(Wrote this for my Facebook last night and figured I’d share it here as well)
Guess what. I’m a liberal. And I’m not even remotely ashamed of it. Why should I be?
Do I love this country? Not blindly. I love what we’re supposed to be, but we haven’t achieved yet. And conversely I’m disgusted by what 9-11 turned us into.
We’re paranoid. We take jabs at each other without listening. I don’t think either side, politically, has much respect for the other anymore. We’re all just standing around pointing fingers at each other, distracted while our government goes rogue.
And I think we forget, on the Internet, on the big scale, that we’re all just people, mostly good. Never perfect. If we stop shouting at each other we might learn something useful.
We’re supposed to be the good guys, we’re supposed to live to a moral ideal, yet we’ve killed countless innocents in senseless wars while burying our heads in the sand.
Do I blame soldiers for that? Hell no. Do I blame us for not paying attention? Somewhat.
Blind flag waving scares me. Blind support of our military scares me too. Not the soldiers, but the Pentagon. The people telling soldiers to fire missiles at other countries because our targeting is so great that surely no civilians will be harmed.
What we hear is often so far from the truth its sickening. And it’s easier to believe the lies than to admit that we’ve lost our moral high ground. That we’re not what we’re supposed to be.
We need to have calm rational discussions, to look at what science and the rest of the world is telling us. To realize we’re all equal. There’s no difference between one person or another, anywhere on the globe.
Is creating a safe world where that can happen unrealistic? Perhaps.
But it’s worth striving for.
That’s why I’m a liberal.
Should I pack up and leave this country because I don’t love the flag? Guess what, it’s MY FLAG TOO. And it’s MY COUNTRY TOO.
Just so you know, I’m so bad at growing plants that I’ve actually killed a philodendron before – a houseplant that is so hearty you almost have to willfully try to put it out of its misery.
Not that I was trying to kill it. These things just sort of happen.
The only things I’ve been consistently good at growing are cats and despite my black thumb, catnip.
That said, I decided to once again try my hand at growing some vegetables on my patio this year. Poor plants.
This year, though, I’m hopeful – mainly because I actually asked the nice garden gal at Fred Meyer’s for advice and LISTENTED to her.
So we’ll see if this works.
First off, she told me to get bigger pots than I had been. So I guess I wasn’t giving them enough root room in the past.
Then she told me to use any kind of dirt that was on sale, because it didn’t matter. The main thing is the plant food.
This stuff called “Osmocote” – apparently it’s the shizz. And as a bonus – you toss a spoonfull of the stuff on top of the dirt around the plant once, then leave it and it takes care of business for four months.
Then I picked some plants.
First I chose a couple catmint – which is supposed to be like catnip except it hasn’t really passed the sniff test for my cats (Tao and Zoo) so far. But hey, catnip is the only successful thing I’ve grown so far, so what the heck, right?
Second, I asked her the million dollar question: “What can survive me?”
For patio gardening, she said something called “bush vegetables” are key, because they survive container gardening very well. I picked Baby Bush Zucchini and Bush Cucumber.
I also picked a couple types of small tomato plants: Juliet Grape and Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes. She said the smaller tomatoes do just fine in containers and they’ll produce well into October.
And I picked an Italian Roaster Pepper – she said all the pepper plants do well in containers.
And finally I picked a Green Globe Artichoke, which needed a mondo massive pot and won’t produce anything but flowers in the first year, she said. I guess you can grill the flowers, though, and they’re tasty.
The artichoke plant and perhaps the catnip are the only ones that will survive the winter. And next year I should have artichokes growing on that sucker, if by chance it survives.
So, all that done, planted, and set up on my patio now, I figured I’d do a photo section, chronicling their growth (or possibly, their early demise).
Wish me luck, kids! Cheers!
Day 1: 5/4/2013
Day 2: 5/5/2013
Day 3: 5/6/2013
Hmm…. What do you think folks? Should I give them names? Any suggestions?
Day 4: 5/7/2013
Day 5: 5/8/2013
Day 6: 5/9/2013
So I got a little advice this week from a friend. She said watering in the morning is way better than watering at night. Helps keep the plants from getting too sun fried in the daytime.
She also said strawberries do OK on patios and are pretty easy to set up. That might be next!
Day 7: 5/10/2013
Day 8: 5/11/2013
Added some new friends to the mix today.
Got a strawberry plant, which the gal told me should last for years. Just need to keep it near the house and relatively unfrozen in winter months. They like to vine, so I’m going to try to encourage it to wind around my patio grate.
Also got some herbs. The herbs aren’t as picky about space – the gal (it was the same one as last week) said they’ll grow to whatever size your planter is.
I got another catnip, because my cats have absolutely NO interest in the catmint (although apparently you can make tea with it so it’s not completely useless). I also got peppermint, Italian parsley and basil plants and some kale.
I wanted just one kale, but they only came in five-packs, so now I have five of them growing. Should make for some good salads, at least.
Day 9: 5/12/2013
Day 10: 5/13/2013
I’m noticing that my tomato plants are starting to look way bigger than just a week and a half ago. So are the bush plants.
Keep up the good work, little plants!!!
Day 11: 5/14/2013
See what happens when you spend too much time on the computer?
Call me a SouthLAnd convert.
TNT’s cop show about Los Angeles police officers and detectives is fast-paced, well-written, fascinating and has an unusually live feel about it – even if the stories are fictional.
The show’s now in its fourth year, although I just came across it in no small part because I learned that one of my favorite actors, C. Thomas Howell, has a role in it.
And like most things that I get hooked on, I found out he was in the show by talking to him on Twitter.
I first remember Howell from way back in the dark ages, when I was in junior high school. He played Pony Boy in the Outsiders, ended up as a teen idol and pictures of him were spread across many a notebook, including a few of my own.
I also remember him in Red Dawn and The Hitcher, but after that he sort of popped off my radar until he appeared on Criminal Minds as The Reaper, which most fans agree was the best bad guy on the show … pretty much ever.
The Reaper is a serial killer psychopath who terrorizes the city of Boston, my homeland, and our beloved BAU team over the course of several episodes. He’s a far cry from Pony Boy and Howell brings him to life in a wonderfully creepy and nuanced way.
A couple years ago I remember introducing a friend of mine to the Criminal Minds Reaper episodes and, after I told her about my junior high crush – she already knew I had a thing for Thomas Gibson’s Hotch – she looked at me when the two characters were fighting and said “this is hard for you, isn’t it?”
Hard and great all at the same time.
And apparently the two of them beat the heck out of each other during filming.
Anyway, about a month ago the Criminal Minds fans on Twitter told me that Howell had an account, so I started Tweeting at him.
To my surprise, he’s actually been very responsive. He’s nice to his fans, posts a good amount of behind the scenes pictures and the guy’s pretty damned funny to boot.
And after hearing him talk about his role on SouthLAnd I decided to check it out. And I pretty much devoured the first three seasons in about two weeks.
I guess I liked it.
The show’s great. I find myself looking forward to the action and the character development almost as much as I do for new episodes of Criminal Minds.
And that’s not just cause Howell is on it – although I love his character, Officer Dewey Dudek.
Actors Michael Cudlitz, Regina King, Ben McKenzie, Shawn Hatosy and others bring to life multi-faceted cops learning on the job and struggling with things like drug addiction, death and betrayal.
It can be very serious at times.
And then there’s Howell’s Dewey. He’s hilarious, completely inappropriate, struggling with some issues of his own and as Cudlitz’ character calls him “an acquired taste.”
Howell was meant for this role. He pulls it off so well he has fans rolling around laughing every week he’s on there.
But he’s not just comic relief. There are subtleties in Howell’s portrayal that indicate there’s more to Dewey – and I hope the show gives Howell a bigger role and lets him look more deeply into the character’s quirky soul.
Right now, he’s just on sporadically. If TNT is smart, they’ll make him a regular cast member and give him more screen time.
Folks I talk to out there in the Internet world just love watching him.
Which brings me back to the Twitter thing.
Howell’s fairly new to it, but he’s picked it up fast and he’s been a great ambassador for the show.
He and other cast members have been Tweeting to fans during the first few episodes this season, and we’re loving it.
It reminds me of what the Criminal Minds Twitterverse was like when the actors on that show were on the service more often.
I hope Howell and the other actors keep hanging out with us fans of SouthLAnd.
Here’s a list if you want to follow along:
C. Thomas Howell, @cthomashowell
Michael Cudlitz, @cudlitz
Regina King, @reginaking
Ben McKenzie, @ben_mckenzie
Shawn Hatosy, @shawnhatosy
(I also have a curated list here: explodingegg/southland/)
As I was writing this I went looking for some clips on YouTube of Dewey, and I came across this video – which is one of those fan videos to music – but it’s pretty cool so I thought I’d share it:
Do yourself a favor and check out the show at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays on TNT. And while your at it, feel free to nag TNT’s show account @Southland_TNT and tell them we want #MoreDewey on #Southland!
P.S. I built a Twitter FAQ site to go with Howell’s profile. Check it out: http://cthomashowell.info/
So I have this habit of asking everybody I come across to tell me their favorite dinosaur. I’ve even gotten a couple of famous folks to answer me.
I figured I’d do a post that I’ll keep updating whenever I get a new response.
Here’s what I have so far:
Michael Rooker (Actor, replied during a phone interview): “Megalodon’s a good one. That’s always very impressive. When you go to the science museum and you walk through that huge mouth. It’s impressive.” (Megalodon actually popped up after the dinosaurs – from 28 million to 1.5 million years ago – but sharks have been around for 450 million years so I’m gonna let him run with it. He also told me he’s fond of giant sloths and saber tooth tigers, which lived 33 million to 9,000 years ago.)
C. Thomas Howell (Actor, replied on Twitter): “I’m going with the Pteranodon to answer your question! ;)”
Thomas Gibson (Actor, replied on Twitter): “It would be a toss up between the adorable Micropachycephalosaurus, or, of course, the Bambiraptor…not kidding!”
Joe Mantegna (Actor, replied in a Criminal Minds chat): “David Rossi….T Rex….what else!”
Jason O’Mara (Actor, replied on Twitter): “That was a ‘Nykoaptor’ My fave : ) RT
@explodingegg: @jason_omara You gonna make good on telling us what your favorite dinosaur is tonight?” (Nykoraptor actually isn’t a real dinosaur. It’s a created dino on the show Terra Nova)
Mercedes Rose (Actor, replied in person while filming Black Eyed Kids film): “Is velociraptor really one? Those would be my favorites because they’re really scary.”
Haunted Sunshine Girl (real name withheld due to stalker issues) (Actor, replied in person while filming Black Eyed Kids film): “What are those ones with the armored heads and that shovel tail? I think they’re really cool. Their heads are really square looking.” (I’m thinking she means Euoplocephus)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Actor, replied on Twitter): “I’m gonna go with Triceratops.”
Michael Cudlitz (Actor, replied on Twitter): “GINKO. (tree)” (technically not a dinosaur, but I’m gonna let him run with it.)
Brian Dietzen (Actor, replied on Twitter): “I’m gonna go with my son’s favorite, T-Rex, and my favorite, plesiosaur. (Love the Loch Ness Monster!)”
Darren Dalton (Actor, replied on Twitter): “I’d have to go with the Postosuchus. Badass of his time! Bring it on, T-Rex!!!”
Rick Dunkle (Writer, replied on Twitter): “Brontosaurus!”
Ed Asner (Actor, replied on in a phone interview with me): “How can you resist Tyrannosaurus Rex? I’m also intrigued by Triceratops. I’d like to see how he’d (T. rex would) survive (trying to eat) a triceratops. They have a lot of plating.”
Mikhael Ricks (NFL Tight End/Wide Receiver 1998-2004, replied on Twitter to a request by my friend @LouisahT): “Stegosaurus.”
Dayne Johnson (Makeup Artist, Makeup Department Head, Criminal Minds): “Since joe has the T rex, ill go with my second favorite.. Triceratops.”
Tom Arnold (Actor, comedian, replied on Twitter): “T-Rex because they found true happiness in their 4th marriages.”
Looks like there’s more cool dinosaur information on this Tumblr, but I can’t vouch for whether the answers are real or not: http://whatsyourfavoritedinosaur.tumblr.com/
I think if space aliens found their way to Earth even they might already know that I am absolutely obsessed with dinosaurs – real ones, CGI ones, cartoon ones, movie ones, TV show ones.
And now Fox has now given me a new form of Dinosaur crack cocaine, making this obsession much, much worse.
It comes in the form of a new show called Terra Nova. And can I just say OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG Dinosaurs (gasp)!!!!!
All spazzing aside, this show, which has a 13-episode run this fall, is great. It follows the lives of a family from 2149, a time when global climate change, air pollution and overpopulation have pretty much ruined everything for all but the super rich.
The escape hatch, for the lucky ones, is a gateway-wormhole type thing that periodically opens into an alternate timeline in Earth’s history. Those that go through find themselves in a world from 85 million years ago, when big Cretaceous dinosaurs were roaming around eating things, like our mammalian human ancestors who were most likely scurrying around underfoot as mice-like creatures.
So in the show this family of five – which has more kids than is legally allowed in 2149 – manages to escape into the Dinosaur-filled world to start anew in the colony of Terra Nova.
It’s early yet, but the three episodes so far have had quite a bit of cool dinosaur action. Including the youngest member of the Shannon family feeding a brontosaurus, flying bat-like dinosaurs dive-bombing colonists and even full-on human-chomping dinosaurs snacking on a few unlucky security dudes.
The show is filmed in Australia, and wrapped up the 13th episode recently. But it seems to be getting decent traction and I hope it gets renewed for next fall.
I’d also just about fall over in glee if it had a guest appearance by Kiwi actor Sam Neill, one of my favorites for a long time, who starred in the Jurassic Park films – well, the two good ones, anyway.
I’m also digging the cast, crew and writers use of new media. Jason O’Mara, who stars as Jim Shannon, has a cool series of his own cast interviews on his Web site at jasonomara.com.
His tough-guy cop with a bit of a past character on the show is very cool to watch. And the Tomboy in me loves the ooh-rah attitude of Shannon and Commander Taylor (played by Avatar’s Stephen Lang) as they battle an endless stream of tough dinos and splinter-group rebels.
Some of the cast, several writers and the director are also active on Twitter and have been great about responding to fan questions on there.
If you want to follow them, I’m curating a list through my Twitter at: explodingegg/terra-nova
And if you’d like to get caught up with the show, you can watch all the episodes for free online here on Fox: www.fox.com/terranova/full-episodes/1389223/
If you’re into dinosaurs, or just good science fiction action, you should definitely give it a go. After three episodes, I’m completely hooked.
So, before Season 7 started, two strange characters appeared in the Twitter universe. These guys, @HotchRazor and @HotchBeard, are completely focused on Thomas Gibson’s (or is it Aaron Hotchner’s) shaving habits. After much thought, well, OK, more like a few beers too many, I decided I needed to interview them.
Fortunately, they were both willing. So here, then, is the Explodingegg EXCLUSIVE interview with Beard and Razor:
EGG: So, you two have been roaming around Twitter now for almost a month. Where did you come from and why?
HotchBeard: I come from Thomas Gibson’s face. Razor keeps shaving me off, but my hairs and follicles are all made from the same genetic code, so it was just a matter of gathering all my parts together, becoming sentient, buying a computer and setting up an account. Simple!
HotchRazor: I was head hunted in London during a recent visit, being brought in to replace the previous incumbent of the job who simply did not come up to scratch, scratch being the issue in question. The Boss Man (Editor’s note: This is apparently Razor’s name for Gibson) needing someone he could rely on to get the job done smoothly and effectively and who could second guess his needs with minimum fuss. As always with a job like this, one needs to stay in constant touch with modern technology, Twitter IS the modern age.
EGG: But who are you guys, I mean really? Who ARE you?
HotchBeard: Is this, like, an existential question? Um. I guess my answer is 42.
HotchRazor: I myself am reminded of two popular American comedians and a sketch entitled “who’s on first”
Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
Abbott: Every dollar of it. And why not, the man’s entitled to it.
EGG: Sigh. I’m not going to get a straight answer, am I?
HotchBeard: Shall I sing for you, instead?
I grew a beard today oh boy
Four thousand beards on Gibson, Thomasshire
And though the beards were rather small
He had to grow them all
Now he knows how many beards it takes to hide another gun.
I’d love to grow you on….
HotchRazor: Beardy and I may not agree on the words but we do sing from the same page.
I shaved a beard today oh boy
Four thousand whiskers on Gibson, Thomasshire
And though the whiskers were rather small
He had to shave them all
Now he knows it only takes one Razor to dispense them all.
I’d love to shave for you…
EGG: Why do you two fight all the time? Don’t you realize you’re part of the same process?
HotchBeard: Razor’s always trying to cut me down, man. I just want to grow up to be big and long and full and fuzzy. Gotto let the freak beard fly, baby.
HotchRazor: I agree we are part of the same process, I was employed to do a job which can be a little cut-throat from time to time. I have to stay sharp and focused, beard has to realise that he is not always welcome or needed and has to be kept in his place, a beard cannot be given free reign to roam around all over.
EGG: Some people want to ship you two together, what do you say to that?
HotchBeard: We don’t have much in common, other than our love for Face (Editor’s note: This is apparently Beard’s name for Gibson). Besides, Razor snores at night.
HotchRazor: Our love of the Boss Man is the only thing we have in common so we wouldn’t last five minutes together. And Beardy makes me itch!
EGG: I saw something earlier on that you two also share a love of music. Have you ever thought of trying your act elsewhere?
HotchBeard: Well, I had gathered enough of myself together to try out for ZZ Top a while back, but when they found out I didn’t have hands and couldn’t do that “Sharp Dressed Man” pointing thing, they told me to take a hike. Besides, Face is really the best home I could ever dream of.
HotchRazor: We all have bad days at work and go through a why do I bother phase, I was recommended by an old friend to try out for the new production of Sweeney Todd but apparently my top C wasn’t sharp enough and my B was too flat. The grass often looks greener elsewhere but have two say they don’t come much better than the Boss Man.
EGG: Is there any chance? Like maybe late in Season 7? That you two could switch off some territory? It could be like The Year Without a Santa Claus, where beard gives up one of his shave-free weekends to razor in exchange for a few weekdays of growth and some screen time.
HotchBeard: Well, I suppose that would be OK. I mean, it would be a shame to deprive the world of my sheer rugged good looks. You’d have to ask Face though, and Razor, of course.
HotchRazor: Well technically I have never been seen on screen only my Razor Sharp handiwork, Beardy has had his 15 minutes of fame which I have to admit seemed to go down very well. Maybe we could be on screen together for a few moments, I wonder how Boss Man would feel about that? In answer to the original question I would be happy to have a week off as opposed to just a couple of days, but like every job you take a vacation and there is twice as much to do when you come back to work!
EGG: What do you say to people who dislike either the shaved or unshaved look?
HotchBeard: Listen, I’m a free range, 100 percent organic, natural product of Face’s own handsomeness. Isn’t that how we save the world? By supporting locally grown things like me? Besides, I’m just plain hot. And I protect Face from winter weather.
HotchRazor: You see now this is why we fall out……Beardy is just me me me, you give him and inch of growth and he takes a mile, he has only been in the public eye for a short time and he has delusions of grandeur. Things were all running VERY SMOOTHLY before he sprouted on the scene. Personally I feel that in a perfect world we can both exist with equal adoration for him and my smooth work! Like many things there is a need for both.
EGG: How long can this possibly last? Aren’t you guys bored with this?
HotchBeard: Bored? I’ve been growing out of Face ever since it was a teenager trying to impress the chicks by the swimming pool. How could I ever get bored of Face? Of Life? Of Twitter? Nope. Not happening. I’m growing all over it. Literally. All over everything. Heck I’ll even grow all over your face if you’ll let me.
HotchRazor: Bored of course not, life has never been busier or more interesting. I love to have a challenge and a worthy opponent to spar with, Beardy can be tough and difficult to get through to at times but I have to admit he is a very worthy adversary. The Boss Man knows that we both have his VERY best interests at heart and both of our working objectives are to keep him on top of his game at all times – and looking whichever way he considers best for whatever the job at hand decrees.
So anybody that spends more than about five minutes looking at the stuff I post on the Web can probably figure out that I’m a huge Criminal Minds fan.
And I’d certainly count myself among the many complainers last season when the powers that be inexplicably axed both A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster from the show.
But something strange happened on the way to the new season.
CBS actually reversed itself and did something right, which is not what I would have expected from a network that has left me disappointed more than once.
First of all, they got the band back together, reversing the decision to get rid of A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster.
They also wisely put Erica Messer in charge.
Consider me part of the Erica fan club. She just gets it when it comes to what this show should be.
They also, after a very prolonged waiting period, signed Thomas Gibson’s contract. His Hotch character is the glue that holds the whole premise of the show together, in my opinion. That they waited as long as they did was odd, but fortunately at least the problem was worked out before filming started this season.
Season six actually had a Hotch-less episode “25 To Life.” I’m still not sure I get that, at all.
But, with the pieces all in place, season seven already had many fans grinning.
But there are actually two sides of the world of Criminal Minds that are equally fascinating.
One side is the one everybody sees on TV each week. The dark stories, the great acting, the interesting family like dynamic on an elite team that has to deal with immense stresses to do its job.
The other side is sometimes even more fascinating. It’s the behind the scenes goofy, irreverent, cast and crew family dynamic that we as fans have been allowed in on to an unprecedented level.
The whole thing started sometime in Spring 2010 when the cast – with the exception of Shemar Moore – all ended up joining Twitter.
They are here, by the way:
Joe Mantegna @JoeMantegna
Thomas Gibson @Gibsonthomas
Paget Brewster @pagetpaget
Matthew Gray Gubler @gublernation
AJ Cook @ajcookofficial
Kirsten Vangsness @Vangsness
I’ve talked quite a bit about the Twitter party already, and if you search through my archives you’ll find a bunch of information about it, so I won’t go into much detail other than saying it’s awesome, they all talk to fans through it and they show us pictures of what’s going on behind the scenes whenever they have time.
Another component of that is that the makeup artists, supporting actors and some other members of the crew also jumped on board the Twitter bandwagon. They are wonderfully patient at answering questions and dealing with fans, and they aren’t paid nearly enough, in my humble opinion.
To name a few:
Krish Ribeiro @K_T_Rib
Linda De Andrea @lindadeandrea
Nicholas Brendon @NicholasBrendon
Rick Dunkle @rickdunkle
Dayne Johnson @Dayne9165
Anna Fleiner @annafleiner
Kimberly Harrison @iKimHarrison
A whole Twitter community has built up around this, with people all over the world talking to each other about the show and some of the funnier stuff that goes on when we’re not looking.
Then, as the season got ready to kick off, we started getting even more goodies.
CM_Setreport, which is on Twitter, Facebook and has a blog at cmsetreport.blogspot.com, started putting together chats, adding even more photos and putting out videos.
After a few smaller efforts, they released this:
And then this:
The site – run at least in some way through Erica Messer – blows my mind. The plan is to host chats with writers, actors and others involved with the show on a weekly basis at the setreport blog. So far, we’ve been treated to Gibson, Messer, and writer Janine Sherman Barrois. And transcripts of the chats are available online.
The Twitter stuff, as well, gets better all the time. Gibson and Mantegna seem to talk to fans the most from the cast – and we get wonderful goodies like this:
It’s just a couple episodes into the season so far, but I have to say as a long time fan of the show I’m thrilled to see how open and inviting they’ve been to their fan community. It’s impressive, and I’ll even give CBS a big thumbs up for letting them do it.
Here’s hoping this great group of folks keeps up the wonderful work. And I hope everybody checks out the new season. So far, it’s been cooler than I could imagine.
Here is some proof that I am. Today, in honor of Thomas Gibson responding to me on Twitter, I have sacrificed six eggs. Check out the full goofy effect here – and check the last few seconds for a laugh:
The aftermath is here:
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ~Paul Boese
One of the more interesting things about the rise of the Internet and social networking sites is that it makes it much easier to find friends from the past, assuming you want to reconnect.
But sometimes you find out things that really set you back and make you stop and think.
I’m talking about an old friend, Sam Rhinelander, who I had a falling out with after my first go-around in college back around 1989.
Sam was a very good friend in high school. We were in the same grade, both sort of outsiders — me because I just didn’t really fit in and him because he lived in Roxbury and commuted out to the suburbs to attend Lexington High School.
We were both musicians. He played the saxophone, I played guitar. I wrote a musical in my senior year and wrote a part into it specifically for him. In it he was sort of ethereal character that roamed in and out of the action, making commentary on the various characters — which was a bit like our real life outsider roles.
One time we got a bunch of T shirt paint and designed a bunch of shirts to sell at the Patriot’s Day parade in Boston. One was a really evil looking sketch of Ronald McDonald with the title “Eat Shit.”
I think it was the only one we sold. But the venture became quite a joke between us.
After high school we both went to Berklee Pool of Mucus (School of Music) in Boston together for a semester. I hated it. I’m not sure what his impression of it was but he continued after I dropped out.
We remained good friends that semester, but at the end we had an argument and I became so angry with him that I decided the friendship was over. And while I had good reason at the time, “over” can be a very strong word.
After that I had a career as a computer repair technician, then went to New Mexico to college and to my 15 year career as a journalist.
Sam tracked me down, twice, and left messages on my phone. But though about 8 years had passed since our fight the first time he called, and about 12 had passed by the second, I still wasn’t ready to talk to him again. I didn’t call him back.
I wish I had.
I remember the second call. He told me he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Times were tough but he seemed to be hanging in there. But I was still mad. And I should have let it go and talked to him.
Now, almost 20 years since we last spoke, I’ve discovered it’s too late.
I started looking for him a few years back. I decided I really did want to talk to him again. I guess we never really forgot each other.
And through looking around online recently I found him. Sort of.
I found his death record.
This is all the information I could get:
Name: Samuel C. Rhinelander
Date of Birth: Sunday July 27, 1969
Date of Death: Tuesday May 04, 2004
Est. Age at death: 34 years, 9 months, 7 days
Last known residence:
City: Charlottesville; Monticello
County: Charlottesville City (Albemarle County)
ZIP Code: 22902
Social Security details:
State of Issue: Maine
The missing bit of information here — the cause of death — has been eating away at me since I first discovered this a few weeks ago. I know his mother is dead. I know his father wasn’t in the picture, although I can’t remember if he was dead or not. And I just hope Sam didn’t die alone and miserable from such a horrible disease.
I tried to contact the county clerk in Virginia to get the information, but they told me it’s confidential. I asked some old friends if they knew anything about his death, but it seems I wasn’t the only one that lost touch with Sam.
So, I’m pretty much stuck wondering what happened, and hoping that at least he went peacefully and things worked out for him. I’m also hoping the death record is a mistake and he’ll track me down again and give me a call. But I found it, verified, in more than one place, so that may be wishful thinking.
It’s also disturbing that he died in 2004 and I’ve only just learned about it. In some ways I’m mourning what could have been, but wasn’t.
Looking back on it now I wish I had been more forgiving. I wish I had picked up the phone and talked to him. But I didn’t. So all I can do now is remember the lesson for the future, and try to not make the same mistake.
If anybody knows what happened, I’d love to find out.
And even if we don’t know — lets drink a toast to Sam. I hope you’re in a better place, buddy, wherever that may be!