Sunday, February 28, 2010

Homophobia and Hypocrisy

In recent weeks, I've used my status updates on Facebook to relay my feelings on some movies. Unlike most people, I didn't love the Hurt Locker, hated The Hangover, but loved Julie & Julia, watched but disliked Brokeback Mountain. Instead of eggs and bacon I mentioned I had brie with preserves for breakfast one morning. I've mentioned other things, both on Facebook and to people in person and quite often the reaction has been repeated. "You're Gay!"

When a game is on, I get wrapped up in a conversation about Coq au Vin or some artsy film I might have viewed recently, there are those that feel it's a sign of my lack of manliness. Now anyone that knows me knows that I am too messy and my total lack of regard towards fashion shouts out "straight," but I do like to dabble in the kitchen and I like more cerebral movies. It's funny how most restaurant chefs aren't labeled gay, but a single guy who eats gourmet cheese for breakfast is. Why is this? I'm glad Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain didn't give up their passion because someone might have thought it a less manly endeavor. Thankfully, Claude Monet or Michelangelo weren't called effeminate because they liked to paint. Imagine if Caruso or Bjorling became carpenters instead of singers. A manly endeavor that would have taken so much joy away from so many. So why is it that some men have such a problem with the arts or even intelligence? I've watched movies that manly men have told me they couldn't watch because it was too graphic. At no time did I think this was a reflection of what they liked to do in the bedroom and who with.

Now I realize we live in a time where the average person is not that bright. We are inundated with locker room humor and the old boy's club ideals, but this is 2010. Why were we more accepting 100 years ago? Was it because people weren't open about their sexuality? Honestly, does it matter. Why is it that the same people who call me gay for liking a movie about cooking or a male actor's ability go to church and are fine with knowing that there's a decent chance the man in front of them has had indiscretions with young boys, or even men in his own parish? Why is that acceptable? Now I'm not condemning Christianity, but there seems to be such a hypocritical view among christians. I never surrendered my life to someones lord, so why is my decision to like certain things gay, but someone who has, is confused or misunderstood? Why is it OK for professional athletes to shower together and slap each other on the ass, but I can't spread brie on a baguette without being ridiculed? The more we "advance" as a people, the more I think we really regress.

In the late 90's a young man named Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die because he was gay. The media ate this story up and I remember hearing people who were interviewed say that he got what he deserved. I heard people I know say he got what he deserved. He got what he deserved? He did something in the privacy of a bedroom and for this people actually picketed his funeral. Some local churches led the charge. I'll repeat that - Churches led the charge. What people might not know is that this wasn't the first time he was attacked. He was raped in HS. I assume by someone who of course wasn't gay, but wanted to teach him a lesson about, who knows, religion? The problem with our society is we accept gay characters on TV and in movies when they are overtly gay. Not every gay man is Jack from Will & Grace. Not every gay man dresses like a woman. Not every straight man is really straight. Believe me, I've known quite a few people who aren't gay who throw words around like fag or queer who have had relations with members of the same sex. What's that called? Experimenting? Bi-sexual? Isn't that being in a homosexual relationship?

Here's my point. What difference does it make if someone is gay? If I want to sit back and watch a cooking show for ten hours, while listening to opera music and eating some expensive cheese, could you explain how that defines my sexuality? I knew a man, who was openly gay, who was a marine. He was a tough SOB and I'm sure nobody would know by looking at him or by what he did that he was gay and if they did, they sure as hell wouldn't say it. Listen, I'm as guilty as the next guy as being in a room full of straight guys and someone says something a little effeminate and I've thrown a fag joke in here and there, but I don't mean it. Recently, I've tried not to, because it bothers me. I think this bothers me most, because so many people I've come across have no problem calling someone a Jew when they don't leave enough money for a bill. My mother was Jewish and was always telling me about how all of this light joking and social intolerance is what causes things to happen, because people always think it's nothing more than words. You can't see the manifestation of hate in people. The Holocaust, southern lynchings, rapes and murders. So much of it is avoidable, but we allow these negative things to happen, we make them build up. Some people obsess over them and the next thing you know, the little gay remark has grown up into a hate monger.

We haven't evolved, but devolved. As our country fills with Spanish speaking immigrants, my local friends and neighbors have gotten quite loud about not wanting to press one for English, but I find it funny that some of those same people have grandmothers who have lived her for seventy years who don't speak English very well. Why is that acceptable? Because they are Italian and not Spanish? There are some I truly laugh at because they post such things on Facebook. They ridicule non-English speaking Americans, but they have companies that hire them? They don't want to press one for English, but they can't write a sentence that is spelled properly. They want border control, but they cheat on their taxes? They want welfare recipients to be drug tested before getting money, but they are more than happy to hire them to clean their homes or watch their kids, because it's cheaper. This world we live in is a hypocrisy. I know tons of people who have donated to the Haiti relief fund, but don't care about poor kids in New York who don't have food or clothing. Why is this OK? I didn't donate to Haiti, but I did donate to St. Baldrick's for kids with cancer. I donated to Heifer International which helps people all over the world. I will donate to the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Why isn't there more known causes to donate for Americans who can't afford food. If you're against welfare, why would you donate to the poorest country in the world's government? Doesn't that seem a little hypocritical? I wonder sometimes, is that gay? Really, because calling that gay, makes as much sense as calling my movie choices or my musical preferences gay. Don't get me wrong. I laugh too when I read these comments. Some are truly funny. Especially when someone takes the time to make it clever. I can laugh at myself, I can mock my differences. I just find those who like to throw names can not. I"m glad I can and if that makes people see me as different, or even gay, so be it. I guess I'm gay, but whatever label I'm given by others, I know who I am. Do they?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hello, I'm Mr. Opposite

Anyone who knows me knows that I very rarely go with the flow. Going against the norm is basically like a way of life for me, but despite what some people might think, it isn't intentional. I just live by the philosophy, question everything before making a judgement. By questioning everything, I force myself to research everything. By researching or experiencing things I can better make judgements. I am not swayed by popular beliefs. I do not go into situations with preconceived notions, because when one does this, they are already leaning towards a certain direction, outcome or verdict. This my friends is how situations like Nazi Germany, Jonestown and many other historic atrocities were able to occur. It also plays a huge part in religion and politics. Two areas where we believe blindly, with little or no facts. Some call it faith. I call it ignorance.

I've lived in New York my entire life. I am a huge sports fan, so of course it makes perfect sense that my favorite professional sports team is the Boston Red Sox. I'm a foodie, but I hate pot roast, chicken soup and just recently I've come to the conclusion I'm not a huge fan of pasta. I've eaten pasta all my life, pound after pound and a few months ago it dawned on me, I don't like it. Don't get me wrong, some sauces are amazing, but the actual pasta? If I never eat it again, I won't miss it. Even staples like ice cream aren't for me. If I have to have ice cream I want a milkshake. Despite my size, most people would be surprised to know that I'm really not a dessert person. I could go the rest of my life without a sweet and I'd be fine. I'd just eat more bacon.

It's not just every day things that I differ on. Most people have a rule about dining discussions and it's somewhat universal. No talking about religion or politics. But why? They are two of the most debatable topics and as long as everyone is mature enough to walk away from the discussion friends, it's a wonderful topic. A perfect example of my opposite ways is that I live in Eastchester, NY. About 85% of the residents are republican and christian with most being Roman Catholic. So of course, I go with the flow. I'm a pretty liberal democrat and I believe we're here now, we grew from some primordial goo and when we die we replenish the earth with our decomposed bodies. There is no heaven, there is no hell and there ain't no guy wearing white that you get to sit next to at the buffet. This is it. I respect the beliefs of others, but I've read enough, seen enough, and felt enough pain to know that it's not very likely. If you disagree with me, that is fine, but think for one minute about the most religious people you know. Where are they from? What is their educational background? What do they all have in common? They are from the poorer areas, they are generally uneducated and they have an inability to think for themselves. This isn't a blanket statement, but it does apply. If you immediately are saying I'm smart, I have money, I think for myself. Did your parents have all these attributes? Did there parents? Chances are the answer is no and if not chances are you believed in everything you believed in long before you were educated and really never bothered to question it. If that doesn't convince you, take one second to think about this scenario. A friend of yours goes hiking and comes back and says a voice told him to do all these crazy things. Would you listen to him? No, you'd tell him to see a shrink. This my friends is how religion started. Scary when you actually think about it. Don't worry, the lord forgives you for not thinking for yourself. Now give me three our fathers and a Bloody Mary.

I wear shorts when it's 50 degrees out and I don't like things. What I mean is, unlike the American dream, I don't need a big house, a nice car, or bling. I don't believe in silly customs like engagement rings and big weddings. I don't believe in running in the rain to stay dry and I don't believe that scary movies are really that scary. Sure if something jumps out it might startle you, but scare? How could you possibly think that something happening on screen is actually going to happen right then and there. That being said, going to the beach the day after seeing Jaws as a youngster was a little much, even for me. The sand was very comfy that day.

Despite the technological advances in our time, I think people, on average are dumber now than they were twenty years ago. The access to instant gratification or information hasn't made us learn more it's made us have more idle time. I get abused by nearly everyone for always being on the computer. What people don't realize is that while they are at the gym, tanning or doing laundry, I'm learning the differences between the granite in a curling stone and that which is on a counter top. Oh and yes, I just threw a Jersey Shore reference in to make a point. Despite it's popularity, I don't watch it.

I don't like Stephen Kings books or the Harry Potter series. I don't like Shawshank Redemption or Citizen Kane. I don't like Bruce Springsteen or Dave Matthews. I don't like reality TV and I hate massages. I like reading about serial killers and cooking. I like watching documentaries about horrible events and learning why it happened. I like the Spice Girls and Lady Gaga.

There have been a few instances in the past few years where I realized that I'm just not like other people. Humor is contagious. When someone laughs, it usually causes a chain reaction. I was sitting watching Austin Powers with a bunch of people, most in their late teens early twenties. I was about thirty at the time. The movie ended and the two guys who sat next to me could not fathom what they had seen. The entire movie went on and the place was going crazy. The laughter was everywhere. They both turned to me and said "you didn't crack a smile once the entire movie. Why not?" "Why, was it funny?" I responded. Needless to say they started to understand me or misunderstand me more after that day. I remember another night we were talking about musical geniuses. Now I'm not a musical expert by any means, but I know enough and I know what I like. The topic of The Beatles came up and I mentioned that I thought they were pretty good for a pop band. The room went nuts. Rock n Roll geniuses was spewed about. I then posed a question. Not including The White Album, who would they be more closely compared to right now. Aerosmith, Metallica or the Backstreet Boys. I'd say a good thirty seconds of stuttering commenced until finally someone just got mad, muttered something inaudible and left the room. I think we talked about other topics the rest of the evening.

I really don't do it just to play devil's advocate. I don't abstain from pot roast just to be different. Which by the way, I explain my disdain for it this way. If you cook a bad piece of meat long enough it makes it tender, it doesn't make it good. I also get mad when people say "it falls off the bone" when eating ribs. If you cook anything long enough it will fall off the bone. How's it taste? I didn't hate the movie The Hangover just because the world fell in love with it. I hated it because it was sophomoric humor. I tend to toot my own horn when discussions come up that I feel need a mind to discuss. It sounds cocky, but I know I'm smart. I don't need someone to tell me that. My dad's a lot smarter than me. I have friends that are smarter than me. I have no problem admitting that. What people don't understand about me is that I'm not all about memorization and regurgitating facts or stuff I read. I'm actually pretty bad at that. Despite people always asking me for some random insignificant fact, my memory is pretty much shot. When I was thirteen I could tell you what the batting average for any hall of fame baseball players was for any year they played. Now, I can barely remember to pick up toilet paper when I go shopping...for toilet paper.

I just think that we as a people have become accustomed to everything being dumbed down and we've embraced "easy." We say LOL instead of "that was funny." We've also all become slaves to pop culture. I mean what's with everyone wearing wool hats indoors? Why are all females wearing those maternity shirts (psst, unless you're really skinny, don't get offended if I ask you how far along you are)? If you don't believe me that we are all just robot forms of ourselves I have a challenge for you. Go to 10 random people's Facebook page and look at pictures they have of them hanging out with their friends. Count how many pictures have either a person holding up the middle finger or a peace sign. Now, go back to your photo albums from five or ten years ago and tell me how many people are doing this? None! You know why? Because some idiot rapper or some reality TV star wasn't dictating what every brain dead person does. Remember when we were kids and someone would get a new pair of sneakers? You would like them, but you knew you couldn't get the same ones. Now everyone dresses alike, talks alike, smells alike, tans alike, and pretty much represents their idiocy alike. Why would I ever want to go with that flow?

Sorry Alanis, but I'll have one hand in my pocket, but the other won't be flashing a peace sign.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Brokeback Mountain - A Review

When this movie first came out, I wasn't at all thrilled about it. Jake Gylenhall is a decent actor. I liked him in both Donnie Darko and Zodiac, but he's not the reason they are good movies. Ang Lee, who directed, did Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Ice Storm. Both very good movies, but he also did The Hulk, which was horrendous. The real reason I didn't want to see this movie was Heath Ledger. He's been bad in everything I've seen him in and even though it came out later, I saw the Dark Knight and never really bought into his "method" acting. What I saw on screen was a mumbling drug addled mess which in the end it turns out was just what he was. Finally, I caved in and rented it.

Even when I have my reservations about films, I'm still very open minded. Let's remember, I went into Twilight thinking I'd hate it and I loved it. So, I went in hoping for much of the same. I mean the film was nominated for every award imaginable, how bad could it be? Well the movie starts off very slow and knowing it's about two hours and twenty minutes, I wasn't thrilled. While I appreciate cinematography, I don't need a ten minute horse ride to actually take ten minutes. I get the idea just from seeing them on horses. So the movie is slowly chugging along and there is really no chemistry between the two men and it appears, at least from the way the movie is going that. The next thing I know Ennis, who at first seemed upset by Jack's attempt to spoon, turns him over, spits in his hand and starts having sex with him. This scenes feeling was not one of love, affection, admiration or any such emotion. It was one of anger and frustration. The thing that confused me even more was that until they leave the mountain it stays that way. I found this to be very odd, almost defeating the initial message it's trying to convey.

When they are reintroduced, their meeting switches gears. Ennis is the one who immediately shows his affection which is witness by his wife. Her decision to stay quiet is even more confusing, because it was obvious that this completely shattered her world. Another scene I found almost contradictory was the scene where Ledger has sex with Michelle Williams and he forcefully flips her over. I wasn't clear if Lee did this because it would be more similar to having sex with Jack or if he did this because he didn't want to look at her. Even more odd was that he initiated the romance and she was the one who seemed uncomfortable. Was this a mixed message or just poor acting and directing?

Many scenes in the movie made no sense. Were they trying to show us how time went by when Jack is smiling as Ennis drives away, cut to truck, cut back to Jack with a moustache with a scowl on his face? If so, this was just bad editing, because it looked like a goof, being he was wearing the same clothing. Also, are we to believe that these guys wore the same shirts every time they were together? The movie spans twenty years, but Jack ages about three. A moustache alone doesn't make him look older.

I also had an issue with Ledger's voice. Now I know he's Australian and was doing a Texas cowboys voice, but after seeing this, I think his performance in The Dark Knight was even worse, because he mumbled through this whole film also. A few times, I had to go back and put the subtitles on, because I was clueless as to what he was saying. I felt like I was listening to tryouts for Benecio Del Toro's role in The Usual Suspects. Quite irritating.

Finally we get to the films messages, which I'm still scratching my head over. They both insist they aren't gay, but can't fight the feeling they get when they are together. This theme is throughout the entire film, so I get it. Then why does Ennis throw his marriage and family away but not decide to be with Jack? Jack doesn't do this. In fact, Jack seems to have a more normal relationship with his wife. When they have sex in two scenes, he seems to be into it. So fine, they aren't gay, they are bi-sexual. That's fine, but then why do people argue that it wasn't about the sex. Yes, it was about the sex. It was about being together intimately. Jack even says it to Ennis when he says "I want more than some high altitude fucks once or twice a year." The other message which I found to be absolutely ludicrous is the whole concept that they aren't outed, but people just know. Scene after scene in the second half of the film, we see scenes where other people "just know." What the hell is that about. Two guys, married with kids, and their cowboys and people just know? How the hell would they know? We're to believe Jack was killed because everyone knew? We're to believe that the rodeo clown knows he's gay, but then the next scene he's in the backseat of a car with a hot young girl? The only scene that made any sense along those lines was when Ennis goes to see Jack's parents. The mom knew and that was obvious, but a mother always knows, so that wasn't some cinematic brilliance, its human nature.

I think what bothered me most was that this actually could have been a better film. If it stuck to the idea that these two are tortured souls, trapped in a world they know won't accept them. If the movie didn't try to say as much as it did. If it didn't get so confusing and span so much time. I know it's based on a piece of fiction and I assume they tried to stay true to the story, but the story isn't that interesting and honestly, while it does at the end wrap it up nice and tight, it left me wanting more. It left me wanting to know more of why they were the way they were. I don't want that to sound like I think homosexuality is a disease, but I wanted to know how they got to the point they did when they first got to Brokeback Mountain. Movies very rarely succeed for me when they leave me asking more questions than when it started.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Results of the Baby Bucket List (with some new additions)

Back in April of last year I wrote a blog called the baby bucket list and it was ten things I wanted to accomplish before the end of the year. I was not very successful in fulfilling this list and it bothers me. Some were just not to be. Some I did achieve, but none of the ones that really took effort. Well here's the wrap-up.

1. Play Beer Pong - succeeded, but must admit, I'm pretty bad at it. I also don't see the point of it really. I'm drinking while I'm playing and then I'm told to drink. Seems like it actually slows your drinking down. Maybe I'm missing something.
2. Try Foie Gras - unsuccessful, but it did dawn on me that I've had pate, so isn't that almost the same?
3. Not cry at my brother's wedding - I never even got close to crying at the ceremony. I was too busy trying not to sweat to death. Eighty degree days in mid-September. Who called for that?
4. Go to Ellis Island - Not even close. Waiting til this spring or summer.
5. See my friends Brett, Troy & Simon - Sadly, I don't even think I spoke to them other than maybe some Facebook texting since I wrote this. Brett called me the other day, but I missed the call and haven't found time to call him back. I'm horrible.
6. Rent a house by a lake - I never did anything even remotely resembling a vacation this year. Money was tight. Hopefully this year will be different.
7. Go to Boston - I didn't leave the state since April. Oh wait, I went to Connecticut for work. Very boring life I lead.
8. I want to eat at a top restaurant - I can't even speak about this, it burns me so badly. But plans are on the way to take a trip. I've modified this for my new list.
9. I want to spend a day in NYC & Brooklyn (My old stomping grounds) seeing all the things I've passed over - One day, one day!
10. The last item on my list is the easiest - I want to try to stop procrastinating. As you can see by my 22% success rate on the first nine, I'm not achieving the final one.

Since I still have eight to achieve this year, I'm modifying the list. Foie Gras is on the list, but I'm gonna throw on some other things. Sweetbreads, tripe, and raw oysters. I've had the last one, but not in some time. I am hoping to speak to my friends sooner than later. Maybe if a visit can work out, we'll do it, but these guys mean too much to me to ignore and not find time for. The lake house and Boston and being combined into a damn trip. A vacation. I had planned on one for this week, but works been slow and the funds just aren't there. They never are when I want to venture away from home. The top restaurant is changing to "a restaurant." Meaning, I want to go out to eat more. I had privately promised myself to try five places in Westchester I've been meaning to go to and get those under my belt first. First is Sushi Nanase in White Plains. I want to order the omikase and let my taste buds experience everything the chef has to offer. Anyone else wanna spend $85 on sushi? The second is right across the street from Piper's Kilt and I've been meaning to go to Jackie's Bistro for years. It's just plain silly. That will be hit before spring. Even if I have to go and have Sweetbreads while dining alone. The third is the Tarry Lodge. I've heard wonderful things about it and want to try it. Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali are involved. How bad could it be? The fourth is Restaurant X in Congers. I hear Peter Kelly's multi-course brunch is well worth the $38 price tag. Finally, the fifth one is Peter Kelly's Yonkers place. X2O. The menu makes my mouth water and I've yet to hear a negative comment on it. Then maybe I will be ready for Le Bernardin. I've promised people to get down to Brooklyn and to the city. I will not let them down.

If I can do all these things, maybe the final one will be cured. That being said, maybe I should start tomorrow by taking the DVD player out of the box it's been in for a year and a half and hook it up. That might be a start.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Twilight

In the last few years a literary phenomenon has taken place called the Twilight series. I believe the author is named Stephanie Meyer, but I'm not certain. These books, from what I'm told are very long, but similar to other pop culture phenomenons (Harry Potter) they are written for a very young crowd. Not too complex and not too sophisticated. This is why I have no interest in reading them.

So why would I have any interest in seeing the movie? Well, there is one reason and one reason only. I hate not knowing about something everyone else knows about. It kills me to be naive on any topic. When Seinfeld, Friends, even the recent Lost and Grey's Anatomy were popular, I gave them a shot to see what it was all about. In all four of these cases, I was very disappointed. Not only in the shows, but in the declining intelligence of the average TV viewer. Television, popular fiction and for the most part movies have declined so recently. I had no reservations when sitting down to watch Twilight. It would be awful.

So the movie starts and the voices of friends were in my head. They told me I'll hate it, the acting sucks, it's for teenage girls. Now I've seen tons of vampire films and they usually are pretty terrible. Very gory, very silly and very cookie cutter. This one starts off like an after school movie. Girl moves in with other divorced parent. New kid at school trying to fit in. Immediately she's friends with one group, but she's interested in another. Basically it's the traditional boy meets girl, girl likes boy, brooding boy turns out to be a vampire. So what caught my fancy about this movie? It's actually believable. OK, not the vampire part. The thing is, all this family of vampires wants to do is exist without scrutiny and keep their secret hidden. Hell, they don't even feed on humans and because of this they ironically call themselves vegetarians. So the boy and girl fall in love and she learns his secret. So she's dead, right? He bites her, right? Nope. This is where the movie is different. It switches gears. She's accepted as a non-vampire into their home. Yes, it's hokey, but it works. The movie ends with the traditional and all too predictable prom (even though they mention they are juniors a few times).

So what truly makes this movie, geared at teenage girls, stand out for a soon-to-be 40-year old? It's a nice teen love story. The same way Juno was great because of the main character's sarcasm. This one works, because the actors act like high-schoolers. They are nervous, they are flirty, they are awkward. too often these days movies portray teens as sophisticated when in reality, they are so far from it. A 17-year-old has no idea what romantic love is. But a 200 year-old vampire in the body of a youngster does. That's what makes this interesting. He's far more complex than her in many ways and that is important to notice. It actually makes the story credible.

Now I will fully admit it. I wanted to hate this movie. The male actors are all better looking than the female characters, the smaller characters are pretty much insignificant and some special effects are downright silly looking, but on a whole it works. I can't explain it, but I just loved the movie. The soundtrack is perfect, the scenery is perfect and if you can suspend your disbelief for a moment it's basically a great love story. Anyone who has seen the original Dracula movie Nosferatu, the Vampire, knows that the movie is truly nothing more than a love story about a man, who will live for ever, but will never find true love. Twilight is this story and if you embrace that thought, it is quite enjoyable.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's Day

This Sunday is Valentine's Day. It's one of the dumber days we've labeled a holiday, because guys are guilt-tripped into buying things that are way overpriced, doing things that are unnatural and women are silly enough to think we do it because we care. We do it because we don't want to hear shit about how so-and-so's boyfriend did this or that. Yes, we know, he's a sucker too.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for romance. I come across as a hard ass who only cares about pointing out the negatives in life, but the reality of it is, I am a helpless and hopeless romantic. No I don't put rose petals on the floor, light candles leading to the bedroom, or go online and buy stars (more on this later). No, I'll make an attempt at cooking and try to time it for when that special someone gets home. I'll get someone their favorite dessert or rent their favorite movie or maybe just do something they like. I enjoy this, but I refuse to do it on February 14th.

Ladies, when it comes down to it, you are all superficial. You don't want what the other girl has, you want more or better. We are a simpler gender. We want what can maintain our normal lives. We want food, sex and peace and quiet when we're watching the game. We want our "me time" and we want our special time, but we also don't want it dictated to us when and where this is to occur.

Now don't get me wrong, I've done the silly stuff. I've done the roses, the champagne, the chocolate, the romantic dinner. I've done it all and it sucks, because it's not from the heart. When it's from the heart, it comes to you on a whim. Wouldn't you rather come home from a hard day's work and be surprised by a quiet meal, some candles and a night of snuggling on the couch watching a movie? Doesn't that mean a lot more to you? Does having your boyfriend pay $120 for roses that normally cost $30 really mean he loves you? If you're answer is yes, you're destined to live a long lonely existence, never really knowing what love is. Oh and guys, isn't it a lot nicer to stay home on a Saturday night and walk into the bedroom to find your girl wearing some sexy lingerie, just because she wanted to do something special? It's nice on Valentine's day, but it's almost expected. I'd take it on June 3rd, August 29th or any day other and appreciate it that much more.

Maybe it's me, because I'm such a food snob, but when was the last time you got good service and a extraordinary meal, at a reasonable price, on Valentine's Day? Never! I've been to some nice places and they were mobbed, the waiters overwhelmed and the limited menu was garbage. Wouldn't take out, some fancy desserts and a hot shower together, before bed, be a lot more romantic?

The gift thing is also ridiculous. A star? First off, I lost count of the number of dope friends I have who have fallen for this one. It's really one of the sillier things out there. I mean it's romantic to sit, holding hands in the open air, looking up at the sparkling sky. But to point to one of the glowing dots and say "Honey, I bought this for you." That's just plain stupid. If you've bought a star for someone and you're reading this, grab your loved one and ask them to pick out the star you bought for them. If you break up, do you have to give the star back? Seems kinda useless to keep it. I wonder how many girls have more than one star. This is something I'd love to know. Seriously, the second time, how do you possibly act surprised or even excited? Here's my idea...I'm getting my marketing team working on this tomorrow (they are still trying to get my Spoon Man licensed). My new idea is "buy her a hydrant." Fire hydrants are pretty lame and boring. You could purchase the rights to ownership and paint it any way you like and present it to her. Just think, every time she drives by it, she'll know that is hers. Plus, she can see it and pick it out, not like the star. The best part is, the money could go towards town programs and help society. But here's the real genius. If you two break up, she still has the hydrant, but you get the satisfaction of knowing that dogs are pissing on her hydrant. Take that bitch!

Now I don't want you to think I'm bitter. This year, I'll be spending Valentine's Day without a beau. I'm not upset, because I'll probably be out, having some cocktails with some single friends or some married friends who have just ran out of silly things to do on the day of love. Don't cry for me. Because as I've found over the years, when you're in a bar on Valentine's Day and a nice looking woman sits down at the end of the bar, you know two things about her. She is single and she wants anything but to have to tell her friends she spent that night alone and if you're lucky enough not to be like everyone else, you might be spending next year with her.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A letter to January

As fast as 2009 flew by, January of 2010 gradually passed like a slug after a spring rain. Like the slug, there was nothing very appealing about it. New Year's Day was about as exciting as it's ringing in the evening before. Some food, some drink and some football. Not a bad weekend actually, but nothing to write home about.

Work resumed and my afternoons with the kids were as interesting as always. Some funny statements, some comical acts, but nothing that really stands out. I made nice with a parent, whose child was a bit of a pain, despite being one of my favorite kids. She commended my professionalism and honesty and we built a repore which brought the end of one session to a very nice close.

The NFL playoffs kept me occupied on the weekends and a I also managed to get back in the swing of my movie watching. I also caught up on repeats of my one and only true TV vice, Criminal Minds. I only got into about two years ago, so Ion TVs replaying of old episodes was a nice refresher course. Although the catheter, Life Alert and weight-loss ads are truly abysmal. It's all worth it to watch the best show on TV since Fox squashed Millennium. I do however think my love of serial killers is bordering on the bizarre. Between my TV, movie and Internet obsession, I think I've either got to purchase a computer quickly and write a screenplay or go kill someone. God knows television has given me a doctorate in how to clean up after myself. On second thought, I got a little queasy last time I saw a lot of blood. Maybe the screenplay is a better idea.

So as the playoffs drew to a close, the month's days dwindled. I finished watching what was to be the second to last football game of the season. I stumbled home, inebriated beyond my normal limits. I threw three hot dogs into an ancient cast iron skillet. I laid my head down to rest and what seems like moments later, I actually don't know the real time frame, I was awoken with a hand on my shoulder, two police officers telling me I had to get out of my apartment. Smoke consuming the light in the room as quickly as I had downed Stoli shots just an hour before. I stood in a cold rain, nothing but lounge pants and a t-shirt. Damp socks protecting my feet from the cold ground. Police and firemen crowded around me, many friends, making sure I was OK. I was more concerned with the fact my apartment needed a good cleaning before having guests, I didn't have the chance. Although I had started. Two bags filled with garbage lay smack in the middle of my tiny apartment.

The next morning, I awoke, in my smoke scented room. The smell didn't bring on visions of horror, but ones of happiness. The smoke reminded me of sitting around a campfire, drinking beers, maybe even cokes, with good friends in New Hampshire. A hooded sweatshirt warming my arms as the hot flames warmed my legs and feet. Pretty young girls gathered around, laughing at the tales told by the likes of me, Brett, Troy and Simon. Horny young boys awaiting our pauses to interject and possibly impress with stories of their own.

A week, or is it two, has passed. The scent is starting to leave, the memory of that night comes back a little more. Thankfully, nothing visible can remind me of my mistake. Like most of them, singed only in my subconscious. I'm sure there will be a day, while sitting by a campfire, that instead of the beautiful young girl, I'll think of being surrounded by smoke, by people, looking at me with disdain. I woke them from their slumber, but thankfully mine was not permanent. Worse things can happen, I always know that. I've experienced them before.

On to February. As this is being written, my wonderful grandmother is finishing the festivities surrounding her 97th birthday. We spoke the day before and again on her day, Ground Hog's day. Another year of Punxatawny Phil seeing his shadow. Six more weeks of winter? Some friends mock me; Global Warming? I wish they understood. I now know, where there is smoke there isn't necessarily fire, but there was at one time. I hope the icy feel left by January is warmed in February. Maybe someone will keep me warm in February. I'm not looking, but I'm not running away either. It might be nice, to come home to hot dogs, already cooked. No, that would be nice.