31 October 2006

did i write about this last year?

Here's some background information on Rhoda's Grave, found outside Trenton, IL, where I grew up.

Lebanon, IL - A dorm is said to be haunted by the ghost of "Rhoda Penn Calbreath" who according to legend killed her daughter "Hester" when she caught her practicing witchcraft in the nearby woods. People who have tried to take pictures of Rhoda's grave have never been able to get a clear picture. Reportedly, a group of students spent the night at her grave years ago and got a tape recording of a young girl saying "Mommy, please don't kill me." (from here)

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Rhoda's grave can be found in a small family cemetery in a wooded area just five miles from the intersection of US 50 and State Road 160 in Trenton. As the way I remember it from when I was a kid, there were no houses nearby, except for an old falling down two story four-square just off the woods. Perhaps it was a barn, or perhaps it didn't exist at all; It's funny how memory works (or doesn't).

The path from the road to the cemetery was well worn, as I'm sure Rhoda's grave got more traffic than some of the businesses in town. I remember a group of headstones overgrown with weeds, and at least one grave still surrounded by a small grave fence. The rumor was that if you kneeled on Rhoda's grave, your knees would bleed. As a kid I had a theory that the only reason your knees bled was that someone broke glass there. In any case, I never did kneel. As I got older, they started building new houses around the grave. It always struck me as odd, and I wondered if the people building nearby knew the legend. I'm sure they picked up on it when people kept stopping on the road after dark.

Once I was out at Rhoda's grave with my cousin. She was new to driving and had her window down, and my uncle was sitting behind her. As we were discussing the legend, he reached his hand out his (rear) window and into hers (front) and grabbed her shoulder. You can imagine how loud she screamed.

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Feel free to correct any mistakes I made here... does anyone else remember a house? Maybe it was a barn.

28 October 2006

double awesome bonus

my guys win the world series.

it's a little detached here, but nice nonetheless.

how weird.

27 October 2006


it appears i may have a soccer team to play on again.

i'm leaving to take a job managing a taco john's in wyoming

It's unbearably slow at work right now, and all this time to do nothing but read about other people's adventures makes me even more stir crazy. It's not like I'm having an existential crisis, by any means, I'm just bored.

It's becoming a regular occurrence that I wonder what's next, or if I'm doing what I should be... but it's not such a strong feeling that I feel like I should just throw everything out the window and start over. It's more like those times when I was in college or high school when I thought to myself "this isn't fun, but I'm going to be so involved in something else later that I won't even remember now" or it's like when you have an argument with someone and a couple years down the road you don't remember anything about it other than being angry for some reason.

And so.

I'd like a fast forward button.

I'm thinking about changing fields. Right field is ok, I'm (Old) Eric Davis. What if I want to be Tony Gwynn? Maybe I want to be Gary Carter. Who knows? I need a fast forward button. Enough talking in baseball players.

I suppose the question is "what exactly would I be doing if I could be doing anything?" and the answer is "fuck if I know."

I suppose you could spend your whole life worrying about making a bad step.

How about you? If you could be doing anything, what is it that you'd be doing? If it was just you, with nothing to tie you down, no house payment, no kids, no crippling drug habit, no colostomy bag... NOW WHAT?

Sorry about your colostomy bag,


25 October 2006

and now you know the rest of the story

In order to appease those who leave comments, here is the hippie story in full.

After a nice meal with Brent's Mom and step dad (or whatever), we (we being Brent and Myself) jumped into my truck to take the back way to the blue ridge parkway. We had attempted the take in the sights of the parkway the previous evening, but it was raining and foggy and generally not worth the effort.

So we set off again, taking a series of winding mountain roads on course for adventure and picture taking (I'd have pictures here if I had any way of getting them off the camera I borrowed). As we made our way up, I noticed a man walking down the side of the road. Because I generally try not to look at people, I was quite odd that his sudden turn and point toward our vehicle caught my attention. Brent quickly responded. "Don't Mike, don't..."

But by then it was too late. I rolled down my window.

"Do you guys know the way to the parkway?"

I believe Brent responded that it was just up the way a bit, or at least we thought so.

"Would you mind giving me a ride up?"

I think maybe I looked at Brent... at this point I was pretty much stuck. This guy was filthy, there was no doubting that. He was wearing a dirty white sweater and what appeared to be pajama pants. He was holding a bag and his shoes.

I turned around to look at the back seat of the truck. It was filled with backpacks and camping supplies.

"You'll have to ride in the back, but sure."

He hopped in. It wasn't more than 2 miles and we saw the sign for the parkway. I stopped the truck.

"Is this good or...?"

"Well, I parked in a parking lot on the parkway. I'm not sure where."

Brent asked him if he had parked at a hiking trail.

"No. I just parked and started walking in the woods, and went over a mountain... I just sort of got lost intentionally. Do you guys want to help me find my car?"

I suppose at this point I should explain that earlier in the day Brent and I had attempted to hike a trail and were met at the trailhead by a very tired and underfed beagle, who then followed us for four miles, whining the whole time. The beagle had tags so we figured we might as well try to contact the owner, but when we called the number on the tag, we were surprised to find that the number didn't match the name on the tag. There was also the time we biked the Katy Trail in Missouri, when a dog ran along with us for 10 or so miles at 16-18 miles per hour, nearly giving itself a heart attack in the effort. So we're certainly not unfamiliar with guests who overstay their welcome.

It was getting dark at this point, and despite common sense I agreed to help the guy find his car. We drove a little further to a T in the road, and the hippie told us that he thought his car was to the left.

"It's a dirty green Saturn with some eccentricities" he had pointed out.

We took the road left for a couple miles. Because Brent and I were separated from the hippie by the cab of the truck, we were able to discuss our game plan.

"There's no way he walked farther than this" Brent said.

About that time the hippie knocked on the window.

"I'm sure it wasn't this far" he said.

I then turned the truck around and headed the opposite direction. We reached the T again and continued on for even more miles, uphill, than we had headed in the original direction.

"They say that people that are lost generally head downhill" Brent explained. The knock came again.

"I know it wasn't this far. Can we head back in the other direction?"

I really had no choice at this point. I could very well just dump the guy on the side of the road at dusk.

So we went back the other way again. Brent and I began to discuss if the man had other, sinister motives for the run-around. I vocalized my fear that he was going to shoot us.

And then his car appeared in the distance. He yelled out "Fuck yeah" as we pulled into the parking lot. He hopped out of the truck and I rolled down my window.

"Can I repay you in any way? Do you guys smoke pot?"

"That's quite alright. We're good."

"Well I hope blessings reach you some way."

"I'm sure they will."

We then headed back home, another trip to the parkway spoiled. It was too dark to see anything now.

24 October 2006


I'm back from a so-so vacation; no so-so in the company I kept or the places I visited, but so-so in the crap weather. Anyway, while on vacation I managed to pick up two hitchhikers, one being a very sad dog (who had tags and a radio collar and was taken to the animal shelter), and the other being a dirty hippie. The hippie story is great in that he first asked for a ride up the road, but once given the ride he kept asking for more. He's quite lucky I was in a generous mood, because without our help he would have ended up sleeping in a ditch or something. He sort of looked like he had already taken a few ditch naps.

In any case, if ever asked the question "do you want to help me find my car?", answer "no".


Here's a Clor song that sounded good on the way to work. It sort of sounds like Tron looks.

16 October 2006

so far, so weird

For some reason, I don't feel like I'm officially on vacation yet. It feels like an extended weekend visiting friends.

Which is what it has been so far, so I suppose that makes sense. I'm sure you're aware of the fact that it's raining from New Orleans to Canada, which is JUST WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR. I LOVE IT.

Anyway, I did manage to get 24 rain-soaked cold miles in on my bike today, and although I didn't ride the Nachez Trace, I did hit plenty of hills. Indiana is really flat, a fact I hadn't really realized until today. If I was a Tennessee cyclist, I'd be a stronger cyclist.

Anyway, tomorrow it's off to somewhere in North Carolina (I've got that written down somewhere) and hopefully the weather will stop being a butthole.


Oh, I should mention that my hosts are fantastic people deserving of medals. And so are their children.

I did a lot of coloring earlier.


14 October 2006

13 October 2006

no offense to arthur


Well, after soccer and Brugge tomorrow, anyway. And since no one (aside from Arthur, who I'm sure is a lovely chap, but really, can he be trusted?) volunteered to write the blog for me, I suppose you'll just have to reread this post over and over, wishing for the day when I return on my white stallion and use my words as form of rescue from your dungeon or lair or apartment or townhouse or whatever.

I just realized that my truck is actually white, and made of horses. And you thought I was kiding about the white stallion.

Anyway. Here, hold this.

11 October 2006

my new favorite german

In honor of my friends wondering if I was gay all through high school, I've become a regular viewer of Bravo's Project Runway. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, the premise is as follows: 10 amateur (or not so amateur) clothing designers are chosen to live in a New York apartment and contribute a piece of clothing for periodic fashion contests. If the piece of clothing is judged to be the worst of the group, the designer is kicked off the show.

I'm not sure why I watch the show; I'd like to say it's because of the random flashes of near-naked models, or maybe because it gets me laid, but neither of those are true. I probably watch the show because it's interesting television, and I enjoy watching gay and/or delusional people. And then of course, there's Heidi Klum, my new favorite German.

Heidi Klum and I have run away to Cambodia where we will start an army of midgets to protect our castle. But before any of that happened, Heidi was hosting Project Runway with a flair that was unmatched by any television personality ever. Each week I can tune into Project Runway to see how or what Heidi is wearing. In many cases, it is completely horrible for her, but through it all she manages to be amazingly beautiful. Even while pregnant with baby Seals, Heidi manages to look amazing. And I totally hate babies or anything related to babies.

And Heidi likes the World Cup and Franz Beckenbauer*. So that seals the deal. Heidi Klum, my new favorite German.

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*Also German

how i changed television forever (alternate title: my week with the nielsens)

Two to three weeks ago I received a phone call at home from a gentleman who was desperate for my input. He began the conversation by asking my age and race, which usually garners a quick hang up of the phone. But on occasion I'll humor harassment, and I allowed the gentleman to carry on. After I explained that I was a 30 year old white guy, he explained that he worked with Nielsen Media Research, the company responsible for television ratings. Apparently NMR is desperate for info from my demographic, because after I explained that I wasn't interested in contributing, he pleaded for me to reconsider. He then asked if he could call back in a week after I had thought it through. I agreed that this would be ok.

Three days later he called and spoke to Gina, and of course she said "sure he'd be interested", despite never asking me. You see, there was a $15 cash prize attached, and apparently we're whores.

In any case, we spent last week filling out what is known as a TV Diary. We received a diary for each room with a TV (so 2 diaries), which we had to fill out with relevant data about who and what we were watching. We each had a column for our names, crossed with time slots. If we watched Full House from 5-6 PM, we marked the 5 PM column with an X, the name of the program, the channel it was on, and then drew a line down the column for each 15 minute time slot we spent watching the program. If we were watching previously tivo'd programming, we filled out the time slot in the same way, but noted the time and channel it was originally recorded from. We also had to fill out a list of every channel we received; I avoided doing this by hand by pulling a list from DirecTV.com.

All of this had an interesting effect on our television viewing. Because it was annoying to fill out the book, I'd find that I would avoid watching programming that I may have previously browsed*. Because John (our roommate) is a comedian, he would diligently note any and all comedy-based programming he watched, and he made an extra effort to view anything that featured a comic he knew personally. I also was tempted to "fudge the numbers" towards how much Major League Soccer I watch, because I feel like anything to help the league is a good thing. In the end, I'm sure my data showed a heavy preference for English Premier League viewing.

Our instructions clearly stated that as soon as the week was over we were to mail our diaries back; Thursday morning I awoke to find that Gina had left both laying around. I was tempted to leave them lie (this was her idea, after all), but instead I took them to work and mailed them back. To be honest, I was sort of hoping that our diligence would pay off in the form of an electronic monitoring device.

Instead, we've received nothing. Apparently we weren't diligent enough. Or maybe we don't watch enough TV; I don't really know. But I can't help but feel used, even if I did get $5 out of it.

Gina got $10.

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*I had the option to just skip writing down the information, but I was brought up Catholic.

*In the end, I didn't falsify any information, probably because I was brought up Catholic. But I am drinking Sierra Mist Free, and I stayed at a Red Roof Inn a month ago. Both are big sponsors of US Soccer and MLS.

08 October 2006

go fight win

So the weekend is pretty much over, and it's time to consider all I've accomplished.


Oh, I bought Gina a bike. Well, it's on layaway, anyway. We spent Saturday driving around looking, and then ended up back at Gray Goat Sports, where I purchased my LeMond Tourmalet a little over a year ago. Of course I'm riding an Alpe d'Huez now because of the issue I had with my frame. Whatever. Gina's bike is a 2007 Specialized Dolce, and it's nowhere near as pretty as mine. But it should serve her well. I hope.


We missed out on Brugge again this week, but because there wasn't any soccer on anyway, it was no big deal. I enjoy Brugge quite a bit, and I'll be there next weekend for Chelsea vs. Reading. Should be an enjoyable game, and maybe everyone playing for Chelsea (short of Joe Cole) will hurt themselves. I can always dream.

I bought Sarah Katherine Lewis' Indecent Friday night. I'm halfway through already, so if nothing else its entertaining and quite readable.

I looked at some furniture Saturday because it had been a while.

Today I rode a bike, and now I'm watching the Cardinals.

Real Salt Lake tied, which means they're still alive in the playoff race. They have to win next week. My favorite RSL player, Mehdi Ballouchy scored in the tie. This is only noteworthy because the game wasn't on television, despite the fact that I'm paying money to watch MLS games. I'm not sure why it wasn't on tv, and my favorite GM really didn't have an explanation either. I requested that he send airline and game tickets, but apparently that's too big a request for him to fill. He has told me he would do his best to get me a game-worn Mehdi jersey, so I figured him for a magical wizard or perhaps Jesus.

Yup. That's it for me. Now tell me about what you did, because I'm honestly interested. Anyone else want to write this blog the week I'm gone (next week) on vacation? You can write whatever you want. You can even pretend you're me. That could be fantastically entertaining for everyone. Leave a comment.

06 October 2006

i'm here to help

For the past week Gina and I have been eating our lunch and dinner meals from a meal plan found in the lasest issue of Men's Health. If you're like us in that you never know what you're going to eat, and every trip to the grocery store ends up with a cart half full of things you didn't need, this is a perfect plan. $50-$60 covers everything you need for the week, and all the meals are filling and actually quite tasty.

Anyway, it's recommended by me. The only issue is now I need to find something else to eat for a week because I don't want to get burnt out on it.

04 October 2006

my new favorite german

Warning: In the following post I'm going to call soccer "football" and call shoes "boots". You can blame my constant viewing of the Premiership.

Today while kicking around at a few soccer messageboards, I stumbled across a link to the official site of Fulham's German fullback/midfielder Moritz Volz. As you may have picked up, I consider myself a Fulham fan, so of course Moritz's site was of interest to me from a football end of things. What I was not aware of was that Volz's website could teach me about Germany, and perhaps even life and love.

Mr. Volz also is a fantastic ambassador for German culture. If you scroll down a bit on this page, you'll learn fantastic German phrases that can come in handy during any visit. After you've learned "Kannst du meine aermel abschneiden" (Please can you cut the sleeves off my denim jacket?) you may be tempted to find the nearest German restaurant just to practice your new skills. I know the idea certainly crossed my mind.

Because Moritz is German, he's a fan of David Hasseloff. You may have noticed the picture accompanying this post; he's even gone as far as to have "The Hoff" embroidered into his football boots.

Although the list of Germans I could consider my favorite is quite long (let's start with Germans I know of... Hitler... um... The Scorpions...), Mr. Voltz has vaulted himself to the top of the list. So here's to you Moritz Volz: Kanpai*.

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*Japanese for "Cheers"