Thank God for the Best Buy Replacement Guarantee.

And also thank God for Microsoft's 1 year warranty, so I didn't have to actually use the Replacement Guarantee to swap it out (well, not directly - for the first year, you can bring your unit to the store as many times as necessary. After that, your $49.99 replacement guarantee can only be used once - but it lasts 2 years from the end of the 1 year warranty, which is pretty nice).

Oh, in other news, cat tacos are actually pretty tasty.


I love cats!

Wait wait wait: We're on the internet, right? So I can do this:

I ♥ cats!!!!!!


And you know why? Do you do you do you?

It's because they are cute! They are cute when they run, and they are cute when they play, and they are cute when they chase each other and KNOCK OVER MY XBOX 360 AND TURN IT INTO PARTS ON THE FLOOR!



You know what? Goddamn the Gap.

Yes, that's right! I've called upon God the Almighty to pay special attention to and personally damn a chain clothing store. And you know why?

It's not because of that sewn-in alarm tag that got me in trouble the other day. It's not because of the prep-chic that they spawn. It's not the overly trendy and "hip" commercials that they run on TV.

It's the goddamn button fly on the pants I just bought.


Not only are they harder to get into and out of, they also led to a very embarassing situation this afternoon. The stupid middle button didn't fasten after a visit to the urinal in the office I share with some folks, and so they hung open.

Along with the flap in my boxers.

Let's just say that a few folks I passed in the hallway got a small glimpse of 'Lil Joe this afternoon.

Fucking Gap.


My recipie for the best friggin' BBQ chicken breast sandwich ever:

(1) 0.5 lb chicken breast (boneless is preferred, unless you just like chewing on hallow avian bones)

(1) bottle of Stubb's Moppin' Sauce (Yellow)

(1) bottle of Stubb's Finishin' Sauce (Brown)

(There aren't multiple colors of these sauces, I only name the colors to keep you illiterate types from using the wrong stuff at the wrong time)

(1) pan

(1) stove

( [1] grill can be substituted for both pan and stove, but really, you're a net geek and you read my stuff - you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a grill)

(15) minutes

(2) pieces of your favorite bread


Put the pan on the stove. Turn on stove. Let pan get somewhat hot. Pat yourself on the back for not killing yourself yet.

Place chicken breast into pan. IMMEDIATELY pour liberal amount of Stubb's Moppin' Sauce (yellow) on breast (No, not YOUR breast... The chicken breast. Also, don't worry about covering both sides, if you did it right, you can just turn the breast over in the pool of sauce you just created... But don't put on too much, you don't want to have too much left over - it's a waste and that shit is expensive).

Cook the chicken breast in the sauce, stirring the sauce with the breast (but not too much with the stirring, or the meat won't cook worth a damn). You can also just scrape up sauce and dump it on top of the meat, but that's just a waste of energy.

On the pan, sauce will begin to melt and cook. Keep a small cup of water next to you while cooking, occasionally splashing a bit into the pan (a good measure is to fill the bottom of your pan about 1/8 of an inch with water when the sauce begins to burn - BEGINS TO BURN, not "turning black and setting off the fire alarm").

Make a tiny cut into the thickest part of the chicken meat - when it is BARELY pink (almost fully white), dump some of that Stubb's Finishin' Sauce (brown) on there. Cook for about 2 more mins.

Sling the brest around the remaining sauce, pick it up, and slap it on the bread (it's boring to just place it there... SLAP that damn thing on the bread, and I guarantee it'll taste better).

Throw a little cheese on there if you must, but whatever you do, don't go ruining the sandwich with vegetable matter. This is MEAT. Enjoy it for what it is, and keep those damn cucumber slices off of there.

Eat and enjoy. Leave BBQ-sauce-charred pan for wife / roommate / parents to handle.


I hope I get to make this post before I run out of time.

I'm at the Barnes and Noble across the street from the Starbucks I usually go to to escape the madness of my house (which is why I don't laugh - ever - when I see a writer at Starbucks trying to "catch the coffeehouse vibe" or whatever, because they might be like me - they might live in a zany, madcap house filled with annoying animals and messes that need to be cleaned and whatever).

I'm here instead of Starbucks because Andrea wanted to do some book shopping. She decided to do book shopping at the last minute, as we passed the store.

"What the hell," I said, "They have internet and coffee. Might as well."

The problem:

Andrea brought two books with her FROM HOME to read while we sat at Starbucks - a new Iris Johanssen book and a Sudoku book (she's a Math major and loves the stuff). When we go to Starbucks together, she reads while I write (or surf or whatever). It helps kill the time. Since we decided to change locations mid-stream, neither one of us thought of the potential impact of this.

So, we enter the Barnes & Noble store to the warm, soft sounds of an alarm going off - apparently, somewhere in these brand new pants of mine, is one of those RFID alarm tags that I just can't seem to locate, because this has happened at several stores today. No biggie, right? The clerk comes over, sees that we just entered, and immediately doesn't care.

We sit. We drink coffee. I write. She reads. Yay.

The trouble comes when I was trying to leave the first time.

Because of the goofy tag thing, I tripped the alarm.

They decide they need to look in my bag - which is cool, I don't mind.

They find Andrea's books. Obviously, since she brought them from home, we have no receipt. But they're very new, she got them about 2 weeks ago on our last book shopping trip.

And now, I'm sitting in the back room of the Barnes and Noble waiting for the Police to show up - I kid you not.

They didn't want to let me use my computer, but fuck them - they're Barnes and Noble employees and I'm the size of a Volkswagen Vanogan - they aren't going to stop me.

Anyway, I thought you'd all enjoy knowing this.



Ultimately, it turned into a non-event. The manager there knows my name from my previous book signing calls (which is funny - I've signed at downtown, midtown and Buckhead stores, but little 'ol Fayetteville, GA is just too good to have a "Vanity Press" author sign there when it's not a specific, small-author event). Because the police had been called, she had to hold us there until they got there (or else, it's some sort of false alarm, or "fleeing the scene" or something), or else she would have just let us go. The cop showed up, saw the books, and said "Yeah, uh... This is nothing." The manager agreed and we were free to go.

Sorry for the huge build-up, followed by a bit of a fizzle, but hey - at least this ONE TIME things didn't end with me having to make yet another call for bail.


And now, I tell a story.

(What, me? Tell a story? How NOVEL!)

This is a story about traffic. It's partly a story about how much I hate traffic, and partly a story about how much I FUCKING HATE ATLANTA TRAFFIC HOLY SHIT. And then it changes tone as I learn a lesson about life and living with other people on the road.

First, the part about how much I hate traffic:


Oh my lord, do I ever hate traffic.


There. That was the part about how much I hate traffic. Now, onto the Atlanta bit.


But more than traffic, I really, really, really, really, REALLY fucking hate Atlanta traffic. There is no worse traffic on Earth. And yes, I've driven in both New York and Rome (Italy, not Georgia... Rome, Georgia's traffic is mostly slow and laid back, as all the drivers are usually riding around with their heels on the dash and a pocket knife in their hand as they kick back and whittle some) - and let me tell you, I'd much prefer no lines painted on an "8 lane" road and people swerving around to Atlanta traffic, where they not only swerve around, but feel it is their God-given right to do so, meaning that if you flip someone off for cutting in front of you hastily, they will SHOOT YOU IN THE HEAD AND/OR TORSO WITH A GUN THAT FIRES BULLETS. And not, like, potato bullets or banana bullets or Jolly Rancher bullets (which, frankly, would rock - there would be this moment of stinging pain as the Jolly Rancher hits your cheek and sends ripples across your facial skin, followed by the sweet succulant joy of delicious Cherry hard-candy goodness).

No. Real bullets that hurt you and make you bleed. All for calling them out and forcing them to reckon with the hurt of their injustice by flipping them off. Bastards.


So there, that's the part about how much I FUCKING HATE ATLANTA TRAFFIC HOLY SHIT. And now, on to the lesson about life and living with traffic and yadda yadda. Ready?


But today, something very interesting happened to me on the way into my little shared office thingy that I share (and is an office). I was headed east on I-20, tooling along at a cool, calm 85 miles an hour (which is about 30 more than the law says you should travel at on I-20 at that particular stretch of highway) when a white truck, not unlike mine, pulled from the right lane into the lane just adjacent.

My lane.

And he was doing 65 miles an hour. IN ATLANTA!

Now, we all know this is a crime (not the pulling-in-front thing, the 65 miles an hour in ATLANTA thing). You simply don't do that. And you DEFINITELY don't do that when you pull in front of someone. It's a good way to get yourself shot (and not with Jolly Ranchers, as we've previously discussed).

So I begin to roll down my window so that I can extend my left arm and share with him the standard, universal hand signal that indicates that he cut me off and, while I wasn't quite ready to crawl out of the window, stand on the hood of my truck and leap over to his so that I could gut him like a festival hog, I certainly didn't appreciate it, when I spied with my little eye something blue and white and flesh-colored, holding a laser speed gun.

This man had just saved me from a MINIMUM $300.00 ticket.

As we passed the cop, he pulled back over into the right-hand lane (which, I might add, had not a single car in it - it was evident to me that this guy got in my lane not to pass any vehicles or avoid any obstructions, but simply to slow me down). He slowed to about 55 MPH and looked over at me with a smile. I saw in his right hand a black device with a spiraled cord connected to it, which I presumed to be a radar detector.

I couldn't help but wave and nod in thanks.


And thus, we have reached the end of my little story. But no story is complete without some sort of "Sixth Sense" twist at the end, so here's the "gotcha" part:




Thank you, and have a pleasant rest of your day.


GAH! I am so PISSED OFF right now... JESUS!

I cannot believe the injustice I've just suffered! I have a mind to write my Congressman over this infraction of social and moral law!

What, you ask, could drive me to such a livid state?

How about the fact that I have been denied my one and only craving for the afternoon - a footlong CORNDOG?!?

A few of my office rent-mates and I got it in our heads that, during "lunch" (which is pretty much whenever we feel like leaving), we should go to the Brick Store Pub to watch some awesome World Cup action. So, as I passed through the Decatur Square (only a few blocks north of where my new office is), I took note that this was the weekend of the "Decatur Beach Party" festival - a weekend full of bands, food, sand on the streets (seriously, they truck in about 30 dumptrucks full of sand and dump it all over the roads) and other such merriment.

This was pretty cool in and of itself. But what REALLY got my attention was a booth that was being set up at the corner advertising foot-long corndogs for the low, low price of 4 bucks each. The sign explained that each of these were foot long sausages, hand-dipped in homemade cornmeal batter and then fried right there on the spot.

How the HELL could anyone resist that?

Well, I had to. Because I had a World Cup date for the next hour and a half.

So, as I walked back to the office, full on roast beef and pasta salad, I couldn't help but stare and salivate at the corn dog sign. It has been YEARS since I've had a corndog, and even longer since I've had something like a foot-long sausage dipped in hand-made cornmeal and fried right on the spot (actually, I don't think I've EVER had anything like that).

I sat down to do a little work (which, thus far, has consisted of discussing World Cup and my latest story on MI), and the desire - no, NECESSITY - of corndog fever simply boiled too hot. Somewhere around 3:30, I simply couldn't sit idle any longer.

I had to have a corndog.

So, I rounded up my buddy Scott and made my way back up to the corndog booth. We were on a mission - CORNDOG OR BUST.

Well, we came up bust. Apparently, they don't start corndoggin' until 4:30, because the festival itself starts at five.

"We have some lemonade though," the nice old lady said, as if some freshly squeezed sour citrus over ice would take my mind off the goodness of CORNDOG HEAVEN.

I nearly flew into hysterics, right there in the sandy streets of Decatur. I want a corndog, dammit! And waiting an hour and a half for one simply WILL NOT DO!

I'm nearly tempted to drive to Krystal and get cornpups - this is the level of my desperation for cornbread-coated sausage! GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

EDIT: Corndog Quest 2006 UPDATE:

I went back about 5:30, well after the time they said they'd have corndogs.

And they did. They had corndogs. Hot, fresh sausages dipped in delicious, homemade cornmeal batter, fried to a golden brown and sitting not 20 feet in front of me... but I couldn't get one.



Now, I was a desperate, corndog-needing man, but there's no WAY you're going to get me to pay $5.00 just to have the privledge of being able to buy a corndog. Nope, no way.

I asked the zomboid at the gate if he could just let me in to get the corndog.


I asked if he could go get one for me.


I shouted to the corndog people and asked if they could bring one over to the gate so that I could pay for it right there. The zomboid stopped me mid-shout and said:

"I'm sorry, you can't do that."

I asked, "Are you a cop? You know... When you're not manning the little plastic waist-high gate around a public street barring people from corndogs?"

He said "No."

I said, very loudly and deeply, "Hey, Corndog lady! Bring me a corndog!"

He said "HEY OFFICER!" to the officer near us.

I said "Fuck this."

He said "..." as I walked back to my truck, defeated and corndogless.

Fucking corndog.


How is it possible for an ex-football (American) player and wrestler who has never, ever followed soccer (football) in his life to become addicted to the FIFA World Cup?

I dunno. But I have. I'm engrossed, I cannot not follow the action! Today, as I wrote some code, I watched Saudia Arabia and Tunzinia TUNISIA (thanks, Liss) play to a 2-2 tie.

Saudia Arabia. And Tunzinia.

Like, who the hell cares about freakin' Saudia Arabia vs. Tunzinia TUNISIA playing football (soccer) in the Quarterfinals of the World Cup???

I DO. That's who. And I can't stop watching it.

I have no idea how it happened, but I'm stuck now. I'm looking forward to all of the soccer (football [not American]) action between now and July.

See? Stupid American, can't even get TUNISIA right.


Jesus Pete, I am starving.

Like, really, really hungry! It's crazy! I'm starving like an Ethopian child!

Only, mine is worse, because I haven't eaten in, like, 5 hours or so, and they haven't eaten in two or more days. So they've forgotten already how good the food tastes and how great it feels to be full and satisfied.

What's more, they only eat that Cream of Wheat crap and a bunch of cornmeal with flies in it, so they have NO IDEA how good a Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit tastes! They don't know the pain of only being up the road from tasty chicken biscuit goodness! Which means my pain is GREATER!

Man, where do those Ethoipian children get off, thinking THEY know what it's like to suffer the pains of starvation, huh? HUH? I ask you!



Just... Wow.

The Super 8 in Asheville, NC is, like, the BEST motor hotel I have EVER stayed at. EVER.

I've been here 10 minutes - just long enough to put my laptop on the "desk" beside the bed, find an open wireless network (to look up directions to the 100mi. Fletcher Flyer ride tomorrow), and plop my bag on the bed hard enough to startle a RAT from underneath there.

Well, not really underneath, since the beds in the motel don't actually have an "underneath" - they have a solid slab they rest on that is recessed a bit under the boxspring and OTHER boxspring that you sleep on in lieu of an actual matress.

So, Mr. Rat is hiding out in the bathroom right now. And it's funny that, instead of calling down and complaining about him, the first thing I did was hop on my journal to tell you all about it.

Anyway, that's been my experience here in Asheville, NC thus far. Next, I think I'll walk all over the carpeting barefoot and drink from the sink.