Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thank You For Being a Friend



I'm coming out of hiding.
 


Message received. I have been away from writing in here for far too long. It's been nine months since my last post, which you're right, is an epically long time. I had to brush cob webs off my computer, which means one of two things: its been awhile and  . . . I need to clean more. To those of you who have been asking, enticing, coercing, harassing, and threatening me to write another blog, this one goes out to you. Thank you for not giving up on the bag of crazy that is me.

Today marks this blogs third birthday. Before you get all suspicious and ask where the prank is, you can relax. I have chosen to take an April Fool's Day off this year. I know it's hard to believe. You're probably reading this right now and calling bullshit. (By the way, if you are one of those people, I tip my hat to you good sir. You're learning)


 
I don't know what to tell you. Something has changed within me. Something is not the same. Like quoting Wicked for example. Who does that? If that isn't enough proof for you that I am different, let me give you a list of things that have happened since I've been gone, to show you what I mean.

1.) I didn't celebrate St. Patty's this year. No party. No wearing green for a week. I didn't even drink.
2.) I went to my first wedding since I was nine and didn't have ANY alcohol . . . BY CHOICE
3.) I've started craving soy over ground beef.
4.) I go to bed before midnight and wake up before 8am.
5.) I've started eating pancakes, with butter, A LOT
Are you still waiting for me to say April Fool's? Ask Jason. He will be the first to tell you that all of those things are true. His eyes almost popped out of his head when I started smearing butter on a pancake. I believe his exact words were: "What kind of alien are you and what have you done with my husband?" Ours is a loving and supporting relationship.

Thirty-three has been a very odd year for me. I really dived head first into work and made it a commitment to get promoted within a year. With the work and effort I put in, I didn't really talk or see a lot of you. I know that is what happens as you get older, you tend to drift apart from those you care about. But I always thought that was just one of those sappy things people said in romantic comedies or a life lesson from a Saved By the Bell episode. I didn't actually think it happened.
 
(This is my new saying, by the way. Move over "Hug from Jesus" and "For the Love of Ray J")
 
This is just one of the many life lessons I have learned. You can hold on to friendships, but not expect them to stay the same. I am blessed with a lot of amazing friends (you're obviously one of them because this blog is linked to my Facebook that only my friends can see). And what I found is, I also have very understanding friends. They don't judge me for not calling or making plans with them cause they were probably just as busy as I was. They don't put the ball 100% in my court and tell themselves if I cared, I would be the one calling instead of them. They don't see me spending time with someone else and think they have been replaced. They don't get drawn into all that petty crap.
So in conclusion, I need to have my Golden Girls moment and thank you for being a friend. Thank you for being the understanding person that you are. Thank you for being supportive through my weird transformation. Thank you for allowing me to hurdle through my work obstacles and all the help and feedback you provided along the way. Thank you for tolerating my absence and knowing that is was nothing about you or my lack of caring.

And thank you for making me want to write again. I couldn't do this without you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ten to One

Dear Diary,

I never thought this would happen to me . . . .

No, it hasn't been so long since I have blogged last that I forgot how to write. Today is a huge milestone in the world of me. I have done the unthinkable. I have concurred my own crazy. I have managed to stay in a committed relationship for 10 years.

I know. I am as shocked as you are.

I am not the kind of person you would call "relationship material." First I want to be cuddled up next to you, soaking up all of you that I can. Next I am ready for bed and God help you if any portion of your body touches me while I am trying to fall asleep. At one moment I want to go on a date, maybe to a fancy restaurant. Next I need to go home because using a public bathroom to "evacuate the dance floor" is not my idea of a good time. It's like I am that song Hot and Cold by Katy Perry . . . . on repeat . . . . for eternity. #BeingAGemini

Apparently the stars aligned, fate sprung its master plan, and I cashed in all my dumb luck coupons to meet someone who is just as crazy as I am. The best part is I didn't even want to date at first. Neither of us wanted something serious. And here we are, ten years later, happily driving each other crazy because that is what a relationship is. That is of course, unless you have only been together for a couple years.

You can spot a new couple a mile away, whether it be the visual clues they give you or the things that they say. Some people find it cute. Others find it nauseating. And for those of us who have evolved from that concept, we like to sit and laugh about how we use to be and deny that we were ever like that.

Don't know what I am referring to? Are you yourself in a new relationship? Let me give you some examples:

Year One: You come home to lit candles because your partner has made you a romantic dinner. These moments usually lead to some "brown chicken brown cow."

Year Ten: You come home to lit candles because your partner has "blown up" the bathroom from all that Thai food they had. Suddenly fornication is the farthest thing from your mind.

Year One: While eating dinner, you feed your partner because there is some part of you that finds it cute and adorable.

Year Ten: While eating dinner, you feed your partner because they broke both their arms and can't do it themselves.

Year One: You spot dirty dishes in the sink your partner forgot to do and think its time for a long sit down discussion about priorities and their investment in this relationship.

Year Ten: You spot dirty dishes in the sink your partner forgot to do and you breathe deeply, reminding yourself that they took out the garbage, put the kids to bed, changed the laundry, and whatever else that just doesn't make it worth the fight.

Year One: Your friends want to have a night out, and you decline because you would rather stay home with your partner.

Year Ten: Your friends want to have a night out, and you flock to this like the salmon of San Juan Capistrano.

Year One: Your fights are usually silly fights that drag on for years to follow like: What do you mean you watched Game of Thrones without me? or YOU ATE MY LAST OREO?!?!?!?!

Year Ten: Your fights are usually silly fights that drag on for hours like: What do you mean you don't remember where you put the remote? or YES HUH KEVIN BACON WAS IN FOOTLOOSE!!!!!!!!

Year One: When out with other couples, you don't mind showing public displays of affection and tell yourself that you will never be like "that couple" who refuses to do that sort of thing, and you wonder how many years they have been together.

Year Ten: When out with other couples, you may throw out one or two public displays of affection, but they are always timed correctly, because you don't want to be "that couple" that everyone is staring at and wondering how many months they have been together.

Year One: You celebrate things like: your first kiss, first date and first time we had sex (sometimes all in the same night)

Year Ten: You celebrate things like: got to level 410 on Candy Crush, lost 20 lbs., and took the biggest shidoobie of your life (sometimes all in the same night)

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with Year One couples. The people who tease you about it have all been there before, and the malicious ones are really just being envious. And to all my friends that are reaching their relationship decade or who passed it years ago, their is one thing we have over Year One couples:

Year One: When you get those moments to look at your relationship in your mind, you feel like you have forever and sometimes that feels overwhelming and scary. Sure you may have dated a long time, but there is a lot of not knowing because you haven't been through a lot together.

Year Ten: When you get those moments to look at your relationship in your mind, you feel like you don't have nearly enough time and that thought regularly terrifies you and makes you sad. Fortunately, The trust has grown exponentially because of all the things you have been through (illnesses, family death, buying a house, huge fights, huge make-ups). And when those terrifying moments come, you simply drift your hand across the bed and touch that person you can't see yourself living without, because it may be sad losing that person, but it's always comforting knowing that they are there.

. . . . . unless of course I'm trying to sleep, then all hell breaks loose.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thems the Breaks

I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, the concept of taking one day to tell someone that you love them seems kind of lame and rather pointless. Whatever happened to taking those random moments to show someone you care? Do we honestly need a holiday for it? Plus, Cupid has to be one of the lamest holiday mascots I've ever heard of. That's right Easter Bunny. You have one up on a winged baby looking thing that shoots heart tipped arrows at people. So take your big pink, egg hiding, booty and get down with your bad self. No Aquaman status for you.

While Jason and I don't subscribe to the Valentine's Day is For Losers Club, we still don't fully invest our time into lavishing the other with gifts every February 14th. We will surprise each other here and there with cute gifts to make the other smile, which is actually no different then any other time of the year. We are big believers in the: "I saw this and thought of you" or "I just wanted to come by and tell you I love you." Which is how our story begins.

The day was February 15th, this past Saturday. I was stuck working all weekend so my boss could have a romantic weekend he had been well over due for. Since Jason and I had no major plans for the weekend, I decided spending it earning a pay check was not the end of the world. After an epic failure of an attempt to get Jason something nice for his office on Friday, I was not in the best of moods. To cheer me up, he had left the party he was at so he could stop by and surprise me. One of those moments just to show me that he missed me. Having already had a stressful morning (our printer decided it hated me and proceeded to crash) I welcomed the visit. And . . . he brought me a green tea from Starbucks, or as I call it, that magical liquid that helps stop me from becoming The Hulk.

As it turns out, my good friend Kathy, had also decided to come visit me at the exact same time. This is one of the things I love about Kathy. We share the same birthday, and thus by that logic, almost share the same brain. Call it one of those twin things. We are Gemini's after all. As Kathy's Topher-sense (much like spidey-sense but way better) led her to me, it was like the fates had known what was about to occur.

Boston, Kathy's son, had begun doing the pee-pee dance that all kids instinctively know. My work is equipped with many things, but public bathroom is not one of them. Being the super gentlemen that he is, Jason offered to take Boston to Ono Hawaiian BBQ next door so he could "potty." This may seem like pointless information, but like any good narrator, I am painting a picture. As Kathy exited my store, purchase in hand, she watched Boston and Jason return from the bathroom.

(The following is a compilation of descriptions from all parties involved because I was inside working. This may be over dramatized, but I am not at liberty to say what is fact or an exaggeration.)

As Jason stepped onto the curb, Venti Iced Latte in hand, something grabbed a hold of his foot. It was like the earths gravitational pull had shifted into that spot, and would not allow Jason to dislodge his foot. By not being able to release said foot, his body was propelled forward by the sheer brisk pass he had previously been walking.

Kathy watched in horror as Jason's body lurched forward. His feet went up into the air as his body angled toward the sidewalk, face first. He looked like one of those cartoon characters when they slip and fall. His latte shot from his hand, exploding onto the concrete in a flood of milk and espresso, barely missing her and her two kids.

As Jason went sprawling toward the ground, he had only one thought: protect your face. Throwing his hands out in front of him, he slammed onto the concrete with tremendous force (from his brisk walking speed). Kathy watched as Jason's body laid spread out on the sidewalk, motionless and unmoving. River and Boston (her kids) cried out for him, afraid that he had met his untimely demise on the cement beneath them.

Jason began to pick himself up, and had managed to save his face, or as he calls it, his "money maker," from being smashed in. What he did not save, however, were his two wrists that he had thrown in front of him for protection.

For those of you who don't know this, Jason is severely accident prone. In the 9 years we have been together, he has:
1.) Fallen off a bar stool while trying to put up fake cobwebs for a Halloween party and "broke his ass"
2.) Dislocated his shoulder from standing on a toilet seat while trying to remove Orlando Bloom from the wall.
3.) Had his knee "fall out" from walking around Comic Con for 4 days.
4.) Dislocated and fracture his wrist from Wonder Woman falling on top of him for a group Halloween photo.

While Jason stood up, Kathy noticed the "not pleasant angle" his left wrist was portraying. Having just healed from its run in with Wonder Woman 4 months earlier, it seemed that the Great Fall of 2014 (this is what I am labeling this incident as), had made it even worse.

Worried for his life, it is Jason after all, Kathy ushered him into her Rav and raced him to the emergency room down the street. One crazy emergency room lobby, one asshole doctor who proceeded to shake Jason's wrist to determine "how injured he was," a painful round of X-Rays, and five hours later, it was determined that he had multiple fractures in both wrists and a dislocated wrist to boot.

I got home to a miserable Jason with two arms wrapped in splints.  Over the weekend, I nursed him as much as I could, and with the help of Kathy (who apparently felt guilty for Jason being hurt over taking Boston to the bathroom) we got Jason in to Orthopedics where it was determined that he will need to surgically have metal plates put in both arms. Translation, Jason can beat himself up better then Wonder Woman could.

As you reflect on your Valentine's Day, and think of what it means to you, I ask you to ponder one thing. Corinthians 13 will tell you that love is patient, kind, not jealous, and a whole mess of other crap. I know. People use it in their wedding ceremonies all the freaking time. But you wanna know what I think love is? Love is feeding your partner, because they can't lift their arms, as you watch your own food get cold. Love is getting up several times during the night to help your partner go to the bathroom, because they can't get their pants off or wipe themselves without your help. Love is stopping what you are doing to itch your partners head, help them blow their nose, or making them a water bottle necklace so they have something to drink because they can't do it themselves.

I won't lie to you. It is frustrating as hell. But these are things you accept when dating a klutz. And I do it, because there is no one else on this earth I love more.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Operation: Christmas Surprise

If you've read this blog before, you're aware that I'm not a fan of Christmas. People look at me weird every time I tell them this. It's very similar to the face I get when I tell people that I still own a VCR. Another thing that I'm not a fan of is surprises, mostly because it's usually a lot of work, and the person is so rarely surprised.

I personally, am a very hard person to surprise. This year, when my friend Lesley made me a "My Adventure Book" from Up for my birthday (Operation: Wet Mess), she told less than 5 people,  in fear that I would pick up some type of clue as to what her gift could possibly be.

So with that...welcome to my personal hell. Operation: Christmas Surprise, where I attempt to surprise my partner of 9 1/2 years. Trying to actually surprise Jason for Christmas is much like Snakes on a Plane, Sharknado, Kanye and Kim, or any other unholy collaboration that comes together under one banner of terror.

I hate trying to surprise Jason. And by hate, I mean loathe to my last agonizing breath.
If you don't believe me, just try surprising Jason sometime. Go on. I dare you. I double dog dare you. And trust me, you will be more frustrated then poor Flick trying dislodge his tongue from that frozen pole.

In order to surprise Jason, you have to become the M. Night Shama-llama-ding-dong of Christmas gift givers. And I'm not talking about M. Night from The Village where everybody saw that ending coming. I'm talking Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis's wife dropping that ring and you feel your soul do a back flip because you have just been bamboozled. You have to come with your A game, and have at least three back up plans if you want to surprise Jay.

If you asked Jay, he would like to say it's because he is so intelligent and observant that he can figure out any type of masterminded attempt to trick or outwit him. But no. It's hard to trick Jason because he is the biggest pain in the ass that you have ever met. And before you go trying to defend him, allow me to share with you a story:

This year for Jason's birthday, he wanted the game Munchkin Zombies. His brother Wayne approached me, and asked if I wanted to go halves on the entire Zombie set. Thinking I was in the clear of any type of paper trail for Jason to "magically" follow, I agreed. Two weeks later, Jay and I went to visit some friends in Temecula. On the way, Jason asked if I would stop at a gaming store so he could "check on some things."
Jason is not very good at following the golden rule of presents. I violated this rule back in the late 90's and Lesley has been reminding me of it ever since (thank you Zebrahead album). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the golden rule of presents, allow me to enlighten you: You are not allowed to buy yourself anything a month before your birthday and Christmas, because there is a large chance that you will be ruining someones gift to you.

Knowing that Jason sucks at this, here is how the conversation went:

Topher: "Ok. But remember that your birthday is coming up and people may have got you something from there."

Jason: "Nobody I know would buy me anything from a gaming store."

Topher: (getting irritated that he is not sensing the tone) "That's not true. There's Brian, Troy, Greg . . . Me.

Jason: "No. Nobody knows I want this. They wouldn't have bought me anything like this."

Upon entering the store, where does he go? Right to the Munchkin section of course, and picks up Munchkin Zombies.

Trying to stay calm I tell him:

Topher: "Honey. I think you should wait until after your birthday to buy that just in case. Besides, we shouldn't spend money right now."

Jason: (sigh of frustration) "Fine."

Topher: "Why are you getting mad at me?"

Jason: "Well it's my birthday. And I want to spend my money the way I want to. But of course no, I can't do the things I want to. It's fine. Whatever. Lets just go."

Topher: "I am just trying to be helpful. I am sure someone really thoughtful got that for you."

Jason: "Oh yeah? Who would even think to get me this?"

Topher: (Finally blowing up) "I DID, MOTHER FUCKER!!!! ME!!!! I'M THE THOUGHTFUL ONE THAT GOT IT FOR YOU FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY, YOU GAY SON OF A BITCH!!!!!"

(Every nerd in the store turns to look at the two fags in the Munchkin section)

Jason: (Pause) "That was very thoughtful of you honey." (Long pause) "So can I buy Munchkin Bites then?"

And that is just one of many fun stories I have about Jason being difficult to surprise. What you're about to read is the behind the scenes scoop for today's story, and what I went through to get Jason his Christmas gift.

June 13th, 2013 - I walked into work and found two giant signs: XBOX ONE and PS4, pre-order today! Jason and I had discussed that we would be buying an XBOX ONE for ourselves for Christmas. He agreed that he would wait until after his birthday to buy the PS4 since we could only afford one system this Christmas. I agreed, and then started phase one of my plan. The beauty of pre-orders at GameStop (for those of you who don't know) is that you can put down money little by little, and that way, you have your item paid in full by pick up.

I didn't tell Jason, but I had saved $100 so I could put a $50 deposit down on both systems. Low and behold, GameStop had screwed me over and raised the minimum deposit on the new systems to $100. Which sadly meant one thing: I only had enough money for one. Knowing Jason was planning for the XBOX One, and having read Gift of the Magi, the last thing I wanted to do was lie and put the money on the PS4. So I put my deposit down on what we had agreed, and started brainstorming of how I could get myself a PS4.

Enter my little Sri Lankan Angel, Jehan. Right before Comic Con, we were sharing a conversation about the new systems. Jehan had put a deposit down on a PS4, but was having second thoughts about paying that much money for one. Getting struck with brilliance, I told him if he changed his mind I would buy his pre-order off of him. Two weeks later, I got the confirmation that he was not going to be getting his PS4 and that I could have his pre-order. In exchange for his PS4, I paid off some of his other games, and then kept the PS4 under his name so Jason wouldn't pull up our account and see it there.

For the next few months, I never said a thing about buying him a present. It was like it didn't even happen. Behind his back, everyone of his gaming friends knew he was getting a PS4. And by gaming friends, I mean his friends we game with on our Xbox 360 or PS3, not his D&D friends. I purposefully didn't say anything to them because they constantly tell people how consoles are terrible and destroying the world. PC gamers. The hipsters of the VG World. 

Even my co-workers knew. I swore every member of my staff to secrecy. I informed them that if any of them so much as breathed a word about the PS4 in front of Jason, I would have their head. Apparently I am very convincing.

At home, I repeatedly talked trash on the PS4, just to throw Jason off the scent. At work, I started pulling longer shifts and working overtime, just to help pay off his PS4 without him noticing. Every now and again, he would ask me to pay for things, and I told him I was on a tight budget. This worked, because I had an XBOX One and several pre-ordered games to pay off as well. He even started making shitty comments too!

Like when I told him to be nice or I was going to give his Christmas present back. He replied with: "Oh no. I guess I won't be getting more T-shirts and underwear this year." After that comment, I had half the mind to wrap all the parts of his gift in T-shirts and underwear.

At the PS4 midnight launch, we got in 12 extra PS4s. You should have seen the look on Jason's face. He was so butt-hurt that he couldn't afford to buy himself one, but he kept talking himself out of it. His mantra for the next few weeks was "I can wait until after my birthday." Little did he know that I picked up his system the next day (I had to wait until he wasn't with me) and it sat in his mother's closet for over a month because I didn't want to hide it at our house.

The following week I got a phone call from his mother, asking if I could get her a PS4 because that is what Jason told her he wanted for Christmas. Normally I would be pissed that he went behind my back and told his mother to get him something that we'd already planned to get. But it didn't matter. He clearly didn't know that I'd gotten it. Plus, the PS4 was sold out everywhere. What a great, and TRUE excuse. The chances of someone else ruining my gift suddenly became nonexistent.

Occasionally, I would throw out phrases like: "I'm sorry I couldn't afford to get you a PS4 for Christmas" or "Hey, we're at Target. Ask them if they have PS4s. I am willing to go in for half of it with you."

Six months, eleven days, and two hours of: planning, lying, plotting, omitting, and misdirecting finally paid off.
I decided to let Jason open his PS4 on Christmas Eve. Originally I wanted to just have it set up in the bedroom and wait to see how long it took for him to realize it was there. Lesley suggested that I have him open it on Christmas Eve. "He won't be expecting his big gift the day before Christmas and then he gets to wake up and enjoy all of Christmas day, knowing he got exactly what he wanted."

You know, I have to admit, Lesley really is a super genius

(Picture of Jason opening his PS4, Elite Pulse Headset, Killzone 4, Knack, Need For Speed: Rivals and extra Controller on Christmas Eve)

***Note*** I made him read this blog immediately after opening his gift, just so he would know the hell I went through to get here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lies My Parents Told Me

Every time I sneeze, I fight the urge to close my eyes. Odd right? When I was younger, I was told that if you sneeze with your eyes open, they'll fall out. While I assume most children would be horrified by this idea, I was rather fascinated by it. Over the course of my life I have tried to to prove this theory false. Even at 32, I am still trying to stop my eyes from involuntarily shutting during a sneeze. Could you imagine the looks people would give you if you sneezed your eyeball out of its socket?
I blame my parents for this behavior. Much like all parents, my mother and father told me the dumbest things when I was a child. Part of me wonders if it was a tool they used to deal with such an ostentatious child. In reality, my parents are assholes just like me, always seeing what outlandish idea they can make people believe. So for all you gulla-bulls out there that I have tricked before, you can blame Doug and Virgina Huckaby. And if you are want to give them a piece of your mind, their email address is ADHuckaby@gmail.com. I'm sure they would love to hear about the terror they created.

Not every lie my parents told me were believable. How could Santa always be watching? There was no documented evidence that supported this. Too much television was apparently not bad for my eyes. They just got tired of watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. (On a side note: Anybody ever notice how incredibly homoerotic that show is? Seriously. He "held aloft" his "magic sword"? Who says stuff like that? And I know it's not just me. I even had this conversation with my friend Kathy. I challenge you to turn on your Netflix, find He-Man, and watch one episode. You can even choose which one. Let me know how that turns out for you)

Being the inquisitive child that I was, I started conducting my own experiments to see if there was any truth to these loads of BS my parents would tell me. For example:

1.) Refrigerator Man- I use to keep the refrigerator door open all the time. My mother told me once that there was a little man that lived in our refrigerator that gets mad when we leave the door open. To which I responded, "Wouldn't he get mad at us for locking him in there?" I did go looking for said man, once. I don't know if it was more out of curiosity or fear that he would eat my Snicker Eggs. After three long hours, and one broken refrigerator, it turns out that there was no little man in the refridgerator afterall.
2.) The Pee Shower- I must admit, no child wants to be urinated on. I don't know if that is true for all adults, but that is an entirely other subject that I wish not to get into at this time. For myself, the idea of being covered in urine does not sound appealing. However, there was one time in my life I was willing to sacrifice my comfort in the name of science. I was 8 years old, and my mother told me that if I pee in the shower, it will come right back out of the shower head. After long hours of telling myself she was wrong, I tested it. Turns out she was wrong. Which I have to say, it was a good thing, because had she been right, I would have had a mouthful of pee. No good can come from that.
3.) It's Chicken- I asked a lot of questions as a child. Particularly about food cooked by my Cajun relatives. Whenever I was about to eat something and knew nothing about it, I would ask my father what it was. His go to answer, "It's Chicken." While I admit to believing him the first few times, I did catch on pretty quick. Chicken never changed color, texture, or flavor. It was only until later in life that I learned exactly what I had consumed. I am here to tell you that: Raccoon, Squirrel, Coyote, Alligator and Snake do not taste like Chicken.
4.) It will stay that way- Your parents ever tell you if you make a face or cross your eyes for too long it will stay that way? Mine did. I think they just wanted me to stop making faces at people in public. It didn't really help. I tried to get my eyes to stay crossed for the longest time. I thought it would be hilarious.

I will admit, there were some lies that I should have known where not true. Like what kind of logic is there to the crust of the bread has all the vitamins?  And yes I was a little naive to think I was going to grow a watermelon inside me because I ate the seeds. The Tooth Fairy has to be my favorite lie I should have seen through. When you get $5 from the Tooth Fairy, and your friend gets 50 cents, that should be your first sign. Or when your parents tell you the Tooth Fairy was quote "too tired and left your money on the kitchen table," that's just a poor work ethic, and she would loose her job.

I do have to hand it to my parents. They did feed me a lot of bullshit over the years. And some of it I believed all the way up to my 30's. That's right. Even I can be fooled every now and again.

For my final thought, I would like to direct this to my friends with children. Be careful about the things you tell your children. Hopefully you have a child that is forgiving or even a child that will pass on these lies to their children like some type of honored tradition. But pray you don't have any children like me, for I am plotting my moment for when the tables will turn and I get to show my parents just what type of trickster they have raised.



The Brightest Crayon in the Box

My previous blog (Lies My Parents Told Me) created a lot of good conversations between me and my friends. Apparently, everyone was very intrigued to know what were some of the lies that took me until my 30's to figure out. Because I have no shame, and I am pretty sure everyone reading this believed at least a few of these, I decided to share my list with you.

10 LIES I THOUGHT WERE TRUE:
1.) Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis:

Cracking your knuckles (or any of your joints) can have therapeutic benefits. When you crack one of your joints you are pulling the bones that are connected at the joint apart from each other. This process stimulates your tendons, relaxes your muscles, and loosens your joints. Chiropractors do this for spinal joints when your back is sore and stiff, but you can do this on your own for your knuckles, toes, knees, neck, etc." I crack my knuckles ALL THE TIME. Call it a nervous habit, call it keeping my hands occupied, whatever. All I can say is it relaxes me and I like it.

Last year, I was talking to my doctor about a problem I was having with my thumb. I asked her if I was getting early on set of arthritis due to cracking my knuckles. She laughed at me and pointed me to a scientific study about knuckle cracking.

Unfortunately, there can be too much of a good thing. Cracking your knuckles will never lead to arthritis (despite what your mom keeps telling you), but scientists have discovered that it can cause tissue damage in the affected joints. Knuckle-cracking pulls your finger bones apart which stretches your ligaments. Too much stretching of your ligaments will cause damage to your fingers akin to the arm injuries sustained by a baseball pitcher who throws too many pitches. In addition to making your hand really sore, this ligament damage can also result in reduced grip strength.

Is this better or worse then arthritis? I am not sure. But what I do know is that I wasted 20 years of my life worrying I was going to have arthritis before 40. Thanks Mom.

2.) Swallowing gum will last for 7 years
This is probably one of the most highly believable myths a kid hears. If this was in fact true, I would have so much gum in my stomach, it would probably take to the year 2187 to remove from my body. While it is true that gum can't be digested, the idea that it will just stick to your stomach wall, essentially sitting in a vat of hydrochloric acid, is rather ridiculous. It simply passes through your digestive tract, alongside any other food, your allowance, action figure accessories, or any other objects which can't be digested. I will tell you, before anyone starts ingesting all the gum they can: There is a small risk of large quantities of gum sticking to each other, causing a blockage in the digestive tract that no amount of Long John Silvers would be able to dislodge. Food for Thought (see what I did there?)
3.) Wet hair/sick
Surveys have suggested that as many as 40% of parents tell their children that if you leave the house with wet hair, you will get sick. However, wetness really has nothing to do with it; far more important is being exposed to a cold virus. A link has been found to cold weather drying out your nasal lining, making you more susceptible to 1 of the 200 or so viruses known to cause colds. Coupled with a tendency to stay indoors, close to other people who may be carrying the virus, and you have a potent cold-inducing combination through the winter months, but wet hair really has nothing to do with it. I think my parents were just embarrassed to be seen with me looking like I got off the set of Oliver Twist.

4.) Swimming after you eat gives you cramps
I am sure everyone has heard this before. I actually did some research on this because I wanted to see where the idea came from. Apparently, eating diverts blood away from the muscles to the stomach, thereby increasing the chances of cramps and drowning. The motive for telling people this is clearly to save lives, but the logic is fundamentally flawed. Cramps are often caused by muscle fatigue, dehydration and other factors, such as lack of sodium. However, none of these factors have any correlation to eating just prior to exercise, and in some cases, it could even be argued that replenishing your energy whilst exercising could actually reduce the risk of cramping. Take that Jillian Michael s, you psycho hose-water bee-otch. (Did I mention I don't really care for her?)
5.) Coffee stunts your growth
This is possibly the oddest of our entries, primarily because I am one of the tallest people you probably know. How this myth even got started is something of a mystery. However, a possible explanation would be that parents try to deter kids from drinking something which makes them hyperactive.  Mine also use to tell me that when the Ice Cream Truck has a song playing, it means they are out of ice cream. I assume this was for the same reason. Whatever the explanation, the bottom line is this: coffee will not influence height. Numerous studies have been done into the effects of coffee on the body. Some suggest it reduces the risk of certain cancers. Others say it may reduce the risk of type-II diabetes or increase male fertility. Nowhere has it been shown that drinking coffee stunts your growth.

6.) Walt on Ice (coming soon to Madison Square Garden)
Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, but a rumor has long persisted that his body was cryogenically frozen and is held in storage under Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride, ready for the day when science will come up with the cure for lung cancer. The origin of this urban legend, so far, is unknown.
In reality, Disney’s body was cremated soon after his death. Legal documents exist that indicate his ashes were interred two days after his cremation in a marked vault at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. The first instance of cryonic preservation occurred a full year after his death.
This actually made me sad. I really wanted this to be true.

7.) Sewer Gators
Oddly enough, there is a grain of truth behind this legend. "The documented capture of an eight-foot alligator at the bottom of an East Harlem manhole in 1935 (though no one at the time assumed it actually lived down there). It was theorized at the time that the creature must have tumbled off a steamer visiting the northeast 'from the mysterious Everglades, or thereabouts,' and swam up the Harlem River. It met an unfortunate end at the hands of the teenage boys who found it."
I wish I would have known this back when I was 5. I wouldn't have been so scared to sit on a toilet. Thanks Dad.

8.) Daddy Long Leg Spiders
A widespread myth holds that daddy longlegs, are the most venomous spiders in the world. We're only safe from their bite, we are told, because their fangs are too small and weak to break through human skin.
It turns out that the notion is false on both counts. According to entomologists at the University of California, Riverside, the term "daddy longlegs" live in moist, dark places and eat mostly decomposing vegetable and animal matter. "They do not have venom glands, fangs or any other mechanism for chemically subduing their food," the UC entomologists write on their website. "Therefore, they do not have poison and, by the powers of logic, cannot be poisonous from venom. Some have defensive secretions that might be poisonous to small animals if ingested. So, for these daddy longlegs, the tale is clearly false."

I think the person I am most disappointed with over this issue is Jason. For somebody so deathly afraid of spiders, I thought you would have known about this.

9.) Waking a sleepwalker
-  Ever hear that you can kill a sleep walker from waking them? The chances of killing a sleepwalker due to the shock of sudden awakening, however, is about as likely as somebody expiring from a dream about dying. While it is true that waking a sleepwalker, especially forcefully, may distress them, it is an absolutely false statement that someone would die from shock, says Michael Salemi, general manager at the California Center for Sleep Disorders. "You can startle sleepwalkers, and they can be very disoriented when you wake them up and they can have violent, or confused reactions, but I have not heard of a documented case of someone dying from being woken up." Sleepwalking's hazard is more closely linked to what the sleepwalker may encounter when roaming about in a nocturnal reverie.
Imagine my embarrassment when I got this question wrong in the middle of my Psychopathology class. Kudos, Mom.

10.) 5 Second Rule
In households, restaurant kitchens, and almost anywhere people prepare or consume food, you'll occasionally hear someone call out "five-second rule." This refers to the concept that if food hits the floor and you snatch it up in less than five seconds, it's safe to eat."

Yes, someone really has conducted a scientific study of the five-second rule. It was the project of high school senior Jillian Clarke during a six-week internship in the food science and nutrition department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jillian swabbed the floors around the University in the lab, hall, dormitory, and cafeteria to see how many organisms could detected. The floors were so clean, from a microbiological point of view, because floors are dry, and most pathogens like salmonella, listeria, or E. coli can't survive without moisture.

To control the study, cookies and gummi bears were placed on both rough and smooth sterile tiles covered with measured amounts of E. coli, which did show a transfer of germs before five seconds. "All bets are off when it comes to carpet, damp floors, gum, or ice cream, as these were not included in the study."
Clarke also conducted a survey in which 70% of women and 56% of men said they were familiar with the rule. Women were more likely to invoke it. Not surprisingly, people are inclined to eat dropped cookies and candy more often than dropped broccoli and cauliflower.

For her work, Clarke was awarded an Ig Nobel prize in 2004 at Harvard University. Ig Nobel prizes recognize "research that first makes you laugh, then makes you think." Also honored at the ceremony was the inventor of karaoke music.

I honestly just found this article funny, and had to include it. Also, this was the board game Donna got for the family to play on Christmas. The slogan on the front of the box........priceless


Friday, November 1, 2013

Things That Make Me Go Mmmmmm

It's that time of year again.

Christmas season is about to begin.

To the normal human being, this usually means three things: the weather gets colder, the music gets jollier, and the people get nicer. I, however, am not normal. Christmas season for me "tis" not the season to be merry, or the most wonderful time of year. While the cold weather matches nicely with my cold heart, the other two signs of the Christmas season do not sit well with me. In fact, Christmas music alone has conditioned my brain to send me into bitch mode just to withstand the crazy ass customers that I have helped every Christmas since 1999.

I know what you're thinking: What kind of person hates Christmas? What are you Topher? Ebeneezer Scrooge?

Personally, I like to think of myself more as The Grinch. I can better relate to a green animal/monster thingy who smells bad and lives on a mountain with his dog; rather then a rich old man who got dumped by some whiny chick and has hated Christmas ever since. (Though, it would be cool to have a friend named Fezziwig. Just sayin'.)

And while three ghosts would never visit me to "change my ways," there are somethings on this planet that can make my heart grow three sizes in one day. And what are these magical items? Seasonal food.

That's right. I have moments of the year that make me happy because some edible delight is about to come back out of hibernation and I forget that I am a Grinch and act more like Cindy-Lou Who, who was no more than two . . . but less gay . . . sometimes.

I know it says a lot about me that food can make me happy. I like to think of myself as a simple man. I don't need expensive gifts, just a sandwich or perhaps a good beer. I don't need to be taken on a vacation, just to all-you-can-eat sushi. It doesn't even have to be an expensive dinner. Sometimes a Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr. will make me right as rain. So if you ever have to tell me bad news, please present me with one of the following items to soften the blow...

TOPHER HUCKABY'S SEASONS OF LOVE . . . FOOD:

10.) Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Yes, I know. I can technically have Corned Beef and Cabbage anytime of the year. But sometimes I feel like I am cheating on St. Patty's Day (like the day is more of a person then the actual St. Patrick himself). Did I mention I am not normal? There is something about that holy combination of food that sings to me like an angelic symphony. The more people who tell me they hate Corned Beef and Cabbage actually make me happy. By mathematical logic alone, the less other people eat equals more for me. I don't see a problem with this.

9.) Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts.

 I discovered these hidden treasures about two years ago. Normally I am the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon type of Pop-Tart guy. But upon discovery of a new flavor of Pop-Tart, I did what any self respecting connoisseur of good pastries would do, I indulged. And then I over indulged. I believe I bought about five boxes before they left me like a scorned mistress. Little by little throughout the year, I found myself being drawn in by their Siren's Song of deliciousness. If it wasn't for these little buddies, I may not have made it through the Hostess Apocalypse of 2013. What does a man do when his Chocodiles have left him? Grab a Pumpkin Pie Pop Tart. While they may leave you in the chaos of Black Friday, they always return to you in October.

8.) Del Taco's Baja Shrimp Burrito.

 Last year I gave up fried food for Lent. That lasted 30 minutes. Call it lack of self control. Call me a slave to my desires. But nothing you can say will ever take away my love for those damn burritos. I couldn't give up fried foods and go a whole year without savoring the rich zesty goodness that is the Baja Shrimp Burrito. To me, that's crazier then letting a food dominate my behavior. 

7.) The Count Chocula Cereal Series.

 I am a believer that everyone loves at least one of these cereals. Count Chocula, Frakenberry and Booberry are three of the most crazy delicious cereals I have ever had. Sure they may turn your milk a weird color in under three minutes. Of course they are loaded with sugar and a ton of other things that are horrible for you. And yes, to be addicted to a cereal without a prize inside the box is breaking the Child Code. But every Halloween I am running to the cereal isle so I can grab as many of those boxes I can fit in my giant Sasquatch hands.

6.) Olive Garden's Pumpkin Cheesecake.

This sinfully delicious dessert got me through some hard times in the six years I worked at the OG. I remember training a class of servers and had to stop mid lesson just so I could be the first person in the restaurant to partake of that wonderful goodness. A few years ago my grandmother called me at work to inform me that my uncle had passed away, and the only comfort I had was a Pumpkin Cheesecake. Now I am not saying that one bite into that cheesecake and I forgot why I was sad. I'm not a monster. But I will admit that it did help to calm me down. Before you judge me, try the Pumpkin Cheesecake, it is THAT good.

5.) The Mc Rib.

There are two types of people in the world. Those who love the McRib, and those who don't. If you are one of the latter, I am here to tell you that I understand why you don't like it. It's basically meat, pickles, onions, BBQ sauce and bread. It can be called over-priced for what all comes on the sandwich itself. And I wonder sometimes if it is actually rib meat and, if so, from what animal(s). But before my McRib brethren call me a blasphemer, I have a rebuttal...ehem...Clearly...there is some mystical reason that makes the McRib so amazing. I have been eating that thing every year since I was five, and I still, to this day, can't figure out what is it that draws me into McDonald's every October. Sure their BBQ sauce is pretty great for fast food. Yes their pickles have some type of drug in them that make you want to increase the amount on your burger every time you are there. And yes, the onions at McDonalds should be called Flavor Crystals, because that is what they basically are. On paper, the McRib makes no sense. That combo of items together just doesn't sound appetizing, no matter how well you write it. And yet, its just so damn delicious. I think we will discover Jimmy Hoffa's body before we discover why people love the McRib.

4.) Red Lobsters Endless Shrimp.

Screw Endless Pasta Bowl. Work one whole season of Endless Pasta, and you will see everything that is wrong with America. With that being said, at the risk of sounding hypocritical, I looooooooooooove Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster. Cheddar Bay biscuits + all you can eat shrimp = crazy delicious. I stopped eating the all you can eat shrimp at Sizzler because it just felt wrong after enjoying the many selections that Red Lobster has to offer. I am starting to realize why I am over-weight.

3.) Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.

You show me someone who doesn't love at least one type of Girl Scout cookie, and I will show you a liar. I will not debate with you for a second that their could be someone on the planet who doesn't get a little happy when March rolls around and those cookies start pouring in. Those Caramel Delights are awesome, the Peanut Butter Sandwiches are great. But those Thin Mint cookies are scrum-dittely-umscious. There was a time back in college when I had twelve boxes of them frozen in my freezer. They were my "had a bad day" food. You knew it was bad if you came over and I was curled up on the couch with a glass of milk and a sleeve of Thin Mint cookies. Now a days, I only keep about three stored in my freezer. Maybe its cause I grew as a person. Maybe its because I haven't been single in over nine years. Or maybe its because of the next two items.

2.) Cranberry Bliss Bars.

 My tag line for these little treasures has been the same for the last seven years: "If Heaven were a pastry, it would be the Cranberry Bliss Bar." It has the word "bliss" in the name for God's sake! Every year I have a standing order with Starbucks to give me two trays of those little triangles of joy. And by the end of the season, I have probably purchased about twelve trays. No I don't eat that many in two months. I share them . . . sometimes. And what I don't eat is stored in my freezer.

I would like to take this moment to thank William Cullen, the man who invented the freezer. You sir have saved my sanity more then you will ever know. I tip my hat to you, good sir. Kudos. No notes for you.

1.) Snickers Egg

I always get the same question. Aren't they just Snickers in egg shape? I never really answer people when they ask me this. I usually just walk over to my freezer, assemble the Snicker Eggs, and allow them to experience the amazing splendor themselves. Since I can't do this over the internet, I am going to do my best to explain the magical dynamic that plays out in a Snickers Egg. Yes, in theory, it is just Snickers bar shaped like an eggs. However, much like communism, this only works in theory. The reality is that the chocolate, caramel, peanut and nougat ratio is different in a Snickers Egg due to its size and shape. Back in the day, when the Snicker conglomerate wasn't greedy, they sold them as whole eggs. These days, they only come in egg halves. But that never stopped me. Much like Tic Tacs, I can only eat Snickers Egg in pairs of two. I take two halves and place them back to back, so I create a whole egg. And that, my good friends, is where the magic happens.

Over the years I have made a lot of people experience the wonder that is the whole Snickers Egg. And after every sample, I offer one warning: "After this sample, do not eat any of my snicker eggs, or I will END YOU!" I know I am a person who likes to play jokes, and rarely do people take me seriously. That is of course except for the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for taking one of my Snickers Eggs without asking is, I collect your f*cking head (I may have seen Kill Bill one too many times). My friends joke and laugh about someone eating my Snickers Eggs, but only two people on this planet have ever eaten my Snicker Eggs without asking. One is my husband Jason and the other is his mother. And if they ever go missing one year, assume that their yearly donation of three dozen Snicker Eggs were not sacrificed to my alter (my freezer).

Yes, I am aware I have problems. Yes, I know food shouldn't rule me the way that it does. But I know that every person has that one guilty pleasure that deep down inside they go crazy over. I'm just the fat ass that admits it.