Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Episode 43 - Puddles Everywhere

Click HERE to Listen
The Dachshund is trying Tom’s patience, Ema admits to escalator hesitation, we announce the winner of our Things I Hate/Things I Love Contest, Ema would like to have a soundtrack to her life, we re-discover 'The Wedding Singer,' Our neighbor talks Tom down from the ledge, and we discuss the relative merits of being ‘good’ parents.

Contest winner Dan's Things I Hate/Things I Love:

Love - Sleeping
Hate - Going to bed

Love - Video Games
Hate - Work

Love - Flamboyant Gay Comedians
Hate - Homophobes

Love - AudioBooks
Hate - Illiterate people

Love - Podcasting
Hate - Broken web pages

Music on our show curtesy of Joe Feraci:Click HERE for info on Joe
Links Mentioned:
Love Long and Prosper Podcast
Theater of Your Mind (Tom's stories)

And even though we didn't mention them in this episode, a link to our buddies Jen and Jason's Tucker's Podcast 'Tucker Tales.'

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Please Stand By. . .

Ema and I are experiencing technical difficulties, but will return with an episode very soon. Thanks for checking in!

- Tom

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lost Vegas Weekend

Waiting with ema at Las Vegas airport. Carry-ons are really heavy, but my wallet is much lighter so it balances out.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Blog Exclusively for Tom's Stories

So I came home this evening and excitedly told Ema the idea I've got for a new story for the blog. She was sweet enough to listen to me blurt out my half-baked idea, then said "Are you going to post that on OUR podcast blog?" I said "No, yes, I mean, I think so." Yup, I'm a real stud in the face of conflict. "Why?" I said, "Shouldn't I?" She smiled, tried to take my feelings into account, and said "I think you should start a new blog just for your stories so we can leave the podcast blog for items relating to the show and the show notes." I knew she was right. I let her believe it was the best idea I've heard all day. She still believes it, although she's out with some friends at the moment, and I can smell Sam's diaper from three rooms away, so I better close this up. Enjoy this blog for all podcast-related stuff, BUT, please do subscribe to the my new story blog, Theater of Your Mind, as well. Check it out - theaterofyourmind.com

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Cruise - Part Four

”A balconette?” I said as I watched Rachel’s pleasant smile morph into an apoplectic glower. “But the brochure we received from the travel agent explicitly called out a balcony. And, P.S. - What the hell is a balconette?!?” Rachel lowered her eyes toward the counter as if trying to remember her 40 minute training session on how to nullify a disgruntled cruiser. Then, quite suddenly, her smile returned. “Yes Mr. Jordan, the brochures are incorrect; printed two years ago before we changed ships for this route. I’m terribly sorry that the travel agent mislead you. Our website has all of the latest information on our ships and rooms. A balconette is simply the term we use to describe our upgraded bay window. Most rooms on your floor offer only a porthole. Now, if you’d like, I’d be happy to show you how to find our website online.” I paused, gathered my thoughts, tried suppressing my rage by finding a happy place – nothing. Rachel was no longer pretty, no longer alluring. Even her dimples had no affect on me anymore. She meant less than nothing to me, and the poor girl didn’t even know it yet.

“Look, Rachel, first of all, Today is Friday, and I wasn’t born on a Thursday – you follow? Calling a window a balconette is like calling an AMC Pacer a Limosenette simply because it has big windows. Very misleading.Secondly, my wife and I booked this cruise with the expectations of having a balcony, and there’s no way that I am going downstairs to tell her that the porta-potty of a cabin you issued us is the one we are going to spend five glorious nights in. And do you know why we are not going to spend five glorious nights in that tin can?” I took a breath and watched Rachel fumble for the alarm button under the counter. “Because my darling wife of eight years, with whom I’m celebrating our anniversary at the Captain’s table tomorrow evening, just got promoted to Senior Editor of an internet travel review site called TripAdvisor.com. You may want to become familiar with this site as roughly 90 percent of the passengers on board who used the internet to research their cruise used TripAdvisor. Now, if you’d like, I’d be happy to show you how to find it online.”

I’m not sure when they arrived; sometime during my tirade, I’m sure, but there were two gentlemen in suits standing behind me, listening to my every word. Rachel, who, at this point, stood at least two feet back from the counter, looked at me and nodded toward them. “These gentlemen might be better suited to handle your difficulty, Mr. Jordan.” I turned, but before I could speak, the taller of the two suits presented his hand and introduced himself. “Hello Mr. Jordan I’m Victor Caldera, the Senior Director of Customer Service on this ship, and this is Mr. Phelps, the Sales and Marketing Director. Rachel, bless her heart, should have directed you to me in the first place, as she is really in charge of looking after people’s valuables on the ship. But, as you can see, the line for the Cruise Service desk is much longer, and by speaking with Rachel first, you avoided such a wait.” Victor chuckled, and waved his hand across the foyer to a long line switch-backing between velvet ropes in front of another counter. “Oh. . .” I turned back toward Rachel. “Sorry about that.” She smiled again, more tentatively this time – no dimples. “Now let’s go check out your room, ehe?” I lead the two suits down into the bowels of the ship, showed them our room, the brochure, and introduced them to Ema to whom they congratulated, and apologized profusely.

Ema was bewildered and impressed by how much power her dear husband yielded. She had no idea why she was being congratulated, but wend along with the act like a trooper. It wasn’t until we were unpacking our suitcases in our spacious, luxurious suite on the Promenade deck, that I finally told her the whole story. She was still impressed, even considering the lie; and somehow, some way, this extravagant trip suddenly seemed worth every cent.

The End

No Show This Week

Ema is feeling a bit under the weather this week, so we didn't record an episode. Look for episode 43 (hopefully) next week!

In the meantime, enjoy the blog, and don't forget to check out the archived storytelling episodes.



Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Cruise - Part Three

I walked back up the long, slightly sloping hallway to the aft main stairwell, and climbed four floors to the main deck. Hundreds of guests milled about, many with astonished looks on their faces as they glanced skyward at the magnificent glass elevator stuffed to capacity, as it rose toward the promenade deck. I’d seen the elevator. I’d also seen the hallway with the buzzing lights and a curious little room, not much bigger than my cubicle at work, which had somehow been mistakenly issued to us. I set my eyes on the purser’s desk at the far end of the lobby.

At the pursers’ desk I was greeted by a tall, pretty brunette, mid-twenties, Rachel according to her name tag. “Hello Sir, what can I help you with?” Too damn cheery; normally I’d put a stop to that right away, but there was something about her look, the way she presented herself, that smile, those dimples, the fresh, unsoiled innocence of youth. . . “C’mon, Jordan, snap out of it!” I told myself. “Your WIFE is downstairs in steerage, standing in a room the size of an airliner lavatory! Concentrate on your anger, man – you do it all the time at home!” I took a deep breath, remembered the last time I caught our dog peeing on the office carpet, and got down to business.

“Hi.” I said, firm, composed, confident. Then again, I reminded myself it’s not that hard to say ‘hi.’ “I believe we were given the wrong room.” I handed her our boarding pass and room key. “Well let’s take a look.” She said, turning to her computer. “Hmmm, according to our records and your itinerary, everything seems to be in order. Was there something wrong with the room?” I was halfway expecting this answer. “Let’s start with what’s right with the room – it’s a shorter list.” Rachel gave a half smile. “The room appears to be dry – free from sea water leakage of any kind; there’s a bed of sorts, something resembling a television, but I needed my reading glasses to correctly identify it, a window. . .” I paused, remembering the one bit of evidence that even Rachel nor her computer could dispute – the balcony! “Oh yes, the window. According to the brochure, our deluxe stateroom was supposed to have a balcony – not a window.” Rachel bit her lower lip and tilted her head slightly as she turned back toward her computer monitor. “Hmmm. . .” She said, tapping away on the keys. “Oh, your room doesn’t have a balcony. It has a balconette.” She smiled, turned back toward me and combed some hair behind her right ear with her fingers.

Now I may not know much about politics, mathematics, history, automotive repair, or women, but the one thing in which I do have confidence is my command for the English language. I’m a ‘word nerd,” love words, and know quite a few of them. Never, in my nearly four decades on this planet, however, had I heard the word ‘balconette.’ I folded my arms on the faux marble countertop, leaned in toward Rachel, and took a deep, cleansing breath.

To be continued. . .

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Cruise - Part Two

“The pleasure of expecting enjoyment is often greater than that of obtaining it, and the completion of almost every wish is found a disappointment” --Samuel Johnson

Magical photographic techniques have been used for decades to enhance the allure of consumer products for marketing purposes. We’ve come to expect certain liberties that advertisers take to sell us goods. That perfectly grilled steak on the Webber grill billboard? We accept that the grill marks were made with a curling iron, and the rich caramel coloration is a result of dipping the meat in a wood stain and honey mixture. Nowhere, though, is there a wider chasm between fantasy and reality than with the cruise ship brochure photos. Fish-eye lenses do more than broaden and deepen our visual perspective of an otherwise tiny cabin, they toy with our mental perspective as well - manipulating our dreams; and providing a false promise which we are compelled to believe.

When Ema and I saw the photos of our deluxe stateroom with balcony in the brochure, we no more believed them than we believe the Southwestern Grilled BBQ Bacon Burger we order from Carl’s Jr. will look anything like the photo on the menu board. But, when our food is finally delivered, at least it resembles our notion of what a hamburger should look like, and not, say, a chicken wing. That’s what Ema and I were staring at – a $3,000 chicken wing.

At the far end of the room, where the balcony should have been, there was a large, oval, doorless window. “This has got to be the wrong room.” Ema said, trying to regulate her breathing as to not hyperventilate. “Yeah.” I said, and walked into the room. I approached the window and felt along the outer edge for a handle of some sort, a seam, anything that would indicate that the window could be opened. Nothing. I turned back to Ema who was struggling with the bathroom door handle. “Wait” I said, “Don’t move a muscle. I’m going to speak to someone in charge.” Ema likes it when I get upset enough to be proactive. She was able to let a thin smile escape as I swept by her and kissed her cheek on my way out of our tiny room.

To be continued. . .