American Idol: Seriously?

Really?  Spellcheck?

I could even cut them a break if this was a live show…but come on now.

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How do these people get interviewed?

So last night, after watching the preview of Touch (which was awesome btw), we were just in a lazy mood and started watching the news.  And then a story about some guy that is attacking women came on.  The story itself was awful but we couldn’t help but laugh our asses off at the people that they chose to interview.  It is like they found the two biggest cartoon characters they could find and wrangled them in front of the camera.  Check it out…

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Another reason we are going back to Run For Your Lives next year…

Zombie Deb

A little over 3 months ago now, Deb and I were brimming with excitement to get our Zombie on and try to terrorize some runners at the inaugural Run For Your Lives event up near Baltimore. For those that don’t know, Deb and I were zombie volunteers and it was our job to try to “kill” runners during the 5k obstacle course. Unfortunately for us, Deb is the one that got “killed”. What started out as a day of fun turned into a pretty nasty ordeal.

My poor woman was trucked by one of the thousands of runners coming down that crazy hill we were on during the race. What we initially thought was a sprained ankle turned out to be a pretty bad break. The trooper that Deb is, she walked on that broken ankle back to the volunteer’s staging area, through the throngs of partying/drunk people who had finished the run, and to the long line to get on the bus to get back to the car without much complaint. Had our situations been reversed….had I been the one with the messed up leg, there would have been no walking anywhere. One of those bastards would have carted me to an ambulance and I would have been in the emergency room with tears in my eyes. I am a pussy. My chick is not.
It turned out that not only was the leg broken but it was broken so bad it needed to be surgically repaired. A titanium plate and 6 screws were required to hold my girl’s leg in place so it could heal. Luckily she has a great job where she can recuperate while working from home and that she had someone with nothing better to do so I was able to be her live-in care giver. Over the 85 days since her little mishap I have been only away from her for 2 nights: Thanksgiving and Christmas. And over the one night during Thanksgiving she slipped and fell in the kitchen and it was very close to a “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” moment.

But after her surgery and physical therapy, Deb is finally able to put some weight on her leg now. She is still in a boot and on crutches but getting a little better every day. She can now get around using one crutch and she is excited to do things like get a glass of water on her own now. Her leg still swells up like that is it’s job when she is up on it for long but in a week or two she should be out of the boot and back in shoes…and that is making her giddy with anticipation.

If there was one bright spot for Deb during this period of injury it has been when anyone asked her, “So…how did you hurt your leg?” Most people are asking and expecting a typical “slipped on ice” or “missed a stair” broken leg story. And when she gives her, “I was run over when I was a Zombie” response everyone…and I mean everyone…has to dig deeper and hear the entire story. Everyone from the surgeon to her cat’s veterinarian have been amazed by the story and even a few of them have said that they want to go next year. If someone could go through this much shit and still talk about the fun they had it must be awesome.

And pretty much everyone has been on the Zombie bandwagon this holiday season. Deb pretty much had a Zombie Christmas this year. There was the tree covered in Zombie ornaments:

And I think she received Zombie gifts of one kind or another from just about everyone. She got a Zombie plush doll (which is now in her office):

A Zombie cookie jar that, oddly enough, really matches her kitchen pretty well:

And Zombie books, bumper stickers, candy, and car freshener (but it wasn’t the dead body smell we were hoping for):

And just when we thought that the Zombie gifts had stopped rolling in there appeared a package at our front door yesterday. It was a care package from the folks at Reed Street Productions (those nice folks that brought us Run For Your Lives). You see, back in early November I had sent an email to their staff explaining what happened to Deb. In the email I explained that because of Deb’s injury we were unable to stick around after our Zombie shift and try and grab some souvenirs from our experience. I asked if they had anything left from race day that we could have or buy from them so that Deb could have something to frame or put in a scrapbook (the scrapbook that she keeps saying she is going to make but I doubt ever will get made). I had pretty much given up on hearing back from these guys because I sent the email back when they were getting crushed with emails from angry people the week or so after the race. But when we opened the box we found a nice little letter from the RFYL team:

And with the letter there were a couple of race medals that went out to the people that ran in the race, a bit of the RFYL police tape and a little Zombie rescue kit (which is freakin’ awesome) for Deb to add to her Zombie collection at work:

This little gift was unexpected and greatly appreciated.  It really brightened up Deb’s smile yesterday as we went through the box.  While we had both really wanted to come back next year (Deb is just gonna be a spectator and take pictures this time around though) it is the attention to detail and the care that these guys show for their customers/participants that is bringing us back again for sure now.

Thanks Guys!  See you next year.

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Survivor: South Pacific Season Thoughts (And How Coach Could Have Won)

A recreation of the logo for the first America...

Those people who really know me know that I am a huge Survivor fan.  I have watched every season and rarely have I ever missed an episode.  I do have to admit that before last season my interest in the show was starting to wane but Boston Rob‘s brilliant game really re-energized my love for the show.  I must admit that when this season started up and they used the same gimmicky crap as last year and were bringing back two former stars of the show I was a little put off.  And when I saw that the two former stars were Ozzy and Coach I was watching with my finger on the remote and ready to change the channel faster than Jeff Probst can don a blue shirt.

I had no problem with Ozzy.  The guy can catch fish in the desert and climb a tree like someone was chasing him.  He also is probably one of the most physically gifted people who have ever been on Survivor.  A truly dominant force in all the challenges.  So I knew that he was going to fit right in on whatever gang he was “jumped” into.

English: Coach Wade, also known as a huge cock...

Coach…Freakin’ Coach, Man.

I told Deb, who really didn’t watch the show before I kind of made her last year, that Coach was going to be right up there in the Crazy Stratosphere like “Pink Panty” Phillip from last year.  This guy had been the epitome of Douchebag in earlier seasons and I knew he wasn’t going to disappoint this year either.  I was pretty sure we would all see his morning routine of “I saw this on TV and I pretend to know what I am doing because it makes me look deep” Tai Chi  while half-naked and alone on a beach.  I was also confident we would all be subjected to his constant Sun Tzu, Shakespeare, [insert your own long dead but highly quotable figure from history here], etc. quotes during his confessionals to let us all know just how much smarter he is than the rest of us.

And he didn’t disappoint either.  I was surprised at how much he toned down the more outrageous aspects of his personality but for the most part it was the same old Coach Wade.

The one aspect of the show this year that I did not see coming was Jesus.

Not sure which one is scarier

The real name of the show for season 23 should have been Survivor:  The Cult of Jesus.  Holy shit, was there a ton of praying on this season or what?  There was so much Jesus-freakery that I almost tuned out at about mid-season.  I know that it was all because of the God-Warrior Schizo Brandon Hantz.  This kid got his entire tribe cult to get in a circle and pray for everything.  And I mean everything.  They prayed before and after absolutely everything.  I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that I am pretty sure that the entire group was getting in a circle and praying before someone headed off into the woods to take a coconut laced dump.  It was almost unbearable.

And if you wanted to have a shot at any money this year you had to drink the Kool-Aid and get in there and get your Jesus-hands dirty.  If you didn’t bow your head and thank Jesus every time the wind blew you were going to be ostracized and have zero chance at seeing the endgame. It was all pretty sickening.  I felt like I was being forced to watch a version of Survivor that was somehow taken over by the 700 Club every Wednesday night.

I wish the producers would have had the foresight to stick some Jewish or Muslim players in the mix.  It would have been incredibly entertaining to see a Holy War erupt on that little island in the South Pacific.

I would like to point out that I did correctly make the prediction that every bit of prayer would stop once Brandon got the boot.  There wasn’t one mention of God by the other players once he was kicked to the curb.  Thank God.

Ozzy Cornell

And then there was Ozzy.

When the season started I wanted nothing more than to see him voted off early.  Especially when my lady kept getting all school girl crushy on him because he looked to be a mixture of Chris Cornell and a dirty pirate.  But about 5 or 6 weeks ago I started really pulling for him to win.  The little beach-hippie was not only surviving over on Redemption Island, he was prospering.  This cat was catching and eating more than the rest of these chumps combined.  So he pretty much had energy to spare at every duel and it really showed.  Ozzy just stomped every single competitor into the ground on his way back into the game when there were  just 5 people left.

You could almost smell the fear in the other four remaining members of The Jesus cult when Ozzy got back into the game.  And you could almost taste it when he won that next Immunity challenge.  It seemed like there was no stopping the Ozzy train as he just steamrolled over everyone on his way to the million dollars.

I have to give credit to Coach, Sophie and Albert for their smart decision at that Tribal Council.  They had to get rid of Rick.  He had no shot at winning at the next challenge and they needed to make sure Ozzy did not win immunity because if he did he would have won the game outright.  That jury wasn’t going to give the money to anyone but Ozzy if he was in the final three and everyone knew it.  So because Sophie was more of a man than Rick…he had to go.

And it turned out to be a brilliant move because Sophie bitch slapped Ozzy right out of the winner’s circle at the next Immunity challenge and pretty much sealed both of their fates.  If they voted Ozzy out…Sophie was going to win, hands down.  She did the least amount to piss off the members of the jury and at this point in the game that is what it is all about.  I honestly don’t think there was any way she wasn’t going to win if Ozzy was voted out.  But…..

The Final Three

Coach could have made things a bit interesting and even given himself an outside chance at winning the game if he just had the balls to stand up to his convictions.  Albert had about the same chances of seeing his name on any of those votes as he did seeing mine because he had pissed off every single member of the jury and there was not going to be any forgiveness during that last tribal council.  The only way Coach had a shot at winning was to vote against Albert and tie up the votes at 2-2 with Ozzy.  He could have (and should have) made a big “Dragonslayer” production out of that vote and make it known to everyone on the jury that he wanted to live up to his “play with the best” credo that he had preached since day one of his first season on the show.

Had Coach voted for Albert and forced the tie-breaker the most likely outcome would have been that Ozzy would have made his fire faster than Albert and been in the final three.  But there really would have been no difference to Coach if Albert or Ozzy were sitting next to him and Sophie up there at the end…he wasn’t going to win.

Oh FFS! More praying?

Now, had Albert beaten Ozzy in that tie-breaker then the outcome of the game would have most likely completely changed.  The jury would have seen Coach live up to his honor and integrity mantra instead of just wading around in the bullshit that it became.  The jury would have seen Coach take a gamble and give Ozzy the shot to win his way to the million.  So because Albert beat Ozzy in the tie-break, the same three people are still sitting in the Final Three but this time I honestly believe that Coach would have received every single vote from the jury for the payday.

Coach making that move (with the Albert beating Ozzy stipulation) was the only way he could have won.  He had to know he wasn’t going to beat Sophie…I knew it, so he had to.   So I don’t see why he didn’t at least give himself a fighting chance.

All in all it was a pretty entertaining season.  I could have done without the constant browbeating by a 19-year-old kid that was replacing his addiction to drugs/booze/gangs/tattoos/etc. with a Jesus addiction but overall it was enjoyable.

I guess I will be back again next year.

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Welcome to the club, Mr. Santo

Ron Santo Field of Dreams

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come. ”

Although it came a bit too late for you to see it….Congratulations on Cooperstown, Mr. Santo!  I know you are jumping up and clicking your heels right about now.

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What would you do during a Zombie Apocalypse?

Week 6 of taking care of Deb after she broke her leg during the Run For Your Lives event back in October.  She would totally be in the Red area of this pie chart.

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Happy Veterans Day from an Army Brat

My Young Pop while stationed in Turkey

Yep, I was an Army Brat.

This means that my younger years were unlike anything most people experience.  When I look back on my childhood I sometimes feel like I missed out on some of those things that make up those typical early memories.  I don’t have a house that I grew up in. The one that had the tree house outside and those little hiding places you found under loose floorboards or vents. You know, the house with the kid your age that lived right next door.  The kid that became your life long friend and is about as close as any brother could have been.  The house that was a few blocks from the elementary school you walked to every day.  The house that was just down the road a bit from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. That house that your parents still live in and you visit and relive all those memories whenever there. Nope, I didn’t have that.

We grew up away from our extended family. We had 14 cousins that all lived in the same city that my parents were from in Central Illinois.  All of those kids grew up with each other and to this day are the best of friends.  But going back every couple of years to visit as a kid didn’t develop the strongest of bonds with the rest of the family.  Sure, when we were there we were the center of attention and we loved to head back and visit.  But, at least for me, it always felt like exactly what it was:  a visit.  It always felt great to visit the Grandparents but it was never the home that it was for the rest of the family.

And we moved around a lot.  Because of this, we made some good friends and then they moved away or we did.  And this was back before the internet and mobile communications made the world so much smaller so once they weren’t around they were gone for good.  With no Facebook, Twitter, Skype, texting, and emails there was really only one way to keep in touch and that was through writing letters.  You could use the phone, I guess, but this was back in the days when you would have had to take out a loan to pay for that long distance bill if you tried that.  I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember writing a single letter to a friend that was no longer around.  Looking back on it now, it was kind of shitty of me…but then again, I don’t remember ever receiving any letters either.  Once they were gone…they were just gone for good.

So, yeah, there were some crappy negative aspects of growing up an Army Brat.  Some of those probably left some emotional scars that affect my relationships with other people as an adult.  But you know what? I wouldn’t trade growing up on the move like that for anything because, as far as I’m concerned, the positive aspects rocked.   And here are just a few of the reasons why:

-Was born in a Castle.  Well, not really.  I was born in a town called Kassel in Germany.

-We traveled A LOT!!  This meant long car rides.  But they were long car rides to kick-ass destinations…sometimes while sitting amidst a bunch of cantaloupes (which is why, to this day I still can barely stomach the smell of them)

Check out that safe as shit car seat back in the 70s. 🙂

-Lived in a city that was completely surrounded by the Cold-War enemies, West Berlin.  I remember the bleakness that was the Berlin Wall.  But I also remember that this is where I was when Star Wars was released.  I don’t think any other book or movie was as big a part of my childhood or really my whole life.  It’s what, 35-36 years later and I am still obsessed with pretty much all things Star Wars.

-Went though Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin for day trips.  Was pretty crazy different on the other side of that wall.

-Went to a real Kris Kindel Market (and have one of the most embarrassing pictures on the planet to prove it…check out the clothes and my Pop’s porn ‘stache)

-Spent a night sitting next to my Pop in our van as we raced through East Germany to make it back to West Germany.

-We were racing time because I needed to catch a bus for a week long Outdoor Adventure Course at Hinterbrand Lodge.  This was a lodge down in the mountains in Bavaria that was once used as a mountain retreat for the Nazi Party.  It was a week away from school for my little group of friends just hanging out in the Alps.

-Lived in the home of Oktoberfest, Munich.

-Spent a few years in one of the most beautiful places on earth: Monterey, California.

-Lived right next door to these big buildings that had lots of cute furry animals that we could walk over and pet in Fort Detrick, Maryland.  Which when I was a kid was some really cool shit…but when I grew up and found out that these animals were all being used for testing all kinds of nasty stuff I am surprised that I don’t have the tumor the size of a fucking football sticking out of my neck right now.  Thanks Mom and Dad.

-Visited Disneyland and stood under the shadow of the iconic Disney Castle.

-Better than that, I visited the castle that the crappy fiberglass one at Disneyland was inspired by:  Neuschwanstein.

-And that wasn’t the only castle we visited while in Europe.  Visited them all up and down the Rhine.  And visiting castles as a young boy = FUCKING AWESOME!

-Had Thanksgiving Pizza in London.

-Had “Strawberries and Cream” in Paris.

-Shot a guy in Reno just to watch him die. (ok not really…but we did go to Circus Circus while passing through)

-Spent 4 years in a gorgeous little river valley town in Germany called Bad Kreuznach that I still miss from time to time.

-During my high school years in Germany, I got to play sports where away games meant overnight trips

-And I could hang out in bars when I was 15 too.  Was quite a culture shock when moving back to the states.

And those are just a few of the highlights.  While most of my extended family have spent their entire lives living within a 100 mile radius of where they were born I was able to travel the world and travel to sometimes live in places that I would never have been able to had my father not been a member of the Armed Forces.

Thanks Pop.

And thanks to all the Dads and Moms out there that are serving or have served their country.

Happy Veterans Day!

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