Archive for July, 2009

The Butler Did It

Posted in Stories on July 31, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

birdAs I sat in traffic this afternoon I noticed the sign on the pick-up in front of me: “Butler Landscaping”.

I chuckled to myself and was immediately taken back 28 years to the day Mom and I picked up our first pet, a parakeet.

I must have been about four years old, but truth be told, even being so young I actually remember bits and pieces from that day. What I don’t recall vividly I’ve picked up along the way, mostly from Mom, who must have told the story dozens of times at family picnics over the years.

We stopped at the supermarket on the way to the pet store. I held mom’s hand as we walked up and down the isles. Normally, I’m sure I’d be begging her for candy but not on that day. On that day I was content knowing that in a little while I’d have my own pet..

As the story goes, Mom bumped into someone she knew and began talking. I took the opportunity to explore and, before I knew it, Mom was gone and I was lost.

Like any 4-year-old, I began crying. In between sobs, for some reason or another, I took note of the voice coming over the store intercom:

“Will John Butler please report to the produce isle. John Butler to the produce isle for customer assistance.”

A few seconds had passed and a woman noticed me standing in the isle alone, crying.

“What’s the matter,” she asked.

“I can’t find my mommy,” I said, in between sobs.

“Did you come in the store with her,” the friendly lady asked.

I nodded yes.

The woman assured me that everything would be alright and she held out a friendly hand, which I instinctively latched on to.

The lady led me to the service booth.

“This boy lost his mother,” the lady informed the clerk.

“What’s his name,” the clerk asked.

The woman turned to me with a smile.

“What’s your name kiddo,” she asked, warmly.

For reasons that remain unknown to this day I responded with the first thing that popped into my head.

“Butler,” I said, repeating the last name of the guy paged over the intercom minutes earlier.

The lady looked at me strangely.

“That’s an unusual name,” the lady said. “Just Butler?”

I didn’t respond. The lady turned to the clerk and said something. The clerk then reached for the intercom.

“Will the mother of Butler please report to the service desk. We have Butler here at the service desk looking for his mother.”

Within moments my mother was at the desk, hugging me and crying. She didn’t really hear what the clerk said over the intercom, she only knew I was missing and only needed to hear the words “looking for his mother”.

“Are you Butler’s mother,” the lady asked.

“His name is Walter,” my mom said, hugging me.

An hour later I sat in the back seat of mom’s car. In my hand a small brown box with air holes on the top. Inside, my very own pet. A white parakeet with the most perfect name in the world, Butler.

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IF….

Posted in Stuff on July 29, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

If Michael Jackson hadn’t died I would have made every effort to see him if he toured the states during his comeback.

If I owned my own house I would have Andy the Puggle come live with me.

If I won the lotto, after taking care of my family, I would throw a party that would someday be described as “Legendary”, and I would basically invite every friend I’d ever know. Except of course for Ashlie who is currently on “party probation” for missing Chop’s 30th, Bub’s Road Race Bash and My 32nd to instead catch some rays in Rhode Island.

If the Yankees keep playing the way they have been, basically living up to their potential, they will win The World Series this year.

If I could pick the Yankees opponent in the World Series it would, hands down, be the La Dodgers which would bring legendary Yankee Manager Uncle Joe Torre back to The Stadium for the fall classic.

If I could have said one more thing to my grandparents before they died I would have apologized to Grampy for punching him in the balls when I was five and I would have told my Grandmother she was the best cook in the history of the world.

If I could write just one more story for The Register Citizen I would write about Erin’s brand new chiropractic business on Meadow Street in Litchfield.

If U2 allowed me to pick a song that they are guranteed to play when I see them in September I would choose Elevation, the version from the Vertigo Tour.

If but one dead character from LOST could be brought back to life for the final season I would choose Mr Ecko.

If The 2009 Academy Awards were held tonight I would cast my vote for The Hangover as Best Film.

If I could mirror the success of a writer it would be JK Rowling. An actor, Tom Hanks. A director, Steven Spielberg. A comedian, Jerry Seinfeld.

If I were richer, thinner and braver I would ask Meg-Meg out on a date.

Island Treasures

Posted in Lost on July 24, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

LOSTWhile the Final Season of LOST is still six months away I was interested to read today that upon the shows finale the producers will put memorabilia from the set up for auction on EBAY.

After thinking about it for about 5 minutes here are the 10 items I’d be most interested in owning from LOST.

10: Eko’s Club

9. Locke’s Hunting Knife

8. Kate’s Toy Plane

7. Hurley’s Winning Lottery Ticket

6. Charlie’s Guitar

5. Charlie’s Mother Mary Statue

4. Locke’s Backgammon Board

3. Sawyer’s Letter

2. Faraday’s Journal

1. Kate’s Panties (used, of course)

kate

32 – Whoop-Dee-Doo

Posted in Stuff on July 20, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

At 5:37 a.m., July 20, I will have been alive 32 years. Groovy.

Jamie asked me earlier in the week what I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday.

“Nothing,” I responded. I just didn’t feel like turning 32 was a reason to “celebrate”.

“Well, I feel like celebrating,” Jamie responded, “so we’re doing something.”

So, a handful of us made the trek to Pigs Eye Pub in Hartford Saturday night. Simply put, it was a good time. Good conversation, good friends and strong RedBull/Vodka’s made a birthday I’d just as soon forget into one I’ll more than likely remember.

I think 32 is officially the age where you say “I’m in my thirties.”

How old is Walt? He’s in his thirties I think.

In honor of another year further into adulthood, below is a survey currently circulating Facebook which is dubbed as “A Survey For Adults.”

And, as usual, rather that do it on Facebook, I’m doing here, on the home site….where the magic happens.

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
The Cell Phone!! Because no matter how high it gets I’ll pay it. Yep, they got me.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Greasy Joe’s Bottomless BBQ Pit

3. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Having Sex…or possibly playing Setback

4. How many colleges did you attend?
Keene State College (3 semesters), NCCC (1 semester) Central CT State (3 semesters).

5. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
it chose me

6. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
They are fine, compared to last summer. That bleeewwwww!!

7. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
I hope Krista is gone.

8. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
I hope Krista is gone when I wake up in the morning.

9. Do you miss being a child?
Sometimes.

10. What errand/chore do you despise?
doing the laundry at Santoros every Sat or Sunday. The washer broke 2 years ago and never replaced. And that piece of shit Jewett sold me didn’t work.

11. Get up early or sleep in?
come on

12. Have you found real love yet?
I see it all around me but I haven’t grabbed it for myself….yet.

13. Favorite lunch meat?
hard salami

14. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?
It”s always different. A book, socks, boxers.

15. Beach or lake?
If there is a difference what do you call the sandy part of Bantam Lake?

16. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
Of course not, even though the latest statistic I heard was 50 percent end in divorce, which I suppose is better than the one I heard before that:  one out of three.

17. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Why these two shows are listed in the same question is beyond me.

18.What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Homer Simpson

19. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
3 times: Rear ended someone in the center of Litchfield. Hit a deer twice. ( he wasn’t dead the first time so I had to back up.)

20. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
no, but I always wanted to.

21. Ring tone?
generic

22. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth.
During the eulogy at Gram’s funeral.

23. Somewhere in California you’ve never been and would like to go?
Rancho Relaxo

23. Do you go to church?
Nope

24. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?
Either would be fine.

25. How old are you?

Right on the cusp of 32
26. Do you have a “go to” person?
me

27. Are you where you want to be in life?
nope, still passing through.

28. Growing up, what were your favorite cartoons?
Smurfs and Scooby Doo.

29. What about you do you think has changed the most?
I used to think life would suck hard if I wasn’t constantly hanging out with friends and partying.

30. Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life?
Those were the days were I was most free. Even though I didn’t know it then. Although my early to mid-twenties were pretty rockin also.

31. Do you believe in magic?
Yes, even though I’m a filthy muggle.

32. Did you ever own troll dolls?
dolls?

33. Did you have a pager?
I did and for a while thought I was the coolest person ever.

34. Where was the hangout spot when you were a teenager?

The house of whomever’s  parents were away that weekend.

35. Were you the type of kid you would want your children to hang out with?

Sure. Aside from a third degree arson charge when I was 17  my police record is impeccable.

36.Who do you think impacted your life the most?
Judith “Birdface” Kindley

37. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you?
see above

38. Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age…”?

Yes, to Aidan. He requests them. He loves them. 

Early Oscar Favs??

Posted in Movies on July 14, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

upSome of you may know that every year five (5) movies are nominated for a Best Picture Award at the yearly Oscar ceremony, and, of those five, only one walks away with the top prize.

Some of you may also have heard that, starting next year, the academy has changed things around a bit. Now, instead of five movies to choose from, the academy will nominate 10 for the prestigious Best Picture Award.

I for one think this is great, especially after last year’s travesty where movies like The Dark Knight and Wall-E were ignored while The Reader and Milk were honored, granted, both were good movies but neither deserved the nod over Batman and Pixar.

While the academy says it’s to generate excitement, I for one think money is behind the expansion of the best picture category.  I mean, I for one am more apt to see a film if it carries the tag “Nominated for  Best Picture”.

Anyway, for those of you who do follow movie patterns, most films that get nominated for awards come out between October and Christmas, which is typically referred to in the movie industry as “award season”. It is very rare for a film released prior to “award season” to earn a Best Pic nomination but it happens.

The Sixth Sense came out in the summer of 1999 and eventually earned a nomination while Braveheart was released in the spring of 1995 and walked away with the Best Picture Prize the following year.

That being said, 3 months prior to the beginning of award season, I have listed a dozen films that have already come out, that I think have a good shot of cracking the Top 10 and earning a nomination for a 2009 Best Picture Oscar. (in no particular order, just how I remember ’em).

1. UP

2. STAR TREK

3. THE HANGOVER

4. PUBLIC ENEMIES TAKEN

5. ADVENTURELAND

6. EARTH

7. CORALINE

8. DRAG ME TO HELL

9. WATCHMEN

10. SUNSHINE CLEANING

11. THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD

12. AWAY WE GO

Like I said, studios don’t start rolling out their award contenders until late fall/early winter, however  I think we could see a few more contenders this summer that have yet to open.

Harry Potter, Funny People and Inglorious Basterds come to mind.

“Jimmy quit. Jody got married.”

Posted in Stuff on July 13, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

Summer, for Americans anyway, has always been something special.

Maybe it’s the warm weather, which makes it easier to be outside and in the water. The barbecues and parties, the vacations, the time off from work and school, the fact that it doesn’t get dark until 9. The possibilities of a summer romance. 

Whatever the case may be, the season of Summer has always been an exciting time.

When I was a young boy I looked forward to Summer like nothing else, even more so than Christmas. My sister and I would spend virtually the whole summer with our grandparents, who pretty much let us do what we wanted. We had TVs in our bedrooms. We had a pool in the backyard. We could stay up as late as we want and sleep in every day.

Summers with my grandparents also meant summers with Bob, my best friend growing up whose grandparents lived across the street from my grandparents.

We would usually begin our day around 8:30 a.m. Which ever one of us woke up first would go outside and do sort of a bird-call outside the other guys window until he woke up.

Our days were spent playing whiffle and football, swimming, going to the movies, waiting impatiently for the ice cream man, who arrived everyday at 4:15.

Our grandparents didn’t call us to go in until 9. When you’re a young boy, what’s better that staying outside playing till 9 every night!

These days, certain things about the summer bring me right back to those days. Like hearing the bells from the ice cream truck or hearing other kids riding their bikes on the street. That used to be me before the weight of the world crushed my innocent spirit.

Summers as a teenager were just as fun, filled with movies, beaches, house parties and of course The Bantam Carnival.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love summer. But I’d be lying if I said it had the same warm feeling as it once did.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a big family. Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids to take to the beaches and the amusement parks. Or, maybe it’s just because I’m older. Summer represents innocence and there’s no doubt that as you grow up, innocence is the first thing to go.

One of my greatest summer memories is a simple one, from the Summer of 89.

Bob and I each arrived at the respective homes of our grandparents on the Thursday before 4th of July weekend. We were both staying until Sunday. We did all the typical 4th of July things. We ate BBQ during the day. We swam in my pool and took a trip to Bob’s grandparents lake house in Winsted. We watched fireworks from the porch of Bob’s grandparent’s house. We had my grandfather drop us off at the movie theater and we watched Batman with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. We mingled with other kids who were in the neighborhood for the holiday.

It was nothing too special but for some reason the memory of that weekend has never left me. That weekend, more so than any other, represents what it truly means to be a young boy in America during the summertime.

It’s funny the things that stay with you.

BBQ’D In The Bleachers

Posted in Stuff on July 6, 2009 by bigdaddygouda

july4While the new Yankee Stadium is an upgrade over the old building, one thing that remains the same is the bleachers – on a sunny day, you will cook out there. Cook like a lobster.

Besides that bit of unpleasantness I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to the new stadium. A 12 inning affair that ended when Jorge Posada hit a walkoff single to center field. Yankees win 6-5.

Once your sitting down inside the new palace it really is hard to tell the difference between one stadium and the other. However, the outside looks completely different, shaped the same but more of a resort feeling than that of a baseball field. And, as a die-hard, life long Bronx Bombers fan, I’m fine with that.

One thing I was really syched about is the bathrooms. They made more!! In the old place, if you had to take a leak in between innings, you were pretty much guaranteed to miss 20 minutes of the game. How many times in my life do I remember standing in a long line at the old stadium, tears in my eyes, bladder about to burst, eyeing the garbage can, not sure if I’d make it to the stall.

Besides more bathrooms there are also food and beer vendors around every corner. No more walking half way across the park for a specific food item or beer type. And, the icing on the cake. Smoking is allowed…..in the Hard Rock Cafe.

So, while the new place had more comfort and convenience than the old place, once inside, you really do feel like you never left the House That Ruth Built.

By the time I arrived home at 8pm I thought maybe I’d catch some fireworks or possibly go see the late showing of Public Enemies. In reality I was asleep on the couch by 10:30 and didn’t move until 9 a.m. the next day.

Sunday afternoon I attended the new Johnny Depp film Public Enemies. Surprising to me, I found the film “just okay”.  It was a little long and it was hard to get invested in the characters. I didn’t find myself rooting for the bank robber John Dillinger, but at the same time I wasn’t hoping for the FBI to catch him. In simplest terms I was indifferent toward the film and when that happens, at least for me, it makes for a poor movie-going experience.

Sunday night I went for a walk and had supper with my old pal Andy the puggle while his owners were away camping. It was the first time I really got to see him since he almost moved away last month and while I left Andy after an hour, with dog hair on my shirt and scratches on my sunburnt legs from when Andy jumped all over me as I walked in the door, I must say, I loved every minute of it.

So this may be the first Fourth of July in almost a decade where I didn’t do any holiday type activities like picnic, party, or see fireworks, but I still had a good time none the less.

And while I can honestly say I can’t wait for my next trip to the new Yankee Stadium I can also say with 100 percent honesty, my days of sitting in the bleachers during day games are O-VER!!

Unless of course they put in A/C