August 2006


Our old apartment almost burned down about a year ago today.

It was a pretty normal day. I was sitting at my desk on my computer. Russ was sitting on his bed, with his computer on his lap. Strangely enough, I was playing Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” on iTunes.

The song was almost over when the fire alarm went off. For some reason, our first reaction was that it was a false alarm. The ringing persisted, however, and I decided to get up and go in the hall to have a look.

Quickly it became apparent that it wasn’t a false alarm. If I had to pinpoint the warning signs, I’d say it was either the water building up in the hallway, the smoke pouring out of the apartment down the hall from us, or our neighbor running out of her apartment covered in soot and water. Maybe it was a combination of all three of those things.

She ripped the fire extinguisher off the wall, handed it to me, and queried, “Do you know how to use this?”

I had the chance to be a hero.

But instead of calmly reading the instructions and killing off the fire single-handedly, I panicked and handed it off (along with my chances for fame and glory) to our neighbor Corey. By this time Russ was out in the hallway, too. The three of us gamely led a charge into her apartment to turn off her breaker. Well, mainly Corey and Russ. I hung around in the doorway because I’m a huge pussy.

Once all the breakers were off, and the fire was under control, our neighbor came out of her apartment looking wild-eyed like a caged panther, turned to Russ and said, “James, I’d like to thank ya for tha banana bread.”

Russ put confused face on and gamely responded, “You’re welcome.”

So anyway, to make a long story short, we had to evacuate. Four fire trucks and an ambulance came in order to make the situation even more confusing.

The apartment below our neighbor’s flooded.

Her apartment was covered in three inches of water and reeked of smoke for the next two months. She and her husband moved out shortly thereafter.

The moral of this story (well, besides that if you live in Sherman there will be a kick-ass fire in the downtown area about once a month) is don’t start cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, take a handul of Vicodin, and pass out.

Way to go Nancy. These five Oxycontin are for you.

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I have a friend. Let’s call him Derek.

Three years ago Derek and I decided to paddle an inflatable canoe down a stretch of the Red River. In order to practice for the big trip, we took a canoe out onto the stormy seas of the Duck Pond in Coppell, Texas.

While paddling around in a big circle, we happened upon a gray and brown duckling, who was valiantly trying to swim and stay alive despite having its entire left wing and most of its left side chewed off by an unknown predator.

I called out to Derek, “So should we call the vet and maybe take the little guy in to get stitched up?”

Derek wasted no time or thought in responding, “No, we shouldn’t call the vet, we should just put it out of its misery.”

Without giving me even a second to respond, Derek raised his plastic $12.99 paddle from Wal-Mart over his head and with lightning-quick speed and unrivaled fury brought the paddle down on the poor duckling. Maybe three times.

Stunned, I sat helpless in the canoe.

Twenty seconds later the now lifeless duckling sank to a watery grave. With lust in his eyes, Derek turned to me and uttered the now immortal phrase:

“Well, we couldn’t save its life, but we did kill it.”

Cheers.

I have named myself Prime Minister of the “Anti-Myspace Coalition.”

The reasons behind this stance are hard-hitting and provacative, if few in number.

For one thing, the layout is atrocious. It’s as if whomever is in charge of Myspace features has no concept of spatial reasoning, which is not a good trait to lack if you’re in charge of web design for a company that has like 400 million users.

This brings us to reason number two. Included in those 400 million users is every single woman in my office. Most of these women are old. Half of them are pregnant. We have a busy office. How these women have to time hit up Myspace instead of working or going to Lamaze classes is beyond me.

Reason number three is related to the “stalkerish” aspects of Mypsace, though it’d be hypocritical of me to criticize Myspace on simply those grounds. Granted, I spend time on Facebook every day, though I’m not pregnant and I don’t have phones to answer, so whatever. No, my problem lies with the fact that Myspace is just as “stalkerish” as Facebook, only without the safety netting of having to be/have been enrolled in an accredited school.

And let’s face it, that safety net might be small, but it’s something.

So there. I’m anti-Myspace.

Bonus video:

Until T.O. Owens and I are gonna go hit up some Chick-Fil-A and then head to Ghostbar.

And the reason rhymes with “fuck”. Or “suck”. Or any other word that ends in u-c-k.

Here’s what Kevin Sherrington at the Dallas Morning News has to say about the whole thing:

Coming off the stunner in Detroit, the Rangers suddenly looked like a contender again. All that stood between that pivotal series and another against Oakland was Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay … home of the third-worst ERA in baseball and tied for last in batting average.

And what happens? Showalter comes back from his clubhouse hiatus, and the Rangers go in the tank.

There is more Dallas Morning News, err, news. A couple weeks ago the News’ publisher, Jim Moroney (whom I saw speak at the Austin College Law Symposium), offered buyouts to any staffer willing to leave the paper. And I mean any staffer.

Unfair Park, the informative and entertaining blog of the Dallas Observer, reported yesterday that a partial list of the staffers willing to accept Moroney’s buyouts is in their possession.

The list surprises me, although it shouldn’t, because much like the baseball team that plays in Arlington, print journalism is dying.

Anyway, Tim Cowlishaw is reportedly moving to ESPN. Philip Wuntch and Ed Bark, the movie and television critics, respectively, are moving on as well. Those two have been at the paper for as long as I can remember. And in a change that will affect my parents, but not me, Scott Burns, the lead business writer for the News, is out, too.

Come September 15, it’s going to be a much different Dallas Morning News that will be sitting on my kitchen table.

Or bathroom floor.

Also, today is Friday. Sarah, the aforementioned girl in the Boom Boom Room, is playing a show tonight at Club Dada. Rock and roll, man, rock and roll.

Mainly for the off chance that I might run into this guy.

For those of you not fortunate enough to work at CKPT, the “Boom Boom Room” is what we support staff have lovingly deemed the back conference room.

Anyway, a girl named Sarah works back there. She’s in a band. (more…)

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