Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have been meaning to get back on the blogging horse for a couple days now, but the last two weeks were so incredible, to know where to begin was overwhelming.

So my solution is to skip the reporting. Chances are, you were there for the Old Guy Beer Challenge, Rocky Mountain Oysters, an epic Flip Cup collapse, Conrad struggling to open the salsa jar while completely nude, sawdust angels in Deadwood, my shocking disarmament as Beer chugging champion at the hands of my new sister-in-law, the wheelchair dance, The Gambler, and, oh yeah, my wedding. No point in recounting a whirlwind of good times that you were most likely present for. If not, at least we will still have something to talk about in person. That and the honeymoon (hey oh!). Now that that's out of the way, there are some things I would like to say...

--Before it all started, my married friend Bernie told me, "Enjoy the ride." That's exactly what it was, a ride. As we pull back into the station of real life, I truly wish I could signal the operator and go through it all over again right now. (Sorry, I am a sucker for metaphors, even the cheesy ones)

--Everyone has their own lives, of course. Some were a week away from proposing marriage themselves in New York. Some came straight from their last final in Washington State. Some were pregnant and traveling alone. Some drove for two weeks to get there and back. One even scheduled his friggin' chemotherapy so that he could make it. It was not an easy trip for anyone. To say, "Thanks for coming" just doesn't even scratch the surface. I could not be more humbled or more grateful to all who made such huge sacrifices and effort just to be there, for us. And the same goes for those who truly wanted to make it, but simply just could not do it. I know you felt bad, but I am here to tell you there are no hard feelings and I'll use you folks as an opportunity to relive the whole thing again in pictures and stories.

--Back to Val demolishing me in the chug race...Wasn't that just astounding? You would think my manly pride would be shredded, but it's like losing to Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, there's no shame in it. You're just thankful that you can tell your grand kids the story of how you once went up against the greatest. Seriously...I was in a chugging contest but Val was in a pouring contest. Nuff said.

--I consider my toilet-papered work station to be a badge of honor. I'm touched, guys.

--In the spirit of the great Bob Weily, I proud to announce that I am now a Scuba diver. I dive. With sharks.
--As evidence of my admitted status as a complete dork, the song I could not stop singing after said diving was "Under the Sea" from Disney's "The Little Mermaid."

--Music recommendation: Belgian singer-songwriter Milow, a.k.a. Jonathan Vandenbroeck. I don't recall whether I was lead to him by Pandora or Itunes Genius, but aren't they both Godsend technological devices anyway. I would compare him to a stripped down Joshua Radin. By stripped down, I mean less production...his voice sounds unfiltered or duplicated. Is that what they call that, duplicating? Probably not. I mean when it's two separate tracks of the same guy singing the same thing in the same key that exist only for, I'm guessing, texture. Anyway, Milow uses none of that, not that there's anything wrong with it. It's light, mellow (yuk yuk yuk), acoustic, singer-songwriter, pop rock with some nice writing and a voice that is not American Idol calibur (thankfully), but earns points for its seeming sincerity. It's probably not "fun" enough to earn my label of "CD of The Summer," but would definitely garner consideration.
--I have mowed my first lawn. That is in no way a metaphor. So it wasn't a push mower. So what. 'Twas still a vast green that I cut down to size, my friends. I had my red Joe Jost's hat, my Springsteen on the Ipod, my manhood claimed.
--Another first, and possibly last...I have flown 1st Class! Waiting in line to board in Denver, Nicole hears her name called on the PA. She gets out of line to get the scoop and returns with two 1st class seat upgrades, courtesy of the wonderful Charles (though we would not figure that out right away). Upon boarding, we were immediately asked what we would like to drink. I asked what the choices were and the very kind gentleman replied "Anything you want." Wow. So I had some wine for starters. And get this--I crossed my legs, resting the side of my foot on my other knee. On a plane, I did this!! I also reclined without the slightest hint of guilt. The whole experience was something I could definitely get used to. In fact, on all subsequent flights, I did inquire about an upgrade, but all flights were full so, luckily, the bubble of possibility was not burst by the reality of cost. Maybe next time? Maybe? No? Okay, but just maybe? One thing I noticed was that upon receiving the tickets, we didn't get back in line. We went straight to the front of the line in the priority line thingy and we didn't even think about it. What does that say about us, I fear. Ah screw it, bless you, Charles!
--First time it hit me that I am really, truly, completely married: On the plane en route to honeymoon. Getting up to ask the flight attendant (I started typing "steward...") for a Diet Coke, I explained that "My wife feels a migraine coming on." Ding! "My Wife." That was me saying that. The thing about the term "wife" is that it's so general. "Girlfriend" most likely means you have been seeing each other for 1 month-4 years, give or take. Obviously, there are exceptions. "Fiance" clearly implies where you are in the relationship and more or less when too, 7-18 months from tying the know. "Wife," however, could mean you're on your honeymoon or your 50th anniversary. I think there should be another term used for the early stages of marriage. There's "newlywed," of course, but you don't address someone as "my newlywed." One term I know I am going to get a lot of mileage out of......."Wifey."
"What's going on?"
"Nothing much, just sittin' here wif my wifey."
You can imagine the possibilities.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I Hath Failed

Mark Thursday, May 7th as the day I cracked. With my impending absence from work, I had a full day of clearing my desk before heading out for the Angels game. Why not use Conrad's Iphone to throw up a quickie post from the game? Two reasons:

1) We had the finest seats of my life and it would not have been advisable, from a safety standpoint, to take my eyes off the field for the risk of a right-handed hitter spraying a liner foul into my grill.

2) I'm not that serious about the whole thing.

It was a great game with the seats, the buddies, the retro 1980 uniforms, the first career complete game by Jered Weaver, two home runs by my fantasy players, and approximately 9,000 calories consumed. Not to mention, "Just Another Halo Victory!"

Someday when life allows, I would love to get season tickets to the Angels with the guys. And I'm not talking about going in on a couple seats and going to 30 games or so when we can and selling or giving away the extras. I'm talking about setting aside that summer and literally attending every single home game. Taking the journey with the team. Making the commitment to the team and with your bestest buds. It probably won't happen and if it does, I doubt it would be before we're all retired and the kids have all moved out (and they haven't even been conceived yet). What can I say, it's a dream of mine.

It bothers me when I am out running and a fellow runner passes me going the opposite way on the sidewalk and shuns me when I nod or smile at them. Now given the crazies in this world, I can fully understand why sometimes people might be wary of greeting a stranger on the street. Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don't. I get that. But it's friggin' seven in the morning, folks. It's a proven fact that psychos sleep well past seven. Not to mention that they normally don't put on gym clothes and go jogging (soft J). I don't know about you stiffs, but I am rather proud if I am able to drag my ass out of bed and hit the streets for some stone cold sweatin'. Are you so pro that you feel not the pride? If you do feel it, are you too cool or tough to share it? I'm running, you're running; how about some sign of solidarity, guys? It reminds me of those rare times when you run into somebody wearing the exact same shirt as you. Some people smile and nod. Others are humorless dimwits or are simply above such frivolities. Same principle here, I guess. Color me a smiler.

Heading back to the heartland manana. We're gonna go for it. See most of you there next week! Hooooooooooooooooooooo!

I leave you with this great song by Glen Phillips.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Grudge

One of my favorite parts of the movie "Diner," is where the guys are coming out of the movie theater when Tim Daley goes up and punches some guy seemingly out of the blue. Then his friends see who it was...Willard Bruxton(!), the last of a baseball team that had beaten up Daley's character as a kid and to whom he had sworn revenge. Even as he's a late-2o-something who's dealing with much more adult issues, he still settles the score with this childhood foe, standing over him and saying, "Now we're even." Is it immature and foolish? Sure, but it's so true. Though it's not necessarily a man thing, I think a lot of us guys have one or two people we'd still like to clock if we could. I know I do, and I'm not even a fighter. Far from it.

I hadn't thought about the guy in years when the other night as I tried to sleep, my mind in its own roundabout way led me back to this son of a bitch. His name was Brian and he was a counselor at the YMCA where I went to summer day camp. I had this friend named Ryan that I had known since pre-school. I was more quiet and shy than most of the kids and I think I was definitely a little clingy in regards to Ryan. He was actually kind of a little shit too now that I think about it, but only in a little kid kind of way, nothing serious. Anywho, we were in a church gymnasium that day, complete with carpeted basketball court, and I must have been following my friend Ryan around. He didn't like this I guess so he went and told Counselor Brian that I was following him. Before I describe what happened next, let me tell you about Brian. He was like a punk-rock, losery kind of guy. Not a guy who had this job because he enjoyed or worked well with children. I'm pretty sure he was there because he was involved with another one of the counselors. Half his head was buzzed short with the other half long, bleached and spiked out to its fullest. He wore studded bracelets and had a small voice he used to grumble out sentences with. In other words, to us 9-year-olds, he was really really cool. So there we were, Ryan, Brian, and I, with some other kids in the periphery, absorbing Brian's cool detachment when Brian hears Ryan's complaint (I should have changed one of their names). His deft, professional reply?

"Leave him alone, Fat Boy."

Motherfuckinweaselworthlesspieceofshit. I retreated to the least populated area of the gym, embarrassed like no other, emotionally devastated. I was a sensitive little guy with a complex about my weight. Hearing those words from an authority figure, albeit a dipshit version of one, and in front of all the other was rough. I told my mom about it, but I wouldn't let her call to complain, luckily for Brian.

Now I know what you might be thinking...Sure, that sucked, but grow up, get over it. And I have, I assure you. I haven't wasted a moment of my life thinking about it or fretting over it (with the obvious exception of this post, but, hey, I was gonna write something anyway). Not to mention, I am a big believer in the old adage, "The best revenge is a life well-lived." This is just one of those Willard Bruxton things, ya know?

I will go on whistling a happy tune, but Punker Brian, formerly of the Lakewood-Weingart Family YMCA, just know that should I ever see you in a crowd outside a movie theater, you are going down, buddy.


Is it acceptable to talk somewhat loudly or on one's cell phone, or both simultaneously, while in a book store?

You know my answer. No. Friggin. Way. True, it's not a library and I'm not saying it should be dead silent. They've got the cafe with the whistling milk steamers and the jingle of the register. There's even music playing throughout the store, of course. But it's a still a merchant of books, dammit, and thus is a designated place of peace, quiet, and reflection.

Rain, rain go away...

Visualize success...If you will it, it is no dream.

I have been beating the drum for rain for years. I have looked to the sky begging for rain, praising it when it delivered, cursing it when it did not. My every step has been in time with a lifelong rain dance. And now, my friends, it's all about to bite me in the ass.

While the 10-day forecast doesn't quite reach to the big day yet, the weather all this week is rain, t-storms, and rain. Perhaps my impending arrival is causing an electromagnetic disturbance in the atmosphere like The Terminator arriving from the future, crouched nude. Perhaps I am destined to fall on my knees and beg the weather gods for a mere thirty minutes of well-timed mercy so that I may marry outdoors as planned.

How's the honeymoon forecast you ask? Again, can't quite see that far ahead yet, but they are also expecting t-storms next week, granted amid 85-degree temps. I am less concerned about this one, but I am still begging for a reprieve.

Please, give me sunshine. I implore you. I offer as sacrifice my annual blog post complaining about 90 degree, sunny days in late a helluva nice watch.
Happy Cinco De Mayo, mis amigos! !Cervesas y margaritas para todos! Unfortunately, I shant be partaking as tonight marks a crucial step in my vacation preparation. Back Wax Night, everybody!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Get a hold of yourself, man!

This picture is from Cruiser's wedding. That's me and Joe on the right, wiping tears away before the first words have even been said. I'm in trouble.

We stopped by my grandparents for a visit Saturday night and I started to realize what's in store for me. We were just sitting there talking and I was fighting back tears thinking about the big day to come, how happy I was that they were going to be there, and how touched I was that they were going to be driving cross-country to be there. Come wedding time, I might have to ask somebody to punch me in the arm to save me from becoming a slobbering, cry-sloppy fool.

These are the days, aren't they?
In this last week before we skip town, one of the many last minute preparations I'm working on is to find a good book to take on the honeymoon. No politics, nothing depressing, upsetting, or very heavy. Beach reading, light but not frivolous, a quick read that leaves a lasting impression. Ya know, a good, solid summer read. I have one or two finalists on my shelf right now, but I always like to have a backup should my appetite shift once I get there. Anyone out there have any recommendations?
Went to a First Communion Saturday before my grandparents'. Saw actor Robert Davi. Also known as.....the white Special Agent Johnson from a little movie called "Die Hard" or Jake Fratelli from "The Goonies!" This was very exciting for me. At least I think it was him. I'm 90% sure. Let's just say it was, okay? Don't ruin it for me.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Got the drugs, on the mend

The sinus pressure is mostly relieved. However, now I am quite punchy. Dizzy and loopy, feeling like I just got punched very very hard or suplexed. Since it's a sinus thing, I can't really tell if the drugs are working overtime or not working at all. But it's kind of fun. I should avoid driving, I think.

Well, the big day is rapidly approaching. One way I know this, other than by the calendar, is that I had my first wedding anxiety dream last night. The ceremony was indoors for some reason, hopefully not a harbinger of things to come (damn you, rain and snow). It was just about go time, but the bulk of the best men were nowhere to be found. I came out of the bathroom and found they had arrived. However, Conrad and Adam were in a very conspicuous shouting match and Bill and Cruiser were raising hell too. I drew them outside and asked what their damn problem was. Then we realized they hadn't been at the rehearsal dinner the night before and didn't know where to go, what to do, or who to do it with. I then realized I had no idea either. I looked at my watch and we were a full ten minutes behind schedule. The End.

In terms of wedding anxiety dreams, that's a pretty benign one, I think. No offense to the groomsmen. If you put any stock in the affairs of my subconscious, I would have been stashed away in Arkham Asylum long ago.

I don't usually get into box office rankings, but this weekend's movie openings provide a battle of the demographics like no other. "Wolverine" vs. "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," i.e. guy movie vs. chick flick. Hugh Jackman with adamantium claws that come out of his friggin' hands vs. Matthew McConaughey visited by all the women he's wronged. Could be the ultimate battle royale of who wears the pants in your relationship.

I, of course, will be seeing "Wolverine." Hell, I might make it a double feature with "State of Play" just for shits and giggles. "Prognosis Negative!!!!"

(Nevermind, that Nicole has no interest in "Ghosts" or that she has to go shopping anyway.)