Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Gem - this time a joke

Two boys are playing hockey on a pond in a
Buffalo when one of the boys is suddenly attacked
by a crazed Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other
boy takes his hockey stick, shoves it under the
dog's collar, twists it and breaks the dog's neck,
saving his friend.

A Buffalo reporter is standing by, sees the incident,
and rushes over to interview the boy.
"Young Bills Fan Saves Friend From Vicious
Animal," he starts writing in his notebook.

“But I'm not a Bills Fan, " the little boy replies.
"Sorry but since we're in Buffalo, I just assumed you
were," says the reporter and starts writing again.
"Sabres Fan Rescues Friend From Horrific
Attack," he writes in his notebook.

"I'm not a Sabres Fan either", the boy says.
"Oh, I assumed everyone in Buffalo was either
for the Bills or Sabres. What team do you root for", the reporter asked?

"I'm a Dolphin fan", the boy replies.
The reporter starts a new sheet in his
notebook and writes: "Little Bastard From Miami Kills
Beloved Family Pet."

Capturing the Gems (part 1)

Deleted my LJ account. Will capture some of the gems on this, including --

I'm either
(a) an introvert trapped in an extrovert's body
(b) an extrovert trapped in an introvert's body
(c) it varies back and forth every the day...

I wonder if we all perform ourselves for so long that we become ourselves
and if so
can we be someone else if we just try hard enough...?

Looking Back -- 2008

Wanted to balance the happy and sad --
(also unedited)

Sent: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 5:03 pm
Subject: A True Story

SETUP -- Sunday December 14th
Jessica and I attended mass. We hadn’t been in a while and showed up early. An alter server came up and asked if we wanted to bring the gifts up. I started to shake my head no, but this was overshadowed by Jessica’s very positive yes. We brought the gifts to the priest, he blessed us and we returned to our seats.
Upon sitting, Jessica elbows me and whispers, “Give you any ideas?”
She20didn’t know things were already in the works…
TRAVEL DAY -- Thursday December 18th
Jessica and I fly from Los Angeles to Buffalo. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
We had three options for the stopover as Southwest has no direct flights to Buffalo – Chicago, Phoenix and Las Vegas. We immediately decided to avoid Chicago and their snowy Decembers. And if your choice falls between Phoenix and Vegas… Needless to say, we attempt to fly into Vegas. I say attempt because Vegas experiences its first snowstorm in THIRTY YEARS! Our flight out of Los Angeles is delayed. We make it to Vegas with just enough time to run to our connecting flight. Thanks to hustle and heavy breathing, we make it to the plane. Once onboard, we have to wait thirty minutes as they try to locate the "Holland family" which I assumed was stall code for “we need to get these bags on board.” Of course our bags will meet us in Buffalo. These are professionals and they know what they’re doing…
…So our bags go missing.
But we’re in Buffalo and with my sisters and there’s talk of the bags arriving later Thursday or first thing Friday morning.
THE DAY -- Friday December 19th
Not so much.
Calls to Southwest Baggage at Buffalo airport aren’t answered. Calls to national aren’t helpful. Our clothes, toiletries and numerous Christmas gifts (not to mention irreplaceable Christmas cookie recipes from our mothers) are somewhere in the continental United States… theoretically.
Aimee, my older sister, takes Jessica to Kohl’s to pick up a winter outfit for Jess and me that will supposedly be covered by Southwest after 24 hours. Aimee and Kristin (my younger sister) try to get Jessica out of the house because, unknown to her, her brother Tommy and father Tom are on their way to Buffalo to see me propose. Her father also has, in his possession, Jessica’s mother’s ring for the proposal. Jessica is in a bit of a mood because of our lost luggage and doesn’t want to get her nails done, especially since now the snow is really starting to come down outside. After a bit of cajoling, she finally agrees to accompany my sisters to the mall for some last minute shopping. It’s about now that I hear from Mr. Gardner that he and Tommy are stuck on an airplane on the tarmac because of the snowstorm happening in Buffalo.
At the mall, Kristin and Aimee convince Jessica to go to Macy’s and then trick her into getting her makeup done at the Clinique counter. She is still blissfully unaware of the rapidly derailing plan and just thinks my sisters are trying to comfort her with pampering. Once finished, they exit to the mall to see that Kristin’s car is now stuck in the snow. My sisters send Jessica back into the mall with the bags and the excuse that they don’t want her to ruin her newly done makeup and proceed to push the car out of the snow drift. In her exuberance, Aimee snaps Kristin’s side view mirror completely off the car, but at least they’re free. Unfortunately, Kristin’s windshield wiper motor now refuses to work so they have to drive relatively blind in the snow. They still somehow manage to pick up pizza and wings. Jessica does notice that there’s a hefty amount, but suspects nothing. Her father and brother (the Toms) were supposed to come to Aimee’s, witness the proposal and bask in wings and pizza, but it’s now six o’clock and they’re finally landing in Buffalo. I send them to the hotel and we dig in for some dinner. At six-ten, my phone rings. Twenty-six hours later, our bags have been found. Southwest says they can get the bags to us in “several hours”. Having already lost much Buffalo time and desperately needing to get to our destination for the night (Lasertron), my brother-in-law Bill volunteers to drive us to Buffalo Airport in his truck with four-wheel drive.
Excited to get our hands on our bags, we present our receipts to the Southwest Baggage people and they say they can’t help us. No apologies. They say it hadn’t been 24 hours (it had). Then they want to see the receipts to make sure our purchases were made after the 24 hour mark which is not a stipulation that we were ever told. On top of that, they say they wouldn’t be able to do it regardless. I tell20them I will handle it through customer service. Frustrated, we start to leave and one of them calls out after us, “At least you got your bags” snidely. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and sends Jessica into tears. Thirty minutes before I propose and the woman at the Southwest Baggage desk makes Jessica cry.
Bill drives us to Lasertron. Aimee and Kristin stand outside waiting for us. Kristin escorts Jessica into the ladies room. Jessica told me that only afterwards did it feel weird that while Kristin had Jess vent, Kristin also fussed with Jessica’s hair, got her out of her sweatpants and into real pants and convinced Jessica that putting on lipstick would make her feel better. While this was taking place, Aimee handed me the ring. I go to the very back room and greet the Toms with a hearty apology for what they’ve had to go through. I tell them to come out in about two minutes.
I wait for Jessica to come out of the bathroom with my sister and as she approaches, someone tells Jessica she has some special visitors. She sees our friends Brooke and Dan standing next to me and,=2 0thinking it’s them, starts to say hi and give hugs. As Jess is mid-hug, the Toms run up behind her. I grab Jessica by the shoulders and turn her so that she sees her father and brother. Barely able to register anything after the 24 hours we’d been through, she hugs her dad who then turns her by her shoulders so that she can see that I’m down on one knee with her mother’s ring extended to her.
“You know that I love you. We’ve been through a lot today, but that just proves that together we can make it through anything. Will you marry me?”
Jessica bursts into a fit of tears and shaking. This goes on for at least five minutes. Still down on one knee, still looking up at her, I merely say, “Well?”
Jessica says, “Yes. Of course yes” and I attempt to put the ring on the wrong finger until she takes over.
Once the congratulations die down a bit she looks at me and says the three words that will be a very important pa rt of our relationship from this day forward, “Really? Lasertron? Really?”
That’s the nutshell story. I’m sure there are nuances and minutiae that I’ve left out, but those are the broad strokes.
Some other things to note:
The Toms and I, during our brief stay in Western New York, in total had to rescue over five cars stuck in the snow.
During our brief visit to Niagara Falls, Mr. G’s Hertz rental car refused to start, stranding the Toms, Jessica, Aimee and myself for over an hour. (Numerous Buffalonians offered help, if not better weather).

My nephew came up to me – “Did you know that Jessica’s brother’s name is Tom and her father’s name is Tom and they have a TomTom that sits between them in the car?”

Looking Back -- 2005

Feeling reflective. Borrowed this from my old LiveJournal. Not going to edit.

Date:2005-12-28 13:50
Subject:2005 in Review: the good, the bad and the ugly
Mood: contemplative

In January, Linda Francis Brandt-Cox succombed to cancer after a long fight.

I remember waking to the call that Friday. It was my sister, Kristin. Earlier in the week, Aimee had worried that she wouldn’t know when to call me to come back home, but there it was. I called the airline to arrange a flight (they would subsequently charge an additional one hundred dollars because Ray charged the fare even though they knew the circumstances involved in the travel), woke Dan for a ride and then cried myself through a shower.

Sheila picked me up from the airport and we drove to my mom’s house. Mom looked worse than I’d ever seen her before, barely responsive. I said, “I love you” and she replied “I love you too.” (Actually, the last thing I heard her say.) I rode with Aimee to pick up some prescriptions and we grabbed Mighty Taco during the wait.

Sheila and I (mostly I) stayed up all night so that the rest of the crew could get some sleep. The path to the DVD player was blocked by sleeping sisters and a cousin and the only disc we had access to was Super Troopers. We watched it roughly five or six times. Someday I’d like to thank the Broken Lizard guys for that movie because I can still laugh at it. Periodically my mother would wake and I’d shift her to make her more comfortable or wake someone to administer drugs (I wasn't taught).

I got a brief bit of sleep the next day then went to Blockbuster with Leslie (my cousin) and picked up more movies for what I expected was another night up. The adults (my mother’s siblings) and the kids (Aimee, Kristin, Leslie and I) got into an argument about the use of morphine. We were less concerned about coherency and more about comfort. My Aunt JoAnn arranged for a priest to come and perform last rites. I remember seeing my mother’s eyes looking so scared as he stood above her. She knew.

Then, just after the priest left, I remember someone yelling that she was going. Stunned, moments later we were all standing around the bed they’d brought to the house for her and she looked like she was suffocating. The phone rang and Kristin said she would kill whoever that was (it was our father calling). I cried so hard in those moments that I actually gave myself a twitch in my eye for the next few days and I wasn't sure it'd ever go away.

The funeral home people came pretty quickly. My Aunt Nancy said she wanted to stay in the living room while they took my mom away. The hospice worker advised against it, but Aimee, Kristin and I sat with Aunt Nancy and the hospice worker said that we were very strong and uncommon for that. Then my Aunt Nancy said something that is burned into my memory -- “She wasn’t just my sister, she was my best friend.” Even typing this eleven months later, that still makes me misty.

We decided on two viewing sessions. The funeral home did a great job making my mom look more like how I remembered her and not as much what the cancer and treatment had done to her. It was one of the major things that helped me handle it all. (Being there to tell her I love her while she could still respond was the biggest.) I touched her hand. I didn’t know if I was allowed or supposed to but I did and while no one was around, I sang to her. ("Nan's Song" by Robbie Williams)

Inbetween the viewings, a group of us went to Swiston’s for a Beef Off (where we tried to eat as many Beef on Wick sandwiches, with the pickle, as possible...) and a lot of alcohol: shots, beers and drinks.

The next day was the church service. I was upset that the priest left out the fact that my mom was a wife, saying only a mother, sister and friend, as that was a slight to both my father and stepfather and a funeral service is no time to take a hard moral stance.

An austisic friend of the family asked at the church if Sheila was my daughter, which served as a good laugh and then at the reception at Aunt JoAnn’s which followed he continued to hit on her.


In July, David Allen Brandt fell to a fatal heart attack.

It was weird, days before at the 3rd of July party, my father went all in against Ray during one of the Texas Hold ‘Em matches. They both ended up with 3 7’s but Ray had a stronger hold card. (I guess I should explain that it was weird because it was father against stepfather.)

Two days later, for my father’s birthday, it was my gift to take him to lunch. He decided he’d rather pick up wings and a pizza from Pizza Junction and share his lunch with Aimee and my nephews. While waiting for the pizza and standing under an awning to avoid the rain, my father confessed that he still loved my mother. I asked him if he felt he could love again and he said yes. It was a very open, heart-to-heart conversation. It was the most adult conversation I'd had with my father -- one where it felt like it was just two men talking. We went back to Aim’s, shared pizza.

Aimee called early the next morning and the next time I saw him, he was laying in a bed in Kenmore Mercy hooked up to machines. He had a heart attack in the middle of the night. (Of course, no one at the hospital was kind enough to let us know that exactly.) We met the ambulance driver who came to his aid in the hallway and he said that he’d never felt that scared for a person during a pickup. I remember seeing dad in the hospital bed and thinking I should get a picture of it so that I could convince him to stop smoking when he got out of the hospital. A rotating crew of me, Aimee, Rose (my dad’s “girlfriend”), Uncle Don and Aunt Mary kept watch over him in the ER. They never found a regular room for him during that day so he stayed in the ER throughout.

Aimee, Bill and I snuck away during the night because it seemed like he had stabilized and we’d previously arranged to meet some people out for a drink. My friend Craig came in from Rochester and was the first one there. A couple shots and beers in, but before anyone else showed up, we got a call to come back to the hospital. Things had gotten worse. We stood around his bed and told him how stubborn he was and how he could beat this if he wanted. It seemed like his heart would get stronger every time we swore so we took turns swearing (which is probably frowned upon in a Catholic hospital). Suddenly, Aunt Mary said “you’re stubborn, David, remember you beat malaria...” and all of us, even Uncle Don, turned and said, “what?” It seems that while my father was stationed in Korea, he’d contracted malaria, but it never was officially reported because his treatment there may have led to his deployment in Vietnam. He was sent home and recovered from it stateside. Something I never knew about my father. Probably one of many things.

His heartbeat got strong enough for a doctor to come and put a pacemaker in. Believing we were in the clear for a bit, we all grabbed some sleep. I slept in the back seat of my sister’s van and woke to hear Uncle Don rapping on the glass. By the look on his face, I knew it couldn’t be good. He said he was sorry but my dad had died while we all slept. He hugged me tighter than I’d ever been hugged. Kristin was still on her way up from Philadelphia.

My friends really responded to the loss of my second parent. We received cookie baskets, ice cream (John), and even a Harry and David's basket from work. (When I got home, there would also be a GC to Burke Williams -- yet to be used -- and notice that two trees had been planted in honor of my parents -- which made me cry at the thoughtfulness.) I remember standing in my sister's backyard the night before the church service and hearing "Nick, one of your friends is here" and thinking "oh, it must be Joe or Goo..." and then walking into my sister's living room and seeing Jessica. I was surprised. She came to hold my hand and get me through and I can't say how much I appreciate that. It took two women (Sheila and Jessica) to really help me get through my parents' deaths.


2005 saw the first production of a screenplay written by me going by the title of Hollywood Kills. Post Production will carry that over into 2006 so hold onto your pants. (If I get an audio commentary track on a DVD release, that would cover one of my list of things to do in life -- produced screenplayS being nearly in reach.) Theoretically, there will be movement on The Secret Lives of Dorks early in 2006 as the option as it stands ends in March. Multiple parties are seeking multiple creative works from me, yet no one wants to pay me enough for writing to be my day job. I decided this year that my "shingle" will be linDAvid productions, in honor of my parents.


So there you have it, a glimpse at my 2005... it was rough, easily the worst year of my life, but the clouds came with some silver lining and hope and possibility. I'm thankful for all my friends who've helped me along (especially for any and all laughs you've delivered) and I wait with baited breath for 2006: A New Mack (to be followed by 2007: The Mack Strikes Back and 2008: Return of the Mack*).