Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A medical miracle

One of my fellow bloggers has some family health issues at the moment, and she was detailing the backstory of how the family member in question ended up in the current state (you know who you are! I'm leaving your name out, though).

Evidenly, there was some (alleged) flukiness involved. (All those years of med school, and a doctor's diagnosis ends up being "bad luck"?)

Anyway, that got me thinking about one of the strangest medical things that ever happened to me.

It was a regular medical miracle.

This all took place in college, when I was younger and stupider.

See, I got a cold sore. (From kissing a girl, perverts.)

I don't think I really realized what it was, because I'd never had one, and I for one have lips that chap and split very easily in winter.

So I just thought my lips were all chapped and split like usual.

Until they started to blister a bit. Then I started to wonder.

But I got distracted.

Because in a couple of days I was in the hospital. With a fever of about 104 degrees.

They gave me some medicine, put me on an IV for dehydration, and sent me home.

A day later, I was back.

It was spring of my freshman year, and I wound up missing nearly three weeks of a 13-week semester (on-and-off) because I was so feverish I'd get delirious. Then off to the hospital (by cab, since no one had a car) for more IVs.

I finally got over the fever.

That's when my face started falling off.

I swear to God, my lips just erupted in blisters. My gums began to bleed. Worse, they began to warp. I mean, really. Like they were shifting.

I looked like a leper, at least from nose to chin.

Fortunately, I was on my way home for the summer at that point. So my mother, being my mother, took me straight to the hospital. I was still young enough to go to pediatrics, embarassingly enough, as I'd just turned 18.

(It wasn't a good spring. My grandmother died, too. On the upside, I got initiated into my fraternity with nary an animal in sight.)

So I'm in pediatrics, and mind you, this is about the fifth or sixth hospital visit. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.

Fortunately, the resident at Geisinger Medical Center, my parents' hospital of choice, was different.

She took one look into my mouth, said "I know what's wrong," and left the room.

A few minutes later, she came back in with another doctor (her supervisor, I guess), and he looks in my mouth, says, "Yes, you're right" and leaves.

So she sits down and tells me: Apparently, like one in a million adults who get cold sores have a terribly violent reaction. (Yes, I know cold sores are caused by some form of herpes. Imagine if I'd gotten this reaction down there!)

This reaction, I'm guessing, since I don't remember the name, is an extreme form of herpetic gingivostomatitis, which normally occurs in children.

In any event, she gives me one prescription and three days later I'm fine. After weeks of hell.

I asked her how she knew what was wrong when nobody else did. She shrugged and said she'd been the one in the previous million, so she knew what it was the minute she saw me.

Trust me, watching your gums get spongy in a couple of days isn't something you forget.

And lest you wonder about the whole cold sore thing... I've never gotten one since. Beats me.

All I know is, sometimes the body reacts to weird things in weird ways. Just my luck.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jock, unretired

My knees are killing me and have no skin.

My back aches.

My neck hurts. My lungs are burning.

In short, I'm in agony.

And I feel great.

My best friend Dave talked me into playing indoor soccer tonight in an adult rec league he plays in up in his hometown.

If my fevered brain recalls correctly, I played seven of my team's eight games, 100 minutes (three at 20 minutes, four at 10) total.

OK, it was indoor (on a basketball court, not a zillion-yard-long field) and I played goalie most of the time.

But it was soccer. A sport I love. A sport, I like to joke, I love so much I gave it both knees and a small part of my spleen.

And I haven't played in, I'd guess, 10 or 12 years. Since college intramurals.

The last game I played that counted, of course, my teammates carried me off the field.

And I went straight to the emergency room.

But this, this was glorious. And unlike one poor guy, who limped off on a sprained ankle, I'm actually in fairly decent shape for someone who has gotten zero exercise since last softball season.

There was running, diving, sprawling. I made some great saves. I got off a few shots at forward, which I've played for maybe an entire game worth of time in about a 10-year career. OK, I was pretty much a turnstile on defense, which is normally my strong suit, but hey. I'm out of practice. My instincts are shot. Not to mention my legs - pulled calf muscle and all - and my lungs.

So yes, in some regards, I disgraced the player I once was.

But I wasn't the worst player out there, I don't think. And that's a start.

I doubt I'll be out there again anytime soon (this was the next-to-last weekend of the winter season). Which is good, because a) with Marisa I actually have reasons to go out on Saturday nights, and b) it might take me until next year to recover.

Still, there's nothing like the adrenaline rush of sports. Even if I couldn't tell you a single score of a single game. (I don't know that they keep score. I was just glad I didn't fall down and die.)

Now, to get my lazy butt back on the tennis court...

Friday, March 23, 2007

New: Newsfeeds!

You'll notice at the bottom of the posting section, I've added a pair of RSS newsfeeds...

All part of my continuing quest to provide you, my readers, with all the widgets, gadgets and gidgets you can handle and I can program!

The first is an Oakland Raiders feed off Raiderfans.net, the site I write for.

The second is the closest I've come yet to actually having something work-related on my blog. It's the feed from a site called Pharmalot, which is a new blog covering the pharmaceuticals, a major industry in my (current) home state of New Jersey. It's run by veteran drug-industry reporter Ed Silverman, one of the best in the business.

So if you're interested in the pharmaceutical industry, either in passing or as an obsession, it's a place to check out.

Got any suggestions for more newsfeeds? Post 'em on up!

Monday, March 19, 2007

I did well for myself, huh?

That's my girl and me...

What do you think? I did alright, didn't I?

I promise, this is the last time I put up something sappy like this without good reason.

Well, there might be a reason: I met her parents this weekend. I did well, I think, which stands in stark contrast to prior gf's parental types.

Maybe that's a story worth telling.

Just not today. I'm in too good a mood.

Off topic, "300" kicks complete and utter ass.

And yes, we went together. She's that kind of girl. Lucky me, huh? 'Cause I couldn't deal with somebody who wouldn't let me indulge myself from time to time.

(And she paid... ain't she awesome?)

(Yes, Mom, I bought dinner. You didn't raise a complete barbarian.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

I hate dieting

So anyone who's kept track of the Monkey Waistline Tracker (tm) at left may have noticed...

Over the past two weeks, I lost exactly 1 pound. Last Friday was the first week my weight stayed the same. And Weight Watchers tried to reassure me this is normal and happens from time to time.

1 pound. 2 weeks.

Why the hell am I eating all these salads?

Other than my love of croutons, I mean.

Anyway, today I got on the scale (Friday's weigh-in day) and...

I gained 2 pounds.

Sheesh. And again, WW with the "don't worry, this happens" platitudes.

Well, at least I lost the holiday fat. I'm back nearly where I was at my best in recent years, after my health issues of a couple of years back.

Don't worry, I'm not quitting. After all, I paid for three months in advance.

They have WW at work, and they weigh you in and you get some money back if you make weight. (I'm doing this on my own, their plan doesn't fit my schedule.)

Anyway, a couple of years back one of my co-workers was in the program and worrying about making her weight/loss. I joked that if it meant $70 back, I'd strip down to my boxers to make weight, like a prizefighter.

That's why I'm doing this at home, alone. I may have lost 12 pounds (14 as of last week, damn it!) but I'm pretty sure there aren't many people want to see me shirtless.

Sigh. Freakin' salads.

(Insert rueful head shake here.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Most people just buy a T-shirt

As some comedian once said, when most people go to a foreign country on vacation, they bring home a souvenir. Angelina Jolie brings home a child.

And it looks like she did it again.

This time, it's a Vietnamese boy, and I suppose in a way that hits close to home, seeing as how once upon a time I was a Vietnamese orphan myself.

Funny thing, though.

I'm sure between Ms. Jolie and her partner, Brad Pitt, this little boy will have a wonderful life, filled with all the best of the material world and everything fame has to offer. And certainly a much better life than he might otherwise have had. I don't know them, of course, but I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're good parents on top of all that.

I don't doubt there are people out there who will at least joke that it would be nice to be adopted by celebrities. Some might even mean it.

But I won't. I don't.

Don't get me wrong. God bless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for their love and generosity.

But the simple matter is, from where I'm sitting, I did better than that little tyke, though I wish him all the best and I'm quite sure he'll never have to choose between paying the credit-card bill or the mortgage on time. That's right, I'll say it again: I did better.

When a couple take you into their home, into their lives, when you have nothing, no name, no life, no possessions, it's not money or fame that matter. It's love. Patience. Understanding. And more love.

And take my word for it, people, in that race, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt ain't got nothing on Jerry and Liz Strauss.

There'll be plenty of people jealous of that little Vietnamese boy. What he will probably never know is that he ought to be jealous of me.

(Aside, here's a faint hope that, among all the paperwork they have to do, Ms. Jolie and Mr. Pitt write a check to HALO, Help and Loving Orphans. It's the organization run by Betty Tisdale, the woman who helped found the Babylift, the program that brought me here. So if you or your people are reading this by some chance, do it. It'll make you feel good. And it'll help even more children.)

It's Civil War trivia time...

Ever wonder what the Civil War generals who actually survived the war went on to do?

(As opposed to the ones who didn't.)

That's Gen. Lew Wallace.

Wallace wasn't exactly noted for his skill. In fact, fairly or not, he was handed much of the blame for the butchery at the battle of Shiloh.

But if Wallace found little success in the Civil War, he found plenty afterward.

Some of you might remember the character of Gov. Lew Wallace from the movie "Young Guns II."

Yes, it's the very same Lew Wallace.

(Well, the picture is Scott Wilson, the actor who played him.)

Wallace was governor of New Mexico from 1878 to 1881, and found himself involved in the affairs of "Billy the Kid"after the Lincoln County War.

But "Young Guns II" wasn't the most famous movie that Lew Wallace was involved in.

You see, Lew Wallace was also an author after the war, and he wrote a little book in 1880 that got made into a movie nearly 80 years later.

And even though that book was a huge best-seller in the 19th century, it may not be as well remembered as literature today, and you may not have even heard of the author.

But you've definitely heard of the movie:


Let's close with a couple of old-school links:
Lew Wallace, Wikipedia-style
And Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur himself

Oh, and out of curiosity, if you knew the name of the author of "Ben-Hur," did you know he was a Civil War general? I have the nagging feeling I went about the trivia angle backwards...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Best munkee thing of the day!

Do you know what time it is?

That's right... time to tell you about the cool munkee thing I found this week!

Monkey art!

The artist's name is Matthew Porter, and he paints monkeys on 9" x 9" wood.

Only $20 for a print, $100 for a piece, or $120 for a commissioned work...

I think I know what I want for Munkeemas!

Watch for Civil War trivia time soon!

Addendum of the day...

Yes, that means I feel 8.7% guilty about that prior post.

So don't flame me, ya buggers. There's absolutely nothing in it for me. Nothing.

(Well, maybe the Raiderfans thing, but only in a roundabout way.)

From shilling to complete pimping, and a suppository, too

OK, I'm going to post a link to my suppository story, which I've already told the first two-thirds of, already at the risk of TMI, and don't want to gross you out by telling the last third of (people, it's about my ass, you don't want to read it).

Why a rerun?

Well, basically so I have an excuse to once again pimp out what is undoubtedly, and with all due respect to the bloggers I adore, the hands-down funniest blog I read.

Today's story literally had me laughing so hard, and so long, I couldn't breathe. I was crying, people. Shaking. You know, that kind of laughter.

And for those of you who either a) don't read my blogroll; or b) didn't actually wander over here from there... I encourage you, if you want a good laugh, to check this one out.

Thus, the transition:

... And speaking of suppositories...

Go read the March 12 edition of Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper.

It's a two-parter, one short and one long, and if you don't laugh your ass off (pun intended), well, check your damn pulse.

To borrow a phrase from the Lucky Monkey Casino, "Guaranteed fun, or your monkey back!"

(Ahem... transition Part Deux...)

Speaking of whoring out sites: Since I know damn well y'all ignore my Google and Amazon ads, let me encourage you to take the pennies you're not spending here over to Jintrinsique and chip 'em in to her tip jar. Or at least order some cookies and brownies. They're damn tasty and arrive right quick.

Support small business. Support good bloggers and food porn. And for the love of God, support accidental cleavage.

And yes, I've ordered twice myself. And tossed in a tip. I wouldn't ask you to do anything I haven't.

And finally, my complete, 91.3% guilt-free Web site pimping and whoredom wouldn't be complete without encouraging you sports fans to wander over and send some money to the Raiderfans.net server donation drive. These people publish me, for crying out loud! They let me cover the Oakland Raiders! (Next stop, NFL Draft 2007! Can you say "JaMarcus Russell"? I knew you could...) Help a brother out!

On an offline and thus off-topic-and-yet-not note, while it's not too late to get a tax deduction for the current tax year, have you thought about contributing to The Children's Museum of Bloomsburg, Pa., a bona fide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to educating the children of my home town and region?

And thus, preventing them from growing up to be degenerates like me.

Hey, that's three causes. Send 'em each $2 and it's like one venti frap from Starbucks. Not to mention, sending it to them instead of the Big Coffee Megagod is probably better for both your conscience and your waistline.

Unless, of course, you send more to Jin, and she sends you raspberry brownies. In which case, it might be worse for your waistline, but for God's sake, take a lesson from me, and if you're going to get fat, get fat by eating wonderfully!

We now resume our regularly scheduled program.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

List addendum...

If you read my list within an hour or so after I posted it (see previous post), just so you know, I thought of a couple of things to add, and when I got home realized a couple were redundant, more or less or more, and so I changed four.

Or three. I renumbered and sort of forgot. But I think I changed four.

I haven't completed any and already I've scratched a few off.

(Actually, what I did was, I noticed I said "visit a national park" and then had three national parks listed separately. Plus, I rephrased a couple of items. And I think I cut one out entirely because it was a repeat.)

Please update your scorecards accordingly.

My 101 in 1,001

So my Marisa has this thing on her blog about 101 in 1,001, which is the mother of all to-do lists: 101 things you want to do in the next 1,001 days.

Which is nearly 3 years, making it the perfect set of New Year's resolutions for a procrastinator like me.

So I'm going to make my own list. If I can actually think of 101 things I want to accomplish badly enough to basically dare myself to do it.

Aside, can I call her "my" Marisa? I mean, we're dating. Like, officially. So if she's my girl, I guess I can call her that, huh? I suppose, since I think she reads my blog, she'll tell me if I can't. Which could make for an awkward weekend.

And yes, if you're wondering, unlike "my" Mookie, Marisa is real and not, as my best friend's wife asked, inflatable.

(This site has the rundown on what to do with this list thing.)

Anyway, back on topic, here goes. I'll add this to my "Special Projects" list and mark 'em off as I finish. No, they're not in any particular order. Just how I thought of them, then organized into alphabetical categories.

And we'll see if she's still "my" Marisa in 1,001 days, now won't we?

Status as of June 30, 2009:
Completed: 37
In progress: 6
To go: 49
Abandoned: 10

Entertainment and sports:
1. Conduct an interview in a victorious Oakland Raiders lockerroom.
7. Watch all of my DVD movies.
June 2009: I'm close. I have about a half-dozen to go.
10. Watch all of my DVD TV shows.
12. Go to NJPAC for something.
13. See the Somerset Patriots play at home.
Planning to do this July 31, 2009, baby willing.
14. See the Newark Bears Sussex Skyhawks play at home.
I'm switching this, because we moved up their way and I don't work in Newark anymore...
15. Attend a championship sporting event of some kind.
16. Check out the AFI 100 List. Watch at least 10 films I've never seen.
17. Play tennis at least twice.
June 2009: This one may be on hold due to some shoulder pain that affects my swing.

19. Play out the grand D&D battle between my good PC and my evil one.
20. Paint at least one more Blood Bowl teams.
21. Paint all of my Blood Bowl teams.
22. Help my father create a philatelic exhibit and actually exhibit it.
23. Own a bubble hockey game.
24. Get all of the state quarters that are out.
June 2009: I've got almost all of them. I'll have to check my collection...
25. Complete my Raiders media guide collection.
Need the following years: 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968. April 10, 2007: Won 1964 and 1965 on eBay. August 2007: Won 1968 on eBay.
26. Complete my various media guide sets.

At home and at work:
31. Paint the house, or at least have it painted.
As of June 2009: Four rooms down (two bedrooms, dining room, office/den), three to go (one bedroom, kitchen, "Man Room"), two-plus we aren't planning on painting (two bathrooms, assorted hallways), one we will need to hire someone (living room with cathedral ceiling).
39. Organize my files into my filing cabinet.

Personal development:
43. Get my weight under 200 pounds.
45. Get certified as a professional locksmith.
47. Reach $100,000 in my retirement portfolio.
50. Go an entire day without swearing.
51. Read the Bible.
54. Volunteer to do something.
55. Donate at least $1,000 to something.
58. Take at least one more locksmithing course.

Reading and writing:
59. Finish my NaNoWriMo novel and get it (self?) published.
60. Write another full-length script.
61. Read all of my limited edition horror fiction books.
62. Read all of my Civil War books.
65. Get a piece of creative writing published in a legitimate publication.
66. Read all of my graphic novels.
67. Read all of my books.
68. Read the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Sartorial splendor:

Travel and adventure:
74. Learn to Scuba dive.
75. See the Grand Canyon.
76. Visit the super-giant Atlanta aquarium.
77. Do more target shooting.
78. Go deep-sea fishing.
79. Go back to Las Vegas.
80. Play cards in Atlantic City (or Vegas).
84. Visit at least one Hall of Fame.
86. Go back to New Orleans.
87. Visit my grandparents' graves. All four.
Aug. 5, 2007: Visited my paternal grandparents' graves in Florida.
88. Visit at least two Civil War battlefields.

We crave sustenance:
89. Learn to cook at least three meals that don't involve a box.
Sept. 1, 2007: Baked chocolate ribbon cake from scratch. Not technically a meal, but certainly food.
93. Cook a nice dinner for eight.

94. Pay off my credit cards.
December 2008: Have paid off all but one.
95. Finish my family tree, photos and all.
96. Make the After Further Review first-year star award a yearly one. With a plaque.
98. Rebuild my investment portfolio on my computer.
100. Take a photograph worth blowing up and framing.
101. Make a new list by Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.

2. Attend at least three New York Yankees games.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007: First one (Twins defeat Yankees). Sunday, April 6, 2008: Second one (Yankees defeat Rays). Wednesday, June 3, 2009: Third one (scheduled!)
3. Attend at least three Philadelphia Flyers games.
Saturday, March 24, 2007: First one (Islanders 4, Flyers 3). Wednesday, March 28, 2007: Second one (Flyers 5, Hurricanes 1). April 8, 2007: Third one (Flyers 4, Sabres 3).
6. Take my nephew to at least one Red Bull New York game. July 2008: I'm going to count this one, because I went to a game, and so did he, just not together...
8. Attend at least three Broadway shows.
June 2007: First one ("Beyond Glory"). February 2008: Second one ("The Little Mermaid"). Oct. 5, 2008: Third one ("Mamma Mia!")
9. Attend at least one concert.
July 11, 2007: Travis at the Electric Factory in Philly.
11. Get caught up on my Strat-O-Matic hockey.
Saturday, May 5, 2007: Finished FHL season, commenced JAMHL season.
27. Update the Raiders Research Project.
2008 season: This one is all but done.
28. Complete at least a half-dozen new Research Projects.
2008 season: OK, so it's really only four, but I've got two others in the works.
32. Buy furniture for the patio.
Summer 2008: We got a table and four chairs, and on sale!
33. Get promoted or get a new job.
Effective May 14, 2007: Promoted!
34. Be on time to work at least four out of five days for a month.
June-July 2007: I've been really good about this.
35. No wearing sweatshirts to work at least four out of five days for a month.
April-May 2007: I've been really good about this.
36. Replace my master bathroom toilet seat.
July 7, 2007: Done. Just in time to move.
37. Organize the refrigerator door.
March 30, 2007: Done.
38. Use my fireplace. And not burn the house down.
November-December 2007: Got a fire going (sort of)!
41. Go to the complex's clubhouse and/or pool.
July 7-15 2007: Walked past the pool on a walk with Marisa and Norton. Didn't say I had to swim, did I?
44. Resume my acting career in some fashion.
Summer 2008: See me this winter in "Ninjas Vs. Zombies"!
46. Get engaged and/or married (and/or some kind of permanent relationship).
May 13, 2007: Got engaged to Marisa! (UPDATE: Aug. 3, 2008: Married Marisa!)
48. Set my alarm for 10:30 or earlier every day for two weeks.
June-July 2007: I've been really good about this.
49. Get out of bed before noon every day for two weeks.
June-July 2007: I've been really good about this.
52. Go to Temple. At least once. For real services.
Sept. 13 and 22, 2007: Attended Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
53. Learn HTML.
Spring semester 2009: I bought a book; I can do what needs doing in my little world.
56. Apply to a master's degree program.
March 2009: Accepted into Centenary College's MA in English Literature program.
57. Update my will.
February 2009: Marisa and I updated our wills.
63. Catch up on my newspaper reading and keep it up for a month.
April-May, 2007: I've been really good about this, too.
69. Own a new suit.
March 2008: Ordered custom-tailored suit. Summer 2008: Took possession of same.
71. Own six pairs of shoes.
September 2007: I realized after unpacking that I do, in fact, own more than six pairs of footwear. Perhaps not all technically "shoes," but I think this one's good.
72. Figure out a way to wash my baseball caps. Wash them.
March 29, 2007: Ordered a thing that lets you put them in the dishwasher/washing machine. April 3, 2007: The thing arrived. Washing will commence soon.
73. Own a watch. Wear it regularly.
December 2008: Marisa bought me a watch as a Hanukkah gift.
81. Visit at least one museum I've never been to before.
April 16, 2007: Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.
82. Visit at least three museums.
April 16-20, 2007: A variety of Scottish museums.
83. Visit at least one national park.
August 2008: Went to North Cascades National Park on the honeymoon!
85. Visit a state or country I've never been to.
April 15-21, 2007: Traveled to Scotland.
90. Build a wine collection of at least one case.
June-July 2007: I'm going to count this one, as I've bought many bottles of wine. And drank them.
91. Eat at a nice restaurant I've never eaten at before.
May 5, 2007: Went to a lovely Pan-Asian place with Marisa.
97. Be interviewed by someone, instead of doing the interviewing.
March 2008: Interviewed by graduate student for journalism-related thesis.
99. Do a good deed for a stranger.
March 23, 2007: A lady in the drug store today asked me to get something off a shelf for her. And another lady near the office asked for directions, and even though I didn't know them, I sent her to someone who did.

4. Attend at least one Philadelphia Phantoms game.
Seeing as how they moved to Glens Falls, N.Y., I don't think it's worth the trek; it's not like I haven't seen them before.
5. Attend at least one Trenton Titans game.
Seeing as how this is now a Devils farm team (boo!), I think this one's nixed.
18. Go on a Sports Travel and Tours baseball tour (with Roger or Mark).
Summer 2009: Abandoned this one for fiscal reasons.
29. Clean out the garage.
This one is probably null and void as of August due to my move.
30. Clean out the basement.
This one is probably null and void as of August due to my move.
40. Finish the basement, or have it finished.
This one is probably null and void as of August due to my move.
42. Join the gym and go at least once a week for the duration.
2008: Joined the gym. And quit the gym. Sigh. 2009: Started playing soccer instead.
64. Finish the ghost book I've been working on.
June 2007: Abandoned this project due to personal time constraints.
70. Own a tuxedo.
I could've done this (for the wedding) in March, but opted not to.
92. Order Peking duck. A day ahead if necessary.
Once the baby comes, I'm going to try to stay vegetarian around her. I don't need the pressure of this one.

Sheesh. It was tough coming up with 101 things, especially now that I've accomplished a few of my life goals.

Wish me luck!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Munkee Python's the Meaning of Life

I've been pondering the meaning of life the past few days. Well, the meaning of love and life.

I've been dating a girl - Marisa - and as we've gotten more serious, it's had me thinking a lot about the past, present and ... dare I dream? ... future.

As many of you probably know, I was engaged once, a long time ago, and it didn't work out. I was young, innocent, naive, a lot of things both good and bad. And I dreamed. I figured out back then my sort-of definition of love: If you can hold someone, look at someone, look into their eyes, and see your future... if you want to see them every moment you're not with them, and it's got nothing to do with sex or loneliness... if you smile when you think about the next time you'll be together, even if you're just going to be sitting around...

I've been in love twice, at least by my reckoning. And not to put the cart ahead of the horse in my brand-new relationship, but I mean, let's be real. I'm 32 years old. I've been on so many Match.com dates, if I get to a third one I start forgetting what stories and jokes I've told to whom. I'm not looking for casual sex, much as I've enjoyed it (in my admittedly limited experience). I'm not looking for someone to keep me company because I've got nothing better to do and no one to hang out with.

I would like to meet the woman I'll spend the rest of my life with.

I thought I had, once upon a time. I did a lot of things right and probably a lot more things wrong. And then, after years of brooding and wondering and questioning, I got what I thought was a second chance.

I threw myself in, head-first, and in six months, had a more intense relationship than the four-and-a-half years of the one before. And it ended in disaster.

Lesson: You can't MAKE it work. You can't fight your way to victory in love. Love isn't a hockey game. Life isn't a hockey game.

Much as I wish it were different. Simpler.

But as I've gotten older, and maybe traded some of the fire in my belly for maturity, as I've passed the age at which my father married - late, for the time - as I've bought a house, and made out a will, and thought about my parents dying, and my own death...

I find I want something different. That doesn't mean settling. No, never that. But something different from what I used to want. And really, something more. Security, comfort, mutual devotion. I don't need someone who's crazy - but exciting! - and although I don't want someone boring, I want someone stable. Someone interesting. Someone I enjoy talking with even more than having wild sex with. Someone I enjoy holding in my arms when I dream.

(Not that there's anything wrong with wild sex. I'm getting older, but I'm not dead, eh?)

In short, my outlook on relationships has gone from sports car to SUV, kind of like my outlook on vehicles. No reason to live fast and die young. There's glory in that, but not the kind I seek.

I guess I just realized I want something different out of my life than I thought I did in my younger, wilder, more aggressive days. I'm not that guy anymore. I'm still me, just a newer - and hopefully better - version.

I used to wonder if my selling out for love as a teenager and losing it had ruined me. If I could repair a broken heart all the way, or if I was destined to never be able to give that much again, out of fear, out of hurt, out of shame.

I don't know if you ever can repair a broken heart and make it good as mint-in-box new, but I've learned I'm not ruined. I've learned I can love again, and I don't have to wait for and wish for perfection - I just have to find the person who's perfect for me.

Does that make any sense? Don't you hate when I get philosophical like that?

As for whether or not the third time's a charm, and I'm in love with Marisa, and whether or not I can see our future in her eyes... Well, that's between her and me.

That's right, suckers, you read this far and you don't even get an answer. Hey, I may be older and wiser, but I'm still me!

Insert big grin here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Awesome thing of the day

My buddy Patrick was passing this around. The frat boy in me is absolutely in awe.

Robotic Beer Launching Refrigerator - More free videos are here

Speaking of Karma...

I ripped the dust jacket on one of my LEs the other day, because I took it with me to the car dealership (for my oil change) in a backpack, and it got crunched by something else in the bag.

Just a little tear, maybe 3cm, on the back cover, but it sort of bent the bottom of the cover outward.

Serves me right for pondering paranoia about LEs, and possibly misrepresenting Stewie's stance on same.

Almost makes me want to laugh, except I'm busy trying to flatten the dust jacket back out.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Speaking of horror novels...

I went back to my NaNoWriMo novel today. Just to add a couple of sentences I thought of for no apparent reason while yawning my way through the commute home.

It was the first time I've gone back since I finished (victoriously!) in November.

I've got way too much to do, and I'd sort of told myself I was putting "Throne of the Living Dead" ("A high-firepower melodrama in 50 parts...") on the shelf for six months or so while I got some other projects done, and then I'd go back to it...

Maybe even to try and write another 50,000 words next November (I'd have to change the number in the subtitle, I suppose). I don't know quite how I'd format it so I wouldn't cheat on the NaNo word counter, but I sort of said "I'll burn that bridge when I come to it."

I mean, since it's episodic, I could just keep the new chapters in their own file.

But I get ahead of myself. I just wrote about 35 words tonight.

I was thinking, more fantasizing, that I'd see how much it would cost to get the thing vanity-published, just for kicks - my buddy Renaldo, author of the now-defunct Ron's Modern Life and professional LFH satirist - managed to put his up on some site where you can buy a copy of his '05 NaNoWriMo novel for $99 or something like that.

Maybe I'll Google my way into finding out more.

Be kind of fun. I mean, I suppose the writer in me thinks I should try to get a real publisher first, but the writer in me also sort of acknowledges that no real publisher is going to go for this bad boy without some serious, SERIOUS work.

But it did become a labor of love. And maybe I will start posting episodes here. Just for you. Well, and me... and my little fantasy world where the whole thing sound as good when someone else reads it as it does when I do.

To be fair, I should probably hype Renaldo's novel, "Tales of the Sea Vampire," which is available via Lulu for the low, low price of $99 per paperback copy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Random movie quote substitution

Got this from a post on HorrorTalk.

It's like my slogan of the day, but with movie quotes! Here are some of my favorites.

You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a munkee.

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

When there's no more room in hell, the munkee will walk the earth.

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Munkee, for lack of a better word, is good.

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

One munkee's too many, and a hundred's not enough.

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world munkee didn't exist.

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

I feel the need - the need for munkee!

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

A boy's best friend is his munkee.

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

And of course, the quote from my e-mail sig file:

Ray, if someone asks if you are a munkee, you say, 'yes!'

Which movie was this quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Monday, March 05, 2007

That's right, I'm asking your opinion

Here's something to ponder that came up in discussions with Stewie this weekend...

The subject of lending books.

See, we both collect limited edition horror fiction from places like (in alphabetical order):

Bloodletting Press
Cemetery Dance Publications
Delirium Books
Earthling Publications
Gauntlet Press
Subterranean Press
• And others...

These books, while some cost $100 or more, mostly run between $35 and $75 each. They're limited, so there's only so many printed (i.e. one of 1,000).

So your $40 gets you a hardback with a dust jacket, autographed on a limitation page. And in most cases thus far, some terrific fiction.

Now, I offered to loan Stewie a book sometime back so he could read something by an author he liked. He wouldn't borrow it. "What if something happens to it?" he asked.

Don't get me wrong. I've loaned out "regular" books and had them come back with the spines broken, pages dog-eared, etc. Twice, friends have had to buy me entirely new books due to unfortunate run-ins with liquids such as coffee.

But Stewie understands. He collects like me. He'd be careful. In fact, he'd probably be more careful than me.

He sometimes gets reading copies of books so he doesn't have to sit around messing with the pretty, costly, special ones. Not that I blame him or think he's necessarily a little nuts.

Well, at least not because of THAT.

So anyway, I was saying, the thing for me is, unlike Stewie, I read these books. You know, crack 'em open and page through 'em. Sometimes, while drinking, or eating, or even on the throne, where I get some of my best reading time in. I've got oily skin, so I'm sure I get fingerprints on them and stuff. In fact, one publisher thoughtfully puts its dustjackets in special plastic protectors (like book covers), and I take them out! (Because they annoy me.)

I mean, I take good care of my books, I'm careful with them, but I read them in the practical sense of the word. I've got an LE on my nightstand at home right now. And in fact, when we were talking about these books, I was at Stewie's, and I had that one crammed in my overnight bag. Yes, I kept it in its own pocket, but I'm sure I've rendered the dust jacket slighly less than "mint/near mint" condition over the past few weeks I've been trying to finish it in between all the things I should be doing instead.

I take my books on airplanes, the train into New York City, on road trips of all types. Crammed into my bag, usually.

So I don't see the big deal in loaning a book to somebody careful. Of course, I would never infringe on Stewie and try to force him to read a book of mine. I mean, duh. If he's not comfortable with borrowing it, so be it. I wouldn't ever want to make him feel uncomfortable, either forcing a book on him or debating his feelings about borrowing. That would be being a bad friend. And that's not my intent.

But I'm wondering, my readers... Who's right? Am I being careless with these books I'm so addicted to and have spent so much money on? Or is Stewie just more cautious than me, and to each his own? His copy of some LE will be pristine while I'm crying over my copy, which I just dropped in my sink or something? (Hope not. Knock wood.)

I don't have an answer. What do you think?

(And no, I have no idea how to make HTML polls. Yet. Be grateful I got the Monkey Waistline Tracker table on without hurting myself.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Triple threat time!

After much wishing and hoping and a little bit of swearing...

I figured out a three-column layout!


I've wanted three columns since I started out, really, and now, thanks to some searching and guessing... and a lot of copying and pasting... I've got one.

Hope it's good for you, too!