Monday, June 29, 2009

More on Six Feet Under vs. Homicide: Life on the Street

Let's compare the opening credits sequences:

Six Feet Under's cute little ditty: I am so clever as I sip on my wine spritzer.

Homicide's percussion-driven white-knuckle ride: I'll have a bourbon neat with a beer back. And keep 'em comin'.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

They Say Your Memory Is The First Thing To Go, I Forgot What The Second One Is

I'm reading David Carr's The Night of the Gun, a remarkable book. Much of it deals with memories, and how Carr remembers events from the eighties differently than do his friends and former co-workers. One line I read last night grabbed my attention: "The power of a memory can be built through repitition, but it is the memory we are recalling when we speak, not the event. And stories are annealed in the telling, edited by turns each time they are recalled until they become little more than chimeras."

Memorial Day weekend, my two best friends Scott and Joel and I stood on Joel's Dad's front lawn and had a beer as we stared out at the lake. We three grew up together at the lake. Scott pointed to the opposite shore to where his aunt and uncle used to have a cabin. Almost immediately, the "get the hell out of there" story came up.

It was in the early or mid eighties. We were in a boat in front of Scott's relative's cabin fishing for sunnies. At some point, we heard a car door slam behind a neighboring cabin. Then two little boys wearing life jackets came running down the stairs to the dock and the boatlift. They hopped in the parked boat and started playing like they were driving it, yelling and having a gleeful time. Soon after, a man walked down, stood on shore, pointed at the boys, and said: "Get the hell out of there." The boys had shut up once they saw him, and upon his command quietly and dutifully left the boat with their heads hanging and went back up to the cabin.

It was quite a sight and we three laughed over it. We imagined the two tykes riding the hour's drive from Fargo, wearing those life jackets the whole way, just dying to go for a boat ride once they got there. "Get the hell out of there" became a favorite catchphrase, and the story has been repeated endlessly over the years.

But on this afternoon in 2009, we started to notice discrepancies in our individual recollections of the incident. For instance, we differ over the exact gesture used by the man. Did he point with just his index finger or was it the index finger and the middle finger together? I see the man as an older guy in his fifties, probably the boys' grandfather but Scott and Joel see a younger man, a father. We realized the exact details were foggy after twenty-five years or so, but the gist of the story remains true: The boys ran down to the dock and into the boat with life jackets on and the man did say "get the hell out of there."

And my favorite part of this bull session was when Joel said: "You know, I'm not even sure if I was with you guys that day. I might just be convinced I was because I've heard this story so many times."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ibuprofen Is The Fifth Food Group

Pick a moment during any week, and the odds are good that I will be sore in my right wrist/arm, neck, lower back, or feet. Thankfully, the pain generally is more of a nagging nature than a chronic one. Here's the history of why:

Right wrist and arm - Pain from tendinitis caused by computer mouse. Went through hand/wrist therapy in 1995.

Neck - Pain caused by improper workplace ergonomics. Went through physical therapy (after chiropractor and acupuncture were busts) in 1998 and 2002. Due to mixup between health provider and insurance company, scored a $700 home traction unit for free - meaning I inadverdently contributed to the need for health care reform.

Lower back - Pain into my right hip, leg, and knee via a bulging disc caused by sitting at a desk for twenty years. Went through physical therapy in 2006/2007 (didn't work in the long term) and 2007/2008 (different place that was effective.)

Feet - Pain caused by flat arches. Orthotics prescribed by podiatrist in 2009 (to make them they took a plaster of Paris of my feet, and then a hot nurse washed my feet - very steamy in a New Testament way) alleviated the pain, though the cost was straight out of pocket as insurance didn't cover them. But doctor advised me to never take up running, giving me all the more reason not to.

So like I said above, one of these areas of my body tends to be sore at any given time but not in the severe way when the condition first surfaced. It's more of a nagging pain that can be treated with iboprofen, ice, and stretching. And thanks to Justin Morneau for finally giving me a term for what afflicts me. He sat out Sunday's game. The reason? "General soreness." I hear ya.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

One of my top-five favorite clients is a caterer, and I am constantly amazed at their ability to come up with various menus and to prepare and present the meals. Sometimes they give me leftovers and I am in eating heaven. But I am not a foodie. I enjoy eating, but don't like to cook. At all. Being a single guy, you can likely imagine the heights of my kitchen wizardry: 1) Spaghetti - I amaze myself as I boil up some noodles while at the same time heat up some Prego sauce. 2) Tacos - This one is tough as it involves both browning the ground beef and remembering to buy the shredded taco cheese. So invariably I fall back into: 1) Cheeseburgers on the George Foreman Grill, and 2) Stauffer's.

Yeah, I'm pathetic I know. And also lazy. I just want to have something quick and simple to eat with supper while I read the sports page. All single guys out there absolutely KNOW what the staple of such a diet is: The frozen pizza. While you thought that the Tombstone pizza couldn't get better, I am glad to tell you that it can be better. My friend Melissa turned me on to the Presto Pizzazz Pizza Oven. I scored one from Amazon for forty-five bucks a few weeks ago. Why a pizza oven rather than your regular oven? It cooks the pizza evenly, meaning the crust tastes better and the cheese and sauce won't conspire to scorch the roof of your mouth. You won't have to leave your pizza to cool for five minutes or so before you can take a bite, not to mention that this pizza oven involves no preheating so your pizza will be ready many minutes quicker than conventionally. And you get to impress your non-foodie buddies with your best food boast since that time you scored Taco John's down in the TCF Building/AT&T Building skyway: "Hey, I bought a pizza oven!"