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Mark Shields
Super Genius
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missed op

2001.08.29 16.07

Worked late last night. Was going through Planet of the Apes premiere pictures taken by the paparazzi last night while on a break and discovered that I missed out meeting the following people: Molly Ringwald, Bill Paxton, and Aaliyah. Yeah, the girl that died in the plane crash. A little creepy that I saw a movie with her and now she's gone. However, if you think about it, anytime you see a movie with people there is the possibility that they'll die. I'm sure the entire audience that saw E.T. The Extra Terrestrial with me aren't still alive. For sure the audience that I saw Cocoon and Driving Miss Daisy with aren't all still alive. Course, those people were probably lucky enough not to have to die in such a terrible way. The book and subsequent movie Millennium was about fatal airliner crashes and how people from the future would time travel back to the past, knock out everyone on a doomed flight, take them off the plane and replace them with ''drone'' victims so the NTSB wouldn't suspect anything weird... like why did everyone vanish without a trace before the jet crashed? The film stars Kris Kristopherson and was just OK because the plot moved along like a snail on pot (i.e. not only was it very slow, it meandered). Okay, end of tangent. What did we accomplish? Well, you've got one less minute to live now that you've spent it reading this paragraph.

baskin robbins + 1

2001.08.27 16.08

mystery car
The legendery Batmobile is shown in this stock photo taken in 1989. Sources close to the Commissioner Gordon led investigation indicate there are no leads as to where Batman's vehicle is. When stopped on the street last week and questioned about how he felt about the disappearance of the Batmobile, millionaire and Gotham social icon Bruce Wayne indicated, ''I have no idea where it could be. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to announce that I will be buying chop shops, no questions asked, starting today. Just call me anytime at 555-CHOP and let's make a deal!'' The car's owner himself, Batman, has been unavailable for comment.
Crying baby won't stop. Pilot tells me he's got the pedal to the metal and flying 520 miles an hour to make up for the delay in our departure. I knew something was up when the plane took off from Houston and we were over Galveston in 3 minutes. I got a SWEET deal on the plane. I'm in coach, but I'm in the middle of three seats with no one on my left or right. This is better than first class, although I must admit that I really dig the hot towel and the glass salt and pepper shakers they have. Lucky bastards. I have to beg for a salt and pepper packet here in coach. A stewardess once actually told me, ''Sir, the salt and pepper packets are for our Bloody Mary drinkers.'' I couldn't believe it. I asked if I could have a Bloody Mary, hold the vodka, ice, bloody mary mix, lime, tabasco and worscestershire sauce. I got it. Can't believe I paid $4 for a packet of pepper, but it was the best damn pepper ever.

Bought an 'Us' magazine to read about how Carnie Wilson had her stomach stapled and lost 150 pounds. Her stomach is the size of a lemon and her duodenum is itty bitty. She has to chew up her food very carefully or else it won't make it past the entrance. Scary. I'd rather go on Survivor if it ever came down to my toning up. All the rice you can eat, plenty of people to bitch about, and you use shrubbery to wipe your butt. I think I'd hold off on eating a lot to reduce the # of times I'd have to do that. Anyway, I bet I could do the Carnie Wilson diet without the stomach stapling. All you need is the food item you want to eat, a blender, and 32 ounces of water. Put whatever you want to eat in the blender and blend the hell out of it. You're only allowed to eat a lemon-shaped portion (i.e. pretty damn small). Savor it, then drink LOTS of water until you're full. Don't repeat it again for at least 4 hours. That's it! I should do infomercials, man. I call it the Morale Enhancing Stomach Obfuscating Heavy Urination New Goodness Real Yummy meal... or the M.E. S.O. H.U.N.G.R.Y. meal for short.

Saw Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back on Saturday night while I was in town. I had been feeling depressed and lonely during the day. Not sure why. PowerBall post-partum, maybe? I have gone months without feeling too bad. I tried cheering myself up by treating myself to sushi and Kirin II. Good sushi, but I needed more. I needed unadulterated mirth. I got my fix thanks to the sharp comic wit of Kevin Smith. If you haven't seen Clerks, Mall Rats, Chasing Amy or Dogma yet, you really need to. Smith basically has taken over where John Hughes left off. The films Hughes made in the 1980s never really grew up beyond high school. Smith takes us into an adult world but it still feels like he's part of the Hughes universe. Of course, I don't even know if Smith thinks Hughes sucks ass or not, so maybe I'll shut my yap. They are really great flicks, however, and worth repeated viewings. The dialog is rich and full of quotables. I can't believe I still haven't bought the Jay and Silent Bob action figures yet. A former coworker friend, let us call him Jason H, was a lucky bastard enough to get an early set of the first Jay and Silent Bob figures produced. I wonder if he's short on money. I want them! I'll take care of them for you, Jason, plus you'll get 200 bucks. You can come by to visit them anytime you want... well, except when I'm walking around the house butt naked and vacuuming. Hmmm. Better schedule an appointment with my secretary before you drop by. Oh, and admission.. did I mention admission? That's $50, although if you bring in a Coke can you'll get a $5 discount, a pat on the back and a hearty heigh-ho.

Sunday I was treated with early birthday stuff from my parents who bought me a kick ass Papa John's pizza for lunch and took me to Fajita Willy's for dinner. I got some Armani cologne (it smells purdy... manly purdy) and a lot of Hilfiger shirts and some pants. I love my parents! Not only are these very nice items, but I didn't have to wash any clothes to wear before I left for Philly. I just packed new ones. I seem to recall some kind of joke in a movie where these women are buying clothes all the time and then someone remarks about washing them, to which they reply, ''You can wash these!?!''

I was listening to the radio today and these two guys were talking about three cool things to see on the web. First, Blue Bell ice cream has a lot of new flavors, one of which is Birthday Cake. Blue Bell is sold mostly in Texas and surrounding states. My Philly friends never heard of it. It's goooood. The cool thing he mentioned was that you can order it online and have it delivered anywhere. Russell Crowe has said publicly that his favorite Texas beer is Shiner Bock. You can't get it in Philly, either. Unfortunately, you can't order it online, either. Bastards. They need to call the Blue Bell people. The second thing the radio guy talked about was this website that teaches you how to create and make money off an adult web site. This guy was pretty open minded and wasn't putting it down. He mentioned that the adult entertainment industry makes 9 billion dollars a year along with the fact that the strong ecommerce for adult content has not faltered during the recent downturn in the economy. The other guy on the radio was very embarassed, though, and couldn't believe what he was hearing. I think everytime the word PORNOGRAPHY was mentioned that it felt like you were hearing a dirty word. Only, it's not a dirty word. However... f*** mag. Now, that's a dirty word! Right? The third cool thing on the web discussed was... uhhh... okay, I don't remember. I think I was so amused by the fact that they were telling you how to learn how to run a pr0n site on the radio that I forgot the rest of the bit.

Getting psyched to be in Los Angeles next week for the Rock Star premiere. I am taking my roommate Oktober, along with another friend from work. Let us call her Kristina P. There is a slight possibility that we may also be partying in the Playboy Mansion on Labor Day. I won't give away any details until I know this is for sure or not, but I think I may be close to pulling this off. I told the girls that they have to bring their business cards and hawk our company to any dudes (or dudettes) that approach them. There is an open bar at the premiere after-party, however. Pitching your company while you're on your fifth Heinekin is pretty tricky. We will be staying at the lovely Best Western of Westwood during our stay. I'm sure a trip to Rodeo drive is imminent. And if I get to meet Hugh Hefner, all the better. I'm all about destroying this whole six degrees of separation thing, ya know?

Who the hell is OktoberNight? My roommate. This is ''Inside Joke Commentary'' about the type of phone calls she gets. Visit her site for more dirt.

flight write

2001.08.24 16.09

I am finding that the only time I spend writing the blog is when I'm airborn. Need to find time on the ground. Here's a skinny on what went on this week.

Got in late Sunday night. Locked door. Door made funny noise. Next morning, got up and got ready. Reached to open door. Doorknob wouldn't turn. After 3 minutes of tinkering, I gave up and called the front desk. They sent a maid up to try to open my door. No luck. She then went to get EVERY maid from the hotel. For 20 minutes I can hear the door card reader mechanism over and over and over. The front desk guy finally comes up and reassures me that everything will be fine and that I should ''just watch TV or something.'' I turn on the TV. Barney is on. I hate Barney. I turn off the TV. Nearly an hour after I wanted to leave the room, a handyman guy comes up and slides a wrench under my door. ''You'll have to pull the pins out from the hinges. Do you know where those are?'' asks Mr. Handyman. Duh. I feign ignorance and say, ''Hinges? Do you mean those karate guys who wear all black and you can only see their eyes?'' After 30 seconds of dumbfounded silence on the other side of the door, the front desk guy finally speaks: ''No, no, Mr. Shields, not Ninjas. Hinges.'' I briefly consider dedicating another two minutes of my life to this, but then decide I need to get to work since this is deadline week. One minute later I pull the pins out of the door and it nearly comes crashing down onto me thanks to Mr. Handyman leaning on it. I leave and they assure me a replacement will be there when I return. I get back and what looks like the same door is there again. It works, though, so I'm not saying nothin'.

Keep having thoughts above cool stuff to put into my Back to the Future 4 script. Wondering what the odds are that I could get that made? Better than winning the PowerBall? And speaking of, we had an office pool on Tuesday to win the PowerBall. My Project Manager lives in Delaware and he worked out a spreadsheet showing how much we'd all win based on the amount of money we put in the pot. One person was going to get 37% while I was only destined for a meager 12% (or something small like that). The 12% people briefly considered a revolt over the 37% person, but we were too busy with work to debate the issue. We only won 7 bucks, anyway. I put in $10 into the pot for Saturday night (tomorrow). I also have another $5 that's just for me, although I forgot the ticket in Philly. I don't come back til' Tuesday (my birthday is Monday and I'm sticking around Houston to be super-available for wise men (or women) bearing gifts.

Planning my return to Los Angeles for the Rock Star premiere on September 4th. There is another premiere the next day in San Francisco, home of my dropdead gorgeous friend Cathy Lloyd, but I have to be back in Philly by the 5th to start our next phase. I believe Oktober, my roommate, might be attending. I asked Puce, but she never responded. I guess she gets tons of mail, plus I had serious doubts she'd even say yes since she doesn't know me from Joe Dirt. I asked for 4 tix this time so my people at work could be properly compensated for their work on Fingers are crossed. Wish me luck. I could always sneak in, don't get me wrong. They had this thing on TV a few years ago with these two guys who sneaked into the media pool at the Academy Awards and were interviewing celebrities as they walked down the red carpet. They didn't get caught. Matter of fact, security people there actually helped them get past some barriers that were in their way. Just carry a big expensive betacam and a microphone while wearing a suit and you're in. My home video version of Back to the Future (starring myself and my friend Carl) was based on this same premise that it doesn't matter who you are -- but what you're wearing. We dressed up in tuxedos and walked right into my high school prom -- only it was the 1991 prom and we were NOT invited nor did we have dates. That didn't matter. We partied. We danced. We ate shrimp. We even filmed scenes for my little movie. I doubt I can do that now that I'm approaching 32 years of age. Maybe I can sneak into a college prom. Hmmm...

aircraft flight sky at night

i'm back

2001.08.19 16.09

Spent good part of the weekend sweating it out while I recovered lost sectors on my D: drive. Windows ME sucks ass. I plan to upgrade to Windows 2000 Pro SP1 as soon as I get home again. Memory leaks in Windows ME are so bad that I want to install a porta-poddy on the side of my desk. Computer humor. It is a difficult concept.

Drove DeLorean around for 10 minutes. Had 5 minute meeting with The Storage Place Guy over my billing. He thought I'd missed a payment. Wrong. Correction made. Need to have 5 minute phone call with my old insurance company. They are apparently unable to comprehend the idea that one person could break both their ankles at the same time.

Them: ''Mr. Shields, we're not sure why, but everyone double-billed the medical bills related to your broken ankle.''

Me: ''I broke both ankles. They're not double-billing you. I needed two of everything.''

Them: ''Mr. Shields, I don't see how it is possible for you to have broken both of them.''

Me: ''It is possible. Are you people insane?''

Them: 'That will be $1800, please.''

Me: ''Can I send you the payment using foreign currency?''

Them: ''I'm sorry? Foreign currency?''

Me: ''Yeah. I'd like to pay you using Mexican pesos. I'll mail you a little bit of the payment every day in a sealed McDonald's bag that I'll send in the mail.''

Them: ''Sir, please don't do that.''

Me: ''I'm sorry. I didn't hear you. Oh, what's your name?''

Them: '[name deleted]. Why?''

Me: ''I want to make sure I scribble out a note in blood that you told me this payment technique was a good idea.''

Them: ''Uhhh... sir, no, uhhh... it is most certainly not okay.''

Me: ''Gee, there goes my phone again. Darn static. Guess I need to get Sprint PCS. Next thing you know I'll be bringing home Charo."

35,000 feet

2001.08.17 16.11

I'll make this quick. I am spending about 8 hours a week flying so this is obviously a great time to catch up on the blog. Problem is, not much to catch up on. Going to force myself to do actual work-work while I am home in Houston. I tend to relax while I'm in town and forget my other life in Philly. We are bearing down on a deadline and some of the people I am relying on to get things to me on time are falling behind. We're going to throw the slow people a life raft even though we are pulling it with our speedboat. There will be drownings. The crick in my neck from Wednesday seems to be gone.


2001.08.15 16.11

On Monday I returned to Philly after an uneventful weekend in Houston. I was held up in Atlanta due to weather (again) the day before and arrived very late. The rental car this time around is a Mercury Grand Marquis. This car was made for people who never want to sit up straight. There is no possible way to adjust the entire front seat beyond a 30 degree ''i'm a lowrider, baby'' incline. You can adjust the gas pedals and bring them closer, but this doesn't help prevent the temptation to fall asleep while you're driving since you are practically lying back flat on your back. I sense this might come in handy given certain situations, but I digress.

Speaking of certain situations, I have had my eagle eye out for possible romantic or even platonic situations with the fairer sex for the last few weeks. There was one incident while I was walking in one morning. A pretty blonde girl was inside staring at me walking in. I could very clearly see her standing in the lobby and staring. I think she thought I couldn't see her through the window tinting because as soon as I opened up the door she immediately turned her head around 180 degrees and pretended like she hadn't been staring. Aha! The only problem is -- I can't figure out where she works. I can only troll around during my downtime for so long and, inevitably, people start to wonder why you keeping passing their cubicle with an unopened can of Dr. Pepper. ''I'm just looking for this girl but I don't know her name or where she works, exactly.'' Right. Right. Get back to work! [crack of whip].

I gave blood on Tuesday. I couldn't resist the girl they'd strategically placed at the GIVE US YOUR BLOOD table in the cafeteria. Can you tell I'm desperate for social interaction? I agreed to give blood sometime on Tuesday. So, Tuesday comes. I find the room. I fill out forms. I get poked and prodded and questioned about doing things to people since 1977. Apparently a lot of bad sh*t went down in 1977. If you paid for sex with 10,000 chicks (or even, nay, dare I suggest it, guys) in 1976, your blood is all good. But if you did anything in 1977 or later, your blood is not wanted. I was 7 years old in 1976 and I was definitely NOT getting any, so answering the questions were easy. ''Well, there were these two girls who lived next store to me who used me to learn about the birds and the bees, but we apparently had bad information about exactly why the girl had to lay on top of the boy in order to make babies.'' Luckily I was properly trained in 1981 when we got cable and subscribed to HBO. Everytime I give blood I always nearly go into shock and have to rest for half an hour. Tuesday was no exception. After draining me of one pint of O negative blood, they fed me two glasses of OJ, some chocalate chip cookies and a bag of sour dough pretzels. I returned to work and proceeded to chug Mountain Dew like there was no tomorrow. That evening I made the mistake of ordering room service. Something didn't sit well. The next morning I felt like donating my entire gastrointestinal system. There were no takers, however. I took one of my rare sick days off and slept through most of the day while ''Unsolved Mysteries'' asked me to find people to bust for hours on end.

I woke up around 5 PM and drove to the bank to get some cash out. I seem to have misplaced my bank debit card. One quick phone call and the card was canceled and reordered. No unusual purchases, but better safe than sorry. I drove to Rich's Deli, only an 1/8th of a mile away. I go in. I say, ''Yeah, I'll like a cheese steak, all the way, please.'' The guy is like, ''All the way? What does that mean?'' I look at him like he's a freaking idiot (which he is) and say, ''it means with everything on it.'' He then proceeds to ask me if I want this and that and this and that. I tell him, ''Yes, I will take all of that,'' while still thinking this guy is dense for not getting ''All the way.'' I ask him where he's from and he defensively cops an attitude and says, ''Philly?!'' Bleah. So, I let it go. He mutters something about, ''Guess there's a first time for everything.'' Right. Ever go ''All the Way'' with someone, my Philly cheesesteak ordering friend from Rich's deli? I guess not.

Talked to the Batmobile guy about the car and its history. We are meeting on September 4th when I'll be in LA for the Rock Star premiere. I asked Puce if she wanted to go. I've never really talked with her or met her or had any interaction with her. But she's one of the few half-Armenian girls that I know (I am also half-Armenian, by the way), so I figure we at least have that to talk about. Wait until she checks out my mad thumb-wrestling skills, however.


2001.08.13 16.12

It will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine.


2001.08.10 16.13

On a plane to Houston. It is difficult to type as I am very crowded. I *DID* have a free seat next to me, but this french dude decided he was going to move and sit there. He claims he was trapped between two fat guys. He was. So what? I've been trapped before and had no escape. Everyone needs to experience the fear and anguish of being trapped in a coach class seat like that. It toughens ya up. You could probably sail through basic training in the military if you're able to survive being squeezed between two big dudes on a plane for three hours.

Speaking of... the big dude in front of me reclined his chair not 15 seconds after the plane had left the ground. We were still ascending, dammit. Isn't there a rule? Only minutes earlier the french dude next to me took a phone call while we were sitting on the taxi way. Last time I ever did that (1998) the back of the plane threatened to call security and have me escorted out. I claimed that I was a spy and that my phone was really a private line to the pilot... and that everyone should sit down and shut up. I almost had them convinced until they wrestled me to the ground and tied me up.

The dinner cart came by and one of the two big dudes in front of me said, "You got a special meal for me?" The male stuardess replied, "Not for you!" Ha. Good one. I think I even echoed ''Not for you!'' several times out loud because I thought it sounded so funny. I got The Evil Eye from the special meal guy. The Recliner Guy had no comment.

There is a totally gorgeous brunette with a fantastic tan not three feet to my right. I had some updates to do for and thought I'd catch her eye with my expertise in Flash -- plus riding the coattails of superstar Mark Wahlberg to impress women can't hurt. She spoke to me a little while but she seems busy talking to the redneck seated next to her. He has the We Share An Armrest Advantage that I lack. I share the armrest with a wussy french dude who can't say Canada Dry to where anyone can understand him. The "Not For You" male stewardess asked this guy what he wanted to drink and he kept replying, "Cahn Nah Dah Rye." I eventually translated for him and he got his drink. I can't stand seeing french dudes suffer.

When I checked out of my hotel this morning, I noticed the three or four meals I'd ordered via room service did not show up. I wonder what happened to them. Perhaps room service is free at the Best Western. I was also informed that I was to receive a free night discount and 20% discounts for my lengthy stay. After all the discounts, it is very cheap to stay at the Best Western. I'd been considering moving into a furnished apartment but the price, $1999/month, seemed steep. I'd only get maid service every two weeks. What is up with that? I am a neat person, but two weeks is long enough to start your own bacteria species. Whatever that means. My coworker Will had offered his spare room when he moves in September, and the idea sounds good... although I think my ability to bring home crazy women would be seriously hindered if I did that. Not that I am bringing home anyone now, but you never know.

I think I have lost access to Girl On My Right to the We Share An Armrest guy. Bastard. There is a girl in the row with me across from the french dude, but I think she hasn't started 7th grade yet. I'm not in the mood to discuss boy bands and how cool Carson Daly is right now.

I am peeking a look at the book the french dude is reading. It says something about Building a Domain of Love. Must be about creating pr0n sites, right?

these dreams? no, those dreams

2001.08.07 16.15

I will have an update tonight. Check back? And check your front while you're at it.


2001.08.07 16.14

Okay. I still need to make an update. I have been busy with contact lens issues this evening. LensCrafters changed the contacts I have been wearing for the last two weeks with new ones bearing a different curvature. I feel a lot better now. I was able to see through solid objects with those other lenses. I'm glad that's over. I was totally unable to buy soft drinks out of the vending machine because I could see that I'd already lost their vexing little twist and win games and would have had to "Please Play Again." The couple in the room below me were freaking me out, anyway, what with their habit of sleeping with their shoes on fetish. Ick!

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