Thursday, May 17, 2007

Paris Hilton...good behaviour?

When the reverend Jerry Falwell died recently, I said it could not have happened to a more deserving person. I recant that statement. Falwell was responsible for some seriously messed up stuff. He was an instrumental figure in that collision of religion and politics that created the religious right in the States. His groups provided some staggering insights, such as the homoerotic nature of Spongebob, the immorality of homosexuals leading to God destroying New Orleans, and they also managed to successfully identify the gay Teletubbie. He and his cronies were more ridiculous than evil, and I can think of a couple of people who are, in fact, more deserving of death. Tyra Banks and Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton is sentenced to 45 days in jail but will serve only 20 thanks to...good behaviour? Don't you have to be imprisoned before you can behave well? Where did this good behaviour take place?

I don't imagine Paris Hilton has ever been accused of exhibiting good behaviour. Whether she's flashing her crotch in tabloids, distributing a home-made sex tape, saying unneccessarily cruel things on a cell phone or just plain existing, she's never been much more than a public nuisance. Now, thanks to the horrible injustice shown by the American "justice" system, she will be incarcerated for up to twenty days! I don't want to wish a shanking upon her...but I won't be that displeased. It's about time I stopped writing about her.

Intersting stuff, this urination.

Just an anecdote from a book I recently read. It's called My Life, and it's Joe Louis' autobiography. I've watched the old Joe Louis fights, and I think he may have been the greatest boxer who ever lived (although, in his book, he names the consensus greatest-ever, Sugar Ray Robinson, as the best ever). The book is incredibly interesting. Here's a guy who was likely the greatest heavyweight who ever lived, who fell into serious money and tax troubles, who represented an entire nation against Nazi Germany during the war, and who did an enormous amount of work that gave black people in America a voice. In fact, it was he who used his clout as heavyweight champion of the world to insist that Jackie Robinson be allowed to play on the baseball team while they served together in the military. But I mention the book only because there was a story I felt was pertinent.

Joe Louis was an avid golfer. The man loved his golf. He golfed with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and many others. And he golfed with Al Jolson. When he golfed with Al Jolson, he hit the driving range beforehand. He hit the practice green. He took extra lessons and studied for the match. Why? Because Al Jolson had a standard wager whenever he took to the links. If he beat you, and you lost, he got to urinate on you. And even if you are Joe Louis, the hardest punching heavyweight who ever lived, you let him pee on you. After all, a bet was a bet. Rather than just clench his fist and threaten Jolson, so as not to be peed on, Joe Louis practiced and worked extremely hard. You see, he was afraid of being peed on, but had he ever lost, that's what would have taken place. After all, a bet was a bet.

Who needs Hydro?

My girlfriend creates two problems for me. Last night, for example, we were watching the hockey game. I, of course, go to bed the second it's over, so I don't bring friends by to watch, but she stays up so two of her friends are there. Which I think is great - hockey and a few girls who love the Senators, and we have a few beers and enjoy ourselves...until 9:00. At that point, the third period is about to start. We have come back to pull to within one, with two late goals in the second, it's now 3-2, and it looks like we could really take over the game and win in the third. But on our large, easy-to-watch TV downstairs, there will be no third period. It turns out that these girls are not there to watch hockey at all, but rather to watch America's Next Top Model. Thanks to time shifting, this show is on at 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00. In defence to me, they decided not to watch the 8:00 show, but they also decided against the 10:00 show. These girls, you see, needed to get home and sleep, and if they were up watching this show until 11, they'd miss their bedtime. The fact that I had taken a three-hour nap during the day just so I could watch the game, which ends four hours after MY bedtime, not important.

So this is one of my problems. I can either watch Tyra Banks for an hour, seething quietly to myself, and catch up on the game during commercials. Or, I can slink away to the bedroom upstairs, and watch the rest of the game on a folding chair in my bedroom in front of our tiny, difficult-to-watch, poorly-coloured TV with a beer by myself. I chose option B, and I'm glad because that was one of the best third periods I've ever seen! Can't wait for Game 5. So, what this means is that I can't allow my hydro to be cut off, even as an experiment, because then she would miss such things as America's Next Top Model, the Tyra Banks Show, American Idol and The Bachelor. All of which make me curl up into a small ball of fury and weep silently to myself for days at a time. Thank God I go to bed early. But it would be nice not to pay hydro OR the cable bill OR the internet.

Another problem with cutting off my hydro is that I would in fact not have a phone. Because I'm with Rogers, the phone runs off the cable. OR something like that. So even though I have an old-school rotary phone, it would still not work, I am told. So I would have to switch providers. But I could do that. I've lived for almost two months without a microwave, since mine exploded a while ago. But now I have a barbecue, and I cook everything on that anyway. So a stove and a microwave, I can do without. The problem here is that all my barbecue food needs a fridge or a freezer. So if I were to go without that, I would have to either stick to stuff that doesn't need to be refrigerated but can still be made on a barbecue, like...toast. Or, I'll have to walk to the store every day and purchase food. The Hazeldean Mall and their grocery store are about a seven minute walk from my house. That would do me good on a daily basis. No problem!

But of course, I can't do any of this, because there are two small children in my house. And although I think it would do them a heck of a lot of good to go without video games and spongebob for a couple of months, I suppose they need to have a fridge so they can have lunches at school, and I need to feed them something more than hot dogs and burgers at every meal. Although I'm sure that were they asked, ordering pizza and eating burgers is likely their idea of the finest living imaginable, and I don't disagree, I have made it a policy not to subject those under my care to the disregard with which I treat my own body. As such, the one week where we have them, I eat immeasurably better than I do during the week I have to myself. It strikes me that if they ate the way I do, perhaps they might contract kidney stones by the age of fourteen. And I wouldn't wish that on anyone. And I guess they would need some artificial light in order to shower and bathe and so forth. Although I'm convinced I could do it all in the dark.

So it is not feasible for me to conduct this little experiment at the expense of my family. However, I am thinking I will conduct it myself, on my own. Most of my day I spend alone anyway, and I'll turn all the stuff back on when everyone else gets home. I'll just leave the TV and the computer off all day. I'll make a point of barbecueing everything I eat. I will get it all fresh, from the store. I'll walk there, and I will make salads. Then, when the family gets home at about 3:00. I'll cook whatever dinner actually makes sense that night, and turn on the Spongebob afterwards, and so forth. But at the same time I will be more vocal in my encouragement when it comes to doing things outside. Why play Mario Kart when you could be playing soccer? Or some other game I know nothing about when we have perfectly good baseball bats and gloves. This experiment will begin on Saturday, when they are here all day. Of course, it will end quickly at 2:00, since that's game time, and I ain't missin' no playoffs.

The half-assed experiment will then begin anew on Monday. With any luck, I will cut down on my hydro bill substantially and prove that for a month or two in the summer, it can be done. Imagine if everyone in Ottawa did that for one month in the summer? Or one week? Even one day would make an enormous environmental impact. Come to think of it, the fact that I haven't received even one hydro bill since I moved in means I have no idea how much those new light bulbs I put in affected my bill. Ah well. Best thing about them is that I won't have to change them for another seven years. And by then I'll be long gone from this place.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Who deserves their salary...other than me...

Say what you will about the salaries of hockey players and their ilk. Much as a Leaf fan might malign the money being earned by say Wade Belak, or a Senators fan might tear out their hair about the amount of money we dished out for Tyler Arnasson, the fact of the matter is that they do not suck. We say they suck because they are maybe not as good as the others around them, or not as good as the money they make. But the fact remains that in order to make it to the NHL at all, they must be hundreds of times better than you or me. Wade Belak may well suck, but I could not do his job. So he deserves a heck of a lot more money than I do. Where it becomes questionable is when you give some marginal player in the Major Leagues 12 million bucks a year. Remember when the Cleveland Indians gave a 3 Million-a-year contract to Bud Black? There was an outcry. Today that seems more than reasonable.

How about musicians? Do they really deserve their money? Some, I suppose. When you're the Rolling Stones and you sell out every show, you should make a great buck. Even if you're the Eagles and you gouge people on ticket prices. If they'll pay it, you deserve it. It's a conscious choice people make when they buy that ticket. Even, God forbid, Barbra Streisand deserves the ridiculous coin she will be making when she next appears. At $922.00 for the nosebleeds, or whatever the hell she charges, she still deserves it if some lunatics want to pay. She's been established long enough, and has her own devoted following of weirdos who are willing to pay that much. The biggest problem with the making of the money in the music is the Jennifer Lopez types, with the crazy vocal effects and so forth, who don't really sing, don't really write thei music, don't really do anything except look good...and they make all the cash. Shouldn't your producers make most of that? If I went into a recording studio with 11 million dollars, they could make ME sound like Jennifer Lopez. Or Ashlee Simpson. Or Jessica Simpson. But they could not make me sound like Grace Slick or Janis Joplin.

The big one is movies. Sure, Tom Cruise might deserve 30 million a movie if that's what he brings in, ticket-wise. The big name actors probably deserve, for the most part, what they get. It's the producers and directors and screenwriters who are often overpaid. I mean, how tough is it to make a movie like Ocean's Eleven? You find a half-assed screenwriter, hire a half-assed director, thy each make 10 million bucks, and then you spend the entire budget on the major stars, people come to see it on that basis alone, and no one will even remember if the movie is any good. There's not really much skill involved at that level. Case in point: And, once again, back to the "could I do this" thing...Joe Ezsterhaus was paid 2 MILLION dollars for writing the screenplay for Showgirls. Two Million Dollars. And, once again, I think to myself "could I have done this?" and I must answer no. I could not have written that script. Taking into account a lost weekend type bender, a serious head injury, being distracted by the firebombing of my house...I still could not come up with something that bad. That took special skill, and was worth every penny.

I suppose what I'm really saying is that since I make slightly more than minimum wage, I'm drastically overpaid.

I must be oblivious to everything around me...

I am currently embroiled in a bit of a dust-up with the hydro people. It is largely my own fault. You see, when I moved into my current place, I switched all the bills over into my name, set up the online direct payment and online billing, you know, just to save some trees and gas and so forth. So no paper bills ever come to my house, and all my bills come directly out of my bank account. Gas, cable, internet, phone, everything. Well, apparently not everything. Although the hydro people got my change-over papers, they never made the change. And I'm dumb enough that it never occurred to me that I wasn't getting a hydro bill. So it has gone unpaid since December, when I moved in.

Now I'm being threatened with having it cut off. I owe a few hundred bucks, which is fine. What is irritating is that the bills kept getting mailed to my landlord, the previous name on the hydro bill for this place. But no one ever informed me. Until the threats began to arrive. Now I'm on the phone with the hydro people, who are almost as helpful as the people you call for cable. Of course, when I call the cable people, I don't get mad at the people on the phone, because I know it's their system that's obnoxious and not the people themselves. However, I don't really know if this is the case with the hydro people, and I am beginning to lose my patience a little. The problem with this is that I get angry and tense. I might begin to raise my voice a bit. My kidney stone, which has still not left me, will stab me from the inside, and I am unable to keep speaking, at a normal volume or otherwise. I am then forced to hang up, at which point I must call again and repeat the entire process.

I'm sure my hydro won't be cut off, but if it is, will I notice? I don't even know what hydro does. It's not water, cause there's a water bill. It doesn't heat my house, because that's what my gas bill is for, I think. I got it now. If I switched to electric heat, I would no longer have to pay for gas. Therefore, I must have to pay hydro, which means that's...electricity? I suppose that's it. So. If all of a sudden I don't write on my blog for several weeks, it is because my electricity has been cut off and I am trying to see if I can do without it. I'll still have telephone and heat, still have water. I can barbecue all my food. The kids will be forced to play outside, and I sleep before it's dark anyway. Two of my three alarm clocks are battery powered. I might just give it a go. It'll be all books, baseball and burgers from here on in. I think I can get into that. Then I'll write a book, and become a modern-day Henry David Thoreau.

Must we be forced to celebrate? I suppose we must.

We spoke to a guy this morning who wants to recreate the celebratory atmosphere that happened in Edmonton last year and Calgary the year before, as both teams made highly unlikely runs at the Stanley Cup. I agree, it would be nice if Ottawa would do the same. Although, I would not consider our run highly unlikely. Ours is more an "it's-about-damn-time" run at the Stanley Cup. This gentleman wants to turn Elgin Street into a post-game party zone, and I'm all for it. Up until now, all Elgin street has been good for is sloppy cougars and former frat boys who have forgotten that their university and college days are twelve years behind them. And by that I mean of course, that Elgin street has treated me well. I was the only guy there who had never been in a fraternity, and so I have been interesting to the cougars. Splendid.

But that begs the question - is it really the same kind of celebration when it has to be planned? And isn't spontaneous. OK people, we need a time, and a date, and a location to meet. From there our itinerary is very tight. We will begin with the "Go Sens Go" cheer from 10:15 - 10:25. When we have gathered up the greatest number of supporters we think possible, we will begin to march in a Northerly direction toward Parliament Hill. This march will begin at 10:25 sharp, and will be kicked off with a "Stanley Cup!" cheer. From there...

I don't know - what's lamer? That we need to be told about an event like this, and need to find someone to organize it to get us as a city to show up en masse to support our team? Or that we feel like an event like this has to be actually organized? I know, it's sort of a chicken-an-egg type of dilemma. Either way, it's certainly better than nothing. But I know exactly what would create a spontaneous display of support like this one, like the ones we saw in Edmonton and Calgary. Beer. Why don't all the bars and restaurants on Elgin street get together and have a mass discount night or some such thing every night there's a playoff game? Make sure that everyone out there is lubed up and thrilled to be alive and moving on in the Cup. This is what they did out west. Edmonton actually drank their entire city dry during the Oilers' Cup run last year. So let's go, Ottawa, get your drink on!

Of course, we know exactly what this push is about, don't we? Boobs. Hot young co-ed drunken university chick, high-on-life hockey-lovin' boobs. That is why this guy wants to "organize" this thing, and that is why people are going to go. Because they're hoping to see some or to show some. And I'm in favour of it. I know not all residents of the Elgin area are. In fact, one of those residents sent us an email this morning, saying "let them party where their own houses are, and make noise there!" This is, after all, Ottawa, and no amount of festive jubilation or celebratory merry-making is worth keeping some poor homeowner or tenant awake past his 8:00 bed time. For God's sake, people! It's the Senators, and it's the Stanley Cup! I normally go to bed at 6 p.m. every night. On game night, I find time for a nap during the day, I stay up four hours late, I get up two hours later the next morning, but by God I watch the game. In fact, I'm cheering in a small way for us to lose tonight. That way, I can have some beer during the game Saturday afternoon, and head out for the post-game Elgin Street celebration!

Honour thy father and they mother and thy bets.

At this point, I think I've received all the possible emails and phone calls imaginable concerning Doug Gilmour's jersey. What people don't seem to get is that it's NOT Doug Gilmour's jersey that is going to be peed on. It's Jeff Brown's jersey. The whole idea behind a bet is that it has to be unpleasant for the person who loses. And this will be. So please, everyone, stop calling and sending emails saying "make this for charity so the peeing doesn't happen" and so forth. The idea here is that a bet is a bet and it must be honoured. Were we to allow Jeff to welch on his wager simply because of a few irate phone calls, we would then be subject to even more irate phone calls saying "a bet is a bet! What are you doing?" It's a no-win situation. We're not politicians doing whatever we think people want, and breaking oaths because it's more convenient for certain lobby groups, no! We're simply sticking to what's right, and that is honouring one's committments.

Which is why, when Jeff Brown called in yesterday, we stopped him right away. He was about to suggest that he would go TRIPLE or nothing on his bet if the Senators won the cup. But where do you go from shaving and painting your head, belly dancing and this stupid jersey thing? What more could you possibly give? "I will voluntarily amputate one of my fingers, I will undergo a frontal lobotomy, and I will intentionally contract herpes from a hooker in Vanier." And we don't want him to go there. Because, once a bet is made, the bet must be honoured, and should those words leave Jeff's mouth, we would have no choice but to make him go through with it, even though we don't really want to see him lose a finger.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Congratulations Leaf Fans...Yeranation.

As I was white-knuckling on the couch last night, all my energy and focus invested in the Senators game, I could only imagine what Jeff Brown was going through at his house, with so much more on the line. This is why I don't bet on sports. Or at least, I never bet more than I'm prepared to lose. I once had to shave my head after the Super Bowl. Another time, I lost fifteen dollars. That's about it. The main reason is that I never have so much invested in a game that it feels like a life-or-death situation for me. I stick to cheering for my team, be it the Senators or the Packers or the Red Sox, and if they lose, then it isn't the end of the world. Apparently Jeff hasn't figured out that concept, because he sounded like Jimmy Hoffa being taken for a little ride when he called in this morning. He could certainly see the end in sight, as could we all.

I remember as a child I was a fanatic for sports. When the Packers lost, I also lost. When the Oilers came back from being down 3-1 and beat the Winnipeg Jets in the playoffs, I was devastated. I was also six. Since then, I certainly hope my team wins, I cheer for them to win, but if they don't I go upstairs, go to bed, fall asleep and go on with my life. There seems to be a large sect of people out there who take their cheering far more seriously than do I, and they're all calling our station. One man was especially venomous when attacking us for continually talking about the Leafs after they were knocked out. NO Leafs fan EVER, or at least no TRUE Leafs fan, would EVER cheer for the Senators should they be the lone remaining Canadian team in the playoffs.

The theory here is, I suppose, that the hatred inspired by being a fan should always trump the pride one might feel in the success of a representative of one's nation. Frankly, I'd be all about cheering for the Leafs were the situation reveresed. But I'm no longer a fan who live and dies by my team. I haven't been since I was six. Of course, I still have limits. My girlfriend kept flipping the channel last night DURING the game. First, Dr. Phil was talking to pushy stage mothers. That is can't miss TV. THEN, because that wasn't enough, we absolutely HAD to catch that guy from that boy band doing his final dance on Dancing With The Stars because he might be voted off and he's just so cute.

In the end, this may have saved me a little, since the game was such a nail-biter my kidney stone couldn't handle it. Although, it didn't do too well with me freaking out over missing a power play or a penalty kill so I could see if Joey Fatone was pointing his toes properly. Either way, looks like the Senators ARE Canada's team, Jeff Brown WILL lose his bet, and many people will be VERY upset. And I will laugh and laugh.

I guess Rush won't kill me...it won't even kill fish.

We tried Rush on my kidney stone. The theory being that the vibrations next to my kidney would break down the stone and it would just go away. Apparently, that has only made it stronger. No! It cries, desperate to maintain it's hold inside my comfortable organs. I can't go out there, there's bad music! I'm staying here where I can hang around and be irritating! I still haven't passed the little bugger. Apparently, we found out the same thing the Americans did when they tried to blast out Manuel Noriega by playing Twisted Sister. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Today we tried to use Rush to kill fish, but perhaps the same logic applied. At first they swam around furiously, desperately trying to escape their situation. But fish have short memories. And before long, they began to think that this was how their world always was, just a vibrating glass bowl, rotten music, and a buddy who seemed as apathetic as they were. In fact, I'm certain our little experiment caused me more pain than it did the fish. You see, thirty years ago today, or some such thing, Pink Floyd played a show on a waterfront that was allegedly so loud it killed all the fish in the water. Urban legend? Perhaps. True story? Also possible. But we thought perhaps we could check the veracity of this story by blaring music directly into a fishbowl for two hours.

Our music director, Steve Colwill, has two goldfish in a tank in his office, and we grabbed those in order to test the theory. MY theory was that Rush was a foolish choice. The rumour was that Pink Floyd had done this, so why not Pink Floyd? Or why not the Who, the loudest band who ever lived? But no, it had to be Rush, simply because I hate them. Either way, I don't think it would have worked. Not only did the fish not die, they barely seemed perturbed. Of course, two things were working against us. First of all, try as we might, we could not re-create the conditions of the original legend. We could not play our little ghettoblaster as loud as a live Pink Floyd show, and the bowl was far too small to simulate a lake. And secondly, these were super-fish, conditioned to withstand monstrous blasts of music, what with living in Steve's office all these years. This is a man who, for his job, has to blast music all day, every day. Sweet job, really. So nothing we could do would faze these critters. They just thought the work day was starting earlier than usual.

A couple of college guys called up and told us our experiment would fail. Or, at least, would succeed in the sense that the fish would not die. Having heard this same story, these guys had put a fish bowl on top of their bass woofer. Through parties, afternoon jam sessions, late-night-loud-music-study sessions, and many other trials, these fish lived for a year. We simply didn't have that kind of time. And Pink Floyd would have played for three hours, tops. Perhaps the best way to test it is to grab the same fish, bring them to the Roger Waters concert, and repeat the process near the speakers in the front. I had better ask CHEZ for front-row seats, just to ensure the test is done in optimal conditions!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I don't recommend kidney stones

A few things suck about kidney stones. Primarily the pain. Doc wanted me to take a mini-disc recorder home with me so I could record my excruciating pain as I passed my stone. I forgot to do so, but so far it has yet to pass, so it hasn't been an issue. But in point of fact, I have barely been home all weekend, so I would have passed the stone in a bizarre public place more likely than not.

Friday night I attended another one of those "ladies' nights", this time in Russell, to help raise money to build a new wing for the Winchester hospital. Sold a butt-painting, this time to the owner of Wallace's Garage on Bank Street, so it will be proudly displayed in their waiting room, I suppose. I also hosted, and my deepest concern was that I might pass the stone in the bathroom at the Russell arena. At least the men's bathroom was out of the way. It was a ladies' night, you see, so both the men's AND women's bathrooms on the first floor had been turned into women-only places. I had to go up a flight of stairs, through a tunnel, down a hallway, climb over some generators, squeeze past some kind of tank, climb another staircase, go through two more doors and one more hallway, and there was the men's bathroom. All this was murder on my kidney stone, but it did afford me the kind of privacy I would have needed had I needed to pass it then and there.

I had to leave the ladies' night early, however. Since I knew I would be driving there and back, I had stopped taking my painkillers that day. The pain eventually caught up to me and I bowed out early, but before I left I was having a very good time. It's tough to have a bad time when you're one of the only guys in a room full of 500 women. I didn't take any more painkillers that night, or the next morning, since I had more driving and work to do. I think in the end, driving on painkillers may in fact be a better idea that driving with intense pain. Although the painkillers may slow your reaction time and give you sort of a dreamlike, drunk-like state in which to drive, the pain itself actively distracts you from everything happening on the road. In point of fact, I think I would advise against doing either.

Saturday I did a live commercial at Audiotronic, which was great except I didn't really have a chair. So I downed as much water as I could, because from what I understand it's a great way to flush out that stone. Although I had no desire to pass it there at Audiotronic. I ended up sitting in the back room, watching King Kong on the monster hi-def TVs in the back. Not that I like King Kong enough to watch three times, back-to-back, I just needed to sit down. I apologize to all those bonus code hunters who were looking for me but couldn't find me. I was not up to standing at the podium that long. At least the bonus codes were there for the taking.

Still no luck with my stone, so I decided perhaps water was not the answer. Nothing makes my urinate quite like beer, so I went to the Broadway in Barrhaven. My girlfriend is a hairdresser next door, so I figured I could get her to drive me home when I was all done. Again, I have no interest in passing my stone in a Broadway bathroom, but if it gets out of me, so much the better, and at least I have beer in me. It's not painkillers, but it'll do. Many Broadway patrons offered their kind advice, suggesting alternately that it's not that bad, or that it's the worst thing ever. Another guy said "peeing out a rocking chair covered in barbed wire". Apparently that's the universal comparison for ridding onesself of a kidney stone. THanks.

STILL no luck, so I went home to watch hockey and keep drinking beer. I threw as much beer into myself as possible during the game, and what with the double overtime, there was ample time and opportunity to drink. Fifteen beers later, I had peed four times, passed zero stones, intensified my pain, and drank myself into a state where that pain no longer concerned me. Well, at least we won. Coming back from 2-0, giving up a heartbreaking goal to Briere with less than 10 seconds left, and still winning in OT...this Senators team is much much different than it has been in past years. Jeff Brown must be sweating bullets out in Carleton Place.

I will be peeing bullets out in Kanata, but not yet. Today, it's my girlfriend's mother's annual mother's day event. I think Mother's Day is an odd thing. It's something that Moms expect to be done for them, but that expectation doesn't normally arise until the kids are old enough to actually organize these things themselves. Of course, by the time they are old enough to organize things AND care enough to do them, they usually have children of their own. Which means that mother's day should mean the same thing to them. So Mothers Day celebrations, lame as I think they are, are mis-labelled. They are actually, more often than not, Grandmothers Day celebrations. Every now and then I'll do something with my mom on mothers day, but not this time. Mom understands the fact that I am in intense pain, I'd rather not drive, and I'm sitting around my house waiting for a stone to come out the end of my unit.

Not everyone gets that. The prevailing sentiment here is "oh, you're not doing anything with your own mom? Great! You can do the barbecueing and the shopping and go get a cake and find some paper plates for today's party." That's brilliant logic. Too sick to spend the day with my own mom, but just well enough to run around planning a party for someone else's. I don't blame my girlfriend, none of this is her idea. Well, not much of it. Her mom and dad seem to think this is a great plan, however, since it means they get to bask in the glow of being Parents and, for once, not do anything. That's fine. I'm well enough to barbecue. But they can get their own cake. And to protest, I will do my very best to pass my kidney stone at the very moment they blow out the candles on the mothers' day cake. AAAAAhhhhh.

With my luck, of course, it will happen live on the air Monday morning. Stay tuned!