Getting Dumped

After moving all my belongings to Loveland, I started the whole process of getting settled into my new surroundings. It was at this point in time I really became jealous of Scott’s dog. When Henry moves somewhere his entire settling process consists of figuring out where to go to relieve himself, sniffing everything in the area two or three times, and then falling asleep in the middle of the floor for the rest of the day. Henry doesn’t worry about hooking up stereo speakers or rifling through boxes trying to find a clean pair of underwear.

Over the years Scott has put a fair amount of effort into landscaping around the house. While it is not quite ready to be featured in “Better Homes and Gardens,” the yard is completely free of unmarked sinkholes and nonfunctioning automobiles. The one area I thought needed the most work was the garden on the side of the house. The area has been overtaken by trash, weeds, and, on occasion, a small band of street hardened juvenile delinquents. One night I told Scott I was going to attack the garden and clean it up a bit.

Before I go any further here, I have to ask the rhetorical question “How was I supposed to know the difference between weeds and a series of dormant but healthy raspberry bushes?” Needless to say, Scott overestimated my abilities to identify “good” versus “bad” plant life and we are not going to have any fresh raspberry pie in August. But on a positive note, the efforts produced a large pile of dead plants that had to be thrown away and we now had a good reason to go visit the city dump. We attached the wooden side rails on Scott’s pickup truck and started piling trash in the bed.

The next piece of vegetation that got loaded into the truck was a sickly looking tree that was living in the back yard. I’m not really sure what Scott did to it, because the tree looked quite healthy and vibrant propped up in the living room when I stopped by for his Christmas party. I honestly suspect Scott didn’t talk to the tree enough. In an attempt to revive the tree, I dug a small hole in the back yard and stood the tree up. My theory was the tree stump would sense the connection with Mother Earth and grow a complete new set of roots in a few days. Everything was going fine until these small gusts of wind kept tipping the tree over. Of course by then the self esteem of the tree was too depleted and we were forced to give up and throw it in the back of the truck.

The next item on the list was an old beat up desk that Scott’s previous roommate conveniently left in the room that was going to become my office. At first glance it appeared to be a simple wooden desk that could be easily carried down the stairs and given to Goodwill. Upon closer inspection, however, the desk was a monster. The entire structure was built from solid inch thick particle board and held together with generous quantities of screws, wood glue, and some sort of futuristic “Star Trek” force field. After a solid hour of attacking the beast, we carried its dismembered corpse outside and prepared it for final burial.

Once all the trash was loaded up, we tied a tarp over everything as best we could and headed out to the dump. While everything seemed to be securely tied down before we left, I suspect the air flow dynamics of traveling fifty miles an hour altered the stress forces in the back of the truck. About half way through our journey, the wooden side railings decided to spontaneously shatter into several pieces. The down side to this event was that half the junk we were hauling flew out on the road. The up side was… well, I don’t think there really was one.

The really funny thing (and by “funny” I really mean “pain in the ass”) was that with the side rails broken there was no way we could fit everything back into the truck. After some deliberation, we left some of the junk on the side of the road and took what we could to the dump. Once the first trip was completed, we went back and got the rest of the stuff off the side of the road. It really helped prolong the “going to the dump” experience into an entire afternoon ordeal.

Despite the setback, our goal was eventually achieved. We made it home in one piece and without any of the garbage we left with. Just to make us feel a little bit better about the whole situation, we checked the mail when we got back and found a coupon that would have saved us the twenty dollar fee at the dump.

And, of course, the dog was still sleeping on the floor when we got home.

Moving Excitement

Goodbye Boulder, hello Loveland. Well, that sums up what I have been up to over the past week or so. For various reasons, I decided to move out of my apartment in Boulder and into a house in Loveland. The most important reason revolves around a drunken late night conversation with Miss Cleo where she said, and I quote, “You have drawn the happy squirrel card. You need to make some big changes in your life, my friend.” The part about change really convinced me to move out of town. That, and I have completely exhausted my supply of wildly inappropriate JonBenet Ramsey jokes.

The first step in the moving process is to decide where to move. I have known my friend Scott since I was three and I have even gone so far as to travel to Germany with him to visit his parents. Scott lives in Loveland and he mentioned how he needed a new roommate. I thought about it for a few days, and eventually I called Scott back and asked if there was any way I could move in with his parents in Germany. Don’t get me wrong– I think Scott is a great guy, but his mom is a way better cook and most experts agree that Germany has a much better ultra-high speed train network than, say, Loveland, Colorado.

One of the keys to a successful move is to be disciplined and organized. Unfortunately for me, both of these attributes were permanently damaged in a prepubescent winter sledding accident. Despite this handicap, I tried my best to prioritize my belongings to make packing as efficient as possible. Here is a list of actual items I found during the inventory process:

One half eaten box of Total cereal with an expiration date of May 1997.
One empty bottle of shampoo with instructions in some foreign language.
A set of used check carbons from SIX addresses ago.
A zip-lock bag full of obsolete Dutch coins with an estimated value of seven dollars (minus the cost of transporting them back to Holland)

These items were carefully packed first using liberal quantities of crumpled up newspaper and bubble wrap. Once that was complete and double checked, I addressed the rest of my stuff.

One of the problems with packing is that I started with the things I cared about the most. All my clothes and electronic equipment were carefully packed and labeled in boxes to make sure nothing was thrown away or misplaced. On moving day all of this was ready to go. First we picked up the couch and placed it in the truck. The next two trips took care of my bedroom furniture. After twenty minutes all of my furniture, clothes, and electronic equipment was loaded up and ready to go. The problem, of course, was the rest of the crap that had accumulated in my apartment over the past three years– stuff that I didn’t want to throw away, but I didn’t care enough to actually pack. The good intentions I had at the beginning of the process gave way to me running around my apartment haphazardly throwing random objects into garbage bags so I could deal with it all later. The last bag I packed contained– and I am being totally honest here– a Harley Davidson calendar, a handful of razor blades, and my Fred and Barney Fruity Pebbles cardboard cutout.

Most fine wines improve with age. The same is not true for U-Haul trucks. I’m guessing the monster I rented reached its peak somewhere around 1977 based on the painting on the side of the truck of an old fashioned American flag and the phrase “U-Haul: Helping American celebrate her bicentennial.” Now I see why it was the only truck in Boulder available to rent. Everything squeaked and rattled in exactly the way I thought it shouldn’t. On the way to Loveland I looked on the dash and noticed the vehicle had been driven 116,000 miles. Of course there were only six digits on the odometer. I strongly suspect it had been flipped three, if not four, times. And by “it” I mean the entire truck.

Despite the truck’s best efforts to spontaneously disassemble into its 40,000 original parts in the middle of Highway 287, we made it to Loveland without any problems. I even got the hang of the odd standard transmission which had reverse where first gear should be, overdrive where reverse usually is, and third gear crammed into the glove compartment with a hastily written note saying, “Don’t use this until we get it back into the transmission box. Have a nice day.”

Unpacking everything in Loveland went pretty smoothly. The biggest problem was by the time we unpacked all the crap I didn’t really care about, we were all pretty much exhausted. No matter how much I think about it, I couldn’t find a way to unload the front and bottom most section of the truck first. Having survived the move, I would recommend the following simple two step process to anyone else who plans on changing their residency in the near future. 1. Spend half an hour moving the most important things into the moving truck. 2. Unfortunately, the state of Colorado still considers things like “lighting your apartment on fire” and “insurance fraud” to be “illegal”, but I’m sure you can connect the dots.

Newfunny Consulting, LLC

Since my pursuit of a traditional computer geek job has been about as successful as Paula Jones’ television boxing career, I’ve decided to expand my horizons and offer my creative talents to one of my favorite things in the world. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there thinking, “Reality check here Omar, nobody is going to pay you money for your stupid Taco Bell song!” I’m not abandoning my dream of writing meaningful burrito music, but rather putting it under the warming lamps until the right customer comes along to order it. In the mean time, I’ve decided to offer my creative talents to television networks in the form my new high priced consulting service.

How high priced? Well, lets just say I’m booked solid through the next 5 television seasons. Yes, I know that has absolutely nothing to do with my fee. My goal here is to alter the traditional logic of supply and demand by creating the perception I am incredibly busy. If anyone wants to actually pay me money, I’ll have a last minute and suspiciously convenient cancellation in my schedule. Hey, it worked wonders for Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo, so I don’t see why the same principles can’t be applied to my life.

As much as I would like to, I can’t just say I’m a high priced television consultant and have the networks start shoving hundred dollar bills down my pants. So, to demonstrate some of my talents I’ve decided to put a few of my creative visions on the Internet so the network executives can feel comfortable when handing over briefcases full of money.

My first recommendation is for the Fox network and show “King of the Hill”. While this has proven to be a moderately successful animated cartoon, turning the show turned into a live action situation comedy for a season or two would improve ratings in the key demographics. Which, of course, is the “eighteen to thirty year old short attention span but attracted to anything that gets labeled as gimmicky” group.

Getting back to the “King of the Hill” proposal: Finding actual people who look and sound like the cartoon characters might be a challenge, but the end result would be worth the effort. After a full season of using live actors, other mediums could be considered. This includes—but is not limited to—claymation, Japanese Anime, interpretive Irish folk dance, and, of course, marionette puppets.

When MTV decided to stop playing music videos and instead started filming a house full of unemployed whiny people a lot of viewers were quite upset and annoyed—especially those interested in watching actual music videos. While this approach is exactly the opposite of what many “idealists” thought a cable channel called “Music Television” should be doing, the producers unknowingly lit a fire under the bandwagon of “reality” television and proceeded to give it a healthy shove down the road of good intentions.

Shows such as “The Real World” created a lucrative market for doing little more than going around and filming people in their daily lives. As the competition increased, the gimmickry factor was pushed to it’s limit. To succeed in this genre of television programming these days require, at an absolute minimum, a tropical island, a half dozen Playboy Bunnies, a medium sized team of professional pyrotechnics, and the threat that some or all contestants might lose one of their kidneys. And that is just for the promotions.

The next logical step in this progression is to have a reality show ABOUT reality shows. The title of the show would need to clearly identify itself with its predecessor—current working titles include “The Really Real World”, “The Meta Real World”, and “MTV’s Sex-o-rama Voyeur Cam.” Imagine all the creative potential in having a television crew following around the original television crew following around five young adults in their jobs as entry level accountants. Just kidding—they would really be in an elite group of disco rollerblading fire fighters patrolling the streets of a major metropolitan area.

Finally the general public could get a glimpse into the high paced world of reality television programming. Sure, it may look easy, but getting these kids to open up to the cameras can be a real challenge when they spend most of their free time discussing delicate issues such as the best way to download pornography from the Internet and planning spontaneous week long free trips to the Bahamas.

Making television not suck cannot be accomplished by any single person. We all have to do our part and work constructively together to accomplish this goal in peace and goodwill. If someone wants to go track down and savagely pummel the guy running around in the question mark suit explaining how to get free money from the government, well, I just can’t see how that would do the world any harm either.