Category Archives: Jen

Regression

I haven’t been as active blogging lately. There are several reasons for this absence.

  1. I have been spending most of my free time organizing the basement.  When I completed this project I moved on to the upstairs.  I am on the verge of being quite downsized.  Hopefully this project will be completed next Wednesday.  Or at least, I hope that the only room that I will have left to organize and downsize will be the office after next Wednesday.  There is always a fair chance that I will just give up on the office and declare it a permanent disaster area.  We’ll see how the other two rooms go.
  2. When I haven’t been organizing, eliminating and donating I have been moving furniture around. True this doesn’t take much physical time, but it is emotionally draining.
  3. I have been working on a personal facial hair project.  For one 36 hour period, I wasn’t intelligent enough to put a noun against a verb in a meaningful way.
  4. The last couple of Friday Night Supper Clubs have been emotionally draining.  The night we viewed Free Walking at Jay’s apartment was a visceral experience.  What a great movie!  Then the Jucy Lucy replication Friday Night Supper Club was an overt failure that ended with My Great Shame.  It took me several days to recover from that shame.  At least Dawn got to become an auxiliary member of FNSC.  She allegedly doesn’t even mind that it is a “Boys Club”.  I will believe her when she makes a return appearance. Plus Trivia Night.  Well, I can’t even begin to discuss how emotionally draining Trivia Night ended up being.  Plus Trivia Night fell in that 36 hour period where I was a moron. However, Team Stache (Geri D., Willy, Jay, Jesse, Shannon, Papa Smurf and his wife) was an undeniable powerhouse.  I only wish I had pictures to share so that you could relive the experience.
  5. The cleaning crew (Jill) for my Oscars Watch had to work at her “real job” and got stuck in Minnesota.  Therefore I had to do my own cleaning.  The bed maker (Sara) also got stuck working her “real job” so I had to make my own bed.  I tried to get that out with a straight face.  Sara had to work, so I just shut my bedroom door and pretended that the room was how it was supposed to be.  My kitchen crew (Jen and Derrick, well mostly Derrick) came through with flying colors though.  Still, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I should add that my neighbor joined the Watch and listening to his plan to get his life back together by finding a girlfriend so that he can have some self-esteem.  Well, that was psychologically draining.
  6. Perhaps the most important reason why I haven’t taken keyboard in hand and banged out some words is because during the move from one blogging entity to a different blogging entity, I decided to completely recategorize my blog. I started this process with well over 770 journal entries to review. Through this process I eliminated several journal entries.  Things that I didn’t need any longer. Like videos that no longer existed or calls to donate to a “charity” that would lie and claim that your donation was tax deductible.  I even broke down categories by people and I left the number of blog entries by the category.  A quick glance down the left side of this blog will tell you who I seem to write about the most.  Are you surprised that Jay is number 1?

A surprising side effect of my reading is that I think I might have regressed as a writer.  I fear that I might have peaked and it is all downhill from here on out.  Some of my writings in the not so distant past were clever, witty and dare I say it – brilliant.  I fear if I was ever going to write a play for ACTORS that was going to revolutionize costumed (believe me I have tried – Geri D. will not let me put an all-nude play on her stage) drama in a meaningful way, I have missed my chance.  Rather than eloquently crafting phrases, I now rely on cheap tricks (like my over reliance on parenthetical statements that makes me want to punch myself in the face almost as surely as if I had moustache) and broad allusions.  I have surely descended into hack-hood.  See, that isn’t even a real word.  It isn’t like the old days when I used to invent words that are sure to be the next surefire hits in our lexicon.  I can’t come up with a word so I throw out a dash and postfix and then I merrily go on my way.

It didn’t used to be like this.  (I just don’t mean that I used to not end sentences with prepositions.)  I used to be growing as a writer.  For example, when I was in the 4th Grade I wrote the worst creative writing stories ever!! They were based loosely on a pet rabbit that most likely died due to my neglect.  Only I stole some ideas from a few cartoons and movies that I enjoyed and out of my pencil and on to some poor dead tree came writing that was so dizzingly bad that it makes me want to vomit when I read just a few short passages:

When Fluffy found him he took him to Leo the Lion. Leo took care of him. Pucky told Leo his life story. Then he told Fluffy what Jack, Jill and Joan said. Fluffy said “I better get going” then he left. He hid in Raspberry Forest and said “By the power of Carrot Castle! I HAVE THE POWER!” Then he said, “Up, up and away and he flew off to find Joan, Jack and Jill. When he found them he landed and said, “Pucky sent me.” Superfluff said.  “Let’s get that wimpy rabbit!” Superfluff picked them up and twirled them until they gave up and promised to stop picking on Pucky. Then he went after Swampfrog. When he was fighting Swampfrog he said a few words he shouldn’t of. When he returned he taught Pucky karate. When he stepped into the pond, Jack, Jill, Joan and Swampfrog were waiting for him but Pucky beat them up in 15 fish winks. Now everybody calls him The Karate Duck.

Fortunately I can still say that I’m a better writer than I was when I put that horrible drivel to paper. But I did slightly improve by high school:

Eric reached deep into his soul, past the candy wrappers and half-eaten bagels, to the insult department. Through the corridor with doors marked with signs that read “whites”, “blondes”, “Scott Kendall” and “dogs”.  He opened the door that read: “The Mother of All Insults”.

The glowing light almost blinded him. The brilliant shiny box in the room was his destination. He opened the box and was greeted with a cloud of rolling smoke. He reached into the box and grabbed a piece of paper. Eric read the paper and he knew he had his death blow!

Back in reality Eric stared at the landing party and said… and I quote… “Huh, freaks of nature!”

He was puzzled when this didn’t break their morale. They were laughing at him. This was the Mother-of-All-Insults and they were laughing at HIM!

Chris looked at Eric and broke into another 5 minutes of laughter. Chris controlled himself and said, “You sir are our inferior. You call us freaks in an attempt to manipulate reality. We have evolved into a place of superiority over you!”

“Liar! I’m not listening to you!” Eric screamed.

“Scott. Who-o-o-o-o-o is this m-m-m-an?” Captain Punjab whimpered.

As you can tell, I have clearly progressed from the terrible wretch that wrote those words. I just hope that I am not regressing to that level again!

Personal Photo Project of the Week No. 7


Shattered Dreams
Shattered Dreams

My mom came over to my house a couple of days after I made this image and was horrified to find broken mirror all over my dining room table. She asked how the mirror got broken.

“I hit it with a hammer. Well actually Jay hit it with a hammer and then I hit it with a hammer some more.”

This made her even more horrified. She pointed out that breaking a mirror was bad luck. I was horrified to be related to somebody that was this superstitious.

Willy chose the name Shattered Dreams. He likes naming his portraits. He also named Grizzly McAlpine:


Grizzly McAlpine - Framed

Shattered Dreams was taken during a FNSC at my house after we feasted at La Carreta and knocked down Tab Cola.


Friday Night Supper Club
Willy showing he lacks the courage of his convictions.

Friday Night Supper Club
Willy texting like a teenage girl.

Of course this was probably one of the nights where my furnace was on the fritz, so Jay cuddled up in my Snuggie and donned a mullet wig to keep warm.


Friday Night Supper Club

Friday Night Supper Club

It might just be me, but I think this look isn’t half bad for Mr. Janson. I’m so glad Jen gave me this wig, but I think I might just have to pay it forward.

A Phenomenal Week

Those with good memories will remember a few months back when I wrote a series of blogs about groups that I am in that have matching shirts. The keenly observant will recall that I said there were 5 such groups, but I only posted blogs about 4 such groups.

I was waiting until the final group had earned our way into being “blog-worthy”. That group made that leap from anonymity to greatness on Sunday night. That was just the conclusion of what was a phenomenal week.

The week started out to be not particularly great. On Monday morning I was nursing a nagging foot injury in my right heel from Sunday night’s brutal basketball doubleheader.

Then several great things happened. In no particular order (chronologically or in magnitude of greatness):

  • Bowling was cancelled so I got to nurse my foot injury, watch Hoarders and start on my basement sorting project.
  • Visit the Baiers and Andree.
  • Have lunch with Shannon at Dublin Bay.
  • Talk to Jill on the phone, twice.
  • Have three nights to work on my basement sorting project that allowed me to make major head way. Including creating lots of garbage, finding many an old artifact worth treasuring and creating a burn pile.
  • Have supper with Nader and seeing Extraordinary Measures. An extraordinarily average movie.
  • Made it to the gym twice, both times with the new fitness king Jesse Howard.
  • Ate my favorite meal in the world, sauerkraut casserole.
  • Visited Derrick and Dennis at work, where I got to listen to Derrick talk about guitars (one of my favorite things in the world to do) and where Dennis gave me a great description of what happened in the Personal Photo Project of the Week that I will publish on Friday.
  • Ushered at church. This was a bonus because I love the extra legroom I get when I usher, plus I spent time before church discussing my backup religion (ISU athletics) with Angie’s grandpa. It isn’t rare when my two religions merge, but usually it is the other way around. I’m at an Iowa State football game saying a prayer like this: “God, I know that you don’t interfere in the outcome of sporting events, but please let us make this PAT. I know that you are a Cyclone fan and isn’t there a limit to how much you will allow your people to suffer?”
  • Had lunch at Pizza Pit with Frank, Clarence and Derrick. Knocked down a substantial amount of drummies!
  • Talked Willy into posing for my Personal Photo Project of this week. It involved breaking a mirror and that is always fun!
  • Had FNSC with Willy and Jay at La Carreta.
  • When I went to the flower shop to buy flowers for a subject for RWPE, they had exactly the type of flower I wanted.
  • Took Nader to see Iowa State erase a 14 point deficit to beat Colorado on a miraculous finish.
  • My RWPE project turned out very well and has a few different interesting variations.
  • Introduced Jay to some of his old art that I found in the basement during my sorting.
  • Got a company profit sharing bonus that was easily large enough to cover my recent furnace repair.
  • The raise I gave myself (by canceling AFLAC and changing insurance plans) was on Friday’s paycheck.
  • Got an email from Sara where she quoted her instructor on how to do a pap smear. I won’t repeat it here, but it was a hilarious description of where not put your thumb. I will share that her instructor likes to compare the vagina to a self-cleaning oven.
  • Found out that I get to provide Jen with a tool that will help her with her stained glass projects.
  • Saw a bald eagle.
  • Came up with a new idea for an entertainment center for my living room. My Grandpa Bennett’s old workbench. I know this idea is pure unadulterated genius because my mom hates this idea.
  • Found out that I was born special and learned some family history to boot.
  • Made a beard shaving pact with Tony and Corey. If we lost our Ames Rec League basketball game, we all agreed to shave out beards.
  • Got some ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, phenomenal news from Jill.

My week concluded with my Ames Rec League basketball game. Our team, The Little Dribblers, has struggled mightily season.I We hadn’t won a game yet this season. I had walked around the workplace guaranteeing victory, but Tony took my guarantee up a notch and suggested that we shave our beards if we lost on Sunday.

Based on how amazing my week had been, I was supremely confident that I wouldn’t be showing up for work on Monday as a dirty naked-face. I pledged myself to the pact.

My week kept getting better and better after the pact. When I walked into the gym on Sunday night I had no doubt in my mind that me and my Little Dribblers brethren would be walking back out of that gym 60 or so minutes later with our heads held high for the first time all season.

I should point out that when I say that we haven’t won a game this season, that doesn’t mean that we get close and lose it in the end. We have been on the wrong end of some fairly brutal blowouts. It is not an exaggeration to say that we have obviously become the girlfriend game for most of the foes in the league.

Maybe I should explain the concept of the girlfriend game to those that aren’t familiar with it.

The girlfriend game is the game where you force, bring or allow your girlfriend to attend. It is a game where you are fairly certain that you will win by a healthy margin. You will look impressive and it will reassure your girlfriend or wife that she made a wise choice in selecting you from the herd.

This is the way that men think. I’m pretty sure most women would rather be at home watching Gray’s Anatomy or whatever it is that women like to do on Sunday nights. Either way, it is not paranoia that forces me to make the observation that when teams play us, there are lots of lady friends in the other team’s cheering section that aren’t there when they are playing other teams.

For the record, only Donner has ever brought his lady to one of our games. She came to our first game and hasn’t returned since. Yes, the Little Dribblers have been sans female fans since our first game. It is a sad state of affairs, but it is understandable.

That isn’t to say that we are devoid of fans. Both Doug and Joe have brought their sons to our games. Thankfully they are both too young to lose respect for their fathers based on what has transpired on the court before their innocent eyes.

Based on how awesome my week had been, I warmed up with extreme amounts of confidence. The only thing that gave me cause for pause was the fact that Tony did not show up. Why had Tony suggested a beard growing pact and then failed to even show up? Did he know something that I did not?

We still had plenty of firepower. Firepower we didn’t have the first time we locked horns with our opponents. A game where we fell in OT after running out of steam because we only had 6 players.

This time we had 9 guys. 9 guys with a wide range of talents.

The game started out with the Little Dribblers jumping on our opponent. We opened up a quick 7-0 lead. But our opponent didn’t show any quit. They rattled off 9 straight points to grab the lead, but an old-fashioned 3 point play by Donner put us up for good.

The game turned into a defensive struggle with neither team able to score much against the other team’s tough defense. The Little Dribblers settled into halftime with a 19-16 lead. Not a comfortable lead, but we were clearly in control of the game and it was our first halftime lead of the season.

During halftime I collected my thoughts and sent out a score update text.

The third quarter was all about defense for the Little Dribblers. Our tough 2-3 zone suffocated the paint and our quick guards closed out quickly on their outside shooters to prevent any open looks.

We held our opponent without a single point for the entire third quarter. We were forcing our will on them, but there didn’t seem to be any quit in them. It wasn’t until the final few seconds of the third quarter when you could finally feel the air come out of the gym.

Memory is a funny thing and I can’t swear to every detail that I’m about to describe, but it is not the exactness of the details that is of the most importance. It is the general idea of what happened that is of consequence.

With about 7 seconds left we missed a layup. Our opponent rebounded the ball and headed up court. A little in front of the three point line, Chad knocked the ball free from the man he was guarding. The ball bounced to another one of our opponents, but Corey was there playing in the jersey of his man. Corey knocked the ball free and start dribbling towards our basket. I saw that there wasn’t much time left on the clock so I sprinted towards our basket and called out for the ball. Corey, with his legendary court awareness, spotted me out of the corner of his eye and burned a pass through 2 (maybe 3) defenders. Despite the smoking velocity I caught the ball and took a dribble and went up for a layup on my weak side. The ball left my hands and banked off the backboard and through the hoop. As my feet (still nursing an injured foot) landed on the court the buzzer sounded signifying the end of the third quarter. The Little Dribblers bench jumped up and celebrated in pandemonium. Our opponents lowered their heads and walked back to their bench. There was still 10 minutes left to play, but that play effectively ended the game. We had crushed their spirits.

The last quarter played out. The buzzer sounded (after a strange player where one of their players came completely across the court to foul me, while I was just dribbling out the clock after securing the final defensive rebound of the game) and the scoreboard shouted, “Little Dribblers 43 Other Team 23”. End of losing streak. End of frustration. End of being the girlfriend game, well maybe not the last one.

We sat on the sidelines and soaked in the feel of victory for awhile. I grabbed my phone and fired off a few texts to interested parties. Perhaps they weren’t all that interested, but they got a text message any way.

It didn’t take long for the accolades to come streaming in:

“WOW!!! U guys creamed them! CONGRATS 2 U, UR TEAM, AND UR GOATEE!!!”

-Jill Gorshe

“You really ‘dominated’ them!”

-William McAlpine

“Awesome! As it happens peggy didn’t end up getting the tickets.”

Shannon Bardole

“Congrats!”

-Jen Gorshe

Jay said something cool as well, but I accidentally deleted his text message. Sorry Jay.

Jesse asked very kindly if he could touch a Little Dribbler jersey so he could know what it feels like to touch a winner. I obliged him in this request.

Now that the Little Dribblers are winners, until we take the court again on St. Valentine’s Night, I can post a picture of the Little Dribblers jersey.


Little Dribblers

I’m sorry, the jerseys are not for sale to the general public.

Number 750

This is entry number 750 in this online journal. I’d like to take a little bit of time to archive some data. It is one of my peculiar imbecilities that I love meaningless statistics. Therefore, consider these statistics:

Every journal entry falls into at least one of sixteen categories. This is how many journal entries have fit into each one of these categories:

  1. Photography – 295
  2. Friends – 269
  3. Life – 238
  4. Family – 98
  5. Religion – 63
  6. ISU Football – 41
  7. Jaycees – 40
  8. Movies – 39
  9. Blogging 33
  10. Sports – 25
  11. Work – 25
  12. House – 24
  13. Writing – 23
  14. Comedy – 20
  15. Politics – 17
  16. History – 12

If you measure popularity by how many times a picture is viewed, these are the 10 (or so) most popular pictures in my Artistic Gallery.



#1. Outburst of the Soul (26 Views)


#2. Untitled (23 Views)


#3. Grizzly McAlpine (22 Views)


#3. Untitled (22 Views)


#5. Untitled (21 Views)


#5. Jen Smoking (21 Views)


#7. UnHingd Publicity Still (20 Views)


#8. 1900 (19 Views)


#8. Untitled – (19 Views)


#10. Campanile Self Portrait – (18 Views)


#10. US30 East of Ogden – (18 Views)

I know these numbers are somewhat controlled by the length of time a picture has been in the Artistic Gallery, but I am pleased by the number of black and white images that are high in popularity.

But it begs the question, what is the most popular subject in the Snapshot Gallery. What do people like to see from the “Daily Grind of My Existence”?



#1. Jesse and I with the World’s Largest Cheeto – (25 Views)


#2. Jesse with a Bob’s Dog – LeMars, Iowa (23 Views)


#3. Jesse and in backstage of the Surf Ball Room – (21 Views)


#4. Shannon reading a map on our first road trip to Backbone. (19 Views)


#4. Sumrall catching a pass against A&M. I think this picture is so popular because it was a popular picture to get spammed when I was having spamming problems with the galleries.


#6. Jesse at the Surf Ball Room – (18 Views)


#6. Jesse kissing the Blarney Stone – (18 Views)


#8. Jesse and I in Clinton on The Eastern Iowa Road Trip – (17 Views)


#8. Jen and Shannon making some kind of deal at Bonne Finken – (17 Views)


#8. Cousin Amy, Sara and Jen at Bonne Finken – (17 Views)


#8. Jesse and Jay on The Eastern Iowa Road Trip – (17 Views)


#8. Robert enjoying the view of the Mississippi River in Balltown – (17 Friends)


#8. Jesse videotaping Big Jesus – (17 Views)


#8. Jesse and I at the Sgt. Floyd Memorial – (17 Views)

I think what I have learned from this exercise is that people like to see Jesse and I having adventures. I think I’ll have to look into us having a few more adventures in 2010!

I will have to check back in on this when I hit journal entry number 1,000.

July



The Solace of Ordinary Humanity

Although this picture is named for the following quote from the enigmatic John Ruskin:

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”

But the story of this flower is actually more akin to the Tennessee Williams quote:

“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.”

This daisy grew in a most unlikely place in my yard. It grew in a little patch of dirt between my driveway and my back porch. It sprouted through the fence and away from the evergreen bush that dominates that little patch of ground. Its existence was unlikely, but nature finds a way.

This picture was also Jen’s birthday present.

Proust Questionnaire Number Twelve

Proust Quote:
“All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.”

Confessions Question:
Your main fault.

Confidences Question:
My main fault.

Proust’s Answer:
Not knowing, not being able to “want”.

Ye be warned, any that go much further. What lies below is discussion of the movie Gone Baby Gone. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t wish for the ending to be spoiled for ye, stop reading right now!

The offense that I’m about to admit to is not easy for somebody that is as extremely manly as I am to confess. I have come to realize in the last few months that my greatest fault is that I am too emotional.

I have been reassured that being this way is a “good thing”, but I am not without my doubts.

For example, on two separate occasions this year, I reacted to situations at a very visceral level. I don’t want to go into details about those situations, but one time it took the counsel of very good friends to prevent me from making what would have ultimately been a huge blunder. The second situation caused me to send a profane text message to my eldest sister. Perhaps the first time she has heard me utter such filth. I think you all know how I feel about base language and why I feel that way.

Even more than those situations, I think I can pinpoint my reaction to the movie Gone Baby Gone as when I realized how emotional some of my reactions have become.

Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 movie directed by Ben Affleck. I know that makes it sound awful, but it turns out that as bad as Affleck is as an actor, he is a pretty good director.

I am fairly dreadful at writing up a synopsis of books or movies, so I lifted a synopsis from the Internet Movie Database:

The tough private eye Patrick Kenzie was raised in a poor and dangerous neighborhood of Boston, and works with his partner and girlfriend Angie Gennaro generally tracking missing losers in debt. When the four year-old Amanda McCready is abducted from her apartment, her aunt Beatrice ‘Bea’ McCready calls the police and the press, and the case is highlighted with the spots by the media. Then Bea hires the reluctant Patrick to work in the case because he is not a cop and based on his great knowledge of their neighborhood. Meanwhile Capt. Jack Doyle, who lost his own daughter many years ago and is in charge of the investigation, assigns detectives Remy Bressant and Nick Pole to give the necessary support to Patrick. After interviewing the addicted low life mother of Amanda, Helene McCready, Patrick goes to a bar and discloses that Helene was on the streets with her boyfriend Skinny Ray Likanski dealing and using drugs on the day Amanda disappeared. Along his investigation, Patrick faces smalltime criminals, drug dealers, pedophiles and corruption, facing a moral issue to solve the case.

The first time I watched this movie I was outraged by the ending of the movie. I don’t mind a movie having a sad and/or depressing ending. Some of my favorite movies are Once, The Ox-Bow Incident, Paths of Glory

But at the end of this movie, one character that I had grown to love makes the wrong decision. A very wrong decision. In fact, the thought never even crossed my mind that he made the right decision. That was until I began discussing this movie with other people. I quickly found out that I am the only person that thinks that Patrick Kenzie makes the wrong decision at the end of the movie.

Well, almost the only person.

But as I reflected on the movie some more, I realized that Patrick actually makes 2 moral decisions. Then after discussing the movie extensively I came to realize that there is actually a third moral decision that other characters in the movie make that I never even considered whether or not they were right or if they were wrong. I instinctively knew what I thought was right, but as it turns out, I am also in the minority on this as well.

As it turns out, the only person to agree with me (that I have found) on these 3 moral dilemmas 100% is Jill. Everybody else seems to disagree with me 100%.

I am going to do some extensive quoting of the movie Gone Baby Gone and it does contain quite a bit of profanity. I apologize if this offends anybody’s delicate sensibilities, but that is the way it has to be.

Gone Baby Gone starts with this line of dialogue. I don’t know if it is particularly relevant to this discussion, but it sets the stage for Patrick’s personal code of morality.

Patrick Kenzie: I always believed it was the things you don’t choose that makes you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was something they’d accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those. I lived on this block my whole life; most of these people have. When your job is to find people who are missing, it helps to know where they started. I find the people who started in the crack and then fell through. This city can be hard. When I was young, I asked my priest how you could get to heaven and still protect yourself from all the evil in the world. He told me what God said to His children: “You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves.”

When Amanda McCready is kidnapped, her aunt and uncle hire Patrick and his girlfriend Angie to augment the investigation. Amanda’s mom Helene is a drug addict and a terrible parent. Imagine all of the Wal-Mart parents you have seen in your life. Now multiply that by 10.

Angie does not want to take the case:

Angie: We have a good life, right?

Patrick: Is that a trick question?

Angie: I don’t wanna find their little kid in a dumpster.

Patrick: Maybe she’s not in a dumpster, babe.

Angie: I don’t wanna find a little kid after they’ve been abused for three days.

Patrick: Hon, nobody does.

Patrick and Angie meet up with the police that are assigned to keep them in the loop and find out that the only lead the cops have is a pedophile that has dropped off the police radar.

Detective Remy Bressant: Corwin Earle. Serial molester, recently work-release. Went AWOL around the time Amanda disappeared.

Detective Poole: Known associates – Leon Trett and his handsome wife, Roberta. The Tretts were released six and eight months ago, respectively. They have drug habits. We don’t know where they are, but we think Corwin’s with them. Jailhouse snitch claims that Corwin confided in him and told him when he got out, he was gonna move in with his family. Apparently, the three of them have some kind of Addams Family deal going on.

Bressant: Corwin’s plan is to keep a kid in the house to have sex with.

Patrick: Well, that sounds promising.

Bressant: Not for Amanda, it doesn’t.

Through Patrick and Amanda’s investigation they learn that Helene wasn’t at her neighbor’s house on the night that Amanda was kidnapped. She was down at the Fillmore (think Wilson’s Tap if you are from Boone or Deano’s if you are from Ames) doing drugs. They also learn that Helene and her boyfriend robbed a local drug dealer named Cheese. With the blessing of Bressant and Poole, Patrick and Angie approach Cheese in an attempt to broker at trade: the stolen money for Amanda.

Cheese denies he has Amanda and turns down the offer.

Cheese: You got my money, you leave that shit in the mailbox on your ass way out, you feel me? Some mother fuckers let fool rob on them. I don’t play scrimmage. But I don’t fuck with no kids. And if that girl only hope is you, well, I pray for her, because she’s gone, baby. Gone.

Later Cheese calls in and brokers a deal with Bressant. But the deal is intercepted by Captain Jack Doyle. He does not want to go through with the deal, but feels obligated to, since to welch on the deal would put Amanda’s life in danger.

Jack Doyle: Do you have any children, Miss Gennaro?

Angie: No, sir.

Doyle: My only child was murdered. She was twelve. Did you hear about it? What you probably didn’t hear, and what I hope you never have to deal with, Miss Gennaro, is what that feels like. What I have to deal with. Knowing that my little girl likely died crying out for me to come and save her. And I never did. My little girl died afraid and alone in a shallow ditch bank by the side of the road, not ten minutes from my house. I know what it feels like to lose a child. Now damn it, you force my hand and then you question the way I handle it.

Bressant: No one’s questioning you, sir.

Doyle: I honor my child with this division. So that no parent has to go through what I’ve known. This child. That all I care about. I’m gonna bring her home.

The deal doesn’t go as planned. Amanda ends up falling to her death. Captain Doyle is forced to resign. Patrick and Angie are forced to live with the guilt of not being able to save Amanda.

Life starts to normalize when another kid goes missing. This time, nobody comes looking to hire Patrick and Amanda. But after a few days, Patrick is approached by his friend (a local drug dealer) who has found Corwin Earle.

Patrick contacts Bressant and Doyle. They approach the house where Corwin Earle is living. Shots come from the house and Doyle is killed. Patrick goes inside the house and finds the body of the kidnapped child. He was raped to death.

Patrick shoots Corwin Earle in the back of the head while he pleads for his life. Afterwards, Patrick is treated like a hero by Angie and Bressant.

Angie: They told me what happened. I’m proud of you. That man killed a child. He had no right to live.

Patrick: You’re proud of me?

Angie: Of course I am. You did what you had to do.

Later…

Patrick: They say how old the boy was?

Bressant: Seven.

Patrick: Second grade.

Bressant: Should be proud of yourself. Most guys would’ve stayed outside.

Patrick: I don’t know.

Bressant: What don’t you know?

Patrick: My priest says shame is God telling you what you did was wrong.

Bressant: Fuck him.

Patrick: Murder’s a sin.

Bressant: Depends on who you do it to.

Later…

Bressant: I planted evidence on a guy once, back in ’95. We were paying $100 an eight ball to snitches. We got a call from our pal Ray Likanski. He couldn’t find enough guys to rat out. Anyway, he tells us there’s a guy pumping up in an apartment up in Columbia Point. We go in, me and Nicky. Fifteen years ago., when Nicky went in, it was no joke. So it’s a… it’s a stash house, right? The old lady’s beat to shit, the husband’s mean, cracked out, trying to give us trouble, Nicky lays him down. We’re doing an inventory, but it looks like we messed up because there’s no dope in the house, and I go in the back room. Now, this place was a shithole, mind you? Rats, roaches, all over the place. But the kid’s room, in the back, was spotless. No, I mean, he swept it, mopped it; it was immaculate. The little boy’s sitting on the bed, holding onto his playstation for dear life. There’s no expression on his face, tears streaming down. He wants to tell me he just learned his multiplication tables.

Patrick: Christ.

Bressant: I mean, the father’s got him in this crack den, subsisting on twinkies and ass-whippings, and this little boy just wants someone to tell him that he’s doing a good job. You’re worried what’s Catholic? I mean, kids forgive. Kids don’t judge. Kids turn the other cheek. What do they get for it? So I went back out there and put an ounce of heroin on the living room floor and sent the father for a ride, seven to life.

Patrick: That was the right thing?

Bressant: Fucking A! You gotta take a side. You molest a child, you beat a child, you’re not on my side. If you see me coming, you better run, because I am gonna lay you the fuck down! Easy.

Patrick: Don’t feel easy.

As Patrick reflects on these events he figures out that it was actually Bressant and Amanda’s uncle that kidnapped her. This leads to a shootout where Bressant is killed.

Patrick and Angie visit Captain Doyle and discover that Amanda didn’t actually fall to her death. It was an elaborate ruse to fake her death and that she was now living with Doyle and his wife.

Patrick has to make a decision. To turn in Doyle and return Amanda to her wretched mother where her chances of having a successful life are practically zero. Or let her remain kidnapped where she will be loved, pampered and spoiled.

Despite the pleadings of Doyle and Angie, Patrick decides to turn Doyle in and return Amanda to her mother.

Patrick: I’m calling state police in five minutes. They’ll be here in ten.

Doyle: Thought you would’ve done that by now. You know why you haven’t? Because you think this might be an irreparable mistake. Because deep inside you, you know that it doesn’t matter what the rules say. When the lights go out, and you ask yourself “is she better off here or better off there”, you know the answer. And you always will. You… you could do a right thing here. A good thing. Men live their whole lives without getting this chance. You walk away from it, you may not regret it when you get home. You may not regret it for a year, but when you get to where I am, I promise you, you will. I’ll be dead, you’ll be old. But she… she’ll be dragging around a couple of tattered, damaged children of her own, and you’ll be the one who has to tell them you’re sorry.

Patrick: You know what? Maybe that’ll happen. And if it does, I’ll tell them I’m sorry and I’ll live with it. But what’s never gonna happen and what I’m not gonna do is have to apologize to a grown woman who comes to me and says: “I was kidnapped when I was a little girl, and my aunt hired you to find me. And you did, you found me with some strange family. But you broke your promise and you left me there. Why? Why didn’t you bring me home? Because all the snacks and the outfits and the family trips don’t matter. They stole me. It wasn’t my family and you knew about it and you knew better and you did nothing”. And maybe that grown woman will forgive me, but I’ll never forgive myself.

Doyle: I did what I did for the sake of the child. All right. For me, too. But now, I’m asking you for the sake of the child. I’m begging you. You think about it.

Patrick pays a heavy price for turning in Doyle. Angie leaves him. In the end of the movie it seems like he puts himself in a guardian angel position over Amanda. Watching over her to see that she will be okay.

There are 3 moral issues in this movie as I see it. The first one I thought about when this movie was over was whether or not Patrick did the right thing.

One of the weekends that Jill was back from Minnesota, we went over to Jen and Derrick’s to watch a movie on their Blu-ray player. Derrick’s dad gave Jen and Derrick a Blu-ray player when they moved into their new house in January. I believe this movie watching night was the Saturday following Thanksgiving. It has been 11 months and they still had not watched a movie on their Blu-ray player. This is quite the tragedy in my mind.

I was given the power of selecting the movie on this evening. I chose Gone Baby Gone. Jill chose Full Metal Jacket as a backup.

We might have ended up watching both movies, but the first part of the evening was devoted to watching the Iowa State-Northwestern debacle. Thankfully that is far behind us now.

After watching the movie, I posed the following question to Derrick, Jen and Jill: Did Patrick do the right thing at the end of the movie?

Derrick and Jen thought that Patrick had done the right thing.

Jill agreed with me. Patrick had done the wrong thing.

Then I asked them if Patrick had done the right thing when he executed the pedophile.

Derrick and Jen thought he had done the wrong thing.

Jill agreed with me that he had done the right thing.

However, this is how I think that I am too emotional. Philosophically, I want to be opposed to the death penalty. I want to think that all life is precious. I want to think that I am evolved to a point where I don’t believe in vigilante justice. One of my all-time favorite movies is The Ox-Bow Incident. A movie that is about a posse that lynches 3 innocent men.

The movie ends with a member of the posse reading a letter that one of the innocent men has written to his wife. Writing the letter is one of the last things he gets to do before he his hung. That scene is one of the most beautiful movie scenes I have ever seen. The letter reads like this:

My dear Wife, Mr. Davies will tell you what’s happening here tonight. He’s a good man and has done everything he can for me. I suppose there are some other good men here, too, only they don’t seem to realize what they’re doing. They’re the ones I feel sorry for. ‘Cause it’ll be over for me in a little while, but they’ll have to go on remembering for the rest of their lives. A man just naturally can’t take the law into his own hands and hang people without hurtin’ everybody in the world, ’cause then he’s just not breaking one law but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It’s everything people ever have found out about justice and what’s right and wrong. It’s the very conscience of humanity. There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody’s conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that have ever lived? I guess that’s all I’ve got to say except kiss the babies for me and God bless you. Your husband, Donald.

I love the line, “if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience?”

Philosophically I want to think. “Just bring him in Patrick. Let the justice system handle him.”

But do I really think, “Shoot him Patrick”? You’re damn right I do! That is clearly an emotional response that I can’t override with my powerful intellect.

It was during this discussion that Jen said something that really stuck with me. In fact, it completely blindsided me. I am paraphrasing, but she said:

“Morgan Freeman’s character (Doyle) didn’t have much compassion for Amanda’s mother. He knew the pain of losing a child and he was willing to put somebody else through it.”

It was a Saturday night when she said that. I thought about that for a long time. Of all the characters in the movie, I have the most in common with Doyle, but this is something that had never once even dawned on me. It never occurred to me that somebody might think that what the kidnapper’s had done was wrong. How can giving a child a chance at a decent life be wrong?

I told Jen and Derrick that I had one more Gone Baby Gone question for them.

On that Monday I talked to Jill and asked her if she thought that what the kidnappers had done was wrong.

She agreed with me that what the kidnappers had done was dumb and not the best way to handle the situation, but it was still right.

That Wednesday was Iowa State’s embarrassing performance against UNI. I already had tickets for the game, so Jen took my season ticket and sat with Derrick. At halftime I went over to talk to them. Jen asked me what was my 1 more Gone Baby Gone question.

I asked them if they thought that the kidnappers had done the wrong thing.

They said that they did think the kidnappers had done the wrong thing. Just because somebody doesn’t deserve to be a parent, doesn’t give somebody else the right to take their children.

I can see their point intellectually. I understand the reason for the rule of law, even though I don’t think people should follow laws that are contrary to their moral code, but I disagree.

I look around and see people who shouldn’t be parents and my base emotional response is why not take their kids from them and give them to people who deserve to be parents. People who would actually love the kids and raise them to be proper adults.

Then I think about Derrick’s keen insight. He pointed out that the whole movie can be boiled down to one scene involving Patrick and Bressant:

Bressant: Would you do it again? Clip Corwin Earle?

Patrick: No.

Bressant: Does that make you right?

Patrick: I don’t know.

Bressant: It doesn’t make it wrong though.

I think on my emotional responses to outside stimuli and I tell myself again: “It is a good thing”. My emotional response to that is, “Maybe it is.”

Proust Questionnaire Number Ten

Proust Quote:
“Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible.”

Confessions Question:
Your idea of happiness

Confidences Question:
My dream of happiness.

Proust’s Answer:
I am afraid it be not great enough, I dare not speak it, I am afraid of destroying it by speaking it.

That Proust sure was a coward. “I am afraid of destroying it…” But he was from France and that is a country that isn’t exactly known for its courage.

However, I think there is some truth in the quote that happiness exists to make unhappiness possible. I think it is closer to the truth to say that unhappiness makes the experience of happiness richer. I would also argue that unhappiness is at its lowest depth before happiness arrives. But happiness is a much more powerful (although frailer) emotion than unhappiness. A little drop of happiness blows unhappiness out of the water.

There is a misery questionnaire question where I will repeat this basic information, but I think in general terms, the greatest misery is in waiting for a certain thing to happen. The greatest happiness is when that certain thing happens. That certain thing might not ever happen, therefore a person sometimes has to come to acceptance.

There are certainly things that make me happy. One of them ends frequently with the phrase “Sweet dreams.”

I have two friends that are diametrically opposed on the concept of dreams. One friend believes that dreams are an intricate part of life. They should be held up and examined every day and they should be pursued with every breath of your being. If you call his phone, the voicemail message will tell you that you have reached, “Dreams, Incorporated.” It is not a real company, so don’t give him any money. You won’t get it back. But your money will help him pursue his dreams.

This friend’s philosophy on dreams would best be summed up by the Marcel Proust quote:

“If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.”

The other friend thinks that it is pointless to pursue dreams because dreams can’t become reality. He once noted that he couldn’t “grow bat wings” in reality. All this talk about dreams is a humbug!

This friend’s philosophy on dreams would be best summed up by the Baltasar Gracian quote:

“Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.”

My philosophy lies somewhere in the middle. I certainly believe that dreams are worth pursuing. To not have aspirations or goals leads to somewhat of an aimless existence, but perhaps I don’t follow my dreams with the type of vigor that Friend One does.

If dreams are (what I think they are) our ideas of perfect happiness, then these are a few of my dreams:

Some of these are attainable dreams. Some of them are in the “bat wing” category.

To hear Jay say, “Want to come over and watch a completed version of Games 2 tonight?”
To hear Willy say, “And this is my beautiful wife…”
To hear Shannon say, “Wow! You organized that really well. If this is the caliber of person that Iowa State University produces, I should root for their athletic teams when they play anybody but my beloved UNI Panthers.”
To hear Geri D. say, “Opening night for the One Act play you wrote will be…”
To hear Jen say, “Maybe the dogs don’t like being dressed up.”
To hear Derrick say, “Yeah, Pink Floyd called and they want to open for us on our European Tour. I told them we would get back to them.”
To hear Jill say, “I think I have changed my mind… feet are funny, not gross!”
To hear Sara say, “I looked in the mirror and decided, I didn’t need that Hello Kitty humidifier.”
To hear Monica say, “I just don’t have room for all these paintings I have done. Here, take about 5-10 of these off my hands.”
To hear Baier say, “I really shouldn’t be that emotionally invested in a pro sports team in a city that is 3 hours away from where I live. I think I’m going to take that wasted energy and train my dog to be less racist. Perhaps research unicorn blood in my spare time.”
To hear Russell say, “I don’t even know why I ever even question anything you say about sports, politics, movies or life. Mr. Bennett, I am in awe of you. In the future, when you speak, I will sit silently and keep notes. It is my greatest fear that some of your wisdom will be lost to the following generations.”
To hear Nader say, “The new Harry Potter movie was pretty good.”
To hear Andree say, “Maybe I have too many televisions. 7 is a lot for 1 guy.”
To hear Scottie D. say, “I apologize for ever questioning your commitment to tenderloins. You may hit me one time.”
To hear Eric say, “Dogs are really better than cats. I don’t know why I couldn’t see that before.”
To hear Jesse say, “I’ve thought about it. Maybe I should worship somebody that actually gets some playing time during the Olympics, rather than that creepy looking Finch girl.”

There are more, but I might be on happiness overload just thinking on my dreams.

Last 2 Home Games

I’ve posted a few pictures from the Iowa State’s last two home games in the Snapshots Gallery.

A few of my favorites from the Oklahoma State game…


Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
Warming Up

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
James Smith and Banks

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
This picture might be a statement on the one sided nature of this game, but while watching the water girls we determined that Oklahoma State has a disturbing hierarchy in their water girls. Certain water girls were allowed on the field while other water girls just hung out at this massive Gatorade table. But you could tell what water girls were high ranking and which ones weren’t based on their eye apparel. The high ranking water girls wore sunglasses. They did this throughout the entire game. Even after the sun had went down.

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
National Anthem

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
Only the Cowboy place kicker wore these special orange shoes. Whatever showboat!

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
And the winner for dumbest looking mascot to enter Jack Trice Stadium is…

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
Robinson on the run.

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
OSU also had a disturbing amount of people loitering on their sidelines. Including this lady with the world’s ugliest purse. (I don’t really have opinions on purses other than I don’t want to hold yours for you.)

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
Garrin on the tackle.

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2009
Tiller’s brief appearance.

Logan took Jesse’s ticket. I wish he would have been able to see a better game, but that is the nature of being a Cyclone fan.

Jen took Jesse’s ticket to the Colorado game. She saw a much better game from the Cyclones. It was exciting because it was the first time Jen has seen the Cyclones win in person. Plus, now we are bowl eligible.


Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Parents on Senior Day.

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Hamilton.

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Robinson.

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Hamilton’s touchdown grab!

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
It takes 4 Colorado players to tackle Arnaud.

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Cy!

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Not on Banks’ watch!

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Lenz

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Arnaud slipping.

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
There has been some debate on whether or not the ISUCFVMB dancing was cool or lame. I will leave it to your discretion.

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
There is no denying that ISUCFVMB seniors leaving their shoes on the field is a cool tradition though.

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Post-game Celebration

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Even though it got cold in the 2nd half, Jen toughed it out! Adding another line to her “Super-wife” resume. I do believe that her toughness may have inspired somebody to join us for a game next year. In fact, I know this for a fact!

Iowa State vs Colorado - 2009
Cyclone Win!

More pictures can be found in the Iowa State – 2009.

6 wins makes Iowa State bowl eligible, but it doesn’t guarantee that we will go to a bowl game. Iowa State beating Missouri would clinch a bowl game.

I have seen Iowa State projected to go to either the Insight Bowl or the Independence Bowl. I hope these projections are correct. Either way: GO STATE!!!!

The Jupiter Chronicles

The day before Halloween was a very special Friday Night Supper Club. It was special because I hosted it, The guest list was expanded, we had Casey’s taco pizza and Jay made the dessert.

Why these special things occurred can be traced back to one thing. At that FNSC I took custody of Sara’s pride and joy – Jupiter Moon.

Sara was heading to Florida for a Junck family vacation and she entrusted her 4 year old cockapoo to my care for a week. Sara decided to make the transfer at FNSC. I decided that it would be best if I hosted FNSC so that Jupiter wouldn’t just be dumped into a strange house without any familiar faces. Sara brought some additional familiar faces: Anirban, Cousin Amy, Jen and Derrick.

Jen put in a request for the Casey’s taco pizza and her wish was granted.

At about 11:30 the guests packed up and left Jupiter behind. He was not very happy to be left behind, but it began our week together. A week where I was reminded of the responsibilities of dog ownership that will face me in the spring. A week where I had an opportunity to man Jupiter up, just a slight bit.

The first night was a little bit rough. Neither one of us slept particularly well. Jupiter spent almost the entire night staring at the front door. He would occasionally join me in the bedroom, but he would just stare out my bedroom door for a few seconds and then return to his post in the living room. Staring at the front door.

Jupiter spent most of Saturday morning looking depressed. When Sara texted to ask how he was doing, I responded that he was suffering from Post-Sara Depression.

Sara texted back that she though all creatures suffered from Post-Sara Depression.

I took Jupiter outside and he helped me take down and store all of the yard furniture for the winter.

By the afternoon, Jupiter was less depressed and more or less just subdued. We listened to the Iowa State football game, made spiced apple cider and nachos.

Near the conclusion of the game, Jay came over and started his annual pumpkin carving. Jupiter seemed intrigued by this and enjoyed greeting trick-or-treaters.

After the trick-or-treaters, we watched a couple of old horror movies and went to bed. Jupiter tried to sleep with me, but he wanted to sleep on top of me. He figured out that wasn’t going to work and spent the night on the couch.

On Sunday, I got up early and tailgated for church. Only 3 of us showed up for the tailgate, but the revolution was definitely on. After church, I attended a Methodist Men Board meeting, where we discussed the upcoming chicken noodle brunch.

On my way home, my mom called and asked if I wanted to look over any of grandpa’s tools. I could have any of them that I wanted.

I was planning on taking Jupiter for a walk in the park and I knew that I didn’t want any tools, so I loaded Jupiter in the car for what I thought was going to be a quick look at some tools and then a trip to the park.

As it turns out, this was actually a clean everything out of the garage mission and while I didn’t take any of the tools, I took several things out of the “garbage” pile.

Jupiter got to assist in the manly work of cleaning the garage. Unfortunately, by the time we finished, there was no longer any time for the park. I took Jupiter back home and headed to Prairie City with the Degeneffes to try the state’s reigning tenderloin champ.

Shortly after returning from that pilgrimage, I got my basketball gear together and heading to Ames for our opening games of the Ames Rec League. To start the season, we were schedule a double header!

I got home dog tired. I showered and fell asleep. Jupiter slept that night at my feet.

I always skip bowling on the first Monday of every month for my Trustees meeting. The meeting this month was fairly short. We mostly discussed cutting a pew off at one end and nothing else that I can remember.

After the meeting I took Jupiter for a walk. We walked about 1 mile. He peed (or at least stopped to lift his leg) 12 times.

Tuesday night I took Nader out for his birthday with the Baiers. Because I got home so late, Jupiter and I didn’t do anything manly.

Wednesday night I go to open gym to work on trying to recover some semblance of what used to be my basketball game. I also got home too late to do anything very manly.

Thursday night I took Jupiter to Jen and Derrick’s for a dog playdate with Bailey and Jackson.

Dog playdate didn’t go as well as we had hoped. Jackson and Jupiter seemed to get along well enough. At least they were able to ignore each other. Bailey and Jupiter did not end up being the best of buds. Jupiter was a little growly. This ended in a tiff where Bailey and Jupiter had words. Gyro Guy pizza ended up flying through the air and some smashed into the kitchen wall. A terrible waste.

Derrick took Bailey into the other room and gave her a lecture. I don’t know what he said, but Bailey was on good behavior rest of the night. Jupiter and Bailey never got all that buddy-buddy, but they didn’t come to blows. More importantly, no more Jeff’s Pizza had to be wasted.

On Friday I went to FNSC at Golden Corral. This was the first time that we have ever been to Golden Corral for FNSC. It was okay.

Afterwards, Jay came back to my place and we watched a cheerleader movie with Jupiter. I think this might have undone much of the work I had done in trying to man him up, but Sara insists that cheerleading is a sport, so it it okay.

Saturday morning, we woke up and did a little more work around the yard. I was glad to see that some of my hard work had paid off. Jupiter was actually enjoying being outside now.

I concluded my alone Jupiter time by watching College Game Day with him.

I picked up Logan and went to the Iowa State-Oklahoma State game. After the game, we met up with Sara and Anirban at Great Plains.

Then Sara came back to Boone and re-claimed Jupiter. He is back in Beaverdale, but I am posting a few pictures from his week with me.


The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

The Jupiter Chronicles

On Sunday, when I got home from basketball, it dawned on me that it would have been really nice to have Jupiter waiting to greet me at the back door.

I texted Sara to let her know that I missed Jupiter. She texted me back that he missed me too. I asked her to watch football with him. She declined.

But to honor the week I spent with Jupiter Moon, he has become the first 4 legged creature to be featured in the now defunct Snapshots Gallery.