Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I've written previously about the beautiful Saint Bernard I took care of in the late 90's and early 00's, but now, for the first time eva, is some video of her; this was taken in June of 2000 when she was almost two years old.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Double Dare

In 1988, my stepdad bought a camcorder for the family. The purchase was made primarily so that he could videotape the twin girls he had recently co-created. It wasn't long, though, before my brothers and I came up with the idea of putting on our own version of Nickelodeon's "Double Dare" (with yours truly directing). Submitted below are 7 minutes of highlights:

Acid Test

I woke up yesterday morning at around 7am to have a bowl of cereal and some orange juice. The best thing in the house was Reduced Sugar Frosted Flakes. Ick (my girl's on a health kick and has made a habit of buying the stuff). Since I'm lactose, I eat cereal without any milk; the orange juice comes in handy for quenching my thirst.

I had a different experience yesterday, however.

After downing a few ounces, I felt as if my throat was closing up; I could breathe, but wasn't able to drink any water to wash away the acidity of the OJ. I got up and the dog started barking at something outside. I wanted to open the back door so she could run outside, but didn't have the strength. I poked myself in the chest to relieve the tightness, but it didn't do much.

It's hard to describe how uncomfortable it was. I laid down hoping for some relief. I didn't get it at first. A few seconds later, however, I threw up a bit of orange juice onto the floor. Felt good, but it took another 20 minutes before I really began to feel better. I kept trying to burp to get it out of my system. It goes without saying that I won't be having OJ anytime soon, at least not the kind with acid in it.

My wife has GERD and takes meds for it, but I plan to just avoid foods that cause such reactions. If, however, the food at Friday's was a culprit, I'd probably look into getting prescribed something. Speaking of which, I ate there last night and played a few songs on the jukebox including Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T." I heard a lady at the table next to me say something about MJ while it played. I'll always be a fan. An interesting and blunt article about him can be found here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

June 26, 1989 (age 18) - Journal entry (if I'd kept a journal 20 years ago)

Well, I'm living on my own now. My stepdad and mom wanted me out of the house in the worst way, so here I am living in an efficiency at the Sugar Loaf Apartments. It's pretty small, but it's all mine. It's been a bit hard to get used to, but I can still see my mom or dad or grandma anytime I want.

Right now, I don't have to pay any bills. My family is taking care of everything. I do have some spending money to go to movies, about $300 that I got from graduating last month. I keep all my cash in a photo album that I put in a shelf on top of the shower.

I'm looking for a job, but haven't found anything yet. I am signed up with Job Services. So far, the stuff they've offered me hasn't been very interesting. When I get up in the morning, I usually watch a few shows before heading off to find a job. I don't usually head out until 11 or 12.

I'm not eating as good now as I was when living with mom. The two foods I eat the most are probably Totino's Pizza and Nutty Bars.

The Steamboat Days carnival is coming to town next week. From my apartment, I'll be able to see some of the rides and lights. That should be cool.

I just saw Ghostbusters II last week. It was pretty good, but not as funny as the first. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was great. I didn't like Batman, though. A lot of people did, but not me.

I'm looking forward to starting college in a couple months. I'm just gonna take some general classes to start out with since I don't know what my major is gonna be yet.

I like a greater variety of music now than I did in the past. I like the Platters, Gloria Estefan, Elvis, and Fleetwood Mac.

I'm looking forward to going to Back to the Future II later this year. I read that some of it takes place in the future, in 2015. God, that's such a long ways off. I wonder what life will be like then.

One of my favorite shows to watch on TV is COPS. It's on a new network called FOX. The show shows actual people being arrested by police. It's very interesting. I also like watching David Letterman late at night.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


After going to my 20-year high school reunion last night, my June triumvirate of special events (which also included hearing my favorite author speak and going to my mother's wedding) is now complete. The reunion bit wound up being my favorite. There's just something about talking to people who you have such a history with, who were once such an important part of your life, tied together by similar geographies and being born at very similar times (one of the ladies I talked to yesterday was born on the exact same day as I).

I felt a great feeling of harmony and oneness there. For a number of moments, I was taken back to my junior high days when I was 14 and girls were a wondrous mystery. Now pushing 40, that was a long time ago, but it felt a great deal closer last night than it has for some time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Outcome That Should Surprise No One

As anyone who's been following my weblog for the last week to ten days can tell, I've become hooked on posting videos. It was only a matter of time before YouTube started calling my name. I joined yesterday and have already posted more than a dozen vids. Several of them (from the late 80's and early 90's) were taped directly off the TV. Though the picture quality isn't the best, it's feels good to have a back-up in case my tapes ever break, are lost to fire, or become vaporized at the onset of Armageddon. You can find all of them here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Endless Massage

About three years ago, Zoe came up with a move that would ensure her massages went on for as long as she could take them. Check it out:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Retro Room

At the dawn of this decade, I was working at the mighty Mayo Clinic. During my downtime, I liked to go on the internet and quickly became fascinated with a site called eBay. They had everything. Having just turned 30, I was feeling a bit nostalgic for my youth. How cool would it be, I thought, if I could obtain some of the most cherished items from my childhood?

The first thing I purchased was the Raiders of the Lost Ark LP. I got it for a paltry penny (not including the $4.99 for shipping and handling). Course I also needed to buy a record player, but Goodwill had a pretty decent one for $7.99. I bid on dozens of items, mostly having to do with the Star Wars movies, E.T., and Raiders.

As I continued to accumulate, I pondered where to put these treasures. There was a finshed room downstairs that wasn't in use. That's it! I'll make it my very own retro room, a place in which the year is still 1982 and I'm 11 years old. I was careful not to have anything down there that didn't exist in the eighties. I taped Star Wars comic books to the closet doors and placed Star Wars action figures on the cute little ledge that had been built into the room.

One of my greatest joys was obtaining a 1980 Empire Strikes Back Yoda still in its original package.

It had a price sticker on it that said "JCPenney $2.99". That, my friends, is where I bought most of my figures back in the day. I got it for just over $50, easily worth it in my mind. I taped it about a foot above the ledge. It was a thing of beauty. Not too long after that, I stopped bidding; I'd obtained more than enough vintage goodies.

One afternoon, I went downstairs to rest a bit and noticed a Yoda laying on the bed. Must've fell off the ledge (I had multiple Yoda's). I looked up and saw that the packaged Yoda was no longer there. I looked around a bit and spotted the package...opened. After being encased for more than two decades, he had escaped. Zoe was the culprit. She must've jumped up to get it. Aw, well, what's done is done.

The room isn't used much now, not since we got a TV for the bedroom, but if I yearn to return to those days, I head downstairs, lay on the bed, and read an ish of Starlog while playing something early 80's on my tape deck. To take a peek at said room, click below:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Zoe + Sprinkler

Wedding Bell Blues

Being seated in the second row enabled me to pay extra close attention to what the Baptist pastor was saying at my mother's wedding last Saturday.

The most eye-roll-worthy moment was when he spoke of women submitting to their husbands per the Good Book (Ephesians 5:21).

I can remember a decade ago going to one of my wife's friends' weddings in which this was talked about. I asked the bride about this later and she said there was no way that she was gonna be submissive to her man. Time has proven this to be the case. I was thinking, "Damn, you shoulda told the minister to exclude that part if you had no plans to follow through on it".

Back to last weekend; the pastor said that this passage in the Bible gets a lot of guff, no question about that. He then took the opportunity to explain how being submissive isn't such a bad thing. That's awfully easy to say if you're a man. Later in the ceremony, the groom said that he would put his wife's needs above his own which made things even more confusing.

Two hours later, I asked my half-sisters (the twins) if they planned to submit to their husbands once married. They both looked at me in a way that said, "Yeah, right". Living in Madison, they've grown quite progressive (a good thing in my mind). I then asked one of the twins' boyfriends what his thoughts were on a wife submitting to him. He looked off into the distance and said, "Cool".

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Road Trip

We had a nice drive to Chicago a week ago today. It was quite sunny as most of our time was spent going five miles per hour over the speed limit. My wife and I typically switch off on which discs to listen to. We started off with Vanessa Williams and Celine Dion's greatest hits before moving onto one of my faves, Tori Amos' The Beekeeper.

I got a chuckle as the title track played (it's track 14 if you click on the link); it opens with a very unusual sound, kinda like a cricket chirping. My wife was looking around as it played and said, "What's that noise?" afraid that her 2008 Accord was having an issue that wouldn't be covered by the warranty.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Best Week Ever

Hey, guys.

I know it's been a while since I rapped at ya, but it's been a busy week. On Thursday, the Mrs. and I drove to Chicago (me for a seminar, her to see a sibling). On Saturday, I attended my mother's wedding in Cheese Country (Wisconsin). Though I'm not religious, Sunday was a day of rest. On Monday, we went to a friend's graduation. Yesterday, I started writing about my Chicago trip and mowed the front yard. Today, the cat is resting on the chair next to me while Zoe is barking at various noises and critters that she sees. Here is a snippet from the wedding vid. In it, my mother and one of her twin girls laugh at a Mitt Romney joke (use your imagination):

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nurture the Stomach or the Soul: Your Choice

The time has come yet again to save a few bucks at Friday's by purchasing one entree' and getting the other free. I just received an email with this coupon and it is good for three weeks (from June 8th to the 30th); as always, it can be used multiple times . You know what to do if you're interested.

I was there yesterday evening and had to chuckle at something a patron said. The waiter asked if he enjoyed his Triple Stacker. He said he did before asking, "What's this white stuff?" I instantly cringed. He was referring to a substance that was put in a small black container next to his burger. The waiter, relatively new, said he wasn't sure.

Halfway through my meal, I took a short break. I swear, people really have a shit-fit when one stops eating even for just a few seconds. My wife said, "Why aren't you eating?" and the waiter's like, "Is everything OK?"

I was at the Outback last weekend and noticed that the bill gave you the exact amount you needed to pay if you wanted to give a 15% tip (approx. $3.60); same thing for 18 or 20%.

If the thought of going to Friday's doesn't turn your crank, check out this list of 10 Ways to Nurture Your Soul.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Decade Ago

In the summer of 1999, ABC rolled the dice on a prime-time game show. Though it had been decades since a game show had successfully aired in prime time, the network felt that a 2-week experiment in the late summer would be better than showing more reruns. I watched the first few shows of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" that August and enjoyed what I saw.

Not as difficult as "Jeopardy", not as blah as "The Wheel", the show was fresh with up-to-the-minute questions and a futuristic set. "Is that your final answer?" became an instant catchphrase and I can remember a coworker showing me how to play the game at ABC.com.

The show was given a regular slot in the fall and gradually the number of nights it aired each week increased until it was at 4 a week. I didn't watch every ep, but was fortunate enough to see the show give out its first million. I was shopping at Kmart with a friend and noticed that a nerdy-looking guy was getting mighty close. The million dollar question was a bit too easy for my tastes, but the way he pranked Regis on that last question was a thing of beauty. Check it out here.

The good times couldn't last forever, though, and the show's ratings began to decline in the early '00s. A syndicated version hosted by Meredith Vieira ran for a number of years after, but there's just something about airing in prime time that makes a show feel more special, like the entire country is watching, like they did back in the 50's with programs like "The $64,000 Question" and "21".

Well, happy days are here again as ABC is bringing Regis and "Millionaire" back for two weeks this August on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary. There will be a number of changes (more lifelines), but I look forward to being there once again.

As a postscript, if you're in the mood for a chuckle, check out these game show bloopers.