What Is Wrong With Me?

          * WARNING! This was written in 10 minutes after a pot of coffee. It is very random with few if any points. For what it is worth, this is a brief look inside my head at any given point in the day. I am sorry you have to indure this. *

 It doesn’t take very much to make me happy in life. Over the past few years I have learned to enjoy the little things and never take anything for granted. I guess that is why I am such a fan of Matt Caracappa’s site, X-Entertainment. It is nice to immerse yourself in gummy frogs and Friday the 13th reviews after along day of catastrophic engine failer simulations and MBA online work. But the night before last I think I had a Holiday blow out. Just look at this mess.

  You’ll notice that Halloween is on the TV and I am reading X-E’s Christmas countdown from 2003 at the same time. Why am I doing this you may ask? Well, I think it is because I am a man of extremes. I have always been that way. If I go to the bar it’s never for a couple of beers but rather 8 beers, $30 in the Juke box and at 4,000 high fives. If I go for a run it is usually not a jog but an all out puke intensive, run for your life, run. And if I start a book, there is no way it will last longer than a couple of days without being totally read. Even in the car. Ok, maybe not the car. The point is, is that when I feel like doing something I do it. Maybe it is because I started thinking about Halloween in August and I am ready for the Christmas season to begin. What ever the reason is it felt right at the time.

  Don’t get the impression that I am a careless, if it feels good do it, type of person. I am really not but I think when it comes to the little things in life we all should. If you want to sing “Jingle Bells” while carving your pumpkin than damn it, do it! I probably won’t because that’s weird as hell but if it sinks your canoe, more power to you. Speaking of doing what you feel I think I am going to add to may tattoo.

   Oh boy. I got this clip art back in 1996 before I left for college. It was a permenant link to my best friends in high school, Jon and Simon and our love for the band Led Zeppelin. Each of us picked a symbol from the band members. I picked John Paul Jones because he was my favorite and the most under rated in the band. The bitch is that a few years later some ass clown decided to use the same Celtic symbol for the brief but world known River Dance. When I saw them on The Late Show one night- died I did! No one has linked the two but I think of that everytime I am at the pool or beach and it is only a matter of time before some asks me to tap dance. So I think I am going to get the rest of the three symbols so there is no confussion.  And another thing, why in the hell did I pick that spot?

                                                                       

  

British Metal and Punk: The Story Of My Life

I have to confess that I have a few weaknesses in life. I eat Reduced Fat Triscuts everyday and there is no telling when I will get tired of them. It’s more of an addiction really. The chance of me watching an episode of Benson without the deafening crunch every other minute may result in a moment of clearity when I relieze that the show isn’t funny after all. I also can’t function right without coffee. Like most working people, this is a neccessary part of the day and without it, there is a real possibility of a pink slip. But I think my obsession with British Metal and Punk is the least known among my peers. Currently I am working as an instructor for 737 flight systems and you can imagine the Dudley Do-Rights I work with. So here are a few songs, the stories of my life that pop in my head when they are played and count the number of times I say “awesome” and “kick ass” because it may be alot.

Judas Priest. I don’t care what people think about this band they ‘kick ass” and everytime Rob Halford hits that screaming note people should remove all eyeware because they may shatter causing eye problems. Between the speed of K.K. Downing’s guitar and lyrics that can coerse idiot teens to blow their heads off, this band is on my top ten.

I really got into Priest when I was stationed in Bosnia. There was long periods of extreme boredom and to keep our spirits up we took part in multi-country competions which includes many mile rucksack marches and military exercise drills. One particular one was called the Dancon race that was hosted by the Danish army. This race was a 30 mile ruck race that scaled two mountains on the hottest and dryest day of the year. I will tell you that I was rocking Judas Priest’s, Green Manilishi when I noticed Jesus himself walking right next to me. I have to admit he was taller than I expected someone to be from 25 A.D. Whether it was a halucination or not we had a great talk about pizza, socks and why in All In The Family did Archy Bunker’s wife run and never walk. I can’t listen to Green Manilishi without the need to go to church.

The Clash. I think everyone has a Clash favorite and a story to go with it. They started a new chapter in not just punk but in music as a whole. I think music critics were about as speechless as The Clash’s dentists were. One thing is for sure, rock/ punk/ blues/ reagge/ R&B/ polka/ chant/ gossple/ and country were turned on their ear when The Clash came on the scene.

My best pal in high school was Simon Hollier. Even though we went to different schools, we hung out everyday after school and drove around in his Dodge Shadow singing to any classic rock song that was on Z93 or 96 Rock. One particular day we were driving through a nieghborhood and came to an intersection, screaming The Clash’s “Tommy Gun” from the top of our lungs when a car full of nare do wells pulled behind us and honked. With out thinking (which is typical of Simon) Simon gave the middle finger and it was about that time I noticed they were the guys from the local Exon garage and above all there were five of them. Well, we took off and they of course chased us. One thing about Simon is that his flight skills are pretty bad and he hit a curb and blew out his front right tire. We coasted into a Methodist church parking lot and before I knew it I was being pulled out the window by the neck. I’m pretty sure these guys were the typical mechanic high school drop outs and we were most likely going to die. After a few well placed socks to my face irony took control and out of the church a class of black belts came to our rescue and beat the snot out of the mechanics and it was a merciless beating too. I like to think it was divine intervetion. Having a Methodist karate teacher demand the beaten mechanics to apologize to us and repeat the line, “We are losers and we stink” was priceless. I still can’t listen to “Tommy Gun” without my neck hurting.

Iron Maiden. Even the most musically declined person can recognize Iron Maiden for what it is and that is British metal at its’ zenith. Their arena performances are the greatest in the world and anyone who has been to a show will leave both deaf and speechless. I know and I still have a ring in my left ear after 15 years.

I was on the wrong end of a disciplin hearing in high school when I thought it would be a good idea to share the album “666 Number Of The Beast” with Mr. Patino’s English class. We began each class with a favorite song of the day and everyone had their turn. I went to a Catholic high school so my choice was definitly a conflict of interest. The speech about the origions of the number 666 at the beginning of the song was enough to get me excused from the class and two days of detension. But there was method to my madness because I skipped my English homework the night before and this gamble paid off. From that day on my class mates saw me in a whole new rebelious light. Either that or they thought I was a Satanist.

Motorhead. There are few rockers I would rather have a pint with than Lemmy. He embodies metal in in every form. From his ability to never drink whiskey from a glass but rather straight from the bottle to that weird mole thing on his face, he rocks harder than any other. In interviews he maybe a little hard to understand but when he is on stage you know exactly what he says; tell your parents to stick it, nail hot chicks, drink an inordanant amount of booze and eat the rich. “Awesome and kick ass.”

I wish I had a good story about Motorhead but I don’t. I just couldn’t leave a British metal/punk post without including Lemmy. I would be afraid he may hunt me down in my sleep.

Well, I have shared what few know about me. Just don’t tell anyone. I don’t want them to find out about my leather pants or my Camaro. There will be more added later but i have to get back to work. I wish this was work.

*Not proofread so it has a number of errors I am sure.*

From The Horses Mouth

 The other day I was talking to a friend and we ended our conversation on the weirdest topic. I was explaining my fear of horses because when I was young my mom took me to a petting zoo and the farmer was missing a thumb. He used his deformity as a lesson to warn all the kids not to be rough on the animals because his thumb had been bitten off by a horse. The very thought of getting a finger bit off by an animal with square teeth terrified me. But that’s when my friend said the farmer’s story was a lie and there was no way the incisors of a horse could bite off a finger. That is when I upped the antie and claimed a horse definitly could and I bet I could bite off a human finger. Maybe not with my front teeth but definitly my back ones. Well, we had to agree to disagree but I will still feed a horse an apple from a stick.

                                                                                 

Annual Halloween Theme Sitcoms No More

 When did the Halloween season become a money loser for prime time TV? I remember when the top shows would advertise for the last week of October like it was sweeps month. Now I know some shows like The Office have had their one Halloween themed episode but that was it. There is no annual anticipation anymore. Here is a look back at my favorite sitcoms that we could always count on for their effort to out-do the previous year. And no, The Simpsons; Tree House Of Horror isn’t on the list, that’s in November.

  This is one of my favorites growing up. I really can’t figure out why because the dry English humor must have been way over head as an eight year old. What ever the reason was I have fond memories of watching the Halloween episode while my dad cut out cardboard armor for my knight Halloween costume because like usual, I made him buy me a $30 accesory (the helmet) and had no plan for the rest. I love you Mr. Belvedere, you fat old English bastard! Lets have a look.

 

Now I have to admit that when Silver Spoons came out I was still pissing the bed but I remember the Halloween episode with such clarity I can even remember what was for dinner that night. Granted it was episode number 49 and Rick Schrouder was in middle school, it was still a while ago. The one thing about Silver spoons is the theme song will stick in your head until you die.

 True story: I was in Halmark a couple of years ago huffing Yankee candles and humming the theme song to Silver Spoons when out of the blue another guy began to hum it with me. Before i knew it we broke out in song, much to the embarrassment of our significant others at the time. “Together, we’re going to find away…You and IIIIIIII, Togetherrr…”  And we even ended on the air guitar. Then we nodded at each other and made our way back to our girlfriends. Who ever that dude was, bless you.

   Lets take a gander at the Halloween episode of Silver Soons with the awesome intro voice!

 

   Oh boy, the Facts Of Life. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and and then you have….a show that got me beat up in elementary school for admitting to having seen. I will say that I have watched it now it is 20 years later and safely away from Bobby Simmons. For some strange reason I had a crush on Joe and looking back I can’t figure out why? I guess I have a thing for Italian chicks. I think this year I am going to be Natalie for Halloween.

  Now we go to the more recent but definitely dated shows. Roseanne is the one show I have never really gotten into until it has become a 3am hit on Nick@Nite. More over I never really was aware that the show had an annual Halloween episode that always tries to out do the last Halloween episode. And for that, I love you Roseanne. I never imagined myself saying that, but it is true. Sorry to step on your toes Tom, but i love you Roseanne. God I really do need help, don’t I?

 

   Finally for today’s post we end with my favorite pick for the best Halloween episodes and that is the great mid-west classic Home Improvement. I think I was at the age to really get into the Home Improvement era. It was after Alf but right before America’s Funniest Videos so I was really tuned into the idiotic humor that Tim Allen always managed to pull off. The Halloween episodes were classic in every sense, primarily because of the creative gist the show was founded on. I mean, who can afford to throw a Halloween party like the Taylors? The YouTube selections were really bad but if you squint hard enough you can make out my favorite episode when the annoying kid gets his after being a prick. I love that show.

  Well, for all those who read this keep Halloween close to your heart. It’s an American tradition and even if today’s sitcoms forget about it doesn’t mean we have to. We always have the oldies that I wish ABC, NBC and CBS would, at least for the last week of October, air instead of the crap that is out today. I do mean crap. I watched Greys Anatomy a couple of months ago and gave the TV the bird no less than 300 times.

Pumpkins For The Soul

If you have read the previous couple of posts then you know it is the second day of our North Georgia adventure and I was on a quest to find the most sincere pumpkin patch in the land to prove to the Great Pumpkin that….actually I just wanted cheap pumpkins. So from memories of years past I knew of a pumpkin patch in Dawesonville that was the premier patch of the state. It is also the buckle of the bible belt and that is where we went.

Well, we found it without too much of a to-do and it had not changed a bit in ten years. Burt’s Pumpkin Patch has turned into quite a tourist attraction but it hasn’t lost it’s moral ground. Right when we pulled in there was a huge sign that stated, “No Profanity Of Any Kind Will Be Tolerated.” Well fuck!

That was just the beginning of the signed rules and regulations you needed to follow to not be tossed out on your gourd. Here are just a few and I swear I am not making any of these up.

No swearing, no sitting on the pumpkins, no standing on the pumpkins, no riding in the wheelbarrows, no pushing the wheelbarrows unless you are over 15, no jumping on the pumpkins, you break it you buy it, no horse play, no handling of food, no picking pumpkins up by the stems, no audible music, only walking in the shop and a few others that have escaped me. Oh yeah, I forgot the bible verse above the check out table; “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” That should keep people from shoplifting apple butter.

I have to admit that this gets me in the Halloween mood. Even if it is 87 degrees and 60% humidity out, I can feel that All Souls Day is on it’s way. I guess that getting pumpkins from a pumpkin patch is better because I have never see green or white pumpkins at Kroger or Albertson’s. The variety was beyond what thought it would be. You had organic ones, genetically altered huge ones, tiny ones, oblong ones, and ever squarish ones. If you walk away from Burt’s without a pumpkin because you were dissatisfied with the selection than you should just make your own. Not grow your own, make your own, because your are basically calling mother nature a no talent bitch.

Here are a few of the $65 and up pumpkins that could house a family of cats. For some reason these pumpkins never appealed to me. I am more of traditional kind of guy and I feel that Farmer Burt had messed with nature a little too much because in the 80’s I never remember being eye level to them.

Burt’s Pumpkin Farm also had an indoor store filled with really cute country items to decorate for the Halloween season. I did feel like I had to tiptoe around because every five feet there was a blunt sign that read, “You Break, You Buy.” I think it would be hard to break one rule without breaking another because if I did drop something it would be followed by me yelling, “Goddamn motherfuckin’ asshole dick-licking suck bitch.”

Well, soon we picked our pumpkins and loaded our barrel with other goodies. I don’t have a front yard so the yard ornaments where just eye candy but the hanging ones where bought. As you can see there is another sign telling us to keep our hand in our pockets but Tara knows I have plastic. I have to admit after an hour I was ready to head on because of the over dominating Bible beating presence. I’m not anti-church but leave Halloween out of it. I think I may feel different if we were there for a Christmas tree.

Well, Burt’s has a great patch and the is little doubt about it. Do I think it is the most sincere patch that will draw the Great Pumpkin, I don’t think so. I feel that the over whelming watchful eye is too much to really enjoy yourself. I give Burt’s Pumpkin Farm 3 out of 5…I don’t know…pumpkins?

Beer, Polka and Pumpkins Part 2

 

So there we were following a trail of slow movers (elderly) down the sidewalk to the festival center. I should have known this may be a little above our age because there was a giant bingo sign above the entrance. Never the less, there was  live accordions playing, dogs on the grill and I was sure kegs of beer inside. I’m kind of like a shark when it comes to beer. If sharks can smell a drop of blood per a million gallons of water than I can smell a drop of beer per one hundred people dowsed in Ben Gay. I know I am ripping on old people but hang in there. They actually rescue me at the end of this story.

Now that I am almost thirty I really feel that I should take full advantage of these festivals. Who cares about being reserve or what others think? When we walked into the festival I saw a sea of people all sporting German clothing, dancing, singing along and just having a good time. Damn it, I’m getting a hat! So that is what I did. I let my my guard down, bought us food, beer, a program, an awesome hat and introduced myself to the strangers sitting next to us. Of course they were as nice as they could be and just like that we were knee deep in Oktoberfest 2007.

I must admit that the fact our hotel was a mere fifty yards away made it hard to turn down my 7th beer and before I knew it the draw of the Orlando based Polka band was too much. We caught the end of a conga line that led right to stage center where it segwayed into the famous Chicken Dance-off. After that I tried my hand at real dancing and what looked simple really was not. I was 35 years younger than everyone there and I was getting my ass kicked on the dance floor. I returned to our seats a little sheepish but it was ok. When I was dancing like I had my legs on backwards a table full of old ladies from a Illinois charter line was watching and took pity and was able to give me guidance while the drummer of the band took my girlfriend on a real polka dance.

It only took a few lessons to really get the hang of it. I learned the two step, the waltz and the polka in less time than I learned I hate black licorice. It took me a few tries to be sure I really didn’t like it. Anyway, I had a blast learning and when I took the girlfriend back out on the dance floor I really turned it up a notch. Mainly because I was sure I wouldn’t break her hip if I had a polka mishap. I rule!

Well, soon the band was finishing up the encore and a bottle of Maalox was being passed around. I have to admit that hanging with these old ladies was the most fun I have had in a long time. They smoke, drink and cuss just like people I love. Too bad that they live so far away but that is always the bad part of vacations. You meet some of the greatest people in the world and at the end all you have is the memories. Better than nothing I suppose.

Well, soon the Oktoberfest was over and we had a blast to say the least. After saying our goodbyes, meeting the band and getting the to-go beer we made the trek back to the room. But I wasn’t ready to surrender yet. It was only 11pm and there had to be after party somewhere! And then I heard it. Someone was rocking Karaoke STYX and that is all I needed to keep the party going. We went into the bar and found a few barfly’s and a DJ that used to be in a KISS tribute band. He and I rocked a duet to “Rock and Roll All Night And Party Everyday.” Perfect end to a perfect day.

Part three is tomorrow and it is all about a quest for the annual pumpkin. It was strange and unusual but something to never forget.

Beer, Polka, And Pumpkins

I have to admit that October is my favorite month of the year and there are a few reasons for that. One is the fact that I love the Halloween season. That’s a given if you have read my previous posts. The other reason is flippin’ Oktoberfest! It’s a German celebration and a great reason to eat bratwurst, drink beer and dance to the accordion polka rhythm. I love every bit of it and in Helen, Georgia we hit the German fest with both fists. It was wunderbar!

Up in the North Georgia mountains, Helen is a really cute town that hosts this drunkfest. If you start the beer drinking at 4pm then by 10 you may actually believe you are in Germany. The only thing to ground you back to the reality that you are in North Georgia are the numerous T-shirt/novelty shops every 30 feet. You know, T-shirts with the muscle guy with a dalmatian head flexing in a fire fighter outfit or “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor ” shirt? Anyway, it was like a redneck Germany.

Oh yeah, you can buy a shit load of swords, lighters, old time personal photos, smashed and imprinted pennies, leather hats and whoopie cushions too. I have only been to Germany twice and it is true that whoopie cushions are a hard item to find. So you have that to keep you grounded as well.

Crap, I almost forgot! If you every need skulls and skeletons posed playing golf, working or Elvis impersonating you can get them in Helen. In hind sight I should have bought some as stocking stuffers just to keep the family guessing my sanity.

The elderly out numbered the younger generations by about 200 to 1. There were numerous tour buses and crown vics from all over the country, mainly from Pennsylvania, Illinois and Arizona for some reason. As you can see from the guy in white Stride-Rites and a proud Members Only jacket we kind of stood out. But never the less we had all come to Helen for the same reason and that is Oktoberfest. Even if I was there for the perfect beer and they were there for, I don’t know, the perfect frozen yogurt?

So after a few hours of shopping and old people watching we checked into the hotel. It’s nice to find a Hampton Inn where Deliverance was filmed. That movie is always in mind when I am in the North Georgia mountains because inbreds and banjos freak me out to no extent. Anyway the hotel was great and the people were so nice it was almost sickening. I’m sure if I requested to trade shoes with them they would do so and include their socks as well.

So after some rest and changed into my KISS ’75 Tour shirt we headed out for a night that I was made for; drinking, eating and being merry. Believe it or not Helen was pretty much a ghost town and the check in desk vaguely mentioned the festivities start at 7pm. So we made are way to the center of town to see where Oktoberfest began and all we could see was a line of old people going into a large covered pavilion. That was it and I a little worried I was going to be let down. But it was cool because a few beers can even make church enjoyable.

I write about our Oktoberfest fun tomorrow when I get the pictures back. So for now I will leave you with the first beer of the night. It’s my motto that all guests should have a beer or cocktail so there you are. Enjoy the brew and stop by tomorrow afternoon to read about Polka and the quest for the ultimate pumpkin from the scary, God fearing mountain patch of Dawsonville, GA.

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