Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Halloween: Lagrange repost
Someone suggested I repost my Lagrange story for Halloween. But first, let us remember the origins of this festive holiday.

About seven hundred years ago, a young lad named Alexander and his peeps William and Gamel, also known as G-dawg, would go around spray painting graffiti on people's moat bridges. They had to disguise themselves because Alexander's dad, also named Alexander, was a vassal. And if he found out about the kids' mischief, well, needless to say, there would be big trouble.

It became a big problem around the fief, also known as the 'hood. Manor Watch was never able to catch the kids. So at some point, people began to offer the boys candy. In exchange, the boys agreed not to deface their moat bridges. And the tradition of Halloween was born.

So, here's to you Alexander, William, and Gamel. I have a big bowl of Reese's cups at home. And if my number of trick-or-treaters doesn't surpass last year's total of nine, I'll be eating most of it myself.

Here's my Lagrange story. Originally posted July 8, 2005...


What you are about to read is real. Some names have been altered so as to avoid federal prosecution. Exact times and dates have become hazy over the years. But what is crystal clear are the events that transpired on a late night and early morning during the winter of 1994. This is a story of curiosity, adventure, and dangerous naivety. Proceed if you dare.

Over the years, LaGrange had gained somewhat of a fabled status among the youths in the area. Oft-repeated tales of ghosts, animal sacrifices, and devil worshippers sparked not only fear, but also morbid curiosity. The legend grew to mythical proportions.

It was January or February, a very cold night, whatever the month. A friend of mine, we'll call him Little Joe, and I were bored one Friday night. Around 10:00 PM, our curiosity and stupidity got the best of us and we decided to venture to LaGrange.

LaGrange was the first chartered college in the state of Alabama. From what I have read it originally served as a military academy. Once the Civil War began, most students left to serve in the war and it was turned into an all-girls school. That only lasted a short time as Union soldiers burned it down a couple of years later.

Now there are basically only a couple of deserted buildings, a cemetery, and a park remaining. It is located on a "spur" of the Cumberland mountains.

Entering LaGrange, once you leave the main highway, you are traveling almost immediately uphill. There are just a handful of houses, then you pass a deserted building that (I assume) was part of the college. Shortly after that, the paved road ends, and you enter into a dense area of overgrown weeds and trees.

Probably about a half mile after that, the dirt road forks. To the left and up the mountain a little way is the cemetery. I have never known what was straight ahead. For some reason, that night, we decided we would find out.

After driving up to the cemetery and walking around for a little while, we got back in the car and started out. The deserted buildings and the cemetery had been scary, but no real big deal. Well, when we got back to the T in the road, rather than going right and going home, Little Joe decided to see what was to the left.

I can't recall if it had rained or snowed, but whichever it was, the road was muddy. We paused for a moment and I tried to talk him out of it. I told him if we got stuck, there was no way I was going to get out and push the car. Well, he didn't listen.

We turned left, got no more than 30 or 40 feet down the road and realized this road was in extremely bad condition. It was much muddier than the other roads and there were deep tire tracks, more like trenches, which we were following.

Little Joe agreed to turn around. But the road was so narrow that there was no way to. So he would have to back it out. He put it in reverse. And the car wouldn't move. It had bottomed out, as the tires had sunk deep down into the muddy trenches. So there we were, stuck. Deep in these eerie woods, with all the horror stories I had ever heard about this place running through my head.

I kept my word at first, and made Little Joe push, but he couldn't budge it. Finally, I got out of the car and tried to help. Still wouldn't move. We had two options. We could lock the doors and stay in the car until daylight, or we could start walking. We decided on the latter.

I remembered a little store that we had passed on the side of the main highway. I wasn't sure how far it was, and it wouldn't be open at this hour, but maybe there would be a payphone we could use. Keep in mind, this was before cell phones were commonplace. So we got all the change we could find out of the car and started walking. That was the most scared I have ever been.

I have never heard so many weird noises and so many things moving. We didn't have a flashlight or anything. It was just us on a dark, narrow dirt road, surrounded on both sides by weeds and trees that seemed to have eyes. Finally, after what seemed like an hour, but was probably only like ten minutes, we reached a house, and that felt a little safer.

A few minutes more and we reached the main highway. And thought we could see the light from the store down the road. It looked a lot closer than it was. I think one time a few weeks later we drove out there and checked to see how far we had walked. Seems like it ended up being like 3 or 4 miles.

Let me insert here that during this time I was going through my heavy country music phase, and was wearing western boots that were about a half-size too small for my feet. Anyway, I don't remember exactly when we got to the store. Seems like it was a little after midnight. Thankfully, there was a payphone.

We decided to call a friend of ours. Let's call him Ben. It was a long distance call. Pooling all our change together, we had just enough money to make the call and have like twenty cents leftover. I called. Ben's mother answered. He was asleep. I asked her to wake him.

Ben came to the phone. I told him our situation, that we were stranded, and had used all of our money to call him. He said OK and that he would come to pick us up. But something in his tone of voice had me worried. 12:45. 1:00. 1:30. Nothing. No sign of Ben. That loser! He had left us there to die.

Let me remind you that it was now officially freezing. There was a wooden bench in front of the store that I laid on while we thought of what to do. From here, we were probably about 30 minutes from home, by car. It was now closing in on 2:00 AM. We pondered hitching a ride with an 18-wheeler, as we had seen on TV or in the movies. But decided to call a friend of Little Joe's. Let's call him Hoss.

I charged the call to my parents phone number. Hoss was thought to be more reliable than Ben, so we were hopeful. 2:00. 2:15. 2:45. No sign of Hoss. Finally, around 3:00, a van pulled up to the store. It was a guy delivering newspapers. I decided to tell him our situation. I told him we were waiting on someone to come get us, but that it didn't look like they were coming.

He said he had a few more stops to make in the immediate area, then he would be heading to a town which was about halfway home for us. He would stop back by in a little while, and if we were still waiting, he would give us a ride as far as there.

So we froze for about another hour. Thankfully, the newspaper guy showed up and we rode in the back of a gutted out van for about fifteen minutes. At least we were closer to home. And there was heat. Until he dropped us off. It was probably about 4:15 by now. He let us out at a store that he said would open around 5:00.

When the store owner showed up, he let us in to use the phone. It was now a local call, so we called Hoss again. He was just getting back home. He said he had been driving up and down the road, but couldn't find us. Turns out he wasn't going far enough. He had been turning around just before he got to the store we had walked to. So anyway, we told him where we were now. And he showed up about fifteen minutes later and took us home.

The next day when Little Joe went back to get his car, the back window was broken and several items had been stolen.

"Ten years ago on a cold dark night, someone was killed 'neath the town hall light..."

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Monday, October 30, 2006
The Ticket Nazi
Axl and I ended up at a high school football game Friday night. His idea. We arrive at halftime, somewhat intentionally. As we are walking in, Axl strikes up a conversation with the school's assistant principal. And by strikes up a conversation, I mean, she scolds him for driving across the grass as we were parking.

I thought most schools stopped taking up money at halftime. But as we get to the gate, I notice two girls at the ticket window, apparently purchasing tickets. I ask Axl, "Do you think we have to pay?"
He says, "No. It's after halftime." And proceeds to walk thru the gate.

Let me insert here that Axl is what I would call, unconventional. If there's a conventional way of doing something, he does it a different way. He questions why we have certain rules. And sometimes thinks those rules shouldn't apply to him.

As he walks in, I see this short red-haired lady who looks to be in her late forties or fifties maybe, standing by the gate. She is evidently taking up tickets. And as I would soon realize, firmly believes that her job is the most important job in the world. We'll call her the Ticket Nazi.

I stop at the gate. Axl keeps walking. She looks towards him, then back at me.
"Who is that?" she asks.
"Uhh, he's with me... I think," I respond, already on the verge of laughter.
"Well, he can't go in without a ticket. Sir!!" She calls out to Axl, but he is almost thru the concourse and into the stadium by this point, and continues walking. "Where are my police officers?" She begins looking around.

I'm thinking, dude, Axl is about to be escorted out of a high school football game. I try to distract her. "Is it not free after halftime?" I ask.
She shakes her head as if to say, "Nice try sonny boy, but no dice."
"Well when do you stop taking up money?"
"At the start of the fourth quarter," she says, smugly.

Well, that is absurd, I think to myself. I step around to the ticket window, but first decide that I should call Axl. His phone goes straight to voice mail. From where I'm standing, the ticket office is shielding me so that the Ticket Nazi can't see me. I decide to wait a few minutes before purchasing a ticket, wondering if Axl will come back to see what happened to me.

After a minute or so, two or three police officers appear out of nowhere at the gate. They look my way. I try to appear inconspicuous. They go back inside and I decide to purchase a ticket. I walk quickly thru the gate, not stopping as I hand my ticket to the Ticket Nazi, careful not to make eye contact. She remembers me and calls out "Sir," but I keep walking, pretending not to hear her.

Once inside, I find Axl standing in front of the stands by the fence. I tell him what is going on, and he decides we'd better go up in the stands and lose ourselves in the crowd. You know, since him paying the five dollars admission would just be ridiculous.

Turns out that was only the beginning of the weekend excitement.... or actually, that was most of it. But nevertheless. After an intense day of football viewing Saturday, the night ended with me watching this Cold Case Files on A&E about the Sunday Morning Slasher.

When it went off (midnight old time), I was really tired. But my bedroom door was open, and I was getting freaked out. I kept hearing noises and was afraid someone was going to come up the stairs and try and kill me. Perhaps it was the Ticket Nazi, come to collect her five dollars.

I knew I needed to get up and close the door. Because obviously, that would keep the killer out. But I was too tired. So I flipped the TV over to ESPN, thinking it would be less freaky, and went to sleep.

Still, when the door bell rang early Sunday morning, don't think I answered it.

"I fight authority, authority always wins..."
Friday, October 27, 2006
Confessions of a Child Soap Viewer
Notes from Blogville...
Be sure to stop by and wish my good pal, Heather B a happy birthday.

Also, my real life friend, Lil Booty is attempting to blog again. She's an Auburn fan, so go easy on her.

Oh, and Xinh has switched her GH recaps over to Wordpress. Now including a map of Port Charles :)


Nothing could have ruined yesterday for me.

Not waking up late for work.

Not blogger being down for the umpteenth day in a row.

Not being on the phone for an hour with Dell customer support, about fifty minutes of which was spent on hold, as I tried to get my sister's computer hooked up.

Not even this conversation with the customer support guy (Thick foreign accent, of course):

"Please look for the Earthlink icon. Do you see it?"
"No."
"Look again, please."
"I don't see it. I double checked. It's not there."
"Please look carefully."

Aaaaarrrggghhhhh!!!

Still, not even that could ruin this day. Because this was the day that Laura returned to General Hospital. After four years in a catatonic state.

I watched it at work. And when she uttered "Luke?" just as he was about to leave her room, just as it looked like the special experimental drug, LS-49, wasn't going to work. Friends, I almost lost it. Fortunately, no one else was in the room at the time.

I can't help it. I was raised on General Hospital. All the ABC soaps really. All My Children, One Life To Live, even Ryan's Hope. But GH is the only one that stuck. The only one in which I sometimes become emotionally invested. Especially with Luke and Laura. They do, after all, represent my ideal relationship.

There's a little more love in the world today. Do you feel it? A certain harmony. Laura's back. And all is well.

"Think of Laura but laugh don't cry. I know, she'd want it that way..."
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Three Word Wednesday #7
Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. Don't spend too much time on it. It doesn't have to be perfect. The idea is to let your mind wander and write what it will. I'll also write something using the same three words.

Be sure to leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
concrete
urging
slippery


Rita sat on the floor with her legs crossed. The coldness of the concrete and the barrenness of the walls seemed to go well with the emptiness she felt inside. She spends most of her days thinking. And now was a firm believer that too much thinking could drive a person insane. But she was unable to stop.

She thinks about a little girl who dressed up like an angel for Halloween when she was six years old. A girl who didn't have her first kiss until she was fifteen. How was that same girl now a user and a shop lifter? It didn't seem possible. She wonders where innocence goes to when it's gone.

She thinks about a boy she knew, who was always urging her to quit. And remembers the last night she saw him. His normally warm and pleading eyes turned cold and distant She imagines she might be sitting down to dinner with him right now, if she had listened to him just once.

She thinks about how if she'd had a different last name, or if her parents had known the right people, she would have gotten just a slap on the wrist. But she didn't. And they didn't.

She thinks about how it started. A single hit at a party. Then taking twenty-five dollars from her mother's purse. It had all seemed so harmless at first. But oh, what a slippery slope.

"She wonders how it ever got this crazy. She thinks about a boy she knew in school..."

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Iceman
With apologies to Val Kilmer, Vanilla Ice, and anyone who has ever stocked an ice machine with bags of ice... myself included.

I considered beginning a new feature here on IYROOBTY, with a working title of High School Memories. But since I only remember about four things that happened in high school, I thought better of it. Nevertheless, today's post takes us back to a time of pep rallies, hall passes, lunchroom pizza, and falling asleep in study hall, and every other class for that matter.

He was just another student in my class, who may or may not have repeated a grade to get there. He was an outcast with an intermittent body odor and/or hygiene problem. Until 1990. When Vanilla Ice released "Ice Ice Baby." Then he was an outcast with an intermittent body odor and/or hygiene problem, and a self-given nickname. Iceman.

Before 1990, he would walk around making beatbox noises with his mouth, often singing "Paul Revere." After 1990, his song of choice was "Ice Ice Baby." I think he even had a shirt with "Iceman" written/embroidered/ironed on it.

We somehow wound up with part-time jobs at the same place for a short while in high school. The manager called him into a meeting one day and told him he would have to bathe before he came to work. Every day. Or he would be terminated.

But my favorite Iceman memory occurred sometime between 9th and 11th grade. I think. He brought a small briefcase to class several times, labeled "Project Nova." We asked him what it was. He said he was working on a secret project for the government.

First of all, I can't imagine what all has to be going on in your life to cause you to concoct such a story and carry it out amongst your peers in school. Nevertheless. The legend of Project Nova grew.

Finally, one day in class Iceman opened the briefcase. Inside it were several small vials containing some sort of liquid. We asked him what was in the vials. He said they contained samples of the HIV virus. Now keep in mind, this was the early days of HIV, pre-Magic Johnson even. And no one knew much about it.

So Iceman begins opening one of the vials. I was sitting in front of my friend Archie at the time, in the row next to Iceman. Archie never could resist such an opportunity. He reaches over and hits Iceman's hand, spilling the supposed "virus." (The more I write, the more I'm thinking the teacher must have been out of the room all this time.)

There is a collective gasp and silence, as everyone is a bit surprised by this turn of events. We await Iceman's reaction, unsure of what he might do. Iceman throws up his arms, palms open, and yells, "All right! That's it! I'm not responsible for anything that happens now!" As if to wash his hands of the entire thing.

We all laughed heartily. But at the same time, I think we all left class that day with the slightest bit of doubt. I know I did.

And Project Nova was never reopened. As far as I know. At least the government never admitted it.

"Lookin' for a girl, I ran into a guy. His name was MCA. I said howdy. He said hi..."
Friday, October 20, 2006
"It's like Go Fish... for adults"
I considered doing my second edition of Weekly Movie Reviews today. Instead, I will give you the abbreviated version, along with a random post about TV.

The only two movies I've seen since my last review are Capote and South Park: The Movie. Boy, if ever two movies were on opposite ends of the theatrical spectrum. Yet, both were enjoyable.

Capote was excellent, as expected. Definitely makes me want to read In Cold Blood. I don't know what else I could say about Philip Seymour Hoffman that hasn't already been said. Except, no that's not the same guy who was on Miami Vice. And yes, I was a tad disappointed at first, too.

Before popping South Park in last night, I flipped over to NBC to try and catch The Office. Unfortunately, I was too late. I've actually managed to miss every episode of The Office so far this season. Can someone just tell me if Jim and Pam have gotten together yet?

Instead of The Office, I was treated to a scintillating episode of Deal Or No Deal. It's only about the third time I have watched this show. And I've yet to understand it's appeal.

First of all, there is absolutely no skill or talent required whatsoever. And that's just to host the show. Seriously, where in the world did they find Howie Mandel?

Don't get me wrong, I like Howie as much as anyone. I mean he has OCD and is a germophobe. He's basically the Canadian me, without the blog. But who did he beat out for this gig? Scott Baio, David Hasselhoff, and that guy that played Potsie on Happy Days?

And then there is the game itself. Incredibly simplistic. As a fellow blogger commented to me, "It's like Go Fish for adults." Except there's never been a chance of winning a million dollars in any game of Go Fish I've ever played. Nor were there twenty-five attractive girls holding suitcases.

Is that what it's come to in America? Watching television programs just because they feature attractive women and the chance to win large sums of money? I hope we've progressed beyond that.

That being said, I wound up watching the show until the end. I couldn't turn away. There's something oddly appealing about watching people squander away thousands of dollars.

Well, I won't have to worry about any such nonsense tonight. Because Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team is on CMT!

These girls have been dancing and cheering since before they could walk. While other children were out on dates and playing video games, these girls were cheering, dancing, and... well, cheering.

All for the slim chance that one day they might be selected to wear those cute, skimpy little blue and white outfits. That, my friends, is real-life drama.

It's good to know there's still some quality television in this crazy, mixed up world.

"What would Brian Boitano do if he were here right now? He'd make a plan and follow thru. That's what Brian Boitano'd do..."
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Three Word Wednesday #6
Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. Don't spend too much time on it. It doesn't have to be perfect. The idea is to let your mind wander and write what it will. I'll also write something using the same three words.

Be sure to leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
lipstick
denim
tattoo


She smacked her lips in the mirror, turned her head to one side, then the other. At last, she was satisfied. At 32, part of her was thinking she was too old for this. But mostly she was nervous and excited.

Once she was in the car, she called her best girlfriend. They chatted like schoolgirls until she got to the park.

In a different mirror was the reflection of a man who hadn't had a girlfriend for far too long. He was wearing, among other things, the denim jacket he'd had for fifteen years.

He didn't care for tattoos. They only made him wonder about the events that led to someone getting one. And his opinion on lipstick was that it was best when you couldn't tell she was wearing any.

When he arrived, she was already there, sitting on a park bench. He recognized her from the picture. As he approached, she stood to greet him. Smiling. The most vibrant smile he'd ever seen. Her eyes sparkling and full of life.

Lucky for her, he didn't even notice the lipstick. Lucky for him, denim was back in.

And he'd never forget her tattoo.

"Those lips, those eyes, that tatoo on her thigh. White teeth, red hair. She hated underwear..."

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Awakening
I awoke to almost complete silence. The first thing I noticed was that the TV was off. The light from the overcast day coming thru the blinds gave my bedroom the feel of an abandoned classroom at recess.

The only two sounds I could hear were the low, steady, almost calming hum of the aquarium. And the sound of cars passing by on the street below. And even they seemed much more distant than they actually were.

I looked at the clock, and for eight or eleven seconds could not for the life of me remember what day it was.

Five-fifty. Five-fifty. I repeated it to myself. Was it a weekday and did I have a bit longer before needing to get up for work? Was it a Saturday or a Sunday? I wasn't even sure if it was AM or PM.

Finally it came to me. No, it was a Monday. And I had taken a nap. Must have been a good one. Sometimes I think sleep provides as much of a mental rest as it does a physical one.

Completely naked and nestled warmly beneath the covers, I turned over to look out the window. All I could see was the rooftop of a house across the street, glistening from the rain that silently fell. And extending far above the house, a tree, against the almost white grayness of the sky. Shaking its limbs violently, as if it were angrily trying to rid itself of leaves that had overstayed their welcome.

Then, the shrill electronic ringing of the phone pierced the silence. One... two... three... four... I counted the rings until the machine would pick up. A few seconds later my cell phone rang. I reached to silence it. But I didn't answer.

I pulled the covers tighter around me. I wanted to enjoy this rare-found peace awhile longer.

"Woke up to the sound of pouring rain. The wind would whisper and I'd think of you..."
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Cliched
Someday you'll be loved
Someday you will find the one
Who cares just for your heart
Maybe then you can start

To put the past behind
Begin to heal the pain I caused
And bring peace to your mind
Cos that's what you deserve

Someday you'll be free
Free from all the hurt I brought
You down on bended knee
Calling out to me and there were

Tears streaking your face
That's how I remember you
It haunts me every night
But it only serves me right

Someday you'll be loved
And maybe then when I know that
I'll find my peace of mind
And start to forgive myself

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Thursday, October 12, 2006
Crisp marketing
(Hey, be sure to stop by Courting Destiny this weekend, as we roast Pia. And don't go getting any ideas.)

I was in CVS yesterday, picking up some Mountain Dews, some halloween candy to eat before Halloween, and some chips. You know, staples.

While perusing the shelves for regular Pringles, I was unable to find any. After a few seconds, I realized the only regular Pringles they had were something called Pringles Prints.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that each individual crisp has a joke or movie trivia question printed on it. For example: What kind of flowers grow between your nose and your chin?

Give up?

Tulips!

That's just one of the many hilarious jokes you may find the next time you pop open a can of Pringles. That's right, potato crisp fans. Ruffles may have ridges. But Pringles have... jokes and trivia.

Now see, this is something I don't care for. To me, one of the big advantages to eating chips is being able to blindly stick your hand into a bag or can, pull out some chips, and hoist them in the direction of an orifice, all without looking. That way, you don't miss any of the ballgame, movie, or 90210.

I wonder what went on in that sales meeting. Are there no new flavors they could market? Although when you already have pizzalicious, probably not.

And if this was the idea they approved, what were the rejected ones? The edible Pringles can? Turkey & dressing flavored Pringles? ("Pop open a Happy Thanksgiving.") No, I got it. Snakes in a can!

Pringles has gone the way of Laffy Taffy and Bazooka Joe. Not that I'm happy about it. I want my original Pringles back. Solid red can. Freaky round potato chip face Pringle guy.

No thinking. No effort. Just pure mindless artery clogging. It's the American way.

"My ergonomic keyboard never leaves me bored. Shopping online for deals on some writable media. I edit Wikipedia..."
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Three Word Wednesday #5
Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. Don't spend too much time on it. It doesn't have to be perfect. The idea is to let your mind wander and write what it will. I'll also write something using the same three words.

Be sure to leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
throat
knees
tears


What's that pain in my chest? Why won't it stop? I can feel my pulse. It's right there at my heart. It's gotta be my heart. Stop. Why won't it stop?! OK. Relax. If I turn over on my back, it'll stop. It's just how I'm lying.

No. Still there. Think about something else. The football game. We won. That's good. It's not working. How can I not think about this pain in my chest? What if I'm having a heart attack? I eat fast food every meal. Maybe it's a small one. I've heard of those. Like earthquakes. You don't even realize you're having one. And then it's gone.

Why won't it stop? Pulsing. Hurting. What if it's an aneurysm? Maybe I should call someone. It's midnight. They'll think I'm crazy. But what if it is an aneurysm? And I die. And they find me in two or three days.

I should write a note. Yes, that's it. I can write a note explaining that I think I'm having an aneurysm. And I can say all the things I've always wanted to say. And then if they find me, they'll know how I felt. Mom. Dad. My sister. My friends. And if it's not an aneurysm, then I can throw it away in the morning.

No, that's stupid! Who writes a note for something like this? Who would even think of such a thing. What is wrong with me? But something is. People don't just have pains do they? Or maybe they do. Maybe this is normal. Or maybe it's not.

Maybe it's something serious. I have pains in my head all the time. What if I have a tumor? I don't want to know. What if they tell me I have two weeks to live? I'm not going to the doctor. If I don't go, nothing will happen.

I'm not ready to die. God, please. I'm not ready. I'm young. I know I haven't lived the best. But I'm not ready. For eternity. It never ends. How can that be? Forever and ever and ever and ever with no end. I can't think about that. It drives me crazy. But it's coming. There's no way out. Once you're born, you're here, somewhere, forever!

I have to get up. I scream. I walk around the room. My throat is dry. I go downstairs and get some water. It doesn't phase my parched throat. I get on my knees. God, please. I'm in tears. Please. Let me live a normal life. Just thirty more years. That's not much. That's not even average. Just to 63.

What if it's cancer? My parents never had cancer. Why should I? Why can't I live to my mid-50's with no serious problems like them? Something is wrong with me. Why do I have these little pains? I have to sleep. I have to forget this. What is wrong with me?

"Bouts of fear permeate all I see. Heightening nervousness threatens me. I am paralyzed. So afraid to die..."

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Commitophobia
My name is Bone, and I have trouble committing

Not to women. I acutally do that a little too easily sometimes. I have trouble commmitting to plans made more than a few days in advance.

Little Joe called me a couple of weeks ago. He and Wolfgang are wanting to go to New York for New Year's Eve.

Being in Times Square to see the ball drop is something I've always wanted to do, at least once in my lifetime. Although now with Ryan Seacrest instead of Dick Clark, it's kinda like Family Feud with Louis Armstrong instead of Richard Dawson. It's just not the same. Although I do have high hopes for John O'Hurley.

Also, when I've envisioned visiting New York in the wintertime, gracefully gliding across the ice at Rockefeller Center with Wolfgang and Little Joe in tow was not quite the image I had in mind.

But this is what I do. I try to think of all the reasons I don't want to go. Like how their indecisiveness and incessant old-married-couple-like bickering began to wear on me by day three of the beach trip this summer. And that it's right around Christmas, and I'll be spending a lot for the holidays, so I don't need to splurge for a trip.

There's more. A friend who's going to be in town in November asked me to have dinner with her. I told her to ask me again a week in advance. Another friend invited me to a concert in November. I said no. And then there's the Def Leppard/Journey concert in Birmingham. It's three weeks away. And still I haven't made the decision to order tickets.

No matter what reasons I may give to justify saying no to something, it all comes down to the same basic issue. I have trouble committing to most plans more than a few days in advance. And I'm not quite sure why.

Maybe I think something better might come up between now and then, and I don't want to be locked into some commitment? But that would be incredibly immature. Maybe I'm just getting old. But then, I'm always up for a drive to the beach on a whim or to take off on some other spur of the moment road trip. Or maybe I'm just not a planner.

Still, it seems to be a rather recent problem. I used to go to several concerts a year. But lately, I'm much more selective. I think it has to do in part with the fact that I'm quite indecisive. So when unable to decide, I choose to decline rather than accept and wonder if I'll regret it later. Yes! That's it. Suddenly, I understand my dementia.

Exceptions to my commitophobia include, but are not necessarily limited to, football games, Festivus, and Andre Agassi's farewell match.

By the way, be sure to check out Xinh's GH recaps. Things are getting interesting. Elizabeth and Maxie are pregnant. And Laura's coming back soon. The General Hospital replay, weeknights at 9 Central, only on SoapNet.

Now that's something I can commit to. Usually.

"When you make love, do you look in the mirror? Who do you think of? Does he look like me? Do you tell lies, and say that it's forever?"
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Micah's Lullaby
Baby "Micah" was well over a month premature. She doesn't have parents. She doesn't even have a name. The woman who bore her took one look at Micah's physical deformities and told the doctor that wasn't her baby. When she left the hospital, she left Micah behind. Please remember Micah and those like her. Who will fight for the children? Who will help those who cannot help themselves?

I wrote this for Micah. May she grow to laugh and sing.


Baby Micah lies alone in a hospital bed
No one to sing her lullabies or caress her tiny head
And she has no idea of the things she'll face
She got here much too early, but I hope God lets her stay

Baby Micah may never know her mom or dad
But I pray she'll have love more than anyone ever had
I wonder why some kids have it so hard
Maybe she's an angel who fell down from the stars

Breathe, angel, breathe
And you will see the morrow
I'd give all I have to keep you
From all pain and sorrow

Breathe, angel, breathe
And you will be just fine
Thank you for reminding me
Life's one breath at a time

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Thursday, October 05, 2006
Weekly movie reviews
The title is somewhat of a misnomer, as weekly would indicate something occuring approximately once a week. Ideally.

I rented four movies Sunday night, Dark Water, Freedomland, Capote, and Failure To Launch. Thusfar, I have watched all of them except for Capote. I plan to watch it sometime this weekend. I will now attempt to review the other three.

I hope that you find my insight helpful when deciding whether or not to part with your three dollars and fifty cents at Blockbuster. Does anybody even go to Blockbuster any more? Am I the only one without NetFlix or movies on demand?

In order to review movies, I have decided I must first have in place a ratings system. Unfortunately, I have been unable to come up with one on such short notice. So we'll just go with zero to four stars. With four stars being almost as good as Sleepless In Seattle. And zero stars being "Ohmigod it's Keanu Reeves!"

Let's begin with Dark Water, starring Jennifer Connelly and a bunch of people I don't know. I thought this was going to be a horror movie when I started watching. But it's more of a suspense-filled drama.

The main character and her daughter move into a run down, spooky housing project on Roosevelt Island in New York. And the fun ensues. While there are never any incredibly scary moments, the director does a good job of building suspense and giving an overall gray, dark, and spooky feeling, not only to the building, but to the entire movie.

But for all the good build up, the climax is a let down. There is kind of a What Lies Beneath twist. A lot of things aren't really explained. The end left me feeling a bit unsettled. Still, it kept my interest throughout. And the girl who plays the daughter was splendid. So was Connelly, in more ways than one ;-)

I give Dark Water 2.5 stars. It's worth seeing.

Next up, we have Failure To Launch, starring Matthew McConaughey and that girl from Sex And The City. A light-hearted comedy which tells the story of a 35-year-old son who has yet to move out of his parents' house.

His mother packs his lunch for work, does his laundry, etc. That's funny. I don't care where you're from. And as we get into the movie, we find out that not only does McConaughey's character still live at home, but his two friends do as well.

Now while this may sound a bit far-fetched for a movie concept, I actually know of such cases. So it rang true with me.

It was very predictable though. And the actors never fell into their roles to me. I just kept thinking, "Wow, Matthew McConaughey is dating that girl from Sex And The City." Perhaps it would have been better with lesser known actors.

Still, if you don't expect anything too deep, you won't be disappointed. The movie offers up it's share of laughs and hijinks. And there's even an unadulterated view of Terry Bradshaw's buttocks. Which I did not need to see. If you're keeping score, that's two bare hineys for me in the past two weeks. They say bad things happen in threes. Who's next? Danny DeVito? Jared from Subway?

I give Failure To Launch 1.5 stars. Half a star deducted for the Bradshaw nudity.

Finally, last night I watched Freedomland, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore. I would call this a mystery-slash-drama. And it's the best of the three movies I watched this week.

The story begins with a mother (Moore) reporting a carjacking and that her 4-year-old son is still in the car. She shows up at the hospital with her hands bleeding profusely.

I'm not sure where the film makers were trying to go with this movie. There seems to be too much going on to thoroughly explore it all in under two hours. There is racial and social tension throughout. Unfortunately, those are dealt with in a way that's been done a hundred times before. Nothing new or creative.

But there's a lot of good. There's the missing child aspect. And the parenting aspect, which is the part of the movie that stuck with me the most. And the acting is excellent. I was left, amazingly, feeling compassion for all the characters, when there were times during the movie I would have thought that impossible.

And even though we are led to question the mother's story throughout, the ending still surprised me. And again, left me feeling sort of unsettled.

I give Freedomland 3 stars.

Whatever happened to happy endings? Maybe Sleepless In Seattle will be on Movie & A Makeover this weekend.

"Fame, if you win it, comes and goes in a minute. Where's the real stuff in life to cling to? Love is the answer. Someone to love is the answer..."
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Three Word Wednesday #4
Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. Don't spend too much time on it. It doesn't have to be perfect. The idea is to let your mind wander and write what it will. I'll also write something using the same three words.

Be sure to leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
splurge
alley
laugh


Claire sat at the table, patting her foot, sloshing the wine in her glass back and forth, growing more impatient by the second. Over the past hour, her look had gradually changed from one of icy mischief to anger. Where was he? Late again. What a shock.

She had prepared a cajun shrimp dish, his favorite. She wore her short black cocktail dress, her sexiest. Tonight, they would dine by candlelight.

After dinner, she would present him with an envelope. He would open it and see the photograph. The one she had snapped from the alley downtown, across the street from the hotel. And the look on his face would be priceless. It's called the last laugh.

Then she would stand up and walk out the door, never saying a word. Their marriage would be over. It was already over. But after tonight, they'd only communicate thru lawyers and mediators and third parties.

She was mostly over the hurt. Now it was more about anger. And revenge. And getting away from him. She was thankful they'd never had children. It would be less messy.

As she continued to wait, she thought. About being free. Starting over. She planned to take a trip. To Europe. Or the Caribbean. She would splurge. Buy herself a car. Or some jewelry. Something nice. She deserved it.

In all her thinking that evening, it never crossed her mind that he'd never make it home.

"And the lightning flashes in her eyes. And he knows that she knows. And the thunder rolls..."

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Monday, October 02, 2006
Where Are They Now: Saved By The Bell
Here's a little quiz for you. Which name doesn't belong in the following series?
Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, Dustin Diamond, Tommy Lee.

If you answered Dustin Diamond, unfortunately, you would be wrong. The correct answer would have been none of the above.

With the revelation of the Dustin Diamond/Screech Powers sex tape (Really, did you ever think you'd see those four words put together in the same sentence? Download it now for $4.99!), we are reminded yet again of the career struggles of the cast of Saved By The Bell.

Most of the cast have had issues shedding their SBTB images and being typecast. Diamond, who played the dorky Screeh Powers, and Dennis Haskins, who played Principal Richard Belding, didn't help their cases by carrying on their roles for another seven years on Saved By The Bell: The New Class.

Elizabeth Berkley, who played the super studious, sometimes pill-popping Jessie Spano on Saved By The Bell, had perhaps the most infamous role of any of the cast members. Two years after Saved went off the air, perhaps trying to shed her Saturday morning teen show image, she flashed her headlights in the movie Showgirls. Which I always get confused with Striptease. Which is quite odd considering I've never seen either movie. Hmm, suddenly I got a hankerin' for some fried eggs.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played the popular, scheming Zack Morris, has had arguably the most successful career post-SBTB. He continued his role as Zack Morris on Saved By The Bell:The College Years, which aired in prime time, but lasted only eighteen episodes.

Gosselaar's most famous role after Saved was on NYPD Blue, which he was on from 2001 until the series ended in 2005. Although it's never been confirmed, rumor has it that NYPD Blue ended because Gosselaar called time-out during one episode, as he was known to do on Saved By The Bell, freezing the entire cast, but forgot to call time-in. Which would mean that somewhere Dennis Franz may be frozen in some sort of oddly contorted mannequin-type pose. Which wouldn't be an entirely bad thing.

The career of Mario Lopez, who played A.C. Slater on SBTB, could perhaps be best described by the phrase quantity does not equal quality. Lopez' roles include a guest role on the daytime soap Bold And The Beautiful, as well as hosting duties for Will You Marry Me, America's Most Talented Kid, and ESPN Hollywood. Yeah, I've scarcely heard of them myself. Although he has been the most visible of the Saved cast, one would never mistake him for an award-winning actor.

Many thought Lopez' big break had come when he played the title role in the 1997 made for TV movie Breaking The Surface: The Greg Louganis Story. But it was not to be. Thus, he is currently competing on Dancing With The Stars. He also recently bared his buttocks on an episode of Nip/Tuck. (How is it I have only ever seen one episode of Nip/Tuck, EVER, and this is the episode I see. My only thought was "Eww, that's Slater's @$$!! Make it stop!!")

Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, who played innocent cheerleader Kelly Kapowski on SBTB, was the first of the cast to land a major role post-SBTB. And probably did the best job of shedding her Saved By The Bell stereotype. She played duplicitous vixen Valerie Malone on my other favorite show, Fox's Beverly Hills 90210, from 1994-1998. However, since she has been relegated to such box office smashes as Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth. Uh, yeah.

Lark Voorhies, who played fashion-obsessed Lisa Turtle on SBTB, has had guest roles on Deep Space Nine, as well as daytime soaps Days Of Our Lives and Bold And The Beautiful. (Evidently, there is some weird SBTB/Bold And The Beautiful pipeline.) LVoor (her hip-hop name) reportedly quit the soaps because she refused to do sex scenes. Dustin Diamond, on the other hand, obviously has no problem with those.

So we are left with nothing but memories of Bayside. Good memories, like Kelly getting a humongous zit on her nose right before Homecoming, Jessie nearly OD'ing on caffeine pills, Zack telling everyone Slater is dying and needs to move to Hawaii, the Bayside radio station and Save the Maxx telethon, and of course, Zack's ginormous cell phone. But memories, nonetheless.

And I'm left trying to get the image of Slater's smooth, well-rounded buttocks out of my mind.

In the immortal words of Jessie Spano, after Zack caught her taking pills, "I'm so... scared!"

"Riding low in my chair, she won't know that I'm there. If I can hand it in tomorrow it'll be alright..."