Tag Archives: life

Ketchup With Us #33: The Passed

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know in 57 words or less, or more, anything at all!. Ketchup With Us

I was pretty good with last year’s resolution (and I have 3 receipts from this week to go through), and around two years ago, I found out I had already set this blog in motion. So if anything, the new year is a great excuse to get back into it.

Every year I am healthy, working, respected and not worrying about finances is a better day than a lot of others. However, 2013 took a downward turn on many levels which I will not get into, and I am going to have to work harder to make 2014 more memorable, since a regular pace will not give me the impression of momentum. So, some ‘lofty’ or at least numerous goals, most of which will be documented in this blog, which means more for you to read (yay?!).

The first:
• 120 blog posts  – 1 every 3 days average, very doable. Yes Mr. G, you have gotten used to my in and out on posting, slamming the screen door every damn time  as well. I am sure most of you have. I promise at least some consistency.
Speaking of which…
• Keep up on reading you. Yes, you *Points to you*. I truly enjoy your posts.

• 52 pages of original storywriting (yes this includes the Zombie Bunnies, which has been on hiatus for >6 months)
• 26 writing challenges (which could be done just by Ketching Up, but there is always Trifecta!)

• 52 Books read
• 52 movies watched
• 12 new recipes (not necessarily original ideas)
• 12 new cocktails
• 12 new restaurants
…and reviews of each one of these.

• 12 photo posts (a month in photos-type dealie).
• Meet 12 new people. One way or another. *(I will not review the people, but if we meet in a new restaurant, they/I will review their food/drinks. Which means a new burger joint, Mr G.)
• Meet the most famous and inspiring Ms. ODNT and MelMags, because, if you read them, you want to meet them and the ketchup costumes. Yes you do.

• 2 vacations in which I travel, domestic (I have some ideas – if you have any ideas, I am sure they are to YOUR home town, in which case, name the restaurant that you are taking me to so we can review it!)
• Beat every video game I have started (if this includes anything in the Grand Theft Auto series, it doesn’t mean get 100%, if this phrase means anything to you).
• Be elected to my co-op board (2-3 neighbors are already grooming me to run)
• Be re-elected to the Staff council at work (I am the chair). However, this is voided if I achieve the goal; of a new, better job.
• To whatever point I progress in or complete any/all of these, Enjoy every minute.

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Filed under About Me, Life, Lists, Rants, Resolutions

Scintilla Project: The Size of Lies

Yes I have signed up for Scintilla ’13! I will try to get every one of them in, and hey I might even work a little Zombie Bunnies into the mix.

The prompts to choose from for today:

A: What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told? Why? Would you tell the truth now, if you could?

B: Tell the story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3….)

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Sure there are ‘small’, ‘white’ lies, but can you really keep them that way?

I was in 8th grade and we had to fill out our High School application forms. I was zoned for school ‘A’, which had a well-earned rep as being a rough school, to which I had no intention of going. I wanted school ’B’ which my sister was currently attending- though it was assured she would have no real intentions of socializing with me, it had a good reputation (more on this soon!). Still, the guidance counselor convinced me to apply for school ‘C’, which had higher academic standards and a lower percent of acceptances, and I did so reluctantly. I told my best friend at the time that I had applied, and he was ecstatic – he had applied as well; he was following in the footsteps of HIS own sister. He already had the school jacket!

About a month or so later, we started getting the letters with the assigned schools. Yep, I got into school C. Only 9 applicants from our school got in. Regardless of this, I was committing myself to B. Knowing that everyone got their letters at the same time, I wondered what I would say in the almost certain chance he got in.

Sure enough, the next day when we met to walk to school, his excitement was the giveaway.

“I got my letter, I’m in! Did they take you too?!”

“Naw man, they didn’t.”

His jaw dropped, joy turning to frustration as he unleashed expletives and tirades about the unfairness of it all. Yeah I felt like crap. I assured him it was ok, since I had a good ‘fallback’ plan, but that didn’t work, of course.

I felt like a rift had opened up at that time. The summer came and went, we started our schools, stayed close and hung out some afternoons. From time to time though he would still mention how much the situation sucked. Would I eventually tell the truth? Time heals all wounds right?

In order: Yes, and Nope.

What made me finally confess that I had been accepted, late into that freshman year? Maybe I figured it was water under the bridge. When I did tell him though, the look of shock on his face was enough to prove me wrong. He shrugged it off somewhat, but the rest of that time we spent hanging out (very likely playing video games) was spent with the tension fogging up the place. By that summer he had started hanging out with other guys (not mutual friends at all) and our friendship faded. By the time high school ended we had no contact with each other at all.

What would it have changed for us? Would we have had each other to lean on, rather than work to make a new set of friends? Would I have been able to stand up for him when he was robbed on the bus? My own time at School B grew more precarious, as it became a rough school as well; having been robbed in the hallway, that experience would not have transferred to the other one, and my academic path may or may have been affected, as I stopped really caring about grades, over personal safety, especially after another student was stabbed/killed in the staircase a year later.

So after many, many years and social network fads later I eventually found him on Facebook. I sent a friend request and it was immediately accepted. We caught up on backstories, and life events that I think we both would have liked to be around for. There is no animosity, and we concentrate on the good memories we had (getting pizza, renting movies, going to Yankee Stadium, collecting baseball cards, playing and beating Zak McKracken & the Alien Mindbenders [the best game ever created, IMO]), and though he doesn’t live in the country, if he happened to be around, we agreed to meet up, even entertaining the idea of hitting up the old pizza place.

Maybe time does heal all wounds, you just might need a lot more of it.

_______________

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Filed under Life, Scintilla Project, Writing, Writing Challenges

Trifextra 49: A Slice of Life

On to the weekend challenge. As you’ll recall from your elementary science class days, the structure of the earth can be divided most simply into three sections: core, mantle, crust. Here’s a diagram.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Well looking at the diagram inspired me…well that, and another photo.

___________

Inside this circle, a gummy coagulation mixes with a hot red liquid (let it cool first!), with a crusty edge. Every culture has ideas for toppings/ enjoyment.

Basically, Earth is a giant pizza!

___________

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Filed under Food, Humor, Life, Trifextra, Trifextra Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges

Trifextra 31 – Sum of 3

Robert Frost one said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” We want you to do the same. Sum up anything you want, but do it in three words. Your response should mirror Frost’s quote by beginning, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about–.” And the last four words are yours to choose.

With this weekend’s challenge, we have now done 3, 33, 333, and 3,333 words. So either there will be a 33,333 challenge (rivalling NaNoWriMo) or a contest where we remove 3 words from a sentence. I don’t know which frightens me more.

Until there, here’s what I know about that.

_____________

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about food.”

Follow the recipe.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Life, Trifextra, Trifextra Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges

WayBack Wednesday – The Ice Cream Man

Today’s Wayback Wednesday has been pre-empted. Well sort of. I have the blog planned, and it is an 80’s clip preciously dug up from YouTube, but as I was searching around I came across a video clip, and it brought me back to summers while growing up. So inspiration grabbed me and I built on it.

I’m posting it first, but I would recommend reading the story first, then watching. It will be worth it, I promise ;).

When I was younger, I lived in a section of Brooklyn that was a complex of tall apartment buildings. It was large, more populated than some national cities, but there were common place, people and other fixtures of the community. One of those people was “Johnny the Ice Cream Man”. He drove a white pickup with the frayed, faded pictures of various ice creams scattered along the refrigerated truck. You’d hear the ‘jingle jingle jingle’ of the row of small bronze bells on the top of the windshield that he pulled as he parked down the loop I lived near. My mom gave my sister and I enough for an ice cream each when she knew we’d be out when he came around. I varied what I would get each time, but “Bubble-O Bill” was a favorite, as it was ice cream with a big gumball nose. That, or an ‘Italian ice’ in a yellow cardboard box; which you always let soften a bit so you could flip it over and scrape off the settled ‘flavor’ on the bottom.

That's about as close actual fruit will come to those ices.

He always knew, without looking, if he had what you asked for, and where it was. The only openings were two small latched doors, and he would duck his head in, sometimes up to his waist, looking for ice cream, and emerge with your treat.

Johnny was about average height, and skinny, always wearing brown pants and a blue shirt. He was balding with white/gray wisps of hair from a comb-over covering his scalp blowing in the breeze. His exposed skin (arms and face) was dark, the tone that older Italian men get when they spend all day in the sun for years. When you paid him, he’d give you your change ‘chink chink’ from the coin slot machine he had attached to his belt.

If you bought an Italian ice, and wanted one of those flat wood spoons, you’d go to the passenger seat of his car where an old man, undoubtedly his father, would give it to you, as well as these little pink candies wrapped in opaque plastic. They weren’t flavorful, had the consistency somewhere between gum and regular candy, and were always ice cold, but you took one anyway. It was free, and the old man liked doing something.

He had a good portion of the ice cream route in our community, and did rounds several times a day from late spring to early fall. I’m positive he was the first ‘owner’ of that route, as the community was built in the 70’s (I grew up in the 80’s), and I can imagine he made a good return on the investment. Even in his old age he wouldn’t quit it; he’d work until he went to his grave, probably just like his old man. I could see it on Johnny’s face already in his late 30’s early 40’s; that tired, non-smiling, but still friendly way in which he worked.

Some years later he got a new truck, a black pickup, but kept the refrigerated section, which now contrasted in color and age. I had stopped getting ice cream for a while by then, but one summer afternoon after I graduated high school, I saw him coming down the loop of the section I had been hanging out in with some friends. He was by himself this time, but physically, he looked the same, just maybe 10 years older. By this time he had sodas as well, so I bought a Clearly Canadian Black Cherry clear soda from him (Damn I still remember that like it just happened). He gave me a nod, I thought maybe I saw the recognition flicker in his eyes, but I didn’t pursue it.

So seeing that video brought me back. It looks like he went bald by that time, and went through yet another truck. You see how he greeted the person taking the video; just remembering names and such brought grown men back to their childhood again, with bragging rights on how long they knew him.

At 26 seconds you see it. When I did, it was like a time warp. Later you’ll see his hand go to his waist for the change dispenser. I’d bet that it was the same one.

I checked around, found out he died in July 2009.

Thanks Johnny, for all that ice cream and for the memories that won’t melt.

3 Comments

Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Retro, Uncategorized, Wayback wednesday

Self-Aware: Scintilla Project

Welll just a few hours to go until the next topic, but hey it still meets the deadline 😉

Talk about the ways in which your body is awesome.

–It’s an attractive soul-holder. I mean let’s face it- we’ve all been persuaded to try a product or service based solely on the advertising/packaging.

–A dinner of cabbage or beans provides hours of free entertainment. Perfectly timed, it can also give me some much needed ‘alone’ time.

–It lets me know when I see a gorgeous woman. Sometimes it lets her know too.

–My legs can take me anywhere I need to go; at times towards something, on other occasions- away. They have a great relationship with my brain, so I let them decide and go along with it. Collectively they know better than I do.

–My hands and fingers help me express how I see the world around me (and galaxies far far away when I am talking about Star Wars). Whether tapping a keyboard, holding a pen(cil), or pushing the shutter on a camera, they are the tool that help describe my creativity. They are not good at drawing (BUT when playing ‘Draw Something’ or Pictionary, not knowing how to draw makes the game much more entertaining!), but I can at least describe what my 5 senses are telling ME.

–Speaking of those, everything can be experienced using at least one and up to all 5 of the senses. Though the sixth sense- which can help you see dead people, pick winning lotto numbers or know when Dr. Octopus is behind you – can technically be useful, we seem to get along without it. Depending on how many arch enemies you have.

–I do wonder how with all the efficient, wonderful attributes our bodies are capable of, we can ingest the most wonderful delicious and nutritious foods ever, and turn it all into something terrible. Trying reverse psychology on ourselves, that is, eating junk food doesn’t result in us “leaving” a bunch of flowers, or -during those White Castle binges – a unicorn that grants realistic wishes, and compensates us with gold coins (it is wearing a backpack full) for ones that it cannot grant.

–All kidding aside, I am thankful for each day when I can open my eyes, wiggle my toes, feed myself and my cats, and go to my job. Even on the days when I dread it all.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Scintilla Project, Uncategorized

Lost & Found – Scintilla Project

Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most. –Albert Einstein (often wrongly attributed to Ghandi)
One of today’s themes is : Show a part of your nature that you feel you’ve lost. Can you get it back? Would it be worth it?
So what have I had that I no longer have.

All things in general (including virginity – 3:28 or so)—well I’ll let George Carlin explain all that.

Hairline – once I had a full head of hair that got the daily treatment of gel/mousse. I would never think of wearing a hat to undo that work. Even in winter. I mean, it was my HAIR, man! Damn that scientific theory that most of your body heat left through your head. Theories can’t be proven right, right? Or is it wrong? Whatever! As years went by I would notice the changes, but interestingly enough, I cared less about it. At this point, I am receding, though it doesn’t seem to be progressing. Also I keep it trimmed with a part, so it’s really low maintenance – maybe a few seconds with a brush and I am good to go. I will, for special occasions (high profile assassinations, peace treaties, annual evil overlord alumni meetings) put a little mousse in there, but that is just to keep it in place. Hats? Oh yes! I have ones for every season, and for sunny days. The way I see it, a hat keeps me warm. Giving a rat’s ass about how it looks or what it will do to my stylin’, doesn’t.

So, even though I am a bit more ‘reflective’ (I don’t have to buy that special day-glow tape that runners stick to their asses, so cars don’t run them down during midnight runs – but then again I don’t run), the FAA hasn’t had me arrested for distracting pilots, and they can’t see me from space in the ISS. I have no interest in any hair restoration treatments; sewing hair up there sounds painful, and Rogaine costs $ and I think you have to use it all the time. If I tried to get my insurance to cover it, I might set off a chain of events that causes an up-to-now-unheard-of polarity between political parties, and Obama dropping a dime to tell me I’m his hero.

Hey Cueball, just wanted to let you know, you are the wind beneath my wings.

My sense of humor – well it has always been based on sarcasm, anecdotes, obscure references, and repeating any of those subjects in a joke (stopping while it is still funny, not creating that awkward moment). I still haven’t lost a step; I can pull out a Star Wars or Simpsons quote on que.

My childlike sense of wonderment– Huh? Oh you mean that idea of how everything is lovely, innocent, and pureeeeeeeeeeeeeee…oh sorry, that was just so boring that I fell asleep typing it. I grew up with Star Wars, GI Joe, and Transformers. I knew that there was conflict in the world (and a long time ago, in galaxies far, far away), and since the United Nations never made a playset, well I put other stuff on my list to Santa, or worked with what I had.

COBRA's forces always invaded and occupied the Street with minimal losses.

Also I had video games that emphasized the ideas of hunter vs. hunted, running from/confronting my personal demons, and of course gluttony , with the realization that completing a task and getting to the next level of responsibilities just means having to do the same thing, only faster and with more difficult over and over again.

Hey Sisyphus.

Rather than look at what I have lost, I think about what I have gained (which is, I don’t know…the wisdom to know the difference. Or something). Besides, I wouldn’t have space for all that stuff anyway.

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Filed under Creative Writing, General Nerdliness, Humor, Life, Scintilla Project, Uncategorized