Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I was tagged by Tracy for this little gem....

List 5 things that certain people (who are not deserving of being your friend anyway) may consider to be “totally lame,” but you are, despite the possible stigma, totally proud of. Own it. Tag 5 others.

  1. I record and watch "The Best of the Andy Williams Christmas Specials" every December. This is one of those specials run on local PBS stations during pledge drives. This thing is basically a time capsule of how holiday tunes were updated throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies. See the Osmonds as they serve hot chocolate to the Williams Brothers! As a kid, I used to daydream about being in a television program like it where I would be sitting on a bar stool in a ski lodge, spin to face the camera and sing a holiday favorite with others in matching sweaters. This started a trend in my mind which included singing "Endless Love" (circa 1981) with Anna Eddins as a duet and growing a mullet and handlebar mustache, wearing a duster and playing guitar for Heart (circa 1987). I'm not kidding.
  2. I was a card-carrying member of the Rocky Horror Picture Show fan club. Skywalk Cinemas in Cincinnati used to play this every Saturday night. When I was 15 years old I convinced my boss at summer camp to take as many staff as possible to see it. The Denton Affair cast was in its 8th year of performing live in front of the screen, there was a virgin auction, it was very cool for me to be there. Over the next 3 years, I'd grab everyone who would go to see it. I've never dressed as a character, but would consider it if the opportunity arose. Don't dream it. Be it.
  3. I offer answers to trivial questions being posed in total strangers' discussions. I figure it could help keep their conversations going. Why not?
  4. I've taken up comic book collecting again. In the '80's I collected G.I. Joe, X-Men and Avengers comics. In the '90's I picked up some graphic novels including "The Dark Night Returns". Two years ago I picked up "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". Now I'm reading "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" Season 8 and The Walking Dead.
  5. If I think I've spotted a celebrity in public, I'll follow them around until I can confirm their identity. I once "stalked" Peter Cetera around the Dallas airport for several minutes. Finally I approached him in a bookstore and asked him if he was Peter Cetera. It went something like this:
Me: Mr. Cetera?
Peter Cetera: Yes?
Me: I'm a big fan.
(Totally wasn't.)
Peter Cetera: Thank you.
Uncomfortable silence.
Me: Thanks for the music.
Peter Cetera: Thank you.

I tag In Java, Mr. Social, Makkaio, Jenny and R (presuming the latter two haven't already done this and aren't too busy. Seriously, these ladies blog almost every day. In Java too!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My So Called Church Life


I know that the title of this post might seem to be a stretch, but I'm compelled to write about Sunday mornings and give a shout out to "My So Called Life" - the best damn television show from the last twenty years (in my humble opinion).

MSCL (as the kids called it) has been re-released on DVD. Not sure what happened to the prior release from a few years back, but who cares. The show rocked. It presented teens as they truly were in the early nineties and for the last several years for that matter. "90210" was soapy trash. "Party of Five" was cooked the moment that Charlie showed up in the second episode with the same stubble from the previous episode. And, besides, no family goes through that much tragedy without being profiled on Dateline NBC or being turned into a Lifetime movie. "Saved By The Bell" was the crap that Dan Schneider would have produced if he weren't living down Dennis Blunden and sadistically preparing to unleash over a decades' worth of awful, young comedians via Nickolodeon (another Viacom outlet which sold its soul by moving away from "Pete and Pete" and toward the dookie-fests that were and are "All That", "Keenan and Kel", "Amanda", "Josh and Drake", the list goes on - apologies to Keenan who does a mean Bill Cosby).

If I have a point, it is that MSCL destroyed all of those shows in quality. It was probably too realistic for the folks that flocked elsewhere. Too painful to see people who were living as they too were living. This show spoke to me. I was 4 years removed from high school and 8 years older than protaganist, Angela Chase when I started watching the show. I moved schedules around to catch it. If DVR's had been around then, 19 hours of this program would still be protected on the hard drive. If you haven't watched the show, if you've blown it off before, put it into your Netflix cue and smoke it.

The family and I have begun, yet again, to go to church regularly. Since PGirlJr. has been attending Sunday school at the local Catholic elementary, it just made sense to start going to mass just before the class. Plus, I just think it was meant to be this way. I believe that things happen for reasons - good and bad. The opportunity for Kate to begin a journey towards Communion, Confirmation, Confession, etc, was the spark under our asses to do this again. It has been about twenty years since I've attended on a weekly basis.

I don't recall attending mass until I was 8 years old and beginnin CCD classes. Still attending public school, I'd go to classes on weeknights at St. Barbara's church in Kentucky. The teachers were cool, I was able to draw a lot, and the stories from the Bible were okay by me. I don't think I fully understood what taking Communion was, but I got to wear a suit that first time (and got into trouble with Saint Eileen for wearing the suit vest over a dress shirt on a future trip up the aisle and strutting back to my seat).

Two years later, I began to go to Catholic School at St. Henry and continued through their high school. As a student, I attended Mass weekly and had religion classes as part of the curriculum. I remember going to Mass on Sundays infrequently as we spent most weekends with The Colonel. By the time I could drive, I was splitting weekends between households and driving the Mick to church when not a my mother's house.

Throughout all this time, I never really got anything out of mass that I was aware of. Mostly I'd daydream about girls, replay movies in my head or think about "Saturday Night Live" from the night before. I was annoyed by the singers who would hold notes longer than everyone else. They seemed to be showing off to me. The homily was basically a wash and I didn't read along with the Gospel or the other readings. I was just there.

Throughout college and grad school, I was a virtual no-show, attending only one Easter and Christmas. I began to go again once I met PGirl. Luckily she is the love of my life and being Catholic made things easier for both of us. We didn't go every Sunday, but when we did, I'd read along and listen to the homily. I took a lesson away from it every week and tried to apply it where I could. I was still annoyed by singing (mostly by the cantor who just seemed to be so damn smug), but stuck with it.

Once we moved to Jamestown with the girl, we tried again. But the last six years have been rough. Our church is older and doesn't have a cry-room, so we have to stick it out. Around the time that my daughter could sit through a service, my son began to get squirmy. Another 3 years went by.

Now, for the time being, both kids can be occupied for an hour with little fuss. GalootJr's fascination with bathrooms has subsided, so I don't have to miss out on the homily anymore. The peace is holding. I figure we have about 8 years before PGirlJr.:
1. Decides to stick with going to church because she gets something out of it.
2. Starts the Barry trend of lapsing for several years.
3. Decides to stick with going to church because there will be a boy (or girl - did I mention that I'm not a hardline Catholic?) to fixate on a few pews up.

And I can still daydream and get the message. Only, the daydreams aren't about girls anymore. Just whatever snack I'll eat during the game. And for those of you who might be getting riled up about the lack of the Big JC in my post. Here ya go:

Be more like him. Peace!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nutcracker Again

PGirlJr. has a costume fitting for The Nutcracker tonight. She'll be a mouse in the first Act. The moves she does are adorable!

Though I wasn't asked to reprise my role as the Party Host for this year's production, another performer has dropped out and I've been tapped as a replacement. So, this December, I'll be playing the part of Mother Ginger. I'll write more about this development as it comes to me, but I'm pretty sure I won't be ad-libbing in this production as the character simply pulls strings lifting her massive hoop skirt to let the Ginger Snaps emerge from underneath.

In completely unrelated news, I found out why gloves should be worn while cutting Jalapeno peppers at Saint Eileen's house yesterday. My left hand felt like fire for 8 hours yesterday.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Wings and More

This weekend found us traveling once again. We took a day trip to Buffalo. PGirl and PGirlJr. went to a bridal shower and dropped myself and GalootJr. off at the Buffalo Zoo for a few hours. Our friends who we visited in Toronto two weeks ago met us at the Zoo. Not a bad little city zoo. Weather was nice and the place wasn't packed at all.

After a brief detour to Delaware Park to watch some playground basketball, the girls picked us up and we all went to Anchor Bar - home to the original Buffalo Wing. Bottom line - wings were great, but the service was awful.

If you weren't able to catch my stunning announcement at our local high school, it should be embedded at the top of this post. If not, you may view it here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Most Sincere Pumpkin Post Today

PGirl's job change has been blitzing the media. Our newspaper carried an article last week about it, but I can't find a link to it. Same text and better picture may be found here.

I'm proud of my lady. She is perfect for the job and deserves to be happy at what she is doing. On account of the distance she travels to and fro daily, I mostly take the kids to school and pick them up in the afternoon. It is a nice change of pace for me and has helped me to organize my time at work.

Speaking of work, I'll be teaching improv to high schoolers again as a joint Drama Club between Jamestown High School and The Arts Council For Chautauqua County (my place of employment). I'll be putting out a flyer this week at the school, but also recorded a super cheap announcement for the club to be aired on the morning announcements. It will only be available on Thursday until I get a copy. Check out some morning cheese here.

Halloween is still several weeks away, but I like to get started on things early here. The decorations have gone up, the costumes have been purchased and I've started lapping up a month's worth of holiday goodness. My favorite Halloween tricks and treats.
  1. Listening to Halloween songs. You'd be surprised how many there are out there. Don't limit yourself to songs made for the holiday. Expand your horizons to include classical music, Broadway tunes, TV themes and goth music! The best Halloween streaming on the web can be found at Live 365.
  2. Tess's Indie Wave is my favorite station on the afore-mentioned website.
  3. Cobwebs In The Closet is a close second.
  4. It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. If you don't like this special, there is something wrong with you.
  5. My kids' costumes. They've managed to be cute and perfect every year to date. GalootJr. put his fireman coat, hat and boots on last night over only his briefs. I told him to see PGirl , open up his coat and shake his hips. He surprised both of us by whipping off the coat, throwing his hat across the room, kicking off his boots and then dancing. Violently. I think I should put more parental controls on the TV.
  6. Candy corn. Yummy.
  7. Making jack-o-lanterns. We'll have to wait another week so they won't rot before the 31st.
  8. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Watch it every year. The college PGirl works at is doing the original stage version later this month. Don't dream it! Be it!
  9. John Carpenter's Halloween. Fuck Rob Zombie.
  10. Columbus Day. A day off between Labor Day and Thanksgiving!
  11. Falling Leaves. We have lots of them and our region is close to peak.
  12. Pumpkin Seeds. A very tasty by-product of our jack-0-lanterns.
  13. Thanksgiving isn't far away...