The main reason I got an iPhone—aside from the fact that my previous RAZR phone had reception equal to that of a 1960’s short-wave radio (“Come-in Tokyo!”)—was so I could keep connected to the internet and my billions of fans no matter where I was or what I was doing.
So, on Monday, I decided to take it up in a hot air balloon. Normally, I don’t fly much, but when there are too many people for the mid-sized balloon but not really enough for the big balloon, the pilot likes to have some extra weight in the basket for maneuverability, so one of the crew guys will jump in.
Usually, it’s Roeland, because he’s training to get his pilots’ license and needs all the flight-time he can get. But, it was a nice day and I thought it might be fun to try twittering while I was up there.
Although most of my tweets were of the simple “Hello from 2,500 feet!” variety, I did get creative enough to take a self-portrait and upload it for all the world to see (or, at least all of my 8,000 Twitter followers). What I didn’t realize, though, was that the photo I uploaded didn’t really capture the essence of my charm like I thought it did when I viewed it on my iPhone in bright sunlight while not wearing glasses.
Nope. In this particular photo I looked like a liquor store panhandler.
Could you imagine?: You get into a hot air balloon to go for a ride and after you’re way above the ground—high enough so that if you jumped out and hit the ground it would look more like a Rorschach Test than a dead body—a stinky, unshaven, yet surprisingly handsome panhandler reaches out his hand and says, “gimmie a quarter!”
Trapped at 3,000 feet with a panhandler. That would suck.
Anyway, the photo in which I’m referring is NOT the one you see at the top of this page; although, it was taken within seconds of the other one which, believe-it-or-not, is much worse. If you really want to see it, I’m sure you can find it in my twitter feed somewhere.
The great thing about being a hoarder and never throwing anything away, is that you are often nostalgically surprised when you pull something out of a box you’ve had stored in the attic for 20-years.
Take this Farfrompüken t-shirt I discovered this morning. This thing brings back memories. Memories such as waking-up under a freeway overpass in a shopping cart and wondering at what point during the previous night I agreed to wearing a “Picasso-deranged” version of clown makeup.
It’s funny how, when you’re in your early twenties, spending two hours in the imported beer section at Liquor Barn was not only acceptable, but crucial! Every label must be read in order to guarantee you were getting the most alcohol content possible while still maintaining some sort of traditional, non-threatening ingredients. “Now With Extra Turpentine!” is probably a clue you should try something else.
Once you hit thirty, buying beer is much less exciting—oh, you’ll drink more—but, spending more than 10-seconds choosing a beer is pretty much a thing of the past.
I spent most of my 30’s living in the land of beer: Wisconsin. If you live there, it’s a written law that you must drink a Wisconsin beer; otherwise, I’m pretty sure it is legal for citizens to dress you up in a Minnesota Vikings uniform and let you loose in a frozen, but moderately trafficked section of the state (Wisconsinites will immediately recognize this as a fate much worse than death). The good news, though, is that nearly every small town has it’s own brewery, so you can always find something you like.
My favorite brewery was Leinenkugel’s in Chippewa Falls, and in particular, their Honey Weiss beer. I’ve had many exciting adventures fueled by Honey Weiss—sometimes mixing such unrelated themes as lumberjacking and the abuse of fireworks.
By the time you get to be forty-years-old you drink almost the same amount of beer you did in your thirties, but the beer-induced adventures consist of you watching your drunk, thirty-something friends experience their alcohol-fueled adventures. When you’re forty, climbing trees in 10-below zero temperatures doesn’t sound like the greatest idea ever anymore—but, watching your inebriated buddies do it can be very entertaining.
Now that I’m through my forties and living in Southern California, I just don’t get that excited about beer anymore. I might have one or two if I go out to a Mexican restaurant or something, and you can’t even get Honey Weiss out here. If I do order a beer it’s usually Dos Equis—not because it tastes the best, but because that’s what the most interesting man in the world prefers. 🙂
Stay thirsty, my friends…
In the past, when anyone asked how they could find me online, I usually just told them to type Incredibly Hot Men into Google and hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. But the way Google keeps changing its indexing criteria, it’s only a matter of time before it improperly redirects to the website of a slightly less-hot guy such as George Clooney or Abraham Lincoln.
But soon, none of that will make any difference because everyone will be carrying a little gadget called a Poken that, when held together with the Poken of someone you want to exchange online info with, instantly exchanges all your online social media info with that person.
Email, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and the list goes on for as many social media sights as you want to set up.
Pokens fit right in your pocket, purse or on your keychain and you can start gathering your friends information instantly right-out-of-the-box after you activate it (but, you will need access to a computer and register online before they can gather yours).
I would love it if everyone got one of these. I am constantly asked for my email, my blog, my Facebook and, especially, where daily passengers can find the photos I took of their hot air balloon flight (I work in the hot air balloon industry and take TONS of photos). It would make writing all this stuff down a thing of the past.
At first, I thought these things were geared more toward high-school kids given the colorful cartoony look. But Pokens have obvious business applications as well, so after researching a bit, I see they have a grown-up business model as well (at a substantial price increase however). They would be perfect for use at conventions.
And, of course, there’s the dating applications: Imagine a hot chick in a night club. She gives you the look. You give her the look. She stirs her drink. You twist your fabulous Snidely Whiplash mustache. Neither of you speak, but you hold up your Pokens and silently exchange online information so that later you can exchange bodily fluids. All without saying a word. 🙂
Pokens are available right now from Poken Zoo (and fulfilled by Amazon.com) for $17.95
Its cold, black eye-holes began glowing with hell’s orange embers, and when it opened its mouth, I thought it was trying to speak, but to my horror, it was merely a build-up of maggots forcing its jaws and spilling onto the floor like globs of writhing oatmeal.
OK, not quite. What really happened was this:
It was in the fall of 1992, and I was working as a quality control manager for an aerospace firm called American Automated Engineering in Huntington Beach, California. I had heard random stories of ghosts in that building for the full 7 years I worked there, but, aside from a few unexplained footsteps or creaking chairs in unoccupied offices, I hadn’t experienced anything major until the final year of my employment.
Two things happened that year that I just can’t explain; both were in the presence of my former secretary who was transferred upstairs to the accounting department which was located just outside the two owners’ offices. Although there were stories of ghosts in all parts of the building, the most activity seemed to accumulate in or near those two offices.
At first, my secretary was happy about being transferred upstairs because, let’s face it, who would want to work for me?—but, after a couple of weeks, any time she was left alone up there, she would call down to my office and beg me to come up and keep her company. She wasn’t shy about telling me why, either: she actually saw the ghost on several occasions and it continuously menaced her.
Naturally, as a non-believer in ghosts, I took the opportunity to go upstairs and heckle her about it a little bit. She didn’t really like it, and I wasn’t really mean about it, but she put up with it rather than be up there alone.
Then I began experiencing things myself. One day while talking to her, I was leaning up against the doorway that leads into her office area when I felt someone firmly push me to get by; I was certain it was the president of the company who would do that kind of thing in a playful manner; however, when I turned to see who it was, there was no one there.
OK, “big deal,” you say, and I agree with you. I figured it was my imagination and didn’t think anything of it. But, I really did feel something, so I used it as inspiration to tease the secretary.
“Hey, I just felt the ghost push me!”
She gave me a look as if to say, “You wouldn’t be making fun of this if you experienced what I have.”
I felt a little bit sorry for her and gave her a few days without any teasing; but then I got the ultimate inspiration:
I saw the ghost myself.
As I walked by the president’s office, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw someone other than the president sitting at his desk. Curious as to why some unknown person would be sitting there, I looked back and for a split second saw a man with dark-brown hair wearing a white dress shirt, blue and white striped tie and his black suit jacket on the back of the chair.
After I blinked, he was gone.
I immediately figured it was my mind playing tricks on me and wasted no time telling the secretary, who was sitting just outside that office, that I just saw the ghost. She, of course, thought I was teasing her and forced a small chuckle.
I laughed a little bit then confessed that I—if only for an instant—really did think I saw someone in there.
What she said to me next caused me to never tease her again. She said, “I know… he’s got dark-brown hair wearing a white dress shirt, blue and white striped tie and his black suit jacket is on the back of the chair.”
I LITERALLY felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up.
She turned and went silently back to work.
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