Friday, January 30, 2009

New Friday Feature. Family Fun!

Back when I started this blog a couple of years ago, I was using that "NEXT BLOG" button to check out other people to see what was going on. It's a cool idea, but lacking in execution, as I wrote about.

Fast forward to 2009. I decided to go through this exercise once again. Much has changed since then, but not necessarily for the better. It turns out I have a new list of problems with this method.

1) Blogs not in English. This is a big problem for me. I realize that in many other places, English is not the first language of choice. However, I am an ugly American, and have not bothered to learn any other languages. Can't I get an option to exclude other language blogs?

2) Blogs that are just pictures. This is stupid. There is already a site designed especially for this.

3) Sites that steal my awesome URL. Yes, I realize I've already mentioned this. And no, I didn't find this using the NEXT BLOG button. I'm just still upset.

4) Sites that don't have the "NEXT BLOG" button. These are always a subset of #1. After clicking that button like a tweaker for fifteen minutes in hopes of finding something that doesn't absolutely suck, I get into a nice rhythm. Don't screw me up by actually having to move my mouse to back up to the previous crappy blog.

This method has yielded absolutely NO sites worth mentioning by name. It's pretty discouraging. That being said, I have ultimate willpower, and will prevail. I WILL find good blogs out there, written by average schmucks like me.

That being said, I am starting a new feature. It is the esteemed UMBRELLA'S BLOG THAT DOESN'T SUCK award. Seriously, this is probably bigger than the Golden Globes. As of now, there are two members of this prestigious club.

SINISTER COFFEE - This blog wins the lifetime achievement award. Phraink was one of my first loyal readers from back in the day, and he's still going strong. Good enough to make my list.

The first winner however, goes to Things That Annoy This One White Kid In Particular. Paul E. Wog is a dude from my town here who let's everyone know his thoughts on various crap. No nepotism here, I've never met the guy. But he is funny, and some of his rants hit pretty close to home. He's not PC, so if you are easily offended, you might want to stay away. However, if you are easily offended, you probably aren't reading my blog in the first place, so no worries.

Congratulations Paul, and keep up the good work. You can now accept your award.

The prestigious Golden Umbrella award

If anyone has any nominees, let me know via comments or emails. Heck, you can even nominate yourself. Hopefully I will have a new one every Friday, but so far, the pickings have been slim.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I have a dilemma

I have been bragging about how I am the one solely responsible for the Cardinals making the Super Bowl. Pretty much everyone who knows me accepts this as fact. However, I have run into a problem because of my stupid superstitions.

For the game against the Falcons, I was doing some running around, and realized I wouldn't be able to get home in time for kickoff. So I decided to stop inside a sports bar and watch the first half, and head home at halftime. What can I say? I am the master of improvisation.

It had been a while since I've watched a local team in a sports bar, and I forgot how much fun it is. Friendly folks, alcohol, good food. What more can you ask for? I ended up ditching the "go home at halftime" part of the plan, and stayed for the whole game.

Fast forward to the Panthers game. I was telling my lady friend how much fun I had last week, and we decided to go there to watch the game. As fate would have it, the only open table was the one I sat at the previous week. I commented on that strange fact. And wouldn't you know, the Cardinals crushed the Panthers in a game none of us saw coming. Some higher power was obviously at work here.

Ahead one more week. I grab the kids and my lady friend, and off we go to the bar. Some might question my parenting techniques here, but fuck 'em. The kids have never been exposed to this, and they had a blast. The crowd was rowdy, tons of food, good times. And for the third straight week, the Cardinals pulled the upset.

So now, I have to go there for the Super Bowl, right? And here is where conflict sets in. One of my friends informed me that if I am taking responsibility for them going to the game, I have to have the Super Bowl party to finish the job. Damn good logic, if you ask me. So now I'm conflicted. The 2008 NFL champion will depend on this decision. It is not to be taken lightly.

Here is my list of pros and cons to each approach...

Pros of going to sports bar
1) Fun atmosphere with lots of hardcore fans.
2) Good variety of food.
3) No post-game cleanup required.
4) No shopping, cleaning and preparing food.
5) No worrying about people trashing my shit.
6) Hot waitresses in football jerseys.
7) Don't have to worry about my drunk friends driving home.

Pros of having party at my house
1) Much cheaper.
2) Surrounded by friends.
3) Not potentially surrounded by drunken idiots. (Not entirely true, but at least they are MY drunken idiots)
4) Don't have to go to bar 3 hours before kickoff to make sure I get the lucky table.
5) Kids and lady friend prefer this choice.
6) Won't have to deal with any asshat Steeler fans.
7) Can get as drunk as I want without worrying about driving home.

I'm torn. If anyone is reading this, let me know what you think the right decision is.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Did I jinx myself? Probably.

Back in the old days, everyone liked my bitter posts much better than happy ones. So I would focus on the crappy things that would happen, and spin it to make it funnier than it actually was. It was a successful formula.

That's why I don't think it was coincidence that the day after I post something good that happened, I went through my own personal hell. Yes, I'm referring to the joy that is passing a kidney stone.

This was not a new experience for me. Almost a year ago to the day was my first experience with the stones. I woke up that day feeling like I had to take the worst piss ever. I raced to the bathroom, and manages to squeeze out a couple of drops. I knew right away something weird was going on.

Not long after that, I had a dull pain on the right side of my back. Still, I didn't realize anything. And then it hit. The "Holy fuck, I think my insides have just exploded, and I'm gonna die" pain took over. I staggered to my car to go to the hospital, but I was in so much pain, I couldn't even get out of the driveway.

I called a coworker, and asked if he was on his way to work yet. He said he was almost there, so I asked him if he could drive me to the hospital. At this point, I figured my appendix had ruptured. If he couldn't take me, I was ready to call 911. Luckily he showed up pretty quickly.

I've got a reputation as a daredevil with little regard for my well being, and an extremely high tolerance for pain. So he was pretty shocked to see me lying on the floor in the fetal position, unable to form complete sentences. He helped me stagger into the back seat of his car, where I resumed the position, telling him I would pay for any speeding tickets he might get, but to hurry the fuck up.

He helps me stumble into the emergency room, where they actually get to me immediately. One of the first things they ask is "On a scale of one to ten, what is your pain at?" I would like to say right now, this is a stupid fucking question to ask someone in misery. Luckily, I've had quite a bit of experience with pain. I played football on a broken ankle. I've left giant chunks of skin on the pavement trying a foolhardy bike trick. I've been car surfing, with disastrous results. I jumped off of a roof and missed my target, hitting the ground and breaking ribs. This was worse than all of them. Was it as bad as being burned alive? Probably not. I said 9, mostly so I wouldn't look like a total pussy if this turned out to be indigestion or something.

They did a scan on me, gave me some morphine, and told me I was passing a kidney stone. At least I wasn't dying, so that was good. They were pretty sympathetic, and told me that it is pretty excruciating, so getting the painkillers alone was reason enough to come to the ER. Unfortunately, they said I still had two stones, and it was anyone's guess if or when they would pass.

Fast forward to this Tuesday. I wake up having to piss badly, and can't. Uh-oh, I know what this means. Here comes the back pain again. At this point, I know my day is about to suck really bad. I call in sick to work, and brace myself. I know it will hurt, but I can handle it.

Then the real pain came. My inner dialog was going between "It didn't last this long last time, something's wrong" to "Yes it did, shut up, quit being such a whiny bitch". Then I started puking. That didn't happen last time. Game, set, match, whiny bitch. I called my next door neighbor for a ride to ER.

Now it has just occurred to me that you might not understand how kidney stones work. I didn't until I got them. So I'm going to clue you in on this. I know what you're thinking. "What, actual educational information Umbrella?" Shit yeah! I'm making the world a better place today.

There is a little tube from your kidney to your bladder, called a ureter. It is very tiny. Stones can build up in your kidney due to diet, not enough water, or even your shitty family history, as is my case (although my shitty diet didn't help). The lack of piss is because the ureter can get clogged by the stone. The back pain, and then the "holy fuck" pain is from trying to get that stone through the ureter. I always thought that the sucky thing would be pissing out a stone, but in reality that's not bad at all. Once the stone is in the bladder, it's all downhill. OK, enough of this vocabulary word shit.

As it turns out, I get to the hospital, same drill, and to the scan I go. Only this time, the stone is a bit bigger, and has gotten stuck. Wonderful. Plan A is to pump me full of fluids and let the pressure push that thing through. That sounds fun, doesn't it? So I've got an IV, and I think I'm gonna burst. Still no luck.

On to plan B. This involves stick a tube up my pee hole and blasting the son of a bitch with some sound waves or something. They explained it to me, but I was pretty high on morphine at this point, so things are a little hazy. This worked. However, there is still one stone left, so I'll get to do this again at some point.

And that concludes my report on "How I Spent The Most Significant Inauguration Day Of My Lifetime".

Monday, January 19, 2009

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Here I am, on my lunch break, still a little hungover, and on the high of an epic weekend. On Friday, my oldest daughter's team makes the city championship for the first time in school history. My youngest daughter tells informs me that she was named student of the month at her junior high. Naturally, I'm pleased. And yet, this was just the beginning.

Saturday, I watch my Sun Devils gut out a tough OT win over UCLA on national TV. (Oh, and Verne Lundquist, if I ever hear you say Ruksiks again, I'm going to jump on a plane and choke your Scooby Doo talking ass). That evening was followed by yet another epic UA meltdown against USC. The weekend is going great.

But nothing compares to watching the Cardinals go to the Super Bowl. I'll have more thoughts on this when the reality of the situation sinks in, and I can respond without sounding like a 12 year old fan girl (OMG! This is so awesome!!!1!!)

Then, at 10:00 last night, still pretty drunk and euphoric, I get a knock on my door. My lady friend decided that I was going to be her booty call. Yep, I feel so cheap. Seriously women, quit complaining about that, it was an amazing finish to an amazing weekend.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can I have a URL intervention?

My URL is stupid. I added a "24" to the end of "umbrella" because umbrella by itself was taken. OK, I can live with that. They were there first, sucks for me. However, check out the site that is keeping my good URL.

Are you serious? One freaking post about how retarded you are and can't even post correctly? Can't I just take this URL over, kinda like eminent domain?

Also, I want to get a new picture for my blog homepage. I thought it would be kinda cool to have a picture of me, sitting under a urinal, holding an umbrella. Maybe even an appearance with the rally plunger. However, there are some problems associated with this. Here are my concerns, in order from least to biggest...

1) I haven't taken any measurements, so I'm not sure if it is even physically possible to fit myself with an open umbrella under a urinal.
2) I need to find a good location to accomplish this photo shoot. I don't have a urinal at home, and my office bathroom is unisex, so work is out of the question as well. I don't know anyone who owns a restaraunt, so I'll have to be a ninja to get this done.
3) The thought of sitting under a urinal is pretty gross. I guess this is what they mean by suffering for your art.
4) I still want to remain anonymous. If I get someone I know to take a picture of this, I'm sure there will be plenty of questions. And as good of a bullshit artist as I am, for the life of me, I cannot think of one single way to spin this without looking like a total freak.

So this is where it stands. Until I figure it out, you'll have to be content with this picture of Augie Ojeda at BOB on 80's night.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If the Cardinals make the Super Bowl, you can thank me

Football has been my favorite sport for most of my life. I went through a phase when I was a kid where baseball was king, but it was short lived. Growing up in Phoenix, I loved the Sun Devils, but we never had a NFL team, so I usually cheered for whoever had the most ex-Devils.

Then the Cardinals came. My dreams had come true. I finally had a real team to cheer for. I had been waiting my whole life for this. But I failed to account for one small factor.

The Cardinals sucked. Bad.

Still, I'm not one of those lame fair-weather fans. I wore my gear around. I went to games. I was there for Timm Rosenbach's debut against the Elway-led Broncos in a beatdown of epic proportions, where the highlight of the game was almost starting a riot by leading an enthusiastic "Chip Elway's Tooth" chant while surrounded by Bronco fans.

I was there for Jake Plummer's debut against the Titans, where he had more interceptions than that asshole in Seattle who cockblocked me all night (you know who you are). I sat through a rainstorm while watching Herschel Walker, right after he was traded to the Vikings, shred the Cards defense. I called in sick to work to watch a game that set football back 50 years as the Bucs and Cardinals battled in an epic 3-0 shootout.

Even after I moved to Tucson, I tried to attend some games, but not with the regularity I did before. The last game I went to in Sun Devil Stadium was when they beat the Lions, one of only two wins I've witnessed in person. When they moved to the new stadium, tickets were harder to come by, and I've only managed to go to one game there.

I must sidestep for a moment, and let you know that since 1991 (last year excluded, more on that later), I've thrown a Super Bowl party at my house. This thing has taken on a life of its own. We all usually get pretty hammered, gamble on everything, and generally have a blast. Even the weekend before we moved to Tucson, we had our last Phoenix party, and everyone sat on our boxes. My ex-wife was pretty pissed, but this was tradition, dammit! That was the year Michael Jackson was the halftime show. I was pretty wasted by halftime (Cowboys were beating up the Steelers pretty good), so I was grilling, and started singing "We are the World" in my best king of pop voice. My friend Oz yelled at me, "If he sings that, I'll suck your dick!" It couldn't have been more than five seconds when MJ raises his hands and starts wailing "We are the worrrrrld". Biggest cheer of the night in my house. Bastard never did fulfill his obligation.

One of the drawbacks to my parties is my TV isn't very big. Every year someone tells me I need to get a big screen TV. I have a good job, I can afford it, so I have no reason not to. However, every year I respond with, "If the Cardinals go to the Super Bowl, I'll get a big screen." And we would go another year with my crappy small TV.

Fast forward to 2008 and the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLII (that's 42 for those of you who don't speak Roman). My lady friend brings up something. Her son was playing in a baseball tournament in Vegas on the Thu-Fri-Sat before the Super Bowl. Add on the fact that the Super Bowl was just before her birthday, and I've always wanted to go to Vegas for the Super Bowl, this was a no brainer. Party in Vegas this year.

Gambling on the Super Bowl was like my degenerate gambling wet dream. I was betting on every stupid prop bet I could find. I didn't even care how much money I lost, I just wanted to be ridiculous. However, something funny happened...

I was winning.

All these stupid bets kept coming through. It was highlighted by me predicting Plaxico Burress would have the last score in the game. Truly my crowning achievement in gambling history. I even took a picture to commemorate the moment.

all the winners, thanks to the last Giants TD

I ended up making a nice chuck of change that night. So what did I do with all the winnings? I bought a 70" HD TV. Good times.

So it appears I was incorrect. For all these years, I should have been saying, "If I buy a big screen TV, the Cardinals will go to the Super Bowl". However, now that I've posted this, I probably jinxed the team, and they will lose Sunday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Three-and-a-half year update, in trendy FAQ style

I decided to answer all the burning questions from my loyal readers about my long absence. OK, my loyal readers probably don't know I'm back yet, but if they did, I'm pretty sure these are the questions they would ask.

Q: Did you ever get the hobbit fired?
A: Hell froze over long before the Cardinals were hosting the NFC championship game. Upper management finally had enough, and the big boss came down to fire the hobbit in person. However, in true Bilbo fashion, he chose that day to call off of work, since he had to finish some yardwork. Classic. Needless to say, the big boss was pissed, and ended up changing all our locks. Bilbo came in the next day, rattled the locked door a bit, left, and was never heard from again.

Q: How about your lady friend? She got mentioned all the time. What's up with her?
A: Amazingly, we're still together. Although she is pushing hard for marriage, so I think the "rock or walk" speech is right around the corner.

Q: What about your daughters?
A: Both of my daughters are now teenagers. It's known in my house as the estrogen nightmare. My oldest one is graduating high school this year, which is somewhat bittersweet for me.

Q: You mentioned a jam session in one of your posts. Did anything become of that?
A: Long story short, we had a blast, and three-and-a-half years, several people, and many, many beers later, we have a full fledged band on our hands. We are hoping to release our first album this year.

Q: Mmmmm, beer. Any new ones for us?
A: Um, funny you should mention that. I turned 40 during the hiatus, and you know what that means. Yep, physical time. Dr. Jellyfinger beckons. So it turns out that all my years of hard living have been doing a number on my body, and I had to make some major changes in my lifestyle. I'm not afraid of dying, but that doesn't mean I'm trying to hasten it along. One of those changes involved eliminating beer from my diet. I'm still mourning.

Q: What? No beer?
A: Sad but true. However, I am learning to appreciate some of the other alcohols. Whiskey sours are my current drink of choice.

Q: Do you still have the rally plunger?
A: Yes I do, and it still has not touched the inside of a toilet. I mean, would you use Excaliber to butter bread? Of course not. I still haven't figured out all of its powers. It doesn't seem to respond to football or basketball. Baseball is inconsistant. Maybe it only works in person, but I haven't had the guts to try it live again.

Q: What about your grandmother? That was the last post before you left.
A: Unfortunately, she passed away shortly after that post. When I'm feeling sentimental, I'll give a proper post for her. She doesn't deserve my normal snarky commentary.

There you have it. I'm sure there are other questions from my loyal readers, but I'm not a mind reader.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back from the abyss, again (DISCLAIMER ADDED)

So, after an extremely long hiatus, I'm back, with a disclaimer. Back in the day, I made a post about psycho bitches. I referenced a character which consisted of some of the worst traits from several of my ex-girlfriends in one character. However, one of my ex-girlfriends found my blog (as she said, "How many people are called Umbrella?") and hilarity ensued, as noted in this post.

She recognized a lot of herself in the character, and was understandably hurt by the post, so I removed it. Then my grandmother got ill after that, and my posting days ended. When I started this blog, I wanted to remain anonymous (which is why I didn't tell anyone about my blog), because I wanted to be able to vent about things that piss me off. What are the main sources of my annoyance?

1) Significant others
2) Daughters
3) Mom
4) My co-workers

As you can see, the closer people are to me, the more likely they are to piss me off. That doesn't mean I don't care for them. However, I felt like I couldn't vent honestly anymore without hurting people, or worrying who might stumble across it, so I lost my motivation for blogging.

Lately, people have been suggesting I should write some of my stories and experiences, because they like the way I talk about little things that happen in my life. Little did they know I used to do that. And I realized I missed telling my little stories, even though my readership was pretty small. So now I'm back, with a disclaimer....


You can tell I'm serious because I used TWO exclamation points. Hopefully I can update my six loyal readers on everything that has happened during the hiatus.