Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Wanna Catch Somethin'

A co-worker of mine got a flu shot yesterday. Being that she has asthma, I don't blame her. She said she's gonna make her husband get one as well since she doesn't want to catch something from him. Poor guy. I've noted before that I don't get the flu shot, that I prefer to take my chances and see what it gets me. I've been very fortunate in that (as I've also noted) I rarely get sick. I recently heard it said that getting sick encourages one to look inward, to be reflective, to temporarily be free of the daily business of life. If that's the case, then I'm really missing the boat. Anyone got any viruses you can send me that might help me grow spiritually? Cuz if getting sick helps one learn to overcome, I ain't learnin' shit.

I actually believe that all illness is self-created (at some level). Here's a quote from my favorite book in regards to this:

"Now let's understand what you probably already know: all illness is self-created. Even conventional medical doctors are now seeing how people make themselves sick.
Most people do so quite unconsciously. (They don't even know what they're doing.) So when they get sick, they don't know what hit them. It feels as though something has befallen them, rather than that they did something to themselves.
This occurs because most people move through life—not simply health issues and consequences—unconsciously.
People smoke and wonder why they get cancer.
People ingest animals and fat and wonder why they get blocked arteries.
People stay angry all their lives and wonder why they get heart attacks.
People compete with other people—mercilessly and under incredible stress—and wonder why they have strokes.
The not-so-obvious truth is that most people worry themselves to death.
Worry is just about the worst form of mental activity there is—next to hate, which is deeply self destructive.

Worry is pointless. It is wasted mental energy. It also creates bio-chemical reactions which harm the body, producing everything from indigestion to coronary arrest, and multitude of things in between.
Health will improve almost at once when worrying ends."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Honeymoon

On August 24th, 1998, my wife-of-less-than-24-hours and I left Illinois and drove to the Milwaukee airport. We both felt great. The wedding was fabulous, but now the time had come for just the two of us to celebrate. We parked the car and began to remove the luggage we'd brought. I'd hoped to bring along my fan to use as white noise at the hotel, but wasn't able to find any room to put it in. Crap, I probably wasn't gonna be able to sleep well without it.

We headed into the airport and waited for our flight to board. Once on the plane, we relaxed. After about 3 hours, we arrived at our destination: sunny Orlando, Florida. We picked up our bags and took a bus to the world famous Walt Disney World Resort. It was getting close to sunset when we arrived at where we would be staying: The Disney All-Star Sports Resort:

We relaxed the rest of that first night, but looked forward to seeing all the sights over the next 6 days. Just like when I went to Disney World with my stepdad in '93 and '94, I utilized the "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World". It gave the best times of day to hit certain rides, the best rides to go on, the best places to eat, etc. It was quite helpful.

We went to all 4 Disney parks while there: the newly opened Animal Kingdom, Disney-MGM Studios, Epcot Center, and, of course, the Magic Kingdom. One of my favorite rides at the Kingdom is Splash Mountain. For pretty much all of our days down there, it was quite hot. High 80's, low 90's, maybe even warmer. Thankfully, some of the attractions were indoors. Each morning, we would go to the All-Star Resort's cafeteria for breakfast. Invariably, I would have two glazed donuts and some Powerade to drink.

One of my favorite parks was Disney-MGM. Why? Well, the 30-foot (life-size) Star Wars AT-AT is one of the coolest things I have ever seen:

the "Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular" is bitchin', and the brand-new (at that time) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was also rockin'.

On about our 3rd evening in Florida, we decided to go to Pleasure Island (no, it's not like that, you dirty devils). They have all sorts of cool things there like comedy and dance clubs as well as a gigantic Tower Records. We took one of the Disney buses there. Partway into the ride, my beloved said that she was feeling sick. Luckily, we arrived at our stop a couple minutes later. She got off the bus and immediately vomited on the ground.

She said she wanted to go back to the room and rest, that I should stay and hang out a bit since I was already at the Island. So she returned to home base while I looked around. Vince Gill's new CD had just come out, so I listened to parts of it at the record store. After a while, I grew bored and returned to the hotel. She wasn't in the room; could she be cheating on me already? I assumed that she had most likely gone to get medical treatment. A short time later, I received a call from my wife. She said that she was at the hospital in Celebration, Florida. It's called Celebration Health.

Cool name, innit? If you're deathly sick, they send you to Invigorating Intensive Care; if you're having an acute issue, they ship you to Ecstatic Emergency Care. The docs said she was very dehydrated, gave her an IV, and released her a short time later. She came back later that night.

After going to all 4 Disney parks, we set out to see Universal Studios (we had to rent a car to do so). That evening, after going to the park, we went to one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Steak & Shake. My stepdad had introduced me to it 4 years prior and I loved it. On the way there, though, we experienced a mighty bad thunderstorm. The lightning strikes a lot closer in Florida than up in Minnesota. My girl got mighty scared (this can easily be explained; she was a lightning rod in a past life).

I wound up sleeping just fine without the fan. On our last night in Florida, we went to a big souvenir store in Downtown Disney. We bought a couple shirts and my love bought herself a Mickey Mouse watch. All in all, we had a great honeymoon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Too Much Skin

Why do people wear jeans that aren't flattering to their ass? I pride myself on wearing pants that show off what I got, but most guys wear their pants in such a way that it's virtually impossible to tell that they have a touchis; women are a bit better in this regard:

It's like, Have a little respect for yourself. Even if you're taken, there's nothing wrong with showing what you got.

Which brings me to chubby people wearing clothes that show off too much of their skin. I'm at a relatively healthy weight, but haven't worn tank tops since Chevy Chase was funny...just kidding, I think he's actually quite amusing on NBC's new show "Community". Clothes were designed for a reason: to obscure the body's largest organ and if you're packing more than 20% body fat, the more covered, the better.

If it's 80 degrees outside, I'm wearing a long-sleeve shirt because most all my day will be spent inside, either at work or during the weekend, at the movie theatre and a restaurant. I recently told a friend of mine that wearing a short-sleeve shirt to Friday's is just plain tacky. And don't even get me started on the fucks who wear flip flops everywhere they go. Sometimes I wish it was winter all year round.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Puppy Power

In the fall of 1998, my newly christened wife said she wanted to get a Saint Bernard. I, being of sound mind and body, was against it. She was unfazed. I said if she brought the pup home, I would divorce her. I guess she didn't believe me as she brought it home, anyway. Below is a bit that she taped of me that night.

The next day, she went to Petco to get supplies for the horse-to-be. The employee she spoke with said to think big, so my wife bought a huge water bowl as well as a gigantic crate. Check out 1:40 of this vid where a 5-pound Saint can be seen taking up about, oh, 5% of her crate.

Friday, September 18, 2009

An Engagement Pic Takes Me Back 16 Years

This past week, my beloved and I have been taking care of a friend's dachshunds. When they dropped the girls off, they also left us some newspapers to put down in case they had to eliminate when we were gone or sleeping. I've not been a subscriber of the local paper for a couple years, so took the opportunity to take a gander at what had been going on in my town of late. Turns out that most of the papers were from June of '08. Talk about sad times; W (or should I say Cheney) was in charge back then. This didn't stop me from perusing a bit while eating lunch a couple days ago.

The first thing I grabbed was the lifestyle section. In it could be found pics of couples who had plans to be married over the summer (to think, they're not even newlyweds any longer). I carefully looked at the last names and found one that I recognized: Stokes. There was only one person I've ever known that has that name; a guy by the name of Ted who was a social worker of sorts for me in 1993. Well, wouldn't you know it. It WAS him. Getting married in his late 30's was somewhat unconventional, but who am I to judge?

Back in '93, I was seeing a psychiatrist who monitored the meds I was taking, a psychologist who I relied on for therapy, and Ted. I forget what his official title was, but his job was to meet with me every couple of weeks and take me somewhere for an hour where we might chat (it differed from traditional therapy in that it was less formal and we actually went outside of the mental health building).

Many times I would opt to go to a fast food joint to have lunch. He didn't always order food for himself as many of his clients throughout the day chose to go to restaurants. It's good he didn't have a problem with people eating in front of him. I recall that he was a big fan of the band Live and Hootie and the Blowfish. It was great to socialize a bit with someone my age (though he was actually getting paid to do so).

One afternoon, I arrived at his office a bit early, so waited out in the hall. I looked up and saw that all of the counselors had their names listed in white letters on a black board (similar to the one pictured below):

I got a wicked idea as I looked at Ted's name. I adjusted a few letters so that his name was listed as "Ted Strokes". I chuckled as he called me in. I did this again a couple weeks later when I saw that his name had been put back to normal. A week after that, as I sat with him, I mentioned that I'd recently seen his name listed on the board as Ted Strokes. He laughed a bit and said that he was aware of the issue.

A few months later, I was well on the road to recovery and no longer needed his services, but seeing his pic sure brought back some memories and for that, I thank you, Master Strokes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Today is the day that most NFL teams begin their season. I've had a problem of late with the sport being referred to as "football". You want a game in which the foot is used on a much more frequent basis? That would be soccer, which is fittingly named football around the rest of the world (as it should be). What the Vikings and what-not play is rugby as far as I'm concerned.

In high school, I'd frequently bet against my hometown team. My Chem teacher once asked why I did this. I replied,"If the Vikings win, I'm happy and don't mind parting with a few bucks. If they lose, I get some moolah to ease my sorrows".

I'm not as big a fan of the team as in years past. For example, this afternoon, the opposing team made a great stop on one of the Vikings players. I literally cheered as it was a fantastic play; it was irrelevant to me what color uniform the guy who pulled it off happened to be wearing.

An interesting article about fans' overidentifying with their favorite team can be found here. The first paragraph:

"It happens to me every time: I tell myself that it's just a game, that these overpaid basketball superstars don't really have any loyalty to a particular team, place, city, etc., that I really shouldn't care about the outcome of the NBA finals. And yet and yet: despite my self-awareness, I can't help but nervously pace during the 4th quarter, as I watch my Lakers surrender a 24 point lead. (The possessive pronouns of sports fan are so odd, considering that Kobe Bryant made more money in the 4th quarter than I will in the next decade.) And then, after the heartbreaking loss, I'm way too upset to sleep. I have to wait for the adrenaline in my blood to breakdown and for my pulse to return to resting state. It's such an annoying state of being, mostly because I know that my mild and meaningless suffering is a complete waste of emotion."

Earlier this decade, I went to a Vikings game with my beloved and a friend of ours. Shortly after the game began, my friend got a footlong hotdog. That thing was monstrous; just like Vikings player Visanthe Shiancoe). If I was a woman, I probably woulda fainted right there.

Monday, September 07, 2009

I Have To Pee

One downside to being a frequent moviegoer is that, unlike a person who watches movies exclusively on DVD, there's no way to press the "pause" button when nature calls. As I mentioned in my prior post, I always go to the bathroom before a movie starts. But what if I go to a film that is a bladder-strainer (such as "Lord of the Rings")? What if I drank too much Mello Yello at Friday's a couple hours before?

A little over a week ago, I went with a friend to Brad Pitt's "Inglorious Basterds" (an A movie if ever there was one).

About 90 minutes in, my bladder started calling for some relief. Now, there was no way I was gonna resist its call; I mean, how can one enjoy a bloody climax if their privates are screaming (pun intended)? I knew I had to go, but when? Certainly not in the middle of a crucial scene.

Over the years, I've mastered the art of going to the bathroom during a relatively non-important scene. For "Basterds", I took off when what appeared to be a expositional scene began. It consisted of Mike Myers (as a Brit) discussing strategies on how to deal with the Nazis (or as Pitt called them in his Mississippi drawl: "Natzis"). Two minutes later, when I returned, the scene was just finishing up and I didn't feel that I'd missed anything.

For those unsure how to distinguish essential parts of a film from non-essential, help has arrived in the form of a website called RunPee. It not only lists the best scenes in which to take a pee break, but also tells you what you missed if you go at that particular time.

Full disclosure: Sometimes when going to the bathroom while a movie is playing, I'll skip washing my hands in order to get back to the theatre that much quicker.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Public Restrooms

Almost without fail, I go to the bathroom before sitting down to watch a movie or eat at a restaurant; having an empty bladder pleases me greatly. When at a urinal, instead of just standing upright, I typically lean my head forward against the bathroom tiles. Washing my hands takes just a few seconds because I rarely ever use soap; in fact, I put my hands under the faucet for only about a second before getting to work on drying them. If all a restroom has is those automated dryers, I just shake my hands dry, not wanting to waste 30-45 seconds getting them completely dry. I also very rarely look in the mirror while in a public restroom. What's the point?

Now for some amusing bathroom stories: one evening at the Outback, I saw an old man waiting right outside the men's and women's bathrooms. I quickly realized that he didn't know which restroom was which; one said "Blokes", the other "Sheilas". A minute later, when he saw a man exit the "Blokes" restroom, he entered it.

When I see a man go to the bathroom and then not wash his hands, I'm tempted to go up to his significant other and tell them what just transpired; I have a bit of Larry David in me:

If memory serves, I actually did this about 10 years ago in a bowling alley.

I was in Friday's a couple weeks ago and a 20-something walked up to the urinal next to me and started going. Five seconds later, he began moaning as if he was being sucked off. I was like, "Jesus, save it for your woman".

Lastly, many moons ago, I saw Garth Brooks in concert and was eliminating when a couple girls walked in. I quickly used my hands to cover what I was packing as they headed for the stalls. A minute later, they were washing their hands and I can't say I minded that they were there. In fact, none of the guys present appeared to have an issue with it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Skip Day

I rarely get sick, but sometimes just don't feel like going in to work. Once the thought enters my mind that it'd be more fun to just stay home, forget it; in all but the most extreme cases, I'm not goin' in. For the last job I had, I preferred calling in "sick" by leaving a message. This was only possible if the person who got to the office first hadn't arrived yet. Sometimes I'd have to hurry out of bed to get to the phone in order to ensure this.

When it was 7:30 or later, I'd have to talk to someone in person. This would be preceded by me preparing to sound like I'm sick. I would usually go downstairs so that my wife couldn't hear me laying on it pretty thick (she'd typically be asleep, anyway). Sometimes I'd dial the number and then get cold feet. After a minute or two of composing myself, however, I'd leave a message in which I spoke much slower than usual and sounded much less alert.

Two minutes later, I was a happy camper and went straight to bed with a smile on my face.

I'd sometimes feel a tad guilty about doing this (like a teenage boy after masturbating), but certainly not enough to stop the behavior.

BTW, I bought groceries this afternoon and the total came out to $55.55. That's gotta mean something, right?