Swelling Update & Other Goofy Tidbits

9 02 2009
  • Swelling: It’s been a  couple of months (almost) since my trip to Mayo Clinic, and my local doctor is working with me on their recommendations.  Overall, I’ve lost about 15 of the 45 lbs of swelling that I had.  The progress has been slow and with a few ups and downs, but it’s heading in the right direction – giving me great hope.  I’m moving a little better and looking slightly less freakish, but I’m not yet at a point of being able to return to my “normal” life (which would probably still be a bit abnormal to most, but that’s a different story).   There is a very recent possibility as far as a potential cause that I discovered quite by accident.  It’s possible that another medicine that no doctor even remotely suspected could have something to do with the swelling.  This is something SO recent that I’m not going to bother going into detail here, but after a few days off of it, I’m seeing a little better progress each day.   Anyway, the news is good right now…slow, but good.
  • From Cool to Tool:  It’s funny how things can go from being “awesome” to “dorky” in a relatively short time.  Parachute pants, jeans jackets, the Men Without Hats’ tune Safety Dance and the use of “air quotes” are good examples.  To me, the Blue Tooth headset has joined this sad list.  I’m not bashing anyone who really needs to use one, and I understand they can be effective tools in some situations. However,  speaking of tools, that’s exactly what I think when I see a dude walking around outside and talking loudly with that dorky-looking thing stuck on his ear – what a tool.  I think they have gone from cutting edge, status symbol territory into something that losers THINK makes them look cool.  Who is with me on this?  I’m really curious.
  • Kid update: My three and a half year old girl, who seems to think she is about 12, continues to be the light of my life.  Sadly, she currently believes that she is the funniest person on earth whenever she inserts the word poop into a song.  Example:  Twinkle, Twinkle Little POOP! She may not have the most sophisticated style of humor yet, but she continues to amaze me in other ways.  She very much enjoyed watching Charlotte’s Web.  The ending, of course, lead to a discussion about death.  (Spoiler alert if you still do not know what happens at the end).  She asked questions about why Charlotte had to die.  We talked about living a long life and how people go to heaven.  First, she wanted to know if her dog would go to heaven.  Since everyone knows that they do, I answered in the affirmative.  She then asked if she could live with Mommy and Daddy when she goes to heaven after she gets old.  I’m not sure how her future husband might feel about this, but I answered with a firm yes once again.  She then got a sad look on her face and said, “I don’t want Mommy to die.”  I hugged her tightly and again assured her this would not happen for many, many, many years.  Before her mother could get a big head about this, my daughter quickly added that she didn’t want “Elizabeth” (a friend of hers) to die either.
  • On the “scary” front: I’m looking forward to attending a midnight premiere of the new Friday the 13th movie this week with a few other horror lovers.  I’m intrigued by the fact that it appears to be a re-imaging of certain elements from several of the first few Friday the 13th films as opposed to just the first one.  Anyone else love these old, dumb scary movies?  Also, who else has seen the reality, contest show called 13:  Fear Is Real?  It has some of the same cheesiness as other reality shows (most of which I detest), but I can’t help having a soft spot for this one.  The reason is that my nephews, friends and I made “scary tapes” as kids.  They were cassette tapes that instructed the “victims” (we took turns being victimized) what to do and where to go in the woods.  We did them at night, of course, and they actually were pretty scary some times.  Even so, it was always more fun making the tapes than doing them.  We enjoyed creating new characters and embellishing upon them in future tapes.  Some of our favorites included:  Slicer Dicer, Harry Maniac, Rickety Inflictor and Brat & Splat who were evil conjoined twins).  Well, someone with a MUCH higher budget has turned this type of idea into a reality show.  It’s fun if you like horror stuff.




Adult Film Rentals and the Perv-O-Meter

23 10 2008

Behold the Perv-O-Meter.  Every male in the world falls somewhere on this spectrum ranging from 1 (Sweet, innocent guy) to 10 (Total Perv).

As a guide to make the ratings clearer, let’s use the following celebrity examples:

Tom Hanks would be a 1.

Hugh Grant earns a 7.

Colin Farrell is an 8.

Michael Jackson is an 11.

Don’t get me wrong, number 1’s probably are not COMPLETE angels (what guy is?), but in the overall spectrum of the male species, they rate as sweet and innocent.  I’d like to think that I would be about a 3 or 4 on this meter, but I’ll leave that for others to decide.

There comes a time in a young man’s life when he takes a major step in forming his spot on this spectrum.  I’m speaking, of course, when he first goes to a video store to rent a porno an adult film.  This is probably an easy and non-embarrassing event for a guy who is an 8, 9 or 10.  It is a different matter for those of us who fall somewhere below the 5 marker.

I recall the day it happened for me.  I was 18.  A few buddies of mine were going to come over to play poker that evening, and several of us decided we should rent an adult movie from a local video store nearby.  We all wholeheartedly agreed this was a fantastic idea.  The part that was not so easy to decide was this:  Who was going to do it?

At this particular video store in the 80s, they did not have a little separate adult room for pervs men to go into and make their choices.  No, they instead had a big thick black binder with all the titles of the adult films they had to offer.  This binder was behind the counter.  So, not only did you have to get up the courage to ask for the dirty book, but you then had to peruse such titles as “Rambone” and “Star Whores” and verbally ask the clerk for the one that you wanted.  This was a double whammy of embarrassment for a 3 such as myself.

After a bit of arguing, arm-punching and wet willies, it was decided that I would be the lead guy (the asker of the dirty book) but that two of my friends would go with me to the counter and be my pervy sidekicks.  (Looking back, it seems like it should have seemed weirder to ask for a porno while flanked by two male friends than to do it by myself, but at the time I felt I needed back-up).

The evening came, and it was time to do the deed.  The three of us made our way to the store while giving high fives and doing chants to pump ourselves up.  Upon our arrival, it was time for step one.  Step one was to ensure that my female relative who worked in the store was not present that night.  A quick peek at the counter confirmed that she was not.  It was a go.  However, we did not go straight for the jugular but instead worked our way through the “normal” video sections such as Drama, Comedy and Horror.  I think we stayed away from the kids’ Disney section because it just would have seemed too sick to peruse that area and then ultimately ask for the dirty book.  As we feigned interest in VHS tapes of “Romancing the Stone” and “Footloose” while trying to work our courage into a fever pitch, I could feel a cold sweat forming on my forehead.

Finally, after we had looked at every single “normal” video in the store (except the kids’ section), the time had come.  We could not put it off any longer.  I gave the thumbs up signal and headed to the counter.  My two friends followed nervously behind.

I could feel my confidence slipping away with each slow step I took toward the guy and girl working the counter.  After what seemed like a 20-minute walk, I was finally there and the guy said, “Can I help you?”  This was good.  It would have been worse to ask the girl for the dirty book.  My confidence was regained as I asked for the book in a sort of grunt/point maneuver.  This is where it all went to hell.

First, I turned my head to find that my two friends had retreated and were heading out the door, laughing nervously.  I was on my own in this unknown land of porn.  The guy handed the book to me, and I knew I had to go through with it.  I slowly opened the book the way a treasure-hunter might unfold an ancient map.  The next step was to pick a title that wasn’t TOO embarrassing to request.  If you’ve ever seen adult film titles, then you are aware they vary greatly in the gratuitousness of their titles.  After much deliberation, I settled on “Fleshdance” which sort of just rolls off the tongue.  I requested it, and the guy looked at some magical area below the counter where the films were apparently kept.  He said things like, “Let’s see” as he looked for my request.  I started to realize after about 10 seconds that this was not working.  The guy looked perplexed and then did something horrific.  He called out loudly to the girl working at the other end of the counter.  “Hey, do you see ‘Fleshdance’ down there anywhere?”  Not only did the girl hear him, but so did anyone else shopping in the store, including those in the kid section.

At this point, I just wanted to leave, but I literally felt as though my feet were glued to the counter.  Sweat was pouring from me now.  After an eternity of looking for the tape, the girl finally located it and handed it to the guy.  I paid, and he gave the tape to me.

Things felt a little uncomfortable at the end of the transaction, to say the least.  What was the guy going to say?  Most of the things that a video clerk might normally verbalize at this point seem inappropriate to this particular situation.  For example, phrases like, “Have a good evening” or “Enjoy it” or “Thanks for coming” take on a different connotation when you’ve just rented some porn.  Luckily, I think the guy just nodded and simply said, “Thanks.”

I made my quick exit and got back to the car where I promptly chewed out my friends.  The anger did not last long as the feeling of euphoria hit me.  I was holding an adult video tape in my sweaty little hands.  I had made it out of the store with the treasure.

Whether that movie was any “good” or not, I don’t recall.  However, I knew I had moved from a 1 to about a 3 with that walk to the counter.





Re-Imaging: The Cosmetic Surgery of Horror Films

24 07 2008

Remember when movie re-dos were called remakes? At some point, some relatively smart person in Hollywood decided that term wasn’t sexy enough to lure hoards of people to high-priced cinemas for a new version of a movie they had already seen. Hence, the term re-imaging was born. Before some nerdy film student at UCLA chides me for not pointing out the supposed difference between remaking and re-imaging, let me include the official line that re-imaging is slightly different because it means the new film has at least some variance from the original film. There I wrote it. Hollywood is saying, “This one is DIFFERENT! I Promise! Come see it…twice.”

Now, let me point out that I am also relatively smart, and I call your bluff, Hollywood (and geeky Hollywood hopefuls who go to UCLA in the hopes of meeting Reese Witherspoon or Ryan Gosling some day). Re-imaging may sound really, really cool, but IT’S STILL A REMAKE. Remakes Re-imaged films are not necessarily a bad thing, but did we really need a new term? In some cases, re-imaging is good. For example, someone needs to tell A-Rod that he is (allegedly) dating an “original” in Madonna. Apparently he is unaware of re-imaged versions, like Shakira or Carrie Underwood. Then again, maybe he prefers old classic movies like 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon (which is scheduled to come out as a remake in 2009).

Fine, I won’t say remakes any more. Remakes. Oops. That was the last one; I promise. On to the point.

Horror films have always held a special, albeit deranged place in my heart. I loved them during my teen years. My wife tries to pretend this is not true, but sadly, it is. Many of these films have been or are in the process of being re-imaged. My “Big Three” from that era [Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)] are no exceptions. A part of me is excited to see new life breathed into the main characters who chased me in my childhood nightmares: Michael, Jason and Freddy. I recently viewed Rob Zombie’s re-imaging of Halloween. Overall, it was fun to see a new and more in-depth take on the past of Michael Myers and why he snapped. There were definitely some scares, and it was cool that Danielle Harris was cast in it. (She was great in Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 when she was a kid and single-handedly kept them from being crappy sequels). In the end, though, the new version had just a few too many white-trash characters in it to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Word on the street (that’s my cute way of saying I surfed the internet for information as there is no real “word” on the street in my little Midwestern town that isn’t about the weather or the price of gas) is that there are talks about re-imaging A Nightmare on Elm Street. On February 13, 2009, the re-imaged Friday the 13th is scheduled to hit the theaters. Talk about pressure to finish production on time. Can you imagine if this film’s opening had to be pushed back a couple weeks? Opening on Friday the 27th of February doesn’t quite pack the same punch. Interestingly, Jared Padalecki (yes, ladies, cute little Dean from The Gilmore Girls) is in it.

After new versions of the “Big Three” come out, what’s next? Sure, they could re-image Children of the Corn and have it take place in an experimental hybrid corn field. Or, they could re-do The Lost Boys with some brand new Coreys. (I’m pretty sure they won’t be re-imaging a terrible horror film originally from Spain I saw back then with the English title Edge of the Axe. There’s 99 cents I wish I had back from the video store…ouch.)

I have a different suggestion. I think they should take non-horror films of the 80s and re-image them into new, horror versions. That way, it really would be a whole new take on a old film. Crazy, you say? Stupid? Worse idea than a Chia toupee? Ah, you lack vision. Just think of this:

Field of Screams. Yes, Field of Dreams turned into a scary movie. Instead of Shoeless Joe coming out of the corn, it would be Skinless Joe. He’d fly out of the corn (hybrid corn, of course) to haunt you and to let you know that your dead father never really loved you and always thought you were a failure. Now that would cause some nightmares. Maybe Danielle Harris could play the wife of the sap who builds the baseball field. She’s cuter than the original actress. “If you build it, they will kill.”

How about Stand By Me turning into Stabbed By Me? Who would have blamed the fat kid if he’d gone nuts after seeing the dead body? Who wouldn’t have cheered him on if he’d donned a hockey mask and killed off Corey Feldman’s character?

Did you love E.T. as a child? Well, you might have different memories after seeing E.T.T. The Extra Terrifying Terrestrial. When his fingertip lights up, you know he’s going to kill. Don’t offer him any Reese’s Pieces unless you want to end up in Resting in Pieces. Yeah, he phones home all right…to tell them to send more chainsaws.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? More like, Ferris Bueller’s Head’s Off! What would be scarier than having Ben Stein reprise his role but this time as a teacher who has been pushed too far and loses it. Picture a dark alley at night, with Ferris trapped against a brick wall. Here comes Stein’s character with an axe, dully repeating: “Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?” Scary.

They could easily turn Raising Arizona into Maiming Arizona. A clueless couple in want of a child kidnaps a baby from a family who seems a little, shall we say, weird. The couple figures that family didn’t deserve a baby anyway. The problem: This child grows horns and is the spawn of Satan himself! He’s out to find and wreak havoc in the hottest states he can find, starting with Arizona. In one memorable scene, the child is accidentally left on a highway. By the time the clueless parents realize their mistake, the kid has telekinetically blown up several semi-trucks. Yeah, I know…pretty sweet.

In a way, the idea of re-imaging can make us all a little optimistic that things can be renewed. For those of you who have been following my swelling situation, I hope to be re-imaged myself in the near future through surgery. The St. Louis doctors just may have figured this thing out. Hopefully none of the surgeons are named Voorhees, Myers or Krueger. I’ll blog it when I have some specifics. In the meantime, rent the first four Friday the 13ths (the good ones) and watch them with the lights off. I double dare you. You’ll get to see a young Kevin Bacon bite the dust.








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