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Friday, April 29, 2011

ZaRex - A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

Although I was alive for the last two months of the 70s, I was really a product of the 80s. Somehow I managed to avoid the horrible music... But something I DID experience was the Snoopy Sno Cone Maker. 

I got this thing for a birthday I believe. It may have been my 4th or 5th... I remember making snow cones with my mother and they were amazing. Eventually, we'd run out of the syrup that made this a snow cone and not just snow... (believe it or not, it doesn't require a cone to make that transition). "We can't make any, we're out of Za'Rex," she said.

We never did buy any more. That was the one and only bottle of ZaRex we ever had, and my Snoopy Sno Cone machine went the way of the dinosaurs. I can honestly say I have no had a discussion about ZaRex, and probably haven't even said the word since then, over 25 years ago, amd still, that statement stuck in my head.

I am proof positive that a kid can memorize things if it's something they want.

Yellow Submarine - A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

I was born to a family of music loving folks. When I was a kid my mother would watch Solid Gold with me all the time. Fortunately it didn't do any lasting damage, I think. 

My mother introduced me to the Grateful Dead, and The Rolling Stones, and Queen.

I don't remember whether I had a record of it, or I'd heard it a few times here or there or what, but for years I thought the song went "In the town, where I was born, there lived a man, his name was Steve." I guess I'd heard it wrong once and it stuck, most likely because I have a brother named Steve... But it wasn't until probably the age of 20 or so that I actually found out I was wrong. 

Incorrect lyrics are a reoccuring theme in my life. I get a huge kick out of it when I realize I've been singing it wrong, and even more when I can change the lyrics to suit my mood or get a smile out of someone. The following is an old post I did, I thought I'd repost the meat and potatoes of it here for your convenience:

Disclaimer: I apologize if I ruin any of these songs for anyone, cause chance are once you're looking for the wrong lyric, you'll hear it every time.

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Of course, there's the class Jimi Hendrix song, Purple Haze
The Lyric: "S'cuse me while I kiss the sky!"
My Version: "S'cuse me while I kiss this guy!"
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Elton John's Tiny Dancer had a couple...
The Lyric: "Hold me closer, tiny dancer."
My Version: "Hold me closer, Tony Danza."
AND
The Lyric: "Count the head lights on the highway."
My Version: "Count the head lice on the highway."
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Allanis Morrisette's man-hater song You Oughta Know
The Lyric: "It's not fair to deny me the cross I bear that you gave to me"
My Version: "It's not fair to deny me the cross eyed bear that you gave to me". 

Not sure what I thought there, I figured the guy gave her a teddy bear and it was cross eyed, but he took it when he left?? /shrug
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Tom Petty's Free Fallin'
They Lyric: "And I'm a bad boy for breakin' her heart."
My Version: "And I'm a bad boy for breakin' her arm."
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The Police Spirits In The Material World
The Lyric: "We are spirits, in the material world."
My Version: "We're asparagus, in the material world."
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The Police's Message In A Bottle
The Lyric: "A year has passed since I wrote my note."
My Version: "A year has passed since I broke my nose"
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The Verve Pipe Freshmen
The Lyric: "For the life of me, I could not believe we'd ever die for these sins, we were merely freshmen."
My Version: "For the life of me, I could not believe we'd ever die forty cents, we were merely freshmen."
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

X - A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

Those of you who have been reading this blog throughout this challenge (or perhaps if you just read my post from last night?) you may know that I've been boggled by this X post since about H. I resorted to googling "words that start with X" and it may shock you to find out, the words I found were either boring, or just plain sucked. It is with much regret that I must inform you all that I have been beaten. I can't make a post about X.

I feel like X is that kid who never gets to be the line leader in grade school. I think X's problem is he's stretched too thin to be an effective letter. 

I'm willing to bet that X's career went something like this:

X started out as a young letter looking for a job. He applied to the alphabet, but the only areas that X had any expertise in were already being handled by Z, or as a joint effort by ICKS. Luckily for X, the alphabet commission realized it was paying too much overtime to Z, I, C, K, and S, and being so young and inexperienced, X would work for minimum wage. 

X had a good time hanging out with W and Y, but he was struggling to make ends meet, so he took a few part time jobs. He did some modeling for map makers who wanted to designate the spots on the map where one would find treasure, and even competed against the dot, and the check mark on survey documents. His likeness is often used to symbolize "no" and even one-uping ICKS by replacing "Christ" in Christmas. It found the largest degree of success with it's repeating role in Tic-Tac-Toe, although it never made it into the name of that game.

But desipte all his sucess outside of the alphabet, X managed to find the time to do some charity work  as a signature for poor souls who could not read or write.

X never forgot the alphabet for being there for him as he got his start. He didn't quit the alphabet, but his heart was never in it. Z and ICKS continued to step in and handle the slack left by the disinterested X.

So now, due to X's lack of interest in being a full time letter, I could not find a suitable word about which to blog. My apologies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wrong - A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

This is a repost from back in December, but I feel it's a good one for "w". (read: I'm spending the rest of tonight's energy to figure out what the hell to do with X!)

People are wrong all the time, myself included. I'm wrong more often than I'm right, and I'm well aware of it. I don't mind being wrong, it's how we learn to be right. If I'm wrong, I expect to be made aware of it, because that means that there's something I believe that's not true. If I'm wrong on this blog I give anyone who reads it a formal invitation to let me know; I want you to.

It's amazing to me that wanting to know when one is wrong seems to be a unique thing. Why would anyone be offended to be told that they're wrong when there's clear, concise evidence of it? Why would someone prefer to go about life, not only being wrong, but actively professing whatever they're wrong about? Either they're just going to make a bunch of other people wrong, or they're going to damage their own credulity by giving false information to people who know it's false!

Have you ever been in a situation where you tell someone they're wrong and they steadfastly disagree, presenting all kinds of arguments to prove that they're right, but their logic is flawed, or they perceived something incorrectly, and when you actually prove that they're wrong they get angry?

That same person who condescendingly explained why you don't know what you're talking about will then say "Yes, ok, fine, YOU ARE RIGHT, everyone give a great round of applause for the human encyclopedia here, for being right. You're so wonderful and learned, please enlighten us with your volumes of vast wisdom."

Don't you just want to say, "Look you f*cking idiot, you were wrong, I was (and am) right, and now you have the audacity to try to belittle me for being right?? I have made you're life better by helping you look like less of a numbskull. Next time, I'll let you go about your life in an ignorant bubble, and let everyone else believe you're the dullard you deserve to be perceived as."

Typos happen all the time. I'm sure that when I'm done with this rant, I'll have at least a couple dozen to handle myself. But this is a blog, and moreover, this is my blog. The purpose of this web space is simply my own enjoyment, and if someone else gets some enjoyment out of it, all the better. Heck, the title of the blog is =]V[=. It's not a word. It's not even a letter! (Although it's supposed to look like an M... Stands for "Monogram". ;) ) Typos in a professional setting, where information is presented for the sake of the information itself, are worse, and depending on that setting, can really frost my ass.

I cannot stand when a note comes home with my daughter from school, and there's a typo on it. A simple slip of the fingers can yield an errant letter here or there, or maybe a stray apostrophe that got hit when they were looking for enter, and that's not really such a big deal. What gets me irritated is when a statement is sent out saying "...there is amble evidence that reading to your child...blahblahblah..." Amble? First, this letter is trying to explain to me that my child's development in reading and writing is greatly impacted by me as the parent, and it's using words incorrectly? How ironic is that?

Second, this establishment is teaching my kid how to read and write, and kids are going to be graded on their use of the English language and spelling and either they don't proofread their own announcements, or they don't know the difference between ample and amble.

This morning, I was reading this article about the artificial creation of a mini-big-bang, and the second paragraph said "bidto" instead of "bid to". Again, not a big deal, but that should have been picked up by a spell checker. (Don't worry, I posted a comment pointing it out. It was corrected in a matter of minutes.)

I'm gradually becoming discouraged about web publishing because of mistakes like that though. It seems that either everyone is so rushed to get information out because the longer it's out there, the more traffic it creates, which translates into exposure / profit for the website. The information takes a back seat to the profits, and typos are slipping through. Either that or the writers / editors just don't care enough to proof their articles.

I've recently been writing for a website called Brighthub.com about Dungeons and Dragons type information, (That's right, I'm a bigger geek than you may have realized. :) ) thanks to Eric at working my muse, a great guy and excellent writer, though I think most of you know that already. This has really been my first experience with any sort of "professional" writing, and I'm having a great time... but at the same time, it's been a telling experience.

There have been a couple of instances where I've been reading through someone's article, and there have been typos. I've always let them know, because if he or she fancies him or herself a writer, they'd want to know. They've always been receptive and grateful for the heads up. Once or twice, I've come across an article (about Dungeons and Dragons, mind you... MY realm of knowledge on the site!) and the information's just been plain wrong. I sent a message to the writer about it, but the article is still there, and still not quite accurate.

We get paid to put out these articles, and the website makes money when we generate traffic. I'm disappointed that it almost doesn't matter what we publish, as long as someone clicks on the page and sees the google ads. Obviously, I'm going to continue to make sure my information is correct, but I feel like the fact that there is information at the same site, about the same sort of thing that isn't completely accurate reflects on me indirectly, simply due to my affiliation with the site and the topic.

Am I over-reacting to the sudden (or maybe not-so-sudden) emergence of all these typos in professional or scholastic writing? Should a typo mean less to me than it obviously does?

Vibrations - A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

When I was in high school, I was generally a good kid. Not much of a student, but I didn't make any trouble either. In fact, the only real trouble any of us (those in my group of close friends) got in was when my cousin brought the PVC potato canon I'd borrowed from my boss to school, and got it confiscated. That's another post though...

We used to get a kick out of doing things that most people thought were either weird or funny, like throwing a lawn mower engine out the window. "What? Engines don't fly! Why was it inside? Who threw it out the window and why?? What's up with these antics?!"

I once called an info-mercial for feather pillows to see if I could buy the glass head that the dropped on the pillows to show that it didn't break. I think later that week, I called the "Orkin terminator" number to see if I could get an Orkin-man suit for Halloween. We also called people for free sample videos and things like Miracle ear and John Deere... We didn't need em, and after the "holy non-sequitor!" reactions stopped we found ourselves knee deep in a bunch of crap we didn't want. I think my buddy got harassed by miracle ear until he finally moved out of his folks' house.

When we weren't sitting around in the house brightening the days of the phone operators of various products, we'd drive around. Sometimes we'd end up fun places, other times we wouldn't. It never really mattered what happened, as long as we were together experiencing a change of scenery.

One such occasion we ended up at the "Atrium" mall in Chestnut Hill MA. This is a very hoity-toity mall. It's well carpeted. The "benches" that are strategically placed around the walk ways were actually couches. It looked very much like a hotel rather than a mall. To say we stuck out is a ridiculous understatement, and we got a kick out of that. We were the object of many "what the huh?!" reactions simply by walking in with our ripped jeans, wallet chains and t-shirts.

Just when you think we couldn't find a place where we could be more condescended at for our own entertainment, our first stop in the place was Victoria's Secret. I made a comment as we walked in, making sure it was loud enough that I thought it'd be funny to add an "ion" to the end of the store's sign out front with my sharpie. Either they didn't get it (Victoria's Secretion?) or they chose to ignore it and their faces were already so full of disapproval that I just didn't notice a difference.

Simply not being in the store was not uncomfortable for every party involved enough. We asked for job applications. There was an impromptu on-the-spot interview by someone who in my memory had an English accent, but may not have... For some reason, to me, someone who is actively disapproving of something seems even more displeased when they disapprove in an English accent.

"What sort of retail experience do you have?" She asked, so obviously going through the motions because she had to.

"None," I said.

"I've worked as a cashier in a mini-mart for four years," my buddy said.

"Ok," she said. "But do you have any experience in sales?"

"I sold things all the time at the mini-mart. They couldn't leave until they paid," he said, as if she were the stupidest person on earth.

"Ah, ok." she said, coming to the conclusion we knew she would anyway. "Well, you boys take these applications home, and fill them out, and you can mail them back in. We'll call you if we need you, thanks."

We left there with big stupid grins on our faces cause we had job applications from Victoria's Secret(ion). I don't know what became of mine, but he hung his on his parent's fridge. It quickly disappeared, and no one had any idea what became of it.

So anyway, after leaving there with one mission accomplished, we left and stopped at a different mall in the area that was a little less ridiculous, though still quite nice. We found ourselves at "The Sharper Image". Our afternoon of passive aggravation had us a little stiff, so my cousin and I made use of the massage recliners. I actually fell asleep in mine for about ten minutes. When I woke, I looked over and my cousin was laying face down on his, going "oooohhhhh yeahhh..." Perhaps the secretion wasn't Victoria's?

We had a good laugh at his hijinks, and he flipped back over. Moments later, it stopped. An amber colored LED began to blink on his. We left the area post haste, having not only probably ruined the days of some rather uptight smarmy sales associates, but there's a fair chance we broke some expensive relaxation chairs. I tell you what though, I felt terrific after the shiatsu massage.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Upside-down - A to Z Blog Challenge

High School is a pretty wicked time for just about everyone, with a few exceptions. That's why there are so many movies about it. We're all pretty much nuts in one way or another, worrying about image and such.

You may find it unbelievable, but I was no exception. However, I did things a little differently. I was never much for sports, though I go to one wrestling practice. Actually, I think I left about halfway through. I came to the conclusion that it was really hard. I stopped wanting to do it. Thus, I realized that getting any attention via sports was going to be difficult, cause even being mediocre at a sport is strenuous.

I knew I wasn't going to be Mr. Sports guy, so I had to look elsewhere. I really wasn't into thinking much, so it wasn't going to happen with any of those smart guy things either. Besides, that wasn't really the sort of attention one wanted in high school anyway, except from colleges, but let's face it... I wasn't really interested in that either... but that's another story.

No, I had to carve my own niche, which ended up being a little bit of everything. Everything that wasn't strenous or mentally taxing that is... I was that guy who hung out... I hung out with everyone. I had friends in the Jock group, the goth group, the punk group, the skater group, the white-hat group, the homey group, the nerd group, the geek group, the preppy group, the soccor-jock group, the math group, and both the russian and asian mafia groups. When it came down to it, I SORTA fit in pretty much everywhere. Jack of all cliques, master of none.

This was cool for me, I enjoyed having friends in each group. I think this was the first time I learned the value of social networking, though I wouldn't actually realize that until later. ...actually just now. I only realized that just now. Sort of explains my love for blogging and sharing things with new people.

Anyway...

Being able to bounce around like that was cool, but still there was nothing that I felt like I particularly stood out for. As part of my quest for individuality, I taught myself how to juggle. I spent the better part of a weekend wishing I had bean bags instead of tennis balls, cause more often than not, I ended up chasing said tennis balls as they rolled under my bed, or out of the room and down the stairs. I bent down to pick up tennis balls so much, that by the end of the weekend, my lower back was sore.

I would eventually borrow my brother's juggling pins, and screw around in the back yard until I could get a good juggle going. Truth be told, it was really fun. I can honestly say that although I haven't really juggled anything for more than a couple minutes a month since then, I still have some excellent reflexes from it and can usually catch things I drop or knock off shelves like salt shakers and things from the fridge, etc... It was the most useful unproductive skill I've learned.

For those of you trying to figure it out, it's more about knowing when and where the ball will be, not so much where it is. I recommend it.

In addition to the juggling, I'd found that I actually had some decent upper body strength, so I spent a little time in the weight room, and also did some push ups daily in my room. I'm not even going to begin to wonder how long it's been since the last time I did push ups... But one of (if not THE last time) I did push ups, I had watched "Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story" the night before, and wondered if I might be able to walk on my hands like he did when he broke his back.

First, I'd have to learn the hand stand. My first attempt went well... I set myself up so that if I tossed myself upside-down into the air too hard, I would just hit the wall. I put my hands on the floor, and kicked myself up backwards. My legs went up, and I DID hit the wall, but I recovered. I remained upright for about eight seconds before I chickened out and came back down.

The SECOND attempt went awry in a way I hadn't planned for. I had the "fall over backwards" base covered, but I hadn't considered something else. I put my palms on the floor, and kicked my legs up into the air. About as soon as I got up-right, my elbow buckled and came crashing down into a self-induced pile-driver. My forhead hit first, and my back slid down the wall. As my full weight came down, I sort of skided along the carpet, leaving a bright red rug burn on my forehead.

In a world where image meant sort of a lot, I thanked whatever powers who be that it was summer, and I could hide in my room for a few days. As far as my family was concerned, I told them I fell outta the bed. They bought it, and I'm not sure if I should be offended by that.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T.V. - A to Z Blog Challenge

Turns out I DO have something to post about. :)
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Standby for T - A to Z Blog Challenge

I know I'm a little late for T, but it's on purpose. I may have some news later regarding a possible new purchase, and thought that if we pull the trigger, it'd make a great T post. Either way, I will post about T a bit later this afternoon.

For now, enjoy this picture of Mr. T.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Special Someone, Special Thanks, someone's SLACKIN! - A to Z Blog Challenge

SO! Sorta seems selfish, but I started saying some simple.... yeah, never mind, it's too late for me to come up with a bunch of S words... Sorry. I'm tired.

Someone special: My darling wife is turning another year older today, and I wanted to say Happy Birthday to her! You are a wonderful wife, an incredible mom, and my best friend. I will always love you, thank you for being so amazing.

Special Thanks: A couple days ago, I was linked by Sue on her blog, and I was very honored. Then yesterday, San linked me too, and gave me such a shining endorsement, that I must have turned several different shades of red, sitting her by myself reading it. :) THANKS very much to you both. :) Looking forward to sharing thoughts with the both of you for many years to come, whatever-deity-of-your-choice-willing.

Someone's Slackin! That would be me, actually. I entered two blogs into this challenge, this and the beer blog, and I am two days behind on the beer blog... My plan was that I would sample a beer of a specific letter, and post about it... But I went broke. Instead of continuing to wing it the way I did on the last few, I'm going to wait until I have the cash, and get it done right... I feel that if I just post for the sake of posting (even though that's sort of the point of the challenge) that I'm making poorer quality posts. I can't abide.

Join us next time as we continue our quest to find new and wacky non-relevant junk to talk about that starts with the letter T.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Red Handed - A to Z Blog Challenge

I work from home as a computer IT geek consultant. Here, working in my house, I can get up from the couch when workload permits, and make a sandwich, or reheat some left overs. It wasn't always that way though. I used to work in an office building in downtown Boston with a few dozen other folks, where I was made to either eat lunch at 12 if workload permitted, and I was ... not force, but limited to eating with a bunch of people, or not eating... and I was still with said bunch of people.

Eating aside though, a real aggravating part of working in an office building was that I had to share the fridge. True, I have to share the fridge here at home too, but it's different. At  the office, I shared the fridge with people who would put things in there, and never take them out again. These things would get old, and grow fur. 

Even more infuriating than the junk that was never cleaned out of the fridge was that one guy in the office who would eat whatever he felt like eating, whether it be his, or yours, or covered in fur. That rat-bastard ate at least half my meal on many occasions, and I always wanted to stab him for it... but I could never prove it. 

My solution came to me in the form of a bottle that my wife's uncle had. It was a hot sauce called "The Hottest F*ckin' Sauce". I dabbed one drop on my finger and tasted it. It lived up to it's name. I slathered those suckers like it was my job.

"So," I said after noticing the styrofoam had a telltale orange fingerprint... I saw the jackass, sitting at the table in the shared lunch room, eating a barbeque chicken breast. Yes, that's right, he ate one of my buffalo wings, EVEN THOUGH he brought his own lunch.

"How's the chicken," I asked feeling much the winner. You dirt bag... teach you a lesson you sleaze... "It's good," he said.

"No, man, I mean my buffalo chicken," I said.

"I didn't eat your chicken," he lied.

"Yeah ya did man."

He smirked and nodded... "Yeah, ya got me. How'd you know?" he asked as if he were just admitting to nothing at all.

"There's buffalo sauce all over your face and under your fingernails you slob."

"Heh," he said dismissively. Bastard didn't even care!



I wanted to poke him in the eye... I finally hatch a freakin master plan to teach him a lesson, and he's too stupid to even realize he had just eaten the hottest f*cking sauce! AND I totally outted him in front of everyone and he didn't give a rats ass!

Totally ruined my week. Hell, I'm still pissed.

You ever have someone eat your lunch? ... and not that it doesn't happen to me here at home either... But it's different here.

...I'm all out of the hottest f*ucking sauce.

god those wings look good...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q - A to Z Blog Challenge

I've been thinking about Q for a few days now... Not sure what to say about Q. What CAN you say about it really? It's basically an O with a kickstand.

I thought about making a post tribute to Queen, cause they are one of the greatest most under-rated band of all time, but I figured I'd be in of at least a dozen to do that, or at least use the word Queen.

Printer queues are probably a bad subject cause most people would find such a post boring as all get out, and as an IT geek printer queues just infuriate me, cause you only talk about something like that unless it's not working right...

I have no particular feelings about Quebec. I mean, I hope things are going well for Quebec, but... meh?

I like it when it's quiet, but again, I bet there'll be a lot of "quiet" posts.

I guess my best bet for a subject that won't be over done, would be Quiche, but I hate that stuff... I absolutely love every single ingredient in Quiche, but for some reason, quiche disgusts me. It's like, an omelet cake... I just don't like it, and it boggles my mind! Doesn't make sense, cause like I said, everything in it is great! I'll admit that it's been a while since I've tried it, but I remember doing everything I could not to wretch when I tried it.

There's a street near me named "Quequechan" street, and I don't know how to pronounce it... kwickichan? kyoukyouchan? Kyoukuhchan??

I guess there really ARE a lot of words that start with Q as you can see here... But a ton of those words I don't know the definition of.

...and what a little freakin punk U is huh? Q can't get a moment to itself unless it's hanging out in a word that nobody who speaks English even knows! Poor Q can't go to parties with LMNO and P without dragging U along, and that's  a pain in the ass, cause then they'd need a car that seats 7... And we all know  that when it's time to pick the designated driver, it's NEVER U... is it.

... parting thought: Spellcheck tried to change LMNO to "Leno". I'm not even going to check Quequechan.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pet Peeves - A to Z Blog Challenge

This is a repost, but I think it's relevant. I made some changes to the writing, cause as I read it, I saw some room for improvement.

As I posted many posts back, I'm generally a happy fellow, and I try to always give others the benefit of the doubt. In that post I also mentioned that I do have some pet peeves, and I thought I'd share. 

I can't stand when people stir coffee and clank the spoon around in the mug. Every clink in the mug strikes sharply against my nervous system. Every time I hear it, I have to resist the urge to lunge at the person's drink and stay their hand. It's like when something like a pan lid hits the ground and is allowed to half-spin weirdly until it finally lays flat. I just want to jump on it and cut it's little symphony short in a dramatic slam, followed by golden silence. 

Drives me nuts when people slurp, like when their coffee is just too hot to sip and they need to infuse the intake of liquid with tiny gusts of air, so as not to par boil their lips. Please... If you're guilty of this, just wait the five or so minutes until your coffee is cool enough to drink. Each slurp is like a tiny tear in the fringe of my sanity!

I hate wooden spoons. Not so much the ones one cooks with but those little two-ended spoon thingies... I can't eat an Italian ice with those miniature wooden boat oars they give you. The feeling of the wood grain on my teeth and tongue sends uncomfortable shivers down my spine. Even just the thought of it... ugh. Popsicle sticks too. Can't stand to let those touch my teeth or tongue.

I apparently have an unreasonable distaste for repeating myself. I especially clench my teeth when people say "Huh?" in response to every sentence I utter, when I know they've heard me. I've had friends say "Huh?" and then after I stare at them a moment, they say "Oh," and answer my question. This was after weeks of thinking they didn't hear me... I was going nuts thinking I might be mumbling, or they were going deaf. Nope. Just annoying. 

I actually hate (and I know I said I always try to not hate but...) when someone believes they are correct, and will not stop to consider another person's input. Am I incorrect? Perhaps... but that doesn't mean what I have to say isn't pertinent or possibly worth consideration. I am always willing to entertain the possibility that I'm wrong on just about any given subject. If you feel I'm incorrect on something, please let me hear it. I'd much rather have been wrong, than continue to be so. 

I wish I could get people on public transportation to turn their music devices down just enough so that I can't hear it. It's extremely difficult to think when you have one baseline of something playing on the left, and another on the right. I personally find it rude. 

I am always disappointed by a lack of civility from people in customer service positions. If you deal with people on behalf of your employer, you have an obligation to be courteous, if not friendly. Don't look at me like I just grounded you, no one's forcing you to be there, or at least, I'm not. You are the face of your company. I'll always associate your attitude with the company logo, even if it's not fair, I can't help it... It just works out that way. 

I don't like car horns. There seems to be a prevalent misconception that when something is inconveniencing a driver, that the horn is there so that said driver can make sure everyone around him or her is just as irritated. The horn is there so that you can let others know you're there so as to avoid an accident. Think about it... If there's a traffic jam, no one cares that you're there, they're there in their car too. 

And now, having just said, "you're there, they're there in their"... it really burns my bacon when people misuse "there" "they're" and "their" as well as "here" and "hear". There are others like, "were" and "we're", and "should have" not "should of" but the the(ir)(y're)(re) and he(re)(ar) are there most common amongst the social networking crowds these days. 

I think that's enough to start with... Please feel free to comment with some of your own!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ostrich - A to Z Blog Challenge

The Ostrich: I remember riding in my father's Fiat wagon around the age of three. My father was driving, my mother was in shotgun, and at least a couple brothers of mine and I were in the back. We were driving on Memorial Drive along the Charles River one weekend morning, most likely on our way to a family reunion in Medford. 

The interesting part about that area is that it's in the middle of an urban setting, but it's a serene drive. Water to one side (don't drink it) trees to the other side. The one thing it's lacking is tranquility. There's the constant buzzing of cars, and masses of people. It's like wilderness, only louder. The Charles river is always surrounded by people. It's a favorite spot for runners, sailors, fishermen, etc. Bustling with city folk looking for that little bit of nature. 

All of a sudden, there amongst all the damn humans in the wanna-be nature scene was an Ostrich! "Hey! An ostrich!" I exclaimed with the excitement that only a three year old could muster. I was wrong, of course. There are no ostriches along the Charles, it was a runner who was stretching. She was bent down, with one leg up in the air that I thought was a neck and head. 

I don't remember much else about the ride, but I'm told that I had a good laugh at myself for it. I've been amusing myself ever since. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nothing in particular - A to Z Blog Challge

When I was a kid I used to watch the show Nature on PBS, and I always thought it was funny at the end when they'd tell you "Nature has been made possible by - insert sponsor name - ." Well that was nice of them, to make nature possible. How omnipotent.

Nails on a chalk board never bothered me as a kid, and I always boggled about the fact that it could bring some folks to their knees the way it does. I am no longer unbothered by it. I don't know when it happened, but somewhere between fourth grade and now, I've grown to hate the sound.

Whenever we get food somewhere that you can help yourself to the utensils and condiments, I always forget to grab napkins, and I always end up needing them. It's even worse now that I have kids, but still, I always forget.

I have given NASCAR a fair shot several times over the course of my life, and I just can't get into. "Here they come! They're turning left! There they go! They're turning left! Here they come! They're turning left! There they go! They're turning left!" Sometimes there's a crash, and that can be interesting, but sometimes people get injuries or serious bodily death, and that's no fun.

Nolnoc is Conlon backwards.

Nine multiplied by any single digit number other than 0 or 1  will give you a two digit number, and the two digits of that number, when added together will give you 9.

Nine of out ten experts agree, the tenth guy's an idiot.

Neckties have got to be the most pointless part of a man's (or a womans) wardrobe. Don't get me wrong, I LIKE them, and I USED to wear them all the time. I have tons of them, but my boss at my current job told me not to wear them, cause if I wore them, then he'd have to wear them. Or fire me. But seriously, it's just a piece of cloth hanging from your neck. It serves no purpose whatsoever. It's not functional, it's not comfortable... It just hangs there...

Navy blue doesn't make sense to me, they don't wear blue. And Naval operations have nothing to do with belly-button surgeries.

Have you ever had a nose whistle that just wont go away? I think I must have oddly shaped nostrils, cause practically every day, I will go through a short period of time where every time I breath out through my nose, it goes "TWEEEEeeeeeeee!" Believe me when I say, no nose knows nose notes like mine.

"Nature's Blood" is what I like to call water.

Nonsense can sometimes explain a lot, ironically.

Nothing else comes to mind, so here's a bunch of N tongue twisters I just stole off of the internet. Try saying them quickly a few times.
  • Nick knits Nixon's knickers.
  • Nine nice night nymphs.
  • Nine nimble noblemen nibbled nuts
  • Norse myths.
  • A noisy noise annoys an oyster.
  • Nat the bat swat at Matt the gnat.
  • National Sheepshire Sheep Association
  • Near an ear, a nearer ear, a nearly eerie ear.
  • Never trouble about trouble until trouble troubles you!
  • Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
  • No need to light a night light on a light night like tonight.
  • Nothing is worth thousands of deaths.

Meh. - A to Z Blog Challenge

Have you ever felt "meh"? It's not quite as good as "yeh!" but not as bad as "feh!"? It's a sort of halfway between anything that's clinically diagnosable. It's almost "whatever", but it's is more of an ambivalence.

In my opinion, the term "whatever" gets a bad rap (Or is it wrap? I had a bad wrap once, seafood salad on sun dried tomato. It was horrible. Too much mayo.) With all the teenie boppers and American princesses saying *tsk* "Whatavarr!" has really turned it sort of rude, when the word itself really just means... well. whatever. "This or that, whatever. *shrug*" right? Not anymore! It's more of a "Kiss my ass, no one cares" now, isn't it?

I'm a little tired. A little disinterested, but not entirely detached. Things are in auto-pilot. Everything's fine, and will stay fine even with just a little less than the usual amount of enthusiasm. I don't particularly want anything, and I won't spend the energy to get the irritating things to go away. For now, I'll let the annoyances do their thing, I'll deal with them another time.

It's a fine line though, I think. You start thinking "meh" and it can be a slippery slope (I hate that saying, but it's really perfect). You start caring about something that goes south, you'll find yourself "feh"ing left and right.

Short post tonight, cause... Meh.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Log, Cookie Dough - A to Z Blog Challenge

To those who love junk food, there are few treats as highly regarded as cookies. To those who love cookies, equally as enjoyed though viewed as a different food group than cookies, is the dough used to make said cookies. I say this because (aside from it being true) when you're wanting cookies, cookie dough is not a substitute. It's like a whole different critter all together.

Children love cookie dough, in case you didn't know. I used to get to lick the bowl when my mother made brownies or cakes, but cookie dough is different. It sticks together, so it's much easier to use most if the dough, thus the bowl is usually just greasy.

There comes a time in a boy's life where he's making minimum wage, and has no bills. He's out of the house a lot more than he used to be, so he'll find himself hungry without a fridge to raid. He will take his earnings and blow it on junk food and soda. It's a proven fact.

One such summer I was hanging out with some friends who were generally a little more active athletically than I was. Now, in high school I was in good shape, but I had no real cardio stamina. I could lift a lot of heavy stuff, but god help me if I had to move it an real distance. "Let's climb Bald Knob tomorrow!" one of them said.

Ugh, I thought. I never really enjoyed hiking, much less hiking up an incline. Still though, it was a summer day, I had nothing to do, and my at-the-time girlfriend was going. So.

Again, I had never done something like this, so I was ill-prepared from the start. No one told me not to eat three hotdogs and a plate of potato salad and some macaroni salad before we went. No one told me when we stopped to get a drink on the way, not to buy a chocolate chip cookie dough log and a bag of Milano cookies. No one told me not to smear the chocolate chip cookie dough on the Milano cookies (AMAZING COMBINATION, by the way... definitely recommended to those of you who are not going on a hike.) These are things one should be required to tell someone before climbing a freakin mountain.

Apparently cookie dough when left uncooked has a tendency to expand when it gets warm, such as it would while in one's stomach. Bald Knob is not very tall. It didn't take a long time to get to the top, and it was a pretty cool view from the summit, once I finished my technicolor yawns.

On hiking up hills: Only slightly less pointless than dancing. Unless you're one of those people who enjoys being hot, dirty, sweaty and tired in a remote place like the top of a damned mountain with an equally pain in the ass hike back to your car, (I know it's down hill, but it's still a work out) don't bother.

Most of the time, they sell post cards at the bottom with pictures of the view that you get at the top. Do yourself a favor, download Google-earth and see it from the stratosphere. I'd like to see you hikers get a better view than that!

... are you impressed? That whole post and I didn't once make fun of the name "Bald Knob"? I thought I'd leave that to you folks. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ketchup - A to Z Blog Challenge

I was the fourth of four boys, and I showed up late. I mentioned somewhere before in my ramblings that my brothers were 13, 14, and 15 when I was born, so in essence, I had a whole lot of authority figures, rather than partners in crime.

Fortunately, my cousin Eric visited on most weekends, and even came to live with us for a while. He and I were (and still are) only three months apart. We were more like brothers than anything else.

One lazy afternoon we were having fish sticks and french fries, and I was wrestling with the ketchup. You know, I still don't understand why they put ketchup in those glass jars, by the way. I realize glass is so plentiful and all that, and even posted about it a few days ago. I also definitely agree with the benefits of using it like they do for pickles, and mayonnaise and severed heads and jelly. I would even submit it would be a good idea for ketchup, but WHY that shape? What a pain in the ass! You want some mayo or mustard, you can scoop it out with a spoon, or even just dunk whatever you're eating into it. Not ketchup, no sir. Only thing you can get in there is a butter knife, which you have to do a dozen times to cover your bread or amass an adequate puddle to dip fries or what have you... Just doesn't make any damn sense, says I. 

So anyway, I was shaking that thing like a mad man, when my cousin hatched a plan. He'd seen on TV (which at our age meant: fact) that if you held the bottle by the neck in a tight fist, with your thumb over the cap (for obvious reasons) and swung it around like Pete Townshend doing  a windmill the ketchup would loosen up, and flow freely. Centrifugal motion and what not, right? (Which I just learned isn't Centrifical... Live and learn, eh?)

Well you know what? It worked. He handed me back the bottle and "blurp" I got my ketchup puddle. No mess, like you might have been expecting. 

Feeling cheated? 

Something anyone who knows anything about young males age 10 to dead would know, when you do something stupid, and it works without adverse consequence, you do it again until it does. And we did. 

Once again, he took the bottle, and once again, it went 'round and 'round. "Whoa!" I shouted, "Dude!" We cleaned the red stripe that marked the walls and floor with a sense of such urgency that you might have thought we were moving a body. We got it done quickly and perfectly. Walls and floor were clean again, and we wouldn't get caught. Now we could commence the hysterics that follow such a thing. 

Our kitchen was in a section of the house that was an addition. There was no basement below, and no second floor or attic above, so to run the electric for the lights, the landlord put in a dropped ceiling. It's the kind of dropped ceiling you'd see in a college cafeteria, 2'x4' rectangular foam pieces. Very light, very cheap... Very absorbent. We scrubbed the ketchup stripe out of that thing, or perhaps I should say, INTO that thing as best we could, and put it back up. It was like a bad comb over... We totally knew it was what it was, but just pretended not to. 

Somehow, no one in any position of authority in my house ever saw it, and we lived there another three or four years. Just like CSI Grissom always says: "Nobody ever looks up". ...thank god.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jet Fuel - A to Z Blog Challenge

My father passed away from cancer in '94. I was 14 years old. He was one of the smartest people on earth, and I'm not just saying that because he was my father and every kid thinks that, except for mine. He really was. If there was something he didn't know, he'd most likely heard something about it and had a good idea of where to find the information, which he would do, and get back to you in a few days. This was before the Internet of course.

He worked for the MIT Magnet lab as a technician, and he'd take me into "The Lab" every now and then on weekends. He'd set up at his bench, and explain to me that I had to keep it clean, cause he ate his lunch right off of it.

He'd set me up with wire, magnets and a soldering iron, and I'd twist wires up and solder them to other wires and such. Sometimes he'd give me a motor he had laying around, and let me take it apart. I'd leave the parts in a pile that he'd reassemble some other time. Other times, we'd go down to the loading areas, and he'd lift me into the air on a fork lift.

He had a magnet that had an on / off switch, and he'd set me up with a bucket of nuts and bolts, that I'd stack high on the magnet, and then I would turn off the magnet, and let the nuts and bolts all fall to the floor, which of course, I cleaned up and sorted back into the right containers.

When I got a little bit older, he let me play on the metal lathe. ...and by "a little older" I'm talking like 6 or 8 or so... and I'd make little more than piles of metal shavings. Sometimes he and his coworkers, who happened to be around on a weekend would dunk things like leaves and apples into the liquid nitrogen, all for my own amusement.

We used to have long talks about things like organizations, and systems, and cycles, and Mr. Wizard types of things, like electrocuting hot-dogs and such. One day I was sitting in the car with him and we were heading down Memorial Drive in Cambridge MA heading somewhere I don't really recall. I remember sitting in the front seat, no seat belt cause that's how we rolled in the 80s, thinking about how we had these talks all the time. I think I enjoyed listening to him talk, more than I really enjoyed listening. I started thinking about all the different things he'd known and explained to me, and I tried to think of something that he might not know.

"What's in Jet Fuel?" I asked.

And son of a bitch, he knew everything about it. He spent the next thirty or so minutes telling me about the different kinds of jet fuel and how it changed over the years, and how it came from whatever side of the earth it came from and why it burnt the way it did and how it was stored, and how it was transported and how some jets were refueled while in the air, and on and on... I remember shaking my head and rolling my eyes to myself. What could have possibly made me think I could find something my father didn't know about.

I sometimes think about how the tables would have been turned now that I'm a computer geek. I finally have something I could lecture him about! Alas, I'm about 20 years too late.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In The End - A to Z Blog Challenge

I remember running into a friend if mine that I hadn't seen in many years. He and I sat and caught up, told stories, shared some laughs, and went on our ways. It occurred to me later that I had no way of getting back in touch with this fellow, and it really kind of stung. I really liked this him, but I knew that there was a chance that I'd never see him again.

Over the years, I'd wondered about him, and many others that I've known who now, for all intents and purposes exist only in my memories. They could all be very happy right now, with lots of money, and spare time, and loved ones. They could all be having the times of their lives, and I hope that's the case, but the sad reality is that they could also be dead. The fact that these people who once touched my lives may not be touching lives at all anymore, and I don't even know, really sort of bothers me! Perhaps it irrational, no one can keep in touch with everyone, of course.

I was recently goofing around looking for cool blogspot names, trying different URLs to see what came up, and almost every single one I tried was taken. The sites were generally all pretty empty except for a scrawling or two of someone just writing to be read, or a post like "testing...". Most hadn't been used in over ten years. I started to wonder, what happened here? Someone clearly intended to be heard, but stopped for some reason. Perhaps they went over to WordPress or some other blog site. Maybe they stopped caring about blogging... what if they died, and their wisdom was never imparted?

Even now, today, as you and I trade posts... I have come to like a great many of you, and I look forward to reading your posts... what if some day they stopped? What if my last correspondence from you was a blog entry you did for some challenge about cabbage or donkeys, with a note like "See you next time!"

I saw this website called Letters from Beyond,. You basically sign up, write some depressing "goodbye, you did a good job, I'll always love you" stuff, and one day when you go, it'll be shared with loved ones I think. I saw another site once that you could create emails that would be sent at a certain date after your passing to an email address of your choice. Kinda creepy, if you ask me... That would have set my healing process back something fierce, to get an email from someone who'd died.

I toyed with writing a post "from beyond the grave" to let people know I'd died, just so they wouldn't be wondering, and scheduling it for six or eight months out... and then just changing the scheduled date every time it drew near... But I know myself well enough to know I'd forget, you'd all get a post that I'd kicked, and then I'd have to explain what happened in a follow up post... And I'd set it up again, and forget again, and you'd be wondering if it were the real deal, etc...

I'm only 31, and dying doesn't really cross my mind a whole lot... I certainly don't intend to do it any time soon... but just thinking about the amount of data that would suddenly be inaccessible after the fact, because I'm a maniac about not sharing my passwords, and such... Lots of people wouldn't know what happened, and couldn't ask people who knew because the people who knew couldn't check my email or update my blog or something... And it's not like I can just go ask someone "Hey, if I croak, go to this website, log in with these credentials, and update my status, would you?"

Anyway, sorry for the morbidity, but it crept into my mind while I happened to be trying to think of an "I" entry.

To lighten the mood now, here's a clip of Bill Cosby, cause he's hysterical.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hangovers - A to Z Blog Challenge

So I was just making my posts for my beer blog, while sampling some product, and then came over here to talk about the letter H and realized I had nothing to talk about. I thought about talking about "High Tea" which is a British thing, and since a good lot of the folks doing this challenge seem to be from the UK I thought it'd be nice... But instead, I decided I'd talk about something I may have tomorrow, after planning ahead for my beer blog... A hangover.

I'm drinking today. That much is clear, and I'm thanking God or maybe just Google for the spell check right now...

I've noticed in the past that those who refuse to drink also refuse to give those of us who do drink any slack when it comes to hangovers. "Your own fault" they say, but... in the event that these non-drinkers actually do have a drink or two, the world has to stop the next day if they themselves are over-hung, am I right??

My first hangover:
I remember back after college... and I left college after my first year, so if you do the math, I was just about 18. I had always been a good kid, I never drank before, but a friend /roommate of mine who was a bit older had a case of beer, and he offered me a few. I'd just broken up with my first-ever girlfriend, thus I thought I had nothing left to live for, so I partook. I had 4 beers in 20 minutes. Shortly after finishing them my friend / roommate informed me "We gotta hit the sack, we got work tomorrow". I'd just started to feel the numbness in my ears and nose for the first time... and I went to sleep... He made me sleep on his floor so he could keep an eye on me, and wake me up in the morning...Thank god... I woke a couple of hours later, with the spins. I swear, the room was moving all around me. I stumbled down the stairs to the bathroom, and barfed things I didn't remember eating...

The job was installing ductwork for an HVAC company, which I'd never done before. My job as the "helper" was to wrap the ducts in fiberglass insulation, and do whatever the guy I was helping didn't want to do... and I was SO hungover...

I remember the job, Wellesley mass, which was a very well to do area and still is... Houses that go for over two million dollars, etc... and there I was, wrapping 7" ducts in fluffy yellow fiberglass. I remember the guy I was helping:  "Mike". He had a digestion problem due to eating Chinese food the night before... and I had the misfortune of needing to use the bathroom right after him...

Yeah, that's the stuff that makes memories.

Do you have any memories of your first hangover? Still waiting for your first? Do you have a story about your friend's first hangover that you'd like to rub their faces in?? This is the place to do it!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Glass - A to Z Blog Challenge

I find glass to be a pretty interesting substance. If you look around you, I'm sure there's tons of it around you, and it's made of one of the most plentiful things on earth. I drink from glasses. I wear (eye) glasses. I used to use it to light small fires in my back yard as a kid.

Although it wasn't glass, I made Stained-Glass cookies in the third grade. I don't have any pictures or anything, so here's a link to a Google search page, so you don't have to search for them yourself.

It may feel like a subject change, but bear with me... I love music in many forms, but sometimes even more impressive than the music itself is the level of talent and skill required to play said music.

I dabbled in the guitar, and I can hunt-n-peck out a tune or two on the piano. I have talent, but never really developed any skill. One day, I may. When I'm rich and famous I'll be able to afford lessons, you know.

When I was a kid, I watched Mr. Wizard with my father on a regular basis, and he (Mr. Wizard, not my father) was teaching someone that if they wet their finger, they could rub it along the rim of a wine glass, and make it vibrate and make a noise. I didn't get to try it right then, we didn't have wine glasses. We couldn't have nice things, we had me.

So I took this knowledge and stored it away as just another quirky annoying thing I knew how to do, and I'd pull it out of my bag of tricks when we were out to dinner or something and there was such a glass available. I was shocked to find out that there were people who did this for a living!

These days, I find the sound of a Glass Harp unique. I like it very much. It's gotta be such a pain in the arse in a few ways. Like I said before, I play the guitar, and I've dropped my guitar a few times. It still plays! It's probably a lot lighter than hauling around all these glasses and water, or whatever he's got in there.

This guy is pretty incredible with his Glass Harp. I don't do anything that impressively. To get this good, he must have had to practice all the freakin time. At parties he's gotta be one of the most boring guys. You never know what to get him for his birthday, cause he doesn't know how to do anything else, he's used up too much of his brain learning how to play the Glass Harp.


I'm feeling loquacious tonight, so I think I'll continue. (Sorry.)

I remember when my father told me that glass was melted sand, and I thought he was pulling my leg. I then saw it once on some show, but... then never again! Once again, I turned to youtube, but even the videos on there seem less impressive than I had hoped. 

Here's one that's impressive, but no narrative. 


Have you ever blown glass or know anyone who has? Got any better videos than this? Ever had stained glass cookies? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Failure - A to Z Blog Challenge

This is a repost from about a year ago that I made when I was furious with myself. Who hasn't felt that way now and again?

I'm angry. My chest is a clenched fist of ire, squeezing the imagined embodiment of my own self-inflected debacle. My brow is heavy, and my eye brows crowd the bridge of my nose. My eyes peer out from beneath like furious green flames, boring holes into my monitor. My teeth, hidden behind a foul sneer, grind together, as if in futility tearing the stupidity with which I've behaved away from the situation.

I've been careless. I've neglected a variable. Several variables, actually, and in my calm, cool, collective idiocy, I put all balls aloft, expecting to juggle them away. Evidentially, one sat unseen and untouched, and it's become an issue.

It could have been avoided. I'd been given several opportunities to cast the remaining ball into motion, but some how I skillfully managed to avoid my responsibility, masterfully, even subconsciously procrastinating it into malignancy. I'd like to stand, raging and growling, eye to eye with myself, and punch myself in the face. I'd like to knock myself clean out for a week, and perhaps pound a little sense into my dense, gigantic head.

As the sulfuric self-aggression subsides, I slide into a weary, depressed melancholia. Having righteously beaten my ethereal self satisfactorily into state of oblivion, I begin to think. Thoughts of retribution turn restorative. I've managed to fail in my duties, to a point where I'm unable to rectify my situation by myself. I shall hence forth be of no use, at least as far as a resolution, and it rankles. I must ask for help, and the very idea turns my stomach. Be it pride, be it unreasoning self-expectation, I cringe at the thought of someone else sweating my debts from their pores. I don't know anyone on life who has a spot on their plate for my just desserts, yet still, I need to ask them to make room.

I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed. I'm undeserving. I'm almost hoping they tell me they're unable to help, so I thus avoid causing them the grief of picking up my pieces, all the while wondering if I'm likely to repeat the mistake, and further inconvenience them, possibly to the point where they'd like a shot at me too.

Perhaps tomorrow the negative energy and the acrid storm cloud over my head will have ebbed enough that I may see a path that had been obscured. For now, I've little room in my mind for hope. I deserve the mental blaze of self-depreciative fury that I've lit within. Perhaps in enduring it I will have taught myself a lesson.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Elephant - A to Z Blog Challenge

When I was a kid of about four or five, I had a host of stuffed toys that I loved very much. I had a small brown triceratops, which I still have to this day, though my beagle with a death wish, chewed it's eye off last year. I had a raggedy Andy, and a sock monkey. These were great and all, but my favorite by far was a stuffed Elephant named "Jumbo".

Jumbo looked like the picture, but I seem to remember his colors being blue instead of pink. Then again, it has been about twenty-five years give or take since my friend and I were together. He may have changed since then. I'm choosing to remember him being blue, cause a four year old hanging out with pink elephants is a little disturbing.

Jumbo wasn't just an ordinary stuffie, he had a wind-up music box that played "You are my sunshine". My mother taught me the song, and I think that, rather than any deep meaning in the song, it became special to me more because it was one of the first songs I knew all the words to, and could "play" on Jumbo, and sing along.

My addictive personality coupled with a "more is better" outlook on life spelled Jumbo's demise. In a stroke of brilliance, I realized that if I only wound Jumbo a little, he only played a little. It stood to reason that if I cranked him more, he'd play more, right?? Yes! I cranked that damn thing until my fat little digits hurt, and Jumbo plinked away for longer than he'd ever done before!

Eventually, he played himself out and I'm sure his little stuffing lungs probably ached. Nothing I couldn't fix! I cranked and cranked and cranked and... CLACK.

Jumbo played music no longer.

Crushed, I implored my father to fix it, cause I knew he could fix anything (and to this day, I stand by that, the man COULD fix anything. ...except cancer, but that's a different story... And in his defense, I don't think it had ever crossed his mind to try, so... ) He looked at it a little cockeyed, and although I was young, I remember I could read his skepticism.

Over the next few years, I'd find Jumbo in some remote corner of the disaster I called a room, and I'd give him a hopeful twist, but the music simply wasn't in him any more.

I don't know what happened to ol' Jumbo. If my experience as a father has taught me anything, it's more than likely he was tossed out during one of our moves when I wasn't looking, or something like that. Still though, I rather picture the rascal hanging out with sock monkey in some home for retired toys. I'll wager he's playing his battle-damage up, getting attention and sympathy from all the broken barbies. I'm sure in his story he's quite the hero. I know he was in mine.