Thursday, March 31, 2011

Birthday Keg Receipt, Cards, Sad Deathnight! Poem, Invite, and Bruins Roster

My birthday has been a lot of things over the years. It’s been fun, life-changing, sad, lonely, snowy, exciting, sporty, drunk, sick, awesome, surprising, and memorable.

Mostly because of my 18th birthday, March 31st has become a day that I cherish more than most and one that I try to remember no matter how many years has passed. Here are a few of my birthday memories from over the years:

When I turned 11, one of my presents was tickets to see Wrestlemania (yeah, the ORIGINAL) on closed-circuit TV at the Centrum in Worcester. This was before pay-per-view cable TV, so you went to the arena and watched it on a big screen. It may not have been watching wrestlers in the flesh, but it was Live TV and I was very happy to watch the Hulk Hogan and Mr. T tag-team match!

On my 13th birthday, I got my first Bruins jersey (#7, McGrath) – awesome.

When I was 17, my dad took me to a Bruins-Whalers game that was one I will never forget. Chris “Knuckles” Nilan set an NHL record with 10 penalties in one game! Also for my 17th birthday, my girlfriend and my friend Mike put together a surprise party for me at my parents’ house. We went out to eat at some resturant in Marlboro before, and I really had no clue what was waiting for me. They also invited two guys from Grafton to come and sing an Extreme song at the party, and my cake was a (go figure) hockey rink.

Just a year later was my life-changing birthday. I was turning 18, and was excited about not having to worry about the under 18 curfew rule for Massachusetts drivers. However this birthday didn’t include any late-night driving. Instead, it featured massive headaches, double vision, and a eventual diagnosis of a brain tumor (read more about my story at Thanks to my family, friends, doctors, and nurses, I made it through in one piece.

Although it took me years of drinking, rehab, therapy, and writing to figure it out, my birthday and early April became times of “Dark Anniversaries” after my cancer diagnosis. It seems so obvious now when I look at poems with titles like “Sad Deathnight!” (see poem published in Poems from a Tragic Comic and card signed by Freshman year friends), but that also began a time that I used writing to fight back against the negativity cancer reminded me of during this time of the year.

My 21st birthday makes me wish I had certain parts on video and at the same time glad that no one taped a thing. Out of all the parties I went to at BC (I went to my share, and your share, and his share, and her share), my 21st birthday had the highest percentage of attendees that were well over the legal limit, totally smashed, “wicked hammahed”, wasted, and just really, really drunk. I can’t deny, it’s just what I was hoping for. We got two kegs (one Molson Ice and one Bud Ice – see receipt), and an ice luge shaped like a shamrock. The mix tape I made included songs from Pearl Jam, Extreme, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Skid Row, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (who provided the “Don’t Know How to Party” theme), STP, and the Gin Blossoms. I blacked out some of the night, but had friends who looked after me. The next day, I went to see the Bruins play the Rangers with my dad. I flipped off Mark Messier before the game, and met Denis Leary after it. This was also the last birthday that I was drinking, and the first of many that I wore my “Fuck You You Fuckin’ Fuck” T-shirt.

For my 22nd birthday, we held a bash at Mod 40A, and I’m happy to report that I’m still friends with a lot of the people that were in attendance. It was the last big party we had in our Mod, and no one had to talk to any of the kind BC police officers.

When I turned 23, I was working as a teacher’s aide in a special ed/residential school. That night, we got a blizzard and I knew that night that there was no school on April 1st – a perfect excuse to break in the Playstation I had just bought!

My 24th birthday was exciting because the BC hockey team had just made it to the Frozen Four and my roommate got us tickets to the semi-finals and championship game which were in Boston.

For my 25th birthday, I was student teaching at a special ed school in Boston. Karen, the awesome lead teacher of the class, said for my birthday we could have a “Fun Dave Day” in class. We watched a movie, played video games, and ate McDonald’s. And my girlfriend at the time got me tickets to the Bruins and a guitar!

My 29th birthday stands as the only one I was engaged during. My family and friends all gathered at the Green Briar in Allston for some celebrating, Irish music, and to see the Sox choke on Opening Day.

My 30th Birthday was another surprise one – at my older brother Jon’s house. There was a Star Wars room, a BC room, and (I think) a Bruins/Red Sox room. A lot of love and planning went into it, and it was a great time (there are more stories that involve board games and uncontrollable laughter, but you’ll have to read about those in my book!).

My 31st birthday was the Focusin CD release show.

The birthdays of my late 20s and early 30s were fun ones, but the process of turning this time of year from dreary remembrance into total celebration was still happening.

When I turned 33, I went to NYC with my parents to see my sister Megan doing a wonderful job in one of her shows that my dad most likely didn’t understand.

My 34th birthday I had awesome birthday pancakes with my friend Kerry and co-celebrated at Hope Lodge with a guest who also had a late March birthday.

Two years ago, I went to see the Bruins play the Lightning with my dad. My parents also got me very Bruin-like black and gold Livestrong sneakers that year.

Last year, I played some guitar at the special ed school I was volunteering at, wore my “Fuck You You Fuckin’ Fuck” t-shirt, had cake at my parents, and game night at my cousins. All were filled with laughs. I also got a postcard sent to me all the way from Germany!

This year, I am going to the Bruins with my awesome girlfriend and my wonderful parents. I have recently set the date for my Skating for Hope event, and now have 4 months to get ready for it. I think dreaming of something and knowing it’s finally going to happen is a good indicator that I’ve changed this time of year around (19 years, about f’n time, right?).

Cancer may have been something that temporarily gave me periods of darkness, questioning, and guilt during a time of year that I was supposed to celebrate. But, the rewards it has given my far outweigh those years I struggled to be happy around my birthday. Cancer has taught me that birthdays are precious, and people should celebrate no matter what their number is. It has given me a job that I love. It has made me realize that to have a happy birthday, presence of awesome family and friends is what matters, not presents. Cancer has made me realize that what I think on any given day (especially today and these days that follow) is up to me, and not something that happened all those years ago. Finally, it has shown me that if you think something and believe it, you can bring it into your life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hot Chicks, Not-So-Hot Chicks, and Farts (More Birthday Cards)

After looking through some more birthday cards from the past, I noticed a few themes running through them.

Some have hot chicks and/or have a sexuality theme, some suggest I can only attract not-so-attractive women, and some are about farts.

I’m not sure what these suggest people think about me, but here they are…


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some of My Favorite Birthday Cards

Chances are if you’ve given me a birthday card, I still have it. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years…

Monday, March 28, 2011

Focusin CD Release Flyer (3/31/05)

I don’t have much time to write because I need to check out of my Orlando hotel and I will be traveling all day, but I will do what I can…

I thought I would start off my “Birthday Week” with something that happened on my birthday six years ago. One of my favorite bands, Focusin, had a CD release show at the Middle East club in Cambridge.

I know the Focusin boys are most likely shaking their heads that I still had this flyer – luckily, I don’t care.

For more on Focusin (still one of my favorite bands), you can read what I wrote about them for shirt #59, shirt #115, and shirt #203 last year.

Shipping up to Boston…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Note From My Friend Kerry (2008)

Every now and again in my life, someone tells me that they haven’t seen a certain movie? My jaw drops, and I get and give them my DVD of that movie for them to watch.

A few years ago, my friend Kerry was working a weekend at Hope Lodge. She had told me she had never seen Die Hard, so I corrected it immediately. I also made it a point to make sure that Kerry watched some episodes of Trailer Park Boys.

So, in no particular order, here are some movies, TV shows, and standup routines that are on the “Dave’s Must See” list:

1. Die Hard – best action movie I’ve seen, paved the way for many future movies

2. Trailer Park Boys – Canadian TV show that makes me wish Sunnyvale was a real place

3. Mike Birbiglia, What I Should Have Said Was Nothing – Comedian from Shrewsbury, MA who has perfected taking life challenges and turning them into laughs – this guy is one of my heroes

4. Star Wars – Duh! But if you are a Star Wars fan, Robot Chicken Star Wars replaces the “Holy Trilogy” in this list

5. This Is Spinal Tap (and other Christopher Guest mockumentaries) – Spinal Tap helped get me through chemotherapy and the laughs always go to 11

6. Kevin Smith movies – Especially Chasing Amy and Clerks

7. Denis Leary, No Cure for Cancer – My favorite standup routine of all-time, I know every single line and made sure when I started playing guitar that “Asshole” was one of the first songs I learned – Denis is also a hero of mine

8. Outside Providence - Simply put, one of the most underrated comedies ever

9. Indiana Jones movies – Yes, I even liked the most recent one

10. Fletch – I’ve had entire conversations with friends using only quotes from this movie

11. Do You Believe In Miracles? / Miracle – Story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, makes me cry every time

So if you haven’t, watch these and thank me later.

PS - I also forgot to mention how Kerry wrote about my sister’s “veggie dish”. My sister Carolyn makes veggie dishes so well (Vegan Chile and Vegan Cheesecake are my faves) that when I eat them I temporarily think I might be able to make it through life without eating meat. Yes, they are that good!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Erin's Wedding Invitation

If you know me, you know I don’t really like it when my teams lose. And, I especially don’t like it when they lose badly. Knowing I was going to be in Orlando this weekend, I was worried that I might not be able to find a bar to watch the BC-Colorado College hockey game. Two people at our hotel recommended the Orlando Ale House (a.k.a. Miller’s Ale House), and I was happy when they put ESPNU on a TV that was in a good view from our table. My happiness turned to dread over the next couple of hours as I watched my Eagles lose 8-4, get eliminated from the NCAA hockey tournament, and fail to repeat as Frozen Four champs. Ouch.

Still, I always try to find the good out of everything. I managed to scrape together two good things from last night’s loss. One, BC would have faced Michigan in their next game and that most likely would have made for some “interesting” rooting between my Michigan-born girlfriend and me. So, I don’t have to worry about that. Second, I am going to my friend Erin’s wedding tonight. If BC had won last night, I would have been texting with my friend Patrick to get score updates during the wedding reception while secretly wondering if there was a place close by that had ESPNU. Now, I can just enjoy the wedding without worrying about any hockey game.

This might seem ridiculous to a lot of people, but if there’s an important hockey game going on (Bruins or BC), it doesn’t matter where I am: I will try to make sure I can find out what the score is at any given time. I took a Walkman to my junior prom because the Bruins were playing the Penguins in game 6 of the Conference Finals (The B’s lost by the way).

I am looking forward to Erin and John’s wedding tonight. It’s going to be a great time, and I have no hockey game to worry about!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Invitation to Cousin Matt's Wedding

I was never a big fan of weddings. I didn’t like the idea of spending so much money on an engagement ring, and even more on the wedding and reception. To me, Love was the only thing that mattered, and it’s silly to think that a marriage’s success depends on the ring or ceremony.

I still went to weddings when I was invited, and was honored to be the best man at my older brother Jon’s wedding. The wedding reception was on the of the best times of my life – everyone was happy, we all knew Jon and Jen were meant for each other, and my toast made Jon cry.

Then, something happened that drastically changed my attitude toward weddings. After being engaged myself, my fiancée called off our engagement/wedding. I was devastated and left without her, my apartment, and my job. Then, less than two years later, she invited me to her own wedding. I really didn’t want to be anywhere near a wedding after that.

One of my BC buddies got married, and there was nothing that was going to keep me from that wedding. I was really happy for him and knew he had found the right girl. Still, there were moments during the ceremony when I had “failed engagement flashbacks. I knew I had to move past it, but I guess I just wasn’t ready yet. There were even a couple weddings/celebrations that I was invited to that I didn’t attend.

Cousin Matt to the rescue…

When Matt told me that he was engaged, I was happy and excited for him and Liz. When he asked me to be one of his groomsmen, I was honored and even happier about the wedding.

Suddenly, all of the negativity I had stored up in relation to weddings was gone. I had always thought that my failed engagement was a character flaw and every wedding I went to amplified that fact. Being part of Matt’s wedding made me realize what happened in my past had nothing to do with anyone else’s wedding.

I had a blast hanging out in NYC for all of the “bachelor party” activities and really let go of what was stopping me from enjoying other’s celebrations.

Today is Matt’s birthday, and I was to thank him for unknowingly helping me move past what had been a big emotional challenge for me. Matt is my only male cousin and even though it might be nice to have other guy cousins to hang out with, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Whether it was playing “tackle hoops” with Matt and my brother Tom or watching the Pats win their first Superbowl, I cherish all the fun times I’ve shared with “Matt-O”. Every time I hang out with the guy, he makes me laugh. I love to watch sports with him. I hope someday to co-write a screenplay with him, or have him direct one that I wrote. I hope you have/had a wonderful birthday Matt, I love you, and I’m lucky to have you as my cousin.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Darth Quaider T-shirt

I’ve written often about how lucky I am to have such a great family. Part of that family is my older sister. She has supported me with everything I’ve done, given me free haircuts for 18 years, and she designed this t-shirt.

If you haven’t heard of Adam McQuaid, he’s a Bruins defenseman from Prince Edward Island and he’s having an awesome season. Not only can he fight with the best of them, he’s among the league leaders in +/- rating.

You can read how he got the nickname “Darth Quaider” here, even though he admitted that he’s never seen any of the Star Wars movies (we’ll have to do something about that!).

After the picture of Andrew Ference was online, Sully’s came out with their own “Darth Quaider” t-shirt that you can see here. I think it’s pretty clear that my sister made the best one…

Go B’s, beat the Habs!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letter from Kimble Unger Literary Arts Group (2/6/03-3/21/03)

The heading makes it look like this agreement had a lifespan. In a way, I guess it did.

After I finished writing TRAGIC COMIC, I sent tons of letters to agencies. I tried reaching out to producers to see if someone was interested in reading it. As you can read about here, here, and here, I got a lot of rejection letters. Still, I never gave up. I kept trying and kept writing.

I wrote 4 more scripts (2 original, 2 Simpsons, and a Family Guy) and published 5 books. I published every day last year about my t-shirts at This year, I’m writing this blog.

I also have rough drafts of two children books and my autobiography (I’ve been through a few things).

I guess my point is I’m ready to have a legitimate agent, unlike this “agency” that wanted me to sign this letter of agreement and pay them $262.50. I never paid them or sent this back, and just found out that was a good decision. They are listed as “Strongly not recommended” on this website, and their current website doesn’t look too impressive either. I’m ready, literary agents. You’re going to be contacted soon. Who wants me?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Central Massachusetts Paranormal Society Investigation Report

Five years ago strange things started happening in my apartment. Things were turning on and off by themselves, my guitar was mysteriously pushed out of my hands, I saw a small ball of light floating around the room, and sometimes you could feel a “cold spot” surrounding you. My neighbor showed me an ad for the CMPS in the paper, and I set up an appointment for an investigation. Here’s what they reported:

The report does mention that they recorded EVPs. They played these for my roommate and me during the “reveal” part of the investigation and they were creepy! One sounded like a demonic voice and another sounded like a sword slicing through the air. I know a lot of people don’t believe in ghosts or spirits, but it’s hard to deny when you go through something like this.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Big Nate Comic Strip (3/1/11)

I cut this out of the paper because it reminded me of two things that are very important to me: my older sister and hockey. I hope you enjoy it and are having a great Monday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Harlem Globetrotters Ticket and Pictures (2011, 1986)

For the first time in about 25 years, I went to see the Harlem Globetrotters today. After a short with my brother and nephews from Hope Lodge to the Centrum (a.k.a. DCU Center), we found our seats and the game/show began. As I watched the opening tip off, I wondered how similar it would be compared to when I was a kid…

A lot of the plays, tricks, and jokes were similar, much to the delight of the Worcester crowd. Globetrotter showman “Big Easy” did a spectacular job running the game, talking to the ref, and interacting with the crowd. There was the usual three-man weave, basketball spinning, pulling down of shorts, dunks, illegal plays, and bouncing of balls off of objects other than the court. I think the most impressive display was the consistent 4-point shooting of Firefly – really unbelievable. And yes, the Globetrotters won.

As I watched with my nephews and brother, we wondered about a few things. I told them I knew the Globetrotters had actually lost once, but when was that? The announcer stated that it had been since 1971, but I think he was referring to the last loss against a team they toured with (it was a 100-99 OT loss to the New Jersey Reds on January 15, 1971). I also found out (thank you internet) that the Globetrotters lost in 1995, in 2000 to Michigan State, and most recently on my birthday in 2006 to the NABC All-Stars (see Globetrotters timeline).

I also wondered if they also sold Washington Generals merchandise….they do! You can buy a Generals t-shirt through the official site or a more of a mocking Generals t-shirt on sale at Crazy Dog T-shirts.

As we watched the various halftime competitions, I was brought back to my last Globetrotters game. My father entered me in a drawing to be part of a halftime shootout, and I was picked. Thanks to my father, I have this picture of me taking the shot. Unfortunately, it didn’t go in. Only one person who entered made the shot, and he won the contest. But, I still got to meet some of the Globetrotters after the game – and that was even better than being part of the free throw contest. You can see a few things in the picture of me getting autographs. One is player Harold “Bobo” Hubbard, who you can find on the all-time roster (which also includes, I had no clue, former BC Eagle Gerrod Abram). Two is my brother Tom. And finally, you can see my awesome Levi’s winter/denim jacket in my lap – man, did I love that thing!

The Globetrotters have been entertaining crowds for 85 years now, and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. They put on a fun, family-oriented, and at times amazing show when I saw them 25 years ago and they did they same today. I still wish I had made that shot though…

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Skating for Hope Flyer

It was two years ago that I was skating with my friend Megan. We had been skating for almost 2 hours straight, and were hoping the rink manager wouldn’t kick us off when the public skating session was over. He didn’t, and we kept going for 2 ½ hours. After we passed the 2 hour mark and I still felt like I could go for at least 2 more, I asked Megan if she thought it was possible for someone to skate for 24 hours straight. She said yes, and my Skating for Hope idea was born.

After I thought of the idea, the next step was finding a rink that I could use for 24 hours. I contacted FMC Ice Sports, and they said it was a great idea and could give me a discounted rate for the Skating for Hope event. Even with the big discount, the rink rental price was still beyond my Hope Lodge Night Manager budget, but I was confident I would find a way to fund it.

Thanks to my friend Glen, cousin Katie, and sister Megan, I decided to use my huge t-shirt collection to raise money to pay FMC so I could hold skating for Hope. So, was born, and I wore and wrote about a different t-shirt for every day of 2010.

My sister Carolyn made for me, and t-shirt orders and donations started rolling in. It only took a couple of months, and I had raised enough money to fund Skating for Hope. Two years after I thought of the idea, I could tell I was on the verge of actually having a date for it.

I contacted some former BC hockey players online to see if they were interested in joining me for part of Skating for Hope, and their response has been overwhelming. Now, I have a date, place, and BC hockey players who have told me they are going to join me for a “BC Hockey Alum Hour”. To say I’m excited is like saying I’ll be happy if the Bruins win the Cup (I still believe, even after tonight).

I emailed the person in the BC hockey office who organizes an annual BC Alumni hockey game, and he asked me to come with a flyer that he could forward to other Eagles. Here’s what I came up with. I hope it helps me get enough players for at least a scrimmage...

PS - I can't say thank you enough to everyone who has helped me make Skating for Hope possible. Thanks to everyone that supported my t-shirt blog, helped with the New Year's Eve party, made donations for t-shirts, and thanks to the Hope Lodge guests and everyone at Hope Lodge who helped inspire me to start Skating for Hope!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Page from Junior Year Address Book (1994-1995)

When I was in college, there was no Facebook. Email and IMs were just emerging as a way of communicating, but cell phones and text messages were still a ways off.

We did have phones though, and answering machines. Many times my junior year roommates would enjoy listening to my dad’s messages: “Dave, this is your “fah-thah”…”

When I wanted to call someone that wasn’t a close relative or friend, I couldn’t rely on having it stored on our landline phone. I had to look it up in my address book (or the Boston College “Source”, which listed contact information for all undergrads).

I’d like to blame my drinking, but it seems I didn’t have enough friends to fill an entire address book. Or I think I put what would have been my “speed dial” numbers on one of the front pages. Here they are, and I hope they all feel honored to have made it on the page…

Notice how most of them don’t have area codes. Back then, if someone was in the same area code as you (617 in this case), you didn’t need to dial their whole number…imagine that! My parents told me that when they moved into Westboro, you only had to dial that last four digits if you were calling someone in Westboro. Now, even if you are calling next door you need the area code.

There’s only one person I have no idea about today. Sabrina was someone I met at my first drinking rehab stint during my sophomore year, and I never spoke to her after our junior year. Hope she’s doing well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Cards, Pictures, Pin, and Party Suggestions from the Fun Encyclopedia

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Ireland Forever, and Sláinte! Yeah, I’m Irish…

I thought for today, I would share some more cards, a couple of pictures, my favorite St. Patty’s Day pin, and more from The Fun Encyclopedia.

The cards that I didn’t scan the inside are from my cousin and parents.

I love how my nephews in the picture from 2005 seem to be fixated on the food and not looking at the camera. The 2007 picture is from my visit to hang out with my friend Hilary in Chicago. Not only did I see the green river, I saw Great Big Sea on the 16th and Gaelic Storm on the 17th.

Like the March Wind Party I blogged about, there are a lot more wonderful tips on how to get your St. Patrick’s Day party on from the Fun Encyclopedia – although none of them involve playing with anyone’s lucky charms!

Oh, you can also check out my week of Irish t-shirts from last year (Who’s Your Paddy?, O’Islander, Danu, Dropkick Murphys – Fields of Athenry, Red Sox Shamrock, Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced, and Made in Ireland)

Looking forward to my favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition later, hanging out with my awesome family!