Life After Losing

And out the door I went...

And out the door I went…

I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?  Many of you may wish to do that after enduring six-plus months of The Journey only to find out that I’m not the person you want to ask for a personal loan.  But hey, we can still make Fridays a lot of fun even with the climactic anticlimax a done deal, right?  After all, I’m still stuck in New York City for the next 24 hours, and I’m a pair of ruby slippers short of clicking my heels and magically returning home… so The Millionaire Journey continues, and it won’t be over until I say so!

I think I shall leap into the Ditch of Despair to end this Friday suffering...

I think I shall leap into the Ditch of Despair to end this Friday suffering…

Those of us in the Unfortunate Eight were rounded up by the associate producer J.P. and led off the stage before we could further embarrass ourselves or our families.  Backstage, he had a few parting words of encouragement for us, telling us to keep trying!  After all, since we didn’t make the Hot Seat, we were still eligible to come back on the show again.  As far as I know, only one member of my hapless group did manage to return to New York, and that was my left side partner Andrea Carla Michaels… who managed to quickly pop up again in the Ring of Fire just three months later on the May 3, 2001 broadcast.  She missed all three of her Fastest Finger questions on that show, too…

I'll never get these fastest finger questions right!  Never!!!

I’ll never get these fastest finger questions right! Never!!!

So much for all that practicing she did

We marched on up to the dressing rooms to change back into our street clothes, and gather up the spare outfit we brought along that may as well have gone to Goodwill.  With my two show outfits in hand, as well as the spare clothes Dad had to bring along in case of a carryover, I had quite an armload of laundry as I marched back down the stairs to the exit doors.  There I was reunited with Dad, and he kindly didn’t offer to help me with the load of clothes I was struggling with.  This was particularly bad, because it was at this moment, just as we were all about to be herded onto the bus back to the Dumpire Empire, that they handed out the big parting gift…

The fake check... not the cat.

The fake check… not the cat.

I somehow managed to find a free hand to grab the blue piece of cardboard with my name on it that could only be cashed at the Bank of Sentimentality, and then walked out the door….. and straight into the fucking rain.

Nobody likes the smell of wet squirrel.

Nobody likes the smell of wet squirrel.

It’s about 40 degrees outside and drizzling.  The check is getting soaked by the rain, and mangled by the heap of clothes in my arms.  Oh well… perhaps its fitting that the one tangible souvenir I can take away from this experience got a little roughed up given all the mental bumps and bruises I had to endure to become such an epic game show failure.

As soon as we make it back to the hotel and away from the other contestants, my Dad starts going off about you know who…

Who, little ol' me?

Who, little ol’ me?

It was obviously Amy’s fault that I didn’t make it into the Hot Seat because she took entirely too much time!  She should have answered the questions faster!  She should have picked up the pace and quit shooting the shit with Regis!  She should have personally gone up into the producer’s booth and edited down her appearance!  I had totally gotten ripped off of another chance to make it into The Chair.  Poor Dad… I think he may have needed a hug in the aftermath of the show more than I did…

Sorry, but this is the only kind of manhugging that's socially allowed.

Sorry, but this is the only kind of manhugging that’s socially allowed.

I called my Mom back at home, figuring she already knew the bad news since she was on my Phone a Friend list and had to be relieved of standby duty from the AP manning the lifeline phones.  She hadn’t been… and as far as she knew, the taping was still going on.  I had already told her about my bad fortune before I’d found out she didn’t know, so there went any element of surprise on her part…

As well as the element of surprise for anyone my Mom would come into contact with over the next two weeks.

As well as the element of surprise for anyone my Mom would come into contact with over the next two weeks.

After a long, exhausting, mentally draining morning… and one that started on very little sleep to begin with, I hit the bed like a ton of bricks and took a nap.  Not even my Dad watching TV was going to be enough to keep me awake this time…

Wake me up at.... like, just don't.

Wake me up at…. like, just don’t.

I emerged from my postshow coma around dinnertime, which meant another trip down to the Empire Market for more of that fascinating, “don’t ask, don’t tell” mystery meat.  After tiding my stomach over until I could finally get back home to my comfort food, me and my Dad went out and saw everything there is to see in New York City that evening!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!  Oh, man, that was a good one!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Oh, man, that was a good one!!!

Of course we didn’t… because I’m not into touristy things, and my Dad is only slightly less weird the same.  No, we spent the second of our two nights in New York City doing the same thing we’d done on the first night… sitting in the hotel room watching whatever came on TV.  And by whatever, I mean literally whatever.  We had as much fun with the remote control as these two fine upstanding young men do when they’re bored out of their stoner skulls…

Uhhhhhh... this sucks!  Change it, Butthead!

Uhhhhhh… this sucks! Change it, Butthead!

The first thing we discovered was a pair of Spanish language channels.  Ubiquitous as they are now, at the time, Telemundo and Univision were not on our cable system back home, so we both found the novelty of watching programs in Spanish to be fascinating.  As trashy as The Ricki Lake Show already was in English, it was an even cooler level of epic shittiness when it featured Mexican douchebags and you couldn’t understand a fucking word anyone was saying.

¡Señor Dwight es muy caliente.... ay yi yi!

¡Señor Dwight es muy caliente…. ay yi yi!

Once we had extracted every last ounce of unintelligible Latin humor out of the Spanish channels (and found to our dismay that contrary to the rumors, there were no boobs on these channels), we flipped over to something even more exciting…. C-SPAN!!!

The original reality television stars since 1789.

The original reality television stars since 1789.

Sure, nobody in their right mind would ever watch C-SPAN out of anything but a crippling case of utter boredom (unless they’re a fan of prank callers).  But we got some mild interest out of watching former Missouri governor John Ashcroft get grilled audition for the Attorney General’s job in President-elect George W. Bush’s Cabinet before a Senate subcommittee.  I’ll let your own political tastes say what they will about Mr. Ashcroft, but there’s no getting over the fact that just two months prior to these hearings, he rather famously lost the election for U.S. Senator in Missouri to a dead man

As Attorney General, I vow to fight all of the evil corruption on the internets!  And put an end to this painfully drawn out Millionaire story!

As Attorney General, I vow to fight all of the evil corruption on the internets! And put an end to this painfully drawn out Millionaire story!

We also watched the local news and found out that the morning we had arrived in New York, they had actually had an earthquake!  The area I live in just north of the New Madrid Fault has been long overdue for a “Big One”, yet until April of 2008, I had never even felt a little one before.  So to travel 900 miles to an area that doesn’t get many quakes, and bring the Midwest’s tremors with me, was kind of a sign this was going to be a fucked up trip in itself…

Where was your Manhattan earthquake prediction when we needed it!?!?

Where was your Manhattan earthquake prediction when we needed it!?!?

Remember the drama of the Texas Seven?  They were the seven inmates who escaped from a Texas maximum security prison in December 2000, leaving a trail of robbery and murder behind them in their month on the lam.  Since their last confirmed sighting on Christmas Eve, nobody knew where they had fled to and the entire nation was on edge while these animals were on the loose.  Sure enough, the local news was reporting unconfirmed sightings of the gang in the NYC area at the current time.  While we never ran into the septet of miscreants while me and Dad were self-isolated in Room 607, we both found it creepily humorous when the entire group was captured five days later at an RV park just outside of Colorado Springs… which just happened to be the final destination of our flight home the next night…

Just who were we sharing that plane with!?!?!?

Just who were we sharing that plane with!?!?!?

Oh, and just to make things even more interesting… a big ass snowstorm was headed for the area the next night (Friday) and lasting into the weekend.  Hell, would we even make it out of The Dumpire without getting snowed in?  I can only live off of mystery meat for so long…

It'll get us down I-80...

If it’ll get us down I-80, I’m good to go.

Thursday evening meant another episode of Millionaire would be airing… but between still being tired and kinda being temporarily burned out on the show after what had transpired earlier in the day, I decided to just turn in again… this time for the night.  Dad was more than ready for a rest as well… but not on the medieval torture device that was masquerading as a futon that he vainly tried to sleep on the night before…

It's fine if you're Sleep Number is -583.

It’s perfectly fine… if you’re Sleep Number is negative 583.

So we wound up having to bunk together in the somewhat comfortable bed I had slept in.  Father and son, all cozy and snug in the chilly, shitty hotel room that had been put on Regis’ tab for us….

Just a tad awkward...

Just a tad awkward…

Sweet dreams, everyone!  I promise we’ll be a bit more adventurous next Friday….

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Evil Squirrel’s Nest Comic #130 — 10/23/14

comic102314

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Your Best Friend’s Nest

Welcome to Mecca Muzak Band Survivor.

Welcome to Mecca Muzak Band Survivor.

meccamuzakmondaysCome Monday it’ll be alright… that’s because it’s the day The Nest’s unicorn behind the turntables spins another groovy 45 from the Mecca Muzak soundtrack!  For two years and seven extra long play CD’s, the Arkansas mixmasters have reinvented what in-store muzak can be… including not only popular hits from the past, but a lot of lesser known songs from indie and eclectic bands that most people don’t even know exist.  I’m discovering pretty interesting new music, and even getting paid for it!

Sometimes, it's even hazard pay.

Sometimes, it’s even hazard pay.

This week’s featured song was performed by the quintet Grouplove, who managed to come together at an artist’s retreat each was attending on the Mediterranean island of Crete.

Some of Crete's beautiful scenery.  If you look very closely, you'll see there's a beach.

Some of Crete’s beautiful scenery. If you look very closely, you’ll see there’s a beach.

While Grouplove’s bread and butter has been playing just about every music festival known to man the last few years on the touring scene, they have taken some time to actually release a couple of albums.  Their first full album was 2011’s “Never Trust a Happy Song”, which spawned a few modest hits on the Modern Rock charts.  But one of those songs easily rose above the rest to not only top the MR charts… but appear in TV commercials, on the hit Fox show “Glee”, and of course, the ultimate honor… earning a coveted spot on the Mecca CD…

Here is the penultimate song from the Fall 2013 CD, Grouplove’s “Tongue Tied”…

It took a loooooooong time for me to get the “Take me to your best friend’s house” earworm out of my brain and realize that this is actually a really cool song.  For some reason, it even strikes me as a good song to end on… which of course, it didn’t since I said it was the second-to-last song on the CD.  No, that particular Mecca soundtrack had to end with one of the worst pieces of dreck to come out of an artist’s mouth in the last decade….

I'm thirty-three for a moment.... FUCK YOU, Mr. I Think I'm A Band All By Myself!

“I’m thirty-three for a moment….”  FUCK YOU, Mr. I Think I’m A Band All By Myself!

Well, that’s about all I have for this week.  I hope today’s MMM selection didn’t leave you tongue tied…

xxx

Or like this…

That cat always cracked me up!  As a bonus… enjoy one of the best classic cartoon shorts ever… Tex Avery’s “Symphony in Slang“!

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Feel Free To Squee!

Is this how you pose for a Saturday Squirrel pic?

Is this how you pose for a Saturday Squirrel pic?

As you may have noticed, the squirrels are back at The Nest!  The only thing that isn’t back to normal on my blog now is the awesome Rainbow Donkey header I’ve decided to keep up until I sqturday squirrel logofinish creating a new permanent one… but the Evil Squirrel’s Nest name will return to the banner soon with a fresh new look!

In the meantime, I just finished processing my latest batch of squirrel photos, and there was little doubt what I was going to use for this week’s Saturday Squirrel feature.  Remember over the summer when I featured photos of a squirrel that was obviously nursing?  It kept me on the lookout for some little ones!  Well, as I’ve mentioned before… baby squirrels rarely leave the nest are not normally seen in the open.  But if you’re lucky, you can catch some kidlets shortly after they begin venturing from home… usually around their third month of life.

I think this handsome li’l pup may be one of them…

I'll never get to eat in privacy again!

I’ll never get to eat in privacy again!

He’s an absolutely adorable little sucker!  Whether it’s in the classic sciurine pose above, or just hanging out on the tree trunk….

I don't know what Gary Puckett didn't see in young squirrels.

I don’t know what Gary Puckett didn’t see in young squirrels.

Saturday Squirrel’s newest child star has emerged!

Enjoy the cuteness, and have a wonderful weekend!

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The Final Countdown

Time's almost up, my pretty!!!!  HAHAHAHAHAhahahaha!!!!!

Time’s almost up, my pretty!!!! HAHAHAHAHAhahahaha!!!!!

Well, here we are on another fabulous Friday!  The sun is out!  The squirrels are back!  Travis Ishikawa will never have to pay for another meal if I’m ever in the same restaurant as he is.  And of course, it’s also time for the next tragicomic installment in my Millionaire Journey series!  After getting two thumbs down from Siskel and Ebert last week, I’m left still sitting in Seat 9, wondering if maybe I blew my last chance to get into that Hot Seat that seems so close, yet so far away…

It's my seat now.... MINE!!!!

It’s my seat now…. MINE!!!!

That’s Kevin O’Neill from Strongsville, Ohio… who knew way more about movies than I did.  Here’s another movie Kevin knows a lot about…

Have fun taking care of Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, and Beetlejuice, dear!

Have fun taking care of Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, and Beetlejuice, dear!

Kevin is a stay at home dad to three kids.  When Regis asks how this unusual “career choice” came about, Kevin says that he used to work in restaurants, probably on this kind of duty…

Any excuse to show the dishwashing dog picture again!

Any excuse to show the dishwashing dog picture again!

His wife has a slightly more prestigious job title… she’s a gynecologist.

This was in such poor taste, that I couldn't resist posting it!

This was in such poor taste, that I couldn’t resist posting it!

Kevin has even brought his lovely wife Joanna along with him…

That's Dr. Joanna to you, filthy squirrel!

That’s Dr. Joanna to you, filthy squirrel!

Kevin’s adventures in housekeeping are apparently not as interesting as Amy’s life in the fast lane… so without much more chitter chatter, Regis goes directly to the game!  Good!  Let’s get this started and hope for a quick exit…

Exit... bendy side out!

Exit… bendy side out!

$100 – Fresh cow’s milk from a carton is typically which of these colors?

A. Brown
B. White
C. Pink
D. 2% mauve

Skip the carton and go directly to the source.

Skip the carton and go directly to the source.

I hate non-basic color words because very few of them sound like the color they represent.  Chartreuse sounds like some shade of blue, and it’s actually a light green.  Mauve brings to mind a deep reddish tint… but no, it’s a lighter variant of purple.  Since I find milk to be disgusting, I could care less what color it is… but Kevin probably serves this to the kids every day and knows that regular milk is B. White.

$200 – Which of the following phrases means “to suffer a disgrace?”

A. Lose face
B. Gain ground
C. Shift gears
D. Rent “Ishtar”

Did someone out there request another Dustin Hoffman movie?

Did someone out there request another Dustin Hoffman movie?

Yes, the 1987 blockbuster bomb “Ishtar” was apparently such a shitty movie, that even as late as 2001 it was still the butt of jokes.  Kevin loves his movies, so he’s probably suffered the disgrace of renting “Ishtar” before and knows what it’s like to A. Lose face

$300 – A person who drives a car very slowly and overcautiously is commonly called what?

A. Shooting star
B. Schoolteacher
C. Sunday driver
D. New York cabbie

Snake Eyes has been slowly and overcautiously driving his school bus off of cliffs since the 1980's.

Snake Eyes has been slowly and overcautiously driving his school bus off of cliffs since the 1980’s.

No doubt, the Cabbies Union took exception to this question’s gag answer, and muttered a number of choice swear words that would have made people blush at the UN… but fortunately not us in a day before Google translators.  I generally have some unsavory terms myself for these types of motorists, but the family friendly term the show is looking for is C. Sunday driver.

$500 – Which of these phrases means “one’s native language”?

A. Brother tongue
B. Father tongue
C. Mother tongue
D. Sister tongue

I'd answer this question, but the cat has my.... well...

I’d answer this question, but the cat has my…. well…

If you’re into Rule 34 and the creepy parts of the internets, I’d recommend these four as excellent character names for a short story of incest and peppermints.  Outside of that, I can see this question tripping up a number of frazzled contestants I’d seen pass through this show in the past.  Alas, for my sake, Kevin in quite in control and aware that mama knows best… C. Mother tongue.

Final answer!!!

Final answer!!!

$1,000 – In the Old West, a chuck wagon was the vehicle known for carrying what?

A, Weapons
B. Food
C. Tools
D. Toys

Wait, I don't see dog kibble as an answer here!

Wait, I don’t see dog kibble as an answer here!

Kevin hasn’t wasted any time at all answering any of these five questions… he answers B. Food, and in less time than it took Amy to decide what to do on a single fucking question, Kevin has just knocked down the first five and has earned himself a cool grand…

But despite how fast Kevin has played, this segment of the show doesn’t even make it to the three minute mark before Regis is sending everyone in TV land off to watch the next batch of commercials that I’d be mocking 13 years later.  Cue the forboding music…

DANGER, Will Robinson!  DANGER!!!

DANGER, Will Robinson! DANGER!!!

We have now reached Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s version of the two minute warning.  As if those of us still in waiting didn’t already realize that our seven figure dreams were mere minutes from disintegrating for good, the associate producers were kind enough to make the rounds of the ring to let us know that there was only one segment left to go… and unless Kevin flubbed one of his next few questions, the curtain was going to come crashing down on all of us… and we weren’t even going to get any Lee Press On Nails out of the deal…

Now lunula free!

Now lunula free!

As expected coming back from break, Regis chats up Kevin a bit more since time isn’t of the essence to him.  Regis asks Joanna how much of the housework Kevin actually does while he’s staying at home all day watching his stories the kids.  She reveals that Superdad apparently isn’t even qualified to wield a bottle of Windex.  After spending all day cleaning out coochies in her office, Joanna also has to come home and clean the piss stains off the bathroom floor as well…

Nothing a little Lysol and Massengill combination can't clean...

Nothing a little Lysol and Massengill combination can’t freshen up…

Not wasting anywhere near as much time as he did with Amy, Regis delves right back into Kevin’s set of questions.  The mid-tier isn’t always a cakewalk for Hot Seat contestants, and as I saw right off the bat with Ed Toutant, a rough question can emerge from nowhere at this level to bite an unsuspecting player in their Hot Buns.  I’m going to need that kind of miracle here again with Kevin… come on, bro!  Help a squirrel out!

Come on... how can you root against this smiling face?

Come on… how can you root against this smiling face?

$2,000 – Which of the following is a trademarked name for refrigerants used in household appliances?

A. Nitrous oxide
B. Butane
C. Ozone
D. Freon

You mean like this appliance?  Or at least, before some creep hauled off with it?

You mean like in this appliance? Or at least, before some creep hauled off with it?

Regis liked to tell contestants that a question was “right up their alley” if it had even a tangential connection to something on one of their blue card bits that was discussed.  You don’t have to be a stay at home dad to know about D. Freon, or that it’s what all the cool kids are huffing these days…

Ooooh, I think I'm having a cold flash!

Ooooh, I think I’m having a cold flash!

$4,000 – The legendary “Bermuda Triangle” lies off the coast of which of these U.S. States?

A. California
B. Louisiana
C. Florida
D. Maine

The Bermuda Triangle... home to the Kraken, and Seat 9.

The Bermuda Triangle… home to the Kraken, and Seat 9.

Kevin is just too damn good at this game.  He hasn’t hesitated on a single question yet.  He knows that this ridiculous geographical black hole is off the coast of C. Florida

And Ben Randall thought he was the only one who knew about Mysteries of the Unknown.

And Ben Randall thought he was the only one who knew about Mysteries of the Unknown.

$8,000 – In the 2000 movie “What Women Want,” Mel Gibson’s character has the power to do what?

A. Read women’s minds
B. Predict women’s futures
C. Appear in women’s dreams
D. Heal relationships

E. Touch women's beavers.

E. Touch women’s beavers.

Holy crap, another movie question!  And this one even more recently released than “Men of Honor!”  “What Women Want” debuted in theaters on December 15, 2000… just five weeks prior to this taping.  Unlike “Men of Honor” however, “What Women Want” had a much bigger promotional campaign… or at least one I was able to remember better.  While this movie itself has since sunk into the dustbin of Hollywood like “Honor” did, in January 2001 I was quite well aware of its existence, and its gimmick that was totally played up in the trailers.

Of course, Kevin has seen the ads as well, and even mentions that this is the only reason he knows that Mel can A. Read women’s minds

Fortunately, I am not a woman and Kevin is not Mel Gibson... or else he'd be getting a mindful from me right about now...

Fortunately, I am not a woman and Kevin is not Mel Gibson… or else he’d be getting a mindful from me right about now…

$16,000 – The twosome known as Torvill and Dean are famous for their work in what field?

A, Surf music
B. Pop psychology
C. Fashion design
D. Ice dancing

For the record, I am sailing right along with Kevin.  I knew all eight of his questions right off the bat… but this one gave me pause.  I was familiar with the pairing of Torvill and Dean… but couldn’t quite pull up why I knew them… until that choice D finally came up.  Yep, they were skaters…

Has anyone ever ice danced to cheesy porn music before?

Has anyone ever ice danced to cheesy porn music before?

Kevin seems to be audibly breathing a sigh of relief, so it’s quite possible he couldn’t make the connection either until the correct choice came up.  He “thinks he knows this one”, and makes D. Ice dancing his final answer…

Regis happily announces that Kevin has now won $16,000…. and then it happened….

HORN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HONK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you were a fan of Millionaire back in the day, you may remember that play always ended on the sound of “the horn.”  It blared out its mocking cry of pity, and officially shattered any chance I had at hoisting my fat ass up into the precious Hot Seat.

I came.  I saw.  I crapped out.

squirrels

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter L.

After almost two hours of in-studio drama, three uniquely interesting contestants, two headbanging fuck ups on fastest finger questions, and eight action packed posts in this series… I was surprisingly more relieved than disappointed once the horn tolled for thee.  It was pretty obvious that due to the pacing of the show and the quality of players who made their way into the Chair, that it just wasn’t going to work out me… and I was going to be OK with that.  What great fun it was to get to watch and play along with one of my favorite television game shows from one of the best seats in the house!

Hey Regis!  Down in front!!!

Hey Regis! Down in front!!!

Those of you who had read my Flashback Friday post a year ago that inspired me to tell this story already knew that I had emerged from the show without anything more than a three second spin in the Hot Seat, one practice Fastest Finger win, and a most excellent Big Apple adventure.  Those of you who did not see any previous spoilers, or did your best to block them out… well, sorry I let you all down!  I did my best, and that’s all that counts, right?

Security, will you please escort these losers from the premises...

Security, will you please escort these losers from the premises…

But just because the taping is now over doesn’t mean the Journey has come to an end!  Oh no… don’t give up on me yet!  There are still tales to tell, adventures to be had, and digressions to be milked for all they’re worth!  Join me again next Friday for life after being declared Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s biggest loser…

Or at least what I can see of it through the eye holes...

Or at least what I can see of it through the eye holes…

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