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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Life In The Last Decade

Looking back over the last ten years, my life has taken quite a few strange turns. I definitely would not have imagined my life being where it will be, come midnight on January 1st, 2010. I have had my share of ups and downs, most of them on a grand scale. This decade has seen me...

...become a man.

...consider suicide more times than I could count. for a number of women, but fall in love with one.

...become a husband and father.

...make the greatest accomplishment of my life. She weighed only eight pounds, one ounce.

...have one family turn it's back on me and another open it's arms. for faith and understand that I've had it all along., care, and become politically active.

...become disabled.

...spend more hours in therapy than most people spend in traffic.

...realize that there are more important things in this world than myself. about others around me.

...become a better person (thank you J).

...for the first time in my life, have hope in the next ten years.

Happy New Year, Everyone.

Top 25 Movies of the Decade

This one was tough. There are a number of movies that I haven't seen that I'm sure are quite good(Avatar, Inglorious Basterds, District 9). With that said, I am saying that the following are, in my opinion, as of this moment, the top 25 movies of the decade. In chronological order:

1. High Fidelity - 2000
2. Almost Famous - 2000
3. Billy Elliot - 2000
4. Memento - 2001
5. Hedwig and The Angry Inch - 2001
6. Donnie Darko - 2001
7. Lost In Translation - 2001
8. Kill Bill Vol. 1 - 2003
9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - 2004
10. Kill Bill Vol. 2 - 2004
11. Shaun of the Dead - 2004
12. The Machinist - 2004
13. Garden State - 2004
14. March of the Penguins - 2005
15. V For Vendetta - 2005
16. The Departed - 2006
17. Children of Men - 2006
18. Michael Clayton - 2007
19. Across the Universe - 2007
20. No Country For Old Men - 2007
21. The Dark Knight - 2008
22. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - 2008
23. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 2008
24. Milk - 2009
25. Up - 2009

Preserving The Sanctity Of Marriage

The New York Times printed a graph today showing two maps of the United States. The first one shows the states in which gay marriage is legal as of 12/31/2009. The second...shows the states in which it is legal TO MARRY YOUR FIRST COUSIN as of 12/31/2009. Unfortunately, I live in a the latter. Way to go Republicans. In twenty years, you'll have 27 states full of inbreds, but at least they'll be heterosexual inbreds. Unbelievable!!

BTW...Iowa...You guys kick ass!

Top 25 Songs of the Decade

My OCD kicked into overdrive on this one. Here are my picks for the top 25 songs from 2000 through chronological order, of course:

1. Moby - 'Natural Blues' 03/28/2000; From the album 'Play', which was actually released in '99. The single wasn't released until March of the next year, so it barely made the list.

2. Daft Punk - 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' 10/13/2001

3. Bad Religion - 'Sorrow' 01/31/2002; This song is rumored to be about the Bible book of Job, although it does have many modern references. The song was influential in me questioning a number of things that I was taught as a child.

4. Johnny Cash - 'Hurt' 11/05/2002; Cash's last single released while he was still alive, this cover of the Nine Inch Nails classic took on new meaning in his hands. Stunning and touching video. He died 10 months later on 09/12/2003.

5. Justin Timberlake - 'Cry Me A River' 12/28/2002

6. Blue Man Group - 'Exhibit 13' 04/22/2003; Released as a tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center, the song's title comes from the words found on a piece of paper that floated into a Brooklyn neighborhood on the morning on September 11th.

7. Outkast - 'Hey Ya!' 09/09/2003

8. Gary Jules - 'Mad World' 12/15/2003; A cover of an old Tears For Fears song, Mad World wasn't actually released as a single until more than two years after Donnie Darko, the movie the song was in, had hit theaters. The cult following of the movie had demanded the commercial release of the single.

9. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth - 'Defying Gravity' - 12/16/2003; From the Broadway musical 'Wicked', 'Defying Gravity' was the climax show and became the song that brought the masses back to Broadway...

Watch in   |  View More

10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Maps' 02/10/2004

11. Muse - 'Blackout' 03/23/2004; I've said this before...please play this song at my funeral after I die. It's beautiful.

12. A Perfect Circle - 'Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm of The War Drums' 09/28/2004; Essentially a remix of their song, Pet, this was the "anti" song of the decade. Anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-establishment, it was, in essence a middle finger to the Bush Administration in the weeks leading up to his reelection.

13. Plain White T's - 'Hey There Delilah' 01/25/2005

14. Imogen Heap - 'Hide and Seek' 05/19/2005

15. Green Day - 'Wake Me Up When September Ends' 06/13/2005

16. Coldplay - 'Fix You' 09/05/2005; I first heard this song at Coachella, in 2005, performed live by the band. Over the years, it has taken on a number of meanings. As an uncle, a husband, and a father. It has a wonderful message of recovery, of overcoming grief. With the events of this past decade, and especially Hurricane Katrina in the Summer of 2005, it was especially fitting.

17. Placebo - 'Running Up That Hill' 03/13/2006; Another cover on the list. This time of a Kate Bush song. This song does such an amazing job at getting under your skin, that it stays with you forever. Other covers come and go, but this one will haunt you in your sleep...

Running Up That Hill

Placebo | MySpace Music Videos

18. Gnarls Barkley - 'Crazy' 03/23/2006

19. Nine Inch Nails - 'Every Day Is Exactly The Same' 04/04/2006

20. Snow Patrol - 'Chasing Cars' 06/06/2006; This song is very special to me. It is "our song". Every couple has their song. This is ours.

21. The Beatles - 'Blackbird/Yesterday' 11/20/2006; Normally, I wouldn't put a 45 year old song on a top 25 list, but this is an exception. Taken from the 'Love' Soundtrack, from their Cirque du Soliel show of the same name, this track mixes together two of their classic tunes. Using technology that wasn't available then, and with a clarity that is only available now, producer Giles Martin creates a masterpiece that gives me a lump in my throat every time I hear this song. And to see it live....brings tears to your eyes. Listen for the high violin on the last verse. Awe inspiring...

22. Amy Winehouse - 'Rehab' 03/20/2007

23. Jason Mraz - 'I'm Yours' 02/12/2008; This song broke a record by charting on the Billboard Top 100 for 76 consecutive weeks. It has been downloaded on ITunes more than 4.4 Million times, making it the third most downloaded song ever. Not bad.

24. Coldplay - 'Viva La Vida' 05/25/2008

25. Lady Gaga - 'Bad Romance' 10/25/2009; I know, I know. Everyone reading this is going to disagree, but it's my list and I am allowed one guilty pleasure song out of 25.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 25 Songs of 2009 - Remixed

This is DEFINITELY worth a listen! Every year, DJ Earworm remixes the top 25 pop songs into one giant mash up. 2009's remix is amazing! Granted, I wasn't a fan of much of the pop music this year, but his remixing skills are second to none. In a matter of four minutes and forty five seconds, he was able to mix together, with video, samples of the following songs:

* The Black Eyed Peas - BOOM BOOM POW
* Lady Gaga - POKER FACE
* Lady Gaga Featuring Colby O’Donis - JUST DANCE
* The Black Eyed Peas - I GOTTA FEELING
* Taylor Swift - LOVE STORY
* Flo Rida - RIGHT ROUND
* Jason Mraz - I’M YOURS
* Kanye West - HEARTLESS
* The All-American Rejects - GIVES YOU HELL
* Taylor Swift - YOU BELONG WITH ME
* T.I. Featuring Justin Timberlake - DEAD AND GONE
* The Fray - YOU FOUND ME
* Kings Of Leon - USE SOMEBODY
* Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo - KNOCK YOU DOWN
* Jamie Foxx Featuring T-Pain - BLAME IT
* T.I. Featuring Rihanna - LIVE YOUR LIFE
* Soulja Boy Tell ‘em Featuring Sammie - KISS ME THRU THE PHONE
* Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne - DOWN
* Miley Cyrus - THE CLIMB
* Beyonce - HALO
* Katy Perry - HOT N COLD

Take a listen/look. It's quite impressive. If all pop music was bundled together like this for the masses, I would probably purchase more of it.

His top 25 for 2008 can be seen here.

Funny A-Team/Star Wars Mash Up

I found this on another blog I follow this morning. It puts together two of my fondest childhood memories. I don't know who created this video, but, whoever they were, did such a good job at it, I couldn't help but share:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

In all seriousness, this is easily the coolest holiday on Earth. Why do the Canadians and Australians get all the cool holidays and leave us with Columbus Day? Have fun shopping, mate.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Doing The Most Good

There is nothing that I hate more than religious commercials at Christmas time. It seems like there is always a religious organization or a political action committee out there that takes advantage of the backdrop of the holiday. I saw a commercial a couple of days ago that, at first, I thought was no different. But something struck me as odd. It was displaying what seemed to be Bible verses. The first one was Peter 10:17. I knew immediately that it didn't exist. There is no such thing as the book of Peter. There is either First Peter or Second Peter. Residual memories of my brainwashing. I continued to watch:

Chapter & Verse from Eastern Michigan Division on Vimeo.

I was speechless. Finally, a religious organization that was preaching salvation, and not by a heavenly means. This is a group that is "saving" thousands of people a day. People of all faiths, creeds, and colors.

Speaking of which, something struck me in that commercial. One lady said, "When I was stoned". Obviously, this is conduct that the church and the Bible looks down upon. They helped her anyway. This could not be any more Christ like in my opinion.

As a Jehovah's Witness, we never donated to any organization that had ties to another religious organization. We never accepted donations from such organizations, either. We also did not donate or receive donations from the Red Cross, because of their work with blood transfusions. When the tsunami hit Indonesia a few years ago, I donated to the Red Cross and made a blood donation as well. My mother made a donation to her favorite charity: the Watchtower organization. She sent money to have help her "brothers and sisters" in need. She did the same a couple of years earlier when a massive earthquake hit Kobe, Japan.

I was always taught not to treat people differently because they were a different skin color. It was acceptable, though, to treat them differently, or to deny them assistance because of the god they chose to worship, or worse, NOT to worship. That's really a sad way to live your life. I promised myself that I would never be that way once I left that mess. I also promised myself that I would raise my child to give to everyone that needed help, regardless of whether you agreed with them or not. That's what I liked about this commercial.

My little girl is only 19 months old and she looks forward to going to Walmart so she can put a dollar into the little red kettle. Once the holidays are over, we will find another way to encourage her to get excited about giving.

The holiday season is almost over. People will still be hungry in February, in July, and in October. The bell ringers may not be in front of Walmart after next week, but don't forget the Salvation Army. They do a great job at saving people. They do it without requirements. They do it because they want to help. Please do the same. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Taking a couple of days off. Trying to compile a couple of lists for the end of the year. Looking for batteries for the baby's Christmas presents before we wrap them. Putting the finishing touches on a couple of Christmas presents that I am making. One of them is being ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT. When I finish it, though, I will be sure to post pictures. If it is as cool as what I am envisioning, it's going to be pretty damn awesome. New calling, perhaps?

Eating like crazy..the new medication I am on is making me gain weight like a mofo. So far, 18 pounds in just the first week. But, I'll get to that at another time. In the meantime, enjoy these next couple of days if you can. Try not to kill anyone if you have to go to Walmart.

Friday, December 18, 2009

RIP, Roy E. Disney

Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, died 12/16/2009, from cancer at the age of 79. Other than Walt himself, Roy was possibly the single greatest influence and had the biggest impact on the Disney Company. He was a writer and a producer, but made his presence known as a shareholder more than anywhere else.

In 1984, he led a successful campaign to boot Walt's son in law from the company, and again, in 2004, he led a shareholder mutiny against Michael Eisner. With the removal of Eisner, he helped steer Disney back to it's roots. He was also instrumental in bringing the parks' focus back on the magic and wonder that his uncle Walt had envisioned over a half century ago.

Thank you Roy, for keeping his dream alive. You will be missed.

What English Sounds Like To Foreigners

There is a video floating around the internet at the moment that has gone viral in the last couple of days. It is an Italian music video from 1972 that is actually titled 'Prisencolinensinainciusol', but has appropriately been renamed 'What English Sounds Like To Foreigners'.

The composer of this song intentionally wanted to write a song with English words that made no sense, to show what the typical rock/pop song sounded like to people outside the United States. I must say, he did a fantastic job. Thanks to the magic of the internet, we have the clip today:

It reminds me of a story my mother told me a few years ago. She was on vacation in Russia. She said every 10 minutes on the radio, Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl came on. Everywhere you went, girls would be singing that song in broken English. Of course, they had no idea what the words meant or what they were even saying. The song just sounded cool. For those of you that doubt that it's really English being spoken in this song, I happened to find a list of the lyrics. They are 95% English. Complete gibberish, but English nonetheless:

here it goes:

We been sayin in the shoes raw hole in bleen the hole rape maybe it the color boss dime

Writ cheese and I'm a get cold baby sustain yeeeeeah boobs Joe Wowooah!

We been sayin in the shoes raw hole in bleen the hole rape maybe it the color boss dime

Whether its the same and ain't you the copy of steam of you never traveled knobber judge a gob diva shehjean

You the gobbernaught juice and i pray for not sure a how a hubba just get a globe a no time

All we did was just stand and light the shoes a globa man you the

Because to the match caught in the frang of yours

All the time baby

My eyes lie sense-lick let me goose the poor with diesel. EYES!

You can call me say-the-what crazy call me next to that chooser. Alright!

My eyes lied senseless and the golds will go with bees well. Eyes!

Bees in all the god choose well. Alright.

Well all she know sleepin in the gibbon the seein 'till im just a

Normal joff hobo have a contained like free as to go.

We been seein in the center of the shoes a come and bend cause there's too many cars a double four a why a cry a can't stand.

My eyes might chance land and hips will go with blazer. Eyezzz.

You a car a maidden say what. Freezing common ace in at twos on alright.

You the ace you don't feel as get up a dawn as people the dance a you like pick your own.

My eyes lied senseless and I guess they go with bees well. Eyes.

You can call me say-the-what freezing call me next to that two song. Alright!

You the ace you dont feel as get up a dawn as people the dance you like pickin your own.


Tourette's/PTSD Update

There have been some ups and downs in regards to my mental and physical health in the last week. First, I have noticed a steady decrease in tics since being placed on Invega by my neurologist. So far, so good. The nights of restlessness and pacing back and forth seem to be a thing of the past as well. Most nights I am still only getting 2-3 hours of sleep. I wake up anywhere between 3:10 and 3:45 in the morning. Sometimes, I am able to force myself back to sleep until a little after 5am, but most mornings, I am up for the day by then. It's a strange feeling. Feels like you're the only one in the world. No one you can call. No one online. No one you can chat with on Facebook. Just you, your laptop, and your boredom for 5 hours until the baby wakes up. You never get used to that.

Since seeing my therapist the other day, I've been having a hard time with my PTSD. I've been having more flashbacks than I've been able to count. It has been extremely tough. Something in particular has been bothering me that I haven't thought about in over a decade. It's very hard to discuss, embarrassing in fact, but I have to get it off my chest.

From the time I was in my early teens, until I was in my early twenties, roughly 8-10 years, I had a problem with bed wetting. This wasn't the occasional piddle on the sheets at night. This was something that happened every single night. I would wake up soaked in my own urine, and would have to change my sheets, find towels to soak up the mattress, and start a load of laundry to wash my underwear, sweats, pajamas(whatever I was wearing to bed that night). It was routine. I must have wet the bed thousands of times over the years. I could never figure out why.

It was the ultimate embarrassment. I wouldn't spend the night at any of my friend's houses in fear it would happen there. My family was afraid to take me on vacation. When on vacation, I would be so nervous, I would try to stay up for 3 to 4 days straight. One time I stayed up at Disneyland for 3 days straight. I finally fell asleep the third night. I woke up the next morning with the bed so soaked, my hair was wet. I was so tired, I didn't even wake myself up after wetting the bed multiple times.

I was afraid to fall asleep on the couch at home or in the living room floor. It got to the point where I wouldn't be allowed to drink anything with dinner or afterward. I still would wet the bed. I finally confided with my doctor and was given a prescription to help stop urine production at night. After my first day on the medication, I stopped wetting the bed.

The thing that is bothering me now is this, did that medication just give me a placebo effect? Was this a psychological condition and not a medical one? I was on that medication for a little over a month and haven't taken it since. That was 12 years ago. Could the reason I was wetting the bed have been because of the abuse and not because of "urine production". Was this all a way for my brain to deal with trauma. My brain basically did the same thing with my bowels back in 2000 and again this year and we just now realized that was part of the PTSD. Why wouldn't my bladder do the same?

The whole idea of this being a possibility is really upsetting me. The trauma of the bed wetting experience itself is devastating. I can't think of anything that can make a teenager feel more alone, more shamed. It's such a personal issue, that even in my mid 30s, I still feel uncomfortable talking about it. The reactions that often come from the parents and siblings often fuel that shame. There is no support. Just finger pointing, giggling, and embarrassment. My mother even made me go into the grocery store to by my own Depends once. There is no support in that.

I am now starting to wonder if, not only was I showing signs of Tourette's as a child, which I am slowly starting to have memories of, but, was I also starting to show symptoms of PTSD as early as my late teens or early twenties. If I have been going untreated for the better part of twenty years, how long will it take me to recover from this? How many hours of therapy will it take to undo the damage that has already been done?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Koala Adoptions

For anyone that liked the idea of the koala adoptions, their website is:

They are a small operation, so at this point, if you adopt, your paperwork would come back after Christmas. It's $50 a year to adopt, and includes an adoption package which consists of a Certificate of Adoption that has the photo of the adopted koala on the front, the name of the person adopting the koala, the name of the koala and the date of adoption. As well as the Certificate the package also contains a story about the adopted koala, a vinyl sticker with the Koala Hospital's Logo and the words "I Have Adopted A Wild Koala", a colored pamphlet about the Hospital and a booklet about koalas. You can even browse their website and request to adopt a specific koala.

For the person who has everything....or for the person that is impossible to shop for.

Donations For A Fair And Balanced Media

Every Christmas, my wife and I try to make a donation to a charity or an organization we believe is making the world a better place. Whether this is a koala refugee center in Australia that is treating wild koalas that have been burned by wildfires there, or perhaps a political organization like the ACLU.

With the buzz this year about Fox News, I decided to do a post about Media Matters for America. It is one of the organizations that is on my short list this year. Here is one of their promos:

Take this time of the year to donate to something you believe in, whether it be the Humane Society, the Salvation Army, or buying some toys for your local Toys For Tots bin. It's the season for giving, but too often we only think about those in our immediate circle.

Oral Roberts Dies At Age 91

So maybe there is a God, but he's just a little behind. Oral Roberts died last night at age 91. He's survived by his brother Anal, and his sister Vaginal (I've been waiting 20 years to tell that joke). Seriously though, why do the biggest scumbags live the longest? This was the guy in 1987 that went on TV and told the world that God came to him and said that if he didn't have $8 million in donations, he would be called home. He received $9.1 million. Most of the money he received was from elderly men and women on fixed incomes that didn't have anything to give. Next to Madoff, this man is easily the biggest con artist of our generation.

He is also one of the biggest bigots. Him, along with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, seem to blame all of the worlds problems on the gays. Between the three of them, gays have been blamed for 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco. You know how they say, "It happens in threes"? Well, speaking on behalf of the gay and lesbian community, can we request the other two please? Dying peacefully at 91 was too good of a way to go for such a hateful man. If there was truly a God in this world, he would have died long ago, long before he was able to hurt the people he has. Long before he was able to pilfer Social Security checks out of the hands of little old ladies. He would have been eaten alive by dogs, torn apart with only scraps for the little birds to fight over. THAT is how I know God does not exist.

Burn in Hell, you son of a bitch.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Stranger Gets To Determine How Sick I Am

Yesterday, I received a letter from Social Security. I have an appointment on January 4th, with a doctor I've never seen before, to determine if I am "disabled enough" with my TS and PTSD to qualify for Social Security benefits. Upon reading the letter, I instantly went into a panic attack. A half hour exam with a stranger could determine the rest of my life in some regards. It's a scary thought.

With some of my doctor's, I had been working with them for close to a year before I was diagnosed with PTSD. That was after years of putting all of these weird unrelated symptoms together. Prior to that, I was told I had everything from Crohn's disease to a gluten allergy to the fact that I was lactose intolerant because I got sick to my stomach when I was stressed or put in an uncomfortable situation. There were times at work, before I left, when I spent four hours out of my eight our day in the bathroom. Now that I'm not working, I don't get sick anymore.

I had to go to three different neurologist, including one at the Mayo Clinic, before I was diagnosed with Tourette's. My current doctor is one of the most respected neurologists in the United States. His resident was the doctor at Mayo that originally misdiagnosed me in May. Traditionally, Tourette's is diagnosed in patients in adolescence and not at 34. I didn't notice my first tics until age 30. It was originally believed that I had adult onset Tourette's Syndrome, which is generally unheard of. Since my diagnosis, I have had memories of childhood tics, so I realize this wasn't an adult onset disorder, but rather, decided to manifest itself full force in connection with the PTSD and stresses that were going on at the time. But my point is, it took three doctors to diagnose me. THREE. And Social Security expects someone with no prior knowledge of my situation to make a decision as to my disability within the course of a 30 minute visit. The whole situation really worries me.

One Cool Christmas Light Display

It's being dubbed "Christmas Light Hero", and it's quite impressive. In fact, I have never seen a home display quite like it. I can't imagine how long it took to plan this massive display, let alone set it up. Synced with Eric Johnson's 'Ah Via Musicom' from Guitar Hero III, this display even includes the scrolling, multi-colored buttons on the garage door. Sure to put any video game lover, or music lover for that matter, in the Christmas spirit. Enjoy:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Random Rant

Just a thought related to the last post: Were we really that oblivious to the world when we were kids? I don't remember paying any attention to anything going on in the world around me. I could tell you the president's name and that was about it. I couldn't tell you what was going on in the news. I never watched the news. I never knew about the Iran hostage situation, or the Iran/Contra affair. I remember the Challenger blowing up. I could tell you where I was then. Did the world not matter to us because the U.S. wasn't directly involved? So, it was a "no harm/no foul" type of thing? I'm just curious. Because, as for me, I was clueless back then as to what was going on around me, even when it came to the local news.

And another thing. How on earth did we ever get by without cell phones or watches? You see kids today as young as four or five with a cell phone. I remember riding my bike all day from the time I got up until the time the street light came on way at all to get in contact with my mom. Sometimes, I would wander miles away from my house. I had no friends. I just rode my bike and maybe play with a kid I ran into along the way. My mom had no idea where I was. I was five or six years old. Who knows what could have happened to me. Were things really safer back then? Were there less instances of kidnapping or child molestation or are they just tracked better today? Are kids smarter today or better informed because of the media?
Are parents today better parents because of technology? Or are they subconsciously righting their parents wrong ways? Some say children are destined to repeat their parents mistakes. Others say that parenthood, not genetics, is the one opportunity to change the course of your family. Only time, and history, will tell.

The Decade According To 9 Year Olds

Very interesting video I saw today that I wanted to share. It was actually sad that these kids are nine and have pretty much lived a life without the luxury of not knowing war or terrorism in their lifetime. They're pretty savvy kids. It's amazing to see how far we've come in the way of technology in just a decade. I cannot imagine what the same interview would be like when my daughter is nine or ten:

The decade according to 9-year-olds from allison louie-garcia on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bigotry In The News 12/13/2009

Brothels in Nevada have just won the legal right to start having male prostitutes as part of their stable. Numerous brothels in the state have been requesting the change for years, but due to language in the health code, it permitted females only until now. You see, the health code required a cervical exam as part of the regular STD testing mandatory for prostitutes, thus barring males. One word...."cervical".

Brothel industry lobbyists..yes, they exist, were fighting this tooth and nail, calling this the "Pearl Harbor" to the industry. In a shocking double standard, they said they worry that introducing males to the prostitution industry in Nevada would sully the reputation of the brothels in the state. Excuse me?!?! You're worried about the reputation of your local pimps and whores because of some gay men. Homophobes never cease to amaze me.

The wording in the health code has added the words or urethra to include the males of the profession. Local brothel owners say that their male workers will have the choice to have sex with either male or female customers, or both, just as their female "employees" do. Vegas in 2008 was the second most visited tourist destination for gay and lesbian vacationers behind New York City. This most recent move is a very smart business business decision to even the playing field with the businesses in the area that have been catering to the straight customer for decades too long, in my opinion.


You can see the source article from the Las Vegas Sun here. This news is spreading like wildfire amongst the gay and lesbian blogs. In an online poll associated with the linked article, 82% of readers said that they found male prostitutes at brothels "socially acceptable"; much higher than what I was expecting. WAY TO GO, LAS VEGAS SUN READERS!!

Soundtrack of My Life 12/13/09 - XTC 'Dear God'

Sometimes when you've had something force fed to you for so long, you become so repulsed by it that you'll never try it again. It sort of reminds me of the stories you hear of people that get caught smoking as a kid. Their father makes them smoke the rest of the pack until they puke. They never smoke again. Even in adulthood, the thought of smoking physically makes them ill. I have the same reaction to religion.

I was raised in a very strict, religious family. I was giving public sermons in front of my local congregation at the age of four. I was knocking on doors, preaching the "good news of God's kingdom" on Saturday mornings soon thereafter. I knew the Bible, inside and out, and could quote hundreds of verses by the time I entered grade school. I was brainwashed.

It only got worse as I grew older. My sermons became more complex and more in depth. I was offering prayer before the congregation, which was a pretty big deal.

As I grew older, and wiser, I started to realize that everything I was taught and everything I was teaching others was a lie. I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't keep preaching the "God loves you" line when I looked around the world and evidence told me that not only did he/she not love us, but he/she likely didn't exist.

I remember seeing this video on MTV when the song originally came out decades ago, and, after severing ties with the church in the mid 90s, I heard this song again on the radio. Since then, it has become one of my favorites. Caution to those that are light of heart: it is quite blasphemous, but it sums up quite a lot of my thoughts on God and religion. The video has the lyrics subtitled at the bottom of the screen as well. Some pretty powerful stuff.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Creepiest Thing You'll See All Day - Guaranteed

This is the kind of stuff that horror movies are made of. A man in New York City noticed his food was disappearing from his refrigerator. He thought his girlfriend was eating it. She denied it. So, he set up a hidden camera to catch her. This is what the camera caught:

Police believe this woman has been living in his crawlspace for weeks. They don't know when, or how, she arrived. She was arrested, of course. Imagine, though, if this gentleman didn't set up the hidden camera with the intent of catching his girlfriend sneaking a bite of food here or there, how much longer this squatter could have gone unnoticed. Some scary stuff.

This Is Just Adorable

I'm not sure if this little boy doesn't speak English, or if he doesn't know the words to the song. He's a little guy, and the song moves pretty fast....but this kid is still impressive on the ukulele:

Homosexuality, Double Standards, And The Media

So far, I've kept my mouth shut about this whole Adam Lambert "controversy", but, as days go by, it seems as if more and more assholery takes place at the networks. The practice of double standards has gotten to the point, especially with ABC, that it boggles my mind.

Case in point: Wednesday night, on Barbara Walter's 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009, she interviewed Lambert regarding his now notorious AMA performance. Again, ABC refused to air footage of the simulated oral sex or the male on male kissing. No surprise there. What I did find surprising, however, was no more than 15 minutes earlier, during an interview with Lady Gaga, the network aired a segment of one of her music videos showing her kissing another female. So if same sex kissing is so offensive to ABC, why would they show Gaga doing it, and not Lambert. ABC claims that the reason why they did not show Lambert's kiss was in the interest of time and that "It was an editorial decision to show very little from the performance and focus on the fresh, new interview with Adam Lambert." That's strange. Didn't he get the interview because of the kiss? They also said the reason they showed the Gaga kiss was to show examples of things that have upset her father to provide "context" for the interview.

In 2004, on live television, Pink performed 'God is a DJ' on the Billboard Awards. Take a look. Pay close attention at around the 30 second mark and at 1:35:

Let's see:

She flipped off the camera. Check. Pushed a guy's face into her crotch. Check. Banned from the network? No. Public Outcry? No. How come? Was it because she's female? Or because her partner wasn't? Or maybe both? To me, there wasn't any difference in what she did to what Adam Lambert did. I still wouldn't want my kid to watch that on television. And, as an adult, I don't have an issue with either of them.

Now personally, I would have banned Pink from television for her lack of talent, but that's just me. Point is, we see this all the time with female singers, with straight singers, with "Bi or pseudo lesbian" behavior from singers. Madonna and Britney tongue kissed on live TV back in 2003, and although it made a lot of press, neither of them were banned from an entire network or had their performance blurred to "protect" to virginal eyes of America.

What are we so afraid of? As a country, do we truly believe that if we show this gay kid kissing another guy on TV that he's going to convert millions of our youth to the dark side? Really? As if lesbianism or bisexuality is just a fad, but once you've been intimate with another penis, you'll never go back? Is this truly what America is so terrified of? Did you or your parents have an Elton John, Queen, or David Bowie record in your house growing up? Did you turn out OK? It's like saying that you'll grow up to be an axe murderer if you watch Friday the 13th. Really?

The rest of the world is laughing at us right now. The British have had nudity and full on cursing on public television for years now and their intelligence levels are far higher than those in the U.S. and their crime rates are much lower. There is no correlation between sex and violence on TV and sex and violence in the real world. There is however, a direct correlation between fear of sex and violence and acting out in those areas. Our taboos are our downfalls. We always want what we can't have, or can't see in this case.

"She's Crafty, And She's Just My Type"

I normally wouldn't reserve a blog post for garland and ornaments, but today I just had too. Last night, we set up our family Christmas tree. We were debating whether or not to set one up this year because of the baby. With an 18 month old running around the house, standard ornaments are not a good idea. We didn't want dozens of brightly colored glass "balls" being thrown at the walls and floors in an attempt to bounce them, or at the cats. And we didn't want any unwelcome additions to her ball pit.

My wife came up with a brilliant plan: hand make the ornaments. As most of you know, she is the artist in the family. This is what she came up with. The garland is crocheted, and the ornaments were made with fabric and ribbon. I think our tree is gorgeous, and I just had to share. Take a look at these short videos:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My 100th Post

(Balloons falling from ceiling)

Can't believe I have stuck with this blog for a hundred posts. My ADHD usually makes me bored with something so quickly(cello lessons, bass guitar, etc.), that I give up, but I am loving what I am doing so far. I would like to thank the those of you that have been keeping up with the site. I appreciate you reading what I have to say. It means a lot to me. It has been very therapeutic getting my thoughts and memories out of my head and on to the blog. It is helping me heal, and you're all taking part in the process. Keep posted.

Thanks again,


Twitch's 2009 Holiday Gift Giving Guide

With only 14 shopping days left before Christmas, I know that some of you are looking for the perfect gift to give that special someone in your life. I have compiled a list of some of the best Christmas gifts that I have found on the internet over the last few months.


How can you go wrong with this? It's a fucking Weezer Snuggie! And it comes with their new cd! How cool is that?! OK, moving on.....


This one comes from Etsy. It's a watercolor portrait of the Phantom of the Opera. Measures 27"x34". For a mere $12,500, it can be yours. Description from the artist: "Decorate your walls with a painting that would reflect the pain, the sorrow, the beauty, the joy, that is displayed on stage. Having the right artwork that reflects all of these things is essential." Please let me know if you purchase this. I would love to see your bathroom after you hang it.


The "Copulating Earthworm" necklace. Again from Etsy, this piece challenges the timeless ad, "Say It With Diamonds", and says, "Nay Nay. Say It With Fucking Worms". It sells for $160.00 and comes with a free Do-It-Yourself divorce kit.


Perfect for all occasions. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa...New Years...the list goes on and on.

File Under: WTF?

I think Bob Dylan is one of the greatest musicians of my lifetime....but a Christmas album?...really?!?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cool New Music - One eskimO 'Kandi"

Came across a new band on mtvU a couple of days ago. I have been watching that channel quite a bit recently. Seems like they play a lot of cool, up and coming indie bands and it is nothing but music videos 24/7. A video came on for 'Kandi', and I instantly fell in love with the song.

The sound was reminiscent of Gorillaz, but with almost a British Trip Hop 90s vibe to it. Great production quality and use of sampling(Their album itself is produced by Rollo from the group Faithless). It wasn't until I was on Youtube earlier today and saw the original video to the song that I realized how much like Gorillaz they really were. They're a concept band. Every member of the band is represented by a cartoon character. They don't go all out with the idea like Gorillaz did, but they do a good job at using their characters to tell a story in their videos.

I've heard a few tracks from the rest of the album, and it is some pretty good stuff. I would recommend it. I'll probably get it from ITunes myself. The album, entitled One eskimO, released September 22, and an animated series based on their animated characters(The Adventures of One Eskimo), is scheduled to debut on the BBC early next year. I have posted copies of both versions of their 'Kandi' video, with and without the animation. Enjoy:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Xmas, John

I can't believe that it has been 29 years since John Lennon was assassinated. The word "assassinated" is usually reserved for political figures, which I believe John was. He transcended music. He had passed by his contemporaries, even the rest of his band mates, a decade or more earlier, and, at the time of his death, was as much a figure for peace as he was a figure in the music industry. Who knows what he would have been capable of if he would have been able to live. Who knows what kind of influence he would have had on the world. A Nobel Peace Prize maybe? I was only five years old, but I remember the shock and sadness in my house that evening. I'm sure everyone's home felt that shock to some degree.

It seems like, for the better part of the last decade at least, the world has been a pretty fucked up place around Christmas time. Numerous wars that our soldiers are in, terrorist attacks in cities around the world, from Russia to Pakistan, not to mention Sarah Palin and Glen Beck(sorry, had to lighten the mood) make this a world that can sometimes seem hopeless.

John reminded us that "war is over, if YOU want it." WE have the power to make the world a better and safer place. Do your part. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, become an activist, get behind a cause you believe in. Don't let this world pass you by. This is your planet too. Do something about it. Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Then again, John also said he was the goo ga choo.

I have included a video of John's Happy Xmas, War Is Over. Just a warning, it includes some pretty graphic war footage. Following that is a cover of the same song by Maroon 5. No video accompaniment, but one of the better covers of this tune that I have heard lately. Happy Xmas everyone. We miss you, John.

Update From The Neurologist

So I finally got to see my neurologist today. The guy is great. He really seems to know what he's doing and is really willing to work with me and try new things. Since my migraines have pretty much started to go away, my tics have been pretty consistent. I have been on 300mg of Topamax and 10mg of Abilify a day. Since starting the Abilify, I have been restless 24 hours a day. My mind is racing CONSTANTLY. At 10pm, I am literally pacing in my living room, every night.

It was driving me crazy. I can't sleep. I feel like I continually have cabin fever. Nothing can mellow me out. Something has to change. So, I am discontinuing my Abilify and starting on a new medication called Invega. Supposedly, it works the same as Abilify, but doesn't have any of the side effects. It's expensive as all hell though. $742.15 without insurance. I can either have two PS3's or not tic for Christmas. Still about $100.00 WITH insurance. With two psych appointments, a neuro appointment, and all of my new meds this month, it's still going to be an expensive month.

I've been getting up in the middle of the night lately, only getting about two hours of sleep. I wake up and can't go back to sleep unless I clear my mind of just useless shit that I'm thinking about. Checking account balances, things on Amazon, movies, song titles, etc. Most nights I don't go back to sleep. Sometimes, I resolve my issues and go back to sleep in a matter of a half hour or an hour. I thought it was all as a result of the Abilify. I never thought of it as being OCD behavior. As Dr. Flitman said, "Welcome to the world of Tourette's Syndrome".

"And I think to myself....
What a wonderful world....
Oh yeah...."

I Think My Daughter Is Showing OCD Traits

Since I was diagnosed with Tourette's, I have been told to keep an eye out with my daughter for OCD tendencies. They're usually a precursor for Tourette's Syndrome in children. My little girl has always sorted her books, as well as the CDs, DVDs, and video games in the house; more like inventory taking than anything OCD related. Yesterday, though, she did something that got my attention.

We were having lunch at Red Robin. She had a cup of apples that came with her macaroni and cheese. The apples were just randomly thrown into the cup when they came to the table. She removed all of the apples from the cup and put them all back in in a straight line. It was adorable, but worrisome:

Maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's the first step in a long road of many steps to come. It still worries me a bit as a parent.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Flashback Of A Tic

All along I have been telling people that the first tics I experienced was in August of 2006. I didn't have any recollection of any tics before then. My wife says that I have always sniffed, but she never thought anything of it. Other than that, I have never had any memory of a tic, until today.

This afternoon, I was in the car and had a flashback of my childhood. I must have been only seven or eight years old at the time. I was in church. My right arm started to move in a jagged up and down motion at my shoulder. I remember the feeling internally as if my shoulder joint was rubbing up against my rib cage. It was a very strange feeling. It almost tickled. I remembered liking it. I didn't know what was going on, but, because of that feeling, I wasn't scared.

I couldn't stop moving my arm, of course. After a couple of tics, both of my parents had noticed what was going on. They both started telling me to "cut it out". I tried, in vain, to tell them that I couldn't. I continued ticking throughout most of the church service.

When I got home, both of my parents sat me down on the steps leading up to my bedroom. They asked me what I was doing during church. I told them I didn't know what was going on, but I told them what it felt like and that I wanted to stop doing it but couldn't. They wanted me to show them what I was doing. Of course, I couldn't do it on command. They thought I was trying to break dance. LOL......I WAS BREAK DANCING IN CHURCH!!!

I got the shit beat out of me by my father that night. By 1980's religious whack job parent standards, I was spanked. By 2009 Child Protective Services standards, I was beaten. My dad had a method of spanking me that I will never forget. I was usually bare-assed and his weapon of choice was his leather belt. He would take a step back and take a full swing at me, leading off with his right foot, like he was swinging for the fences. And God help you if you put your hands back behind you or tensed your ass up. You got double then.

Needless to say, that was the last time I ever ticked like that. I remember actually trying to recreate the movements a couple of years later, but couldn't. I didn't recall that night until today. Wow. Heavy shit to absorb. I've had TS for 25 years or more and I'm just now figuring it out. Heavy shit.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Surreal Experience...To Say The Least

Tonight I had the pleasure of having dinner with a local Tourette's Syndrome support group. I must say, I was quite nervous when I was invited. The thought of eight of us possibly setting each other off was making me start to tic this afternoon. It has happened to me before at my neurologist's office, and I had just envisioned "Tic Fest 2009".

When I arrived at the restaurant, the first person I met was Jarrett. No tics. Then Dana. Still no tics. It was almost like they had a calming effect on me.

As the night progressed, I met Matt, Henry, Brandon, and Bobby. As I started to talk to them all, it became clear that I was not alone in my struggles with TS. Hearing each one of their stories, I recognized my own history in each one of theirs; histories of depression or anxiety, lists of prescriptions, job histories, and even common daily routines. These people UNDERSTOOD me, and I understood them.

Tonight, I think I started some true friendships. I found people that truly cared about my past and were concerned about my future. When they asked me how I was doing, they really wanted to know. We all share a bond that is more than those found with a coworker or a neighbor. We have something in common with each other that even our partners cannot say that they do. That's a bit surreal to me. A little creepy, in fact.

I really want to thank everyone for coming tonight, and making this an experience I will never forget. I also want to thank Karen for "finding" us in a way and getting us all together. You're the "den mother" to our troop, and, without you, we never would have found each other.

Also, for those of you reading that weren't there, HUGE recommendation to Z'Tejas Grill in Scottsdale Fashion Square. Amazing service (I've never seen a restaurant split a check to the point where they split chips and salsa 12 ways.) Great food. Very accommodating. Would definitely suggest another night out there again.

Oh and....HANSON....REALLY?!?!?

Soundtrack of My Life 12/06/2009 - Nat King Cole 'The Christmas Song'

Growing up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I didn't have much exposure to the holidays as a child. I never knew the joy of opening up a wrapped present. I never got to see a Christmas tree up close in all of it's glory. I never heard any holiday song enough to learn the words to it. I didn't want to....except one.

I was very sheltered as a child. My parents tried to "protect" me from the dangers of this "worldly system of things" (yes, that was the language that was used in the house). What they failed to realize was that you can't control the stimuli that is being fed into your childrens' brains outside your home. You cannot control the music being played at the grocery store or at the mall. You can't control the music being played at Walmart or at Sears.

As I said, for the most part it had no effect on me. I really had no idea what I was missing out on. But when I heard that beautiful, raspy voice coming over the loud speaker, singing about that special day, I knew that there was something more to life that what I was living. That one song, those three minutes, convinced me that Christmas didn't have to be a religious holiday, but rather a time for giving and to be with family. I've always remembered that.

This was the first, and to my recollection, only Christmas song I learned by heart. It gives me a warm feeling inside every time I hear it, as I hope it does you.

"And so, I'm offering this simple phrase...
to kids from one to ninety two....
although it's been said many times many ways....
Merry Christmas to you....."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life 11/23/2009 - Bright Eyes 'First Day Of My Life'

This song has had special significance a couple of times in my life. Between being a husband and a father, the meaning has changed. It still has to be one of the coolest songs I think I have ever heard. I'm in one of those sweet, sentimental moods this morning, so I thought I would post it. Besides, I think it's a really cool video.

The baby is getting I have to go...enjoy....

Soundtrack of My Life 11/23/2009 - Ben Harper 'Waiting On An Angel'

There are a number of moments that come to mind when I think about the moment I knew that I was falling in love with my wife. One moment stands out for me as the moment I knew that I loved her.

She had just recently lost her grandfather. We were listening to music on my computer at my apartment and I played this song. We both cried and held each other for what seemed like an hour. I still get teary eyed when I think about that night. That's when I knew I had fallen for her....that we had a future together. Sure enough, four years later, here we are, celebrating our two year wedding anniversary.

Happy Anniversary

I know I haven't been posting lately, but regardless of how I've been feeling, I couldn't let today go by without having something to show for it.

It was two years ago today that my wife and I got married. On the day after Thanksgiving, in the kitchen of our Albuquerque apartment, we made a life long commitment to each other. Our "wedding reception" afterward was a half gallon of Blue Bunny chocolate chip ice cream and a bottle of sparkling cider we were able to find in the fridge.

It has been a crazy two years that has followed. I sometimes feel guilty for dragging my wife into the medical issues I've been having these last 9 months or so. I know that it has taken a toll on her. Honestly though, I couldn't have made it through on a day by day basis without her. She is the best thing that has ever....and I mean EVER happened to me. Being with her is like winning the lottery every single day. We've been together for a little more than four years now, and I still look at her and can't believe how lucky I am to be her husband. She's my best friend.

So, later tonight, and for the first time with our daughter, we will continue our tradition of having Blue Bunny chocolate chip ice cream and sparkling cider.....something tells me the little one will like it.

Happy Anniversary, hun. I love you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Guy Fawkes Night

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adam Lambert's New Album

I'm not a fan of American Idol. It seems to be more of a popularity contest than it is a talent competition. Half the times I have seen it, I look at the screen and try to figure out in my head how America has picked the season winner. Case in point: Ruben Studdard, that one guy that looks like he's 50...I can't even remember his name now...Taylor something....., and the guy that won this last season. Again, I have no idea what his name is. Maybe it's because they're on season 9 or 10 of a show that wore out it's novelty at season 3. Or maybe it's because the wrong guy won. Last season, I saw a total of ten to fifteen minutes of Idol, but I could have told you that the most talented person there was Adam Lambert. He also had the best chance of coming out of that show and having a multi-platinum, lifelong career.

That brings me to the story I read on Yahoo News last night. His label released the image of his album cover for his debut album yesterday. To be honest, at first I thought it was a joke.

Unfortunately for Adam, it's not. This is easily the worst album cover I have ever seen. It is so over the top, it doesn't even look professional. It looks like a fan made picture that should be in a locker...circa 1981. The only thing that is missing is Ziggy Stardust riding on a Pegasus in the background. I have heard so many good things about this album....unfortunately, I will not be buying it. Consider that an ITunes download for me, thanks. In fact, I don't even know any gay men that are that comfortable with their sexuality to be willing to go into a Walmart and pick this one up. Something tells me this one will be huge on the digital market.

I understand the need to express yourself and be an individual and be comfortable with your sexuality. I'm cool with that. But you also have to understand marketing. Just because you're cool with that, doesn't necessarily mean John Doe in Birmingham, Alabama, is going to feel comfortable walking into a Best Buy and picking up a copy, no matter how much he may like your music. I guess all I can say is, thank god for the internet. LOL

Memos Regarding The Challenger Disaster

As I've related in previous postings, I follow a blog called Letters of Note. At times, the letters that they come across and post literally give me chills and make me ill. Yesterday's letter was a perfect example.

It was an internal memo from an engineer at a company called Morton Thiokol, to their Vice President. Morton Thiokol was the company that made the O rings for the space shuttles at NASA. This memo, dated July 31st, 1985, stated that there were known erosion issues with the primary and secondary O rings Morton Thiokol were supplying to NASA, and, until the issue could be resolved, all future flights should be suspended because there was a risk of "catastrophe of the highest order - loss of human life".

The memo was, in essence, ignored. Less than six months later, on January 28th, 1986, seven astronauts lost their lives when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded over Cape Canaveral, Florida, one minute and 18 seconds into its flight. The investigation into the accident concluded that O ring failure on one of the shuttles rocket boosters caused the explosion, which could have easily been prevented if this memo was taken to heart. Below is a photo of the memo itself followed by the transcript:


Morton Thiokol, Inc
Wasatch Division

Interoffice Memo

31 July 1985

TO: R. K. Lund
Vice President, Engineering

CC: B. C. Brinton, A. J. McDonald, L. H. Sayer, J. R. Kapp

FROM: R. M. Boisjoly
Applied Mechanics - Ext. 3525

SUBJECT: SRM O-Ring Erosion/Potential Failure Criticality

This letter is written to insure that management is fully aware of the seriousness of the current O-ring erosion problem in the SRM joints from an engineering standpoint.

The mistakenly accepted position on the joint problem was to fly without fear of failure and to run a series of design evaluations which would ultimately lead to a solution or at least a significant reduction of the erosion problem. This position is now drastically changed as a result of the SRM 16A nozzle joint erosion which eroded a secondary O-ring with the primary O-ring never sealing.

If the same scenario should occur in a field joint (and it could), then it is a jump ball as to the success or failure of the joint because the secondary O-ring cannot respond to the clevis opening rate and may not be capable of pressurization. The result would be a catastrophe of the highest order - loss of human life.

An unofficial team (a memo defining the team and its purpose was never published) with leader was formed on 19 July 1985 and was tasked with solving the problem for both the short and long term. This unofficial team is essentially nonexistent at this time. In my opinion, the team must be officially given the responsibility and the authority to execute the work that needs to be done on a non-interference basis (full time assignment until completed.)

It is my honest and very real fear that if we do not take immediate action to dedicate a team to solve the problem with the field joint having the number one priority, then we stand in jeopardy of losing a flight along with all the launch pad facilities.


R. M. Boisjoly

Concurred by:


J. R. Kapp, Manager
Applied Mechanics

Takes More Talent Than 'Guitar Hero'

I came across this video a couple of days ago on a video game website. A soccer team in the U.K. modified a 'Guitar Hero'-type video game to see if they were able to put their own little spin on it.

Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of music based video games. I think they have done an amazing job of getting children interested in music and musical instruments in recent years. If not for games like 'Guitar Hero' and 'RockBand', school music programs would be suffering much more than what they already are. That interest is keeping them funded. I also think that those games are being played to an extent that children are no longer getting exercise. I am guilty of it too. That being said, I would like to see an 8 year old do this on expert and put it up on Youtube:

Two Really Cool Blogs To Check Out

...but still read mine...please.

First up, a blog about the inner workings of all things Disney. The way that Disney kept secrets, they had a history of being locked down tighter than most government agencies. It is amazing how much inside information this blog has about Disney parks and studios, and it's a really interesting read. For example: do you know the story behind all of the tombstones outside the Haunted Mansion? Or, did you know that the cars at the Autopia at Disneyland originally weren't attached to the track?

This blog has a listing of every ride ever created for the Disney parks, every change of design and, in some cases, every change in paint. It even has a list of those rides and exhibits that were designed and planned that, for one reason or another, never came to fruition. You can find the blog, 2719 Hyperion, here.

Secondly, is a blog that I came across as a result of the release of a book of the same name. 1001 Rules For My Unborn Son is one of those ideas that come along that you wish you would have come up with. It is absolutely brilliant. The blog itself is currently up to #401 as of the time of this posting, and it is some of the best advice I have seen. It should have been called, "How Not To Be A Douchebag". There have been a couple of rules that I don't necessarily agree with, such as "Always accept a drinking challenge", but, overall, it is amazing. Along with the rules are quotes from famous authors and celebrities that follow along with the rule of the day, as well as streaming MP3s that are "required listening". The book came out yesterday, and from what I've read so far, it would make the perfect present for the expecting dad. It's the blog I wish I would have been clever enough to come up with.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This Week's Sign Of The Impending Apocalypse

Straight from the manufacturer's website:

That's right....Now available for dogs...IT'S THE SNUGGIE!!!

Now your spouse and children aren't the only members of the family you can torture this holiday season. Now the dog can be included in all the embarrassment and misery that is the Snuggie. At least they were able to corner the pet market before the knock off companies came up with the idea.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Official - I'm Disabled

Big sigh of relief! I had my interview on Wednesday morning last week. My case manager told me it would take two to three weeks to reach a decision. They came to a decision and alerted my employer within a matter of about three hours. It was that much of an open and shut case. I knew I had some issues..but damn!! I contacted MetLife today, and they were able to verify that indeed I was approved. I contacted my former(I love saying that) employer's payroll department, and they were able to verify that they were notified by H.R. on Friday to remove me from payroll records. Nice thing about that is that I now have access to all the profit sharing funds that were contributed to my 401k. The "termination" was backdated to 10/16.

I have so many questions now for my case manager now, but he is out of the office on vacation until the 6th of November. Not that big of a deal I guess. I have, at least, the next 2 years off of work. I filled out the necessary paperwork for Social Security online over the weekend. Took a minimum of 10 hours of work. It was ridiculous. I then had to print up and fill out 24 pages of paperwork on top of that. Cost me almost $2.00 just to mail twenty miles. It's been a hectic weekend to put it lightly. Nice thing is, I have no deadlines; no assignments to do over the next 3 to 5 days. Just a therapy appointment on Wednesday. I'm going to bed in fact at 10:35 tonight, and have no reason to get up before 9am tomorrow. Good night.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Dream Of Mine Came True Today

When 'Fantasia 2000' was released on January 1, 2000, I was excited to see it. Honestly, it was an average movie. By Disney standards, it was mediocre. It featured a number of classic pieces, including 'Pomp and Circumstance' and 'Rhapsody in Blue'. By far my favorite piece though, was the last one.

It was their interpretation of 'The Firebird Suite' by Igor Stravinsky. It featured an animation style so similar to Miyazaki, that many people thought he actually animated the segment. Needless to say, Miyazaki was not happy. In fact, he called the movie, "Disney's worst animated film: A technical prowess devoid of any feeling". The piece focuses on only two characters, a sprite and an elk, the sprite is completing her duty of awaking the springtime flowers and plants along the hillside and accidentally awakens a Firebird(volcano), which destroys all the life on the life on the hill and seemingly kills the'll have to watch the rest to find out what happens next:

I remember seeing this in the theater and being so sad that I would never have a child to share this with, unaware that technology would eventually catch up and allow us to be able to see this in digital quality on big screen televisions. Today, my little girl saw it for the first time. She sat on my lap as I narrated the story to her. At the end of the video, she was headed out the back door to go play. She jumped out of my lap, ran to the TV, touched the screen and smiled, as if to say goodbye. Then she ran outside. It made me get choked up. She liked it. A dream of mine came true. That doesn't happen too often anymore.

Soundtrack of My Life 10/25/09 - Sting 'Fragile'

Depending on the phase of my life, I either absolutely love Sting, or absolutely loathe him. At the moment, I'm sort of in between. I've been thinking a lot about life...and health...and death lately. And, for some reason, this song came to mind.

'Fragile' was originally written about the assassination of John Lennon. The following video was recorded at a concert that was supposed to be telecast live worldwide. That ill-fated performance was scheduled to take place on the evening of September 11th 2001. Due to the events of that morning, Sting decided to perform this single song in memory of the victims of that day's terrorist attacks, then cut the live feed. This version of 'Fragile', I believe, later went on to win a Grammy for live performance.

I've Been Approved For Long Term Disability - I Think?

MetLife called me on 10/21/09, and did a phone interview with me regarding the Tourette's and the PTSD. The interview was scheduled to last 20 minutes, and ended up lasting and hour and ten minutes. My case manager told me that it would take the clinicians approximately two to three weeks to make their decision and let me know.

I go to my mailbox yesterday and I have a letter from my employer. I think, nothing new. I get two or three needless letters a week from them. I open this one up and the first thing I see is a pamphlet explaining my rights as a terminated employee. It is a letter from Human Resources saying that they received notification from MetLife on 10/21/09 that my claim for long term was approved. Don't get me wrong, I am super super excited, but something doesn't seem right. A two to three week approval process shortened to one day? If this is correct, I am shocked at how quickly it was able to go through and am absolutely thrilled that I don't have to go through this anymore with them. But something tells me that this letter was sent out prematurely. I have to wait until tomorrow to see if, indeed, this is true or not.

Wish me luck.

eta...I also have 12 pages of medical information and job history to fill out for the Social Security Administration today....might need more luck with that.

I'm At A Loss

Last week was pretty damn rough. Tuesday, we thought the baby had a UTI, and took her into the doctor. Turns out, she only had a yeast infection, but a nasty one. Wednesday, my wife had outpatient surgery at her dermatologist's office to remove two cysts on her scalp she's had since childhood. She was in so much pain afterward she almost passed out and was practically vomiting. Within 48 hours she had swelling on her forehead that was the size of an orange. The same day, my daughter developed what appeared to be a cold. It looked like it was getting better and now it's coming back with a cough. We're hoping it's not H1N1.

We're all sitting around in the living room yesterday, trying to do our best to recover from the previous week, when my wife gets a phone call. It's my mother in law. She's freaking out. Something had happened to Sandy, her best friend.

We had all met Sandy at the same time, at a farmer's market in Chandler. My wife and mother in law were tending a booth when she came up and had a couple of questions about what she needed to do to get a space of her own. My mother in law instantly connected with her. They became friends almost instantly. Over the course of the coming year, they practically became sisters. They either saw each other every day or talked on the phone. She got mom the job she has now. In fact, the only reason my wife is a Scentsy rep because she knew she would be working under her.

She was a few years older than mom, but you couldn't really tell. Blond hair. Glasses. Running her ass off every time I saw her, but always trying to smile. And the way that she interacted with my daughter, she gave off that "cool grandma" vibe. Just an all around good person.

She was in Casa Grande yesterday, doing a farmer's market in a Safeway parking lot. She had been doing this particular one for about a month now. She called mom at 2:45 yesterday afternoon to say hi and see how things were going. Sandy had just walked away from her booth and was going inside the Safeway to use the restroom. When she got inside the store, she said "I'll call you right back.", and hung up the phone. The phone rang back a couple of minutes later. It was coming from Sandy's cell. This time when mom answered, a man was on the other end. He said that a lady had passed out inside the store and they didn't know who she was. Mom told them where to find Marv, her husband outside. Sandy had had a heart attack.

After a few minutes, my wife and I started to think, regardless of how major or how minor the heart attack may be, there was no way she was going to be in any condition to pack her stuff up and bring it home. So we started making plans to go to Casa Grande to go get it. She usually packed everything up in her Mini Cooper, so getting it all in one car shouldn't be a problem. Between myself, my wife, mom and dad, we arranged to have me stay home with the baby, and mom and the wife head the 60 miles South to Casa Grande to pack up the stuff and bring it home. Mom and dad were at the sister in law's house at the time and we were all going to me at mom and dad's house.

We left our house, and were about a mile away when we got a call from dad. Just seeing that it was from dad, we knew the news was the worst. Mom was hysterical in the background. They had just received the phone call that Sandy had passed away. She had a massive heart attack. She apparently had died at the scene. We were at a loss. I felt so sorry for mom. Sandy was her only friend here in Arizona. I especially felt sorry for Marv. Although I had never met him, I was sort of seeing the situation through his eyes. Sandy had just quit smoking the month before. She was a month away from her 65th birthday. He was laid off from his job 2 weeks ago, and they were planning on traveling the country together in their RV.

We had no idea the farmer's market was in the Safeway parking lot. The way that Sandy had described it in the past, it was across the street from Safeway, in a park or another parking lot. We knew she had Scentsy products with her, and she usually brought hundreds of handmade products to sell. Dad had said that they were too shaken up to go to Casa Grande, and I don't blame them. I started thinking though. What if all of her stuff gets stolen? Knowing how those Scentsy reps are, they've probably already looted the booth. They're like rabid hyena soccer moms. For Marv though, what if everything Sandy had made is there in that booth? I'm sure he would want something there to remember her by. We had to go to Casa Grande.

It was a nice drive. Even though the baby was sick, you could tell she enjoyed getting out of the house. We eventually found the Safeway there but no lot across the street. There was a trailer outside the Safeway selling Cokes and hotdogs. We asked them if they knew where the farmer's market was, and they said it was there in the parking lot. We asked if they knew about the lady that had the heart attack, and they said that her things were packed up and placed in the manager's office. Sandy had packed up so much stuff, that neither our car, or mom and dad's pickup, could carry it alone. We would have to come back with two vehicles.

The manager came out to talk to us in the parking lot. He was a body builder type wearing a Cardinals jersey. He was continuously choked up. He was unbelievably respectful and courteous. I really think that this was the first time that something like this had happened on his watch and he was freaking out a bit. He kept saying how hard they tried to revive her and how they tried CPR. We were almost comforting him as much as he was trying to comfort us. He explained that as soon as everything had happened, he sent employees out to the parking lot to pack up her things, take down her canopy, and bring it into the store. It is currently locked inside the manager's office. One of the assistant managers was even talking about selling hotdogs and Cokes at the store to raise money for the family. I was really impressed.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to take anything back with us, but we were able to verify that it was safe. We stopped to grab a pizza for mom, dad and Marv on the way home and met them at Sandy and Marv's house. Marv was so ill he refused to even accept the pizza at first. We explained that eventually he would get hungry, and if he wouldn't eat it, family and friends would be there that would. Mom, dad and the rest of us went to their place to try to relax for a few.

It was a very rough day, and at the end of it, when saying goodbye to mom, I hugged her and told her I loved her. She teared up a bit and told me she loved me. Although I have always known it, it was the first time I had actually heard those words from my mother in law. It was nice to have that validation. It made me smile. It made me cry.

Yesterday taught me two things. One, I'm getting older. As you get older, two things happen: More people that you know die, and those people are made up from the inner rings of those you care about as you get older. Let me explain. Everyone that you will ever know and that everyone you ever care about will ever know fits on the rings of a tree. At age 7, your best friend's great great aunt is on a much further ring out on level of importance, as say your best friend's mom at age 35. Make sense? The older you get, the more death you see, and the more significant those deaths are. As a child you may have a grandparent or two. As you're approaching your mid-thirties and early forties, your grandparents are usually already gone, your aunts and uncles start passing away, and you're preparing yourself for what to do when your folks die. I think that's what made 'Benjamin Button' such a good movie. He was getting younger, but he still had to deal with that horrible part of being an adult.

Secondly, I realized yesterday that my wife and I are good people. Neither of us had ever met Marv, and it occurred to me halfway to Casa Grande yesterday that I was doing this for him, and not for Sandy. I put myself in his shoes, as difficult as that was. Even when it comes to people who claim to be Christians, most of them do not live by the "golden rule". I try to treat others how I would like to be treated. I know that eventually doing good things will bring positive things in life. Call it Karma, whatever. I just know that, especially now, I have to try to set a good example for my daughter. Sure, I didn't HAVE to drive 120 miles round trip, and I didn't HAVE to buy pizza for her family, but it was a nice gesture, and it was was was necessary for the situation yesterday. And I'm proud of myself and my wife for taking that road trip.

Sandy, we will miss you. You treated my wife and I with kindness, and our daughter with love. Thank you.