Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Look On His Face Says Otherwise



Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours this holiday season.  Please take the time to give thanks and count your blessings before you dig into your turkey dinner.  By the look of the GIF below, it looks like someone has already eaten ALL OF THE TURKEYS.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 94

The Time Mookie Witnessed Theft And Violence At Walmart

With all of the "Black Friday" sales coming this week, I'm sure everyone will have to hear about all of the shopping horror stories that went down. You know what I'm talking about - the ones where people rush the doors and punch out fellow shoppers in order to get the already obsolete TV that is "on sale" for $99. While pondering the stupidity that is Black Friday, I was reminded of the following story from my Walmart days. I must admit that while this story did not happen on "Black Friday" - it did happen at Walmart - where one could argue that every day is "Black Friday" to some people. I know I want to punch everyone whenever I go there...

I was manning the Sporting Goods counter one evening when the store received some "bad" news. Apparently one of the stores in the town over called our management, and let them know some unsavory characters were in their store trying to return some merchandise that they knew to be stolen. How they knew this, I do not know. However they said that these people were going Walmart to Walmart trying to return this stuff and get money for it. Up until this this point, two other stores had denied the returns - and the people trying to return the merchandise raised all kinds of hell afterwards. The management at each store called the cops to respond to the hell-raising, but the riff-raff always took off before they got there. The store that called our store had a hunch that maybe our store was the next destination of these hooligans, and wanted to let us know. Awesome.

The managers went around to all the employees and let us know this information as soon as they got it. They told us not to do "anything" to anyone, however if someone called out "Security 999" to a certain part of the store over the P.A. - that we were to stop what we were doing and RUN to that location immediately to help. What this "help" was supposed to consist of - they never said, but the managers said that these people had the capability to be dangerous so we had to be careful. Upon hearing this, my first thought was that I was not getting my ass kicked/shot over a $5 an hour job. I mean really. Then again, its not every day that some crazy shit goes down at work - so if I had to start throwing fists - I was ready.

I should add that I felt safe where I was working because I knew I had 20 rifles and shotguns locked up in the case right behind me. If anything ever got really wild - I knew I could load up one of those bad boys and unleash hell and fury if it came down to it. What can I say...my imagination is vivid.

An hour or so went by, and as I was organizing the aisles I suddenly overheard a call on the overhead P.A. - "SECURITY 999 TO THE FRONT DOORS."

The Sporting Goods department was at the far opposite corner of the store from the front doors, so I was on the dead run to make up for my disadvantaged location. As I passed the front registers and rounded the corner to the front door, I could see people running out the door and clusters of people amidst the chaos. I saw two people taking swings (and missing) at Walmart employees, and about 15 feet away from me I saw our maintenance guy "Cory(*)" grabbing a big black chick - one of the alleged riff-raff - by the arm who was trying to make a run for it. It was then that I heard the chick say to Cory: "Let go of me or I'll motha-f*ckin shoot you!" Needless to say, it was apparent Cory felt the same way I did about getting shot over a $5/hour job - because his immediate response was to let the chick go and raised his hands in the air like "No I'm good."

With all the troublemakers having exited the building, we all looked out the front doors to see what they were doing. We quickly saw that they were surrounded by police cars (flashing lights galore), and everyone that appeared to be in "custody" were under the powerful spotlight being emitted by the police helicopter hovering over the store. It seems the managers tipped the cops off to the possible arrival of the troublemakers, and they were more than ready to swoop in at a moments notice.

I found out later that when the trouble makers entered the store, that it was meant to be a two-ended ripoff operation. Part of the group went to the Return Desk to try to return whatever merchandise they were trying to return, and the other half of the posse went to the Electronics department and attempted to rip off some stuff at the same time. Apparently the hell-raising at the Return Desk was meant to be some sort of diversion and draw everyone's attention there while the posse stole from Electronics. Sadly for them it didn't work because the people they had trying to rip off Electronics were fat and slow, and Electronics was not near the front of the store. It was a lot farther to run than I think they thought it would be.  I tell you....criminals are stupid sometimes.

And while I didn't get to throw any fists or load up a shotgun over the deal, I did get an adventurous story out of it. Its not every day you get to hear someone tell another person they are going to "motha-f*ckin" shoot somebody.

Well, I don't anyway.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Favorite Thing To Burn


Unfortunate Use Of Cursive Font

I bet she is special though.


Scumbag Legos

Yes, by following these directions you will eventually have a cool X-Wing replica. What they don't tell you is that unless you use your TEETH....these will never ever come apart again.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 93

The Time Mookie Had An Unintended Encounter With A Dead Lady

My kids go to a parochial school, and as a consequence of this - once a week they have to attend a scheduled mass at school. If I were in their shoes, I'd take school over church any day of the week - including Sunday, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway....

Since it's at a school, the kids are usually involved in the service in some way - and sometimes are responsible for presenting a portion of the service. This particular day, my son's class was "in charge" of doing the prayer service - a shorter version of mass.

So I went and planned on sitting towards the back of the sanctuary with all the other parents. I had gotten there a few minutes early, so I stood in the lobby of the church waiting for the kids to show up and made small-talk with the principal that showed up to turn on the lights. As we talked, I watched as a van from a local flower shop pulled up and began to unload some flowers. The delivery man then brought the flowers into the lobby there where I was standing and set them on the floor over by a distant wall. I figured there might be a funeral service or something later that day, but didn't give it too much thought as the kids all started to show up for their prayer service.

The service went off as usual, and the kids all did great. I enjoy watching people in various settings, and from my seat the people watching was fairly entertaining. There was of course the random restless toddler that someone brought, who liked to escape their parents and make a run for the front. A toddler running at full-toddler speed is hilarious in itself, especially when they have a pacifier in their mouth and are making a dash for the pulpit with the embarrassed Mom giving chase. There was even that one douche parent using an iPad to video the service while their kid spoke. Seriously, does anything look stupider than someone holding up the equivalent of an 8X10 picture frame? For me, its worse than the 1980's VHS cameras that weren't far off from the TV newsman cameras. Yes I know the clarity is amazing, but dammit it looks stupid.

Finally the service ended, and when my my kid came running up to me I told him that he did a good job. Both the principal and my son's teacher thanked me for coming, and then in a hushed tone I heard the principal say something to the teacher along the lines of : "We need to take the kids out through the parish hall and not out the front as there is a funeral today." Again, I didn't think too much of this and was like "A-ha. I guessed right about the funeral today." So while the kids and teachers filed out the side door, I decided to head out the front door towards the parking lot. I opened the door of the sanctuary into the lobby, and quickly found out why the principal was adamant about the direction of the kids leaving.

Whoa. Hey What's up?
I looked up and to my left and holy shit...there was a casket sitting there! No one else was around - no caretakers, no mourners, no anybody. Just me and this big-ass wood casket. Thankfully it was shut and everything so I didn't have to actually SEE the deceased, but it was WEIRD. I looked around again and saw that no one else was there. I mean someone could have pushed the box out the door and took off rolling down the street. Immediately I started to feel guilty for just being there, and of course even more guilty for jokingly thinking about someone hijacking a casket. It didn't help matters that when I turned to leave - I noticed that someone had set up a "guest book shrine" by the front door. The shrine included a picture of a lady - the very same lady who I am willing to bet was the one in the box! Great, so now I have a picture of the face of the body in the box in my head now.
I was pretty much weirded out by this point, so needless to say - I had to get out of there.

During my walk to the car I felt so BAD because I didn't know this lady, and there she was - laying there dead and minding her own business - and here comes dumb ass Mookie wandering in - being all disrespectful by looking for a shortcut to the parking lot. But then....who was I to know there was a dead lady in the lobby? Plus, who just leaves a casket in a lobby by itself?  I mean really.

As I drove away, I had to laugh at the situation because after I thought about it....It was funny. I had literally just gone from kids singing happy church songs one minute, to seeing a dead lady in the lobby the very next. Who does that?  Me apparently. That's who.

I must add - What song was playing on the "80's-90's and Today" station when I turned on the car?
"Circle of Life."

Damn you Elton John.


Miss a previous episode?  Click HERE to see the list of episodes.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 92

The Time Mookie Watched A Gay Man Interrupt A Sociology Class

This is one of my personal favorite stories from college for some reason. During my junior year in college, I had to take "Intro to Sociology" as it was one of my "core" classes for my major. It was a Mon/Wed/Fri class at 10 am, so it wasn't too difficult to attend for the most part - except for the fact that the class was gawd-awful-boring. Since it was a large lecture hall and because I usually sat towards the back of the room, its safe to say my attention was usually not directed at the professor. Even on the days when I actually tried to pay attention, it didn't take long for me to become bored of the lectures about "social norms" and behavioral theories. All I know is that most days my notebook contained more doodles than it did actual notes.

Then one day - much to my delight - the monotony was broken in the most unexpected way. The door at the front of the room burst open and was followed by the sound of a VERY effeminate male going "Heeellllloooooooooooo!" In the door walked a guy I recognized from my floor in the dorm, and everyone called him "Velvet.*" Everyone called him Velvet because he had short-spiked hair that had a very soft appearance - you know....like velvet. Oh, and because he was really really gay.

At first I just thought it was something the professor had cooked up to show us what it looked like to break "social norms" or something like that, but no - it was not that. To make his entrance all the more entertaining, Velvet was carrying a HUGE bouquet of Mylar helium balloons. The professor, who for some reason was mildly amused at Velvet's impromptu entrance, asked if he could "help" Velvet with anything. This surprised me, because prior to this I had always seen this professor as a "hard ass" - and definitely a guy who would probably be pissed that a flamboyant gay had just burst in and disrupted his class.

Maintaining the "enthusiasm" he had as he came in the door, Velvet said "I'm sorry to interrupt your class, but I'm wondering if "Betty Sanders*" is here today?" Everyone in the class began to look around the room and at each other wondering who this Betty girl was, and if she would show herself. A few seconds went by and then finally Velvet blurted out "Therrrre sheeeee issssss!" He began wading through a row of students to a girl who was covering her face with her hands and laughing/crying with obvious embarrassment. Standing there with the balloon bouquet in his outstretched hand - he addressed her in front of everyone: "Betty, would you go out with "Kevin*" this Friday night?" Half the class (the girls) did the "OHHHHH!!!" thing like it was the sweetest thing ever. The other half sat there going "WHAT THE F^%K IS THIS SH!T?"  Poor Betty, who was so embarrassed that she couldn't even look up at Velvet, actually nodded her head "yes" to his inquiry. This of course caused several people to clap, because...you know...people are idiots. He handed her the bouquet, apologized to the professor again, and departed as quickly has he had arrived.

Everyone had a good laugh, and when everyone settled down the professor resumed his lecture of the day.

I thought that would be the end of it. No, no it wasn't.

I returned to the dorms later that day, and as I'm walking down the hall towards my room I passed a batch of rooms that belonged to residents I didn't really know - but admittedly were ones I generally avoided. One of the residents that lived in one of the rooms was someone everyone affectionately referred to as "Death Metal.*" He was the kind of kid everyone knew from high school that carved "METALLICA" into his arm during study hall, wore all black clothing, got wasted every weekend, and did endless amounts of pot. This was Death Metal to a "T." He and his posse often had their room doors open, and had some sort of rancid music blaring while they all sat around in a circle doing God-knows-what. Well lo-and-behold, as I passed Death Metal's room....who do I see sitting in his room with him and Velvet??? That's right...Betty from Sociology. Death Metal (a.k.a. Kevin) was the one who had Velvet do his dirty work for him, and it worked!

Betty didn't appear to be the kind of gal I pegged to be into someone like Death Metal, but then again I don't know what kind of girl would be into Death Metal. I remember seeing Betty hanging out with Death for more than a few weeks around the dorm, and ol' Death even cleaned up a bit for Betty. He got his hair trimmed, cut back on the amount of black clothing he normally wore, and I don't recall him being wasted for a few weeks either.

But alas. Like most college romances - it wasn't meant to be - and Death Metal returned his "Death Metal ways" a month or two later. I can still remember the night when I passed Death Metal en route to the bathroom, and saw him fall into a bathroom stall and vomit all over it.
That pretty much told me it was over.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

Happy Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day.  If you know a veteran or someone currently serving in our Armed Forces, make sure you thank them for their service.  They sacrificed their lives/safety to protect yours and your way of life.

It's the least you could do for them.

I especially have to give it up for my Dad - "The Cap'n."
Thank you for your service. You are my hero.


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Tiffani Thiessen Is Waiting

Nobody makes Tiffani wait. Nobody.
Especially when she's rocking a bikini in the hot tub like that. 

I'm Not A Religious Person

But I could definitely get on board with this thinking. I am going to go out on a limb and say that is not actual scripture....

Monday, November 04, 2013

Be Alluring in 21 Days!

According to Julie Davis, in 21 days YOU can become an "alluring" person if you follow her tips and illustrations.  That's great, but all this photo tells me is that it is NOT possible to fix a semi-lazy eye in 21 days.

Dammit.


Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 91

The Time Mookie Ran His First Marathon

A friend of mine completed the NYC Marathon yesterday, and while looking up the results to see how he did - it caused me to reflect upon the first marathon I completed 9 yrs ago.  I thought I'd share.

I started running primarily as a way to lose weight. I was at a point where I was the heaviest I'd ever been, and my diet/exercise was certainly something less than desirable to a healthy person.  The wife and I had just had a son about a year prior, so we decided that we should probably "get healthy" so that we didn't die on each other or - at the very least - before the kid graduated high school.

In addition to an improved diet (thanks to my wife following the Weight Watchers program), I started running on the treadmill at work. As the pounds began to trickle away and I continued to exercise, it seemed like each time I stepped onto the treadmill that I was able to go a little farther. What originally started out as a gasping out-of-breath mile on the treadmill, eventually turned into the ability to run the equivalent of the 5K (3.1 miles). I hadn't run that far since high school, and I was happy to say I was averaging runs that were under 10 min/miles - not too shabby for this fat ass. Things started to snowball in my brain not long after that, and due to my naivete about it all - I started to think big. I was already up to a 5K distance, why not shoot for the top of the mountain and run a marathon (26.2 miles)? I consulted with family and friends about what I should do - some said I should just do a half-marathon, some said I was just crazy thinking about any of it, and some said to "go big or go home." In the end - I decided to go big. I was confident in my abilities and knew that if I put in the time/effort - I knew I could do it. Plus I knew that what I lacked in ability I made up for in stupidity/determination.

I found an 18 week training program that I thought would be easy to follow, and I followed it to a "T." It had me running 4 days a week with the 4th day consisting of the "long run."  Each week the amount of total miles would increase, and the long run would increase by one or two miles.  The distance for the long run during the 1st week was 5 miles.  I remember thinking at the time that was NUTS.  But you know what? I went out and I did it. I did it day after day, week after week on regular runs then went between 3 and 8 miles, up to long runs that topped out at 18 miles. They hurt, but I made it. There were days I could barely walk due to minor "over-use" injuries I had sustained, but I blindly and stupidly ran through them because I had the thought in my head that if I missed a day of training - I wouldn't finish. Looking back now I know this was clearly stupid on my part, but I had my eye on the prize and felt like I was doing what I needed to do.

Finally, the day of the marathon arrived and I (thought I) was ready.  We stayed the night before the race with Rick and his family so that we didn't have to get a hotel and all that. Plus Rick said he could take me to the start line as he knew his way around the city.  The night before the race I did not sleep much at all.  Partly because I was excited about what was going to happen, and partly because my son didn't sleep much either.  I got up early, taped up what I needed to tape up, laced up my shoes, voided everything I could out of my body and set out for the start line.

I was excited because I knew my parents and my youngest sister were along the race route somewhere - but I didn't know where they would be.  My wife and friends were planning on being at the finish line, but I knew there was a possibility they could be somewhere along the route as well.

Once I got to the race, I found my way into the crowded street and around the "pacer" groups that were holding signs that said how long it would take them to run the race.  I settled into an area that was around the 4hr and 15 min people (which was way too fast for me) and thought that was good. Finally the time for the start of the arrived and I was ready to go. They came over the speakers, did their usual "rah-rah" about things and then proceeded to do the National Anthem.  I remember standing there feeling quite proud of myself and what I was about to embark on. I even almost got a little choked up as the anthem finished up, but snapped out of it and got ready to take care of business.

Eventually they fired the gun and the race started. As I was far back in the pack, it took a good minute or so for me to get near the actual starting line. As the crowd got gradually moved towards the line, everyone walked until they were about 30 feet before the starting line, and then they would start running. Finally...after many months of training and anxiety about it all - I started running and crossed the starting line of the marathon. As far as I was concerned, there was only one way out of the race - the finish line.

Since I was running next to a pacer group that was much faster than I should have been running, I was stupidly matching their speed. I was so jacked up and excited that I didn't even realize I was actually going that fast. There was timer clocks at each mile marker, and as I crossed the 1 mile marker, I remember it saying 11 minutes and 36 seconds. Because of this, I didn't think I was running as fast as I was - which was stupid because that was the RACE CLOCK. I didn't cross the start line for a good minute or two after the actual race started. I was humming along and soaking in the scenery and excitement of it all, and it was AWESOME. The race turned and we proceeded down a slight hill towards the 2nd mile marker and I saw the clock there: 18 minutes and 20 seconds. Whoa. It was then that it clicked in my brain that I was going too fast. Even if I'd started with the actual race clock - it was still too fast. Again, my novice running mind thought "What the hell. Let's see how far we can go like this." SO STUPID. It wasn't long after this I spotted my Mom, Dad, and sister in the crowd cheering me on, so that helped kick up the excitement as well.

I continued this pace through miles three thru five, and even through the hilly portion of the race. When the race began to level out around mile 6, the excitement eventually started to wear off and (not so surprisingly) so did my energy.  Mile 7 - I did the unthinkable: I had to stop running a walk for a bit. I remember cursing myself: "STUPID STUPID STUPID MOOKIE. Ya had to run wicked fast didn't you?" I remember people along the route looking at me when I started walking, and thinking that they were probably going "Look at this loser walking already." After a minute or so I picked the pace back up and started running again, but at a MUCH slower and appropriate pace than before.

As I ticked off the miles, I quickly found the course of this particular race QUITE BORING.  It went off into a secluded park and followed nature trails through the trees. This was nice and everything, but it was hard to keep the motivation going after seeing people cheering for you during the first 5 or 6 miles. There was one stretch of the race where there were one or two mile markers totally missing (it was reported later that vandals had messed with the race signage). You want to talk about messing with one's head during a race - that's one sure fire way to do it. In what felt like the most longest mile ever, it ended up being two.  It was like "Is this mile ever going to end?" I know I did a bit of walking through this stretch as well.

Finally I crossed the half-way point (13.1 miles), and the race clock said 2hrs, 10 min.  Given the fact I had walked a decent amount and I was still under a 10 min/mile - it told me I had ran WAY too fast going out of the gate. Miles 14-20 were awful. They were a mixture of running and walking, and being out in this park in the middle of nowhere was deflating. A friend of mine had just ran the Chicago Marathon and said that there were people packed along the entire race course. Out in this park, I ran a good 3-4 miles at at a time without seeing someone other than people passing me or me passing them. I quickly decided this was bullshit.
Run Fat Ass!

Eventually the race left this God-forsaken park and headed back into the city. However, what lay in front of me was the MOST exhausting and mind-draining thing I had ever seen. The course made it's way onto a closed portion of a 4-lane city street.  They had the road partitioned off down the middle of the lanes on each side so that you had to run down the street about a mile, then run back up it a mile, then run back down the other side a mile, then turn again and run 1/4 mile before the course ran back into downtown. It was horrible. There were many times I considered just saying "screw it" and just cutting across all lanes and foregoing all of this back and forth crap. However there were two things that prevented me from doing such.  One was the fact I figured they had a timing mat somewhere at the end of one of the turnarounds, and if I skipped that my time in the race would be DQ'd.  The second was that I never would have forgiven myself for cutting the race short. To this day, this is one of things I am most proud of during this event: Even when I was as down and out as I was, I didn't give up and cheat.

Miles 23, 24, and 25 seemed like was walking more than I was running, but I kept my head up and continued trudging on. As I neared the 26 mile marker, I saw a familiar face along the side of the road - my little sister.  She ran out into the street and started running along side of me. I needed this. I asked her if she was "ready to run it in with me" but she said she'd "see me at the finish" quickly shot off the street and across the yard towards the finish line around the corner. There was a sign at the 26.1 mile mark and I didn't know if I could make it the rest of the way. I cranked up my headphones for something - anything - to get me excited and going.

With "Sexual Thing" by Poison cranked in my headphones, I rounded the corner and saw the finish line up ahead. Then I saw my wife, my son, my Mom, Dad, youngest sister, and my friend Rick and his family all standing along the street cheering me in. A smile formed across my face and I knew right then that I would be able to run it in.

With every nerve and muscle fiber in my body screaming in pain for me to stop, I crossed the finish line with a time of 4 hours, and 51 minutes. Me - Mookie - had just completed a marathon. Boo yah.  While it was not the fastest time in the world, I had done something most people claim they could never do - and I had to smile a little.

I quickly made my way through the finishers area and looked everywhere for my wife. For me, the race wasn't over until I found her.  When I finally got to her -  she gave me the biggest hug and told me how proud she was of me.
Me And my wife (and son). I will never forget this.

I will forever remember standing there after the race and talking with my family and friends about everything I had endured, and I will be forever grateful that they were there to share that accomplishment with me.

In the years that followed, I ran two more marathons - and hope to someday run another (if I can ever get off my ass). People ask why I would ever want to do another one, and my answer is simply this:

The feeling of pushing your body and your mind beyond anything you ever thought possible hurts like a son of a bitch. But when you finish - the feeling you feel is nothing like anything else you have ever known. It is a feeling you can't explain, but one that is amazing and one you will never forget.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Miss a previous episode??  Click HERE!