Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Aaron Gray" is awesome

Facebook is a funny thing.

I remember when I had just graduated college in 2003 and my girlfriend at the time -- she was still in college -- wouldn't stop talking about this facebook thing that was conquering campuses across the country.

"Whatever? You think you're so cool?" I would say. "I'm older than you so therefore, I know more than you. MySpace for life!"

Yea, the whole MySpace thing sort of fizzled out. Or is it still going on? I'm not sure.

Anyway, back to my story.

Fast forward eight years later. About nine ga-zillion people in the world -- myself included -- now rock the facebook.

My younger brother gave me the idea and I acted on it quickly. For no particular reason, I decided to befriend every single "Aaron Gray" I could find on facebook and I was surprised to find out there were hundreds. My "Send Friend Request" mouse click thumb started to get sore so I capped it around 50.

Maybe it was the cut of my jib, but for some odd reason, these random people (who I shared the same name with) started to confirm the friend requests. A small chatter started on my wall and the idea of all the Aaron Grays in the world becoming friends seemed genius.

There was even talk about creating a Fan Page entitled "Men Who Have The Best Name In The World." It was comical.

I said we have to get the NBA player named Aaron Gray involved and if he signed on, then it would be a success.

One of the Aaron Grays: "Wait, there's a guy in the NBA with our name?"

Right then, I knew I was dealing with amateur hour.

Who in their right mind has not googled their own name? C'mon. What are you trying to prove? That you're too cool for google?

No offense to all my new AG friends, but I have been battling with that no-talent ass clown -- the NBA player -- for supremacy atop google searches for years. Go ahead. Type in "Aaron Gray" into google and see what happens.

Sadly enough, the basketball player reigns supreme. There's a blog post about his alleged girlfriend right before my LinkedIn account. If you scroll to the seventh page, an article I wrote last fall for the Virgin Islands Daily News finally appears.

Basically, I'm annoyed with him. Ever since he was a prep star coming out of Pittsburgh (you can tell how long this Internet rivalry has been going on), NBA Aaron and myself have been doing battle. I despise him. But I do like his name.

Now, a few days and about 16 Aaron Gray friendships later, I can't scroll my news feed without being inundated by Aaron Gray news. Remember, I don't know these people. We just share the same name.

Eventually, I started to block them all out of my facebook. I was starting to get confused. It was a social experiment gone awry and now I feel like a jackass.

But if one certain Aaron Gray ever decides to contact or befriend me, I will do more than listen. I will challenge him to a one-on-one basketball battle and the loser will have to remove his name from the Internet forever.

You hear me, you no-talent ass clown? I'm talking to you! I'm the king!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Off-road action

We were on our way to a relaxing, casual hike at 7 a.m. on Saturday when this happened...

Yes, the automobile saga on St. Thomas continues.

When the tow truck driver arrived -- it was raining by that point -- I tried to tell him how it happened and he cut me off before I could get started.

"No, no, no," he said. "I don't even want to know."

Something told me that he has dealt with many drunken idiots who have rolled their cars off cliffs, into embankments or into store fronts. He just sort of smiled and gave me this look that suggested I get my story straight before the cops arrived.

It was 7 a.m. and the sun was barely up. How drunk could he presume I was?

Well, for the record, I wasn't drunk at all. Never touch the stuff. Actually, I was a little hung over, which in retrospect, may have effected my decision-making. Word to the wise boys and girls, when you're pushing a car out of a ditch and you have the car in neutral, make sure someone is behind the wheel.

So moments after the white Cherokee decided to go reverse snowboarding up a muddy cliff, about 12 fellow hikers emerged to add complete insult to injury. No one was actually hurt during the incident. However, our dignity absorbed a punch in the stomach.

The other hikers were friends and we decided that evasive action was needed. One person suggested we push the bastard out. Another had a tow truck guy on speed dial. We opted for the latter as everyone continued toward the trail and I was placed on public relations detail.

A social experiment immediately followed.

I was standing there, alone, in the rain, with a freaking car clinging to life on a muddy hill.

About every third car stopped to ask if I was OK and what happened and all the normal "I'm a good person so how can I help?" banter. I had to give prepared statements to these people because that stretch of road was on a dangerous hill and I didn't want to witness two driver-error accidents before breakfast.

Thoughtful Driver: "Is everyone OK?"
Confused hiker: "Quite lovely."

Thoughtful Driver: "Did you call for a tow?"
Confused hiker: "My father is on the way. No worries."

Thoughtful Driver: "What happened?"
Confused hiker: "No brakes."

Finally, I just decided to stand on the other side of the road. Watching people rubber-neck became my short-lived fascination. I could have taken off all my clothes and started to belly dance and not a single person would have saw me. They were all too busy looking at the carnage that was our automobile trying to blaze a trail to the top of Crown Mountain the hard way.

When the tow guy did come, he said there was a good chance I would be able to drive the car out of there. Of course, it all came for a price. He meticulously pulled the car off the cliff and started the engine. I was taken aback.

Moments before, I was wondering which junkyard he should tow the car to? How much money would another car cost? And where could I go to take belly-dancing classes?

After we got the car horizontal, I paid the man, slowly drove the car to nearby Brewers Beach, parked the wounded warrior and caught up to the other hikers. We hiked Santa Maria and did a little rock climbing near the beach. Of course, what actually happened to the car was the topic of conversation and the punch line for every joke the rest of the morning.

We went to Frenchtown Deli for breakfast and the Cherokee continued to stay on life support. She sounded horrible, but she was fighting for her life and I was there to massage her back to good health.

I'm not a car guy. I know the basics and I stay out of trouble. This car, however, is the definition of an "island car." I can only assume about 12 different people have owned it over the last 10 years and the cracks on the roof suggest that it's been rolled at least once (maybe twice). It all depends on how drunk the idiot behind the wheel was.

About 10 seconds before she over-heated in the middle of the road and we tried to push her off toward the side for safety, we talked about selling the piece of junk to some lonely sap that just moved here and wouldn't know any better. That lonely sap was us about 14 months ago.

We'd be lucky to get $800 for it. I mean, she's in pretty good condition (wink, wink). Just show me the carfax? I'll put this picture in the classified section...pure hilarity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tennage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It's been raining here for the last 10 days and I'm starting to feel like a mutant.

Speaking of mutants, we just snagged a new pet tortoise. We were hiking on the east end of St. John over the weekend and Brianna found one. Now it lives a grand and luxurious life at my humble abode.

I took pictures but I'm too lazy to post them right now. Don't judge.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. His name (if he is, in fact, a male) is Sylvester. If it's a girl, then we're going with Silvia.

I know, this sounds ridiculous but trying to determine the sex of a freaking tortoise is hard. I have to bring in a professional (now I sound like one of those Pawn Star jokers).

Paging The Wolverine. Where are you, buddy? My man told me he harbored up to 52 tortoises at one time. He'll know what to do.

That's it for now. More tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Random rant

OK boys and girls, let try something a little different today. Remember those sinister Jeff Foxworthy jokes about being a red neck? Well, over the last 24 hours, similar jokes have started to pop into my head about living on St. Thomas...

You know you live on St. Thomas when the power goes out on the entire island at 6 a.m. and it's already noon and there's no shower in sight.

You know you live on St. Thomas when your dog runs away, comes back with blood patches all over her fur and then you find a beheaded iguana in your backyard.

You know you live on St. Thomas when you hear 8-10 gun shots in succession around dinner time and no one even raises an eye brow.

You know you live on St. Thomas when it takes two separate trips to Puerto Rico to ensure that a motorcycle you shipped in from the States makes it to the island in one piece.

You know you live on St. Thomas when one of the Top 10 largest petroleum refineries in the world is on St. Croix, yet gas on St. Thomas costs $4.59 a gallon.

And I can't leave my professional life unscathed here...

You know you live on St. Thomas when you're sitting in front of the court house early in the morning ready to take photos of the high-profile defendants on trial but no one calls you to tell you the trial has been delayed a few days and for the last two hours, you have been taking photos of potential jurors.

"What, no one called you?"

You know you live on St. Thomas when an angry parent calls you at your office and demands to know why her five-year-old son winning some kindergarten bike race didn't make the front page of the sports section.

"You're not from here so you just don't understand, do you?"

You know you live on St. Thomas when a disgruntled man, who stars on some local adult softball league, demands to know why his game-winning RBI didn't make the front page of the sports section.

"I notice all the high school kids get in there but what about the adults?"

Alas! As I was just typing, the power came back on at my house (I can tell because the generator at my office trips when the power to rest of the island is finally restored). I guess I should go back home, take a shower and get ready for the day ... or maybe not? Maybe I should go to the beach and drink a few cold ones?

You know you live on St. Thomas when the line between work and play is always blurred.