Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Thousand Days in the Making

Part 1: My New Blog Buddy

Day 1 (October 10th, 2006) -

After a few weeks of working my nerdy little ass off, I had finished a very major project at work in the eleventh hour. This project had kept me at my desk until midnight more often than not, and I found myself suddenly relaxed and free of stress. On this particular day, the clock struck three and I was done. I had given the company my time, and while it was best that I stay till five, all work stopped and my attention drifted to my new writing project.

It occurred to me that I hadn't actually read other blogs. It was time to look out and see what the rest of the world was writing about, and to do that I started clicking the "Next Blog" button at the top of the page.

I was more disappointed than the guy who financed The Adventures of Pluto Nash. I constantly joke about being a bad writer, but the average blog makes me look like William Shakespeare.

Spanish Blog - Next Blog
Picture Blog - Next Blog
Spanish Blog - Next Blog
Advertisements - Next Blog
What was supposed to be English, but failed to achieve anything close - Next Blog
Portuguese Blog - Next Blog
Someone that I don't know's baby blog - Next Blog
Some girl in Montana with a nerdy glasses, Tina Fey sorta thing going on who's studying to be a nurse. - Solid grammar. Decent number of posts. Let's see what she has to say.

Over the next few days I would read Mandi's entire blog from start to finish. In some ways it was simple. She wasn't necessarily trying to tell a giant story, or cover a specific topic. It was just a keyhole view of someone else's life. It was well written and engaging, and in the end I had some new ideas on blogging. It was just what I had been looking for.

Day 4 (October 14, 2006) -

I sent Mandi a message on Myspace which in retrospect probably read like a letter from a creepy dude on the Internet. Where a simple, "Hey, I read your blog and really liked it, thanks." would have most likely been sufficient, I wrote a page long email. Jesse 2009 realizes that reading an entire blog gives one a false sense of relationship with the writer because that relationship is inherently one sided. Jesse 2006 did not.

Day 6 (October 16, 2006) -

Luckily for me, Mandi wasn't too creeped out. She wrote back to thank me for reading her blog. She quickly became my first official "blog buddy" and her's would become the first blog linked on the side of mine. In her email she also mentioned the odd coincidence of having a sister who lived in Phoenix.

Had I known Mandi better, my first question would have been, "Is she in to short nerds?", but since I had probably already over stepped my bounds I let it go.

She even left a comment on one of my blog entries about a hiking trip with Geremy and a girl whom I had nicknamed, "Harold".

I like the name game. It's fun! Geremy is Todd, and Amy is Harold... can I be someone else? (Not that you particularly know me, or that there is any foreseeable reason I should turn up in your blog. I just want to be part of the party...)

It's been almost three years, but I'm finally prepared to answer this question. The in office nicknaming scheme for all females is to call them by a geographical location. In this case you'd probably be "Montana", but I think we're just going to have to go with Mandi until a more suitable nickname can be found. I'll have my people call your people. We'll work on it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Thousand Days in the Making

The Prologue

The plan was to write this entry later on, but since it ties well in to my last one, and I find it interesting, I've decided to push some other ones back.

Time wise this story takes place over a 1000 day period of time. Yes, I did the math, and that's accurate give or take about 5 days. A few of the emails that had the exact dates are gone because myspace is lame. If you're involved in this story, and can correct me, feel free.

Since this story is rather lengthy, and completely related to the blog itself, I decided to start with a little history of Sesquipedalis and how it came to be. I hope you enjoy it.

One of the very best parts about writing an autobiographical story blog is to see the butterfly effect in motion, and how the smallest things in your past affect your present. You get to see snapshots in time of your life, emotions and opinions. You get to see how those things change with the gift of hindsight. In this particular story, the part of the butterfly is played by a small button on this web page that looks like this:

Next Blog

The summer of 2006 was an important one for me. I was finally coming out of my post-break up malaise, and I was just starting to become a functioning member of society again. One important step in the recovery process was writing a blog.

Of course I didn't start off writing a blog. I wrote two or three posts on myspace, and never planned on writing more. Then one day, Sean's friend J.R. left a comment on an entry. It was pretty cool that someone I didn't know all that well (at the time anyhow) had taken a moment to read something that I had written. It was even more astounding that he actually enjoyed it.

Around that time I started hanging out with my sister and her friends on a regular basis, which normally consisted of trips out to bars. Miranda and I were always good friends, but since she is seven years younger, and way cooler than I, we didn't hang out too often in a social setting. That changed in 2006 when she took me under her wing and gave me a social personality makeover.

One night Miranda's friend Geremy came out with us. I had known of Geremy for quite some time, but didn't really know him. While Geremy would later become the Robin to my Batman, at the time I saw him as my polar opposite. He was tall, fun and charismatic. We couldn't possibly have anything in common.

"Oh my god! I love your blog!" he shouted one night above the bar noise.
Really? What's this guy know about screwing up with women?

And just like that I had my second blog reader. The problem was that I didn't really have a blog, anything to write about, or any idea how to write. Since somebody seemed to care, and I needed a creative outlet, I decided to put some effort in to it. I moved the few stories I had over to Google's Blogger. Unlike myspace, Blogger required a unique name for the blog. By this point in time Geremy was introducing me as, "Jesse - The guy with the blog. You know, the one I had you read." The response was quite often, "Oh, that was funny... and long. Really long."

Sesquipedalian means "long and ponderous". The word was originally used by Homer to make fun of another writer saying that he used "foot and a half long words", so the connotation is a bit insulting. Sesqui - One and a half. Ped - Foot. Unfortunately that name was taken. I switched it to Sesquipedalis and was officially a blogger.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I apologize that this post is a little serious and self serving. I allow myself one every now and again, hopefully you will too. I promise, we'll get back to stories of me being an idiot soon enough.

Three years ago Saturday, I posted a poorly written story on my myspace blog about my mother trying to set me up with a lesbian. Somehow that story snowballed, and while the myspace profile is all but abandoned, I've now published over 200 stories that mostly deal with me striking out with women. At least that's what it is on the surface. Behind the scenes, at least for me, the blog is a little bit of therapy. It's a lesson in not taking myself too seriously. It's a chance to be creative for someone who's completely uncreative. Most importantly, it's a reminder that life is fantastic.

I actually kept a private journal for about a year's time. That was 6 or 7 years ago. I keep it around as a remind of just how lame I truly can be, but I haven't looked at it in a long while because, quite frankly, it's embarrassing. It's a lot of whining and bitching from a kid who had a pretty good life.

When I started this blog, I decided to make it very public. I knew if nobody else read it, my good friends Adam and Rose would, and they'd give me a solid nut check every time I turned in to a whiny ass. Rule number one of the blog was to always keep things light hearted and happy. At the time I was a little down, and while I didn't look at everything with rose colored glasses, it was easy enough to write it that way.

But something happened that I didn't see coming. Over the last three years the way I live my life has changed because of the blog I've been writing. I started taking risks where I wouldn't before. I started being social where I wouldn't have before. I started being positive where before I'd have been negative. While I've always written myself as a happy-go-lucky, laugh in the face of embarrassment kind of nerd, over time I've slowly become that guy, at least to some extent.

So, to everyone who's given me a little encouragement, sent an email, or even left a comment, thanks for keeping me at it. It's been a solid few years, and hopefully there's more to come.

I realize that I now have at least a reader or two who doesn't know me in real life. If you've got any questions or comments, feel free to comment or email.

"What ever happened between you and so-and-so?"
"Did you really...?"
"Learn to use a comma properly, jackass"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When a Celebrity Asks if you Want a Picture, You Say Yes

My #1 Pretend Girlfriend Sarah sent me a text this afternoon asking if I wanted to go to the Improv tonight. My schedule was relatively free, and a quick check of the calendar showed that Iliza Shlesinger was headlining. I don't remember watching much of the last season of Last Comic Standing, but I do remember Iliza from the show.

A quick Google search revealed that she was actually the winner.

Good for her. I remember her being funny.

Tickets were purchased, and a few hours later Sarah and I found ourselves waiting in line to enter. As we approached the door, Iliza walked by.

"There's your girlfriend" Sarah said, slightly snickering.

"Huh? Oh." I turned and saw the comedian coming up the steps.

"She's kind of tiny." Sarah pointed out, "You're so in love with her."

Sarah was probably right. Short, cute, energetic, and funny? If that sounds familiar, you've either been reading my dream journal, or you peeked at last year's letter to Santa.

Iliza Shlesinger

The show was fairly amusing, but in a bit of an odd way. It was more like hanging out with your really funny friend than it was a comedy show. It was somehow a little more accessible I guess.

As the show wrapped up, much like a 70 year old man with diabetes, Sarah rushed to the bathroom for trip #2 while I stood in the entry way. There were a few members of the wait staff there and one or two other people, but it was still relatively empty when Iliza walked by and headed for a little place from which to greet the fans. In a minute or two, the small area would be flooded with people, but for now it was just me, two other dudes, and one super cute comedian.

"You want a picture or something?" she asked, to nobody in particular.

And for once I actually had something to say.

"I don't know... If I take a picture with you, I'm going to have to upload it to my facebook. That's all fine, but that also means my mom is going to see, and that means she's going to be calling me at 8:30 tomorrow morning asking me who you are, how we met, and if you want to have children or not. And I gotta be honest Iliza, I like to sleep in on my Saturdays. But what the hell, let's be dangerous and just go for it, shall we?"

At least that's what I thought would be amusing, in my head.

In reality I decided to go with a different tactic. If you remember, I had the balls to ask an ultra famous 325 lbs. man if he'd mind posing for a picture with me, but the hundred pound white girl was just way too intimidating. I stood for a moment actively not making eye contact before retreating a few steps and hoping Sarah would finish up quickly.

Like all good nerds, my confidence rose when I was back behind the safety of the Internet. She mentioned twitter a few times during her act, and she's doing two more shows, so I sent her a tweet asking if she wants to have lunch tomorrow. I'll keep you posted, but if it works out, you're all invited to the wedding.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Elevator Humor.... part 3?

This evening I had a pretend girlfriend date with my friend Sarah. We hit up the CPK, did a little shopping, grabbed some fro-yo, and watched a little Tivo back at my place. It was a solid evening, and at the end of the night we found ourselves in my elevator heading towards the parking lot.

Sarah and I regularly trade long winded stories, and on this particular evening I had interrupted her a few times. As we descended in the elevator she pretended to be upset with me.

"You never let me finish!"

At this point the elevator reached the first floor and the doors began to open. Sarah and I had been play fighting all night, and we know each other well enough to take things a bit far at times.

"I don't care if the ladies finish. It's all about me. That's my move," I responded.

As the last word came out of my mouth I exited the elevator and noticed a blond girl standing to the left waiting to get on. I believe it was the Cardinal's cheerleader that I've bumped in to a few times who lives in the building. I say "believe" because I of course was too embarrassed to look her in the eye.

When we were just out of ear shot Sarah burst out laughing and started on me.

"Just so you know, you've got no chance with that one now."
"Now? She was out of my league already right?"
"Oh, totally."

My Recent Trip to Court

We're going to completely shift gears for a second and I'm going to post something completely serious about my recent jury duty. I wrote this out for someone else, but I've decided to post it for now. It's by no means polished or amusing. I may edit it as I see fit, or remove it all together.

I had to serve on a jury this week. A lot of people seem to be interested in the case and how it turned out. It's odd how something this serious can affect you emotionally for a few days. It's the same feeling I had when my work was raided by ICE and the ATF a few years back (for those who know that story). Maybe it only affects me in this way because being completely serious for two days straight is almost impossible for me.

The Prosecution story started off like this:

Back in 2006 an officer sees a car driving around 9 at night with its headlights off, doing about 10 miles an hour as it approaches a light. At the last minute it jerks suddenly in to the left hand turn lane. He finds this suspicious, pulls up behind it, and after the left hand turn, pulls the car over.

As he's asking for license and registration, etc. the officer notices that the driver is a bit flush, and has a faint odor of alcohol, so he asks her to step out of the vehicle and performs the horizontal gaze nystagmus test(The, "Follow this pen/light with your eyes" deal).

Apparently the officers look for 6 specific cues in this test. 3 or more indicate neurological impairment(Most often from consumption of alcohol). She had all six. The officer asks her to submit to some field sobriety tests and she says that she has arthritis and some long time physical injuries that may give inaccurate results. He asks her to take a Breathalyzer and she readily agrees.

He was on a motorcycle. They transport her to a van where they can do the test, and she blows a .126. In AZ it's .08 or higher and you're not supposed to be driving.

At this point I was thinking, "Wrap this one up and we can all go home early. She's guilty." The defense hopped up and broke it down like this:

The lady had just left a restaurant where she had sampled a glass of wine, but ultimately decided not to order it. Her car had been valeted here. She has automatic headlights, and isn't really sure how they got to the off position.  She didn't notice until the cop pulled her over.

The section of town she was driving through had a tremendous amount of confusing construction at that time. (I personally know that to be true because it's about 2 miles from where I live). They were also working at night, so they had a bunch of huge lights out there. The area is next to one of the bigger shopping centers in Phoenix, so it's already very well lit.

She explained that she wasn't sure if it was "this left" or "the next one" to get to the Fry's grocery store she intended to go to. (Again, I know the area, makes sense to me. It's confusing) That's the explanation for the sudden jerking to the left hand turn lane. She also doesn't normally drive at night because of a previous injury, and therefore was a little overly cautious.

Thirty years ago she was in a really serious car accident where her car was "run over" by a semi truck. She spent a decent amount of time in a coma, and months in physical therapy. She has some lingering physical issues and nerve damage. Both sides seemed to agree that this could possibly cause failure of the eye test, although the prosecution obviously thought it was much less likely than the defense.

One of the cues that officers use to test if you're drunk is to ask you questions while you get your license and registration. Apparently the ability to multi-task is one of the first things to go normally. She passed this just fine. She never slurred any speech, or had a loss of balance, or any other visual indications of being drunk. During the time the officer was following her, he noted nothing other than perfect driving.

He then went on for about 4 hours challenging the breathalyzer test itself. Apparently this particular machine had exceptions starting one week after the incident. Within a month it was sent back to the manufacturer for two months of repair. A few months after that, the head of the company that makes the machine came out to perform repairs on the machine and did something that neither side knew to the machine. Six months after the DUI arrest, that machine was decommissioned.

The defense also called as an expert witness, a toxicologist. This guy also happened to be the man who worked for the city of Phoenix in the crime lab in 2006, and he quit because he was upset with the department and their records keeping. He said that he felt the results in this case were "Scientifically Questionable". The company that made the breathalyzer has never agreed to testify in a case and has constantly refused requests to view the source code to the machine.

The driver asked for a blood test. The officer, even though qualified to give one, refused. Apparently it wasn't police policy to give one unless the case was serious. If it was "serious" then a blood test was always given. Since 2006, city of Phoenix has switched to only using blood tests. The police told her that she could go somewhere like a hospital and get an independent test.

She said she had a friend take her to 3 different hospitals, but the soonest any would see her is 5 hours. She gave up at that point.

There are, obviously, a lot of other facts to the case, and I'm sure I've forgotten to mention a few. In the end, my gut feeling was that she had done it. She was most likely a wealthy lady. She got a really good lawyer, and was trying to get out of it.

That being said, I still had reasonable doubt. I work on software. The chances of there being a bug seem possible. The breathalyzer was done an hour and a half after the pull over and she blew a .126. .1 is when the average person is supposed to lose fine motor skills. .15 is where you lose major motor skills.

It seemed odd to me that she had no other visible signs of being drunk. No stumbling, no bad driving, no issue retrieving her license/registration.

The other 5 jurors didn't see it that way. The most vocal was a 60 year old republican looking dude whose basic argument was, "Test says she did it. She did it". I remained firm with, "If there was something else to back up a 'scientifically questionable' test result, then I might be inclined to agree."

There was one Indian dude who was most upset that the "Expert in toxicology only had a masters degree." It was his feeling that to be an expert on anything required a Phd. That seemed to be his strongest argument that the test was in fact valid.

The other 3 jurors seemed to have sort of succumbed to mob mentality, and just went along with the pack.

In the end I stuck to my guns and we wound up with a hung jury. The old dude seemed really pissed off at me, bordering on yelling towards the end. The more upset he got, the more calm and logical I got. This seemed to piss him off even more.

He basically told me that I was calling the police officers liars, and discrediting them and their many years of experience. Oddly enough, that's part of what sold me on the not-guilty. All 3 officers who testified were specifically trained in DUI, and not a single one noticed anything else to indicate she was drunk? It just seemed odd. I held everything they said to be true.

As we walked out he mumbled under his breath something like, "I don't even want to think about the amount of tax payer money you've just wasted on this"