Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday

As a lapsed Catholic, Fat Tuesday has recently held little significance for me other than seeing other people party their asses off in a city I don't live in. This year is a different story.

My hot girlfriend still makes and keeps Lenten promises. I'm along for the ride. You see, I figured it couldn't hurt to make a sacrifice for forty days, plus I'd rather not be an enabler during her sacrifice time. She's giving up sweets, which means I'm giving up sweets. In celebration of Fat Tuesday, I'll be having a Heath Bar.

Here are some other things I'll be giving up:
  1. Giving up.
  2. Talking about giving things up.
  3. Wondering what other people have given up.
  4. Dealing with idiots.
  5. Watching that stupid commercial with the monkeys in the office.
  6. Smoking (Done!)
  7. Pretending to be nice.
  8. Pretending to like you.
  9. Murder.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl Sickness

Super Bowl Sunday is always a sad day for me. It’s the day the NFL goes into hibernation for the spring and summer. It’s the day a team hoists the Lombardi Trophy and gets to call themselves champions. In my thirty years, that team has never been my team. In fact, my team has never even been to the Super Bowl in my lifetime. Every year I walk away from the game sad that the season is over and indifferent to the outcome. It would seem that this year would be no different, but it was.

This was it. This was finally the year that my team was going to get to the big game. I watched the Colts go 13-0 (thanks to my girlfriend I got to witness win #12 live) and believed that this was finally the year that all the pieces had fallen into place. Instead, I watched them choke again in the playoffs. I was heartbroken. For days afterwards, I could not talk about it or even think about it rationally. I wondered if Manning and Dungy would ever win a championship. Will their legacy be that they can’t win the big one?

Weeks passed and my anger and sadness subsided. Suddenly, Super Bowl Sunday was upon me. I had made my plans to go to a Super Bowl party. Usually, I would look forward to hanging with friends and having a few laughs during the game. This time as the game crept closer I wanted to be a part of it less and less. Every little thing annoyed me. I saw a friend with a Steelers shirt. I wanted to punch her. I watched an interview with Mike Holmgren’s wife who was on a volunteer mission in Africa. I wanted to punch her. I saw a shot of Ford Field with the Steelers and Seahawks logos hanging outside. I wanted to punch them. People said to me, “You seem grumpy. Is everything okay?” I would make up some excuse about being tired or not feeling well. I knew that I couldn’t tell them that I was still heartbroken about the Colts. They wouldn’t understand. They would think I was a sore loser.

I’m not a sore loser. I’ve accepted the defeat. The Colts were beaten by the better team that day. They choked. They had their shot and they blew it. Accepting the defeat does not make the pain go away. The feeling I got when I heard the words “Super Bowl” was the same feeling you get when you have to say, “We broke up” to a friend after you just got dumped. The acceptance of it makes it worse. Seeing another AFC team in the Super Bowl was like seeing your ex-girlfriend dating another – better – guy two weeks after she dumped you. You say you’re happy for her, but you’re not. You’re angry because it should be you, not him, going to see Brokeback Mountain with her. Instead, you’re stuck in the row behind them watching them make out the whole time. That’s what it felt like watching the Super Bowl.

Then I started thinking. What if that was it? What if that was the best shot the Colts will ever get? Maybe Manning goes down with an injury. The linemen retire or get hurt. Receivers retire. We can’t replace James. This disappointing season may be as good as it gets. People tell you that there is always next year. It’s like hearing that there are more fish in the sea. But what if there isn’t? What if that was the one chance? For the rest of your life, you only go out with girls your mom sets you up with. Sure, you’ll be okay but you may never find that true love. That’s something that only happens when everything is just right, and you blew it.

That’s why I couldn’t explain to anyone why I was in a bad mood.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The State of the Union

The following is a transcript of Jeff Ford’s State of the Union Address given on February 1, 2006.

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and anyone else who happens to be in my living room at the moment: In the past year my person has undergone great change in this new and ever-evolving world. Jeff Ford has risen to meet these changes, and the state of the union is – much to my parents’ chagrin – nonexistent. (Hesitant applause.)

Just under a month ago, I began my 30th year on this planet. I remain legally single, employed and healthy. (Applause.) Over the past twelve months, many new reforms and initiatives have been implemented to improve my quality of life and allow me to use my time more efficiently. So while I may still be single, employed and healthy – as in 2004 – this year I became less single, more employed and more healthy. (Applause.)

In 2004, we saw a rise in efficiency due to the acquisition of a laptop. The use of this laptop continued throughout 2005 to outstanding results. This laptop allowed me to automate my bill paying process, thereby reducing the time and effort required to reduce the Personal Debt. I also used the laptop as a conduit to my creative outlet, my blog. Due to its mobility and wireless connectivity, I was able to quickly and effectively answer email queries and problem solve on the run. The end result of the increased use of the laptop was a productivity increase of approximately 10%. (Applause.)

The Person of Jeff relocated to a new shelter early in 2005. This relocation became a necessity based on the crime rate in 2004. In 2004 apartment break-ins were up 200%. I determined that the location of my residence and the residential security within played a major factor in that increase. I decided to relocate to a more secure location in the same general neighborhood. This led to a 200% decrease in break-ins for 2005 – back to the previous 2003 levels of zero break-ins. (Applause.)

Another major win for the Person of Jeff in 2005 was the 100% decrease in automobile emissions. (Applause.) This was due to the donation of my vehicle to the AIDS Research Foundation. I was able to find alternative transportation in the form of busses and trains to get to and from my primary place of employment. This change not only reduced my contribution to the harmful emissions emitted by automobiles, but it reduced transportation expenses. By decommissioning my vehicle and relying upon CTA and Metra, I reduced transportation costs by 65%. (Applause.)

Preventative health care greatly increased in the past year. I continued my consistent workout regimen that began in 2004 and supplemented it with program direction from the Person of Dee – who aside from being my beautiful girlfriend is also a professional fitness expert. Energy levels increased dramatically along with my level of fitness. Body fat percentage dropped from 10% to 6%. (Applause.) Strength and stamina improved along with confidence and positive body image. My medical staff gave me a clean bill of health following my yearly examination. (Applause.) In short, Jeff Ford is faster, stronger and healthier than in 2004. (Applause.)

Entertainment also saw increased enjoyment and savings. In the early third quarter of 2005, my cable was replaced with DirecTV resulting in a 24% savings in my television expenses. (Applause.) The acquisition of DirecTV also coincided with the acquisition of TiVo. The combination of these two acquisitions allowed me to watch TV more efficiently; thereby increasing my enjoyment of the entertainment I consumed and decreasing the amount of time needed to watch such programming. (Applause.)

We also saw an increase in volunteer time in 2005. This bulk of this time was devoted to Birch Family Camp – a camp for kids and families affected by HIV/AIDS. I went to New York to spend a week as an activities counselor at Birch Camp. I coordinated games and sports for the kids to play during the day. I made memories that will last me a lifetime. It was a week that refreshed my mind, body and spirit and I returned home a better man. (Extended Applause.)

However, 2005 provided its challenges. As many regions of the Person of Jeff flourished in 2005, others did not. My position as Marketing Director of pH Productions NFP was one of those regions that did not flourish. After holding the Marketing Director title for three years, I decided that it was in the best interest of Jeff and pH Productions NFP that I step down. I will still maintain my involvement with pH Productions as a founder, performer and member of the Board of Directors.

Despite my poor performance as Marketing Director, I was still able to perform well for my primary employer. I completed five large projects in 2005 on time and without defects. (Applause.) For this effort, I received a mid-year raise (Applause.) and was awarded with a promotion and further raise at year-end. (Applause.)

The biggest development in 2005 was the acquisition of a girlfriend. (Applause.) Midway through the first quarter of 2005, I met the Person of Dee. Due to careful financial planning in 2004, I was able to secure several meals and movies for the two of us as we exchanged Personal information. Soon we were able to share matters of Personal Security and aid each other in the ongoing War on Loneliness. The Person of Dee and I have continued to wage that war – and we are winning! (Applause.) This alliance has yielded incredible improvements to my emotional and psychological health. The Person of Dee is extraordinarily beautiful, delightfully witty and amazingly understanding. Adding this ally in the War on Loneliness has helped the Person of Jeff reach unprecedented levels of Happiness, Love (yes, Love) and Making Out. (Extended Applause.)

2005 held great achievements for the Person of Jeff as he completed his 30th year. Those achievements have merely set the stage for further achievements to come in 2006. I increased my health, wealth and happiness and expect those to continue to increase through 2006. The plans for 2006 are lofty in scope and many in number, but the Jeff that was built through the hard work of 2005 is poised and ready to accomplish each and every one of those goals. And so I move forward with hope, happiness and faith in the Person of Jeff.

God bless you all, and God bless Jeff Ford.

Fears and Random Thoughts

My company is a sponsor of the Chicago Rush Arena Football team. Today, representatives from the Chicago Rush are in our cafeteria passing out free schedules and pennants and posters and such. Most of the reps are dressed in the standard khaki and branded polo. However, they decided to bring along the mascot. The Chicago Rush mascot is your standard sports mascot with the big head and team jersey. His name is Grabowski.

I am afraid of Grabowski.

I have no idea why. I know it's silly that I should not be frightened of this cartoonish figure, but I am. I managed to walk by the booth, but stayed on the far side of the hall from him. Just in case. I felt like a scared little boy when I saw him.

I'm better now.


Random Thoughts
I think it's funny when Catholic girls are slutty.

It's even funnier when they are named Mary.

People have come to accept a certain amount of scratchyness in their scarves.

Simply drinking the beverage does not make you a Rockstar.

Same goes for Red Bull.

My murder will never be classified as an assassination.