Monday, July 27, 2009

8.5 Hours a Day

While reading the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, I came across a column by Stephen King in which he mentioned a recently released study that says adults spend an average of 8.5 hours a day in front of various screens (television, computer, mobile devices).

This got me to thinking, what's the point of having a body if all you're gonna with it is sit in front of a screen? Such a sedentary activity. I admit to spending a lot of time on the internet and as the years go by, it becomes more difficult to remember what we did before this. As a child, I read books, but the net trumps this (I can read absolutely anything I want without having to turn a page and if something is boring, I can just move on to another website).

I believe that we are here to experience things, however, and staying home talking to others on Facebook may seem like a semi-social activity, but it's a poor substitute for face-to-face time. By the way, what is with these wusses on Facebook who have one of their children as their profile pic? Is it because they feel that they are grotesque-looking (or fat)? What of those who have a pic of two people (themselves and another) as their FB pic?

In heaven, are we also going to spend all our time in front of screens? Or will we actually get to live life as it was meant to be; with a plethora of members of the opposite sex who find us Dead Sexy and can't wait to get busy. But wait, why would we need genitals in the afterlife? Does God have genitals? Is that why he's referred to as a He? And if so, what in the hell does He do with them?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Doggie Style

It's (virtually) always a treat going to the local dog park; seeing how your dog interacts with the others, enjoying the sunshine with like-minded animal lovers, and trying not to stare at the better-looking bitches. The below video was taken in the spring of 2005 when Zoe was just under a year old:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mystery Solved

I've wondered for years why restaurants serve such large portions, but was finally given a satisfactory answer last night:

"One of the things that has long occurred to me about restaurant dining is that, because every customer must be served the same portion size, they’re naturally going to provide huge amounts of food. If you serve a 275 pound man an amount of food that would be appropriate for a 125 pound woman, he’s going to still be hungry at the end of his meal and therefore a dissatisfied customer. Because the marginal cost of additional food (especially pasta, potatoes, and the like) is negligible, it’s just good business to pile it on. Naturally, everyone else will be given too much to eat and all but the most disciplined will overeat."

"Two obvious ways health conscious diners can adjust are to resolve to take half the food home with them — better yet, get a “doggy bag” before starting eating and divide it right away — or to share food."

I order chicken fingers most of the time at Friday's; they always come with five fingers. The first thing I do when they're served is put two aside to give Zoe over the next few days as a treat.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life, Love, and All That Jazz

A cousin of mine who's in his early 30's was diagnosed with cancer this past spring. He went through radiation therapy, chemo, everything the doctors recommended. He has quite a sizable circle of family and friends who have been praying for him these past few months. So it was with much optimism that he had a scan done last week that would tell if his treatment was successful in getting rid of (or at least making a dent in) the disease.

It was with great disappointment that he found out that the cancer had actually spread. What does a person of faith do in such instances? Were all the prayers for nothing? What's going on here? Does God ignore prayers? Does he not mind that one of his children is gravely ill? Most believers would say something like, "God moves in mysterious ways", but that's an awfully dodgy answer. His circle will continue to pray and I can't say I blame them, but if prayer only works some of the time, really, what good is it?

Though a big believer in God, I never pray. Praying makes God out to be stupid, as if She doesn't know what you want in your life, as if He can't already hear your thoughts, that you have to audibly say what it is that you seek. I believe that I co-created all of the events in my life before I was born, so what's happening is just what's happening and ultimately for my highest good.

Those who don't believe in pre-existence (having existed before being birthed by their mother) frequently feel as though things are happening to them, that they played no part in what is showing up. I accept all of it and therein lies much of my peace. It's possible that one day, I'll die in an accident. In my mind, however, there's no such thing as an accident or a coincidence.

I also have no doubt that there is something after this life. Most people, in fact, are the same. Why, then, do they worry about things? It's as if they think that the will of God can be somehow be thwarted (this is why the Devil was invented, by the way). The outcome of life is not in doubt. We are all assured a happy tomorrow. I only wish that more could see life as I do, that there is nothing to fear, ever, that all pain and sorrow is temporary. The day we pass, however, we'll know. We'll remember and wonder how we ever forgot.

Here are some real-life accounts of those who remembered.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thunder Canyon

Last summer, I wrote about my trip to Valleyfair, an amusement park located near the Twin Cities. With plans to return there next week, I thought it'd be a good time to post some video I took in 2005 when I went with Shanon. Enjoy the sounds of summer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My First Puppy

One afternoon in the summer of 1997, my girlfriend called from the home of a pet owner whose dog had recently given birth to puppies. She said that there was an adorable bitch (the runt of the litter, as it were) who she was dying to take home and love. I wasn't entirely sold on the idea, but decided to give it a try. Here is an amusing vid of her attempting to climb the steps of our townhouse:

Monday, July 13, 2009


There's a scene in the new movie "Bruno" where the title character brings a baby that he adopted onto a talk show. The crowd of mostly African-Americans start booing when he states that he's looking for Mr. Right.

In a deleted scene, he states that he will disown his adopted son if he doesn't turn out to be gay. Sounds so ridiculous, but think of all the people who have disowned their own children when their sexual preference did not line up with their own; this despite studies that approximately 10% prefer the same sex across virtually all mammalian species.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Midnight Show

This evening, I plan to go to the midnight premiere of a new film. I've not done this in more than 4 years. I can recall 4 prior times this decade that I've gone to a midnight premie.

The first was in May 2002 for "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones". I got my ticket for it about 5 days in advance. My friend said he would wait a few days before purchasing his. He didn't get around to it until the day the movie screened. Because of this, we had to watch the film in separate screening rooms (the big screen I purchased my ticket for had sold out). This didn't bother me too much as we were still gonna be watching the same movie at the same time.

Around 2,000 geeks showed up for the midnight presentation taking up about 10 screens. While seated, I noticed my cousin talking to his friends. It was good to see him. He said they had been there hours earlier playing hacky-sack in the parking lot and talking Star Wars. His marriage was just a few weeks away. The buzz on the movie was that it was better than Ep I, but I didn't really find this to be the case.

Later that year, I went to another midnight show, "The Two Towers", the second part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was let down by this one as well; it didn't have the magic and wonder of the first. No need to fear, though. One year later, I went to the midnight screening of "Return of the King" and was very satisfied.

Well, not at first, though. You see, as the previews were starting, I realized that I'd forgotten my Carmex in the car. There's no way I'd make it through 3 hours of what would turn out to be my favorite movie of the year without applying lip balm, so I hurried outside to obtain it. Ahh, that's better.

There's a number of faux endings in the last half hour of the movie. I noticed a few people around me getting frustrated by this, sighing a bit when they realized that the movie wasn't over yet. They probably had to be at work in the morning and were hoping the film was over. Not me. I would've been fine with a 4-hour film (the extended edition of it comes pretty close).

The last midnight show I attended was in May of 2005 for "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith". There were a number of people dressed in Star Wars garb as was the case for Episode II (including a cute teen dressed as Princess Leia - hair buns included). I was suprised at how downbeat the film was, but it felt good to finally reach the end of the saga.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Music on the Go

Being a regular biker and loving music, it was a mighty happy day when I obtained my first Walkman from Kmart in the mid-80's. Rather than be a slave to what the DJ's were spinning, I could ride around town listening to my favorite new cassette (for an extra long trip, I might bring an additional one along). I remember hearing that wearing them while riding was dangerous because one might not be able to hear emergency vehicles and such, but hell if I cared.

I can recall how cool it was when they came out with ear buds (they go directly inside the ears as opposed to just over them). Once I arrived at my destination, I could simply put the buds in my pocket. I didn't switch to CD headphones until the late 90's.

This past week marked the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Walkman. A 13-year old gave up his iPod for a Walkman for a week to commemorate the occasion.


"It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Final Years of Michael Jackson

There's been a lot written about Micheal Jackson over the past week and a half, but the best piece I've read is by Ian Halperin. Last December, he predicted that MJ would be dead within 6 months. His book about Michael was initially set to be released this week, but out of respect for the family, its release date has been pushed to July 14th.

There are quite a few bombshells in the book, but for the most part, they make sense to me. Check out an excerpt here. Some choice bits:

"Some liked to snigger at his public image, and it is true that flamboyant clothes and bizarre make-up made for a comic grotesque; yet without them, his appearance was distressing; with skin blemishes, thinning hair and discoloured fingernails.

I had established beyond doubt, for example, that Jackson relied on an extensive collection of wigs to hide his greying hair. Shorn of their luxuriance, the Peter Pan of Neverland cut a skeletal figure.

He was also playing a truly dangerous game. It is clear to me that Michael was homosexual and that his taste was for young men, albeit not as young as Jordan Chandler or Gavin Arvizo (his accusers).

In the course of my investigations, I spoke to two of his gay lovers, one a Hollywood waiter, the other an aspiring actor. The waiter had remained friends, perhaps more, with the singer until his death last week. He had served Jackson at a restaurant, Jackson made his interest plain and the two slept together the following night. According to the waiter, Jackson fell in love.

The actor, who has been given solid but uninspiring film parts, saw Jackson in the middle of 2007. He told me they had spent nearly every night together during their affair – an easy claim to make, you might think. But this lover produced corroboration in the form of photographs of the two of them together, and a witness.

Other witnesses speak of strings of young men visiting his house at all hours, even in the period of his decline. Some stayed overnight. Jackson was afraid of being revealed as gay, believing many would view this as confirmation of the false allegations made against him that he was a child molester.

During my investigation into Jackson's life, I discovered a disturbing new twist to the infamous allegations that first emerged in the early Nineties. It may explain the star's increasingly fragile state of mind. When Jackson settled out of court with his first accuser, Jordan Chandler, for more than $15million in 1994, his career went into a rapid decline from which he never recovered. Jackson had not wanted to settle the case. I have obtained legal documents proving that his insurance company forced the settlement on him against his will.

The documents state: 'The [1994 Chandler] settlement agreement was for global claims of negligence and the lawsuit was defended by Mr Jackson's insurance carrier. The insurance carrier negotiated and paid the settlement, over the protests of Mr Jackson and his personal legal counsel.' Jackson was said to have almost collapsed as the settlement was forced upon him. His aides insist this marked the beginning of his mental and physical breakdown.

The ordeal had left him physically shattered, too. One of my sources suggested that he might already have had a genetic condition I had never previously come across, called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency – the lack of a protein that can help protect the lungs.

Although up to 100,000 Americans are severely affected by it, it is an under-recognised condition. Michael was receiving regular injections of Alpha-1 antitrypsin derived from human plasma. The treatment is said to be remarkably effective and can enable the sufferer to lead a normal life.

But the disease can cause respiratory problems and, in severe cases, emphysema. Could this be why Jackson had for years been wearing a surgical mask in public, to protect his lungs from the ravages of the disease? Or why, from time to time, he resorted to a wheelchair? When I returned to my source inside the Jackson camp for confirmation, he said: ‘Yeah, that’s what he’s got. He’s in bad shape. They’re worried that he might need a lung transplant but he may be too weak."

Friday, July 03, 2009

Can't Hold Camera Steady...Too Funny

Story behind vid (taken from prior post):

I've been to the High Roller several times in the last few years, most notably with Shanon in 2005. He hadn't been skating in years and was excited to get back on the horse. We went there in the early evening on a Saturday and put our skates on. I brought my camcorder so that I would have a permanent record of the place. I waited for Shanon to get out there, so I could tape his first few steps. There were mostly kids skating. The song playing was, "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy". Shanon was tentative at first, going quite slowly. He fell down almost immediately, but got right back up. He went a few more yards, then fell again.

Now, I've always prided myself on being steady with the camera. You know how sometimes when you're watching "America's Stupidest Home Videos", you watch something funny happen and the person with the camera taping it starts shaking the camera uncontrollably after he sees something funny that he has just taped? I wasn't like that. If an explosion happened in front of me, I would keep the camera perfectly steady so that future viewers of my tape would admire my skills. But when Shanon fell for the 3rd time in 45 seconds and his cell phone fell out of his pocket, I was laughing so hard that the camera shook a bit.

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

Wednesday, July 01, 2009