Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Trivia #??

What is this? The truimphant return of the Thursday Trivia game? It has been a while, I know. I even need to go back later and find out what number this is for the title above. I odn't know if I have done some of these questions as it has been a while so if these are repeats, you should know the answers....right? Remember, thee are just for fun and there are no prizes or looking dumb. I like when people make silly, funny guesses because they don't know the answer...

1. What's the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men?

2. What country sends the highest percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds to the altar?

3. What U.S. state had the first 7-Eleven stores?

4. What country supplies three-quarters of the world's maple syrup?

5. What tropical disease were mental patients intentionally infected with in the early 1900s as a treatment for insanity?

6. What direction did cartographers usually place at the top of maps when they believed the Earth was flat?

7. What car model was developed in 1938 by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche?

8. How many of every 1,000 species that have ever lived on Earth are still alive?

9. What insect depends the most upon sight, rather than sound, to locate mates?

10. What taste are cats unable to detect?

Have fun, and if you haven't read Rich's story down below, read the whole thing, it is really good....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I reached down to open the menu, but stopped myself from taking a peek. I had memorized the menu years ago and knew it was only logical to get some waffles from a restaurant called The Waffle Barn. My father and I had become well known amongst the wait staff due to our weekly visits. It also didn’t hurt that we managed to leave tips above the normal recommended percentile. These trips had turned more into an excuse to be alone with my dad, which was more difficult nowadays. I always insisted on picking up the check and after an hour or so I would leave with a filled stomach and another story to tell. My father could spin a yarn and today was no exception.

"Let me tell you something Charlie. I am not too enamored with where this country is headed. Thanks to this idiot in the White House my boys in the military are out they’re killing themselves for a cause that only fools believe in. If I was running this country I would. . ."

"Let me guess, Dad. You would let the military do their jobs and you would tell all the bleeding heart liberals and right-wing conservatives to stick it," I said sarcastically.

My father had a way of looking at a person to communicate his displeasure. It was his way of saying are you an idiot without actually saying the words. I was on the receiving end of this look on more than one occasion in my life and today was no exception. Not that I went out of my way to provoke him, but it also was fairly amusing to get a rise out of the old man. After two heart attacks he rarely got the opportunity to show much passion for anything and who could blame him. I would not be in a hurry to raise my own heart rate after going through what he had gone through.

"What can I bring you today?" asked Sarah, one of our regular waitresses.

"Two orders of Belgium waffles, one with strawberry topping and the other with some maple syrup. Add two cups of coffee and we will be all set," I responded.

"You do realize we serve more than waffles at this place don’t ya?" quipped Sarah.

"Not to be too cliched, but if it ain’t broke why fix it?" I stated.

Sarah walked away smiling and shaking her head.

I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride as I sat with my father in recent trips to The Waffle Barn. I had many conversations with him in the past few years of my life that were filled with depression and self-doubt. I can’t say that I had managed to pull myself together through these breakfast therapy sessions, but it certainly didn’t hurt either.

"What’s wrong with you Charlie?" barked my father.

"I was just daydreaming is all. You know how I get when I am fresh out of bed and starving," I proclaimed.

"That’s not what I mean and you know it Charlie."

I sensed anger in my father’s voice as I listened to him berate me with a speech that I could only guess he had been practicing for quite some time.

"You are 29 years old. You have been telling me the same sad tales for 3 years now. Ever since you moved into that place with those two roommates you have regressed. What happened to you? Life is not about watching all the latest TV shows. Your best friend is your dog for God’s sake. I have to believe that no one has ever done spoken to you in this manner. I have share in the blame on that one cause I guess I assumed you were not in need of this kind of treatment. You use to be so poised and mature. I thought that if I laid back and let you figure it out then it would all work out. Any man who makes something of themselves in life has to stand on there own two feet and be accounted for as a contributing member of society. You have sat around acting like the world is going to hand you the blueprint."

In the midst of my father’s rant I found myself just nodding my head as I blankly stared through his eyes.

"Your mother and I just wanted to give you guidance and show you the many options you had in life. Instead of taking a chance and going down one of the roads we presented you we had to sit by and watch you sit in the stands and watch the parade pass your lazy-ass by. Doesn’t all of this bother you? And by this I mean the constant aid you have to get in order to attain any kind of semblance of a normal life. Granted, you are not hurting any one. You also are not helping. It is as if you enjoy just existing. Witness the world and write an anonymous Internet diary about the life you are not living. Do you strive for mediocrity?

Sarah, our waitress, inadvertently cut off my father to present our meals. I politely thanked her and watched my father dig right in to his plate of waffles. I had to say something and forgo my sweet tooth for the moment.

"Do you have any idea how long I have waited for you to give me a talking to like that Dad?

I looked up from my plate at my father. I could see the confusion on his face. My statement had my father waiting with baited breath.

"I guess I got your full attention seeing as how you left those waffles alone so I will try to answer some of those questions you just posed. I have never been a situation where I just had to get my work done or else. Never! All I can do is thank all the people around me in my life that have given me a safety net throughout my life. That said, I know that I have no real motivation, self or otherwise, to get ahead in anything I do. I can see the good in doing work and getting out of life what you put into it. It just doesn’t stir me into action. It just doesn’t matter to me either way. All my decisions in life or all the things that have and do occur don’t effect me in extreme ways. The highest highs and the lowest lows produce the same reaction. I just shrug my shoulders. In my little world it doesn’t matter much to me and I tend to believe it doesn’t matter much to any of those people around me. I jump to that conclusion cause this is the first time in my life anyone cared enough to take a stand and put a mirror to my face to show me what I have become. I am a living, breathing memory. I am the guy people know through association with another person. I am Terry’s brother or Peter’s friend. Half the time people can’t even remember my name. It is as if I am just a ghost and I accepted this role many years ago."

My long-winded response had managed to capture my one-man audience. The waffles had cooled off and the coffee cups remained filled. Even our waitress had managed to sense the emotion at the diner table cause she avoided us for an extended period as I continued to express my frustrations to my father.

"I realize the exaggeration that is coming out of my mouth, but it feels very real to me on a daily basis. It is as if I appear for temporary moments in the day and have an interaction with someone and then just like that. Poof! Back to day dreaming my life away. I am always attaining goals years after they would have had any significance to my growth as a human being. All because I didn’t know what it really meant to do work. To really have to put forth an effort and sacrifice a part of my slacker lifestyle to find something of substance, so I can be more than just a worker ant. I can not tell how many times I have sat in my bedroom wondering if my parents know what a disappointment I think I am to them. Eternally waiting should be a motto I tattoo on my body to signify my self-awareness of what I truly am. Only now in this very moment with you Dad do I accept truths that have always been evident to me. It was just easy to deny the reality of how I live my life in fear of everything."

I turned my attention to Sarah as she tapped my shoulder and handed me the bill for the breakfast that managed to go unfinished. I could feel the pity she had for me as she walked away. I had become an excellent observer of body language and she exhibited many of the symptoms of a person who wants to help, but has no idea what to say to open that door. A lack of eye contact is a major giveaway. Sarah also brought her hand to her mouth as she handed me the check. Nervous habits or ticks rear their ugly head come times like this. It is difficult to act normal or relaxed when you just are a tense ball of misguided sympathy. The phrase most commonly uttered about me by first-time encounters with people is "poor guy." Unfortunately, I had managed to make long-time acquaintances have the same exact reaction more and more nowadays.

"Charlie. I have no cliched quote to guide you on the path in your life. Honestly, there is no right and wrong path. The only path that exists is the one you make for yourself. Apparently, you have been following the path left by others. A life worth living is one that hasn’t been lived before and won’t be lived afterwards. I know that is a load of crap, but it is also a lot more truth than fiction. You have to believe in something. Otherwise, you just go around playing a role. A never ending journey filed with loneliness and depression."

My father had made some valid points. I had always considered him a smart man, but even though he was saying the same things I had told myself many times in the past it just made more of an impact on me this day.

"What if I am too late? What if I can’t break the cycle? What if I am just a whole lot of lip service right now and back to my old ways come tomorrow? What do I do Dad?

I was anticipating a delayed, well-thought out response from my father. Instead I got a sudden impact.

"I can not tell you what to do. If I did then you would just be following the path I took. Or the path of someone I knew back in the day when I was a young man trying to figure it all out just like you are doing right now. My only advice to you right now is that you should never reach a point in life that makes you stop. Don’t ever stop and admire your work. That is the sin of the procrastinator."

"That is exactly what I do. I work hard to get 75 percent of the way and then I shut it all down to admire how far I have come in my journey to almost getting to the end of my temporary goal. I know I am always suppose to be growing and learning but become so enamored with myself that it sidetracks everything. A cycle of vanity that gets me running the same steps over and over again. I just have to become something. Being nothing is just an empty, meaningless life. At least if I try to be something I can say I was more than just a title someone else gave me."

I looked across the breakfast table at my father. He smiled and rose from his chair and stood next to me. I looked up at him as he placed his hand on my head. I felt like I was 4-years old again as he attempted to tussle my hairless head. I followed close behind and headed for the front counter to handle my bill. My waitress Sarah had her back to me as she spoke with one of her co-workers. I could not help but eavesdrop as I approached her. I heard her tell her co-worker that it broke her heart every time I came in to get breakfast. I heard Sarah wonder aloud if I was all alone since my father had died two years ago, yet I still managed to make weekly visits to The Waffle Barn without my father. As I turned to face Sarah I heard the co-worker ask rhetorically, "So that’s whom Charlie is talking to across his table?"

"Thanks again Sarah. Guess my eyes were more ambitious than my stomach. See you next week."

Sarah politely wished me farewell and I left without addressing the conversation I just heard her have supposedly behind my back. I prefer it this way cause I can still see my father every week at the same time. Guess I am still just waiting.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The season is upon us

We are officially on a countdown to Christmas! Not only is that exciting for the obvious reasons, but I am also going to Disneyland for a few days the day after Christmas! Quite a lot to look forward to. So what have I been up to the last few days? I generally hate the whole "what I did" recap, but I had a lot going on...

Thursday - Had Thanksgiving at my folks' house. I didn't eat too much as I really don't care for Thanksgiving food too much. I usually just put some turkey on bread with mayo and cranberry sauce and make a sandwich, throw some mashed potatoes on the side and that pretty much covers what I like. I guess it is good because it keeps me from stuffing my face on at least one day of the year. Some more family members came over after dinner and we watched a movie. We didn't stay too late into the night as we knew the next day would be quite busy!

Friday - At 5:00 am, the alarm went off to get out of bed and get those Black Friday deals. I guess it isn't too bad considering that when the alarm when off at 5:00 am, my parents and sister had already been at Best Buy for 20 minutes! Crazy! They wanted to get there early because my sister wanted to get a new camera - the one I just got a few months back. Copycat - always trying to be like me! We got some good shopping in at a few stores and we were able to cross a handful of things off our Christmas shopping list!

We were home by noon or so, but spent the next few hours on the phone with my dad because he decided to buy a new tv and needed advice. He ended up with a tv and I went over to my parent's house to answer a few more questions for him before he opened it. He ended up deciding to get a different one! In the end, he got a kickass tv that I am really jealous of!

Friday night was a night I had really been looking forward to for a long time - my high school soccer alumni game. I haven't played in a while, but couldn't do any training for it because of my torn calf muscle. The orthopedist even advised me not to play, but when soccer is your life and you haven't played in a while, I knew I would be playing. It was us old guys against the current varsity team for the high school. I hobbled around a bunch and the skin tight jersey didn't fit me at all, but I had a good time. I even saved a goal from going in! We lost 4-3 in the last minute, but all in all, it was an awesome time and I look forward to next year. Jess took some pics so I will post those later on. And in true soccer spirit, we went all went to pizza after!

Saturday - We started by going to IKEA with my aunt who was visiting from out of town. She had never been there so it is always fun to take a new person to that store. We picked up a few small things, but were mostly there for the ride. After, I helped my dad set up his tv and BluRay player. Man it looks good. His 1080p puts my 720p to shame. So jealous....

Saturday night was poker and it was another night of not winning any money. It has been almost five months now since I have won at poker. July 3rd to be exact. Just depressing. Luckily, that did not put a damper on my night as a few of my friends played Rock Band with me. If you don't know, Rock Band is like Guitar Hero, but with a drum set and microphone included - think Guitar Hero, Drum Hero, and Karaoke Hero all combined. It is an awesome game and Jess and I have been playing nonstop since we got it last Tuesday. My friend Gary did a lot of singing and almost had me pissing my pants with his interpretations of some songs. It helped that he was drunk off his ass! Good times! Where is a video camera when you need one?!?!

Sunday - We set up the house for Christmas. Despite me loving the holiday, I despise the whole setting up Christmas around the house thing. Only thing worse is taking it down. Besides that, it was a nice relaxing day. Too bad work had to return today. But, I guess the faster Monday came, the faster it is until Christmas and Disneyland!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My new car!!

I had ever intention of blogging yesterday like I said I would on Monday. However, as you all know, life catches up with you. Monday night, Jessica and I were in a car accident in our not even 4 month old car. We're fine, just a little sore. We were driving downtown when a car blindly came into the street we were driving in from a parking garage. We slammed on our brakes to avoid hitting them and thankfully, my reflexes were fast enough. However, the car behind me was not fast enough and they rammed into our car from behind. Our car is ok for the most part; just going to need a brand new bumper as it is jacked up. The car that hit is actually looked worse. All 3 cars pulled over for the whole insurance exchange, etc, but yesterday we had to do doctor's appointments and make police reports. So, I did have the intention to blog, but it happens. Tomorrow, come back for my review of our great new PS3 game - Rock Band!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Evil E's Saturday Scavenger Hunt #7

Damn, I am getting lazy. It is not just with posting pics, but with all blogging lately. Funny thing is, I am not bored with blogging. It is just pure laziness. Too lazy to post anything. Too lazy to go to everyone's blogs and read. Just laziness in general. I feel I am getting out of this funk though as I have posts planned all week and I plan to visit all your blogs Tuesday, the first time I have visited a blog in a week. Sorry about being a bad blogger buddy. I've got my blogging mojo back though. Prepare....

Evil E picked the word for last week and chose "paper". I have a few to show you...

Here are some cool paper products! My comics! Oh how these pieces of paper bring me such joy!!!

Here is a very important piece of paper - our marriage license.

Here is the word of the week with a former word of the week - paper & rock. Remember, paper always beats rock!

When I bought my business from the former owner in May, files were in disaray. Lately, I have been going through patient folders paper by paper and throwing out things that were not necessary and taking up space. Unfortunately, I just can't throw them away as they have personal info on them. Lot of shredding to do. Here is what I have to shred and am still only about 1/3 of the way through all the files....

The word of the week this week - food! YES!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Evil E's Saturday Scavenger Hunt #6

I am finally getting around to doing the word from Saturday which was "work." I pick the word and it takes me half a week to post it. Go figure....

Here is a "work" of art in our house. This is many of the Disney villains from a unique perpective. LOVE this!

Here is my office at home where I do my "work."

The following are pictures of my poker room where I "work" hard to earn money. That hasn't gone too well lately...

Here are some of the weeds I still need to pull in my backyard. Yardwork sucks!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Anniversary Dinner

Hey guys, sorry I still haven't posted my Scavenger Hunt pictures or named a person. I promise to do my pictures tomorrow. With that being said, I need to name a person who will pick the word for this week. I believe that we have gone through the list of everyone who posts pictures regularly so I will hand it back over to Evil E to name our word for the week. Have at it my friend...

Last Friday, the 2nd was the 5 year wedding anniversary for my wife and I. We celebrated by going to the Melting Pot, a great restaurant that has locations all over the country. Try it if you haven't been there. It's a fondue place so you cook all your own food right at your table. It is a 4 course meal and took us about two and a half hours to eat. Fun times....

Us in our private booth...

The first course is the yummy cheese fondue. You get bread, apples, veggies, and because we ordered a spicy Mexican cheese fondue, we got chips too!

The salads were yummy. I had a yummy Caesar salad. The dressing was so thick and full of awesomeness. I can't remember what salad she had but it had to many veggies I think...

The meat course has so many choices. You get all kind of sauces to dip them in, all of them super yummy....

The meats up close. There were so many including chicken, shrimp, pork, tenderloin as well as some filled pastas, veggies, and potatoes. It is awesome!

The chocolate fondue is to die for. Melted chocolate and you get to dip rice crispy treats, pound cake, brownies, strawberries, cheesecake, and more. My god it is so good!

All in all, a wonderful time!!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tons of more reviews

I got to see 6 more movies in the last couple of weeks. A large majority of them were horror. Hmm, lots of horror movies at the end of October. Go figure....

I hadn't heard a bad thing about this movie prior to seeing it. For the most part, they were right. It was a decent little flick. It leaned more on the political thriller side than I expected which is normally just fine with me. However, I think I was more in the mood for a straight up action movie. Not that it didn't have plenty of action; I just wanted more as that is what I was in the mood for. In the end though, it was a good movie, but you have to pay attention to it a little more than just your run of the mill action film. 7 out of 10.

I love vampire films and I was not disappointed. Pretty cool concept to film a vampire film in a locale where the sun doesn't rise for 30 straight days. Kudos to the writer of the graphic novels for which the movie is based. It has some pretty gruesome kills and a really cool overhead shot of the chaos in the streets. In the end, it is just a vampire film, but when you are a big fan of this genre, you don't mind. 8 out of 10

Mindless action film. We don't get many of these nowadays. Gone are the Stallone/Schwarzenegger mindless action films of the 80s. This was a return to that type of film. The movie is about a bunch of criminals stuck on an island for a reality show and told to kill each other. The last one alive gets pardoned. Kind of hard to make this a deep film. This is just straight out action. Mindless, and yet entertaining at the same time because sometimes, you just want to be entertained and not have to think. 7 out of 10.

I liked the first Hostel, but not until I saw it a second time. I wonder if my opinion of this sequel will change if I see it again. I thought this movie was just ok. I felt there wasn't much of a story. It was just an attempt to come up with as gruesome deaths as possible while keeping some semblance of a storyline. It didn't really work. The kills were decent, but the storyline was just not doing it for me. I didn't care about any of the characters at all. Sometimes, shock is not enough to carry a movie. 5.5 out of 10.

I heard so many good things about this film and they were right. I didn't think it was a masterpiece like many say, but I enjoyed it a lot. It was very unique as it combined the ravages of war and the brutality of mankind with the innocence of a fairy tale. Often hard to watch and then pleasant minutes later, the movie sure does take you on an adventure. I won't say much more as it could give info away, but I enjoyed this movie. 8 out of 10.

I was a fan of the first 3 films in this series, but how much longer could it go on? Surprisingly, this movie still delivered and this series still has life in it. I figured this movie had to be a letdown after three movies already and with how the last film ended. This movie turned out to be the best one since the original! It had the requisite brutal kills, but I enjoyed the storyline at the same time. You need to have an accompanying storyline for the movie to matter. Take note of that, Eli Roth! 8 out of 10.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Evil E's Saturday Scavenger Hunt #5

This week's word comes courtesy of Laura! She chose the awesome word - "sin!" Right away, I thought of some ideas for this one. I decided the best way to show "sin" was to take pictures breaking the 10 commandments or the 7 deadly sins. I mean, if you do break those decrees, you have to be sinning, right?

#1 - Honor thy father and mother. Well, I took this picture of them last month, but doodling on their faces sure does dishonor them...

#2 - Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's possessions. This is my neighbor's lawn across the street. He always keeps it in top condition - neatly cut and oh so green. I wish my lawn looked like that...

#3 - Thou shall not kill - I break this every time I turn on the Playstation 3. Here I am killing a fellow clanmate the other night!

#4 and #5 - Gluttony - This is not hard to break. I like to eat. The first picture is of a cheeseburger I had at a little hole in the wall called the Squeeze Inn. It has been profiled on the Food Network. See that around the burger? All fried cheese. Yes, gluttony indeed.

The second gluttony picture was taken last night when my wife and I went to the Melting Pot for our 5th anniversary. I'll do a post on that later. Here is a picture of one of the treats we had in our chocolate fondue.

This week, it is my turn to pick! I choose the word......... "work." I'll name next week's lucky MC in my post next Saturday. Have fun.