What's Up!

August 7, 2005


Demosthenes XXXI
Demosthenes XXXIHow is it to be older? Knowing that there really isn't any major birthday to look forward to except 55 (when I get my senior discount and AARP membership) and 100 (when I get the ol' shout-out from Willard Scott).

I still need to figure out why I make a point to announce my upcoming birthday on my website like it's a High Holy Day, but opt to celebrate in a very modest fashion on the day itself.

But on my birthday, I went and use our pool for the first time since we moved in two years ago. It was nice. Swimming is the best exercise around.

And in the morning, Valerie asked if I wanted my cake for breakfast (a standard in the Spiropoulos household) to which I agreed to gleefully. After 5 minutes, I turn to Val to see what the hold-up is and I can see the bonfire on my cake lighting up the whole apartment. She comes up with a boatload of candles on it, and I asked, "Are you sure there are 31 candles on there?" "Yes, there are 8 and 8 on the sides, 6 and 6 on the other sides, and 3 in the middle." I wasn't firing on old cylinders yet (I hadn't had my cake), so I took her word for it (she, of course, was right). Coincidently, my mom called before Val entered the room, and I told her she was just in time. So I got a hearty chorus of "Happy Birthday" from Val and my mom on the phone. Good times.

For all those who sent gifts (including the fan mail), your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Cap'n Longshanks
So I have taken Val back to the driving range, partly inspired by our continued play of EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, in an attempt to finally get her on the course for a round (9 holes for starters). Val is still a little tentative, but she's getting comfortable. She using a 3-Iron to hit a ball 100 yards, but I lauded her for that. Hey, it's how I started.

Of course, my play has improved since those days (although my Slice pops up from time to time. The capital S is not a typo), Val apparently witnessed me do something I still don't believe. For the record, it was twilight and the back of the range isn't lit up, but Valerie claims I cleared the back fence with my driver. So that would mean that in addition to hitting the ball 360 yards to reach the fence, it went over a 125 foot high fence. That would equate to a roughly 600 yard drive. What???

Admittedly, when I hit the ball dead on, and my Slice has been subdued, I can have ridiculous distance, but those shots are few and very far between. I doubt the validity of Valerie's claim, but if she's going around bragging about my golf prowess, I'm not sure I would mind.

Yes, Cap'n Longshanks is my golf nickname, given my penchant for shanking the ball. And yet, I've a decent golf game.

I am Ambivalent Towards Tara King
She's alright, but she's no Emma Peel.

Crimson AxeAnd the Axe Falls
Speaking of shanks, my fantasy baseball team, Crimson Axe, is sucking it up this year. Traditionally a perennial playoff team, I have sat in last place in my division for the bulk of the season. On paper, I should be a contender. In reality, I blow. Having this year be the first time we've done a keeper league has really added to the dynamic of the league and is definitely not a good omen. Although I think I can pinpoint where my problem is. For the first time, I don't have Albert Pujols. He was snaked one pick before me in the draft, and I have been unable to trade for him. Yes, Pujols is that good.

Upkeeping is needed and should always be kept.
So I'm on a new assignment, albeit a temporary one at the moment. Instead of kicking it at the Hotels, I've been bumped up to the Big House and now run with the kids at Guest Communications. What does this mean? Say you wanted to write a letter to a certain theme park in Anaheim that is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. There is a good chance the response you receive, will be signed by yours truly. How sweet is that? The bonus is actually receiving the letters in the first place. The mailroom delivers the day's batch to me. I opened them, read them, occasionally howl with laughter, then reply to them. For example, we got a gem where a Guest was concerned with cleanliness and dropped in his letter...

"Upkeeping is needed and should always be kept."

or this beauty from someone in Japan...

"In Disneyland, there are always many people. How is Disneyland of that place? Please teach it in detail."

and there is this one that came in an e-mail...

"Hello, I hear a rumour and wanted to see if it was correct? This past week at Disneyland park was Gangster week? I heard the castle was full of graffiti? That the parade has Mickey with a low rider and Minnie was pregnant? Is any of this true?"

I love our Guests. Lots of compliments, lots of concerns, lots of random questions. Good times. Nonetheless, being the official word of the park (even though one guy was a little upset that the offical word sent to him didn't come letterhead. My bad) is way cool, and an honor all at the same time . Mainly because I have a suspicion that one of my letters will appear on an Antiques Roadshow decades from now. Ok, maybe not.

Shout Out
Roby Brown robyontheweb.com

Speaking of Anniversaries
Sometimes, I can't believe that I'm married. And it's hard to grasp that so much time has passed between the wedding and now. I guess it doesn't matter since I'm married to my best friend (I'm talking about Valerie, not Dave, who is referred to as my best friend I'm not married to) and being married was just like being not married, but way more satisfying. Yes, very satisfying. I love you, Val.

One of my closest friends in the world, Lucy, told me she's pregnant. And I'm sure the tone in my voice was not as excited as it should have been. Lucy is younger than I, and got married after I did, and she's already popping out a kid. I think I got nervous because with Lucy going preggers on me, it just reminded me that all that is waiting for me as well right around the corner. I'm still not sure I'm ready to be a father. Valerie is sure I'll be fine, but come on man, I still play with LEGOs (yes, creative genius needs an outlet, but still...). Granted, that would save me money on my toy bill. Sorry, I'm on a tangent here. Congratulations Lucy. Say... Demosthenes is an excellent name for a boy.

I'm Going To Say It...
I'm thrilled hockey's coming back. And that means one thing, the return of the Halifax HOOZAHS! I'm sure there will be more on this as the NHL season approaches.

July 3, 2005


Because I've got nothing better to do, and I've got the itch to write, and I've be requested for an update, I'm going to offer a breakdown of an interesting match-up. Imagine a face-off between the cinematic superhero family of 2004 and the cinematic superhero family of 2005. Yes, I will give you the tale of the tape between The Incredibles and the Fantastic Four.

Honestly, when you see Fantastic Four in theatres this summer, you'll notice strange similarities between those heroes, and The Incredibles. How similar? Let's go to the tale of the tape (for ease of use, I'm making comparisons by powers).


(aka Robert Parr)

(aka Ben Grimm)


=Superpower= Super-strength

Patriarch of family who's in hiding and longs for "super" past.

=Modus Operandi= Friend of Reed Richards and ace pilot who is transformed into a body made of rock.

Mr. Incredible
At least he can have a secret identity.
(aka Helen Parr)

(aka Reed Richards)

Elastic Body

=Superpower= Elastic Body

Matriarch of family who provides voice of reason. Handy with a plane as well.

=Modus Operandi= Patriarch of family who is a super-genius. Knows everything.

Sure, Reed is a genius, but Helen knows how to use her power much better.
=Advantage= PUSH
Sure, Reed is a genius, but Helen knows how to use her power much better.
(aka Violet Parr)

(aka Susan Richards nee Storm)

Invisibility & Force Field

=Superpower= Invisibility & Force Field

Shy daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Incredible. Just starting to grasp a knowledge of her powers.

=Modus Operandi= Matriarch of family, and sister of The Human Torch, who provides the voice of reason.

=Advantage= Invisible Woman
She has greater range in regards to shape of her force field and can actually make other things invisible. Not mention she doesn't have confidence issues.
(aka umm, Jack-Jack)

(aka Johnny Storm)

About to manipulate fire, levitation, ability to move through solid matter, et al.

=Superpower= About to manipulate fire; flight

Baby of the family whose superpowers are just starting to sprout.

=Modus Operandi= Cocky and impulsive brother of Sue.

Jack-Jack has more powers, but is way too young. Johnny, though a jackass, is ready to rumble.
=Advantage= PUSH
Jack-Jack has more powers, but is way too young. Johnny, though a jackass, is ready to rumble.
(aka Dashiel Parr)

(aka Psi-Lord [at least later in life])


=Superpower= Superior telepathy and telekinetic powers (again, later as an adult)

Hyper pre-teen son.

=Modus Operandi= Son of Reed and Sue who will grow up in a freak temporal accident in a matter of a few months and end up having issues with his father, Mr. Fantastic. Recently returned to his correct size and age as a child.

Franklin's going to be scarred for life after becoming Psi-Lord and then back to a child (although he has no memory of this). Nonetheless, Dash is ready now as a hero.
So far, The Incredibles have a 2-1 lead. But let's see how other aspects of each respective universe match up.


(aka Buddy Pine)

=Arch-enemy= DR. DOOM
(aka Victor von Doom)

(but has a bunch of nice gadgets)

=Superpower= None
(but has a bunch of nice gadgets and a knack for mysticism)

Hero-obsessed boy who grows up to be power-obsessed villain. Has it out for Mr. Incredible. Rules his own little private island named Nomanisan Island.

=Modus Operandi= Wears a mask to conceal a small scar for vanity's sake, but ended up putting on the mask too soon after it was forged and burn the crap out of his face. Has it out for Mr. Fantastic. Ruler of small eastern European nation of Latveria.

=Advantage= Dr. Doom
Despite discovering "zero-point energy," Syndrome is way too pissy (and dead). Doom does dabble in the occult for that added advantage, plus Doom has a hard time staying dead.
(aka Lucius Best)

(aka Bobby Darren)

Ability to create ice and snow

=Superpower= Ability to create ice and snow

Running buddy of Mr. Incredible.

=Modus Operandi= Founding member of the X-Men.

Poor Iceman ended up being relegated to the X-Men's second and third string, and rarely got any face time after Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.
(aka Simon J. Paladino)

(aka Scott Summers)

Can shoot lasers out of his eyes

=Superpower= Can shoot lasers out of his eyes

Hero who spent time as a civilian advocating greater acceptance of "supers."

=Modus Operandi= Hero who spends time advocating greater acceptance of "mutants."

=Advantage= Cyclops
He's still alive and gets to go home to Jean Grey. Grrr.

=Transportation= FANTASTICAR

Can transform from compact car to fully loaded superhero car for Mr. Incredible.

=Features= Flying vehicle that can transport the Fantastic Four.

Sure, the Incredobile was only made for Mr. Incredible, but the transformation feature is straight out of Pimp My Ride. Plus, the Fantasticar has no roof, so it sucks when it rains.
The peripheries in each respective universe draw at 2-2, plus the team vs. team match-up, where The Incredibles won 2-1, and your winner is:


...winning by a 4-3 margin. So there you have it. And remember, the numbers never lie.

April 21, 2005


GBL Back-to-Back Champions: X-Philharmonic Back-to-Back Champions
The winner of this contest and STILL Grand Basketball League Champion of the WORLD...


Boom baby! For the second year in a row, no one can knock off the mighty X-Phils from their perch atop the basketball world.

Unlike last year where from day one, I was talking the smack and challenging anyone to take me out (which they couldn't), I took a much more quiet approach this season. Injuries almost derailed my beloved X-Philharmonic mid-season, but we slowly got back on track and climbed the standings and once again stepped it up in the playoffs for the unprecedented repeat win. And with this win, I become the second owner to have two Championship titles in the Grand Sports Leagues and the first owner to have two in the same sport (also the first to successfully defend his title). Another strong showing by the Demosthenes Sports Authority, Ltd.

Remember, when you're looking for Championship Basketball, "X marks the spot!"

Contains Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Irony
So, as you may have noticed in the last issue of What's Up!, I believed to have found out what I would like to do with the rest of my life: writing. Once I had that bold epiphany, I've had no desire to write. The muse is no longer upon me. Figures.

I think what has happened is that the angst of not having a real direction turned me to writing to vent. Now that I've discovered a direction, I'm content again, and have no angst. No angst = no push to write. How ironic.

I still want to write. That hasn't changed. But obviously, given the big gap between this and the last issue, I'm not in a big hurry. But look, I here now, so let's go with that.

Benny 16 Kickin' It Online
Back when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Joey Ratz to his friends and colleagues), he had an Internet fan club: www.ratzingerfanclub.com. Now that he's Pope Benedict XVI (Benny 16 to his friends and colleagues), the Vatican has taken the logical next step by giving him a papal e-mail address.

The address for messages in English is: benedictxvi@vatican.va
For messages in In Italian: benedettoxvi@vatican.va
There are also addresses for e-mails in Spanish, French, German and Portuguese.

The Holy See hasn't said how many messages the pope has gotten, but if the late John Paul II's experience with a multimedia ministry is any guide, the new leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics will have an inbox jammed with prayers, problems and pet peeves.

On Thursday, the Vatican modified its Web site so users who click on a "Greetings to the Holy Father" icon on the home page automatically activate an e-mail composer with his address in the send field.

Super-Merger In The Works
Adobe has agreed to buy out Macromedia for around $3.6 Billion (with a "B"). That's right, the folks that brought you PhotoShop and Illustrator are acquiring the folks that brought Flash and Dreamweaver. The new technological possibilities make me drool in anticipation. Needless to say, this is huge. More on this as the story develops.

Cromartie High School Something To Pass The Time
Because someone asked, here are some television programs that I've enjoyed recently:
  • Full Metal Alchemist on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim
    =Excellent and deep story
  • Cromartie High School on The Anime Network
    =Hi-larious. Just be sure to catch Ep#1
  • House on Fox
    =Hugh Laurie deserves an Emmy
  • Good Eats on Food Network
    =Alton Brown is a genius. This show is very infotaining
  • Stargate: SG-1 on Sci-Fi
    =Replaced Star Trek as my fave sci-fi series
  • Stargate: Atlantis on Sci-Fi
    =Good spin-off. Even with Rodney
  • Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi
    =Very slow-paced, but addicting. Just ask Val who's reluctantly hooked
  • The Avengers on BBC America
    =Let's put it this way: my pet name for Val is "Mrs. Peel"

    Check'em out!

  • A Possible World Premiere
    Speaking of Stargate, I got some sneak preview screen shots of the new Stargate SG-1: The Alliance video game that's going to premiere at the E3 Expo this May. How did I get them. Hey, I still a member of the media, baby.

    These just came into my inbox today, and I may be the first to release them to the public. Hence, a possible world premiere. Enjoy!

    Stargate SG-1: The Alliance

    Stargate SG-1: The Alliance

    Stargate SG-1: The Alliance

    Gosh, those photos look awfully purty. I think I might have to put that on my wish list. Quick insider tip to the all the Stargate fans out there. The story of this game takes place just before the episode "Threads" in season 8 of the television series. So it fits right into the story arc, but will have enough independent information to stand alone and attract people who are unfamiliar with Stargate.

    February 11, 2005


    So as I start really thinking as to what I would like my existence to entail, I got depressed. Nothing new. It's what I like to call Problem One. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? I enjoy so many things, I don't know which one I could settle down on and make a career out of (or actually make a living off of).

    But as I focused on my recent years, I saw a recurring trend of what I enjoyed doing: writing. I immediately thought back on a What's Up piece I wrote a little over a year ago and it listed 7 reasons why my chances of being a writer are slim. As I looked back, I discovered how much I've grown as a writer since then.

    I said I was "Anti-Deadline." Truthfully, I excel in pressure situations, but I took the mentality of writing in addition to another job. If I wrote fulltime, then I'd get stuff done AHEAD of time.

    I said I was "Too wordy and used too many big words." Ok, that I can't change much, but I think that adds to the unique Demosthenes perspective. Just a little moderation should smooth that bump.

    I spoke of my overuse of the word "ass." Where appropriate, I've substituted "ass" with the ultra-hip "@$$." Hey, it's a start.

    I spoke of my inability to write anything "serious." That problem has been relatively fixed, but on occasion, the sarcasm shines through. I'm working on it.

    I was concerned about "the jokes don't always work, and I'm ok with that." When I mentioned that, I was talking about not always writing my best. While I should always strive for my A-game, I kinda like the random writing I throw in, just to add a little color. Again, a little moderation should smooth that bump.

    I was concerned about "The overuse, of the comma." Commas, are still our friends. That hasn't changed. Again, a little moderation...

    And lastly, I was worried about "Fear." I wrote how I was afraid someone was going to try and change me. And I guess I still am. I always welcome constructive criticism, and all forms of feedback, so that I may learn and grow. But do I really fear change? Perhaps it's the rejection I fear. But I guess a good writer has to go find out what their own personal fears are.

    All signs point to...
    How much do I write? I am currently writing in 3 separate but concurrent journals. I have my little black journal where I write, just to write (ideas, thoughts, happenings, etc.). I have my Expedition journal, where I write of my adventures in the outdoors (Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion, hiking, rafting, etc.). And then I have the much beloved What's Up, where I allow my small fan base a glimpse at the inner workings of my head.

    So what am I trying to say here? Have I, perhaps, found out what I want to do with my life???? Is it writing?

    On the upside, if I'm a relatively successful writer, and coupled with relative success as a poker player, I could make a decent living.

    On the downside, I am, currently, not successful at either one (although I finally won some money at the last tourney I was, so it's a start).

    Well, I spent 3 wonderful years on the radio, perhaps I can end up published somewhere. Stranger things have happened.

    Maybe, just maybe, I may have found my path.

    February 3, 2005


    My desk has been a complete castastrophe. Just piles and piles of junk and stuff all over it. But the Desk Reclamation Project has begun, and guess what I found.... my scanner! Not that I didn't know it was there, but I had no place to put the stuff that was on top of it (parcels of floorplace around the desk were already occupied). So finally, I can scan the pictures to put up the last piece of the Big July, which was what, 7 months ago.

    I'm such a slacker.

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