Archive for April, 2008

Eine Kleine Mittwoch Booty

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 30, 2008 by tom

My brother sent me this song, and now it's stuck in my head.  Bootybootybootybootybootybootybootybooty.  Fantastic.  Weird "Dallas" video montage, but a fantasstic song. 

Tim Wilson "The Booty Song"

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Ebb and Flow

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2008 by tom

(If you can read this, I’ve listed you as a “friend.”  That’s fairly remarkable, as I’ll explain later.  I just had to write this and get it out of my system, so I can go back to making fun of stuff.)

Two e-mails I received last week were especially memorable.  The first was from my mom announcing that my cousin Sarah just had her second baby—a healthy, beautiful 8 lb 1 oz princess named Kendra Lee.  

In my parents’ vast photo stores, there’s a picture of a 12 year-old me holding an infant Sarah, a squirming, wailing infant Sarah at that.  She was an unusually happy baby, and we were tight.  I’m convinced my cousin George did something to make her cry.  He rolled that way.  He probably still does, bless him.  

Sarah was by far the cutest child in my extended family.  The sad joke is that “noses run in our family.”  My nose isn’t that horrible, but at age 12, my head was the size of Neptune.  Sarah was adorable, with big brown eyes and a mischievous smile.  Even when she was bratty, she could charm you into laughing and giving her your wallet.  

I was shocked to hear that Sarah had Kendra. Apparently, she’s grown up over the years.  It turns out that little Sarah-pooh is now 30, happily married, working, and already mother to the lovely young Taylor.  

I missed a lot of Sarah’s life, in large part because the Air Force moved my uncle to Wyoming, which I’m told is actually still in the continental United States.  It’s not easy to drop everything just to fly out west for a high school or college graduation, or for a wedding.  Or to visit my cousins’ new babies.  Yet my brother and my parents all managed to make it for these occasions, and we all live in the same time zone.  The other reason I was unable to be there for Sarah’s milestones is that I was very absorbed in my own life.  For this amazing decade of Sarah’s life—including her high school and college graduations and marriage to Jeremy (whom I’ve never met) and babies—my life basically consisted of working, sleeping, drinking, and imploding.  

How could I possibly fly out to Denver, rent a car, and drive up to Cheyenne, and still manage to knock-off my nightly liter of Evan Williams? The only way I made it through my grandmother’s funeral near the beginning of my bad decade was by holing up in a motel after each required family event, drinking gas station wine and popping Xanax like Pez.  What a relief it was to get home, where I could drink gin or whiskey again unimpeded.

My mom tried to keep me up to date on which cousin was married to which new family member, and who had which new baby.  I still haven’t met any of my cousins’ kids.  I couldn’t be bothered to climb out of my hell long enough to visit.  A few years ago, all three of my western cousins came down for my parents’ 40th anniversary party.  They brought their spouses and kids.  My brother was there, too—he planned the obligatory celebration, God bless him—and it was a magical family time.  

I alone didn’t attend.  This time, for a slightly better reason than my usual fear and apathy.  This time, I was in rehab.  I couldn’t bear the thought of missing my parents’ 40th Anniversary party, and yet I knew I couldn’t survive it.  I knew it would kill my parents if I made some excuse not to attend, but there was absolutely no way I could have made it down there.  Maybe, I thought, I have a problem.  Hmm.

My insurance covered one of the best rehab facilities in the South, and the people there worked miracles on me.  They treated my twin nemeses of depression and alcohol, and they helped me reconnect with people.  Toward the end of my decade, I’d basically fired all my friends and family.  I had no time for anybody else, and I had panic attacks if I left my house other than to work or visit the liquor store.    

Now, I can be around other people—friends, I think they’re called—and not be riddled with anxiety.  I can have (and actually remember!) conversations with these friends without drinking and dialing.  Best of all, I can be happy living, and not killing my soul every night.  

I could fill a book with the miserable adventures I had during my bad decade.  I choose not to dwell on them.  As a friend says, “The old me sleeps lightly.”  Too true.  It doesn’t bother me a bit if my friends or relatives drink—if you drink.  If it works for you, great.  It doesn’t work for me anymore.  I know I can’t “turn the wine back into water,” as the country song goes, and I’m cool with that.  Craig Ferguson, who’s been sober 16 years, says he’d love to have one beer.  “But it’s never just one.  It starts with one beer, then I wake up a week later in a Mexican jail, with a strange tattoo and a sore ass.”  Well, something like that.  

I’m alive and happy and relatively sane today.  June 6th will mark three years since the last time I tried to drink myself to death.  For those three years—even with all the bad things that have happened—I’m grateful.  

The other standout e-mail I got last week was from my friend, Jennifer.  She and I shared many adult beverages together in our time, but our friendship was never about that.  In her e-mail, she told me her mother died Friday from alcoholism.  Her mother just couldn’t quit.  She started to lose her sanity toward the end, then her body finally shut down.  Jennifer asked all of her friends to pray for her mother, who’d had such a rough life.  

You bet I will.

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I’m not surprised one bit

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 28, 2008 by tom

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Call me Switzerland

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2008 by tom

So basically, I'm entertaining and barbaric in equal measure, and I can't really commit to anything.  Oh, yeah: and apparently, I'm a six foot four inch tall elf.  Hmm. 

You Are A:

True Neutral Elf Bard

Alignment:
True Neutral characters are very rare. They believe that balance is the most important thing, and will not side with any other force. They will do whatever is necessary to preserve that balance, even if it means switching allegiances suddenly.

Race:
Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Secondary Class:

Detailed Results:

Alignment:
Law and Chaos:
Law ----- (-3)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Chaos --- XXXXXX (6)

Good and Evil:
Good —- XXX (3)
Neutral – XXXXXXX (7)
Evil —- XXX (3)

Race:
Human —- XX (2)
Half-Elf – XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Elf —— XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Gnome —- XXXX (4)
Halfling – XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Dwarf —- XXXXXXXX (8)
Half-Orc – XX (2)

Class:
Fighter — XXXXXXXX (8)
Barbarian –XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Ranger — XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Monk —– XXXXXXX (7)
Paladin — XXXXX (5)
Cleric — XX (2)
Mage —– (-1)
Druid —- XXXXXX (6)
Thief —- (-7)
Bard —– XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)


Try it yourself, if you like.

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17 Down: Animal Tom should be paying more attention to

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 27, 2008 by tom

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It looks so easy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 26, 2008 by tom

This is probably my all-time favorite Pete Townshend solo performance.  He recorded this version of "Drowned" at the Secret Policeman's Ball benefit for Amnesty International.  In many ways, this performance laid the foundation for the whole "Unplugged" phenomenon that would follow.  One man with one big Gibson acoustic guitar on one night when everything clicked.  Hope you like it. 

Pete Townshend, "Drowned" (solo acoustic version)

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Yet Another Way to Die in Paradise: A continuing series (for Kelly)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2008 by tom

Woman finds gator in kitchen
 It wanted some dinner — specifically a pet cat, authorities say.


 By Eileen Schulte


  The whole thing apparently start­ed when Poe the cat was prowling outside and the big alligator followed it home.
  When Poe slipped onto the back porch Monday night, the 220-pound gator came along, crashing through a screen and passing a potted ficus tree and litter box.
  Tailing Poe, the 8-foot, 8-inch rep­tile crawled over the blue indoor/ outdoor carpeting, through an open sliding glass door and past the green suede sofa in the living room.
  Poe ended up someplace safe. The gator ended up in Sandra Frosti’s kitchen. After hearing strange noises about 10:30 p.m., Frosti, 69, discov­ered the gator and called 911.
  When deputies arrived, they called trapper Charles Carpenter.
  Carpenter put a rope around the
gator’s neck. It hissed. Then he tried to throw a blanket over its head. It lunged and thrashed.
  “The interest­ing part was try­ing to get him out without destroy­ing” the condo, said Carpenter. “He did make a dent in the wall with his head.’’
  The gator like­ly emerged from one of the many ponds, lakes and creeks in Eastlake Woodlands, where they are a common sight. Neighbor Fred Egre, 78, said he’s seen gators that, jaws wide, seem to expect people to give them food.
  When gators end up in swimming pools, lift stations and in the middle
of roads this time of year, people often say it’s because it’s mating season.
  But when a reporter asked wildlife commission spokesman Gary Morse if the home invader sneaked into Frosti’s condo because it was crazed by reptilian lust, he sighed.
  “I don’t think a gator wants to mate with a cat. Let’s be clear on that,’’ he said.
  This gator, he said, was simply not afraid of humans.
  “If you’ve got an alligator going into a house, you’ve got a problem.”
  After the capture, Frosti found dirt and blood on the kitchen floor, blood spattered on the wall and a claw mark on the hallway wall. Thank­fully, all the blood appeared to have come from the gator, which was hurt by a broken plate that fell during the struggle.
  “The house was a mess,” she said. “It did a good amount of damage in the kitchen.”
Research: Caryn Baird

I've never had an actual alligator come into my home.  When I was a kid, there was a snake once in my bathroom.  I've encountered several raccoons outside my apartment, and they've climbed on my truck in the night (it was either raccoons, or little tiny gnomes with dirty hands).  I've been stung by bees and wasps, and I got nailed by an assassin bug.

I've seen bobcats, and I had a Cottonmouth slither over my foot.  I watched an alligator kill an egret, but I've never had one show up in my kitchen. 

After the year I've had, though, nothing would surprise me.  I just hope it doesn't eat my ice cream.   (or Ana-Sofia, of course)

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