Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Ten Second Memory: Hot Pockets

Pic from 
After reading this you may say, somethings are better left forgotten. Well, I disagree because this 10 second memory always makes me laugh and shake my head in silliness.

The other day I was on the couch flipping through channels and a commercial came on for Hot Pockets microwave sandwiches. You know the ones, the end with the ever so catchy jingle "Hot Pocket!" I laughed as I immediately thought back to a Hot Pocket memory of my own.

It was back in 2005 or so when I had just began working at Montgomery County Domestic Relations as an enforcement officer. I had an addiction to eating Hot Pockets for lunch, couldn't get enough of them! I think I would buy 10 boxes at a time of the different varieties and make a box each day for lunch.

One Friday at work, I decided on a whim to have lunch with some coworkers and went out to dine instead of eating my usual Hot Pockets. As I was leaving work that day, I remembered the Hot Pockets were in the break room fridge  and made a beeline to grab them. I had them in my hand and someone distracted me. The Hot Pockets ended up being placed momentarily on top of the fridge.

Momentarily became all weekend when I discovered at home that I left them at the office. When I arrived back to work on Monday there they still were, sitting on top of a warm fridge. Now the top of a fridge normally gets warm due to the insulating system running inside. My Hot Pockets sat in their box slowly warming up all weekend long. Just sitting there, warming, every so slowly.

I grabbed the box, tossed it into the fridge and began my day. At lunch time I realized that I had come to work without lunch thinking I left those Hot Pockets in the fridge. But no, they were on TOP of the fridge!

So what did I do? Did I get a hoagie from Subway? Did I grab a sandwich at the local bodega on the corner? Nope! Much to my coworkers' collective horror, I zapped the Hot Pockets in the microwave and chowed down. They were still GOOD! My coworker Carla kept exclaiming, "MARC, don't eat them! You're gonna die! Marc, SERIOUSLY DON'T!!"

I still ate 'em.

I am here to tell you that I did not die. I didn't get sick, didn't feel nauseous, didn't even belch a blurp! I guess with all of the preservatives and sodium in processed foods, they just .... umm ... kept as is. LOL

So yes, you can very slowly heat up defrosted Hot Pockets over the weekend on the top of a warm refrigerator, eat them, and survive. Would you want to? Probably not. But I lived to tell and have added this to a long list of questionable items I've eaten.

Don't ever forget that jingle. "HOT POCKET!"

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Outside Your Comfort Zone: Riverside Odds PUNK!
I decided this year to make an effort to do things outside of my comfort zone. There are things which give me a certain amount of angst. I have never done them before or just not in a long while. Certain things I will not do, including bungee jump or sky jumping. No thanks. :)  Others ... maybe with just a little bit of a push I will.

My buddy Darren Walbridge, as I've stated in previous blogs, is the drummer of the Philly punk rock band, the Riverside Odds. It is a speed punk band with (off of their website) RW Griswold on lead vocals, Matty Terror on guitar/backing vocals, Tim Griswold on bass guitar/backing vocals, Dan Neswick on lead guitar, Darren on drums, and the classic beer PBR for inspiration(!). How awesome is that?!

My punk experiences were in the 80s and early 90s listening to bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Smiths, the Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Violent Femmes, the Cure, the Ramones, Fishbone, and Meat Puppets. I used to frequent the famous punk stores on South Street Philly, Zipperhead and Skinz. I was never 'hardcore' punk, but was an outsider and related to this common theme running through punk music.  This, along with adolescent anger, frustration, and melancholia drove me to these groups, especially the Cure, Violent Femmes, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Fishbone.

Felicia and I rockin' out!
Since then, I have not ventured music-wise into to the recent punk scene, tending to allow my musical tastes migrate into other areas completely opposite of punk. I hadn't even kept up with the scene in years until I met by chance, their drummer Darren at one of my yard-sales where he bought a used golf bag for his drum sticks, a set of 1950s shots glasses, and a broken weed-whacker. LOL We struck up a friendship and through the months became better friends delving into pretty deep philosophical discussions between two old souls, often fueled by a beer and a shot of whiskey.

The BEST pic.
Anyway, I had wanted to see Darren and his band play for awhile but he was usually performing down in the Philly area not too mention going on much too late for this old guy. He mentioned to me they were finally playing up in Schuylkill County for a benefit at Goodfella's Café in Pottsville, PA this past mid January. I grabbed several good friends, Felicia, Julia, Jessica and her hubby Sal, got some tickets and went to the show. It was nothing short of awesome.

Darren doing what he does best
I have to admit I was nervous and anxious. I hadn't been to a punk rock show in decades. It was completely outside my comfort zone of mainstream music. Well lemme tell you something, after the first song began, any anxiety I had going back to punk quickly dissolved. I guess I was just nervous because my life these days was so routine, until I let the punk back in!

The music and songs are all original with these guys. Great guitar playing, great drumming, and great vocals. It is fast, it is loud, it is hard, it is angry, it is PUNK as it SHOULD be. My friend Sal was so incensed by the earlier 'cover' bands of that evening that he got in my face and shouted, "MARC! I need my face to melt! I need this punk to melt my face dude!!!" I reassured him that they play awesome live and would not disappoint.
Great pic of the band!

Riverside Odds played a new song Macho Man as well as songs off of their debut album, "LET THE MAYHEM BEGIN." They played three of my favorites: "Camel Clutch," "Whiskey Girl", and "Philly Skyline." Lead singer RW on vocals did not disappoint with his deep gravelly voice charging perfectly through the lyrics. He gives extra depth and dimension to these songs about life, anger, booze and women which they so deftly deserve. The guitar arrangements were tight and Darren was punishing on drums, pounding away relentlessly. The crowd went nutz lovin' the original hardcore music.

It was worth the wait for these guys. My friend Sal was moshing in the middle. (Being my first punk rock show in decades, I was moshing on the fringe, LOL.) Sal ran up to me and shouted above the loud music, "My face is melting man! IT'S MELTING MAN!!" Awesome, I thought, I got Sal's stamp of approval! Before long, I was slamming into people like a true (middle-aged) punk rocker. Memories of college and punk rock shows came flooding back.  I felt like I had come full circle.
In a truly epic way to end the night, after the show ended and the guys broke down their instruments and equipment, I hung out with Felicia, Julia, and the BAND back at Darren's house. I met some other friends/fans of the band, Raquel, Mike, Kelle, and Adrianna (RW's wife and the unofficial band photographer!).  We tossed back countless shots of Jack Daniels and Jameson Irish whiskey, drank PBRs carousing and making mayhem after the show. I vaguely remember getting accidentally slapped up side the head by Darren's Dad, Darren Sr, who comes to pretty much every show. The Jameson softened the blow. LOL All in good fun! These guys were just a complete blast to hang out with and I'm happy to call them new friends.

After years of hibernating, the punk side of my youth resurfaced. I don't know how often I will see other punk bands besides the Riverside Odds but I've gotta say, that night was one of the best times I've spent listening to live music! And afterwards partying with the band, I owe them my allegiance. Plus, their original music is just so damn good. Thanks to the Riverside Odds for helping me rediscover my punk side.

These guys have also done their homework and can be found everywhere online! Smart move.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What's In Your Medicine Cabinet ?

I have experience with medicine cabinets. I had a lovingly neurotic mother who had each medicine cabinet in our childhood home stuffed to the gills with various medicines and toiletries. We could've opened a CVS Pharmacy out of our home. Mom wasn't a hypochondriac. She just liked to be prepared for ANYTHING.

When I catered in Philly for upscale families way back in the early 90s, I used to go through my their medicine cabinets in their powder rooms just out of curiosity to see what they had. I know, I know, it was completely rude and an invasion of privacy. Move on. I got it.

I'd mostly find outdated various pills, scented soaps, old high end makeup and perfume. Pretty boring stuff. Every now and then I'd find something pretty interesting like the odd embarrassing cream or Rogaine which clearly wasn't working on the man of the house. I once found someone keeping their toenail clippings in a baby food jar. Now THAT was pretty gross.

Cool Wise Old Dude
I now booby trap my medicine cabinets for something to fall out if someone goes snooping when I have a large party. Nothing major, just a falling small box or two to scare the hell outta whomever is rummaging through my stuff. I had someone come up to me and say she was looking for aspirin and everything fell out. Sure you were only looking for aspirin ...

<<<<I also put up this crazy picture on the left of my brother Adam if case people go looking...

My Crazy Brother Adam
LOL, No not that one, this one >>>>

Lastly, I went to one of my friend's apartments in Philly and asked him if he had a Tylenol for my headache. He said to check the medicine cabinet. I found 6 various sized containers of different hair products which were 99% empty, a tube of toothpaste, deodorant, and 5 Q-tips. I opted for a refill on my cocktail instead.

Here are the basic items that I feel are essential to every medicine cabinet:

a good basic first aid kit which includes Band-aids, gauze, burn cream, etc.
witch hazel
rubbing alcohol
hydrogen peroxide
Caladryl lotion
anti-itch cream
antibiotic ointment
hair spray (for when your sister visits)
small scissors
nail clippers
cotton balls
allergy medicine like Benedryl
cough/cold medicine like Sudafed
pain reliever like Tylenol
a thermometer
nail polish remover (Guys, this is great for removing sticker adhesives, glue residue, or scuff marks on shoe soles.)

I know this is a pretty big list but you can get most of these items fairly cheap at a CVS or Rite-Aid by purchasing their generic versions. Having these items on hand keeps me less FRAZZLED!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

10 Second Memory: Deception at Walt Disney World

This past Fall, I was with my sister Sheryl at a harvest festival in Sinking Spring, PA. We were watching various families mill about at this carnival type atmosphere and a screaming crying child bolted past me. I turned and begun chuckling.  I wasn't chuckling at the child but actually because it reminded me of an emotional outburst I had waaay back in 1976 while on vacation at Walt Disney World.  I was 6 years old and discovering the power of deception.

The day was spent touring the park. Highlights included me flirting with an older gal at a fountain whom I thought would be my future wife. She was seven. We all loved the "Small World After All" ride (and singing it to my parent's annoyance the rest of the trip). Adam and I thought the monorail going through the hotel was soo cool. Who could forget Mom screaming during the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride, "OMG THERE'S A WATERFALL! BOB! HOLD ONTO THE KIDS!" freaking out every family in our boat. I remembered being extremely bored by the Berenstain Bears Jamboree and falling asleep during the President's Hall exhibit (yawwwn). Lastly, the Mainstreet Electrical Parade was spectacular but no one took any good pictures. The pictures were all blurry lines of light thanks to the 1970's Kodak Instamatic!

I picked up a great little toy Dumbo(my favorite Disney character at the time), a wooden alligator, and a skull necklace with a diamond eye from the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop. No Mickey ears for me. Mom talked me out of it because they were pretty expensive. Apparently somethings in Disney World haven't changed.

We had finished up with our long day at the park watching the fireworks and electrical parade down Main Street, USA and my parents made the dreaded announcement that it was time to leave. We took a one long last look at Cinderella's Castle and began the walk towards the parking lots. My brother Adam, a year older, kept looking back saying he didn't want to leave and wanted to live at the castle forever. I was more than happy to go back to our cousin's place in Kissimmee, FL and play with my toys.

Adam started crying because he truly was sad to leave the Magic Kingdom. Dad comforted him. Then Mom. And then my sister Sheryl. Everyone was hugging Adam in his time of need. And there was me. Standing there, alone with no one to comfort me. I mean I wasn't crying or anything but what about ME? I thought quickly. What to do? What to do?

I did the only thing I knew I could do well. I started crying on purpose to divert attention away from my older brother.

"I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE EITHER!!!!" I started wailing. Perfectly timed tears began streaming down my face. People around us all started staring at me. I thought for sure my mother could see right through my deception. But Mom, she came over, put her arm around me and said "It's OK. You'll be fine." But I think I caught her rolling her eyes. Hmmm,was there any sincerity in her voice? Or was Mom just playing me? Nevertheless, Mom rounded up the troops and we headed back to the car. My brother continued to eye me suspiciously...