Suddenly…

 

 

 

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One of the most terrifying and fearsome things I’ve ever seen in my life just happened today. I was literally stopped in my tracks, not knowing what to do.

While walking down the sidewalk, with phone in hand, trying to livestream my walking adventure on the YouNow website (I just started that this month), suddenly I saw a dog, a German shepherd, run out from it’s owners yard and attack another person’s dog in the street. It wouldn’t let go of the others head, jaws clamped down like a vice. The other dog was kicking and yelping. Adults came rushing to the rescue, trying to pry the two apart. Kids were screaming. I stood there like a statue, staring at the scene, looking down at my livestream that I had since abandoned because it was too hard to see anything anyway.

One woman asked me to call 911, since I had my phone out and ready. I could have used my camera to film it and put online where it would definitely have gotten some attention, but thought not to since it wasn’t exactly something you would want to watch over and over again.

The German Shepherd eventually let go of the other smaller dog, which then ran off down the street, its owner chasing it down. I continued on my way, restarting my livestream, talking to my small audience about what just happened.

The Guy on the Train

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Good evening, everyone.

It’s been a great two day holiday in Wisconsin with Liz, Shaun, and Jace, but it’s time to go home now, back to normalcy, back to my usual 300 something day lifestyle. The cheese that is made right here in Wisconsin on the many farms simply out bests “regular” cheese by big name brands.

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With over four hours of Christmas music playing on YouTube that was projected via HDMI on the television, the lot of us opened up gifts and played some Apples to Apples (an updated version). Ate at the rustic Texas Roadhouse for dinner beforehand (where it is normal to drop your cracked peanut shells on the floor). I ordered a sirloin steak and grilled shrimp combo with Caesar Salad and mashed potatoes on the side, along with a frothy white margarita with a lime wedge on the edge.

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I’m on the Amtrak train now heading due northeast towards Michigan, this time sitting in the seat that is in the opposite direction the train is moving. It’s a peaceful journey through the Midwest, the choo choo sound of the train’s engine a great reminder of how trains are still a classic way to travel. The view outside my window is all dark now with the occasional train racing past in the opposite direction that my train is going. The air is cool in the compartment and the car gently rattles on the track. Riding the train has become one of my favorite ways to travel now, obliterating my idea that the travel method was all but obsolete compared to faster ways.

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There are 19 days left until Christmas and then all of this holiday bonanza and anticipation simply vanishes, the down spiraling crescendo often anticlimactic and underwhelming to say the least.

Discover: Analog Memories

I am in no way an expert at the social media game. To me, it is really too much at times.

Social media has consumed my life since I was about 16 years old. I didn’t always like social media because of the privacy and anonymity of life suddenly being frowned upon. Not joining the online party meant that you missed out on some really cool things so it was really important to get in on the know and not miss out. The Internet went from a place for academia and solitary fun to a sprawling landscape of attractions, i.e. became much more crazier and a place to be seen. The anniversary of the “Social Media boom” that happened around 2008 when all of these websites became essential components of the Internet is coming up. It was the web’s coming of age. It was my coming of age.

The world continues to shift from analog to digital, because everything is so much better that way. Pretty soon, analog will be a word that future kids will raise their eyebrows at. Analog clocks on walls have become increasingly rare with all of the digital devices around. Why look up at a clock now and figure out what the hands mean when you can look down at your phone or smartwatch and get the time (and weather) in an instant.

Polaroid cameras – I still remember them. Gran had one. They’re still around certain places and not at all embarrassing to still use because you’re considered a hipster then. The original “Instagram” Instamatic. The iconic square border and timely shot slowly coming into focus. The nostalgia is so apparent. That’s what digital photography doesn’t offer. The physical feeling in your hand. The shaking to get the picture to develop faster. Going from a dusty brown to crystal clear life. The Polaroid camera was invented by Edwin Land in 1943. It was the first instant camera. A bit clunky and cumbersome then but better than waiting a week for one picture to develop in a dark room.

The Polaroid company knew they had to venture into other realms and so new types of cameras came along, some without the classic instant picture film, some embracing social media and allowing you to directly upload your pictures to the Internet. Keeping tracks of our daily events is so much easier and organized now, but I do still love the classic photo album with the adhesive pages that make a distinct crackling sound.

The song “Hey Ya” by Outkast has a catchy section of “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” which became a short dance fad of 2003 and 2004.

The last time I used an analog camera, meaning one that had an actual roll of film in it, was about 5 years ago while on a vacation to Michigan City, Indiana. It was one of those one time use throw away cameras. That was the last time I went to one hour photo and had pictures developed and placed in a white envelope with the original film strip. Since then, it has become more and more easier to preserve my life with just a smartphone because everything I ever need is contained on there. One click shares these photos and videos with the appropriate social media outlets. Instagram is like the Polaroid picture of modern times. The window used for media even resembles a Polaroid instant picture. With the addition of likes and comments, your pictures have more meaning than when they were just lying around in a box or forgotten album.

Hello there #funny #cats

A post shared by Matthew Hammell (@matthysun) on

Humans are natural born timekeepers. We love to keep track of events and remember things for future generations. It’s a natural part of our DNA. We are storytellers through and through. Our lives are meant to remembered by others so that they have meaning and value. The more open minded we are about sharing our life with others, down to every little detail and thing we experience, the more connected and less isolated we feel.What’s the point of keeping it all to yourself if no one will witness it when you eventually take a ride out of here?

AnalogNatural, Open 

Kids in the Street

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We used to sing about the days

And the nights that went by too

All the stars that realigned

All the years that I’m with you

We were just kids on the block

Never caring who said what

And now here we are, a light blip away

From that miracle on the horizon

The sea that rocks and sways

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It’s All About Location

There is a secret of mine that has only been told once on the Internet, basically because I’m not into spreading it around like Donald Trump’s money. Here, I can speak my thoughts without feeling too concerned about what people will think of me. It’s kind of embarrassing, which is why it is best that I word it in a discrete way. Here I go again, pulling the dusty book off the shelf of numerous memories.

One day mom was putting fresh laundry away in my dresser when she yelled out my three names. I was out in the living room, in my boy scout uniform and getting ready to go to a meeting that night at the elementary school. I immediately looked to my room down the hall and mom putting clothes in my dresser. She had found my private stash. The one I begged no one to find. The dirty magazine collection along with other stuff I had collected over the last few months. I immediately ran out of the house and up the slide in the backyard, burying my head in my arms just like you see in the image above.

My curiosity about these things had been peaking at an all time high and I didn’t feel like there was anything wrong with it. I discovered my very first Playboy magazine in the cabinet of a computer desk at my uncle’s house. I remember him saying “Don’t look in there” in a kind of joking/serious tone, but of course that only added fuel to my fire. I secretly took the magazine, folded it up in a tube, stuffed it down my front pocket, concealed it under my shirt, and went into the bathroom. There, I started tearing out the pictures I liked the best, stuffing them in my pocket and discarding the magazine behind the toilet. When I went out, everyone was curious as to why I was in there so long. To this day, I still don’t think they ever put two and two together but I suspected it.

And so I brought those cut out pictures home and created a “private” collection of pleasurable things. But it didn’t stop there. I even hand drew a picture of a naked lady on a barstool from one of the magazine pictures, the one that was a real embarrassment for me when mom and dad found it and showed it to me later on. And since I had a minor crush on a girl my age who lived in the house in back of us, I wrote a very inappropriate poem about her, that got thrown away immediately by my mother. I am hoping against hope that the girl never was told about it. Because maybe that would explain why she ran away from me at my graduation ceremony, the first time I saw her in years.

The most embarrassing of this moment is when mom and dad sat me down one night and had “the talk”. Oh god. How I still remember dad and his drilling stare, mom looking very uncomfortable indeed. “He’s only 9 years old,” she said, wanting dad to back off and not be so harsh, back off on the hard pressing questions of what led me to this. When he showed me the picture of the lady I drew, I could hardly look at it, totally ashamed of myself.

The next day, my parents did a little more investigating. It all seemed to centered around that picture I drew, which was very well done I have to say. They asked me why I drew it. And so I made up an elaborate lie of saying a kid at the school, a big kid named Lance I thought was in the fifth grade and typecast as my ideal bully, forced me to draw it on the playground table or he would beat me up. Oh, wow. How stupid could I have been?

So my parents went over to the school and talked with the teachers, trying to hunt down this imaginary bully of mine. I was in the third grade at the time and this was way over my head and a number of the adults as well. I was kind of hoping they didn’t pick anyone out in particular, because that would only be more embarrassing for me and kind of weird to the suspected. No, they never did find anyone, and figured out I was lying through my teeth and asked why I lied. I couldn’t ever say, but it was my fear of telling them about my raging curiosity of the female anatomy.

The rest of the story involved mom and dad never wanting to speak of this incident ever again, eventually trashing the evidence just in time for my grandma to come over and have dinner.

The story still hasn’t been brought up again to this day, probably because it’s been forgotten, for the best. I’ll likely tell it to my own nine year old son when the same thing happens to him, unless he’s a little smarter than me of course and plans his secret a little better.

I think if I could go back in time and change something about this, I would choose a better hiding spot for the stash than in the dresser drawer. Maybe under my mattress or someplace less obvious. At least my third grade teacher didn’t see it.

Rewrite of Don’t Look In The Dresser!


Evasive Action

What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?

Not So Awesome Possum

0702Nearly two years ago, possums, yes possums, invaded my home. It was quite a ridiculous, and frightening, scene. I remember sitting in the living room, watching something on TV, when I looked over to my left and saw a furry creature just sitting there, its coal black eyes staring ahead, its long claws sticking out, its long pink tail similar to a mouse. If you’ve never seen a possum up close before, I must tell you that they are scary looking creatures, especially when they open their mouths, as the little meanie is doing in the picture above. Of course, they are cute in the cage, when you can tease them with pieces of grass and straw, being careful not to get too close.

After one of them got its fur chemically washed away with some WD-40, looking like a naked mole-rat or weasel, I don’t think any of the others will be coming by in the future, which is a good thing. A bunch of them were living under the house, the momma hiding under there, too big to get out, while her babies went to the surface to fetch some food. They were all flushed out when the exterminator came by. I don’t think they were killed but caught and released into the wild somewhere far away.

I must have spent hours trying to get one of those pests out of my closet with a broom, standing on my swivel computer chair in fear of it jumping out and biting me. Then it was clinging to a shirt in my closet, the little devil, so I batted it off with the broom, it scurrying out of the room while I quickly hopped back on the chair, never so scared in my life – I’d never had a live rodent invade my domicile before.

They thought they could just come in here and get anything they wanted to eat, Well, they were wrong…way wrong. I think most of the possum population knows that my place is pretty possum proof (alliteration) now and that WD-40 is very bad for them.

There still are some cages from that awful summer invasion in the shed that were used to trap the rodents with cheese, ham, and other pieces of food. Now it’s just a memory. A hilarious memory.

Never Again

Cards Against Humanity

Returning to a racous night

The laughs were coming fast

The most absurd combinations

Disturbing images to last

If I could return to that night

Well, I can’t say it would be the most tranquil

The many offensive, stupid matchups

From bumbling idiots on fire

To presidents popping the pill

This isn’t your normal card game

This has got a little extra spice

So think twice before you play this game

Unless you don’t mind hearing things

That aren’t exactly nice


If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?