Sunday, January 30, 2005

So, what did we learn?

From the road trip, I learned the following:

1) I like Burgoo. That stew/chowder is the bees knees! And I like Mutton. Move over lamb, there’s a new meat in town.
2) A good road trip is all about the company.
3) Make sure the defogger works on whatever car you’re driving before you spend hours in it.
4) Being rich is no guarantee of good taste. (this explained a lot of Graceland)
5) Certain types of shrimp are more than capable of breaking a man’s finger.
6) My post divorce life promises to be interesting.
7) The reason Aluminum foil should not go in a microwave is because exciting the electrons in the metal can lead to electric arcing. And if you put soap in the microwave, it expands.
8) Small town America ain’t so bad.
9) No matter how obsessed you are with something, there is always someone who is more so.
10) Always be careful when jumping a creek, on wet stairs, or just getting out of the shower. Chief Falling Italian is watching!
11) Never trust a grinning italian, especially if he tells you that Burger king is running a special where if you walk up to the counter and say "I can spell Whopper" you will get a free cheeseburger.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

“This is all Metropolis is in their world? Are these people nuts?” Plastic Man—JLA/Avengers #2

Well, gentle reader...when last we left our intrepid adventurers, they were headed out of southern Indiana after a rousing week of small town America, and into Illinois. I can’t speak for Spanky, Mrs. Spanky, and Java FooFoo, but there was only one thing on my mind...


We had discovered on the way up to Newburgh that Metropolis was actually only about an hour or so out of our way. It turned out to be less than that, (Props to Mrs. Spanky’s Dad for the 411 on the alternate route.) but in any case, there was no way I was gonna miss the opportunity to visit the hometown of my hero, Superman.

Yes, Superman is indeed a fictional character, but this still meant a lot to me. You see, there is an old Chinese cruse that says, “May you live in interesting times”. Well, my childhood was certainly... “interesting”. It’s not like Mom and Dad were never there for me or anything mind you, or that my childhood was that terrible... Staten Island, NY, in the seventies and eighties was a great place to grow up. It’s just that life in our home presented certain challenges and struggles that more often than not left Mom and Dad with their hands full. I very seldom bothered them with the problems of my young life, and felt guilty somehow whenever I had to. To this day, the events in my parents lives that shaped the young Rob influence many of my decisions, particularly when it comes to my soon to be ex-wife. Anyway, the one thing I always knew I could count on, regardless of the emotional storms around me, was being able to lose myself in the fictional world of Superman. Over the years, Superman was always there when I needed him... his friends were my friends, his triumphs and failures echoed themselves in my life... and above all else Superman, like me, always tried to do the right thing. Superman was someone I could count on. Superman was my friend.

I had heard about the real-life Metropolis for years. The town truly embraces it’s comic book heritage, as evidenced by the twenty foot tall statue of the man of steel in the town square, the Super Museum on main street, and the Superman festival they hold every summer. There is a billboard as you enter the town that proudly proclaims “Welcome to Metropolis, Home of Superman”, and the town paper is even the “Metropolis Planet”! (Yes, I bought a copy) As we rode into Metropolis, I was positively giddy, and posed for a picture or two in front of the Superman Statue, before I headed faster than a speeding bullet to the Super Museum. (Only twenty feet away)

The Super Museum is accessed through its gift shop, which had a very impressive array of Superman merchandise for a Super fan to choose from. The funniest were the green painted rocks they were selling as “Kryptonite”. If they had had the silk Superman bathrobes in my size, I probably would have bought one... Instead, I got a key chain. Admission to the Museum itself was only three dollars. The Museum is the most impressive display of Super stuff I have ever laid eyes on. Every toy, statue, watch, clock, poster, or collectable I can ever remember seeing with the “S” shield on it was there, and many I had never seen before. There were also many props and costumes from the various Superman shows and movies. “WOW!” I said to Spanky at one point, “General Zod’s Boots! Cool!” Mrs. Spanky was downright bored, but muddled through as she could see how happy I was to be there. As we were leaving, I asked the guy behind the counter who the collector was, and he explained that it was his brother. We chatted for a bit (Once you got this guy started, it was difficult to get him to stop! If you tried to walk away he would just get louder!) and one thing that surprised me was that many of the more impressive pieces of his collection (A copy of Action comics #1, George Reeves original brown Superman costume...) were not on display due to insurance costs. (A copy of Action #1 recently sold for a cool quarter of a million dollars) After stopping at the drug store to pick up a copy of the Planet, all too soon we were back on the road again, bound for home.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"if there's a shining center of the universe, you're in the place farthest from it..." Luke Skywalker-- A New Hope

A fitting quote, I think to describe Indiana. The drive out of Memphis was a long one, through rain-soaked roads and highways, with limited visibility because of Spanky's* broken defroster. Even a dose of Rain-x Defogger stuff couldn't overcome the moisture created by four adults in a car for five or six hours. Mrs. Spanky** was extremely uncomfortable about the road conditions, as it was in similar conditions that she once rolled the same jeep I was driving. I tried to take this into considerations, and slowed down a lot more than is my nature, but I would still feel her clutch the seat behind me everytime I got off at an exit. As we pulled into Newburgh, it was dark, rainy, and nearly impossible to see... And effect made worse by oncoming traffic. We met Mrs. Spanky's Dad*** at the local American Legion**** Hall. Now, I immediately liked this guy, and I truly understand why Mrs. Spanky says I remind her of him. We spent the next hour or so having a laugh at MSD****** basically trying to drink his son in law under the table, while trading dirty jokes with me.******* MSD's favorite was the one about the Fuckawi Indians, which he insisted I repeat to everyone new we met over the course of our stay, and each time I got a little more elaborate with it********.

But I digress...

We went to MSD's house, where we would be staying while savoring the sights and cuisine of rural Indiana. First impression... Fish tanks.

Fish tanks everywhere.

Apparently, Mrs. Spanky's Stepmom creates aquatic environments for a living, and there were more exotic fish in that house than I think I've ever seen outside an aquarium.
Over the next few days, I kept proving to be quite the clutz. The night we got there, I slipped on the front stoop... The next day, I fell getting out of the shower... The day after that, I fell face first while trying to jump a creek... Then I got knocked in the head by the tailgate on the jeep. Mrs. Spanky joked that I had angered the spirit of Great Chief Falling Italian. Her Dad kept counting how long I went without nearly killing myself. ("Rob has gone 12 hours without an accident... Oh, wait... There he goes.") After a while, I found my footing, and all in all, had a great time. Got to know Mrs. Spanky's Family, got some great food, ate Burgoo and Mutton for the first time, and got to go for a really pleasant walk with FooFoo.

But the open road beckoned to me like a jealous lover... And Metropolis was only a few hours away...

To be continued. Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel!

NOTES:(those little asterix thingies)
*Over the past few weeks, people have begun to ask me why I call him "Spanky" There are two reasons... 1) it sounds great with his last name, and 2)Although others will argue this point, he kinda looks like "Spanky" from the little rascals.
**Called Mrs Spanky because she's married to Spanky, of course...
*** Called Mrs Spanky's Dad because he's Mrs. Spanky's... Dad.
**** Apparently some paramilitary group bent on world domination or something... Good thing that the bar in the hall isn't portable, or we could be in some real trouble.*****
***** Kidding about that last comment. I salute our nations veterans!
******Mrs. Spanky's Dad... Too long to keep writing it out...
*******Yes, I know several dirty jokes, but this is a PG board...
******** Mrs. Spanky was the first to notice this, and her uncle said he couldn't wait to hear the final version at the end of the week. Here it is... "Many moons ago, the great Indian tribe, the Fuckawi, had no name... Their leader, Great Chief Falling Italian, Upon whose bones rests the home of MSD, told his medicine man that he must pick a name for the tribe. So the Medicine man, named "Walks in circles", left the tribe and entered the woods with his squaw to seek a sign from his spirit guide. Walks in Circles... Well, walked in circles for many sunrises, until he and his squaw finally emerged from the woods to see the whole tribe gathered before him awaiting his return. He walked up to the nearest brave and said simply, "Where the Fuckawi?" Goodnight... You've been a wonderful audience

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"The Mississippi delta is shining like a natural guitar"- Graceland, Paul Simon

So, we intrepid four set out on our journey into the unknown on a cold evening from Jackson. Spanky, Mrs. Spanky, FooFoo, and your humble Webkahunah. More accurately, we struck out from Casa Spanky. I was driving, as my rotund buttocks are perfect for sitting in one place for several hours doing nothing. It was a 3 hour ride to Memphis, which really wasn't that bad, except that the defogger in Spanky's jeep was about as effective as trying to reverse the course of the Mississippi by peeing in it. So despite the Foggy windshield, we arrived in Memphis hale and hearty, if tired. After a good night's sleep, we struck out for Graceland. It was raining.

To me, getting to see the digs of the King was truly a dream come true, And I refused to let the rain dampen my spirits. To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I first walked in. There is a living room to your right, and a dining room to your left... Not exceptionally large rooms, either. Not even particularly stylish. The sofa in the living room actually reminded me of the one that was in my parents house fro many years... Very seventies, white, with a kinda "faux elegance" about it. I guess I expected more from the King. Still, the next stop was the Kitchen, and I could only guess how many deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches were made there. You then get a quick glimpse of the Jungle room before you head into the basement.

That's right, Ladies and Gents... I was in Elvis's basement. The basement has two really gaudy rooms. The TV room was in a yellow and blue motif, and there are three T.V.s. Apparently, Elvis once heard that president Johnson watched all three network news shows at the same time, and decided that he should do the same.

The next room was the gaudiest thing I had ever seen. To decorate his pool room, Elvis used 230 yards of patterned fabric. FooFoo remarked that "It was like being inside paisley" I felt so closed in... Like I was trapped in a poorly made leisure suit two sizes too small.

then you go upstairs for my favorite room... The Jungle Room. It should be noted that the Jungle room gets it's name from it's subtle jungle motif... Not from the green shag carpeting that cover the floor and the ceiling.

You can take the boy out of the trailer park....

From there, you actually leave the house, and move on to the colonel's office, and elvis's trophy rooms. The tour ends at his grave. It was a somber moment for us all.

Well, except for Mrs. Spanky, who looked bored silly, and was stoked about seeing her family that night. The Open road still beckoned... And with the rain stretching all along our driving route, I knew it wasn't gonna be easy.

To Be Continued... Same bat-time, same bat-channel!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

We interupt this broadcast...

The rest of the Road trip story will have to wait for a little while, as there is something I need to write about, if only to clear it from my mind for a while. I promise that we will return to our regularly scheduled levity after this post, and I swear it will be worth it.

As many of you know, I am in the process of divorcing my wife. What you may or may not know, is that I bear an enormous emount of guilt for this. Not anything like "I cheated on her" or "I didn't pay attention to her" guilt, or even "I never helped out around the house" guilt, which you might expect from a slovenly individual such as myself.

Nope, instead, I have the "I just couldn't cut it" guilt.

You see, Char developed a mental illness, and the major reason we are no longer together is that I don't feel strong enough to cope with it for the rest of my life. Mental illness has touched my loved ones many times during my stint on this planet, and I simply cannot handle it being someone as close to me as my wife.
I have done a lot of soul searching this week (hey... I was in rural indiana! what the F#@k else was there to do?) and I find this inability to cope to be a serious weakness in my character. Now, I don't want to hear "But Rob, that's certainly understandable" or any one of a thousand other platitudes I have listened to from well meaning friends and family since this whole thing began. Y'all are welcome to think whatever you want about me, but I find myself lacking here. What it comes down to is that I have deeply hurt someone I love because I couldn't cope with a defect in her personality. On a very deep level, there is a big part of me that cannot excuse this action, nor forgive myself for it. Maybe I took my vows too seriously, and maybe I just have an over-developed sense of responsibility, but I lean toward the idea that there is part of me that not only needs to feel like I've done the right thing, but that also thinks that bearing that albatross is worth it somehow. Maybe I still have issues with the illness in my family. Maybe it has to do with my own fears of developing one. A lot of maybes, too few answers, and a brick of guilt in my stomach the size of Rhode Island.

So, what do I do? I still obviously love her... I think about her all the time, I find myself wishing that she was by my side constantly, even if it's only to complain about something, and even after these many months I still find myself in stores holding things in my hand saying "This would make a great gift for her."

Silly, really.

One things for damn sure... the guilt I feel over this is gonna eat me alive if I don't do something about it. I can't move on with my life until I do... and I certainly can't give my heart to another if Charity still has it. I don't want to be one of those guys who whines about his marriage all the time, much less whines about his divorce all the time, but it appears that that's exactly what is happening to me. I don't want to feel selfish, but that's exactly what I have been. I don't want to feel regret over my relationship with Char, but I do. And I certainly don't want to be alone in this.

But I am, aren't I? And maybe that's what it's all coming down to here. My friends and family are wonderful, and I thank you all for being as supportive during this time as you have been, but I'm the guy that has to look at myself in the mirror each morning, and convince myself that I've done the right thing. I'm the guy that has to sleep easily at the end of the day. I'm the guy that has to come up with reasons to get out of bed each morning.

For the first time in years, I'm the guy that has to face my journey alone, and that saddens me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"What a long, strange trip it's been"- The Greatful Dead, 'Truckin'

So, where have I been these past few days? Two words for you, gentle reader:
And not some mamby-pamby "hey, lets go to the beach for a day or two" either. I'm a-talkin a serious, fun, seriously fun trip into parts unknown. A road trip full of good friends, fun times, lotsa laughter, long hours behind the wheel of a car, just enough pranks and unusual events to keep it interesting, and of course nearly injuring myself a few times.
After all, what's a road trip if no one nearly winds up in the hospital, right? Especially your humble Webkahunah! But I'll get to that later.
First off... The damage:
States visited- Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Illinois.
American icons visited- Elvis and Superman (was this a Rob road trip or what?)
Things I can check off my list of things I needed to do before I die- Visit Graceland and Metropolis.
The players- Your ever so humble Webkahunah, Spanky the boy wonder, Mrs. Spanky, and Java Foo Foo

So, lets make with the documenting, shall we? This will probably just be part one of many, further proof of an excellent road trip. To begin, Originally, the road trip was simple... Visit Mrs. Spanky's Dad in Indiana. I was invited along as an afterthought, sort of a "Hey, you could use a few days in the middle of nowhere... wanna come along?" Kinda thing. FooFoo wasn't even on the list. But like with all good road trips, that was about to change. First change came when I realized Memphis was along the way... And it could be possible for me to finally go and pay my repects to the King. (Number five on the list of things I need to do before I die)Mrs. Spanky and FooFoo go way back, and so it was decided that after picking me up, we would have a nice lunch over at casa FooFoo before hitting the road. Over lunch, FooFoo lamented having not been invited along, so within an hour, FooFoo was part of the team. Gotta admit, that on the cool-o-meter, adding FooFoo had to rate at least a seven... As opposed to the coolio-meter on which it would rate a shiznit. Graceland, Three good friends, (one on the fly) and "The Pranksters Handbook" committed to memory. This was shaping up to be one Heck of a road trip, and we hadn't even started out yet.

Of course, by this time gentle reader, you probably have a few questions...
"The pranksters handbook? Where can I get a copy of that?"
"If the plan was for three, where will FooFoo sleep? And furthermore, if trix are for kids and not rabbits, what will this bunny eat?"
"Pay your respects to the king? I thought Elvis was alive and living under and assumed name in Des Moines!"
"Superman? Isn't he fictional? And what is with those tights, anyway?"
"What's with the freakin code names?!?"

The answers to all these questions will be answered in our next installment... Same bat time, same bat channel!

Monday, January 03, 2005

My photo to the right....

I know that a few of you read the comments others leave after my posts, and a few days ago, JavaFooFoo pointed out that my photo is a little... Dated. Reluctantly, I admit this to be true. I mean, I still pretty much look the same, especially when I wake up in the morning; (Note hair, and reference Keelee's reaction to such in my Christmas post) But FooFoo has a point... The picture itself is over 6 years old.

"So, ya big lug... Why do you keep it?"

Why, thanks for asking, unknown portion of my psyche. I keep it for a few reasons. One, I feel it captures my essence in a way most photos don't. I look laid back, relaxed, a little silly, and most of all, happy. This photo is a reflection of how I see myself in many ways.
Two, which many of you probably don't know (Although Ducky might, as I seem to remember him being there when it was taken) The photo shows me in the bed of a very attractive woman. What exactly I was doing there, I am too much of a gentleman to say... But it involved a lot of loud noises. (points to you if you guessed snoring!)
Three, the photo reminds me of a happier, more carefree time in my life, when the hardest thing for me to deal with was waking up in time for my noon class.

Anyhow... I don't feel that I take good photos. So, I issue this challenge to all you readers... Find or take a more recent photo of me that meets some, if not all of the above criteria, and I will replace the one in my profile with it, and make sure it's used on my next "Vote Rob" T-shirt, which you will personally receive one of.

Extra points to anyone who snaps a picture of me waking up in the bed of a beautiful woman.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Years Day, 2005

Well, my friends, a whole new year stretches out before us, full of promise and possibilities. I hope that the coming year finds you and yours healthy, happy, content, and having much fun. I could write today about resolutions and such, but the only one I'm making this year is to find balance in my much askew life, and that's not so much a resolution, as something I'm gonna strive for. So instead, I figure I'll talk a little about Realizations. Everyone has them, although we oftimes ignore them. I'm not talking about things like "Sushi tastes good" or "wow, it's a nice day outside only five days after it snowed" I'm talking about the really profound ones that you know that if listened to, could change your whole outlook on yourself and your world.

Me, I've come to a few profound realizations this year.

1)There is always hope for the future.
2)You always have a choice.
3)We live in a miraculous world.
4)The hardest route to follow tends to be the right one.
5)Cheese has an expiration date.
6)Everyone has a different definition of "Family".
7)No situation is so bad that it cannot be cured.

I want to thank all of my regular readers for all their love and support this year. Hopefully, I'll be laughing a lot more in 2005, whining a lot less, and this will be reflected here in my musings. Happy New Year, Y'all.