Ulcers Be Damned!

So, I went to the Doctor today to see what he could make of the crippling stomach pain that has since replaced the tolerable heartburn I used to have. (What a long sentence! And grammatically correct, too!) After some poking and prodding at my tummy, and some uncomfortable talk about stools, the verdict was constipation.

Yeah, it’s not a pretty thing to have. And it’s not very fun to talk about, but I’ll allow myself to be the trendsetter here. Plain and simple, I need to change my diet, because the train just isn’t leaving the station anymore. This is not an attractive thing for a 22 year old man to have. And a relatively healthy one at that. The pessimist in me knew it was going to be an ulcer, so I was pleasantly surprised. Gas I can handle, but stress-related stomach holes? That’s another story.

You know what? I’m not going to share any more details of this with you.

Moving on, a guy from Eau Claire won $100,000 on Super Millionaire last night. Good for him! He had a great attitude and appreciated the cash. If I see one more already-wealthy lawyer in that “hot seat”, I’m going to climb the nearest Clock Tower and start shooting.

Well, I’m off to ingest a large helping of fiber.

Idiot Box

Oh, happy day. Things finally seem to be falling into place here on said web page. The images work, the comments are enabled again, and my Angelfire account has yet to be suspended. If any of these things should happen again, be patient and check back later. I’m only a man.

I got a lot of errands done today, and for a good reason. As you see I, Ryan Olson, lover of all things television, have decided to wean myself off of daytime TV. Sure, it seems easy. But television is a way of life for me. It’s always on, not for entertainment and my constant attention, but for company. This has gotten out of hand, so I decided that from the time I woke up every day (usually between 7 and 9am) until Jeopardy comes on at 4:30, I will refuse to turn on the television. This is a grand total of about 8 hours less TV than I watch each day. This is a huge undertaking for me, and as with most things I refrain from, I’m doing it just to see if I can.

I gave up meat 2 years ago. I gave up caffeine 3 years ago. Neither of those things I thought I would get through, as they were huge parts of my life. I would hit the caffeine harder than most people would do any illegal drugs, and there would be weeks where I would eat nothing but meat, as my arteries and heart just looked at each other and shook their heads in disbelief. Giving up those 2 things was difficult to say the least. Meat was easier because I had Celia, who was already a vegetarian, to kick me in the ass when I stumbled. Caffeine was much harder. I would shiver like I had hypothermia, my knees and joints would ache and atrophy, and I wouldn’t be able to hold anything steady for any length of time. But eventually, it didn’t bother me anymore, and I never looked back. Now I’m telling the TV to go straight to hell, at least until prime time. I’ll let you know how I’m doing as the days roll on. So far, day 2 has been just fine. I’m fixing things around the house, I called MMI to find out where the hell my diploma was, and I made a much-needed doctor’s appointment for this searing pain in my stomach. I’m pretty certain it’s an ulcer considering the stress I’ve been under. (Yeah, make the jokes about an unemployed white male being under stress. I can take it.)

Infant a Go-Go.

I don’t think I’ve ever looked more forward to the end of a weekend than I did this previous one. Subsequently, I’ve never awoke to a Monday morning with so much joy and relief. Today, I slipped back into my quiet routine of general housework, television and naps.

The wedding went better than it could have, I’ll give them that. When Celia was talking about the night before, during the rehearsal and dinner, I was certain that I would witness a meltdown of the most severe church proportions. And while it came close at times, everything remained just smooth enough for everyone to go home not angry.

Celia was already at the church when I showed up. I drove her Mother there, and the two of us stood in the lobby for 15 minutes, desperately looking for anyone that we knew. Finally, we saw Celia and the other bridesmaids, looking fantastic and confirming that we were indeed at the right church. Eventually Erin, Ben and Sherry showed up and we all took our seats uncomfortably close to the front. The ceremony started, nobody tripped over anything, and everyone settled in.

Then the minister spoke, and promptly made an ass out of himself. He was a greasy-type who looked more at home selling you real-estate or plea-bargaining for his client on death row. He was trying to teach us that there was a “right way” and a “wrong way” to have a wedding. To establish this point, he told a truly revolting story about when he decided to cook a rabbit for dinner, and instead turned it into a disgusting mess which he fed to his also repulsed dog. And that’s where the story ended. No moral, no lesson. Just horror and stunned looks from the crowd as he begrudgingly moved on to the next part of the ceremony.

The rest was just standard fare, as the wedding ended and we all filed into the lobby to discuss what to do next. Everyone I sat with disappeared until the reception started that evening, as I hung around with Celia as she had pictures taken with the rest of the wedding party. The photographer was a jackass, and I made fun of him behind his back, because I’m mature like that. Finally, we hopped in the car and went to the reception at the Legion Hall in Oshkosh.

I’ve never been here, but I soon found that it held 8 people comfortably. This wouldn’t be a problem, but there was a little over a hundred people there, stuffed into long dinner tables like bridesmaids stuffed into barbaric, sadistic shoes. The sheet that was made so beautifully by Celia was shining like a beacon behind the main table, and it received a good share of positive comments. I like to think that I was partly responsible for its beauty, because I did nothing to wreck it while it sat on my living room floor.

Vegetarians always get screwed over at reception dinners. I helped myself to a bun filled with cheese and 2 pounds of potato salad (I didn’t put 2 pounds of potato salad in the bun, just next to it). I then spent the next 10 minutes talking to a complete stranger about what I did in college. This was the same guy that thought that me and Celia were brother and sister (which we are). Dinner was over, the chairs were cleared and the rockin’ dance began.

Remember, there was no alcohol served. This means several things. Mainly it meant that most people left and nobody danced, but small children. (there was one baby who just sat in the middle of the dance floor by himself just completely rocking out. It was absolutely fantastic) This fit right up my alley. So me, Celia, Ben, Sherry, Lindsay, Amy and Amy’s boyfriend (who’s name I cannot spell, respectfully) crowded around a table and talked loudly about nothing. Hopefully I didn’t come off as annoying, but it was just so staggeringly boring that I resorted to lame jokes and accidentally throwing a cup of ice into Lindsay’s lap, as I frantically apologized and turned red. This went on for about 5 hours, until we decided that we had been polite enough and left. We went to Perkins to eat again, as dinner had sucked out loud, as previously stated.

Tired and cold, we all retired to our separate quarters, where I’m quite certain we had the best sleep of our lives.

(Lots of other things happened during the evening, but I’m no longer going to bore you with the details. I sang too much, and danced like an ass way too much. Enough of that. If anyone who was there wants to comment on this night, please do so in the comments section.)

Oh, and on Sunday I told my Grandmother that I was going to change my name. There were tears and sadness and an awful feeling in my gut that’s sure to keep me sick all week. That’s all I want to say about that.

Here Comes the Science.

2 weeks ago I took a typing and clerical exam for the job of Clerk Typist at the Madison Public Library. This would involve me keeping track of every piece of text in the entire massive building. Believe it or not, I really want this job, and the $25,000 a year isn’t too bad either. So I applied, and was invited to this test.

I was one of 115 people to apply and test for the position, so right off the bat I knew that to get this job would be a miracle to say the least. I just thought that if I typed and answered questions as fast as I could, I would get a better percentage due to sheer volume. My intelligence is questionable, but my speed of completing work is second to none. This would be the only way that I could succeed over the 114 others who were more qualified, and had spent actual work hours in an office environment rather than 4 years at a hardware store. Writing down “Hardware Store Clerk – 6/98 to 6/02” doesn’t really pad out a resume too well.

So on the morning before I took the big test, I tried cocaine for the first time. I purchased the high-grade “white” from a guy named Vance who I always see standing outside the liquor store from the window of my house. I had sworn off caffeine for over 2 years now, and knew I really needed an extra boost for the undertaking. My job depended on it.

So, all coked up, I drove to the testing site near the Capitol Building going a shade over a hundred miles an hour in the Escort. I got there an hour and a half early, and spent that extra time finding a parking spot and walking to the building. (I would later find out from Celia that I actually just drove around the block of my house for 45 minutes, parked in the street, and ran the 20 miles to Madison)

When I got there, I sat down and started the first of my 2 tests, the typing test. You needed to type a minimum of 40 net words per minute. Forgetting that I needed to type the text off of the sheet that was handed to me, I spent the testing time just going on about how neat I thought that cats were. They sent me a transcript of what I wrote, and here’s a small sample of it:

“cats rocK1! they shit in boxes andsleeep all day i gotta cat shes awsome she eats kibble and it was colld outside today”

Somehow, I managed to milk 51 net words per minute out of that performance(and 60 gross), so I got to take the written Clerical exam next. By this point, I was starting to feel exhausted and emotional. By the time the instructor came back to me with the test booklet, I was crying pretty hard and had my scarf wrapped around my face to muffle the yelling. She was nice about it though, and just left the booklet next to me. Eventually I calmed myself down and started taking it, though it was very slow going. Every time I got to an alphabetizing question, I would start reciting the alphabet out loud while counting on my fingers, much to the annoyance to the room full of other testers who were already growing more and more impatient with me. I would get to about “J” before I broke down again, muttering things about how much I hated cats while I wrapped the scarf ever tighter. I got 4 correct out of 160. Adding insult to injury, I had to walk all the way back home.

So I got the letter today saying that although they would consider me for Library jobs in the future, I was not high enough on the list of people they were going to interview. I ended up ranking #14 out of 115, but it was just below the cut. So it’s back to square one for me.

Don’t do the drugs.

Sheet Envy

Today was the deadline to try out to become a host on Mythbusters. I had planned on submitting an application and videotape of myself attempting to prove or deny an urban legend, but I ran out of time.

It was going to be great, I tells ya’. I was going to talk about backwards masking in music, and if it were possible to put in a message that was audible forwards as well as backwards. I would test if the English language, with its’ infinite phonetics and pronunciations, would hold up under what happens to audio when it’s reversed (and I outta know). I was going to go to MMI, and record a bunch of things, and make it look real professional-like, and the people at Discovery Channel in San Francisco would call me and immediately request that I take the next flight to California to become the new host.

But the guy that was supposed to give me the contact information to the MMI instructors I needed to call failed to respond to me after a week of pleading. So it fell through and I’m pissed off and bitter. So to Lucas, if you ever read this, I hate you and you’ve ruined my chances to become a cable television personality. If it takes me until I’m a hundred years old, I will kill you.

But enough of that, because I’m behind it and it’s over. It’s a big week here at the Olson/Kasuboski household. Celia is putting the finishing touches on a bed sheet that will be hung at the wedding reception of her friend Cassie. Apparently, this sheet was requested to be made to hang over pictures of dead soldiers at the VFW where the reception will be held. I could get into how awful it is to drape a painted sheet over monuments to people who threw themselves onto grenades to keep us from having to learn German, but I’ll save it. This sheet may seem like a trivial detail in amongst all the things we have to do to prepare for this wedding, but if you can believe it, this sheet almost broke us up on a number of occasions, and still may.

We’ve had to move furniture to accommodate it. We’ve accidentally painted a giant pink “D” on the walls of our rented apartment. The house was torn up because of it for weeks on end, causing my OCD to kick into high gear and be none too fun to be around. Paint, lace and plastic jewels everywhere. I’m unhappy, Celia’s unhappy, the cats want to walk on it and can’t, so they’re unhappy. As I type, it lays splayed in the living room, looking cold and unapproachable. It will leave the house on Friday. Enough about the sheet.

So back to this wedding. Celia is in it, and I will be a spectator. The plan was to be cordial and polite at the wedding, and then get completely shitfaced and embarrassing at the reception. (Celia’s idea and exact words, I swear.) Apart from the fact that I don’t drink, and I’ve never been “shitfaced”, we hear the news that there will be no alcohol at the reception! Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous in your life? Have you ever been to a wedding reception where everyone wasn’t making a whiskey sour-induced fool of themselves? Sure, I’ve got alcoholics in my family, but reception-drunk-ness is a staple of ALL family weddings. It’s just the principle of the thing. True, hardly anyone there will be over 21 (I’m 22), but I’m still gunna stick to my guns on this one.

On Friday, the day before this wedding, I get to spend the day with my Dad. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but you’ve got to understand that I’ve talked to my Dad for a total of about 4 minutes a year for the last 11 years. He thought I would be interested in what was going on at the Bird and Game Farm that he runs back home in Larsen. Apparently, a camera crew is coming to tape an outdoor television show there, and for some unknown reason he knew that I was in school for stuff like that. So he invited me to stand in the freezing cold Wisconsin forest, in February, for 8 hours while people pointed guns and cameras at birds; and shot, killed, dismembered and gutted them. I said yes, but only because my Dad has never invited me to anything. For an anti-gun, anti-redneck, anti-cold weather, anti-killing stuff vegetarian, this should be hell on earth. And it might be, but I’m still going to do it because I’m a good son and I’m not invited to the wedding rehearsal.

Right now I’m reading “Stupid White Men”, by Michael Moore. I’m listening to “For Young Electric Pop”, by Polysics. I watched “Bowling For Columbine” a couple of weeks ago, and for the first time in my life I cried watching a movie.

Have a good day, spuds.

Happy Friday the 13th to everyone today. I’m spending my day entirely indoors, cleaning the house and preparing for a trip back home to Winnebago County. We’re headed back due to a wedding shower for Celia’s friend. I am not invited, and it’s just as well. I’m neither a woman nor a bride (although I’ve offered several times to show up and dance for them). My plans for the weekend include playing Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble with my family, and various other time-wasting activities. Nothing deep enough to leave a permanent mark.

While I type, my bride-to-be slaves away at the Department Of Revenue, taking countless calls from disgruntled taxpayers (we’re getting married in June). I’m in the process of becoming a member of the working race again, now that I’m all graduated from MMI. A degree in music and audio production is worthless in Madison, where all they’ll ever need are trained monkeys who can type 40 words per minute to constantly process data. Soon, I will become one of those monkeys, complete with insurance benefits.

I can’t wait.