Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Last post ...

This is going to be my last post for a little bit more than a week because I'm going to the Bahamas on Thursday with Aly. We won't be coming back until next Thursday (9/9), which happens to be my birthday.

The one big obstacle that is standing in our way is that there is a huge hurricane coming and is supposed to be hitting the Bahamas during a couple of the days we are there. So, hopefully we'll get there.

So, I'll see you when I get back.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Super Quota System

You won't get any sort of bitchings from me, apparently Aquaman has something on his chest, and it's not an orange cod piece. I'll let him explain:

Thanks, Byron. The other day I was over on www.sonsofsamhorn.com because I like to Google my name and see what appears. Saturday night, I poured a glass of Boone's Farm Wild Berry and was planning on reading about myself, when the above web site showed up. I have no idea who Sam Horn's kid is, but there's some asshole over there, who goes by the name of John Marzano Olympic Hero, and he talking some serious shit about me as a baseball player.

He said I would do no better than Cesar Crespo! For one thing, I don't know a Cesar Crespo from a tube of Crest, but I can hazard a guess to what it is. I know I can play baseball better than a crispy salad. Lettuce, is by far, the worst vegetable out there. And if Mr. Marzano thinks he can insult the King of the Seven Seas by comparing him to a head of lettuce, he is sadly mistaken.

And what kind of jackass would call himself an "Olympic Hero" anyway? The Olympics blew this year, like they have every year. I can swim way faster than all of those divers and swimmers but the IOC won't recognize Atlantis because they think we're "not real" and "imaginary". They can kiss my starfish (the word starfish in Atlantian is exactly the same as your English word "asshole").

I'm sorry I started this post on such a sour note, but man, I hate stuff like that. It seems that people can just what they want on the Internet, which I think is totally wrong. From what I was told, by Black Vulcan, the Internet is supposedly a paragon of honesty and virtue. And he should know because that dude actually runs the entire Internet.

The problem is, he never has makes a cent off it. The one good thing is that it keeps him busy. He uses his electro torso to power the Internet generator in Cincinnati. Every day for 24 hours, he just creates sparks. Don't feel bad for him though, he loves this type of stuff.

A few years back, he was kicked out of the Justice League when that other Green Lantern showed up. One day he just walked in the door and was like, "Hi! I'm the new Green Lantern." And everyone looked at BV and said, "Good bye Black Vulcan."

I know, it's totally harsh but for some strange reason there can only be one member of each race in the Justice League. I'm the only Atlantian, Hawkman is the only Hawkman, Wonder Woman is the only lesbian, Samurai the only Asian guy, El Dorado the only Hispanic and Apache Chief is the only Sweedish guy. It's true, Apache Chief is 100% Sweedish, he was born and raised in Stolkholm. He actually knew the Nobles, the guys who award the prize. "Them great people," he once said.

Anyway, I think the real problem with Black vulcan wasn't so much that he was black as it was he couldn't shower. Think about it, what happens if you throw a plugged-in toaster into the bathtub? That's right, burnt starfish. Needless to say he totally reeked, the dude just couldn't get clean.

He was able to live with it, but we couldn't. Every morning he'd hit the weight room for an hour or two and then would hang around the Justice League waiting for the trouble alert to go off. Just lying on the couches, scratching his balls and then sticking his hands in people's food. He wasn't trying to be a dick, that's just the way he was raised.

And with those ever present grape smugglers he always wore, his taste in music wasn't the only thing that was funky in Metropolis. Sure, we tried lots of ideas: Batman came up with a fresh-smelling bat deoderant, Flash tried creating a wind funnel to get rid of the stank and Wonder Woman just tried beating the smell out of him. Nothing worked.

We used to send BV on made-up missions just so we could talk about kicking him out of the league. But, rules are rules and our hands were tied. It was the greatest threat the Superfriends ever faced, until the day the black Green Lantern stopped by. And the guy smelled good. Total bonus for us.

Anyway I'm off to speak to Black Vulcan to see if he can help me track down this John Marzano Olympic Hero. Hopefully he'll be able to tell me before I pass out. If not, I'll find out later I guess. Maybe one of you guys can help me out?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

It's shaping up to be an interesting weekend ...

Normally, I don't write on Saturday morning, but Aly asked me to drive her to a video taping. She's not in a music video, nor is it the adult kind. She takes cardio kickboxing, or fighting funk or whatever the hell it's called, at her gym. The instructor asked Aly to be in an instructional video he's producing. She said, "Cool." And she had to be there at 9:45.

When I have to be somewhere at a certain time in the morning, I wake up extra early. So, I've been up since 7 am. After I dropped Aly off, I came home and got myself some Pearl Jam tickets.

I am beyond pumped. Right now, it's just me going. But that's cool, hopefully I can find someone else to go. I'll try my friends and if that doesn't work, I'll see if someone on SOSH will take the extra ticket. Aly doesn't want to go, but said she will if no one else wants to come. Fuck, I'll go by myself if I have to and scalp the ticket.

It's fucking PEARL JAM! They have put on some of the best concerts I've ever seen. There's no way I'll be eating that ticket. Anyway, it's on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 in the Fleet Center. I never saw them indoors, so that will be a new experience.

Last night was my mom's birthday, so Aly and I took her and my dad to Meze, which is a Greek restaurant in Charlestown. It was restaurant week in Boston, so a three-course meal was only $30 a person. I ordered the lamb meatballs for an app, a box sirloin with a twice-baked potato and a plate of fruit for dessert. Awesome. Great fucking food. (Those last two lines should be a proudly displayed restaurant review at Meze.)

We've gone there for Aly's birthday before, and I had the same dinner and it's always excellent. As much as I love steak, the potato was unbelievable. Best potato ever. And my mom was really happy that we took her out. She loves that sort of stuff and just had the biggest smile on her face for the entire meal. That made me feel good.

After the meal we walked over to Ellie and Bill's house where we hung out and drank a bit. Good night.

Tonight we have Mi-shu and Matt's wedding. The Mass is at 5:30 in Weymouth, followed by a reception in Milton. Should be cool, all of my college friends will be there. I haven't seen them since my party, so that should be fun.

Tomorrow is Ryan's birthday, which should be a lot of fun. I don't know what time it is though, I should probably ask my mother about that. The best part is that there is going to be a huge wiffle ball game. I know it sounds completely gay for an almost 30-year-old man to be excited about wiffle ball, but I can't wait.

Also, Jay is bringing his girlfriend to meet everyone for the first time. I only met her once, when I was half-asleep on the couch when her and Jay were going up to his room. She seemed pretty nice. The one thing is that she's a bit younger than the rest of us, but she'll fit in well.

The one thing that I HAVE to do today (besides the wedding) is to finish my sitcom script for the Bravo contest. The way I figure it, I pick up Aly at 11, drop her off around 11:30, get my haircut, eat some lunch and be back here by 1:00. Then I work for about two hours or so, and then shorten one of my previous scripts into a sitcom. Shouldn't be too hard. On Monday or Tuesday, I can edit it and put it into the right format and then ship it out on Wednesday before I go on vacation.

No fuss, no muss.

On SOSH, the Aquaman Blog has split people into two distinct camps: people who absolutely hate it and people who like it. I'm keeping it. Until tomorrow night amigos.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

This is probably going to be a short entry

The Sox won again tonight. I haven't written much about the Sox, mainly because I don't want to jinx them. But they are quite a roll lately, having won five of six on the road and pulling within 6.5 games of the Yanks (depending how they did tonight). If New York lost, it will be 5.5 games.

Not bad.

Actually, it's better than not bad, it's fucking awesome. Last week the Sox were 10.5 games off the pace and they just about halved that. It's hard to say what is the reason for the Sox playing better, but I would have to say that it's the departure of Nomar.

Ever since Garciaparra was shipped out of town, the Sox have been kicking ass. The defense has tightened up and it seems as if everyone is getting along with each other. Chemistry man, it's got to be the chemistry.

Actually, I have no idea if it's the chemistry or not. It's the whole chicken or the egg argument. Does winning begat chemistry or is it the other way around? I've been on plenty of crappy teams and while we screwed around, we weren't really friendly. It was more clique driven and the joking was way more mean spirited.

When on teams that won, everyone got along better. We goofed around, but it was a fun, brotherly type of goofing around. We ragged on each other, but went out for beers later. The only clique was the team. I don't know, maybe chemistry is too big of a deal.

BTW, you can tell that I'm tired because I am just typing words that aren't making a strong point. Oh well, the MFYs lost tonight. 5.5. Aly's dad was right, a pennant race may just bubble to the surface this September.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Fair, fair Harvard ...

For the last day and a half I've been at Harvard University. I have lived about two miles away from the most famous and arguably the most prestigious university in the world and this was my first real trip to the campus.

I've been to Harvard Square and sort of walked the outskirts, but I've never been in the famous Harvard Yard until yesterday. I had a conference to exhibit at and was able to sneak away for an hour here and there.


The atmosphere at this place is completely academic, but not in a bad way. It makes you want to go into the library, and just start reading and learning. (Unfortunately, they won't let you do that ... I tried and apparently you have to be a student at the university.) It was a beautiful day yesterday and today, so during the conference down times, I escaped the hall we were at (more about this in a second) and just wandered.

I read for a bit outside, checked out some bookstores, ate in one of the famous hamburger joints (Mr. Bartley's ... try the Viagra Burger, it's really good) and just soaked up the entire scene of Japanese tourists taking pictures of everything, summer students trudging off to class, and new students moving in. I was actually thinking about dropping a resume off to see if I could get a job there.

The place that we were exhibiting in was called Memorial Hall. It was a former church that they've turned into a dining hall and amphitheatre. Marble floors, solid oak stairs and beams, stained glass windows, Latin inscriptions, it wasn't the worst place in the world to hang around for 12 hours.

This weekend was cool, saw "The Village" on Saturday night. Cool flick, not his best, but definitely cool and the twist at the end was decent too. The sucky thing was we saw the flick on Saturday night at the Fenway Theatre. Aly and I should've just saw it in a bus station. The place was packed, but no one cared about the movie. Phones were constantly going off, people were actually answering and talking. There was a group of kids who didn't shut up until security threatened them. And then the couple behind us couldn't figure the movie out.

Never again.

Sunday, my mom threw me another birthday party. This time it was for my family. It was great to see everyone that I normally only see on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I guess Kyle is starting football this week and his team is going to Maine for the first practices. I told him to watch his cornhole. I hope I didn't make him nervous, just wanted him to be aware.

I finished "Bringing Down the House". Great book, easy and quick read. It's a true story all about a group of MIT students who form a black jack club and rob Vegas blind. As with most good things, it had to end ... and did it ever. This would make an awesome movie if they stuck to the book.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Guess who's back?

That's right Aquaman. He was very popular last week, and since the water boy needs a bit of cheering up, I told him that he can write another entry. Show the man some love and send him an email or two. You can reach him at my email address.

Hello everyone, Aquaman here again.

This week has been a little trying for me. It's hard to be a SuperFriend when all of your supposed "friends" run off on you.

Take for example last Thursday, we were all just coolin' at the Hall of Justice shooting the breeze and talking about our latest super heroing, side story, Hawkman always tells the best stories because he loves to watch chicks get undressed in high-rise buildings. Whenever they catch him (which is a lot) he pretends to be a bird, and most of the time they believe him. He keeps telling us he's going to get one of those camera cell phones so he can make his own web site, but the dude is more broke than Dom DeLouise' wicker lawn chair.

Where was I? Oh yeah, so Hawkman is the midst of a cool story about this 40-floor sorority house when the trouble alert goes off. Apparently there are sun demons about to attack the earth. Everyone is set for action, everyone except yours truly.

For one thing, it's the sun. There is no water up there. I doubt that there's even any steam for me to grab a sauna. Two, how am I supposed to get there. Superman, Green Lantern, fuck, even Hawkman can fly. Batman takes the bat jet and either Robin is with him (seriously, what's up with that?) or he's got bat laundry in the passenger seat. Whatever, he's such a dick.

So that means I have to tag along with Wonder Woman. She sucks. For one thing, she's a total bully, every time we go past a space ship that looks like a VW bug, she punches me. Really hard. Another thing, she drives like a lunatic. There are no men on Paradise Island, so guess who teaches the young women to drive? That's right old women, and you know what they say about women drivers? No survivors. HA! Can I get an amen from the fellahs out there?

So everyone gets in their jets or powers up before Superman looks over his shoulder, "Aquaman, watch the Wonder Twins. They had almost two glasses of orange soda and you know how rambunctious they can get." Yeah, fine Superman, enjoy saving the world, asshole. Don't worry about your friends on earth, fuck knob. I wish that the sun would turn red, then he'd be singing a different tune.

No seemed to care when I told them about the sea horse wranglers the week before last. But that assclown Flash said that was a more of a "coast guard thing", but I thought it was pretty serious. When I went over to the inlet to check things out, it turns out he was right. The Coast Guard was wrapping things up, without any help from me.

Fuck them, I thought, the twins can take care of themselves. The girl can form of a Plutotian ape and the boy can form of an ice banana and jam himself up her ass for all I care.

Turns out that the SuperFriends did need my help because the closer the demons got to earth, the more water they needed. They thought I could've gotten a whale to blow water on them, but seriously, screw that, Aquaman knows when he's not wanted. And if they really wanted me to go, they should've asked. I've got shit to do.

Anyway, Superman used his cold breath on them and they all went away. Now if you excuse me, I have to go away too ... there's a gallon of Hagan Das calling my name.

Monday, August 16, 2004

TWIB Notes from Ahhhhround the Majors

I don't have a lot to write about today, so I decided to do what was done on "This Week in Baseball" when it was a particularly boring few days. BTW, you have to say that in the slurred drawl of TWIB host Mel Allen ... and you have to read this in the voice of TWIB editor Warner Fussell.

- There are some leftovers from my party. First off, I don't think I gave Aly enough thanks in yesterday's entry. A tremendous job by my girlfriend. Easily the nicest thing that any girl has done for me ever. That's why I love her so much, she's just the best.

- I was sitting in my cube today, trying to decide whether the people going to the NAMSS conference in Miami need two six foot counters or three four counters when this woman named Leann began talking to the woman on the other side of my cube.

Leann is a fat, peppy red head with absolutely nothing of interest to say to anyone. Think of the secretary in "Office Space" mixed with a dash of Grace, Ed Rooney's secretary from "Ferris Beuller" and you have the perfect picture of Leann.

So she starts talking about her new baby (which I am convinced she had just so she could prove to everyone that someone actually had sex with her) and how hard it is to breast feed. "The pump is killing my breasts," she said. "Oh, my breasts are always so sore, I'm like, 'Honey you just ate!'" And she wasn't whispering this shit, she was talking like she discussing the weather, not her sad, saggy juggs.

Why do people talk like that? Why do they think anyone gives a shit? Honestly, if I started talking about the shit that I took or the piss that I had to take, don't you think someone tell me to kindly keep my mouth shut? Of course they would.

- The Red Sox are driving me nuts. At the beginning of this inning, Lowe was cruising with the Sox up 5-1. Cabrera has blown two routine plays, including one that should've been a double play. This team is unbelievable. Last year they would routinely snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, now it's the opposite way around.

BTW, because Kevin Youkilis is out for two or three days, regular first baseman Doug Mientkzvich (that is not how you spell his name and I'm too lazy to look it up)is playing second tonight. And in all honesty, hasn't been doing that bad.

- I'm thinking about looking for a new job. I may try my hand at PR, but tomorrow is when I'm going to start looking. I am still beat from last night. And I wanted to do some work on my comic strip. I have a pretty good idea for a character-based strip about these guys in college.

Basically it's going to be a lot of my old stories drawn out and some over exaggerated. The one stumbling block is my female form art. I can't draw chicks. Oh well, looks like I'm going to have to start practicing. Maybe I'll nab my dad's Gray's Anatomy book.

OK, I'll talk to you guys either Wednesday or tomorrow.

Insomnia sucks

This is what I get for taking a nap today. It's about 12:10 am and I can't sleep. I know that in about six hours and 30 minutes I'm going to have to get up and begin the week anew, but right now I can't sleep at all. I have a million thoughts running through my head about work, my living situation, my overall future, I guess.

It sucks because from your bed, you can't do anything about this stuff except think about how impossible your situation is. I've been doing this off and on since I was in seventh grade, it used to be so bad I would completely freak out, but as my life has progressed, everything has worked out well for me.

That's just a tough lesson to remember after midnight on Sunday.

The thing is, I shouldn't be worried or sad at all. I have the best girlfriend, family and friends that anyone can have. In about a month, I'm going to turn 30 and for the last year, Aly has been telling me that she's going to throw me a surprise party. Aly is the best, but the one thing she really sucks at is keeping secrets, and the one thing that I'm pretty good at is find shit out. The odds were not stacked in her favor.

So last night, her and I, along with her friends from New York, Rick and Danna went out to dinner in Boston. Then we were to meet Aly' roommate's (Sara) boyfriend's (Justin) friends who had flown up from DC at this trendy bar in Downtown Crossing. Honestly, I wasn't looking forward to it. Danna, Aly and I stayed up until 3 am the previous night drinking and swapping stories, so I was tired. I also wasn't in the mood to jibber jabber with a bunch of dudes.

So we got to the bar and I was happy because at least the Sox were on, and Rick and I could watch that. We were met by Sara who said that Justin's friends were in the other room. When I turned the corner, everyone that I'm close with yelled surprise. Aly completely fooled me. I mean, I was floored. No one had ever done something like that for me in my entire life. After they said Surprise! I just looked at Aly and kept saying, "Is this for me? Is this for me?" it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

All of my college friends were there: Skaus and Sara, Nick and his new girlfriend Debbie, Reddish, Julie and Tom, Chris and Colleen, Kim (Jamie was babysitting). My parents and Jay were there. All of my other friends were there too: Ryan and Kristen, Keri and Byrnie, Eddie and Drew, Brownie, Ellie and Bill, Aunty Jane and Uncle Gene, Erin and JT. Not to mention Aly's folks, her sister and husband, her cousin Anthony and all of her friends, Stacey, Liz and Tim, Mimi and her new boyfriend and Justin and Sara. I hope I didn't forget anyone, but it was a great crowd. And I honestly feel that I am luckiest guy in the world, Aly said there were only a few no's in the evite that she sent out.

I felt like George Bailey from "It's A Wonderful Life" where he talks about how if a man has friends, he's the richest man in the world. Well, I feel like Bill Gates times the Sultan of Brunai. In every friendship, there is bound to be an argument or a misunderstanding. When that happens, I'm just going to think back on last night and remind myself of how lucky I am to have a bunch of people who actually give a shit about me.

When I was in junior high school and didn't have many friends, I never thought that there would be a time when almost 50 people would give up their Saturday night for me. I'm glad that I am Byron Magrane.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

A Competitive Edge

Hey kids, I hope you enjoyed Aquaman's blog. It'll probably become a regular feature here at 19Thoughts.

Anyway, tonight, I'm going to do something fun. About two and a half months ago, I TiVoed one of my favorite 90210s of all time. I haven't had the time to watch it yet, but since the Sox aren't on and I don't feel like watching anything else, we are going to watch a seminal 90210.

To set up, this is from the Golden Age of the zip code, it's 1992 and Brandon is the sports editor of the Beverly Blaze. There's trouble a-brewing on the track team. What is it? You'll just have to wait until the end of ... "A Competitive Edge"

Alright! The theme song. This one rocked, with Dylan pretending to bunch Brandon during the open chops. And Donna looking pretty hot in that pink number and David dancing like the drunken, uncoordinated member of Bell Biv DeVoe. Awesome.

Oh yeah, I forgot about the sunglasses shots, and the lovely Brenda trying not to look like a bitch. And STEVE! It's Steve Sanders everyone! The best shot of Steve is the out of focus one right after Tori Spelling's name comes up. Donna is hanging with Dylan and David and Steve (back to us) comes walking towards her, love handles flapping in the breeze.

Opening montage of high school track practice. I have a feeling this is going to be about the West Bev hockey team. Slow motion rules, it really adds to them scene. Here's the jackass coach talking to Brandon about the team and how good it is. Brandon mentions he was on the track team back in Minnesota.

Steve is mooning over Kelly, who is talking to Kyle. You might remember him as the sexually confused young man, who doesn't like Kelly. FLASHBACK! Love the flashback! He's telling Kelly that he doesn't like chicks. That takes balls, which ironically enough, is what Kyle wants.

Brenda's subplot of shitty driving continues. She almost killed herself and her mom. Brenda is so dense she misses her street.

Overt homosexual jockularity alert. Brandon is doing the reporter thing and is walking around the locker room, when the gang of track jocks begin chanting "Wedgie! Wedgie!" He is literally, and figuratively, backed into a corner ... with no help from Steve. They're pissed about something he wrote in football season, what the fuck? They could've got him in the five months between football and track season.

Brando has quit the paper. He tried out for the team and made it, this is due to the fact that he hates asking the tough questions. Andrea is wet listening to him talk. Ugh.

Jim Walsh alert! He sneezed. That's it.

Steve is mad that Brandon took his spot on the 440. Now Dylan is in the locker room saying how much organized sports suck. He's also mad that Brandon is letting Brenda drive his Mustang. And right on cue, here's David, Donna and Brenda driving around. We spy a woman looking at the trio menacingly. Brenda slammed into her car. I think she's a bunco artist.

Brenda, that total dipshit, takes full responsibility for the accident. The woman seems understanding and makes a joke about winding up in traction.

Uh oh. Brandon made a steroid joke in the weight room. It's as if he cut off Steve's magical mullet. Now Tony (the Ox-type character) has Steve by the neck asking if he told Brandon anything. Luckily for Steve, he hasn't any idea. The rest of the group tells Steve that they're part of the Power Pack. "You guys are doing steroids! There's some real risk with that stuff," he yells. After a few drug cliches (mother's little helper, the candy man) he folds and is now a member of the Power Pack. Even gay Kyle is doing it. Now they have their eyes on Brandon.

Brenda and Donna are kibitzing about what to do about Brandon's car. Donna suggests lying because "Brenda is a really good actress". She actually pulls it off, but I think it's because Brandon is a dope.

At the Peach Pit, Steve is attempting to flirt with Kelly. She doesn't like him and says she's running with Kyle tomorrow morning, which leads to Steve asking, "You two are doing it, aren't you?" I love this fucking guy. He says what we're all thinking. Kelly, of course, is shocked that someone would think that she's a slut and lets Steve know about it. A knee to the groin! Sanders is down, though his confidence is inexplicably up and tells Brandon that he's going to kick his ass on the track.

Brandon is crying that no one likes him, even after he makes his witty steroid comment. Steve gets serious and tells him "NEVER make jokes about steroids." Brandon is perplexed. Steve gets even more serious and Brandon unloads on him about the steroid horror stories that Steve should be reading about.

Steve says those scary stories are bullshit and that he should relax, "they give you a competitive edge." Brandon calls Steve stupid and predictably Steve leaves the Pit. Of course, Brandon calls Andrea wondering if he should write an article about steroids. Good work Brandon, make those guys like you even more.

Kyle, who is using steroids, is lifting weights. From my guestimate, he is benching 115 lbs, with problems. Those steroids he's taking fucking blow. Now Brandon is doing it, and can barely do six. Six reps of 115. That's damn pathetic, though this could be Brandon playing possum. He says, "Gee whiz, I can't do anything, anyone know any secrets to me getting bigger?" The chief of the Power Pack sees right through Brandon like Jim staring what's beneath Cindy's lingerie. He gives him the Hogan speech, "Eat plenty of vegetables, go to bed early and work hard." Then tells him to quit nosing around.

Jim Walsh alert! He holds a recyclable bag while Brandon drains a crushed can. Now he's talking to that lady that Brenda hit. "Accident? What accident?" Brenda is crying. And Jim is pissed. Do you know that whiplash takes a long time to show up? According to Dr. Jim it does.

Deepthroat has just called Brandon. He's going to learn a little something about steroids. And guess who Deepthroat is? That's right, Kyle. Even he knows that Brandon is doing an article for the Blaze. And Brandon is not sure how his cover is blown. Kyle says that a lot of people are taking them and is about to name names.

Donna just said "Psyche!" when talking about how it would take a long time for hell to freeze over. Remember that word? Man, those were the days. "Dude, I'm dying of cancer." "You are? I'm so sorry." "PSYCHE! Ha, ha." As the camera followed Brenda and Donna it seamlessly moved to Brandon. I loved these scene shifts, it was very revolutionary for the time.

Steve is now crying because he feels so bad about his fight with Brandon. After the talk, Brando is having second thoughts. Andrea suggest her taking the heat, which will fool no one. Brandon just told Steve that the Blaze is writing a piece on steroids, Steve loses his cool but runs to tell the rest of the Power Pack to flush their stuff. The coach has decided to forfeit the season until the pillpoppers come out of hiding. Predictably, no one is happy about this turn of events and threaten to kill Steve.

Dylan and Brenda shows up unexpectedly to the accident woman's house. She has a neck brace on and is telling the duo that there is going to be a lawsuit, unless they want to settle out of court with a modest amount for pain and suffering. Dylan thinks she's full of shit.

Jim Walsh alert! Clad in only a bathrobe he is really letting Brenda have it for her being so stupid. That modest amount from the accident lady is over $1 million. Brenda thinks they should pay it. He sneezes again.

Brandon goes to the Pit, where Steve has been waiting for him in the store room. "We have to talk," Steve says. Brandon lays into him, again, about how Steve's personality has changed because of steroids and that's what prompted him to ask some questions. Steve admits that he just started a cycle, and told him that he won't do them any more. He just wants Brandon to sweet talk Andrea into writing a story saying that Steve didn't say anything.

Brandon says no, so Steve literally throws him across the room and tells him that they're no longer friends, FOREVER! Kelly has witnessed this whole exchange, I think she's embarrassed because Steve kicked Brandon's ass.

Kelly ends up talking to Kyle about steroids, and he plays dumb. Then Kelly innocently sweet talks Kyle into clearing Steve's name. Even Kyle can't say no to Kelly.

Steve is seething because Andrea is being uptight about this whole steroid thing and he runs into Dylan. Dylan asks what's going on, and Steve gives him the low down. Then Dylan says, what could be the greatest line ever said by anyone, anywhere at anytime, "Steroids? They'll shrink your gonads, man."

Let me write that again, in all caps so you get the full effect:


Ok, I was roughly the same age as these guys pretended to be when this show came out and no one, I repeat, no one ever said the word gonads. It was balls. Just balls. Man, that line made this entire episode worth it. I wish I had the WAV for that line.

Dylan pledges his allegiance to Steve, and he thanks him.

Brenda notices the accident woman doing aerobics and busts her ass. Jim found out this lady is indeed a scam artist. Which leads Brenda to believe that she is a good driver. She sneezes.

The Power Pack is going to make Steve take the fall. He doesn't want to do it and the guys are about to kick his ass, until Brandon comes along. Kyle admits he's the squeaky wheel. And he can't live a lie and neither can the rest of the Pack. They ended up confessing and it probably means that West Beverly is going to have a crappy team this year.

And guess who makes a cameo, Willie, the black short order cook. He is in the background in no less than three scenes. Good for Willie.

Alls well that ends well. If you've been reading this far, I salute you. I will be back next week with more observations. I doubt that I'll watch a whole other hour show, because this took a long-ass time, but if people like it, I'll do it again.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Special guest night ...

About three days ago I got an email from a loyal 19 Thoughts reader:

Hey Byron,

How's it going? Things aren't going too bad down here. I was wondering if you
ever wanted to take a break from 19 Thoughts and let me write a few entries?

I can tell people all about my life and times, and maybe let you in on a few

Yours in Christ,


The first thing I thought of when I read that email was, "Wow, I didn't know Aquaman was a born again Christian? I thought he worshipped Neptune or Poseidon or someone. Interesting." Then I thought, it would be cool to have a full-fledged SuperFriend write for my blog, I mean who can claim that? And since 19 Thoughts doesn't discriminate against anyone, I wrote back, "You got a deal, fish face!"

Without out further adieu, I bring you Aquaman's blog:

Hi everybody, Aquaman here. It can get pretty lonely down at the bottom of the ocean with no one to talk to, no matter what anyone says fish make terrible conversationalists. All they do is talk about their near death experiences. Because of that, I wanted to thank Byron for letting me send a shout out to all of the air breathers.

There was a time when I looked just like the guy in the above picture: close-cropped blonde hair, chiseled jaw, orange and green costume. Those were the days when a hero didn't have more attitude than Gorilla Grod after a dozen frozen bananas. Now, thanks to guys like Wolverine and Batman, I have to look like a bad ass, at least that's what my publicist, Terry, says.

"AM, to get the good fights, you gotta look like a bad guy."

I protested, I told her about all of my features, and she just said, "Honey, that look left on a dinosaur with Pat Boone and Hugh Beaumont."

Crestfallen, I went to the Justice League and asked around. Green Arrow thought that I should grow a beard, he's got one and he says the chicks dig it. That dude gets a lot of tail, so you gots to listen to the master speak. Batman says that a scowl looks good, it makes you mysterious and Michael Keaton can play you in an upcoming movie. Wonder Woman thought that long hair works for her, and since she had me in a sleeper hold, I had to agree.

So I grew a beard, stopped showing my pearly whites and untussled my long, luscious locks. And for good measure I made it look like I had a hook for a hand. Oh yeah, I got rid of my shirt. I'm a shy guy by nature, but when Terry saw me, she cried, "Brilliant! AM, you will be getting some juicy movie roles very soon. Lose the nipples though, that is so George Clooney."

I looked like this:

To tell you the truth, every time I walked by a mirror or saw my reflection in a shallow pool I turned away. I hated what I had become and decided that when I don't have to go out, I keep my old look the same. When I'm kicking it in my underwater crib, I keep it real. The other stuff is a mask, just like the one Batman wears. See, when I told you there would be surprises, Aquaman delivers.

I learned a very valluable lesson that day, you gotta love yourself. If you don't no one will. So, I'm keeping my nipples, keeping my orange and green uniform and keeping my chiseled features.

Until next time, America.

Monday, August 09, 2004

I hate when I don't write for a while

The sucky thing about having an itch to write is that there are some times when you just can't scratch it.

Wednesday, I had a softball game. Thursday, I was on the phone for an hour and a half with Aly. Friday, I had my last softball game and Saturday and Sundays are just tough to write.

So here it is Monday night, the Sox are losing to the Devil Dogs I finally have a moment to scratch that itch. I had one of the strangest conversations that I have ever had with my dad on Thursday night. The subject was Family Circle and the job of "Dad". I maintained that dad is a cartoonist, while my father swears that he has some no-name job in an office somewhere (ala Ward Cleaver).

My father is insane. There are actual strips where Billy takes over for his dad and draws the strip. Why would Billy be able to draw and write if his dad was an accountant somewhere? I asked my father this and he was flumoxed but said, "It's (Bill Keane's) real son." I think my dad was in a corner and tried to pull some shit out of his ass.

I'm rereading these last two paragraphs and can not believe that I actually had a serious conversation about this. The Gatsbys we are not.

Speaking of books, I finished two in the last few weeks, "Black Mass" and "Naked" by David Sardis. (I think that's how you spell his last name) Both are nonfiction stories about young men who come of age during the 60s and 70s on the East Coast. This is where the comparisons stop.

Naked was a collection of humorous memoirs from Sardis about his childhood. It wasn't perfect, but those imperfections are what made the book funny. His chain-smoking, sarcastic mother, her old-school, tall-tale-telling husband and their gang of kids are the main characters. This guy has a great way of describing the mundane and turning a phrase.

Aly's roommate has his latest book, I'll probably read it when I can.

Black Mass was interesting because of the corruption in the FBI. If you haven't heard the story before, basically the FBI had an insane hard-on for breaking up the Mafia. There was one sure-fire way of doing it, turning two South Boston wise guys into stool pigeons. The FBI approached them and said that if they rat, the Feds will turn a blind eye to whatever they want to do.

The two crooks, Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, took advantage of this offer and for a 15-year run made Boston their town. The house came tumbling down in the 90s taking Flemmi and much of the Boston FBI office down with it. Of course, Bulger is still on the run ... and will probably never be caught.

The book wasn't too bad, I live in the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville, where Whitey got his start, so it was interesting to read about where I live. Also, I am familiar with a lot of the other places in Boston. Interesting read.

I didn't get too far with the first guy I spoke with about being an Internet cartoonist. That's ok, I'm going to email a few more folks tonight. I have a very good idea of my main characters and what the general story line is going to be. That's the first (and most important) battle. The next battle to win is getting the nuts and bolts down. Should I draw it on a piece of paper and scan it in, should I use a program. These are all questions I need to answer.

As I said earlier, softball ended. In a way I'm glad, but it also sort of sucks. I love playing baseball, just love it. The sound of the ball leaving the bat, the making of a nice catch, the swoosh of the slide; softball is about as close as I'm going to get to that.

On the other hand it is a commitment, and sometimes I'd rather just run at the gym and come home.

BTW, in the next day or so, I'm launching a new blog ... it's going to be really funny. REALLY FUNNY.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I still hate Marmaduke

Curt Schilling is showing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays exactly why he's the best number two starter in the Major Leagues. There are two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and Schill has tossed about 83 pitches, and he's making the DRays look pathetic.

The Nomar trade is still on everyone's minds. On sports radio this afternoon, Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley was telling everyone that Nomar is going to New York next spring to play second base. I almost drove off the road ... I could just see the cover of SI next March with ARod, Jeter and Nomar all with their arms around each other and the caption, "Best infield ever?"

I can deal with Nomar on just about any team, but going to the Yankees would just be a terrible thought.

So, my plans to be a cartoonist are still moving along and my friends are helping me out. Nick is giving me the Flash program, which can make Internet toons. And Tim has given me some links to cartoonists who write about cartooning. This one guy wrote a whole set of articles about it. He also published his email address, I will probably contact him.

Speaking of comics, I found this about Marmaduke the other day. I wanted to puke.

Marmaduke, the comic panel starring America's most lovable Great Dane, has delighted readers for four decades. Created by Brad Anderson in 1954, Marmaduke is distributed by United Feature Syndicate to more than 600 newspapers worldwide.

This made me want to gag. 600 newspapers and countless readers are getting ripped off every day. And do you realize that this is the 50th year that Marmaduke has been alive? That's over 18,250 panels. That's a lot of shit to throw against the wall.

Marmaduke is the most loved troublemaker in his neighborhood and on the comics pages where he delights readers in more than 20 countries.

Delights? Hardly. Show me a person who "delights" at the antics of Marmaduke and I'll show you a senile, old jackass who has to be spoon-fed his creamed corn. And I guarantee you the fictional people who inhabit Marmaduke's neighborhood hate that stupid dog. He ruins parties, wrecks yards and other property, and is just a nuisance.

But the real focus in this comic panel is the relationship between the Great Dane and his family.

Yeah, they're retarded and Marmaduke is their leader. They bend to every whim that stupid dog has. If Marmaduke wanted to take a shit on every chair in the house, his family (who I don't think have a name) would let him. And not only that, they would enjoy every second of it. Hey, I don't blame Marmaduke. I blame the pussy-ass owners who don't take a rolled up newspaper to Marm's overly large probiscus.

"The Marmaduke strip has never been just a gag," Anderson explains. "I refuse to just go for the joke every time. When you express so-called human emotions in an animal, you're getting into the real character of the dog. When you get into the character itself, you go a step beyond the cartoon and into life."

This is complete and utter bullshit. First off, every single panel of Marmaduke is a old, tired, hacknied joke that was ancient when Vaudville was king. He refuses to go for the joke every time? What kind of pathos does Marmaduke show? What kind of suffering does he experience? Marmaduke does what Marmaduke wants, usually with the help of his enabling owners. The only character less real than Marmaduke is Chester Cheeto. And even he shows some sort of remorse when he realizes that "It's not easy being cheesy." See, he learns something every 30 seconds, Marmaduke doesn't. It's the same thing every day.

God, he's like a retard, canine Sissyphus. Every day he pushes that rock up the hill and every day it comes back down. They should just euthanize him.

Marmaduke is a canine with a conscience. He and Anderson lend a helpful hand to many charities including the Delta Society's Pet Partners program. Marmaduke is the official "spokesdog" for the animal-assisted therapy program in which volunteers and their pets visit the sick and elderly in hospitals and care-centers. Marmaduke has also lent a paw to the American Cancer Society, leading their "Paws for a Cause" dog walk-a-thon for several years as Chairdog. This annual event raises money for the fight against human and animal cancers. In 1993, the American Association of Blood Banks chose Marmaduke to star in several public service announcements to help promote their summer blood drive.

Ok. It's sort of hard to make fun of this. At least Anderson isn't a complete douche, he takes the money he steals from his syndicator and gives to charity. Can't complain about that. Though I do take acception to the ass clown who wrote about Marmaduke like he's a real dog. And one with a conscience.

Winner of the National Cartoonists Society 1976 Reuben Award for Best Panel, Anderson is also the creator of more than two dozen Marmaduke books which have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

It must've been a slow year, though if you think about panel comics, who was he up against? Family Circus? The Lockhorns? That's not exactly "The Far Side", "Calvin and Hobbes" and "Boondocks". I still cannot fathom millions of people leafing through a Marmaduke collection and thinking that it would look good in their library. I wonder if they bought a poster that says, "Hang in there!" and has a picture of a cat hanging off a branch. Or maybe it was a bunch of campers that knew they were going to be lost and bought the book for kindling.

When not working, Anderson enjoys getting together with friends and digging in his garden ("Just like Marmaduke!"). He and his wife, Barbara, live in Montgomery, Tex., and they have four grown children. They share their home with a Great Dane named Marmaladee (no relation to Marmaduke).

Imagine telling your friends that your father draws Marmaduke? I bet his kids are permanantly black and blue. "And this is for Marmaduke breaking another chair!" Whap! And I wonder if Marmaladee is horrible pun (Marmalady) or just a misspelling (Marmalade). Because if that's his real dog's name ... that's just fucking terrible.

BTW, I saw where Anderson compares himself to Marmaduke when it comes to his gardening. That's just too easy, so you guys can take care of that.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Relaxing weekend ...

Had a very chill weekend, hung out with Aly on Friday night, went to a Portland Sea Dogs game on Saturday and didn't do much on Sunday.

I hadn't seen Aly in over a week before we hung out on Friday night, so it was more than nice to see her. It sounds completely melodramatic, but I really missed her. The funny thing was, we didn't even do too much Friday night. We went to this awesome Chinese food place and ate like pigs than came home and pretty much went to bed. Actually, the Sox were on so we watched them.

Big Friday night. When I was in high school, I thought that every Friday night was going to be nothing but keggers and random nights of sex. Now that I'm a bit older, I know that stuff doesn't really happen too much, and honestly, I don't want it to. If I acted like I was 16 even though I'm 29, something would be terribly wrong.

Saturday, Ryan and I went up to Machester to watch the Portland Sea Dogs take on the Manchester Fisher Cats. The 'Cats are playing at a modified high school football stadium, that also once was the home of the Manchester Giants. Ryan said the last time he saw the place, it was a complete dump, but it was really nice. You could tell that they did a lot of work on the field and the concession stands. For a one-year band-aid, it works.

The Fisher Cats destroyed the Sea Dogs, BTW. I'm not too sure I'm wild (Ha! What a pun!) about the name, the Fisher Cats. I know that they're indinginous to the NH area, and it's better their original name (the Primaries), but why does every new minor league team have to have a dopey sounding name? The Fisher Cats. The 51s (LA's top minor league team is named after Area 51). Even the Isotopes all sound so hokey, so minor league.

Rye and I didn't go by ourselves, it was a SOSH outing. There were about 20 or 25 people up there and all of them were real cool. With chat rooms and message boards, there is a new sort of social phenomena that has sprung up: meeting someone face to face for the first time, though you may have been talking to them for years. I wish there was a name for this, maybe something like knowfir (short for known first). I don't know, I'm not Daniel Webster.

In any event, the stangest thing is placing names to faces, and finding out exactly what their home lives are like. For example, a guy and his girlfriend (URI and URIette) live together and post on SOSH. They've told a couple of stories about their home life and because they are going to school they live with a couple of other roommates. I pictured their place to be a lot like mine, old two family house with the bedrooms upstairs, the kitchen and den downstairs. But, it turns out that they live in a split ranch.

Totally puts their stories in a completely new dynamic.

Besided getting a better understanding of folks, it also makes me less apt to be combative. Not that I am anyway, but if URI or redsoxstiff or Napkin or someone said something that I didn't agree with, I probably wouldn't go for the jugular and call them a moron or something. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt because everyone I met seemed rational and cool.

Forgot to tell you one thing that was pretty heavy: Nomar got traded yesterday. The weird thing was, I was in the bar with the SOSHers when it came over ESPN news. It was sort of like being with a group of young Democrats on November 23, 1963. People were pretty shocked, even the ones that said they weren't ... because really, how can you not be?