Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Horror movie on the way! Tivo is already here!

I can't wait. The Descent is on its way to me from NetFlix. I will be sure to tell you all about it once I have seen it.
The only thing better than NetFlix is Tivo. Our friends Howie and Darryl gave us a Tivo for Christmas this year. Woah, i just love to fast forward commercials. I really enjoy pausing a live broadcast while i get a soda refill from the kitchen. I think recording movies and TV shows like "Good Eats" to be watched later is very cool.
My Tivo movie waiting for me is Bruce Almighty. I am excited to know that when there really is nothing on TV, I don't have to struggle through some second-rate USA Network movie just for the small entertainment value. I also think that I will be recording all Yankee games available to me for later viewing.
Man, this is going to be great.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

To Kill a Spider

...blah blah blah blah. Self-important blather. Quit patting yourself on the back already! Get to the funny stuff, man! No one wants to read you talking to yourself about how important your writing is. Jeez! Tell us a real story.
Fine. I'll tell you an old one then -- about how I killed a certain spider.

One night this past summer, after a quick dinner of tater tots and fish sticks, the family headed outside to play a little in the evening sun. The plan was run around the yard and wear the kids out a bit before heading out for ice cream cones.
It was still very warm outside; Little Bubba broke out in a sweat almost immediately. That's just what he does. Big Sis, excited to be outside, ran down the driveway to meet her neighbor-friend, Katie.
Katie is about about 10 years old and Big Sis adores her. She loves playing with Katie, and Katie has adopted a "big sister" role with her, taking very good care of her and paying her a lot of attention even when she has her own friends around.
As Kaylin ran down the driveway towards her, Katie points into our pine island and says, "Ew, look at that big ugly spider". I didn't think much of it since we have an occasional wolf spider around, but they generally don't stay in sight for very long.
"Look at the red on it," she says. "Do you think it's a Black Widow?"
Now she has my attention.
My Wonderful Wife scoops Kaylin up after one look at this spider and asks me to join them at the foot of the driveway to investigate. Barefoot, I run to the place in where the girls are pointing and see a spider the size of a nickle making it's way though our yard. It was an ugly bugger with a black sectional body, what looked like pincers on the front of it, and eight red legs. A very strange looking arachnid. Not a Black Widow, but still dangerous looking, mostly because of the red coloring.
"I hope it isn't poisonous. Kill it." I can't remember if my wonderful wife said that or if it was my inner monologue, but that's all the encouragement I needed. No spider is safe from my wrath.
I run back in the house to put on my bug stomping shoes, some old pair of Nikes I keep in the garage to mow the lawn. Ironically, i have to smack them together to make sure i don't stick my toes into more spiders... nope, nothing in there. Once I'm fully armored, I head back down to the edge of the property where the spider is making its way towards the road. I take aim, and *squish*!
"Is it dead? Are you sure?" I poke around with the toe of my shoe to be sure, and yep, there it is, upside down and curled up in that "dead spider" kind of way.
"You're certain?" Oh yeah, that sucker is dead, dead, dead.
Mission Accomplished. Threat averted. Return to your playtime activities.
I couldn't go back to playtime. I was too busy wondering what the heck that spider was and what it was doing in my yard. Was it really dangerous? Will there be more of them?
I excused myself and ran into the house, planting myself in front of my web browser. I pointed my way to Google and searched for "spider red legs black body". In the millions of results, two catch my eye immediately. I click on the first, and get to a webpage called "What's that Bug". Good start, huh? I'm certain to find answers here. Check it out:
Don't feel like reading it? No problem. I quickly found out that I had killed a Red-Legged Purseweb Spider. Not DANGERous, it seems, but actually enDANGERed.
That couldn't be right, could it? I return to the Google web search results and click on the second link, a University of Kentucky site. I scroll down to the bottom of the page and, sure enough, that sucker is endangered.
I feel like I am living in the movie The Freshman, when Matthew Broderick thinks that Marlon Brando is actually killing the endangered Kimono Dragon. Except, I really did kill the Kimono Dragon.
Trouble is, if I saw that ugly spider again, I'd probably squish it again.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Hiatus is over!... a Merry Christmas!

The wait is over. Thank my Wonderful Wife. I am back and I am determined to stick to it and keep up with writing on a regular basis.
For those of you who were avid readers (as Stephen King would call you), I apologize for abandoning you to read over and over the same unfulfilled promise of my return. This has been long overdue. A few of you had mentioned to me that you missed reading these posts, but I just shrugged the encouragement off as polite courtesy. I apologize for not allowing myself to hear you.
I have thought about coming back often, but i just have never made the time. Not an excuse, just the truth.
I got promoted recently at work and my available brainstorming and subsequent writing time was reduced to the hour at night I would spend unwinding to a video game after the rest of the family was safely tucked in to bed. Not an excuse, just the facts.
There are even a few posts that I started last summer that were decent beginnings that I just couldn't seem to finish -- perhaps I was struck with a bit of writers block. Not an excuse, just a dose of reality.
Anyway you look at it, I wasn't coming back on my own. Not without help. Again, you can thank my Wonderful Wife.
She might be the most ingenious person I know. A few times in passing, she mentioned that I should get back to writing, that I enjoyed it so much; that she enjoyed it so much. Yeah, yeah, I thought, she is so sweet to say things like that. I didn't "get it" until she showed me how important this blog was to her in an unexpected and inventive way.
Over the course of the past week, in preparation for her very personal Christmas gift to me, my Wonderful Wife spent many hours selecting, cutting, pasting, organizing, printing, binding, and essentially publishing the entirety of this blog (yes, word for word, all of your comments were preserved). She says it was to ensure that the writing wasn't lost forever in the vacuum of the Internet. What she meant to show me was the actual weight of the work that I had created in a way that forced me to finally realized the value.
I couldn't imagine that I had actually written that much until it was presented to me, boxed and bound. The volume of words was one thing, but the real value of them registered as her father read through the beginining pages, laughing all the while. He'd look up at me shaking his head and smiling, immediately returning his eyes to the paper once he knew I was able to recognize the pleasure he was having reading my writing.
I don't mean to over dramatize this whole thing, (too late) but it turns out that several others were taking this blog more seriously than I. I had started to take this all for granted: the blog, the entries, the ideas, the opinions, the readers. I started to write and then quit once I felt satisfied, never finishing what I had started. I owe it to any faithful reader to continue. And with all the effort I had been putting into the writing, especially knowing how much I love to write, I owe it to myself to continue.
So here I go.
I'll have to start slow.
Writing is a bit like running; you get better and faster the more you do it, and until you are back in shape, you have to take frequent breaks.
I'll try to keep the breaks short.