Well, look who decided to actually write another daggum post! It’s only been like a month or something since my second one. About friggin’ time! You’ll notice I’ve made some renovations around here. I just wasn’t really digging the old layout too much. I’ve spent the last couple of days getting caught up on everyone’s blogs and decided to kick this one off with the meme that was going round a while back. I know it’s kind of out of date now, but…well…what you gonna do? Nothing, really. So, without further adoo-dee-doo…here’s the rules. Just about everybody and their second cousin’s done this already, so you know the gig, but here they are anyway:
1) Link back to the person who tagged you. 2) Post the rules on your blog. 3) Write six things about yourself. 4) Tag six people at the end of your post by posting links to their blog sites. 5) Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their site. 6) And let your tagger know when your entry is up.
And they’re off…
1) I can solve a Rubik’s Cube like nobody’s beeswax. Last year I was working at a toy company that specialized in pencils and stickers that had pictures of popular licensed characters and crap on them. We mostly dealt in wholesale to doctor’s offices and everything. You know, you take your kid to the dentist and as a consolation prize for little Susie getting new headgear, she also gets to leave with a plastic baggie full of Power Rangers pencils and vending machine crap. A good chunk of our business was with French speaking Canadians (Hey, JoshC!) and I was one of only 2 French speaking reps, so my day was spent mostly on the phone selling large wholesale quantities of scratch-n-sniff Dora the Explorer stickers to Canadian dentists in French (btw, Dora doesn’t actually smell like Tequila and corn, like you thought). Aaaanyways, we also sold loads of knock-off versions of popular toys that had our own logo plastered all over them just enough to not get hit with a lawsuit. They gave us little promo freebies from time to time and one of the things they gave us was a knock-off Rubik’s Cube. It’s pretty much exactly like the real thing except the overall size is slightly smaller. Actually, I prefer the size of the one we sold because it fits a little better into my bony, little Hobbit-hands. The only other difference was on the center of each square was a small sticker with our company logo–a yellow smiley face. Also, on one entire side, if all the squares line up perfectly, they form one giant picture of a yellow smiley face. This made this particular cube more complicated than your average Rubik’s cause not only did all the squares on that side have to obviously match in color (oh, sorry JoshC and Guise, “colour”), but they also had to line up just so, so that the face wasn’t all scrambled up.
Well, I became OBSESSED with this thing. I’ve always wanted to know how to solve one, and this thing drove me up the wall. In between sales calls I was at my desk constantly fiddling with it. I finally hit up the internets and found a couple of tutorial videos that taught you how to solve the sumbitch. If I could figure this out, I was sure I was on my way to solving all the other of life’s mysteries, like what happened to Keri Green’s career (look it up) and why women have to go to the bathroom in herds–seriously, what’s up with that? Well, after taking 2 full pages of notes–front and back–and 2 months later of constant practice, I mastered it. It turns out there are several widely accepted methods, and they all involve memorizing some fairly complicated mathmatical algorithms. The method I learned involves 6 different algorithms and a LOT of practice. Like I said, it took 2 months of practicing over and over and a lot of memorization, but I finally got it down to where I didn’t have to look at the notes anymore. Now, no matter how scrambled up any standard Rubik’s Cube is, I can solve it in about 3 minutes or less. I think my best time clocked in at around a shade over 2 minutes. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw, and depending on how your random configuration of colors start out, you may be able to skip a step or two towards the end if you’re lucky. Usually you have to use all the algorithims though, and then it’s just a matter of how fast your fingers can move. There are several other methods and at least one of them involves a reeeeealllly long algorithm that’s way more complicated than anything I want to fool with. That’s for fools that want to learn how to solve the thing behind their backs in like 30 seconds or something. I’m just happy to have solved the dang thing. I’m not looking to break any world records or anything. I really wanted to include a You Tube video of myself actually doing it so I could back up all my lofty claims, but I can’t get my stupid webcam to work so you guys will just have to take my word for it. Once I get my cam up and working after I move I might post something up just to prove I’m not pulling your legs, but for now it’s just all scout’s honor. Hey, my driver’s license might be ripe with BS, but I don’t lie about The Cube.
Oh yeah, as an afterthought, I figured I would give you guys a picture of exactly the cube I was talking about. You may be able to see from the pic that it’s kind of dirty and the stickers are peeling off it. I’ve been playing with this thing, messing it up and solving it over and over again every day since like October, so it’s a little worse for wear. I’m going to eventually get myself a brand spanking new proper cube. That is unless somone wants to send me one for freesies for my birthday. It’s not till November, but why let that stop you? I’ll give you a shout out on my radio show or something groovy like that. I’m such a whore. Oh, and notice the ever present packs of sweet and sour sauce and ketchup from McDonalds in the background of the picture. I gotta stop taking pictures on that one corner of my desk.
2) I was in Pockets Magazine! So, have you guys heard of Highlights Magazine? It was really popular when we were kids and was kind of a church themed deal that had stories and articles for kids and everything. Well, the poor man’s version of that was Pockets.
When I was just a l’il d, my grandmother, who I referred to as Me-ma, bought me a subscription to Pockets. She was a little powerhouse of a woman who never had a mean thing to say about anybody, and even though my grandfather was a grizzled, sarcastic former P.O.W. in WW2 and a good foot taller than her, she could put him in his place with just a glance. She was the sweetest, most God fearing woman you’d ever meet and the closest thing to a curse word you’d ever hear her utter was, “Blast it!”, but when she busted out with that, you better run for the hills, Jack, cause you had some trouble coming your way. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her, and my grandfather, and hope that I can live up to the example she sets, all the while knowing that most of the time I probably fail miserably.
But, that’s not why you called. Pockets had this deal where you could submit a picture of yourself (well, chances are your parents, or in my case grandparents, did) with a one or two sentence description of your hobbies and things and out of everyone who submitted, 10 lucky idiots would end up getting featured in the monthly “Pocketsful of Friends” page.
Well, in the August, 1986 edition of Pockets, guess who went off and got himself famous! First, before the big unveiling, take a close look at the cover picture above. If you look closely, you can see where my grandma wrote, “KEEP!!” at the top, and to the right, “See David’s picture and write-up on page 13.”
Let’s see the famous page…
As you can see, I’m taking center stage there. I’ve always wondered what happened to the other kids on the page. I’ve always had this fun fantasy of trying to track them down and having a little Pockets Reunion. I think we all shared something special in August of 1986. Maybe I should do that and make a documentary about it. Strangly, that actually sounds like a cool idea. Some of those girls are kind of cute too. They might have turned out alright. I swear I don’t mean that in a pervy way.
Um, let’s just move on…Hey, there he is!
Ok, so here’s the thing. Of course you can see my little description there. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see that my grandparents chose that particular sentence to sum me up. I mean, imagine being 8, and your grandparents decide they want to present you to the world by annoucing that “so-and-so likes cheese and playing doctor” or some such embarrasment. Luckily, my grandparents rocked, so they were on top of things. Things haven’t changed much, I guess. I don’t color that much anymore, but I do fancy myself quite the artist (more on that later) and still like riding bikes, although both the ones I had in college got stolen.
My original idea for these pics was to incorporate them into my first ever blog. I had this great idea where right after this pic, I was going to show you that I still like to color and ride my bike. I would have followed that up with one of my recent pieces (mostly likely in black and white still, but you get the point), then I would have followed that up with a video that my cousin took with my phone of me riding my little cousin’s big wheel. Keep in mind, this was taken like last year, so it’s really hilarious cause I take off down the driveway, knees sticking out all over the place, arms waving, yelling like an idiot, and crashing into the street. But, as I mentioned I think in my first post, I wasn’t able to upload the video cause the phone just wouldn’t let me–something about the file size being too big or some jazz. So, I had to abandon that altogether. But, luckily all this meme nonsense is floating around and I’m happy about the way I was able to work it all in.
I just realized I’ve gone off and given you my real name. Well, now you know the man behind the mic. I guess I gotta make sacrifices for the sake of good blogging. Just keep this between you and me. “I AM THE GREAT AND MIGHTY DJ D!!!”
One more thing I wanted to mention. I didn’t scan it in, but there’s a poem on the inside cover of this particular issue of Pockets. It’s called “Strawberry Prayer” and it’s by someone named Carol Bowers Tolson. I have no idea if Tolson is actually famous or if she’s off somewhere as a staffer for some other second rate religious kids magazine, but given the trippy nature of what’s to follow, I have a feeling strawberries weren’t the only thing she was consuming when she wrote this. I swear to you, this is the poem, word for word, exactly as it appears:
Did you giggle when you made
Tiny rough goosebumps on fuzzy red
jackets, ruffly green caps perched on top?
Who could guess this morsel is just waiting
to tickle tastebuds,
ooze juices down thirsty throats?
It really does tickle, Lord.
Are you giggling?
3) I fancy myself a bit of an artist. Actually, I’m basically a wannabe illustrator, like so many other people I know. If I was smart I would have just gone for the illustration degree like my parents wanted and I’d probably be a working pro by now. But, I’m sticking to my “practical” Plan A and using my video editing degree to work as an actual real-life digital video editor, so at least the degree’s getting some good use. Lucikly it gives me time to still get loads of artistic practice and I do get paid to do pencil portraits and things. What follows is just a crappy little sketch I did a while back and isn’t a real respresentation of what I can do, but I really wanted to hurry up and hammer out this post and I couldn’t be bothered to put in the time it would require to coming up with something decent. Also, all my best portraits that I’ve done lately belong to the people that I drew them for anyway. Oh, and instead of scanning this, I just took the pic with my phone, so there’s that. Man, I wish my grandparents were here to handle this. They’re apparently so much better at handling my own PR than I am. I’m going to be putting up some better stuff at Deviant Art. Thanks for the inspiration for that, Dio. I still owe Guise a couple of pieces I was talking about a while back too. Until then, here’s this thing:
4) My favorite actor is Michael Keaton. I don’t mean that I like a few of his movies. I mean, he literally is my favorite actor of all time. I guess it all started when I saw Batman in ’89, which to this day is still my favorite movie ever and I can quote like every line of it. I’m not going to go into it too much here cause I’ll have more posts that get into it later, but I’m a huge Batman nerd. I guess the movie just cemented it for me. But, it wasn’t just that. I thought he was genius in Beetlejuice and as I got older it wasn’t that I just wanted to see the guy that played Batman in another movie, I really started to appreciate his intensity and range as an actor. His range goes from being hilarious in The Dream Team to completely frightening in Pacific Heights. Basically, my goal is to track down and in some way own all of his movies, whether it be owning the DVD, or just renting it and dubbing it onto VHS or something. I’ve even been told I look like him a little, but I don’t think so. I’d kill for those eyebrows though. I’ve always thought I was more of a cross between Christian Slater and Patrick Swayze, and even had an ex that swore I looked like Matthew McConaughey. But who cares…we’re talking about Keaton here! I thought about taking the easy way out and providing a typical Bat-pic, but I kind of liked this one. Besides, there’ll be plenty more Batman crap showing up around here later on.
5) Well, if my love for bats wasn’t evident enough, believe it or not, I had a pet bat! It didn’t last very long, but it was fun. While I was living in a dorm, I had a good friend who lived in the same dorm on a different floor and while we were outside once we found a little bat hanging from this cement thing in broad daylight. He seemed kind of stuck so I picked him up and put him in a shoebox. He had a wonky little wing that didn’t seem to be working right, so we kind of nursed him back to health. I used an eye dropper to feed him juice, and also gave him some chopped up pieces of pepperoni. The coolest thing was whenever I opened up the box he was hanging upside down in there! Well, after a week or so his wonky wing seemed to be working better and he was flying around my room. Stupidlly, I even let him crawl up my arm and sit on my shoulder from time to time. How I didn’t end up with all kinds of rabies is beyond me.
Well, one night my friend and I decided to go out and get some dinner and we left him with her idiot roommate to bat-sit. This is where the story takes a bad turn. Prepare yourself. We got back and I have no idea what happened, and the roommate wasn’t talking, but she had had some friends over and SOMETHING happened to my bat because his other wing, not the wonky one, but the previously perfectly healthy one was now injured. In fact, his little bone was popping out of his arm! I WAS SO PISSED! Well, I knew there really wasn’t anything I could do for him myself. Juice and pepperoni wasn’t going to fix this one, so I called around and the only place that would even look at him was the zoo, so I took him there. They have a pretty cool bat exhibit and they said they would do surgery on his wing and put him in the exhibit with the other bats–but they couldn’t let me take him back because of safety reasons. Part of me knows that there was a possibility they were just telling me that and they were going to promptly feed him to an alligator or something, but I like to think that he’s still flying around with all the other bats now, happy as can be. Yeah, I’ll just leave it on that note.
6) Well from one injury to another. This time it was mine. I was in a wreck when I was a kid. I’ll try to make the story short. It was a church group and we were driving in the mountains of Transylvania, NC on a camping trip. We took my cousin’s van. He was driving and his brother was in the passenger seat. The rest of us were sitting on the floor in the back. This was back in the day when vans didn’t have seats in the back and you just had to sit on the hard floor. So, we were back there with all the equipment. There were 13 of us total. Well, we were up in the mountains and to the the right of us was a steep embankment. It had rained the night before and there was no railing and there was mud everywhere. Well, at one point, my cousin slammed on the breaks and we stopped. The van then leaned steeply to the right and there was this split second where everyone froze and it was kind of the “Oh shit” moment. Then we rolled. The van flipped over 3 times and we landed in a creek. The windows were busted out of course, so the creek was flowing through the van, luckily only ankle deep. The flipping part is kind of a blur to me. I just remember this collection of images of banging against the sides, hearing screams, and seeing a friend of mine flying over me. When we landed, everyone was screaming and I stood up and looked around. My cousin was pacing back and forth grabbing his heart. He and everyone else thought for sure he was going to have a heart attack. He didn’t. What did happen though was although I felt nothing, another, younger cousin of mine walked up to me, pointed at my leg, and all the color dropped out of his face. I looked down and there was an enormous gash on the side of my leg right at my knee. Meat was hanging down everywhere and blood was pouring down my leg. I could even see my knee joint working back and forth and everything. Well, luckily, although there was only one big sliding door that we used to get in and out of the thing and it was only on one side of the van, it happend to land door side up, so we climed out of what was now the top of the van. We then had to climb up the embankment that we had just rolled down to get back to the road. I was carried up there by several people. Oh, I should mention I was only 12 when this happened. This was before the days of cell phones and everything so we just had to wait till someone drove by and flagged them down and used their first aid kits. I guess this is as good of a time as any to tell you that mine was the worst injury of the bunch. All we could figure is that with so many people crammed into such a small space, we all just sort of bounced off each other. We never figured out what it was that cut my leg, but think it might have been the shattered glass from the lanterns. Whatever it was, I never felt a thing when it happened. Long story short, we made our way to the hospital and I was all sewn up. I had one huge gash next to my knee and was told that if had gone much further I would have come very close to losing my leg. There was another smaller cut next to it. I ended up with 11 stitches in the big cut and 5 stitches in the smaller one, not to mention a couple of gnarly scars and a cool story to tell.
When we talk about it now we actually just look back on it and laugh, obviously because aside from my injury, we all came out alright. I hobbled around on a crutch for a while while it healed up, but was otherwise just fine. About a year later we took another van up to some nearby mountains and everything went cool. We were all a little nervous on the ride up, but before long we were making a campfire and trying to outscare each other. I still joke with my cousin that he’s been trying to kill me for 18 years now and he hasn’t got me yet.