) = Sacrifice

Water = Water from the River Styx

Fresh Ginger, chopped = Male Fox Spleen

Fresh Ground Pepper = Roasted & Ground rat vertebra

10 Whole Cloves = Sparrow Eyes

Cinnamon Stick = Calf Femur bone

Anise = Putrefied Lizard Tongues

Fresh Nutmeg = Raven’s brain

Cardamom Pods = Ferret Stomachs

Orange Zest = Skin of a Bat

Brown Sugar = Sand from the Dead Sea

Vanilla = Blood of a Newborn Lamb

Honey = Honey from Catacomb bees

Tea Leaves = Slaughtered Wizard’s staff shavings

I know… I’m a bit twisted. Delightfully so, don’t you think?

Love & Squirrels.