Archive | July, 2011

That one time Mom got really mad at Dad…

29 Jul

Yeah I know, there’s been a couple of these (tons actually).  I was reading a post I have waiting in the wings about the boats my family has had over the years when a memory hit me.  Memories do that to me.  For instance when I hear Rusted Root’s The Cat Turned Blue, I am instantly transported back to 12 year old me, playing some space game on my brothers computer.  This game was the stupidest game ever invented.  All you did was spend hours holding the stupid arrow key flying your ship across the screen trying to reach some distant planet.  Fortunately the music made up for it:

Who’s the most awesome digress-er in the world?!  That’s right.  I am.  I think it’s the A.D.D….  Back on track:

So mom got really mad at my dad.  Why?  Who knows.  He probably yelled at her for pulling her wrong when he was shoe skiing.  Or maybe she turned too tight and he went rolling across the water (which was actually hilarious watching a 325lb guy flying across the water).  What ever the reason, mom was fed up with his crap.  So she did what any self respecting woman would do:  She left.  She packed up us kids and took off.  She just left my dad floating there in the middle of the lake.  I don’t think he was wearing a life jacket either…  Eventually she cooled off a bit and we went back for him and all was well.

Celebrity Doppelgangers

28 Jul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So yesterday Renee over at Lessons From Teachers and Twits let me onto this cool app that will match up your photo with what celebs you look like.  So of course I had to try it (vain b@stard that I am).  Yesterday I didn’t really like my results.  I had some great ones in there such as Dave Chappelle, and Rebecca Gayheart (see, I am HOTT!).  I also had some nobodies like a 50 year old Turkish singer, and Joey Fatone.  So in order to bring out the real me, I got a hair cut.  I’m much happier with today’s results.  Bruce Willis (who looks a lot like my grandfather), Vin Diesel (I’m buff like him too…  Yeah.  Right.), and for whatever reason Dave Chappelle again.  Do I really look like him, or is it that I look stoned and therefore am associated with him?  Whatever the reason, I’m cool with it.

Things not to say to or call your children

25 Jul

Mom, I’m going to stop you right here.  Do not read any of this post.  It will not be pretty and you won’t get it.  Actually, Boss, don’t you read this either…

 

There are certain things you should never say to your children.  There are certain things you should never call your children.  Most people know this.  Me?  Not so much.  Here are some of the things you should never say and/or call your children.  Most of these will be fictional.  Some I may or may not have actually said.  No I will not tell you which is which.

  • We really wanted a dog.  So for the first couple of years you slept in a doghouse.
  • No you really did like to eat dog food.  Why not try some now?
  • You know you’re really being a douche right now.
  • Why don’t you go find a busy corner to hang out on.
  • Sure you can play in the street.  Frogger is a perfectly acceptable real life game to play.
  • Boys are bad.  Throw rocks at them.
  • Girls are worse.  Throw bricks.
  • No bones are broken.  Get back outside.
  • Apply some pressure.  The bleeding will stop.
  • Your period?  You mean when you bleed out and die?
  • No you will not be allowed to have your period in this house.
  • You’ll just have to live in the shed when it comes.
  • Holy crap!  That was awesome.  Never tell your mother.
  • You did what?!?!  Can it be traced back to you?  No?  Well good.  You got away with it.
  • Will you please knock it off before I knock your block off?
  • Why don’t you go play parachute on the roof.  Take the big blanket.
  • Sure you can play with knives.
  • Cook it yourself, you’re 5 after all.  Gotta learn to survive sometime.
Heaven help me should my kids ever read this….

The big jump

22 Jul

Have I ever told you about the time I hit the big jump?  No?  Well.  That will have to change.  Out in the woods in my neighborhood was a motocross practice track.  The neighbors who owned the property were big into motocross, atv’s, and the like.  For us kids this was one of the best places in the world.  Utilizing their track we learned all about how to jump our bikes, land them correctly (this comes into play later on), and how to rebuild bikes when they break.  One fine summer afternoon we thought we would measure how far we could all jump our bikes.

Of course we couldn’t use actual measurements.  We were too cool for that.  We had to come up with “cool” names for the distances traveled prior to landing.  I think the first one was “Wuss”, followed by “You Suck”, etc, etc.  Eventually they got to be pretty good such as, “Damn!”, and last but certainly not least was “Holy S#!%!”  We would get up a good bit of speed and hit the jump with everything we had trying for at least a “You don’t suck as much as that guy does”.  Eventually we all started hitting the “Damn!” spot (I believe this was about 6 feet from the jump).  We were stuck there for hours.  Everyone had hit it, no one could get any farther.  There was no way I was going to hit any farther with my crappy, beat up, second hand bmx bike.  Not when everyone else had nice shiny GT’s and Kent bikes.

Oh how wrong I was…  Maybe it was peer pressure, maybe it was that I wanted to show the neighborhood that the kid with glasses WAS really cool.  Who knows how I decided to start much farther back along the trail than anyone else had gone.  I pedaled my butt off.  I hit speed unknown to man or machine.  I’m pretty sure that at some point I passed the Enterprise.  I hit that jump going at least 88mph.  If I had a flux capacitor on my bike I would have been instantaneously transported back to 1955.  Suddenly I was airborne.  I quickly passed “Wuss and You Suck”  “You don’t suck as much as that guy” wasn’t even in the cards.  “Damn!” was coming up fast!  Would I make it over?  Would I FINALLY be one of the cool kids?  Holy S#!%!  I’ve gone beyond “Holy S#!%!”!  I ended up landing just passed “Holy S#!%!”, about 7.5 feet or so from the jump.  That’s when things went completely wrong.  See the thing we didn’t plan for was the possibility of someone getting that far.  The track at that point turns 90 degrees and is banked.  I flew up and over the bank, flipped over my handlebars catching one in the gut, and thought I had died.  Then everyone came up to me to tell me how awesome I was.  Oh how quickly the body heals when the ego is stoked.  In the end I was the popular kid from the neighborhood for about a week.  Then Billy got a b-b gun and I was regulated back to second citizen status…

Playing with fire: Part 2

21 Jul

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my experience as a crappy Boy Scout.  I wrote about how I got my fire chit and was able to build awesome fires.  Back in May I wrote about me throwing flaming paper airplanes out of my second story window.  I said that was my last time playing with fire, but not my brothers.  Here is his tale:

Behind our house was for the longest time a construction company’s stockpile and yard.  Directly behind our property they had put a bunch of small mounds of dirt for some purpose I suppose.  Picture a mogul field but rather than being on a ski slope these were on flat ground and you’ll have a good idea of what I’m talking about.  My brother and I thought it would be a great idea to have a camp fire one fine summer evening, toast marshmallows, sing songs, etc.  So that afternoon, me being the ex-Boy Scout with 3/4ths of a fire chit built a killer teepee surrounded by a log cabin stack of wood, kindling, and paper.   One of us stupidly brought a packet of matches with us (I contend that it was my brother who brought the matches, I’m sure he thinks otherwise).  As I’m building our fire, surrounding it with stones, etc. my brother is lighting matches, watching them burn, then dropping them on the ground.  Did I mention that these hills had been there a LOOOOOOONG time and it was a very dry summer so all the vegetation (weeds) that had grown on top and around the mounds was nice and dry?  Yeah, I’m sure you can see where this is going.  I told him to knock it off and stop wasting my matches.  His reply?  “Just one more.”  Of course he lit “just one more” too close to his fingers, burned himself, and dropped the match.  Right on a nice bit of dead stuff.  I don’t remember how fast the hill caught fire.  I do remember running up to the house yelling for my mom and her friend that my bro had set the field on fire, laughing hysterically the entire time.  I was USELESS when it came to helping put the fire out.  I could not stop laughing.  On the plus side, my fire started right up and burned beautifully.

In the end the fire was fairly quickly put out and no one was hurt.  I guess that’s a positive end to the story.  Except that it’s not the end.  You would think that my brother would have gotten into trouble for setting fire to a field, right?  Wrong.  I got in trouble.  For being useless.  For laughing at my brother thinking he would get himself into trouble (finally).  For not helping to put out the fire.  I think I was grounded for a week, and had my fire chit taken away from me.  Not that it was at all useful being a piece of paper.  Actually, I probably would have set fire to it at some point, so it was probably wise of my mom to take it from me…

How to not get caught sneaking out after curfew

20 Jul

Time for another summer camp story.  Back when I was 13 I started working during the summer at Camp-of-the-Woods.  I worked there for six summers.  I came away from there with a greater sense of independence and a bunch of awesome stories.  My last summer working there, I was a Boat Guy.  What does that mean?  Basically it means I was a slave to a girls camp on the island in the middle of the lake, I gave sailing and boating lessons to people who probably had no business being out on the water, and I taught waterskiing.  I also learned that if you look like you are on official business, people will leave you alone.  Part of catering to the island’s every whim entailed carrying  a radio to be at their beck and call 24 hours a day.  While I hated having to carry the radio, it did have its uses.  My buddies and I loved late night boat rides and hanging out on the lake smoking cigars.  What better way to accomplish this than to leave our bunk house at midnight walking right past the curfew checkers and explaining that you were needed on the island and your buddies were going along to watch for rocks, logs, etc?  Nine times out of ten they didn’t have a radio, so there was no way for them to check up on us.

So kids what can we learn from this?

  1. Sneaking out after curfew is fun.
  2. Hanging out at night in the middle of a lake on a brand new ski boat is awesome.
  3. If you look like you are on official business, you probably won’t get caught.
  4. Make sure no one talks.
It’s that last one that will make or break you.

In which I jump from a perfectly good boat

19 Jul

Yup, you read that right.  I have repeatedly jumped from a perfectly good, moving boat.  Where did that land me?  Well in the water for one, and on one occasion in a heap of trouble.  Back when I was 14 I had a little 12′ aluminium boat with a 9.9 horse power outboard.  For me, this was just about perfect.  I had my own boat.  I could take it out fishing, swimming, etc.  A buddy of mine had a similar sized inflatable (think Zodiac) with a 9 horse power motor.  We would take them out, race each other, snorkel from either boat, and just have a great time out on the water.  Somewhere along the way we (along with my cousin) thought it would be cool to get the boat up to speed and jump off the side (ala Baywatch).  We did this for hours on end.  Sometimes we’d all jump with one of us having the kill switch strapped to our life jacket, other times one would stay in the boat and swing around to pick us up.  We never thought about the consequences of us jumping from a perfectly good boat with a prop in the water spinning at about 3000 rpm…  We never thought about hitting the water at 20+mph.  All we thought about was how much fun we were having.

Yeah sort of like that…

So we’ve been jumping from the boat for weeks.  We. Are. Pros.  We could put the “actors” on Baywatch to shame with our skills.  Then of course fate, or karma, or whatever has to intervene.  My cousin and I jump from either side of the boat while our bud stays on board to pick us up.  He swings around to get me, and turns just a bit too much.  I am hit by the front of his boat and forced under.  Fortunately, he has realized that he is going to hit me and pulls up the motor before I get chopped up into chum.  Unfortunately I am trapped under the boat by my life jacket.  I’ve never been one to panic in tough situations.  I also never panic when I’m in the water.  I very quickly assess the situation and realize that there is no way that I am going to get out from under the boat with my jacket on.  I remember unbuckling my jacket, swimming out from under the boat, then reaching back under the boat to get my jacket.  My cousin and friend were amazed to see me alive.  This is why I hate to wear a life jacket.  The only time I wear one is when I’m on our wave runners.  Kayaking, hanging out on the boat, swimming, whatever, I won’t wear a life jacket.

The Last Boy Scout

18 Jul

When I was in the 6th-7th grades, I was a Boy Scout for a minute.  I thought it would be pretty cool to learn how to start fires, handle an ax, etc.  I was sort of right, mostly wrong.  Turns out the Boy Scout troop I joined sucked.  They didn’t do any cool stuff at meetings like other troops did.  We didn’t even learn how to start fires or chop stuff up with axes during meetings.  We had to go to camp for that stuff.  So I go to  scout camp.  What a joke.  Our troop is the laughing stock of camp.  We can’t tie knots, do Morse Code, or start fires with a couple of sticks (ok, we were lazy).  Our scout leaders must have been pretty sick and tired of our goofing off and not earning any badges while we spent out time goofing off.  They told us we would all get our fire chits (apparently you need one of these to start fires…) if we could keep a fire going.  Did I mention it was pouring rain?  Yeah.  It was pouring and they want us to keep a fire going?!?  Well thanks to one well placed London Fog rain slicker (mine) and some dry wood we probably stole from another troop we got our fire chits.  Immediately we had one corner cut off for our stunt (get all 4 corners cut off and you can’t start fires anymore).  Our troop leaders were like that…

Fast forward to winter.  We sit in the local elementary school gym going over some useless nonsense when the leaders announce a winter camping trip that’s mandatory.  Mandatory winter camping?  Pass.  They wanted us all to go back to camp to freeze our collective asses off during February break.  No thanks.  So I tell the leaders I’m not going.  My family and I had already planned our annual ski trip.  Sorry, no way am I going to skip that to eat crappy hash and freeze my butt off in a tent.  The oldest leader stops the whole meeting, looks at me and says, “You need to decide where your priorities lie, with your family or with the Scouts!”  Yeah, sorry buddy.  Family first (and skiing).  Hands down.  I left the meeting and told my mom I was never going back.  I think I owed about 4 months worth of dues anyway.

In which I become a hustler

13 Jul

Big surprise, huh!?!?

Growing up I had a tournament size pool table in my basement.  I learned how to play when I was 9 or 10 years old.  I learned to hustle pool at 11.  We always had family friends, bible studies, high school kids, etc hanging out at our house.  People were always playing pool at our house.  It did not take long for me to realize that high school students are dumb and usually have cash on them.  It was very easy to get them to bet me a quarter or fifty cents that I could not make a shot.  Usually I did.  I raked in a good bit of dough playing pool.  To a 11-12 year old kid this was awesome.  Even more awesome was that a CVS just opened up a quick bike ride away.  I bought so much candy it’s a wonder I have a single good tooth left in my head…

Fast forward a couple of years:

So now I’m 16 and have just gotten my license and have to figure out someway to pay for gas.  I worked all summer to pay for my insurance and to have some spending money throughout the year, but this was quickly drying up.  What’s a guy and his best friend to do….  Why not hang out at the local bowling alley / pool hall?!?  It was very easy for us to drive over (even though it was right next to the CVS which a few years ago I was riding my bike to), grab a table, and pretend we didn’t know anything.  Eventually one of the guys playing at the other tables would challenge us to a game.  We would of course say yes, but only if we could put money on it.  Not a problem for those guys, they were going to beat us hands down, we didn’t know what the heck we were doing.  We’d usually let them do pretty good for a while.  Then we’d start getting them to bet on our shots.  That’s when we would switch from no-nothing shlubs to pool hall junkies.

I can’t count how many times we got kicked out of pool halls.  I was even banned from the one around the corner from my house.  I would show up, and the guy on duty would kick me right out.  Still, I managed to keep gas in my car, and a smile on my face as some dupe would take our bait.

Congratulations Jean and Jeff!

11 Jul

This weekend two great friends of mine tied the knot.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to be their photographer for the event.  While I was extremely nervous about having the responsibility of capturing their big day, they made things super easy for me.  Bridezilla (as she was affectionately called by her hubby-to-be) looked absolutely beautiful.  Actually she looked just like Marilyn Monroe.  I kept looking for a subway grate to re-create that famous photo (sadly there are no subways on Cape Cod).  Surprisingly I wasn’t a bit nervous as the day progressed and the wedding actually arrived.  Maybe this was due to me being fed quite well by Hubby-to-be (a fantastic chef).  Maybe it was because everyone was so chill about the whole thing.  Who knows…

Here’s the first photo I have processed.  Don’t they look awesome?!?!?!?