ELRR Graveyard

This blog is no longer active. It's pretty much just a bunch of drunken idiocy mixed with senseless ramblings. A more refined blog can be viewed at riraho.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Here Comes Hondo

Hondo didn't quite mind the bath...but he had a problem with getting dried off.

It took 34 years, but I finally got my first dog.  My parents never liked pets.  They seemed to think they would make the house smell and/or go to the bathroom indoors.  One time, my sister and I tried to sneak in two stray cats that we found outside.  That was met with much anger by my Dad.  Consequently, we never had a dog or a cat, or a fish or a bird for that matter.

Now that we have three kids that are starting to grow up a little, I want to make sure they enjoy that idyllic American childhood that includes baseball, sports, camping and having their own dog.  I missed out, so I want to make sure they don't.

Melissa and I already have two cats.  Our middle child Alexander wants to love them so much.  Our male cat Corgan does not share the love.  Alexander still tries to sneak in some hugs or head rubs here and there, but Corgan's hissing and occasional paw swipes don't make it a good fit.  He still tries with our female cat Sophie, and because she is more relaxed he is able to sneak in some hugs and carries before she scatters away.

Since the cats were not an option, the next logical choice was to look for a dog.  A Labrador retriever seemed like a good fit temperament wise, but after checking on two of them, it seemed like their size and energetic disposition was a little much for the young age of the kids.  So we moved onto a beagle.  Smaller and size and energetic but relaxed, it seemed a good fit. 

We initially had trouble finding one.  Most rescues have a serious list of requirements, including no kids under the age of five.  So that disqualified us from most.  It left us with the Humane League and Lancaster SPCA.   One day, they posted two new beagles on their website, but someone swooped and in and took them before we could make it down town. 

We had sort of given up on finding one for a week or two before they posted two more on their site.  Not wanting to waste any time, we went down on my lunch break to check them out.  I was thinking that we would just look them over and make a decision later, never thinking that we would end up adopting him before we left. 

At first glance he wasn't all that enamored with us.  I guess you can chalk that up to the stray/shelter process.  But he wasn't outright angry or mean and he seemed to at least tolerate us.  Not wanting to miss out again, we just took the dive and said we would take him. 

With our last two kids, while we were in total agreement over their names, they were technically Melissa's choices.  So I wasn't going to be denied with naming the dog.  Much like the kids, we had a ton of girl names that we liked but never had more than a few boy names. 

I always liked the name Hondo.  It came from the old John Wayne western movie of the same name and there was also a guy that played for the Celtics back in the day named John Havlicek that went by the nickname Hondo.  Al Bundy from Married...with Children also loved the movie.  It seemed to me to be a good old western style tough guy nickname and I loved it.  Thankfully, Melissa relented and that's his name. 

Hopefully he will grow on us and we will grow on him.  He already follows us around the house from the kitchen to the living room and back and forth again, never wanting to leave our side.  I think that's a good sign.  Now the boys (and girl, if she wants), have a dog of their very own they can grow up with. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Party of Five

Not including cats (sorry Corgan and Sophie), we are now a Party of Five.  I make that reference, even though I managed to hate that show without ever watching one second of it, because Melissa, Benjamin, Alexander and I have been joined by Evelyn Rae Householder. 

She was born May 18, 2014.  She managed to be born one day before her due date.  Melissa went into labor with Alexander on her due date, but he managed to take his time and arrived past midnight into the next day.  Benjamin was a week early due to a C-section because he couldn't manage to flip around.  Figures.

But she is great.  I don't now how I'll handle the idea of her growing up and dating boys or even picking one to marry.  I might have trouble with that.  I could transition the family Puritan and relieve myself of most of that worry, but 1687 is farther and farther back as the days go by, so it's not altogether practical.  Neither is locking her in her bedroom, so I might have some adjustments to make.  The only thing I know for sure is I have a limited supply of brown hair remaining. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Some thumbs up, Some thumbs down, Lots of thumbs in the middle

I decided to clear some of the cobwebs off this blog by posting a few things.  The first thing is a word file I came across detailing the movies I saw in the theatre.  The genesis of this was me complaining to Melissa that my parents never took my sister and I to the movies and that I never really went to the movies when I was older.  I think I covered all of them, and it looks like I've been to the movies just 49 times.  Is that a lot?  It's less than two times a year throughout my life. 

Themes that are apparent:  Some super hero movies (which I hate now and would never pay to see) and Star Wars (....?), very few blockbusters, and boobs. 

I started with the very first movies I saw, and then went in alphabetical order from then on.

He-Man--I think this is the first movie I ever went to see.  Naturally my Aunt Barb took me with my cousin Chuck.  About all I remember is it is was my first time and Skeletor put some kind of curse on the Sorceress and she became some evil looking bird.  That was pretty scary in 1984. 

Cinderella--About all I remember here is that I was approx. five years old and still understood that this was a movie for girls.

American Pie--Saw this movie the night it came out (and then the next afternoon) and it's still probably the best movie experience I've had in the theatre.  It was very highly anticipated and there was a rowdy crowd of young people.  Still the only movie I've been to that got a standing ovation after it was over.

American Pie 2--Saw this movie two times as well.  Good, but nothing special.

Any Given Sunday--Aside from the great 'Fight for that Inch' speech by Al Pacino near the end, nothing special.

Austin Powers 2--Saw this twice because it was presumably funny at the time, but it does not hold up well at all.

Batman and Robin--I can barely remember anything about this movie, which is probably saying more for the movie than it deserves.

Batman Forever--The only reason I wanted to see this movie is because I thought Nicole Kidman might get naked, and I was disappointed. 

Batman Returns--I loved the first Batman, but this was one of the worst movies I've ever seen in the theatre or on TV.  My dad said he fought to stay awake.

Bennie and Joon--This was the back end of a double feature we saw at the Columbia Drive-In.  I don't think we stayed for the ending.

Beverly Hillbillies--This had Jim Freaking Varney playing Jed Clampett.  That about says it all.  With that said, I remember my friend Tim and I laughing our butt's off and people staring at us like we were aliens.

Black Dahlia--Shamefully, another movie I saw expressly for the purposes of some lady getting naked.  Beyond that, it was slow, boring, and painful to watch.

Boys and Girls--This came out somewhat shortly after the American Pie movies and had Jason Biggs in it, so we naturally assumed it was going to be funny.  And it wasn't.  When it comes down to listing the worst of these movies, it really comes down to this and Batman Returns.

Butterfly Effect--Any time that Ashton Kutcher tried to be serious or dramatic, the crowd exploded in laughter. 

Cop and a Half--This was another back end of a double feature at the Columbia Drive-In.  I'd put this at number three behind Batman Returns and Boys and Girls. 

Friday the 13th--The new one that came out a few years ago.  Great date movie.

Harry Potter--Don't know the subtitle but it was the third to last one.  I went with Melissa to see this at a midnight showing the day (morning) it came out.  I'd never seen any of the previous movies and was totally lost and it was a herculean struggle to stay awake.  I got home at 3:30am and then had to be at work at 8:00am. 

Harry Potter--The last one of the series.  Melissa and I saw this in a 3-D IMAX theatre.  I don't care for the series, but IMAX is a pretty awesome experience.

The Hitman--Starring Chuck Norris, what could go wrong?  The only time my dad took me to a movie, just me and him.  It was bad and incredibly violent and uncomfortable to watch sitting next to him.

Home Alone--This movie was the one and only time that our parents ever took us to see a big movie that my sister and I really wanted to see.  Of course it was months after the release and it took incessant nagging from us to break them, but it's the thought that counts.

Honey I Blew Up the Kid--Horrible sequel to the good first movie.  My Aunt Karin took us to see this movie.  She lived about 5 hours away, so I'm sure she was tickled pink to spend her vacation away from home seeing this snoozer.

Jackass 2--Pontius lets a snake bite his penis.  Steve-O eats cow manure.  It is what it is.

Joe Dirt--The one and only time I fell asleep in a movie theatre.

Loser--Another movie we saw based on Jason Biggs, post-American Pie.  Not bad actually--totally rewatchable on a Sunday afternoon--not during football season, and if the Red Sox are not on TV.

Miracle--I really liked this movie.  Kurt Russell was great as Herb Brooks and the game action scenes were done really well--something you don't really see in sports movies that often.  Bonus Points awarded because the one guy we saw it with apparently missed out on the whole story and was actively rooting and cheering for the US team like we were at the stadium in 1980.

My Bloody Valentine--Nice movie for an actual Valentine's Day date with Melissa.  I should mention that there was a extended 5 minute sequence where one lady was running from the killer, but she was totally naked from head to toe.  Like, the entire sequence she was shot from head to toe and you could see her entire naked body the whole time.  And I only point this out because there was in my estimation, 30 kids in the theatre under the age of 10 years old.  Not a lot of parenting skills in effect that night.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2--I saw this movie before I saw part one so I had no idea who Barbossa was when he came out at the end.

Powder--All I remember about this movie is that we saw it at Kendig Square when tickets were still $1 and we snuck in about $143 worth of candy and soda.

Rambo 4--One the most unique movie experiences.  I think what happened with this movie was they knew the name Rambo could sell, but they had nothing in terms of a plot or character development or anything of that nature, so they decided to take the violence and double it plus two.  The result was absolute mayhem.  We couldn’t believe our eyes there were so many people getting their heads blown off, or their stomach's falling out, or getting shot in half.  People casually throw out the phrase "I'll rip your throat out!"  Well Rambo did that in this movie. 

The Replacements--The guy from the Make 7 Up Yours commercials got a movie. 

Road Trip--Like Jason Biggs movies post-American Pie, we were also all in on anything Sean William Scott.  Good thing here, because he is essentially playing Stiffler in this movie as well.  Seriously, it's like he got in character for American Pie 2, walked off set and onto Road Trip and kept on going.

Road to Perdition--I had planned to see this movie with some girl.  Right before I was set to leave I found that ESPN Classic was replaying the Kings Canadiens 1993 Campbell Conference Finals game 7.  I decided not to cancel and taped the game instead.  That was a tough one, could have went either way.  Anyways, this movie was really, really long and it killed my back sitting there for nearly three hours.  I still have the VHS tape, though.

Rookie of the Year--This was actually another movie that I really really wanted to see and actually was able to.  It took the neighbors initiating things, but my parents were there.  Thanks guys!  Of course now this movie is horrendous but youth distorts some things.

Saving Silverman--For better or for worse, Jason Biggs sold a lot of tickets to me and my friends. 

Scary Movie--We had no idea what we were in for with this movie.  It seemed like a standard parody comedy movie from the previews.   But they couldn't really show what the movie was about in the previews.  In the first scene, Carmen Electra gets stabbed in the chest and the killer pulls his knife back and a breast implant was stuck to it.  We knew then what we were in for.

Shutter Island--This was an interesting movie.  It was pretty suspenseful and had a good soundtrack to accentuate that suspense.  The resolution was okay--not a lot of movies can cash in on the level of suspense that it had built--most times it crashes in horrible fashion, as we will see later on down the list.

Spiderman 3--Good CGI, but very long.  They could have cut out the Sandman(?) subplot altogether.  And why did they scrap the Tobey Maguire franchise if it was making so much money?

Star Wars Phantom Menace--Return of the Jedi is an okay movie--when Darth Vader turns on Palpatine to save Luke--that's actually one of my favorite movie scenes ever.  But with that said, I hate Star Wars.  I just don't like the characters, the premise, the canon---anything.  But somehow I got roped into paying for this movie twice.  Twice! 

Star Wars Revenge of the Sith--Another Star Wars!  George Lucas has too much of my money.

Terminator 3--I'm hesitant to admit this, but I saw this movie alone in the theater like a societal outcast.  It was the middle of the week around 1 in the afternoon and I was bored and I really wanted to see it.  Don't judge me.

The Gift--Not going to lie, the sole reason I went to see this movie was to see Katie Holmes’ boobs.

Wayne's World 2--The first one is an all-time favorite.  This one, not so much.  I read somewhere that Mike Myers initial script for this sequel was centered around Aurora Illinois seceding from the union.  That sounds phenomenal.  But apparently Paramount didn't agree and told him to re-write the script two weeks before shooting began.  Makes sense.

What About Bob--This looked good to my friend and I, and we coerced his mom into driving us to see it.  I don't think she enjoyed it but it was fun.

The Wickerman--Okay, looking back in retrospect we can all agree that this movie was a total abomination.  But for the first 80% of this movie I was totally enthralled.  I was on the edge of my seat and had no clue where this movie was going.  It sounds silly now but I was never in that much suspense watching a movie.  But where as Shutter Island did a commendable job resolving that suspense, this movie went off a cliff and into the Grand Canyon.  This movie totally flipped when Nic Cage went from frustrated cop looking for his daughter to a paranoid schizo, karate kicking old ladies while wearing a bear costume.

Wild Wild West--Don't remember much, just realizing that it was not entirely accurate to the historical record of the Ulysses S. Grant historical record.
World Trade Center--Not anything memorable, other than I think Kyle cried at the end.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Five Alarm Saturdays

Out of the blue, a blog post.

Today had it's good moments and it's bad moments.  Hmm, mostly bad but it wasn't that bad.

Alexander was somewhat fussy today.  I tried putting him down for his second nap, but he was somewhat resistant.  I left him in the crib, hoping he would eventually drift off, while drifting off eventually myself.  I woke up shortly thereafter and realized Alex was still up.  I guess he had trouble sleeping with the Five Alarm, Hall of Fame level offering in his diaper.  The stats:  more than five wipes used, a blow out, and a change of clothes.  One of the ones where it comes up under and to the front.

Took Ben for his fourth (third?) haircut.  And it was definitely the worst experience of the bunch.  The first few we went to Super Cuts.   I don't think they are accustomed to cutting kids hair?  Are they?  I don't know, but they weren't very good.  In their defense, I think I scared them at the outset both times by all but apologizing for Ben's freakout before hand.  So they worked pretty fast and just kind of cut around the edges and that definitely results in Amish style bowl-cuts that look sort of silly.

It also ended up kind of choppy and uneven, so we decided to move on to a place that is closer to my parents house.  They are pretty good--they gave me the only haircut I've been satisfied with in the past 10 years.  Because the scissor cuts turned out so bad at Stupor Cuts, I figured we should use clippers on the sides and back and then scissors on the top.  But...Ben seems to be terrified by the clippers.  

He just sort of whimpered with the scissor cuts, but he takes on a Five Alarm Freakout with the clippers.  Ben cried like he was being beaten.  Tears, runny nose, hair in his mouth, it was the Full Monty.  He tried twisting out of the chair and standing up so many times we had to take a break half way through so I could hold him to calm down.  I guess it would make more sense to just use scissors and ask them to not make it look like a bowl-cut.  Maybe I'll try that if I can ever show my face there again.  

Current TV:  Veep
Current Mood:  How I am supposed to look forward to football Sundays if the Patriots are on bye?

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Boy, Oh Boy

Looking over my infrequent posts, I see that I failed to mention that my fiance Melissa and I had a child back at the start of 2011. And if I failed to write about that one, I likely failed to mention the second child that we just had last week.

Benjamin Raymond Householder (7lbs 15oz) was born at 9:02am on January 5th, 2011. He is now big brother to Alexander Richard Householder (7lbs 14oz), who joined us at 3:31am on February 19th, 2012.*

You're reading that right. They are 13 months and 14 days apart. They call them Irish twins and they are sure to be a handful.
*Benjamin was really the only boy name we even liked the first time around. We settled on that one pretty quickly as I remember. Raymond was my paternal Grandfather's name and also my middle name. The second time around we couldn't decide. We both liked Ryan and I liked Thomas and David. We went all the way to the day Melissa's water broke before settling on Alexander. It was a nice normal traditional name and we both liked it. My dad and I are both named Richard, so he got that for a middle name.

Melissa had Ben via c-section because he was a frank breech. Beyond that it's been a good first year. He only spit up once or twice and started sleeping through the night pretty quick. We were able set a sleeping and eating schedule pretty quickly and stick to it. I cross my fingers and thank my lucky stars that he's never really been sick. He's had one ear infection and a few colds, but other than those and a bad butt rash or two he's been good--health wise.

With Alex, Melissa was able to have a natural birth. Most women can't go back to natural birth after a c-section, so high-five to her. That whole scenario--from water breaking to giving birth--is pretty wild. Once her water broke (in several stages on several spots on the floor in our apartment), we headed to the hospital for the long wait. We got there around 11:00am and 16.5 hours later, Alex decided to join us.

Having two boys so close in age seems like it's going to be pretty hectic. We've seen it so far in just a few days. But it should be rewarding in the end as we raise these two little firecrackers. So I think we'll transition this blog from the drunken stupidity that it was before to discussing our growing family. And the Red Sox. Of course. And maybe the Patriots. If I can get over the Super Bowl.
Stay tuned.

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Suck It, OPEC!

It all started when Melissa and I were driving to work a number of Mondays ago. Looking back, I'm pretty positive that I glanced down at my gas guage and noticed that I forgot to get gas like I wanted to on Sunday night. I was down to below a quarter tank. I hate getting down that far because it seems like as soon as I pass that quarter line, the gas goes faster than when it's above it. It could take a week to get from 3/4 to 1/4, but seemingly two days to get from 1/4 to having the low fuel warning light up. I hate gas guages. I hated them all the way back to when the one in my Neon stopped working and I hated the one in the Oldsmobile that bobbed back and forth depending on the incline of the road.

I didn't have time to stop before work--even if I did, I wouldn't want to go past the turn for work to Turkey Hill and then have to double back thru the vaunted Centerville Road traffic. So I settled for getting to work and getting the gas on my lunch break.

So lunch time rolls around and I make my way down to my car and head off to Turkey Hill, without really looking down at the gas guage. In my mind I knew I was below a quarter tank. It had been more than a week since I last got gas, and that's about how long I can go without playing the quarter tank game.

I pulled into Turkey Hill and started pumping gas. Depending on the price, I wanted to spend around $10, no more than $15, and end up with a half a tank. As I was watching the total sold rise exponentially faster than the gallons pumped, I cursed the $3+ cost during the holiday season.

I realized that I was going to have to go $15 at the very least to get a half a tank. So it wasn't like I was not paying attention. All of the sudden the pump clicked off, like it does when your tank is full.

As much as gas guages suck, the gas pumps themselves suck more. They are dirty and it's always a hassle to get the cashier to authorize and turn them on. The buttons for pay inside or start never work. So when the pump clicked off, I figured it was more of the same.

For a moment I thought I may have had the nozzle tipped at a bad angle. I started pumping again and almost immediately it clicked again but this time I felt gas on my hands. I looked down and it had spilled out from the gas cap. Confused, I gave it one more try and it sprayed out even further.

Right away I figured the damned pump was screwed up. It happens all the time anyway. Then I thought maybe something clogged my tank, making the gas fill up and shoot out. I looked to the display and I had only pumped $14 or about 4-5 gallons. I figured either way, I'd be somewhere near a half a tank and I didn't want to fuss with it any longer. It was freezing cold and the wind was killer. If it were clogged I could just get it looked at...I had at least a week with the gas I was actually able to get into the tank.

I went inside and paid for the gas and when I came to start the car, I wanted to pay particular attention to the gas guage. When I started the car, I figured it would settle just below the half line. To my amazement, the needle flew all the way to the right and pegged full. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was sure that I was below a quarter tank when I started and if I only put 4-5 gallons, the most I could be at was somewhere inbetween a half a tank and three quarters.

I was very confused. I was absolutely sure that I was below a quarter tank when I got to work and I was double sure that I had only pumped enough to get a half tank full. But the tank appeared to be full. Gas had leaked out from the cap and shut the pump off. The guage read full.
With that being said, only one of the following could have happened:

1. Someone stole my keys while I was at work and put gas into my car without my knowledge.

2. I got gas myself and didn't realize or remember it, an indication that I've clearly lost my damn mind.

3. In a remarkable coincidence, my gas tank was clogged AND my gas gauge went defective at the same time on the same day.

4. Turkey Hill's gas pumps are defective and they are giving more gas than the display reads.

It couldn't have been number one since I had my keys on me the whole time. And who in their right mind would do that? It couldn't have been number two because I am the least crazy person I've ever met in my life. Number three was too much of a coincidence.

That leaves number four.

But would a convenience store ever allow their gas pumps, their best source of bilking customers, go haywire? They'd have to start price gouging snack foods to make up the lost revenue. I'd hate to see it come to that, Slim Jims are the greatest food of all time.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blue Christmas...Music

Well it's once again that time of year. The Holiday Season. Family and Friends. Getting presents.

Christmas music.

All told, I cannot stand Christmas music. I could go as far as to say I despise it, but that would depend on how many times I had heard Jingle Bell Rock on that given day.

I'm not saying every Christmas song is horrible. Just 99.99% of them. Snoopy vs. the Red Baron Christmas is fantastic. The 12 Pains of Christmas is great--if only because the guys who yell "Hangovahs!" and "Stale TV Specials" both sound like Liberace. I enjoy Blue Christmas by Elvis *and* Porky Pig. I also enjoy, randomly and inexplicably, the "I Had Christmas Down in Africa" song.

The rest is trash.

The thing that gets me is the way the songs sound. If it I wasn't for the actual words connotation Christmas, would you ever listen to the songs in a million years in August? Could you imagine Jay-Z or Justin Timberlake being a star if they sang their songs in the same manner, tempo, tune or style that Andy Williams sings Silver Bells? They'd be shot without trial!

While we're at it, I might as well make a list. Under no circumstances do I want to hear any of the following:

-Thirteen different versions of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. Thirteen versions! Can you imagine hearing more than one version of MacArthur's Park or some other equally horrendous song? What makes it worse is if there is an actual version of a song that I do like, I end up hearing one of the 45 others, which means I can forget hearing the one I like for the rest of the day.

-The recording of White Christmas that Bing Crosby made on wax cylinders in his basement in 1929.

-The Figgy Pudding song. I can't even figure out what figgy pudding is, let alone wonder why the singer nearly wants to stage a sit-in unless he gets some right here.

-Anything by Josh Groban. That goes double for his non-Christmas music.

-Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton. If something is going to get me into the Christmas spirit it's definitely not this song, which sounds like Dolly trying to talk herself out of hanging herself in her barn.

And do not get me started on Christmas music with no words. Yeah, I'm talking to you Manheim Steam Rollers. What a waste! Not only are you going to waste my valuable hearing on horrible Christmas music, but you're going to compound it with instrumentals?! I might as well listen to Handl or Tchaikovsky!

I might have a better shot of avoiding it altogether, but damned if the radio at work, approx. five feet away from me, isn't playing 101.3 The Rose, Lancaster's Christmas station. Oh yeah, they play nothing but Christmas music. It started at Thanksgiving and runs all the way to New Years!

Now I'm forced to use the Zune more often, which is a pain in the rear to keep the ear phones in all the time. It also sucks that it’s not working all that properly after I slammed it a few times the other day because my lap top wasn’t recognizing it as being connected, which in turn prevented me from adding any new songs. I figured it out, but I tell you what, computers make me insane. Let’s not get into that though, that’s a whole different post altogether.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Reasons My Life is More Bizarre Than Yours, Nos. 32, 58

Reason No. 32.

Cheesey Sex Novels. A series of them have inexplicably shown up in the break room at work. No one knows where they came from. Jeff is suggesting the Janitor. But if she was going to be leaving old reading material laying around, it would probably be old copies of Dirt Devil manuals.

In any event, several of these books have shown up, each part of a series that chronicles several Native American Indians with large libidos and insatiable desires for timid white women. The covers are tastefully adorned with sterotypical Indians: shirtless, wearing full indian head dress, and shooting a bow and arrow.

What makes them so enticing and popular amongst my fellow coworkers is the particular choice of sexual terms and euphamisis they choose to use.

I must admit that I've been around my share of people with their own share of sexual vulgarity. But I've never heard anyone reference a woman's "pulsating cleft" or one's "moist channel" or either being "filled magnificently with one thrust" for that matter.

The writing reminds me of one of those horrendously delightful episodes of The Match Game, with Jeff and Jess playing the parts of Richard Dawson and Brett Somers, respectively.

Reason No. 58.

On the plus side, Youtube.com is the greatest invention of all time, on which I watched 'Rescue from Gilligan's Island.' On the minus side, I just spent ninety minutes on a Friday night watching 'Rescue from Gilligan's Island.'


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(~Maine-A-Mania MMIX~)

Note: This will probably not be a ringing endorsement for vacationing in Maine.

Richard, vacationing with the Consteins? It happened!

Well that’s a lie, not much really happened. Maine sucks and it is ridiculously expensive and we would have been better served drinking beers and cracking Michael Jackson jokes at the Fairview. It would have cost us (well, those of us who had money to begin with) less money and we could have avoided the harrowing, thirteen hour car drive and boredom that tested all of our sanity.

What follows is my recollection of the parts of six days I spent on my vacation to Maine-A-Mania MMIX. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. Everything actually happened. Nothing here is exaggerated, unlike the stories Brad began fabricating before we even started the drive home.

Holiday Roaaooooaaad

The drive up to Maine is a necessary evil. It’s cheaper than flying, especially when no one volunteers to give College gas money. But in trade for saving some money, you give up any form or semblance of comfort. There is never any leg room, even if you are in the front seat and put your legs up on the dashboard. I don’t care how big the vehicle is, when you cram six people into it, it’s going to be bad. It’s long, it’s unforgiving, and you can’t wait for it to be over. Like every Eagles season.

If any further proof was needed, you should have just seen us any time we pulled into a rest stop. We rolled out of the car looking like we just finished a two out of three falls match with The Natural Disasters.

Beyond that, the trip up was for the most part an unmitigated disaster, due in part to two things: construction traffic jams; and the horrid, putrid smell of Brad’s moccasins.

We started with a minor setback, waiting for Red and getting on the road two hours late. Pushing on, we were making terrific progress. That is, until we entered the not so great state of New Jersey. There, inexplicably, we managed to get into three different construction zone traffic jams. Not that there was any hint of construction going on in two of the three "work zones." Each time they consolidated the highway into one lane. Somehow there was enough traffic on a Tuesday night to turn each spot into a freaking parking lot. It easily added one and half to two hours to the trip. Not good times in New Jersey, and the Nets and Devils both suck.

The second, and decidedly more unbearable, aspect of the drive up that left something to be desired was the wreaking stench emanating from Brad’s so called moccasins. They were really just some old pair of house slippers, but under any name they packed an eye watering punch. And we are ignoring the fact that his underwear was just a pair of black and white striped TGI Friday’s cook pants.

Along the way, we noticed that something was polluting the air inside of the car, but we couldn’t quite place it. It was so bad that we literally had to have the windows down, or it would begin to overpower us, like so much billowing mustard gas. Eric’s girlfriend Natalia was the first to figure that it was coming from Brad. He blamed the odor on the other pair of clothes he had, which were smelly because he had just got them back from lending them to a guy named Sherman, who needed them for work.

While that may have explained why his clothes smelled, it didn’t excuse the fact that he was A) lending and borrowing clothes from another man; B) not washing them upon getting them back; C) putting those unwashed clothes in a plastic bag and taking them as his only other outfit on a vacation; and D) unaware that it was the vile house slippers the entire time anyway.

I’m not sure how they would have become so nauseatingly awful smelling. He claimed in might have been wearing them for weeks on end in the Lancaster heat with no socks. That might explain it, but it doesn’t excuse it.

I can assure you, print description does not do it justice. You would have to smell inside of the moccasins, like I did, to fully appreciate how bad something could smell. How often do you smell something so noxious, that it actually almost makes you throw up? It was so bad, Brad had to stash the moccasins in the garage of the place in which we were staying. As far as I can tell he left them there, so if I were Donna I wouldn’t count on getting back that security deposit.

The Rain in Maine Falls Mainly on the Plain

After the Durango Ride From Hell, Kyle and I were too far out of it and delirious with lack of sleep, that we ended up having no desire or energy to do anything the first two days. It didn’t help that after driving the entire way, we couldn’t rest immediately because we were unsure of where exactly we would be sleeping.

Initially,we were told that we were staying in a nice house right near the place that Gary, Donna, Bill, Mama, Beth, Chloe the dog, Stacey and her two kids. When we arrived, we found that the lady who ran the house in which we were going to stay was not answering her phone. The very real fear existed that we would have to cram (when you count Brad, Eric, Natalia, Matt, Kyle and myself) a mix of 14 people and one dog into a house that was never meant to hold or sleep more than about eight. The place was nice, but there was no way we would co-exist in a place that, if someone was showering on the third floor, it eliminated the possibility of having running water in any other portion of the house. Also factoring in to the panic, the place was not wired for cable and the antennae wasn’t getting any reception.

Luckily, the housing shortage was fixed after Eric made a few calls, the last of which saw him posing as former N.L. MVP and All-Star third baseman, Ken Caminiti. It seemed there was a miscommunication in regard to which time the house would be ready, with a difference of a mere four hours. In any event, a potential disaster was avoided.

Just when we thought the vacation was underway, it was hampered by poor weather. You’d think, it’s July and the weather would be nice in the middle of the summer, but it was not in Maine. The first two days we ran into constant rainstorms and 40 degree weather. Luckily, I had the trusty Adidas hooded sweatshirt. Otherwise I would have ended up like Kyle, who ended up having to buy a pair jeans at the local Wal-Mart.

Most normal people try lobster while visiting Maine. It’s one of the best areas for it. When I went up in 2004, I had a lobster roll, which was nothing more than lobster meat topped with lemon juice on a Kaiser roll. It was one of the five or six best things I’ve ever eaten in my life and I wanted to try it again. Seemed simple enough.

The first night, we went to a steak house. While the steak was good, it was nothing you couldn’t have got in Lancaster for one third the price. After eating, we had to figure out how to divide and cover the check, which might as well have been advanced calculus. It was sort of like the math equations they talked about in Sneakers. In the movie, the equations are so elaborate and difficult, that you can only solve them with the help of a code. In this case, the code was the portion of the bill belonging to Brad and Matt, who managed to contribute $10, even though it barely covered their two shots of Kamikaze. On a side note, we showed up with Gary, Donna, and Mama and met with Bill, Beth Stacy, and her two kids. But it turns out they just got a table for themselves and we had to put our names on the list and wait.

The next day we went to Bar Harbor, a nice little tourist spot. As you can imagine, it’s a bunch of bars and eateries built around a harbor. There are also a lot of gift shops. My favorite was the one place with the audacity to have bowls and bongs for sale under a glass display. They even had the nerve to advertise them as tobacco devices. There was a gas mask attached to a bong on sale that someone probably should have bought, at least for comedy’s sake, but the $75 price tag was a little steep. But that follows suit very nicely compared to the outlandish prices of everything else. A bottle of Heineken? $4.95. Maine Summer Port Ale, which as far as I know could have been made in a basement bathtub? $5.06. It was like drinking at a baseball game.

So Kyle, Brad, Matt, Eric, Natalia, and I get there, and head to this bar & restaurant called Geddy’s, which is nothing more than a crowded, narrow room, with prices that would make Hooter’s blush, where we were supposed to meet up with Gary, Donna, and the rest.

I guess they decided they could not wait, because when we got there, they had decided to seat themselves. Just a total breakdown of communication, that should probably should have been blamed on Brad, but when does anyone go on vacation with a group of people, but, at every turn, leave them hanging? Who tells someone that they are going to meet them at a certain place for dinner, arrive at said place, and they get seats just for themselves and say screw you to the other group? Did they want to eat at the same place, but just not in sight of us?? If that was their plan, how we would even meet up later in the evening if we had to go elsewhere and get on a wait list???

Eric, Natalia, Kyle and I decided to leave, while Matt and Brad decided to stay back and save their dollar (emphasis on singular) and pick from their parents’ plate.

As I mentioned, there were restaurants and bars everywhere. In an area known for great lobster and fresh seafood, where do we end up? You guessed it, a pizzeria. We each got two slices of pizza and a beer, for just $12 each. As we walked into the pizza place, I lamented not being able to get the Lobster Roll. I asked Kyle where we could get one and he wasn’t sure. I asked him if we there was any chance the pizza place would have them. It might not be as good as one you’d get in a real dining restaurant, but it would do. Kyle yelled that it was a pizza place and that, as it seemed, was that.

Resigned to eating pizza that was equal in quality, but double in price of anything I could get in Lancaster County, we ordered and sat down. After eating, Kyle and I were waiting for Eric and Natalia to come out. Standing outside the door, I looked up in the pizzeria window, and noticed a sign that read, "Lobster Roll - $6.50."

Men Behaving Badly

It didn’t take long for recreational drugs to make their presence known. The trip was only a few miles old when I looked back and noticed one person trying to do a certain drug off of a bootleg copy of WrestleMania 25, if you can believe that. I guess my shocked reaction looked amusing, because it made that person start laughing. Which as you might have guessed, sent white powder flying everywhere. Not willing to see it go to total waste, the other person just grabbed him and started sniffing wildly at his shirt. I’m withholding the one person’s name in case someone from the United States Air Force is reading, and I’ll withhold the second person’s name in case Frank Schwartz is reading.

After that initial outburst, things for the most part quieted down. Aside from a few wisecracks directed towards Mama and Brad sunning with his shirt off, people behaved. Then on the final day we had a flare up.

The last day started out well with a trip over the Gary and Donna’s house for a cookout. We followed that with a wiffle ball home run derby, then College and I used an entire box of matches and a full newspaper to get a fire started. In the evening, we left for Bar Harbor once again, as Eric wanted to check out some bar that he heard was pretty cool.

And the bar was sort of cool. They had the Red Sox post game show on the television. I ordered two beers and two Rocky Mountain MF’ers for Brad and I, but the bartender didn’t know to make the shot, so he ended up throwing something together and charging me just $10 total. Either he f’ed up pretty good, or he just skimped us on the alcohol and didn’t feel right totally robbing me.

It was at this bar where the night took a turn for the worse. After making idle threats of destroying the bathroom all night long, one of our party decided to swoop into action as I was urinating in the stall. He went for some pictures hanging on the wall, but they must have dealt with his type of shenanigans before, because they appeared to be bolted to the wall. Not satisfied, he decided to smash the picture glass with a few elbows that would have made Randy Savage smile. Glass went flying everywhere and the sound of it shattering echoed throughout the bathroom. It was our cue to leave. On the way back to the stool, we tried to stifle our laughter, but the others caught on pretty quick. The perpetrator took the others back to show what happened, and more glass was shattered.

Somewhere along the way, Natalia met some girls who suggested we go to another bar up the street. After the glass breaking fiasco was over, we decided to check it out. It turned out to be a shmozz. It was kind of shoddy, not unlike the Fairview Tavern. It also ended up being very lame, not unlike the Fairview Tavern. All of the guys looked like the type that would hit on your girlfriend when you were in the bathroom. The girls that Natalia had met weren’t even there, not that anyone was real broken up over that anyway.

We stayed for a beer and hightailed it out of there. But not before stopping for another bathroom break. I waited with one Constein brother outside of the bathroom, while the aforementioned Constein brother from the last bar was inside creating havoc. If you didn’t know any better, you might have heard the sounds and assumed a bull had been locked in the bathroom. But a bull might have done less damage. Finally, the door opened and we looked inside. Glass Cleaner? Broken in half and its contents spilled everywhere. Soap dispenser? Torn off the wall and in the trashcan. Giant paper towel dispenser that seemed impossible to tear from the wall? Lying in the toilet. It was quite impressive, really. Even as we were trying to leave, he tried to pull the toilet paper dispenser off the wall. But the door was wide open and were able to drag him away before anyone could spot us.

On the way back to the car, we were walking up an alley, when some guy ran through our crowd and was eyeing up Natalia, who had gotten ahead of our group. As the guy was about to say something to her, Matt yelled out, calling him a homo. They guy stopped running and waited for Matt to come up to him. As Matt was trying to explain to the guy that Natalia wouldn’t appreciate him saying anything, the guy pushed Matt. Laughing in his face, Matt lunged back towards him, but was pulled away by Brad and Eric. The guy wasn’t very big, maybe a little tall but skinny. He looked like he wanted to make another move, but appeared to quickly realize it would have been one on five, so he backed off and didn’t say anything.

As we were getting into the car, we say a few guys sprinting into the alley, presumably coming to his aide. If they were a minute quicker we could have had a back alley brawl the likes of Piper-Goldust from Wrestlemania XI or at the very least an elimination style grudge match that would have rivaled the All-American Team vs. the Foreign Fanatics from Survivor Series ’94--with Brad playing the part of Lex Luger, naturally.

It was pretty wild. Just know that it happened this way, just in case you hear Brad bragging that he got in the guys face, or rolled him and stole his wallet. It ended up being a fitting end to our trip to Maine. It was either that or later in the evening when Brad clogged the toilet.

Remembered Quotes:

-Matt Constein

"Any word on Dan?"
-Gary, wondering if Dan was showing up or not.

"Brad, you lying sack of shit!"
-Kyle, but it was on all of our minds, really.

"It probably sounds really disgusting, but I can actually smell it."
Richard, in regard to any variety of things.

"Any word on Dan?"
-Matt, wondering if Dan was showing up or not.

"A hee Hee!"
Everyone at least 100 times

"Any word on Dan?"
-Brad, wondering if Dan was showing up or not.

"When it’s over, can I still come over!?"
-Brad, at the end of an overtime NHL Hitz game, foreshadowing future conversations with Karen.

"And the number one reason why A-Rod won’t make the Hall of Fame….he left the bases juiced! A haha hee hee!"
-Eric/Dave Letterman.

"Chicken go cluck cluck, cow go moo, rooster go caw-caw, how bout you!?"
Kyle, who had clearly lost his mind.

"I guess Dan isn’t coming…"
Gary, on the last day, almost giving up hope.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

message bored culture

The sort of people you find on just about any sports message board throw me for a loop. They can be as snotty and ignorant as anyone at your local yacht club or high school hall way. If you haven’t made your third disection of the Cowboys defensive end depth chart of the week or your post count hasn’t reached numbers rivaling Pete Rose’s hit totals, you may find yourself ostracized from the in crowd.

Maybe it’s that the people who reak havok on the message boards never made it past high school football, or that they crave a job in the sports world, but never made it in either. I think it's funny that people would think so highly of themselves based on their productivity on a message board. I won’t lie, I think it would be great to be a sports writer or work in the sports field in some capacity. But I never saw the message boards as a way to get your foot in the door. Even if it was, most of the people that live on those boards are not willing to allow new people to participate in the conversation.

At the Sons of Sam Horn site, a gathering place for Red Sox fans, you can’t even join the main message board until you prove yourself on the "junior" or "minor league" board or whatever they are calling in these days. I gave it a try on the junior board last year. I made a few posts but then I realized that didn’t have the time or desire to prove to the moderators that my Red Sox aptitude was up to their lofty standards. I was just looking for a Sox-themed board where I could enjoy reading about the team, maybe strike up a few chats, and hopefully get some information out of Boston, since I live all the way down in Pennsylvania. But, as it is at most boards, it’s not about discussing the Red Sox or having fun, it’s about taking yourself much too seriously.

At the Sons of the Sports Guy Bill Simmons "tribute" board they do not take kindly to new faces either. They actually have classifications for new people to the board, which get listed under your user name whenever you post. I made my first post and was put under "Doug Christie" classification. After I made a few more I got the "pretty whorey" moniker, which I assume means I only stop by for a quickie, violating some unwritten rule that I must spend X amount of my time and energy at the board. Anyways, whenever I do post there, the responses I get are more like an angry parent talking down to a troublesome child. Perish the thought that I would try to add to the conversation. When I posed the question of why the people there read his columns when they obviously hate his writing, I was flame- bombed as a "newbie" or "noob." I also made the unfathomable mistake of making a double post, which drew the ire and rage of nearly everyone reading. I think I got two pages of responses directing unspeakable hate towards me. It was like I was the kid who reminds the teacher that they forgot to assign homework. Angry or condescending responses are something you better get used to when working your way through the boards.

The message board, so to speak, that irks me the most is the comments section at Profootballtalk.com. It's really a glorified blog posing as a legitimate news source run by Mike Florio. When I first found the site, I really liked it and checked it often. It was something new and fresh when compared to the more corporate ESPN website. But the more I read from the posters, the less I could stomach the site. If you read through the comments section, you can find the usual chatter from the holier than thou regulars, along with their undying hatred of the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick. I can understand the hatred, as successful as the Patriots have been, but it seems to border on obsession. To his credit, Florio baits them with a story and the ill will immediately starts. They exhalted with glee when Brady went down with an ACL injury last year and knighted the man who injured him. They called out Belichick as a cheat and a rat who does whatever he pleases after an April Fools joke that he had released the Patriots upcoming schedule early. I hate the Yankees, Steelers, and Alex Rodriguez, but I never found it appealing to go to a message board and rip them incessantly. Before you call me a Boston homer who's crying about guys ragging on my teams, know they also found reason to joke about and make fun of the football players who lost their lives in the boating tragedy off the Florida coast earlier this year.

So what can you expect when you foray into the world of sports message boards?

Expect a cold shoulder. Watch guys expend entirely too much energy trashing a successful player. Look for the guy padding his resume with his post count before he sends it off to the local sports section. And by all means, expect hell, fire, and brimstone if you accidentally click send twice.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Food Pantheon

I am sure this is just the start of me stealing ideas from Bill Simmons, which will ultimately end as a copy cat anthology. But he's not reading, so on with it.

Without further ado, here is a list of my all time favorite things to eat, the Food Pantheon. It goes to show, until recently, just how unhealthy my eating habits used to be.

No. 5 Hot-Z Pizza with Black Olive and Pineapple

This was a favorite during the stretch where we would frequent Underground beneath the Columbia Hot-Z. I always thought their pizza was quite underrated. And I don't want to hear about some sloppy pie from the local Italian shop, this is a close second to the thin crusts I used to make when I worked at Dominos. Admittedly it was not the most popolar combo, but it had the perfect confluence of great tasting pizza, bland olives and fruity pineapple. As if I were the only human to ever try it, this was almost worth ordering just to see people look at me like I was an alien.

No. 4 Grand Central/Manhattan Bagel's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Even when they forgot to leave off the coleslaw (which happened a little too often), this was and is the best version of the buffalo chicken sandwhich I have come across. Chicken, blue cheese dressing, crisp lettuce, and buffalo sauce on bagel, sesame seed or asiago roll. Nicely packed in a little box with a pickle wedge and your choice of macaroni salad, apple sauce, or chips. I love this sandwhich. I've had it for lunch at work more times than I really care to count. But in the interest of being thorough, I'd say it's a fair estimate to say that I had it every day for at least six months. And that is being very conservative. When you add that up, thats five days a week, 20 times a month for six months, at $6.50 a pop, totalling $780.00. That's only $120 less than what I was paying for my car during that stretch. And you wonder how they were able to make that expansion when they changed names to Grand Central.

No. 3 Green Chile Beef & Bean Burrito

Every weekend I'd leave the bar with a hearty appetite and stop at Turkey Hill to grab this killer masterpiece. With a whopping 670 calories, 26 grams of fat, and 1,870 mg of sodium, aside from eating rat poison, this might be the most unhealthy food you could ever eat. But when you add a grab bag of Salt N' Vinegar chips and a Mountain Dew to wash it all down, it's hard to find anything that better caps off a night of binge drinking.

No. 2 Tomato and Mayonaise Sandwich

I've probably eaten more these than any other food in my life. Sliced tomato with mayonaise on white bread. And enough salt to de-ice a highway. I actually started off using Miracle Whip then switched to mayonaise. After my mom told me there were about three times as many calories in mayo, I tried switching back in an attempt to eat healthier. But much like trying to come back to Bud Light after going to Miller Lite, it just isn't the same. I easily ate 2-3 of these a day during summer breaks back in high school.

No. 1 My Mother’s Home Made Noodles

My all time favorite food, made by my mother for as long as I can remember. As far as I can tell, it is just water mixed with flour, rolled into a noodle, and cooked in a pot with chicken broth. It looks like it’s a tremendous pain in the butt to make, and I guess that’s why she doesn’t make it as often as anymore. I usually only get it on my birthday these days, but it’s still good enough to rank number one in my all time favorite food pantheon. Even during that one year when my mother inexplicably thought that I liked it mixed with mashed potatoes.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Conspiracy Theory Pt. 1

I intended to write this on Saturday, which was the actual 45 th anniversary of the JFK assassination, but Hershey Park and Heineken got in the way, so here we are four days later.

I've never been that dedicated of a student, from grade school through most of college. I never really bothered to study anything or make a concerted effort to master most of the stuff I was taught. I liked history, even majored in it, but nothing outside of the 20th century ever interested me all that much. But if I were ever accused of being an expert on one thing, it would be the JFK assassination. I can remember finding a copy of the November 23rd, 1963 ed. of the Elwood City Ledger at my Grandmother's house and being hooked ever since. I've poured over every conspiracy theory, every book, every TV special, and every documentary over the years that I could probably make an impromptu presentation on the subject, replete with diagrams and the overhead projector slides that I still have from college.

At the outset I was a loyal conspiracy theorist. I ranged from believing, at the very least, Lee Harvey Oswald being one of the shooters and part of a grand plot, to Oswald being totally innocent. There were serious doubts that Oswald alone fired from the Book Depository behind Kennedy. Evidence seemed to suggest there was at least one shooter on the grassy knoll, perhaps even 2-3 more gunmen hidden throughout Dealy Plaza. There were too many funky inconsistencies in mind to justify one shooter.

The Warren Commission found that Oswald got off three shots from the Book Depository behind the President with an old rifle in about five seconds. Such a short window of opportunity to get off the unbelievably accurate shots. The so-called "Magic Bullet" that traveled through Kennedy's back and throat, through Texas Governor John Connally's back, chest, then through his wrist, and finally lodging into his left thigh. One bullet caused seven wounds through two men, and was found in Parkland Hospital in nearly "pristine" condition. The Warren Commission even had the nerve to publish test photos of bullets shot through goat cadavers that were almost totally smashed and flattened. Then the final fatal head shot, that saw Kennedy's head explode and snap violently back and to the left, which would indicate to most that the head shot came from the front and to the right--in the direction of the grassy knoll.

Afterwards, several witnesses said they heard more than three shots, and some may have come from directions away from Oswald's supposed Book Depository sniper's nest. If you look at film taken during the assassination you can see hoards of people running up the knoll, where they thought the shots had come from. Police officer Marion Baker, in his own estimation, came across Oswald in the second floor lunch room of the Book Depository a maximum of 90 seconds after the final shot was fired. He confirmed Oswald was an employee and proceeded further into the building. Baker said Oswald did not show any signs of nervousness or apprehension, which is odd considering he has shot the most powerfull man on the planet, run down four flights of stairs, and directly into a cop, all within a minute and a half. It was said Oswald then left the building and took a bus home to grab his jacket and revolver. Oswald would then proceed to shoot Dallas police officer J.D. Tippet on his way to sneaking into a movie theatre, where he would be later caught and arrested. While in custody, Oswald would profess his innocence in the Kennedy and Tippet murders, all the while calling himself a "patsy," furthering the notion that he was the fall guy left to take the rap for a larger faction.

None of the ballistic evidence made any sense. None of Oswald's actions made any sense. The prevailing thought amongst non-believers was that, even if there was no conspiracy in place, the Warren Commission settled on the scenario that Oswald did the shooting alone from the Book Depository at the begginning and their investigation ignored any evidence that pointed elswhere. That belief put a serious cloud over the quality and legitimacy of the official investigation and its finding that Oswald was the sole gunman. And once you have trouble believing the investigation was done in good faith, it's not a big jump to think they had other motives in mind. Especially when Oswald ends up being shot and killed—while in police custody—by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby, a man considered to be at least a low-level gangster and at best having high-ranking mob ties. It is argued by conspiracy theorists that Ruby silenced Oswald before he could tell the police of his role in a larger plot.

I've read nearly every conpiracy minded book possible. Their objections range from questions regarding Oswald's ability to get three shots off in the time frame allowed, the near impossibility of the Magic Bullet causing seven wounds in Kennedy and Connally and ending up virtually undamaged, to Oswald's activities while living in Russia and being a professed Communist.

If not Oswald then, who else would have a vested interest in removing Kennedy from office? The list of suggested conspirators are long and varied:

-Mobsters, angry with the Kennedy administration for waging war against organized crime, including interfering in Mafia-controlled gambling industries in Cuba
-Fidel Castro, angry that the US had helped anti-Castro Cuban exiles try to invade Cuba and for US plots to assassinate him
-Anti-Castro Cubans, angry that Kennedy had decided at the last second to not provide air cover during the Bay of Pigs invasion
-Renegade elements in the CIA and Armed Forces, angry at Kennedy for stripping the CIA of the majority of it's powers after the Bay of Pigs incident and for his unwillingness to escalate US involvement in Vietnam, respectively
-Business interests like Bell Helicopter, who stood to lose billions of dollars if the US were to not persue heavier involvement in Vietnam

With motives so closely tied to one another, it's easy to see how they can fuel ideas of grand collaboration and wide reaching conspiracy with several or all of the above listed groups. And all of which Oswald may or may not have been connected with. At different points of his life, he has been tied to pro-Castro and anti-Castro causes. He served in the Army and may or may not have been working with the CIA at the time of the assassination, something many theorists believe. While living in Texas, Oswald socialized with engineers from Bell Helicopter.
But if there is one work that is the flag bearer for conspiracy theory thought, it is surely Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK. The movie is a big screen send up of the investigation of Jim Garrison into Oswald's dealings in New Orleans, LA in the year or so prior to the assassination, but also incorporates most every other theory (except those involving Chuck Norris) that has been thrown out. The movie follows Oswald's involvement with the aforementioned pro- and anti- Castro Cubans, Mafia, big business interests, and shadowy CIA and military figures as he is recruited as the scapegoat for the murder of the President. As a pro-conspiracy buff, it's the ultimate example you could show someone in hopes of drawing them to your side of the fence and works quite well for those who get their history from the movies and TV. It's unfortunate that the majority of the facts in the movie are fudged or outright incorrect, but it's a great piece of film-work, regardless.

But for every one plausible theory, there are three to four that eclipse it in sheer outrageousness. I have come across several books and videos over the years with such ludicrous stories like these:

-The Texas bounty hunter who taught Ruby and Oswald to use rifles and was persuaded by Lyndon Johnson to keep the story quiet during a skinny dip
-The Parkland Hospital doctor who got a phone call from Johnson in the ER, asking him to keep any medical evidence that might indicate a shot from the front to himself
-The shadowy intelligence agent who recruited Oswald to fake an assassination attempt on Kennedy to get the President to increase security measures. Then actually shot the President himself in order to pin it on Oswald.

Presented with the above information (minus the more silly theories), it might be enough to convince you that there was a conspiracy, or at least make you hesistant to deny the possibility. So I became an adamant believer of Oswald's innocence. The chances of the Magic Bullet causing seven wounds was a little too hard to believe. The backwards head snap seemed to prove the fatal shot came from the front not the back. I had trouble buying that Oswald was able to shoot the President and then race down four floors of stairs and run into a police office and not just freak out a little. Tests taken on his hands failed to show that he had fired a weapon. Initially, police were unable to find fingerprints on his gun. It seemed to leave at least some reasonable doubt that he might not have even fired a gun. When you throw in the Mob/Ruby, CIA, Bell Helicopter, and Castro connections, it seems like the perfect storm for a conspiracy.

So why now, after so many years of believing in conspiracy, do I think Oswald did the entire shooting by himself with no collaboration?...coming in part 2.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Paradise Lost or the 2008 New England Patriots

Earlier this year, after the Patriots had defeated the Chargers in the AFC Championship game, I was quite elated. The Patriots were 18-0 and looked to have lucked out by getting the NY Giants in the Super Bowl.

That was nine months ago, and it might as have been nine years ago. In their next two games, they blew the Super Bowl with a stunning loss to the Giants and then lost Tom Brady for the season with a disasterous ACL injury in this year's season opener.

How the mighty have fallen. The days of last fall where they had 49 points at half time against Miami, or at one point led the RedSkins 52-0, are long gone.

The loss of Brady, more than anything, has magnified how bad the defense and offensive line have become. Last year, those two units were showing signs of slipping, but when you had Tom Brady throwing 50 touchdowns it was a little easy to gloss over. How bad could the defense be when they were winning games by 49 points? How much of a sieve could the offensive line be when Brady was zinging passes to Wes Welker across the slot or fifty yards downfield to Randy Moss?

With a defensive front that, on paper, would appear to the best three man unit in the NFL, they cannot even put up a facade of a pass rush. Their corners are beatable from play to play. With an offensive line that sent three players to last years Pro Bowl, they can't provide any sort of run blocking.

The bigger problem is Matt Cassel as Brady's replacement. What's killing the offense, more than his inability to hit a receiver in stride, or his ability to throw passes directly into defender's hands, or his rampant over and under throwing, is the coaching staff's complete lack of confidence in allowing Cassel to throw the ball downfield. Last year the Patriots set any number of offensive records by slinging the ball deep to Randy Moss. This year with Cassel, they have successfully thrown deep to Moss once, a 66 yard touchdown to Moss against the meager 49ers. The other handfull of times they have allowed him to try, he has grossly underthrown or overthrown Moss. He also has shown a proficiency at holding on to the ball entirely too long, leading to sacks, fumbles, and spending an inordinate amount of time running for his life. All coming from a guy, who seemed destined to be cut after a putrid preseason.

Now, with Cassel at quarterback, the offense has become totally inept. Laurence Maroney couldn't find a hole to run through with global positioning device. Not that he can stay healthy for two weeks in a row anyway. Wes Welker has come down to earth after catching more than 100 balls last year. Moss has been relegated to running routes with no real zeal because he has no real expectation that the ball can make it to him.

The normally wise Gary Constein would tell me that no one player makes a team. That there are 22 guys out there to decide a game, win or lose. But with the loss of one player, the Patriots have proverbally gone from a silk purse to a sow's ear.

Current Mood: Well, the Red Sox better win tomorrow.
Current TV: Chargers 30, Patriots 3

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trying Not to Waste My Vacation

I cashed in my vacation at work and I am off for 11 days. That I was able to score the vacation at all was a minor miracle. But the bigger challenge is going to be for me to use the time wisely.

I originally had planned to go to Florida. But when I moved into the apartment, that was no longer financially possible. I haven't been on a real vacation since I went to Canada in 2000. So with no real plans, I am going to be around town for nearly a week and a half. I'm hoping to get a new job in the near future, so I figured it would be alot easier to get it all out of the way sooner than later.

That's not to say I have nothing to do. I have my TGI Fridays fantasy football draft and College Boy's annual Labor Day picnic on Sunday. I was hoping to try a little pitch n putt and my birthday is on Saturday. The NFL also starts up next weekend, so there is a chance of having some actual fun. I could also use the time to rest up my aching body.

The thing is, I'm not getting any younger. I always get the feeling that I'm wasting my golden years. So, I am kind of counting on having some great memories in the next 11 days. In reality, I just hope I don't end up stuck in the house, watching TV and annoying girls on Myspace the entire time.

DAY ONE - Saturday August 30th, 2008

I woke up with a slight hangover after having a few beers at the Fairview Tavern Friday night. Nothing major, I was able to wake up at a reasonable hour and have coffee and an english muffin. From there, I finished my game of College Football's National Championship on *Sega Genesis*.

Later in the afternoon, I watched a good portion of a Coach marathon that ran all day. It's kind of hokey, one of the games they were playing in was called the Pop Corn Bowl. Overall not a bad show, though. The thing about Coach is, what in the world happened to the people on that show? I can't remember anything from Craig T. Nelson or the guy who played Luther. After checking the internet, I did find that the tall guy who played the moron Dauber is actually the voice of Patrick on SpongeBob Square Pants. That's fairly interesting, but I'm sure that anyone who knows him as Patrick has no clue who Dauber is, and anyone who knows him from Coach has never seen SpongeBob. It works for nostalgia purposes I guess.

By evening, I had hit the proverbial wall. Although you could probably say that I already hit it head on, right before watching 3 hours of the Coach marathon. I spent the majority of the evening on the internet before watching the Red Sox - White Sox game on WGN. I soon tired of that and went grocery shopping.

Let's take a moment here. I'm still pretty young, in age, if not particularly feeling it. I like to have fun, I like to hang out. I spent a Saturday night in the prime of my life...grocery shopping. I'm 27 right? Did I wake up after a 30 year nap and not realize it? I looked around and the only people in Redner's were senior citizens. Next thing you know, i'll be playing Bingo with Aunt Shirley and Grandma Granny.

It was kind of a downer, but in retrospect the likely alternative was probably going out to the bar . I've sort of mellowed out on going to the bar in my older years. I've come to realize that it's a giant waste of money and ultimately a hazard to your health, in several more ways than one.
So, it's safe to say that I am not off to a good start. Tomorrow looks to be better. Fantasy drafts are usually a lot of fun and College Boy's cook outs always seem to offer up something memorable. I hope.

DAY TWO - Sunday August 31st, 2008

We had our annual TGI Fridays fantasy football draft at Annie Bailey's in downtown Lancaster. AB's is one of those old style designed Irish Pubs. It's a nice place and it looks real old. It's also one of those places that screams, "We're Irish!" which follows the trend these days of people getting on their high horse and drinking Guiness like maniacs. Which isn't a bad thing, but I didn't see anyone waving their Ireland flag until it became en vouge.

I picked up Brad at his place and we met up with the old gang. I was surprised that there was none of the old hostility with Blymeir and Eric or myself. We never got along all that well. Shane was his usual hilarious self and Brad was at the very least on marajuana, if not a combination of that and a few other things. Anyway, my team looks decidedly average. Should be good for 7-10 wins and a playoff spot, so I'll be happy, I think. I've got alot of depth. Of course, my centerpiece is Thomas Brady. He alone should get me three wins.

Afterwards, we ventured over to College Boy's Labor Day cook out, where there is usually something to remember. Like the one time Kyle danced with his pants and underwear at his ankles, or when Josh and he smashed their heads together, or when they tricked me into wearing a woman's bathing suit. There was nothing like that this time, but it was fun. It's funny, when we go to these things there is always a divide, where Kate's family is on one side and Kyle's family and me are on the other. I don't blame them, I think they are a little put off by the beer, cigarettes, and sports arguments. Even more so, by the Royal Rumble that we had in the yard last time. We were giving each other leg drops and clotheslines and we were drilling each other with lawn chairs.

I did get into my contractually obligated sports and politics arguments with Gary Constein. I informed him that Manny Ramirez sucks, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, both the Red Sox and Patriots are winning championships this year, and that the National League should be renamed AAAA Baseball. I also argued that President Bush is not a bad president, and Barrack Obama doesn't have a magic wand that is going to change gas prices, and that the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power. I don't think I changed his mind on anything, and he did call me an asshole afterwards, but it was fun, if not entertaining for anyone listening.

We ended up drinking a lot of Molson Canadian (i'll never learn), making fun of each other (always a blast), and playing horeshoes (???). Overall it was a lot of fun, even if the volleyball net was broken and we didn't even try to rig it back up. Eventually I was the last one left. Mark called and said there was an End of the Summer Party at Trio.

So after all that, I went down to the Trio (not a very good decision) to see what the party would look like. I tried to wade my way through the hoard of people on the deck, until I realized that I knew absolutely no one and decided to go back to the bar. I had a beer there and chatted with Amanda and Kelley for a while, then decided to have a shot of tequila. I really never learn. I took that and decided to go back to the deck to see if anyone that I actually knew had shown up. One the way, I happened upon a table of food that I guess the bar or the organizer of the party had laid out for everyone. At least I hope it was for everyone, because I had about 10 of the steak, mushroom, green pepper, and onion shishkabobs. They were delicious and I devoured them, even if the people who walked by looked at me like I was a lion eating a raw gazelle. A few of the looks were a little too condescending and the tequilla was starting to set in, so I figured it was a good time to get home.

I did get home fine and dandy, but I have little memory of the rest of the evening. On the upside, a quick check of MySpace and Facebook showed that I didn't leave any potentially embarrassing comments to any girls, but on the downside, I have at the very least a sprained foot, which ultimately could be a broken fourth toe. Don't know what happened there.

We'll call day two a success, if only because it was a hell of a lot better than Saturday.

DAY THREE - Monday September 1st, 2008

Needless to say, after last night's transgressions, Monday ended up being a rest day. Other than doing laundry, which was way overdue, not a lot went down.

I woke up with quite a hangover. Dragged myself to the kitchen for a little breakfast, then began the always nervous search to make sure I didn't lose my cell phone, keys, contacts, or wallet. Luckily everything was safe and sound.

There was nothing to watch on television, for which there is little excuse. Any time someone has off for a holiday, there should be back to back to back awesome movies on TV. But there was nothing of note, so as I feared, I spent a good part of the day on the internet.

After a long nap, I went over to my parents house, for their "cookout." Which was okay, only if you didn't mind that all the food was cooked five hours beforehand. And since I felt like shit the whole day anyway, it didn't take very well regardless. My Aunt Joyce was over with her beau, but I didn't see her all that much, because the sunlight was affecting me like it would a vampire. Going did allow me to have this exchange with my three year old neice, Tianna:

Tianna: My shirt has a red butterfly and a blue butterfly...
Me: That's pretty, where did you get it?
Tianna: I got this t shirt at Ocean City, Maryland
Me: Oh yeah, what's down there? (thinking beach, boardwalk)
Tianna: T shirts.

Maybe you had to be there, but her response was dead pan, like, "haven't you been paying attention!?"

I felt a little better after taking a shower and was able to relax the rest of the night. Got to watch the Red Sox beat the Orioles and chilled out. Overall, i'd liken Monday to Brady going 17-30, 178 yards passing, 1 TD and a fumble. Economical. I was going to have today paid off anyway, so I'm content.

DAY FOUR - Tuesday September 2nd, 2008

Well, it was bound to happen. A day where nothing was accomplished. A boring, lazy day where no memories were created.

I woke up early and had breakfast as usual. Then I watched Sportscenter and checked out Patriots and Red Sox news on the Boston Globe website.

Later, I went to Turkey Hill to pick up a copy of the USA Today. Came home, had a roast beef sandwhich and watched 4-6 episodes of Married...With Children on You Tube.

After waking from another nap, I figured I didn't want the day to be a total waste, so I went out to Ollie's Bargain Outlet and Borders to see if there were any books available that I could mow through over vacation. If you've ever been to Ollie's book section, you'd know that, while the prices are hard to beat, the book selection is for shit. There was nothing there, unless you fancied Faithfull from horror master Stephen King and nameless hack Stewart O'Nan on audio cassestte. Border's had the bigger selection of quality books, but lacked the cheap price tag that I was looking for.

Anyways, while I was at Ollie's, Fries called from Trio and asked me to come out. I went out for a handfull of beers, where we discussed taxes, Presidental candidates, and sports. We took the party home and tried to play Sega Genesis while drunk, which didn't work out all that well. Fries ended up running to the bathroom in the middle of it all to yak, so it was a nice capper to the evening.

So, we'll call day four a total wash.

DAY FIVE - Wednesday September 3rd, 2008

Today meant getting rid of another slight hangover. I woke up, made breakfast, and listened to Colin Cowherd's radio show for a bit. Loafed around, watched an episode of Jeopardy that had Ken Jennings. He demolished the two ladies playing with him. I missed final Jeopardy, but one lady was in the negatives, one lady had $4,000, and Ken had $40,000.

I always wonder how I'd do on the show. I surprised the hell out of my parents when I was five and got the Final Jeopardy answer correct. Somehow I knew it was The Monkees. My dad and I used to bet five dollars on Final Jeopardy all the time, and there was an incident after I actually beat him for once. I can't remember what the answer was, but it was hard and I made a good guess. We handed our slips to my Mom, and when it turned out that I had won, my Dad got pissed and accused me of watching the episode when it played an hour earlier. I don't even think he gave me the money.

Later on, the Red Sox had a day game against Baltimore. I always liked day games when I had a day off. Always seemed like a bonus. The Sox were lethargic for about seven innings, losing 4-0. They got two in the 7th, two in the eighth, and scored the winning run on a wild throw to third in the 9th. One of those great come back wins late in the year that help momentum wise moving towards the playoffs. They are really hitting well since the Manny trade and Beckett is coming back Friday, so I am fully confident that they are winning the World Series again. Happy times in Title Town, USA.

After all that, I went to another soft ball practice for the work team. I thought I felt horrible after the first two practices. I felt like hell about 2 minutes into the practice today. I think it might have been due to the drinking from the night before, followed by not really eating anything before going, but I was running around like Andre Dawson circa 1993 today. I think it will turn around if I actually stretch beforehand next time.

In any case, it was fun going out and playing and the Red Sox game was fun, so today worked out fine. Tomorrow should involve some pitch n putt golf, so that's something to look forward to.

DAY SIX - Thursday September 4th, 2008

Unfortunately, these 11 days of vacation seem to be flying by. Only five days left after today. And I still haven't done anything all that great. But, it was pointed out to me that its 1000x times better than actually working, so I should count my blessings.

I woke up bright and early this morning to play pitch n putt with College Boy over at Ever Green. Now, it was fun and I enjoyed myself, but I am horrible at golf. Absolutely absymal. The main problem is that I cannot hit off of a tee. I hit more line drives, slices, and hooks it seemed than times I teed off. Any time that I line drived my way off the tee into a decent lie in the "fairway" I managed to screw it up by messing up the chip. Or I got a hold of it alright, but launched it 20 feet past the green. I had four 7's and about 10 6's. I didn't make less than two putts any time that I made the green, and I thought that putting would be the best part of my game.

But cleary the most interesting shot was my attempt at teeing off that missed, with no exaggeration, an 80 year old lady's face by mere inches. I put the ball on the tee, then tried to focus and keep my eye on the ball. I swung, and the ball immediately sliced (or hooked--whichever it is when it goes right). As soon as I could locate the ball, I saw it heading for the woman, who was bending over to pick up her own ball. I saw it going towards her, but I couldn't seem to yell "watch out!" College Boy got a "fore!" out just in time that she was able to look up, see it heading for her face, and artfully dodge it by about six inches.

After it flew by her, and I saw her "did you try that on purpose, because no one can be that bad?" look, I turned to Kyle for a little "it happens to the best of us" assurance. But Kyle was crouched down, shaking his head with his face in his hands. Add that disaster to the fact that I ended up a whopping 54 strokes over par (when no hole is over a par three), and it made for a thoroughly embarassing morning. But like I said, it was fun.

So that was my morning. The evening brought the begginning of the new NFL season. Even if it was the Giants playing the Red Skins. I have to wait for Sunday to see the Patriots first game, but tonight also brought the start of a new Fantasy Football year. I nearly forgot how fun and maddening it can be at the same time. It also gives you a reason to care about games or players you wouldn't give a damn about under any other circumstances. Like Plexico Burress. The same wide receiver that caught the game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl against the Patriots. He's on my team, and I was rooting for the Giants to get the ball back at the end, that they might throw one more ball to him. That's the beauty of fantasy football, if I didn't play, I'd be pulling for him to dislocate both of knee caps.

Add up the golf and fantasy football, multiply it by one million since I wasn't stuck at my desk, trying to figure out how I'd get through the day, and it was a great day. I'm going to savor every second until Wednesday at 8am.

DAY SEVEN - Friday September 5th, 2008

Pedestrian. I took pleasure in doing nothing.

I woke up early and tried to make breakfast. Tried. For a lifelong bachelor like myself, it was no easy task. I figured I would have some OJ, coffee, eggs, and bacon. Easier said than done.

To start, the bacon was frozen. I don't know if you ever tried, but pulling apart frozen bacon is no easy task. I ended up breaking apart twenty or so peices and frying them up. At the same time, I tried to start my scrambled eggs. While I was waiting for the bacon to sizzle, I neglected my eggs. They ended up frying like an omlette. I tried to save them, but I ended up with your usual runny eggs omlettle. I had hoped to enjoy some coffee with my breakfast, but as I tried to save the eggs, that went by the wayside. While tending to the eggs, I neglected the bacon.
So I sat down to my laptop, reading about the Pats and Sox on the Globe website, with runny, gross eggs and my burnt bacon.

Now, I cannot forsee having a girl over for the night anywhere in the near future, but if it ever happens and they expect a decent breakfast the next morning, I am going to need a lot of practice.

I got my paycheck from TFP and relaxed for a little at home. Later, I went to the Scare-View for a few drinks. I passed the time playing Mega-Touch, the ultimate waste of money at any bar.

I made it home and regretted ever leaving.

DAY EIGHT - Saturday September 6th, 2008

The birthday. Twenty-eight years old, with emphasis on old. For the most part I like my birthday. I'm a history guy, so dates and anniversaries are interesting and important to me. But another year older? Before I know it, I am going to be thirty. That's no offense to anyone who's thirty or fifty, but to me it's crazy. Perhaps I feel that I've had 28 years to accomplish things and they haven't happened yet. It's already been ten years since I finished high school. As fast as that decade has come to pass, the next ten will come and go and I'll be nearing 40! Maybe it's a good thing that I realize we only have so many years on this planet and you shouldn't take them for granted. Heh, with age comes wisdom.

I woke up Saturday morning regretting my stop at the Scare-View from the night before. I hung around, basically doing nothing for the first half of the day. I was pretty bored, so I set up another season of Madden '08 to coincide with the new NFL season. That's always a pain in the ass, trying to set the rosters, creating rookies, and getting everything perfect. I got the Patriots roster set and went through the training camp and preseason stages. After the last preseason game, I noticed that Matt Cassel, Tom Brady's backup quarterback, was injured with a broken tail bone and was out for the season (It's bad omens like those that should have put me on high alert for Sunday).

So I played a few games before heading over to my parents house for the regular family birthday deal. I got some gifts, including a three month supply of contact lenses, gift cards, and cash (the best kind of present). We did the Happy Birthday deal, which surprised me because Tianna knew all the words, and had cake and ice cream. Which I don't even really like. I never eat ice cream. There is so much sugar in both, that after eating, the glucose load makes me feel like shit for hours. Anyways, it was fun.

For the evening festivities, I went to Trio for some beers with College Boy, his parents, and Fries. I had a good time and I wasn't even forced to take wild cocktails of shots that would have killed me before 10 p.m. College Boy and I entertained ourselves with Ghostbusters quotes and the evil Mega-Touch machine. Gary brought his A Game of direct personal insults, and I wouldn't have expected, or asked for, anything less. Being my birthday, I was on the receiving end of two packs of cigarettes and three bags of sunflower seeds (?), but strangley no beers.
I left the Trio for home, watched some television and started gearing up for the start of football the next day, for which I had very high hopes.

DAY NINE - Sunday September 7th, 2008

Or, as it shall be henceforth know, The Day the Patriots Season Died.

I woke up early, ready for football season. I was quite excited; made some breakfast and got the lap top out to read over any Patriots news and fine tune my fantasy teams. I played a game of Madden to further get me in the mood for the Patriots Chiefs game at One.

The only games on at home were an appalling Eagles-Rams game and a nauseating Steelers-Texans matchup, so Fries and I left for the Trio since they have the NFL Ticket. I got there and was surprised at the lack of Patriots haters. Last year, it was nearly unbearable.

So, the game was going along somewhat fine, even if Wes Welker fumbled the ball and the Patriots ended up having to punt. The defense looked good; they were not allowing Kansas City to run the ball and forced a punt.

The Patriots got the ball back and everything came crashing down. Brady dropped back to pass and launched a pass that Randy Moss came back to snag. As the camera was panning left to follow the flight of the ball, I saw Brady get nailed low on the knees. Moss ended up fumbling the ball, which the camera focused on, but I didn't like the look of the hit. While they settled who had recovered the fumble, Dan Deirdorf was yelling that Brady was down. When they finally panned back to him, he was curled up, clutching his knee.

As a Pats fan, it was about the worst possible thing that could happen. They are/were Super Bowl favorites, due in part to them having a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. But without Tom Brady, the chances of them winning the championship seem all but lost. Guys like Gary will say it's just one player and one player doesn't win a championship. But when that one player is Tom Brady (who I'll argue is the greatest QB of all time and the best player in the league), its enough to end my hopes. It appears to be a torn ACL and he's going to miss the rest of the season.

So that leaves the Pats with Matt Cassel. The same guy who was horrendous in preseason and who I can't believe wasn't cut before the season started. Tom Brady threw more touchdown passes last year alone, than Cassel has completed passes in college AND pro combined.

With that said, he didn't look all that bad. He started the first drive on his own 1 yard line and moved the offense down the field 99 yards for a TD to Moss. He's got a lot of talent to work with on offense, and he knows the system, and yeah, I'm trying to talk myself into the Matt Cassel Era in New England. Word is that they are bringing in Chris Simms for a work out, and if he has anywhere near the talent his dad did, I'd probably rather see him lead the offense.

As you might guess, the rest of the day didn't go all that swell. The Patriots did win, but I was pretty shell-shocked about Brady for the remainder of the day. Saving Private Ryan was on TNT, which got my mind off football for a good bit and I was able to watch The Honeymooners later in the evening. You gotta love Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton. Classic TV, Ralphie boy!
Two days left. Monday is the first softball game, so I should be back with a whole new rash of injuries to complain about. Tuesday I am going to be the laziest ass possible.

DAY TEN - Monday September 8th, 2008

Second to last day, no need to do anything crazy. Went grocery shopping in the afternoon. I used the gift card I got for my birthday, so I was able to spurge a little. I got the good chicken nuggets this week. With a little BBQ and honey mustard, that's good eating. I'm still afraid/incapable of cooking any real food beyond rice or rigatoni, so for the most part I stuck to the mircowavable stuff.

Later in the afternoon, I watched approximately my 30th and 31st episodes of Married...With Children on You Tube.

Beyond actual computers and the internet themselves, You Tube is the greatest invention of all time. Anything you want is on You Tube. From episodes of The Honeymooners to Aaron Bailey almost catching the hail mary against Pittsburgh in the '95 AFC Championship Game (and by God, if only he had caught it, that day would easily be in my top ten favorite days of all time). Anything you want. I actually watched a film they made of the electrocution of the guy who killed President McKinnley, that was made in 1901!

Evening brought our first game in the work softball league. I played first base, which isn't my favorite position, even if it likely meant the least movement of anyone on the field. I was a little worried about covering the bag on ground balls.

But, boy, were those fears uneccessary. Because every hit seemed to be smashed over my head into the outfield. They crushed balls into every gap, over the outfielders heads, and seemingly any other spot where our fielders were not. I only had about two or three times where I had to actually play first, which if you're scoring at home, doesn't bode well for the team. That's right, the return of the old Ten Run Rule. I think it was after five innings, which was at least a little better than our team the first year we played. Also returning, was my patented third strike foul out. I watched the first five pitches without swinging, "working" a 3-1 count. Then after a strike to make it 3-2, I naturally swung at a pitch that would have probably hit me in the knee if I had let it go.

But it's fun and exercise. I didn't pull anymore muscles either. We had a small cheering crowd from the store, which is nice, even it most of the cheering I heard was Mike making various sexual advances.

Finshed off day ten with the double header of Monday Night Football. Which I was surprising able to stomach, if only for fantasy purposes, after the Tom Brady incident the day before.

DAY ELEVEN - Tuesday September 9th, 2008

Winding down on the last day. I wasn't able to sleep in as I would have liked. So I got up early and moped around.

I didn't want to loaf around all day, so I forced myself to dress and made my first ever trip to a Dunkin' Donuts. I've been on a giant coffee kick lately and American Runs on Dunkin', so their's had to be good right?. I've also been trying to find a maple frosted donut since I had one at Krispy Kreme in Baltimore in 2005. So I left, even if it is quite a drive for coffee and a donut. I got there, and naturally, they were all out of maple donuts. Damn it. So i had the coffee and a vanilla iced donut. The donut was good, but the coffee left a little to desired. Good, but not spectacular. It's funny, the best coffee I've ever had is still the generic stuff they use at TGI Fridays.

I came home, listened to a little Cowherd, watched another couple of Married..With Childrens, and took a nap. Woke up when Fries came home and watched The Best of Will Ferell SNL DVD. That's always good for a laugh, even if it's mostly from watching JImmy Fallon crack up in half of the skits.

By evening, we were truly winding down. Watched a Ghostbusters 1 & 2 double shot, which was all the more funny after College Boy and I spent half of my birthday coming up with great quotes and laughing our asses off. Finished off the night watching Baseball Tonight and surfing the net. Vacation over, fun over. Back to work at 8am tomorrow.


So did I waste my vacation? Did everything go well?
That's hard to say. After Monday's softball practice, my physical well being was a diaster. I hurt my shoulder, pulled all of my hamstrings and had about three groin pulls. Walking and getting out of bed took a lot of extra effort. Golf nearly became a disaster when I just missed hitting an old lady in the face with one of my tee shots. Disaster struck when Tom Brady tore his ACL and was lost for the year, simultaneously ruining the Patriots chances at the Super Bowl and my fantasy season, all in eight minutes. Our softball season started out disasterously, getting ten run ruled 15-1.

But as I type this, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong is playing on AOL Radio. With that in the backdrop, how can I not be happy and/or satisfied? I was fortunate enough to get 11 days off, all paid. I didn't go to Florida, but I spent time with my friends, drank some beer, watched sports, played sports, argued sports and history with Gary at the picnic, watched tv, watched movies, slept in, had a fun birthday and didn't go blind, get paralyzed or die. I got to do everything I like to do and avoided everything I hate to do. I need to win the lottery, I could very easily get used to this. See you next year.