Friday, December 31, 2004

I am an excellent poet. and I know it.

back when I was at canisius (motto – your grandfather probably went here) I used to frequent a website that would pay you to visit other websites or fill out surveys or sign up for credit cards. yeah, it was totally a scam, but there were occasionally fun little games to play and I did eventually get a walmart gift certificate for $25 dollars out of it, so I didn’t mind sifting through all the pop-ups and viruses. oh wait, that was on greg’s computer. sorry, roomie.

anyway, during one late night session, I scored a lot of points by signing up for a poetry contest. I didn’t have to win, I just had to enter and I would be that much closer to my $25, so I wrote this:

within my reach, but beyond my grasp,
the words I seek run through my mind.
my thoughts are sharp, I just wish that
I could have the "original" kind.

it was a jab at the fact that I steal all of my good material. (I have, on more than one occasion, wished that bill bryson was less popular so I could just copy his stuff into the toybox.) thinking back, I may very well have been looking through a shel silversteen book for something that I could cannibalize, just so that I could enter the silly contest and earn my gift certificate. you can get a lot of cool bric-a-brac at walmart for $25. I was tired, so I went into infinite-monkeys-at-infinite-typewriters mode and pounded that jem out.

again, I am an excellent poet. and I know it, because I just got an email from, 5 years later, telling me that my poem was selected as one of the “most influential and insightfully brilliant” (“brilliantly odd”, perhaps?) and will be featured in a new book that I can buy for only $24.99. I'm going to pass, since shel is still better and half the cost.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

somebody ELSE is gettin married

my friend stephen (who knows his whiskey and gets me good internships) and my friend aly (if you ever hear laughter coming from the DC area, it's her) had an engagement party tonight and I must say it went particularly well. and even though I'm "that guy" who loved the chicken satay so much he cut his lip on the skewer, steve asked me to marry him. okay, not really, but he did ask me to be a groomsman, which was at once an honor (hey, I'll put on a tux for anyone, but being a member of this party really means I made the cut) and a source of embarrassment (since I flaked on his first engagement party which was at chuck e cheese).

I got over the embarrassment pretty quick and said yes. woo-hoo!

keep on bloggin' on

I will admit that I downloaded tainted love only after it was used in a commercial and regained popularity a few years ago.

I will admit I didn't really watch too many bills games this season until they started kicking ass.

I will admit that I only started watching the west wing because of the hype, and even used the phrase "jumped the shark" when sorkin left, but only because enough people already knew what the term meant.

and I’ll begrudgingly admit that a very large reason I haven't updated the toybox is because I haven't needed a reason to procrastinate.

why? because I am what I hate: a fair-weather-fan. a bandwagonner. actually, I'm really not, or else I wouldn't go back to comic books and canadian indi bands as much as I do. but I will admit that a large part of me has downright ignored the toybox because now I only sit at my desk to play video games, to research italy, or to generally use the internet for purposes that I don't want to put-off-for-another-ten-minutes. (and no, that doesn't always mean porn.)

so here's the bottom line: at least I update more often than mr. hoffmann, esq., who otherwise kicks ass.

that said, here're a few notes to bring you all up to speed:

-dude, christmas rocks. and judging by my pile of loot, I was a very good boy this year.
I won't list everything I got, but a few of my favorites include a handful
of signed comic books from bob burden (of Mystery Men fame), who evidently is a distant cousin. I also got an Incredibles tee shirt, some excellent port, as well as some very fancy-pants port glasses. turns out you aren’t supposed to chug this stuff out of pint glasses. who knew? I got no fewer than 4 books about the government. true, one of them was the daily show’s “america” book, but the others were honest-to-goodness books on either lincoln, washington, or politics in general. santa wants me to run for congress, I guess. must be a democrat. again, who knew?

-my big gift was a pair of oakley sunglasses with an mp3 player actually built in. which means I’m waiting for the coolest-kid-on-the-block plaque to be nailed over my door any day now.

-italy planning is coming together nicely, much to the joy of my lovely fiancé who thinks I’m bluffing when I say I can organize this trip without getting perrillo involved. actually, we’ve managed to find a pretty solid middle ground – we’ll plan all of the hotels/restaurants on our own, and then use a tour advisor for all of our day trips. or I’ll just get so fat off of gelato the first day there that we’ll be confined to our B&B until the pope rents a crane large enough to get me out.

-I’m still waiting for a few of my grades to come in, but I’ll be sure to gloat if they turn out to be good. or at least better than meagan’s.

-every time I blink, they add another 5 thousand people to the tsunami death list. which means that every second that passes, the probability that one of my readers lost a friend or family member to that terra-fart increases by just a tad. my thoughts and prayers go out to you guys.

Friday, December 24, 2004

the christmas eve post

to steal a line from both greg and jim anchower, it’s been awhile since I rapped at ya.

the bridge was out. my computer was down. I had a flat tire. I was trapped under the enormous weight of my white-trash-induced double chin.

okay, those are all lies – except for the double chin, thanks lisa – but the truth isn’t quite as interesting, since I imagine I’m hardly alone when I say I’ve been splitting my time between getting ready for christmas and sleeping the sleep of a grad student on an all-expenses-paid vacation to the land of nog. yesterday, no lie, I put 76,000 miles on my car! but it went quickly because I slept whenever I got to a quiet stretch of the 90.

so, yeah, sorry I’ve been slacking on the toybox, and sorry to all of you who hoped each day to be a featured part of my advent calendar. I’d resolve to be more entertaining for you, but I think I pretty much spent all my creativity on the post where I had to write in lisa’s part. next time I’ll just get her to write her own stuff. she really does call me old (wait ‘till she finds out I hurt my back picking up a keg last night – I’m supposed to avoid lifting with my back, and instead lift with my hernia, yes?) but she’s never called me an ignorant slut. not to my face, anyway…

so hey! it’s christmas eve! aren’t you all excited??? will anyone sleep tonight??? what do you think santa’s doing right now? loading his sleigh, or feeding the reindeer magic corn??? (maybe he’s making a few more x-boxes since you sure as hell can’t find them in any stores.) my family has hosted christmas eve for all our relatives since the first garvey cut down a christmas tree using the sharpened thigh bone of a velociraptor and this year will be no different. except for the velociraptor bone – d’artagnan has been out of those for awhile. right now, it’s about 10am, and if I put my ear to the ground, I could probably here the mighty rumble of my extended family getting closer.

which is my cue to make sure that keg is hooked up.

and just in case I get another flat tire, I’ll wish you all a happy christmas now. I hope you get everything you asked for in your letter to santa.

Monday, December 20, 2004

that's cream-cheese frosted birthday cake in the lower left corner

what’s the deal on swearing on the blog? I hear tell of these sites getting locked up because someone dropped the f-bomb by mistake. but I promise you I’m much more entertaining if I can go blue. if those jesuits taught me nothing else, it’s how to cuss like a monkey on fire.

see? “monkey on fire”? that’s funny imagery, but it would have been downright hilarious if I could have made it a little more risqué.

by the way, I got some really really good news today, but I haven’t yet talked to the person on whom this really really good news has been bestowed, so I can’t rightly share it with the ones upon ones of people who read my blog. as soon as I get the okay, I’ll pass it on. until then, sincere thanks to all those who sent their good juju to this person, and as soon as you know what I’m talking about, feel free to replace said juju with kind praise and congratulations. all that having been said, please realize that the actual good news could never live up to this hype, but I’m hoping that by the time I’m able to tell you, I can throw in an f-bomb or two.

sorry my e-advent calendar has sucked it up lately. I’ve been way too busy eating and having birthdays. let’s see… on the 20th day of christmas, my true love gave to me… some headgear?

Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 19, 2004

cartoons suck. or do they?

I feel it is once again important to speak my mind, this time regarding something both near to my heart and of increasing significance in modern society: cartoons.

more specifically, they suck. now, I wrote an entire blog post this morning, very neatly explaining my position, but after re-reading it even I was amazed at its high level of old-manedness. flibberty-floo, I say! but since this got pretty boring pretty quickly, I re-wrote the post to include a counterpoint from lisa. disclaimer: I’m writing lisa’s part. she has no idea she’s a player in today’s blog post. but I believe this is a fair representation of what she would say if we had this conversation.

garvey: don’t get me wrong, there have always been sucky cartoons, but this post follows from a conversation I had last night with a very intelligent and not at all drunk lawyer about the state of cartoons that are being slapped together and thrown on television today. I have yet to see it, but council tells me that the old claymation rudolph was on tv the other day but now ends with a rendition of the classic song by destiny’s child, not burl ives. how sick is this? again, I haven’t seen it yet, but since it would inevitably cause me to crack my tv screen, I think we’re all glad I’m still in the dark.

lisa: jane you ignorant slut. if you’re going to drag my personality into this, at least take the time to see the cartoon you’re bitching about. my God, you whine like a little girl.

garvey: listen, I’m not even talking to you because you hid the rest of the white trash from me. and besides, I’m not just talking about this cartoon. I’m talking about every weak cartoon that’s on every channel these days. who was the marketing genius who stood up trembling in front of the other corporate suits and made the suggestion to axe burl ives in favor of destiny’s child? was it the same guy who decided to bring back transformers, but this time as a pokemon rip-off? was it the same guy who decided animaniacs and pinky and the brain weren’t selling enough plastic crap, so they replaced them with digimon and ed edd and eddie?

lisa: I made enough white trash to feed an army, and you were stealing handfuls like it was your job. and you only eat the m&ms, leaving an overabundance of pretzels. okay, I’ll give you the fact that animaniacs was a hundred times better than anything that’s on tv right now, but you can’t tell me that the bigwigs at the WB network were only thinking of ART when they played it. they made a lot of money selling pinky and the brain bobble heads, and don’t even get me started on those half hour commercials for action figures called the transformers. more than meets the eye, indeed.

garvey: touché, she-devil. admittedly, there’s a trade off between art and business and it’s a relationship that’s been around ever since the first cave-drawer and the first marketing lackey discovered that they could reach a larger and more profitable audience together than they could apart. artist: give up 100% creative control and give the masses what they want. marketer: accept that it isn’t your name in lights, and leave the aesthetics to the artist. both of you manage to balance these tasks, and you’ll get the fame and fortune you so richly deserve, and the audience will get their bugs bunny, their sport goofy, their homer simpson. my point is that the teeter-totter that is this relationship has favored the board room over the easel more and more lately.

lisa: wait, are you saying these guys are trying to (gasp!) make money?!? someone call the papers! rally the troops! puh-leeez. I’m so sorry they took away your precious burl ives, but what do you expect? want to make a cartoon? get some money. know how to make money? attract an audience. want to make a lot of money? attract an audience willing to spend more money than your cheap a—

garvey: whoa there, sparky, this is a family site. and you know I’m right – you can make money with a good cartoon. by your logic, we should re-release the mona lisa with j-lo’s tush and a trucker’s cap just to increase foot traffic at the louvre. and I downright expect sh*tty toons from fox and the WB, but where does cartoon network get off showing 30 hours a day of totally spies, billy and mandy, and (shudder) yu-gi-oh? if it weren’t for adult swim and genndy tartakovsky, even this bastion of decent cartoons would make me sick.

lisa: get a life, methuselah.

garvey: you’re such a girl. you’ll never understand.

lisa: I understand you’re a big dork.

garvey: you knew that coming into this, baby. now pass the white trash.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

363 days until my birthday

Posted by Hello

well! did you know, my friends, that society continued on? I bring news from the four corners of the world. I have seen the “outside” and it has made me a bigger and better person. I tasted canadian beer, and I ate white trash, and I watched the news, and checked the obits to see who had died and who managed to survive my self imposed isolation from the world at large. (joe cocker, inexplicably, is still kicking.)

here are the high points, just to bring you up to speed:

my birthday couldn’t have been better. I proctored the exam like a champ and even managed to catch a cheater. as a TA this past semester, I learned a few things. for one, a clear plastic binder looks good, but is a static electricity generator and therefore the bane of any grading assistant. for two, watch out for podiums. they have sharp edges, and I have a scar on my hand to prove it.

that night, I hit the streets and had a few birthday drinks with my posse. my posse? not really- we are a posse, but we certainly aren’t mine. for one thing, I’m lisa’s bi-atch and no one is going to argue that. anyway, I could have crawled into the “blackened blue cheeseburger” and lived there for the rest of my life if only I was the Atom. I had at least a half dozen guinnesses (or “6 guinni”?), but stopped short of a carbomb. I had nothing to prove. we all know I can do carbombs with the best of them, and I was in a sip-and-savor frame of mind. and I was out of cash.

yesterday morning found me at the dentist’s, trying to explain why I hadn’t been for a cleaning since the clinton administration. kids, floss your teeth, or you’ll end up like uncle mike who had to make four, count’em, FOUR follow up appointments just to bring my choppers back to equilibrium. turns out the general tso’s toothache I had was actually a broken bicuspid, which, by the way, hurts like a mother.

and then I went home where a jury summons was waiting for me. seriously. happy birthday, you poor twit.

knowing bad news comes in threes, I quickly ran to the casinos. okay, not really, but I did make it as far as the bars around clifton hill. yes, for my 27th, I pretended I was 17, and pub crawled all over niagara falls. a shout out to wes who bought me a shot that had both coors lite and amaretto in it. wes, I named my headache after you this morning.

and now I’m back stateside, wishing I had more white trash and that it was magically good for my teeth. thanks to everyone who came out thursday and friday nights, and best of luck to mr. cocker, who may have a tougher time dodging death, now that I just outed him on a website read by God whenever He’s bored at work.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

don't know if I mentioned it already, but it's my birthday.

it’s 11:36am as I start this post, which means that it was exactly 26 years, 364 days, 23 hours, and 9 minutes since I was born. and it’s been exactly 34 minutes since I finished my birthday pancakes. and it’s about 6.5 hours until I start my birthday beer and a birthday cheeseburger. yeah, that would be 6.5 seconds, except that it’ll be another 5.5 hours until I finish proctoring an exam today. (which, by the way, is a sacrifice I’ll gladly make – the prof wrote me a letter of recommendation that should get me pretty far with the law school admissions council, so I’ll detail her car if she wants.)

my exam went well yesterday, by the way. again, I’m just glad they’re done. one of the concepts we learned about for that class is that there’re two ways to study the culture of a society. indirectly, you can watch that society’s TV shows, listen to its radio stations (“dead air, um, dead air” ha!), look at its paintings, and see what all of those mediums (media? mediumsa? moosen?) are talking about. directly, you can put on your chesterfield and actually go talk to the people – interview the key players, talk to reference groups, etc. either is well and good, but my point is that today I actually get to DO EITHER ONE OF THOSE. I’ve been chained to my computer for so long, writing papers, etc., that I actually found myself wanting to go to target. for the first time every in my life, I’m actually looking forward to stretching my legs and maybe even going to (shudder…) the mall.

so, my friends, my present to myself today is that I’m going to cop off a lame blog post on you so that I can end early, and go rejoin the culture of my society. I might even put on a chesterfield. thanks to everyone for their well-wishes (a special shout-out to mr. mountain-man dumas), and I hope I see you out tonight, helping to rebuild my lost connection to society. I’ll be the one with the birthday cheeseburger.

Posted by Hello

oh, and let’s refocus our advent calendar on the other part of festivus we’re really supposed to pay attention to this month… 9 days left!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

more jubilation, please

I am sure that at the end of next semester, as I’m trying on my graduation cap, and getting ready for commencement, there’ll be a much more even mix of jubilation (to finally be done) and remorse (to see such a rewarding experience come to an end).

but right now, it’s all about the jubilation. congrats to everyone in my class who took their last exam today, and even more congrats to those of us who knew what “enculturation” meant on the consumer behavior final. I hope you are now celebrating as much fun as I was in this picture:

Posted by Hello

this is 26 year old Mike Garvey, signing off for the last time. tomorrow, my job will be taken over by a slightly more mature 27 year old Mike Garvey...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

la la la la law school

friends, I just submitted my application to law school. if you're so inclined to give me an early birthday present, a quick prayer to the Big Guy would be inexpensive and doesn't require gift wrapping.

high spirits

hey now!

exam no. 2 out of the way...

I'm checking in from the lumina, parked (legally - sorry buffalo!) outside capen hall and heating up slowly. a band called the futureheads is playing on the UB station and although the tune is pretty good, all I can think of is strongbad's take on college radio.

now, I don't want everyone to think I’m in a foul mood because I’m actually in extremely high spirits. (I only have one exam to go, my birthday is inside 48 hrs, and lisa and I finally get to have dinner together tonight.) BUT, that in mind, I think everyone should know that my rapidly aging body is falling to pieces.

as evidenced by:
a) a few days ago, I slipped on the stairs and decided that, considering my many options, the fingernail on my left pinky would provide the most support for me if I rammed it full force into the banister.

b) I recently got a new microwave to replace the flintstone era model a kind uncle gave me. here's a little martha-moment for you: microwave busted? don't throw it out! instead, these volkswagon-sized appliances can be used as excellent shin-breakers if left in a darkened walkway! just look at this bruise! it's a good thing...

c) the humidifier on my cpap broke last night, so not only did my snoring wake up everyone in a half mile radius (including forestlawn residents) but now my sinuses are all out of wack.

d) I had some chinese food the other day and got a bit of general tso's stuck between my teeth. I was at school, sans floss, so I just had to grin and bear it (except I would cover my mouth when I did because it was pretty obvious). anyway, it developed into a rather intense tooth ache and now guess who's going to the dentist on friday? so if this is my work week:

Monday - final exam
Tuesday - final exam
Wednesday - final exam
Thursday - birthday
Friday - dentist

can you guess which day is my favorite? (I'll give you a hint: it starts with a "t" and ends with me getting drunk.)

so yeah: “mike garvey” = “high spirits”. and here's why:

Posted by Hello

engage... negotiations!

one exam down, my friends. my negotiations final was at 3:30, unless you're on canadian time, then it might have been at 2:30. how did I do? I do'd well, I think. if I don't get full credit for the fourth essay, I certainly deserve a pulitzer for the brilliant tapestry of bull I wove. the question was on a chapter I didn't even know existed from a book I never bought that was written in a forgotten language. I am so smrt.

New Product Design tomorrow, Consumer Behavior on wednesday, then my toughest final of all - the "beer" exam. it's an oral exam. I've been studying a little here and there, but the real test will be wednesday night. oh, and thursday night. and in fact, probably just about every night for the next several days until my bridge course in "video games" starts up.

one of the take-home essays I had to write for this negotiations exam was based on an article called The Farpoint Gambit. if you have any idea what I'm talking about as of this sentence, you're either a huge negotiations nerd or a somewhat sizable star trek nerd, or like me, both. farpoint refers to the first and last episodes of The Next Generation, and the gambit is from a line where picard admits guilt (to avoid death), but only provisionally. in a negotiation, so the article said, there are ways to get around "exploding offers" (i.e. "the offer on this used car is only good for the next five minutes") by simply accepting them, provisionally. okay, it's a lot more complicated than that, but I've been trying to keep my posts short and I want to get to bed.

the point is that they USED STAR TREK AS AN EXAMPLE. want to get me to learn? make it about star trek. this is why I never would have gotten through medical school. they insist on keeping the focus actually on the material, like mitochondria and trigeminal nerves. damned literalists. I'm told law school relates everything to superman and the family guy, so I will inevitably rock.

okay, it's after midnight, but everyone close your eyes and imagine this: it's yeeeeeesterday. three more days until my biiiiiirthday... okay, now open your eyes and "today's" advent calendar door. hope you enjoy. see you "tomorrow".

Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 12, 2004

at this rate, I'll be immortal in no time.

Posted by Hello

More good news everyone! My life is expanding!

according to the Internet Death Clock, as of this writing, I have 2,110,078,283 seconds until I die. which means, unless you have anything else going on that day, please keep your schedules open on Monday, October 26, 2071.

here’s the weird thing, though: when I went to the website earlier this afternoon, it said I only had until 2068 before I bit the dust. so at some point during the last six hours, I must have done something to tack another 3 years on to my life! maybe it’s my over-all lifestyle. maybe I’ll write a book on how sitting in front of a computer and eating chinese food for six hours will do wonders for your lifespan.

speaking of stupid, I’m running out of advent pictures. thankfully, I only have three more school nights before I can devote a little more time to the important things in life, like putting another santa hat on another picture of me, grinning like a moron. (and only four more nights as a 26 year old.)

what did santa get after sitting on the ice for too long?


Saturday, December 11, 2004

watch where you put that lumina

don’t worry everyone – buffalo is going to be fine, money-wise.

for one thing, they will be getting $30 from me by sometime early next week. I broke the rules. I went out of bounds. I broke a commandment. I parked on the wrong side of the street for just shy of an hour. what I was thinking, I’ll never know – I mean, there’s a plethora of legal parking all over the city, so it must be that I’m just plain mean and need to be punished.

I could fill up ten regular blog posts (or three royal toybox posts) talking about how buffalo is alienating itself by not having enough parking downtown. but no, today I just want to let everyone know that the city is going to be in-the-black in no time.

evidently, the turnaround will be thanks to “the provisions of Section 3-19 of the city charter” which say that anyone who wants to pay a parking ticket via the City of Buffalo website will be charged an extra two dollars. now, I’m not a lawyer yet, so the fact that this screams price discrimination to me is obviously indicative of my inexperience. maybe it’s for shipping and handling. oh wait, I’m not shopping at amazon, I’m paying a ticket. maybe it’s to pay for the increased amount of paperwork generated by an electronic copy. no, wait, the internet makes less paperwork, if you’re doing it right. so, yeah, it must be because the city’s powers-that-be just need another revenue source. well, at least it’ll be going to the zoo and the library. thank goodness.

I was mad before, but now all I can think of is members of the buffalo fiscal stability authority chasing me around on a kid’s bike: “I want my two dollars!”... ah, blog therapy.

on a happier note – we’re down to (woo-hoo!) FIVE days until my birthday! add nine days to that and we’re at christmas! what does today’s advent calendar hold? why, it’s a pic of good lookin’ lisa and her good lookin’ friends. now, that’s the way to ring in the holidays. thanks ladies!

Posted by Hello

Friday, December 10, 2004

Our Home And Native Christmas Tree

Posted by Hello

I have a theory. the canadians are trying to take over. meagan, a neighbor from the north, introduced me to smarterchild today during a study session. the only thing half as addicting would be subservient chicken, or perhaps heroin, but either would be a distant second. obviously, nanook here must be trying to distract me from finishing my IP paper so she can steal my thunder.

if you really must look into this hypnogourd (piers anthony fans? anyone?), open up aol instant messenger and send an IM to “SmarterChild”. it’ll walk you through the rest. before you do, though, email me and let me know I can take you out of my phone book.

in other news, the glow of the christmas tree is mocking me from the other room. hey! look at me! I’m a glowy christmas tree! gee mike, lots of work, huh? remember when you weren’t studying? remember when you were setting up the toy train, and then finding new christmas cds on rhapsody? that was awesome.

the christmas tree has become my audrey II, demanding my attention and keeping me from my work. except that it doesn’t want to eat flesh or anything. and it hasn’t made me famous. okay, it isn’t anything like audrey II. except for being green.

“hmmm… what should I blame my procrastination on next?”, said the boy as he finished his blog.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

no more teachers' dirty looks

Posted by Hello

baby steps, baby steps... one more presentation down, one more paper handed in. baby steps towards vacation, towards the holidays, towards sleeping in, and the light at the end of the tunnel shines brightest because of all the birthday candles. 27 of them to be exact... baby steps through one more week.

the good news is that I think classes are going better then I’d expected. I already have an A in one class, and since there’s no final in another, I can (fairly safely) assume I have an A in that one too. I’d thought that a B was the best I could hope for in the remaining three, but now that I’m getting a little more feedback, that might have been an underestimation.

oooooooor, I’m just psyching myself up, hoping for a little self-fulfilling prophesy. maybe I’ll play another video game and ponder that for awhile.

here are a few things that are also on my mind:

the cell phone company that let’s me delete the “if you’d like to leave a message...” bit on my voicemail after I’ve given my “hi you’ve reached mike garvey...” is the cell phone company that’ll steal my money away from verizon.

ladies and gentlemen of western new york, we were not the stoned 6 year olds who designed the roadways of buffalo, but we are the ones who have to use them everyday. take your time. be considerate, not competitive. and for the sake of Almighty God, move over so I can get onto the 198 from delaware ave.

if you haven’t seen it yet, try to catch “olive, the other reindeer” this season. the monkey deus ex machine had me and mark laughing for hours. and the pope wearing a baseball cap.

when was the last totally original thought made? I have to assume that every concept that has ever entered my mind has been considered by one of the gabillions of people who came before me. so, did the first really pensive caveman think them all, or did someone in 1989 pick up a nintendo power and a hit of lsd and formed that neural pathway that had never been anywhere before? (thanks to both dave eggers and zack braff for throwing that one on the table.)

man, I miss smoking. if you never have, suck it up and don’t start. yeah, I’m not going to lie. it. feels. goooooood. but since I quit (three years ago – cold turkey) I can climb a flight of stairs without an oxygen machine, and I’m not dropping $5 a day. but I haven’t had a beer since then without wanting to light up.

my sibs and I used to look for elves when we were little. the story went that santa was really busy this time of year, so he’d send his elves to keep an eye on the garvey kids. when we finally saw one (a marionette, hung from the window above), it was like looking into the eyes of God. all the other high school kids were so jealous.

I forget what it’s called, but I have elvis costello’s monkey song going through my mind. “Monkey to Man”? esther gets the finders fee for that one.

I’m in class right now, and there is a group doing a presentation on the chocolate industry. they just passed out brussel sprouts. just kidding, they passed out chocolate (hershey’s miniatures – let’s face it, the crackle is the best), ensuring they get a perfect grade from me.

speaking of which, I may be the only person in the world who thinks this, but the Flake chocolate bar may be the single greatest food ever made, including other planets and dimensions. with the possible exception of mom’s chicken pot pie. depends on my mood.

I remember when we still lived in mississippi, mom and dad threw a surprise birthday party for me. one of mom’s friends took me out for ice cream so they could set up. (was that susan? I didn’t care, there was ice cream involved.) anyway, I got a big star wars action figure carrying case shaped like the bust of darth vader that year. it successfully held my 5 figures for years – including the lando I found (yeah, “found”) under the tree by our front walk. I wonder what the trading value of the mud-caked billy dee is these days.

I just realized there are 211 days left until the wedding! man, it seems so far off.

oh well… baby steps…

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

happy hanugarv

Posted by Hello

come up to the lab...

today, my friends, I’m trapped here at school. I actually only had one class, but I’ve been working in the computer lab for most of the afternoon, just getting stuff out of the way before exams start up next week. manalive, the hammer is starting to fall. two of my three presentations are done, so at least I’m making baby steps. I have one more tomorrow, plus a hugh jass paper due. luckily, I have people like steph who have made the whole process a lot easier.

next week, I have three exams (monday, tuesday, and wednesday) and then I’m proctoring a final on thursday. do the math… I’ll wait… yup, mikey gets to proctor an exam on his birthday. that’s right students, feel free to cheat, because that won’t be coffee your TA is drinking! I wonder if prof H will let me wear a birthday crown.

speaking of which, that means we’re at 8 days until the big 2-7! sorry I don’t have a picture for you, but like I said I’ve been trapped here at school. here – check out these guys. they do the advent thing better than me anyway.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

not just for breakfast anymore

someday, universities will offer classes on my ingenious culinary masterpieces. the young and the old alike will always put on their sunday best when dining out at a garvey-style restaurant because the experience will demand a high level of hoity-toitiness. a celebrated Maya Angelou IV will write epic poems focusing on the taste creations I’ve invented, and an experienced Aaron Sorkin VI will no doubt find a level of fame unrealized by his ancestors when he produces Mike Garvey’s Recipes Are Brilliant.

for instance, I’d like to share with the world my recipe for Raisin Bran and Honey-Nut Cheerios cereal:

Raisin Bran
Honey-Nut Cheerios (wegman’s brands are tasty and cheap, the cornerstones of the Mike Garvey Food Empire)

1. Combine one (1) part HNC with one (1) part RB and add milk to taste.
2. Enjoy!

disclaimer: mr. garvey is in no way responsible for the decreased enjoyment you may, nay, most definitely will experience with other typical breakfast foods (or for that matter, any foods at all) as a result of sampling the product of this recipe. he apologizes for making all other foods seem bad by comparison, and suggests you reference the recipe for Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch and Rice Chex if in need of variety.

Posted by Hello

days until birthday: 9
days until christmas: 18

Monday, December 06, 2004

if only in my dreams

I had a very strange dream last night – a bit nightmarish, but mostly just weird. ed asner and I were guards at this prison where we decided to incite a riot. our reasoning? I couldn’t tell you because ed only spoke french. seriously. so things get out of hand, and I get backed into a corner, because for some reason I only have one of those little pocket knives, like keychain-sized, for protection. I’m about to buy the farm when I realize I’m superman (an easily forgotten fact in the realm of dreams, evidently). and then I woke up.

to say the least, I was a little put off by this – why is my brain wired such that it’ll keep me trapped in a prison riot with swiss army knife and “le ed asner”, but then wake me up when I can fly??? I’m in this whole, limitless world where I can be or do anything I want, and the guy holding the tv remote to my psyche decides to watch the channel showing oz instead of the greatest american hero?

a couple of weeks ago (I’m not making this up, by the way) I had a dream where I was standing in line. not for any particular reason, just because the BFG ran out of ideas that night, I guess. I’m looking forward to dreams where more exciting things happen. like maybe: anything. man, I’d be the best lucid dreamer.

on a slightly less psychedelic note, we’re officially at 10 shopping days! unless you’re talking about christmas, in which case there are 19. here’s a christmas toast to get you in the mood…

Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 05, 2004

christmas rain?

okay, since I'm going to be on campus all day tomorrow, I thought I'd send this around now. esther and I found it while looking through last year's xmas pics. again, no photoshopping, but, damn, it had us laughing.

Posted by Hello

whether we were laughing because it's a funny picture or because we COULDN'T REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS TAKEN, I can't tell you. I'm pretty sure that's an umbrella from my mom's wedding, by the way.

not pictured, unfortunately, is all the nog.

kim's donation

okay, in my defense, I started writing this blog about a half hour ago when I got home. so technically, we'll consider this post to be your day 4 advent post:

Posted by Hello

hee-hee, I love this pic. and, if I remember right, there hadn't even been any alcohol involved at this point in the night yet. kim just felt the need to donate all she could to an un-used salvation army bucket holder. yeah, there isn't any photoshopping, but does it need any?

non sequitur: I love my mom. as we speak, she's getting ready to come back from her mom's place in alabama. (I spoke with her on the phone the other day and this was an actual quote: "I went to see the beach this morning, and then took mimi to the doctor's. I'm really upset by how destroyed everything is." it wasn't until I realized she was talking about the beach being destroyed by ivan, and not mimi's doctor visit, that my heart started beating again. mimi's all good, by the way.)

anyway, I love my mom because I seem to have hit upon the perfect audience. I mean, everyone's mom should be supportive and applauding, etc., but for some reason I really crack her up. she loves it when I make my special cranberry sauce (open can, slide onto plate, enjoy!), or when I help dry and put away dishes since I always put them in the wrong spots. by the way, ma, if you're looking for the noodle serving spoon thing, check the christmas tree.

another non sequitur: lisa put s'more lights (not "some more lights", I mean lights shaped like s'mores) on our christmas tree, but from my desk, they kind of look like teeth. great, now my christmas tree is going to eat me. remember that muppet show bit where the machines came to life and ate the muppets who were using them? it's a little like that.

last non sequitur: it's 12:16am! make a wish!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

cake or death?

eddie izzard is a funny funny man, and I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this book when I was a kid.

Friday, December 03, 2004

little help...

so, I'm in a very serious competition, and it's very important that I work through it all on my own. wanna help me cheat?

the phrases below are anagrams of either christmas songs or christmas movies. for example, "baloney bandits" is actually "babes in toyland", or "Heavyset Witch Seldom Farts" is actually "the twelve days of christmas".

of the 46, these are the few that my brain just can't handle:

Default, Sir. File Now.
Go Acknowledge Sins
Beware – Oslo Heroin Gloom
Delicate, Maturing Champion
Lost: Bachelor Elf
Nominate Horton
Highland Genre Saltshaker
My Hateful, Aloof Lice

anyone who contributes can have a sip of the wine I'll win!

and then I pushed lisa into the snow

hello, my little monkeys, welcome to advent day 3. open the little paper door on your calendar and you’d better put those snow pants on because we’re back out at the Field of Dreams Christmas Tree Farm. this is actually a pic from a few years ago (two? three? I forget. I’m so old.) but I chose to use it tonight because lisa and I just decorated the tree here at the tajmapartment. there’re still a few bare spots since this year’s tree (our second as a mushy, saccharine couple) is larger than last year’s. but that just means we get to go to target for more ornaments. maybe hoffman will come with us, now that he’s graduated from basic and back here in wny. and lou, of course, you’re always welcome to join in, especially since you left your ps2 here.

Posted by Hello

got my first presentation out of the way today, which marks the end of at least one of my classes for the semester. our team did wonderfully (a true cinderella story, beaten only by the evil team “I”) and even won the Jack Welsh Award for Strategic Planning. well done, Landmark Inc., well done. By the way, team “I” may be my mortal enemy, but I do have to give them mad props (, yo) for using images from The Incredibles in their presentation.

and now only two more presentations to go for me before I’m done for the holidays! oh, and three papers. and three exams.

and a partridge in a pear tree.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

we three sisters

let’s get the calendar stuff out of the way first, yes?

14 days until my birthday…
23 until xmas…

Posted by Hello

I finished my law school application last night. now I’m waiting on one letter of recommendation and it’ll be complete. I’m not sure how other schools around the country do it, but UB asks that you write a quick little book report to go along with your personal statement. since you have to talk about two books you are currently reading (or have recently read) one of my law school friends suggested that I use both a classic and a contemporary. I chose To Kill a Mockingbird (okay, that was an easy slow pitch) and High Fidelity (perhaps my all-time fave). I was pretty happy with my selection until another law school friend mentioned that both of these had been made into rather successful movies. that’s it, no more talking to law school friends.

the statement itself turned out quite well too, although I was so happy with the one that I wrote two years ago that it was hard for me to come up with anything fresh. in this one, I focused on the MBA instead of chicago, but I still talked about papa being a major influence. I can’t imagine that won’t count for something. (that’s right – double negative city!)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

feliz garvidad

To the University at Buffalo Office of Pissing Me Off: well done. As we round the corner into the advent season, I'd just like to take this opportunity to convey my deepest thanks in your ongoing, ever-maddening effort to make my life a chaotic pile of

oh nevermind, there's a parking spot-- it's all good.

aaaaaand welcome to december! did everyone open the first little door on their advent calendar? was it a picture of little sled or an elf? maybe there was chocolate in there?

Posted by Hello
or, if you've really been good this year, maybe there'll be a picture of you poorly photoshopped. check back daily, ‘cause I’ve got twenty five of these puppies ready to spread some holiday cheer…

I love this time of year. yeah, school can be a little unbearable, but even that just accelerates the anticipation of christmas and new years a little more. it’s interesting – when I was a kid, I looked forward to christmas because I really wanted a transformer or a nintendo, or some of the castle system legos. that’s still there, sure, but now I look forward to the holiday because it means time out of the ordinary. away from my routine, away from my desk and my books, and closer to the food, the toys and the fam.

and maybe closer to the nog, if I’m not driving anywhere.

happy december, everyone. I hope you're as happy this season as the fatty in the old headshot above.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

google this

well well well!

remember when you were young and mom would make you stand next to a door jam every year to see how much you'd grown? well, that time has come for the royal toybox.

not only did we hit a month this past weekend, but guess who can now be found via google??? how cool is that? I feel like navin r. johnson with his phone book - I'm someone now!

and for all of you who care about the barenaked ladies even though they've forgotten all about their greatest fans here in buffalo, guess who is considered the 44th most valuable referring site to their blog? I'm so proud! our little blog all grows up!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

super, though unidentified, man

I don't really consider myself a fanatical collector, per se, of superman stuff, but I'd be willing to bet that when it comes to the last son of krypton I know more than the average bear. yes I've been to comic book conventions, but I've never written fan fiction. yes, I taped the cartoons when the wb or cartoon network showed them, but I never wrote angry letters to the networks when they so callously dropped them. yes, I once owned superman pajamas, but I almost never wear them anymore.

I know what martha kent's first name was. ("mary" - it was changed because they didn't want superman to be too much of a Christ figure.)
I know why there are so many characters in the superman universe whose initials are "LL".
I know where julius schwartz wanted to build "Supermanland" and why they never did. so sad.

so yeah, speaking of sad, I'm a big old dork. but I bet if we opened up your cranium and poked around we’d find that you have some great addiction as well. seinfeld? winnie the pooh? sailor moon? modest mouse? ‘fess up, because we’re all big old dorks about something.

since I don’t exactly hide this obsession, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about this new superman movie they’re talking about. first of all, “they” talk big. this movie has a lot more red tape to muddle through before it’s anywhere near the big screen, so I’m not going to get my hopes up. Superman Returns has gone through a billion different production teams and leading men and will probably go through another billion before it gets it right. remember when it was going to be nicholas cage and tim burton? warner brothers has literally spent $50 million trying to get it off the ground since then.

In case you’re curious, here’s my take on a few of the casting possibilities:

nicholas cage – I’m really ready for him to make another good movie, but this wouldn’t have been it. he needs to call the coen brothers.
matthew bomer – interesting look to him, but he’s a soap actor through and through.
brendan fraser – one of my favorite young actors today. I think he could give the part a certain life that a lot of other actors couldn’t. but even if he nails the part, he’d still be encino man.
david boreanaz – a local favorite, and he might look the part, but he’d really have to step it up in the acting department to impress me.
josh hartnett – please dear God in heaven no.
ashton kutcher – I’d rather have hartnett.
jerry o’connell – pftht. maybe in some similar, alternate universe.

my pick? it’s a tie between cillian murphy and billy crudup. yeah, you’d really have to beef either of them up a little, but they had to put a lot of weight on reeve too. my advice is to pick someone who can act, and then go from there. on that note, if there are any Warner Bros execs reading this, I’d be more than happy to read for the part if hartnett or kutcher is your best choice otherwise.

procrastination nation

I should consider myself blessed to have such technology at my fingertips. my life has been improved a hundred-fold because of the time saving tools that I use, like my ipaq and the internet.

then again, it's a force that could be used for good or evil. I'd get a lot more work done if the government would get their act together and keep incredibly funny and entertaining stuff like will ferrell at harvard and weezer with the muppets off of my computer.

note: for the ferrell video, jump to 1:30:39 for the good stuff unless you really want to watch the whole thing, which you don't.

note also: for the weezer bit, you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and open any of the muppet files under "video". unless you have anything else to do, in which case you shouldn't be on the internet at all, slacker.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

with faithful leaves unchanging

the tree has been got. rather, the trees have been gotten.

yet another garvey family tradition to check off the list for the year: we woke up early this morning, had a cup of coffee, and then loaded up the caravan (not a minivan called a caravan, I mean actually a fleet of automobiles) and drove out to the Field-of-Dreams Christmas Tree Farm to pick out a winner. this started a few years ago when most of us were in college or chicago or mississippi or wherever, and the only free time before christmas that we could spend together was thanksgiving. so, snow or no snow, the garveys would suit up and head for the hills.

this year increased to maybe two dozen people. that's with six cars, three babies, three dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree. lisa and I got a tree for the tajmapartment, mom and dad got two for the ponderosa, and the rest of the group cut down five others. yup, the garveys and the garvey-in-laws were responsible for the brutal murder of eight perfectly healthy pine trees. happy birthday, Jesus!

and tonight? well, the agenda says I'll be working on a paper, and I'm sure I'll be able to get a few pages out unless leftover turkey has anything to say about that. despite talk of christmas decorations and wedding planning, I think the paper is going to take precedence because I'm a little worried about the upcoming scholastic week. I mean, the rest of the semester isn't going to be easy, but it seems like this week is going to be all-nighter after all-nighter.

in happier news, we're down to 19 days until my birthday. and how nice is it that my exams end the same week as my birthday? everybody wins!

Friday, November 26, 2004

cranberry sauce, anyone? it's fresh from the can.

so, how was your thanksgiving? mine was good – I’m still full.

today, by the way is the original Day of Sloth. it started a few years ago because my family wiiiiiiisely decided to ignore the siren's lure of the mall's seasonal sales and instead watch movies all day. we'd wear pj's, and nosh on leftovers and crack open any champagne that survived the night. most of the movies were typically christmas favorites ("meatloaf, double beetloaf"), but we were never really strict about it. I think one year we watched True Lies and Ace Ventura. (speaking of bad movies, has anyone else seen ads for the third blade flick featuring van wilder??? oh man, that comes out on the 8th, and I'll be thinking of little else until then.)

anyway, sad to say, it looks like the Walden Gonorrea has beaten us lazy few, because mom and the sisters and even lisa have traded in their fuzzies and turkey sandwiches for busy corridors and people who have NO IDEA how to park. hey, I won't complain, though, since it means I can have a guilt-free video game bender. aaaaand, if I’ve been a good boy, maybe they're doing a little birthday shopping too. (20 shopping days left…)

as for me, I’m still out at mom and dad’s (sorry I haven’t updated in awhile – let’s blame it on the tryptophan) and since it looks like day of sloth is going freestyle this year, I think I’ll get some school work out of the way. but first, maybe a little turkey breakfast to get the energy up.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The 2004-05 Knuckleheads

sports in general were an acquired taste for me. I was always, and still am, a big dork. star trek? comic books? video games? I rank pretty high on the top 500 list recently published by Nerdular Nerdence.

but I didn't really get into sports until later on, and even then I was more fan than fanatic. (purposefully didn't say athletic supporter.) I used to love going to sabres games in the orange section with dad, or freezing my bottom off while tailgating at rich. one weekend a few years ago, I went to a cubs game, then flew home for a sabres game, and then saw the bills play the jets the next day. oh, if only buffalo had a pro curling team, I really could have done more with my free time that weekend.

today, I’m still no aficionado when it comes to pro sports, but I definitely enjoy them more, and I’ve developed an action plan that'll at least make it look like I know what I’m talking about. last year, I collected hockey cards with cecilia (a shout out to Mr. B), which was fun, but a) expensive, and b) futile since I got more excited about completing the collection than about becoming hockey-savvy. Hockey Cards: Gotta Catch'em All!

this year, since the hockey industry is bickering like gallagher brothers, my Grow A Pair And Learn About Sports Program has shifted its focus to football via the perfect marriage of a manly american pastime and internet geekitude: a fantasy league. my team is named The Knuckleheads, and boy-howdy, I must be a natural because we kick the donkey's ass. I have the best record (9-2) for the season so far, and the second best cumulative point total.

so have I succeeded? did my plan work? ooooh, you bet not, my friends. no I may be the best fantasy manager/coach ever or anywhere, but ask me a single player on my team and forget it. I can sing the complete ducktales theme, I still remember the konami code, I can tell you in which buffalo comic shop you’re more likely to find a back issue of astro city, and which issue I was buying when I met alex ross in chicago. but ask me who any of my TEs or RBs play for, and I’ll probably say the mariners.

so how about that, my friends in the fantasy league? The guy who doesn’t know the quarterback from the head cheerleader (the same guy who used the suggest button all through the draft) has the best record AND just clinched a spot in the playoffs.

Tune in next week, loyal readers, when I talk about how, in a stunning display of dumbassery, I lost a ranking spot in the league by trading manning out for ruth bader ginsburg or something. (and for what it’s worth, I’ll probably still have the ducktales theme running through my mind...)

Monday, November 22, 2004

mmm... reheated cooooffeeeee

I pulled a pseudo-all-nighter last night. but it was for a good cause, so it was worth it. here's the paraphrased (and abridged- you're welcome) story:

let's say I have this friend, see? and he's a student at the university at buffalo, school of taxidermy, right? and my friend had a week to finish this, um, elephant. oh, forget it. I'm not awake enough to lie well.

"taxidermy" = "management"
"elephant" = "hugh jass homework assignment"
"my friend" = "me", which is silly. I hate me.
ceteris paribus:

anyway, this particular assignment was so tough that I was about to give up on it. I figured I'd throw together an excel doc and go to see the great and powerful prof to beg for forgiveness in the morning.

but then, at about 11:30 last night, something clicked. a light turned on. choirs of cherubim sang a round of "eureka" in my head because all of a sudden, I understood a piece of the problem I was working on. it wasn't much, but maybe this was the codec I needed to understand the rest. I went to the book and re-read that chapter and sure enough, the problem started to look do-able.

cue montage music!: bah bop, ba-da bum, ba-da bum, ba-da buuuuum... my fingers flew across the keyboard as I waited for a fresh pot to brew! bah bop, ba-da bum, ba-da bum, ba-da buuuuum... it was as though my eyes weren't my own, going automatically to the exact chapter, page, paragraph I needed to reference every new problem! ba-da, ba-da, ba-da, ba-da, ba-buuuuuuuuuum...

and then, as my vcr clock chimed 6:30am, I hit ctrl-S and ctrl-P. and in my hands I held the most beautiful C+ paper I'd ever birthed.

update: I just met with the prof who told me I'd actually hit pretty close to a bullseye on my final numbers. (I am so smart! S-M-R-T!) so, in the end I learned a valuable lesson about procrastination and hard work.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

them that got

bill watterson said once that when he failed to come up with a good idea for a strip, he'd go for broke and let a funny picture tell the story. but, unless I can rely on reeeeally fancy emoticons (look, a rose! @-->-- ) I can't really fall back on a funny picture.

since I can't come up with any original ideas of my own tonight, how about I use this space to answer one of those Get To Know Your Friends emails. I got this particular one from cecilia, although I'd gotten it from a few other people as well. if it sucks, blame them.

oh well, this is getting off on the right foot. I don't even have a first house, so how do I answer this? but the question says "if I COULD", so let's just pick up our feet and ride along with the hypothetical. IF I COULD build a second house anywhere, I'd build it right next to the first one, so I wouldn't have to go far if it turns out I only have one set of legos.

ain't nothin' more comfy than mah overalls.

ooh, tough one. I'm so rhapsodied right now, it's been awhile. oh wait, I remember - lisa and I got the garden state soundtrack when we were up in toronto. before that it was the new ben folds ep, super D.

usually around 6:30. unless I can sleep in a bit and dream about Doughnuts of the Divine.

I just got a new toaster!!! I mean, lisa and I just got a new toaster!!! huzzah for the wedding registry...

the piano. if I'm to impress people at parties, I'd have to know how to play something that's likely to be there. "Hi, I'm mike, any chance you have a 'cello around?"

I guess there was this tanker carrying a shipment of red paint and black paint. when it crashed into an island the crew was marooned.

I'm perfectly happy with my old man lumina.

yup. and I'm hoping we get to travel through time to view events from this life, dickens-style. then I'd prove to lisa that I was in the choir more than once.

something by dahl. or "everybody poops".

call me crazy, but I love the winter. I love the snow, I love the cold, or rather being bundled up in it, and I love the holidays. granted, most of that wears off pretty early in january, but until then, give me a winter wonderland anyday.

flight. then speed, then strength. then getting women to take me out for mighty and comic books. oh wait, I already have that.

no tats, no piercings. I'm so lame.

I am right now. don't believe me? sorry, it's a website - you'll just have to trust me.

me. I mean, young me. I'd tell young me to get a better haircut and stay away from the "jim's steak out".

I do love sundays. I try not to schedule anything so I can catch up on whatever. then I spend all evening writing a blog post.

nothing, officer. seriously.

raw hamburger. just kidding - I like sush, but just the basics. the california rolls. the spicy tunas. etc. but I'd give that all up for a peppercorn blue cheese burger from coles.

I hope cecilia posts a new one to her blog. she's pretty funny.

I'm completely ripping this off from sarah, who already posted a few questions of her own. blog theft is the sincerest form of flattery.

cecilia and a few others who shall remain nameless.

oh I am weakened by the lameness of this question. instead of answering it, I'd like to make fun of lisa and katie for being so upset that they will not be having turkey for thanksgiving. neener neener. feel free to stop over to the ponderosa if you'd like to sample some of the succulent bird we'll be having.

turkey. neener neener!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

where would you live?

a little midnight snack for your brain before I drift off to sleep.

if you could live in the world of any tv show, which would it be? I mean, you wouldn't have to live with that family, or work in that office, but I guess that's possible. my first instinct was the wonder years, but now I'm leaning more towards bonanza. I pretty much am hoss.

maybe star trek?

I'm watching saturday night live right now, and U2 is doing vertigo. I think bono is singing off-key and off-tempo deliberately to show that he isn't lipsyncing. also, has anyone ever noticed that the fake train schedule behind the drummer lists buffalo? wow! we're famous!

ladies and gentlemen...

I give you the longest blog post ever. enjoy.

I don't think I am... but I am.

welcome back my friends, to the blog that never ends, it just goes on small vacations like yesterday. yeah, sorry about that. if you want to read about how busy I am these days, I go into a lot more detail in the first two paragraphs of this post. I'm no less busy this weekend, but at least I have a fun new The Incredibles mug to keep me happy. the lovely lisa got it for me. coffee tastes better in it, for some reason.

by the way, if you haven't seen the incredibles yet, stop doing whatever you're doing and go see it. brad bird also did the iron giant, which is one of my top five favorites. I dare any red-blooded american (or canadian... cecilia) who has ever read a superman comic book to watch the iron giant and not get a little choked up at the end. anyway, the incredibles is a lot of fun, and it makes for a damn fine coffee mug subject.

yesterday started out innocently enough, since I got to sleep in an hour or so before heading to class. I've recently started showing signs of that damning trait where grownups don't automatically sleep in until noon on the weekends, but that doesn't mean that I don't looooooove the chance to stay in my warm bed for an extra hour if the alternative is going to school. (interesting side note - during that final hour of sleep, I dreamt that God was a giant doughnut. what the hell does that mean?!?)

I typically have just the one class on fridays, but yesterday we had to pull a double shift to make up for missing next week. I'd complain, but it's actually kind of an interesting course, so I don't mind rolling with the punches on this one. and the fact that our group rocks the worlds of all the other groups (a special shout out to meagan) as manufacturers and sellers of sonites makes it a lot more palatable.

in between the two shifts (yup, not only did I have to stick around for two classes yesterday, but they were scheduled two hours apart) I met with my group from another class so we could do a little data entry on our statistical project. Has anyone ever worked with SPSS? it's a glorified excel, meant for wide-scale data analysis. I'm not sure what the acronym stands for, but after it crashed and lost my data, I've decided "spawn" and "satan" are in there somewhere.

after they let us loose from Markland (the simulation country we use in my friday class. actually, the whole thing is kind of like a big Sim-Corporation video game. yeah, good times.) I quick-changed and high-tailed it downtown to catch the show at the Irish called You Never Can Tell. I'm not a huge shaw fan, but this cast, and the director, really made something 3D out of the production. and I don't just mean it was a blackbox theatre, although that helped. to me, someone who had never read or seen the play, these characters were living and breathing and acting spontaneously in front of me, not simply the animated representation of the script. lisa wasn't able to see it, since she was off with her friends who think I'm hot, so I think I might try to see it with her before it closes on 11/28.

then it was off to the pearl street brewery for a drink with the birthday girl (happy 23rd!) and her friend, the whalers fan who probably thinks I smell bad. we drank a few and watched the pacers-pistons game. the best part was when a hockey game broke out. (old joke courtesy of john).

by the time I finally crawled home, my mind awash with market planning strategy, hotkey combinations for SPSS, reasons shaw hates london, and the lyrics to "somebody told me", I had hardly enough energy to crawl into bed. and then I got up at 8am. siiiiigh...

Thursday, November 18, 2004


I seem to remember finn trying to re-create this over lunch one day, but I just figured he was tired of crossword puzzles.

state of the toybox address

Haaaaaaaappy birthday to yoooooouuu!
Haaaaaaaappy birthday to yoooooouuu!
Happy one week biiiiiiiirthday, royal toyboooooooox!
Happy birthda*

*this birthday blog has been terminated by the attorneys of John F. Stenbeck. Anyone ever watch Sports Night? It's kind of like that episode where the voice of Lisa Simpson (who was also on Herman's Head) played the lawyer that informed Dan (Josh Charles - who was in Dead Poets Society with Robin Williams who was in Cadillac Man with Tim Robbins who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon) that he was being fined for singing this song on the air. It’s kind of like that except Aaron Sorkin has nothing to do with my blog. But MAN, wouldn’t that be cool???

switching gears, I want to celebrate the toybox’s one week birthday by bringing in a new element – talking about the issues. don’t worry, I’m not going to do this too often, since I rarely have any opinions worth sharing on anything topical (“blah blah blah desmond tutu”).

first, I just want to extend a fresh hanky to the modern media and let them know that it’s going to be okay. the american society may surprise you sometimes, but my advice is just to drop the issue or, like a bad scab, it will never go away. take a deep breath, count to ten, and realize that not nearly as many people were really truly upset about terrell owens and nicollette sheridan as you’re making them out to be.

american public, back me up on this. yes we want decency, yes we’d like to be able to watch something, just every so often, with our kids and our grandparents in the same room. but we aren’t all going to raise an agrarian revolt, complete with torches and pitch forks, everytime someone says “ka-ka”, or happens to show a bare ankle on prime time television. give us at least some credibility.

and for those of you who were truly upset about this, why aren’t you up in arms about every single beer commercial they’ve shown every other monday night since the beginning of time?!? if you really want to protect your kids, if you really want to make good on your role as a parent, then why aren’t you rioting in the streets over the proposed red budget? (yes, I realize that it’s just being proposed as a negotiation tactic, but, like it or hate it, shouldn’t that alone have the masses murmering?)

wow, I just re-read this post so far, and everything from “switching gears” to “murmering?)” has me a little embarrassed as to the direction the toybox took today. for one thing, I see a lot of holes in my logic, and for another I feel like a parent who got drunk and yelled at his kid’s birthday party. ignore it. forget I wrote it. someone tell a joke. what’s brown and sticky? a stick.

I swear I’ll get back to teh funnay tomorrow.

the presentation starts at 2:30.

I'm chiming in once again from my ipaq, tough not as a TA this time. Nope, tonight I'm phoning it in from (get this) a dental school.

my dad's a doc. he has a practice in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. (for those of you in my marketing class, he's the one who scored our group the dental lab coats. for esther, “yup, that’s muh dad…”) tonight, he's giving a lecture on implants (dental, not chestal) that's being webcast to a few other schools. yeah, I know, pretty dry stuff, but when all my teeth fall out from this medical condition I have (known as: "eating a bowl of butterfingers"), I bet I'll be pretty excited he's the resident expert.

anyway, I'm here for support. but since I don't understand any of this (except for the summary, which started with an inigo montoya quote – always the sign of a good presentation), I think it's time to move on to the evaluation survey he handed out.

assessment for:
Please rate the following statements on a scale from 1 to 7, "1" meaning Strongly Disagree, and "7" meaning Strongly Agree:

1. Presentations were clear and to the point – well, there was only one presentation (semantics!), but I’d give it a 7. yes, it was three hours long, but sometimes you just need to work your way up to the slides where you were hammering on thigh bone in order to be both clear and to the point.
2. The content was interesting – 7 again. I was very impressed with all of the bloody tooth slides.
3. I gained new insights about my role – 7, without a doubt. turns out my role is to play with my ipaq until you show bloody slides.
4. The meeting facility was conducive to learning - 7, thank you God for wireless. in all seriousness though, the presentation was webcast to 7 other schools! How cool is it that dad can show a bloody tooth slide in amherst, and it can simultaneously gross out 8 schools! well done technology, well done.
5. The presenters were able to hold my attention throughout - 7, though I could tell you wanted to make a joke about the different types of bone.
6. The content had substance – whatever this means, I agree strongly with it. 7 all the way on the substance-filled content.
7. My understanding of key matters was enhanced – considering I started from an understanding level around “.01”, and now it’s maybe around “.03”, that’s a %200 increase in understanding. I’m guessing that includes key matters, so you get a 7.
8. The course was well organized – 7. if I could give you an 8 on this one I would. I especially liked the part of the course where we went to pizza plant afterwards for pods and beer. I’m told the good doctors normally do this after every presentation. you know, like little league teams after games.

bravo, dad - I’m glad I could be a part of the event. I learned a few things, I got to hang out with mom for a few seconds, and I got to make fun of lisa for knowing what “trabeculae” means. (latin for canadian game show host who used to have a mustache, duh.) but next time, let’s see if we can’t get in more bloody tooth slides, huh?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

got got got got no time.

is it TOO hypocritical to talk about how busy you are in a blog? yes, but I will anyway.


now that that's out of the way, I can talk about the stuff I want to talk about, like my honeymoon. lisa and I are planning a trip to italy for the two weeks after we tie the knot, which I'm told is the high tourism season there. so, in an effort to streamline the trip, and maybe get a few ideas while I'm brainstorming, I thought I'd put this out there for all of you to comment on. I'll get to that later.

here's the latest itinerary we're talking about: we fly into sicily (probably via rome, but that's okay) and spend two nights there. then we'll take a train all the way north to florence for 5 nights, with one day trip to pisa and another to tuscany. then we take another train to venice for a night and a day before heading back to rome for another 5 nights. about two weeks total, but that'll depend on how cheaply I can get train tickets and intermediate hotel rooms. we don't mind sleeping in the smaller, cheaper places for a few nights in each city if it means we can end each stay with one kick-ass five star suite.

all in all, I've determined it's going to run us about $12 billion dollars, but that's not too bad as these things go.

so, any thoughts? any good restaurants/hotels/museums/popes we should visit? a lot of people have told me just to buy the package deal and go with a group (bringing the cost down to $11.5 billion), but I really want to try to do this on our own. I like the idea of having a schedule to follow, but I'm not too keen on the idea of having to be responsible to a trip coordinator the whole time.

any guidance you offer on this will earn you a postcard from the pope of your choice, so write in early and often.

I'd write more, but phew, am I busy...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I'd love nicholas picholas.

my pessimistic mind just came up with a good secondary wish. by which I mean, you can now fly, you can turn invisible, you're a gazillionaire, the middle east is quiet, you're on a first name basis with rachel ray (hot-cha!), but the genie is still there. you've made all your big wishes, so now what? well, if we're in the universe where genies grant an infinite number of wishes, you move on to the secondaries.

an endless supply of mighty taco? for keen eddie to start up again? the ability to always remember fred willard's name? (yes, I had to look it up.) how about we make calories good for you? all good thoughts and if you've got the wishes to throw around, be my guest. I'd definitely go for the mighty. but as I sit here in my car, flipping through the buffalo FM stations (yes I'm using my ipaq and yes I'm parked), I'm struck by my new secondary wish: I wish I had worse taste.

when I hear a song on the radio that I reeeeally like, let's say “istanbul” by TMBG, I'm elated. I'm thrilled. I feel like all the problems in the world could be solved if we just use enough elbow grease. but then the next thousand tunes are inevitably pearl jam's “last kiss”, and I instantly remember why I’m a misanthrope.

think about it: I wouldn't be dumber, I'd just have lowered standards. every song on the radio would make me happy, every summer teen movie would be my favorite, and don't even get me started on how much I'd look forward to sitcoms! and with poor taste, even the reruns are good to me!

or I could just wish everything was good, but c'mon, he's only a genie.

Monday, November 15, 2004

the man's mall

when I make a compilation CD for someone, I always put the best song second. the first track is obligatory. the recipient is required to listen to the first song by the Laws of Comp CDs (which were drawn from the Rules Regarding Mix Tapes, a document whose origins can be traced back to, I don't know, the Folder of Sheet Music Regulations or whatever predated cassette tapes. whistling?) but it's the second song that is the true test - will this compilation catch the attention of the giftee's ears? or will the rest of the CD's mediocrity be ushered in by a weak 2nd song effort?

my point - yes, I have one - is that we've reached the second post since I sent around my mass email, so it's time to bring out the good stuff. ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the idea that will make me and all of my friends (investors) our millions. I give to you my plans thus far for...


Those that know me, or have overheard me drinking, know that this has been a dream of mine ever since trying to christmas shop at a mall in chicago. I looked around and decided that there must be an enormous (and enormously ignored) market segment of men who need the service of a shopping center, but hate the controlling and uncomfortable nature of the american mall. the needs and desires of NASCAR dads are unimportant, you say? think again. it's a growing demo/psychographic, and someone is going to make a lot money once they realize how to harness that segment.

a full description would be too long to put into one post even by my standards (I tried – it was four pages long), but suffice it to say that it’s going to change the way we look at brick and mortar retail forever. it isn’t anti-female; in fact women are encouraged to join in on the fun. come sit in one of the movie theatre’s barcaloungers, or take advantage of each clothing stores’ new structure: they’ll be divided by size, not by style. as you walk in, you immediately get scanned by the store sensors, and a print out tells you where to go and what'll fit. happy customers are good customers.

No one will dispute that men and women have different shopping habits. Just like the differences between races, ages, etc., these are notions that can either be seen as obstacles to overcome or opportunities that could very well propel an eager entrepreneur into a successful retail (and societal) venture.

And if nothing else, it’ll give us all a place where we can go to get those cool sleeve napkins. no more wasting time getting that serviette from your lap to your mouth!

Come to think of it, I’d better get to work on it since this is sounding more and more like someplace I really want the bachelor party.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

the house is now open

aaaaaand hello to my new audience!

a quick explanation to those who have just joined in on the Royal Toybox, which is pretty much, well, everyone but me: see, up until yesterday, I'd been a closet blogger. I really didn't want to pass this around too much for a few reasons, not the least of which is that I just didn't know if I'd have the time and drive to keep up with it. as evidenced by the last few posts, though, I think we can all agree I'll be around for at least a little while.

I also have to admit I was a little nervous about really opening up to the world. yeah, I don't have to worry about sneezing gum on you, but this swimming hole that is the weblog world is a little chilly and if I jump right in, I'll surely die of shock before I can get used to it. and, I'm just now noticing, I really have to work on my metaphors before I'll be audience-ready. sorry about that.

my hope was to wait a week and then tell everyone about the toybox, but I got a little too excited, and let it slip to aaronson and zykowski. now everyone in springfield knows.

so welcome, my friends. you're a little early, but I'm no less happy you could stop in! leave me comments, ask me questions, and by all means, share with me your own blog addresses. I need new people to steal from.

esther = toast eater.

lisa's aunt and uncle threw us an engagement party last night. or, as they put it on the invitation, a "Getting To Know Lisa+Mike's In-Laws" occasion. they'd all met before, in fact our parents are pretty good friends already, but this would be the first time everyone had been in the same few rooms since I proposed almost a year ago. (december 18th - I put the ring in her advent calendar.)

side note: come to think of it, why didn't I propose two days earlier, on my birthday??? that would have been a lot easier to remember. could I be so self centered that I didn't want to take attention away from my birthday? speaking of which, 32 shopping days left...

anyway, getting back to the less self-serving point of my post, the party was an incredible event. I really do love her family, and not like "I love blueberry pop-tarts"; I mean I actually feel an emotional connection with these people that one would usually reserve for their God-given family. I know my family loves lisa just as much - hell, it was on their coaxing that I asked her to ken and bec's wedding in the first place. not that I needed much.

I can't give you a single reason why, but this is an important thing for me. I mean, I would want to marry lisa even if she belonged to a family of howler monkeys (which is a hilarious mental picture- thank you Gary Larson), but the fact that our families blend so well really hits it home for me. it feels right. it feels warm. and damn, they can throw a good party.

I'll always regret that I never met lisa's grandfather. he must have been a great man as his influence can still be seen in everything her family does. these people love to be alive. they love to point out how lucky we all are, and more so, they love to celebrate those blessings. need proof? they're going to hold a parade at our wedding reception. dionysus himself couldn't love life more. lisa's uncle dan really stepped up and gave a wonderful toast last night that I'll remember forever. again I never met the man, but I know lisa's papa was there in spirit, and he must have been thrilled that he'd so successfully passed on the toast-giving torch to both his sons.

I'll always regret that lisa never really got to know papa. they met before we started dating, I think, when she was over for a new year's party. (that was the night of our first kiss, technically. just a quick peck for new-years-luck.) I know in everything I do, day in and out, I can feel papa pushing me in the right direction. and to the extent that I value breathing, I love the fact that I can feel his blessing on this union of families. damn, what a party that'd be, huh? both our papas sitting at the Great Kitchen Table In The Sky, drinking what I imagine would be the best whiskey ever, laughing and playing euchre with uncle jim, rodney dangerfield and cicero.

thanks, guys.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

the nuts and bolts of it

hee hee... I said "nuts".

I started my day with an egg-beaters omelet while listening to the Tappet Brothers and then waited a whole three minutes before scurrying to my precious blog. yup, I’m addicted. and then some: I just rented a NEW VIDEO GAME, I have a law school application to work on, bills to pay, exams to correct and a whole bowl of butterfingers to eat, and yet, here I am typing away at the toybox. Which I may rename “crackpipe”.

the fact that I just got my first good review (hi lisa!) has only made me more anxious to refine my new addiction, so before I sat down to write this morning, I did a little research. with this project, I’m following in the footsteps of people who are more intelligent, funnier, and better looking than I am, so I have a lot to live up to. here are a few things I’ve noticed about the blogging industry:

There are no set styles. Some people seem to have a main point in each post, as though every day poses a new thesis to report. Some people just seem to vomit into their blogs (we’ll call this “blomit”) whatever thought surfaces first. both are interesting, but I think I’m going to be a little more middle-of-the-road.

if nothing else, my faith in the validity of non-mainstream music has been reinforced. Turns out I’m not the only fan of Cake in a city that lives and breathes Linkin Park, though the local radio stations would certainly suggest otherwise.

other sites are cooler than mine. But, my friends, the glove has been dropped, the line has been drawn in the sand, the soundtrack has switched to a minor key, because I’m working on it and someday the aforementioned addiction will generate a royal toybox so cool that the Blog Encyclopedia will have to invent whole new alphabet letters just so there’re enough volumes to describe it all.

or I’ll get bored and go play the video game.

1. yeah, egg-beaters. mikey’s on the weight watchers. notice this paragraph is followed up with one containing a “bowl of butterfingers” if you’re wondering how I’m doing.
2. here’s a little garvey trivia for you: a college room mate and I once had a discussion about the best name for a new porn web site. the winner? “The Royal Toybox”. yup, welcome to my porn blog.
3. if there is a Blog Encyclopedia, I would like to be recognized as the progressive genius who first coined the phrase “blomit”.
4. I don’t mean to say that I don’t like Linkin Park. In fact I do, but they don’t hold a candle to
the new Cake album.
5. thanks in large part to greg, I’m 67% of the way through Lord of the Rings: The Third Age.

6. anyone notice I discovered hyperlinks for this post? see, I'm getting better every second.