Category Archives: Muddled Memories

Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 3

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 2)

Two buds, draft.  Want anything to eat? Nachos, Bruce.  Order of nachos and a hot dog, extra mustard.   That’ll be $20 even, sir.  Piston looked like someone took a broken bottle to his Charger’s tires.  $20!?  Filet mignon gettin’ sprinkled on them nachos?  His downtown Flint attitude took the cashier off guard.  He didn’t know what to say.  No, sorry, just cheese with the nachos.  Piston forked over the cash.  Decades later, he’s still in denial that beers aren’t a quarter anymore.  Why you gotta do that?  These prices are ridiculous.  It’s not like he sets the prices.  Come on, you know that McClaneEasy to say when it’s free, BlutoI stand corrected.  But, the wheels are in motion Butch.  I’ll be getting the next roundYou steal someone’s lunch money?  No, I convinced them to give it to me.  Give it a year, no more hand outs.  With a “I see your BS and raise you” grin, – Okay, Biff.  We grabbed our hillbilly supper and trotted off to see shit get smashed.

The pungent smell of gasoline and b.o. stampeded upon my senses as I walked through the grandstand.  I could taste the sewage excitement.  This is so American!  Piston agreed as he nudged his way through a group of Big Berthas sporting belly high Wranglers.  Damnit!  Aw, Shucks!  5 minutes into the event and Piston’s buzz was already killed.  One of the Bertha’s bumped into him and spilled beer on his sentimental Gorski Automotive shirt.  Forget the ol’ shirt, Piston is steamed about losing 50 cents worth of brew. The Gravedigger better revive the night, damnit.

At last, we reached our comfy hard plastic seats.  Time to enjoy the delightful combination of stale chippy’s and artificial cheese.  After checking my fingers for any remnants of left over cheese, I slipped on my trusty batter’s gloveWhat the hell are you doing?  Yes, I come prepared.  I don’t want to turn my hand into an icicle while enjoying my beverage.  After taking a couple sips, I realized that this was most likely perceived as a sign of a alcoholic or a resourceful idiot; with no in between.  My theory was reinforced when I caught Piston’s perplexed glare.  I quickly scanned my surroundings to find a counter.  Look, they’ve got the right idea.  A group of resourceful gents.  I yelled down to my fellow aristocrats.  Ehh!  They turned around.  With my free hand, I pointed to my boozin’ glove.  Get R Done!  We “air” cheers’d and let ’em rip.

Piston signaled near their seats.  I suppose your hand would get cold after 10 cups.  Chalk one up for us outside the box thinkers Piston.  I couldn’t help but think it was an omen or something; this was the perfect segue for bringing up my idea.  F’in alcoholics.  Did I just hear Ol’ Piston mumble F’in alcoholics?  What?  Huh, nothin’.  So much for the omen.  Better yet.  I signaled to the beer guy.  Two buds. 

Oh, good, I’m just about out.  Oh, you want one?  Damn, you should move down there with the Belushi brothers.  I had a long week.  I changed the order.  Make it 4.  Another perplexed glare was shot at my grill.  God gave you two hands for a reasonYeah, to build things, to fix things.  Not to shot put beer into your mouth.  I guess you used to street race for tea and jellybeans then.  Lighten up Stone Cold.  I handed the beer guy a $20 for the alottment.  That from the first national bank of Piston?  You referring to yourself in the 3rd person now?  I grabbed the other glove out of my pocket and tossed it onto Ol’ Piston’s lap.  He caved.  Alright.  He slipped on the glove and gripped one of the cups.  He held it up – To Motor City.

Part 4 will be served shortly . . .

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Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 2

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 1)

“The God’s” quintessential jam was blaring when he peeled into the parking lot.  It’s been a long time since I rocked and rolled.  Very good sign.  Meant he was in a good mood; Piston mode.  You know when your jamming to a rager, say For Whom The Bell Tolls , you start uncontrollably stomping your foot and head banging.  Oh really, you aren’t into rock?  You prefer listening to Jack Johnson and throwing a frisbee.  Well, just move along then.  Anyway, that warm blood pumping upward from your rockin’ foot to your metal head starts producing an impulsive, excited feeling.  You want to do something spontaneous, something crazy.  I cranked up the treble and volume.  Ol’ Piston started nodding his head.  Hopefully he’ll want t0 do something crazy; like back this headless venture.

We roared onto the interstate.  Ol’ Piston kicked his high school sweetheart into 4th gear.  You could feel the American muscle rumbling (OR PUMPING IRON?) through your seat.  Let me get it back, baby, where I come from.  I was smashing an “air” bass drum, channeling my inner John Bonham.  These speakers have projected some of the greatest riffs in rock history.    90 mph and climbing, we passed a minivan.  Pansies.  Ironic, considering we also own one.

It’s always an honor to ride co-pilot in the Charger.  Ol’ Piston only brings her out on special occasions now.  Round 30 years ago, he peeled through the Detroit night piloting this beast, racing for 12 packs.  She delivered many victories, many PBR’s.

Those victorious PBR’s didn’t come easy.  At age 13, Ol’ Piston began grinding away at a downtown gas station.  Removing dead rats, cleaning the crapper, pumping gas, and everything in between was part of the the job description.  And, no surprise, the owner was a full blown alcoholic.    Piston kept his Chuck Taylors  laced tight in case he had to make a run for it.  Fast forward five years, and he was a master mechanic at the age of 18.

Like your ordinary alcoholic, the owner was damn near broke.  In desperate need of cash, he put  his prized Charger up for sale.  Ol’ Piston  put in a offer well short of what he was asking for.  The owner threw his hands up in the air.  A couple days later, he lowered them to shake Piston’s hand.  Instead of gunning it out of the lot, laughing at the guy with his middle finger raised, like many would have done, he continued working for him.  For 3 more years.    He kept the shop alive, along with the owner.

When I was a spud, we all met the owner.  Doing his best to hold back tears, “Piston is the reason I’m still alive.  The poor guy had his problems, but damn did he come up with a great nickname.  Actually, he might of stole it from the basketball team, but . . . it stuck, so screw it.

Decades later, you can still see faint black lines embedded in the crevices of my Dad’s  fingers.  If you didn’t know him, you would think he’s allergic to washing his hands.  There’s nothing he can do about it.  The oil is pretty much tattooed on his skin.  Those lines aren’t the only permanent marks on his skin.  He has an actual tattoo on his upper right arm. “Motor City” above a sketch of a  Charger.  Now a days, he makes sure this is covered at all times.  The Joneses would turn their noses up at the sight of it.  He wouldn’t admit it, but, I’m sure that’s why.

As a youngster,  it was cool to see all the neighbors roll their cars into our driveway for Piston to fix.  By this time, we all were living in the Commonwealth and pops had become the manager at a car dealership.  Everyone in the neighborhood knew him as the Detroit motor head; Mr. Piston.  He’d have his sleeveless t shirts on, proudly showing his Motor City branding.  Many payments went unfulfilled, but it didn’t bother him.  More than anything, it was to get back to his roots.  To remind himself of how he got his Charger.

We’re now in the right lane going 55.  Minivans are passing us on the left.  The music inside the Charger is tuned to the level a nun would vibe to.  Genie in a bottle is thumping from the Odysseys flying by us.  I’m beginning to feel sick.

Currently, Pops is an industrial engineer executive.  He can’t red line his fun anymore.  As many females in my age group would say, “no time” to be irresponsible.  No time for victorious PBR’s.  We pulled into the parking lot.   I’d like to see Ol’ Pistol roll his sleeves up, one last time. 

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Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 1

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2)

Parents change your poo diapers, listen to you when your voice changes to an annoying Michael Jackson pitch, and invest in you going to college.  They grin and bear through this ever long sentence in purgatory in hopes that you gain some semblance of a skill in college and land a job.  Then, they can finally belt out “Victory!”  Champagne is popped and at last, relief.

I was cognizant of that as I was pacing around thinking of the best way to pitch the idea to my Dad.  In my parents minds, the long awaited boot-to-ass day is so close that they can almost taste the Cristal. The last thing they’d want to hear is that I want to start a business.  That would definitely keep the bottle on ice for awhile.  Well, damn, I want to move out too.  Hell with champagne, I’m going to be celebrating with several sets of keg stands.  Sure, it’s going to extend my stay, but its too good to leave on the back burner.  This baby needs to immediately be thrown into the deep frier.  Its marinated and ready to be devoured.  I stood still.  Why am I arguing with myself?  I need to come up with something.  I concluded the best thing to do was check out clips of the show “The Apprentice” on youtube.

Thinking that I could get some good ideas on how to pitch an idea, I realized that this was the worst thing I could have watched.  The Donald completely craps on everything the contestants had to say.  Fortunately, my Dad is bald doesn’t have a severed skunk’s tail sitting on his head like The Donald.  So, it might not be as bad.  Hopefully.

My Dad was going to arrive any minute to pick me up for the monster truck rally we had tickets to.  I needed to have a strategy ready because I knew how he would respond.  Businesses take forever to start, you need a lot of start up money, there’s probably something already like it, and you don’t know anything about business.  Taking a step back, I knew that they all were fair points; other than the something already like it part.  Rather than combat every point he made, I decided it would be better to counter with a tried and true method The ol’,  “Look what they did.  If they can do it then I can.”  The success-story- strategy (try saying that 5 times fast) can be a deal closer if used correctly.  I had a specific story in mind that was similar to my situation.  This will show that it is realistic to think that it can work.

With this “wing and a prayer” plan in my back pocket, I went to eagerly await outside.  While waiting, I felt like I was about to try out for a sports team.  I had to prove that I had something viable in order to make the cut.  It was important to have my Dad on board with this venture to bestow his decades of business smarts.  And, obviously, help out with some start up cheese.  I could see my Dad’s ’71 Charger howling down the hill.  I crossed my fingers.  Hopefully the rally cars are the only things that get crushed today.

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Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1)

The internet is full of information.  And a lot of it is useless.  It’s almost a science to know how to find helpful information.  You would think you could type  __________ manufacturing into the mighty Google and a plethora of useful links would pop up.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Many of the search results that show up at the top are the companies that pay top dollar to get that position.  These companies can pay big bucks to get there because they are hauling in big bucks.  They do business with well established brands that have deep pockets.  Developing a product for a complete amateur isn’t exactly on their to do list.  In fact, it’s not on it at all.  Manufacturers, especially oversees ones, deal in minimum orders.  They usually require you to purchase at least 2,000 units.  So, let’s say each unit is $10 from the factory.  You’re in $20,000 deep for just the first order.

Not to mention, oversees manufacturers are in foreign countries.  Slight problem; they speak a foreign language.  How the heck am I supposed to communicate with them?  I don’t even know any of the important terms for this type of industry.  I was ready to give up and roll back onto the ground.

I stuck it out for a couple more searches and struck gold.  So I thought.  Here we go, a manufacturer that is only about 5 hours away and works with start ups.  How lucky am I . . . they do consulting and construct prototypes.  Everything on their website looked good and I liked what I was seeing.  I did a little research about the company in a couple forums and everything check out alright.  I decided to email them to see if they could help me out.

It’s kind of amazing now a days with social media and information overload that everyone has to have some comedian in them.  You’ve got to stand out a little if you want to get someone’s attention.  (It’s too bad because it creates the annoying “one-upper” type person.)  I realized that this manufacturing company probably got hundreds of emails a day from people like me that thought they had a fantastic idea.  They were pretty much the only company I found after hours of research that stated they work with amateurs.

So, the subject line of an email becomes your audition.  You’ve got to pass the eye test and compel them to click on it.  I went with “College student with an idea so good I will no longer have to sleep my way to the top.” A little long?  Absolutely.  But, they responded.  And God, how I now wish they didn’t . . .

It’s funny how sometimes you think you caught a lucky break and it really turns out to a shitty situation.  Kind of like having a toilet siren for an alarm clock . . .

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Lets hear from you . . . do you get frustrated with researching on the internet?  When you really want a response from someone via email, how do you prepare your subject line?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from In Bloom)

I woke up to the glaring sunlight streaming through my window.  My head felt like it got into a fight with a brick wall, and lost.  As I was cringing to the repulsive taste in my mouth, I squinted and saw that the clock read 10 Am.  Aw, hell naw.  Way too early for a night dweller like myself.  I had made the rookie mistake of leaving my blinds open.  They must be closed, at once.  Like a wounded animal, I rolled out of bed and slowly made my way to the window.  From my back, I reached up and spun the blinds closed.  Laying there, catching my breath from all of the barrel rolls, I felt like I too could see Blue.  Contemplating whether or not to just set up camp there for awhile, the post it on the wall caught my attention.

It was funny to see how crappy my hand writing was after having a couple of beverages.  I was relieved that I did it, though, because I didn’t remember the observation I had made about the group of girls.  Yeah, pinning it to the wall was a little unnecessary, but . . . yeah.  Really have nothing else to add on there.  I really wanted to get some people’s opinion of my product idea.  But, my room had just turned into a dark cave.  So, that was gonna have to wait  for a couple hours.

Most people wake up to the birds chirping.  Not me.  I am awaken every afternoon by a much less delightful noise.  The wall in my room is connected to the bathroom and I am reminded of that with each blaring toilet flush.  It’s usually a series of 5 or 6 flushes because of the 12 pack and 4 chimichangas my roommate had the night before.  It gets even lovelier when he bangs on my door and proclaims “Put some wings on me, I can fly now that I’m so much lighter!”  I can’t believe that this is my alarm clock . . .

I usually would have told him to f off and went back to sleep.  Not today though.  “Come in here batman”.  He opens the door and attempts to jump on my face; ass first.  Fortunately, he misses and bounces onto the ground.  “Dude, listen to this.  I came up with a brilliant idea last night.”  “Doubt it“.  “Screw you, listen.”  I disclosed the privileged information to him.  “That’s stupid.  Drive me to Burger King“.  Are you serious, it’s a great idea.”  “Yeah, not really.  I’ll be waiting downstairs.

He’s a guy, he doesn’t understand that girls will like it.  I then decided to call a trusted adviser.  She’ll get it.  I told her about the product.  Not bad.”  “That’s all you got?”  “Well, it could work.  But, it takes a lot of money to start up a business.  And you’re broke.”  “Thanks for the positivity.  I’m going to get a prototype made.  You’re going to have to test it out for me.”  “We’ll see.”  I already knew from the little time I spent brainstorming about the idea that it was going to be a long process to get the product on the market.  But, I didn’t know it would be so difficult to get people to buy into the idea.  I knew it was a good idea and people would realize it; they just needed something tangible to look at.  I absolutely hate doing research but knew I had to find a manufacturer to make a sample.  This is going to suck . . .

Continue to Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2 . . .

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I’m interested to hear from you about your college experience.  Did you also have hilarious roommates?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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In Bloom

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from The Christening Of The MadCap)

A wave of excitement was crashing down on me as I dashed through the night back to my place.  This is it, I finally have something tangible.  The steady onslaught of warm impulses shooting through my body were heightening the urgency to get the idea written down.  I wasn’t exactly in the ideal mindset for remembering specific thoughts.  My boiling anxiousness took a hold of my legs and injected them with a shot of nitrous.  As I was jogging staggering through the street, I received some much needed reassurance for my second-guessing mind.

A group of ladies were crossing the street.  Wowww, they could really use it.  As I was shamelessly patting myself on the back for the idea, my trance was broken by a friendly greeting.  Want to take a picture, it’ll last longer?  I tipped my hat, “sorry”!  I’m a complete idiot.  Hmm, interesting thing to note.  Girls spend hours getting dressed up before they go out.  One would think that they do this to stand out.  But, if you happen to be looking in their direction for too long, you better prepare to get yelled at.  There must be some sort of window-of-time you can look at a person rule that I’m unaware of.  Nonetheless, this tidbit should definitely be incorporated into the concept.  It has to look good, but not cause anyone to stare at them; no matter what.  Damnit, why couldn’t I thought of something for guys . . .

I finally made it back to my place.  What the . . . no one ever locks the door.  I reached in my pocket for my key; wasn’t there.  This can’t be happening.  I frantically paced around in a circle, contemplating my options.  Fully aware of my brain’s sub par capability of retaining any thought for more than 5 minutes, I quickly accepted the first solution that came to mind.  I took off my shirt and wrapped it around my hand.  Tyson Time.  I shattered the glass, reached in, and unlocked the door.  I stood in disbelief that I now knew how to break into a house if I ever hit rock bottom.  Putting my shirt back on, I strangely felt like a G.  I’m just kidding, the door was actually wide open when I showed up.  Gotcha.  However, I really did trip on my way up the stairs.  The combination of running and beer gave me a head rush.

Mission accomplished.  I got pen to paper.  This idea will forever live on you Mr. Sticky Note.  I tacked it to the wall so there wasn’t any chance of losing it.  My subconscious in these situations really deserves a round of applause.  It identifies that it is dealing with a dunce and sets up necessary measures to avoid disasters.  Without it, I’d probably wake up on some random persons couch to them screaming.

Ah, what a relief.  I need to get someone’s opinion on this . . . I glanced at the clock and saw it was past 2am.  That’s alright, it’s Thirsty Thursday, who wouldn’t be up right now?  I dialed my sisters number.  It’s a fair argument that she got shafted by getting me as a brother.  What do you want?  You won’t believe what happened tonight.  Did you get kicked out of school?  Nooo . . . I came up with a brilliant idea.  Yeah, just like all the others right.  No seriously, this is something girls would buy.  Are you f****** serious, this is why you called me?  I have to go to work in 5 hours a******!  Damn, that was a a****** move on my part.  But, she hadn’t hung up yet.  Sorrrry, listen real quick.  I disclosed the privileged information to her.  Isn’t that something you would buy?  Sure.  Sooo, you’re telling me there’s a chance!?  Yeah. I hate you.  She hung up.  I gave a Tiger Woods fist pump.  I have a chance, that’s all I need.

I slumped into my bed with a grin on my face.  The best inventions are the ones that solve a problem.  That’s exactly what I got.  I instantly thought of the CNBC profile of the 1 800 Got Junk story.  The CEO of the company stated that he got the idea for the service when he was in a drive-thru at a McDonald’s and saw a pick up truck with junk piled in it’s bed.  He theorized that there had to be a better way for people to get rid of their junk.  In bloom, a multimillion dollar business.

As I was laying there, finally breathing normally after all the running, I started to realize my recent actions provided yet another example of my idiocy.  I could have just typed the idea into my cell and still been at the party. 

I squinted at the post-it on the wall and crossed my fingers that I would be able to decipher it in the morning.  Take note, subconscious.

Continue to Toilet Alarm Clock – Part1 . . .

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Have you ever been in a rush to get something important written down?  Please comment!

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The Christening of the MadCap

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

The Night It Became Practical:

The hourglass overseeing his cozy charade had only a few specs of sand remaining.

Crumpled paper that once had illustrious ideas written on it filled the trash can next to his conjuring chair.

It was begrudgingly the time to call a seize fire with his imagination.

With his cap in hand, he went to join the crowd.

Defeat weighed down his presence,

even the guy doing a keg stand could sense it.

His wondering eyes ventilated his broken spirit.

The cap grew heavier in his grasp and fell to the ground.

While grabbing the damned thing, a girl caught his attention.

A faint flame began to take shape.

A scene from his memory bank jolted to center stage.

The flame began to vehemently sizzle.

His eyes frantically searched the room.

Synapses began to rapidly fire.

A surprise attack ensued.

The sand in the hourglass started trickling into the empty end.

He put his cap on and departed in pursuit of a pen.

Continue to In Bloom . . .


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