Monday, April 30, 2007

Man With Four Balls Not Able to Walk

In the early 90's (during my college days), I loved going to Minnesota Twins games with my youngest brother, Mike. I would get tickets through Winona State that cost about $10 apiece. The price also included the bus ride. Typically, Mike would come over to my place on 3rd Street after school. We would then walk about 10 blocks to the Winona State campus where we would board the coach bus in the Minne Hall parking lot. We both usually listened to headphones on our way up there. I was into country bigtime, so some of the cassettes I listened to on the ride up included Mark Chesnutt's "Almost Goodbye", Clint Black's "Put Yourself in my Shoes", Vince Gill's "When I Call Your Name" and Garth Brooks' "The Chase".

Once we arrived at the Dome, we would find the proper concourse to enter and find our seats. My brother would invariably order a malt cup sometime during the game. I grew to like them as well.

My most memorable game was one against the Texas Rangers. Our favorite place to sit was in the lower left field (as pictured below):


For the price, you got a pretty good look at some of the players (much better than in the upper deck) and there was always the possibility that a ball would land close by. During this particular game, a guy with the Rangers named Paul (I can't remember his last name) was up. After a few foul balls, Paul hit the ball and it headed right for me. I am totally serious. The ball was coming straight for me. I froze like a deer in headlights. I couldn't move. It got closer and closer. It went over the plexiglass in left field and just at the last moment, sailed a few rows above me. Man, I was so relieved. They showed a replay of it on the Jumbotron and everyone near me (including my brother) stood up as the ball got closer while I was sitting down as still as a statue. In all the commotion, it took me a while to realize that the Rangers had scored runs on Paul's mighty swing. I don't recall if the Twins won that night.

It was always an adventure exiting the ballpark. One was almost physically pushed through the exit doors by the strong winds, winds that were used in keeping the Teflon top of the Dome fully inflated. We boarded the bus again after the game and most people would be quite talkative, especially after a win. After about 45 minutes (with the lights inside the bus turned off), most people would try to rest. It was always a rude awakening for them when the bus driver turned the lights back on once we returned to Winona State. After that, my brother and I would walk back to my place and call it a night.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

November 2, 1999 - Journal entry

On Friday, I went to Winona to see Arthur and had a pretty good time. We ate at Taco John's where I saw one of my old college professors, Don Salyards. I had two economics classes with him. His favorite saying was, "and here's the kicker..." He wore an apron (that said "Dr. Don" on it) when he was at the chalkboard so as not to get his clothes dirty. I also saw Alvin Smothers at TJ's. My brothers used to know him. This one time, Matt was playing outside and saw Alvin just up the road. Matt was about 13 years old and had heard that Alvin had access to videos of a sexual nature, so he yelled to him, "Do some business!" He was able to get a super explicit video from him and watched it. And let other friends like Pete and Pat watch it, too. Like the ring of power in "LOTR", the video corrupted all who watched. After a few months, he destroyed it. I think he felt guilty about having it or it could just be that he grew tired of watching the same old scenes over and over again. Either way, he didn't just throw it away. He tore it into little pieces so no one would ever be corrupted by it again.

On a related note, after we got done eating, Arthur asked me to take him to the adult book and video store that opened in Winona about 2 weeks ago. I told him about the private booths in back. He didn't have much money, so I gave him a dollar so that he had 5 bucks to watch a half hour of any video he wanted. He chose a video that consisted of several dozen women waiting patiently in line for their turn to have sex with a man. It was called, "Put it in Reverse". He told me that he did satisfy himself, more than once, actually. Then afterward, he didn't want to tell his wife he had been there, but did fess up to it later that night. I was actually pretty tired from working earlier in the day, but did, for the most part, have a good evening.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Email I sent to my old friend, Art, and his response

Dat sounds aight. There's too many people goin already. debbie, a kids, shanon, laura, me, dori, jackie, gene might come. If yous geezers come, you'd probably ave to sit at anotha table anyway. I can maybe videotape da party, so yous won't miss anythin. Me don't ave a clue if a geeza who digs eminem should be borrowin tupperware, but I know yous need da mula. Ave a wicked day, main man.

Tom
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
learn how to spell words cause you don’t make sense are you retarded cause I am not retarded

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

January 11, 2000 - Journal entry

WELCOME TO THE YEAR 2000!!! Now everybody's happy because of all those fuckin' zeroes. Well, I don't give two shits about zeroes. Who cares? It's actually the year 5,235,408. Happy New Year! I plan to move into my new place next week. Packing is going well. I'm doing a little each day. It hasn't been too difficult.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Causing a Commotion

A few weeks ago, while listening to XM radio at work, they were playing all the charted songs from the last quarter of 1989. It's amazing how songs can take you back to a specific time and place. Some of the songs I heard included:

"We Didn't Start the Fire" - Billy Joel
"Another Day in Paradise" - Phil Collins
"Rock and a Hard Place" - Stones
"Blame it on the Rain" - Manilli

"Oh Father" - Madonna
"Rhythm Nation" - Janet Jackson
"I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson" - DJ Jazzy Jeff

At this time in my life, I was almost 19 and living on my own for the first time in an efficiency apartment on East Sarnia Street in Winona. I had just started college and was definitely enjoying it more than high school (less class time, longer holiday breaks). I worked part-time at the Winona Daily News putting inserts into the papers during the overnight hours.

One of my favorite things to do at this time was going to my brothers' house and hanging out with them. It was especially fun when our father and his wife were out of town and we had the house to ourselves. You wouldn't believe the commotion that those kids could start up. For one, they would make crank calls to various people. There was an ad in the paper for someone who was selling their Volkswagen Golf car. My younger brother, Matt, asked the lady who placed the ad if the car could be driven on a golf course. A lot of times when he would prank call, he would start the conversation by saying one of two things, "Could I talk to Clint?" (the name of one of my stepdad's business associates) or, in a really high voice, "Is Clyde there?". Sometimes he used the speaker phone so we could listen in.

On many evenings, they would call pizza places and have them deliver to a house up the street. It would always be amusing watching (from their house in the dark) the pizza man going up to the house and telling the occupant that he had the pizza they had (supposedly) ordered. On one occasion, the guy actually bought the pizza (he must've really been in the mood for it that night).

They would also call cabs to the same house and watch as the driver would sit in his cab and wait for his "customer" to come out. After a couple minutes, he would honk his horn. The boys always loved watching what would transpire. One time, two cabs from different companies were both in front of the house at the same time.

There was a guy that lived about 2 blocks up the road who had a big picture window. He left the curtains open even late at night so he could be seen by anyone passing by. The boys nicknamed him, "Beat-off man".

During the wintertime (late in the evening), they and a friend would go snowman hunting. Every snowman in a 4-block radius would be knocked over.



Their friend tried to kick one over, but the snow had hardened, so he had to use his hand to punch it in the face and then, with the snowman now vulnerable, finished him off just like in the video game "Mortal Kombat".

On many a night, we would go to Giovanni's Pizza downtown and have a large pie. If there were leftovers, they would take them and throw them at the front windshields of parked cars. Sometimes they shed a tear knowing that the owner of the vehicle would have to clean his windshield off the next morning before having any hope of getting to work.

Our cousin, Andy, would've killed to be one of the "boys". He was an only child, but a mischief maker as well. One evening, the boys let him accompany them on one of their "adventures". On this "special" occasion, eggs were used as ammunition on cars. Drew loved every minute of the adrenaline rush.

Another day, they had a bowling ball they wanted to get rid of. So they drove about 2 miles and one of the boys rolled the ball down the street. Some kid picked it up and took it home with him.

Of course, there was also the time that one of my brothers got a new slingshot and had a bit of "fun" with it.

I never did such things, but fact is, I liked to watch.

The boys did get caught one evening. They had trashed some guy's garden and it got back to my dad. He chided the three and called them, "ball-less". I'm still not sure what that means, but the boys cooled it for a while after that.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Can't say I'd mind...

I'm fuckin' wasted....

Here's the 711 on what happened Friday. I left work at about 3:30pm and went home to let the dog out and have something to eat. I started to lean against going. I just didn't know if I was up to going into a smoke-filled bar that was most likely going to be noisy and obnoxious. I laid in bed and pondered for a time. One of my workmates left a message wondering if/when I was coming since I had said that I would be there. I decided that I might as well go, that if I wasn't diggin' it, I could just leave and go get some groceries. I made it to the Viking Lounge (which is connected to the Holiday Inn) at about 7:15.


Though some people had left, several of my coworkers were still there. I sat next to a lady that works in the same department as me and asked several people what a good drink to order would be for someone who doesn't usually imbibe. They recommended a Colorado Bulldog (1 shot Vodka, 1 shot Kahlua, milk, 1 splash Coca-Cola). I ordered it and it was brought to me. I took a sip. Yuck. Too alcoholy. Someone said that I should stir it a bit. I did and it was a little better, but still pretty bad. I probably wouldn't have ordered it if I knew it had vodka in it. That shit is too damn strong for my fragile, defensive brain.

So it was on to take 2. Keeping in mind what you guys had told me about drinking in moderation, I waited a short time and then asked for a better (read: sweeter) recommendation. The Fuzzy Navel (1 1/2 oz peach schnapps, 2 oz orange juice, fill with champagne) was mentioned. It sounded much more up my alley, so I requested it (the waitress gave it to me at a discount since I didn't like the Dog). Very nice!! I like!! I took several healthy sips and waited for the "buzz" that you guys love so much to start. It didn't take long and it was quite good.

I was sitting across from a chain-smoking couple. This would usually bother me, but I didn't seem to mind too much for some reason. They were playing lots of good 70's tunes like "Hotel California" by the Eagles and a bunch of others that I can't freakin' remember. I was having a pretty good time, sho nuff better than I would have had at home. At a little after 9, karaoke started. I had never before experienced the magic of it. Most of the contestants were crap, but you can't say they didn't have heart. One of the best was a lady that sang "Harper Valley PTA" with so much conviction that you almost believed that what she described was autobiographical. Another guy was really wasted as he sang Joe Diffie's barroom classic, "Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (When I Die)".

The place started to fill up after 9:30 (there was a pool player's convention in town so many of the people in the lounge walked into the place with their long, hard sticks in tow (their pool cues were pretty big as well). I thought about what it would be like to go up there and sing, but just didn't have the balls. As it got later, people started to leave. I didn't order any more drinks after that first navel (I didn't want to still be intoxicated when I left). I was one of the last 2 people to leave right around midnight. All in all, a very good time and I am quite happy that I went. It didn't hurt that most of the people at our table were 40-something women (MILF). I'm actually looking forward to going to the Viking Lounge again in the very near future and continuing my experiments with alcohol.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Should I Do It?

Tonight my office is having an "after work socializing opportunity" at a place called the Viking Lounge. It should be a good time. I've never been to this bar before nor have I ever gotten drunk. As mentioned in a prior post (2-16-07), I didn't have my first taste of alcohol until I was 22. Since then, I usually only drink on New Years' Eve (wine cooler or champagne) and some years, I don't drink at all. This got me to thinking if I should go for it and get "plastered" this evening. Since I've never experienced it before, I was curious what you guys had to say about the subject. Is the buzz worth the hangover? How long does the typical hangover last? What are some good ways to reduce the effects of a hangover? In sum, should I go for it and if so, what poisons should I ingest to get there?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mom, I'm an Atheist

Check this out. A kid tells his Catholic mom that he no longer believes in God.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nation's UPS Men Break Out The Shorts

MANCHESTER, NH—In a welcome sight heralding the end of another winter and the arrival of spring, United Parcel Service men across the nation are breaking out the shorts.


"Look!" said Manchester, NH, cashier Brenda Cosgrove, staring out the window of the yarn shop where she works. "There goes another one! That's three today!"

Across the U.S., signs of the change of season abound, as daffodils poke out of the ground, the songs of the robin are once again heard in the trees, and leaves bud on the branches. For millions of Americans, however, there is no more beloved harbinger of spring than the sight of a UPS man's sturdy calves in the open air after months hidden away beneath heavy brown fabric.

"Between the long winter and this cold rain we've been having, it felt like it was never going to warm up," said Hugh McCaskill, a St. Cloud, MN, real-estate agent. "But then I saw a pair of UPS shorts on the street while driving to work this morning, and my heart soared. There's nothing quite like that first sighting of the year."

"I had a hard time concentrating on work today," said Aberdeen, MD, insurance-claims adjuster Jim Freund. "Seeing those UPS guys in their short pants made me want to run home, grab my baseball glove, and head over to the park. As thanks, I think I'll stop off at my local UPS office and send a five-pound parcel to Hagerstown at the two-day shipping rate."

Even if the grass is green, many citizens say spring has not truly arrived until the first pair of knees are seen just below the conservative hemline of those somber brown shorts.

"The temperature can be in the mid-70s, the cherry trees can be in full bloom, and the calendar can say June," said Washington, D.C., resident Cathy Anderson. "But until [UPS delivery man] Bill [Plevekis] comes to my door in those brown shorts with the socks hiked all the way up, I don't feel like winter has truly ended."

Though scientists are not certain what evolutionary instinct, complex set of genetically coded chemical signals, or UPS corporate policy tells the delivery men when to shed their long pants, the switch to shorts has a powerful emotional resonance with many.

"Ever since I was a kid, I haven't been able to stop wearing my down jacket until I see a UPS man in shorts," said Virginia Bourne, who, as office manager for a Buffalo law firm, signs for packages daily. "This year, I still haven't seen one, but something tells me today might be the day. [UPS delivery driver] Russ [Zorn] should be doing a drop off/pick up around 3 p.m., and I've got a good feeling."

The year's first sighting of a pair of UPS shorts is always a media event, and last Monday was no exception. When Yakima, WA, legal secretary Lynn Harrison phoned Today weatherman Al Roker to report a pair emerging from a UPS van in front of her neighbor's house, she touched off a deluge of similar calls to news outlets nationwide.

"I always smile extra big when I think about the UPS shorts," said Roker, who adds miniature pairs of brown shorts to his weather map each spring until every state has reported a sighting. "There's just something about those UPS men and their little shorts that brings out the spring feeling in me."

The delivery drivers are well aware of the feelings they evoke when they cast off their bulky winter trousers each year.

"My shorts symbolize rebirth. They give people hope for new beginnings," said New York City UPS delivery man Greg Gullicksen. "Also, I got a lot more freedom of movement when I'm getting in and out of the truck."

Telly

After work today, I bought a USA Today and ate at Wendy's. Once home, I played with Zoe in the backyard for a time. At 7pm, I did something I've never done before (don't go there, kiddies). I actually watched "American Idol". USA Today had an article stating that the contestants were singing country last night. I was curious to check it out. The first two kids were great (one sang "Where the Blacktop Ends", the other, "A Broken Wing"). The rest were crap in my opinion. I may watch the show off and on over the next month. It's no "Amazing Race", but it's not as bad as I was expecting.

The last 9 episodes of "The Sopranos" are showing over the next couple of months on HBO. I've only seen a few eps of it over the entire run of the show. But I am curious in how it all turns out, so last night I watched the first of the final nine on demand (I plan to watch the second in the next couple days). Pretty good stuff. Personally, I think Tony is scum and am kinda hoping he gets commupance by the end of spring.

I also watched a show about a couple that had twin girls and then wanted one more, but it turned out that she had six more. 2 pregnancies, 8 kids.


Wah-wah-wee-wah.

I also set up an appointment to get a massage on Saturday afternoon. I highly recommend it to all you folks. It is so choice!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Rising

The 108 recently posted her experiences in the wake of 9/11. Below is something I wrote on the 5-year anniversary of that infamous day:

A couple years ago, I was perusing the used CD section of a discount store and saw this disc:


It was released in the summer of '02 and was Bruce's first album recorded with the E Street Band since his "Born in the U.S.A." days. I picked it up for a few bucks and had a listen. Most of the tracks were influenced by the 9/11 attacks (Springsteen is originally from New Jersey). However, there were quite a few upbeat songs to be found on it as well. I listened to the track "Empty Sky" as I drove to work this morning. Two of my other favorites from it are "Further On (Up The Road)" and "The Fuse". Without question, it's one of my all-time favorite CD's. I remember listening to many of the tracks for the first time while I took Brandy for a walk with my headphones on.

As far as my story for that day, well, I basically slept through the madness. I didn't have to be at work until 2pm. I turned on the telly at about 11am. Both towers had already fell, but there was still a lot of smoke. I sat down, got the scoop, and then took a shower. I figured it would pass and took Bran for a walk. All these deaths were occuring thousands of miles away, but in my subdivision, all was quiet. When something like this happens, I usually move pretty fast towards acceptance and then move on. In this world, many things "good" and "bad" can happen. Such is cause and effect. But by remembering that life never ends, I can have peace always.

Time passed and the president decided to invade Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 (virtually all the terrorists from that day were from Saudi Arabia). I was firmly against it from the start and three years later, the rest of the country is starting to catch up to my views. Many times more innocent people have been killed in the invasion of Iraq than were on 9/11.



I don't think our civilians' lives are worth more than theirs. But Bush continues the madness. And more violence is just creating more terrorists, not less.

I went to Famous Dave's on Saturday and noticed a bumper sticker which sums up my feelings exactly. It said:

January 20, 2009 The End of an Error

Let's not give up hope.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

December 12, 2000 - Journal entry

Things happen that we are powerless to stop. In such cases, we must learn to accept what we cannot change. A month and a half ago, I went out to our fenced backyard to check on Brandy (our Saint Bernard). She had had a number of seizures that day. Brandy was staggering all over the house, so I had her go outside. I had given her enough meds to hopefully stop the seizures that she was having that evening. I went to bed and fell asleep. A few hours later, I woke up and remembered that I had left Bran outside. I walked out through the garage and saw her laying in the backyard. I stopped and watched her to see if she was breathing. I couldn't see her chest moving. I moved closer, still no apparent movement. I was scared. She had had seizure after seizure and I had allowed her to stay outside for several hours in the cold. I touched her. She was cold. She wasn't breathing. She had died. I went back inside and told Zoe (our little dog), "She's gone". I laid down in bed, sad. Her dead body was laying outside. I called Animal Control regarding removing the body. They said they weren't responsible for family dogs. I laid in bed for a short time. Then I looked outside through the bedroom window. I didn't see her. So I looked through the kitchen window. I still couldn't make her out. I went back outside and she appeared to be in a different place than she was previously. I wasn't sure, though. I touched her again. She still didn't appear to be breathing. I touched her, rubbed her face. She breathed. She was breathing! I hugged her and cried. She came back inside. Later, I talked to the vet and they prescribed some meds that have worked great for her. She hasn't had a seizure since.

On Friday, Zoe was sitting and I noticed that she was looking up at the ceiling, staring at it for no apparent reason. I called the vet and she was seen that afternoon. Zoe has a disorder where her body doesn't have enough platelets. She's been taking prednisolone to help her with this. It's been mostly effective. The vet examined her. He was disturbed that Zoe had lost so much weight. A couple months ago, she was 31 pounds. Now she was about 23. I wondered how she lost so much. She still ate, not a lot, but she still ate and got moderate exercise. The vet did her blood count. He said that she didn't have any platelets. This had happened before, so he prescribed a higher dosage. He said that without platelets, she could be bleeding into her brain or hemorrhaging. I hoped that wasn't the case. When we left, the receptionist said that Zoe was such a cute and friendly little dog. We got out the door and a lady wanted to pet her. Then a man walked by and she barked at him. He petted her as well. I took her home and we gave her some meds. I canceled my trip to Winona to watch over Zoe.

Saturday, I gave her some more meds. I actually heard her barking when we took her outside. The doctor said that it would take 3-4 days for the meds to take their full effect. Zoe was walking weird, slumping over and sometimes urinating on herself. We stayed home that evening to be with her and Brandy. I had to feel her by hand somewhat to get her to eat.

On Sunday, I went to work, came home and there appeared to be diarrhea near the entry way. I held her later and it looked like brown stuff was coming out of her mouth. I thought of calling the vet again. She appeared weak. I let Zoe rest a bit. A short time later, Zoe went under the bed. I had something to eat. I called Zoe's name and then as if on cue, she started gasping. I called the vet right away. Zoe was rolling her eyes which I had noticed earlier in the day. The doctor told us to meet him at the hospital right away. As we prepared to leave, I held Zoe and told her that if she had to go, then that was fine and that we would always love her and never forget her love and kindness. Zoe appeared to be gasping for air. I instinctively gave her mouth-to-mouth.

When we got to the hospital, I set her down for the doctor to look at. He did a few checks of her body. She was barely breathing. The doctor said that he would give her some oxygen in the other room. I stayed put for a minute or two and then went in back. The doctor was readying the oxygen. The doctor put the oxygen mask on Z and was putting pressure on her chest. Zoe was all sprawled out on her stomach. The doctor said she was gone. We made arrangements for her to be creamated. The doctor said she must have bleeding in her brain or in her lungs. What I thought was diarrhea by the entryway, Zoe had apparently coughed up and that was not good. The doctor said that Zoe had gone relatively peacefully. Some dogs come in gasping and coughing loudly with their extremities all over the place. Zoe held on until we got to the hospital. She didn't pass until I finally let her go and put her on the examining table. I stayed with her for a short time and smelled her forehead for the last time. She had that dog smell on her that I liked so much and will miss. I kissed her goodbye and told her I would see her soon.



She'll come in my dreams. She may come back in spirit and watch over me from time to time. Maybe she'll even come back as another dog that I'll get in the future and I'll look into that dog's eyes and know that Zoe has come back to us. She was such a good and loving dog. I wish we had know sooner that she was losing platelets. I didn't notice any signs (rashes on her body, certain colorations around her eyes) until she tilted her head up on Friday and that was sadly too late. In recent weeks, when I took Z and Bran out for walks, we would just let Zoe run unleashed. She would run through the snow, through peoples yards. She was like a rabbit. Then she would come in, have something to eat, sit on my lap, and usually sleep under the bed. She was a godsend for me. I did my best to take care of her. I'd give virtually anything to have her back. But I know now that she is free of her sick body and playing to her heart's content. I miss her and I know she misses me. But she is being taken care of. I can't wait to see her again whether it is here or after I go on. She was awesome. I still have pictures and videos to remember her by. Brandy and Mayo (our cat) have one less roommate now and our home is the lesser for it. Zoe brought so much light to our lives.

In the future, I probably will get another dog. I have a big yard and Brandy could use some company back there. Hopefully, Bran will be around for awhile. And so it is that I thought one of my dogs had died and was pleasantly surprised that that wasn't the case. Six weeks later, my little dog is gone. An unbelievable twist and not one that I wanted. I believe that these canines were brought into our lives to show us unconditional love and that I got Zoe and Brandy, dogs with health problems, because I was well-equipped to help them, to show them love, to give them the time and attention that many others couldn't. I'm sure cute, little Zoe is thankful for this and appreciates it. She was 3 and a half. I wanted more. But when it's time to go, it's time and unfortunately, it was her time. But knowing that she lives on gives me solace and, though I cried again yesterday thinking about her, the tears were for the great times we had together, the four of us (Tom, Zoe, Brandy, and Mayo). Now's it's three. But she'll always be in our heart and some night when I am walking Brandy, Zoe will be right next to us...trying to keep up, running through the neighbors yards...looking forward to spending the evening with us, sitting on my lap and drifting off to blissful sleep.

Postscript: A couple weeks after I wrote this, I had an interesting experience. On a couple occasions laying in bed, I heard what sounded like a small dog softly barking out by our entryway. It actually came from inside the house and wasn't Brandy (she has a much deeper bark). I was comforted by this and felt that she was letting us know that though her body was gone, her spirit did, indeed, live on.

In the summer of 2004, I finally got another dog, a Pomeranian that I also named Zoe (our vet has her listed as Zoe 2). She has many similar characteristics to her predecessor (she likes to sleep under the bed in the exact same spot that Zoe 1 did, both pee on the floor when they're really excited to see someone, both licked Brandy on the inside of her eyes, and both love Trolls).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Supercade

I grew up during the golden age of arcade games (1978-1983). Below are some of my favorites. I'm not even gonna name them. If you're interested in finding out more about the top 100 arcade games of all time, go here.



One time I stole a few quarters from my mom's purse (something I had never done before) to play this:




One evening in '83 at the local pizza place, I made it to the 6th screen of the game pictured below. You wouldn't believe how fast the ghosts moved.



I played this one at the roller rink.



I played these two games at the mall arcade (it was called The Electric Rainbow):


Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's your favorite scary movie?

Some of my favorite movies are scary ones ("Scream", "The Others", "The Ring"), but it wasn't always so. As a child, I couldn't bear to watch the spooky stuff. You see, I had a really active imagination and it would run wild after seeing creepy movies. So I swore off the stuff, but only after 2 movies, in particular, got my goat.

The first was "Salem's Lot", a 1979 telefilm based on a Stephen King book. I didn't watch the whole thing, but the part that disturbed me the most was when this vampire boy floated outside this man's window, entered his room through the window, and then bit the man.



For weeks afterward, whenever I laid in bed, I would look out my bedroom window to be sure he hadn't found me yet, the vampire boy who caused all that commotion in Salem.

The other flick that haunted me for some time was another telefilm, 1981's "Dark Night of the Scarecrow" starring Charles Durning. Here is the plot summary courtesy of the Internet Movie Database:

"A retarded man is unjustly accused of killing a young girl. Disguised as a scarecrow, he hides in a cornfield, only to be hunted down and shot. Later, members of the search posse are killed by a mysterious scarecrow."

That scarecrow was ruthless. He trapped a guy in an empty silo and then poured grain into the silo, burying him alive. Again, I would go to bed on many nights afterward wishing I could forget what I had seen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Real Life South Park

I've watched this video 5 times today and cracked up each time.

November 9, 1999 - Journal entry

Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. My mother plans to come to Rochester and take me out to dinner tomorrow evening. I've spent most of this lifetime living in Winona (pictured below).


It's kind of hard to believe that I haven't lived there for three years. I do like going back to visit, however. I'm never quite sure who I might run into. I was in Winona last week and saw one of my former college professors as well as a friend of my brothers at the Winona Taco John's. It's always a treat when I notice someone I haven't seen in awhile. Of course, my mother still lives there as do the girls, Phil, my father and his wife, Arthur D, Bob Kuhlmann, Brian Chadbo, and a few others. Arthur and my mom are my two favorite people to visit in the "Island City". Winona doesn't really have as much to offer as Rochester, but I do like the bluffs, the small town flavor, the familiar faces, and the memories.

Now, as far as being 29. Well, most would prefer being in their 20's instead of their 30's. And this is understandable. I have mostly enjoyed my 20's, especially my mid to late 20's. Presently, I am living in a relative world which consists of time and space. And although I live on beyond these constraints (as does everyone else), for this moment, while with this body, I am living within the illusion of time. But since time is an illusion, my body's age is irrelevant. For I am not my body and when my body is no longer useful, I will drop it and continue to live on.

That's what I heard on Oprah today, anyway.

Bedtime Stories

There are three notable things I do upon hitting the sack each night. First, I put on ear plugs to drown out the noise from the telly. Next, I have a small fan that I turn on. It's good for white noise, but I also like having a breeze blowing on me as well. Lastly, I take off all my clothes (does that make you girls horny?). My Pomeranian, Zoe 2.0, likes to sleep under the bed (just as her predecessor did). I put a comforter under the bed for her so she doesn't have to sleep on the relatively uncomfortable carpet. When in bed, I always place the alarm clock on the floor and turned away from me (so when I open my eyes in the night, I'm not distracted by what time it is). I get up at least once every night to go to the bathroom. Invariably, I head to the kitchen to get something to eat, typically cereal or pancakes. I used to always eat Swiss Rolls in the middle of the night, but was able to all but alleviate this by putting the cakes in the basement (I'm too lazy in the middle of the night to obtain them down there).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Summer 07 Part III

The third notable author I will be seeing this summer in Chicago is one whom I will be spending an entire day with (his workshop goes from 9am-4pm). His name is Dr. Brian Weiss.


From the website LifePositive, here is an overview of his groundbreaking work:

A prominent South Florida psychiatrist, before the age of 35 he was the first Chief of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and a professor at the University of Miami's medical school. He was publishing papers and becoming a nationally recognized expert on psychopharmacology and considered himself the kind of guy who rarely gave much thought to anything mystical, philosophical or spiritual.

One patient changed all that. Weiss calls her Catherine in his first best-selling book, Many Lives, Many Masters (1988), eight years after he began treating the young woman. He had been using routine psychotherapy to treat her and after 18 months with little improvement, Weiss finally put it very simply to her one day while she was under hypnosis: "Go back to the time from which your symptoms arise." She did.

Back to the year 1863 BC when she was a 25-year-old named Aronda. Since treating Catherine, he has researched reincarnation, Eastern religions, mysticism, quantum physics, intuition and everything in between. He exudes an air of wise counsel, but does not come across as some kind of guru.

Much to his surprise, Weiss's work has been taken seriously by many in the medical community. Shortly after his first book was published, the former president of the Dade County Psychological Association said: "Those of us who do hypnosis are not all that shocked by Dr Weiss's book. Many have had patients who have gone back to something-I'm not prepared to say it was a previous life. I think we are very interested and very afraid to talk about it…"

Weiss says his work on past life therapy has helped not only his patients and readers, it has also helped him. It has led him to explore a great body of knowledge, and to look inward as well. The following has been excerpted from Nina Diamond's Voices of Truth-Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers and Healers.

Are we just vessels that hold the soul?

Dr Brian Weiss: Yes, exactly. We are vessels, and we contain this eternal and immortal, much more knowledgeable part of ourselves. Now, probably as you get more mystical you find out that these souls, as well as the bodies, are connected to everyone else's, because really everything is of the same substance.

Why do people find reincarnation a difficult concept to accept?

People fear the unfamiliar. If only they would keep an open mind. Not just scientists, but everybody. Just observe it, watch it. Meditation can teach people to do that. If they can let go of their fears.

Philosophers and mystics once incorporated reincarnation into their explanations of life, and Plato wrote about soulmates.

Yes, Plato wrote about reincarnation. So, the Greeks believed in this too. And so did ancient civilizations.

Reincarnation is in all religions. Where did this knowledge come from?

It comes from so far back that we don't even know where it comes from. We only lost it recently. I think we lost it for political reasons.

In Judaism, belief in reincarnation or gilgul is not just ancient, but existed until early in the 1800s, and it was only with the migration out of Eastern Europe to the West, and the Age of Enlightenment and science, and the need to be accepted, that the belief went underground.

But not in the Chassidic (Ultra-Orthodox) populations. They still believe in reincarnation. In Christianity it went underground much earlier, in the 6th century at the Second Council of Constantinople where reincarnation was officially declared a heresy.

Christianity was becoming a state religion, and the Romans felt that without the whip of Judgement Day people wouldn't behave, they wouldn't follow.

They would think: "Well, I'll do it next time around." And so reincarnation was consciously made a heresy. But this was at the Council, centuries after Jesus.

How is the time period between lifetimes determined?

People who die violently, or children who die, often come back faster. And people who live longer lives, and die more peacefully, there can be a much longer time between lives, a hundred years or more.

How many past lives do people generally have? That varies, but the numbers that come up most (in my work) is about 100. Not the thousands and thousands that the Buddhists talk about.

Is there a finite number of souls?

To me it doesn't matter because ultimately we're all connected.

Are new souls being created?

I'm not sure, but my inclination is to say no. We're probably all ageless and have been (around from the beginning).

Are families more spiritually connected from life to life than strangers are?

Yes, and I do think that people come in groups for the working out of debts and responsibilities, the concept of karma. These are the people that we're learning and growing with. I even put love at first sight, or hostility at first sight into that category, a recognition of souls.

I know the old saying: blood is thicker than water. Well, I mention in "Through Time into Healing" that spirit seems thicker than blood.

So people can be male in one lifetime and female in another, and vice versa?

Yes, there seems to be frequent switching. You may have a preference, but you've tried out the other to see what it's like. This is also true of races and religions.

How do you explain souls that occupy bodies that are biologically damaged?

If this is all to learn-and this is what my patients keep telling me-to grow, to become more and more Godlike, then whatever experience you have is a learning experience. Sometimes, though, it's a teaching experience as well, so you may come back into this for others, maybe as an act of charity.

How do pre-determination and free will co-exist?

Someone told me this once: Life is like being on a bus. It has a certain pre-determined route. But the person you sit next to, how you act, what you say, that's all the free will part.

Why don't we automatically, consciously remember our past lives?

For one, more and more people are remembering. Through therapeutic techniques such as hypnosis, but also through dreams, spontaneously, through meditation, déjà vu. When they're in a place they have never been before and they know their way around.

This may be an evolutionary shift. I don't know why we don't all remember. The Greeks had a myth that when you were born again you drank from the River of Lethe, so you would forget your previous lives.

So you think some of us are born with certain values and ideals?

Yes, that's the whole purpose. That it gets ingrained at a deeper level. At the level of the heart and the soul-where the real learning takes place so that you're not dependent just on what your parents teach you.

If one's parents were bigots, and the child is able to overcome that, this is a degree of independence that transcends what we're taught.

This is your soul saying: "You know it's not right to be a bigot, despite what your parents, what the church or temple is telling you. You know better. Follow your heart." And when you're doing that, you've really learnt it. This is the soul memory.

When we're 'out there', will we be with all the people we knew here?

I think so, and even with those who are still here. The vision is better coming from the other direction. They're aware of more because they are not limited by a body and the brain. But we are.

How can reincarnation be validated? Do you look for supporting information?

It's difficult to prove reincarnation scientifically because of what we consider scientific. As a psychiatrist I'm interested in my patients' clinical improvement, in their welfare, so I look at two levels: of therapy and helping people, and then the other level, that of validating, or proving. Both are vital.

But I function more these days at the therapeutic level. There's no question in my mind, or in the minds of all of these physicians and psychotherapists who are writing to me, that this has a therapeutic effect. It's quick, it's vivid, it's relatively inexpensive, and people get better.

Physicists are now researching how one subatomic particle/wave in one location senses instantaneously what's happening to another one. Is it similar to psychic phenomena?

Yes, and physicists have proof that these particles exist, that they travel at the speed of light, and time is relative, and can stop. It's just that we have difficulty in letting go (of our old concepts).

If I told you that you're really, physically, a mass of electrons, protons and neutrons and energy, and wave/particle phenomena, you would say, "but I'm solid", and I would say, "yes, but that's not really true, because at a deeper level you're energy".

Scientists talk about things being connected at a sub-atomic level-what we would consider ESP-between these subatomic particles. Since we and everything in the universe are made up of these, does this explain how people can have 'paranormal' abilities?

Yes, that summarizes the millennia of mystical knowledge, and solves the problems of the universe! It's true. We need to develop the skills. How to do this, how to be aware. Mystics have always been saying that there is no time, it just appears that way to us.

And when you start talking about other states, there is no space, there is no time. It's all happening now. This is our conception of God and of nature beyond the three-dimensional. That's the fascinating correlation that physics is starting to prove.

In mystical Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, this is all part of the esoteric tradition: There is not time, no space, we're all connected.

Do you believe that physicists will find that science, mysticism, spirituality, religion and parapsychology are connected through quantum physics?

Physicists are the mystics of the 21st century. They've begun to study consciousness, time moving backwards, all of these phenomena that were called occult or esoteric. I believe they'll be found to have their roots in nature, in science.

As we begin to use more of our brains through meditation and other ways, we're going to find that these things do have their basis in science, in nature. To discover the truth you have to throw out your old assumptions and old knowledge.

You wrote in Many Lives… that the most important lesson you learned with past life therapy is that there is no death. How has this changed your life, and how can this change everybody's life?

When you stop fearing death you start to live more. What I value now that I perhaps didn't value as much before are love, relationships, family-not just in the genetic sense, but in the larger sense. And what I value less now are material things. You can't take it with you. That's a cliché, but it's true.

How do our past life experiences and relationships affect our present life?

They affect us in every way. Many of your most meaningful relationships are not new. That's how you connect. Past lives also affect us in symptoms, both emotional and physical. Certain fears and anxieties carry over. Physical symptoms, where one may have been wounded or hurt in a previous life frequently come up. It affects us psychologically, emotionally, even in obesity.

Have you had patients who, while reliving a past life under hypnosis, had detailed/technical knowledge about something they know nothing about in this life?

Yes, that happens a lot. One of Dr Jarmon's cases is one of the best. A woman was seeing him for hypnotherapy for weight loss. He didn't believe in past lives. This was his first case (of past lives), and it happened spontaneously.

A Jewish woman in her 30s, she started to develop a new symptom while she was visiting him. Her periods had stopped and she developed lower abdominal tenderness, and she was becoming more anxious.

He was alarmed and thought she might have an ectopic pregnancy (in a fallopian tube), which can be dangerous because it can burst. So he referred her to a gynecologist. She tested negative.

But she continued to see Dr Jarmon, and they were working on her anxiety, and he said: "Go back to the time from which your symptoms first arose."

His patient went back to the Middle Ages. She was five months pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy. In that life she was Catholic, and she was with a priest who wouldn't allow abortion or surgery, and so she died.

And just before she died she repeated the Catholic act of contrition to the priest, word for word. Dr Jarmon is Catholic and recognized it. It's what Catholics say to atone for their sins.

The Jewish woman had never heard of contrition. This happens all the time, but again, it's hard to prove because you can say they probably read this in school, picked up a book or learned this while they were overseas.

Many look at God as a force outside the universe that regulates everything.

Instead of within. I say: "Why limit God?" Perhaps God can listen to all of our prayers, all at the same time and pay infinite attention to it, because God isn't a human being.

So, you're saying that if there are an infinite number of possibilities, then nothing is impossible, and therefore, God can be everywhere.

Yes, and we can all be part of God, and yet be separate, in our own perspective. But we are all connected.

So, if we're all connected to everything, then by definition aren't we connected to God, too, since God, or a higher being, created all of this?

Yes. Now you're approaching my very simplistic way of viewing everything. That God-love-is an energy that is in everything. Intelligence, wisdom, love, compassion and more-that's all we're made of.

Tell us about your past lives.

The first time I remembered was during an acupressure massage for an old neck injury that was flaring up. At that point, Many Lives… had been written, but wasn't published yet.

And I wasn't telling a soul. I was afraid for my reputation and career. So I mentioned nothing to the therapist. I would go into this very relaxed, almost meditative state, and during the third or fourth one-hour session I saw this image.

It was me, taller, thin, wearing a multi-coloured robe, standing in a large geometric shaped building. I knew I was a priest of some sort, very powerful, with the ear of the royal family. I had some psychic abilities in that life, too.

And I was misusing it to gain more power, sex, greed, things like that. It was a very good life! Very easy, but wasted. The word ziggurat kept ringing in my head. I had no conscious memory of ever coming across that word.

It doesn't prove that I didn't, in college or something, but I didn't remember it. I didn't say anything to the therapist, went home and looked up ziggurat. It's a word for architectural structures, temples of the Babylonian era, like the hanging gardens of Babylon.

I had another experience years later. I had this dream of being imprisoned in a European dungeon, my arm chained to the wall. I was being tortured for teaching about my religious beliefs, which included reincarnation. And I died there.

I became aware, as I died, of a message: "When you had the chance to teach it, you did not." I knew that was referring back to that episode with the ziggurat. "When you didn't have the chance, you did."

And I knew that meant that I should have taught about love. I didn't have to teach about reincarnation and get killed for it. I went too far. The implication was: "Now you can have both. You have the chance, and you can teach about it." It's as if those two were the important past lives.

What do you think of other alternative physical and mental therapies?

I do feel that there may be validity to many of these approaches and we need to study these. That's why I was heartened to see that the National Institutes of Health created a division that deals with alternative and holistic approaches. The government is funding and supporting this. There's a tremendous amount to gain, both in healing and direct physical and mental health.
NOTE: I did not end up going to this conference due to a major change that occurred in my life in May of '07

Tri-pod

Several years ago, I was browsing at the Barnes & Noble in downtown Rochester. I was perusing the shelves and saw this title:



In a series of essays, women tell what they would do if they had a schlong.

I remember I had a dream once in which I had a detachable penis. For some reason, I didn't want to let it out of my sight.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Windin' and Grindin'

As some of you may know, I won just over one hundred movie tickets for winning an Academy Awards contest several weeks ago. I went to Adam Sandler's "Reign Over Me" (A-) last month, but no passes were allowed for that flick (generally, 3 of the 12 movies playing have restrictions on passes). I was glad to finally use one of them myself on Saturday afternoon. There was only one flick on that I really wanted to see, the double feature "Grindhouse". Since it is just over 3 hours long, there were only 3 showings on Saturday. I told my friend, Shanon, that I was gonna be at the 4:20 show. He said he might not make it for the first movie, but should be there for the second.

Outside the screening room was a notice that I chuckled at. It stated that the movie was made in the flavor of B-genre movies from the 70's and that the scruffs, scratches, and such on the screen during the film were actually normal (I can just see some guy going out to the lobby, "Uh, this movie's all messed up...") I sat in the middle of the 5th row. There weren't too many people there, mostly guys. After two regular trailers (one for "Pirates 3", one for "Die Hard 4"), came a faux trailer that was made by the guys behind "Grindhouse". It was entitled, "Machete" and was about a wronged Mexican out for revenge. Then came the first feature, "Planet Terror".


For plot details, click on the link in the first paragraph. During the movie, I pulled the armrests up and laid down on my right side watching it. About halfway through the film, there was a sex scene starting when all of a sudden, the picture looked like the projector had melted it and a card on the screen said, "Missing Reel". When the pic came back on, it was in the middle of an action sequence (probably 10 minutes of film time later). I had to chuckle. This kind of thing did happen from time to time in the 70's and early 80's when I watched movies as a kid. "Terror" really had the look of something that was made back then, except you know it wasn't since some of the characters in the film used cell phones. One other note: Fergie is in this movie and ends up being eaten by zombies.



I'm sure the deadheads found her to be Fergalicious :P Overall, I found "Terror" to be good, trashy fun. After that came a few more trailers for non-existent movies. My favorite was done by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever). It's called "Thanksgiving" and mimics the original trailer for "Halloween". As the 2nd movie was about to start, I headed to the bathroom (there was no way I was gonna make it through both features without going). It was then that I noticed Shanon sitting in the 2nd row. He followed me out and said he saw most of the last half of the first film and that he quite enjoyed it. He said that he didn't see me when he came in (remember, I was laying down at this point), so just took a seat up front. We sat together for the 2nd movie, "Death Proof" which was directed by Quentin Tarantino and stars Kurt Russell.



The first half is pretty talky, but damn, it really got going in the 2nd half. Basically, it has the best car chase scene that I've probably ever seen, a extended sequence that goes on for at least 25 minutes. That alone was worth the price of admission for me (even though I didn't have to pay a dime to get in, anyway). "Proof" also has a "missing" reel. After the movie, Shanon said he enjoyed the experience and that really is it. It's not so much a movie as an experience. Shanon said he really looked forward to seeing the movie, "Thanksgiving" later this year (I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was a fake trailer). Here's how one of my favorite movie reviewers summed up "Grindhouse":

"There's no question that Grindhouse accomplishes what the directors set out to do - open up the exploitation movie experience to a new generation while steeping it in nostalgia for older viewers. There's nothing brilliant or groundbreaking about the film, but it is solidly, unabashedly entertaining. Grindhouse is the kind of movie where it's necessary to put aside pretensions and enjoy the product on its terms, with all the sexiness, violence, gore, and camp as part of the parcel. This is three-plus hours of gleeful-but-guilty escapism."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Premiere Video: Behind the Curtain

Some time ago, I wrote about the most memorable question a customer ever asked me when I worked as a video store clerk ("Do you have any empty movies?"). Now let me take you even deeper into the first job I obtained upon moving to Rochester a decade ago.

It was the holiday season of 1996. The last job I had had in Winona was as a cashier at Radio Shack. Me and Dori stopped at a video store called Premiere Video one weekend that December (they're located on the south side of town).


I noticed that they were hiring. I thought about it for a moment. Being a video store clerk didn't seem to be too bad for a first job in a new city. I filled out the application and returned it a few days later. I received a call back that the openings were for a new store that was opening on the north side of town near Silver Lake. I had an interview with the north store's manager, Tony Do'hs (he had been the assistant manager of Premiere's LaCrosse store and accepted an offer to be manager of his own store in the MedCity). He was a nice guy. I was hired a few days later and looked forward to starting.

The store had just opened within the past week. Not too many people in town knew that they were even there yet. A grand opening would be held in a few weeks. Now this was just before DVD got going, so the store consisted entirely of VHS tapes. The hot game console at the time was the Nintendo 64. Tony told me that employees have a favorites section where they can display 4 of their favorite movies. Some of the movies I put in that section over the next year included, "Dead Poets Society", Jeff Bridges in "Fearless", Keanu in "Little Buddha" and Raymond Moody's "Life After Life".

The store had several TV's that were placed close to the ceiling.



We were told that we could play any G, PG, or PG-13 rated movies that we wanted as long as the language wasn't too severe (PG-13's were eventually taken off the list of acceptable movies to view during store hours) . Some of the movies I liked to play in the store included "Beavis and Butthead Do America", "Space Jam", "Batman & Robin", and "The Truman Show". On Friday night and Saturdays, however, we were required to play video screeners (they showed previews of movies that had just come out).

The weekends were the most fun time to work there. Lots of people, lots of conversation. There would be a snowstorm or pouring rain and we'd watch people come in shivering or soaked. We had a special deal with older movies where you could get 5 movies for 5 days for 5 dollars. That was quite popular. We also had a few dozen soft-core porn movies (Playboy videos, Red Shoe Diaries, etc.) in stock. This section was called "Late Night" :P Tony said these videos were among the most profitable in the store. I recall one older guy who, one morning, got 5 "Late Night" videos for $5 and returned them all less than 2 hours later. I was like, "Damn..."

There was always high demand for the newest releases. People would call in to hold copies of them. One Friday, a guy called in to reserve a title. He gave his name. I said it would be waiting for him. Hours went by and he still hadn't come. We close at midnight. It was after 11. Some girls came in and asked if we had the title. I decided to let them have it. They were quite excited to get it. That guy wasn't coming, anyhow. What do you know, a half hour later, he comes in asking about it. I looked in all our drawers for it knowing that it was already gone. I apologized to the guy. Of course, I didn't tell him that I had rented it out earlier, only that it was gone. I learned my lesson, though.

After several months, Tony asked if I wanted to open the store on some days. I said that would be cool. So I was given a key and usually arrived at the store at about 8:20am (we opened at 9, at least an hour before the other video stores). I would count out the moolah in the safe and get my register ready. Then I would scan in the movies that had been put in the drop box overnight. As magic time approached, I turned the lights and TV on. I had a ritual where I watched the same video almost every time that I opened the store. It was a one-hour vid ("Beyond the Mind's Eye") made up entirely of computer generated images and "futuristic" music. Here are some screen shots of it:



I ended up buying it on video a few years later at a pawn shop. Now I can relive those glorious days any time I want (I also took a couple screeners home with me that were gonna be thrown out anyway).

Since I was gonna be on my feet all day and since there weren't too many people that came into the store between 9 and 10, I would typically spend this time sitting down in the middle of the store and looking up at the images on the telly. Once more customers started coming in, I would stay in the front at my assigned post.

At lunchtime, I would print out a list of the people who had videos out that were more than 3 days late. I would then start calling these people. Most weren't home, so I left messages. I wasn't above trying to embarass a few people from time to time. If a guy had a bunch of "Late Night" movies that were really late, instead of saying on the machine, that he had "3 movies that were more than 10 days late", I would say, "Hi. This is Premiere Video calling. You have 3 movies that are each 12 days late. They are "Playboy: College Co-eds", "Naked Sins 3", and "Anal Invaders". Later, I would usually heat up a Healthy Choice pizza in the microwave in back and then eat it when there weren't many customers in the store. On most days, I would drink a Fruitopia (the brand is no longer in existence).

I ended up leaving Premiere in late 1997 (mostly because I just wasn't getting enough hours).

However, I did return in early '99 when a job I had working with the developmentally disabled fell through. My second stint at Premiere lasted about six months.

In 2003, I was working at Mayo and being a video store clerk seemed like a long time ago. I saw in the paper that the north store was going out of business. It was the passing of an age. So, a few days later, I went there one last time and browsed. I had just gotten a DVD player and took a look at what they had in that format. I didn't find anything that excited me, so spent my last few minutes taking a good look at the store, remembering the fun I had had there, the chance I was given by Tony all those years ago. Video stores are gradually fading away, but I'll always treasure those days when it was the place to be.

One moment while I transfer you...

Working in the telephone office of a major medical center for close to 4 years, I received quite a few interesting calls. One guy called and asked to be connected to the Smoking Sensation Clinic (it's actually called the Smoking Cessation Clinic). An older man called with quite a provocative question, "My doctor says I have six months to live. I need to find out if I should get a flu shot." But the most memorable call I ever received was a mother who opened the conversation by saying, "Yes, hi. My son has a problem. He is not able to ejaculate".

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pup

My beautiful Pomeranian, Zoe, has her very own web address. You can leave a bone for her here.

Music

I like listening to music while I'm working. It makes the time go by faster. Until recently, I would listen to the radio stations that were available on my Windows Media Player. A few months ago, however, that wasn't working, so I went to AOL radio (a membership is no longer required for their services) and I have to tell you they have some of the most interesting channels to choose from. One of the standouts is called "111 Wussiest Songs". It counts down the most sappy, wimpiest songs ever. Some of the offenders include: "Do I Make You Proud" by Taylor Hicks,


"I Knew I Loved You" by Savage Garden, "Don't Take the Girl" by Tim McGraw, "Babe" by Styx, "She's Like the Wind" by Swayze, "More Than Words" by Extreme, "Superman" by Five for Fighting, "Right Here Waiting" by Marx, "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison, and "Dear Mama" by Tupac.

For the complete dirty details, go here. I defy you to listen to more than 20 of these songs in a row.

AOL also has stations dedicated solely to TV theme songs, videogame scores, wedding songs, and 1-hit wonders, There's even one called FatherBrideDance and another called Faith-and-Tim. They also offer several XM satellite channels. My two favorite channels to listen to on AOL are XM70's and XM80's.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Look busy! He's coming!!

Christ Getting In Shape For Second Coming



HEAVEN—Emerging from a grueling 90 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and light lifting for tone, Son of God Jesus Christ said Monday that He is "definitely on track" to achieve peak fitness condition for the Second Coming.

"If every eye is going to see Me, and all the tribes of earth are going to wail on account of Me, I think I owe it to them and to Myself to be in the best shape of My life," Christ said. "Right now I'm up to 35 minutes at seven [miles per hour] on the treadmill and benching about 165 [pounds]."

The determined Savior has also forsworn His favorite high-calorie, high-carb foods such as fatted calf, loaves, and even His own body and blood, instead embracing muscle-building high-protein shakes and electrolyte-replacing sports drinks. And when temptation calls, Christ need only look at two pictures taped to His refrigerator: an icon of Himself prior to starting His regimen and a reproduction of Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" fresco torn from a magazine.

"The thought of being unable to seize the seven-headed serpent and hurl it into the abyss really keeps Me motivated," Christ said.

"Right now, it's all about Aug. 2," the goal-oriented Savior said. "And no matter how I look, there's no going back on this one like I did seven years ago."

Weird Science Part IV

In the 11th grade, I had a Chemistry class with Mr. Johnson. Though I found Chem to be somewhat hard to follow, I did get by. It got kinda boring, though, which is why I was happy when the teacher said that we would be watching a video about the history of surgery. I thought, "Cool, something different". I didn't really make the connection that it might be graphic.

When the day came, Mr. Johnson started the video and, unfortunately for me, they started showing actual surgery and I started to become woozy. This time I did not hesitate. I went up to the front of the room and asked the teacher if I could get a hall pass to go to the bathroom. He gave it to me and I left the room. Success! I still felt faint, however. I was like, "Dammit, I'm out of the room, away from all the action! I can't faint now!". I headed for the exit doors to get some air. Before I could get outside, I started to black out, so I dropped to the floor (no one else was around at this point). After a minute, I got up and went outside, sat down, and waited for it to pass. After a long break (allowing time for the video to end), I went back into the classroom with a bad headache. Dang it. But, at least, I didn't faint in front of an entire class. And that, thankfully, was the last time I fainted in high school.

I did have to take some science classes in college, but I made absolutely sure that nothing would happen. I enrolled in geology (I didn't think the study of rocks would make me faint) and astronomy (same for stars). I made it through college with nary a close call.

I did not faint again until the first time I had sex. I started to get woozy just as I was about to sti...

Ahh, you bought it. I was fine.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Summer 07 Part II

The second author I will be seeing this summer in Chi-town is James Redfield.


He wrote the best-selling 90's adventure story, "The Celestine Prophecy".



"Celestine" is a fictional story that discusses various spiritual ideas that one can apply in their day-to-day life. The insights are as follows:

THE FIRST INSIGHT . . . A CRITICAL MASS
A new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture, an awakening brought about by a critical mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious coincidences.

THE SECOND INSIGHT . . . THE LONGER NOW
This awakening represents the creation of a new, more complete worldview, which replaces a five-hundred-year-old preoccupation with secular survival and comfort. While this technological preoccupation was an important step, our awakening to life's coincidences is opening us up to the real purpose of human life on this planet, and the real nature of our universe.

THE THIRD INSIGHT . . . A MATTER OF ENERGY
We now experience that we live not in a material universe, but in a universe of dynamic energy. Everything extant is a field of sacred energy that we can sense and intuit. Moreover, we humans can project our energy by focusing our attention in the desired direction...where attention goes, energy flows...influencing other energy systems and increasing the pace of coincidences in our lives.

THE FOURTH INSIGHT . . . THE STRUGGLE FOR POWER
Too often humans cut themselves off from the greater source of this energy and so feel weak and insecure. To gain energy we tend to manipulate or force others to give us attention and thus energy. When we successfully dominate others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened and often fight back. Competition for scarce, human energy is the cause of all conflict between people.

THE FIFTH INSIGHT . . . THE MESSAGE OF THE MYSTICS
Insecurity and violence ends when we experience an inner connection with divine energy within, a connection described by mystics of all traditions. A sense of lightness--buoyancy--along with the constant sensation of love are measures of this connection. If these measures are present, the connection is real. If not, it is only pretended.

THE SIXTH INSIGHT . . . CLEARING THE PAST
The more we stay connected, the more we are acutely aware of those times when we lose connection, usually when we are under stress. In these times, we can see our own particular way of stealing energy from others. Once our manipulations are brought to personal awareness, our connection becomes more constant and we can discover our own growth path in life, and our spiritual mission--the personal way we can contribute to the world.

THE SEVENTH INSIGHT . . . ENGAGING THE FLOW
Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question; then dreams, daydreams, and intuitions lead us towards the answers, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being.

THE EIGHTH INSIGHT . . . THE INTERPERSONAL ETHIC
We can increase the frequency of guiding coincidences by uplifting every person that comes into our lives. Care must be taken not to lose our inner connection in romantic relationships. Uplifting others is especially effective in groups where each member can feel energy of all the others. With children it is extremely important for their early security and growth. By seeing the beauty in every face, we lift others into their wisest self, and increase the chances of hearing a synchronistic message.

THE NINTH INSIGHT . . . THE EMERGING CULTURE
As we all evolve toward the best completion of our spiritual missions, the technological means of survival will be fully automated as humans focus instead on synchronistic growth. Such growth will move humans into higher energy states, ultimately transforming our bodies into spiritual form and uniting this dimension of existence with the after-life dimension, ending the cycle of birth and death.

THE TENTH INSIGHT . . . HOLDING THE VISION
The realization that throughout history, human beings have been unconsciously struggling to implement this lived spirituality on Earth. Each of us comes here on assignment, and as we pull this understanding into consciousness, we can remember a fuller birth vision of what we wanted to accomplish with our lives. Further, we can remember a common world vision of how we will all work together to create a new spiritual culture. We know that our challenge is to hold this vision with intention and prayer everyday.

THE ELEVENTH INSIGHT . . . EXTENDING PRAYER FIELDS
The Eleventh Insight is the precise method through which we hold the vision. For centuries, religious scriptures, poems, and philosophies have pointed to a latent power of mind within all of us that mysteriously helps to affect what occurs in the future. It has been called faith power, positive thinking, and the power of prayer. We are now taking this power seriously enough to bring a fuller knowledge of it into public awareness. We are finding that this prayer power is a field of intention, which moves out from us and can be extended and strengthened, especially when we connect with others in a common vision. This is the power through which we hold the vision of a spiritual world and build the energy in ourselves and in others to make this vision a reality.
NOTE: I did not end up going to this conference due to a major change that occurred in my life in May of '07

Boy or girl?

When I was young, we knew a family that had some kids, then some more, then more still. The parents' names were Joe and Judy. They came up with the brilliant idea of having all their kids' names begin with the letter J.

They started with a boy (Jody), then a girl (Jina), then a boy (Jason), then a girl (Jenny), then another boy (Justin), then another girl (Jordan), then yet another boy (John), and yet another girl (Julie). I'm not sure what the odds are for having boy-girl-boy-girl over 8 kids, but, damn, that couldn't have been easy to do. They went a bit too far, though. They had a 9th child which per the pattern should have been a boy, but was instead a girl (Julia). Oh well. What can you do?

We used to have Uno game get-togethers with them in Rollingstone. They would visit us on a Friday or Saturday night and whoever wanted to could sit at the dining room table and play Uno. It was a very new game at this time. The colors and unique cards (Skip, Reverse, Draw Four) made it more fun for kids than conventional cards. The last time I played Uno was last year when I worked for the cable company call center. Saturdays were fairly slow, so three of us guys played in between calls.

Getting back to children, two of my siblings have 2 children. They each have a boy and a girl. Perfect, innit? One of my other 2 siblings has 3 girls (with a 4th female on the way).



I think they would've preferred having a boy as this last one, but what are you gonna do? Have sex standing up like the "J" family did whenever they wanted to make sure they had a boy?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

October 29, 1999 - Journal entry

Tonight I may go to Winona to see Arthur Davis. His wife is working late. We will probably go out to eat and to the mall, stuff like that, maybe even a movie. I remember late last year and earlier this year going to several shows with Art, such as "Snake Eyes", "The Truman Show", "A Bug's Life", and "The Waterboy". We saw those in Winona. In Rochester, we went to "Small Soldiers" and "Apt Pupil". This past summer in Winona, we saw "Wild Wild West". That was the worst movie I had seen since "The Avengers" Anyway, it was great fun to go to Winona to see Arthur from about July 1998 to April 1999. Before that time, he was going out with Heidi, and after that, he was going out with his soon-to-be-wife, Jennifer. We do not spend much time together because he usually spends the weekend with his wife and I like to do the same.

I really did enjoy going out to Winona to hang out with him in those days. I would pick him up around lunch time. He would take some cash out of his Goodview bank account, maybe go apply for a job somewhere, and we would go out to eat, many times at Burger King or Taco John's. During the afternoon, we would go to the pawn shop and/or the mall and goof around. He would sometimes take things from stores without paying for them.

Once, when we were at ShopKo, he took a Goo Goo Cluster off the candy shelf,


opened the wrapper, found a secluded aisle, and ate it. Never mind that he knew we were going to eat immediately afterward. When he finished it, he put the wrapper in his pocket. When it was time to leave the store, I let him walk out first, in case the hidden cameras had caught his egregious act. He walked out with no problems, so I followed him into the parking lot. I must admit that it was a funny and memorable experience.

Another time we were at the Winona Book Center in the mall. I was reading a magazine and seated in a chair. He was at the magazine rack looking at various periodicals. After browsing for about 20 minutes, he said he would wait for me outside. I said I would be out shortly. A few minutes later, I left the mall and saw him waiting outside by the liquor store. He looked and me and said, "What?" I said, "Nothing". We walked to my car and he pulled a sexually explicit magazine out from under his pants. He had stolen it.

Now, the funny thing is that he had the money to pay for those things, (especially for the Goo Goo Cluster, which only costs 50 cents), but he chose to shoplift them. He must get a thrill out of it. He doesn't take stupid risks when he does it, but if he continues this, one day he could get caught.

(Note: In 2004, there were allegations that he had shoplifted several items on multiple occasions while working at Best Buy in a custodial capacity (He didn't actually work for Best Buy. He was contracted out by another company). He was informed by management that he is forbidden to ever go into the Rochester store again and that if he did, he would be prosecuted for the numerous thefts. However, he did attempt to buy some items from them the day after Thanksgiving in '04. He felt that with all the people there, none of the store personnel would recognize him. He was mistaken, spotted by one of their employees, and asked to leave, never to return again).

Also, in the summer of 1998, when we went to Valleyfair, he did an interesting thing. We were at a vendor stand that sold Valleyfair souvenirs and other items. He purchased one item and stole another (He shoplifted a refrigerator magnet that had the name of his girlfriend on it. Wasn't that sweet of him? "Hey honey, want to know how much I love you? I stole this for you!")

There are more stories to tell about Mr. Davis, but that's all I have for right now. Let's just say that I am looking forward to going to Winona tonight. Goodbye for now.