The Turkey Day Running Diary

Prologue: At the beginning of last week, I was still up in the air about what I was going to do for Thanksgiving. Why? Because unlike most of America, we had to work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday AND Friday, while having the weekend off. Being from Maine and having two families to check in with, my choices were to a) drive around like a Canadian madman in a 24-hour span or b) go to someone’s else house that I was invited to and use the weekend to visit both parents. I decided to go with the latter, but a big ‘c’ would change that.

Ever feel good and then one minute, you don’t? That was me at around 3:30 Monday afternoon. Out of nowhere, I started getting that head cold/sick feeling which is still with me a week later. It intensified through the week and because of the games, I couldn’t afford to take a sick day. After leaving the game Wednesday night, I talked to my buddy Ben (whom I was doing T-Day with) and said that it was going to be a game-time decision depending on how I felt Thursday AM. For precautions, however, I did swing by the local Stop n’Shop and pick up a small chicken, instant potatoes, stuffing and some apple crisp so I could enjoy some semblance of a traditional holiday. Late Wednesday night, I didn’t feel any better, so it was to be me, the chicken and the TV making three on Thanksgiving. Here’s where our story begins…

9 am: Wake up for the first time and fall back asleep.

10:30 am: Wake up again…fall asleep again.

12:10 pm: Ahhhh…now it’s time. I probably could have slept for a while longer (I maxed out at around 12 hours of nap time), but I started thinking about the chicken and rolled out of bed. As I looked outside at the neighboring houses and saw the cars littered out front in the traditional T-Day format, I had a feeling of joy: for the first time in years, I wasn’t going to have to rush around or put on a show for anyone. It was just me and my cooking skills for the whole day and I was excited as hell. I even grabbed some AAA batteries for the living room TV remote, which has been empty for about two months. It was that kind of day!

**Speaking of TV, is there a purpose for parades anymore? I’ve never been a big fan (save the Spider-Man float when I was younger) as watching giant balloons, bands and celebrity singers lip-synching on floats just doesn’t do it for me. (“Look Katie, it’s the CingularVerizonWalMartMacyMcDonalds Teen Singers from the 80s float. Is that Tiffany or Debbie Gibson?”) Then again, maybe it’s just me.

12:30 pm: I look at the Purdue chicken for the first time and read the cooking instructions. ‘Remove giblet packet and rinse cavity.’ Hmmm? Giblet packet? What the hell is that? Complications already…

1 pm: After doing the above, the chicken heads into the oven. In two hours, it’s either a great feast or $15 to Pizza Hut. In either case, the day’s a success.

1:20 pm: As I headed down to throw in some laundry, I spot Requiem for a Dream on the dvd cabinet. This movie is just staring me in the face, daring me to watch it. I’ve never been so intimidated by a movie in my life, other than Transformers: The Movie. Why did they have to kill Optimus Prime? Whyyyyyy?!!!!!

(Sorry about that, but killing off OP so early in that film was a huge mistake. He’s the face of the Autobots and you slay him in the first 30 minutes? Does that make any sense?)

1:30 pm: We’re only 30 minutes into the first football games and there’s been about 32 cooking references by the broadcasters. At this rate, I’m going back to the bed. But the sun comes out and I’m fully convinced at how great this day is.

2:00 pm: We’re an hour into cooking and I decided to check on the bird, which is doing gangbusters. Thinking some big production will be needed with coordinating the potatoes and stuffing, I decided to start planning ahead. However, I failed to consider that both are instant and would take about 10 minutes max. My Martha Stewart moment faded away just like that. I cracked my first beer to get over the pain….

2:01 pm: Yep, I’m over it.

2:13 pm: We’re at the half of the Indy/Lions game and Peyton Manning has thrown for 173 touchdowns. I take the moment to put in the first calls of the day to Mom and then Dad. I got a voicemail on one and a busy signal on the other, so I’ll try again later. I must say that with the ridiculous and sometimes anti-family schedule I work, I have a very understanding family. Christmas will be somewhat similar, but we just roll with the punches and hope for better the next year.

As much as I downplayed the T-Day traditions last week, someone told me I was probably doing it in an attempt to forget how much fun I usually have. That statement is pretty true, actually. People assume that it was very sad for me to stay home along, but knowing I had the weekend made it very easy to keep it low-key. I was also amazed at how many offers I got to go other places. It’s certainly the only holiday of its kind that makes people open their doors to strangers like nothing else.

2:15 pm: I’m flipping around and catch some Real World reruns (big surprise…I don’t think MTV has played an actual video during daylight or primetime hours since 1993). Does it seem that every bar/nightclub the housemates go into is the most happening place in the world? I love the ultra-zoom in shots of the bar sign and the token ‘get a shot of the bartender pouring multiple shots’ scene as well. This definitely has to be one of the more blah casts in recent years. The two curly hair guys are the ones having fun while everyone else is content to bitch. And have there been two curly hair guys ever on the RW? Now, I’m thinking too much.

2:3o pm: Alright, the potatoes and stuffing are ready to start. Despite the fact they’re instant, I find myself consulting the directions more than I actually should.

2:35 pm: They’re done. Time for another beer for that hard work…

2:40 pm: The big mystery at this point is when the lil’ white thermometer will pop, indicating the chicken is done. I starting wondering what would happen if the thing broke or if it didn’t work at all. Would it ruin the chicken? How do I truly know if it’s cooked? This little white piece of plastic could be the make or break of this entire day and I’m nothing but putty in its hands.

2:47 pm: Pop!

3:07 pm: As I sit down for my first self-made Thanksgiving meal, a few thoughts crossed my mind…

1) Accomplishment. I took a potentially bad situation and made a great learning experience out of it. It may seem like throwing a chicken in an oven and mixing up a few instant side dishes, but to me, well…that’s exactly what it was. But it meant something, damn it!

2) The Detroit Lions look terrible today and we have a Cowboys/Bears game to look forward to. Ugh.

3) Laguna Beach. I caught 10 minutes of this and find it hard to actually get interested/root for any of these spoiled 18-year-old rich punks in Cali. The one thing that works for most MTV reality shows is that most viewers can somewhat relate to the people on the show. On LB, you can’t. It’s the real version of ‘The O.C.’ and it’s almost impossible to watch.

4) While I love VH1, I’m starting to notice the recurring theme of all of their social commentators basically hating on everyone and everything. As a nod to Turkey Day, they were featuring some of the “Worst such and such” shows and it seemed like the comedians, writers, etc. they secured as experts just made fun of the subjects with no real reason why, often really stretching for laughs. I wish I had more examples, but try and make note of this the next time you watch VH1. I mean, it’s fun to hate every once in a while but it just seems they’re taking it to Player Haters’ Ball-type proportions. hatehatehate….(if you know Chappelle, you understand that last sentence.)

The rest of the day: Honestly, I stopped writing things down but here’s a recap:

–Dishes. Ugh. Even cooking for one makes a mess…

–This Cowboys/Bears game almost made me gag on my apple crisp. Almost.

–I got to I.M. with my younger brother, who’s in London on a semester-long exchange. It was just one of those moments that you could have never predicted a year ago, but just shows how crazy life really is.

–Because of my 12-hour sleep and multiple cups of coffee, I didn’t fall asleep until 3 am. Good thing I have Friday off!…oh wait, I don’t.

Epilogue: I think if I came away with one life lesson/observation, it’s that being comfortable with being alone and the ability to ‘hang out’ with yourself is amazingly important. I had a great and productive day and I didn’t even talk to anyone. Now, I wouldn’t want to do this every holiday but the fact I made it through impressed me personally. I think some people have a big issue with being by themselves in certain situations, but if you can’t cope with your own being, how can you expect others to? Just a thought…

Now if I can just get into the Christmas spirit…

thanks for reading,

nason

Advertisements

Same as it ever was…

To quote an old fraternity brother, “Ooooooo, what a weekend.”

After the haze that was last week, the past five days was shockingly better. After mailing away my DVD player for a recall, I got two back. A secretary at my chiropractor’s office apparently thinks I’m quite a catch, a nice confidence boost even though she is married and middle-aged. (My rating with this demographic has never been higher.) And I got quite a few nice emails/calls from friends showing their encouragement in what’s been a tough month. While not necessary, it’s always nice to hear people say glowing things about you. If we had more of this in society, I think we’d be happier…and maybe Anna Nicole Smith wouldn’t be so strange.

After working on Friday, I had a slew of options open up for Saturday/Sunday which included Montreal and NYC among other things. I think it goes without saying that having more to do is a lot better than having less, even if you let some people down along the way. Popularity has its advantages and disadvantages and sometimes, the latter can be more difficult than the former. I must disgress before I get caught up in too much verbage…let’s get to the brawl!

Well, let’s backtrack a bit. Long story short (or medium), a bunch of us went out to go see an 80s cover band called the Awesome. This would mark the third time we’ve seen them at this Portland, ME, club called the Big Easy. Normally, we go there without issue. Not Saturday night. Around closing time, we were rounding up folks for a post-party and paying off tabs when all of a sudden, we all jumped aboard the Good Ship Drama as a strange series of events triggered a slap to the face of one of the crew and a slightly-immature chant toward the slapper that resulted in the drunk owner of the club charging after one of my friends in one of the most bizarre scenes this cat has seen since Pedro Martinez’ midget buddy burst onto the Boston scene. I could get into what started the whole mess but there’s really no point. The main thing to know is that an awkward situation turned into an ugly one..real quick-like.

The owner charging my unsuspecting friend touched off a Vibe Awards pseudo-brawl inside the club featuring several of my crew playing the role of G-Unit while the bar owner and his twin brother played the role of the faceless punks going after Dr. Dre. Eventually, things cooled down to a hot boil and we started clearing out. Then, a tall Frenchman starting talking sh*t to one of our guys and then I started getting a bit upset. While I was investigating this scene, a guy with The Artist Formerly Known as Prince symbol hat (not making this up) was trying to escort me out for no real reason. I’m kicking myself today for not making a Raspberry Beret or When Doves Cry joke. We got all outside and were collecting ourselves when…

The owner/brother combo charged outside looking for more! It started again and got broke up again and we eventually just left the area laughing and trying to figure out exactly what had happened/caused whatever occurred in the past 20 minutes. By the way, I was motioning for the Frenchman to come outside. Me, who I consider to be completely even-tempered in most situations, was actually looking to get in on this. It was that kind of night. The funniest comment was the owner yelling “You hit soft..you hit soft” while failing to notice the stream of red coming from his mouth.

And I fully blame the Indiana Pacers and Ron Artest for this.

—-I’m happy to welcome some new readers (hopefully you’re still reading anyway) to this site as I’ve been meaning to add some new emails for the past few weeks. Feel free to check out the archives on the site and forward this site/send me emails to add anytime. I was surprised again when this past weekend, another person asked to be added, saying “You’re an amazing writer.” The pressure is on!

—-Because of work Wednesday AND Friday and trying to work with the whole divorced family thing, this will be the first Thankgiving that I won’t be spending with a family member as I’m choosing to do my visiting over the weekend. I think it will be a strange feeling as it’s literally been 25 years with the traditional Turkey Day events. But I got to thinking: what’s the deal with this holiday anyway? If you take a step back, it’s just a day to spend with people eating a ton of food. That’s really it. In a way, it’s kinda cool. Seriously, most normal folks get Thursday and Friday off, eat a TON of food and chill out for what works out to be a four-day weekend. If you were to construct the perfect holiday, that might be it, coming a close third to X-Mas (you get stuff. Enough said.) and St. Patrick’s Day (a day that celebrates drunkness). If there’s a more American set of celebrations, what is it?

Side note: One of the funnier and true things I heard said was from a co-worker two years ago regarding going out on St. Patty’s Day or New Year’s Eve: “No way I’m going out. It’s f**kin’ amateur hour out there!” I got to thinking about that and it’s 100% true. On both days, people come out of the woodwork to get shitty, most drinking too much too early and pass out at like 7:30. They clog everything up for the grizzled vets, who are forced to grumble and fight their way through their local watering hole. Is there any other day that attracts so many who are trying to be who they’re really not? Does that sentence make any sense?

–In case you were wondering, the new Eminem album is okay at best. Again, in case you were wondering.

I think that’ll do it for today. Je suis fatigue. Have a great holiday week!

Thanks for reading,

nason

Last Kid Picked Disease…

You’d probably never guess how tough it is trying to pick a subject for our time here every week. I try to use things going on in either a) my world or b) the real world and put my spin on them. I get good reviews from people, so I guess you like it as it provides a bit of entertainment in your week. I’m glad to do it as it allows me the opportunity to start writing again (albeit for a smaller audience) and unearth something that I used to love doing for so long.

I generally try to keep it upbeat, but this week’s main focus is not. For those of you that truly know me, some of this won’t come as a surprise but for those that don’t, this will hopefully shade in the rest of exactly who this guy is that you know. This will probably put me out there for some speculation and some thinking I’m feeling sorry for myself, but at this point, I’ve got nothing left to hide or lose. It’s been a bad week so I appreciate the time.

When I tell people that I have a huge self-esteem issue, the response is usually, “Really?” or “No way.” Well once and for all, yes. I have a big self-confidence issue that is most likely caused by my childhood – big surprise. I was pretty much made fun of for a good portion of my life because I was overweight and when you’re a kid, anything is open for ridicule. Junior high and the first few years of high school were torturous at times, because even friends I trusted turned on me and were focused on making me the punchline of the day. There was no fighting back as I felt so overwhelmed that I just wanted to stay as inconspicuous as possible and not make any waves, save bringing on another tidal wave of insults. Imagine spending every day constantly on mental defense because that’s the only way you could make it through – that was me for a good portion of my younger life. Years later, the comments linger, hovering over me as a constant daily reminder of how cruel some people can truly be.

On a positive, I had to develop what I’ve been told is a quick wit and sense of humor because I simply had no other option. It was either that or mentally shut down completely, which I was able to somehow avoid. I feel somewhat lucky that I ‘made it’ through and didn’t let that group I used to run with bring me down. As I drive through where I used to live and hear the stories of how they’re still all hanging around, I get a little satisfaction at knowing their lives are a little worse than mine. A cruel thought? F**k ‘em. They’ve left me with an unwanted present, so they deserve everything that’s coming to them.

Despite all the friends I’ve made and people I know, this little bug stays with me and probably will never go away. It’s not nearly as bad today as it was back then, since I don’t have to worry about constant comments, but the only issue is whenever something comes up, I blow it out of proportion in my own mind. Things that usually glance off other people stick to me and stay with me for days. I don’t have an answer for how to avoid it and there’s no rational reason to why comments bug me, but they do.

As you can guess, this has translated over to how I deal with the female side. While college was good to me overall, I’ve never had a relationship last over two months. The few girls that have truly meant anything to me have all disintegrated away in a puddle of bad breaks and even worse stories, bringing me to the conclusion that I must be doing something wrong or that something’s up with me. Even simple tasks for most people like asking girls out is a process on its own as I pretty much assume they’ll say no, so the sense of even asking to me is foolish. It’s a defeatist attitude, but this is what I’m dealing with. When I finally do set my sights on someone that I might have a chance with, it takes a good amount of mental preparation to ask – again, stuff that may sound completely ridiculous to you, but is my reality.. I’d love for things to be easier, would love to actually ask someone that I want to date say yes and love to just experience something that so many others enjoy, but every time I make the effort, I end up on the losing end and feel set back from all the process I had made to lead up to that point. I hate it. I hate that pit in your stomach and empty feeling you get after you throw yourself out there and feel like you get nothing in return. So instead of constantly putting myself on the tracks, I just stay in the station, watching the trains go by and thinking how I should jump on one and go for a ride.

(Bad analogy? You still with me? Fun stuff is coming…I promise.)

So after another setback Thursday night (made worse by the massive hangover – mental and physical I had Friday), I’m left with this question: is it better to ask and get an answer or not ask and not have to worry about the repercussions of that answer? You know, I’m not sure anymore. The optimists of the group would say to just keep on plugging away and that one of these times, it’s going to work out for me, that I just need to be patient and to not worry about it. But I’m tired of being patient. I’m tired of throwing a gutter ball when I need a strike. I’m tired of having to get the same advice over and over and over and over again. I’m just plain tired, I guess. I’m finding myself getting more angry and frustrated by the day and just plain confused about exactly what I should do. I’ve got enough advice through the years to fill a book, but I just don’t buy any of it. Cynical? Perhaps. But I’ve been told that a pessimist is an optimist with experience. It’s just that this pessimist feels very alone but can’t find the door that opens up into the party.

But what makes a lot of sense is you. Yes, you. Sitting right there at that computer reading this. After my parents divorced (at the ripe old age of 8 for yours truly) in a very bitter fashion, I was left questioning the whole term ‘family’ and how two people that claimed to be in love could be so callous and uncaring in such a meaningless manner. Because of this, I learned to trust and seek out more friends to rely on as a support network which really didn’t blossom until my college years when I joined a fraternity and supposedly bought my friends. Whatever. All I know that is that I have an AMAZING group of people that I rely on to get through my everyday and have got me through tough times and ditto with their issues. It’s because of you that I am able to somehow overcome all of the issues I mentioned above and end my day knowing that deep down I’m a good person that deserves to be happy. You might not know it, but just by being yourself, you make more of a difference on me than you’d ever imagine.

Thank you for being there when I call, email or stop in. Thank you for listening and providing feedback. Thank you for trusting me when you have stuff you’d like to talk about. Thank you for being people that I can brag about to others. Finally, thank you for being the real reason why I wake up every single day.

Thank you.

(whhhhhhhhewwwwwwww…that felt good.)

So what better to raise spirits than a f**kin’ big ass rock show? I can’t think of much. Me and the LCG (Law College God) checked out Velvet Revolver on Friday night, a group made up of Weiland (formerly of Stone Temple Pilots) and Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum (formerly of Guns n’ Roses). These guys f**king rock, putting out their own material and even doing some covers (Crackerman and Sex Type Thing from STP, It’s So Easy, Mr. Brownstone and Used To Love Her from GNR), which just completed the experience.

Sure, Weiland dances around on stage in a fashion that would cause most to think he’d be better suited in a Frankie Goes To Hollywood cover band. Sure, he wore a belly shirt and metal sash. Sure, Slash has a belly button ring and a waist bracelet like Beyonce. But, damn it, they’re awesome! Seriously, most of the stage performance (which made the show) featured stuff that would get most of modern guys either a) ridiculed or b) a date with Nathan Lane. But the fact that Scott Weiland pulled out all the stops in little Manchester, NH, made a big difference to everyone there. The term ‘rock gods’ are around for a reason…

While we’re at it, is Axl living with any of you? Reality can’t seem to find him.

Other tidbits:

–Three weeks and counting and the Red Sox’ World Series win has not been reversed. Just an FYI…

–In disappointing news, Anchorman will not be released until after X-Mas. Booooooooo! However, White Chicks is out on DVD. Rejoice all!

–I’ve been told that Requiem For A Dream will change the way I look at everything and not in a good way. I’m trying to figure if X-Mas Eve might be a good time to break it out of the case…

–Speaking of, Christmas is like a month-and-half away. How does life seem to go by so slow at times, while also going by so quickly?

I think that’s about it for this week…you’re a great audience.

Thanks for reading,

nason

A Whitman’s Chocolate Box O’Fun…

..and after one week and a day off, it’s time to bring back your favorite weekly pleasure. Regular programming resumes…now!

–Am I un-American in thinking those magnets on the back of people’s cars are stupid? For some reason, our countrymen and women are destined to blindly follow any trend that supports the philosophy of the country we live in without even thinking of why we’re doing it. Those magnets are a prime example of this, as well as the proliferation of certain American icons after the chaos that was 9/11. The greatest tragedy our generation has ever seen resulted in a commercial bonanza for anyone pushing pro U.S. items. It was hard to go anywhere without seeing flags, anti-Osama stuff and just about anything with the Red, White and Blue on it. While comforting at first, I began to wonder where all this stuff was before September 11th. Was America that bad before then? Did the flag undergo a makeover? No. But September 12th was the first day I ever remember our country and its symbols standing side-by-side with McDonalds, Calvin Klein or any other recognizable icon as what it’s now become: a brand name.

Why has this happened? Because the majority of people feel like they have to keep up and show their patriotism in order to keep acceptance with the rest of popular society. We don’t do it as a result of a great spiritual awakening or because we’ve actually grown as people. To hang a flag on the front of your house is one thing. To hang one and actually participate in U.S. society (voting, etc.) is another. Same with the magnets: a physical gesture is one thing but to truly understand the meaning behind why you’re putting it up? That’s another. Unfortunately to me, I just don’t feel this happening when it comes to anything to do with America. I love this country and I wish for the safety of everyone overseas in any/all situations, but there comes a point when ‘support’ gets muddled with ‘bandwagon.’ Bottom line: if you’re going to throw a magnet that says ‘Support the Troops” on your car, at least understand why you’re really putting it on there. Learn about the conflict and be educated enough to stand up for your beliefs. That’s the American Way, right?

–Ok, I’ll say it: I can’t tell how old or young girls are anymore. I officially give up. At the gym, at the movies, in the mall, you just can’t tell and it’s absolutely perplexing. How are we to blame on checking out girls that could be either 12, 18 or 26? The line between puberty and menopause has never been so thin. With pop culture continuing to push the tan, thin and hot line, females have Lindsay Lohan-like pressure to keep up their looks. On the flip side, us guys have never had a better excuse for checking out women and actually pretending to slam on them (“Seriously honey, how old is that girl? That’s ridiculous.”). If you’re clever enough, this is better than wearing mirrored sunglasses in terms of scoping out mega-hot babes…tubular and rad!

What exactly happened to the modern day teenage girl anyway? Did the government just start putting some super drug into water than just advanced every female’s aging process? I don’t remember girls ever looking this hot at such potentially young ages, if you could tell what age that is at all. It’s everywhere and it’s all thanks to Britney Spears and the Catholic dress dance in ‘Hit Me Baby…” From there, everything changed. (Or was it the countdown to when the Olsen twins became legal?) These types of events should be in history books. By the way, in my government, I’ll make all such people wear signs that tell how old they are…or lower the legal age, whatever works easier for the people. I can’t imagine that older women like competing with teens for attention either.

–I have to say it. I can’t stand it: naked guys in the locker room of the gym. I mean, seriously. If you’re taking a shower, wear a towel. If you’re in the nude for any reason, do it as minimally as possible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone in the locker room and been greeting by any multitude of old guys just hanging out. Just bizarre. The worst? Yesterday, I was crouched down and packing up my stuff when a nudist walks over and bends down right next to me, his ass literally a foot from my face. Just….arrgh.

–I think if I had to live life all over again, I’d strive to make it on the Real World or Road Rules. If you get popular on this show, you’re made for life with the advent of the new Real World vs. Road Rules shows. There are some people on here (the Miz, Coral, Eric, etc. ) that must not have any type of career or life outside these shows, because they’re always on these shows. Is there an MTV curse? If you’re on either RR or RW, is it possible to have a real life? Really, who wouldn’t want to compete against hot girls, be the envy of millions of youngsters across the country and get drunk all the time? There should be college degrees on how to get on MTV.

More thoughts on RR vs. RW: If you can’t be older than 24 to qualify, why do all the old people get to keep doing this?…how hot has Tonya (the girl in Chicago with all of the liver problems) got? Was there some medication she took that helped her? Is it available in 50-gallon drums?…

–So I was the grocery store the other day and jumped in one of the 10 items or less line, you know, the one that always takes the longest. Most of this is caused by people continuing the archaic tradition of writing checks. Since most of the modern world has embraced the internet like Paris Hilton and a bottle of peroxide, there seems to be no real need for checks as most businesses have gone 100% online including grocery stores. It’s always the 10-item lines though that attract the checkwriters, always asking for pens and “What’s the total again?” If you’re continuing to purchase items using checks. get help. Please. (I’ll save the new Self-Checkout lines for another day…)

–Hey Buddy. Buddy is a reader who wanted me to give him a shout out. Buddy used to work for the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, which makes me wonder if he ever got trained on what to do if a zombie epidemic took over like in 28 Days Later or Dawn of the Dead.

–Have you seen the new anti-drug commercial where the dad is ripping on his son for missing his kid brother’s birthday? Have you seen the look on the kid’s face, complete with tilted birthday hat? I pride myself on being emotionally detatched from a lot of stuff (thanks for the divorce, mom and dad!), but this commercial gets me almost every time. I almost want to find that kid and buy him like 23 birthday presents. If you don’t get emotional watching this, you don’t have a heart!

–I did the previously unthinkable and checked out “The Incredibles” Sunday night…great movie. The Pixar studios are amazing in what they can do and because of their success, every movie they make brings in mucho dollars. If you get a chance, go check it out…I think you’ll like it.

Enough rambling for one week…until next time,

GOULET!!!

-nason