Been a While!

So, I guess I kinda blew the 2014 A to Z Challenge, huh?

Been a hell of a time these last few months. I’m not going get into specifics, but I throw a few buzz words out there, so you can get the idea…

Back pain. Physical Therapy. Bills. Meds Back Pain. Meds. Back pain. Less pain. Off meds. New Car! Car totaled after 3 weeks. (not our fault) Bills. Back pain again. Back on meds. Possibly more physical therapy. Bills.

That about brings us up to current.

I really don’t like taking pain meds. Can’t really do much on them, cause I think I’m feeling better than I actually am… So I do a few things, and the next day, I walk like a question mark.

They also leave me in a bit of a haze where things like blogging, writing, talking, etc… are just too cumbersome to bother with when I don’t have to.

I think I’m coming out the other side of all that though. I’m starting to dare to be optimistic again. Feeling okay, moving around, and so on. Could deal with some cooler weather though. Tired of the hot humidity. I think that too is on the decline though.

Anyway, good to see ya. Hope all is well. Don’t be any stranger. I’ll be back again soon. Keep the light on.

 

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Things That Irrationally Gross Me Out

I’m not exactly a xenophobic recluse or anything, but there are some things on this earth that I really just don’t like, and can do without…

The male half of our species has a long standing love affair with many things vulgar, and I resent that fact. Sure, farts are funny, I’ll admit that, but there’s gotta be a line drawn somewhere. I’ll tell you where that line should be drawn… Gas. Anything more frowned upon than gas can be left out, as far as I’m concerned.

Thus begineth my list.

Feet
There are a fair number of folks out there who share my views, I’m quite certain. I also know that there are a lot of people who are the polar opposite, and really love them… which I find completely disgusting. I’d like movie and T.V. editors to blur out feet the way they do genitals and innocent folks’ faces. Frankly, I’d rather see that other stuff than a foot.

Why do I hate feet? …I dunno. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, when you break it all down. Sure they can stink, but so can armpits, and those don’t gross me out. Hell, the stink is most of what makes GAS funny, right??

So I can’t think of a why, and everyone has em. But I still find them repulsive. I know (and have witnessed) girls who will say “Yeah, I agree, but not mine! *I* have pretty feet!”. No, you do not. I don’t care who you are, your feet are disgusting. Put socks on. I have actually gagged at the site of some.

Oh, and ladies, for the love of Darwin, don’t keep a collection of shoes at work under your desk. There are IT folk who need to go under there. I swear, I see a pile of shoes, and I instantly think I can smell feet… I’m sure it’s psychological, and *I* am the broken one here, but really, how many shoes do you need AT WORK anyway? I don’t keep my shoes at work. …alright, well maybe I do, but I work out of my house, so that doesn’t count.

I could go on longer here, but…

Spit
I don’t know what it is about young boys, but for some reason, they have this NEED to spit all the time. The bigger the wad the better.

Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy” was particularly disgusting for me, because he taught the kid to drip spit out of his mouth, and suck it back in…. Makes me gag just thinking about it…. (Note to self: What a stupid topic to spin a few hundred words on… Dumb-ass…)

Plungers and Toilets
I’m not talking about the plungers at the dorms that leave brown rings on the floor, or even used toilets… And yes, I know that the toilet seat is the least germ ridden in the home (it’s true, look it up), I’m talking about even new ones.

I remember walking through the hardware store when I was young, and watching some older kids (high school age) playing with plungers, sticking them to the floor, the walls, their faces, etc. That’s just disgusting. I don’t care that they’re new. How do you know they weren’t “quality tested” or something?

And Toilets, I cringe every time one of those designers on a “Give you a better bathroom” shows, put on gloves, and stick their fingers under the rim of the bowl to take it out. No farking way. I’d wrap my in plastic wrap before I ever stuck my fingers in it.

Broken Bones
I’ve seen people hoot and holler over videos of people breaking a leg, and watching it dangle weirdly in the wrong direction. Compound fractures too, people love when bones jut out through skin.

I wish the goddam media would stop that! I don’t want to see crooked limbs or ruptured skin!

Okay, I was planning to go for about five things, but I think I’ve gone far enough.

I usually end these posts with prompts to get people to answer a question and post a comment about what does whatever I just yapped about for them… So if you like, what grosses you out? OR if you would rather, What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?

No Crying at my Funeral!

The Macho Man Randy Savage sadly died May 20th, 2011 in a car accident. Later that day, I pasted his obituary link in my Facebook feed, and posted “SNAP INTO THE DASHBOARD!” …making fun of his “Snap into a Slim-Jim” commercials.

I IMMEDIATELY got about six or seven “Hey! Show some respect for the dead!” sorts of replies.

I contend that that’s exactly what I did.

The Macho Man Randy Savage was a performer. He was a bad-ass pro wrestler who participated in an activity that everyone knows is fake. He was a performer. He lead his whole life entertaining the masses.

Now, obviously I can’t speak for someone I’ve never met, but I can’t imagine he was hoping that when he died, everyone would step on egg shells around the fact that he died. I’m willing to bet that he’d rather have a hundred thousand screaming fans chanting for him rather than crying and fearing that they may say something wrong.

It got me to thinking about comedians who get up on stage and risk their careers telling those “too soon” jokes. I love those jokes. I hope folks tell those kinds of jokes about me when I pass. I sure as hell don’t want people standing around looking at a formaldehyde filled husk crying that I’m gone. I want people to laughing, and if it’s at my expense, I’ll be honored to bring some levity.

If you don’t feel like you could possibly laugh about my death (immediately) after I’m gone, here… let me help you:
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I want folks to joke about how enormous my head is… my hats are all XXL or 7-7/8… I can never find anything that fits my head at places like Target, and when I manage to find them (online, special order) they’re more expensive, obviously because they’re just more material.

Although I preferred “Bio-dome” folks seemed to enjoy calling me “Headquarters” in high school.
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I want folks to talk about how I can’t seem to touch anything without breaking it. It’s not necessarily true anymore, but for about ten years starting around age 16, anything that required any finesse, I broke.

Hell, anything that required even just mild care, I broke. And it seemed to make it worse that everyone knew about it, cause they’d say “Matt’s gonna break it” and sure enough… it’d break. …oddly enough, I can’t think of anything specific, but it happened constantly.
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I want people to talk about the times that I’ve thrown up, cause it really sorta happens a lot. I don’t mind throwing up when I feel the need, if truth be told. I always feel better afterwards, and it’s not like it’s difficult or painful. I always get like a 3 minute heads up when it’s inevitable too, so I’m always able to make it to the throne… So why not, right?

Once, I was hanging out with a couple friends of mine in high school, circa 1996, sitting in Brookline Villiage. I’d gorged myself on ribs earlier that day, and we’d just stopped over at a convenient store “Frans” which is no longer there.

I’d gotten some kind of healthy chocolate milk, that was fortified with vitamins or something, and it was disgusting. The first sip totally disgusted me. I got that sour-face you see when people taste whiskey for the first time.

“Puke, Matt! Puke!” my buddy cheered.

I nodded slowly. “Yeah… yeah, alright.” ..so I did. Right there, right on the side walk in front of the bench where we sat. Ribs. BLARF. Couldn’t hang out there anymore, of course, so we headed to the car. A couple more times on the way.
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I used to like tube socks, but when I started liking tube socks, the style was to pull them down, so they’d pile up just above the shoe… I think that was probably 4th grade, putting the year at about ’89 or ’90.

In fact, I’d gotten several garbage bags of hand-me-down socks from my godmother who’d complained that her kids (who were mid teens) would, instead of washing their laundry, just buy more socks. I had more tub socks than any kid on earth.

Sometime in the year 2002, I happened to notice my fiance (who is now my wife) chuckling with our roommate about it. They didn’t want to hurt my feelings, I guess… which is pretty difficult to do, but apparently crumpled up tube socks had gone outta style.

…not that at that point in life, I really gave a rat’s ass about what was in or out, mind you. Tube socks had just become the habit, and my calves are now (and were then) large enough that I can’t pull them up anyway. (Believe it or not, it’s muscle.) (or, if you need it to be something other than muscle for a joke or something, believe what you need to. 😉 )
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I don’t know why, but for some reason people like to groan and moan, and feign physical pain, and shout that they hate puns when I spout them. I don’t understand why that is. I find a good pun to be somewhat difficult to come up with, and it takes a bit of smarts to catch it if you’re not already on the look out.

But apparently, none of that matters, cause the masses seem to disagree, so… I’m sure there’s plenty of fodder there for folks to poke fun about. …just so long as they’re not making puns, I suppose.
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At my funeral, I hope they play “Another One Bites the Dust”, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, and any other song that I can’t think of right now, or doesn’t make sense right this moment but will, once we all know the cause of death… i.e. AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” if I get struck by lightening, or Soul Asylum’s “Run Away Train” if I get hit by a train, or Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” if I get hit by Jupiter, or something like that.
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My father said on his death bed: Don’t waste your time on a funeral for me. I’ll be dead; funerals are for the living.” While I’m sure he was saying “Don’t bother with a funeral at all” I prefer to say it meaning, don’t spend your time and money worrying about what you think you should have for a funeral. Because what I’d like is for everyone to do something that you all like. Enjoy. Eat. Drink. Be merry. If you must make me the center of attention, I hope it’s as the butt of a joke, cause all I want is to see you laugh.

Too soon? No, not at all, says I.

Ten Things That Boggle My Mind

Lately things have been hectic in my life, and my mind has been consumed with things I’d rather not publicly broadcast on the blog, hence my relative absence. I’ll pretend you missed my ramblings here to stroke my own ego, and apologize for the massive disappointment you must be feeling. So… sorry.

I felt though, that I’ve been considering a bunch of things that bother me, and thought I’d share. You know, cause nothing helps irritation like spreading it around. Once again, small things that drive me bananas. whining about these things won’t make it go away of course, but I think it’ll bring me some measure of comfort.

1. I’m easily distracted by small things (as you may have noticed) and even more-so by things that don’t seem to bother other people, or go unnoticed at all. I end up thinking “why does this not bother everyone?”. So I ask you: Why do actors on TV and in movies NOT say goodbye to folks on the phone?

I’ve talked to people on the phone before, and there have been conversations that have ended with simple transfer of information / sentiments only, but they’ve never been happy conversations.

I will admit however, some of my more favorable telephone encounters were brief. I hate being on the phone, so making telephone conversations as brief as possible is a great idea in my book… but even those discussions were ended with a “see ya” at least.

I did some googling, and apparently the reason is that the directors are “painfully aware of the ADD of their watchers”. I quote that, cause that’s exactly what it said. I’d give you a link, but I didn’t take it down, nor do I care to go looking again. Google is free, check it out for yourself. 😉

So, in the interest of keeping the attention of one group, they omit something small that bothers the crap out of another group. …or at least, just me. I guess they must have known that I’d be self-aware enough to know that these slights against my particular OCD in this case is dumb, and continuously dismiss my complaint, and continue to watch… where as “goodbye” would trigger the “go away” impulse in a bunch of other people.

I’m not alone here, right??

The rest of my rant is fairly brief, so don’t be afraid that 1 of 10 was around 450 words…

2) Why is it that you can say “This isn’t important” and “I won’t do that.” Why then must we say “I am not going to do this”, as opposed to “I amn’t going to do this.” Why isn’t amn’t a word??

Further… isn’t = is not. can’t = can not. Doesn’t = does not. wouldn’t = would not… What the hell is won’t?? wo not??

3) I hate the way people pronounce the name “Eric”. It’s Eh (as in ever) and ric” as in Rick… It’s not AIRic. Have you noticed people say AIRic? It’s not airic. It’s Eric.

4) Mirror… It’s two syllables. Mih-ror. Mirror. It’s not MEER.

5) There is no such thing as a mute point. It’s moot.

6) Seeing things out of the corner of your eye uses peripheral vision. It’s PER IF ER AL. Not PER If REE AL.

7) NOO KLEE AR. Not NOOK YOU LAR.

8) I know irregardless is a word, but I want people to stop using it. It’s dumb. Means the same thing as regardless and it’s harder to say. So cut it out.

9) Supposedly. not suh pose a blee.

10) There are NO M’s in “sandwich”.

Scotch, Bourbon, and Me

I used to say that I’m probably one of the only Irishmen you’ll ever meet who doesn’t much care for potatoes or whiskey. These days, that statement is no longer valid, as I’ve found that I actually do kinda like whiskey. Well, so far, it’s just a few kinds of scotch that I’ve enjoyed.

Like with anything, once I find that I like it, I want to learn more about it, as you may remember my adventures into the brewing of beer, which I really DO enjoy, and DO plan on getting back into… The thing about beer though, aside from the fact that yes, I do love it and consider myself a beer snob is that when you’re looking for a buzz, you (or at least *I*) have to drink a relatively large amount of carb-laden liquid. You have to pee a lot, burp a lot and feel bloated later, etc… Which, let’s be honest, I don’t really mind… But in the interest of getting more effect from less substance, and not turning to opiates, I decided to give whiskey a try again.

More than all that though, I’ve always liked the smell of it. I always thought it smelled sweet like apple juice. It’s one of the few food products that don’t taste anything like it smells, at least the first time you taste it…

I was told once some years ago when expressing my distaste for whiskey, that perhaps I just wasn’t “sour enough yet”, and that it may come with age. Perhaps that’s what’s happened, I guess.

Tonight, I am going to a scotch and bourbon tasting, hosted by a fellow who owns a package store nearby. It’s one of those invite only sort of deals. This all precipitated from a side trip I took to his store while looking to buy some cider, which I was doing for field research… you see, I wanted to try (and WILL! I swear it!) brewing cider, cause fundamentally, I thought it sounded easier than beer… get some cider, drop in some yeast, right? There’s a little more that goes into it, of course… But I wanted to find out what different kinds tasted like in order to figure out how I wanted to go about making it etc… anyway… I was poking through the scotch area, as I’d had a couple kids that my father in law used to drink, and found them interesting.

The owner happened to be there, and we started talking. A couple minutes later, he’d produce three half-drunk bottles of a few different scotches, and I was tasting. He’d put me on a fairly short mailing list for his scotch news letter, and tonight will be the first such tasting I will attend.

Looking very forward to it, because this stuff isn’t exactly cheap. I’d hate to spend $40 or more on a bottle of something that I ultimately find I do not like.

What are your thoughts on scotch or whiskey? Do you like it? If not, what’s your favorite drink?

Conlon – A to Z Blog Challenge

Conlon is apparently a relatively common last name in Ireland, I’m told. It’s also said that there are more Irish folks in and around Boston than there are in Ireland these days.

Red Pollard was the jockey who rode the real Seabiscuit, and although he was not a Conlon, he married one, specifically my father’s aunt. I never met him, and even if I had, I’d have been to young to remember, since he died when I was two. Still though, it was fun to go see the movie with family who had known him, and could point out the inaccuracies.

As far as I know, he’s the closest thing to a famous Conlon to whom I am directly related.

Other Conlons of fame include the family… uh, Conlon… in “In the name of the Father“.

Facebook sort of opened my eyes to how many Conlons, and more specifically how many MATT Conlons there are. I belong to a Facebook group named “My Name Is Matt Conlon.” There are 28 of us. We like to joke that if we ever had a get together, we wouldn’t have to introduce ourselves to anyone, because we’d already know each other’s names.

This is our Coat of Arms. It’s got a bird of some kind, I think a stork or a pelican and it’s pecking itself in the chest and bleeding. Below is a tortoise. What the symbolism is, I have no idea, so if you do, please share!

Do you know any Conlons, real or imagined??

The Little Things

My recently renewed sense of stability seems to have brought with it my abnormal propensity for reflecting on the little things that I enjoy, and writing about said little things in a meandering big-worded style. It’s seldom I get a good post out without at least a handful of parenthesis and …s.

(I forget what the three periods are called, but I’m well aware I over use them… To understand why I like them, try to read my posts and pretend that it’s you speaking the words, turn the three periods into a short pause during which you allow your listener the chance to add a thought, which turns into a slightly awkward silence where they wait for you to get to the freaking point… Not sure why, but I like pauses like that. Gives me a moment to think, and who doesn’t like to irk their listeners a little, right? Anyway, I think I owe you a right-parenthesis… I think I’ll hold on to it for now. I’d make a terrible code monkey…

So like I was saying in the title, I’ve been thinking about some of the lesser appreciated little things that bring us some measure of pleasure, and thought I’d pay tribute. There are enough posts about children’s laughter or playful kittens. I’m not talking about finding $20 in your old jacket, or getting a free lunch when you don’t expect it… Those things are great, but really… What’s the sense in posting about something easy to enjoy like that?

No, I’m talking about the unsung heroes of our superficial pleasures.

I love potato chips, as any red-cholesterol-clotted-blooded American does, but even better than the potato chip, is a potato chip that’s folded over onto itself. There’s a certain crunch it gives as your teeth shatter through it, twice in one bit that can’t be paralleled, even by biting two chips at once.

I was once told by a brother of mine, that if you find a potato chip that’s folded over and it’s touching itself, and you can fit that entire potato chip into your mouth without breaking it, then you get to make a wish. I imagine he told me that at least twenty-five years ago, but to this day, I still do it, and I still make a wish.

It’s a well-known fact, that I am a serious ice cream addict. I have my favorites like anyone else, but I love ice cream in a bowl, and eating it with a metal spoon. I like to take that spoon after removing it from my mouth, and I lay it on the ice cream, and watch the wetness in the spoon slowly freeze when the spoon’s temperature drop. It reminds me of an old Tom and Jerry episode when they flood the kitchen, and open the freezer door, dip some wires from the fridge into the water, and the whole kitchen freezes over like a forest after a New England ice storm. The water slowly, magically freezes, the ice sweeping out across the floor… That’s how the left-behind slobber on the spoon freezes. I highly recommend trying it out. It’ll become your new bad habit.

I love crispy chicken skin. Naturally, it’s the worst part of the chicken, but a slab of seasoned, well crisped chicken skin is a close rival to possibly even bacon. I have a respect for vegetarians, but I can honestly say there’s absolutely no other food that even comes close to bacon or chicken skin. Were I to go the way of the herbivorous, there’d be no substitute for these things.

I haven’t done it in a while (read: over 20 years) but I always used to love smearing Elmer’s glue on my hand, waiting for it to dry, just to peel it off like a layer of dead skin… I know, it sounds sick, and perhaps it’s a little-boy thing, but honestly, it’s a good time. There were a bunch of us in grade school who used to do it, and we’d compete to see who could peel the biggest piece. I find myself looking back fondly on it lately, with school back in session there are tons of Elmer’s glue commercials. Don’t use rubber cement though, it doesn’t work the same, and takes longer to dry. Paste also doesn’t work the same, so don’t bother. Leave it for that weird kid who eats it.

I’m sure I’ve got a ton of these, and I’ll be sure to post them up as I think of them. What are you less obvious little things that bring you pleasure?? Try to keep it clean, this is a family show. 😉

Oh, and here… )