Archive for July, 2011

Introductions Are in Order

As a result of a hastily called family meeting and a nearly unanimous, bipartisan vote, we, The Picettis, have decided to allow Emma to get her first pet.

So, it was late Thursday morning that mother and daughter returned home with Lady Ballerina.

Lady Ballerina is a small, purple betta fish who, so far, seems quite content to take it as easy as possible.

Not one to be deterred by her new pet’s lackadaisical attitude towards swimming around the old bowl, Emma is transfixed by the fact that LB not only doesn’t finish all of her dinner but also poops as well. It’s all that she can talk about.

Welcome to the family, little fishie!

Not the actual LB -- named for Lady Gaga and Angelina Ballerina -- this is just the first picture of a purple betta I found.


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Darpook No More

Before heading off to getting stretched by Robin and Lindsey at physical therapy yesterday, I got to see my little girl have her weekly swimming lesson.

According to reports from the front lines, the first few weeks were pretty rough. Body as stiff as driftwood while on her back, the chlorinated water was extra salty on account of all of Emma’s tears.

Then the news started filtering in that she was swimming with an invigorated sense of confidence. Gone was the crying, replaced instead by laughter and smiles.

I knew that I had to see it for myself.

I watched my little girl floating around the pool with Teacher Andrew, kicking her legs and moving her arms. I was amazed at how easily she held her breath when she was submerged and pushed towards the pool’s edge. I was thrilled every time she stood up and jumped to Andrew before they took a lap around the track.

I have never been so proud of my Emma as I was yesterday.

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This and That

Just a few of the items floating through the mental in-box of ALS Boy these past few days.

The San Francisco Giants converged on the White House today to celebrate last year’s World Series Championship with President Obama. No truth to the rumor that Brian Wilson’s Beard was forced to go through additional security screening before meeting the Commander in Chief.

Showtime is the new HBO, at least when it comes to programming series recordings on our DVR. Shows like Weeds, The Big C, and The Franchise, A Season with the SF Giants, summer tv never looked so good.

Happy Birthday to my mom. She would have been 65 today.

This is where I give a shout-out to all my friends and readers at 3M in Minnesota. Thank you for your support.

So happy to have my girls home after the weekend away.

Breaking News: Emma just pointed to the tv and said, “That’s Barack Obama,” as he spoke right now during his debt address.

This is where I throw NNN under the bus. Nani hated the movie Catfish. Nana merely disliked it. He kept waiting for it to start.

Have you seen the new Jack in the Box commercial for their Really Big Chicken Sandwich? They claim to serve it with meltING cheese. Somehow, I don’t believe that to be true.

There’s nothing cuter than hearing Emma say the word mortadella.

Finally, I have a question for you. Would you rather time travel back to the past or go into the future? Feel free to explain why in your answer.

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Just before getting (literally) pulled up out of bed this morning, I flashed back to the time when I saw the movie Amadeus at the Millbrae Theater. I don’t know if it was the time of the year that it was showing — either near Thanksgiving or Christmas — or maybe it was the fact that the audience was packed with “old people”, the one single memory I took with me from that in-theater experience is the moment the house lights came on at the end of the film, the entire auditorium reeked like turkey farts. Too many years have passed for me to recall seeing a bunch of “blue hairs” sleeping off the effects of tryptophan on their systems. All I have left in my mind’s nostril is the soury sweet smell of flatulence.

Well, my friends, that little stroll down the lighted aisle got me thinking about other interesting and unusual experiences I have had while at the movie theater. Then I figured what good are those memories in my head when it would be so much more fun to share them right here with you all!

I hope you enjoy reading about these good times half as much as I did making them.

When I was a wee lad, my dad and I were at the Tanforan theater concession stand ordering popcorns and Dr Peppers when I told the lady helping us that my dad knew Dr Pepper when he was an intern. (It was one of his go-to phrases at the time). Anyway, she shot the future Italian Man Servant a look that said, “what the heck are you in teaching this kid, Mister?” as she handed over the snacks to us.

Then there was the time when Animal House had just come out and John and Judy decided to bring their nine year old son along with them to the show. You know that scene where Pinto is wrestling with what to do about/to/with his passed out Toga party date and the little angel and devil appear on his shoulder? Well, I neither saw nor heard much of it because while my dad covered my ears, my mom shielded my eyes. It wasn’t until the film came on HBO the next year that I got to experience the scene as Douglas C Neidermeyer, Daniel Simpson Day and Senator Blutarski intended it to be seen.

I’m pretty sure that my friends Matt and Erin and I were taking in a matinee showing of Take This Job and Shove It and being the obnoxious adolescents we were, we smuggled a Pip Squirt pen into the theater. For those of you scratching your head and wondering what the heck a Pip Squirt pen is, imagine if you will a functioning pen that also doubles as a kick ass water gun. Well, one miniature water pistol plus a darkened theater filled with unsuspecting marks equals an afternoon of muffled giggles for three suburban troublemakers. Unfortunately, our day at target practice was over quickly after Matt scored a direct hit to the back of some guy’s head. This man was so steamed at whomever blasted him in the back of the melon that he threw down his bucket of popcorn and stormed out of the theater never to return.

And then there was the time when Matt, Erin and I saw Creepshow and three-quarters of the way through it, Matt and I heard the telltale sound of rushing liquid entering a wax paper beverage cup. Apparently, the prospect of missing even one minute of this riveting flick was too much for Erin to bear so he brought the toilet to his chair by peeing in his empty soda cup.

Back in the mid-eighties when Rocky IV was released to a rabid and largely jingoistic American public, I attended a showing on opening night at the newly constructed Century Theater in South San Francisco. I remember being elbow to elbow in the lobby with hundreds of other Rocky Balboa fight fans chomping at the bit to get seated for the big showdown with the Soviet monster Ivan Drago. The movie itself did not disappoint any of us in attendance as spontaneous chants of USA, USA, USA filled the rafters when the Italian Stallion emerged victorious.

And then there was that time when we saw Raising Arizona and my friend Roger accidentally dropped an unopened bottle of Coors from his coat and it rolled all the way down to the screen. Several folks snickered and guffawed. Never one to waste a perfectly good beer, Roger simply walked himself to the front of the theater and retrieved his brewski. More than several people politely applauded his effort.

I could fill a thousand pages with stories about my merry misadventures at the Burlingame Drive-Ins but for the sake of brevity, I’ll limit it to only two. One evening, a high school letterman jacket wearing friend and I were trying our hardest to stave off early onset glaucoma (if you know what I mean). Anyway, after our fourth trip to the snackbar in two hours, the woman working behind the counter said to us, “I want some of whatever Potsie is smoking!” Needless to say our polluted minds were blown by her intuitive mind power until we realized that Potsie’s name was written on the back of his coat.

The less I talk about the time I drove my Camaro over the center dividing line bumps in front of at least four police cruisers while leaving those very same drive-ins, the less embarrassed I’ll feel.

One evening in 2007, Fehmeen and I couldn’t decide on a movie to see so we opted to check out separate shows. She went with Chris Brown’s This Christmas and I saw Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey’s Enchanted. (What can I say, I like what I like!?!). Once the lights went down and I felt less self-conscious about being one of the only single viewer in an auditorium full of families, I got to enjoy one of my favorite films of all-time.

And finally, for the occasion of our first date, I took the future Mrs Picetti to a romantic dinner at Chili’s followed by the 7:45 showing of the history of surfing documentary Riding Giants. I was shocked to find out several weeks later that she absolutely hated it. Oh, the things you do for love.

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Spotify This

It seems like it’s been forever since I started touting Spotify as THE spot to hear music online. It’s like an on demand version of Pandora and Last FM. You can find practically any song you want to there by virtually every artist or group imaginable.

And finally, it’s available in America.

Click here to go to their page to get started.

No, I don’t know how long it takes for them to get you an invitation.

And yes, it’s worth joining!

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Skinning the Cat

Before you get crazy and call the fine folks over at PETA or at your local SPCA about the title of this post, keep in mind that I accompanied Emma (and Fehmeen) to her Junior Gym class yesterday.

Usually parents are required to sit behind the glass in the lobby in order to watch their kids tumble and jump, but since rules rarely apply to me, we were invited by Teacher Justin to check out class from inside the gym.

It’s an interesting experience to watch and listen to your kid interact with other kids and authority figures. It didn’t come as too big a surprise to see that Emma was definitely the most talkative student in class. She also led the group in requests for teacher assistance. Again, not really shocking.

Based upon what I saw, I think that she has the least amount of experience doing this kind of coordinated movement — balance beam crossing, parallel bar crab and bear walking, downhill ramp somersaulting, and even the aforementioned skinning of the cat on the lower uneven bar — compared with the other four kids in her class.

To his credit, Teacher Justin individualized tasks and routines for every student based upon their already acquired skills and areas that need improvement. Everyone had a good time practicing their moves on the various apparati — except for the little guy who decided against participating with the rest of the group and was asked to exit the gym until such a time when he had a change in attitude.

Apparently, he left the building not soon after departing the workout area, mumbling something about rotten orange slices and stale animal crackers.

The hour flew by like fifty minutes and as they filed into the lobby, each kid got a stamp for their hands. They were all excited to receive their little splotch of colored ink for the day and they left the premises happy and seemingly eager to return next week.

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Besides the wheelchair and the bed, the only other item in my possession that I could not live without is my brown, faux-leather recliner.

It is way more than just a piece of furniture to me.

I receive at least three hours of forced air via my BiPap every evening while seated in the reclined position. So what if it dries out the saliva on my tongue and the roof of my mouth!?! It’s worth it for the 180+ minute respite of being drool-free.

I have seen countless movies and endless episodes of Real Housewives (of OC, NY, ATL, NJ, DC, BH, and MIA) on that chair. Bonus points if you can identify at least one current cast member from every city/region listed above AND you lack a Y chromosome. You can do it, fellas.

(Please don’t let me be the only one with this particular skill set).

I get tube-fed five meals a day of 350 calorie per serving Boost there. It used to be six times a day but when all I got for my birthday were an assortment of muumuus and elastic waistbanded pants, I knew it was time to cut back.

I watched every inning of the Giants’ World Championship Playoff run of 2010 while my ass pressed down onto that seat cushion. Everyone knows where they were on November 1, 2010 when the Gigantes won it all, don’t they?!

And from the upright position is where I do all of my Eye Gazing.

So, can you see what I’m saying about my recliner and how important it is to me in our household?!?

Well, just this past Thursday, we found yet another way to utilize this incredibly versatile piece of furniture:

As a massage table.

Since the prospect of getting me on an actual massage table is comical at best and dangerous at worst, we made the decision for me to receive my first in-home, therapeutic massage in the comfortable confines of my beloved recliner.

Best decision ever.

To use the chair AND to book the masseuse.

It has been a long time since I’ve felt so relaxed. My arms, legs, chest, back, neck and head. All letting go and staying gone throughout the entire treatment.

It was definitely a rude awakening to open my eyes and have to have all the oil wiped off of my body and chair.

But not so much of a hassle that I’m not counting down the hours until my next session.




Thank you everyone for all the comments and good thoughts sent my way as a result of the Lost Mojo post. They were enthusiastically received and immediately taken to heart. I appreciate your support and I’ll do my best to not stay away so long in the future.

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Lost Mojo

I’d be lying if I came on here and told you that all is well with me.

It’s just this damn fatigue that’s keeping me down. I wake up after eight plus hours of sleep (2 hours down, 5 minutes up to get rolled over and suctioned, 1 hour down, 5 minutes up and so on throughout the night), a potty break, and a shower, and the first thing I want to do once I get that morning Boost (breakfast) into my belly is to close my eyes. They open and close sporadically through the last hour of the local news and whatever movie we happen to find that starts at or near nine o’clock. I reassess the situation about an hour and a half to two hours later and inevitably discover that my eyelids refuse to stay open.

Once I manage to get online with the eye gaze, the only thing I’m interested in doing is to passively look at pages. I have tried to write this post for the last four days but I crap out before I get very far. My mojo just ain’t flowing these days.

Like right now… I’ve been doing this for over an hour and I’m not really feeling it anymore. I’m not done with my thoughts but I’m over it for today.

I will publish this now so you know that I’m still alive and promise to continue tomorrow.

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