Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Three's A Crowd

Well I just finished another television series... "Three's A Crowd". A short lived spin off of "Three's Company".

"Three's A Crowd" follows the life of Jack Tripper after moving out with his previous two female roommates. Now he's living with a girl, Vicki, who he his madly in love with, but who refuses to marry him despite his many proposals. Vicki's father is co-owner of "Jack's Bistro"... Jack's French Restaurant. Her father disapproves of Jack and Vicki living together out of wedlock, as do most people who realize their living situation. A sign of the times.

Jack is joined in his bistro by an assistant chef who is an early 80's surfer dude named EZ. Who lives in his van outside the bistro, and has the stereotypical surfer dude vernacular.

The show goes episode to episode with various mishaps that Jack gets in. Nothing ever too exciting. The show was canceled before any real closure could be brought to the series.

Not the most exciting show I've ever watched. But I enjoy watching these obscure spin-offs that have fallen into the black of television obscurity.

In spite of thorough searches, I could not find a video of the intro of the show... but it's pretty ridiculous.

I give this series a 2 out of 5.

I'm still waiting for The Ropers to finish downloading... until then... it's on to "Maude".

Thursday, August 26, 2010

31 Years... Of Tommy Else

Well, today is my 31st, birthday…

The past 10 years have been possibly the most difficult of my entire life. I can be pretty negative here on my blog. I know… But hey, isn’t that what blogs are for? Bitching about the world while hiding comfortably behind a computer screen?

Well, I thought rather than sit, and re-hash all of the negatives from the past 10 years  I would celebrate the positives.

Since I was 21 a lot has happened…

·         I’ve spent the last 10 years in an apartment that has been more of a home to me than I’ve ever known. Lots of ups, lots of downs, and LOTS of parties.
·         I learned to kind of play guitar, write, and record original songs.
·         I’ve played live shows.
·         I developed a love and passion for the WWE which honestly got me through some of the hardest times in the past 10 years. It provided me the distraction I needed from the pain I felt, and the inspiration to get off my ass and do something with my life. Honestly… I credit the WWE for all of that.
·         My Stepmother Andrea came into my life and along with her an immediate extended family who has always been great to me, my Dad, my brother, and my little sister.
·         I’ve seen countless concerts of some incredible bands, and seen the WWE LIVE over 10 times now including getting to go to Wrestlemania 22!!!
·         I’ve made new friends…
·         I got to attend my 10 year high school reunion which was awesome.
·         I’ve reconnected with old friends, and relatives whom I thought I’d never see again.
·         I was blessed with the birth of a baby sister Olivia whom I love so much.
·         I’ve seen many close friends get married, and some have children.
·         I got to see my Father complete the Florida Iron Man Triathalon.
·         I spent my birthday last year in San Francisco with Pete Gerharz.
·         I’ve watched my brother grow into an INCREDIBLE musician, both as a recording artist, and live performer. He is a good man, and a great brother whom I love very much.
·         I competed in my very first bodybuilding competition, and 2 more since then. Placing in the top 5, three times.
·         I began a career in personal training which led to me starting my own business. I’ve also have had the pleasure of befriending all of my clients, as they are all wonderful people.
·         I am currently co-writing a book with my good friend Rev. John Dolan about depression. It tells both of our individual stories, it’s effect on us, and our loved ones. Our intentions are to bring hope to those who also suffer from it, and educate those who don’t, so that they may be better equipped to be there for friends and family who do.
·         I most recently had the honor of standing up in my best friend’s wedding, which was truly one of the greatest things ever, and now last night got to see their baby daughter for the first time… Incredible…

These are just some of the highlights… There have been many more.

But as I sit here the morning of my 31st Birthday… for all that the past 10 years have brought… the highs and the lows… I am grateful for what I have today. I am grateful to be alive, and in good health. To be able to sit here and reflect upon the wonderful events of the past, and look forward to many more to come in the future.

I want to take a moment to say something to my friends… The O’Connors, Mike Else, The Bodnar Brothers, Marousek, The Bachs, Rizzi, Steve, The Millers, Ian… and all the rest.

If I died today, I’d want you all to know how much I truly love you all. How important you all are to me, and what your friendship has meant to me. I could never put into words how I feel about you all. You are my family.

Also, if for some reason I do die today… I would like to be buried with my WWE Championship belt around my waist.

So there it is… 31 years… Bam! In the books! Now I start the next chapter in the life of Tommy Else. Who knows what I’ll have to report a year from now. Your whole life can change in a minute, let alone a year, but I look forward to what lies ahead.

So with that I will leave you with my single favorite song in this whole world, by my favorite band in the whole world… which just happens to be titled after the same year I was born…

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Congratulations Neil & Sarah!!!

There so few moments in life that are as awesome as a child being born. Being there when my sister was born was one of the most incredible things ever.

Now, my best friend in the whole world... Neil Miller... is somebody's Father!

He called me up, and told me to get on Skype. That he had something to show me. He has NEVER been on Skype before, so I figured something was up. Sarah wasn't due till September 20th though. But sure enough, when I signed on there they were both sitting there with their new baby daughter!

Mabel Ann Miller!!!

She's about 6lbs, and Sarah's labor was 8 hours with no drugs!

They are all healthy, and doing great!

I was able to get a few still shots of them with their baby from Skype. I couldn't be happier for the two of them, and the night before my birthday this is possibly the best way ever to have started it. I'm Uncle Tom now!!! I am absolutely busting!

For those disappointed that it wasn't a boy named "Cool Breeze"... fret not. Neil says it's in Mabel's astrological chart that she'll have a baby brother. So he's coming... just you wait!

I just wanted to take a moment to say how happy I am for my good friends, and I can't get down to St. Louis fast enough to meet the newest Miller. I can't wait for the day I have my own.

Congratulations Neil & Sarah... Mabel couldn't ask for two better more loving parents.

I love you!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Don't Like Skits On Albums...

I find this more on rap albums than anything, but rock albums aren't exempt from this either...

To me it disrupts the flow of the album. I like to just listen to music. Not hear the artist try and be funny. Cause' here's the thing... You will listen to an album a 1000 times over sometimes if it's good, and if it's got stupid talking/skits in it you'll have heard them a 1000 times, care less about them, and be decreasingly amused with them each time you listen to them.

I love The Smashing Pumpkins... but if Billy Corgan told a joke between each song on an album... no matter how funny it is, it's going to get old eventually, and all I'm going to do is end up skipping the track.

I love Tenacious D. But I always skip over the talking tracks to get to the songs. They were funny the first time I heard them. But 9 years later I've heard it... it doesn't have the same replay value that the actual songs do.

I don't know... I just could do without them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Michael Cole: The Worst Announcer In Professional Wrestling History

I've never been shy about sharing my disdain for current Monday Night RAW announcer Michael Cole. He has nothing to offer whatsoever. He is just awful. For years Smackdown was so painful for me to watch... not because of the stories, or the wrestling... but that for the entire 2 hours of the show I had to listen to Michael Cole. He just goes right through me. He comes across very phony, and very forced. I don't think he has any kind of genuine passion for the industry. I just get the feeling that this has always just been a job for him.

It's absolutely heartbreaking to me that he is now the lead announcer on Monday Night RAW.

He has such an arrogance, and undeserved ego. I don't know whose dick he's been sucking for the past 15 years, but he must do it well to have not only kept a job in the company, but climb to the heights that he has.

Cause' he doesn't deserve half of what they've given him.

He is a waste.

I will throw up if they ever sully the Hall Of Fame by inducting him.

Matt Stryker is the future.

The Illinois State Prairie Path - Part 2: "Cops On The Prairie Path?!"

Gimme a break...

What the hell are they out there policing exactly? I hate cops to begin with, so I especially don't want to have to see them on my Sunday morning bike ride. If I can't go on the Prairie Path without having to see some douchebag cop then where the hell can I go?

What REALLY burns my ass is that these lazy fucks are out there riding the path on 4x4's and Segways!!!

I mean come on! Get off your ASS, and get on a bike at the very least! I mean are you fucking kidding me?! Not to mention 4x4's take up the whole damn path, and they drive them slow as shit too. So I have to ride around them. I want to slap the motherfuckers in the back of the head as I ride past them.

I guess it's good to know that there's nothing more pressing happening out in the world that the cops feel their time is well spent patrolling the fucking Prairie Path.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

There Will NOT Be A Thomas Alan Else IV

My full name is Thomas Alan Else III.

I am often asked if I will name my son, should I have one, Thomas Alan Else IV.

The answer is no.

It has to stop somewhere. If I name him the 4th then he'll feel obligated to name his son the 5th, and so on... It'll become a vicious cycle that result in there someday being Else The 14th.

I know there are some out there that are disappointed at this decision. I think my Father would like to see the name continue on, but I feel the need to be more creative with my child's name rather than just churn out another Tommy Else. Not to mention, I don't want to spend 18 years of my life screaming my own name across the house. It's weird for me as it is when I meet another guy named Tom. I don't meet too many other Toms... I just met one 2 weeks ago. Great guy... but it's weird calling anyone by my own name.


Boy names currently in contention are:

  • Thor
  • Jupiter
  • Vinnie
  • Corgan

Girl names currently in contention are:

  • Starla
  • Czarina
  • Lita
  • Cammy

But I will be the last in the line of Thomas Alan Elses. I feel it my duty to the future generations of Elses to put my foot down, and allow us to evolve into greater Elses.

A new breed unleashed... ELSE: "The Next Generation".

How Much You Bench?

I get asked this question SO much... and I can't stand it.

Here's what happens... I'll meet a guy for the first time, and they'll look at me and figure that I work out. So he'll bow up and start giving me the whole... "Yeaaahh, I work out... 3, 4 days a week..." Like I am supposed to be impressed, or intrigued by this news. Rarely do they look like they've ever actually even seen the inside of a gym. Then comes the inevitable... "So, how much you bench?"

This question alone sets the tools apart from the rest. As soon as that question comes out it's all I can do to keep from rolling my eyes. I mean, who really gives a shit? What difference does it make if I bench 1lb or 1000lbs. How does that change your day, or how you view me? If that's what you're going to judge me on then I don't want anything to do with your ass anyway cause you obviously don't know what you're talking about.

I appreciate ANYONE who puts forth the effort to exercise regularly at all. Everybody has different goals with their training, and the means to get to that end always varies. So trying to judge someone's ability in the gym based on their strength on ONE lift is just stupid.

More often than not these guys fall into one of two categories:

1. They either want to know so they can tell you that they bench more, or know someone who does.

2. They want to gauge how strong you are. 

Most guys, not all, but most will tell you they bench more than you, and are completely full of shit. This is not me stroking my ego in any way. I have never boasted any kind of superior strength over anyone. Yeah I'm stronger than some people, but there are plenty of people stronger than me. There is ALWAYS a bigger fish, and I am FAR from the biggest guy in my gym. I'm just sayin' when you've been around the fitness world as intimately, and as long I have you can get a pretty good idea of where someone stands physically from not only looking at them, but talking to them. You can just tell when someone is bullshitting you. 

I'm more interested in someone flexing their intellectual muscles. I train myself 6 to 7 days a week, and am a personal trainer. Working out really isn't topping my list of things I feel like talking about. But if I must, I'd rather talk about it with someone who actually genuinely knows their shit, are educated on the subject, and not just think they know what they are doing cause' they lifted back when they played high school football... still clinging to their short lived glory days.

There are some guys who are genuinely impressed with your physique, and are asking the question because they want to get some idea as to how strong you are. Which I suppose should be flattering, but the problem is that they really have no frame of reference. So if I say I bench 200lbs or 400lbs you're going to get the same reaction. Either way they usually say, "WOW"... and then start telling you how they need to start working out.

Here's the thing...

One of the most frustrating aspects of this question is that I don't really have an answer for it. If someone asks you how much you bench it typically refers to your 1 rep max on a straight bar. I haven't done that since I was 16 years old in Sam Chapin's strength training class. I have no reason to. It's not how I work out.

My training can cycle from lifting heavy from 6 to 8 reps with 2 minute rest periods to lifting 12-15 reps with 1 minute rest periods. How much weight you lift is going to differ based on these variables. I exclusively lift with dumbbells, and can tell you I haven't benched with a straight bar in 15 years. Bodybuilders have no reason to push as much weight as they can for 1 rep. It does absolutely nothing for you other than put you at risk for injury. If you're a powerlifter it's a different story, and a much more relevant question. But I am not.

Again, your fitness goals will ultimately determine the way you work out. Your body needs to be trained very specifically to attain specific goals. 1 rep maxes just don't factor into what I do.

I know the majority of the population do not understand these things. Regardless the question gets old, not having a good answer for it, and trying to explain why, does as well.

I'm not saying you're an asshole if you ask or have asked the question. I'm just saying it's a very generic query where even if I gave you an answer it would hold little meaning for you. So why bother?

My other favorite question I get even MORE than "How much you bench?", is "You work out?" 

I ALWAYS say no... I tell them I've never lifted a weight in my life, and I can't stand working out. I prefer a couch, a TV, and a bag of chips. 

I mean... isn't the answer in the question on that one?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Musical Collaboration

As I listen to bands like The Dead Weather, and The Raconteurs... I'm always interested in breaking these super groups down into their individual parts, and checking out the original work of the various members to see exactly what it is they bring to the table. In the case of the above mentioned groups I found myself listening to Brenden Benson of The Raconteurs, and The Kills... Allison Mosshart's band.

In doing so, you see what they contribute.

In my own music I've had the privilege of collaborating with a few people over the years, but none more so than Rick Bach.

I am self taught on guitar, bass, and music production in general. My guitar playing is mediocre at best. My recording skills have gotten better with time and experience. Rick plays a mean guitar, and achieves one of the cleanest sounds I've ever heard. He's able to play songs I'd never be able to, or even if I could, would never be able to as well as he can. So, he has on many occasions provided me the music needed for me to lay vocals over. Giving me the chance to cover songs I would otherwise not be able to.

I had the honor of producing an EP for him of some of his original songs years ago. It was an easy job considering how well he plays. It didn't take much to make it sound good. It was what it was... Great.

In 2001 I wrote and recorded a song that to this day has been considered a Tommy Else staple, "Cold & Alone". For years, Rick saw more potential in the song... as did I.

Again, as much as I saw the ability for the song to rock more than it did, I am a slave to my own limited abilities and resources.

Years after the original recording... Rick and I finally got down to re-working the song together. Or should I say, Rick got to work on the song. He put together some more dynamic drums, guitars, and played the bass. I stuck to my acoustic guitar, and vocals.

I think it's interesting to hear what I had originally come up with... and then to hear the same song but with Rick's influence, and abilities applied to it.

This was the original recording I did on my own...

Cold & Alone (demo) by Tommy Else

Now, here is the same song featuring Rick's influence on it...

Cold & Alone by Tommy Else

Much more rockin!

Both versions hold a special place in my heart as it is an important song to me chronicling a dark moment in my life. But, like I said... this goes to show the influence that collaborating with a fellow musician has on a song. I'd still like to record a full band version of the song someday with real drums.

I have always appreciated Rick's enthusiasm in playing with me. We've played live, written, and recorded together, and I am grateful for all that we've created with one another.

He is the man.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Plant: Jenny - 1 Week Update

Well 1 week into her new pot with new soil, plant food, some regular watering and she's settling into her new surroundings nicely. She's really stretched out, and gotten comfortable. I had rotated her last week so some of the "branches" (I don't know if that's the appropriate term for them) are kind of twisted in various directions, but will come around soon enough, and start pointing towards their light source.

She's looking good though...

Friday, August 13, 2010


So this morning I was leaving the gym, and on my way out was picking up a case of protein drinks for one of my clients. They are glass bottles that come in a case of 12. There was a display of them in various flavors... cases stacked up pyramid style. So naturally the flavor I was looking for was at the bottom of said pyramid. 

Logically the way to get at it is to take the cases off of the top until you get down to the one you want. Just as I'm about to start doing this... the Manager, Dan, comes over and asks me if I need help with anything. I told him I was just gonna snag that case of protein. He goes, "Oh, here I'll get that for you", and just pulls it out from under the pyramid sending cases of glass bottles crashing to the ground! I had out of instinct went to try and catch one of the cases before it hit the ground, and the shattered glass cut my finger in 3 places. It started gushing blood immediately.

Dan and I go behind the counter and he busts out the first aid kit. He obviously doesn't know much about first aid... he wrapped it in gauze, and then covered it in band aids. Like a 3 year old might if they were playing doctor. I was on my way to work, so when I got to my first client I had to take some tape and wrap it a little tighter. I re-dressed it when I got home. Now I'm doing everything one handed... including writing this.

Luckily I've known Dan for a long time, and he's a good guy if not too bright. He was very apologetic. I told him it was all good. He gave me a free bottle of protein for the trouble of slicing my finger open.

And that's how my day started...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bikini Car Wash

Every summer as I drive around I notice all of the various churches, schools, and other organizations raising money with car washes. I also notice that most of them are staffed by 12-15 year old girls standing out there in bikinis scrubbing cars, waving signs, and screaming at passers by to come in for a wash. 

My favorite is when you see this in a church parking lot. 

Who exactly are they trying to attract to their car wash? I mean I understand it's hot, and you're washing cars... so wearing a bathing suit of some type is utilitarian if nothing else. I'm just saying that in today's world I don't know that I'd want my 15 year old daughter wearing a bikini in any parking lot with a bucket of soapy water scrubbing down some dude's car. 

It always creeps me out.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Merging Blogs: Revisiting The Past

So, I had a couple of old blogs that I had abandoned over the years. I discovered the blog merging feature on here, and just merged them all onto this, my current and active blog.

One of these was a blog I started in 2005 chronicling the entire year I spent preparing for my first bodybuilding competition. I read through the whole thing, and it's amazing how much I've learned since then. I did just about everything wrong getting ready for that competition you could do. From my workouts to my diet... I wouldn't do any of it the same way I did then, but I've always said that every time you do a competition it is a learning experience. You learn more about how your body works, and how it responds to various methods. I look horrible in the before pictures... they are most definitely "before" pictures and I will NEVER allow myself to look like that again.

It's always interesting to look back at where you came from... it allows you the opportunity to appreciate where you are now.

The Illinois Tollway A Good Value...? Bullshit.

I saw this absurd poster up in the window at the Jewel...

I take the tollway everyday for work. I'm just wondering... which tollway exactly has WIDE OPEN ROADS, REDUCED TRAVEL TIMES, or LOW TOLL RATES?!?! 

Could it be 294? 355? 88? Cause I take them all... and all I see on any of them is construction causing REDUCED LANES, EXTENDED TRAVEL TIMES, and RIDICULOUS TOLL RATES!!!

This poster is one of the biggest bold faced lies I've ever seen.

I mean that really takes some balls...

My Plant: Jenny

I've had Jenny for about 8 or 9 years now. She was named after a friend of mine who gave her to me. I had never had a plant before. When I got her she came in a little cup. Over the years I've slowly moved her into bigger pots. I know some plants will get as big as the pot you plant them in. She seems to be one of them.

Admittedly I have not always given her the attention she deserves, and she has stood at death's door on many... many occasions. There were times I didn't think she'd pull through, but apparently a little water goes a long way. So 8 or 9 years later she's still kickin'.

She has been outgrowing her pot though, so I decided to re-pot her today. She was also long overdue for some new soil. This is probably the biggest pot I'll get while I still live in my current apartment. I'm hoping to move in the next year or two, and when I do I'm gonna get a big ass floor pot and grow her as big as I can.

I know she looks kind of stuffed in there right now... but give her a week and she'll blow right out of that pot. Then I'll post an update.

Friday, August 6, 2010

10 ROCKIN' Smashing Pumpkins Songs

These are 10 songs in no particular order that I consider to be absolutely balls to the wall ROCKIN' Smashing Pumpkins songs. These aren't necessarily what I consider to be their best songs, or my favorites, just simply 10 songs where I feel that they absolutely BRING IT and kick your ass with ROCK!

Fuck You (An Ode To No One) - Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness

Geek U.S.A. - Siamese Dream

The End Is The Beginning Is The End - Batman & Robin Soundtrack

As Rome Burns - Currently Unreleased

Zero - Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness

The Everlasting Gaze - Machina: The Machines Of God

Slunk - The Lull EP

Jellybelly - Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness

Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness

Tarantula - Zeitgeist