Friday, November 28, 2008

A Humbling Experience...

I went down to the beach today on my lunch break. I often enjoy taking in the view as a way to relieve the stress my job causes. As I chewed my cold Philly Cheesesteak and thought about how dirty my jeep was and how much my lower back was hurting, I saw a young man walk past my jeep and stop at the guard rail.

He was dressed in a fatigue cap, green Marine Corps T-shirt, fatigue pants, and combat boots. He stood at the rail for a moment, as if admiring the view, and nodded briefly. Then he turned around and walked back towards the parking lot.

Odd, I thought to myself, that he had only spent a moment enjoying the view. Why come down at all if you're only going to look for a few seconds?

My question was answered when this young Marine walked BACK past my jeep towards the beach again, this time carrying a large bundle and a helmet. He set the bundle down and unwrapped it, revealing a suit of combat armor. He dressed himself in this cumbersome armor, donned his helmet, and took a run down the beach, through the small stream that divided one half of the beach from the other, down a ways, and back again. When he got about 300 feet from the parking lot, he stopped, and did sit ups, crunches, bicycles, and push ups.

He then grabbed a log that was laying in the reeds, and dropped it in the sand. He walked another 50 feet closer, and placed a piece of driftwood in the sand. He did this again with a clump of seaweed 50 feet later, and another piece of wood 50 feet after that.

Then he went back 50 past the log and laid on his back. After a few seconds of laying there, this Marine sprung to his feet, sprinted to the log, and dove for cover. He took something out of his gear, slapped it, and placed it on the ground. Then he got up and sprinted to the driftwood, and repeated the maneuver. He then went to the seaweed, and the other piece of wood, each time taking an item from his gear and slapping it before dropping it into the sand.

After the last item was placed, he got up, brushed himself off, collected the items, and went back to the start. He did this about a dozen or so times, sometimes belly crawling from the log to the other locations, sometimes sprinting.

After this impressive display of endurance and stamina, he dropped to his knees in front of the log and pressed it into the air over his head several times. Then he hefted it back into the reeds, collected his gear, and began trekking back towards the parking lot.

I got out of my jeep. I felt compelled to say something to him.

"Excuse me," I said, stepping towards the guard rail.

"Yes sir?" he said, as if I wasn't the one who should be calling him sir.

"I hate to bother you," I said, "but my name is Kenn Beck."

"Mike Coble," he said, shaking my hand. His grip was strong and confident. (The spelling of his last name is conjecture on my part.)

"Mike, I just wanted to say 'Thank you.' "

I was trying to think of the best way to explain why I was thanking him when he simply said "You're welcome." You see, this guy knew exactly why I was thanking him.

"I saw you doing the drills, and I was impressed," I said.

"Yeah," Mike said, "It's tough, they just cleared me to do PT (physical training) so I wanted to get my butt back in gear."

"Oh?" I said.

"Yeah," he said, pointing down to his left leg. "I was in Iraq and my Humvee blew up. Busted up my leg pretty good."

"Wow," was all I could muster. "Are they sending you back?"

"Yes," he replied, "They're doing a redeployment to Iraq. Iraq was easy, we got lucky over there," he said. "They're redeploying us to get our gear. I don't know if I'm going back for that one, but they're pulling all our gear and troops over to Afghanistan. It's like the Wild West over there."

"What did you say your name was?" I asked him.

"Mike Coble," he replied.

I shook his hand. "Be safe, Mike, and thank you again."

He smiled and said "you're welcome" again.

I got back in my jeep. Suddenly, my job wasn't so stressful. Suddenly, my cold Philly Cheesesteak was a banquet compared to the rations this guy lives off of when in the field. My jeep was dirty; his ride BLEW UP BENEATH HIM. I don't like doing my physical therapy exercises because my back is sore; this kid is SPRINTING THE BEACH IN FULL COMBAT ARMOR TO REHAB HIS LEG WHICH WAS BUSTED UP IN AN EXPLOSION.

I started my jeep, full of a bizarre mix of shame and pride. I am shamed by the fact that I have never done as much for my country or fellow man in 34 years as Mike Coble has done, and if this guy is over 25, I'd be surprised. And I am proud that I had the chance to meet and thank a guy like Mike Coble, who stands up for his beliefs, and has the courage to fight for those who are unable, and in some cases, unwilling to fight for themselves.

Please keep Mike Coble in your thoughts, and hope he and his brave fellows make it back safely to the U.S.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Playlist for a Break-Up

Everything Changes - Staind
Who Wants To Live Forever - Queen
Goodbye - Hootie & The Blowfish
And So It Goes - Billy Joel
At This Moment - Billy Vera & The Beaters
Tonight I Wanna Cry - Keith Urban
Goodbye My Lover - James Blunt
She's Out Of My Life - Michael Jackson
Cryin' - Joe Satriani
I'll Be Over You - Toto
You'll Think Of Me - Keith Urban
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
Where'd You Go? - Mighty Mighty Bosstones
No Easy Way Out - Robert Tepper
Everybody's Fool - Evanescence
Should've Listened - Nickleback
End It On This - No Doubt
Party Like A Rockstar - JTX
Cold Shower Tuesdays - Bowling For Soup
I Miss You - Blink 182
Life After Lisa - Bowling For Soup
Don't Look Back In Anger - Oasis
Walk On - U2

Saturday, November 15, 2008

2nd Life Becomes Just As Sucky As Real Life; 3rd Life Launched

Apparently, even the worlds we create for ourselves are pathetic and filled with losers.

A UK couple is getting a divorce after a five year relationship because the husband, Dave Pollard, was caught cheating on his wife, Amy Taylor, in the virtual environment known as Second Life. It's true: check here if you don't believe me (though clicking the link only proves how untrusting you are, you faithless bastards).

Apparently, the 40 year old man was caught cyber-cuddling on a virtual couch with an American user he had known for a few weeks, and when he was confronted by his real wife, he told her he didn't love her any more and their marriage was over. Apparently Pollard, waste of both real and virtual flesh, had previously been caught eCopulating (or is it iCopulating? I can never keep those prefixes straight) with a virtual prostitute, and was already on thin ice with his wife. He plans on marrying his American Digital Sweetheart soon, both in game and in "rl."

My brother cracked a classic joke about the situation, saying "your character cheated on my character in World of Warcraft!" which was only made funnier by the fact that this woman then revealed that she had already found a new love on- you guessed it- WORLD OF WARCRAFT.

I would instruct these sad sack mother fuckers to get a life, except they already have TWO of them and they can't manage to not fuck either of them up. This Pollard guy already has a tough enough deck stacked against him being disabled. He finally finds someone who loves him, finds a woman willing to marry him TWICE (they married in 2nd Life before they actually tied the knot for real shortly afterwards) and he needs MORE? I hope he meets his new virtual fiancee and finds out his name is Chad, a 36 year old software designer from Paramus, NJ.

Other incidents of the virtual world having a profound effect on the analog world include a British truck driver killing his ex-wife over her Facebook status, a Delaware woman plotting to kidnap her Second Life boyfriend in real life, a Japanese woman virtually assassinating her ex-cyber-husband's character, and a 21 year old man on methamphetamines being stabbed to death by a Hell's Angel at an X-BOX 360 Rock Band party during a performance of the Rolling Stone's "Gimme Shelter." (O.K., so maybe I made one of those up. Would have been funnier if it was "Under My Thumb," but that ain't quite RB material, now is it?)

Jeezus H. Christmas, people, is this what we're destined for? This creaky old great grand daddy of the Matrix, in which people can float around and interact with people across the world, so full of hope and promise... and we can't even get along in there.

We need Virtual Counseling. I wonder what the doctor from Brain Age 2 is doing right now?

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Content...

Over at the sister blog. Get your sports here! (errr, I mean, there...)

Grossest thing ever...

I'm trying to do a post for the Sports Blog, and I needed my terminology to sound accurate, so I did some research. I almost can't finish...



Nov. 22, 2007 - (CNN) -- It may not be the most appetizing reading before a hearty holiday meal, but the New England Journal of Medicine is devoting part of its Thanksgiving issue to a giant hairball -- and not the feline kind.

Doctors say this hairball removed from a woman's stomach weighed 10 pounds.

The prestigious journal details the case of a previously healthy 18-year-old woman who consulted a team of gastrointestinal specialists.

She complained of a five-month history of pain and swelling in her abdomen, vomiting after eating and a 40-pound weight loss.

After a scan of the woman's abdomen showed a large mass, doctors lowered a scope through her esophagus.

It revealed "a large bezoar occluding nearly the entire stomach," wrote Drs. Ronald M. Levy and Srinadh Komanduri, gastroenterologists at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

For the uninitiated, a bezoar is a ball of swallowed foreign material.

"On questioning, the patient stated that she had had a habit of eating her hair for many years -- a condition called trichophagia," they wrote.

"It seemed like she'd been doing this for several years," Levy told CNN.

The woman underwent surgery to remove the mass of black, curly hair, which weighed 10 pounds and measured 15 inches by 7 inches by 7 inches, the doctors said.

Five days later, she was eating normally and was sent home.

A year later, the pain and vomiting were gone, the patient had regained 20 pounds "and reports that she has stopped eating her hair."

Reached at his home in Chicago, Levy said he had no idea whether the journal's timing of the publication on Thanksgiving was intentional.

Either way, he said, it would not affect the gastroenterologists' holiday dinner plans -- "We don't get fazed by much."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Peace Train, Love Train Collide; Hundreds Feared Dead

TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN - Tragedy struck in the early hours of August 11, when two trains collided on the Trans-Asian Railway System. The eastbound Love Train was believed to be headed for China when it encountered a rail defect at 3:49 a.m. local time, causing the engine to jump the track to the left, directly onto the neighboring railway. The jump caused 17 of the train's passenger cars to also leave the track and pile up, and it is unknown how many casualties were caused by the initial crash.

Mere seconds later, the westbound Peace Train came gliding, its conductor unable to brake the train before the collision. The engine struck the Love Train wreckage, lifting up into the air and causing the passenger cars to slam into the other train at an estimated 195 Kilometers per hour.

Of the 936 combined passengers, only 17 have been confirmed as survivors. So far, 716 bodies have been recovered, though rescue workers are pessimistic about the chances of finding more survivors amidst the burning twisted wreckage.

"It was horrible," said Primad Patel, 42, a passenger aboard the Love Train who sustained a broken wrist, severe lacerations on his legs, and second degree burns to his legs and chest. "We departed from Egypt, and had just left our stop in Russia. Everyone had joined hands, when suddenly there was a horrific screeching noise, and then everything was flipping over. The car I was in had ended up atop the wreckage of another car, facing sideways, so I was able to see down the track through a shattered window. Out of the edge of darkness, there rode the Peace Train. It was horrible... simply horrible," Patel said, before breaking down into racking sobs.

"I cannot believe this," cried Chezmal Bhanti, brother of Senval Phanti, 21, a passenger aboard the Love Train who was headed to China to attend the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. "I told him 'please don't miss this train at the station, 'cause if you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you'. Oh, how could I have been so foolish?"

The Peace Train sustained more damage, experts are saying, as they struck a stationary object, whereas the Love Train was able to come to a slower, if still catastrophic, stop. All 17 of the survivors were aboard the Love Train.

"It is a dark day," Turpan Stationmaster X'ing Fong Xiu said. "The passengers got their bags together, went and brought their friends too, and jumped aboard the Peace Train. Little did they know they would never see their loved ones again."

"It will haunt my dreams forever," said Chad Durtz, 51, a tourist who was headed East on the Love Train. "I managed to crawl out of the wreckage, but we could see it getting closer. The Peace Train was sounding louder, and then it plowed through the Love Train. My wife... oh God, Esther..."

"This is a horrible tragedy," O'Jays lead singer Eddie Levert was quoted as saying. "We feel that in light of this catastrophe, people all over the world should join hands. Actually, maybe that's not such a good idea, as that's what started this in the first place."

Cat Stevens could not be reached for comment.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Real Life Sucks...

Once again, my blog has fallen into a state of disrepair. Sorry about the lull (if there's anyone here who actually still reads this).

The Olympics are in full swing, and already someone is dead. A random Chinese asshole stabbed someone just because they were related to a US Coach. I am still in awe that in this day and age, we're allowing the Olympics to take place in a backwards cesspool of inhumanity like China.

I would whole heartedly applaud the USOC if they decided to pull every American athlete from the games and get them out of that used rubber that is the People's Republic of China.

Hey, funny story, a woman sold her house and spent the proceeds to get her dead dog cloned. Turns out she was recognized in her story in the newspaper as someone who abducted, tied up, and repeatedly raped a man almost 20 years ago. Small world, eh?

But enough comedy. Bernie Mac is gone, my friends. Died as a result of complications of pneumonia, from what I'm told. Who would have thought that the first cast member of Ocean's 11 to die WOULDN'T be Carl Reiner? He was a gifted actor, who had a special brand of class to him, and he will be sorely missed. Go easy, Bobby Bolivia.

Speaking of dead celebrities gone before their time, I saw The Dark Knight again, and I have to tell you that Heath Ledger was, at the time of his death, a flat out stone cold fucking genius. His portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime was amazing. How amazing? He was, far and away, the greatest actor in a movie that had Morgan Freeman and Michael-God-damned-Cain in it. I give it 4.9 stars out of a possible 5, only because Christian Bale's Bat Voice has gone around the bend from intimidating to comedic. He was reminiscent of Will Ferrell's Jacob Silge from Weekend Update (VOICE IMODULATION, TINA!)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Like I've never seen before...

For the first time in a quarter of a century, I can see without the use of corrective lenses! My LASIK went off without a hitch, and you'll be able to see pictures of the procedure coming soon to this page!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Take a good look, folks...

See you on the other side...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

So Wait, Lying Is Wrong?

It cracks me the fuck up to see people complaining that Barack Obama might be flip flopping on certain issues like the plan to pull troops out of Iraq and such. I'm sorry, when did it become unusual for a Presidential candidate to change his mind?

George Bush has turned this country into a near-apocalyptic wasteland the likes Mel Gibson has never seen. Gas is $4.50 a gallon, people are losing their homes, disease is running rampant, and the skies are raining acid from all the pollution we're putting in the air. Pretty sure THAT wasn't in the campaign speech in 2000.

"If elected, I promise to sucker our country into a prolonged ground war with shifting objectives that will prevent any clear cut victory. I promise to let oil rich countries hold our people hostage, wringing every cent out of their pockets. I'm going to let illegal immigrants get more rights than the citizens that came here legally, or those that have lived here since birth. I promise to let corporate executives get richer off their pensions that are hewn from the sweat of the employees that will be ruined when that corporate executive dumps his stock and sends his company down the shit hole. Oh, and you'll get a nice fat tax rebate check."

Fuck it. Obama needed to say he's going to yank troops out in a day to get the nomination and then say it'll take some time? At this point I will take the devil I don't know, as opposed to the Devil that I know is currently fucking my country up.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Good Weekend for Hollywood

So my brother and I did the double dip this weekend, seeing two movies in two days (celebrating the fact that I'm not working on Saturday for the first time in a LONG time) the movies we went to see were both decent flicks designed for totally polar opposite audiences, and they both hit the mark as far as entertainment goes.

Saturday's feature was Wanted, a loose comic book adaptation about a work-a-day cubicle drone who gets recruited into an elite order of assassins/weavers known as the Fraternity. Don't get your hopes up, kids, there is no Bluto in this frat. James McAvoy plays Wesley Gibson, the aforementioned drone, who suffers from stress attacks, taking prescription drugs to control them. They are about the only thing in his life that he controls. His harpy girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, his disgusting boss will only get off his back long enough to fetch another donut, and his apartment is a shit hole that people drop their trash in front of. One day, Wesley meets the enigmatic Fox, played by Angelina Jolie, who informs him that his father was one of the world's greatest assassins, and that he was killed yesterday by a man who is about to shoot at him from across the supermarket. Guns blazing, the two escape the market and get into an insane high speed chase, kicking off the transformation of Wesley from helpless tool to awe-inspiring weapon. The moment Wesley snaps and leaves his job is reminiscent of such great office exits like Office Space's Peter Gibbons and Joe Vs. The Volcano's Joe Banks. "Who is the man?" Wesley Gibson, that's who. Lies, car chases, gun battles, hot women and exploding rats; this flick has it all.

Sunday my brother suggested we check out WALL-E. I'm not one to drink the Pixar Kool Aid, but I was highly entertained by other Pixar entries like Monsters Inc and The Incredibles, so I gave it a shot. WALL-E was a piece of cinematic genius, as far as I'm concerned. The first 20 minutes of the movie paint such a perfect picture of a dystopian Earth abandoned by those who have destroyed it. WALL-E is the ultimate survivor, the sole remaining active robot tasked with cleaning up the trash ridden Earth. His treads are wearing out? He grabs the treads off another deactivated WALL-E unit. His eye gets smashed? He replaces it from his collection of spare parts. Along with his sidekick cockroach, he toils thanklessly at his given task. When EVE (a probe from humanity's space-borne descendants) lands on Earth in search of biological life, WALL-E welcomes her with open arms, eventually winning the heart of the all-business probe. When WALL-E shows the object of his affection a plant he has discovered, she seals it inside and deactivates, leaving a concerned WALL-E alone to try and take care of her inert form. When her ship returns to bring her back, WALL-E stows away, eventually finding the Axiom, the ship that took humanity to the stars 700 years ago to wait for their trash ridden planet to be cleaned for them. A good love story with a deep political message and a plethora of laugh out loud moments.

Summer is off to a great start. Iron Man, Hulk, Wanted, WALL-E, and I am eagerly anticipating Hancock and the Dark Knight.

Friday, June 06, 2008

At Last...

Good bye Hillary!

Now we can get back to planning the television movie of Barack Obama's ascension, starring Tim Meadows!

Now, we'll yield the comment space to Tommy, who will likely offend every woman and democrat out there with his opinion on Hillary.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Old Rules No Longer Apply...

It's amazing, really. Past Me always said I wasn't going to be like my mom and dad. Past Me said I was always going to be cool, I was always going to like the things I liked as a kid. Past Me always said I wasn't ever going to turn into one of those bitter old people that shakes his fist and yells at kids to get the Hell off of my lawn. If I couldn't avoid it totally, I would keep it at bay for as long as possible.

Past Me never really realized that I was, in fact, born one of those old people, and that I was never cool to begin with.

I was playing Rainbow Six Vegas 2 the other night, feeling cool to be an adult playing video games (and well, mind you). Old people didn't play video games. I'm knee deep in Tangos, patrolling the outskirts of the Villa, fighting for my life, when I realize I am the last man standing. Being that I joined the hunt a little late, I hadn't racked up too many kills, and I was lurking around an outer door, knowing there were some bogeys just around the corner. I lob a grenade, and it happens to catch the edge of the doorway, bounce backwards, and blow me apart, ending the mission in failure.

"Nice move, pops," some whiny little pimple face grunts, and suddenly, I am staring at the load screen you only see when your session is over. The little ass clown punted me from his session, as if I was some noob who didn't know his ass from his X-Box.

I drew in a deep breath of surprise and then proceeded to issue a litany of profanity directed at the little prig who could no longer hear me.

Little prick.

Then it occurs to me that there are no more adults like when I was a kid. I fully expected at some point to retire my childhood and be forced to like boxing, fishing, and the Wall Street Journal. I figured that all my old memories of movies would be stripped of their color, and television "shows" would suddenly become "programs". I expected that I would develop a taste for blue work shirts and ill fitting dark blue denim jeans. I figured I'd grow fond of those trucker caps with the foam front and the cheesy messages on them. I simply assumed that I would instinctively grow fond of the grass outside my house, and despise the neighborhood kids who happened to let their ball bounce on it. I dreaded the day when I would stop understanding not only video games, but computers, DVD players, and CD changers as well.

Someday, my kids will swear they aren't going to be like their old man. They'll be embarrassed that their dad remembers the days when you couldn't shuffle your iPod playlists within themselves, when you had to wait a week to download new songs for Rock Band, when your computers were so large they couldn't fit in your front pocket. And on the days when they feel like connecting with their dear old dad, they'll invite me to play one of their video games, and shake their heads in pity when I keep having to ask which of the seventeen buttons fires the freeze ray.

And I WILL yell at kids to get the Hell off my lawn, but only because I no longer understand the games they play, and they laugh when I try to understand them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Achtung, Babies!

I have finally visited one of my many homelands. My father's side of the family is half German, and today, my honey bunny took me to Deutschland for some shopping! At the advice of Nille's sister Lise, we went to Hansen's Brauerei in Flensburg, which is just across the border. I ate a real German delicacy; Hamburger and French Fries! Unfortunately, there were three kinds of sauce on the burger, and you all know how much I dislike flavor. But the beer was ver güt! (or whatever.)

Here I am drinking beer at a real German brewery. It made me nostalgic for my first beer, taken in at the tender age of four. My brother in law Teddy tasked me to take a photo of me drinking from a classic beer stein... this, sadly, is as close as it comes. It is surprisingly hard to find a genuine old-timey beer stein to drink out of. So an oversized mug had to do.

This one is for Tommy: The name on the sign translates to "Brother Beck"! It is a clothing line, which is ironic, seeing as how he barely wears clothes as it is. :) There are walking streets in Germany as well as Denmark, areas were people can walk without fear of being run down by a passing car. It is sort of like the Mall, with no ceilings or moody goth kids. It's like walking through Great Adventure without the rides or the $65 admission ticket.

The obligatory touristy church shot.

The harborside in Fleinsburg.

You know what zat means:


Thursday, May 15, 2008

A grim harbinger of the future...

Stare in Wide Eyed Horror and LAMENT!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hello, and Welcome to Denmark...

This is post number two on my international journey. I have been in Denmark for 4 days. It has been a great trip so far.

I went to a Danish Wedding last night, and it was an interesting experience. Pernille's best friend Lone married her sweetheart Lars, and I got to be there. There are a number of traditions that are not present in American weddings.

The bride and groom must be the first ones to sit at the table. They must also be the first ones on the dance floor.

The traditional tapping of the glasses to incite bride/groom smooches was given a new twist. The Toastmaster provided all the guests with tiny wooden hammers that were used to tap on the metal plates on the table.

The Groom must leave the room at LEAST once a night, whether he needs to or not. At that time, every man in the room can get up and kiss the bride. The same tradition applies to the bride leaving the room, in which case the groom gets kisses from all of the women (and, in this case, at least one man, Lars' brother Kim, who smeared lipstick on his mouth and left a large amount of it on his brother's face).

The bride still throws her bouquet, but rather than any sort of garter ceremony for the men, instead, the groom's friends grab him and hold him in the air while someone cuts his socks and tie.

The men in the room cannot remove their jackets until the groom does. The same goes for their ties. A particularly sadistic groom could make for a hot evening.

The bride and groom must dance the traditional wedding waltz before 12 midnight. The entire party surrounds them, closing in until they have no room left to dance. The whole thing had a very "Shirley Jackson's Lottery" feeling to it. Bad fortune follows those new couples foolish enough to skip the waltz.

The reception is the most formal part of the entire event. While it isn't out of place to dress formally for the church, it is more important to have on your best for the reception. Pernille looked absolutely gorgeous in her gown (pictures to come) but then again, she would look absolutely gorgeous in nothing but a burlap sack.

The family and friends of the couple write songs based on popular melodies, changing the words to reflect the couple's lifen and relationship. These songs are delivered throughout the night by special delivery, which is staff members of the reception hall being heralded by the musician.

The party tends to run later. MUCH later.

There is a musician at the wedding rather than an obnoxiously loud and invasive DJ. The guy we had was GREAT. It was like having Victor Borge trapped in John Cho's body.

Though not a tradition, another nice touch was that the bride and groom stood at the head of the table and introduced every guest at the party. Being that there were 30 people at the reception, it was far easier to do than it would be at a typical American wedding. But it was a very nice touch, making the thing that much more personal.

Tomorrow we are going with Lars and Lone to a strange and enchanted place called LegoLand. Hopefully I'll make it through customs.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Blog has gone crazy from the spray...

So I figured I'd make a post from the Airport in Amsterdam, and when I opened my blog, the top sign in options are in Dutch! Anyway, this officially marks the first INTERNATIONAL post of the Smart Centipede. Look for further correspondences in the coming two weeks as we explore Denmark and Germany!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

"The Truth Is...

... I am Iron Man."

And I am impressed. I have never been a tremendous fan of Iron Man, especially now that Marvel used him to kill Captain America, but this movie was the best Marvel Comic movie since X2. And stay through the credits to see an uncredited cameo that could turn 2011 into a VERY good year... I managed to stay away from the internet hype and thusly had no idea it was coming, and quite frankly, I am glad I didn't know in advance.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Deep Shame...

Greetings, Loyal Reader.

I offer my heartfelt apology that this space has remained empty for so long. Much has happened in my life, and the world, since our last update.

In my life:

I have been promoted at work.

My bank has been successfully swallowed up by a major corporation.

I am planning a two week trip to Denmark to see my girlfriend Pernille and accompany her to the wedding of her best friend, Lone, which happens in less than two weeks.

I dug out my old Sega Genesis and eBay-ed a copy of Shadowrun, the classic RPG that no-one liked except for me.

I have purchased a laptop.

I have purchased Rainbow Six Las Vegas 2, which has consumed a large part of my free time.

My cousin, Randelle Celeste Rutkowski Parker, passed away on April 16th after a long battle with cancer. She is the first of my 21 cousins on my father's side to pass away, and she was far too young to have left her husband and children behind.

We also lost my brother-in-law's grandfather, Paul Utz. Paul is, without doubt or question, the best man I know. He was a soldier in WWII, and he and his wife Kay were madly in love right up until his death. He died suddenly, and the world has suffered a loss for it.

In the world:

The NY Giants won the Superbowl, making my prediction come mostly true (only wrong about the final score).

The Italian Parliament was dismissed.

Roger Clemens proved he is a liar, a cheater, an adulterer, AND an asshole. With a little help from Andy Pettitte and Mindy McCready, of course. Debbie, if you're reading this, my brother is a pitcher, and he's single...

Another school shooting, this time 6 dead and 18 wounded at Northern Illinois University.

They declared adventurer Steve Fossett dead.

They finally found a way to get rid of Fidel Castro; shove his brother into power.

World War III almost broke out when Pakistan shut down You Tube for two hours; record enlistment at Military Recruitment stations reported in those two hours.

Kosovo became it's own country. Good for them. The Beach Boys announced they would remake Kokomo ala Elton John's Candle in the Wind.

Padre Pio makes an Obi Wan Kenobi-like return (well, except he's just been exhumed and is lying under glass, not walking around as a hologram. But you have to agree the resemblance is uncanny).

Brett Farve retired. Again.

Vietnam bans Hamsters. Seriously.

They filled the Internet. SERIOUSLY.

David Patterson replaces Elliot Spitzer amid prostitution scandal. He then admits that he and his wife both had extra marital affairs. Free love, baby!

The dollar reached a new low. So did Brittany Spears.

Oil reached a record high. Like, seventy times.

Earth Hour: March 29th, many major cities turned out their lights from 8 pm to 9 pm. Many people in those cities STILL could not bear to be parted with their internet, thus dooming humanity to a long, slow, roasting death.

Human/Bovine embryo created, lives for three days; Satan, in a weird Don McLean parallel, is indeed "laughing with delight."

The Olympic torch is assaulted amid protests concerning human rights in China. Free Tibet? I thought that meant the house wasn't taking their rake at Caesar's...

Wesley Snipes jailed for tax evasion. He will have to spend the next three years in a country club, just like Tiger Woods.

I will attempt to be more diligent in posting. My trip to Denmark begins on May 7th, marking my first international correspondence.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I guess it's not ALWAYS time to make the donuts...

OK, so being that my brother and I usually only spend time together during the week at dinner time, and given the fact that we are both fat bastards, our trips to the center of the fast food universe (a.k.a. Shirley, NY) are often followed up by my brother looking to score some Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Regardless of the temperature outside. It's ten degrees below zero? Let's get ice cream. Penguins just moved into the neighborhood? Let's get ice cream. Oxygen is spontaneously solidifying? Let's get ice cream.

So of course, I agree. Not for myself, mind you. I rarely touch the stuff when it's cold outside. But this Baskin Robbins is fused to the inside of a Dunkin Donuts like Kuato in Total Recall. So I like to grab a dozen donuts to snack on for the next few days/minutes. But the problem therein lies with the hour at which we arrive at the establishment. There is no such thing as fresh donuts at 7:45 PM. All the best ones are long gone.

Usually, my discussion with the clerk is such:

"I'd like a dozen donuts."

-mumbling and shuffling as the clerk constructs a box like David Copperfield, followed by a blank, acknowledgementless stare to indicate they are ready to take my order-

"I'd like two cinnamon... [looking around to see what they have left] no powdered, eh? Hmm... okay... I'll take two chocolate frosted... no, the ones without the dirt... okay... two pineapple filled... one sour cream and chives... a leak and potato cruller... one of the broccoli... one of those barbecued pork bear claws... one shaving cream eclair... how many does that leave?"

-Another mindless stare into the abyss of their wasted lives- "One."

"Okay... I guess... hmm... ah, just give me a plain."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Smart Centipede: Good For You.

Warning: consult a physician before using Smart Centipede. Results may vary. You should not handle Smart Centipede if you are pregnant, or may become pregnant. In certain cases liver damage may result. Other side effects may include baldness, dizziness, headache, mild incontinence, hives, genital scabbing, fever, double vision, anal warts, dropsy, vertigo and anterograde amnesia. Smart Centipede is not for everyone. Children under the age of 4 should not take Smart Centipede. Tell a doctor if you are on Alpha blockers or other medicine for chest pain, as Smart Centipede may interfere with your ability to keep a straight face. If you experience an erection lasting longer than four hours, consult your wife and her know it all girlfriends. Smart Centipede is available by prescription only. Do not operate heavy machinery while using Smart Centipede. Best if taken with food.

Smart Centipede. When you're ready to laugh.


Heath Ledger, dead at 28. That sucks. He was a pretty decent actor, and he made the girls gooey in the groin. Another Hollywood star shows how fragile and tenuous life is.

Go easy, Heath.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What the HELL I've been doing the past four weeks

Nille and I at my Aunt Alice's house for a sing along the weekend before Christmas. My family used to go to these constantly when me, my siblings, and my cousins were kids, which is the reason I first got drunk at age 12. Haven't been in a while. Fun.

"...and the moon shall be as blood..." the beginning of the end? Taken from CR 111 on Christmas Eve, on my way to enjoy Christmas Eve dinner at Al and Eleanor Hobbs' house (Nille's host parents)

Dakota and Jagger eagerly await raiding the living room and claiming their lucre.

Dakota reveling in her gift from Uncles; an electric guitar. It was later eclipsed by a Nintedo Wii, also from Uncles, but has gotten it's fair share of use. Look for her debut album sometime in 2014.

Jagger as Michael Jordan. Don't know what prompted this trend.

Ted got plates for his new Jeep that summed him up perfectly. 2175 is the length (in miles) of the Appalachian Trail, which he hiked. I couldn't DRIVE that far without needing some sort of hospital stay.

Carole got plates for HER new Jeep that summed her up perfectly as well.

Nille and I enjoying Christmas at my sister's house (despite the look on my face)

Christmas Night: Playing Kings (Clockwise from closest to me: Neighbor Rob, Ted, Neighbor Chris, The Big Guy, Cousin Beth)

Kings continued: (Rob, Tommy, Cousin Beth, Carole, Cousin Cathy)

Yet More Kings: (Carole, Cousin Cathy, Neighbor Ginny, Nille)

Tim, who feels a pathological need to call SOMEONE Mr. Beck at any given party, plays table Hockey against my cousin Jen

Nille and I at Ginny and Chris' house for New Years

The Boys in Charge

Ted and Jagger. Ted's glasses are prescription.

Military Experiment #1 gone wrong. I was stricken with a sudden case of gigantism. My brother looked on in horror as I was driven to blow a giant noise maker with my nose.

Military Experiment #2 gone wrong.

Proof that mental patients CAN play Guitar Hero III.

Bill and Janice treated us to a lovely dinner at City Crab the night before Nille had to go home. Despite the rumors and tabloid reports, none of us did, in fact, get crabs.

Posting Other People's Creativity... because I have none of my own at the moment...