Saturday, February 28, 2009

TBWCYL Day 58 - Skillz

Today was 'Decide what skills you will pass on to your family'.

I hope to be able to instill a strong love of reading, which is only sort of a skill but with so many people not enjoying it, I think it is working it's way in that direction.

I would like to teach my children basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. This is not only so they aren 22 and finally on their own when it dawns on them that they don't know how much detergent to use. I also want them to do the housework so I don't have to.

I figure whether they want to know it or not, they will be able to bag and board comics. There is a slight skill to this that I have mastered over the years.

If I have a son, I am definitly going to have to show him the skill of picking up women, since I am the master.

In doing this, I realized I don't have a large amount of passable skills. I can't show my kids how to fix a car, rewire a circuit board or whittle a little knick knack. My pursuits were always closer to intellectual than physical. Maybe I should talk to my father about this as I guess he didn't pass any of those on to me.

That is all,

Newt

Thursday, February 26, 2009

TBWCYL Day 57 - Face Your Fears

Today is 'Today, try food that scares you' so I went to the store and bought some of what I consider to be the nastiest food you can eat. Here is what I found

Sardines: My grandfather use to eat these on crackers but it always disturbed me that you could eat a tiny canned fish with the skin still on it. After smelling them, I still hold to that.
video
The fish itself didn't taste to bad, aside from the fact I was unclear that there were bones in it. Two forks full was enough though. I can see the appeal of the crackers. It had a smoky taste that started with the flavor of Tuna but just kind of sat there. I could eat this again if I had to.

Green Olives: I don't know why I have such an irrational fear of olives but when Diana and I first started dating, I lied to her and told her I was allergic to olives just because I didn't ever want to see them on food. She believed that for almost a year before I finally fessed up.
video
Why the hell would someone eat one of those? That was salty and disgusting. I am gagging just thinking about it.

By the way, has anyone ever noticed that the back end of an olive looks like a butthole






and the front looks like an uncircumcised penis? Try eating an olive now!!! Ha!






Black Licorice: There is nothing I hate more than Black Licorice. I don't drink Jager because it is similar in taste, I don't eat jelly beans because of the black ones, and I don't know why chewing road tar is such a popular past time. But, I decided that this is one of those fears I should face. The candy resembles a rubber tubing, with the cut of the strip even going so far as to have blade marks on it.
video
I wasn't impressed with the flavor but it wasn't nearly as bad as I make it out to be. It was hard to swallow though.

That is all,

Newt

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TBWCYL Day 56 - Party like a Rock Star

So, today's task was to "Live the Hard Rock lifestyle". There are days I think this book was predestined to find me. Why? Well, I have been in Houston on a work trip and last night was the final night I was going to be there. So, a couple of friends of mine took me to a bar in Houston called Brian O'Neill's. My friend got trashed and by the end of the night, bordering midnight, I was pretty mellow. I never achieved drunk but before going out I had a Red Bull, just like a rock star, so I was good for the night.

Now, I feel like this is where I started living the Rock Star life. After crossing midnight, we decided to go get tacos at a place called Chachos. Awesome breakfast tacos but the staff were dicks. I went to bed at 2 a.m. in a hotel after drinking and partying all night. It doesn't get much more Rock Star then that.

I woke up and channeled my inner Steven Tyler by trashing my room. Don't worry, I put stuff back but it was kind of fun destroying the property. I picked up my friend and we went to grab some breakfast before work. I consider this part of my road tour. I finished up 'my set' in Houston around noon and got in the tour bus(i.e. Saturn Vue) and headed for Dallas. I pretended I had a show that I had to get to and all the roadies got sick.

I arrived home and got my Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock loaded up on the Wii so I could grind my axe. That means play my guitar for all of you losers that aren't rock stars like me. I popped open a couple of beers and got my rocking on by playing a set. You can check out the cool music video below.
video
I did a cover of Weezer's 'My Name is Jonas." Rivers Cuomo is going to be so jealous. Can he even hit 96% on the Medium setting? Probably not while looking as good as I did. And don't worry, I checked and I did not 'Rock Out with my Cock Out." The video is kid friendly.

Check out my awesome scissor kick.

That is all,

Newt

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TBWCYL Day 55 - Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity

Talk about life changing, I spent the entire day keeping count of my flatulence. The final tally of Toots for February 24th?

Here is the list:
2 farts at 6:32 a.m. in my hotel room
1 fart at 7:40 a.m. in the conference room of the building I am training in
1 fart at 12:o1 p.m. at Raising Cane's for lunch
1 fart at 3:38 p.m. in my chair during training: SBD
1 fart at 5:08 p.m. in the lobby of my corporate office while on a call
2 farts at 5:42 p.m. in the car driving
1 fart at 6:20 p.m. while standing in Bedrock Comics
3 farts between 6:35 to 6:40 p.m. while driving to my hotel
1 fart at 6:52 p.m. while dropping a deuce. Popped the cork on the champagne bottle if you know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

I went out for the night and it was silent so I guess the need had passed around 7. Get it? Passed?

That is all,

Newt

Walking Down Memory Lane

As I was driving in Houston today during my lunch hour I drove past a convenience store called Mr. T's. Suddenly, without notice, I was struck by a glimmer of a memory from my childhood. The memory hit me from out of nowhere and suddenly I was transported to the 2nd grade.

There was a mass of fog blocking most of the memory but I had a clear picture of a general store. It was located directly across from the high school football training field that backed up to Sam Houston Elementary, my home from kindergarten through the third grade. As long as I can remember, that convenience store was across the street from that field.

It only sold goods, no gas pumps which I found odd and thinking back on it now, it probably wasn't as ominous as I remember it to be. My memory of it consists of blacked out windows, an male Asian owner, and a feeling that I shouldn't ever go inside. But I did, I did go inside, at least at some point. As I sat at the light, trying to wipe the soot off of the memory, things started coming back.

My mind tickled with the sensation of discovering something that I had forgotten. Suddenly, I remembered that at some point, I had gone into the store, which I believe was named Mr. T's. In doing so, I found a pack of trading cards that I had never seen, nor heard of before. What were they?!? I remember the blackness of the frame around the card and throughout the entire experience, it only comes back to me through a cloud of smoke

As a child I didn't know any better and remember feeling this pack was rare, as valuable as gold. I had to have it, all of them if I could. I would be back if I didn't get them all, that much I was sure of. I had to take advantage of this opportunity. The light turned green in my lane and in my head as I remembered the image on the card. It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trading card pack.

I became so giddy at this realization, that this is what I had once coveted. I was in my Turtles phase, hell, everyone was. It is one of which I never really have grown out of, and at the time this was something I had never seen. To find a treasure so great in a store that I feared was a sign that this place was magic. I felt a sense of wonder in the shop. Was this why the windows were blackened? Is this why when I walked by I always tensed up, prepared to run? The eeriness of it made the hairs on my arms stand up.

I don't know if I actually bought the cards. Some part of me thinks my mother stopped me and I never went in the store again. It became a sports supply store and when I gym class forced me to have a certain shirt or gym shorts, I would walk around to where I felt that I remembered that moment of my youth and my chest would tighten. I couldn't be sure that the current shoe rack was where that box of cards use to be, but somehow I don't doubt it now.

As I was looking for an image of these cards, I opened a page to view the thumbnail and my breath shortened as I saw that diamond from my past. It felt as if someone pressed on my chest, only for a moment but the pressure was there. It's amazing what can trigger a memory.

That is all,

Newt

Monday, February 23, 2009

TBWCYL Day 54 - Return to Sender

Today's task is one of vindictiveness, at least kind of. I gathered as much junk mail as I could over the last few days and wrote 'Return to Sender' on it with an Attn to B. Smith, Resources and Personnel. I only got 2 letters to send, the rest of my mail being actual legitimate mail.

None the less, I dropped it in the mail today and I hope like crazy that they cause some type of confusion and I get taken off the list.

That is all,

Newt

Sunday, February 22, 2009

TBWCYL Day 53 - Definition

What is the meaning of Life? Well, today;s task was to look the definition up in the dictionary. So, I pulled out my Merriam-Webster Dictionary Home and Office Edition copy write 1998 and here is what it says.

life \lif\ n, pl lives \livz\ 1 : the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body or inanimate matter; also : a state of an organism characterized esp. by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction 2 : the physical and mental experiences of an individual 3 : BIOGRAPHY 4 : a specific phase or period(adult~) 5 : the period from birth to death; also : a sentence of imprisonment for the remainder of a person's life 6 : a way of living 7 : PERSON 8 : ANIMATION, SPIRIT: also : LIVELINESS 9 : living being (forest~) 10 : animate activity (signs of~) 11 : one providing interest and vigor (~of the party) - life-less adj - life-like adj

So, there you go. Now you no longer have to question it.

That is all,

Newt

Saturday, February 21, 2009

TBWCYL Day 52 - Sight for Sore Eyes

What a day. Today's task was probably the hardest one I have had to do. Initially, this honor was held by 'No Talk' day but not talking is nowhere near as difficult as...Loose a Sense: Eyes. That's right, I wasn't allowed to use my eyes today. I had to rearrange the days specifically for this one task because I couldn't do this on a weekday.

So, I started this by setting my alarm and at 6 a.m. I covered my head with a beanie to block out light. My wife was nice enough to take a picture of me when I was sleeping. Over the last couple of days, I crafted a blindness mask out of a pair of swimming goggles, tape, cardboard and painters tape. I blacked out the inside and outside of the goggles to block out all light to create the sensation of being blind. I also went and bought a dowel rod for a cane. Here is my blind kit.

Throughout the day I set tasks for myself to accomplish.
1. Shave
2. Make Breakfast
3. Make a pot of tea
4. Wash sheets
5. Check the mail
6. Work the Radio

So, that's what I did. I showered downstairs to keep myself in a dark room but threw my goggles back on and went upstairs to shave. My normal routine is to run a sink of water, lather my face, shave and rinse. So, I followed that same routine in hopes that I would end up with a smooth face. Here is the result.

Before(I apparently missed a spot on the lather step)










After(No nicks and no missed hair.)










I got dressed(turns out I picked a Hulk shirt) and went down stairs(13 steps) to make a bowl of cereal. I have watched blind people do things on TV and in movies so I have learned a few things. To pour a bowl of cereal, I covered my hand over half of the bowl and poured until I could feel the Cinnamon Life pieces hit my palm. I then put my finger at the edge of the bowl and poured milk until it hit the tip. Here is the result. I didn't spill, which was a miracle.

I must say, being blind is boring. I had to pee sitting down, I could turn the TV on but only to get news. I hadn't considered a few things in prepping for this task, one of which is I didn't consider how to tell time. Instead of looking up the number for Time and Temperature, I just planned on calling Diana but her phone was dead so I relied on NPR radio, the TV and I had to call Thomas once.

I had bought a book on tape, David Sedaris' Naked and I had previously loaded the disks and learned the remote with my eyes closed. Thank God because that contraption is more difficult than it should be and I sat in darkness trying to remember the sequence to get a disk to shift. I heard the start of Disk 2 more times than I could count before finally hitting the right buttons in the right order. I recommend it highly and it was a great listen. Both he and his sister, Amy Sedaris of 'Strangers with Candy' fame were featured on it.

Throughout the rest of the day I listened to the radio, napped, and made a pot of tea. If you sit in the dark all day, it isn't surprising that you doze off. I was listening to my book when I noticed that I had missed quite a bit of the story by dozing off. When I woke, I was thirsty so I put on a pot of tea and I have to say, blindness and hot burners are not a good mix. I turned on the burner and had to hold my hand above it to make sure it was working. I then put the kettle on but was never sure I had it directly on the burner. After it had brewed, poured it into a pitcher. I heard splashing on the counter as I was pouring and realized I was missing the pitcher. I did my best to clean it up but I wasn't sure I got it all.

After finishing my book on CD I went into the spare bedroom and pulled the sheets off the bed. I wanted to take a shot at washing something during this day and figured sheets were the safest thing to attempt. I turned the dial to where I thought the cold/cold function was, started the water and poured what I guessed was the right amount of soap in. I think if I were actually blind, I might have someone put marks on my washer and dryer to make this less of a guessing game.

I spent the entire day in my chair. I walked around from time to time, tapping my dowel rod as I went. I kicked the dog's bowls more times than I can count, once soaking my right foot in water; went to pick up my cane and bumped my forehead on the counter, and stubbed my toe on the bed. So maybe you can understand why I was hesitant to leave my cushy island.

I planned to stop the task at 7 or so because the task said 'today' so I wanted to get passed nightfall. I went outside a couple of times, once to lock the back gate and once to check the mail. In checking the mail, I tapped my way along the sidewalk, walked across the street, and returned home. Luckily, I didn't get run over. Funny story about that. I went outside to go to the mailbox and, of course, I couldn't see. After making it back, I removed my blindness and got to 'See the Light' and it hurt. I was sitting around prepping this blog and heard a scratching at the front door. Duncan barked and I realized, Hazel wasn't around. I rushed to the door and was greeted by the cheery face of my Dachshund/Terrier daughter. She had been roaming outside for 20 minutes and found her way back home...and I had no idea she had been missing.

I don't envy the blind. No reading, no TV, no matter how use to your home you still have to be constantly careful when walking, and if you do cook you probably don't do the best job. How do you tell if your steak is medium or well when you can't see how it is cooking. I thought a lot about what all I would loose if I lost my sight and it scared me. I think it would take me weeks to get over the idea of never looking at a comic book again. Not being able to watch my favorite movies or read a book would be excruciating and adapting to no longer driving would be strange. Not to mention I would have to adjust doing even the smallest things such as making phone calls or adjusting the temperature in the house.

That is all,

Newt

Friday, February 20, 2009

TBWCYL Day 51 - Pancake Jamboree

Okay, so I have to go out of town for a few days and a couple of my tasks really need to be done while at home so I am going to rearrange a few things. This is actually task 55 but I will be without a stove so I have moved it to today. The task for today is: Flip the Perfect Pancake. So, I went online to find a recipe for "The Perfect Pancake." Here is what I found.

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons butter, melted or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar (for diner-style pancakes) or 1/4 cup instant malted milk powder (for diner-style pancakes)

Directions
1. Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla until light and foamy, about 3 minute at high speed of a mixer (I do this step in blender and mix the rest in bowl with a large whisk).
2. Stir in butter or oil.
3. Whisk the dry ingredients together and gently, but quickly, mix into the egg and milk mixture.
4. Let the batter relax while griddle is heating (or overnight in refrigerator) The batter will thicken upon resting.
5. Grease and preheat griddle.
6. The griddle is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately.
7. Drop ¼ cupfuls of batter on the lightly greased griddle.
8. Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form and break (this is the time to add anything like berries, chocolate chips, etc), then turn the pancakes and cook the other side until brown (turning only once).

When I got home, I mixed up a batch and after a while, Diana and I had pancakes for dinner. I don't think this recipe tasted like the perfect pancake, but I did get a few good flips out of the cake itself. Actually, my Granny used to make the perfect pancake and I am pretty sure it was Aunt Jemima mix in a cast iron skillet. I don't remember for sure, but they tasted like nothing I have ever had again.
That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 50 - Now you see me

Today's task was sort of fun, in a weird way. It was 'Make People Notice You' day and I took an example out of the book and had money hanging out of my pockets. Well, actually it was pocket as I only had visible money hanging from one pocket at a time.

This morning, I took a $1 bill and inserted it into my shirt pocket with about a half an inc popping up. It sort of reminded me of when guys use to have handkerchiefs sticking out of their pockets. Anyway, I came to work and sure enough, within 15 minutes of being here, my office mate asked "Do you usually have cash hanging out of your pockets?" I had a premade excuse of "Ohhh, I didn't realize that was there. It was change from this morning," and put the bill in my wallet.

Then, I slipped it into my back pocket and left about an inch folded over. I walked around most of the day and had one guy let me know that it was sticking out. If anyone else noticed, they didn't say anything. Maybe they just expect me to be busting at the seems with cash and didn't think it was weird.

I put the buck back in my front pocket when I headed home. I went to the store and I think I saw the checkout girl's eyes flash at it but she didn't say anything. I had some other errands to run so I went home and changed and put the cash back in my back pocket for the remainder of the night.

The only problem with having cash hanging out of your pocket is that you become slightly paranoid that it will fall out as you are walking so my hand kept nonchalantly sweeping my butt to make sure that it was still there.

That is all,

Newt

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TBWCYL Day 49 - Arrested Development

Well, today didn't go well. My task was to make a citizen's arrest and I was given a 'ticket' to hand out when I made my bust. It didn't matter what offense was perpetrated, I was just supposed to find someone. I thought maybe I could get a litterer or jaywalker but the problem is, I didn't have any luck. I hate when I can't complete a task but no one would break any laws while I was around.

I didn't know what to do. I was in traffic when a motorcycle zoomed in between two cars and I almost went after the guy but he was too fast and I didn't think I had a chance to catch him. I carried my ticket around all day but it just didn't happen. I must apologize for my failure, dear reader. I will try harder on the next task.

That is all,

Newt

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TBWCYL Day 48 - Impressionism

Today I was given the task of having a perfect stranger fill out a page in my book that says

"Hello! If you have one minute, would you please write down your first impression of me, for an experiment. Please be as honest as you can. If you want you can shut this book when you're finished and I'll only look when you're gone. Thank you."

So, I set out to find someone to do this and found that it isn't easy to find someone with a minute. I didn't want to randomly walk up to someone on the street so I tried to coincide this with some shopping I had to do. I took it in to Best Buy with me where the woman at the Customer Service counter had such a sour look on her face I didn't even try.

Then I went to Target and they were so busy that I knew I would just get rejected so I didn't ask there either. I had dinner at Taco Bueno, which for some reason I had a huge craving for, and the drive through guy was working the front register too so he was too swamped to even try and ask. I was getting short on ideas when I returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak, Half Price Books. You see, this is where I got the book and I am much more comfortable with this surrounding so I walked right up to the guy at the buy back counter and asked him to fill in my book.

After staring at me and being somewhat bewildered, it finally dawned on him what I was doing. He also claimed to be too busy, who else is going to check all those CD cases to verify the right disks are in them, so he told me to look around and see if another employee could help me. I lucked out because there were two female employees coming out of the office and I took my shot.

I am not sure her name, but a raspy voiced young woman helped me after giving me a few odd stares. Here is what she wrote.

"I thought you were very polite and you also seemed friendly and comfortable with yourself. You also have a baby face."

What??? I didn't shave this morning!!! Would a newborn have a 5'o clock shadow? I don't think so. It's odd to think that this is what someone thinks of me. It wasn't bad but for some reason I was a taken by surprise by that last comment.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 47 - Baaaa!!

Yesterday's exercise was to count sheep to fight insomnia. The book has a page covered in sheep with a random cow about half way down the page. The page has a note to "Watch out for the Evil Cow" and I am glad I got the warning because she showed up more than once as I was trying to count last night

I have never been a big fan of counting sheep. I will lay in bed trying to imagine sheep and no matter what I do, something always screws me up. My mind has a bad habit of wandering easily. Here is one scenario from last nights attempt.

I begin by imagining a field. I start to place one sheep in the field and then increase the population one by one, all while keeping count. At about 10 sheep a plane zooms over the field and the sheep scatter. I then think about a plane and forget about the sheep.

This happened over and over again. I would try and change my view of the field but it didn't help. Something always distracted me after a few ewe were in place. The cow would also rear her evil head and when you imagine an evil cow, sheep are not the thing that sticks in your head. Also, knowing about the cow made it hard not to think about it.

That is all...and watch out for the evil cow,

Newt

Sunday, February 15, 2009

TBWCTL Day 46 - BDAY

So, today's task was to write down all of my friends birthdays down into the book so I don't forget them. So, I filled in everybody I could think of so the book was full. It wasn't a very big task but I did it.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 35 - Be My Valentine

Today's task again fit the calendar perfectly as it was 'Romance Day'. I did my best to be romantic but things didn't work out as I hoped. There wasn't a rooftop meeting or fireworks last night.

I began the day by giving Diana her Valentine's Day card in which 2 kids are kissing on the front and inside it said something like "I want ya, I gottcha, I'll keep ya, you're mine". I had written as many sweet sentiments inside it and it looked like a short story but I wanted to say 'I love you' in as many ways as I could. I also pulled out a box of chocolates, which is cliche' but I was kind of going for that vibe. We went and grabbed a bagel and split up for the day. We both had to work but I was going to cook dinner when I got home.

When I got home, Diana still had a little work to do so I began dinner by myself. The meal was Steak, Baked Potato and green beans with a cake for dessert. I threw the steaks on the grill and the potatoes in the microwave. She was going to stop working to help but she only had about 10 more minutes to go and I was hoping to have her for the rest of the night so I insisted that she just finish before dinner so she didn't have to go back to it after we ate. My mistake.

By the time she was done I had plated everything and was literally putting her plate on the table as she shut her laptop. Needless to say, we didn't cook a romantic meal together and since I got home so late, it was rushed and not as tasty as I had hoped. I popped open a bottle of wine and we ate. The best part of the meal was the store bought cake.

Now you're thinking, "Newt, surely you went and did super romantic things after dinner" to which I will say, "Yes, we tried to catch up on missed episodes of 'House' and 'Fringe' and followed it up by making fun of the Jonas Brothers on SNL. Eat your heart out Hugh Grant.

So, to sum up the day consisted of work for the both of us, a rushed dinner and TV. In other words the day was no different than any other. Not the best effort for romance.

That is all,

Newt

Friday, February 13, 2009

TBWCYL Day 44 - Superstition

I have begun to think that this book was meant to be set out upon for me on this year. Things keep falling on the correct dates for everything. Today is Friday the 13th and coincidentally, it is also Defy Superstition day as my task.

So, the first thing I did after feeding the dogs this morning was to go outside and get two umbrellas out of the car and bring them in and opened up those bad boys inside the house. I figured if I was going to defy superstition, I was starting early. Next, I pulled the car out from the garage and went back and set up the ladder. I proceeded to crawl under it and then folded it back up and put it back before proceeding to the road. And you know what happened on my drive to work. Not a damn thing. Clearly I wasn't trying hard enough.

So, at lunch today I spilled the salt and left it spilled on the table. I'll be damned if I was going to throw it over my shoulder. I actually glared at it menacingly in hopes of giving it some extra power. However, my three coworkers and I made it back to work without peril. What was I doing wrong?

I got home without incident and proceeded to go run errands before planting it in my chair. Get this, I got a sneaking suspicion that if I went to the Half Price Books near our house that I would find a series of graphic novels that I want and so I went and they had books 5-9. I needed from 3-9 so now I am just 2 short of having all of the Preacher series. I am having the opposite of bad luck.

I was sitting at home watching TV when my sister called. I thought, "Is this it? Will I get some bad news?" Nope, she just called to tell me the home visit for her adoption had gone really well and things were looking great. WHY!!!! Where was my bad luck?

Clearly I was not doing something right so I kicked it into high gear. I went upstairs and grabbed Diana's compact and took a hammer to the mirror. It was empty so I don't think she was using it. The fact that it was left at home while she is in NY tells me it isn't that important. But, I a, not telling her I did it so later I will get yelled at after she reads this blog.

Then I threw my keys on the table. I don't know why that is bad luck but the book listed it so I thought it might help. And yes, I do have a Spider-Man key chain and I think it is cool so suck it! I got it on a trip to Universal Studios and it rocks.

Next, I went outside and stepped on a crack followed by getting my path crossed by a black cat. On this one I had to improvise. I couldn't find a real black cat but there is a Spider-Man villianess that is called the Black Cat so I just went and got her mini series and laid it out in front of my feet. It was the best I could do on short notice.

I have to say that I don't believe in superstition and I don't know, and don't care, why Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day. I have faith in a lot of stuff but the idea that these silly superstitions are going to in any way impact my life is ridiculous. My mother's back is fine and if I do have 7 years of bad luck for breaking a piece of glass that has a reflective surface glued into it, then I am not sure what that says about how the world works.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 43 - Dear Diary

Today's task was to write a Diary account of my day. You can attempt to read my handwriting below.
That is all,

Newt

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New York ComiCon 2009

If you don't know, I went to New York last weekend to see my wife. More importantly though, I went to go to New York ComicCon. That's right, I went to New York and instead of seeing more of the city I spent 3 days in the Jakob Javitts Convention Center and had the time of my life.

I began Friday by carrying a back pack, a satchel bag and a small box with me, total weight of 50 lbs. I know this because I shipped the entire thing to myself from Dallas so I didn't have to carry it on the plane. I was at the convention hall from noon til almost 7 and the only reason I left was sheer exhaustion and the fact that I got all the signatures I could for the day. I actually skipped lunch because I was going so incredibly nuts that I forgot to eat.

Saturday was better as it was spent without the box in my hands. I got a ton of signatures and sketches and was out of cash by 4 o'clock. I actually got walk around the convention hall and see things which was great. I saw tons of people in costume which is always a blast. I went ahead and headed home around 4 with a plan to come back Sunday with less stuff and a mission to get the most important things signed.

That night after going to see The Little Mermaid, Diana and I went to a diner to get Cheesecake and while we were sitting there talking, a guy two tables over heard us talking and it turns out that he is an organizer for a Con in Atlanta. We sat there talking to him and his wife for at least 45 minutes.

I went late to the convention on Sunday and headed right to a booth I had seen the day before. A newer artist whose work I love was selling his art pages for $10 a piece so I swooped in and spent 80 bucks at his table and cleaned up. I spent the rest of the day going from table to table getting sketches and signatures. I got in line at 2 for a signing of a writer and was 2 people away from the line getting cut off. It was a close call but I got one of the harder signatures to get. From there I ran to another line to get the remainder of my books signed by another writer who had only done limited signings and I left the con at 5, just as it was closing.

The entire con was great and I wish I could have gone with less to get signed just so I could have seen things without my hands being full but I love the chase of the signature and the sketch.

Below is all of the art I got.
video
That is all,

Newt

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TBWCYL Day 42 - Grassy

Today I was to go outside and walk bare foot through the grass. I did it and here is what I found.

It is rather chilly outside and the grass is moist from last nights hail storm. Other than that, not much new to report. The grass is dead now so it was kind of crunchy too.

That is all,

Newt

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TBWCYL Day 41 - Knighty Knight

Todays task was to apply for Knighthood so I wrote the Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown and asked for a Knightship. I will be mailing this tomorrow but here is my letter.

Dear Prime Minister Gordon Brown,

I am writing today to ask for Knighthood. I am sure you are probably wondering who I am and that is understandable. My name is Trinity David Vaughn and I live in Dallas, Texas or more specifically Lewisville, Texas. To begin, I will explain why I am writing. I began an experiment on January 1st of this year. A book called This Book Will Change Your Life was written in 2004 and in it, it gives the reader 365 different tasks that will hopefully change the readers life. I have faithfully completed each of these tasks to date and I am now charged with requesting Knighthood.

I am not sure what the exact qualifications are for Knighthood but I am hoping to make a case for myself. In days of old Knights went on quests which I draw similar parallels in my current quest to complete the task before me and look for my own Holy Grail that is a change in my life.

I am a passionate, determined young man who holds heroism above most other things. I have been a comic book collector from a young age and view justice as an important ideal to have. Also, I have tried to make charity more of a mission than in years prior.

I have always dreamed of living in the United Kingdom and my wife and I have plans to begin a rotation in London later in the year. I am looking forward to getting to know your country and feel like a small part of me has always belonged there.

Please consider my request for Knighthood. While it is an abnormal request from an American, I fell like I embody the ideals of a Knight and can uphold the ideals and traditions of the knights of old.

Thank you for the consideration,

Trinity Vaughn

I guess we will see if everyone will have to start calling me Sir soon.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 40 - I keeed, I keeed

Today's task was to play a practical joke and I got Diana pretty good. You see, Sunday night I waited for her to leave the room and reset her alarm for 5:00 am. My hope was that by doing this, she would be so groggy that she would forget to check her phone to see the time. Then she would go get ready and at 5:45 she would realize that she was completely ready for work and still had two hours until she needed to be there. I helped this scenario along by dimming the hotel alarm clock so she couldn't see the time.

When 5 rolled around, I heard her alarm go off, Diana reach for the phone, and then Diana say "Five o'clock, uh uh." She reset the alarm and went back to sleep. I knew that all throughout the day she would be expecting me to do something to her and didn't even realize that I had played a prank on her.

When I arrived in Dallas last night I was talking on the phone with her and she said "I really expected you to pull a prank on me today."
All I said in return was "What time did your alarm go off?" and she knew. She cursed something at me but I don't remember what exactly. Either way I giggled for a good while.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 39 - Bork Bork Bork

Today was learn to speak Swedish day. So, Halla. Mitt namn ar Newt.

I was given a few helpful phrases to pick up. Some are good to know, some aren't.

"Det ligger en smurf begarvd i mitt smor" or translated it means "There is a smurf buried in my butter".

"Sla mig, herr Bajskorv!" or translated it means "Beat me, Mr. Badger."

I am not sure this will ever come in handy but I will occasionally practice my Swedish in hopes it helps me with something.

Hej da,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 38 - Halleluja

As you may know, I was in NY for the 36 thru 39th days of my tasks. Day 38 was to spend some time in a church. I will admit that I am one of the least religious fellows I know and this one didn't seem very interesting to me, plus I was on vacation so I kind of cheated.

Have any of you ever heard of John's Pizzeria in Times Square? It is a pizza place that makes brick oven pizza and it is awesome. We discovered it last year on the Food Network and tried it for the first time last February. Well, the neat thing about John's Pizzeria is that it is run out of an old abandoned church. Not only that, when the church was turned into a restaurant they kept the stain glassed windows and ceilings.

I know I cheated on this one but we ate dinner there on Saturday night which means I spent some time in church. Also, I was at a comic convention so I had quite a few religious experiences when I got all sorts of gold(comic art) frankincense(signed comics) and Mir(trade paperbacks). I went to a geeks cathedral and between that and seeing The Little Mermaid, I was short on time so I did what I had to do.

That is all,

Newt

Friday, February 06, 2009

TBWCYL Day 37 - Eat and Run

Well, today's task was to do a dine and dash. For those of you unaware, a dine and dash is where you go somewhere to eat and then run before the check comes so you don't have to pay. It is extremely illegal and I was hesitant about the whole thing.

But, I want to complete this thing so I found a little cheat to be able to do this without breaking any laws. We are staying at the Hilton in NYC. In the Hilton is an executive level dining hall that is only allowed for use for people on floors 35 and up. I know this because last year we were on the 'and up' floors and were able to use this daily.

Well, we are on floor 31 this year and because of this, I am restricted from using this hall...Not. I snuck up there and got past the door check lady. I ate breakfast and then quickly 'dashed' back down. So, I did a dine and dash by stealing food that I should have had to pay for.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 36 - Silence is Golden

Well, today's task was the most difficult I have had to do by far. It was 'Say Nothing Today' and you know I take these seriously. Starting at 12:00 am on Thursday I stopped talking and didn't say another word until 8:00 pm.

Here's what happened when I stopped talking.

I am currently in NY visiting Diana and going to a comic book convention. Have you ever tried going anywhere and writing all of your requests down? I set out with a notepad in my pocket and with bags in tow, headed for the airport. I got there too late to get my bags on the plane so with some gestures to a lady helping people check in, I got moved to a new flight.

I pre-wrote some notes so when I went to check my bag, the woman at the counter believed me to be deaf or mute, I am not sure which. I got through security without incident and with an hour to kill I decided to eat.

I hit Starbucks and handed my order to the woman at the counter. She was a friendly black lady but I don't think she knew what to think of me. I ordered a large black tea latte and I thought she got my order down but when she came back with an iced tea, I knew we were in trouble. I showed her my order again and pointed out the Latte to which she just smiled and went "OHHH" and proceeded to make me the correct drink. Again, I think she thought I was deaf.

I know the guy at the Micky D's thought I was because as soon as I handed him my sheet for ordering, he proceeded to stop making sounds and instead used hand gestures. They also got my drink order wrong so I had to take the receipt back up and get an unsweet tea. By now I was just starting to act like I couldn't hear because people are just generally nicer when they think you can't hear them.

The plane ride was uneventful and when I got a cab I just handed him the address and pretended not to hear him throughout the ride. The fun when I paid was the best. Have you ever seen a North Korean NY cab driver try to tell you how to swipe a credit card. Awesomeness.

Diana wasn't to happy not to be able to communicate and we went to dinner with some of her co-workers so at 8 I buckled. Something I didn't think would happen by not talking was feeling nauseous. I am not 100% sure but I think that because I was restricting my vocal chords, it was making me feel queasy. I thought I might barf for a while but after I started talking it slowly went away.

This was one of those tasks in the book that really does change your life. I got more out of this than I thought I would, partly by seeing how crazy it is to communicate. Also, I learned that I talk to myself a lot because all throughout the day I was forcing myself not to say things and instead just think them. I will say that people are patient witht he deaf though.

That is all,

Newt

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

TBWCYL Day 35 - Noted

I had quite a bit of fun today doing my task. I had to hand out little notes to people all day. I was given a note sheet to use that was littered with different phrases and commands that I had to hand out to people.












Some of the communications I had were done through email by cutting and pasting these squares into mail and randomly emailing it to people. I had a series of emails go between me and Diana where I asked her to 'Hug Me'(she responded with a 'no' as she is in NYC), a 'Sleep With Me'(again, in NYC so not possible), and a 'Help me Make a Baby'(she gave no response to this one).

I sent Erin which she took as something to print out and pin on her shirt to help meet people.

I handed a 'Buy Me Lunch' to a coworker. It didn't work. I also gave a 'Tell me if my Breath Smells Bad' to a friend at the comic shop today. She agreed that it was a reasonable request.

I sent my cousin Kristy(a fellow nose picker) this note.











I sent my HLM this note. I taught him to play chess years ago and the student became the teacher rather quickly. Now, I only beat him if I poke one of his eyes out and distract him by singing 'Henry the Eighth' as we play.











I sent my friend Allison this one. We haven't seen each other in a few weeks so it seemed fitting.











This actually fit very well as a means of communication for the day. Every time I sent one, the response I got could be followed up with another so it was easy to talk in little square handouts.

That is all,

Newt

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

TBWCYL Day 34 - Dictator, I hardly know her

Well, today's task was to write a Dictator to tell them to stop using torture. So, I went online and looked up some of the more popular/despised dictators out there and found Kim Jong Il but when I went to find his address, it was no where to be found. So, I kept looking and stumbled across Raul Castro, new President of Cuba. The Cuban Government has a website with an opinions email address so I used it to send my letter onto Raul.

Here is what I wrote:

Dear Mr. President,

I am an American who would like to see the U.S. and Cuba become more involved with one another. Please stop following your brothers example and begin talks with the United States so we can work closer together instead of having constant turmoil between our countries.

I understand that you are loosening the restrictions on your country by allowing your citizens to embrace technology such as computers and DVD players. I am glad to hear this and hope that this is just the beginning.

I hope our countries will soon be working to lift the bans in place.

Yours Truly,

Trinity Vaughn
Dallas, Texas


Now you may notice that this doesn't mention torture. The reason for this is that I was researching Dictators at work and a coworker who doesn't know about the book project was right behind me. She asked why I was looking up Dictators and since I am keeping it a secret, I couldn't pull the book out. So, I had glanced at the topic this morning but thought it was "Write a Dictator and tell them to stop being a jerk".

I couldn't find any other addresses of Dictators so I couldn't redo the exercise. Apparently, Dictators don't want you to know how to get in touch with them.

That is all,

Newt

Can I get a Roll?

So, I started a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper. I started on Sunday a week ago so I guess it took me 10 days. I just completed it and you can now sit in awe of me. This is over 3 feet of Jesus and his homeboys hanging out getting some grub. This spread was so big I had to build an extension on my table just to make it fit.

That is all,

Newt

Monday, February 02, 2009

TBWCYL Day 33 - Who you gonna call?

Today was 'Be on the lookout for the paranormal" so I spent my day looking into things to see if I could find a ghost or poltergeist. Guess what...I didn't find one. I sat at my computer and it didn't do anything funny. I drove around and didn't have any problems. I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned and the instruments didn't move on their own.

It would have been awesome if I had found a ghost though. It just didn't happen. Heck, the dogs haven't even barked at the nothing. I think this would have been more successful yesterday when the dogs wouldn't stop barking at the windows and running outside to chase...well I am not sure what they were chasing.

Who knows. I might have just been a day late.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 32 - Dream a little dream

Yesterday's task involved sleeping, so I had to wait to post on it. I was to think of these three things before I went to bed and try to see if they incorporated into my dreams: An aeroplane, a midget, and a hedgehog. I concentrated very hard on them as I lay in bed trying to sleep. However, I had an awful allergy attack yesterday and because of this, I had to take a Benedryl before I could go to sleep.

So, what were my dreams? Well, I did have a dream that involved an aeroplane but I don't remember much about it. I do know that no midgets or hedgehogs were involved though. I also dreamed about doing a jigsaw puzzle. It was similar to a Tetris dream, where you constantly play Tetris in your head...anybody? I constantly found pieces that fit but the puzzle never became complete.

I don't know if things may have been different without the drugs but this didn't work last night.

That is all,

Newt

Sunday, February 01, 2009

TBWCTL Day 31 - Nauru Awareness

Today is Nauru Awareness Day...at least for the book project it is. Nauru (pronounced NAH-oo-roo) is an island in the Pacific just south of the equator, about 2,500 mi (4,023 km) southwest of Honolulu.It only has about 10,700 residents and the GDP is small enought that Bill Gates could afford to buy it and finance it if he wanted to.

So, just to let them know we aretn't forgetting them, today I was to send them a postcard just to say 'Hi'. I hit the Wal-Mart Texas Souvenier section and got this awesom card with a Margarita on it. It has a recipe to make them so in my note on the postcard I told them 'Since you are stuck on that island, here is a recipe for margaritas to make the time go by".

I had never heard of this place before so it was fun to learn about a new nation. I won't ever go there, but still...

That is all,

Newt