Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Spiderman 2 is a very good movie.


Before I go further I want to consult with someone who knows Spidey history better than I. Spidey has long been a favorite. One of the reasons is he was a kid just like me. He was a bumbling, geeky teenager who never got the girl. Bruce Wayne was cool, but he was rich. Superman was.....well, Superman! Peter Parker was someone with whom I could identify. He was insecure and unsure of himself. When he put on the red` black and blue he became cocky, strong and a super hero. At the same time, though,he continued to struggle with who he was inside.

They have made what I felt was a major departure in the Spiderman mythos. I didn't mind, in the first film, that Gwen Stacey was supposed to be the love of his life or that Pete built a devise to swing webs instead of them being biological.

I am a Spidey fan, but I will admit to not being able to carry 40 years of history in my head like some are able to. Probably the same reason I never got into baseball; too many facts and figures to carry around.

I also don't want to give away too much to anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Go see it. It is a good movie. Sam Raimi has progressed as a director and I thought he was pretty darned good anyway. Every character gets their moment to shine and the major characters are fleshed out even more. Anthony Molina IS Doc Ock. He was my favorite villain tied with Dr. Doom. They also do something with him which bothered me.

I'll go over the movie again after Johnny and I see it next week. It will give you time to see it and I won't feel guilty about spoilers.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

To kill time on breaks I occasionally browse through the Goodwill store which is in the same plaza as my office. I keep waiting for a cheap enough recliner to show up. As I went through the aliases I spotted something which made me stop and think.

Sitting amongst the faded dishes and old coffee cups was a little :World's Best Mom" statue. A little doe-eyed kid holding it's hands wide in a hug. It made me wonder where it had been before landing along side discarded housewares.

Was it given by a child who really loved their mother or was it a last minute given by someone who grabbed it in a cheesy gift shop or convenience store just to keep their mother quiet? Could it have been from a little child choosing a gift for the first time or a gag gift from a grown adult? Was the parent still alive and just making room in her belongings or was it part of a "going through belongings" process after a death? Did anyone remember under what circumstances the statue had been given? Any recollection of the reaction on either side? Who slimed more when it was revealed? Was it a hard decision to discard it? Did it still hold any sentimental value or was it just a nick nack which was now only worth the $.50 price tag Goodwill had placed on it?

The next thing I wondered was what would happen to all my things after I die? I am a mad collector of so much. Will it mean anything to my son or will it end up on some shelf in a Goodwill for pennies on the dollar?

There has been a little bit of a tradition in my family where we are allowed to take one trinket which belonged to a deceased family member as a way of remembering that person. Just looking around my place I can see things which belonged to my father, mother and a cousin. What will my family members take of mine to remember me?

Well, enough deep thoughts......SPIDERMAN 2 TOMORROW!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is a very good movie and every American should see it.

It is flawed, however. It is a fantastic and very affective piece of filmmaking. It is very slanted, heavy in propaganda and does misrepresent some facts. Granted, every filmmaker has an agenda; whether to make an audience laugh or cry or to make a statement. This movie is no different. Moore makes no bones about it, too.

In no way do I support Bush. I believe he should have been forced out of office a long time ago. Moore is even less forgiving. He makes a big deal over how Bush reacted upon receiving the news of the 9/11 attacks. He narrates the footage of Bush in that Florida classroom dripping with sarcasm and a total misunderstanding of how a presidential staff works.

Moore also tries to make numerous financial guilt by association claims between the Bush family and the Saudi royals. Some seem plausible,but taken as a whole seem a big stretch. He wraps up his theory with a montage of a dozen photos of many apparent Saudi officials meeting with different members of the administration. Only because I pay attention to the news was I able to identify some of the photos as official and legitimate situations. To the casual viewer they are presents a rogues' gallery of evil doers plotting and planning with those in charge.

The ironic part of the day was coming home and hearing the news about the US Marine being kidnapped. I got angry all over again. This is a war which was based on a lie. I don't know how Bush sleeps at night. This is an important film which everyone should see before November. It should be taken with a grain of salt, but it should be seen.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Well, I'm a greedy bastard. They offered loads of overtime and VISA gift cards for each day we worked that overtime to help out one of our other departments at work. I opted for the OT and extras over having Johnny for the weekend. I labored over that decision since Wednesday. Those gift cards can buy the new tired for the van. I even called and asked my sister's advice on this one. John and I talked it over and since we're going to be together in just another week anyway we decided to go for the money. It was a tough decision deciding between spending the time with him versus having more money to make that time together better. For the longest time there's been a running gag with some of my older friends of "What happened to the good old days when our biggest worry was who didn't chip in on the pizza!".

It turned into a good weekend anyway. My good pal, Bruce Dolan, was in town to surprise his mother for her birthday. He ended up having a surprise for me as well. I had asked him to pick up some new Sonic cups for me. He has one right down the road while the nearest one to me is 2 hours away. He shows up with over 20 cups of different sizes and 4 advertising posters like they have on the sides of the building. He had explained to the manager he had a collector friend and was gladly given this supply. He even took Bruce's phone number for when they have more! Bruce is now what is called "an enabler". There is a perfect spot in the kitchen where I can display one poster at a time; changing the decor from time to time. How Martha Stewart! OK, so it's Martha with a twist!

I had to work past the time the surprise party started so I didn't get to see the initial expression of his mother's face but my late arrival was greeted as yet another unannounced plus to the day. I have quickly been accepted as another "son" in her family. We swam in the pool and ate barbecued ham. Deeee-lish!

From there I went to visit a friend's wife who had given birth earlier this morning. This is the 2nd girl for Jason and Dana Berry. Jason had just gone out to dinner with his mother and father when I arrived. I had bought a little plush Shrek and Donkey for baby Sarah. Dana decided to just leave them in the bassinet and see if Jason could guess who had visited. It only took a few seconds for him to figure it out! How could he have known?

I've been trying to screw up the nerve to call up my old boss. When he first left the company I had immediately written off a letter to him. Just as I was ready to send it I decided to call him. Then my phone got shut off. The letter gathered dust all the time the phone was off. I really feel the need to make the connection. I guess it's all part of my "carpe diem" reaction to Andy's death. I finally talked to Mike LaPlante today. We still can talk easily as if no time had passed, luckily. We are trying to make plans to visit during my trip up to Harry's in November. That would be grand. Still haven't reached Jay, damnit.

Tomorrow I see "Farenheit 9/11" tomorrow, so expect a review and possible political rantings. You have been warned.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Good Morning, America SUCKS!

For whatever my opinion matters; they suck.

For a while I had noticed that they had been going for the tabloid side of the news; always harping on the pain of a situation or the emotional turmoil involved instead of simply relaying the news.

This morning they wasted 10 minutes on a "story" about how when Vice-President Cheney bumped into Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont while on the floor of the senate he told Leahy, "go fuck yourself". They were all over his and other prominent politicians for using "THE F WORD". I know politicians and every one of them uses it. I don't think I would trust a politician who dosen't use it.

It's not any moral downsizing that the word is getting widespread exposure. The word has been around for a long, long time. My mother used it. I'm sure my son uses it.

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

It's just a word. Get over it.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Do I have the stupidest luck or what?

I finally grew back a set of gonads and called "the young lady" after about three months of no contact whatsoever. First I was relieved that I got her voice mail; got the contact with non of the nervousness of "actual communication". Then she called back!

We talked for about 20 minutes and have plans on getting together next week. She is now working at a bar & grill nearby. She sounds happy and things seem to have been going better for her since leaving the job.

I am really hoping things go well when we get together. I am going to continue using my regrown gonads by actually telling her how I feel about her and try to set things to be a little more involved.

I try not to build up hopes but I do get the feeling this could really be something good. My good friend Harry once equated my tendency to fall quickly for women with a guy going over Niagara Falls. "One minute he was there, next minute - whoosh!"

I think he exaggerates.

Well, maybe just a little.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Happy Father's Day!

I was the one who had to call Johnny today. I held off till after 8PM. I was hoping he would make the call first. I know, at his age, I sucked at making those kinds of calls, sending cards and buying gifts. I didn't get my mother flowers for Mother's Day until her last one. She was always the one who put cards in front of me for the monthly collection of birthdays and anniversaries. It's a little ironic I'm hoping for better from him.

But I did give in an call him and it was a great phone call.

I do know he's just like I was at his age. I occasional prod him as special events approach and it seems that the ex and her husband do the same my mother did; every thing is arranged for him to take credit for afterwards.

Someday it will all change. I look forward to getting that first unsolicited phone call from him just to shoot the bull.

I got myself a Guinness, a steak and a stogie to celebrate the day. Not too bad a day, really.

Friday, June 18, 2004

I can hear it like it was yesterday.


The scream pierced the dank silence of the hotel service corridor. A wheelchair loaded with the hefty body of a 17 year old boy careened backward down an inclined ramp. Three other boys raced after it to save him before slamming into the concrete wall at the bottom.

"Ah-ahhh! Let's do that again! That was cool!" The wheelchaired passenger screamed in joy to his friends.

The scene is a service corridor under the then Statler-Hilton in New York City. It was February 1977 at the Star Trek World Expo. The four teenage friends had traveled from Rhode Island to attend a major Trek convention, a first for some of them. One of them is wheelchair-bound. Their common interest in science fiction was one of the building blocks which had led to a decades long bond.

They have used the service corridors to make it easier to navigate the crowded hallways with their wheeled pal. Unseen to the public, the passageways snake around ballrooms, through kitchens and go from the top to the bottom of the hotel. The friends were making their way from the lobby up to the dealers' floor when they came to the ramp.

"Here, let me help, said one of the friends moving to push the chair to the top of the ramp.

"I can do it," said the strongly independent friend. "Strong" was an understatement. While the degenerative disease which put him in the chair had robbed him of lower body use he was a brick house from the waist up. All of the friends knew that you never wanted to be grabbed and held tightly by the wrist, or even worse, pulled into a bear hug. Asthma attacks had nothing in comparison to the breathing restriction inflicted by one of his "Playful" wrestling holds. And he laughed all the time doing it....the bastard!

From the beginning there was an understanding between these friends. Even though he was in the chair, he was just one of them. Sure, they helped when asked and made minor concessions to their friends limitations; but there weren't many. They went everywhere together. They did all the things teenage friends did together. This trip was a perfect example. They planned and saved for the trip for months. Never, in any of the planning, were the limitations of bringing someone in a wheelchair seen as a hindrance to going; it was simply part of the planning.

They may have asked about the disease at some point during the friendship, but it never mattered. They only wanted to answer their curiosity as to WHY their friend was in the chair. They spent hours together and never thought of him as anything other than just another one of the group.

Just as his chair crested the ramp his eyes widened as the realization hit that he was losing control. His arms began to flail as he grabbed at the wheels in a vain attempt to regain ground.

"Hey!" he called out to this friends steps in front of him.


That New York trip was one which I took with Andy Hastings, Bob Eggleton and Jay Kingston. Andy was the one in the wheelchair.

The was the instant image that flashed through my mind when I got the news that Andy had died on May 26th.

Then I cried.

The is the first death amongst my close circle of friends from my youth. This is the first real sorrowful loss I've felt since my mother's passing. Older relatives are one thing, but to have "one of us" die cuts in a different way. It means we are mortal.

I don't think I've talked to Andy in more than 20 years and that guilt weighs on me. There are so many people in my life I struggle with to hold on to against the battle of time and distance. I have rekindled friendships lost through the years and hold tight to the ones I can keep. I'm sure some would say that I live too much in the past; that I should take pleasure in what I have today. It's not that that isn't true. But why shouldn't I try my hardest to keep the joyous relationships I've had in the past as much a part of my life today as they were 20 years ago? "People come into our lives and they go out of our lives; it's a fact of life". I think that sucks. I have given in to that axiom a little easier in recent years but its never without a good fight.

I have thought of that weekend over and over since getting the news. And I smile. I even will laugh out loud when I think of Jay's dead-on impression of Andy as he sped backwards. I don't know how I'm really going to cope with this. I am wearing my Trek mourning badge in his honor. I am sending his parents a copy of this post because a Hallmark card didn't seem like enough. I will hold tighter to the friends I have and maybe not give up as easily as I have been to the affect the march of time has on friendships.

I called Bob immediately the other night and we talked like we always have. It might have been a year since we spoke last but it felt as if we had only hung up the phone yesterday. We talked about our lives and our circle of friends who knew Andy. I realized I didn't have the same ease with some of the others from that group.

Oh, shit....

Excuse me while I go call Jay.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Friends of mine here are used to me joking about being in Florida and my "hatred" of this state. I say that hurricane season and sink holes are just God's way of reminding us that the Florida belongs under water. If it weren't for the Army Corp of Engineers it would be the Georgia Gulf coast. That ever time I have dealings with eh Florida legal system I hear "Dueling Banjos" in the background.

I may have just found yet another reason. I understand that television news polls are not scientific and can be slanted by bored people with nothing more to do with their time than to repeatedly vote to make the results look good for their side, but AAAAAARRRRRGHHHH!

The local Fox affiliate had a poll tonight which asked if "After the 9/11 Commission Hearings do you still believe there was an Al Qaida/Iraq link?" and 46% ANSWERED YES!!!!!!


Dear God, please don't let Florida be the laughing stock of the country again. Please don't let Florida be the reason we have a lying bastard in the oval office.

Life and politics used to make sense before moving to Florida. There were Democrats everywhere. I knew Kennedys. I ate 3 months worth of meals at catered cocktail parties. I was almost a candidate. I was known inside the State House and by politicos around the state.

I still don't understand why the word "impeachment" hasn't come up in Washington. How can the President serve up such a stemming pile of crap to the American people which has caused so many needless deaths and still be in office? The last time there was impeachment talk was over a blow job; no one died because of that decision.

OK, OK. I'll calm down. It was just a stupid phone poll on a stupid Fox affiliate. People here really aren't that stupid. They've got to be able to see the obvious. Ray Charles is blind, dead AND buried and he can still see clearly THERE WAS NO CONNECTION between the two and it was a bullshit reason for invading Iraq.

OK, OK. I said I'd calm down.

Monday, June 14, 2004

I usually blow off lots of the jokes that people send me at work. Most of which I've seen dozens of times by the time it passes my PC. However, this one hit home with me. It seemed a good balance to the weekend's post; just so you don't think I'm the most depressed person on the planet. There is an optimist deep down inside!

$20 Bill

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00
bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"

Hands started going up.

He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me
do this. He proceeded to crumple the $20 dollar bill up.

He then asked, "Who still wants it?"

Still the hands were up in the air.

Well, he replied, "What if I do this?"
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor
with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.

"Now, who still wants it?"

Still the hands went into the air.

"My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter
what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in
value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the
dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.
We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never
lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to
those who DO LOVE you. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by
WHO WE ARE. You are special - Don't EVER forget it."
Count your blessings, not your problems.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Something a little strange on my weekend with The Boy.

My ex had dug up a whole bunch of old pictures. There were a couple from my childhood and early 20's which I thought I had lost and am so pleased to have back. It was neat to go through these with Johnny and share some of my history with him. Another of those great connections I miss out on in the day to day being the "separated" parent. There were w whole slew from our wedding. It's bitter sweet to look at these after so long. To look at those two people who were so in love. You can see it in their eyes as they hold each other for the first times as husband and wife. The gentle touches and easy looks between them.

I have my favorites time travel fantasies where I go back to either Ford's Theater or Dealy Plaza and know in detail what I would do to save each president in each situation. When I try to do the same with my own life I come up a little short. Do I go back to my last marriage and make changes before it started to fall apart? Do I marry her to being with? Do I stay in Rhode Island when she wanted to move to Florida? Do I do the same rescue mission to my first marriage? Do I even start dating the first one? Do I go back further than that?

We all try to map out our lives and try to have a vision of what we want it to be. So much of mine at times feels to have more outside influences than I see in other people's lives. In the midst of my first divorce there was a moment when my ex confronted me with stories running around about me using drugs. If you know me well enough, your eyebrows just jumped. She had heard from someone from someone from someone through my job a rumor to that affect. The only drug I've used with regularity are asthma steroids. However, she took this as gospel. I went to a good friend on the job to hunt this rumor down. I came up on a dead end. To first have my marriage torn apart only four months after the wedding then to have this story passed around made me feel as if there weren't a moment in my life which someone else had more control over than I did.

I know we all have things we have to do in life. Most of us wouldn't be working the jobs we are if we didn't have to. It's just, at times, I still feel that frustration and helplessness I felt back then when I look at where I am in live compared to where I'd like to be.

OK, so there's that big "life retrospective" post I guess I was supposed to do on my birthday two weeks ago! Well, here's another little retrospective; a 39 year old photograph.

June 1965 Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 12, 2004

My parents brought me up to be polite. Sometimes, I have felt, too polite. I have always wanted to be one of those people who can get away with saying things right to someone's face and getting away with it. Like the scene in "Good Morning, Viet Nam", when Robin William tells the Sergeant Major that he is "the one man in the single greatest need of a blow job". I cringe away from that fearful of the ramifications it could have on me personally and otherwise.

The reason I say this is that there was a person who has left the job for greener pastures. When I heard the news the first thought that went through my head was saying goodbye to this person by saying, "I hope that you get a job which will allow you to take that stick out of your ass." I have to be content with it being a little fantasy in my mind because I could never, in a million years, being myself to say that to someone. OK, I can be a sarcastic and funny bastard but never in a malicious way. There are times, however, when times call out for an attitude adjustment.

And still I do not wish this person ill. I hope success is on the road ahead. I'm just glad that road is leading away.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Am I hypocritical by looking at people who are at or close to my post surgery weight with some of the same looks I used to get?

I see people who are morbidly obese like I was and I feel like crying out at them, "DO SOMETHING!" And I remember all my friends who tried quietly saying things to me and it did no good. I remember my sisters' emotional letter which was probably written through tears. I remember the stern lecture I got from George Takei. I remember the look of concern in my friend Mel's eyes as he told me how concerned he was about my weight gain.

My friend Tracy recently returned my copy of the very first talent show which was six months before my surgery and I can hardly watch it now. I am both amazed at my progress and horrified at how far gone I was. I guess it's all part of the process all bariatric patients go through and I hope I can come to better terms with it.

I do not, however, cry out. I keep it to myself (Well, till now) and console myself with the fact that I was able save myself. I still have about 50 pounds to go. I am going to be working on a possibility of circumventing fighting with my insurance company over getting the nip and tuck paid for sometime next year.

BTW, how do you like the pic?

Sunday, June 06, 2004

OK, so last weekend got out of control. I should have maybe posted some missive about being 42.....but Naaaaaaaah! Then I just didn't have the initiative to actually post something during the week. I'd always like to have a "big theme" to write about and not just boring stories about how many times I scratched my ass during the day. Hell, even I wouldn't want to read about that!

Had another great weekend with Johnny. It always seems quieter here when he goes back. Never made it to "The Producers". Just glad they're finally planning making a film version of the musical.

Went to see "Shrek 2". On the way stopped in to see a friend of mine who hasn't seen me in 18 months. Not only was he surprised to see me but loved the weight loss. Couldn't talk him into going to see the movie. Was nice to visit. For whatever reason he suffers from a Floridian malady. Itstoofartodrive-itis. Almost anything outside of the residential zip code becomes a long distance trek to locals. I'm sued to traveling 1 hour for a Trek club meeting without thinking about it and sometimes I can't get people around here to go from one end of the county to the other.

It was nice to be able to get in a car and drive again. This week I'll get the ball rolling on getting the van back on the road. There's a whole back story to the whole car thing which I'll get into once it's all over and done.

No disrespect to Ronald Reagan, but I really got tired of "Reagan TV" today. OK, I know he was president, and I respect that. However, it's all the revisionist history that got tiring. You expect it from those who worked for the man but when news anchors act like the sun has burned out that I quickly lost interest. According to more than one "journalist" Reagan was "probably one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century".


Did we forget Iran/Contra? Did we forget "the poor choose to be that way"? Did we forget "ketchup is a vegetable"?

Let me repeat one of those......Did we forget Iran/Contra?

Yes, he did some good.......but "best"? No so much.

OK, he's no George W, I'll give him that!