Monday, February 28, 2011

Quitter

In 1994, I started smoking.  I was in college and smoking made me look cool.  Who could blame me?  Actually, Lynette was a smoker and I started smoking to be more like her.  Unfortunately, I became addicted and my habit grew to two packs per day.  Goals were made to quit smoking, but it never happened.  I smoked in the morning while drinking coffee; I smoked at night while drinking beer; I smoked while playing online backgammon; I smoked after sex; I smoked before sex; I smoked during movies; I smoked while driving; and I smoked outside of office buildings.  I even had a personalized Zippo lighter with my initials engraved on it. 

Then I quit.  Cold turkey.  Without telling Lynette.  I wanted to make sure I was going to be successful before announcing to everyone that I was quitting because nothing is more annoying than the person who keeps "quitting" and bumming smokes off you all the time. 

So today is my five year anniversary of quitting smoking.  A decision that has saved me thousands of dollars, not to mention years to my life.  And now that I am going to be a father, well, logic prevails. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

This is what you look like when you drink.

Two Amazing Happenings (aka Miracles)

There's this thing about God that I've been wrestling with for nearly a year.  I can't provide direct evidence of the existence of God.  I've no photographs to share. No plaster casted footprints lifted from a snowy hillside to prove that He/She/It exists. 

What I do have are two prayers seemingly answered.  Can it be chalked up as coincidence? Of course.  Does it perpetuate my wrestling? Most definitely. 

In September 2010, I prayed for the first time in my life.  Honest, whole-hearted prayers.  I prayed to God for two things:  That Lynette would get pregnant with our first child, and that God would spare Lynette's mother from a premature death due to the cancer that was discovered in her body last year.  Today Lynette is six months pregnant with our son, and this morning we found out that Lynette's mother's CA125 count is 27. 

The CA125 count is indicative of the number of cancer cells in the body.  A normal, undiagnosed person has a CA125 count of 35 or less. 

I've never considered whether or not I believe in miracles.  Likewise, I'm not too certain about magic either, but I can say that ever since joining a church and returning back to Christianity good things have been happening in my life.  Whatever this is I'm going to do my best to keep it going. 

Breakfast

It's not like I'm the only one who made mental lists of things he hoped his future son would be.  I bet the cavemen daydreamed their sons and daughters would be mighty Mammoth slayers and efficient berry gatherers.  As a lover of words and the art one finds betwixt sentences and lines of prose I often pray that my son will pick up the pen and be a poet.  Nothing would make me prouder than a Poet Son.

Unless... he picked up a mitt and figured out how to make a baseball dance in the air on its way to home plate, dazzling the batter before picking up another ball and doing it again.  And again.  Nothing would make me prouder than an Ace Pitcher Son.

Unless... he befriended people not based on their appearance or popularity, but rather on the strength of their character.  As an overweight child unfamiliar with the inner workings of the "cool kids" group at school I was often ignored and/or bullied.  As I grew up and shed weight, I regret not offering a helpful hand to my classmates who remained on the outside.  I forgot my past and enjoyed a life of popularity and parties.  I hope my son retains a kind, fair heart when as he travels through the difficult life of an adolescent child.  Nothing would make me prouder than a Kind-Hearted Son.

Unless... he picks up the family spoon and perfects the generations-old gravy recipe.  Nothing would make me prouder than a Meatball Son.  Actually, the point here is loyalty.  The gravy recipe comes from a family I share no blood with.  But they are more my family than any Carlock has ever been.  I hope my son learns the value of loyalty and that family is the most important thing (not breakfast).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dead Island

This trailer for the upcoming game Dead Island has surpassed what game trailers used to be.  The bar has been set  very high after watching this:


National

I could use some baseball.  Usually I'd expound on that sentiment expressing my love for one of the two things this country had the genius to invent (jazz being the other), but I don't feel like it.  Why?  Because I ain't preaching to the choir, and if you ain't on board then you ain't on board.  You either get it or you don't.

Anyway, I'm pulling for the Nats this year.  It'll be a curly W on my head this summer.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Troy's car was never on fire.

I had a friend named Troy who taught me how to play pool in the early Nineties who whenever he smelled smoke while driving always assumed his car was on fire.  It sounds funny until you're one of Troy's passengers.

That was a distant memory that suddenly came back to me this afternoon.  Now I want to play pool.  Dammit.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Smurfberries!

Gamers, I have found something amazing... A World of Keflings.  It's an Xbox Live Arcade game (800 points) and it is reminiscent of Animal Crossing and Viva PiƱata. Those of you who like to game I highly encourage you to get this game.  That way (ulterior motive) we can trade items (EEeeeee!)

Likewise, if you're into those "world/town building" type games and you also own an iPhone or iPad I highly recommend Smurf Village.  Smurfs, yes.  Addictive, yes.  Ye be warned.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight

From SlashFilm:


Hey! Remember the ’80s? Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler and Teresa Palmerdo. They’re the cast of the upcoming comedy Take Me Home Tonight, which opens March 4 and is set in 1988. As part of the viral marketing campaign for the film, they’ve created a music video that features the whole cast, a ton of cameos and references/reenactments of upwards of 50 classic Eighties movies, all in the course of four minutes. While some of the references are super obvious – Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, etc. – it’s actually pretty fun to watch and pick out a few of the less obvious ones.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Inscription for the Ceiling of a Bedroom

By Dorothy Parker

Daily dawns another day;
I must up, to make my way.
Though I dress and drink and eat,
Move my fingers and my feet,
Learn a little, here and there,
Weep and laugh and sweat and swear,
Hear a song, or watch a stage,
Leave some words upon a page,
Claim a foe, or hail a friend—
Bed awaits me at the end.

Though I go in pride and strength,
I'll come back to bed at length.
Though I walk in blinded woe,
Back to bed I'm bound to go.
High my heart, or bowed my head,
All my days but lead to bed.
Up, and out, and on; and then
Ever back to bed again,
Summer, Winter, Spring, and Fall—
I'm a fool to rise at all!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blow Me Away

Hey y'all, remember when I told you I was reading Laura Hillenbrand's new book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionRemember?  Well, I spoke too soon.  This book is absolutely, positively amazing! 

Seriously, I honestly cannot remember the last time a book has had this much of an impact on me.  I am so sucked into the true life story of Louie Zamperelli - a one-time Olympic runner turned WWII prisoner of war.  The gut wrenching story of how he floated on the Pacific Ocean for 47 days after his plane crashed is the stuff of nightmares.  Sharks were jumping INTO his raft trying to pull him into the water!  Sharks! Into!  Come on! 

But then he gets captured by the Japanese and you'll wish he was still on the raft.  Simply amazing, this man's story.  Not reading this book is a mistake.  Whenever I feel stress or pressure from my life I'll merely conjure up stories from this book and instantly feel better because I'll think, "At least I didn't have to beat sharks off my raft with a wooden oar today." 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

VW Commercial: The Force

Why your grandparents don't find The Office funny

Why don't your grandparents like The Office? Possibly because they can't tell when the characters are doing embarrassing, inappropriate things. How do I know? Because scientists made old people watch The Office and recorded their reactions. Of course. The eternal question about old people, of course, is "Why?" No, sorry, the eternal question is, "Why are they so embarrassing?" Scientists in New Zealand hoping to find out showed several groups of people scenes from the original BBC Office where Ricky Gervais' character David Brent acted in "inappropriate" ways. The subjects were then asked if Brent was acting appropriately.
And, wouldn't you know it, older participants had a more difficult time figuring out whether or not things like "abandoning a wheelchair-bound woman in a stairwell during a fire alarm" were socially okay. Apparently, older subjects also had trouble telling how the other characters were feeling during the scenes.
The researchers say that these results seem to indicate that difficulty identifying social gaffes made by others is related to one's own social awkwardness. Which seems, well, obvious! (If you can't tell what's totally uncool, you will of course perpetrate some party fouls of your own.) But sometimes you need an excuse to watch The Office with a bunch of people, so I don't blame these scientists.
[Telegraph]

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lake Shore Drive


Tee hee.

Cubs Cam!

Holy Cow! It's a web cam positioned at the corners of Clark and Addison Streets in front of Wrigley Field!  Today it's pretty snowy, but it'll be cool to check in on game day.

LINK

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kal-El Carlock

I made a promise to myself this year to be a better man.  Not because I've been a bad man, not because I've done anything wrong, and not because I haven't been true to myself, but rather because I can act like such a selfish jerk sometimes.  For example, over the weekend Lynette and I went crib shopping and I wasn't the best shopping partner for her.  I was impatient and annoyed.  Shopping for a crib should be an exciting moment in new parents' lives and I got caught up in the common annoyances of crowded parking lots and crowded stores. 

Sometimes my anxiety turns me into a person I do not like.  I try everyday to pull myself away from falling into the meaningless pit of being annoyed or impatient at occurrences in the world that are beyond my control.  I have a problem with casting judgment on people for shallow reasons.

It has been almost a year since Lynette and I started going to church and it has helped me tremendously to see "the bigger picture."  Not necessarily that God is in control of everything (which he prolly is), but rather that people are not bad by default, nor do they intend or set out to cause me pain.

I have a son coming.  I'm going to be a dad.  I'm going to be the strongest person in the house and with that comes great responsibility.  I'm going to be Superman.  But the truth is I should already be Superman. 

I'm in the process of waking up mentally, physically, and spiritually.  It's time I pull myself together and start being a real man of the house.  It's time I get back into physical shape. It's time I get back to writing poetry.  It's time I get back to searching for God in my world.