Wednesday, January 31, 2007


On a summer day in the early 00's, I was in Winona visiting friends and family. In the early afternoon, I headed over to Shanon's place. He wasn't home at the time, so I tried to think of something interesting to do to pass the time. Hmm. Rollingstone. I could go to the small town that I lived in as a child.

I hadn't been there in about 10 years. I drove the 8 miles to the town, went past the house we lived in from '78-'84, passed our neighbor's house, and then went onto Rollingstone's main street. I passed the city cemetery and saw the elementary school that I had attended for 5 years. One of the doors was ajar (Rollingstone had since built a more up-to-date school on the other side of town). I hadn't been in there since I was 13 years old. Now, in my early 30's, I wondered if the interior of the school would be as I remembered it.

I parked my car and headed for the open door. There didn't appear to be anyone inside. I walked into the old gym where I used to play M*A*S*H (dodgeball) and eat lunch from my "Empire Strikes Back" lunchbox. It was the damnest thing. The whole building seemed smaller to me. The school had shrunk over the past two decades. Yeah, right. Of course this was because when I attended the school, I was a bit shorter. Now having grown to my full height, everything seemed smaller when, in fact, it was me that had gotten bigger (in more ways than one, well, not really). At the end of the gym was a stage, a stage in which I had once sang with my classmates in a play that we did for our parents. I can still remember singing with my colleagues and looking out at my parents in the audience. The song was about people changing and life changing.

I then went into the cafeteria where the lunchlady had put together our hot lunch meals (my favorite was the rectangular pizza, though tots were pretty good, too, since my mom didn't make them at home). I went into the hallway and then to the little boy's room. Small, small, small. I passed where the kinderbeeners class used to be with Mrs. Beyer as well as the room that housed the music class. I recall how excited the whole class would get when keyboards were brought in for a week for us kids to play with.

I headed upstairs to the other classrooms. I remember on my first day of school there in the 2nd grade, my mom came with me and my sister and told one of the teachers that we were not allowed to celebrate holidays or salute the flag due to religious reasons (I had become accustomed to this in Kindergarten and first grade. One of my favorite memories of kindergarden was having milk brought to our classroom and after drinking that, getting to take a nap. I love naps. They should've continued the naps at least through the rest of grade school, so relaxing...)

I went through the rooms that housed the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders. The rooms had a few chairs in them, but it didn't appear that they had been used in years. I remember in 4th grade, everybody was going apeshit over who shot J.R. on "Dallas".

One of the girls in my class, Heather Spencer, said that the episode in which the shooter was to be revealed had already aired in Wisconsin and that it would turn out to be Miss Ellie (the old matriarch of the family). I shared this with my parents and grandma Ruth one evening. My grandma didn't think that would be the case. My dad said he was siding with me. I can still remember watching that ep on November 21, 1980 and finding out that "it was you, Kristen, who shot J.R.". I asked Heather the next day what happened. She said that her sources were apparently wrong.

I went into the secretary and prinicipal's offices. It was mostly empty. But I was able to piece together where Mrs. Rivers' desk once was as well as the intercom that was used to make announcements to the school. I then headed up to the 3rd floor. We had art class in one of the rooms. Another was used for special ed students.

The room that I was most looking forward to viewing was the 6th grade one. My teacher that year was Mr. Burdick (the first time I'd had a male teacher). It was a happy time for me. I was 12 and growing more independent. I was shy, but had friends and was generally a pretty happy kid. One of my favorite books to read in the class when I didn't have homework to do was, "The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark".

It was also that school year ('82-'83) that I was getting close to the release of the 3rd Star Wars movie, "Return of the Jedi". I was a huge Star Wars fan. May 25th, 1983 couldn't come fast enough for me (one of the first posts I made on Blogger in July goes over my experiences on that day in great detail). I remember a conversation some of my classmates had one afternoon that spring. They were talking about what they would do if a nuclear calamity happened in the U.S. (you have to remember that at that time, the Soviets were our main rival and the possibility of a nuclear war loomed much larger than it does now). One said he would move to Canada. Another said he would stay and fight. Unfortunately, the door to the former 6th grade classroom was locked. Apparently, it was being used for art classes. Oh well.

I headed back down the steps and left the building, a building where I had spent so many hours of my formative years. I took one last look, wistfully recalling those days that seem like a lifetime ago. I got into my car and headed back to my life in Rochester, a life that I quite enjoy, but please excuse me if sometimes I wish I could go back to where it all began, when everything was new, and happiness was going to follow me for the rest of my days.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Look in the sky. It's a bird! It's a plane!

I can recall many Saturday mornings, as a child, watching the "Underdog" cartoon.

I have to say he was a pretty cool canine. Now he's being updated for a new generation. A live-action movie based on the character will be released this summer. Check out this pic courtesy of

Monday, January 29, 2007

Summer 07

I bet you guys are dying to know what movie Adam Sandler is starring in this summer. Check this (courtesy of

Adam Sandler ("Click") and Kevin James ("Hitch") team as two straight guys who stumble down the aisle with the best of intentions in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry." Chuck Ford (Sandler) and Larry Allensworth (James) are the pride of their fire station: two guy's guys always side-by-side and willing to do anything for each other. Salt-of-the-earth widower Larry wants just one thing: to protect his family. His buddy Chuck also wants one thing: to enjoy the single life.

Grateful Chuck owes Larry for saving his life in a fire, and Larry calls in that favor big time when civic red tape prevents him from naming his own two kids as his life insurance beneficiaries. All that Chuck has to do is claim to be Larry's domestic partner on some city forms. Easy. Nobody will ever know.

But when an overzealous, spot-checking bureaucrat becomes suspicious, the new couple's arrangement becomes a citywide issue and goes from confidential to front-page news. Forced to improvise as love-struck newlyweds, Chuck and Larry must now fumble through a hilarious charade of domestic bliss under one roof.

You ain't gonna believe this...

I went into a goverment building recently and saw someone working on a typewriter. It's a sound I've not heard in at least 10 years. I felt like I was in the Consolidated offices from the 1980 movie, "9 to 5". There goes the space bar. Ah...there's a paragraph break...

Ep-ick Movie

I went to "Epic Movie" on Saturday afternoon.

It was mostly rubbish, though I did laugh a few times (it was superior to last year's "Date Movie"). Before the show, I misplaced my black ski mask. Damn. I love that thing. It keeps me nice and warm. If it's cold, I wear the hat. If it's bitter out, I put the mask over my face. I looked around in the bathroom and the lobby, but couldn't find it. I asked an employee at the ticket counter and he said he thought he had just seen one. He took out a basket that had a crapload of hats, mittens, and gloves in it. Mine was right on top. Nice!! I planned on going to "The Departed" on Sunday, but it was just too cold for me to wanna venture out for a 150-minute movie. Perhaps I'll get to it next weekend.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

December 27, 1999 - Journal entry

It was Christmas this past weekend. I enjoyed having the last 3 days off. On Friday, Christmas Eve, I went to the Jim Carrey movie, "Man on the Moon". It's a biographical movie based on the life of "Taxi" star Andy Kaufman. It was alright, but not very good and surprisingly unfunny. My feet were also somewhat cold during the show, but it didn't matter since I wasn't really enjoying myself, anyway. But it kept me busy on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day, me and Zoe and Dori went to the Schofield house to have lunch with Cathy and Rick and Max. The girls made an appearance later in the day. I had a good time there; opening presents and visiting.

Then on Sunday, I had Shanon come out from Lewiston and we went to Wendy's, Wal-Mart, and Target. I also gave him his presents. His gifts for us are at Art's place.

My peace of mind lately has been interesting. I go to work, take the dogs out, have supper, watch some TV, take a bath, and go to bed. On weekends, I can do what I want. And all this is fine with me. I don't really feel that I am missing anything. When I have no places to go, my favorite things to do are to take a warm bath and lay down in bed. In the past, I felt that I should go somewhere and meet people and such. Now, I don't really have the desire. This has to do with my laid-back attitude and the fact that I don't HAVE to do anything. There's nowhere I need to go, no one I need to see, no goals that absolutely have to be done. I'm exaggerating a bit, but I do have a choice in all things. I choose to go to work. I choose to do virtually everything that I accomplish. Only rarely will I do anything that I don't want to. I remember as a youngster, my parents telling me from time to time that I would sometimes have to do things I don't want to. But I can't really recall the last time I did something that I really didn't want to at some level.

There is also the fact that I don't look at life as so many years and then you die. I know that I existed before I became Thomas D and that I will continue to exist long after. So I may not be as compelled to have kids as others who think that all they get is one life and out. I know that I probably have had offspring in the past and/or the future, so having them right now is not necessary, although sometime in the next few years I may choose to do so. Everything is now, and in this instant, I don't want to take care of a child. In the future, I may. In the future, having children is, like everything else, possible. But, in this instant, it is not a concern. Ask me about it next year.

That's all for now. It's almost 6pm. Time to take the dogs out, get a bite, get some gas, watch some TV, take a bath...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Grandma Ruth

In March of 1993, I got a call from one of my parents that my paternal grandmother had had a stroke. She was in intensive care at Winona's community memorial hospital.

I was surprised, but not shocked (she was in her early 70's). A few hours later, I headed down to the hospital. My dad was there as was his friend, "You Can Call Me" Al. They were both in fairly good spirits. They said that grandma was just around the corner. I headed over there and saw her sleeping about 15 feet away. I'n not sure why, but I didn't get any closer. Maybe I was afraid to. Maybe I didn't want to see someone up close who could be on the edge of death. After a moment, I went back to the waiting room. A couple of my brothers arrived shortly thereafter as did my uncle John and his son, Andy. One of the kids had the idea to walk over to Fleet Farm to get out of the hospital for a spell. So, me, my brother, Mike, and Andy walked the 6 blocks to the store. We basically just browsed, joked around a bit.

On the walk home, I thought a bit about what was happening. I was awfully close to Grandma Ruth. I usually visited her once or twice a week. She had been widowed in 1975, so was quite accustomed to living alone. At the time, she was living in an apartment just 9 blocks from the hospital. I typically would bike or take the city bus to her place (I didn't have or want a car at the time).

Once there, we would talk. I'd read the paper and then sometimes walk down to Kwik Trip to pick up a slice or two of their pizza. I would leave and try to make it back to her apartment as soon as possible. I'd go down the hill in the back of the complex, run across the highway, and still basically be running by the time I arrived at KT. I made my purchases and walked quickly up the hill. I would usually make the trip in 8 to 10 minutes. She almost always wondered how I made it back so fast. We'd then watch some telly (stuff like the sitcom "Perfect Strangers")

and I'd leave at around 9pm. In the weeks before she had the stroke, I hadn't visited as much. I was starting to become depressed and didn't really want to burden my grandmother with it. Plus, I thought I might be able to solve the problem by spending more time on my own. A few days before her stroke, I did see her with a couple of my brothers. I told her I was sorry I hadn't been by lately, but that I would stop by before I went to Florida the following week (my stepdad was taking me there for 5 days). She said that was fine and all was well.

Once back at the hospital with my family, my dad said it was fine for us to leave, that not much would be happening that night. There was the possibility that she wouldn't make it, but also a good chance of recovery. I began mentally preparing myself for the fact that she might not make it, however, just in case.

The next day I went to my college classes and then headed home. I laid on my bed and did some homework while listening to the cassette of Elvis Presley's "The Million Dollar Quartet".

(It's fitting that I was listening to music that was more from my grandma's time than my own. To this day, that recording always takes me back to that day).

I got a knock on my door. It was my dad, my mom, and my mom's twin girls (who were 5 at the time) from her 2nd marriage. My dad had a serious look on his face. He said that he hated to tell me, but Grandma had passed on. He broke up as he told me. My mom gave him a hug. The girls had a look of concern. I was alright with the news. My dad told me that the funeral would be in a few days. My mom then told him that I had planned to go to Florida with Phil, my stepdad, in the next couple days. I thought about canceling the trip, but my parents were fine with me still going to sunny Orlando. They said I spent time with Grandma when it counted, when she was still alive. The funeral would've been a nice way to say goodbye, but I had never been to Florida and was looking forward to it bigtime.

A few days later, my dad said that his brother, John, finally broke down when he saw his mother's body at the funeral home. I thought about Grandma quite often while I was in the Sunshine State. I knew she was fine with me going and managed to have quite a good time considering the circumstances. I did miss the chance, however, to go to my first funeral. Little did I know that my only other grandparent would pass on almost exactly a year later and that again I would have to miss it due to extenuating circumstances.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Winter Weekend at the Movies

I haven't been to the movies too much lately. I sure as hell wasn't gonna see the Ben Stiller kiddie movie, "A Night at the Museum" or Will Smith in the "inspiring" "Pursuit of Happyness". I did go with Shanon to "Children of Men" a couple weeks ago.

It told the story of a near-future world in which the entire human race is sterile. You know what means, a society that is winding down, a world in which humans will not exist much longer. Quite a powerful movie with some incredibly long takes that really made you feel like you were there. After the flick, Shanon lamented the possibility of such a scenario actually occuring.

This weekend, I will be returning to the cinema in force. I love spoof movies such as the "Scary Movie" franchise, so am looking forward to getting some laughs from "Epic Movie" (in one of the scenes sending up "The Chronicles of Narnia", our heroes take on, not the White Witch, but the White Bitch. They also make fun of "Borat". Nice!!)

Then it will be time to see some serious (read: Academy Award-caliber) flicks. I think I'll start with a movie I didn't get to last fall. My wife saw it with her friend, but I just wasn't up for it. It seemed a tad too violent for my tastes. But now that it's been nominated for Best Pic, I'll finally get around to checking out "The Departed". By the way, I know why it has that title (Please go to the next paragraph if you don't wanna know. I'm serious. It kinda spoiled it for me when I found this out. So, uh, see ya...) It's called "The Departed" because all the major characters die in it. Cool, huh?

I also might be up for seeing the out-there adult fantasy-fable called "Pan's Labyrinth" as well as Cate Blanchett in "Notes on a Scandal". If I'm not totally spent after that, there's also "The Queen". I'll give you my reactions next week. Man, do I love the movies...

Lyrics to one of my favorite Adam Sandler songs

Corduroy Blues

When I was a boy
There was no limit to what I could eat
Shake after shake after shake after shake
Followed by all kinds of red meat

Metabolism runnin' around so fast
My body never gained no weight
That pissed off all my Momma's friends
And made my big-boned sister irate

But now I'm a man
And all that frolicking has caused my ego to hurt
'Cause even when I'm in the shower alone
I'm too embarrased to remove my shirt

What made a millionaire out of Mr. Frito-Lay
Made a fat mother fucker outta me
What made a millionaire out of Mr. Frito-Lay
Made a fat mother fucker outta me
And all them cookies I been munching lately
My feets are becoming difficult to see

I believe it was my Daddy
Who led me to this eating disease
By calling me "The Little Candy Ass"
When I couldn't finish a burger with cheese

Or maybe it was my Momma
Who got me addicted to all the wrong foods
Only when I gobbled down every chicken cutlet
Would I get to see Momma's good moods

They said eat this, they said eat that
To stay skinny there was no chance
And now when I walk I hear corduroy
Even though I ain't wearing pants

What made a millionaire out of Mr. Frito-Lay
(You fat fuck, You fat fuck)
Made a fat mother fucker outta me
What made a millionaire out of Mr. Frito-Lay
(You fat fuck, You fat fuck)
Made a fat mother fucker outta me
And all that ice cream I been eating lately
My chins alone weigh 203

The diet starts tomorrow!

I have a grapefruit for breakfast
For lunch a bowl of white rice
Dinnertime it's a saltless potato
I ain't allowed no spice
If this diet's gonna work
Tonight I can't eat no more

"Just go to sleep," I say to myself
As I close the bedroom door
Two in the morning, I wake up to piss
My belly's hungry and achin'
Tiptoe to the kitchen, fuck the diet
Bring on the chips flavored with bacon

What made a millionaire out of Mr. Frito-Lay
Made a fat mother fucker outta me
What made a millionaire out of Mr. Frito-Lay
Made a fat mother fucker outta me

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Streak

For several years in the late 90's and early 00's, I was quite healthy and didn't throw up once. I don't like throwing up, so I was enjoying not having to blow chunks. One of my favorite guilty pleasures during this time were chocolate covered donut gems.

However, I noticed that many times after eating a few, I would start to feel nauseous. Thankfully, I didn't upchuck and my stomach discomfort always passed. This happened at least 3 times where I was thinking I was gonna blow it, but didn't. I continued to buy the gems, ignoring the warning signs.

I bought the gems again one evening, had a few, and (surprise, surprise) started to feel a barf comin' on. I went into the bathroom and hung around near the toilet. I laid down on the floor in there for a few minutes. It had been probably 5, 6 years since I had last vomited. There was nothing I could do this time. It came back up and my streak was over. I remember on "Seinfeld", Jerry also had a long streak of not throwing up, but it, too, eventually ended.

Needless to say, I don't buy the gems any longer, but sometimes at the grocery store, when there's no one's looking, I will take a box off the shelf, open it up a bit on the side, and then take a big whiff. That shit smells good!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fast Times at Barnes & Noble

I worked as a "bookseller" at the Barnes & Noble in downtown Rochester over the holiday season of 1997.

It used to be a movie theatre called the Chateau. I worked the register, or as it was called there, the "cashwrap" area, and stocked books. It didn't pay much, but it was full-time and I got to work with quite a few interesting people. One of my coworkers' name was Guy. It was always weird calling for him across the way when I had a customer who had a question that I couldn't answer. I was like, "Hey, Guy, could you please come over here?". The customers were probably like, "Of course he's a guy. Don't you know his first name?".

On a busy Saturday afternoon, one older man was purchasing a hardcover book as a Christmas present. He asked me to cut off the inside of the book jacket where the price is given. I was like, "Huh?" He said, "Did I stutter? Cut the price off, you Irish bug!" So I got a scissors out and did what I was told (I would have been a great Nazi...jk).

A couple of my coworkers mentioned in passing that Art Garfunkel came to the store from time to time.

They said he was seen at the Mayo Clinic quite frequently for some type of skin issue and he liked to stop in at B&N and get some decent reading material (Mayo was located just a few blocks from the book store).

One evening, I was working with one other guy and stocking books. A guy and his young son headed to the cashwrap. I went behind the counter and checked him out (no, not like that, you dirty devil!). I rang him up and he gave me his credit card. It said Art Garfunkel on it. My wheels started turning. Could it be him? The one who sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? One half of the groundbreaking duo, Simon & Garfunkel, that also sang, "Mrs. Robinson" and "The Sound of Silence"? I took a close look at him. He was quite tall (of course who isn't tall next to Paul Simon?). He had a hat on, but the hair I did see was quite curly. I asked for an ID and he showed me his drivers' license. The drivers' license showed him without the hat. He was a bit older than in his 60's heyday, but, damn, it was him alright. I continued with the transaction as if he were just Joe Schmo (I didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable). He then left with his son and a woman (his wife, perhaps). Wow. I was a bit starstruck. I told my coworker what had just occured.

A couple months later, I was no longer working at Barnes & Noble (I was one of the holiday staff they let go in January of '98), but I did enjoy the time I was there, almost 10 years ago.

Monday, January 22, 2007


My dad was a child of the 50's, so he grew up playing different games than those who were born in later times, such as me and my siblings. Nonetheless, the fact that my father enjoyed certain games made me think that there must be something about them. Otherwise, why would he continue playing them?

One game he loved to play with his cousins was Horseshoes (you've probably heard it said that, "Close doesn't count, except in Horseshoes"). They used to have "horseshoe pits" at most parks since it was such a popular game. It was mostly a man's game, however. I recall watching my dad and his family playing on many summer evenings. You had to be sure, though, that you weren't anywhere near the pit (the horseshoes were made of metal and quite heavy, you definitely didn't want to get hit by one). The best place to be was behind the players.

Another of my dad's favorites was Cribbage. He loved to play against his big brother, John. I never really understood how to play the game, but it's basically a card game in which you use a special board to keep score.

My dad had a pretty damn fancy cribbage set back in the day, one that he was quite proud of. I'm sure his dad taught him and his bro how to play when they were youngsters. "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke" were the shit back then, so the two also liked to play cowboys and indians. As a youngster, "Star Wars" was my thing. I feel sorry for the kids born a few years after me. They grew up with Transformers and Gobots. Blah....

Wintertime Blues

Today has been declared the most depressing day of the year. A psychologist named Cliff Arnall bases this on several factors, including how bad the weather is at this time of year, the amount of debt accumulated over the holidays minus how much is paid off, the time since the holidays, the amount of time passed since New Year’s resolutions have gone south, and our general motivation levels.

It's funny because I was planning on staying home today (I just didn't feel like going in), but I thought, "What the hell? I'll take a shower and see how I feel". Needless to say, I'm at work now, but I was awfully tempted to just stay home.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Junior High

My 8th grade math teacher was a bit of a hard ass. He was also the school wrestling coach which probably had something to do with that. He was about 5' 7" and wore big, thick industrial-arts-type glasses. His name was Mr. Schmidt, but some called him Mr. Shit. What was most memorable about him is that when someone was goofing off in his class, he would ask that they either do 25 pushups at the front of the room or go to the principal's office. Most preferred to do the pushups.

It was always amusing to see a student (usually a guy) go up there and show off their physical prowess. I do recall at least one girl having to go up to do the pushups as well. One afternoon, he even challenged one of his students to a wrestling match.

Friday, January 19, 2007

In there, it's always Friday...

Tonight is my company's Holiday Staff Party. It will start with a social hour from 6-7pm and then a "Midwest Buffet" will be served. It will consist of "braised beef tenderloin tips, breast of chicken supreme, fresh sauteed vegetables & rice, tossed greens with assorted dressings, fruit & vegetable salads, and desserts". Ever since my early childood, I've been an awful fussy eater. And these days, when I'm watching what I eat, I want to truly enjoy the foods I do eat. So I plan to go and eat at Friday's (my favorite restaurant),

and then go to the dinner just as it's ending (tee hee).

I have done this before. In '99, I went to the wedding of one of my friends. During the reception, I had dinner at the Kahler, which was, excuse my French, "crap". So I headed to Wendy's and had a burger, fry, salad, and pop. I returned to the reception in a much better mood for some reason.

I did the same thing at the reception for one of my friends' friends in '97. That one was really shit since they allowed smoking and most of the bride's family and friends were Catholic. In case you didn't know, Catholics love to smoke (orally fixated, I guess).

Karaoke will be going on tonight from 8pm-midnight. Somehow, I don't think we'll stay that long...unless they let me sing, "Smack That", that is.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My name-a Borat. I new in town...

Sacha Baron Cohen won a Golden Globe on Monday night for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his brilliant performance as "Borat".

Here is a partial transcript of what he said during his acceptance speech:

"I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press. And I just want to say that this movie was a life-changing experience. I saw some amazing, beautiful, invigorating parts of America. But I saw some dark parts of America, an ugly side of America. A side of America that rarely sees the light of day. I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my co-star, Ken Davitian. Ken, when I was in that scene and I stared down and saw your two wrinkled golden globes on my chin, I thought to myself, ‘I better win a bloody award for this.’ And then when my 300-pound co-star decided to sit on my face and squeeze the oxygen from my lungs, I was faced with a choice: Death or to breathe in the air that had been trapped in a small pocket between his buttocks for 30 years. Kenneth, if it was not for that rancid bubble, I would not be here today."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I've always been fascinated by the notion that the world we live in is just an illusion. A few years ago, I was exposed to a theory which proposes that the universe is but a hologram.

If true, it sheds much light on previously unexplained (paranormal) occurences. Here are a few choice cuts:

"Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart. Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light."

"University of London physicist David Bohm believes Aspect's findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram. Bohm believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness is an illusion. He argues that at some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something."

"According to Bohm, the apparent faster-than-light connection between subatomic particles is really telling us that there is a deeper level of reality we are not privy to, a more complex dimension beyond our own. And, he adds, we view objects such as subatomic particles as separate from one another because we are seeing only a portion of their reality. Such particles are not separate "parts", but facets of a deeper and more underlying unity that is ultimately holographic and indivisible. And since everything in physical reality is comprised of these "eidolons", the universe is itself a projection, a hologram."

"If the concreteness of the world is but a secondary reality and what is "there" is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain is also a hologram and only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur and mathematically transforms them into sensory perceptions, what becomes of objective reality? Put quite simply, it ceases to exist. As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion. We are really "receivers" floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract from this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but one channel from many extracted out of the superhologram."

"Controversial new healing techniques such as visualization may work so well because, in the holographic domain of thought, images are ultimately as real as "reality".

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Super Size Me

In early '00, I was a chunky sumbitch. Working at a call center precluded me from getting much exercise during work hours. I also liked going across the street to BK for lunch on many days and if they had 2 burgers and 2 fries for 2 bucks, I bought them without hesitation. My weight steadily climbed. That spring, I was tipping the scales at 212. I got the pictures back from a birthday party at Friday's and I did not like what I saw. It was my face. It was really fat. It didn't look like me at all. I had a big gut as well. I had a Mayo book and looked under the BMI (body mass index) section. I found out that if I gained just a few more pounds I would be classified as obese (as opposed to just overweight). There was also an illustration of how as a person gets fatter, the organs around the chest get more crowded. I did not like this, not at all. I decided that I must take action.

It was around this time that I was hired at Mayo to work in their call center (the Western Digital one was being relocated to Young America, MN). During my training there, I resisted eating lunch. If I was starving, I would keep it super light (like having just a few crackers). I also walked during my breaks. And in the evening, instead of having, say, a burger, large fry, and a frosty, I would have a burger and small fry or burger and salad. I kept this up for a week, but didn't notice much difference on the scale. I wondered why I should bother if I wasn't seeing results. Perhaps I needed to order those weight loss supplements that they advertise on late-night TV all the time.

Just kidding. I'm not that stupid. I kept it up. Instead of eating out once or even twice a day, I went out every other or every 3rd day. And then it started to happen. I could see my dick again! No. The pounds did start to come off, though. The first 10 pounds came off quite fast. I was getting positive reinforcement from the scale (I love you, scale!), so did some additional walking in the evenings from time to time as well. After a few months, I had gone from 212 to 180. Great success! And I was able to keep the weight off. The highest I've been in the last 6 years is about 185 though 180 is where I am most typically at. 180 was good, but it actually still is a few pounds overweight. I just couldn't seem to get under 180, however. Oh well.

A strange thing happened late last year, though. I was sick for about a day and a half (I didn't throw up) and when I went on the scale after the illness passed, I noticed that it said I was 177. I could get used to this. I don't want to be 180 again. 177 is nice!! So I did all I could to stay in the upper 170's. I even made myself shit a few times. Ah, you bought it. No, I mostly just ate less in the late evening (a time when I am most vulnerable). I've been hangin' in at 175 for several weeks now with some days at 172 (I keep a second scale in the house to be sure I'm not being bamboozled by the first one). It does feel quite good to finally be at a truly "healthy" weight. I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Digital Versatile Disc

In the summer of '03, a friend of mine was into Josh Groban bigtime. I was at a pawn shop one afternoon and noticed this CD:

Along with the CD, it had a bonus DVD included. It was only a few bucks, so I bought it for my wife. My friend liked the CD, but the enclosed DVD made me think about finally getting a player. I've always enjoyed learning more about my favorite movies and that is something that is just not possible with VHS where all you get is the movie (and in shitty full frame, too).

So I went to Best Buy later that day and shopped for a playa. I found one that didn't cost too much. I also had to buy an RF adapter since the TV we were using at that time was made in the late 80's and not cable ready. I figured I could take everything back if I wasn't satisfied. I brought it home, made all the necessary connections, then sat back and watched Groban sing a few. Not bad, but I wanted to watch an actual movie on this newfangled thing. I didn't want to buy a brand-new DVD for 16 or 18 bucks, so went to a different pawn shop to look for a good "gently used" one. I found

for a mere $8. I knew it would keep me busy for a while. I listened to the commentary, watched the deleted scenes, the documentaries, the trailers. I watched it all. And I have to say I liked DVD. It was wicked. About a week later, I looked for another movie to purchase. This time, I bought "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones". Same deal. I watched everything. Enjoyed. The next one I purchased told the story of mighty Maximus ("Gladiator").

I can't stand full-screen DVD's, however. I wouldn't pay 2 bucks for 'em. They're worthless (they chop off the sides of the picture so that they can fit on the telly). When I see something presented full-screen, I don't even feel like I'm watching a movie. It just looks like a TV show. Widescreen is more pleasing to the eye and is the way that movies were meant to be seen. HBO is really fucked up. They show their TV shows in widescreen, but show the latest blockbuster movies, like "Wedding Crashers", in full. They are freakin' morons!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Yo diggity. You betta check yourself before you wreck yourself. Some of yous may be wondering ow it is that I got my profile to make me sound like a playa. Well, it was easy. I simply went here, pasted what I had written about me life into it and instantaneously, it was translated into "Ali G" speak, innit.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Wanna Love You

A few weeks ago, me and Shanon went to Best Buy. I was there to return a few CD's that he had bought for me for Christmas. He looked around and bought 3 CD's, most notably the new one from Akon. He liked both of Akon's singles, "Smack That", which features Eminem, and "I Wanna Love You", which features Snoop. When we got in the car, he put the disc in and played both songs. Imagine his surprise when he heard the following lyrics in the song, "I Wanna Love You":

I see you winding and grinding up on that pole
I know you see me lookin' at you and you already know
I wanna fuck you, you already know
I wanna fuck you, you already know

From wikipedia:

"I Wanna Love You" is the second single from Akon's sophomore album Konvicted. Originally called "I Wanna Fuck You", the song was renamed on Akon's album due to its explicit title. Both album versions of the song contain the chorus "I wanna fuck you," while the radio version of the song contains the lyrics, "I wanna love you." This song is Akon's first #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100."

Shanon laughed when he heard the more explicit lyrics, but has since told me that he prefers the tamer ("I Wanna Love You") version. That Shanon. Such a romantic.

Tropical Depression Part II

After I couldn't deal with the side effects of the first two antidepressants I was put on, Dr. Smick put me on Paxil. Again, I was hopeful, but somewhat doubtful that it would work. I had read that some people do not respond to medication at all. That would suck, to be depressed indefinitely. Actually, in such cases, they would pursue something like Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

I continued to work on reversing my negative thoughts. I spent time with friends and was able to continue working in the kitchen at Sammy's Pizza. A coworker, Jerry Kohner, said he heard that I was experiencing depression and told me that he had gone through the same thing. He said that it was a real "bitch". He was able to get over it, however. It was around this time that he asked a lady that worked the morning shift if she would like to go out with him. She accepted and they eventually were married.

But, anyway, back to my shit. I was also put on Trazodone. During this time, it took me quite a long time to get to sleep. I would just keep thinking about things and not be able to drift off very easily. I remember the first evening I took Trazadone. About 20 minutes after ingesting it, I started to get really tired. I wanted to think about things as I usually do, but I was just too damn tired. I could definitely get used to this.

After a couple more weeks, I did start to feel the effects of the wonder drug, Paxil. It's hard to describe, but it really gave me a kick. I did things that I was way too depressed to do before like the dishes and cleaning the house. I became, what I liked to call, "blazingly optimistic". I wanted to experience life again. Laying in bed was no longer an option. I had been reborn. My Christian friend, Dean, was a bit dubious. He would've preferred that I got better the old-fashioned way, through suffering, through prayer,

without the meds. But he wasn't the boss of me. I did as I pleased and was well rewarded.

During the height of my depression, I had gone to the movie "Mrs Doubtfire" with my mom and her girls, but left about a half hour in because I was just too depressed to laugh (or maybe the movie just wasn't funny). I went into "A Perfect World", a ponderous movie starring Clint and Kevin.

One of the main characters was shot. It definitely suited my state of mind at the time. A few months later, now cured, I returned to "Doubtfire" and was able to get a few chuckles out of it (I still don't think it's super funny, though many people think it's the shit, including my wife).

I started going to my counseling appointments in a really good mood, almost too good a mood. My support network was quite happy to see that I had recovered. I eventually stopped going to CIA (Christians in Action). There were just too many things I wanted to explore now, such as going to the sinful Aquarius club in Rochester and slow dancing with a hot mama. Still being a virgin, I looked forward to "getting my freak on". Yes, indeed, my tropical depression had passed and I believe that I am a stronger person now due to the experience. Once you've been to hell, you really appreciate all the other realms. More than a dozen years later, all is well.

As a postscript, a couple years ago, I was informed of a class action lawsuit being brought against Paxil for overcharging customers and not allowing other companies to compete against them. I signed up to be a co-plaintiff in the case (I didn't need to do anything, just tell them how long I'd been on Paxil and approximately how much I spent). A few months ago, I received a check in the mail regarding the Paxil settlement. It was for more than $300! High-five!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Impure Thoughts

I am acquainted with a couple who are Latter Day Saints or, as they're more better known as, Morons. They're a nice couple and have invited me to attend their church sometime. However, there is no way that is ever going to happen. Why? Because their religion does not allow masturbation.

Here are some excerpts from the above article:

"Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal bathroom processes".

"When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the shower longer than five or six minutes - just long enough to clean yourself. Then dry off and GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM into a room where you will have some member of your family present".

"Get out of bed immediately in the mornings. Do not lie in bed awake, no matter what time of day it is. Get up and do something. Start each day with an enthusiastic activity".

"Always wear pajamas at night (preferably ones that tie or are difficult to open). If you masturbate in semi-sleep conditions, you may need to wear several layers of clothing so that it would be difficult to masturbate in a half sleep state".

Obviously if one is a member of their church, they could still do it on the sly, but why be in a religion if you're not gonna follow its precepts? Of course I, myself, am happily married, but I'd still like to have the option on the table, just in case.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Roller Mania!

In the late 70's, I was introduced to the wonderful world of roller skating.

I was about 8 at the time and have very fond memories of those days. Disco was still quite hot, so plenty of that music was played at the rink. Of course, there was a disco ball in the center of the rink as well as lots of groovy lights. I don't recall it taking me too long to learn how to skate. The name of the skating center was called the High Roller.

It was located on the west side of Winona. Many times we would eat at Happy Joe's (as discussed in a prior post) and then head right next door to the rink. My strongest memories are from '83-'84. My mom would pay for us kids and then we would be buzzed in. We all went up to the counter and told an employee what our shoe sizes were. We then sat down at one of the tables and strung 'em up. Many serious skaters had their very own pair. It was fabulous getting on the floor and getting my groove on when they were playing one of my favorite songs ("Jam On It", "Let's Go Crazy", "I Feel for You"). A lot of the kids loved it when they played "Summer Nights" from the Grease soundtrack. There were several games that were played on the rink throughout the night. One was limbo.

Another was a dice game in which music would be played for a couple minutes, then when the music stopped, the skaters would have to stop at the closest of four corners on the rink. A huge frickin' dice was rolled on the rink and only the people at that numbered corner could continue the game. This was done over and over until there were only about 3 people left. Those 3 went up to the DJ and got some type of prize for winning.

The DJ was totally "the shit" at the rink. He played the best tunes. He worked the light show and his booth was high above all us peons. Sometimes the DJ would announce that the next dance was to be a "couples only" one. I always hoped that one day I could be like the guys on the floor, able to skate backward with a girl on their arms with no fear.

There was a small contingent of breakdancers (remember, it was 1984) who went to the rink to strut their stuff. They had a special place in the corner of the facility. My brother, Matt, only 7 at the time, was quite a prodigy. He had black parachute pants and was a master at doing the caterpillar.

From time to time, I would play video games at the center. My favorite one there was "Elevator Action".

One could develop quite a thirst, so there were many times when I went to the snack bar and bought a Coke from the fine-looking woman who worked there. Going to the bathroom could be a bit of a challenge. The restrooms had tiles in them (not carpeting). If you lost your balance at the urinal, well, it wasn't pretty.

I did like to skate quite fast from time to time, but you had to be careful. There would usually be a few collisions every night. It was always sad when 10 o'clock rolled around. Time to change back into my tennis shoes and turn in the skates, but by that time, I was usually quite tired and ready to head back to the crib.

The rink in Winona closed around 1985 and we were left without the joys that could only be found on the hard floor. Breakdancing faded away and I grew up. But, thankfully, I would one day return. LaCrosse, a city about 30 miles from Winona, continued to operate a skating rink. I was finally able to go back in the early '00's. Incredibly, this High Roller looked exactly like the one in Winona (not a huge surprise since they did have the same name). If it weren't for the music, you could swear it was 1984 once more. I got on my skates and it only took a few minutes to "remember" how to skate. I had quite a good time.

I've been back there several times in the last few years, most notably with Shanon last year. He hadn't been skating in years and was excited to get back on the horse. We went there in the early evening on a Saturday and put our skates on. I brought my camcorder so that I would have a permanent record of this magical place. I waited for Shanon to get out there, so I could tape his first few steps. There were mostly kids out there. The song playing was, "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy". Shanon was tentative at first, going quite slowly. He fell down almost immediately, but got right back up. He went a few more yards, then fell again.

Now, I've always prided myself on being steady with the camera. You know how sometimes when you're watching "America's Stupidest Home Videos", you watch something funny happen and the person with the camera taping it starts shaking the camera uncontrollably after he sees something funny that he has just taped? I wasn't like that. If an explosion happened in front of me, I would keep the camera perfectly steady so that future viewers of my tape would admire my skills. But when Shanon fell for the 3rd time in 45 seconds and his cell phone fell out of his pocket, I was laughing so hard that the camera shook a bit. Oh, well. Nobody's perfect.

An employee came out and asked if he was alright. He stopped and told him that he hadn't skated in quite a while. A minute later, he exited the rink. He had some blood on his hand from one of the falls he took and went into the bathroom to wash it off. He didn't have the balls to return to the rink. He called his brother and changed back into his tennis shoes. I skated for a good hour while he watched and had a bite to eat. On the ride home, Shanon said that he wished we had gone bowling instead.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Let's Cruise!

I was first introduced to the sexy boy in "Risky Business" ('83) and "All the Right Moves" ('83). I remember watching both on HBO in 1984 at my mom's place with my brothers and sister (my mom was living on her own at the time in an apartment in a pink house right across from the junior high). I felt that both movies were solid, especially "Business" since everyone can relate to not wanting to get into trouble when your parents come back home after trusting you to take care of the place. The most memorable aspect of "Moves" was the nude scene between Cruise and Lea Thompson. I got quite a chubby off of it, I must say. jk.

Looking back, I had also seen him in a supporting role in "The Outsiders" ('83). "Top Gun" came out a couple years later, but I just wasn't interested in seeing a movie about a hot-shot pilot. Same thing for "Days of Thunder" ('90), just not interested in a movie about stock car racing. I did catch "Rain Man" ('88) on video, however, and found it to be very good. It deserved all the accolades that it received and showed that Cruise could play more dramatic roles. 1992 brought "A Few Good Men" which I'm sure is good, but I just generally don't like courtroom dramas. I caught "Interview with the Vampire" ('94) on video and found it to be quite wicked. Tom was a pretty good cock, I mean, bloodsucker in that flick. I also caught "Mission: Impossible" ('96) on video, but wasn't too impressed.

I LOVED his next 6 movies, though, starting with "Jerry Maguire" in late 1996. I've already mentioned that this film, a chick flick at heart, was my favorite movie of '96. He came back in the summer of '99 with "Eyes Wide Shut" starring his wife at the time, Nicole. It showed what can happen when doubt and fear of infidelity start to enter into a relationship. Some people didn't get it, but I liked it. I loved the last lines of the movie where Kidman says, "I do love you and you know there is something very important we need to do as soon as possible". Cruise says, "What's that?", and Kidman replies, "Fuck".

Next was "Magnolia" ('99).

He only had a supporting role in this one (as a guy who runs a seminar for single men which teaches them how to seduce a woman and then leave her), but he won a Golden Globe for it and this is still one of my favorite movies.

In the summer of 2000, "Mission Impossible II" was released. Directed by John Woo (the director of "Face/Off"), it had plenty of great action pieces. I really dug it. One of the coolest parts is when Cruise was on that cycle.

Totally kick ass.

"Vanilla Sky" ('01) came out a few months after 7/11 and dealt with vanity, identity, and reality. It opened with a sequence taking place in Times Square in which Cruise is the only person there (This was not CG. It was actually filmed in the early morning when no one else was present). The ending was a jawdropper that took place at the top of a skyscraper in New York with the New York skyline (including the World Trade Center) in the background.

"Minority Report", directed by Spielberg, came out in the summer of '02 and again, I was floored.

This near-future-set movie imagines a United States in which criminals are captured before they have ever committed a crime. The opening sequence, in which a man is captured by the Pre-Crime unit just as he is about to kill his wife, is phenomenal. The movie really picks up steam when Cruise, a member of the Pre-Crime team, is shown evidence that he will commit a murder 3 days hence. He goes on the run to figure out how this could be possible.

His next movie was "The Last Samurai" ('03). I'm sure it was decent, but I just couldn't get too jacked up about seeing Cruise as a U.S. soldier being groomed to be a Samurai. Maybe someday.

In '05, Cruise reunited with Spielberg for "War of the Worlds". It was good, just not as thought-provoking as "Report". It probably wasn't meant to be, but I still left the theatre feeling a bit disappointed.

"MI: III" came out last summer. I didn't get to it, but do plan to see it on telly sometime this year.

All in all, Cruise has been in a lot of mighty good movies and even if he doesn't ever get his groove back, there's still plenty of enjoyable stuff of his for me to look back on.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tropical Depression

In the late spring of 1993, I was finally coming out of my shell and making friends. The man who started this was a chap named Dean. He was a member of CIA. No, not that one, you dirty devil. Christians In Action. We both attended Winona State at the time and were business majors. I lived off-campus in a house on East 3rd. He lived at Lourdes (how appropriate for a Christian) Hall.

It was a very old building with a lot of character. From time to time, I would get lost in their halls. There was much to do there, however. We played frisbee outside, walked around the neighborhood, and I once even ate at their cafeteria, which reminded me of a monastery (not surprisingly, it once was). I also got to know a friend of Dean's named Candy and spent some time with her as well. I had friends now, but still wasn't happy. How could this be? I gradually became more and more depressed.

It's hard to describe depression to someone who hasn't experienced it. It's not something that you can "snap out of". It's like telling someone with diabetes to "get over it". No matter what I did, no matter where I went, I was in emotional agony. All I wanted to do was stay in bed, in a fetal position, no less. If I couldn't be happy, what point was there in living? Dean encouraged me to pray which I did, but I still couldn't seem to get out of the shitter. I talked to my mom about what was going on. She suggested I see a counselor. I agreed. After all, this was something I could no longer handle on my own. I was seen at the Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center.

They were located in downtown Winona, just a couple blocks from the mighty Mississip. I saw a nice lady there and talked about many things. My childhood, my time in college, the passing of my grandmother just a few months before. She encouraged me to get counseling regularly and that it probably wouldn't hurt to go on an antidepressant. In order to do this, I would need to see a psychiatrist. I was referred to Dr. Smick. She worked at Parkview Behavioral Health Systems (located just adjacent to the hospital). She did my intake and said there were several meds available for depression. She decided to put me on a more old-school one called Desipramine.

Smick told me it would take several weeks for me to feel the full effects. I didn't feel like waiting, but if it could improve my mood, I guess I could hold out. I started the meds, but there were problems right away. One of the main side effects of desipramine is difficulty urinating. That was something I tried to deal with, but couldn't. So a week or so later, I was put on a more recently discovered antidep, Zoloft. I lived right across the street from Goltz Pharmacy, so had no problem getting my fix, I mean, pills. My friends knew I was getting professional help and were quite supportive. I called my mom most every day to let her know how I was doing. She had recently separated from her 2nd husband and was sharing custody of their twin girls, who were just 5 years old at the time. I went to Winona's book store and found a book that helped me deal with the negative thinking that had begun to consume me.

The Zoloft was better than the Desipramine, but not by much. I seemed to constantly have headaches while on it. Smick had told me to be patient, that one of the meds should be able to give me the kick I needed, but, thus far, it just felt like I was treading water.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Years Eve

I had a good New Years Eve. I went to Friday's with a friend in the early evening (after all, in there, it's always Friday). It started snowing a bit as we finished up our meal (only the 2nd time it's snowed so far this season). I watched some of the New Years' shows on telly. I haven't had any alcohol at all for the past few years and felt that New Years' was as good a time as any to "indulge". There was a Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler in the fridge (it has been in there for several months). I opened the bottle, took a good swig or two, and then put it back in the fridge. I didn't feel much of an effect (it was 3.9% alcohol, BTW) after 10 minutes, so went back and drank some more. A short while later, I felt a bit of a, how you say, "buzz".

Nothing too big, but fairly pleasing nonetheless. I did have some stronger alcohol (I forget what it's called), but the wine cooler was good enough for me. I watched the ball drop in NY at 11pm our time. The snow was beginning to accumulate. Zoe (my Pomeranian) ran around a bit in the backyard and before you knew it, it was 2007.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Indy Returns in 2008!

As noted in prior entries, my favorite movie of 1981 was "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and my fave of 1989 was "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (I did enjoy "Temple of Doom" as well, but it wasn't my favorite of 1984). After years of hearing that "Indy 4" would happen, it's good to hear that filming is finally scheduled to start in just a few months. Let's hope it's a worthy conclusion.