Saturday, April 28, 2012

#atozchallenge - Qi

I used to watch Kung-Fu: The Legend Continues, and I remember the guy talking about his "Chi" all the time, but it wasn't until I started playing Scrabble with the family that I realized how it's spelled.

What a SUCKY word! I get so pissed off when someone plays it in Scrabble or Words with Friends! The Q is 10 points, and god help you if you get it on a bonus tile. Such a cheap way out! I spend the game trying to spell Quiz or Quid, and never think of Qi... Pain in the ass word.

Za too, that's another Scrabble word I hate! Supposedly it means "Pizza". Who do you know that calls pizza "Za"?? If you know someone who refers to pizza as Za, and there's not some culteral reason that I don't even know about, they deserve to be poked in the eye. Za, indeed...

I think there should be a penalty for using either of those words in Scrabble. The tile worth 1/2 the normal points or something.

Who's with me?!

Stick IT Blog

Some of you are aware of the web comic I write once in a great while called "Stick IT", the adventures of a stick figure IT guy.

Just wanted to let you know, I created a blog specifically for that, it's at and you can also use the tab at the top of this blog to get there.

Thanks! Happy Saturday!

#atozchallenge - Prednisone

Well, here it is April 28th, and I'm behind by a lot on three different blogs. I'm still going to finish, but I've realized that it's not likely to be a post per day... Might take me a little longer, but I'll cross the finish line one way or another.

I took the week that my kid had off from school and got a few things done around the house that needed doing. I made a decision to stay off the computer the whole week, regardless of the challenge. Sorry to disappoint, though I'd be surprised if anyone actually noticed I was gone. :D

One of the things I got done over the week off was some yard work, that ended up with a few cases of poison ivy... Mine wasn't too terrible, my wife's was just a little worse. My nephew on the other hand, got it pretty bad. Felt rather badly about that.

The poison ivy had grown all over an old brick BBQ pit that my father in law had built some years back. That's the actual thing in the picture.

This picture was taken last year in the middle of the summer. I'd used that push broom early in the season, and a couple short weeks later, I was too afraid to touch it again. :)

This year, we figured we'd remove the structure before the ivy grew. While I thought this was a solid plan, I found out the hard way that the oil from the ivy can persist on objects it's touched for up to 2 years after the plant is removed...

The put itself was filled with dirt, which apparently was laced with the oil.

I'm not quite the spring chicken I used to be, so when we started tearing the thing down (which was the very easy part) and loading it brick by brick into the wheelbarrow, I realized that it was a pain in the ass. Last year, I'd hired my nephew to do some similar work, and he was happy to do it. I also worked him pretty hard all week, and paid fairly well at the end of the week, for which I'm sure he was pleased.

I loaded up one wheelbarrow, and decided to find out what he was doing. Turned out he was free, so I came by and picked him up. He did a great job of relocating the bricks, and removing most of the silt that had built up inside.

The day after, my wife woke to a swollen eye and itchy spots. I was fine. I texted my nephew, he said he was fine. The day after that I was itching too. I texted my nephew again, and he said he was covered. I had no idea how badly though, until a couple days later... The dirt had gotten down into his shoes, and ground around and such. Poor kid.

I will make it up to him though.

*I* have had poison ivy a few times in the last four or five years now, and I've tried to tough it out with calamine lotion, or however the heck that's spelled. It doesn't work. I'm too much of a hedonist to not scratch, and too much of a moron to care that it makes things worse. So I scratch. My favorite is scalding hot water... Absolutely amazing feeling. I highly recommend it.

My own stupidity and lack of self control means that I have to resort to other methods of dealing with it. I cannot get rid of poison ivy without the help of drugs. I call the doctor, and he calls in a prescription of prednisone, which is a steroid. I hate it, but it works.

It's a relatively short process, taking about twelve days, starting with a few days of a big dose, stepping it down every three days. Unfortunately, it makes me hot. And grumpy, and uncomfortable. Makes my fingers tingle.

Have you ever had poison ivy? Or had to be on prednisone? Do you have a nephew you like to recruit for work you could probably do yourself, but just don't want to? he allergic to poison ivy?? If not, what's his number?

Monday, April 23, 2012

#atozchallenge - Ostrich (repost)

Sorry. Another repost again, but I really liked this.

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. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

#atozchallenge - ...sorry

Hello! I know, I'm behind, and out of sequence with this post. I took the last week off, and stayed completely off the computer the whole time. I will be back tomorrow, and will pay some due attention to the challenge, and the commenters.

Thanks for your understanding, and I look forward to getting back into the saddle! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#atozchallenge - Nerds

No, the candy.

I'm sort of surprised how "nerds" are still treated as kids, given how well the world knows these days, that nerds run things. Not only are nerds typically your boss, but they're completely responsible for a HUGE chunk of cinematic / theatrics history over the last fifteen years now. Lord of the Rings, The Game of Thrones, the X men movies, all the super hero movies, etc.

These were the same folks who got made fun of for not being good at sports, and being ultra smart. People love them as lab partners, but they make terrible wing men. What I'm mostly surprised about is how that stereotype (as well as just about ALL the others that make middle to high school terrible for those who don't fit the mold) is totally perpetuated in children's tv. Not PBS stuff, of course, but the older "tween" shows, like the crap on the Disney channel. There are pretty / popular cheerleaders, and awkward scholastic tech types. You'd think in a society where you can't say "Christmas" out loud, that that shit wouldn't fly.

Kids are mean, and I can tell you that first hand. My mother will tell you I was NOT fat, and NOT picked on. The fact that she was never sitting in the class room at the time proves that she had her crystal ball tuned into the wrong channel. Cause I was.

Though, I wasn't picked on for being a nerd, I got solid C's and D's. I was what you'd have called a geek, although being that there weren't any OTHER geeks for me to relate to at that particular school, I just remained the unusual kid.

Shows like such that are on TV now, which are aimed at kids around 12 are laden with that sort of "Ew, don't talk to the geek," attitude, and it really sort of pisses me off. How fast would a show like that be whipped off the air if it had a fat girl that everyone picked on? Why is it that geeks and nerds are fair game? I'd love to see a show where smart non-athletic kids made football stars cry in the boy's room, and feel inadequate.

I am already dreading when my kids get to that age, cause given the genetic cloth from which they're cut, they're likely to be on the receiving end of some of that.

Perhaps because they're probably the only group who doesn't care? They know what's what, and realize that your high school achievements aren't worth a fart, once you're working for a living? I know it ain't cause you can beat them up anymore...


Monday, April 16, 2012

#atozchallenge - M stuff

I remember watching looney toons, and Bugs would sometimes say "What a maroon" and I never really understo od the irony there... how he was trying to say moron. I didn't realize this until much later in life.

I realize that I know I'm behind a little here, so I know I owe a little more than usuall...

Muffins. I life muffins. However, blueberry muffins seem to give me heart bunr every single time. I prefer bannad nut. we have a cat that my daughter named "muffin" when she was 2. I call her muffin top, cause it's a current term that chubby people use, and I (being a chubby person) find it amusing.

Then there's me! Matt... Gift from god. Any other Matts out there? Were you aware that Matthew meant "gift from god"? Could there be any bigger an ego boost?

I know it's a short post, and I know I'm behind, but hey... Take what you can get! :P

Got any better M stuff?

Friday, April 13, 2012

#atozchallenge - Larrys

So I've been drinking today, and realized about 1/3 into the bottle of whiskey that I had no "l" post lined up, so here I am, so as not to disappoint.

However. Typing is like, really hard right now.

So I thought about L words, and I bet a BAJILLION and SIX people are going to do Love. Like too, and how it pertains to Facebook and social media. Loser will pop up a few times, and maybe even lice.

Larry has been a name that I always kinda liked, in that "I like these strange names" sort of context. I have a cat named Larry, one of the "barn" cats who lives outside and eats moles and squirrels because I thought it was such an unusual name for a cat. There's also a "Mark" out there too. Perhaps I'll talk about him tomorrow.

Anyway, this post isn't about cats. It's about some famous Larrys.  
I've often wondered... Was "Larry" from the 3 Stooges ever anyone's favorite stooge? I mean, Moe was in charge, I'm sure there were fans of Moe, and Curley... Well, who doesn't like Curley? Shemp... eh... different story, and I'm not even county Curley Joe. But Larry... I don't remember any great skits of just Larry. I remember Curley getting squirted in the eye by a clam in his chowder, and pulling wires out of a pipe, thinking they were bathroom plumbing pipes. Moe was always hitting someone for being stupid or impersonating Hitler. But... Larry?

He was always there, but...

 And then of course, there's Larry the Cable Guy. One wonders if he's ever really installed Cable. I haven't seen him do it. Have you?
 Larry Bird of course. Who could forget a face like that... 

Then, Larry Hagman

The rest of my google results only yielded a bunch of old white guys two black, and one Asian, none of whom I recognized, and Michele Obama while on Larry King, but none of Larry King himself until a bit later, which I find interesting.

Do you know any Larrys we should all know about??

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#atozchallenge - Ketchup

Ok, this is a repost again, and for that I'm sorry, but I just re-read it, and It's amusing. Give it a chance! :D

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.

#atozchallenge - Just Something in my Eye (Repost)

This is a repost, but I needed something for J, and I've gotten a lot of good comments on this in the past. I wrote it originally perhaps a year or so ago, so any numbers pertaining to age, just add a year.  Enjoy!

I was a pretty emotional kid. I remember being easily reduced to tears in my pre-school and kindergarten days. By an large, I was a happy child, always wanting to laugh, always had the best intentions, never a malicious thought. When things didn't work out that way I was hurt by it.

These days, I am generally still that way. I really love being happy, and even more than being happy, I love when other people are happy and enjoying themselves. Now... I'm six feet tall, 250 lbs, and not all of it beer belly... I have a shaved head, and a full beard. I'm a wallet chain short of a hell's angel.

I've had good friends tell me that they were scared shitless of me back before they knew me, and were afraid that they'd have to fight me someday (Apparently that was a common thing to worry about for the smaller kids...) So you might imagine how out of place the rest of this post should sound... I have a very girlishly difficult time not crying at totally girly times.

I can't watch chick flicks without spending at least twenty minutes steeling myself for the sad parts. Fortunately there's almost always plenty of time where they're just yapping, so I take that time to strap on the mental armor.

I've even gone so far as setting up a fan so that it was blowing straight in my face, TWENTY MINUTES before even starting a movie, JUST IN CASE there was a sad part, I could say the fan was making my eyes run.

Why do women LIKE those movies anyway?? What the hell is wrong with you people?? "Oh, I love this movie, it's so SAD!"

I've been successful in pulling off the tough-guy act for the family so far... for the last 12 or so years, I've been able to look away in time, or make myself laugh before having to dig an imaginary eyelash out of my eye... I did get caught once, in Hope Floats, when the main character's mother dies... She was a taxidermist though, and I changed the subject by saying they were going to have her stuffed and propped up in the swing on the porch. I think I was able to avoid having that hit my permanent record.

Anyway, one of the hardest "guy" (or Geek) movies to watch for me is the third Lord of the Rings movie, (Spoiler coming up, in case you haven't seen it. ...and shame on you for not!) when Frodo gets to take the ship with the Elves, and Sam, Merry and Pippin are just finding out about it... (Which, by the way, Frodo's an ass for blindsiding them like that, he really should have given them the heads up... ). Watching the confusion on their faces give way to a stomach-knotting dread that they'll never see their friend again... Yeah, total guy-tears. I think the worst part is, they all have these innocent child-like faces. I hate when kids are disappointed or sad... freaking kills me.

This came to mind today as I sat in my daughter's school auditorium to see their school show. My daughter's Kindergarten performed "High Hopes". She was a rubber-tree plant, and she did a terrific job. For someone as full of energy and drama as my daughter to stand there, NOT move and NOT sing, showed tremendous effort.

I watched her grinning face beaming out at the audience, green construction paper hanging from her cheeks, and could see so much of myself in her. She tried desperately not to laugh when I stuck my tongue out at her. Then of course, I started thinking about how big she's gotten and how my little girl was growing up so fast, etc... I had to start blinking fast to try to get the tears welling in my eyes to stop. Then naturally my wife looked over at me, and I made the cliche comment about the air quality being poor and my eyes burning... figured that'd cover me for the whole show.

I once told my daughter to stop growing up. She looked at me completely disappointed and said "I'm sorry daddy, I don't know how!" She'll be six in July, and it's kinda freaking me out how fast they went, and knowing that it won't be much longer before she realizes that I'm not perfect, and don't know everything, and that she would rather spend time with someone else. God help her first boyfriend... I got a gun and a shovel, and no one will miss you, kid.

Until then though, all I can do is enjoy the things she does, even if they make me crazy. I know there are a few guys out there reading this, and you all have these same sorts of feelings whether you want to admit it or not. How do you deal with it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#atozchallenge - I, Matt Conlon...

I have a wonderful family, a loving wife, and two spirited, intelligent, beautiful and challenging young daughters.

I own a mountain bike, but I have not ridden it in over ten years.

I like to cook and try new recipes. I have an account at and feel just a little silly whenever I get their email newsletter and it's about girl stuff... but I still read the recipes.

I like cats, although I am allergic.

I don't particularly care for "Guy movies" where there's tons of violence and explosions. In all honesty, I prefer romantic comedies.

I love beer and pizza.

I wear a bi-pap at night because it's easier than losing forty pounds. (Working on that too).

I get very worn out by conversing with people, especially when it's about nothing in particular. I am without question, introverted.

I love to laugh, although I find a joke is not effective if I see the punchline coming. Humor is much more funny if it's unexpected.

I love to fish, although I haven't actually done it in over ten years.

I juggle on occasion. I even juggled pins for a couple months in high school, though I wasn't very good.

I, for some reason have a habit of capitalizing "high" and "school" whenever I talk about high school, and have to go back and edit it.

I really hate most music on the top 40.

Monday, April 9, 2012

#atozchallenge - Having Kids means:

Having kids:

means that for the first time in (hopefully) a very long time, going to the bathroom is sometimes not a solo act anymore, even at times when you wish it could be.

means you should wear shoes in the house, most of the time.

means you're going to get human excrement on your in some form or another, probably all.

you'll learn to check for toilet paper before sitting down, and you're often going to have to flush first too.

means you'll have to clean toothpaste from places you know your kids shouldn't be able to get toothpaste.

means you don't have extra money. Ever.

means you're going to find Legos, Barbie clothes, Cheerios, sand, french fries, bits of apples, mushed bananas, unidentifiable slime, and / or other sorts of unusual things in your house, cars, couches, pockets, laundry, sinks, appliances, power receptacles, windows, beds, dressers, closets, drawers, nightstands, telephone receivers, and other such places, and it won't always be fresh.

you find out how fast a sippy-cup full of milk can turn into a sippy-cup full of cheese.

you'll realize how much sex and violence there really is on TV.

you'll realize how stupid the shit you did as a kid really was.

you'll become a hypocrite, and realize that it's the right thing to do.

is the toughest job you'll ever love, and is totally worth it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

#atozchallenge G

Some of my favorite musical pieces, starting with G. Hope you enjoy, there should be something for almost everyone. :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

A to Z Challenge 2012 - Flying Fickle Finger of Fate

By the time my folks got around to having me, they'd already had three other kids, who were 13, 14 and 15 in 1979 when I made my debut. All my life, I've been surrounded by folks who are ALMOST too old to be considered the same generation as me. The music I listen to is about 20 years before my time. I've often looked around at people who are actually my own age, and wondered what the F they were thinking.

Television is also a forum in which I found this particular quirk. I watched some unusual television for a kid, including Nick at Night when it first came out.

The shows in that lineup were old even when my brothers were kids. If I recall correctly, the original line up went something like Mr. Ed, Bewhitched, Donna Reed Show, Patty Duke, Green Acres, My Three Sons, and a few other things over the years like I Love Lucy and Make Room for Daddy... Anyway, at some point over the years, I watched a good deal of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.

One of the skits they had on there was an award that they gave for the dumbest news of the week. I don't remember ANY of the recipients, but I always remembered the award. I also always hated the fact that when I mentioned it, nobody knew what the hell I was talking about, except for my father.

Thus, I kinda just stopped talking about it, cause it was pointless, and also kinda cumbersome to say, so why bother.

If you remember this award, or anyone it was given to, please let me know!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A to Z Challenge 2012 - Easter Traditions

I grew up Catholic, and was an alter boy for close to ten years. These days, I'm not a very religious fellow, so I don't put a whole lot of belief into the religious stories. If you're really interested, I posted my thoughts here. I'm also pretty skeptical about the origins of the different holidays, and how the big ones all seem to be claimed by the Christians, even though there is evidence that these holidays used to be Pagan holidays, and what not... Not going to get into that, but...

That said, I see no harm in still celebrating the holidays, even if I don't agree why or when they started. Easter was always a strange one for me as a kid. I DID go to church on Easter Sunday at some point, and it always confused me why I was made to dress so much nicer on Easter than I was any other Sunday, if I wasn't doing anything all that different. My general recollection of Easter was mostly that I get up in the morning, and find my "basket" which was always actually a cowboy hat, upside down filled with green cellophane and candy. Perhaps a coloring book or two, etc. The Easter Bunny knew a boy would much rather have a cowboy hat than a frickin basket!

I'd get up, and there'd be a trail if those chocolate footballs wrapped in tin foil, which I guess were probably meant to be eggs... I just always thought they were footballs. Anyway, the trail would go down the hall, down the stairs, and around the corner to my "basket". That was always my favorite part, I think since I don't really have any other specific memories of the basket itself, except for the malted milk balls and how disgusting they were. Of course, in true-me fashion, I ate em anyway.

I seem to remember the rest of the day being more of a pain in the arse than anything else. I had to wear clothes that weren't very comfortable, couldn't play with my new toys or eat my new candy, and had to go visiting relatives, which I didn't really start to appreciate until much later in life. We'd do Easter egg hunts, which I never really enjoyed, because I could never find mine. I still hate searching for things.

One of my favorite memories though, was an event at my aunt's house that I don't actually remember... Which I know sounds strange, but, she tells me about it every now and then, and I always like hearing it.

My aunt's house was spotless (at least when we came over for family gatherings. I like to pretend that everyone is just as slovenly as I am when they're not expecting company!) and her kids were mid to late teens when I was old enough to be a pain in the ass. We were there, and playing in what was the TV room. There were a few other cousins who were of a similar age, and God only knows what the hell we were doing, but from time to time, the grown ups would holler up the stairs and tell us to calm down, cause the chandelier in the kitchen was shaking. 

Finally, after the third or fourth such hollering, a trip upstairs had to be made. My aunt opened the door to the TV room, to find that we'd moved the couch, which pulled the carpet. As she opened the door, I was in the process of standing the lamp back up, and immediately said "I didn't do it!"

I have to wonder what the "it" of which I was speaking specifically was... Knocking over the lamp? Moving the couch? Naturally I thought it was perfectly reasonable to think I could make someone believe I, the youngest of the group had nothing to do with any of the carnage. I of course, was just explaining to them that they had to settle down and was straightening up the room just as my aunt walked in. Poor innocent me.

If only they'd had some Legos in that house...

What are your favorite Easter memories from your childhood?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A to Z Blog Challenge 2012 - Commercials of Olde

Once upon a time here in New England, there was a television channel who cared enough about it's audience that it aired commercials specifically for the betterment and education of the viewers, without a thought of profits and losses. These commercials were Public Service Announcements, and to this day, twenty-five plus years after watching them, I still remember most of them verbatim. Though intended to be educational, they are actually rather humorous if you ask me.

Thank goodness for youtube and the users who (for some reason) had this PSAs taped... Have a stroll down memory lane with me to the mid 80s, won't you?

I remember seeing this one and thinking "Boy that older kid is in lots of trouble!" The "'87" would put me at 8 years old, if it were after September.

I don't actually remember this one, but the "This is serious!" I think carried over to "Wonder Pets". 

This one I completely forgot about until poking around on youtube

I remember when I realized what Bugs was saying in this one "So kids don't get more than a treat." I felt dumb, cause I had wondered what kids were getting more "dematreet"... 

I STILL can't understand what the kid says in this one... "Just having one isn't enough. Kids should stronis tonis smoke to take to make!" ... WHA??? Help me out here!

Ah, "something planned which is, tomato cheese sandwiches". Much like the Bugs Bunny one, I had a hard time picking out the words on this one too... NOW I understand this one. There were a bunch of these guy.

Just listening to this guy it's VERY clear, this was a New England (or more specifically Boston) commercial. Unfortunately, they disabled embedding in this one, but I recommend checking it out anyway.

Well, I think I've spent enough of your time here, and I can't find some of my favorite ones from back then. There was "Big Cheese and the Food Groupies" and one about brushing your teeth where a horse was talking to a mouse who had a toothache. The horse kept saying "Oh, horse-feathers!"

Do you remember any of these?

Monday, April 2, 2012

A to Z Challenge 2012 - Basic Association

I'm frequently amazed at how completely, vivid memories of my child hood are associated with the things I do today. Some pleasant, some not so much.

My mother used to make beef stew from time to time, and she wouldn't use bouillon at all. She'd brown the meat in the frying pan, and when the pan cooled, she'd take some water and some flour and heat it all back up again, making it beef stock. I was not aware of this process back when I was 13 however.

I wasn't exactly what one might call the most helpful of thirteen-year-olds, so it was pretty out of character for me, but one day, I came strolling through the kitchen and saw that my mother had clearly forgotten to clean out the frying pan she'd used for browning the meat. Poor mom, I thought. She must be very tired. I know, I'll help out! I washed that pan to a sparkly shine. There, that's better. She'll be so surprised! And she was.

The irony was not lost on me even at that age, that I got in trouble (like, vein-popping ire) for the one time I washed something I noticed was dirty. Every time I even think of the word "stew", I think about that day. Incidentally, she simply used bouillon that time, and it came out fine.

I talked a bit some posts ago about using a magnifying glass as a kid to burn things. You can go ahead and read it, I'll wait.

Anyway, to this day, the smell of burning plastic reminds me of melting trash bags with a magnifying glass. Fortunately I don't get to smell burning plastic often (as it's toxic!) so that memory, as vivid as it is, doesn't get drawn up too often.

I was sitting one time talking with a brother of mine about this same sort of thing, the basic associations... He mentioned that he was once up in the Berkshire mountains, and one day while adding cream to his coffee, he was thinking about that day in the mountains, and now whenever he watches freshly added cream swirl in his coffee, he thinks of the Berkshires.

...Now of course, every time I see cream swirling in my coffee, I think of him thinking about the Berkshires!

I have tons of these, but I thought I'd keep it fairly short, for those of you who are stopping by for the A to Z challenge.

Do you have any basic associative thoughts like this?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A to Z Challenge 2012 - Accidents

I have had many accidents over the course of my thirty two (and change) years. Not all were bad though. Some where...

I once did $11,000 in damage to a car that only had 4,000 miles on it. Very stupid, totally my fault, I was reaching for my phone and the person in front of me stopped. The car was in the shop for several weeks, and a week after getting it, I slid in the snow and bumped a median / island thing where the city had planted some bushes in the middle of a three way intersection, causing another $750 in damage. Needed a whole new bumper. I hate that cars are plastic now!

I dropped my cell phone in the toilet... TWICE in one month.

I once had to take a trip to another state for work. The flight was early, and so as not to wake my wife, I got dressed in the dark. I realized my folly while going through air port security. I looked down to make sure I was standing in the little tape outlines of feet so I could be scanned only to notice the pink stitching on my toes and heels. Apparently I was wearing my wife's socks. Also apparently, the TSA is used to seeing that. Guess it happens a lot on the early flights.

I once grabbed the wrong card from my wallet while paying the bill at a restaurant. I thought it odd that the waitress had returned so quickly. Apparently the credit card machine didn't take my bus pass.

I once left my back pack in the classroom. I returned to find the room closed and the lights off. I broke my library card trying to jimmy open the door. I then realized that the door was not locked to begin with.

I accidentally reminded the teacher to assign homework on more than one occasion in high school.

Got any good accident stories? I'd love to hear em!