Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I posted this new photo of myself in 1986 on my facebook profile.

What with my minor obsessions with '80s music (due to the recent '80s night fundraiser I helped organize) and the '80s movie book I've nearly finished, and then seeing this photo, I wasn't too surprised when my five-year-old daughter asked me what it was like in 1986.


* I was 12 and starting high school, as the photo might imply. I also still wore glasses (they would be replaced by contact lenses three years later) and didn't much care how my hair looked (a new haircut two years later, that came with a good blob of gel a day changed that.)

* I had yet to fully discover the beauty of Aston Villa, and was something of a Liverpool fan as many kids my age were because they won everything. Truth be told, I was pretty indifferent to football at 12.

* I owned a ZX Spectrum computer. It had a 48K memory and loaded games via tape.

* For my 12th birthday, I received a whole bunch of Transformer toys - at least two Insecticons and Perceptor, an import-only Autobot who transformed into a microscope. They were the closest I had to an obsession at this point in my life. I convinced myself I would never tire of my Transformers and would have them on display in my living room as an adult. I then sold some and gave the rest away aged 13 (to buy Bacardi, probably.)

* My favorite pop group by far was Five Star. I would go to my first ever pop concert a year later - the aforementioned Five Star at Wembley Arena. The tour was sponsored by a toothpaste company. I was in the second row and Denise looked at me and waved.

* Girlfriends up until that point hadn't been anything more than a kiss on the cheek after school. It would still be a year until my first real girlfriend, a romance that lasted maybe a week.

* I had my own income from a paper round that brought in less than five pounds a week. I would spend it all on Saturday afternoon (Saturday morning was payday.) For this money I had to wake up at 5:30 and ride a bike carrying a heavy bag of The Sun and The Daily Mirror over a three mile-or-so route, seven days a week. It was a crime.

* My best friends in 1986 were Ed, Matthew, Simon, Deon, Fitzy and an assortment of supporting characters. Over the next four years of high school that hardcore would remain and be supplemented by the likes of Aaron, Marc, Desmond (who was always a friend, but moved in different circles until we were 15) and Richard/Scrapper/Bouncer (all the same person.)

Of course I was a very different person then from now. But I still laugh at BlackAdder (my favorite TV show at the time) and still stay in touch with many of the people I met that year, despite being 2,000 miles away from most of them.

I now understand what "old" people say about how time flies.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I'm semi-watching a soccer game on TV right now, and I am reminded of my youth by the appearance of Darren Huckerby, playing for San Jose. A decade ago, Huckerby was a great player. And here he is right now, scoring on his full debut.

What's funny is, he's from Nott-ing-ham (as in bacon) and he was last seen playing for Norr-Which in England.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

At 6:15am this morning, Sunday took a nosedive.

My wife's office called her in to work. This meant, among other things, I had to accept I couldn't play soccer this morning (what with it being 95 degrees outside, and nobody being awake at 8:30 to even call to ask if they could take them for me.)

It gets better. About 15 minutes ago, it occurred to me that my daughter starts summer camp tomorrow. So I better go do some laundry so she has a clean bathing suit, and I also have to go to the flippin' store again, having sworn I wouldn't have to return until Wednesday at the earliest, to buy flippin' packed lunch stuff for her.

It's so hot I'm sitting in the living room with the A/C on and the attic fan roaring, and I'm still sweating (this is why my wife was called to work - she works for the NYC power utility.)

I had hoped at least one kid would nap, given they were both awake by 6:30 and that we played outside for an hour and they ought to be exhausted. No such luck.

Ugh. It's not even Monday yet, and I know this week is going to hurt. I have mixed feelings about sending my daughter to a camp that is nearly twice as long as her pre-school day. I know she will be fine, but I will have to adjust to only having my son around during the say while bearing in mind she will need to be collected every afternoon.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Michael Jackson turns 50 this year. It's also the 21st anniversary of the last good album he made.

Whatever you think of MJ, at his prime he made some just awesome pop songs. Now... well, not so much. Then there's all that other business.

Anyway, he's asking his fans to choose a track listing for his latest "Best Of" CD. So, because I happen to be listening to Billie Jean right now, I thought I would help him out.

Beat It
Billie Jean
Smooth Criminal
Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Leave Me Alone
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
I Just Can't Stop Loving You
Baby Be Mine
Black or White
Liberian Girl
Man in the Mirror
She's out of My Life
The Lady in My Life
The Way You Make Me Feel
Remember The Time

As good as this track listing is, I wouldn't buy it if this was the "Best Of" listing. I'd just listen to the stuff from Thriller and shrug my shoulders over the rest . Sorry "Wacko." It really isn't anything personal. But I wish you'd stopped when I'd had enough. Right after Bad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

* Sorry it's been so long between posts again, but these summer days are starting to blur. The weekdays are all hot and sunny and humid and I don't have any money to spend. In fact, I'm assuming it's Tuesday today but I'm not sure.

* Despite having to entertain the kids all day, every day, and tolerating some borderline ridiculous long days (Yesterday I was with the kids for 17 hours before my wife joined us... we were all asleep at the time) things aren't as bad as all that. I'm getting a lot of writing done, watching a lot of movies during downtime, and the soccer games I've been playing in have been really good fun, except for...

* ... the return of my ankle injury. I pushed my poor left ankle too far a week or so ago, and now it pops like bubblewrap with every step and feels like there's a rusty bunch of nuts and bolts inside it, not quite holding it together.

* I fucking hate raccoons. One keeps getting into our garage and eating the trash the morning it's supposed to be dragged to the curb. I've patched up two holes in the garage, and this morning patched up a third where the little bastard keeps digging his way in to feast on... well, crap I threw out. It's not appetizing and I can't believe it's the best food he can find, but it's so tasty it would seem he comes back every Monday night for a special slap-up garbage early-bird special.

* My lawnmower broke, which pains me for a few reasons. It was a 30th birthday present and it's awesome. And now the handles have sheered off. It was probably my fault somewhat. My estimation is that it needed some expert maintenance and eventually it shook itself to pieces. On the plus side, we have a lush, green lawn. On the downside, by next weekend it's going to be five feet tall.

* I've started growing hot peppers. How's that for random? The first shoots are due as early as this Friday. I have visions of making some killer hot sauce and giving it to people as gifts.

* I saw the movie Sweeney Todd this week. Well, I saw the first 15 minutes. What a bunch of pretentious wank.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Q. How many pens did we find when emptying out the old minivan?

A. Before answering, I'm not counting the Ruby Tuesday crayons. Nor the Crayola markers. Just the ball-point pens that I would use for writing bank deposit slips at the drive-thru or maintaining shopping lists.


It was 14. FOURTEEN! I when I wanted one, I couldn't find one, although these were all largely in obvious places (glovebox, those hole things on the doors, the center console). One was from the beef marketing board: "BEEF - IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER" and I have no idea where it came from, unless I once gave a ride to Dandy comic cowboy Desperate Dan who dropped his pen after reaching his destination and then wiped my memory.

Monday, July 07, 2008


This is the longest I've gone without posting for a while, but there isn't a whole lot to report.

* We do have a new car. I'm driving it very slowly and parking it Clark Griswald-style in the furthest spot in the lot.

* After playing soccer four times in a week, something had to give. It was my right quad and it hurts like the worst dead-leg-punch I ever got in middle school.

* Today was so humid and having turned up at swim lessons I knew KNEW weren't on today, but allowed myself to be convinced they were, was unhappy to be right.

* Why is Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager on iCarly?

* I am considering drinking poison so these ****ing mosquitos will bite me, then die.

* The high point of today: I asked the cashier at the check out for some quarters in my change and she offered me $10 worth - still in the roll. That was easy!