A Spider Made Me Destroy My Keys

Sometimes I think that my blogging has bled over into my everyday life in such a way that no matter were I am or what I am doing, I will always be on the lookout for odd ideas. I can’t tell you how many phone pictures I have taken over the past year leaving strangers puzzled asking, “why did that guy just take a picture of his food?”. It’s funny to think that this hobby can be practiced at anytime or anywhere. Shit, it beats model ship building!

But around 3am on Saturday it became obvious that I might be going a tad overboard. I woke up half way through the night and staggered to the bathroom. Just as I was about to step onto the tile I noticed something with my peripheral vision. It was a large black shape with distinct features that appeared to be legs. Immediately I concluded this had to be the biggest, scariest spider that was indigenous to the northern Atlanta suburbs. But instead of finding something to squash it I instinctively grabbed my phone and squeezed off a shot from the camera so I could later document the heroic battle between me and this very hairy scary arachnid.

After I took the picture I was now on a mission to find something big and heavy to squash the spider. Even though it was almost completely dark I had a good idea that this beast was big enough to eat a mouse so killing it with a shoe was out of the question. That would be a little too close for comfort. No, I needed something with ‘shock and awe’. So I packed my gym bag full of the biggest books I had in the library.

I think the bag was at least 45lbs before I was done packing it. A normal person would have at least turned on the lights during the arming process but not this guy. No, I wanted the element of pure surprise on the spider. I wanted his last thoughts to be “I wonder if I should crawl in the tub to scare Billy or hide behind the toilet or perhaps I could just….”(splat!) He wouldn’t even know what hit him.

So I packed the bag, tiptoed to the edge of the bathroom, raised the bag above my head and with all my might I threw the bag right on the victim. The force of the impact was a crushing thud that could be felt through the reverberations in the support beams of the house. The only thing left of that spider would be DNA and goo. Right after the strike I flipped on the lights to survey the damage. The force of the bag split the zipper and some of my reference books spilled against the doorway. Feeling a little cocky I thought, “now that was a good kill.”

So now to see the mess. I figured I would hose off the bag and throw it in the wash but when I picked it up I heard the distinct sound of car keys and plastic pieces. I lifted the bag to revile that I may have committed a case of friendly fire. But there was a spider, wasn’t there? I took a picture! And if he isn’t under the bag then there is one pissed off beastie close by, ready to chomp my bottom. I ran out of the bathroom and grabbed my phone to confirm that there was a spider and I didn’t only kill my keys. Here’s what I saw…

Huh…I guess at 3am keys and spiders look mighty similar. I was a little relieved to know that there wasn’t a huge wolf spider roaming around, plotting revenge but as for my keys…let’s just say the strike was catastrophic. I managed to bash the only set I have and my automatic locks are key operated only now. Honda charges $260 for a replacement set. I hate spiders.

VeggieMacabre Is One!

It’s true, VeggieMacabre is a year old! Funny how time goes by so fast, you know? I can remeber when I was inspired to move to WordPress thanks to The Pilver, namely Kristiane. Since then you have been witness to some pretty odd posts but you keep coming back and for that, I thank you.  Actually as much as I love writing on here I really love reading the posts from those on my blogroll. I think I have the smartest people on my blogroll and even though I haven’t met anyone in the flesh I feel like I have made a lot of great friends.

 So here is to the first year and to many more! And for a celebration I will make firework sound effects and let Nathaniel lead the party. I like to dance too, Nat.

*Skeeeeeeeeee CABLOOOOSH! crackle crackle crackle*

Where did You Go? Part 7

I think I am going to start making this a Friday event. I will not go as far as to make it official because I have a way of jinxing myself and next Friday I might get hit by a bus full of gunpowder leaving everyone here saying, “that son of a bitch is completely unreliable”. So I will try the best I can because I have generated a list of people that need to be brought back to the limelight. Unless they are dead. Then I will bring them back posthumously. It’s the least i can do. And away we go!

*snort snort…Weeeyuuuuu*

Holy crap it’s Roy Stalin in one of the greatest movies of the Cusack 80’s genre, Better Off Dead! His real name is Aaron Dozier and man did he play the guy that every dude loved to hate. I must admit I was a little envious of the ski teams matching jackets. I have a sleeping bag that looks just like that. Regardless, Aaron nailed the role as the perfect high school prick jock and he even took his defeat in the end like the poor sport he was. “Get Lost!”

You’ll never believe what Aaron Dozier is doing today, or at least a few years ago. He is the head coach for the Boston College ACC ski team! I guess life does imitate art after all! I wish I had an updated picture. I wonder if he can still handle the K12…..on one ski?

Remember Mr. Mom? I barely do and that is probably because I was the same age as the two kids in the tub when it came out. But I got an email asking whether or not a recent fiber commercial on TV stared one of the kids and it turns out he did. It is Alex, the kid circled, who is really Frederick Koehler. I remember this kid more than the other because he wasn’t bitching about his wubby as much. It commanded my respect, even though I was guilty at that time for peeing my pants at recess playing “Red light, Green Light.”

Fred has been working his ass off since childhood and has been in everything from TV shows like Full House and ER to movies like Pearl Harbor and Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood (poop in pants 😦 ) He was even in a great made for TV movie called The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. But recently I keep seeing him in commercials like the said fiber commercial as a downtrodden employee. He does have that melancholy look, eh? But I bet anything this guy is the life of the party. Keep it real Fred!

Whatever happened to the UZI? Did weaponry in Hollywood go to the way of Colt? I remember when every bad guy rocked an UZI back in the day. How many guys where blown in the air, flipping and throwing their UZI’s on the show, The A-Team? I myself, had countless UZI water guns because it was the gun of choice. I wanted to be the Colombian drug runner in the neighborhood! Oh well, maybe the UZI can comeback one day. The Israelis really know how to make something cool, you know?

Who doesn’t love this guy, Brain Backer (Mark “Rat” Ratner) from the great 80’s movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High ? I always had a connection with his character in that movie. He was a self conscious dork that relied on his suave but selfish friend for tips on how to land a date with a crush. Even though his friend was a jerk, I did agree that on a date you should always play Led Zeppelin, “Physical Graffiti”. Works for me!

Brian Backer was in some really great 1980’s films like, of course, Fast Times’ as well as The Money Pit, Meatballs and Moving Violations but in 1987 his agent sold him out to Police Academy 4 and he was forever cast the way of TV sitcoms. Actually to be fair, Brian won a Tony for his performance as Woody ALLEN on Broadway. I guess that is an achievement. Oh well, you will forever be known as “Rat” who got sloppy seconds from your pal at Ridgemont. And for that, we love you Brian.

Last for today, but certainly not least it’s Keith Gordon, one of my all time favorite actor/director/writers ever. This guy bleeds talent and has been a true backbone for Hollywood cinema. Most people recognize Keith for his role as Jason Melon in Back To School or as Arnie Cunningham in Stephen King’s Christine but I know Keith Gordon as Doug Fetterman in Jaws II. That movie made me never want to go sailing again and his role as the nerdy bookworm let me know that even the smart guys can be eaten. That was a weak statement, I know.

You won’t find Keith in front of the camera anymore and that’s a real shame. And it’s not because he lost his hair. No, he is writing and directing now and does a damn fine job of it too. His political and antiwar themes rub people the wrong way at times but it does provoke thought. And really at the end of the day, isn’t that what we want? I watched A Midnight Clear and was really impressed how he made such a powerful film that not only captured everything Kurt Vonnegut had written but it inspired me to be a Vonnegut fan. Now that’s a movie when it inspires reading!

Go to Macabre Fitness right now! I want you to see a movie! Serious cat says so!

Manscaping

Ok, back to the basics of what makes VeggieMacabre what it is. A lot of random shtuff that ties in only if you live on the farthest moon of planet B’pleebip. But today’s post is actually inspired from Pammy Shep’s very intuitive observation of men in Speedos. That being said it was only a matter of a few comments before the topic shifted to the art of manscaping. For those of you who are not aware of what ‘manscaping’ is let me be an informative source for you.

Manscaping is a guy’s answer to removing unsightly body hair. And by body hair I don’t mean removing the back hair, chest hair, arm/leg hair or anything else just above the belly button. No no, I also mean from the “happy trail” to the…..uh…shit, this is harder than I thought. (that’s what she said) Well anyway, you know where I am going with this so bear with me.

When I was in the seventh grade I spent a summer in San Fransisco with my Aunt, her boyfriend and her 7 cats. While I was there I read a lot of books because her beatnik boyfriend didn’t believe in television and they both worked during the day. That being said I snooped around their bookshelves at least twice a day and on one fateful day I was introduced to the classic 1972 book, The Joy Of Sex. It forever changed me and not because of the naked pictures or the sex faces. It was the hair. Even then at age 14, a full four years before I would even see a girl naked, I knew this wasn’t right. I prayed that I wouldn’t grow up to be a bearded bush man. I also looked at my Aunt and her over educated boyfriend a little differently. I wanted to go home.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Why should a guy manscape? Well, that is a question that can only be answered by you and your partner. I can tell you that I do because I have pubeaphobia and I am uber-hygienic. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I fit in the metro-sexual category because I will never iron my jeans and if there is a bar that frowns on my Iron Maiden shirt, I won’t go in. But I have incorporated the manscaping routine in the shower and that is the way it is.

I am not saying that this is for everyone. Many women prefer their guy a little more on the natural side. There is nothing wrong with that. I have heard the case that many women feel manscaping isn’t manly at all and it detracts from the rustic, animalistic (made that word up) sense that I suppose only extreme private over growth can amplify. Hey, whatever sinks your canoe ladies. But to most, and I am only talking about the very few I know, they prefer guys to take the same amount of time that they are expected to when it comes to body hygiene.

For guys that feel this is a sissy practice all I have to say is, it’s not like you are shaving your legs and putting on a dress. It’s merely an extension of shaving surface area. I am not going to get into the details about how much needs to be trimmed but you’ll know. If you look in the mirror and see Buffalo Bill, you will know you went overboard. Start modest and go from there. I would suggest the Remington BT500A body hair trimmer. It’s waterproof and it eliminates razor burn, which is good. Very good actually. I also recommend Sensa Shave for the ol’ straight razor. It’s the guy’s equivalent to Coochy Cream.

So there you have it. I have stated my case for the practice of manscaping. I probably knocked my blog down a few pegs from entertaining to TMI but I felt it needed to be said. I think tomorrow I will write about ALF or cartoons. Something safe for work.

ALSO! Check out Allison’s hilarious mishap at the gym over at Macabrefitness. I was laughing so hard I popped something. Hopefully it wasn’t something important.

Dean Karnazes. Thank you.

When I purchased this book at Borders the check out girl smirked and ask, “are you an ultra marathon runner?”. I quickly responded with a sturdy “no way” and an accompanying hand gesture of dismissal. “Then why do read a book about ultra marathons, silly?” I could tell there was a little flirtation in the question but still, I hope people don’t judge me on my book purchases because last week I bought a book called Useless Knowledge. No, I told her that I read these books for pure entertainment. She raised her eyebrows, smiled and said, “a book on running, sounds like a blast.” I wished she would hurry and make the transaction.

The truth is I read books like these for a very personal reason. In 2002 I received an injury to my lungs in the military that not only cut my career short but took me from a professional athletic level to barely being able to climb stairs. I had damaged over 30 percent of my lower lung tissue and with months of therapy the doctors were convinced that I would be a severe asthmatic at best. I sank into a deep depression as I watched my buddies go off to war, some returning disfigured and some not returning at all. I felt a feeling of failure for the first time and that stuck with me for years. I tried to fill the void by hopping from one relationship to the next, each ending horribly. I changed careers over and over, never understanding why I had the urge to keep moving, thinking the grass had to be greener on the other side. My friends became distant and I stopped going to church all together. It was the typical surrender to life and my white flag was tied to the end of a beer bottle.

On one a particular day, when life had a strangle hold on me I combated it the same way I had always done before; I pulled into the local pub and drank. As I sat there I looked across the bar and saw the same faces expressing the same contentment for missing their opportunities in life. I looked up at the TV and became acutely aware that I could now read the lips of the anchors on CNN because the music from the pub always drowned out the volume of the TV. The smells from the kitchen reminded me of what day it was because each day had it’s own same special. It was a Friday that day because it smelled like wings, the typical Friday special. I recognized people’s stroll from my peripheral vision and knew exactly who they were. My hands and feet went cold and I realized my life was like two roads that diverged into the woods, and at that moment I took the one less traveled.

I threw a five dollar bill on the bar to cover my full Mich Ultra that I left and headed for the door. I didn’t say goodbye or turn for one last look, because I knew I wasn’t coming back so there was no point. I got into the car and turned off the radio because at this moment of clarity, Cinderella would have been simply white noise. Driving home is a blur and I had no plans for what to do with this ‘episode’ I was having. All I knew was that when I got home I would know what to do. And I did.

I ran through the front door, peeled of my work clothes, pulled on shorts and a t-shirt and stepped into my running shoes. Without even a second thought I sprinted out the door and ran. I can’t tell you what I was running for but I can tell you what I was running from. I ran from the guilt of many heartbroken girls as I drug out doomed relationships for fear of being left alone with my own demons. I ran from the memory of watching my buddy in the Army who was a rock, return from the battlefield without both legs and an arm. I should have been there with him. I ran from endless nights, drinking to extremes and driving home only to fall asleep in the driveway listening to the radio. I ran from everything and felt the faster I went the further away it would all be. And then my lung condition started to rear it’s ugly head.

It first feels like you are breathing with a sock in your mouth. Every breath is laboring and heavy as you try and fill the lungs. That repetitive struggle starts to exhaust your upper back and neck muscles, the tips of your fingers go numb and pretty soon the lack of oxygen that the lungs get, produce a build up of carbon dioxide in the muscles and cramps start to set it. For me that takes place relatively soon without the aid of a bronchial inhaler. But I never took that aid and when the doctors gave them to me in 2002, I threw them out on the way out of the hospital. Not smart, I know.

When my lungs started to contract and my quads to my hamstrings began to seize I could feel all my demons catching up. I became enraged. My breath became gasps and my strides became leaps as I ran faster. I ran without any technique and my breathing had no rhythm. To a passerby I probably looked as if I was being chased and really, I was. I would not stop until I gave the demons the slip or die on the side of the road. For the first time in years I felt like I hopped the fence of slavery, and even though it was symbolic, I was free. I had taken the wheel and now I was cruising on a road that wasn’t on any map.

Looking back at that pivotal point in my life, I have no idea how far I went. I do know how long I ran for. I ran from 6pm to 11pm. I know it was eleven because I stopped at a gas station to buy a drink and inquire where I ended up. It turns out I ran due north and I went seven exits up GA 400 through some fairly back wooded areas. My feet were torn to shreds, my ankles were swollen, I couldn’t hear very well out of my right ear and I had been coughing up blood for over an hour. Many would think I took a step closer to death but it was there that I found my life again. I was at a BP station north of Dawsonville, Georgia and that is where I took everything back again.

After I drank a few bottles of Gatorade and downed two turkey sandwiches (that was probably made the week prior) I hobbled down the road on the long trek home. I never thought about going home when I started; I just ran. Every inch of me hurt but with this pain came a new sense of self. I know that sounds like an Oprah moment but it was true. I hobbled all the way back to Roswell and at 9 in the morning I fell on the front yard. I picked myself up and barely made it to my door before I fell over again. This time I was a little nervous that I may have done something bad. I unlocked the door and crawled up the stairs to the bedroom shower, tuned on the cold water and crawled over the tub with clothes and shoes on. With the cold water running over me I drifted in and out of consciousness, cognoscente that there was blood steaming down my elevated legs from my shoes. It may have been ten minutes it may have been two hours but I finally turned off the water and pulled myself out of the tub and took hold of myself. I got undressed, peeled off my shoes and socks, revealing that I had done some considerable damage to both feet, and walked gingerly down the stairs to the kitchen and replenish what I had lost.

It took days to recover from that. I was still bleeding from my lungs days after but it didn’t deter me. I went running again. Everyday I left the comforts of the couch with Everybody Loves Raymond and Family Guy for the pain of the trail. The lungs began to burn less, the feet were constantly blistered but tougher, the legs became stronger and I started to find that I wasn’t actually running from my demons but dealing with them on my own terms.

Earlier this year I went to a pulmonary physician for a few tests to see how my lungs were. After my injury I never accepted that I had a handicap so going to another doctor just to reconfirm that I was disabled was not in the cards. But now I had a handle on life and in order to truly conquer my past I had to face things head on. He put me through every test they had including taking bronchial dilators to test the amount of air I can take in to a MRI to view the damaged tissue. After the tests were concluded I went home and waited two weeks for the test results. It was a long two weeks.

Well, the results came in and I went to the clinic to have a face to face. He sat down with me and showed me the folder with all my tests and a summery sheet. To make a long story short the test came out very good. I still only have 83% of undamaged lung tissue but with my running they expand to take in more oxygen. From what he explained, I had trained my body to adapt to my lifestyle. I can accept that.

I guess that little story would have been an overkill for the girl at the checkout counter at Borders but that is why I read books about running. It’s a sport that is the purest form of raw stamina and endurance. My runs bring me closer to God and I know myself better because every time I feel that I can’t take another step I know, I can. Running to me is a way to explain life. It isn’t suppose to be fun, it isn’t easy and sometimes it hurts like Hell, but it should. The rewards and accolades are completely intrinsic and the only person you need to impress is yourself.

I was planning on reviewing the book Ultra Marathon Man but I don’t think I will today. I will say that it is an amazing story of self determination and the will of Dean Karnazes is matched by no one I have ever heard of. Maybe Ernest Shackleton. Maybe. Anyway, I read the book in one sitting and I found myself at times pumping my fist in the air, getting caught up in the moment so I would suggest you read it from the privacy of your home. It is inspirational and the first part floored me because I felt like I was reading my own story.

So buy it, borrow it, check it out, do what you need to do. Just read it. You will take something away, I promise.

(This is also posted on Macabre Fitness)

EDIT: Someone emailed me and asked what my favorite tune is that I run to. Here it is, “Coffee & TV” from Blur. It’s on repeat for many miles. Plus the video kicks real ass.

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