Remembering Return of the Living Dead

When I was six I went with my mother to a friend’s house.  This wasn’t unusual as the house belonged to her childhood friend who had twin sons my age who were now my friends.  I spent a significant chunk of my youth with and around that family, so being over at their house was business as usual.

What was not business as usual was the movie playing on this particular day.  Return of the Living Dead had come out the year before and their father had bought a copy of it on VHS just the night before.  And because he was kind of a sick twisted dick, he decided that playing the movie for a group of children ranging from three to 10 would be tons of fun.

The movie terrified me.  I mean, run out of the room screaming into my mother’s arms terrified.  And yet, it was also fascinating.  I’d never seen anything like it, literally.  I’d never seen what I now think of as typical 80s punk look:

A few years later I would try - and spectacularly fail - to replicate some of these looks in an attempt to look radical

A few years later I would try – and spectacularly fail – to replicate some of these looks in an attempt to look totally gnarly

I’d never seen a fully nude woman as Linnea Quigley’s character Trash does about 19 minutes into the film.

I’d never seen zombies or vast amounts of blood and gore and destruction.  I’d never seen a good guy, as I thought of dopey protagonist Freddy, turn bad and proceed to try to murder anyone around him.

The movie marked a lot of firsts for me, but perhaps it is most notable for being the movie that began my fascination with zombies.  Without seeing this movie 27 years ago, would I be working on my Zombies? Zombies! anthology today?  I really don’t think so.

And so when I saw today on Youtube that the entire movie is available streaming on the site, well, I couldn’t resist a walk down memory lane.  I watched the movie for a second time about 10 years ago and after watching it for a third time today I must say it holds up surprisingly well.  In my mind at least, but in my mind it’s been a hokey, silly experience since I was old enough not to be terrified of zombies anymore.

There’s really nothing hugely special about this outside of the morbid humor used at times, “Send more police” but it will always hold a special place in my heart.  It changed my life, which is kind of sad because it’s such a ridiculous movie, but I’m okay with that.  And so here it is in its glorious majesty, Return of the Living Dead


Cold Turkey Week 1 Recap

Well it’s been seven days and I did cave to a certain extent last night.  I had a couple of glasses of excellent scotch whiskey (The Glenlivet, yum) and drinking has always been my smoking weakness.  Even when I wasn’t a regular smoker, if I drank I smoked.  So after those couple of glasses, I shared a cigarette with my wife.  Just one.

And today, I’ve not felt a single craving.  I thought that moment of weakness might cause some sort of setback, but nope.  I feel good again.  Maybe the secret will be to just have one or two a week and stick with that.  I’ve gone a week with only half a cigarette while my wife has smoked about two packs.  I’ll take it.

Anyway, to celebrate 1 week since my last cigarette I created a special 7-day recap.  It’s fairly gif-heavy in what is hopefully a successful attempt at comedy, so I decided to put it on its own page.  Click here to check out my Cold Turkey Week 1 Recap and let me know what you think!

Cold Turkey, Day 6

Today has been rougher than I expected.  I’m not exactly sure what I expected, except maybe deep down I believed the battle would magically be over after 5 days without a cigarette. Even though I’ve read about nicotine withdrawal and I know it can take up to six months for symptoms to disappear, I didn’t expect the craving to be this strong six days on.

For example, it took me ten minutes to write that first paragraph, because I kept daydreaming about smoking a cigarette.

Kind of how I feel on day 6

Kind of how I feel on day 6

I may have been overconfident.  I’ve always considered myself a reluctant smoker for two major reasons.  I know what it can do to a person, as I saw firsthand with my father.  And cigarettes taste godawful.  I mean, horrible.  Unlike other smokers I’ve known and know, I never grew to enjoy the taste of burning tobacco.  For those two reasons, I guess I believed quitting would be a piece of cake after the first 48-72 hours of unpleasantness.

I guessed wrong, because I really want a cigarette.  If I stop and think about it I can feel my body reacting to the brain’s command to fulfill this chemical dependency.  My head starts to ache and I begin to feel nervous for no obvious reason.  I feel my body’s response to those nerves, a jolt of adrenaline that starts in my midsection and spreads through my body like little waves of lightning bolts.

I keep picturing myself on my front porch, cigarette in one hand, Kindle in the other.  No, today’s bitterly cold wind would spoil that.  The back patio, then, in the sun.  Part of me wants that very, very much.

That part of me is not going to receive what it wants, because there are currently no cigarettes in the house as my wife took them to work with her.  If there were, I think I would probably smoke one.  Just one, because the awful taste and the unpleasant dizziness/queasiness will remind me why I don’t like smoking in the first place.

But I won’t, because I got this.  A little nervousness?  Pshaw!  For some awful reason I feel nervous every time I’m in public, but that doesn’t stop me.  A minor headache?  Headaches end.

No, I don’t think I will smoke just one.  While I may want one, I certainly don’t need one.

I didn’t need them when I started smoking regularly either.  It was the summer of 2005 and I was working at Books-A-Million until the fall when I planned on getting involved full-time with the student newspaper.  That summer was probably the greatest of my life.

I had just returned from a semester spent in England.  I was in love with my future wife and though we lived in a crappy little apartment, it had the most amazingly large deck that was perfect for reading outside or having drinks with friends.  And thanks to working at Books-A-Million, I made some pretty awesome friends.

It was because of those friends that I became a regular smoker.  Or rather, it was because of my politeness toward those friends.  Many of my coworkers smoked and would often accumulate outside for smoke breaks.  I would join occasionally to give myself a break and get some fresh air, and inevitably bum a cigarette from one of my new friends.

Sneaking away and leaving Darcy, the nice, innocent eighteen-year-old or Jenny, a friend who didn’t smoke at the front counter became a thing between me and what were fast becoming two good friends.  And after a week of that, I started feeling really bad about bumming a couple of cigarettes a night from these guys, so I bought a pack.

“I’m just doing this so I don’t become a nuisance,” I told myself.  “Not because I need them.”

It’s as true today as it was then.  I’ve never smoked a cigarette because I need one.  And here’s to hoping I continue to refuse to smoke because I want one.  The problem is I’m just beginning to realize that I can kick the habit, defeat the withdrawals, get it completely out of my system and I will likely always want one.

And this pretty sums up my reaction to that.

And this pretty sums up my reaction to that.


Digging, or, I love you but I’m not going there

Last night I’m rocking with my daughter Nyxie, and she’s being particularly jerkish about going to sleep tonight.  She’s been fussing and carrying on for two hours and my patience is starting to run thin.  I know there will still be nights like this, that just because she’s graduated from cute meat sack to tiny human being doesn’t mean she’s going to be perfect.  I know this, but it’s Wednesday night, the middle of the work week.  I just want to chill, liveblog some Survivor and hang out with my lovely wife.nyxiewink

The frustration builds as she squirms and cries in my arms when suddenly she stops and arches her back.  Her hand reaches behind her and starts pulling out her diaper.

“Butt hurts,” she says in her small purposely pitiful voice.  “Scratch.”

This is a regular routine with her.  Not scratching her butt, that was new, but scratching something.  Her back or her shoulder or, most commonly – and strangely – her toe.

Scratching her butt was new, and my Nyxie, poor thing, has almost no butt.  Just two flat puckered cheeks that look only barely escape looking like more thigh.  There’s really not a lot of room to scratch and I had just changed a diaper containing an atomic turd less than half an hour ago, so I wasn’t about to go digging too deep.  But I oblige and start scratching her lower back.  That’s not good enough.

“Eh, eh, eh” she whines, lifting up her diaper again.  I scratch down a bit, above and to the left of her butt crack.

G’in,” she says again in her weak, pitiful baby voice.  Not quite two and a half yet and she has fake pouting down to a science.  “G’in!


“Get in,” she says to me, enunciating her words again.  “Get in there.”

My wife, who is sitting on the couch, starts cracking up.

“Did she just say ‘get in there’?”

I nod, trying to contain my laughter as she now tries to guide my hand into the depths of her diaper to scratch what I consider to be an area far too close to her little rectum.

“Not going to happen,” I tell her and pull my hand to her lower back.

“Eh, eh, eh!” she repeats, trying to grab my hand again, but I give her the one thing I know will get her to stop.

“No,” I say in my low, forceful Daddy voice.

Her eyes water, then clench closed as she takes a deep breath to start hollering to announce her next bout of overtired theatrics.  She will go to sleep tonight, and her refusal to give in to the sandman will cause some more annoyance before the end.

But sometimes the annoyance is worth it for one of those classic and unique experiences you get with the crazy little things that are children.  When you have kids you quickly learn that it’s not all fun.  It’s hard, often exhausting work that will stretch you to your limits.  And cliche as it is to say, the little moments – the smile, the bit of developing personality shining through, the hugs and “I love you”s – make all the hours of wanting to pull your hair out worth it.

Need a new blog post?


If you don’t know Dr. John Zoidberg, let this youtube video be your introduction.  He’s a minor character on the Fox show Futurama, but for some reason I just cannot explain he’s near to my heart.

He’s good for a laugh

Or as a hat

made by Delusions of Grace

As a smiley






Or an emoticon

(V) (;,,;) (V)

Not so much as a doctor though

So many memories, so many strange fluids gushing out of patients' bodies

So many memories, so many strange fluids gushing out of patients’ bodies








There’s (almost) always an occasion for Zoidberg.

The Toddler’s Shoe Obsession

My son had what you might consider an unhealthy obsession with shoes from a young age.  It started with his teeth.  His first tooth came in at three months and they continued in what felt like a nonstop stream for the next three years.

Like most babies who start moving around, he would put anything he could find in his mouth.  It’s the baby handshake, like dogs sniffing each others butts.  Gabe would chew on just about anything he could find, but he took it to a whole new level with shoes.  His favorite were my thick leather flip-flops.  I quickly learned to put them on the shelf next to our front door after stepping into small puddles of cold drool, and then to find a better hiding place.

Remember when you were able to hide stuff from me on here?

Remember when you were able to hide stuff from me on here?

Those were his favorites, but a shoe was a shoe.  Once we learned to keep our shoes out of his reach he would take any lapse as a chance to stash one away for later, to do with as he would.

One night my wife was getting ready to go out with her friends.  It was the first time seeing her best friend in a couple of years and one of her first going out since having our son.  She had her outfit picked out and ready to go, but she couldn’t find her favorite pair of black flats.  We looked just about everywhere there was to look for those shoes – and in our first house there wasn’t a lot of space to look – but could only find one.  She eventually settled for a different pair and went on her way.

Two hours later, Gabe was getting tired but he was fighting sleep.  I was letting him run out any extra last burst of energy when I noticed he had been quiet for an awful long time.  I called his name, then stood up to notice that he’d somehow gotten through the baby-gate leading into the kitchen and den.

I started to walk that way when he came bustling into the living room in his patented shamble run.  Even though he was still trying to master the art of walking, my son insisted on running when he could, and it looked like (and sometimes was) disaster just waiting to happen.

“Mommy’s shoe, found!” he beamed as he bestowed upon me his trophy.  He was completely naked and in his hand was my wife’s missing shoe.

“Wow, good job buddy,” I started.  “Where did y-”

That was when I looked at the shoe.  I did a double take.  Then a triple take.

I got my son a diaper and put his pajamas back on him, and then I rushed to get my cell phone.  I texted my wife the following:

“The good news is, Gabe found your shoe.  The bad news is, he took a crap in it.”