Tuesday, January 31, 2006

One of the many stories about a First Date

Yesterday’s story made reference to the 12 month period in which only men were hitting on me. Consequently, “Miss Lifesource” sparked an epidemic of women asking me out...

It’s long been my dream to live in the fantasy world of equality among the sexes. To many this means equal wages and equal respect. To me, it means women having zero stigma asking guys out on dates and even paying for some of them… (OFFERING to pay and PAYING are two different notions).

So why did I go on so many awful first dates in the last twelve months? Because I fear that if I don’t accept a girl’s invite out to dinner it might wreck a budding social movement. But also, and maybe more importantly, a first date has the highest potential of becoming a random story…

(Originally written Sunday 1/8/2006 at 2 am)

This woman, let’s call her “Lady Luck” asked me out for coffee. Through her brilliance she was able to mutate my response of “Sure, but let me buy you the coffee” into meeting for drinks ("with possible dinner") at a fancy pants microbrewery. (the specific name of the microbrewery was called "Ram" feel free to make you own pun-based joke).

I did my usual pre-date ritual which involves the bloody shaving mishap(s) and going to the ATM. (first dates are always a cash-only operation because you do NOT want to be reminded of the event on a credit card bill).

The following are comments from Lady Luck, paired with my inner monologue response:

All of this occurred in front of a jumbo television showing an NFL playoff game I wasn't watching.

Lady Luck: “I think I parked right next to you… I’m in the Land Rover”

TQ: Even if she is about to embark on a Safari through Illinois Prairie State Parks – owning an SUV is strike one

LL: (said in a shameful tone) “I like country music”

TQ: The tone of voice means she realizes she has poor taste… This paired with the fact she likes country music is an appealed strike two

LL: “My 17 year old brother is six-two-two-ninety and has already offered to beat you up”

TQ: My sister has used a hammer on three continents

LL: “When I went backpacking through Iceland, I had a blister the size of this ashtray on my foot – wish I would’ve thought of the duct tape idea earlier”

TQ: Ok, I’m gonna save money from not buying food for myself now

LL: “Three years ago my parents bought their dream house, the one they talked about on their first date.”

TQ: We ain’t gonna be talkin’bout dream houses on THIS first date.

LL: “Your sister is seven years older than you? So were you a surprise?”

TQ: (Fuck off – strike three)

I actually responded to that last one out loud, quickly… I said it with perfect pace and precision. What I said was 100rue, “The gap only seems odd because we had a brother that died in between us, before I was born.”

I’m sure that made her feel very awkward, like she just got another ashtray sized blister, but this one was on her soul, and she deserved feeling awkward for making that statement.

There was slight talk before this night that there would be ANOTHER leg to this date to happen AFTER dinner... its why she wanted to meet at 6 pm. That never happened. And as you can tell I was glad for that part of the night to be over. After the goodbyes, I check my messages to learn of a card night developing four towns away. I call my friend Pedro back and make a beautiful (only to me) Pulp Fiction inside reference, “That’s 35 minutes away; I’ll be there in twenty."

“How'd the date go?” the nine other players asked. "Great, I'm here now." Less than three hours later, WINNING the first tournament the person that came in second place said to me, "Man, that was a great date... too bad I'm married."

I've had so many diffrent kinds of first dates, but this is a new one... Starting the day with the usual bleed and withdraw, to end it on a profit is beyond belief.


I went out with Lady Luck one more time. Not only because first dates are always awful, but also because she indirectly helped me fall into a large payday… However, it wasn’t just a “bad first date” as there was no real spark.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Giving Blood

I like giving blood. If you take all the actual masochists and cutters out of the search, you'll have a tough time finding someone who likes to give blood (or as often) as I.

It caters to my duality at its core... Acting immature in a mature way... Actually enjoying the juice and cookies earned from a very unselfish act... However laying on top of all this is the metaphysics confirming that because I delight in the unselfish act, it ceases to be purely unselfish.

And of course, giving blood gives me yet another opportunity to interact with strangers. The following is a short true occurrence from a couple visits ago to Lifesource, the state of Illinois blood donating facility:

(Originally written 9/13/2005)

I am not really good at this, but I'm 72% sure that Miss Lifesource was hitting on me, and wanted more than my blood.

Number one, she insisted on grabbing my thigh to "steady" the paper she was writing whatever bloodsuckers have to write on top of me.

She was literally sweating, saying she was nervous and faked calling in another tech to make the needle stick, saying she "didn't ever want to hurt me" but then said, "I'll treat you well" as she did it. Later she was really pressuring me into "making a date" to come back "because she wanted to make sure she'd be working that day.

Anyways, I was happy to break my current streak of only getting hit on by men in the past 12 months.

Oh by the way, this flirty blood girl had a glass eye.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Apprentice Casting Call

(The following is the un-abridged journal of my attempt to get on The Apprentice. This took place on 2/19/2005, when I was between jobs)

I was planning the whole routine a week in advance... The night before I purposely slept only two hours, which allowed me to hit sleep hard at 3 pm.

3 PM: Fall asleep

12 AM: Awake

1 AM: Meal

2 AM: Shower/Prep

3 AM: Depart from home

3:30 AM: Arrive at CTA station River Road

4:15 AM: Streets of Chicago

It was the only time Chicago felt like Milwaukee. There was NOBODY on the streets. You look in all directions and nobody is around. I stood at the corner of Michigan and Wacker - looking at the Wrigley building and thought of er scenes - nobody was in eyeshot.

4:30 AM: Arrive at NBC Tower

Walking up to it from its west side, I don't see anybody, I walk around to its east side and see about 75 people already in line. I was expecting about 200. Thankfully my spot was near a garden box and I had a place to sit.

It was rather cold, but with the exception of my frozen feet, I was fine.


Martha: Not there for "The Donald." I learn that The Apprentice Open Casting Call is for BOTH the Trump Apprentice and the new Martha Stewart The Apprentice. Martha is in her early fifties, a smoker, and very outgoing and funny. She and her friend, Kim, drove down from Detroit for this special event. They arrived about fifteen minutes before me.

Linda (Martha wannabe) - 2nd grade gym teacher - non-descript but nice

Brian: (Trump candidate). A non-descript young man. He's 23, already married, already in a job he hates. Went to Indiana State University and lives in downtown Arlington Heights. He didn't have anything to add to any conversation. He was wearing dress shoes and pants, a button down shirt and tie. His leather jacket was not doing the warmth job and was bitching a lot. Martha and Kim finally gave him one of their MANY blankets to warm him. Martha and Kim also had gallons of water and their own fold out chairs.

The Mafia: (All Trumps). Three people who all knew each other arrived about fifteen minutes after I did. All very well dressed. One girl and two men, none of them over the age of 28. Talked a lot of business... Boring

Mafia-attachment (Trump). A 40 year old woman (she said her age) that didn't look a day over 30. This very well dressed Wrigley woman (I know because she wouldn't shut up about how close she lives to the park) bonded with the Mafia and participated in their many runs to Starbucks. Thankfully she steered the all business talk to reality TV and it made my conversations with the mafia worthwhile.

Madison Morons (1/2 Trump, 1/2 clueless). Bryan and Sidney. These two young twentysomethings (not college age) were making a weekend out of this deal. They arrived in the city last night and got a hotel room. I don't know when they got there because the 23 year old Brian was holding their space since before I got there. Bryan was wearing business casual sweater and kakis and Sydney was wearing jeans. I must've personally saw Sidney spend 50 dollars in the form of three different cab rides to and from our line and Starbucks goods. Supposedly he went back to his hotel room on two occasions to warm up. I think he went to his hotel room to smoke up. Sidney did not have an application and therefore was just there for the ride.

Dennis (aka Cowboy - due to the fedora he wore). This guy was an all-star. Most enjoyable person of the experience. This guy worked the line like an Al Roker wannabe. He must've walked up and down the line - telling us our place and how many people were behind us ten times. He was wearing Jeans and when Martha asked him why he's not wearing a suit he said, "I'm a Martha. I can't help it?" I really hope this guy makes the Martha Stewart show.

ME: I'm wearing black shoes, gray pants, and my black "Employee of the Month" shirt. Most people thought I was an NBC plant because of my casual attire and because I was participating in about three conversations at the same time. I just told them that I didn't want to be a lemming and wear a suit like everybody else.

7 PM On one of Dennis' frequent trips he tells us of the information he got when he first got here. Dennis got here at 6:30 last night and is #2 in line overall. He tells us that the WRISTBANDS wont' be handed out until 9 am (an hour later than I thought) and that the interviews will start at 10. He also said that they are only handing out 200 wristbands.

The 200 number shocked me because I thought there would be more - I was very confident I was in the first 100, so it didn't worry me.

9:15 AM: The hot apprentice girls (I call'em hot because every body with an Apprentice badge was overtly attractive) pass out the WRISTBANDS. I've been typing that in all caps because it was THE hot word of the past 3 hours. It was all about the WRISTBANDS! We gotta get the WRISTBANDS!

10:20 AM: The doors open and we enter the NBC Tower lobby - we wait in the long serpentine line that usually holds the Jerry Springer crowd. There is a large metal detector at the end of the line. As soon as we gather in line indoors myself, Martha, Kim and Linda peel off our layers and get themselves ready. I stash my sweatshirt and jacket in the backpack to have a full display of my Employee of the Month shirt. It got many compliments and smiles and several conversations with the hot apprentice girls. Martha and Kim did a near 180 of appearance as they adorned their Martha type Armour of hand crafted jewelry and crazy sweater knit combinations.

11:00 AM: After an elevator ride and a couple more lines to stand through I'm brought into a room about the size of a Marquette classroom. There are three large tables and I sit at one of them. It is a large square with me and 11 other people around three sides and a casting director woman at the fourth side. All the people described above are at the table (with the exception of Sydney who got his application-less ass bounced at the table). Even the "Marthas" are at the table.

The casting director asks us to say our name, age, where we are from and what we do.

After two blah blah forgettable introductions it is my turn,

"Hey my name is Tom, I'm 26, unemployed, and live in my parents' basement."

Huge laughter from everybody including the casting director.

The first question is asked - it is not important what it was, what is important is that 11 other voices just amp up and give their answer. No one is heard and I just sit back and make my comment at the very end when everybody finally shut up at the casting director's request.

The casting director then started a "one at a time around the table policy" Another meaningless question is asked and there are no memorable responses. Actually, the question was about if you would tell a prospective employer if you were having a baby during an interview. I said that if I was asked that question I would walk out, for it is unethical. I've been in intrusive situations and I wouldn't want that again. Somebody retorted, "so what if you boss asked you know if you wanted kids, would you walk away from the job." I quickly responded with my arm up on the table and a game show like voice, "did I mention I was unemployed?" (more laughter).

The last question is to name somebody at the table (not yourself and not the casting director) who would be the project manager of the group. nobody said me, which pissed me off. Three people said Linda, and I didn't know what the hell these people were thinking of that dumb gym teacher martha'wannabe. Looking back, I shouldn't have taken the guy that made the smart-alecky comment about my boss. I should've picked one of the Marathas because I'm not competing with them. However, I picked the other guy because he was also wearing a t-shirt - so I wanted to compliment him on that, and draw more attention to my own shirt - which got me more laughs. Someone in the group actually called me, "what do you think employee of the month" during this table session.

11:30 AM: I walk out of the NBC Tower, walk back to the CTA station, drive back home in my car.

12:30 PM: Arrive back home Ive yet to be called back.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I get my head examined

(from the pre-blog archive: 9/23/2005)

Thursday 8 pm (Arlington Heights Park District Men's Basketball League)

A competitor was driving to the hoop, and jumps to attempt a lay-up. Meanwhile I am slid over to take a charge call (which I got!) Unfortunately, what also happened was his lead shoulder jumping right into me, landing below my right eye.

As the lemming subscriber to an HMO plan, I do the "economical" thing of driving myself home, icing half my face... The next morning schedule a doctor's appointment for 1pm.

Friday 1:45 pm (Primary Care Physician's office)

My doctor finally sees my face, I have a good relationship with him and I know him outside his white coat... he tells me that I'm going be fine, and if I was being paid millions of dollars he'd throw a face mask on me and I'd be back playing in 4-8 weeks) He says he's very confident that I have broken bones, and I'll need an x-ray... he will give me a referral to go get an x-ray

Friday 3:30 pm (Lutheran General Hospital radiology) After handing my HMO card and photo ID to everybody but the janitor I'm finally getting X-Rays

Friday 4:00 pm (L.G.H. radiology waiting room) the receptionist of the waiting room says I have a phone call, its my Primary Care Physician, he says the X-Rays came back negative but said, "I saw your face, I know its broken, I'm sending you to a specialist"

Friday 4:20 pm (L.G.H. third floor:) the receptionist at the specialists office asks me if I have a referral. I call the Primary Care Physician's office, after holding for 15 minutes, I ask for the referral.

Friday 5 pm (The Specialist's office)

The specialist looks at feels around my face and instantly says I have an orbital (eye socket) and zygomatic (cheek bone) fracture. He says the orbital fracture will heal on its own, but the cheek bone has shifted and is now blocking my jaw muscle. (since Thursday I have been unable to open my mouth wide enough to slide solid food between my teeth, but can thankfully still talk). The following is a WORD FOR WORD account of the dialogue

Dr. "we will have to make an incision inside your upper lip, set the bone back, and use a titanium plate to put it back together and keep it in place

TQ: "will this plate come out after its set?"

Dr. "no"

TQ: "so you are saying that I will literally have a metal plate in my head for the rest of my life?"

Dr. "yeah, but its small"

TQ: "will it set off metal detectors in airports?"

Dr. "I don't know."

Let me just tell you that "I don't know" is not the best phrase to hear from a doctor you met less than a half hour ago who will soon be operating on your face.

Friday 5:30 pm (L.G.H. radiology)

I hand them a referral for the Cat Scan that the surgeon will need. The receptionist asks me if the CT is "contrast or non-contrast?" I tell them to call upstairs... the receptionist tells me their office is closed and the phone went to voicemail

Friday 5:45 pm (LGH radiology)

After I go back to the third floor, bang on the locked door, find out the answer, I'm back downstairs and tell the receptionist that "non contrast" is always the case unless otherwise notified.

Friday 6:15 pm (LGH)

I finally walk out of the building, catscan done but no surgery scheduled because the surgery scheduler left for the weekend at 4:30. The burden is now on me to call the planner to schedule my own surgery.


This story perfectly describes my current situation. I am not in pain but perpetual discomfort. I don't know when the operation will be yet, but I was told about half the people spend the night in the hospital and take the next two days off work. Supposedly post surgery involves a lot of swelling and more vicadin.

I hope you got a smile from this story, as my friend told me this weekend, "Tom, I don't feel bad or sorry for you because I'm too busy laughing at your jokes."