Friday, July 31, 2009

"An Awfully Big Adventure"

My fellow blogger, Thomas, who is also my best friend, was discussing with me that I seem to favor books aimed at the young adult market and after arguing my side of things, that being that I enjoy both literature and youth fiction, I gave the indictment some thought.


In my heart resides a child's want for imagination. I can look at something multiple ways and let my mind create different uses, worlds or personalities for everyday objects. I think constantly of being a boy who never grows up, of journeying through a wardrobe to have tea with a faun, or falling through a hole and having to chase a non-punctual hare.

In J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan Peter states, "To live would be an awfully big adventure" and truer words may never have been spoken. I just finished another foray into the enchanted world of Neverland by finishing Capt. Hook, in which the tale of the boy who became Captain Hook is told, and told very well I might add. It brought me back to the magical island that holds so much adventure and magic for me.

The same can be said for Oz. In case you were unaware, there are actually 14 separate Frank L. Baum Oz novels. Dorthy was the first but definitely not the last child to go to Oz and the stories got wilder with every book. Frank Baum was a man that understood imagination. In the prefaces of every book are letters written to the children who read the books, discussing how Mr. Baum had communication with Dorothy and that is how he came to know the story of how she landed in Oz. To him, and thus to his readers, Oz was real.


This can be said for all of the fictitious lands that exist. Narnia, Oz, Middle Earth, Alagaesia, and yes, Neverland are all real to some extent. If they only exist in the back yards of children carrying sticks and trashcan lids for the armaments, then that is enough to make me want to keep visiting my favorite places no matter how old I get. And I don't think there will ever be an age to stop me from making that journey.

Sure, there is a place for a Jasper Fford, Ray Bradbury, or Kurt Vonnegut every now and again but the places I want to read about, the ones I hope show up in my dreams, well they just don't exist in books aimed for people over the ages of 14.

"I do believe in faeries"(Clap, Clap),

Newt

TBWCYL Day 212 - Nirvana in my mouth

Today's task was to live for the moment. And that moment was 21:31:22 to 21:31:23.

The Book goes into this very long series of events I was supposed to establish involving an opera CD, silk pajamas, sex and a chocolate truffle but I chose my own destiny and decided if I was going to live for a moment, it would be on my terms.

There is a specific feeling that is part anticipation, part nervous contemplation, and part glee that can start to build up in a person when they know there is something great that is going to happen to them at a precise moment. It may be the first seconds of watching Star Wars, the moments leading up to your first kiss, or the first time you touch yourself and it doesn't feel the same as the last time you touched yourself. I achieved that today.

The catalyst of this moment of life? A Shiner Bock Beer and a bite of Ben and Jerry's John Lennon "Imagine Whirled Peace" ice cream. The mixture was heavenly and I sat at my house hoping it would live up to my imagination. I set an alarm for 3 minutes before the 21:31:22 just so I could prepare for the triumph that was to be my mouth orgasm. I skipped gaily through the house as anticipation welled up in my chest and shot through my arms.

Below is the moment, caught for all to see.


video

The ingredients if you ever wish to experience my nirvana.

I can now say I have died having lived.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 211 - Welcome

I enjoyed my task yesterday. While riding to go meet friends for dinner I swung into the maternity ward of a local hospital and went to the glass of the nursery and gave a wave to a new baby, thus welcoming them into the world.

It was slightly awkward and I thought I might get in trouble as I parked and then loaded myself into the elevator. I was familiar with the hospital as my cousin had a baby there last year so I knew the right floor and direction to go. I began memorizing my back story in case I was questioned by anyone. "Oh, my cousin is breastfeeding so I just needed to step out of the room for a few minutes."

As I stepped off the elevator and rounded the corner to the newborn nursery I was dismayed to find 6 people, an entire family from my estimation, standing outside the glass. One was clearly the new father as he was still in scrubs and was looking quite intently into the glass. I honestly looked at him and could only imagine the feelings that were going through him. I walked through the group of people and was just able to see a newborn baby through the glass.

After walking past the nursery and down a hallway, I doubled back and walked back past the nursery again. This was my only chance to welcome the new baby so I gave a slight wave and a smile as I walked by again. I was on edge as to what I would have to say if someone were to call security on me so I didn't go up to the glass. Also, I didn't want to invade the privacy of the new father and his family. As I was leaving the elevator to head back to the parking lot, I saw another woman waiting in a wheelchair as her husband was pulling the car around. He stopped, got out, took a aerial photo of his newborn and wife, and they went off to start their family.

These are the days where The Book throws you a good day.

That is all,

Newt

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TBWCYL Day 210 - Smarty Pants

Interactive Time.
(Did you just read that as if a 70 year old woman with a falsetto voice were saying it? No? Moving on.)

How stupid do you think you are? No, really. Just take a guess. Well, The Book in all its infinite glory has decided to help you determine your IQ. Below is a IQ test that I took and hopefully you can take it too. I was afraid the answers would be made up and completely impossible to answer but I was wrong. After taking the test, you only get 10 minutes, and totaling up my IQ, I have a whopping IQ of 125.


I was so close to "Bright". Dang.

So, try the test if you can. I need someone to explain how to get an answer on #7 and #8 because I think I figured out #3 after I didn't get it right. Also, I want the scores to find out if my readers are as intelligent as I think they are.

That is all,

Newt

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TBWCYL Day 209 - Supermarket Swipe

I staged a crime in front of a security camera today. The point was to see if anyone would come to stop me committing the crime but no one did. You see, what happened was this. Diana and I went to the grocery store and while we were there I looked up and saw the security globes that hang near the checkout counter. Knowing today's task, I decided to include my wife in my task without her knowledge.

As she was unloading the grocery cart at the checkout, I started pretending to violently beat her in the head. When she would turn to grab groceries I stopped, thus she had no idea what I was doing. We were in clear view of the cameras and no one came out to stop the domestic violence that was appearing to occur on the camera.

A gentleman who was just completing his purchases saw me making my violent swipes at my wife's black locks and smiled. Clearly he was a supporter of putting a woman in her place.

We went about completing our purchase and as we walked out, I trailed back a bit behind Diana to continue my assault thinking I should give the grocery attendants another chance at doing a good deed. They still didn't appear and thus my wife now has fictitious cerebral hemorrhaging from blunt force trauma to the skull.

Ironically I found an interesting story of an actual supermarket attack somewhere in the UK that involves machetes. Who uses machetes to rob someone? That is not a stable person. I didn't find that they caught the people. Come to think of if, Girl Interrupted has a machete collection. Hmmm???

Maybe that is what I should have used instead of my fists. I wish I could get that tape because I bet I throw a mean fake punch. I like pretending to punch people.

That is all,

Newt

A Quick Note

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have altered the comment options on my blog to try to keep up with older posts. I now will be approving comments but will likely not filter them or anything so do not worry. Inappropriate comments will still be allowed and commended.

That is all,

Newt

Monday, July 27, 2009

TBWCYL Day 208 - Walk it off!

Today's task was pretty simple. I was to go on a walk. Quite a long one actually and thus I had to prepare. Today was quite rainy so I loaded up my satchel bag with The Book, a box of Sweetarts, an umbrella, and my camera. Here is what I did.


Follow these instructions.

Walk straight for 15 minutes
I set the timer on my phone and off I went through my neighborhood with my ear buds in walking down the street. Here is where I stopped.


Take the first Left
Easy. I will just swing a left on the street.

Turn Left again
No problem. I will just walk down the street and turn at the end of the block.

Walk straight for 25 minutes
No big deal. Timer is set and...oh shit. I have hit a row of houses and the only choice I have is to veer left. Oh well, off I go. Now I am walking straight.


Cross the nearest footpath or bridge
Shit! I just ran into the highway. There is no footpath or bridge. I guess this parking lot entrance will have to do.


Turn Right
OK. I am now parallel with the highway and walking dangerously close to traffic.

Cross the Road

Well, I can't do that because the traffic is moving 70+ mph and I don't want to get killed. I will just cross the parking lot.

Walk straight for 30 minutes

More walking? This is getting tiresome. I am starting to get sweaty and these cars feel dangerously close to me. Oh good. A sidewalk. Look how happy I am now.

I will just walk up this storm drain to stay out of traffic.

Board the nearest bus stop and get off after 3 stops

Oh wow! There is a bus stop. Lucky day. Waits a few minutes. I wonder when it comes? Call Diana and ask her to look up. Turns out that there are only commuter buses to Dallas from our town and there is no bus system.

Walk straight for 6 minutes

That is simple. OH, look. A McDonald's. I am stopping in for a drink.

Stop and stretch.

That feels good.

Get a Taxi Home

What? Ah crap. Calls wife to come pick him up. "I will be at the bookstore."

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 207 - Pillow Talk

Has anyone ever heard of a Pillow Book? It is supposed to be some Japanese thing where you write down your dreams in a book but I might have mistook the meaning of the exercise because I actually stuck The Book under my pillow last night and slept on it.

I woke up at 5 a.m. and ran to the bathroom to write down my first dream. Here is what I remember of it.

"A hitman is at a skating rink with his long lost family. He is dressed in a suit while all around him young children skate on the rink. He is carrying a gun that looks like a mixture between a pistol and a 1950's children's ray gun. He carries the gun in his right front pocket and walks up to the service counter to buy a small girl a cotton candy. Instinctively he reaches for the gun and unfolds it, the barrel being clicked into place. Suddenly the little girl places her hand on his, which is holding the gun and looks up at him causing him to pause. He relents on his plan to kill the cashier and refolds the gun and places it back in his pocket.

After a day with his family the hitman decides to return to his hotel. Inside his room is a suitcase with a false fabric that hides a secret. An unknown man is rummaging through the room and is suddenly revealed as the new friend the hitman has made, his only friend if he is honest with himself. The friend finds the suitcase and rips the false fabric off of the inside of the case and finds a Ziploc bag containing his Pack of Death.

The Pack of Death is a common hitman's package, containing his will, money, and personal belongings that he wishes to be dispersed after a hit goes wrong or he dies. The friend is suddenly submissive and huddles himself into the suitcase. The hitman's key has just entered the door and he knows what is about to happen. As the hitman walks in and discovers his new friend holding his most personal possession, he freezes. His hand instinctively removes the pistol from his pocket and aims it at the friend.

Grabbing his collar, the hitman pulls his friend out of the suitcase and pins him against the wall. He takes the pistol and holds it to the sweating brow of the man he thought was to be an ally and begins to pull the trigger. A moments hesitation causes the friend to think he might live but as the blood splaters over the hitman's face, the pop of the gun is the last thing the friend ever hears. Never find a man's Pack of Death and expect to live."

I went back to sleep after that and things took a crazy turn.

"I am watching an episode of "Who's Line is it Anyway?" and Drew Carey has chosen the word Robot for the actors to act out. Someone is suppose to guess the action the actors are doing and even though it is abundantly clear their intent, the person keeps guessing incorrectly. Finally, the actors start doing the dance, "The Robot" and instantly the contestant guessing shouts out "Time Warp". Instantly, Drew Carey and the rest of the crew morph into the cast of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and begin the classic dance to massive applause."

That one was short but things didn't end there.

"Flashback to a young Newt of 15 or so years. I was walking into a cafeteria where a girl of no previous knowledge was standing at the drink counter. I casually walked by, my affection for her was strong and she had no knowledge of it, and as I stepped by her she experienced what is commonly known as a "Brain Freeze".

There is a cure for brain freezes, which is to press your tongue against the roof of your mouth and so I told her. She did this and soon was free of her symptoms and I instantly got noticed.

"How did you know about that?" she asked me.

"Well, a Brain Freeze is caused when you drink something cold and your body thinks it's temperature is not right. Your brain then tries to adjust to the correct temperature and that is what causes the pain."

"OH, I see" she said with a doubting tone.

Realizing she thought I was making this up, I continued to explain that "by pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, you warm your palette and correct your brain's thought and stop the pain. All of this is completely scientifically accurate and can be verified." She didn't seem impressed."

The final dream I remember was slightly foggy but was also very euphoric.

"I wanted to see the stars but could only see them in my dreams. I lay in a field wanting to see them but unable to sleep. I tossed and turned and could feel the sleep beginning to creep into my eyes but it would never reach them and thus I saw no stars."

So, I don't know if The Book caused all of this or if I just have a plethora of thought that manifests into the dreamscape but this is a sampling of what I live with on a daily basis.

That is all,

Newt

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rain Aging

I went to breakfast with my Dad this morning and a question entered my head that maybe some of my new readers, or the old ones as I don't discriminate, can help me get an answer to. We were driving in the car and my father mentioned that they got 3 inches of rain last week. Admittedly, this is a rare occurrence in my hometown so I can understand him mentioning it, however my mother in law had also thrown out the same bit of information.

It got me thinking, "Do you think that when you start monitoring the rain gauge that you have crossed into the oblivion that is being old"?

I have been giving this a lot of thought throughout the day. I personally don't own a rain gauge. I never really understood the use of actually knowing what amount of rain has fallen. The ground is wet when it rains and it is dry when it is not raining. Who cares how many inches fall?

I instantly flash back to my 75 year old grandmother who had a 3 foot tall rain gauge tied to a pole in her back yard. After it would rain she would walk outside and check to find how much had fallen. My point? She was old.

I know people go looking for the fountain of youth and others use miracle creams to fight aging but I think that I may have stumbled across the real secret. Avoid rain gauges.

That is all,

Newt

ps. In writing this post I learned I do not know how to spell gauge. I am slightly disappointed in myself.

TBWCYL Day 206 - Water, Water Everywhere

So, things are about to get confusing so bear with me. As of yesterday's task, I am now playing catch up. Let me explain. You see, The Book wanted me to go to France on days 205 thru 211 but I altered the plan and went to Germany and Prague instead and fulfilled the tasks on days 130 through 136. That means that the actual days I was supposed to do had to be moved to replace days 205 through 211. Well, I sometimes rearrange things and I now have about 7 sporadic days that I have to finish off to get me back on track to be on The Book's calendar. So, I did yesterday's task which was actually for day 131 and today's task which is really day 150. Make sense? Probably not but that isn't what we do here.

Therefore Day 206 is deemed complete. I was to spend all day underwater to better reconnect with my aquatic origins. I am lucky in one regard as my mother in law owns a pool so I didn't have to go to a community center or sit all day in the bath constantly rewarming the water so my berries wouldn't shrivel off.

I got in the pool at 10 a.m. to a water temperature of 77 degrees. It was slightly chilly to say the least. It was in the high 90s today in my beautiful hometown of Midland, Texas and we spent almost the entire day outside by the, or in my case in, the pool. I tried to go under water as much as possible and only got out when the sun was moving me from a rare to a medium well.

Below are some shots of me underwater. I know they are the most exciting things you have ever seen but please contain your jealousy.



And another one.


This one looks worse than it is. Just remember to breath and you can avoid this outcome.


So, I have successfully achieve a sunburn from lack of reapplied sunscreen, I am freakishly exhausted from the outside time, and my fingers are just barely returning from the prunish state they maintained for the entire day.

Ironically, I spent more time in the sun today that I did on "Spend as much time in the Sun today" day.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Update Time - Day 201

So, remember when I wouldn't tell you who was getting my message in a bottle? Well, the FedEx Package arrived and my dear Brit friend Kate received my bottle. I was going to write some long post about what the letter said and what I did but, as is usually the case, I lucked out and someone else did all the work. I also got some ridiculously awesome high praise from it.

Who knew people had fantasies about FedEx?

Go Here to see what happened.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 205 - Eat Shit! I am the MAN now.

I peed in the girls room at work yesterday. It was liberating. Turns out the bathrooms are pretty much identical but I didn't know at the time. The only differences are a nice cosmetics kit and no pee on the toilet seat. It was a nice visit.

I was supposed to defy hierarchy yesterday by going against the grain of the norm. I started by letting my facial hair stay attached to my face. I have a standing ritual of shaving every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to keep the level of desheveledness to a minimum. But I said "F-You" to "The Man" and went all Grizzly Adams up on that bitch.

Along with wearing my face decorations proudly and tinkling in the ladies room, I also spent about 73.2% of my day goofing off on the Internet. Sure, I threw some work in in between blogs, news stories and info on San Diego Comicon but it was few and far between. Then I left early to go on a "work errand" and got off early.

I also had a make or break decision and I think I made the right choice. We drove home for my wife's birthday which consists of a 6 hour drive through desert lands speckled occationally with little shanties. We stopped at one of our favorite Mexican fast food restaurants and I mistakenly let my wife go in and order while I parked.

Upon entering, I checked her receipt and realized that my 3 beef fajita burritos were rung up as ground beef. THIS WOULD NOT STAND!!! I walked up to the counter, delivered a roundhouse scissor kick to the guy at the register, poked both of his eyes out and ripped off his ears because, and I quote, "Clearly they must not work so you don't need them anymore." I then shook off the daydream I was having and proceeded to make the manager correct the error of the bumbling cashier and got my f-ing burritos. My wife wanted me to just eat the ground beef. Not today baby!

So, hierarchy can suck my wiener. I totally owned it like a prison bitch.

That is all,

Newt

Thursday, July 23, 2009

TBWCYL Day 204 - Why So Serious?

I was meant to be serious the entire day. I tried my best and was pretty successful for the most part. I tried to keep a straight face when people talked to me. Every time a person walked into my office I just clammed up and kept a straight face.

I was completely serious until Diana and I started drinking white wine. Then I started to loose my seriousness. In fact I lost the straight face I had managed to keep all day and instead just smiled as my wife and I drank a glass of 2008 Sterling Vineyard Savignon Blanc that we picked up in Napa.

I also have to admit that I occasionally slipped throughout the day in conversations with people. I always had in my head to "be serious" but I am a pretty jovial guy and sometimes that would come out. I reigned it in if it did though.

That is all,

Newt

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

TBWCYL Day 203 - Sell, Sell, Sell

Who wants to sell a copy of This Book Will Change Your Life? Anyone? Come on, you know you want to. I need some highly motivates self starters to become door to door Book salespeople. With a little ingenuity you can go door to door and sell the finer points of TBWCYL to all of your neighbors and make a tidy profit.

For every 2 salespeople I recruit I get a percentage of their sales. If you are looking to make extra money outside of just selling This Book Will Change Your Life you can even recruit some sales people of your own and not only will you make a little change, I too will profit off of the sales. The kit to start as a Book salesperson only costs $499.95 and that is nothing compared to the profits you will make.

So, if you don't have a job, "cough" Kate "cough", or you need to put a kid through college, "cough" Thomas", or maybe you just want to meet new people, "wheeze" Erin "haghac", then this plan is for you. I apologize for my cough. I am getting that looked at.


Contact me today to get started,


Newt

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TBWCYL Day 202 - Baby Proof

Good News!!! I'm not pregnant. Do you know how I know? Cause I wiped some of my pee on The Book. You see, The Book was nice enough to give me a "pregnancy test" to verify that I am not with child. I had to pee when I got home so I brought the book in with me and after finishing my whiz, I dabbed the tip of my wiener onto the paper.


I had a suspicion I was pregnant because of this belly I have. Turns out that is just fat though so I was slightly disappointed. In reality The Book probably didn't have pregnancy test treated paper so maybe there is still a chance for the baby thing. Who knows.

And No, it hasn't been lost on me that I peed in a book today.

That is all,

Newt

Monday, July 20, 2009

TBWCYL Day 201 - Did you get my message?

Well, today was an interesting day for the task and I spent a large portion of the day completing the darn thing. Today I was to send a message in a bottle. No, I wasn't supposed to serenade someone with a Police song, I was to actually send a message in a bottle. How do you do that you ask? Well, unlike someone stranded on a desert island, I have the handy postal service and private shipping facilities at hand and they got used.

I started with a bottle, the type to be announced later, and an idea for a letter. I typed up a lovely little note to someone, also to be announced later, and slid it in the bottle and popped a cork in it. I then wrapped it up and prepared it to FedEx out. We get a great rate for FedEx at my work and I looked at the price and compared it to the Postal Service and determined the post office would be cheaper. So, I took the box to the post office and was informed that the price online was not the price I had to pay.

Why, I just told that lady to give me a book of stamps and I would be on my way, thank you very much! I went back to work and repackaged the damn thing since you can't ship a FedEx package in a USPS box. Then I took it back to the shipping department and "Voila" I sent a message in a bottle.
Now then, to the specifics. I have sent this message to an individual who not only reads this blog but has one of their own. Until the message is delivered, I will not divulge any of the contents of the letter in question or the bottle it was sent in. Once the person has received the message, then and only then will I divulge its contents. So, you lucky reader you. You have a message coming.
That is all,

Newt

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TBWCYL Day 200 - Artsy Fartsy

So, we hit another milestone in the This Book Will Change Your Life challenge. The 200th day of tasking. And with it, I get to stretch my creative side. For today I joined the elite group of contemporary artists by creating my own online installation for your critique, dear reader. Below is my artistic muscles being stretched.

My first piece is a commentary on the absurdity of the American Dream. The original piece was painted by Grant Wood and is entitled American Gothic. My interpretation of it is titled

"American Soup Strainer"

My next piece is a take on the DaVinci painting the Mona Lisa. I hope that my statement is clear as I think like other notable leaders of our time, DaVinci was a man who stepped out of the norm and was criticized for it. You can easily draw the parallels to other misunderstood individuals. Thus I named this one

"Adolf Lisa"

The third canvas in my installation is taken from the Edward Munch painting "The Scream". I felt the allegory of pain and anguish behind such a glorious backdrop could be added to and thus add the addition of morality to the piece. Therefore you see below

"The Screech"


My final piece was a variation of the classic painting "Whistler's Mother" by James Whistler. In this the existential battle for women's rights has been a constant. With my rendition I felt that it is a new age and new issues are faced by women daily and one of those should be brought to the forefront of society. I call this piece

"Bristler's Mother"

I hope you enjoyed the art show.

That is all,

Newt

p.s. If you took any of that seriously you need to seek help immediately. I just like defacing classic photos with mustaches.

TBWCYL Day 199 - Random Knowledge

Did you know that a whale's ejaculate measures in at 1/2 a gallon?
How about that there are 336 dimples on a golf ball?
or that the tips on shoe laces are called aglets?

Well, I didn't either but yesterday's task was all about completely random knowledge. The Book listed about 20 random bits of info, none of which I confirmed to be true so I have to go off of blind faith, and I was to memorize them.

I did this with the help of my lovely wife who was kind enough to read them off to me and quiz me.

The Empire State building contains 10 million bricks.

We read these on the way to breakfast yesterday and she quizzed me twice more afterward.

The average beard contains 12,000 hairs.

I had to work yesterday and some of this knowledge became useful as we were talking about something and I was able to impress everyone with this.

The human heart weighs 10 ounces on average.

I don't know that I am going to remember that Apollonia was the patron saint toothaches or that the longest recorded chicken flight was 13 seconds but I bet I will retain some of this knowledge and one day it might even save my life.

That is all,

Newt

Friday, July 17, 2009

TBWCYL Day 198 - All Dogs Go To Heaven

I am a crying little Bitch right now. My face is stained with warm tears and I just finished sobbing uncontrollably. My task was to "Have a Good Cry" today and to do that Diana and I watched "Marley and Me" again and I lost it just like the last time.

We went and bought the movie because to achieve a good cry I knew exactly what I would need: Dead Dog. I saw "Marley and Me" when it was in theatres and didn't make it out of the theatre with a dry shirt. The tears made my shoulders moist.

I thought it might not be as powerful the second time around but the second that the daughter came down the stairs and asked "Is he sick again?" I started bawling uncontrollably. It just got worse from there.

I have had to put a dog to sleep before when I was younger and the entire time my sister and I were both wrecks while my mother somehow held it together. I thought back to that moment as Owen Wilson is telling the dog that he was the best dog...Oh God! I am about to start again.

Diana actually got up and left the room right before Marley was taken to the vet, saying "I can't watch this. Turn it off. I need my dogs" and took Duncan and Hazel with her. I toughed it out and made it through the whole movie. How is beyond me.

Why do dogs have to die? I don't ever want to think about having to put either of my fur babies to sleep. Just thinking about it makes my eyes mist up.

Crying is so cathartic. Sometimes I feel like you let emotion build up and maybe it takes a month or six or even a year but then you just get to a point where you have to let it out and when those warm streams exit your eyes and run down your cheeks it is like a baptism. Almost as if you are washing away all of the troubles that caused those tears and in crying you are hitting the rest button on your emotional baggage.

I must say it feels good.

That is all,

Newt

TWBCYL Day 197 - My Herby Hancock

Is it just me or do you also think of that famous "Tommy Boy" quote when signing your signature on things? I remember in school when we were taught that John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence in an extremely large signature so the British could see it from far away or something like that. I personally don't have a good signature. I don't care honestly. It has never been an issue...until today.

My task was to improve my signature and I think I may have made some headway. I won't be posting it on the blog specifically due to security reasons but The Book was nice enough to give me some test room, a before signature space and an after. The comparison of the two is quite a site.

With my legal name being Trinity, it is very difficult to sign that name. Especially if you want it to be legible. I don't achieve legibility about 99.999% of the time but I do have a consistent sig so that is the main thing to me. However, for the task I realized I needed to stop getting in such a hurry and take time to clean up my signature. The r, i, n, i, and t were always a jumbled single line that doesn't at all look like rinit. The only semi clear letters that came out were the T and y and they have quite a flourish.

So, if I can keep to it, people will now be able to make out my first and last name without having to ask, "What does that say?" That is a big IF though.

That is all,

Newt

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TBWCYL Update Time Day 176

I meant to post about this last week and forgot but do you remember those Lost Dog signs I put around the neighborhood? Well the day we landed in California, I guess that would have been July 5th, I had 2 voicemails on my phone. I called and listed two them and the went something like this.

"Hi. This is Jaime and I think I found your dog. I have been trying to catch him but we keep going in circles. If you can call me back at XXX-XXX-XXXX."

Then,

"Hi. This is Jaime again. We lost the dog. I had him cornered in my backyard but he got away. Sorry."

So, I had to call him back and tell(lie) him that we had found Duncan a few days prior and I thought I had gotten all of the signs down. There is a dog that I have tried to catch before, a stray, that is dark brown and squatty and runs around our neighborhood. I have tried to catch him and even bribe him with food but he just runs off. I can only assume from the guys story that it was the same dog.

This damn book actually worked though. I didn't loose my dog and yet still got a call.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 196 - Mr. Manner-isms

Well, yesterday was a day of continuously trying to notice the mannerisms that I have. I am very aware of the number of odd things I do.

I sit on my leg in meetings, I constantly touch my nose (partly during the picking stage and partly from rubbing the skin where my nostril meets my face), I bite my nails, and I cross my arms. These are the most consistent ones I have but I know there are plenty more.

The book says biting your nails is a sign of repressed anger. FUCK YOU!

Shaking a leg stands for chronic anxiety. Not sure I believe that one. I do tend to tap my leg or if it is crossed, I shake my foot but I am not a very anxious person. Actually, that isn't true. I get very anxious to get going with things. I got reprimanded a couple of days ago for getting up from the table before Diana was done eating. Even though I was standing in the dining room, she said it was rude for me to get up before she was done. Who knew?

It also says touching your nose indicates a lack of confidence to face others. However that isn't my reasoning for touching my nose. I just enjoy it. I enjoy a good nugget dive and when it comes to rubbing it, well, honestly that is because I am curious what that area smells like. I can't help myself. Maybe that is more of an OCD thing as opposed to a mannerism.

Hell, I could go on and on about the things I do. Right now I want to scratch my eyebrow, (two scratches to the right and then smooth out the hairs), I want to rub the back of my ear and smell it, OK I did that one, and I want to sniff my watch band. I don't do these things in front of co-workers, so again maybe these are also OCD. I just can't tell anymore.

That is all,

Newt

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TBWCYL Day 195 - Snowballs chance in Texas

My wife and I had a snowball fight yesterday. No, you aren't reading an old post. We actually had a old western style "Draw" where we each had our own snowball and we dueled. You see, yesterday's task was to shave the excess ice off of the inside of the freezer and make a snowball to attack your friends with. Our freezer currently doesn't have any glacial freezing in it so I had to improvise.

There is an awesome Shaved Ice place in Lewisville called "Bahama Bucks". It originated in Lubbock, where the great Texas Tech is located, and Diana and I love to go get one every once in a while. They actually sell Sno-balls there, which are real snowballs made out of their shaved ice. So, we went and got out in the 100 degree heat and went to get a shaved ice and buy a Sno-ball so I could complete my task.

For some reason they refused to sell us a Sno-Ball but did agree to give us a cup of the ice so we rushed home with our treats and went out into the front yard. We split the ice down the middle and each made a snowball and stood like two old cowboys ready to settle a score. The dogs were outside with us and all of a sudden Hazel saw a cat and took off after it. We only noticed because when she gets excited she starts to sound like a house alarm going off.

The noise distracted Diana and I took my chance to hit her when she wasn't looking. I have awful aim and the ball whizzed by her and hit the ground. She then got a look in her eyes similar to a murderer being told he gets one kill for free and she ran at me, arm in the air, and pegged me on the back with her snowball.

We jumped into action and Hazel circled the house, cat mere feet in front of her, and we were able to grab her.

Somehow, when standing in the 100 degree heat, I didn't particularly mind getting hit by snow.

That is all,

Newt

Monday, July 13, 2009

TBWCYL Day 194 - Paper Boy

So, today I was forced, ahem, tasked to write the local newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, and try to achieve a high profile in the community. I figure if this works I will definitely have a higher profile.

Hello,

I am writing with a possible news story. In the age where people make New Year's Resolutions and don't stick to them, I am currently still sticking to the resolution I set out to do. On January 1st, I found a book called This Book Will Change Your Life. 365 Days to Hilarious Living and decided to start it. In it, it lists a daily task for me to complete.

As part of these tasks, I have had to live as a blind person, deaf person, bury treasure, and determine the last words I will say when I die. It has been a challenging experience to say the least. I have been chronicling it on my blog to keep track of my experiences.

Writing this letter is actually one of the tasks that I have to do. I am on Day 195 of my journey and have completed almost every task completely, though some have had to be modified a slight bit. None the less, I made a New Years Resolution and am over 50% complete.

So, if you would like to contact me, you can reply to this email.

Trinity Vaughn

That is all,

Newt

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TBWCYL Day 193 - Sunshine Day

So, what do you get when you mix a task involving spending as much time as possible in the sun, a 230 lb man, and 100 degree days in Texas? A fat guy with blisters on his feet and a shirt that looks like a giant sweat stain that's what. You see, I am a dumb ass and decided that I would actually do Day 193's task in the dead heat of summer, in Dallas, and try to accomplish the majority of it at 2 in the afternoon.

I wanted to go see "I Love You, Beth Cooper" today so after our house cleared out of guests, and Diana took her standard Sunday afternoon nap, I threw on my flip-flops and left my lovely wife a note saying that I decided to walk to the mall to go see the movie. I was in shorts and a T-shirt so I figured I was as comfortable as I could possibly be for such a walk and with my flip-flops on I could finally get some sun on my white-ass feet.

I purposely walked a specific route that would provide me some shade on the path if I so needed it. I looked up directions to the Mall and I walked 3.5 miles via my route. I had to stop twice, once to get a bottle of water and once to go wash my face in a Barnes and Noble because I was sweating so much my eyes were stinging. It took me an hour all said and done to get from my front door to the Dillards entrance of the mall. The back of my shirt was a totally different color from the front because it was soaked in sweat.

So, along with the hour I spent walking, I also got a few rays while driving this morning and this afternoon, waiting for Diana to pick me up from the mall (my feet have huge blisters from walking 3.5 miles in thin flip-flops), and getting some natural sunlight through the windows of the mall. All in all I spent about 1 1/2 hours, or about 6.25% of my entire day, in the sun. I will probably have a sun burn tomorrow and enough Vitamin D to last me for a week.

That is all,

Newt

Saturday, July 11, 2009

TBWCYL Day 192 - Thar be Treasure!!!

So, guess what I did first thing this morning. Go on, guess. I bet you can't. I got up and got a Ziploc bag, filled it with "treasure" and took a garden spade into the forest behind our house and buried it.


This should have been easy but it wasn't. I gathered the treasure pretty easily, it was made up of some Mardi Gras beads, a plastic bracelet, some spare change, a broken watch and a screwdriver. The problem came when I went into the forest. You see, the ground was significantly harder than I thought it would be and my spade wasn't very useful.

I ended up trying two different spots of earth before stumbling across a gift from the gods. There was a section of ground that had dried so much that the earth was cracked. Using my spade, I found a large piece of this and pried it up like a manhole cover to Earth. I still had to dig out some extra ground to make up the difference of the bag but it was easier. When I was done, I just put the chunk back on the hole and filled in the rim with spare sod and was good to go.

So, to find my treasure all you have to do is leave my house, walk to the trail that surrounds the park, enter the wooded area at the path across from the red fence, walk 90 paces until you see a fallen tree that is laying to the East, take a left and follow the path for 50 more paces until you see the cracked ground. Find the right chunk to remove and you will find my treasure.

That is all,

Newt

Friday, July 10, 2009

TBWCYL Day 191 - A Word From Our Sponser

I am supposed to "Prioritize My Dreams" today and I am not really sure what that means so I am taking a stab in the dark. So, here are a list of dreams and the importance that I accomplish them.

1. Read a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15
2. Have Children
3. Move Abroad
4. Own a comic book store
5. Learn to play the Guitar
6. Own a Ms. Pac-Man Machine

So, half of my dreams involve physical items and the other half are more goal oriented. Go figure.

That is all,

Newt

Thursday, July 09, 2009

TBWCYL Day 190 - We are FAM-A-LEE!!!

Today's task was creepy. It was called "Family Love Day" and I will just let you be the judge of how icky this really is. The people at The Book are disturbed.

Incest works well for animal breeding, so why not for you? Today explore your deeper feelings toward a cousin, a sibling or a parent perhaps. Taboos, after all, are made to be broken.

Did you just throw up in your mouth a little bit? Good, at least it wasn't just me. So, what the hell am I supposed to do? I can't skip the task so I am stuck. I mean, its not like I have some disturbing crush on anyone in MY family. But Diana's on the other hand, now that I got covered.

Meet Rebekah!!!


She is Diana's cousin-in-law and she is soooo hot. She is why they invented the word MILF too. She has 3 kids and is still super hot. And she has an southern accent which makes me think of her as a southern belle.

Hopefully she doesn't read my blog...unless she is flattered.

Otherwise Thanksgiving might be a little bit AWKWARD!!!

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 189 - The Book of Who?

Have you ever heard of Habakkuk? Well I sure haven't but yesterday my task was "don't waste the 4 minutes and 22 seconds (on average) you will spend on the toilet. Read the much neglected Old Testament Book of Habakkuk instead, and try to improve yourself." So, last night when we got home, I plopped down on the potty and got to reading.

After about 10 sentences things just didn't sound legit. There were a lot of "doth"'s and a few other words that made me think The Book made this character up. For example...

Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far: they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.

WTF? I don't know what a word of that meant. It almost sounds sexual.

And this one...

Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?

Booties? Like the little shoes kids wear?

Or, how about this...

Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.

Naked bows and cleaving earths sound dirty too. I just don't get it.

So, I had to know if this thing was real, and guess what...It is!!! I am not sure if this is the actual text or not but you can view the Wikipedia page about it here. I was sure it was made up but it seems to follow what the text is supposed to be.

His name should have been Hab the Kook if you ask me.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 188 - Put me in Coach!!

So, as you may know I was on vacation on Day 188 and thus I had to adjust my task just the slightest bit. Day 188 was made for me to "Get a Life Coach". Now, I don't particularly think I need a life coach but a task is a task so while in Napa, we went to a bookstore called Copperfield's and I hit the Self Help section of the bargain table.

I actually did really good with finding a life coach. His name is Norman Fischer and he wrote a book called Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls. Mr. Fischer is actually a Zen teacher from San Francisco and is very well known in Zen circles. In the book he compares some of Zen's teachings with Odysseus's journey home to Ithaca, showing reflection and the attempts to achieve your goals in an interesting way. I started the book on the plane home and I am performing some of the exercises the book suggests.

One exercise was:

Imagine: Close your eyes and visualize the ceaselessly restless sea. There is no land in sight. Just shimmering wavelets, tipped with diamond-glittering points of light. Be with this vision, in calmness, for a few moments. Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera.

I don't know if this will be of any benefit to me but I am willing to try it. Once I finish it I will do a follow up.

That is all,

Newt

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

TBWCYL Day 187 - It is Litter-ally all over the place

Yesterday's task was harder than it should have been. We are in the Napa Valley right now touring wineries and eating good food. While you are jealously reading this, understand something. The Napa Valley is a clean place. People take care of their shit and that is why yesterday's task was so difficult.

I was suppose to pick up litter off of the street and throw it away in an effort to clean up the world. I actually do this on occasion already so this wasn't a huge leap from my norm. However, as we walked through wineries, there wasn't an opportunity to clean up anything. They are immaculate.

We also walked through St. Helena, one of the small towns outside of central Napa, and in doing so I was able to complete my task. Diana and I stopped into a small bakery to grab a drink and a sweet and when we were leaving, I chanced upon a napkin and straw wrapper that had fallen onto the concrete from a near by table. I swooped in and grabbed them to take to a near by trash can, thus keeping Napa safe from the tyranny of garbage.

That is all,

Newt

Monday, July 06, 2009

TBWCYL Day 186 - Cleaner than ever before

So, yesterday we got up at the butt crack of dawn aka 4 a.m. to get ready for our trip to the Napa Valley. The task to perform however was one that could be done at the butt crack of dawn and kind of involved my butt crack. You see, I was to clean myself to make me as clean as the day I was born.

What a challenge. I took this one full on though. I grabbed a course wash cloth and got in the shower and after washing my hair and subsequently my shoulders, thank you Head and Shoulders, I got my body wash ingrained into my washcloth and went to town.

Do you know how much it hurts when you clean quite vigorously behind your ears? How about when you scrub the area where your nostrils and your nose meet? Anyone? That shit hurts!!!

I also washed my back. Now, I know what you are thinking. "Newt doesn't wash his back?" The answer simply is "No". I stand in the shower and let my shampoo run down my back, let the shower head continuously spray it, and I wash my shoulders, lower back area, and my bootie. I don't, however, religiously wash my back or face. They get good rinses and soap comes in contact. But yesterday I got that washcloth and cleared ever bit of dead skin, grime, grit and Cheerio that I could.

My final act of cleanliness was to take one of those sticks with the gritty side and the smooth side, you know the ones for your feet, and clear off all the dead skin from the bottoms of my feet. I do this occasionally but yesterday my toes, heel and instep looked bright pink and new.

I felt like I got detailed yesterday.

That is all,

Newt

Sunday, July 05, 2009

TBWCYL Day 185 - Life of the Party

Yesterday's task was simple. I was to join a political party. Now, I am from the Bible belt of Texas and as such, I think I came out of the room with a predisposition to be a Republican. At 18 I was listening to Rush Limbaugh as I drove around doing my delivery job, I got in large scale arguments with a Liberal Fascist when I visited my friends at college, and I voted for Bush...both times.

But, since moving to Dallas, getting married, maintaining a corporate job, and buying a house I guess a few things have changed in my views. Therefore, when this came up I decided that even though I still lean to the Right on fiscal issues, my social awareness won out and I decided to join the...dun dun dun...Democratic Party.

I went to the National Democratic Party website and tried to actually join but they didn't have membership cards. Darn it, I wanted one of those... Anyway, I did the next best thing and gave a donation AND I put my real address. That means they will be calling, writing, and hell, maybe even sending someone to my house to get me more involved. I only gave $25 so I doubt they will make as much of an effort on me as they would had I given them more so hopefully I am safe.

I also joined the Barack Obama mailing list so I get up to the minute updates on what MY President is up to.


I am sure that between my Grandmother rolling over in her grave and Erin's neck going out from shaking her head in disappointment, some will be surprised by my decision. I guess the last 8 years were more influential that I realized.

That is all,

Newt

Saturday, July 04, 2009

TBWCYL Day 184 - Lucky my Ass!!!

So The Book said that today my lucky number was 12 and I should use that. I had to work on Friday so I went in and left about 3. We were going to a pool party and Diana and I decided to stop in at a gas station and buy some beer. I saw the Pick 3 Lottery Tickets and decided to test if 12 really was my lucky number.

For those not familiar with the Pick 3 Lottery ticket, you choose any 3 single digit numbers and can choose whether you want them to be in exact or any order. I chose any but all of my lotto numbers summed up to 12. Also, they have an additional feature called Sum It Up which takes the sum of the three numbers even if you combination doesn't work, if the three winning numbers adds up to your sum, than you can still win. I went for this too and had a total of 4 different Sum It Up totals that were all 12.

So, $8 and a 12 pack of Dos Equis and we were off. The party started at 3 and we got there a little late. Here are the results.

I drank a 12 pack of beer, or 9 bottles and at least 3 cups. While playing pool volleyball, the ball went out and I jumped out to get it. In doing so, I slipped on the grass and twisted my ankle. That 12 wasn't very pleasant.

I checked my lottery numbers this morning and none of my numbers hit. The Sum It Up was 13.
The number 12 sucks.

On a positive note, I have now officially crossed the halfway point on The Book. Only 181 more days to go. Whoohoo!!!

That is all,

Newt

Thursday, July 02, 2009

TBWCYL Day 183 - Say What?

Today I was supposed to write down the conversations I had with people to find out how interesting my daily conversations were. Here are the highlights.
---
Janet: "What is with you guys? All of your shirts are untucked"(Speaking to the company President and another coworker)
Newt: "I know. They're a bunch of slackers."
President: looking over at me "Yeah, your polo, jeans and Vans are very professional."
Newt: "Whatever Sketchers. That's right. I said it. What?"
---
Bruce(Sales guy): "Was that our envelope lady?"
Newt: "Yeah."
Bruce: "She's wearing pants today. Yesterday she was in a skirt so short I thought she was going ask me for a comb to get her hairs."
Newt: "Ha"
Bruce: "I'm not kidding. She came of those stairs and...umm!"
---
Bruce: "I'm gone"
President: "OK" Stairs silently
Bruce: "I have to go mow my lawn. I don't have peeps. I do it myself."
Newt: "That's how he rolls"
President: High pitched laughter "That's how he rolls...ha"

---
Javier: "I have never really have a lot of black friends."
Newt: "Me either. I guess I have only really had one black friend in High School. He was more of an acquaintance though."
Javier: "I met this cool black dude the last time I was in Houston. We even talked about the word."
Newt: "Wow. Really."
Javier: "Yep. We were at a bar and he saw a black guy at the bar who was drunk and he said, "That right there is why we get called that."
Newt: "Huh. Where did you meet this guy?"
Javier: "The last time I was in Houston. I met him at the pool"
---
Diana: "I don't know what I did differently this time but this rice tastes bland."
Newt: "It looks like there is too much rice."
Diana: "Well, I added more rice because I always want more rice when I make this."
Newt: "That is the problem. You put too much rice in and it absorbed all of the flavor."
Diana: "I guess I should have added more cream of mushroom soup."
---
After Dinner
Diana: "Oh. I need to go to the mall."
Newt: "Why?"
Diana: "I am out of face makeup."
Newt: Inside Newt's head."I bet she wants a Blizzard"
Diana: "You know what I'm thinking? We could get a Blizzard."
Newt: "I knew you were going to say that the second you said "The Mall""
Diana: "Well, I was actually thinking of a Blizzard and then it made me remember I needed to go to the mall."
---
As we walked up to the mall to see a movie last night.
Diana: "What movie do you want to see?"
Newt: "Well, Public Enemies is out. Oh, My Sister's Keeper is out too."
Diana: "Yeah, it came out on Friday."
Newt: "I want to see that."
Diana: "I have to read the book first. And that is a renter."
Newt: "What? Well, Public Enemies is just as much of a renter as that."
Diana: "But it is a gangster movie."
---
Newt: "Diana, scratch my back. This sunburn is almost gone and it is starting to itch like crazy."
Diana: "No, that's not my job."
Newt: "But it itches. Please."
Diana: "No"
----
Newt: "I am starting to worry about being gone on vacation while all this stuff is happening at work."
Diana: "Just don't think about it."
Newt: "I can't help it."
Diana: "Well, just don't think about it. You should take your mind off of it."
Newt: "I can't make myself stop thinking about it. If I say to myself, "Don't think about work" I am immediately thinking about work."
Diana: "I can give you something else to think about."
Newt: obliviously "But I can't just turn off thinking about it."
Diana: "I will remember that the next time I come home from work and you tell me to stop worrying about work."
Needless to say, I didn't act on what Diana was going to give me to think about.

So I would say that, No, I don't have all that many interesting conversations.

That is all,

Newt

TBWCYL Day 182 - Kids say the darndest things

Yesterday I was allowed to get in touch with my childish side by reverting to my childish self as my task. Sounds easy enough. Here are a few things I did to accomplish this.

First off, yesterday was comic book day, which is about as child like as I get but on a scheduled weekly basis. I was forced to watch our front desk at work and when I do this, if I have comics, I just read them up front. Well, I had just finished the new Deadpool book and I picked up the bag they were in and was flipping through the contents when a coworker came around the corner. She started laughing at me and when I asked why she said, "It is just that your face lights up when you look at your comics". I can only assume I look like a kid who just got to buy a new toy.

I had an Ice Cream Float. I haven't had one of those in a long time but I really enjoyed them as a kid. This one was made with Vanilla Ice Cream and a Chocolate Stout beer but it still had the same effect.

I tried to channel my inner brat after ordering my float when the waitress, or "Beer Goddess" as she was quick to point out, forgot to put in my order. I looked at Diana and said in the whiniest voice possible, "I want my ice cweam, I want it!"

I pulled my pants down to pee. You know when you were little and didn't understand that when at a urinal, it was not necessary to pull your pants down? Well, I was at the Flying Saucer last night and while at the urinal instead of just unzipping my fly to pee, I pulled my shorts down past my butt cheeks in the men's room. Also, while at home I just dropped my boxers to the floor when I went before bed.

Admittedly, I am a big kid who holds a day job so acting like a child isn't to big a stretch for me. I sometimes found this a bit difficult to do only because it was equivalent to adding fire to an inferno.

That is all,

Newt