Friday, March 30, 2007


With the baseball season officially getting underway in just a couple days, herewith is my earliest memory of being at a game:

Around about 1980, my father took me to a Minnesota Twins baseball game. One of my dad's friends and her daughter were at the game with us. I don't recall who the Twins were playing that afternoon, but I'm pretty sure they lost. The game was played at what was called "The Met" in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Mall of America is there now (in fact, in the amusement park area of the mall, there is a plaque indicating the exact location where home plate used to be). In 1982, the Twins moved to the Metrodome and I was witness to quite a few good games there in the early 90's (I would go on the Winona State bus to games with my brother, Mike). After a while, though, one grows tired of watching games indoors, so count me happy that plans are underway to return Twins baseball to the great outdoors in 2010.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Weird Science Part III

After fainting 2 times in 9th grade Science class, I was looking forward to moving on to Senior High. However, I did have to take Biology in 10th grade. And you can imagine my excitement when the teacher announced that a frog dissection would be taking place in a few weeks.

You guys already know what's comin', doncha? Well, I was actually able to get out of it. I told the teacher that I get faint at the sight of blood, really at the mere mention of it. Not only that, but I was opposed to killing any living thing or participating in any way to its demise (To this day, when there are flies in the house, I don't swat them. I put them in a paper towel and then set them free). So the class did their thing in the lab while I twiddled my thumbs in the classroom portion of the class. High-five!!

I also had a sex-ed class in 10th grade. Those were always fun (I had had one in 7th grade as well). In 10th grade sex-ed, I got to sit near my friend from 9th grade Science, Brian Chadbourn. Everything was going fine. We were learning the specific parts of both the male and female anatomy. One afternoon, the teacher showed us a film about the fertilization of an egg. I watched with some interest. It was pretty innocuous, but it wasn't a computer simulation. It was actual sperm going on their merry way. I'm not exactly sure what precipitated it, but I began to get a bit woozy. I thought about getting up and asking to leave the room, but thought it would pass. It didn't, but I did. Brian said he was watching the video and out of the corner of his eye, saw me fall out of my chair. A couple minutes later, I was revived and taken to a different part of the room where the teacher could make sure I was OK. Needless to say, what happened that day spread like wildfire through the school. The people in that class told all their friends who told all their friends, etc.

Yes, indeed, I became known as the guy who fainted in sex-ed class. One morning, I was in my typing class and heard 2 girls talking in the back of the room. I heard one of them say, "Well, how is he ever gonna get married?" I knew from that line that they were referring to me. Another guy told me, in all seriousness, that I really should "get that checked out".

But time passed as time is prone to do and gradually the memory of it faded. I made it through the rest of that class and went on to 11th grade where I had one more "experience" waiting for me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Double Dipping

I started double dipping in 1996 shortly I moved to Rochester. I remember in late '96 having it set up where I was gonna go to the early show of "Beavis and Butthead Do America"

and after that, a friend was gonna meet me at the theatre so that we could see the late show of Tom Cruise's "Jerry Maguire" together.

My plan was to stay in the theatre building the entire evening and just have to pay for the first movie. However, even though I got to the Galleria at least a half hour early, "Beavis & Butthead" was sold out (They had it playing on a pretty small screen, though). I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to see "Maguire" until my friend showed and there wasn't really anything else I was interested in seeing. I ended up buying a ticket for "Maguire". I was screwed. I noticed an older theatre employee posted outside the "Beavis" theatre. He was checking tickets to make sure that everyone who tried to enter already had a ticket to the screening since it had sold out. A moment later, I saw him leave his post and, without hesitating, went into "Beavis" and sat down. Success! I did it! I enjoyed the show (I had been a fan of the TV series). Afterwards, I waited for me friend. He bought his ticket for "Maguire" and we both went to that movie which was also a very good one. So I ended up seeing 2 movies for the price of one and sneaking into a movie ("Beavis") that was already sold out.

In the summer of 1997, I went to a sneak preview of "Men in Black" and had arranged for the same friend to come to the theatre after that show was over so we could see Travolta and Cage in "Face/Off" together. It worked again. 2 movies for the price of one.

It's important to get the timing right, though, when you attempt da double dip. I got caught in 1997. I went to a first movie and then headed over to see "Romy & Michele's High School Reunion". There were only 2 other people in that theatre. A few minutes before the show was to start, one of the managers came in and asked to see my ticket. I hesistated and she said that only 2 people have paid to see the movie, not 3. So I apologized and left.

Despite getting caught, I did some more double-dips over the next couple of years. I went to a movie with a good friend. He then headed home while I then went to see Matthau and Lemmon in their last movie together "Out to Sea". Another night, I went to a movie and then saw Anthony Hopkins in "The Edge".

In 2002, when I went out of town, I went to see Adam Sandler in "Mr. Deeds" and then snuck into Tom Cruise's "Minority Report".

I kinda have stopped double dipping over the past few years mostly because there usually aren't 2 movies playing that I really want to see. Or I'll feel that I got my money's worth with the first show. Or I'll just want to go home to be with my girls.

There was a bit of a resurgence for the DD last summer, however. In May, I went to "X-Men 3" and "Over the Hedge" immediately after that and in July, I saw "Pirates 2" followed by "Monster House".

My friend, Shanon, refuses to do da dip. That's his prerogative, of course. But I feel that the movie will be playing with or without me and I'm already there, so what the hell...

Man caught videotaping women's feet

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - A cameraman was caught with some creepy video footage. The man was surreptitiously videotaping female feet in the science library at University of California, Santa Cruz, campus police said. "Officers indicated he was embarrassed by his behavior," university spokesman Jim Burns said Monday. "He offered no resistance to the request that he leave immediately and indicated he would not be back."

It's not illegal to videotape feet so no charges were filed. The name of the man, who was in his 40s and had no affiliation with the university, wasn't disclosed. He was banned from the campus for two weeks.

Vince Nova, manager of the Science and Engineering Library, said the man was seen pointing a small video camera in the vicinity of three students' feet. One of the students confronted the cameraman and he fled.

One of the female students spotted him again last Wednesday, and campus police were called. A campus officer searched the man's bag and inspected the camera.

"From the taped contents of his camera, the subject of his filming seemed to be 'feet,'" the officer wrote in his report.

Graduate student Nellie Chu said she wasn't concerned.

"It's odd, but I don't think there's any need to jump to conclusions," Chu said. "Maybe he was doing research."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

September 6, 2006 - Journal entry

Boy, did I see a doozy of a documentary last night on HBO on Demand. It's called "Telling Nicholas" and takes place a few days after the events of 9/11. It deals primarily with a 7-year old boy whose mother apparently passed in one of the towers on that day.

The father and the rest of the family struggle with how and when to tell Nicholas that his mother has passed on. Documentaries are one of my favorite genres of movies due to the fact that they are taken from real life (movies don't need to have explosions and sex to be compelling).

Summer 07

This summer, I'm going to a conference in Chicago. When I found out that 5 of my favorite authors were gonna be there, I just had to go. So I registered for the thang and made reservations at the hotel where the conference is to take place. You may ask, "Who are these 5 authors that you have such a hard on for, Tom?" Well, the first is one I was introduced to in the summer of 1993 as I was getting over clinical depression. I actually found her paperback at the drug store where I purchased my antideps. It was called, "A Return to Love". The author: Marianne Williamson.

Here is a summary of the book:

The mega-bestselling spiritual guide in which Marianne Williamson shares her reflections on A Course in Miracles and her insights on the application of love in the search for inner peace. Williamson reveals how we each can become a miracle worker by accepting God and by the expression of love in our daily lives. Whether psychic pain is in the area of relationships, career, or health, she shows us how love is a potent force, the key to inner peace, and how by practicing love we can make our own lives more fulfilling while creating a more peaceful and loving world for our children.

Its words changed my life for the better more than a decade ago and for that, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

NOTE: I did not end up going to this conference due to a major change that occurred in my life in May of '07


PULLMAN, Wash. - A man was charged with theft and burglary after police said they found 93 pounds of women's panties, brassieres and other underwear at his home.

Investigators believe Garth M. Flaherty, 24, took as many as 1,500 undergarments from apartment complex laundry rooms before he was caught, police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said.

A man was seen taking underwear from two laundry rooms Saturday, a witness recorded his license number, and Flaherty was identified from photographs, Tennant said.

Police found enough underwear in his bedroom to fill five garbage bags, Tennant said.

"He said he had a problem," Tennant said.

Flaherty has been jailed on 12 counts of second-degree burglary and one of first-degree theft.

Police had previously received 12 reports of underwear thefts in the northeast part of town, where Washington State University is located.

"We were kind of concerned about how to match up bras and panties with victims," Tennant said. "Based on the unique descriptions from a couple of women, we can tie him to those thefts."

The underwear will be held as evidence until the case is resolved, after which their disposition is uncertain, Tennant said.

"Would you really want them back?" he asked. "I would say not."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Weird Science Part II

As the weeks went by in Mr. Foster's 9th grade Science class, I started to forget about the time that I fainted while the class was looking at a smoker's lung. In that same class, the teacher had given us assigned seats in alphabetical order. Since my last name started with D, I sat in the front row next to Brian Chadbourn and Phil Dayland. Now I don't recall what exactly precipitated it, only that the teacher was talking about something. It must've been something pretty explicit, though, because I started to feel faint and woke up on the floor in between my desk and one of the guys next to me. There were guffaws and classmates wondering how in the hell I could faint over something the teacher was talking about, but that is what happened. It turns out that I get faint not only at the sight of blood or body organs, but also of vivid descriptions of such things. Crazy, innit?

After passing out two times in his class, Mr. Foster didn't take any more chances with me. When he arranged to have a video shown that he thought might be too much for me, he had me sit in the back next to him and asked me several times during the video if I was OK. I was fine. When something came on the screen that I thought was too much, I just averted my eyes. I made it through the rest of that class and the school year without fainting.

But the episode that I would be most renowed for was yet to come.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Let's Get Physical

In the early 80's, my parents were fitness nuts. They would get up early in the morning and go jogging (usually at different times, though, since someone had to watch the kids). Jogging was the rage back then. They would typically jog a mile or two out past the city limits of Rollingstone and then return. My dad also had some heavy duty weights that he used to tone his upper body. My mom had a juicer that she used. She would put carrots and other vegetables into it. She loved carrot juice. Me, not so much.

One summer, when they were really on a health kick, they took the whole family to Zion, Illinois, to pick up some kind of supplements or something like that. I remember the name of the city because that is where Gary Coleman was born and "Diff'rent Strokes" was a big hit at the time.

My mom had a subscription to a health magazine called Prevention. I read some of it from time to time if I was bored. The magazine is still in existence to this day.

They also had a book called "Back to Eden". It was actually originally published in 1939 and contains info about vitamins, minerals, herbs, disease prevention, and so on. I always thought the title of the book was interesting.

I've saved the coolest thing that my parents did for last. The enema. I think they said it cleaned out their systems or something like that. I do remember one time seeing one of my parents lying on the bed with their cheeks spread. It traumatized me a little bit. No, just kidding. It does remind me of one other story, however. My dad was in the shower and my younger brothers were just outside the door talking and playing around. My dad came out of the shower with a stiffy and one of my brothers said in amazement, "How does he do that?" Needless to say, my brother knows how to do it now.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Party Time

Pump Gaffe Leads to Fuel Frenzy

Neighbors knew something was up when cars lined up around the block outside the East River Mart in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, Tuesday night, an hour after the place officially closed.

When police arrived around midnight, they found that the source of the chaos was 27 cent gas. "At this point, it appears to us to be a mistake," said Deputy Coon Rapids Police Chief Timothy Snell.

"The business owner told us last night before he closed up the business, his intention was to change the pump price to $2.79 and in fact, it was changed to 27.9 cents."

The station's pumps operate after closing for customers who use credit cards. It appears someone who pumped gas noticed the error and called a friend who called a friend, who, well you get the picture.

Someone eventually called Twin Cities heavy metal radio station 93X, and announced the pricing mistake live over the air. It didn't take long for bargain hunters to descend on the gas station. "It sounds like word really got out," mused Deputy Chief Snell. "There were a number of cars there when officers arrived at the scene, and there were enough people where it was causing a disturbance to the neighbors in the area."

The morning manager of East River Mart estimates 3,500 gallons of premium were pumped in the two hour frenzy. At a loss of more than $2.50 per gallon, that would be a hit of nearly $9,000 for the small business.

Muhammed Shahid-Mian also disputes the police assertion that the owner is responsible for the pricing error, insisting someone tampered with the pumps. "I called the programmer and said, is something wrong with the program?" Shahid-Mian explained. "He said no, nothing wrong with the program. Somebody hacked in from outside."

Criminal or not, a longtime neighbor of the station expressed disgust at the predatory behavior of those who scrambled to Coon Rapids for the 27 cent gas. "It's stealing basically," lamented Greg Schweitzer. "They might have got away with 25 bucks, but it's not worth it, you know?"

Weird Science

In 9th grade Science class, an interesting thing happened to me. The teacher had announced a couple days before that he was bringing a smoker's lung to class later that week to look at and talk about. Sounded cool to me. I was looking forward to it. So one spring afternoon, he put it on a table and invited the class to gather round him. We looked upon the thing.

I was listening to what the teacher, Mr. Foster, had to say about it when all of a sudden, I felt very faint. I tried to walk a bit to shake it off. My head started screaming. I woke up on the floor (I had passed out), the teacher trying to revive me. Some of the students were chuckling. Mr. Foster told the class that he had seen this happen to many people over the years. After a few minutes, I got up and took it easy for the rest of that period.

I didn't think my fainting had anything to do with the lung being there. I just chalked it up to it being a hot day and the fact that I had just gotten my period.

I got a better idea of what I was dealing with a few months later.

I will go over the details in a future entry.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I had a dream recently that I was stuck in some big house where the people weren't very nice. I then did something that I tend to do from time to time in such situations. I flailed my arms and, as I did so, I literally rose above that neighborhood and went to a more pleasant place. Through dreams, I've been able to connect with those who have passed on. I believe that dreams shed much light on what life is actually like on the other side (time and space as we know it does not exist in dreams, for one thing). What if dreams more accurately reflect the true nature of reality than our day-to-day lives do? In that case, our "dreams" would be more "real" than our waking lives.

The Searchers

I frequently get a chuckle out of some of the search words that people use to find my weblog.

Below are 5 of the most recent examples:

taking his wife's name

genitals on fire minnesota

vince gill hard to kiss chewed your ass

wife masturbate

name black people that in the titanic and live in the theer class

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Biggie Size

A friend called me on the phone a little while ago and asked what I was gonna do for supper. I said that I planned to stop at Wendy's after work today (I also ate there yesterday). Here is how the rest of the conversation went:

SD: Didn't you just eat there yesterday?
Tom: Yeah.
SD: So why are you going there again today?
Tom: I want to do an experiment.
SD: What kind of experiment?
Tom: Like that guy did in "Super Size Me".
SD: You're just gonna eat Wendy's for the next month?
Tom: Yeah.
SD: You're kidding, right?
Tom: Yeah.


Liberals must stop saying President Bush hasn't asked Americans to sacrifice for the War on Terror. On the contrary, he's asked us to sacrifice something enormous: our civil rights. Now, when I heard George Bush was reading my e-mails, I probably had the same reaction you did--George Bush can read?!

Yes he can, and this administration has read your phone records, credit card statements, mail, internet logs... I can't tell if they're fighting the War on Terror or producing the next season of Cheaters.

I mail myself a copy of the Consitution every morning, just on the hope they'll open it and see what it says! So when it comes to sacrifice, don't kid yourself--you *have* given up a lot! You've given up faith in your government's honesty, the good will of people overseas, and 6/10 of the Bill of Rights. Here's what you've sacrificed: search and seizure, warrants, self incrimination, trial by jury, cruel and unusual punishment. Here's what you have left: handguns, religion, and they can't make you quarter a British soldier.

In previous wars, Americans on the homefront made a very different kind of sacrifice. During World War II, we endured rationing, paid higher taxes, bought war bonds, and women donated their silk undergarments so they could be sewn into parachutes. Can you imagine nowadays a Britney Spears or a Lindsay Lohan going without underwear?

Bad example, but look, George Bush has never been too bright about understanding "furriners", but he does know Americans. He's asked *this* generation to sacrifice the things he knew we would not miss--our privacy and our morality. He let us keep the money. But he made a cynical bet, that we wouldn't much care if we became a Big Brother country that has now tortured a lot of random people. And yet no one asks the tough questions, like "Is torture necessary?" and "Who will watch the watchers?"

In conclusion, after September 11, President Bush told us Osama bin Laden "could run but he can't hide". But he ran and hid. So Bush went to Plan B: pissing on the Constitution and torturing random people. Conservatives always say the great thing Reagan did was make us feel good about America again. Well, do you feel good about America now? I'll give you my answer. And to get it out of me, you don't even need to hold my head under water and have a snarling guard dog rip my nuts off. No, I don't feel very good about that.

Bill Maher - March 16, 2007

The Best Way To Do It

I remember the day my mother taught me how to tie my shoes. She first showed me how to do a standard (around the tree) knot. Then she showed me the two loop (bunny ears) shoelace knot. I found the two loop one easier to understand, so I tried it and tried it again until I got it (I think most people do it the standard way). It's amazing, though, how you do it every day without even thinking.

Speaking of shoes, I can remember owning a pair of these in grade school:

See that cool zipper on the side? You could put a few coins in there if you didn't want change in your pockets. I felt like I could run faster with these shoes on, too, since they were named KangaROOS (we all know how fast kangaroos can hop).

U.S. Takes Out Key Iraqi Bases In Midnight Raid

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shits & Giggles

This is the funniest thing I've seen on TV in months (I was convulsing the first time I viewed it)! Some innocent guy called in wanting to be an assistant and look what happened.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hey kids, supper's ready!


In early '05, I was hunting for a good full-time job. I applied at a couple employment agencies. Manpower called me one morning and told me that there was an opening at IBM in Rochester. It paid quite well, was part-time, but could turn into full-time. I sat with one of the ladies who worked in that department and felt that the job would probably be a good fit for me. It took a couple weeks for the paperwork to go through, but I was finally hired a few weeks later. The department was called Consult Line. Businesses would call and be connected to our department when the server issues they were having went above and beyond what their IBM warranty covered. Once the business in question signed the Consult Line contract, we would look for technicians who had the skill and the time to help them.

One of the ladies I worked with named Kitty (meow...) was in her 50's and had a major thing for Clay Aiken.

Every day, she would go to the Claymates web site to see what was new with the sexy boy. Her enthusiasm for him was so strong that I feigned interest in him myself (I do like his song, "Invisible", however). She had a Clay calendar posted in her cubicle and frequently listened to his CD's during office hours. When people on the website would mention that Clay was probably gay, she always said, "Oh, he just hasn't found the right woman yet". I would turn my head and roll my eyes on such occasions.

I was actually hired because Kitty was moving with her hubby to Raleigh, North Carolina (Clay's hometown) to be closer to her own personal, her husband was tranferring there (he worked for IBM as well) and they had always wanted to live near the Smoky Mountains.

I started working about 20 hours a week, supplementing it with a job at a research company where we called people and asked them to participate in surveys (big-time fun!). IBM was really anal about disposing of all papers that had any kind of customer information on them. When in doubt on something, the best thing to do was to shred it (Enron might still be around if it had had this policy in place). IBM had a website (called the Blue pages) that listed all the people that worked there along with their pictures. Some of the programmers liked to play around with their profile, however. I remember Kitty was looking for some consultant and when she opened up his info, instead of a picture of him, it had the guy's name next to a picture of Krusty the Clown.

I laughed, but Kitty said such manipulation of images was against corporate policy.

A few weeks later, Kitty left for the greener pastures of Carolina. I was given more hours and started working some 8-hour days. During my lunch break, I would take a 40-minute walk around the neighborhood (the building I worked in was just adjacent to a residential 'hood). I would listen to my CD player and enjoy the time out in the sun. Our offices were also right next to the Apollo Dental Center. It was great walking over there for my appointment and then walking right back to work. Al Gore would've been proud of me :)

The IBM job was the first one in which I was able to listen to the radio on my computer. On most days, I would listen to 80's music or soft rock. Almost every freakin' day, I would hear the 80's classic, "Send Me an Angel". I'm not complaining, though. I love that song. So New Wavy...

My boss's name was Bob Zella. A fifty-something, he was a great guy, courteous and kind to all. He was totally oldschool, too. He had a ham radio at home, one of his favorite movies was the 50's classic, "War of the Worlds", and one of his usernames was setiman (a reference to the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence organization). He was one of the best bosses I ever had.

Every few days, we would get a crit-sit call. You know what that means? It's short for a critical situation. This would be when some company was having a major issue with their server which was affecting their business dramatically. We had to really hustle when dealing with those.

The job had a decent amount of downtime. One afternoon, I was looking for information on a college residence hall in Winona that I had spent time in. I found a link that led to a web journal written by a guy who had gone to Winona State and was now living in Rochester. His blog was called Rambling Rhodes and is the first that I ever read.

Bob Zeller regularly told me that Consult Line wasn't as profitable as it had been in years past. These conversations led me to believe it was quite possible that my job would go bye-bye in the near future. In August of '05, I got the news that Consult Line was moving all its operations to Dallas (Bob would stay on as manager of it). I was not surprised and made the best of it. I had to settle for a job at Charter in September, but the IBM job did allow me to save a pretty decent amount of money.

Mr. Z was recently told that his services were no longer needed at IBM. This happened just two months before what would've been his 30th anniversary (which would've meant lots more retirement monies for him) working for the company. He accepted it with grace, though. We all know that IBM is a cold-hearted former shell of what it once was.

Time magazine sent me a notice a few weeks ago letting me know that if I renewed my subscription, I could give a free one-year subscription to anyone I wanted.

I couldn't think of anyone who would be interested in the mag until I remembered Mr. Z (now retired). I put his name down and sent the form in. It's the least I could do for one of the very best.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Shhh...don't tell

I'm sure many of you have heard about the above book (click here for an extensive article on it from Newsweek). Millions of copies of it are in print. It basically deals with positive thinking. Neale Donald Walsch, who is the author of my favorite books, the Conversations with God series, was a consultant on this project, so I was quite familiar with the concepts expressed therein (I browsed the book, but felt no need to read it). For those unfamiliar, here are some excerpts from "The Secret", but Shhh...don't tell...

"When you visualize, then you materialize. Here's an interesting thing about the mind: we took Olympic athletes and had them run their event only in their mind, and then hooked them up to sophisticated biofeedback equipment. Incredibly, the same muscles fired in the same sequence when they were running the race in their mind as when they were running it on the track. How could this be? Because the mind can't distinguish whether you're really doing it or whether it's just a practice. If you've been there in the mind, you'll go there in the body."

"There is no blackboard in the sky on which God has written your purpose, your mission in life...your purpose is what you say it is. Your mission is the mission you give yourself. Your life will be what you create it as, and no will stand in judgment of it, now or ever." - Neale Donald Walsch

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Elephant Day

Oh boy, do I love animals. You can tell how evolved a society is by the way they treat their animals. Anyway, it was National Elephant Day in Thailand yesterday. Elephants were given an all-you-can-eat buffet consisting of banana trees, sugarcanes and fruits.

After that, they got to participate in various games such as painting and bowling.

For the full video, go to MSNBC (look for the "NBC news highlights" video section).

The Beautiful Ones

I'm sure many of you have heard of the new ABC show called "Ugly Betty".

Well, this is what the actress who portrays Betty looks like in real life:

Does anyone else have a problem with this? Don't you think that a character named Ugly Betty should be played by someone who is actually, I don't know, ugly? If they had chosen someone less conventionally beautiful, then others who aren't "gorgeous" (the majority of people) could look up to her knowing that looks aren't needed in order to be a star. But no, they give the gig to a beauty. What a joke. I also have problems with putting braces and thick eyebrows on someone and then calling them "ugly".

Gonna Make You Sweat

Since you guys seem to be getting off on me revealing things about myself, I thought I'd give you another peek behind the curtain this morning. The seeds were planted for me on this when I was in 7th grade cooking class. The teacher, Mrs. Suchla, told us one afternoon that corporations love selling beauty products, products that most people don't even need. She mentioned how everybody wears deodorant when it's only natural for the body to sweat. I never forgot her words and never did start down the path of destruction by wearing makeup and douching. However, I did use deodorant in my high school years.

Sometime when I was in college, I decided that I didn't want to use the stuff anymore. The body is supposed to sweat when it's warm. Sweating burns calories and I love burning calories! It seems even more ridiculous to wear the stuff during winter when it's cold and everyone wears several layers of clothing, anyway. I've not used the stuff in many years. I guess this is my little way of sticking it to "the man". Now how do you like dem apples?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Grade School

Ah yes, grade school. We were all so innocent back then.

This is the lunch box I took to school on the days that I didn't order "hot" lunch:

Those hot lunches were something else, though. I always loved pizza day. They just gave you a thin rectangular piece that was fairly tasteless, but, hey, it was school. The only time I ever ate tater tots was at school.
Doesn't this pic make you wanna run out and go buy some?

In our cafeteria, we didn't have chairs. We had these huge tables that the janitor folded out and attached to them were circular seats, very small seats for the kindabeeners, much bigger ones for the 6th graders.

My favorite game to play in elementary was MASH (it was also called Dr. Dodgeball). We played it in the gym. A crapload of different sized rubber balls were brought out and teams were picked. Some kids were chosen to be medics. Then on the count of three, teams would grab a ball and throw it at an opponent. If that person caught the ball, the person who threw it was "out" and had to fall to the ground and wait for a medic to come. The medic would help them to the sidelines where they would be cleared to go back into the game (war). If the medic got hit while assisting, they had to be rescued as well. The game was total chaos. I loved the adrenaline rush of it.

One of my most pleasant/embarassing memories of grade school took place on the jungle gym in the playground. Each of the students in our class were required to climb the pole.

You already know what's comin', doncha? I started to climb up it and about halfway to the top, started feeling something quite pleasing in my nether regions. If I climbed too fast, I would lose the feeling. So I climbed the second half really slow to keep the feeling going. My whole class was looking up at me. Some were growing impatient. I finally reached the top and slid back down wondering what this magical feeling was (a similar experience was had here). Mom...Dad...why didn't you tell me that such things were possible?!


It's obvious that with all the movie tickets I won a couple weeks ago, I'll be going to a crapload of movies this year. Here are posters for some of the ones I'm most looking forward to seeing:

This one's from the director of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and includes many of that movie's cast members:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Saturday Night's Alright For Bowling

This past Saturday was spent in celebration of Shanon's 33rd birthday (which is actually today). We went to Best Buy and I gave him 20 bucks there telling him to buy whatever he wanted. He chose the Omen gift set which includes all 4 70's Omen movies as well as the remake from last year. I wasn't too big on going to a movie (just not much on that I was interested in seeing), so we headed to the bowling alley on north Broadway. There was league bowling all day there, so we made a call to the other lanes in town to make sure they had openings. They did and it wasn't just regular bowling. It was of the moonlight variety, you know, the lights turned down, the neon strobes turned up, music like "Dancing Queen" and "Barbie Girl" playing.

I hadn't bowled in about 2 years, but was up for a couple games. I basically just try to throw the bowl smack dab in the middle (who doesn't). There were some wuzzy teenagers in the next lane who disgusted me, though. They had bumpers up, so even if they got a strike, it didn't count in my mind. That's not bowling as far as I'm concerned. When I was a kid, we didn't have no stinkin' bumpers. If you got a gutter ball every frickin' time, that's the way it was until you learned how to shoot it straight. That's the way it was and we liked it that way!!

I bowled pretty decent in that first game. I got 2 strikes. Shanon got one. I was using positive thinking as I rolled the ball (not unlike what the current best-seller "The Secret" encourages. I haven't read the book, only heard about its philosophies. I've been a proponent of positivity for years). Before I threw the ball, I slowed down my breathing and tried to picture the ball hitting the head pin. Obviously, it didn't work every time, but hey, at least I beat Shanon (I got a 90 while he had around 75). At one point, when he was shooting extra poorly, Shanon said he was gonna go look for another ball (don't ya love it when someone is not doing well and they blame the equipment?)

We played one more game and he did even worse (about 62 or so). I, on the other hand, really hit my stride. I got 2 strikes and 4 spares (all the spares came in the second half of the game). For those spares, I was really visualizing the ball hitting the remaining pins as I threw it. I wound up with a 133. We had built up quite an appetite by this point, so headed to my favorite restaurant, Friday's. We got there a little after 5 before it got too busy. I said I'd treat him to whatever boos he wanted, so he ordered a tall Michelob light. We told the waitress that it was his b-day in a couple days, so she came out with a few other girls and sang the Friday's birthday song after wrapping the string from 3 helium-filled balloons around his wrist. His dessert was some kind of apple pie-ice cream mix with caramel (I abstained).

He still wanted to keep the party going. So I agreed to going to a movie (I just received my hundred passes, but didn't want to start using them yet, so brought a filled punch card that I was able to use to get in free, anyway). We both wanted to see a comedy, but I had already seen "Reno 911" and didn't want to see "Night at the Museum". We had both heard terrible things about "Norbit", but were willing to give it a try (getting in for free helped in this regard). We had about 20 minutes before the show started, so we went to the bathroom and wandered a bit.
I was hoping that it would have a few laughs, but knew it had one of the lowest ratings ever on Rotten Tomatoes (9%). We sat near the front and watched the previews. Then came the feature. It started by showing Norbit as a child (I got a few chuckles). Murphy has 3 roles in the film. He's plays the nerdy Norbit, the 300-pound plus female Rasputia, and an older Asian man.

In the first few minutes, I was fearing that the movie was gonna be almost completely mirth-free, but as I watched the first half-hour, I started to laugh out loud (lol) a few times. I was getting the most fun from the things Rasputia was saying and doing. I loved it how when she and Norbit got in their little Pacer, she always thought that Norbit had moved the seat up when really it was she who was steadily gaining weight. She didn't like to hear about her weight, so Norbit offered that the car was probably shrinking. At this suggestion, she said "Yes, it has been raining a lot lately". There was also a lot of politically incorrect humor in the movie, such as this exchange between Norbit and the old man:

Mr. Wong: Remember, black people run very fast. But problems run faster.
Norbit:...That's kinda racist.
Mr. Wong: Yes, Wong very racist. Don't like black. Don't like Jew, either. But black and Jew love Chinese food. Go figure.

Eddie Griffin was in the film, but I didn't laugh at anything he did (surprising since I loved him in '02's "Undercover Brother"). Marlon Wayans was also in the film and did provide a few laughs. Overall, I had a great time and give this movie a B+ (Shanon enjoyed it as well). This film may have led in some ways to Murphy not getting an Oscar a couple weeks ago, but if he hadn't lost, then I wouldn't have won my $100 and 100 movie tickets, so don't expect me to cry about it. "Norbit" is closing in on $100 million, though, which tells me that I'm not the only one deriving pleasure from it. Don't get me wrong. It's no "Borat", but you could do much worse on a Saturday night.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Name Game

Full disclosure: My given name at birth was Thomas Dick. I was the oldest of five (4 boys, 1 girl), all of whom were born with this last name. Not only was I given shit because my last name was Dick, but also because my name was Tom Dick. You know the saying, "every Tom, Dick, and Harry". Well, many people, upon hearing my name, would ask, "Where's Harry?" Hilarious, innit? I would also frequently hear, "What's your sister's name, Anita?" (everybody in grade school was basically a comedian). I got used to it, however, and didn't think much of it after a time. My mother said she named me Tom because she liked the name (it also belonged to her older brother).

I grew up, went to college, and decided that I wanted to change my name I could've changed it to anything, but wanted it to be something similar to what I had. One Sunday afternoon, while watching the Minnesota Vikings play a football game, I noticed a guy on the Vikings whose jersey said Dixon (he was gigantic, his first name being David). Wheels started turning. So a few months later, I went to the government center and changed my last name from Dick to Dixon. It was the end of an age. .

But that's not the end of the story.

What would my siblings do? Well, my sister, Carrie, married about 6 years before me and took her husband's name (shocker). One of my brothers was married just a few weeks before me and also changed his name in part due to pressure from his betrothed. He changed his to Dickson. The next brother to get married (in 1999), Matt, took the unorthodox (but progressive) strategy of taking his wife's name. (Note: Matt's wife is actually the sister of Carrie's husband, so both Carrie and Matt have the same last name).

During this time, there were many whispers and murmurings that my dad was getting pretty P.O.'d as one by one, we abandoned the family name. Thankfully for him, the youngest, Mike, opted to keep the name, warts and all, when he got married in 2000. His last name may be Dick, but to stick with that name for a lifetime...that takes balls!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I watched a 2004 movie called "Primer" on Showtime some time ago. It's about two twenty-something men who are working on a machine that manipulates gravity.

They come to realize that the machine can actually transport things through time. The movie deals with the dilemma the men face on how best to deal with such a contraption.

A very complex movie and, at times, hard to follow. I had to go on the internet after viewing it to get a better handle on what I had just seen. I found out later that the film had been made for a paltry $7,000. So much more ambitious and thought-provoking than most of the multimillion dollar junk that comes out of Hollywood these days.

If I could time travel, one of the first things I would do is try to find a way to make it so that large dogs (like Saint Bernards) could have longer life spans.


‘Jackass’ movie copycat lands in hospital

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - Attempts to duplicate a movie stunt landed one man in the hospital with burned genitals and another facing criminal charges.

The men were trying to do a stunt from one of the “Jackass” movies, in which a character lights his genitals on fire.

Jared W. Anderson, 20, suffered serious burns to his hands and genitals, according to the criminal complaint. Randell D. Peterson, 43, who sprayed lighter fluid on Anderson and lit him on fire, was charged with felony battery and first-degree reckless endangerment Tuesday in Eau Claire County Court.

Witnesses told police that Anderson, who was drunk, volunteered to do the stunt Sunday after watching the movie, the complaint said.

After Peterson ignited Anderson, he ran into the bathroom, jumped into the tub and put the flames out, according to the complaint. He was taken to Luther Hospital, and eventually treated at the Regions Hospital Burn Unit in St. Paul, Minn., for second-degree burns.

Anderson told police that he didn’t want anyone to get in trouble because of the stunt.

Peterson was freed on a $2,000 bond. He has a hearing scheduled April 16. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Best of the Best

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame named their Definitive 200 albums this past week. Basically, these were chosen as the best and most influential recordings of the rock era.

Here are the ones that I personally own (and my comments):

(I was introduced to this in 1987 as a 16 year old. A classic in every sense of the word)

(I purchased this on cassette in '83. I still enjoy it from time to time)


(This one always gives me a chubby)

(Back when country was the happenin' format)

(Man, this bitch was pissed off back in the day!!!)

(I listened to this for the first time while waiting for the midnight showing of the finale of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, "Return of the King". The two are now forever linked in my mind)


(I found this one outside of Face the Music one day. Very mellow stuff)




(I bought this one out of curiosity at a pawn shop. It's got a few catchy tracks on it)

(I love the 80's!)


("Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is fantastic)

85. PRINCE – 1999 – 1983
(If you didn't come to party, don't bother knockin' on my door)

100. DIXIE CHICKS – HOME – 2002
(Too bluegrassy for my tastes)

(Love can touch just one time and last for a lifetime and never let go...)


113. DIXIE CHICKS – FLY – 1999

(Hey guys, it don't matter if you're black or white...or if you used to be black and now are white)

(Bluegrass heaven)


(Let's hear it for the 80's!)



(No comment)


In October of 1996, my girlfriend and I moved from the river town, Winona, to the Med City (Mayo Clinic is located there), Rochester. We looked at two apartment complexes, Rochester Village and Homestead Village. We ended up choosing to live in the "park-like setting" (that's what it said in their ads) of Homestead Village:

We moved there in the middle of November. Our living room looked just like this:

It was cool to have the built-in shelves. I put my movies, music, and trinkets on them. The kitchen looked like this:

It was a two-level townhome with 2 bedrooms upstairs. It was actually a very inexpensive place to live in (about $500 - $550 a month). They didn't have garages as such, but there were "shelters" that you parked your car under so that snow couldn't accumulate on it. We didn't own a bed, so slept on the floor our first night there. The next day, we went to Happy Sleeper and bought a queen sized bed. We still have it, but it's pretty worn out (for obvious reasons).

We did have Mayo at the time, but she was still a kitten, less than a year old. I remember birds built a nest above the light located next to my front door, so anytime the cat walked around outside, the birds would be dive bombing her and she would be thinking, "WTF?"

One drawback is that there was this old fuck who lived two apartments down. He smoked all the time and the smell often drifted to our residence. That's one of the primary reasons why we left after our lease expired in late 1997. Though we lived there only a year, much happened during this time.

Monday, March 05, 2007

My Precious

In 1983, my grandma Ruth (having bought a new color TV) gave me her old black and white one. I put it on top of the dresser in my bedroom. I was ecstatic! My own telly. A 19-inch. I didn't care that it was black and white. I could deal with that. One problem, though: It only got one channel (our main TV in the living room was the one that had cable connected to it). The only channel I could receive on it was channel 8 (WKBT-TV) out of LaCrosse. Oh well. So I laid on my bed and watched some TV. Lots of TV. I watched

with Brent Musberger as well as a football game or two. I couldn't change the channel (and didn't want to go into the living room where everyone else was watching TV), so I just continued watching whatever was on channel 8. Next thing on was the high school quiz bowl.

It was great to be able to watch whatever I wanted, well, as long as it was on channel 8, that is. I loved the quiet, too. With no kids screaming, I could hear every bit of dialogue that everyone said on screen.

One night, I was watching TV in my bedroom as usual. I had all the lights off. There was a movie on that I was quite engrossed in. My dad opens the bedroom door just kinda wondering how I'm doing and such. I'm like, "Get the fuck out of here. I'm watching this." I didn't say that, though.

Of course, when my favorite shows not on channel 8 were on, like "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Three's Company", I rushed to the living room to watch glorious color.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Double Feature

I haven't received my free movie tickets yet, but that didn't stop me from going to a couple movies yesterday afternoon. Both were about law enforcement. One was quite funny, the other, not so much. We first went to "Reno 911: Miami" (based on the Comedy Central series).

I'm a pretty big fan of the show, so was looking forward to seeing this on the big screen. The movie wasn't as funny as I was hoping, but was worth the $6.00 I paid to see it. If you're not a fan of the TV series, you probably won't dig the movie. My favorite sequence of the flick is described below (courtesy of the Movie Spoiler):

They end up staying at some roach motel downtown where there seems to be illegal things happening all the time. Raineesha is trying to put the moves on Jones, but he’s acting like he’s sick. Jones is trying to get with Clementine until Raineesha catches them and they both take off in different directions. Jones is taking a walk to his room when he looks in the window and he sees that Junior (his roommate) is pleasing himself. He runs and as he runs, he sees in every open window that every one of the deputies is pleasing themselves and he runs off in disgust.

After "Reno" ended, I decided to check out "Zodiac".

Two hours and 40 minutes, but quite interesting since it dealt with an actual killer who was on the prowl in San Francisco in the late 60's and early 70's. Since I knew the movie was gonna be lengthy, I lifted the arm rest on my right side and laid down for the duration of the movie (no one was sitting in front of me to obscure my view). Most of the people there were older, probably many who lived through the days that were documented in the film.

Friday, March 02, 2007