Monday, June 30, 2008
Besides the fact that you'll be surrounded in poop for the next couple years, there are 20 important things that I've learned during my two-year baby-raising tour of duty that I think will help virtually every new parent out there.
While this crap (pun intended) is still in my mind, I would like to spread a little love, advice and tips about the first year of parenting.
As always, take it with a grain of salt. Hopefully, one or two will hit home with you.
Also, I hope this doesn't come off as too pretentious. Like a lot of people in the world, I've lived the life of raising a baby for the past two years. So, hopefully, my unique perspective on the matter can help you out when your back is against the wall and you see that little thing pop out of your wife's ....(well, you know what I'm trying to say).
1.) Baby’s Room = Far, Far, Away
After you have a kid, you may think that you'll be spending most of your time in the living room, dining room or even the baby’s room. Wrong. You’re going to be spending a big amount of your time in the kitchen. In fact, everyone is going to be in the kitchen. Whether you’re making bottles, washing dishes, making dinner, grabbing a beer after a stressful day or just relaxing; you’ll be hanging out in the kitchen. So that’s why it’s important to have the baby’s room as far away from the kitchen as possible. Heck, if your bedroom is the farthest point, I would suggest moving your kid’s room into that room during, at least, the first six months. Also, if you don't have dishwasher, buy one today. You're going to need it.
Unless your kid is a freak of nature, you will be up at night. It’s okay. It’s okay. Don’t panic. In 10 or 12 months, you’ll be fine. But those first six months are pretty brutal on the sleepless scale. That’s why I suggest you invest in a subscription to Netflix. I don’t know how many times I was up at night with both of my newborn kids with two hours to kill between sleep and feedings and thinking “Man, I wish I had a movie to watch.” Netflix is the way to go. Click here to read my full report on Netflix. Oh, and I suggest the three-movie deal because, with this deal, you can also download more than 50,000 titles to your computer. My DVD compilation suggestions? Weeds, Entourage, Lost, Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development and The Wire.
3.) Invest in a Sound Machine or Fan.
I don’t care if you’re a hippy who doesn’t want your kid to be a victim of incessant noise pollution, you should invest in some type of white noise maker. Even a CD with continuous waves will do. Why? Well, for starters it gives your kid a better sleep, both day and night. Plus you won’t have to tiptoe around the house when you’re trying to get shit done while the baby’s asleep. NOTE: If your other half insists on playing The Cure's Greatest Hits for your child at night, please smash the CD as soon as possible.
4.) Nip the Colic.
If the baby is crying uncontrollable, don’t try to weather the storm yourself. As Kool Moe Dee said "Go see the doctor." There’s nothing more unsettling (to you and the baby) than a baby that’s crying uncontrollably for four straight days. I mean, you’re already walking on pins and needles trying to feed, change and make sure your kid is as comfortable as possible. If the baby is crying like a fiend, take her to the doctor ASAP and get something for its belly. There is medication out there that can help. Our doctor prescribed baby Pepcid for both our daughter and son. And it worked wonders.
5.) Always ask for Formula and Diapers.
If parenthood were Fight Club. The first rule of Parenthood would be to always ask for Formulas and Diapers. The second rule of Parenthood is to ALWAYS ASK FOR FORMULA AND DIAPERS. Your parents will call. Then they'll ask if they can bring anything. Whatever you do, don’t say “No, we’re cool.” You are a new parent. You are not cool. Instead, say, “Yes, bring formula and diapers.” Formula and diapers are to your baby what gas is to a car = expensive and necessary. If your birthday is coming up, ask for formula and diapers as a gift. For Christmas, don’t ask for a new set of boxer shorts. Ask for formula and diapers. Hell, I've got it so ingrained into my parent’s brains, that they don’t even have to ask. They just bring formula and diapers up instinctively. Like Pavlov's dogs.
6.) Baby's first Christmas.
Don’t buy anything. Don’t you dare buy one thing for your baby. The grandparents will buy everything your child needs and then some. Save your money for Tip #5. Plus, the baby won’t remember getting gifts from you anyway. In fact, the first two Christmas's are like a Monopoly Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card for parents when it comes to purchasing gifts.
7.) Baby's first birthday.
See rule #6. The only thing you need to invest in is a great party. So, spend your cash on cake, balloons, beer and food for the guests. Let me repeast this for the more dense new parents out there; DON'T BUY ANY PRESENTS FOR YOUR KID. Period. The grandparents and other family members will buy enough.
During the first six months, both of our kids wore onesies 95% of the time. Why? Because they're practical that's why. Sure, you may see a cute cowboy or sailor outfit and think your kid will look like a doll in it. Hell, we thought the same exact thing when we purchased these cool Ohio State and Purdue outfits for our kids. We didn't dress them in the outfits once. So take my advice: when you're filling out your baby registry, just ask for onesies. They’re cheap. They’re comfortable for the kid (who will be dying to move his legs any chance he can get). Plus they’re easy access when you’re changing a diaper in pitch black at 3 a.m.
9.) Don’t buy shoes.
During the first nine months, both of our kids hardly wore shoes. Don't buy shoes. They're worthless. Only socks and bare feet are the way to go. During her first nine months on this Earth, I think our daughter wore shoes once (for her baptism). Our son has only had shoes on once in his nine months as well. Sure, those little Nikes are cute, but they’re not practical. Save your dough and go see Tip #5.
10.) Get out of the house.
Truth be told, you’re going to want to get away from the kid. You may not think you want to. You may think you’ll want to hold it and love it 24 hours a day. But you won’t. You’ll want to get away. At least for a little while. When that time comes, swallow your pride and have everyone you know come over to help. Grandparents. Sisters. Brothers. Uncles. Nieces. Friends. Nephews. They all want to see this kid grow up to be awesome. So they’re not going to do anything to harm a little hair on his or her body. Take advantage of the seasoned veterans in your family. Then get the hell out of dodge for a couple hours. Go shopping. Go to BW3 and have a beer. Go drive your car around the neighborhood and listen to music. But please for the love of god, get out of the house.
11.) Baby Boot Camp
Eventually, you’ll want your baby to start putting itself to sleep at night. Especially if you both work. When that time comes, I suggest the Ferber method. Basically, it’s letting your baby cry for a specific amount of time, going into the room and comforting said baby, then letting the baby cry again until, exhausted he/she falls asleep. Sure, at times, it can be heart-breaking. But think of it as an investment on your sleep time. When we first tried our own version of the Ferber method (every parenting technique is different), we had to endure both of our kids crying at night. Sometimes for an hour or so. Yep, it was sad. Even if you're the hardest Hells Angels member around, you'll still, want to run in, scoop him up and let him go to sleep on your shoulder. But hold strong. In the long run (two to three weeks or even a couple days), you’ll be happy you did. It took our daughter a while before she caught on. But our son took to it pretty fast. He hardly cries at all when you put him down, which is awesome.
12.) Get as much sleep as possible.
During the first six months of both newborns, as soon as my mom and dad walked in the door, my wife-to-be and I would hand the kids over and head to the bedroom to take a nap. If your parents come over for a visit, go take a nap. If your sister, brother or friends come over, excuse yourself and take a nap. Even if it's for 15 minutes. It’s not rude and it’s not selfish. You'll need as much sleep as you can for the night shifts. Plus, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to kick some baby ass after you wake up.
13.) Invest in a babysitter.
Whether it’s your next-door neighbor, a friend of the family, parents or aunt; get a babysitter once in a while. Don’t feel guilty by getting out of the house for a couple hours, or even a night, and having a bit of fun. You've earrrrrned it.
14.) Take your baby to a restaurant.
We took our daughter to a sushi restaurant when she was six weeks old. We took our son to Winking Lizard when he was even younger. Now they’re both fairly civilized at any family restaurant that we drag them too. Of course, there’s a time window of getting in, having a beer or glass of win and eating. But I would say, 9 times out of 10 they’re great. And I firmly believe it’s because we initiated them into the restaurant scene sooner than later.
15.) Embrace the matriarch.
During the first couple days home after the birth, have your mom stay overnight with you. Preferably the daughter’s mother. If that can’t happen, suck it up and have the father’s mother stay all night. They will provide great support in what will probably be the most stressful and, arguably, the most emotionally tumultuous time of your life.
16.) Plan a vacation.
You always need something to look forward to. Especially when you have a screaming two-month old in your arm at 4 o'clock in the morning. That’s why, it may sound weird, but I encourage you to plan a vacation with or without your baby. Even if it’s an overnight trip, you’ll have something on the horizon to look forward to in the future while you’re taking care of your newborn in the present. Before our daughter arrived, we planned a trip to the Jersey shore and took her with us when she was only three-months old. If I didn’t have that vacation in my sights, I’m not sure what I would have done during those first three months. In hindsight, the vacation was a little crazy, but it was still a great, memorable time nonetheless. (NOTE: I think it was because my parents came for half of the trip). More importantly, it broke up the monotony of getting up, feeding baby, changing diaper, going to work, eating lunch, coming home, feeding baby, changine diaper, going to bed. If you don't plan a trip, it's like freaking Groundhog Day.
17.) Diaper Dékor Plus
If you don’t pay attention to anything I say on this post, I advise you to listen to this tip. Go to Baby’s R Us. Ask your parents. Do anything and everything you can. But purchase a Diaper Dékor Plus Waste Basket. Rather than go into detail about this particular product, all I can say is it’s a wonder of engineering. It’s worth the money. Oh, and by the way, If you happen to purchase one (like I advised), add Diaper Dékor Plus refillable trashbags to your list when referencing Tip #5 to family and friends.
From personal experience, I think it’s important to get your kid outdoors. That's why it's very wise to invest a little more money in a lightweight, jogging stroller that can handle the day-to-day activities of a rugged urban environment such as potholes, cement, staircases, grass and rocks. My suggestion: Bugaboo. I’ll admit my mouth dropped when I saw the price. Yours will too. But, hear me out on this. It’s the best investment we’ve ever made pertaining to our children. Minus, of course, the vaccines. Nowadays, you can probably buy a cheap one on Craig's List or E-bay. It truly is the Rolls Royce of strollers. It’s freaking awesome because it handles any condition that the Earth throws at you including sand, puddles, rocks, mud, grass, limestone, even lava (or so I'm told). If you’ve got a little extra dough, invest in one of these bad boys. It practically pays for itself. I mean, our daughter is still using it at two years old. Hell, I may never get rid of it because it's so awesome. I'm going to say awesome one more time. Awesome.
19.) I-pod, Sirius or XM speaker system.
When you have a baby, it’s time to face the fact that you’re going to be spending a lot of time at home. A lot. Especially if it's winter. More importantly, you'll be spending time in the kitchen (see Tip #1). That’s why I suggest you invest in an I-pod, XM or Sirius speaker system for unlimited musical convenience at your finger tips. If you’re feeding the kid (in the kitchen), just pop in a Jack Johnson song or your favorite mellow Bob Marley tune. If the kid's asleep and you feel like rocking out on the patio in your wine-soaked stupor, go ahead and crank it up a notch to the soulful sounds of Rage Against the Machine and/or Nine Inch Nails - all without switching those stupid CDs. Plus, your kid gets a taste of all types of music at an early age. It’s a win-win situation all around.
20.) Create a play room.
Whether you like it or not, your kid is going to be rolling around on the ground. That’s why it’s important to have as much room as possible for them to freely stretch their legs without grabbing something and/or putting it into their mouth or banging their dome on a sharp instrument lying around your utility room (perhaps a bong?). When my wife-to-be and I moved into our house, we deemed the carpeted living room area next to the kitchen, the official kids playroom area. It contains all of their toys, a TV (for Little Einsteins and Sesame Street) and a couch for us to crash out on. It’s one of the smartest things we did when we moved. The kids have a place that they can call their own, reducing the amount of clutter in the bedrooms and around the house. Plus, it’s a cool place to just lounge around and have fun with your spawn.
Well, there you have it, 20 tips for first-time parents; a guy's perspective.
I know, I’m probably missing some other important stuff such as bath time, investing in a dishwasher and tips for visiting other people’s houses (perhaps there will be another list?) But I think this list will get you on the right path to becoming a sane parent during the first year of your newborn’s life.
During one part of the movie, the narrator mentioned the first time he was attracted to a woman was when he saw Zola Budd running on TV during the 1984 Summer Olympics.
"Oh, I remember that," my future wife piped up. "Do you?"
A bit embarrassed, I shook my head.
"You mean, you never heard of the Zola Budd incident?" She said this like everyone in the whole world (at least track and field enthusiasts)should have known about this.
Embarrased again, I shook my head.
"Pffffffttt," she said. "And you call yourself a track and field fan."
It's true, I am a track and field fan. I love the pole vault, distance running, dashes, relays, all that good shit.
But, in 1984, I was 12-years old. I was a pubescent boy thinking about girls, running around getting into trouble and seeing movies....tons and tons of summer movies. Kick-ass summer movies such as Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Red Dawn, Purple Rain, Sixteen Candles, The Terminator, The Karate Kid, Footloose, Romancing the Stone, Canonball Run 2, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan and Splash. To name a few.
I was freaking too busy watching movies, reading comic books and chasing girls to pay attention to anything else!
Plus, although I did participate in track during high school (sprints and pole vault, both terribly by the way), I really didn't get into running as a passion until my freshman year in college.
It wasn't later in life that I truly understoond just how amazing athletes like Steve Prefontaine, Jesse Owens, Carl Owens and Bruce Jenner really were.
So, in hindsight, I can see myself not being that interested in the Olympics at all during this particular time in my life.
In any event, I decided to do some research on Zola Budd and the crazy situation that happened at the 1984 Olympics.
Zola Budd was an Olympic track and field runner from Great Britain. Within a period of less than three years, she twice broke the world record in the women's 5000meters. And twice was the women's winner at the World Cross Country Championships.
But the most amazing thing about Budd was that she always trained and raced barefoot. Now that's cool!
Enter United States running sensation Mary Decker.
In 1982, Decker set six world records at distances ranging from the mile to 10 000 meters. The same year, she received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Plus, Sports Illustrated magazine named her Sportsperson of the Year.
In terms of current popularity, I guess Decker could easily be compared to swimmer Michael Phelps as he heads into the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Now, back to the 1984 Olympics.
On the very first loop of the 3000 meter race Decker, who was heavily favored to win a gold medal, collided with the lead runner Budd causing her to stumble and fall onto the infield and unable to continue.
Immediately, the pro-American Los Angeles crowd began to boo Budd, who (noticably shocked and dismayed at what occurred) fell back to a 7th-place finish.
You can check out the entire race below and see for yourself:
(NOTE: the tripping incident happens around the :30 mark)
In the video, you can see the point where Budd's foot and Decker's leg connect. Trying to maintain stride, Budd immediately jerks her foot free, which causes Decker to fall.
In my opinion, it's no harm, no foul. Although this has never happened to me in any road race that I've run, I probably would do the same thing had my foot been caught on someone behind me.
After the race, Budd was disqualified. An hour later, the disqualification was reversed when the jury had seen that she had not purposely done anything to stop Decker.
According to track and field rules, it is the trailing athlete's responsibility to avoid contact with the runner ahead. However, what was being disputed was whether or not Budd had sufficient control of the race to have pulled into the curve.
A Sports Illustrated article that I found on Wikipedia.org describes the moment of impact to perfection:
Decker sensed Budd drifting to the inside. "She tried to cut in without being, basically, ahead," Decker would say. But Decker didn't do what a seasoned middle-distance runner would have done. She didn't reach out to Budd's shoulder to let her know she was there, too close behind for Budd to move to the pole. Instead, Decker shortened her stride for a couple of steps. There was contact. Decker's right thigh grazed Budd's left foot. Budd took five more strides, slightly off balance. Trying to regain control, she swayed in slightly to the left. Decker's right foot struck Budd's left calf, low, just above the Achilles tendon. Budd's left leg shot out, and she was near falling. But Decker was falling, tripped by that leg all askew. "To keep from pushing her, I fell," she would say. She reached out after Budd, inadvertently tearing the number from her back and went headlong across the rail onto the infield.
Although many track experts doubt whether she would have beaten eventual winner Maricica Puica of Romania, Decker later went on record to say that she was unfairly robbed of the 3000 meter gold medal by Budd.
Well, there you go. You learn something new everyday.
Oh, yeah, and here's the clip from Cashback referencing Zola Budd:
Very good movie by the way, which has absolutely nothing to do with track and field.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
It's based on a story about one of my college friends (he will rename nameless) who told me he was so horny that he had to have sex with a grapefruit.
Being a one-shot, one-panel cartoonist, this was my first foray into long-form cartoon writing with hopes of creating a possible graphic novel down the line.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It's sort of like watching Rock of Love or Tila Tequila. Or even visiting a carnival in small-town America.
But perversely better. Much, much better.
Plus, it makes me feel smarter, which is always a good thing.
Here are some of my favorite questions (and answers) that I've come across on Yahoo Answers. (NOTE: You may need a Yahoo account to view these questions. If you don't have one, consider yourself lucky)
Did Dinosaur Really Existed?
I can only hope that this question was written by a 7-year old. If it wasn't, I'm very worried for the future.
How Can I Stop The Sex Dreams?
This guy feels dirty after his sex dreams. I feel dirty reading his entry.
A Question That's Been Confounding Mankind For Centuries.
I don't know about you, but now that the question has been proposed, I'm curious too.
A Question About Stuffed Animals
This question has to be totally fake, but entertaining nonetheless.
Worldwide Gas Question.
Now if I was a kid with internet access, this may be a question that I would ask.
And, finally, I included a question that I ask myself on a regular basis.
After reading the answers, now I'm more confused than ever.
Go ahead, ask a question. I dare you.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A quick X-ray showed that she had a brain tumor.
Less than a year later, she was totally blind.
Surprisingly, she handled herself very well. In no time at all she was walking around our house without banging her head on any furniture.
I wish I could say that I would have handled the situation with such gusto.
She loved to chase balls (the tennis and soccer variety.) So I grabbed her old soccer ball from Old Navy, cut a small hole in the ball and inserted some bells that I bought at a local pet store.
Alex had her very own jingling blind ball (patent pending).
Save slamming into a couple trees now and again, she had a blast chasing that ball.
It didn't even seem like she was blind.
Life went on. We moved. We still took her on walks. And I still kicked that raggedy old ball around.
By this time, there were no more bells in the ball, but she could still chase it by the sound of the ball rolling in the grass.
Then she had her first seizure.
The doctor said to expect more in the near future. And, if it happened, it was up to us to decide when to end her suffering.
It was early morning on June 25, 2007. Alex had three seizures in eight hours.
If you've ever seen an animal (or a human) have a seizure, there's nothing you can really do. You have to wait. And watch. And wait. Until the seizure is over.
It's freaking brutal. I can't even imagine watching a person you love go through that.
I just started a new job in Cleveland. So we decided to wait until after work to take her to the doctor.
That day would be her last day on Earth.
Around 11 a.m. I got another call, Alex had three more seizures. I called my wife-to-be and we both left work around 1 p.m. and headed for home.
It was time.
We picked up Alex and took her to the Metropolitan Vet Hospital in Copley, Ohio.
The doctor took her into the room to place a catheter in her arm. As we waited, my heart started to pound. Then the tears started to roll.
After five minutes or so, the doctor told us to come in. Alex was in the corner shaking and scared. But her tail started to wag when she heard my wife-to-be's voice. (I was an adopted father to Alex).
We had a couple minutes with her and told her goodbye. The doctor came in, explained the procedure and we both got on the floor with her.
She inserted the first shot of this green liquid. About 20 seconds passed and Alex slumped to the ground in a sleeping position.
She was still breathing. But silent. A couple seconds later, she injected another shot and checked her heartbeat.
Less than 10 seconds later, she was dead.
The doctor left. We spent about five minutes in the room with her.
I didn't think I'd be as emotional, but I was happy I was there.
They cremated her body. Her ashes are still in our garage.
We're still waiting to take the ashes to spread on one of her favorite spots...the beach at the jersey shore.
Until then, they'll remain in the garage waiting to be freed. Possibly next Spring or Summer.
Here's to you Alex.
I miss kicking that old, raggedy ball around the yard with you.
Friday, June 20, 2008
One second you're thinking about your upcoming wedding.
The next second you're thinking about some great water slide you rode at Wet N' Wild Water Park back in the early 80's.
The next second you're thinking about how artistically cool of a movie There Will Be Blood was.
The next second you're thinking about something that happened to you at a football game involving six packs of Sixlets.
It was a Friday night. I was eight or nine years old. And my mom, dad and I were at the high school football game in Martins Ferry, Ohio, to see my brother perform in the junior high marching band.
Anyhow, we were sitting up in the bleachers and I felt a gurgling in my stomach.
It was candy time.
"Mom, can I have some money for some candy?"
"Sure," she said as she reached into her purse and handed me a couple bucks. "Can you get a Pepsi for me?"
"I'll take a Pepsi too," my dad said staring intently at the game.
Pepsi. Pepsi. Candy. Check.
I hightailed it through the throngs of people - Some young. Some old. Some dirty. Some smelling like alcohol - and reached the band booster's concession stand in no time flat.
A lady at the counter returned my smile and calmly asked "May I help you?"
"Sure, I'll take two Pepsis and...."
I glanced up at the candy section and found myself at a loss for words. There was so much candy to choose from that I simply couldn't decide.
Kit-Kat. Snickers. Hershey Bar. Mr. Goodbar. Lik 'Em Aid. Sweet Tarts. Candy Fish. Sixlets.
Mmmm, Sixlets. Not exactly M & M's. Not even close to Reese's Pieces. But somewhat tasty in its own special way.
Chocolate balls with a crispy candy shell and deep chocolate inside. Wrapped in a plastic cellophane wrapper.
I loved popping off the top of the wrapper with my teeth then shoving as many colored pebbles as I could fit into my mouth.
Sweet, sweet, tasty goodness dipped in a chocolate shell....
"And?" the lady at the counter awoke me from my chocolate daydream.
"Uh, sorry," I said as I shoved my jaw back into my mouth. "And I'll take six packs of Sixlets. The long pack. Please."
"Okay, two Pepsis and six packs of Sixlets. The looooong pack," she said rather mockingly.
The lady brought my merchandise to the counter and I paid my fee. Which was under three dollars by the way.
I grabbed the two cups of Pepsi with both of my hands.
And, I remember this like it was yesterday.
Three packs of sixlets were wrapped tightly around the Pepsi in my left hand.
While three packs of sixlets were wrapped tightly around the Pepsi in my right hand.
As I walked back to the bleachers, I focused my attention on the six packs of Sixlets dangling over my hands like chocolate vines.
The Sixlets looked so good that I couldn't wait to get up to the bleachers, rip the plastic open with my teeth and taste the chocolatey goodness inside.
Mmmmmm, tasty, tasty Sixlets.
Suddenly, these three skinny little black girls popped out of the crowd and blocked my path to the bleachers. They looked about 11 or 12 years old.
"Uh, hi," I said awkwardly as I tried to walk around them.
With these big, wide grins on their faces, they silently surrouned me like a pack of Jurassic Park raptors.
My chocolate Spidey Sense began to tingle. I could feel all the hairs on the back of my head expand. Something just didn't feel quite right.
Then they started to tickle me.
I shit you not.
All three dug their hands into my stomach and started wiggling their little fingers into my ribcage.
"Hey stop it," I started to yell. While juggling the two Pepsis in my hand, I attempted to fight off their tickling advances with my elbows. "Stop it. Stop it. Stop it."
I think I may have even yelled for help.
Then, while one of the girls continued the tickle attack, the other two girls started yanking at the packs of sixlets.
"Hey," I screamed. "No. No. No. Don't."
The packets of sixlets came loose. Then I lost my grip on one of the Pepsis.
You could hear the slow-motion "Nooooooooooooooooo" as the drink plummeted to the ground. It exploded into a brown sludge as it mixed with the track slate below.
Then as quickly as they arrived. The three girls shot off in three different directions and disappeared into the crowd.
There I stood. Violated. Defeated. Exasperated. And a little bit pissed.
I just got mugged for six packs of Sixlets.
With tears rolling down my eyes, I returned to the bleachers and told my mom and dad the fantastical story. My dad shrugged it off like it was normal. My mom gave me a hug.
"Don't worry," she said. "We'll go down at halftime after your brother gets finished playing and get you some more candy."
As the football game continued on the field, my thoughts reverted back to my terrifying tickling attack. I just couldn't shake it.
True to their word, my parents and I went back to the counter at halftime and ordered another Pepsi. They also ordered me a couple packs of sixlets.
However, as I bit into my first pack of sixlets on the way back to the bleachers, I kept my eyes peeled for another onslaught from the tickling bandits.
To be honest, the sixlets didn't taste that great at all either.
It must have been the bad taste in my mouth from the mugging.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
So what did I think?
Weak. Really, really weak.
Instead of going into extensive detail on the subject (too late!), I think I'll just give you a bullet-point rendition of the suckiness that I witnessed.
- First off, they spelled Coshocton wrong in the show. It was spelled 'Kershocktin, Ohio'. The producers were so lazy that they didn't even think to pick up an atlas to check the spelling. Right then and there I knew I was in for a very stupid ride.
- They mention this place called the Sasquatch Triangle in Northeast Ohio where most of the sightings have occured. Cool name, but with the exception of shots of downtown Cleveland, the Monsterquest crew really didn't do too much filming in Northeast Ohio at all. (Most of the filming occured in Salt Fork State Park. More eastern Ohio if you ask me).
- The eyewitness reports are entertaining enough. But they were crap. One couple saw 'something' in a clearing while they were hanging out by a campfire. Another lady woke up and saw 'something' walking away from her picture window. Another guy saw 'something' walk into the woods. Whoooooo. The funny thing was they made the real people recreate the events themselves. Funny, but terrible. Just terrible.
- If you tuned in to watch show, you finally got to see the 2-second blurry image that Don Keating videotaped in New Moscow, Ohio. (Pssst, it's a human hiker walking down a trail.)
- With the exception of the voiceover guy, everyone kept mentioning the creature as Bigfoot and Sasquatch. There was hardly any reference to Grassman.
- One guy found a skull in Northeast Ohio and was convinced it was a dead Bigfoot skull. Okay, I'll admit my interest was piqued for about five seconds. However, a cryptozoologist/anthropologist looked it over and said he was 100% convinced it was a baboon skull. His reasoning: a circus came into town and a baboon escaped and ran into the Cuyahoga National Park to live out its life.
- Another dude found a supposed Bigfoot 'nest' and took pictures. He said they returned a couple weeks later to find it completely gone. In my opinion, it looked like a hollowed-out briar bush that deer would rest in during a hot, summer day. Nothing more. Nothing less. In fact, my brother and I have scared deer ('game' as we like to call it) out of bushes that looked exactly like the pictures.
- Speaking of the nest, two bigfoot enthusiasts went into the woods to try and create the nest that they found in the picture. I bet the producers were saying "Dude, we need just ten more minutes of footage to fill the spot. What should we have these guys do?"
- One guy made a plaster cast of a 'supposed' Bigfoot (Grassman, whatever) paw. It was examined by a fingerprint specialist who told us what we already knew, that it wasn't human. Ohhhhhh.
- Monsterquest hired a Michigan crew to fly a mini-helicopter up in the sky with a thermal camera to try and spot Grassman in Salt Fork Lake National Park. With Keating staring intently into the monitors, they spotted this tiny little thermal blip. Could it have been a deer, skunk, fox, dog or possible chipmunk? Nope. Keating was convinced it was a Bigfoot.
- The next day, this guy went to the spot where the helicopter spotted the thermal image. He put up a Faux bigfoot complete with goofy gorilla-looking head to attract a Bigfoot. Then he put three motion-activated cameras arround the creature in an attempt to videotape it. No luck. I know. I know. I'm surprised too.
- Then Keating and the other guy went out in the woods at night (because Bigfoot are nocturnal) and started banging trees with sticks to make wood knocks. That's when Keating let out his patented 'Bigfoot' mating scream to (hopefully) agitate a Bigfoot. After brief silence, Keating said "Usually they respond pretty quickly. If they haven't responded by now, then they're not going to respond." Wha?
Well that's about it. Pretty lame. And terrible journalism to boot.
If I was a kid, I probably would've thought it was awesome. Then, at school the next day, I would've told all of my friends about it.
Which, more than likely, would've been followed by a brutal ass beating.
Meh, now I'm bored. Where's a good UFO sighting when you need one?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
How about the fact that you're a month late on your car payment?
Are you wondering what your friends will think when you don that 'I HEART MCCAIN' t-shirt?
In the big scheme of things, does it really even matter?
According to the following websites below, our human race is going to hell in a handbasket sooner than later.
So why not wait another month to pay that car payment. Who really gives a rat's ass anyway?
It really brings things into perspective when you're silently cursing at your freshly poured Starbucks Choco Choca Cafe Mocha Latte Frappuccino with Extra Skim Foam because you're struggling to get the plastic lid on straight.
THE END OF EVERYTHING
Our average lifespan is about 78 years or so. After you read this article, it'll make you feel even more insignificant.
LIFE AFTER PEOPLE
If you haven't seen the documentary or read a similar book, click around this website to see what would happen if humans were eliminated from the Earth via a natural disaster or uber black plague.
THE LAST QUESTION
In several interviews I've come across, Isaac Asimov mentioned this short story was one of his favorites of the hundreds (thousands?) that he had written. It really makes you think about humanity's future and our steady deterioration as a society.
Some people believe The Terminator, The Matrix and A.I. are much more than just simple sci-fi fantasy movies. Some people actually believe it will happen. Some people, like Vernon Vinge, think it's right around the corner.
An uplifting simulation of what would happen if (when?) a big-ass meteor collides with the Earth.
THE WASTE LAND
Read T.S. Eliot's popular, yet obscure, poem of universal despair. 'April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, ...'
MORE HEAVY STUFF
And finally, will we ever receive an answer to one of the biggest philosophical questions of our time? I think not.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The creature is known as the GRASSMAN.
As irony would have it, the History Channel is airing a 60-minute documentary on the subject tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 18) at 9 p.m. during its MonsterQuest series.
Personally, I've never watched any of the MonsterQuest series on the History Channel. To be honest, I never knew the show existed until my buddy Craig told me about it, and tomorrow night's episode, during the Iron Maiden concert last Thursday. Thanks Craig!
Consider me a new fan.
Click here to entertain yourself and read over some GRASSMAN reader board entries in the MonsterQuest Forum.
A highlight in the forum suggests that fellow Ohioan and Bigfoot enthusiast Don Keating captured video of an alleged White Bigfoot near New Moscow, Ohio, in Coshocton County.
Like myself, I'm sure his fluffy, mustached face is going to be planted in front of his shaggy big-screen TV tomorrow night.
Click here to view Keating's Eastern Ohio Bigfoot Investigation Center Web site.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I've seen Guns N' Roses live in concert. I've seen Janes Addiction, Nine Inch Nails and Bon Jovi.
I've seen AC/DC, Ratt, Cinderella, Pantera, Metallica, Faith No More and Van Halen.
I've also seen Kingdome Come, The Scorpions, Ministry, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck and The Beastie Boys (on six separate occasions I might add).
I've seen all of those great bands.
But, last Thursday, I was able to add another group to my list of historic badass bands I've seen live:
IRON (FUCKING) MAIDEN
Months ago, I found out that a couple of my buddies were coming up to see the fabled rock group at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. Begrudgingly, I accepted the invitation.
I say begrudgingly because, besides 'Run to the Hills', I have no fucking clue what Iron Maiden is all about.
Scratch that. That's a lie.
There are five things that I know about Iron Maiden...
1.) Bruce Dickinson is their lead singer.
2.) Eddie is their sadistic mascot.
3.) In middle school, I was obsessed with drawing Eddie. Even though I wasn't interested in the music.
4.) They sing the hit song 'Run to the Hills'.
5.) When I was 11 years old, I was staying all night at a friends house and couldn't sleep because of the below album cover was pegged on the wall:
We'll I guess I know a couple things, eh?
So I decided to go.
But, my buddies weren't happy sitting on the lawn with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine.
Oh no, that would be too easy. Instead, they decided to go all out and purchase their tickets via a special offer on the Iron Maiden Fan Club website. For the low, low price of $65.
Let me print that again: $65. For Iron Fucking Maiden?
Expensive? Yes. However, in hindsight, it was a small price to pay to hang out with my Columbus friends. (Whom I haven't seen in quite some time.)
Let's just say our seats were within rock-throwing distance of the band (As you can see in the picture above). Which, I should add, are looking mighty geezer like nowadays.
Speaking of geezers. My ears. My sweet poor 35-year old ears.
From the very first song, my ears were pounded with the equivalent of heavy-metal nitroglycerine
I felt like that guy in Black Hawk Down who lost his hearing after a grenade exploded five feet in front of him. Oh, he was fine. But, after the blast, his hearing was for shit for the rest of the movie. Yep, that was me.
In fact, I was such a ear-holding pussy that I had to escape my bad-ass seats to the comforts of the lawn. To be brutally honest, the band sounded much better from afar. Plus, my ears thanked me for it the next day.
So how was the concert you ask? Well, for not knowing too much about them (Growing up, I was more of a Motley Crue, Van Halen, AC/DC, Run DMC, LL COOL J -type listener) and judging by my friend's enthusiastic highfives after the show....I'll give it a 7 out of 10.
Lead singer Dickinson really got the crowd pumped up. Not sure if it was high-tech voice wizardry, but he could still hit those high notes.
Something that really shocked me, however, was his size.
Judgingby the old Hit Parade and Metal magazines, I thought for sure Dickinson was, at least, seven feet tall. Imagine my surprise when the drapes dropped, the music started and this small, five foot guy jumped onstage and started hopping around.
"Who's that little guy?" I asked my friend.
"Dude, that's Bruce Dickinson, ya fag!!" he responded.
Speaking of the band, they were really, really tight. They really took their craft, their music and the Iron Maiden catalog of songs very seriously. It also seemed like they wanted to be there. They weren't in Cleveland, Ohio, just to make a quick buck. Like the previous Guns N' Roses tours I've witnessed.
They were still having fun. Which goes a long way in my book. I also think they were pretty pleased with the crowd's enthusiasm as well. At least that's what they told us.
"Allo, Oh-eye-oh. You awr awelsome. Trily Awelsome?"
Dickinson made a great point about the lack of radio play the crew has been given the last 10 years. I totally agree. There are two major rock stations in Cleveland (92.3 K-Rock and The Buzzard 100.7) and, with the exception of commercials, neither station mentioned the concert at all.
To be honest, I don't even think I've heard 'Run to the Hills' on the radio in the past three years since I've been up here. Which is really, really odd, considering the amount of youngsters I saw at the concert.
On the drunk drive home, yours truly even got in on the Iron Maiden fun.
I'm sure some people in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park could hear my ominous, drunken, cackling wails of "Run to the Hills" over and over and over and over again on the way home.
Eat your heart out Bigfoot, er, Grassman.
EIMER NOTE: Click here for a more straight-forward review of last Thursday's Maiden show courtesy of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I've also talked about ways to upgrade theme parks around the country.
But, my very first memory of Cedar Point that still lingers in my brain involves a gang who looked like cast members of the hit 70's flick The Warriors.
I'll try to keep this short.
I was about seven or eight years old (maybe younger) and it was a warm summer day. My mom, dad, brother and I were waiting in line to ride The Blue Streak at Cedar Point.
This summer, I had just made the 'you-must-be-as-tall-as-this-stick-to-ride-this-ride' height to be able to conquer all of the rollercoasters at the park. Much like getting a driver's license, this was an important badge of honor in a young boy's life. Myself included.
My brother - a rollercoaster aficionado to this day - had a simple strategy on this particular trip: take his younger brother on a couple smaller rollercoasters (i.e. the Mine Ride, The Corkscrew and The Blue Streak) and get him ready, willing and able to ride biggest, baddest, newest rollercoaster of them all, The Gemini.
Sure it was extremely selfish on his part. But, in a way, it was helping me overcome my rollercoaster fear as well. Thanks bro.
Anyhow, when you're waiting in line, you have to walk these metal gates that send you through this endless maze that stretches back and forth, back and forth until, finally, you reach your ride.
If you love to peoplewatch, then waiting in line for a ride at Cedar Point is the thing to do.
Here come the fat kids!
So there we were waiting in line. All of a sudden this group of guys approached the ride and took their place behind us in line. As I stated above, they looked like extras from the hit movie The Warriors. I remember that they were a little rowdy, giving each other high fives and the like. I also noticed that they were all dressed the same...black t-shirts and blue jeans. Which seemed a bit crazy to me considering the humid temperature.
My dad (with his big-ass curly head and big-ass sideburns) kept looking back at the gang with this annoying scowl, almost like he was keeping them in check. At least that's what it seemed like to me.
Anyhow, we made our way around the first turn of the gate, advanced one gate forward ahead and headed back down the line.
That's when something frightening caught my eye.
As the gang of dudes approached the turn in the gate, the leader of the gang (I'm not sure but I believe he had one of those roach clip feather things in his hair) walked by and put his left hand on the top of the railing.
That's when I noticed his knuckles. They were busted open and covered in blood.
My heart started racing.
Then I looked at the rest of the gang. They too had similar battle wounds.
One guy had a black eye. Another guy had blood dripping out of his mouth. A couple of the other guys had bloody knuckles as well.
Being a young kid, this threw me for a loop. Questions that I knew would never, ever be answered started swirling around in my little brain.
Did this gang just beat the shit out of some other gang in the parking lot?
Did they beat up a Cedar Point employee and charge their way into the park for free?
Did they get into a rumble before breakfast? (I should note that it was around 10 a.m. at the time.)
Did they just get finished robbing someone's house a' la The Clockwork Orange and rape one of the homeowners with an extra-large porcelain dildo?
I mean, I couldn't think of a better thing to do after a big street battle then to to hop in my van (that's what I pictured them driving), heading to Cedar Point and riding The Blue Streak.
All before 10 a.m. and without cleaning your wounds.
Every time I passed the leader in line, I thought he was going to take a swing at me with his fist full of steel and kept my distance from his bloody guns. They must've got a kick out of that.
Then I imagined that I was part of their gang. And that I, too, had just got finished kicking the shit out of some gang members.
Then I imagined that my mom, dad, brother and I were a gang and we were going to beat the crap out of some other family in the park.
Then I thought that I was going to be a part of a gang someday and possibly kill someone and go to prison.
Then I started thinking about prison. Then I got really, really nervous.
My memory was going so fast that I didn't even realize we were on The Blue Streak.
When we hit the first hill, I wasn't excited, scared or anything. I couldn't stop thinking about bloody knuckles, gangs and prison.
For the rest of the day, I was completely messed up by the bloody knuckles and the gang of droogs at The Blue Streak line.
That was the only time I really, truly didn't enjoy myself at America's Roller Coaster Capital of the World.
Thanks a lot you wannabe Warriors assholes!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Check it out below:
Don't know about you, but my first opinion was that it looks and feels like a poor-man's Se7en.
Also brings to mind, Hitchcock's Rear Window on a subway. (Or, for our younger generation, Disturbia on a subway.)
I'm not going to give away the ending. But, if you've ever read the novella from The Books of Blood series, you find out exactly why he's committing these brutal murders.
To be honest, I'm glad the trailer didn't go too in-depth about the ending either. It's pretty shocking and disgusting to say the least.
It may not be a There Will Be Blood, Old Country for Old Men or even Se7en for that matter.
But, it does look like a new, refereshing horror film to entertain the screaming masses.
Consider me intrigued.
What do you think?
Friday, June 6, 2008
Office Worker Goes Absolutely Insane - Watch more free videos
Here are my favorite highlights (marked by the exact moment of impact)
Whew. Amazing video, eh? Funny. Funny. Stuff. I don't know about you, but this video made my year.
I think I've watched it more than 10 times already.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Slurping down $4.00 Labatt Blue 32-ouncers (I like to call it a double-duece + 10).
Watching another professional Ohio team lose another game involving a ball of some sort.
"This sucks," my buddy said.
"Yeah," I said.
"There's got to be more to life than hanging out at a bar and swilling beer!"
"Arrrrr," I screamed in my best Pirates of the Caribbean accent.
"We need to get out and enjoy life!"
"Hear. Hear," I bellowed.
"We need to go out and hunt Bigfoot!!!!"
Well the conversation went something like that.
But he was right. I mean, my profile states that 'I trudge the land of Northeast Ohio in search of adventure and Bigfoot'.
But, I lied. I've never really trudged anywhere searching for the legendary creature.
Adventure trudging? Yes.
Bigfoot trudging? No.
So, we both decided to do something about it. We peeled our lazy butts off our Lizard stools and headed out into the world. We were going to hunt for Bigfoot in Summit County.
And, in the process, hopefully videotape a non-blurry shot of the creature so we could sell it to the media, go on the talk-show circuit and reap tens of thousands of dollars in the process. Fifteen minutes of fame here we come!!!
But where would we start? What supplies would we take? What informational website could we visit to set us on the right path to Bigfoot salvation?
Ahhhh, yes....BFRO.net. Salvation, indeed.
As I stated in one of my previous posts, one of the highlights of BFRO.net is their Comprehensive Sightings Database where you can click on any state (in the U.S. or Canada) and find a sighting in virtually every county of every state. In Summit County, where my buddy and I reside, there have been five reported sightings since 1978. All in and around the CVNP area.
A couple weeks ago, we picked a date to go search for the elusive creature. For our first expedition, we chose a Class A sighting reported in 1995, which involved a possible Bigfoot confrontation with three hikers along the railroad tracks in CVNP.
Below are some pictures, descriptions and reports of our somewhat interesting Bigfoot hunt.
According to the report, Three hikers decided to go for a night hike on the railroad tracks which run paralell to Riverview Road near Brandywine Ski Resort (in a town formerly known as Jaite). On this particular hike, we parked in the same public lot as the trio - on the corner of Riverview and Vaughn Road
We then headed north on the Cuyahoga Valley Line tracks and followed the same trail as the hikers.
Approximately a quarter of a mile in, we heard a distant, rustling ahead. The hikers heard a scream at this exact spot in 1995. Sadly, all that we saw were deer.
We followed the hikers trail through a somewhat heavily wooded area and came across some railroad cars, which were locked. Unless Bigfoot drinks Busch Light, no evidence or poop specimens were found.
Below is a guesstimate of the legendary spot where the hikers heard a 'VERY powerful, angry roar coming from the middle of the swamp.' According to the report the three froze dead in their tracks 'and barely uttered 'What the fuck was that!?!' when a very large creature came charging through the swamp right at (them).'
The guy who submitted the report said that he still lives in the area (Richfield) and passes through this particular spot on a regular basis and 'although I have never seen or heard anything like this since, it still gives me goosebumps when I drive through the area.'
He also stated that the he has talked to people since the incident and has met people who have heard similar screams, but no sightings. In fact, after the encounter, he has researched the local myths and heard of something called the "GRASSMAN".
Grassman, huh? I'm not sure who this guy was talking to, but I've never heard of the legendary Grassman creature roaming the woods of the CVNP.
(UPDATE: Thanks to Cryptomundo, now I have. And there's a mention of it here too!)
All I can say is I'm happy we went. It beats the hell out of hanging at a bar drinking your troubles away and thinking about all the bills you owe. Plus, it got us outside to enjoy nature. (Which is something a lot of people don't usually do here in Ohio, as witnessed by the eerie quietness that surrounded us on that particular night.)
Did we see a Bigfoot? No. But, on the way back to the car, we did hear three or four coyotes baying at the moon. Perhaps they were warning us of an impending Bigfoot/Grassman attack?
In any event, we've got four more BFRO.net sightings to check out in Summit County. You'll be the first to know if we caught the crazy creature.
I encourage you to head over the Bigfoot/Sasquatch Sightings and Reports Database and go on your own Bigfoot Expedition in your state and county. You'll be happy you did.
Plus, as an extra bonus, everyone that you tell will think you're nuttier than a sack of squirrels.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
That said, here are some more one sentence movie reviews to quench your Springtime thirst...
Grace Is Gone
If my wife ever dies in Iraq, I'm going to rent this movie for my kids to watch.
Not as good as First Blood, but much better than Rambo 3.
If the marketing weren't enough, JJ Abrams and company does everything that Roland Emmerich's crappy Godzilla flick failed to do.
Take a great idea about Bigfoot and some great comedic actors and mix it with a terrible screenplay and incompetent director and you'll get this piece of terrible-tasting poo. (And yes I eat pieces of shit for breakfast!)
The Golden Compass
I would rather shove a golden compass up my ass than watch this movie again.
Great Billy Wilder movie, but why can't these corporate bigwigs get a hotel room to bang their mistresses rather than using Jack Lemmon's shitty place?
Death at a Funeral
British people (and an American midget) being British funny at a British funeral.
Probably what my brother and I are going to be like when my parent(s) get older.
This movie gets the chills the old-fashioned way....it eaaaaaarns it.
28 Weeks Later
Not as good as 28 Days Later, but better than Land of the Dead.
A bunch of Academy-award nominated actors get together to make a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.
It's Top Gun for high school stutterers.
There Will Be Blood
After writing about it myself here and my buddy writing about it here, I am convinced this PTA film (which has a Stanley Kubrickian feel to it) will be talked about in film circles long after we're alive.
Good movie but, c'mon, I don't know any 16-year old girl that knows all of Dario Argento's movies by heart.
Other One Sentence Movie Reviews:
Monday, June 2, 2008
It was .02 seconds faster than the previous record held by fellow Jamaican teammate Asafa Powell.
Check out the ESPN.com article right here.
The crazy thing is that Bolt is a 200 guy and wasn't even considered a contender for the 100 record before he ran a 9.76 (the second-fastest 100 ever) last month at a meet in Jamaica.
Knowing this nugget of information, I'm still sticking to my guns on a previous post I wrote and saying that the world record will be broken again in Beijing. Then, I believe it will be broken two or three more times until it remains at 9.5 for a very, very long time.
Speaking of the Olympics, I don't know about you, but with all the crap going on in the world, I'm really looking forward to this year's Summer Olympics.
Add to that the fact that it's taking place in censorship-heavy Beijing, China - and you've got the possibility that something really, really crazy is going to happen.
I'm talking 'fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy'-type Olympic stuff.
If the torch-carrying protests around the world are any sign, the Beijing Olympics will be a hotbed of political intrigue, anti-censorship rants and negative criticism.
I can't wait!