Archive for the ‘Ask the Audience’ Category

This poll was supposed to accompany my post from earlier today but when I published it, I noticed that option two in the answer section was no longer there where I had placed it not five minutes prior.  Rather than waste time with silly tasks like proofreading and double checking, I prefer to live like I’m dying and dive blindly into potentially piranha infested waters.  Since we were running late for an appointment at UCSF, instead of fixing it right then and there, my only feasible option given our tight time constraints was to delete the thing.

Now that we’re home from the City and I have a little more time at my disposal, I can recreate the missing poll in this entry.  Once you see the three possible choices you will understand why I had to pull the plug earlier this morning.

Oh yeah, please vote.


Read Full Post »

On Air: Hello there all of you commuting teachers and napping babies, welcome home, and it’s sure good to have you here with us today on the 50,000 watt flamethrower KJJP 109.9 FM.  For your listening pleasure this evening, DJ iGaze is going to play back to back to back to back to back hits that you want to hear — as well as a few that I think you should hear — for at least the next ten to twelve minutes without commercial interruption or annoying emergency broadcast system testing sounders.  So kick back and relax or get up and dance to the music that moves you, right here and now on the DJ iGaze show, only on KJJP.  Up next is the one and only Bwuno Mahhs with Just the Way You Are.

Cue Music

Off Air: Once or twice a week I like to play music on my Dynavox for my two little ladies.  Because the speaking software sucks up so much of the available memory, I am unable to run iTunes (without slowing the whole system down) or Youtube (choppy video and audio quality).  I have had to resort to typing in an artist’s or band’s name into Google and playing any number of the four songs that pop up as a result of that action.  The biggest issue my only two listeners have with this particular method of tune-gathering is that most of the songs are only a minute and a half sampler of the actual tune. Just about the time the party gets started on the dance floor, the music stops and DJ iGaze has to go searching for the next ninety second cut.

My question to you is this:  Is there anywhere I can go online to find pop music from today that is available for me to stream and play on demand?  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Gracias.

** Poll deleted due to it being a lame question and for its general lack of interest as evidenced by only getting three votes.  I didn’t intend for it to come off as weird and creepy.  I just thought it would be funny.  Future polls will be better, I promise.  Sorry.  JP **

Cousin Nicole and me during a family gathering during the 70s

The two cousins cutting the rug at Uncle Mike and Aunt Nancy's wedding. Our Grandma Marie is wearing the floral design and Aunt Nellie (Nicole's mom) is in pink.

Read Full Post »

Thank you for your kind words of support in the comments section of my latest blog entry.  I appreciate the fact that people even come by here at all, much less take the time and effort to write such thoughtful sentiments, I can only express my gratitude by saying thanks.  So thanks.

In terms of the coughing, it is still annoying and fairly persistent but this morning I had the daughter of the mother of all sneezing episodes and once it passed, I had Lhito jam the suction machine down my throat and hoover up the excess phlegm that risen to the surface following the fast and furious flurry of sneezes.   The end result:  I am feeling a little bit better.

Quick announcement:  Due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, this week’s Thursday Afternoon Movie Club meeting is cancelled.  We will return to the theater on Thursday, January 13, 2011.

Poll Question of the Day:  Which kind of person are you?

Scans of the Day:  Here are a couple of photos from my very own toddlerhood back in 1969.

Read Full Post »

The Twelve Game

Staring at the illuminated digital numbers on my alarm clock, I had an interesting thought.

What if, instead of digits zero through nine, there were capital letters.

Not every letter would be available to use, however.  Only ones that could be legibly re-created on a standard nightstand digital alarm clock are eligible.  For example, an E would be acceptable while an N would not be.

Here is the list of letters that qualify:

A  C  E  F  H  I  J  L  O  P  S  U

Once I had squared away the upper case participants, my brain began making words out of those twelve letters.  I came up with a few:


Now I challenge you, my esteemed and literate readership, to find some more words and phrases using only the dozen letters listed above (as well as below).  Text-speak, slang, and all manner of creative spelling is acceptable to use for purposes of this friendly little competition.  Please post your answers as comments.

Good luck and happy spelling.

A  C  E  F  H  I  J  L  O  P  S  U

Read Full Post »

Considering that I am living with a terminal illness, I have decided to make a list of ten  famous people who I would like to meet before the Great Delicatessen  in the Sky calls my number.  I am leaving it up to you, the esteemed readers of my ALS  Boy blog — with your personal and/or  friend-of-a-friend-type connections — to help me make the acquaintance of the talented folks who populate this list.  Feel free to forward this url to anyone you know who could make this happen for me.  I thank you in advance for your assistance.
*     *     *     *     *     *    *    *    *    *    *
Please note that the order of the list is completely arbitrary and in no way, shape or form indicative of my personal preference.  If you find yourself on this list, please know that you are numero uno in my heart regardless of your relative position below.

1. David Letterman I have been a fan of David Letterman’s shows since high school.   I used to enjoy watching him make fun of his more prickly guests without them really knowing he was putting them down.   Even more than that though I would love to see him be completely sweet and nice to guests like Teri Garr.  I have even had the privilege of attending a pair of tapings at the Ed Sullivan Theater in NYC.   Comedian Brett Butler and singer Al Green appeared the first time I visited and Samuel L Jackson was there the last time we were in town.   It has been a perpetual dream of mine to be interviewed by Dave for the show and then have the opportunity to jam with the band when we were done chatting.

2. Tom Waits Mr Waits didn’t become my all-time favorite songwriter and recording artist until I saw the movie Smoke in 1996.  Just one listen to the song entitled Innocent When You Dream (the tune that plays over Augie Wren’s Christmas Story montage at the end of the film) and my life and cd collection changed forevermore.  I spent the next six months after viewing the film purchasing his entire back catalog and I waited with eager anticipation for each new release from the album Mule Variations onward.  I whiffed on getting tickets for his show at the Paramount Theater in Oakland the only time that he performed live in the Bay Area but I did manage to first hear and then see him one afternoon at AT & T Park in San Francisco.  The Giants had just finished playing the Pirates and as my parents and I were exiting through one of the stadium’s doors we heard Tom’s distinctive gravelly voice several feet away saying, “Hey, quit hitting me with that bat!”  As my dad and I turned around to where his voice was coming from, we saw what we assume was Tom’s son playfully smacking his old man with one of the plastic souvenir bats that had been given away earlier in the day.  Not quite as cool as seeing him play live but I’ll take it just the same.  Also, congratulations to Tom on his recent election to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

3. Larry David Larry David is on this list for a couple of reasons.  First, I am a fan of his shows Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.  They are that rare breed of television program that you can begin watching at any point during the thirty minutes that they are on and you will still be amused and entertained every time.  Second, and most importantly, it would be one of the highlights of my life to bear witness to the meeting between Mr David and my dad.  The two men share an overall curmudgeonly attitude as well as an almost preternatural knack for soliciting confrontation with everyone they encounter.  While my dad is a good deal shorter, a few hairs balder, and infinitely less famous, this pair could easily have been separated at birth.

4. Nicolas Cage I believe the first time that someone told me I looked like Nicolas Cage was while waiting in line for a ride at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk when I was back in high school in the mid to late eighties.  Even to this day, not a month goes by where somebody doesn’t tell me that I look like Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew.  In terms of his performances in films over the years, I list Raising Arizona, Wild at Heart, Adaptation, and Kick Ass as movies that I rank in the pantheon of personal favorites of all time.  And considering the fact that Mr Cage is a fellow comic book nerd, the conversation should flow quite nicely from his being my celebrity doppelganger to that of graphic novels we have loved throughout the years and what superpower would we want and why.

5. Scarlett Johansson I have enjoyed Ms Johansson’s career in the movies for almost a decade now.  Amongst my favorites of her starring roles are the films Ghost World, Lost in Translation, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and In Good Company.  While her body of work is both prolific and impressive, I am most smitten by the fact that she had the chutzpah and guts to record and release an entire album of Tom Waits cover songs.  In addition to that disc, she also collaborated with Pete Yorn on a highly underrated recording of original tunes.

6. Kathy Griffin Even though I am most likely one of her only heterosexual male fans in the country, I secretly get all giddy inside whenever one of her shows magically appears on our DVR.  Kathy Griffin loves to talk smack about major celebrities so much so that the overwhelming reason for meeting her in person is for me to have a front row seat for the ensuing conversation between Ms Griffin, Fehmeen, Farah and Alia (Fehmeen’s sisters), Maheen and Iqbal (Fehmeen’s parents), and Emma.  Not only would that discussion be boisterous, obnoxious, and freaking hilarious beyond description, I can already imagine my mother-in-law Maheen asking Kathy repeatedly about what the hell a D-list is.

7. Erik Per Sullivan I was a big fan of the television program Malcolm in the Middle during its first few seasons but that is not the only reason why Mr Sullivan appears on this list.  It was about halfway through my first year as a middle school math teacher when I happened upon this picture (to the left) in an Entertainment Weekly magazine.  I removed the full-page Got Milk advertisement from the pages of the weekly periodical and thumb-tacked it to the wall of my classroom.  Not two hours after it went up did one of my students say (in an intercepted note) that I was boring.  I nearly exploded with rage.  You can call me any name in the book but never accuse me of being boring.  The very next day I placed a word balloon (like one you’d find in a comic book) to the right of the picture on my wall that had the following words written inside:  Mr Picetti is NOT boring!!  My students thought that the sight of the big-earred kid named Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle sporting a chocolate milk mustache saying their math teacher wasn’t boring was just about the funniest thing they had ever seen.  In what was the single greatest decision of my teaching career, I put a new word balloon with a new humorous observation or one-liner up every day after that for the rest of the year.  The Daily Dewey became the signature accoutrement of my classroom for the next seven years and aside from my brilliant teaching of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade math, it is the one thing that every single student I have ever taught remembers to this day.

8. Regina Spektor Although I arrived rather late to the Regina Spektor party, I have emphatically made up for lost time.  Upon receiving her 2009 album Far as a gift from my acupuncturist for my birthday in April 2010, I must have listened to that disc every day on my faux-leather recliner with my headphones on for three months straight.  I then went and purchased her 2006 Begin to Hope album.  That disc also spent three consecutive months in my ears.  Of the twenty-five tracks on those two records, each song is like an audible work of art or a painting come to life or an exotic blend of lyrics and music distilled to perfection and simmered over low heat.  There is that dizzying solo section in Two Birds, that swimming under water feeling in the chorus of Genius Next Door, the alternating lyrical whimsy and wisdom of On the Radio, and even the sound of the keys being pressed and released on the saxophone that is playing at the end of Lady that I look forward to hearing every time I give those tunes a listen.  While individually these songs are incredible achievements in the areas of performance and songwriting, collectively there exists an overarching standard in regards to production and attention to detail that is above and beyond anything I have ever heard before.  The result of this flawless marriage between artistry and aesthetics inspires and challenges me to demand more of myself as a creative thinker and a writer.

9. My Future Book Publisher

Popular school teacher with a baby on the way gets diagnosed with a terminal disease and writes an inspirational blog under the name of ALS Boy.  Everyone around here knows the story, and now, with your guidance and expertise, we can bring this occasionally heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious, and always heartwarming tale of my life (so far) to a worldwide book-buying audience.  I’ve got several chapters already completed, as well as an entire, detailed outline.  You can contact me through Facebook, via e-mail (jasonp110@yahoo.com), or by posting a comment below. 

10. Willie Nelson I have always had an inexplicable affinity for the music of Willie Nelson.  Sure, my dad used to play his records for me all the time when I was growing up, but my love for Willie’s songs seemed to run deeper than through my ears and into my brain.  It almost felt as if I was connected to the music on a cellular level.  And although it wasn’t necessarily one of those burning questions as to why that was, it has always bugged me a little.  Then I discovered the answer.  Apparently, at some point in time several months before my birth, my mom attended a Willie Nelson show with my dad while she was pregnant with me.  While I can’t say I remember any details from that particular performance, I do know with one hundred percent certainty that I was imbued that fateful night with the indomitable spirit of Willie’s music.  I also think it would be cool to lament the loss of California’s Prop 19 while eating lots of outside food with him.

11-14. The Wiggles I realize that this list was only supposed to go to ten but what kind of father would I be if I didn’t include something for Emma.  My daughter has been a fan of The Wiggles since the moment she could see and hear.  Together as a family, we have listened to their music and watched their dvd’s so many times that we all know every single word to each and every song by heart.  And speaking only for Emma and myself, we absolutely love it.   

Major props for making it all the way to the end of my list.  I have been drafting it for a very long time and I can’t believe that it is finally going to be published.  It seemed like only yesterday when my friend Robin helped me type the introduction and we accidentally hit a key and the entire paragraph went irreparably into italics.  She offered to retype it but its inclusion adds a little character to the post.

I appreciate your reading my blog and putting it out there for me.  Thank you.

Read Full Post »

ALS Boy Needs Your Help

Lately I have been losing the battle in my mind over the control of my body.

Granted, there ain’t much going on in terms of get-up-and-go these days with me being a quadriplegic and all but that is not what I’m talking about.

The issue is with my inability to get a handle on the way my legs go stiff and are unable to bend no matter how much coaching and coaxing anybody does to calm my frayed nerves and nerve-endings down.

I try to tell myself to relax and I even attempt to conjure up soothing mental pictures but I don’t get very far before an inescapable and overwhelming feeling of panic sets in and renders me more immobile than before I started the whole charade.

I am completely open to any suggestions you may have to help me get past this wall that I have erected (he he) in my mind.  Please tell me the secrets of creative visualization and meditation techniques and anything else that you may have stashed away in your personal toolbox in regards to what you use in order to get yourself into a better headspace.

Bonus points and my eternal, unending gratitude if you actually come over to the house and teach me those techniques in person.

Read Full Post »

Your Last Supper

Hypothetically speaking, you are on death row, hours away from execution, and you are entitled to one final meal request.

The sky’s the limit on the menu of your personal last supper so don’t hold back.  There is no need to sweat the small details like food allergies, excessive calories, and any possible concerns of coming down with gout.

Personally, I would begin with the warm bread salad from Jardiniere (a restaurant in San Francisco).  Then I’d move on to a half-dozen Home Maid raviolis with meat sauce.  For my entree, while prime rib and veal parmigiana are serious contenders, I would have to go with a grilled chicken burrito from La Cumbre (world’s best taqueria in San Mateo).  My beverage of choice would be an ice-cold Dr Pepper in a Coca-Cola glass (just to be difficult).  Finally, for dessert, a single scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be the perfect topper to the perfect meal.

Now that I’ve shared with you my last supper, I’m dying (still on death row) to see your final meal requests.  Happy commenting!

*This post was inspired by a family conversation started by my sister-in-law Alia.  I hope this oversight isn’t the start of our big fight.  🙂

Read Full Post »

Process Check

While we have already received quite a few excellent questions for Emma during the past couple days, I have a feeling that there are many more out there.

I realize that it takes a little time to formulate THE perfect question for our resident child genius and I can completely appreciate the effort.  I just ask you that when you are done you send them on to Emma’s email account at askemmabug@gmail.com  .

To show you my gratitude for your participation in this project, I present to you a picture that was taken last evening as we watched our family’s favorite movie — Beverly Hills Chihuahua — for at least the fiftieth time.  Thanks in advance for your questions for Emma.

Jason, Emma, and Mary

* The phrase “Process Check” used courtesy of Jerry Traynor

Read Full Post »

Como Se Dice

I realize that I may be about ten months late for this post to be considered topical in a “that’s what people are talking about at this moment in time” sense but it didn’t begin to bother me until a little while ago.  It may not be that big a deal to anyone other than me but I still want to know what the pulse of the people is regarding the following question:

How do YOU pronounce the year 2010?

Do you say two thousand ten or do you say twenty ten?

Personally speaking, if I was still able to talk I would go with the twenty ten style of pronunciation.  I didn’t say one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven when it was nineteen ninety seven but then again I also didn’t say twenty oh nine when it was two thousand nine either. I just think it makes more sense to go with twenty ten for the sake of keeping it consistent with the way we’ve pronounced it for the previous ninety decades or so prior to the last ten ought years.

How do you say 2010?  Please vote the poll below and provide commentary if you so desire.

Read Full Post »

Every so often, when the mood strikes, I like to look within myself and ask aloud those questions that have found their way to the forefront of my mind.  Instead of being rhetorical in nature, I am soliciting your participation in the form of an actual answer to any or all of my current queries and navel-gazing observations.  Thanks in advance for your help in this matter.

Why does Volkswagen have such odd sounding names for their car models?  I realize that names like Barracuda and Mustang were already taken but Routan and Toaureg?  C’mon man!

Speaking of those cars, why do people play that Punch Dub game every time they see a VW on the road?  Better yet, is this a real game or is it a made-up one created as a television marketing tool?  My friends and I used to hit each other when we caught a glimpse of an out-of-state license plate but never for a particular vehicle.

Why did I wake-up with a hair-do similar to that of bowling champion Big Ern  McCracken from the movie Kingpin? 

Why would anybody choose to watch a full-length feature film on the screen of their smart phone? That’s not even considering how crappy the sound would be and all.

Why do I have that old Orleans song Still the One running through my head right now?  We’re still having fun and you’re still the one.

How fun has it been watching the San Francisco Giants this season? More specifically, how many shades of awesome has September baseball been?

Conversely, why have the 49ers started off the year so blankety blank blank blank?  At least my fantasy team, the SituJason, got off the snide this week with our first win.

Why are you singing Still the One right now? Could be worse, I could have said It’s a small world after all.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »