Monday, December 31, 2012


New Year's Eve has always been a little odd for me. No real traditions per se, alot of different things though makes New Year's Eve rather interesting to me, though not nearly one of my favorite holidays. So today I will be using my smoke signals column to share some of my more memorable New Year's Eve's. 

-I do have 1 tradition that I started back in 1996 I believe that I still do every year. I write a note to myself reflecting on the year. Nothing too deep or major, just things that happened to me in the year.  I re-read the old ones to reflect on other times. Don't know why I started but still like to do it.

-When I was younger my Aunt and Uncle and cousins from New Jersey would come to visit on New Year's Eve, or we would go to their house. We had some fun times. One year we decided to dress up in silly costumes. Not just the kids but the adults. Using clothes we had in the house, and make up as well.

-I spent the 1999-2000 New Year's eve in New Jersey. Everyone was freaking about Y2K, and it was the new century so the networks were running their coverage of New Year's Eve all over the world and remberances of 1900-1999. I had just gotten my first ever car and this was my first real solo drive. My mom and stepdad left before I did. Yet I beat them to Jersey on New Years Eve. Got there at 3pm. The roads were dead. We were then going to go to a friend of theirs house near the beach and hang out. I was the youngest one there. Had fun though. Watched the fireworks on the beach. We went back to my Aunt's house and she wanted to get up like 4 hours later to watch the sunrise on new Millennium. So we got up went to the beach and could not see a thing. Fog socked in all over. had a chanpagne cheer then went back to bed. That night we had dinner at another of their friends house and I got really sick. Food Poisoning possibly needless to say it was a horrible night and we were leaving the next day. I felt better and made it home in one piece.

-Also when I was younger, on my neighborhood lived the Bakers. Their youngest son Craig was a few years younger then me but we were friends. One NYE he came over to my house because his older brother Chris who went to the University of Maryland and was in the Marching band was having a party. But what was cool was not only was that the first year I ever saw Gremlins, but at midnight Chris and his friends in the marching band, now slightly intoxicated would get their instruments out and played Auld Lang Syne outside of their house. Then they played the Maryland fight song, and then decided let's have a parade. So the marching band began to march through out neighborhood playing all kinds of music. People came out of their houses to watch, or join the parade. We went around the block and they stopped and played Auld Lang Syne to some folks who came out and kept marching. They would do this for two other years as well. That was always cool. i do have a audiotape of one of their parades somewhere in my house.

-Senior Year of High School I was hanging out with some kids a year or so younger than me. One of them decided to have a NYE party at her house and we were invited. My first real party! So I went and had a blast. Then when we left we went and hung out at someone elses house. Then others began to leave, soon my friend Matt and me were all that was left and we decided to walk around the neighborhood and chat. When I got home about 3am or so my mother was freaking out since I did not tell her I was going to hang out with others. She thought I would be home after the party. She called a bunch of people after midnight trying to figure out where I was. Needless to say I never did that again.

-NYE 2000-2001 was probably the best one I ever had. I had just started to date my now wife and her and her friend who set us up and her boyfriend got two hotel rooms at The Renaissance Hotel which was write on Baltimore Harbor by Harborplace. There was going to be a parade, and then the fireworks and we had rooms right there. But that's not all. That afternoon was the Ravens first ever playoff game in their history. (This was the game that started them on their Superbowl win). They were playing Denver in Baltimore and my dad had snagged us tickets to it, albeit not sitting together. It was freezing cold, but it was a great game, we won and then I knew i would be with my wife at a nice hotel and have a nice dinner and see cool fireworks. The only downside was I was fighting a cold that day, but still a great night and an even better New Year's Day, but we will not get into that! ;)

-During the early part of the 2000's my wife and I and our friends had a tradition. We would go to Nichi Bai Kai a Japanese steakhouse for dinner on NYE, usually around 930ish since I was working a late shift during that time 11-8 and we never had off NYE. Then go to a local club called Padonia Station. That was the closest we did to tradition.

-The last NYE before kids was memorable also. My wife and I went with our same friends on a Dinner cruise out of Baltimore Harbor and anchored near the Key Bridge and Fort McHenry. We had free buffet, free drinks and music. When it was time for fireworks the boat took us just outside the main harbor, near Fells Point and we watched the fireworks from the water. Then returned to our perch by Key Bridge while the downtown revelers left and they cleared up the firework equipment. So it was close to another 90 minutes before we could get back to our car. We also had a guy sitting at the table in front of us pass out and vomit.

-NYE with kids has really been uneventful. I think we've had get togethers, one year we had our Christmas with my in-laws on NYE. This NYE is not really any different. We are going to my sister in laws house for a get together and may spend the night. We'll see.

Anyway I may have forgotten some other NYE's but those are the most memorable ones. So be safe. Get a designated driver if you had to much, and have a good New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Conspiracy of OZ

I like the Wizard of Oz. I saw it in a movie theater when they re-released it 13 years or so ago and watch it plenty of times when it shows up on TV. I own the DVD, but I don't think I have ever watched the DVD though. But I Digress. So 13 years ago I saw this in a movie theater and I discovered something about it that i never thought I would ever think. The whole film is one big conspiracy theory. Yeah it is. What's the theory though Dylan?

The Wizard of Oz is about how Glinda the Good Witch uses an unwitting pawn to cement her place as the one true ruler of OZ. And I am going to prove it to you. I am using just the information i gleaned from the film. i never read the books, I have never seen or read Wicked so of anything sounds familiar it just means I am not the only one who believes this. I also discovered this picture while prepping this blog that proves others know what I know:

I started writing this since it was going to air on TNT last Saturday, but time got away from me and the holidays arrived so now I will try to finish before the end of the year.  Anyway there are a few key points that prove my point.

1. Glinda tells Dorothy that she always had the power to go home:

Why not tell her this at the beginning of the movie so she could go home. She obviously doesnt belong there. She is scared and yet this good witch tells her the only way to get home is to see the Wizard. By the end of the movie after she succeeds in destroying the Wicked Witch of the West Glinda tells her she could always could go home by clicking her heels three times. Why keep this from her?  Glinda needs her to destroy the witches.

2. There is no witch on witch violence:

To me it appears that the witches in Oz cannot kill each other. Glinda who is desperate to take over OZ needs to figure out a way to get rid of the other witches. So she calls a patsy in Dorothy to come to OZ. Her house drops on the Wicked Witch of the East, and then she needs to have Dorothy take out the Wicked Witch of the West since she cant do it herself, so she gets the Wizard to send her on this asinine trip to retrieve the Witches broomstick.

3. The Wizard is a political puppet of Glinda:

Glinda discovered him, built him up as the faux ruler of Emerald City (which she basically runs) and then when the assignment is successful, finds a way to get rid of him. That is why she picked Dorothy, who came from the same area as the Wizard. There is a bond between them so she knew they would probably head back home after installing another puppet regime in the Scarecrow, Tin man, and the Cowardly Lion.

4. You have no power here:

After The Wicked Witch of the West discovers that her sister was killed by the house she threatens the munchkins and Dorothy but Glinda shouts "You have no Power here!" Do the witches only have power in their territorries? If so I assuming since Glinda's power seems to work fine in Munchkinland that is her territory. So why was the Wicked Witch of the East there in the first place? Did she discover Glinda's plan and was trying to get the Munchkins to help her overthrow Glinda?

5. Why are the Munchkin groups named Leagues and Guilds?

Those are usually names used for armed forces groups who do war. Were the Munchkins Glinda's army?

6. Water:

If you know that Water can kill you why have a giant bucket of it in an easy to access place that could accidentally get on you. Glinda had an inside man who set it up. Makes sense to me. Because the evil witch's army at the castle (not the flying monkeys) are very happy when the Witch dies. So how hard could it be to plant an inside man to set up the water and generally lead Dorothy to the water as well as the witch?

7. TOTO KNOWS: Animals are pretty smart. I truly believe Toto knew what Glinda had up her sleeve. Only because the only cat in all of OZ happens to be at the final farewell of Dorothy. Toto knows that Glinda is up to something and perhaps if Dorothy were to stay it may screw up her plans. So the dog decides to chase this one cat and jumps off the balloon just as it takes off stranding Dorothy in OZ. Then Glinda jumps in and tells her she always had the power to leave. Why put up with the whole balloon shenanigan when she could have told her, even after she killed the Evil witch that she could always go home. Why wait until after the Balloon strands you there? Was Glinda lying when she said she always had the power? Or was it a last ditch effort to get her out of OZ? We may never know.

I wrote the original conspiracy theory 13 years ago and have no idea where I put it. So these items were the ones I most remembered. I may have had more in there but I think this small segment gets my point across.

Again I wrote this before I even knew of Wicked so if anything is silmilar to what is in Wicked it just goes to show you that more than one person believes in this conspiracy. Not so crazy after all huh?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Want To Believe

I will be upfront with this right now. I believe in Aliens, UFOS, Ghosts, Bigfoot, Monsters, etc. I believe, but my rational mind keeps popping in and whenever I see a show about these things the rational side of me is all like, they are lying, it's not real, it's a hoax. There have been to many of these hoaxes that you have to start believing that nothing supernatural or paranormal exists.

I love watching Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters and sometimes they get some good evidence of Ghosts, but the majority of stuff they get can usually be explained away, or even hoaxed by them. I am not saying they are hoaxing but again the rational side of my mind is like if they never found anything the shows would be boring and the show cancelled very quickly. I want to believe that everything that is photographed, or talked about is real. But my rational mind just won't let me.

I've always believed in these things wholeheartedly but recently that darn rational part of my mind is starting to say it's not real unless you experience it yourself. You will know for sure that it is real if it happens to you.  Rational mind, you may have just met your match. I believe I have had two paranormal experiences in the last week. I'm in a war with my mind because the Rational part is all ready crafting debunkers for the first experience. The second happened this morning and my mind has only just started to try to debunk it. So I wanted to write about it before it overcame my mind and I debunked it has not being true.

My wife and I have lived in our townhouse for 8 years. It was built relatively recently, in early 2000. One other person lived in it before we did. But she was moving to Florida for her work and we got it just before it went on the market. This was during the housing boom and we bought it for a good price. It has dropped since then, but we love the house and do not plan to vacate for a long time. We are undergoing a refinancing right now as a matter of fact. But I digress. So as far as we know no one has died in our house, there has been no horrible events in the area that we are aware of so it makes these experiences even more confusing and gives my rational mind a means to easily try to debunk this.

Last Sunday into Monday (9th-10th of December) I was awoken by something. It wasn't a noise but something woke me up. It was about 2:50am. My wife was sleeping soundly and our cat Jinx was on our bed. I saw her when I woke up. So the first thing I do is look to the door to our bedroom because it mght be one of my kids who is scared, or sick, or needs to go to the bathroom. So my eyes are adjusted to the dark and I swear i see the door to our bedroom crack open and I notice what appears to be a little girl peering through the opening. My first thought was it was my daughter. But I didnt say anything. Instead I got up and opened the door to see if I could see my daughter. Darkness. Both kids doors were closed solid. I turned on the hall light to make sure and once my eyes adjusted the doors were still closed and no one was hiding in the bathroom also upstairs. I turn off the light and go back to sleep. Experience # 1

My rational mind has debunked that as, the door was all ready open because the cat obviously opened it earlier to come into our bedroom and my adjusting eyes just thought it saw it move. And the girl figure could have been something outside that resembled it, maybe the combo of shadow and stairs or something. Plus on Sunday morning my daughter came into our bedroom at 7 am a similar way, opened the door and peered in then came into bed with us. Maybe I was still in a dream state and it was replaying what I saw earlier. Stupid rational mind.

However, this morning something else happened. At 4:50am I was awoken by one note of a what I could only say was a harmonica or a toy trumpet. But neither kids have those, they were still asleep, and it was only one note. If the kids were doing it they would play a symphony. The weird thing was a day or so after my first experience, my wife heard the same noise when she was exercising in our basement at about the same time but only a week before. It was rather odd.

Now rational mind is like, you were hearing things, it was noise from outside, you were just imagining it and using what your wife told you to make it real. Who knows. This one is a bit more of a stumper. So for now i am calling it an experience and I still believe in the paranormal despite what my rational mind may say.