Monday, October 31, 2005


First off, some have asked why would my brother Ben refer to himself as Ben I. The reason is that I have two brothers named Ben. No, my mother didn’t run out of names. The other Ben is my step-brother. As stated before in this blog, my family doesn’t really view each other as step-siblings or half-siblings. We are in fact one big happy family, usually. To help identify which Ben had gotten in trouble we came up with Ben I. and Ben K. The letter obviously being the first in their last name. Yes, Ben K. fought against this since Ben K. quickly turned to Ben Gay. Now that the sophomoric version has become history, he’s accepted the Ben K. name. To finally differentiate the two:

This is Ben I.

This is Ben K.

Once more, Ben I.

Ben K.

As for my Halloween costume I “mailed it in” and just went as giant Brad. Of course this meant I had to constantly explain why I was carrying a helicopter, and had army men dangling from string. I feel like I let myself down. At least it was somewhat original, which is more than I can say for the multiple pimps, playmates, and sexy angels/devils that were in attendance at the party.

Seeing highlights from the Florida and Virginia Tech games, I thought I was watching “Any Given Sunday.” The Nike designers need to lay off the LSD. Who the hell thinks these are cool?

I hate to admit it but I actually got a little misty eyed as I finished the game Shadow of the Colossus. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending is rather satisfying, even if it is a very Japanese ending.

So, the Cubs have re-signed Rusch and picked up the options on 2B Walker and P Williamson. The option on Burnitz was not picked up. Other than the Walker option, everything is going as I planned.

Even with all those different pens out on the market, I still comeback to the standard Paper Mate. It’s like an old reliable friend.

I forgot to change my clock for daylight savings, and still showed up on time for work rather than an hour early.

I find it odd that we are getting out of work early for Halloween, though it makes sense for those who want to spend it with their kids.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy Halloween Weekend!

From me, my pumpkin and my bowl cut.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thank You Fritz the Night Owl!

I am a monster/horror movie fan. One of the biggest reasons for that is Fritz the Night Owl. Fritz hosted the late night movie shows Night Owl Theater and Chiller Theater on WBNS Channel 10 in Columbus, OH. Every weekend, particularly during the summer, my brothers and sister would camp out in living room and watch hours of cult horror and monster movies. At least we would try to stay up till the sound of national anthem and the flag would come on the screen. It wasn't too often we actually made it all the way through. Man those were the days. Fritz would show everything from Twilight Zones to Godzilla to old Hammer films. I didn't Peter Cushing did anything except Star Wars till Fritz showed me the light. It was my first taste of those weird ’60’s horror films, and I loved it. If Mom knew what was actually being shown sometimes, she wouldn’t have been that thrilled. Thank goodness she and my step-father were the “early to bed” type.

Fritz was my guide to all things scary. He’d start off the night telling us a little about the movie in his owl glasses. His soothing yet scary deep voice was what really made Fritz great. Before and after commercials he’d make some odd joke relating to the movie, usually with his face pasted on some odd drawing or comic book, or he’d be sitting on the moon or a rocketship as it floated across the screen. He never went the route of The Ghoul or Dr. Madblood who would waste valuable movie time with dumb skits. Fritz was just Fritz. He was a hero of mine as a kid. He just seemed so cool in his Owl glasses, and that voice. I was so thrilled when I actually got to meet him once. So, thank you Fritz for introducing me to the weird and wonderful world of movies. Fritz is still in Columbus playing jazz show late Sunday nights on the radio. Whenever I'm in town I listen for a little while and recall those childhood nights of fright.

One of the Greatest Video Games Ever Made

There is an art to video games. Everything from controls to sound to characters must be designed well to make a good video game. There plenty of excellent video games that incorporate these elements wonderfully. Every now and then though, a video game can become actual art. Last night I bought such a game. It’s called Shadow of the Colossus. Earlier this year another excellent game called God of War was released. One of my favorite moments is a cut scene when your character leaps onto the last of the Titans. The sense of scale was amazing to see, but you couldn’t actually fight the Titan in that world. In Shadow of the Colossus, you get to do just that and you get to do it sixteen times! But this game is much more than that.

The game begins with your character riding a horse across a wasteland to a temple. In the temple you lay down the body of young woman. Your goal is to bring back her soul. To do this you must defeat the sixteen colossi that inhabit the wasteland. But this isn’t for certain. You are told that even if you complete these daunting tasks, there is no certainty that her soul will be returned. The only thing that makes this even a possibility is your magic sword which shows you the location of the colossi and their weak spots. You then go about your tasks of defeating the colossus. All that you have with you is your sword, bow, and horse.

This game is a lonely game, and I mean that in a good way. There are no hordes of baddies to slash through to reach the colossus. You get your information from an unseen deity. There is nobody but you. The game is simply you and your horse against the colossus. I know it sounds boring to simply ride your horse across a wasteland, but trust me the wasteland is so beautifully designed that riding is half the fun. And your horse looks and handles wonderfully. You traverse across narrow natural bridges, wind blown desserts, and the remains of ancient architecture. It all looks phenomenal, and creates what feels like this wasteland is a prison and the colossi are the inmates.

Which brings us to the colossi. They move and carry themselves how you would imagine a colossus would. The ground shakes and cracks with each step. They also look beautiful. To defeat each colossi you must figure out first how to climb on them. Some of them you have to walk up to and jump on. Some you have to jump onto as you ride by them on your horse. The second colossi you have to shoot in the bottom of the hoof. It’s quite exhilarating to stand with bow ready as the colossi brings its front hoofs to crush you. Once you’ve climbed upon the colossi you must then find the weak spots and strike those spots with your sword. This means climbing around while they try to shake you off. To make this even more complicated is that your grip strength will diminish the longer you hold on. There are locations on the colossi where you can stand or crouch to regain your grip strength. It makes for some wonderfully tense moments while you are thrusting your sword into the head of the colossi and you see your grip meter nearly at zero as he shakes his head trying to through you off. Do you try to make one more strike and possible kill him, or play it safe and climb to a place to rest? Do you have enough grip strength to make it to a safe spot? Even at the safe spot you can still get thrown.

All of this makes for a challenging and completely unique gaming experience. Part of what makes this game great is that it’s different from anything you’ve ever played before. It’s the most cinematic game I’ve ever played. It’s also probably one of the greatest and unique games ever made. This is not for your ADD little brother who needs something to with his hands. This is a work of video game art.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

October! I'm Done with You!

This month has been the e-brake month of 2005. So much so, that I’m considering to simply call in sick for the rest of the month. Unfortunately, I have that fear that when you aren’t sick but call in sick you will get sick. My October began with the pipe bomb scare. Then my car was broken into in the middle of the month. Then today I stupidly locked myself out of my apartment complex. Which really isn’t that bad compared to the previous two events. Of course none of my neighbors were home when this happened. I was stuck outside looking like one of the neighborhood bums. I tried to break into my apartment, which became quite a frustrating task. How do break into your apartment building yet look like you should be doing it. I tried to be resourceful and use what was outside my apartment: two rubber bands, and a stick. All three broke. While taking breaks between break in attempts I played the “I’m Waiting For Someone to Get Home” game. This consists of acting frustrated and looking at your watch every time somebody walks by. Throwing out few phrases like: “Where the hell is she?” or “I’m giving him another half an hour then I’m leaving” or the simple “Come on already!” Throwing your hands in the air and looking to sky can be added for dramatic affect. When ever cars came by, I would walk to the curb and look at the car like I was hoping they were who I was waiting for. It became quite a game. I would see the cars coming, go sit on the front steps, and then jump to my feet and run to the curb when the car passed. In between these little mini-games was when would make attempts to break in. I was certain that at any point the cops were going to swarm in and arrest me. I’d have to explain that my wallet and keys were in my apartment, and despite the beard and lack of shoes I wasn’t homeless. This of course never happened, and two hours later the wannabe actor got in from his night job and let me in. Five more days till the end of October. I can’t wait.

Bit O' Music ( Halloween Edition)

A little Halloween music for those who used the excuse it's not secular music it's comedy music.

"Weird Al" Yankovic-Nature Trail to Hell-In 3-D

If you are an artist or artist representative being featured on this blog and want me to take down a song, let me know, and it will be removed from the server immediately.

Scary Moment #3

My “Cujo” Story

This story took place during my years in undergrad. It was summer, and I was watching my sisters, taking them to all their events, and trying to keep them out of trouble. I admit I coasted and slept a lot, but I’d like to think it helped solidify my status as the favorite brother.

I woke up one morning to get the sisters together and get our day started. I stumbled in my just woke up grogginess down to the kitchen. Halfway down the steps I heard my sister Anne Marie, who was 12 or 13 I think, screaming from the back patio. I rushed down to see her standing at the back door in her underwear and covered in blood.

Our Aunt and Uncle lived next door to us at the time. They didn’t really take good care of their place. Along with the house, their dog was ignored as well. They were out of town, and it was Anne’s responsibility to feed their dog. That morning as she was dumping the food into the dog’s bowl, the dog attacked her from behind. It bit into her arms and legs. She was only able to get away when the dog latched it’s jaws into her shorts, and she slithered out of them.

So there was my bloody sister standing on the patio in tears and blood. I told her to come in, but she said she didn’t want to drip blood on the carpet. That’s my Anne Marie! Now I’m pretty scared at this point. Things only became more nerve wracking when the youngest Mandy came down and saw Anne Marie. For once in my life I gave orders and everyone responded. I sent Mandy to get Anne Marie some pants. Sam my step-brother was sent to get any bandages he could find. My step-father was a doctor. With all the stuff we had in the house, we could’ve performed open heart surgery. I decided we should take her to my step-father’s office. Both he and Mom were there and would know what to do. While everyone else was doing there thing, I called my Mom and told her we were coming and what happened. Now I didn’t want to get her panicked, so I played it down a little. Everyone did their jobs, and I ushered everyone into my car. I felt a bit of a thrill as I sped downtown. It was very movie like. I pulled the car into the office parking lot and helped Anne to the front door. When Mom greeted us there I could see the change from her “What did you guys get into?” face, to her “Oh shit,” face. Perhaps I played down the severity a little too much.

Once it was determined that Anne was fine. Sam and I went back to the house to take care of the dog. We both had that “You just hurt my sister” hatred coursing through our veins. I called the pound to come pick up the dog. Sam and I then went to find the dog. Luckily the dog didn’t leave the house. He was in a corner of the fence still chewing on my sister’s shorts. I picked up a stick to beat off the dog if he attacked. The dog then looked at us with those “crazy” eyes, and grabbed a bigger stick. Now I love animals, but part of me wanted to just beat the shit of that dog. Then I pictured me missing and the dog taking a bite out me. I took the safe route and waited for the dog catcher. Eventually, everything was sorted out. The dog was taken away, and had to be put to sleep. Anne healed nicely, though she still has some scars. Plastic surgery became an option, but I think she was a little proud of her scars. Lastly, I solidified myself as the greatest brother. A title I have yet to relinquish.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

As Promised...

I received the CD's of goodness in the mail. So here a couple of the popular songs. Add them to your iPod, and get a treat when you hit shuffle.

The Music Machine-The Music Machine

Have Patience-The Music Machine

Tell the Truth-Sir Oliver's Song "God don't dig lyin'!"

Kalepo-Sir Oliver's Song

Give it up for Agapeland!

Scary Moment #2

My "Terminator" Story or
My "Werewolves on Wheels" Story

This took place again in South Carolina. My friends and I were on one of our excursions in the woods. About an hour into our little trek, we came across a wide path we hadn’t seen before. We figured we had two options. Go left which would most likely take us home, or head right to the unknown. Of course, I convinced my troop to go right.

We got about a quarter of a mile down the path, when we all stopped at the sound of a distant roar. At this point we thought maybe we should head back. As we debated, the roar got a little bit louder. Ok, now we should really head back. Even I agreed to this. So, we started to head back the way we came. Our pace quickened as the roar closed in on us. Now in a slight jog, I turned around to see a dirt bike bearing down on us. “Run!” I shouted. Of course we couldn’t out run the dirt bike. Glancing back, I could see the man on the bike. At least I saw his figure because he was dressed in all black, from his black boots to his black jumpsuit to his black helmet.

Now we’d all been threatened at some point by supposed land owners to get off their property. Usually, it was with a shotgun or the threat of a gun, but we’d always been able to just runaway. They couldn’t catch us. This guy on the bike had a distinct advantage on us now. We were also nowhere near home. Who knew what this guy would do?

I told the rest of the gang to keep running, and I jumped off the path to the left. I had no idea what would happen but I hoped he’d go after me. I rolled down the slight embankment and into some thorned brush. I glanced up over the embankment. Their stopped in the middle of the path was the mystery man on his bike. His head, encased in the helmet with the visor down, swiveled like a robot. The Terminator sprung to mind. I immediately pictured him raising his gun so the laser sight targeted my forehead. “Please don’t see me,” I prayed. After a minute of holding back the pee, the biker finally rode off. I waited a little longer, and started to make way back up the embankment. Sure enough the roar of the bike filled the air again. I dove back into the thorns, as the biker sped past me. He must not have seen me, because he kept on down the path.

Eventually, I figured the coast had to be clear. I ran back down the path to see what happened to my friends. They had run off into the woods sometime after I had, and hid behind some trees. I don’t know what the guys deal was. I assumed he was simply trying to scare us off. But, what was he scaring us off from? Was there some compound deep in the woods? I’d come across a long fence on one of my previous walks into the woods. I never found out, but then I never really pursued it. That was probably the smart move.

Monday, October 24, 2005

My Worst Halloween Costume

Clearly this is the worst costume I ever had. I don't even know what I'm supposed to be. Even at that time I don't think I know what I'm dressed as. It should be noted that my Mom upped her costume creating skills after this. Maybe, I fought to make my own costume? This is a case of winning the battle but losing the war. Oh, I'm the kid in the middle.

Bits O' Music

I've come to The Magic Numbers party a little late. It was probably the comparisons to Coldplay that made me hesitant. Aren't there enough bands trying to be the next Coldplay, who in turn are trying to be the next U2? Well, after listening to them I can say they aren't the next Coldplay. They are more of a modern update of the Mama's and Papa's. I only say that because they harmonize so well. They definately have that 60's pop feeling of melancholy optimisim. It is sweet and soothing music that rolls along. It will put a smile on your face.

The Magic Numbers-Love is a Game

If you are an artist or artist representative being featured on this blog and want me to take down a song, let me know, and it will be removed from the server immediately.

Scary Moment #1

Leading up to Halloween, I’ve decided to give my top five scary moments. Actually, it might only be four. I’m having trouble coming up with the last one. I’m also going to try to associate them with popular horror films. Yes, a couple of them will a bit of a stretch.

My Scary “Halloween” Moment:

When I lived in South Carolina, there were around five blocks we’d hit for Halloween. The block we actually lived on was the worst candy wise, and the scariest. This meant we’d usually hit our block last.

One year, I got ahead of our group and finished our second block early. I think there was a TV show I wanted to watch, so I was pressing to end early. I started our block and got a quarter of a way through when I realized there was nobody else around. Some houses still had their porch lights on, but most of them were turned off. I assumed our block must have ended early. I adjusted my bald cap that made me look more like a Conehead than an evil scientist and walked up to one of the houses with their lights on. The house next door had their lights off. I noticed in the yard next door they still had their scarecrow sitting in the front porch. I got halfway up the walkway, when the scarecrow stood up and walked toward me. I was fine till he stepped into the light of from the front porch, and I caught the glint of a knife. Maybe it was my toy knife expertise, but I knew that wasn’t a toy knife he had as he came toward me. It also struck me that he was trying to conceal it. If he was going to go through the normal scare tactics, he would make the knife visible. Other than that it’s just a guy with a straw hat coming at me.

Now I kind of have a rule when it comes to situations like this. Yes, it’s bit odd that I’ve even had enough fights to have a rule. My rule is to let them show their move first. That way you’ll know how to handle the situation. Also, never turn your back on your attacker. Perhaps I watched to many ninja movies. Living by that rule at that moment, I stood my ground waiting for my would be attacker to finally reveal the knife he was trying to hide. It’s funny what flashes through your mind. Having had my left kidney removed when I was a tyke, I was actually glad he was holding the knife in his right hand. His initial strike couldn’t hit my right side with my one good kidney. Maybe, it’s not that funny. I also mentally weighed the candy bag in my right hand. It was about 3 maybe four pounds of mostly hard candy. I had a habit of turning down the chocolates and softer candies. Perhaps I could daze him enough with a hard swing to get away.

By this time the scarecrow was nearly to me when he finally raised the knife. He swung the knife toward my head, and I shifted to the right. I remember glancing to my left at the knife, and chuckling in relief. It was just a butter knife. The scarecrow then raised the knife about an inch from my face, and waved it back and forth. At this point my fear was released in my laughing. “Why aren’t you scared?” the scarecrow asked. I wasn’t about to tell him I was shitting bricks 30 seconds ago. “It’s a butter knife.” I said after another chuckle. Then the scarecrow flashed the knife again and scooted off into the night. I just went home after that, and took stock of my candy.

Friday, October 21, 2005


As most of you know the World Series begins this weekend. Most “experts” seem to be picking the White Sox to win it. I honestly don’t know how you can pick between them. I think they split on starting pitchers. Yes, Backe is a question mark, but it seems he’s always done well in the post-season. Houston doesn’t really have a DH, but they win in the bullpen comparison. That’s where I think this game will be won. Only in Game 2 did the White Sox have to scratch out runs against the Angels. That will be different against the Astros. Astros in 6. Honestly, I just want the season to be over. I want the trades and deals to start happening. Though they really won’t begin till January. I predict indecision will once again leave the Cubs sitting on their hands till it’s too late.

I can be a real asshole at times. The most current proof of this is the new PA we’ve hired. He’s been here a little while, and is really a nice guy. Still, he drives me up the damn wall. First of all, he’s a dancer. Popping is his speciality. He dances under the name Astroglide. He’s actually wearing his Astroglide T-shirt today. Really, I wish I was making this up. I’ve actually been challenged to a dance off. I politely declined. It’s like he’s from the movie “Warriors.” Like Baseball Furies and their baseball bats, his gang is all about dancing! Half of those “gang members” in the movie, my niece could beat up. This isn’t even the main problem I have with him. He simply tries too hard. This is one of my pet peeves. It’s not the effort which is commendable, but the manner in which it is done. I’m giving him a little leeway simply because he’s just a kid, but my eyes are tired from rolling. I will say he’s Quick Draw McGraw on the phones.

Yes, I feel old because I just called a recent college grad a “kid.”

Do you like zombie movies? Do you also like 1950’s sci-fi? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a zombie? If your answer is yes, then do I have a game for you. I picked up Stubbs the Zombie in "Rebel without a Pulse" for the Xbox. You are Stubbs the zombie. You come back to life in a futuristic city (albeit a 1950’s view of the future) called Punchbowl. You set out and take over the city. Your skills though are more than just eating brains. That is though how you replenish your health and build your zombie horde. You can remove an internal organ and use it as a grenade. You can detach your hand and use it to take control of those still living. When surrounded you can expel noxious gas from you know where to stun your enemies. Once stunned they become a smorgasbord of brains. You can also bowl your head toward enemies, and then detonate your head. Let’s also not forget your army of zombies. They aren’t the smartest of armies, but come one their dead. They can make a nice distraction, once you shove them in the right direction. I still haven’t gotten tired of whistling to get their attention. Their constant moaning for “BRAINS!” doesn’t get old either. The game really doesn’t pick up till after the first chapter because that’s when you finally learn all of your skills. But from then on it’s a funny and addictive game. Yes it’s basically a walking around and eating people game, but just when you think you’re about to get tired of it they throw something new at you. Two other points: Maybe I was tired, but I found myself laughing at a mini-game at the end of the first chapter. Out of nowhere you are challenged by the police chief to a dance off. It’s basically a game of Simon, but the dance animations and the music had me almost “Whooing.” Almost. Which brings me to my last point: I give this game credit for doing something out of the norm for their soundtrack. Usually games slap on some monotonous soundtrack or a bunch of tracks aimed to sell records. Stubbs does something a little different. They collected a bunch of current indie artists to do covers of 50’s songs. Not all of it is great, but it fits the game well, and will bring a smile to your face. Below is the track listing. It may be the first time I’ve been tempted to buy a game’s soundtrack.

Ben Kweller - Lollipop
The Raveonettes - My Boyfriend's Back
Death Cab for Cutie - Earth Angel
Rose Hill Drive - Shakin' All Over
Cake - Strangers in the Night
The Walkmen - There Goes My Baby
Rogue Wave - Everyday
The Dandy Warhols - All I Have to Do Is Dream
Oranger - Mr. Sandman
The Flaming Lips - If I Only Had a Brain
Clem Snide - Tears on My Pillow
Milton Mapes - Lonesome Town
Phantom Planet - The Living Dead (original song)

Also, I think Stubbs looks a lot like me. Only he’s less green and a little fatter. You know now that I look at it, Stubbs and I are nearly identical.

I still have no idea about a Halloween costume yet.

For you Lost fans out there, that rumor going around about who the next person will be to die is true. I got confirmation this morning from a very reliable source.

I was recently thinking of albums for the year end top 10 list. I only came up with four. It’s October and I only have four! I hope the holiday season turns out some great stuff.

No matter how much people try to prove it to me, Dane Cook is not funny.

I’ve outlined an idea for romantic comedy….Ha Ha! Whoo! I slay me.

Have a good weekend!

Bits O Music

Sorry there's no Rambling right now. I'm working on it. I was up late watching "The Warriors." To tide you over till about 5pm today, I offer you a catchy little song from the early days of Sloan. I like this song for two reasons, handclaps and the Chicago style horns. Though I'm glad the little trumpet solo is short.

Sloan-Everything You've Done Wrong-One Chord to Another

If you are an artist or artist representative being featured on this blog and want me to take down a song, let me know, and it will be removed from the server immediately.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Whir Whir Chuka Chuka Bomp Bomp Psst

You know when you’re just going through your day, and suddenly a song you completely forgot starts running through your head. There’s no rhyme or reason. The song just sprouts up out of nowhere. Then you get distracted by trying to find that song. Of course you find the album it’s from and find more songs you forgot. By the time it’s all over you’ve just wasted half the day. Obviously this happened to me yesterday. I was just minding my own business when this song popped into my head. The odd thing is it’s a children’s song. For those old enough you might remember it. You also though most likely had to grow up in a Christian home. The song comes from a 1977 album called The Music Machine. It was about the fruit of the spirits. See, the kids would put something in the music machine and a song would come out. It was my second favorite album when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade. What made the album even greater was the album art and the booklet that came with the LP. I would sit an listen to the album while reading along and just taking in the pictures.

You can imagine my disappointment when searching for the CD I came across this cover. How disappointing.

I said this was my second favorite album. The same group put out another album called Sir Oliver’s Song. It had the same artwork, but even catchier songs. This album covered the 10 Commandments. It also had an emphasis on the different countries of the world. Nearly every song was sung by a kid supposedly from a different country. My two favorites were “Kalepo” and “Tell the Truth.” I’m sure “Tell the Truth” explains my love of old school R&B. Then the whole move to South Carolina and attend Bob Jones thing happened. We couldn’t listen to that anymore, particularly the up tempo Sir Oliver’s Song.

On one of the whims I get every now and then, I actually bought the albums even with the crappy album art. Someday I’ll be able to afford the original vinyl. I don’t know the reason of the post other than I hope you were able to experience these albums in your youth. It’s also funny how your brain will just regurgitate these things from your youth.

I apologize that I was only able to post clips of these songs. When I finally get the albums, perhaps I'll post a couple of them.

The Enemy of My Enemy...

You know that guy or gal you kind of knew. He/she was a friend of a friend, so you would run into him every now and then at parties. You never had a long conversation because he always came across as an ass. Maybe he would hit on the girl you had your eye on, or he really disliked that movie you love. Over time he becomes a sort of rival. You begin to even maybe really dislike the guy. Then you out of nowhere you find out something about him that changes your mind. He has something in common with you or has a shared experience that causes you to rethink your opinion of him. Maybe he’s not that bad. Actually he seems to be a pretty good guy. This happened to me Monday night while I watched Game 5 of the Astros against the Cardinals.

Being a Cubs fan, I’ve had my share of pain. The 1984 and 2003 NLCS being two prime examples. So when Eckstein hit that 2 outs, 2 strikes squibber past 3rd, my heart sank. I have seen this before. The crowd that hadn’t stopped cheering or sitting since Berkman’s HR in the 7th suddenly didn’t sound so confident. I knew what every Astro fan was feeling at that moment. Then Lidge lost his command and walked Edmonds. Yeah, I definitely knew this feeling. I held my breath when I saw Pujols stroll to the plate. I cringed when I saw Fox put up the Pujols graphic showing he’d never hit a HR off Lidge. That was always a bad sign. I almost couldn’t watch. “Don’t let this happen. Don’t let this happen.” I thought. Lidge threw a nasty slider and Pujols missed and missed badly. A small exhale. Then Lidge hung the slider. The crowd went eerily silent as they saw the ball fly off the bat. Lidge went into the fetal position, as ball cleared nearly everything in Houston. At least it would have if the roof weren’t closed.

My heart sank. Not for the Astros, but for the fans. It sucks being that close and having your heart ripped out. This has happened to them before, but not in a fashion like this. Cub’s fans knew this pain and Red Sox fans knew this pain. I couldn’t even watch Sportscenter knowing they would show that HR again. I couldn’t watch the soulless Cardinals show no emotion again. In one moment I saw myself in Astro fans. In one moment I didn’t dislike the Astros. I found myself hoping they would pick themselves up and perform their own comeback in the bottom of the 9th. It never happened.

Now the Astros have to go back to St. Louis and win one game. They have two chances. Pick yourselves up. Don’t be the Red Sox of 1986, the Cubs of 2003, or the Angels of 1986. End your drought. I hope you do…this season. Next season your back on the enemy list.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

F@#K! F@#K! F@#K!

I woke up a little early this rainy morning to make sure I got into work on time. Cigarette in one hand, Pepsi in the other I strolled across the street to my primo parking space. At that moment I even thought "I can't believe I got such a great parking space on a Monday night!" My happy changed to sad when my key wouldn't fit into door lock. I had just paid nearly $400 to get it fixed. They had to ship stuff in from Japan. I was even more dismayed when I was able to open my door. Sure enough my CD player was gone. They tossed my whole car and even took the spare tire. That's what I get for saying something nice about my neighborhood. I'm not saying nice about anything anymore: neighborhood, Cubs, or parking space, nothing. The worst part is I'm now stuck sitting in LA traffic with no music or XM. I can't get a new stereo till I get the car doors fixed, and it''s not like I have time to get that done.

Top 5 Songs I Feel Guilty for Enjoying as Much as I Do

1. Waterloo-Abba
2. Close to You-The Carpenters: Really I just love the Carpenters.
3. I Will Survive-Gloria Gaynor
4. Hells Bells-AC/DC: Highway to Hell fits in here too.
5. Build Me Up Buttercup-The Foundations

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Link Suggestion

I meant to put this in today's Ramblings but I forgot. See, I'm going senile. Anway, I just wanted to suggest taking a look at a friend's blog. CBS has asked one of our Executive Story Editors to write a blog about the show. Corey Miller has been pegged, and has been doing a great job at giving you an insight into the TV making business. I highly recommend it. But, please, please, don't email him with story ideas.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Hitting all my favorite links and blogs this morning, I came across this from All I have to say is that it's about time that someone got on the ball and put together an Afghan Whigs anthology. I couldn't be happier that Rhino is actually doing it. The genius move on their part is the DVD. Most Afghan Whigs fans have everything they released. So why would we want an anthology? If this DVD is footage from concerts, then fans won't hesitate. To really make the DVD perfect, Rhino should also include the MTV 120 minutes episodes where they took over the show particularly the 1993 show with Donal Logue. That show was genius. I wish I had Tivo back then. I also hope they do a nice remaster, and please don't leave out stuff from the Congregation album. A nice bonus would also be some songs from Up In It, and Big Top Halloween. I would go on, but I realize I'm in the minority on this.


So, I went to the Queen Mary’s Shipwreck Halloween Terrorfest. Including the ticket and parking it cost a whopping $40 bucks. Now I thought that the high price would eliminate some of the riff raff. I was wrong. This meant I had to be searched before entering. There’s nothing like being felt up in public. What’s even better is when I had to go back through the line because cameras weren’t allowed. Now they apparently had a shortage of the metal detector wands. I was lucky enough to get a guy with a wand the first time. Second time, I wasn’t so lucky. I didn’t realize my predicament till I was stuck in the middle of the line. Certain there was some protocol in which I couldn’t request a wand, I just took my groping and moved on.

Inside, there were seven mazes to walk through. We just went through the two mazes that were actually on the Queen Mary. That was plenty. I give them credit for grandness and effort, but they were still just standard haunted houses. This being the Queen Mary I expected them to do something a little original particularly for the mazes on the Queen Mary itself. Just once I’d like to see someone go the creepy route rather than the jump behind a corner route. They have a supposedly authentic haunted ship. Why not play off that with a little movie magic, and really creep people out rather than just “Boo!”

I also don’t know the proper reaction I’m supposed to have. My night vision is crap, so I couldn’t really see anything. But is it rude to not act scared? They are technically paid performers. It’s not their fault if I can’t see them enough to be scared. I feel like it’s not applauding after play. Also, I think I suck at pretending to be scared.

To all those people that have been congratulating me on the White Sox making the World Series: Don’t. Cub fans do not root for the White Sox, and vice versa. If I’m to root for the White Sox, I might as well root for the Cardinals. And that’s never happening. I am impressed with the way the White Sox have been playing. How can you not be when their starting pitchers throw four straight complete games? My question is how does their curse of the Black Sox scandal become easier to overcome than the Cub’s stupid Billy goat curse. The old White Sox threw the World Series. How is not allowing a Billy goat into the park worse than that? Not that curses exist.

I really dislike the word “moist.”

A couple people have asked how well my fantasy baseball team did. I never wrote much about them because there was nothing to write. They did as well as the Cubs did. My worst pick ended up being Cristian Guzman for the Nationals. He was even worse than Kerry wood. My best pick ended up being Traveras of the Astros. I picked him up on the waiver wire right after the draft. The best move I ever made. Actually it was the only good move I ever made.

It is absolutely pouring rain outside right now with actual thunder and lightning. This rarely ever happens in Los Angeles. It’s something I actually miss from living in Ohio. The problem with LA rains other than the usual lack of lightning and thunder, and that it lasts for days on end, is the snails. It’s like tiptoeing through a minefield after it rains. No matter how hard you try though you always end up hearing that crunch.

Is anyone else watching Invasion and enjoying it? It’s not as “cool” or slick as Lost, but I like it. For once the writers seem to actually know ahead of time what they are doing. It gets my best new drama of the season award. My best new comedy obviously goes to Extras. I do love my awkward comedy.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I have 16 days and I’m still stuck on a costume for Halloween. The problem is last year’s costume was so genius that I don’t think I can even come close to matching it. Last year I went as my Friendster profile. It met all of my Halloween costume criteria: minimal dressing up, easy to make, and great conversation piece. I was originally going to go as a giant, and that’s my fall back plan, but it doesn’t have the zing of my Friendster profile. My friend is going as the guys that pass out the strip club flyers on the streets of Vegas. That’s brilliant.

Speaking of Halloween, I’m heading to the Queen Mary Shipwreck Halloween Terrorfest this Saturday. I was rather excited, till I saw that half the event is just a couple clubs. Sigh. I hope the mazes they have set up rule, or I’m asking for my money back. At least I’ll have something else to write about than my youth on Monday.

The playoffs now have three teams (ChiSox, Cards, & Astros) that I really don’t like, and the Angels who I’m indifferent to. Yet, I think they all offer intriguing match-ups that will keep me glued to the TV. I honestly have no idea who will come out on top. I thought the Cards had the upper hand on Houston, but their bullpen is shakier than I originally thought. This might be the beginning of small ball baseball as Gammons wrote about in his column.

Doesn’t Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown” look a lot like “Jerry Maguire?” Hot shot shoe designer/sports agent loses everything and meets a cute blond (Dunst/Zellweger) that helps him put his life in order. Does this mean I won’t see it? Of course not. I’ll still go with the hope of another “Say Anything” and I’ll leave disappointed. Yet I’ll probably still enjoy it once I get past my disappointment.

In case you haven’t seen, Apple’s put out a new iPod that plays video now. You can even download shows from ABC and music videos. No, I did not rush out and buy it. Yes, I was slightly tempted.

For when you’re bored out of your skull. You have to place everything on the cubs in the right order. Each object ends up working with the other objects when done correctly. I offer only one hint: The man goes first.

I like my neighborhood. It’s a little dirty. It has its fair share of homeless. It’s guaranteed that twice a week the cops our out. It does though have its charm. It definitely feels like a neighborhood. The homeless that hang around are regulars. Everything I need is a very short drive away. Roscoe’s is half a mile from my doorstep. I’m three blocks from the beach. I do have one major complaint. There is absolutely no parking, especially on street sweeping nights. It’s getting to the point where I’m losing even more faith in humanity because of the parking situation. People constantly take up two parking spots because they’re too scared to parallel park. For the first time in my life I’m tempted to go to the neighborhood meetings to speak my mind about the parking. All it takes parking permits for those who actually live in the neighborhood. I’d gladly pay a small sum every month if it would mean I didn’t have drive around for an hour to find a parking spot.

I've heard rumors that after Arrested Development is going to be cancelled after the Theron story arc ends. How sad.

I had this conversation with my father:

Dad: You know a student from your old high school is some actress.
Me: Who?
Dad: A girl named Marge I think? She changed her name. She was one of my students.
Me: Is she in anything?
Dad: She's that Lost show.
Me: Maggie Grace?!
Dad: Yeah. That's it. I think.
Me: And how long have you known this?

Joy of a Part-time Southern Boy

This might surprise some of you, but I used to be quite active. Up till my back surgery in high school, I would rarely be caught inside. I'd be outside exploring, playing war, or whatever sport I still had the ball for. I constantly lost various balls particularly my Dad's racquetballs. I’m sorry dad, but it was so cool hitting them with the aluminum bat. The pinnacle of my active lifestyle was the four years I lived in South Carolina. Sure the days were spent behind the iron-gated hell of Bob Jones, but afternoon and evenings I was able to escape to my sanctuary of home.

My brother, father, and I lived in Traveler's Rest a boondocks of a place in the shadow of Paris Mountain. Sure the area matched the southern backwoods cliché, but the freedom and space it gave me to be a kid was wonderful. Living there meant buying grade A fireworks every weekend, riding my bike anywhere I wanted, and playing till we finally relented to my Dad's calls home. It also meant I had the biggest backyard: the woods.

The woods was my acre upon acre of playground. At our entrance to the woods was our home base. My gang of friends and I dug tunnels and built bunkers that served as protection from possible invaders. It also made a nice launching pad for fireworks. We only nearly burned the woods twice. We also nearly burned down our house twice. In the woods we had our satellite bases constructed of fallen trees and abandoned plywood. We would battle the imaginary foes or ourselves depending on the numbers. We played everything from war, to ninja, to zombie, and sometimes the genres would merge. Our arsenal consisted of grenades (dirt clods & M-80's), guns, nunchakus, and rocket launchers (pipes with bottle rockets). It's stupid, but also quite exhilarating to get hit point blank in the chest with a bottle rocket. You proudly display the black mark on your shirt like a badge of honor.

When I wasn't a soldier, I was a BMX rider. I'd ride as fast as I could along the trails that wound along the tree line and creek. Every corner and every jump was hit with the reckless abandon that youth brings. Without hesitation I'd launch myself off ten-foot banks, not caring about my well-being. If I'd flip onto my back still holding the bike I'd try again. When I'd crash headlong into a car I'd dust myself off, patch up my leg, and try again. Why do some people lose that sense of recklessness, yet some have still been able to hold on to it? I miss it sometimes.

On those lazy summer days or quiet weekends, I would become explorer. With no goal or direction in mind, I simply wandered the woods for hours. I'd look for someplace I've never been before, a new tree that's great for climbing, or the perfect thinking spot. Only once did I actually get lost. My brother and I ended up a few miles from home. We came across a farm, and had to take the road back home.

One of my favorite things about living in South Carolina was coming across old abandoned houses hidden from sight by foliage and towering trees. I was even skinnier back then, so there wasn't a single broken out window I couldn't squeeze through. I was like the Eugene Tooms from X-files, only I hate liver and I dressed bette...slightly. I never found anything of value. There was usually a mattress, jugs, and other knickknacks but nothing of real interest. I did though enjoy creating a picture or story of who the tenants were of this abandoned house. I imagine these houses for me are like divers and shipwrecks.

Those four years in South Carolina are a definite ying and yang split for me. Without the woods to release the school day frustrations, I don't know what I would've done. Now, I'm a city boy. I like living in a major league town, knowing there is always something that's going on, and having an Amoeba Records. Still sometimes I get that urge to explore. That's why I have a car.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Futuristic Toys from the Past

Reading PLW’s post yesterday on the Shogun Warrior toys got me thinking about some of my favorite not so well known toys. An easy post would’ve been listing Legos (greatest toy ever), Star Wars, Lincoln Logs, or Erector Sets. Let us delve into the not so popular toys. At least I don’t think they were that popular. Maybe I should just say they are on the fringe of popular.

First let’s go with the Shogun Warrior I had. There were eight in all that were released in the US. I had Mazinga. These bad ass toys were 2 ½ feet tall. He had swords, rockets, and a little ship that would mount into the head so the pilot could control Mazinga. I also had the smaller die-cast toy of Mazinga as well. The coolest feature was definitely the rocket fists that you could fire. Ah the days when toys came with hard plastic projectiles and children’s eyes were of no concern. Truly a great toy, and ranks in my personal top ten toys. Even to this day I still want to call it Manzinga!

That is not the first cellular phone ever made but actually Merlin. What Simon had in color Merlin had in variety. Not only did you have a Simon type game, but it had Tic-Tac-Toe, Blackjack, codebreaker, and 2 others I can’t remember. It was also much more portable than Simon. This was my handheld game of choice back in the days. That is till I picked up Mattel’s Football. God bless you little red LED lights. You made riding to church bearable.

Evel Knievel was a hero of mine growing up. After seeing his specials, I knew I wanted to be a stunt driver. I’d get on my bike and set up my own jumps. Imagine my thrill when I got the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. I could now set up my own stunts that even Knievel himself wouldn’t consider. Setting up huge jumps down stairs and off the piano bench, I’d pull the ripcord an off he’d go flying through the air. Sadly, my Evel didn’t last long. My parents lived in a duplex at the time. My room was up in the attic. Man I miss that attic. I had a lone window that looked out onto the street. It was quite a ways down, and I thought it’d make a perfect stunt for the Stunt Cycle. “I bet Evel could reach the street,” I thought. He did make it, but as a toy he paid the ultimate price. Evel would never jump again. The jump was spectacular though. Side note: Other toys that didn’t last very long:

This Jaws game as it originally was designed wasn’t really that great of a toy. You and your friends just took turn taking the junk out of its mouth without his mouth snapping shut. Rigging it so it would snap an unsuspecting Mom or baby brother certainly extended the joy this toy brought. I completely apologixe for using the phrase "taking the junk out of his mouth."

Starbird ruled! It was a great spaceship toy. If you tilted it up it would make an acceleration sound, and tilting it down would cause it to decelerate. It had removable parts and flashing lasers when you pulled the trigger. Trust me, at the time this was a wonderful toy. Never did get the command center though.

Another cool electronic toy was the BigTrak. It was a programmable tank. You typed in a series of commands on the back, and it would follow them. A wonderful way to torment your pet.

The Micronaughts apparently aren’t that unknown, since they’ve been rereleased recently. It was a great action figure that got lost among the Star Wars and GI Joes. It had more joints than Star Wars. The switchable chest plates and other accessories were an added bonus. Of course I would constantly lose them.

Finally, the Six Million Dollar Man with not only “bionic grip” but a bionic eye you could look through. That’s right you could look through the back of his head and see what Austin sees. That’s pretty much just like real life Lee Majors. My one disappointment with the SMDM was I never got the rocket ship that you could transform into an operating room. Oh well, commence making sound effect…now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bits O' Music

It's been awhile since I've posted a bit. With my iPod on shuffle, I came across this song from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It's from the Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus double album that was released last year. I know a lot of die hard fans would rather remember Mr. Cave before he found God. I agree his music was consistently better back then. This is still great stuff. I admit I'm a sucker for rock n' roll that includes rolling piano and a gospel-like choir.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds-Nature Boy-Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus

If you are an artist or artist representative being featured on this blog and want me to take down a song, let me know, and it will be removed from the server immediately.

Bottle! You Are No Friend of Mine!

I've posted and deleted this about five times already. I don't know why, but it doesn't sit right with me. I told myself I shouldn't edit myself, so here it is.

This topic comes up at every party I’ve been to in the last three plus years. The conversation usually goes like this:

Friend: Can I get you anything?
Me: I’m fine, thanks.
Friend: Beer?
Me: No thank you.
Friend: Smirnoff?
Me: Heh. No.
Friend: There’s some Vodka and-
Me: That’s ok. I don’t drink.
Friend: Never?
Me: I used to, I don't anymore.
Friend: Really? For how long…blah, blah, blah.

I am not an alcoholic, which is what most people think when I say I don't drink anymore. I will drink a glass of wine at special dinners, or a glass of champagne at a toast. I quit because the alcohol would disintegrate that barrier in my brain that keeps you from doing stupid things. Usually, I’m a quiet, good natured and reserved individual. But once I had two or three glasses of the devil’s brew in me…Well it never turns out very good. I will admit that drunk Brad can be entertaining for the first couple hours, after that he’s just an annoying louse. I wasn't an angry drunk. I just wouldn't shut-up, and would sometimes lose my pants. I’m too old to keep making an ass of myself, so I quit. Here are three awkwardly humorous examples. I’m sure there are more, but these are the one I can remember.

Crackers was a bar friends and I would frequent in Downtown Norfolk. We knew the owner, and he’d often give us a few perks for being regulars. Serving my friend Melissa, and current crush, a martini, he mentioned he used his best vodka for her no extra charge. He then made a purple haze for my friend Charlie. I asked him if he used his special vodka for Charlie. He looked at me quizzically and said, “No.” Now, if I was sober I would’ve known you don’t use the best vodka for a mixed drink like the purple haze. I wasn’t sober. In my drunk whisper voice I confronted the owner saying that I knew why he didn’t give Charlie the special vodka. Rather than be the nice guy and brush me off for being drunk, he went ahead and asked me why. “Because she’s got nice tits!” I said. There’s that moment when you’re drunk and you know you said something, but only because of the looks of those around you do you realize what you said wasn’t good. I then got up and puked in my hand before I could reach the bathroom. I’ve been on the owner’s shit list ever since.

One weekend night a bunch of us met at the hole that is Peabody’s. It’s one of those college meat markets where I always felt old. So what did I do? Drink of course. Now I started off behaving well. I had a couple beers and most likely a screwdriver or two. It wasn’t till one of the guys started buying tequila shots for everyone that things went horribly wrong. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Tequila will fuck you up! Stay away from the tequila kids. I’m serious. By the time we left we’d polished off like five shots each, and then washed them down with Jell-O shooters and other beverages. We stopped at IHOP to actually get some solid food into our stomachs. That never happened. After ordering my usual chicken strips, I sprinted to the bathroom and spent about half an hour expelling the booze. I was thinking maybe I should just sleep it off in the restroom, when Bob came in to check up on me. I responded by hurling up the rest of my stomach lining into the toilet. Side note: Bob would later on write a song about puking up blood at IHOP. This is my legacy. Anyway, I finally was able to stand so Bob walked me out of the bathroom. It was at that time we were able to witness Charlie puking into the pitcher of water at the table. We threw some money on the table and just walked out leaving the waitress to clean up. I still can't beleive I became that guy. I ended up being dropped off at my car, where I slept till I was finally able to drive home. I still haven’t recovered from that night.

Finally, it was one of those nights where I intentionally went out to get hammered. I was pissed off at Melissa for some reason, and just wanted to drink my bitterness away. Unfortunately, for me she was driving our group of friends and me around. I remember the first thing I ordered was five shots of bourbon. I can’t remember what else I drank at the bar that night. Once, the bar closed we needed something else to do. I offered up my apartment and the booze I had stored there. We stopped by 7-11 to pick up some more booze. While I waited I decided it’d be fun to try to catch the ducks hanging out in the parking lot. This is the entertaining drunk Brad. Back at my apartment, we followed up our previous booze with some Guinness and other assorted beers. Then my pants came off. Yes, Melissa was still present. I’m still kind of entertaining, but bordering on annoying. About and hour later the beers were gone and so was my joyful buzz. That’s when uber-depressed Brad came out in all his glory. There I was laid flat on the floor in my boxers confessing my undying love for Melissa. Yes, she was still there. I thank Bobby for trying to console me and his attempts to shut me up. I didn’t listen, and it took forever for Melissa to be comfortable around me. The last thing I remember after that was waking up on the couch the next morning with a sloshed brain, and that “too many cigarettes” taste in my mouth.

That’s a small sample of the stupid circumstances I put myself in when I drink. It’s really just the tip of the iceberg, but a blog post can only be so long. Besides, I have enough vices. It doesn't hurt to get rid of one of them. Also, thanks to those who kept me out of serious trouble when I always had too much.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

High/Low: High School

I got an invitation this weekend for my 15 year high school reunion. (Yes, I realize that dates me) Against my better judgment, I’ve decided to attend this “What was I thinking?” event. I will admit a small part of me wants to throw around the “I work for CSI: Miami” phrase. I know there is one chemical engineer, and a Nike shoe designer, so there’s a little competition for the coolest job. Besides that I know for certain how this will turn out. Nobody I really want to see will show up. I’ll be stuck hugging people that never liked me in high school. All the questions will be on the subject of how my Dad is doing. At least four people will make drunken fools of themselves. And, I’ll spend the rest of the evening listening to people trying to justify their lives. But I’m not about looking toward the future. I prefer dwelling on the past. Here are the highlights and lowlights of my high school years.

My father being a teacher didn’t really pay off till my Junior and Senior year because that’s when I actually had him as a teacher. It’s nice knowing exactly what the teacher is looking for when he assigns papers. Yes, this meant I wasn’t invited to all the parties my fellow classmen threw. But, having my him as a teacher for 3 electives (Creative Writing, American Novel Class, and World Novel Class) during my Senior year made up for it. HIGH

During Christmas break of my Junior year I had major back surgery. In fact I was administered to the hospital on my birthday. I was out of school for over a month, which kept me out of the loop on all school gossip, activities, and the school play. LOW But, I completely milked it for sympathy as long as I could. The added bonus of my crush at the time dropping by while I was stuck at home made everything bearable. HIGH

In an odd state of mind I volunteered to be a shepherd for the downtown Columbus Christmas Pageant our school’s church put on. It was one of those huge events with Camels, three hundred person choir, thousands of people every weekend night for three weekends, and me trying to walk a sheep along a four foot wide platform over the orchestra pit. Did I mention I was dressed as a shepherd? There was also when the sheep kept trying to eat the manger. But, this wasn’t a low. Thanks to this whole event, I was able to finally realize that you can just talk to the ladies, and they won’t mind. I was actually able to get over my shyness and make a couple friends in the angel choir. HIGH

I took a $50 dollar dare once and proposed to my Freshman English teacher (Miss Dixon) in front of everyone. She politely said no of course, but I did shoot to the top of her favorite students list. HIGH

During another bout of “I should get involved” illness, I agreed to run for Vice President of the student body with my friend Craig running for President. I don’t know why I agreed, or why he even chose me, but we lost. Yes they had to have two recounts and a re-vote because it was so close, but I gave a painful speech. I’m certain I lost the election. Also, when every single teacher voices their support for you and your running mate you know you’re screwed. LOW. Looking back at all the work being Vice President would have entailed, it’s really probably a HIGH.

Puking for hours in the toilet after the Prom, LOW

I threw a Senior party at my Mom’s house. I did the whole banners and flyers thing at school, and only my circle of friends showed up. That wasn’t really the low point. The low point was when my Mom, half-sister and myself were trying to setup the grill on the makeshift patio. My step-father was using the backhoe to raise the grill up to us. Sure enough he hits the patio and sends us down a story onto a pile of bricks below. That’s a perfect way to ruin any party. LOW

Wasting money on a class ring, LOW

I finally got a speaking part in the school play my Senior year. The play was “Flight into Danger.” Yes, it’s what the movie “Airplane!” was based on. Only this play wasn’t a comedy…intentionally. I played the Rex Kramer character. Notice the similarities? Anyway, being a fan of “Airplane!” it drove me nuts that we had to play this so seriously. My lines consisted of “Lower the flap 40 degrees, raise the rear flap 20 degrees” or “Keep it a 24,000 feet.” It stunk. All the semi-funny lines were given to the actors on the plane. On the final night, there was a moment where the lead character’s wife is whining and complaining. Distracted by how annoying she got, I forgot my lines. There’s that long pause while everyone looks at you to say something. I replied, “Will someone please shut that woman up? I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.” The laugh and cheer that followed was the biggest of the whole run. I thought for sure I was in trouble for mentioning the drinking line, but I got nothing but praise. It was my one brief moment in the spotlight, unless you count the shepherd thing. HIGH

For one semester I was the assistant to our History teacher, Mrs. Baeslack. I earned credit to sit in her office for one period and grade papers. Genius! Mrs. Baeslack was certifiably crazy. She could change from happy to sad to angry to laughing in a second. She did though look to me as a project. Rather than grade papers she actually tried to hook me up with some of the Junior ladies that were in the class. Like I said, she was crazy. HIGH

Finally graduating and getting the hell out of there was definitely the biggest HIGH.

Do I hope to capture some part of my youth at the reunion? No. Do I want to brag a little? Probably. Am I looking forward to it? Yes...with reservations.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Sunday night's NLDS game 4 between the Astros and Braves is one fo the greatest games I've ever seen. It had everything and is why baseball is the greatest sport.

I was expecting a phone call or two from family and friends when word of the Long Beach pipe bomb made national news. The phone calls never came. There was a pipe bomb outside my apartment and there isn’t even a side note on the national news? I couldn’t even find anything about in the LA Times. This is Long Beach! How does this not make- Never mind.

How cant he movie “Flightplan” hold the top spot for two weeks, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s seen it?

Friday night I attended a party thrown by one of my co-workers. Fun, seven-layer dip, and home brewed beer were had. Near the end of the night, the subject of hugging became a part of the discussion. I’m not a big hugger. This apparently means that I have little less of a soul. It’s not that I won’t hug, but I don’t feel comfortable hugging. I need to have at least known you a couple years for me to even consider instigating the hug. Some people who aren’t huggers point to the fact that they grew up in a non-hugging family. I don’t have that excuse. My family hugs. My stepfamily hugs. I’ve had many friends that hug. I even appreciate the thought behind the hug. If you feel comfortable enough to press your body next to mine and embrace me, then I must be doing something right. During the discussion Friday night, a hugging seminar took place. What came from this seminar? I suck at hugging. This isn’t the first time I’ve been told that I’m hug deficient. Perhaps, that’s why I don’t like hugging. I’m not built to hug. Not only is my personal space quite large, but physically not made for hugging. I’m a beanpole with lanky arms. To hug me properly your arms need to be able double wrap around me. My lanky arms only make hugging more difficult. Unless you wear a size 60, I end up touching my own shoulders. All of this doesn’t exactly make me conducive to hugging. I don’t know if I can ever become a good or even adequate hugger, and for that I now apologize. Though, I still refuse to accept the European double-kiss as a proper farewell even if you really are European. You could lose an eye doing that.

I recently found out that there’s a chance my brother might move to the Chicago area to pursue his MA. Yes, I’m happy for him. Yes, I’m also thinking about the Cubs. Yes, I’m actually a little jealous he might get to live in Chicago.

I was planning on writing how I miss that small window in the 90’s when hip-hop was A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, and De La Soul. Then I remembered the Roots, Blackalicious, Doom, Jurassic 5, and etc. Still what they call hip-hop on the charts today isn’t really hip-hop. 80% of it is just pop music.

I picked up the sequel to Brothers In Arms for the Xbox. In a cramped niche of WWII games it is the best out there. It’s a great squad based first person shooter. The game builds upon the first game that was good and makes this one great. What is good about the first game was the visceral thrills of leading your squad across an open field while mortar shells drop around you. This sequel ratchets it up a notch. From watching German rockets whiz right buy you sending dirt over your head to dodging two tanks as they barrel down on you it’s great high tension moments. They also do a great job of making you actually care about your squad. So when you send your squad in the wrong direction only to see them cut down it actually pains you. Also, the enemy AI can be a real bitch sometimes.

I miss the days in school when friends and I would gather to watch X-files, Homicide, and Buffy. Lost seems perfectly made for such get togethers.

Friday, October 07, 2005

One of those fears

After the pipe bomb incident, I've been asked a few times if I was scared. Maybe it was being naive or my assumption that it was an empty threat, but I wasn't scared. Death, being alone, or the dark, everyone has his or her fears. None of those are my fears. There are few modes of death like drowning that scare me, but death itself isn’t a fear. One of my fears is related to my great grandfather on my Mom’s side. I can’t remember the first I met him or met his wife. I only remember meeting her once when my Uncle flew us down to Florida. She passed away soon after that. I think. It’s all lost in the fuzzy memory of my childhood. Hmm. Memory is actually part of the fear. But back to the back-story. According to my Mom my great grandfather was a mean man who only got worse once his wife died. It then only got worse when he was stricken with Alzheimer’s. My only real memories of him are when he had Alzheimer’s, and he was a mean son of bitch. My brothers and sisters came to dread summer because that’s when he’d end up visiting for a few weeks. Nobody would sit next to him at the dinner table because he’d grab the fork and try to stab your hand. It was like reverse musical chairs. If you came within arm’s reach he’d hit you. If you were a kid he wanted nothing to do with you. To keep him busy my Mom let him trim the trees on the property. I still wonder why they thought giving him anything sharp was a good idea. He was actually good at the pruning if he’d known when to stop. My Mom was stuck with branchless trees. There were also times he’d chase my little sisters with the pruned branches. So what does my fear have to do with my great grandfather?

My fear is that I’ll end up like him. I can be a grumpy bastard sometimes. In fact my Mom would often threaten me when I would become grumpy as a kid. “Watch it, or you’ll end up like great grandfather,” she’d say. I became a bit more cheery once my teen years came to an end, though I still have my occasional grumpy moments. Now my memory is going to the dogs. This makes me actually frightened that I’m actually turning into him. Every time I forget someone’s name, walk into a room and can’t remember why, or forget a story idea I just came up with, I’m struck with a sense of fear that I’m inching closer to embodying my great grandfather. I know I’m not near the bastard he is, but you never know. It isn’t even a fear of forgetting, but of becoming the crazy person nobody wants to associate with. I don’t want to become the joke.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Smell of Pipe Bomb in the Morning

Since I was up till 3am Monday night, I went to bed with the hopes of regaining some lost sleep. Unfortunately I lost track of time learning Comic Life and didn’t go to bed till 2am. When my head did finally hit the pillow, I was out cold. I was out cold till about 4am. That’s when I heard a loud knocking at my door. I assumed it was a neighbor’s drunk friend looking for the corresponding apartment. Sure enough they started knocking a neighbor’s door. How long was this going to take? When they knocked on my door again, I staggered out of bed set on chewing out an obnoxious drunk. Instead of a drunk, I was greeted by two Long Beach Policemen. The first thing I thought was, “They found me.” Since my sentence at the police state of Virginia Beach, I’ve been programmed to think that way. These police though were here to help.

“There’s a pipe bomb out front and you need to evacuate.” Um, ok I thought. I put on my shoes, hat and watch, and grabbed my iPod nano. I didn’t grab my wallet or eyeglasses, but my iPod nano. My brain doesn’t function well the first 8 hours after I wake up. I wandered out to the corner we were told to wait. There waiting for me were my neighbors. I’ve previously met only a few of them, and really didn’t think they knew each other that well. I was wrong. Among them was the one neighbor I’d wanted to meet: The cute little brunette that lived in the front apartment. As I had guessed, she was a flight attendant. With our fellow neighbors we joked and complained till a policeman said the words I’d end up hearing too many times that night, “It’s gonna take awhile.” He told us the Red Cross was setting up a holding area at a nearby park. We could go there or go somewhere else. We just couldn’t stay here. Of course my car was parked inside the cordoned off area. I was stuck going to the park. At least the cute brunette was as well. The cop also gave us the details of the situation. Someone had left a pipe bomb with a keypad attached in front of the pizza place across the street. Some neighbor called it in. They were now waiting for the bomb squad to show up to handle the situation. I’d like to point out that the phrase “someone left a pipe bomb” was used often that evening. Every time somebody said it I pictured someone misplacing the pipe bomb. The bomber gets on the bus, and after checking his pockets realizes he left the bomb on the bench. Not exactly a frightening image.

My neighbors went and met up with the rest of those evacuated. We sat, and sat, and sat. If I had taken my wallet instead of the iPod I could’ve gotten breakfast. The cute brunette stayed as well so I considered it a wash. Having never really spoken to any of my neighbors, I figured that they didn’t know where I worked. That’s how I wanted it, but when everyone started asking me about CSI: Miami, I realized what a hotbed of rumors my apartment complex was. It took till about seven that the Red Cross showed up. Someone always ended up asking the cops how much longer. They always got “It’s gonna take awhile” as a response. That left us to simply wait some more and some more. At around 9am we heard that there were no explosives in the bomb but an unknown chemical. This meant we now had to wait for HAZMAT to show up. It’s at times like this I wish the world worked like CSI: Miami with all-in-one lab trucks and one minute lab results. At this point people started sneaking back into their apartments. Figuring my luck with authorities I waited. Finally, at around 11am we were allowed to return to our apartments. I then had to wait another hour till I could get my car. So, I’ve been up since 4am and it’s now 10pm. If the PA wasn’t sick, I wouldn’t have gone to work, but it was one of those days. Still I got to know my neighbors better, and there’s also the cute brunette, so it’s still a wash.