Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Episode 40 - Twitterpated

Click HERE to Download!

Tom gets caught Twittering in the loft; Ema tells us about her encounter with Dean Koontz which just happens to be her most embarrassing moment; The Unreal OC hits the OC Swap Meet and teaches a slick vendor the true meaning of the term SWAP; and Tom tells about how he made a fool out of himself in front of Christopher Reeve.

Also - It's been one year and three days since the very first episode of The Unreal OC, so a warm thanks to all of you who have stuck with me (and us) for the past 368 days! Ema and I look forward to yet another year of merriment and mayhem with all of you.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why I Don't Play Board Games With Ema and Her Sister

I went into detail on this in Episode 39 - Pigmy in a Blanket, and as you can see from this photo (click on it to enlarge), my wife and her sister like to 'make up' words in Scrabble. Words like UAENDEVOR, and HOWQUAL. This photo was taken tonight during one of our weekly "card nights."

So folks, although I might fly off the handle, and have a tendancy to climb up on my soapbox a little too often, this photo proves that the one thing I don't do is lie!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Unreal OC's FIRST Contest!!!

The Unreal OC is proud to announce our FIRST Listener Contest!!! Granted, the prizes aren't worth all that much money, but hey - we've got a college fund to build! One of the two prizes is a Lil Sucker. See, you place it over the bottom of a beverage container; slam the container on a flat surface, and the Lil Sucker makes a suction grip with the surface so it won’t spill off your RV table, be pulled off by your toddler or knocked over by that drunken guy sitting next to you. The other prize - shipped to you in the same, convenient package, is The Unreal OC sticker - yahooooooo! It's 3" x 5", and will stick to just about anything, but looks especially good right in the center of your dining room table.

You can listen to how we obtained the Lil Sucker in episode 40, which will be posted by Thursday 3/1.

All you have to do is email us at and tell us your own Things I Hate/Things I Love. That’s it – Just type out something you hate, something you love and the reasons for each. The winning entry will be judged on originality and creativity – but don’t let that scare you – we aren’t really good judges of either.

The Drawing will be on April 1st, and the winner will be announced, and his or her entry read during episode #43. So c’mon and send in your Thing You Hate and your Thing You Love – Ema and I look forward to hearing from you.

- Tom

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I’m Afraid I Might Have Extreme Hypochondria

I watched a segment on ABC’s Good Morning America on Saturday about this newly-coined condition called Extreme Hypochondria where the sum of your imagined illnesses creates a depressed, and anxious mental state from which the only escape seems to be intensive psychotherapy. Well sign me up! The laundry list of imagined illnesses read off by the host didn’t come close to the number of unconfirmed conditions I’ve self-diagnosed in the past year. Heck – I’ve even had to make up some names for diseases that our esteemed medical community has yet to discover. Like Acute Inflamatory Clamatogenisis – The highly disruptive intestinal disorder caused by ingesting four liters of Clamato in one hour on a bet. And Redundant Hyper-Ocular Amelioration – The absent-minded insertion of a duplicate pair of contact lenses on top of the ones already in your eyes.

What makes all of this so scary is that I’d just as soon sweep the notion of Extreme Hypochondria under the rug, forget about it for now, and go on about my normal life. After all, I’m going into surgery this coming Friday! I certainly don’t need yet another health-related issue to keep me awake at night. However, I can’t help but think of the potential damage I could be doing by ignoring such a catastrophic disorder! Maybe I should forgo my UPPP and Septoplasty, and address this instead. Look, if Extreme Hypochondria is as damaging as I’m building it up to be, then I may want to seek treatment immediately, and risk suffering from Post-Operative Pathological Regret Syndrome - The inevitable realization that you’ve mistakenly chosen your least-serious disorder to treat. Actually, I’ve never suffered from that one. But now I'm worried I might.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Few Words About American Idol

It’s true; Ema and I are hooked, once again, on the contrived, insipid, and utterly-enjoyable drivel that is American Idol. This time around, Ema and I agree that the girls have got what it takes. As of last Wednesday, five divas, some still in their teens, dominated the competition, and swept the panel off of their feet - which for Paula usually isn’t all that difficult. Jordin Sparks, Melinda Doolittle, Lakisha Jones, Stephanie Edwards, and Gina Glocksen were our top picks for this past Wednesday’s show. As for the dudes, the only two who really worked for us were jokester, Chris Sligh, and beat-boxer, Blake Lewis – both of whom soared in vocal quality and performance above the rest.

As for the panel of judges this season, we haven’t had nearly as many opportunities to crack wise about Paula’s inebriated antics, which started me thinking: was she ever truly intoxicated. . .medicated? Do the memories of previous seasons deceive me? Do we really care? Ema and I do find ourselves siding more and more with Simon’s opinions of the performers. The character of Simon, and that’s really what it is, has truly mastered the abuse and rudeness for which he has become infamous. It’s often uncomfortable to watch, sometimes a bit affected, but always potently-addictive. Randy – well, Randy is the most predictable of the three, and I mean that in a good way. Every successful character group needs a good straight man, and Randy pulls it off with confident dignity.

So that’s where we are left for this week. I may never write about American Idol again, but for some reason felt compelled to get this out of my system. It’s cathartic, you know, to admit to liking something that deep down you admit is silly. And American Idol is as silly and as meaningless as a TV show built around manufactured reality can possibly be. But there’s also the sub-plot, the part of the show which often gets upstaged by the fabricated drama and cacophony. I’m talking here folks about the hopes and dreams of the contestants. So to them I say Kudos to all of you, and best of luck for your bright futures.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


How self-important do you have to be to expect anyone else to be interested in what you are doing at any random moment throughout the day? Twitter ( doesn’t attempt to answer that question; rather it has produced a site which forces you to face the horrible truth yourself. Twitter simply asks the question: “What are you doing?” I don’t know what the appeal of Twitter is yet; even though I find myself tapping out text messages to their server several times per day with such meaningless tidbits as “Eating Yoplait.” or “Pumping Gas.” You can read my entries on the left side of this page, then check back periodically to watch as “Getting ready for bed” magically changes to “Can’t sleep, acid reflux, – reading comic book.” in just 30 short minutes!

There’s a primal need for connectedness amongst us Earthlings. That need combined with the compulsion for voyeurism somehow makes Twitter unquestionably compelling. You can log on and see, not only what your friends are doing, but what famous people like Steve Wozniak and Britney Spears are doing as well. That’s the other draw of Twitter – I’ll call it the Normalization Affect. If someone as successful and smart as Mr. Wozniak types in “Opening a can of peas.” or Britney enters “Checking out of rehab, walking to hair salon.” doesn’t that make you feel just a little better about doing life’s most mundane chores and responsibilities? Doesn’t that somehow raise canned vegetables or abandoning a commitment to new levels – however slightly? Will you ever be able to open another can of peas without thinking about Steve Wozniak?!? I won’t. So see, we are all much more alike than we’d care to think. “The Woz” opens canned food, Britney gets a haircut – we are all of us, as one.

And I, for one, am going to continue to share my tedious, sometimes offensive routines for all to see, because I believe in what Twitter is all about – community, sharing, and keeping tabs on friends, celebrities, and self-important bloggers the World over.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Soldier in Search of Sacred Time

This blog entry is dedicated to the smartest, bravest, funniest, and most beautiful person I know – my wife, Ema. Those of you who know us well enough might surmise that, at this very moment, I’ve got the business end of a shotgun firmly planted against my brain stem. That scenario couldn’t be further from reality. Ema is much too fine a person to be involved with something as messy as a shotgun.

Truth is, she is an experienced soldier, well-trained in the weapons of life which allow her to fight on the front lines every day. Today she was at work and coming down with a cold passed lovingly to her by one of our three children. Sam, our three-year-old was at work with her, oscillating between throwing a fit and resting up for the next one. Ema finished at her job (one of two that she holds), then headed out to run errands, picking up Nick, or oldest, on the way to any one of a variety of exotic destinations such as the dry cleaners, the supermarket, or the DMV. All of this she does without complaint. All of this she does every day.

After errands, she returned home and did the laundry, cleaned up the kids’ rooms, made dinner, bathed the children, and then welcomed me home to a spotless, wonderful-smelling house filled with happy, clean children, and a spouse who had somehow made it through another day without consuming a fishbowl full of Mai Tais.

I help out when I get home, but realistically, by that time, the battle is over. I’m just damage control - collecting the debris, setting up an exclusion zone around the kitchen, helping the soldiers – especially the smallest ones, into their cots so they can rest up for the next day’s offensive.

It’s at this time, in the quiet of the evening when Ema, mentally exhausted and emotionally battle-scarred, can finally sit in bed, sip her tea, and enjoy an hour of peace that she has so heroically earned.

They don’t give medals for being a good mom or wife. There’s no promotion through the ranks, no ticker-tape parades. Ema’s gratitude has to come from those who recognize just how hard she works everyday. Perhaps I should tell her again how much I truly appreciate everything she does. Right now though there’s just the hint of a grin on her face as she’s reading her book. I think tonight I’ll let her read in peace, and quietly post this entry for her to discover tomorrow.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'm Getting Old!

I’m getting old; and perhaps the most disturbing thing is that I'm not as bothered by that as I should be. One of the ways I know I'm getting old is I'm finding it harder and harder to keep pace with technology; and often find myself seeking comfort in nostalgia – daydreaming about the days of rotary phones, two-button remote controls, and socks without microchips. I bought a cell phone in late December. I wanted a phone with a decent still and video camera so that I could capture all those precious, fleeting moments of my kids’ lives, like my daughter’s graduation from pre-school, or the time when Sam took off his diaper in the bagel shop.

Unfortunately, after nearly two months, I’ve yet to snap a photo with it. Thousands of menus, tiny buttons, all of this and a migraine-inducing, user-hostile interface have left me unable to master anything other than flipping it open – one handed, by the way.

Then, only two nights ago, I saw the commercial for the Jitterbug cell phone, and I was sold. I had the same reaction a couple years ago when I hurt my back then saw the commercial for the Rascal mobility scooter. I was dialing the phone before Jeopardy came back on. That scooter would have been mine in only 36 easy payments if Ema hadn’t put a hold on the credit card. But not this time, tootsie! The Jitterbug is the answer to all my technology-induced nightmares!

The Jitterbug has large, easy-to-read buttons, a cushioned ear piece, and a bright, easy-to-read display – it’s exactly what a person in his early forties needs! Who cares if it’s marketed toward people twice my age? That silly notion never stopped me from buying those wrap-around sun glasses, wearing black socks with sandals, or bringing my metal detector to the beach! Of course when I shared my enthusiasm with Ema, she was less than enthusiastic. She insists I’m experiencing some sort of middle-age crisis. I tell her that middle-age crises are signaled by the acquisition of items meant to make one feel younger – a red Mustang GT, a 23-year-old grad student, a toupee (although not in that order). Hell, I’m not only accepting my journey into the autumn of my life, I’m celebrating it! And furthermore, if she thinks I’ll be talking to HER on my Jitterbug while I cruise around CVS on my Rascal, then she’s got another think coming, because I’ll be punching the oversized speed-dial button, and calling that hot-looking, 81-year-old widow I met last week while feeding pigeons in the park!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Look - Same Great Taste!

That's right - Ema and I have abandoned the old "Unblog," and built a brand new Show Notes and Blog that's sure to. . .well heck - you're soaking in it.

Be sure to leave a comment if you can think of some way we can make this better or easier to use.

Suggestions - no matter how critical, are always welcome.


- Tom


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ode to the Altima

Watching the new owner drive away from my house in my Altima was a bittersweet moment. We’d been through much together during the past four and a half years, and not unlike the final goodbyes to someone special, I felt my throat close a little as I forced myself to stay strong.

The following poem sums up my memories, and is dedicated to my four-wheeled friend that I’ve always considered to be so much more than a car.

School bus, chariot, taxi cab, bassinette,

Hotel room for a weekend I’d rather forget,

Confessional, library, waiting room, pub,

Not for the driver - I’d wait ‘till the club,

Dance hall, bordello, ambulance, hearse,

To the friends of Trixie - I still have her purse,

Flop house, drug store, paddy wagon, tomb,

That drag race with Earl that ended too soon,

We’ve torn up some bad roads; we’ve cruised down some good,

With nary a whimper from under your hood,

And now my dear friend as I say my goodbye,

With a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye,

I hope your new owner can treat you as well,

And build wonderful memories someday he too can tell.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Focus, focus, focus

I’ve been having trouble staying focused lately. This morning I text messaged myself just to see if I was paying attention. I wasn’t. The message came across within 30 seconds. I felt the vibration in my pocket, frantically fumbled for the phone, flipped the screen up and peered anxiously at it with hopes it was that important announcement from the Kenyan Vice-President of Finance I was waiting for. Instead, I’m staring at a screen reading: TEST – FROM ME TO ME – IN CASE YOU FORGOT, I SENT THIS 30 SECONDS AGO. I blinked, then heard a soft ‘pop’ from somewhere inside my left ear that I sensed was the simultaneous misfiring of 50 million neurons. I mean it could have been that trapped bathwater that’s been sloshing around my inner ear for the past two weeks, but I chose to connect it somehow to something much more serious. You see – it’s what I do. I take a simple, temporary lack of concentration and turn it into Acute Peripheral Neuropathy.

Want another example? Two years ago I noticed that the outside of my right big toe was going numb. I looked up “numb toe” on Google, and the first thing I saw was:

Toe numbness – Multiple Sclerosis

List of 17 disease causes of Toe numbness, 11 drug side effect causes. Analysis of diagnostic tests, doctor questions, and related signs or symptoms for Toe ... - 34k - Cached - Similar pages

So, for the next couple of weeks I started getting my affairs in order, paying more attention to my kids, being a terrific father – you know – acting odd. When I asked my doctor about this he rolled his eyes. . .he always rolls his eyes at me. . . then told me that my shoes were too tight and sent me home. Anyway, with his suggestion I bought bigger shoes which flopped around on my feet so much that eventually I developed plantar fasciitis. So, today my toe is still numb and I have pronounced pain in my arch with each step from wearing poorly prescribed, ill-fitting shoes!

Now. . .what was I talking about?


Episode 39 - Pigmy in a Blanket

Click here to download

The homeless man shower story, Tom’s new crazy-ass diet plan, Animated snot globs, Chicken poo and bootie songs, plus – Listener submitted Things I Hate, Things I Love.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Tom’s Crazy-Ass New Diet Plan

We’ll be talking about this in episode #39 as well because this is exciting news. I may have finally hit upon a sure-fire weight loss plan! As anyone with diet experience can attest, one of the most frustrating and discouraging elements to any diet is hitting the inevitable ‘plateau’ – that point in your diet when weight loss slows down to a point where even your new $300.00 bathroom scale fails to indicate any progress, and you start wondering just how many pints of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream you could have bought for what you paid for that over-priced piece of crap. This is the precisely the point where I usually begin fantasizing about sitting in a Jacuzzi filled with nacho cheese or testing the limits of Applebee’s policy on their ‘Endless Steak Fries.’

Well not this time! You see, at exactly three weeks into my current diet plan - the point when my metabolism finally catches on to the fact that I’m putting considerable effort into disposing my adipose, and slows to match the metabolic rate of a drunken tortoise, I’ll be having throat surgery. Now, if all of the horror stories I’ve read about this surgery are true, then I won’t be eating anything resembling normal food for more than a week. This will force my diet to stay on course and punch right through the plateau.

And for those of you worried that I might lose too much weight by taking such drastic measures, look - my fancy electronic bathroom scale shows that I have the fat reserves of a Kodiac bear in November, and with a little math, I figured out that if I stopped eating today, I could live off of nothing but water until May of 2009.

I figure by the time I feel like eating anything beyond popsicles or runny oatmeal, I’ll have evaded all attempts my metabolism has made at discouraging me. I plan on surfacing on the other side of the dreaded diet plateau, having avoided disappointment, personal doubt, and any temptation to don a bib, and start chucking random freezer items into the Fry Daddy. Stay tuned. . .


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and Septoplasty Scheduled!

Folks if all goes as planned, I’ll be going under the laser-guided, serrated scalpel on Friday March 2nd. Cards and flowers can be sent to me c/o Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Cypress California.

Now look – Ema tells me I have a tendency to catastrophize a bit, but you all know that she’s a delusional paranoid, so I guess both of us can’t be correct. While you’re digesting that, chomp on this - There's no way I'm going through this procedure without dragging every one of our fine listeners down with me, so one of us will be keeping y’all informed via this here Unblog.

So turn on, tune in, and drop out. . . it's what I'll be doing in just over three weeks. That, and contemplating the words of another brave American who faced tremendous odds with the courage of a thousand generals - Lance Armstrong: "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Episode 38 - Bang Bang Muffler

Nobody bamboozles Tom! Disneyland in January, the cereal diet, Ema wants to be a groupie for Chris Isaak. Do you pump for your wife? Tom does.

Be the first on your block to listen! Click HERE.