January 31, 2006

The Sights of Downtown Sarasota

Each morning and evening on my way to and from work, Im both blessed and cursed with a drive directly through downtown Sarasota on a stretch of US41 that also meets up with and curves around Sarasota Bay. Its not that large a town, so the traffic is never terrible, and the view is worthwhile. At one point, the road isnt more than ten feet from the water. The scene changes from the asphalt and foot traffic of a small downtown area to a scenic display of ocean and sky in an instant, before switching back just as spontaneously. People like to anchor their boats in random spots near the road, so its like driving through one of those cheesy paintings youll see for sale at every flea market in America, just with less pelicans per capita. Its actually a nice, relaxing thing to see both before and after a long day at the office.

Unfortunately, Sarasota considers itself to be a city of the arts, which I guess means they have a need to spoil the view by staggering dozens of strange sculptures around the area without really taking the time to think about what theyre doing there. Theres no apparent thought given to the sculptures relation to one another, as they represent dozens of different styles (none of which ever seem to agree with one another), let alone the effect they have on the scenery itself. Its like a dark government helicopter arrives late at night, heaves these things out the window and then flies away undetected. Every year or two, these sculptures are swapped out for a new set of eyesores, and the cycle begins anew. This year weve been blessed with a set of strange abstract pieces, some of which would be curious in a different setting, along with a gargantuan sculptural reproduction of the famous sailor kissing lady photo that signified the end of World War II. You know the one.

This thing must be twenty five or thirty feet tall, and is just hideous. Its featured prominently right on the corner of downtown, and is very obviously their token patriotic showpiece. When I first saw it, I mustve passed as they were still piecing it together. All that I could see was a giant, twelve foot tall pair of upright, free-standing slacks, and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. That evening, when I drove past and saw the finished piece, I just shook my head. Its still shaking now, really, every time I drive past it. Just a horrible way to kill a naturally cool view.

So Ive established my disdain for this sculpture. I drove by it a couple of days ago and someone had spray painted a big peace sign on the calf of the girl's uplifted leg. When I drove past this morning, another someone (presumably the authorities) had spray painted a big white box over it. Her leggings are pink, so it looks like she's wearing a giant nicotine patch while accepting a great big passionate kiss from this random sailor. Better yet, there was a guy standing next to it in this ridiculous Benny Hill-style Bobby uniform, complete with a crazy brown moustache and a billy club (which he was waving at oncoming traffic). He had a chair next to him, so it looked like he was planning to be there all day. That made my morning.

Last week, when I worked overtime each day to the point of exhaustion, I was driving home late one night along the same stretch on the opposite side of the road. There was this guy wearing a huge sandwich board-style cardboard cutout of a grey cloud and a sign that said "Honk if you're having a bad day!"

I wanted to honk, but I was having too bad a day.

posted by drqshadow at 8:00 PM 0 comments

January 26, 2006

Life Stories...

I posted this in a thread about "weird restroom stories" on the Oratory forums, and felt it was worth sharing with anyone who doesn't visit the forums or perhaps those who overlooked the thread.

No matter where I am, I'm notorious for wanting to take my shoes off. I'll walk around the yard in socks, when I'm at work I'm wearing socks with no shoes, when I've got more than an hour's drive I'll go shoeless, and when I would go to the bathroom in the dorms it would be in socks, sans shoes. It's just more comfortable that way.

So anyway, I'm living in the dorms my freshman year, dropping the kids off between classes in the big 30-stall shared bathroom on our floor of the complex. I'm in the stall all the way to one end, against the wall, and nobody else is around. About halfway through my business, I hear someone come into the bathroom, and they're obviously heavy and winded. They're stomping and breathing, making a lot of noise. They march around for a minute, and then decide to shit. Stomp their way over to the stalls, look around, and start walking to my stall. They try my door, and I see these huge brown boots with mud caked on them walk to the stall directly next to me. They drop trow, but never turn around to take a seat, and it looks like they're going to take a piss, which is puzzling considering the urinals on the other side of the room.

Then I hear this enormous splash, not like a turd hitting the water, but more like a boulder being heaved into a lake. The guy next to me flushes, starts breathing again, and takes off running without pulling his pants back up. I laugh, then realize that the stall next to me is already beginning to overflow, and the water sure isn't crystal clear. This nasty, foggy brown choclate milk-looking shit is pouring out onto the floor, and I've got a shit halfway out of my ass trying to decide how to finish, wipe and get out as quickly as possible to avoid walking through puddles of shitwater in stocking feet.

I wound up pinching it off, forgoing the wipe, and tearing out of there with my pants half up. If anybody had been watching from outside, I can only imagine what they would've thought after seeing this dude haul out of there with pants around his ankles, pursued quickly by me with my pants unbuttoned and a look of fear on my face.

posted by drqshadow at 8:00 PM 0 comments

January 05, 2006

Loss of a Dear Friend

Ladies and gentlemen, I feel obligated to inform you that after six long months of compassion, care and daily grooming, my unspeakably sexy machobeard has finally met its end. As has most of the fur on the top of my head. I returned home Tuesday evening restless and enveloped in thought, at which time the decision was made to end its suffering in the most human way possible: by way of two(!) pairs of industrial-strength scissors and my trusty beard trimmer. Length setting number five. Goodbye, sweet friend. We shared many memories together, and while your physical manifestation may have been flushed repeatedly down the toilet, (where you no doubt suffered endless torment and great indignities before finally passing on to that great, furry face in the sky) your spirit lives on within each of us.

Pictures may or may not be forthcoming. I’m always really good at taking a great “before” picture and never following it up with a suitable “after.”

posted by drqshadow at 7:59 PM 0 comments