The following are pictures that were taken at the Mini-C conference in Boca Raton Florida. This was an excellent experience and the show is going to continue to make more appearances at different conferences. Cheers!
(click any image to start slideshow)
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By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Today I confirmed that I have developed the highly useful “Look of Discipline” (LOD). You know that look right? It’s the look that your parents gave you when you were acting up and once you saw it you knew you were toast. I gave this look to my seven year old today at church and he knew I was not messing around. When I turned back I had to hold back from laughing because it made me think of all the times I saw that look from my parents. It was mostly my father who gave the look but when it came from my mom I knew I was dead. For anyone who knows my mom you know how sweet and nice she is but if you cross her she will let you know where to put it. I had to have been about 13 or 14 when I first witnessed the wrath of my mother and her version of the LOD. She had been giving me face for something I had done and I wasn’t having it. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say and when she turned around I flipped her off. Now I know this sounds really bad and it is but I made a huge mistake. For those who have never seen the inside of my old house in Fennville, it had a large window in the living room and when this occurred it was at night and the lights were on. Can you guess what happened next? I can see myself in slow motion flipping my mom the bird and hearing a loud screech of,
“What did you just do!?”
It was the perfect example for a parents having eyes behind their head. She was still facing the window and I focused in on my reflection with my finger still up and a version of LOD that brought my heart up into my throat and a pucker that only a laxative could cure. I put my hand down and tried to cover it up.
“I..I…didn’t do anything mom!” I was so frightened and I could smell the early stages of death.
“Don’t you lie to me! I saw your reflection in the window.”
My mom walked up to me and slapped me back to birth! I kept apologizing to her but there was nothing that could take away the LOD from hell.
“Just wait until your dad gets home!”
Now what she said was, “Just wait until your dad gets home” but what I heard was “Chopper sick balls”. Yeah that’s not what I heard but I couldn’t help saying it and I don’t think she ever told him because he never said anything to me but man did I screw up.
The times that it happened with my dad was more or less when we were in public and if we didn’t listen to him we heard something that still sends chills up my spine. This phrase was uttered many times and it goes something like this, “Do you want a happy birthday?” Now when we heard this my siblings and I knew that we were screwed. One time in particular that I remember was hearing this at a restaurant which is obviously in public. This phrase was to disguise the fact that I or my siblings were going to get our asses handed to us.
“Hi, may I take your order”, asked the waitress.
I had been provoking my siblings as usual and with the waitress standing in front of my family my father let out the dreaded happy birthday phrase. It was just enough to hear him say that but with his LOD it made it worse and we immediately stopped what we were doing. The unsuspecting and naive waitress could only respond with,
“Oh! Is it your birthday?”
I turned and nodded my head but it really wasn’t my birthday and all I could think was, “No lady! I’m about to have my ass handed to me!” I didn’t feel the wrath of my father but it set me straight for the day. It’s funny how parents mask discipline with a funny phrase but others lay it all out and it works. I can remember a time when my wife and I were passing by the toy section in Wal-Mart and we heard a lady struggling with her child and to get her son to realize she was no longer playing she yelled out,
“Son if you don’t get over here I will smack the black off you!”
It was hilarious and it was just what the doctor ordered. That little boy jumped right up and went with his mom. We heard a variation of this in a similar place but the mom in this one yelled out,
“If you don’t get up off that floor I will smack you in front of God and everybody in this store.”
It was simply an empty threat but it got the kids attention. These are only a few that I can recall right now but if I can remember some more I will definitely post it. If you can recall any times you witnessed the LOD from your parents please comment and share your story. Also, if you are walking in the mall, eating in a restaurant or just out in public and you hear, “Do you want a happy birthday?” then you know some sweet, bratty child is about to get their ass handed to them.Post Views: 83
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
People come and go throughout our lives. Some friends we hang onto and others become another face in the hallway. The sad truth is that eventually we lose our friends and loved ones whether you hang onto them or not. The good thing is that once they pass on there are things that occur that remind us of when they were alive. I had a conversation today that made me think of a few people. I felt compelled to write about them and some of the things that have kept them fresh in my memory.
In grade school I had a friend named David Walker. I don’t remember what grade I was in at the time but I remember we were good friends. We would joke around a lot and when I rode my cousins bus we would all sit in the same area and talk and joke around. I remember sitting in the cafeteria one time and we were rubbing our ears until they turned red. I remember us laughing our butts off over doing it. We were laughing enough that one of the aides in there told us to settle down and eat. A little while after that I stopped seeing him around school. Days turned into weeks. I thought he had moved but one Friday I was told that I needed to ride the bus to my aunts house. I sat with my cousins as usual and I noticed that David’s older sister was sitting up front. When we finally got to her house I ran up front and asked her where David had been. She looked puzzled. Her look of confusion turned to sadness and she began to cry.
“You don’t know?”
“You don’t know what happened to David?”
“No…I…I thought he moved.”
I remember moving out of her way and she cried as she left the bus. I was in shock and years later I was told that David and his grandfather had been killed in a car accident. It’s interesting how things stay with you huh? The main reason David stays fresh in my memory is because every now and then I rub my sons ear when we’re playing around. He gets annoyed but we have a good laugh afterward. Thanks for being a good friend David, it’s too bad I didn’t get a chance to say good-bye.
Years later I lost my Tio (uncle in spanish) Max. He was straight forward and very funny. Toward the end of his life he developed diabetes. He had it bad enough that he went blind. Out of everything bad that happened to him he still kept his sense of humor. One day my Tia’s (aunts in spanish) sat next to him and were asking questions about him but not directly to him. I remember him shaking his head and then laughing before bursting out,
“Damn, I might not be able to see anything but I’m not def.”
He was funny like that. He loved Redd Foxx and the apple pies from Crane’s in Fennville were gold. The week of his passing we were set to head down to Donna, TX to visit family. He told my mom in the beginning of the week that he felt he wasn’t going to make it on our trip. My mother told him not to talk that way and that everything would be fine. My mom told me that around 9 or 10pm she heard him yell out for her to help him. She went to check on him and he told her not to leave him. I had no idea any of this had occurred until I came home from school the following day. He had suffered a heart attack and died a few days later. It was a sad time but we made the trip either way. My Tio Max had been in the military when he was younger and it was his wish that when he passed away that his ashes be spread in different places. His wishes were fulfilled on our way down to Texas. When we arrived at his home my father spread the rest of his ashes there. We had all been in the back of the house cleaning and decided to go inside to rest. My sister Dee-von had stayed in back and I remember my father calling for her to come inside. After a bit my sister ran into the house. She seemed upset and my parents asked her what was wrong. She said that while she was in the tall grass that she saw my Tio Max and that he kept telling her to go inside. She heard my dad yell for her and looked his way. When she turned back our Tio was gone. We can only assume that there may have been a snake or something in the grass that would have harmed her and he was there to protect her. The next morning Dee-von seemed upset again. This time she told my parents that she had a dream about Tio Max. She said that everything was white with clouds on top and a ladder going up into them. She remembered climbing the ladder and Tio Max walking toward her.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m climbing up the ladder.”
“You can’t go up there?”
“Why? Because I’m not dead like you?”
“Well…yeah. Do you want to go up there with me?”
My sister says that they both climbed the ladder but when she got to the top she fell down and woke up. How does that make you feel after reading that? It amazes me how our loved ones communicate with us after they have passed. My sister was very young when this happened and it wasn’t until a year or two ago that I mentioned this and I had to remind her of it. From the look on her face I could tell she had no memory of it. I miss my Tio Max and the jokes he used to tell. I remember when he used to call me pan blanco and he would call my brother pan tostado. This is spanish for white bread and toast bread. I’m sure you get the joke but if not, he called us this because we were different shades of color.
Finally I would like to speak briefly on my Grandma Jimenez. I know I blog a lot about her but there is so much of my past that involves her. I remember my grandmother wearing perfume all the time. It was rare that she bought anything different and when she did the new stuff didn’t last long. She would always go back to her usual perfume and I loved the smell of it. When she passed away it was hard on my entire family and I. I visit her resting place as much as I can and one time something amazing happened. I felt a cool breeze whisk by me and I could smell her perfume. The sun shined bright and the smell of her perfume was around me. It put a smile on my face. Every now and then something like that happens. I’m sure my grandma visits me often but I can’t say for sure. It’s things like the ones I’ve mentioned here that remind us of our friends and family. The little things that you experienced with them is what stays with you. It keeps them fresh in your mind and it’s how our loved ones stay with us. What memories do you have? What happened to you that let you know a friend or family member was with you?Post Views: 136
By Ricardo — 6 years ago
Ever since I was a kid I have had a fascination with all things horror. I know, I’m a weirdo but it’s true. I dig what lurks in the darkness and things that go bump in the night. I grew up in Fennville, MI and my house was haunted. Now, I know that not everyone believes in ghosts or haunted houses but this home was definitely haunted. When you’re able to hear kids asking for help through the vents, it’s something that lets you know you’re not alone. There’s more to my house but I won’t go into it here. I already wrote a post on it but if you would like to read up on the scary things that happened you can click here. Throughout my childhood I watched a lot of scary movies. It seemed to go hand in hand with what I experienced at my house so maybe that’s why I’m such a big fan of horror. Either way though, as I grew older the games I played took a turn with the Survival Horror genre. It started with Resident Evil. I was a huge fan of trying to survive a zombie apocalypse and though the game was awesome it still didn’t quench my thirst for true horror.
I searched for something that would scare me and match what I felt growing up at home but nothing worked. Finally, during my senior year of high school I found a survival horror game that fit the bill. It was 1999 when Silent Hill came out. The buzz had been going around that this was Konami’s answer to Capcom’s Resident Evil. I bought the game in hopes that the buzz would be true. My friend Adam and I started the game and right off the bat the game was chilling and scary. What made this possible were the effects and camera shots. It was amazing how smooth the gameplay was and how the creators used different camera shots as if someone was actually watching your character walk around. The game is based on a regular guy named Harry Mason who is in search of his missing daughter in the abandoned town of Silent Hill. As he makes his way through the city he finds out that there is a connection between his daughter and the town. There is also a thick fog that fills Silent Hill and at times it appears to be snowing. Odd monsters roam the streets as well as rabid dogs. It was different from the norm and it actually scared me.
I think what scared me the most was going into the school and the hospital. The school is empty but what you hear is a different story. Children crying and laughing fill different rooms. Doors open and shut by themselves and throughout the game there is a siren that goes off. The town starts out looking spooky but once the siren goes off it morphs into something you would imagine Hell looking like. During this time there are more monters lurking and lunging at you. There are gory scenes and once you get to the hospital they get worse. Now earlier I mentioned snow but it turns out that what appears to be snow is actually ash thats falling from the sky. The town of Silent Hill has a violent and horrific past that involves a massive fire. It’s pretty interesting and it made me wonder whether or not it was based on something within our history. One day I decided to search for Silent Hill as a real town and what I found was a city named Centralia. Located in Pennsylvania, Centralia was once a booming town due to its coal mining. All was good until May of 1962 when an abandoned strip mine caught fire. There are many theories as to how it started but in the end the local fire department was unable to put it out. The strip mine underneath the town of Centralia burned and caused massive damage. It was enough that the government paid to relocate the residents of this now inhabitable town but some stayed behind. There is much more to this story and it’s as simple as a Google search to find the rest. This town, from what I’ve read, is the basis for Silent Hill. To this day the fires still burn underneath Centralia.
My search for something truly horrifying lead me to the game Silent Hill. From there I found out that it was based on a real town that suffered from a tragic fire. It’s funny how something as small as searching for a horror fix could lead to something so interesting. Maybe I’ll try and piece together more games or movies that are based on true events. Anyone have some insight here? I’m wondering if “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” is real? If anyone has any info on this or other interesting stories on ghost towns let me know. For now, make sure to check out the Silent Hill franchise and the video I provided below on Centralia. Happy reading folks!Post Views: 112