Let's do the time warp again

The Midwest is the place that time forgot.
It’s also a place where weather is more than idle conversation.
It’s a place where the saying, “Don’t like the weather? Wait 15 minutes,” was coined.
This morning when we got up (6 a.m., so we could make 6:50 a.m. mass), the temperature was 50 degrees. By noon, it was a balmy (for eastern Nebraska on Oct. 30) 65 degrees.
Now, at 3:30 p.m., the wind is howling and it’s nearer to freezing.
It’s supposed to get into the lower 20s tonight, with wind-chills in the teens.
But that doesn’t stop people from getting out, from living their lives.
It’s the middle of the afternoon, and Wal-Mart is teeming with people; the sidewalks are full of people dressed in red (the state has no pro sports teams, so the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers is how everyone rolls) taking a walk; kids ride bikes and skateboards up and down the tree-lined streets while others chuck a football around front yards that are still so green and lush.
Midwesterners get out. They ramble (and not just to Wal-Mart).
Doesn’t matter that the wind is gusting at 30 miles an hour, or the temperatures are freezing.
I took a walk last night around the old neighborhood – the only one I knew growing up – and got a real feel for how it’s changed since the days I ruled the back yards and drainage ditches.
Weird how it’s changed. My parents built our house in 1962; I was born in early 1963. The school where I went to kindergarten – and learned how to spell my last name the second day of school because Scotty Bond could – was torn down. Homes have sprouted on the site (our backyard touched the schoolyard). The fort platform – they don’t build steel structures like this anymore, sadly, because someone could get hurt – where I spent so much time is gone, replaced by a two-story home. Ditto for the sandbox. The jungle gym (sunk, of course, into asphalt) was replaced by a street.
I walked and counted the neighborhood homes I‘d actually been in. In a four-block radius, I counted 30 homes where I had seen the interiors (and not because I was a paperboy).
There’s a certain nostalgia for a town like this. People still know me, stop, talk and shake hands. They touch your shoulder; an old girlfriend sat next to me at mass on Sunday and where we offer each other a sign of peace, she hugged me – and kissed my neck (which surly sent a lot of tongues to wagging). It was innocent, since her son sat next to her, and my dad next to me.
I could like it here, the place where I was born and raised.
Since it offers a glimpse into the world I grew up in. Where old ladies would call me over to rid their gardens of garter snakes, where I stole watermelon, sweet corn, plums and strawberries from so many of the same gardens, where people wave and say hi, whether they know you or not.
Time moves pretty slow here, and it’s insanely flat, but it is home. I’ve forgotten that over the years.
Still, Redding is home now.
And home is still where my heart is.

Who knew?

From the land that brought us the un-funny likes of Yahoo Serious and Paul Hogan - Australia - comes the Ronnie Johns Half Hour. It's a sketch-comedy show that is as edgy today as SNL was 25 years ago. It is not politically correct. It is, therefore, good.
OK, the Aussies can swear on television. And when you work blue, some things just work.
But this is funny, funny stuff.
One recurring character is a parody of Mark "Chopper" Read, a real-life gangster who allegedly has killed 18 people, and never spent a day in prison for the crimes. Put Chopper in a few situations, and you've got comic relief.
Check it out:

Life isn't fair, part 63

Sometimes in life, you have to be a big faker.
I’m going through a host of problems. Huge, life-changing events are happening. Pain and grief and hurt and suspicion and lots of confusion.
“Hey, Thom, how’s it going?”
“Great, doing great.”
Big fucking faker.
Enough that I’m puking every morning when I get up (which, for the past six days has been either never or 3 a.m.)
I wear my pain, however. There’s no way to completely hide it. But I can’t tell anyone about it.
It’s embarrassing as much as it is painful.
Because I guess I didn’t do enough.
I didn’t see.
And that’s the fuck of this whole thing.
Being confused, and hurt, is the worst.

Buick. It's All Good


I see Buick Centurys.
It’s like seeing dead people, like the little kid in “The Sixth Sense.”
Buicks are everywhere.
At stop signs. At stop lights. I pass them on the highway and I watch as they pass my house.
Buick.
Centurys.
Of course, this is the vehicle driven by the person who ran over my dad. And, I guess, after finding out what kind of car it was, I’ve been more hyper-sensitive to their presence on the road.
It’s like buying a brand-new car; buy a certain model, and you’ll notice how many other models out there of your car.
But the other thing I’ve noticed about the Buick is the demographic of the drivers: Blue-hairs and raisins.
Old people.
Really old folks.
My dad was run over by an 85-year-old; that seems to be the average age of the drivers I’ve seen here in Northern California.
Coincidence, or a clever marketing ploy by Buick?
By the way, the title is an actual advertising slogan from Buick.

Urgent update

OK, more than an hour has passed since my last blog post, and I actually opened up the file I’m supposed to be really working on. Feverishly working on.
I haven’t typed a single syllable.
But I have had a very nice conversation with my wife.
Ate some pistachios.
Listened to satellite radio (the new Beck is really cool, as is the post-Blink-182 project +44).
Called my dad (he didn’t answer).
Walked around.
Drank a bottle of water.
Sauntered out to my car.
Ate some pretzels.
Emailed my sister.
Meandered through the newsroom (started two conversations).
Asked if anyone had a deadline sheet for the profiles.
Found out the profile isn’t due until Monday.
Now, I am truly fucked.
I’ve got more than 72 hours to deadline.
Yes, Rob, after writing this, I’m going to watch George Washington