Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 MLB Playoff Predictions

Well my beginning of the year predictions (which I didn't blog until August) were way off.  I had three of the four AL teams right, but Boston let me down.  I only had Philadelphia correct in the NL.  Sad.  So here's my updated predictions for this years playoffs,

Yankees over Detroit in Five.  Verlander goes 1-1.  Loses game five in NY.
Texas over Tampa Bay in three.  I like Tampa's pitching, but hate their inconsistent bats.
Yankees over Texas in six.  C.J. Wilson goes 2-0 and that's it.

Philadelphia over St. Louis in four.  St. Louis is hot, but the Philly pitching is crazy.
Arizona over Milwaukee in Five.  Ian Kennedy is a beast and should win the Cy Young.
Philadelphia over Arizona in Five.  Halladay and Lee available twice.  Kennedy only once.

World Series
Philadelphia over Yankees in six.  I honestly, sincerely believe that the pitching is going to be too much for the Yankees.  They survive on power and are facing guys that just don't give up home runs.  Plus, the short porch in right will be out of play the first two games.  Look for Philly to jump all over them early.

World Series MVP.  Shane Victorino - no idea why, just see him having a big series

Thanks Goodness There Weren't Camera Phones

You ever think about the times in your life now and think about how lucky you are there haven't always been camera phones?  Today, kids (and some adults) take pictures of everything.  There are no secrets with Facebook and Twitter and all the other social networks.  People text, they sext, they send naked pictures to each other.  The Internet is filled with scorned boyfriends and girlfriends pictures in provocative poses.  Sometimes it's a little more innocent, but none the less embarrassing.  I think back to earlier times (and some not earlier and I'm glad there weren't cameras readily available.

I think about some moments at the beach sunbathing.  I thank goodness the cameras stayed in the bags.

I think about the number of fights that I've been in that would have been caught on tape.

I think about the times I might have run into an alley to puke during a bad night of drinking. 

I think about the time friends broke into a dorm room while I was having sex with some girl that I can barely remember (and from what I heard it's a good thing).

 I can think back to some of the late 80's wardrobe days.  Thankfully there are no pictures of me wearing the Sergio's with the leather pockets and the Capezios.

I can think back to all the times at the Eastchester Odyssey Diner, stewed out of my mind.

I can think about one of the few times I smoked pot and spittle was hanging from my mouth like a Bassett hound as I sit in the back of a friend's Jeep.

I can think back to the time I drank all day and then ate something bad and threw up out the window of a bus going about 75 and everyone behind me got covered. 

While there are pics of me dancing recently, I thought I had moves back in the day...glad there are no action shots of me "cutting some rug."

I think back to the time(s) I leaned in to kiss someone and they turned away.  One time, I got totally busted and abused the rest of the night.

I'm glad there were no phones when I wore spandex shorts to play basketball.

I think back to the time I went (un)skinny dipping in New Hampshire.

I think back to one particular fight where I walked away to a sea of onlookers wearing a Snuffleupagus shirt covered in blood.

I think back to all the times in high school I wore sweatpants that were a tad too tight.

I think back to my Mohawk with a tail.  Thank goodness my parents refused to take my picture.

I think back to when I did roofing....wait, why the hell weren't there cameras then? I was kinda diesel at 19!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things I Can't Change About Myself

As I come down the homestretch of week two of the new me, I have come to realize with clarity comes recognition.  Not by others, but self recognition.  I've realized while changing something minor in myself, that it's the major things that will always be left behind.  As I struggle with the loss of a relationship, the weakening of some friendships and the reality of more and more time spent alone, I realize there are things about me, I just can not change.  Some I wish I could, some I can not.

I can't change my compassion.  I feel for people.  Especially those in need.  I am usually the funny guy in the room, but when the chips are down, I turn into the one who puts his hand on your shoulder and offers you support.  Tonight I did that and it wasn't wanted.  I understand.  Everyone needs a break from reality.  I guess I was so used to taking that break every day, that my instincts slowed me down to be the caretaker.  Maybe it's because of my time with my mother.  I don't know.  I know deep down it was appreciated, but who knows, maybe I was wrong.

I am sensitive.  I have no problems crying in front of people during movies or while telling a story that touches me.  I have cried listening to others stories.  When I'm alone and something touches me, I ball like a little girl.  I am not ashamed.  The feeling after is usually pretty good.  It's good to get things out.  For years I kept things in and they manifested into anger.  Now I let it out, but many times it's not enough.  Sometimes when you let these things out, you need someone by your side, to let you know that it's OK.  I don't have that in my life now and it sucks, because I've spent a lot of time crying.

I have an ego.  I don't have an ego, because I look like an Adonis.  I don't have an ego, because I make a ton of money.  I have an ego, because ninety nine out of a hundred times, someone can speak about something and I not only know about it, but I know more than almost everyone in the room about it.  I'm anal about learning. If I don't know, I look it up.  I confirm it's correct and I make sure if it comes up again, I am armed.  Sometimes me knowledge turns to telling people they are wrong. This sometimes crosses the line when topics are slightly fact based and slightly opinion.  Those blurred lines usually cause me to be called something a little less flattering than Big Ego.

I am truly a hopeless romantic.  The funny thing is I never do anything that is the norm.  I hate buying flowers, because I think it's a hoax.  I usually stay away from chocolate on Valentine's Day.   Honestly, I think being original is the best.  I know I respect that in people more than anything. I'm not saying different for the sake of different, I mean original.  I tend to fall in love quickly.  Sometimes I look back and think I was nuts, but sometimes I know that they might have been the one that got away.  Sometimes I feel that now, although I'll get yelled at probably for writing this.  It's just when you meet someone you know within seconds if you're attracted to them.  After that first kiss,  you know if there is more.  After spending time with them, you know if this is something you are comfortable with.  When you leave them you have that pit in your stomach and you know.  When you first make love, the nerves hit you and you know that it's special.  Sometimes it's not the first time.  The times you really know it is when you're together, nothing is being said.  A slight squeeze of your arm or the subtle lean to be closer when you can't be much closer.  Those are the things that are special.  Those are the things that keep me up at night.  Thinking about the smell of her hair, her soft skin and the faint breathing as she lays next to me.  And the half asleep muttering of "this is nice."  Nothing in the world can beat that.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Define Irony

In the past ten years I haven't once woken up after a night of drinking with a hangover or headache.  In the past 10 days, since I stopped drinking, I've woken up with a migraine three times.

I couldn't afford my car at one point, so I refinanced it. One day after the final payment was mailed out, I totaled it.

I had never stretched before playing a sport in my entire life.  The first time I ever did was in a basketball class at Manhattan College.  I blew out my ACL two minutes into the game.

I once made a college baseball team that was returning JC Championship runner-ups.  I was one of two non-returners to make the team out of a pool of forty (impressive being I never played HS baseball and these were all HS all-stars).  When they congratulated me, they explained that I had to drop all my class load down to six credits.  I never played baseball again.

I skipped third grade because I was really smart.  I got left back in tenth because I was really stupid.

I went to summer school for English after failing in my senior year.  This came after getting the highest grade in the school on my 11th grade English regents.  With the same teacher.

Of all the sports I've ever played, I'm probably worst at tennis.  I've been teaching tennis for 12 years.

My mother smoked like a chimney and couldn't have a baby, but got ovarian cancer.

About this time in 1978, Bucky Fucking Dent hit the home run that devastated my Boston Red Sox.  In 1978, I was a Yankees fan.

The two people who mattered most to me as a child were my mother's parents.  I saw them every day and they did everything and anything for me.  When they died, they didn't know who I was.

I'm very close friends with all of my exes.  They are all my exes.

After suffering a bad break up, I went away for a bit and met a wonderful girl, who would have been perfect.  We spoke every night for hours while laying under the stars.  When we met, she was about to leave for Israel for a year....maybe longer.

My favorite meat is lamb.  It's probably the meat I eat the last.

I was born in Florida.  I hate the heat.

When people ask, I say I don't like to read.  Between the Internet and magazines, I probably spend more time reading than anyone I know.

I always find it interesting that people find me funny, but we don't share the same taste in humor when it comes to movies and TV.

A lot of people ask me for movie suggestions, but almost none of them have seen six of my top ten favorite films.

I consider myself a foodie, but other than steakhouses, I've only gone out for anything other than a burger, maybe five or six times in the last two years.

The people I have cared about the most, have probably taken me for granted and the people that cared about me the most, I definitely took for granted.  Is that the way it's supposed to work?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Things I Would Like To Do Before I Die (Maybe)

This is not a bucket list.  I do not desire to jump out of a plane or climb Kilamanjaro.  I don't even want to see the Great Wall, unless it's the one in Fleetwood and I'm ordering boneless spare ribs.  No these are things I'd like to do for the reaction.

I'd love to walk into a nursing home lobby where everyone always seems to congregate.  I'd hold up a a whip and a ball gag and say "did anyone leave this in the dining hall?"

Or pretend to be a health inspector and close down a young child's lemonade stand for health violations.  I'd give them a phony summons and say "being cute only gets you so far.  And stop crying!"

I would like to go into a bar with nine friends all dressed like cowboys and order ten beers and tens shots, drink them down and throw a gold filling on the bar and walk out.

I'd like to walk into Lord & Taylor and go up the escalator and right as the perfume ladies come over, spray them with a fire extinguisher.

I'd like to set up a slip and slide directed at a wall and see how many people still try it.

I want to go to a Chinese restaurant and order something with cheese on it.

I want to bring balloons to a wake that say "Get well."

I want to watch a porno with an old blind guy and tell him it's s horror film and he's lucky he can't see because they guy just keeps stabbing her over and over again.

I want to go scuba diving with someone and when they aren't looking, cut them and swim away.

I want to tape record a sea lion and Marlee Matlin having a conversation.

I want to tie up a bunch of vegans and make them watch me eat a Kilt burger.

I want to play Jenga against Michael J. Fox. 

I want to meet the writers of Grey's Anatomy and take away their crayons.

I would like to spend a day with someone on death row and keep telling them jokes, but not the punchlines. 

I would like to make a sex tape with Kathy Bates.  She's really talented.

I would like to order Chinese food and feed it to a cat.  Then jump up and down calling the cat a cannibal (That's for you Kim).

I would like to order sushi and request "only if it's moving."

I want to go out the morning of the Columbus Day Parade and scatter the streets with cardboard cutouts of dead Indians since that's what we're celebrating right?

I want to go down on an Australian girl just for the irony.

I want to see Nancy Grace naked so I can stop eating for one whole week.  Although it may blind me.

I'd like to race Stephen Hawkings.

I'd like to go to one of those events where they make 10,000 Dominos drop and have there be an earthquake while they are setting up.

I'd like to go for a ride with Stevie Wonder.

I'd like to break into a Snapple plant and put "facts" about sexual positions under the cap.

I want to meet Kenny Rogers plastic surgeon and ask him what he was going for.

I don't smoke weed, but might make an exception to do it with Willy Nelson or Snoop Dog.

I want to go to an Amusement park and put a chair down and over it have a sign that says "Magic Chair Ride - $2."  But there's nothing magical about the chair.

I want to dress for Halloween as John Benet Ramsey's father, I mean killer, I mean...oh same thing.

I want to play golf with Tiger Woods on a private golf course and before every put tell him he's not really supposed to be here.

I want to go white water rafting on the Bronx River.

I want to spend a night in Jail with a Mexican.  Oh I'm sorry, they pronounce it Jail....I meant Yale.

I want to Linday Lohan's house arrest ankle bracelet on my shoulder.

Finally, I want to be truly happy one day, hahaha, nevermind, JK.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Random Thoughts

It's been a while since I've jotted down some of my inane thoughts.  This week has been one of minor and major revelations and I feel some of them need to be voiced.  I'm sure the four people that read this are waiting for something profound along the lines of "I think, therefor I am."  Ain't gonna happen. You're stuck with this crap.

During a recent GOP debate in Florida, Rick Santorum made derogatory comments after a video of a gay soldier was played.  Spectators booed the soldier and then cheered Santorum.  While I agree that I could care less who the guy fighting next to me is fucking, his comments had deeper meaning and the fact he's still a candidate says a lot about the moral fiber of this country. Especially Florida.

If four babies, one white, one black, one Spanish, and one Asian were born on a remote island all alone, would they grow up to believe in a God?  Would they be racist?  Would they be homophobic?  Would they be friends or enemies?  Would they have different political beliefs?  The answer is fairly simple.  NO!  Chances are if four babies were born on an island with no parents, they would die of starvation.

Last night I went to a bar and drank club soda and found a very interesting correlation. The amount of one's noticeable slurring is magnified by the listeners sobriety.  I also wonder about something else.  The use of cocaine to extend the amount of time one can drink makes no sense.  It's like taking a Viagra-to-be-an-asshole pill.

Public buses not taking dollar bills might be one of the biggest inconveniences of modern technology. Didn't they take them 20 years ago?

I haven't had a really good meal in a long time.  I mean, white linens, expensive wine (aka overpriced wine) and a really good steak or fish dish.  I had a pizza smothered in onions a few weeks ago with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on a coffee table with great company.  I'll take that nine times out of ten.

Probably the best thing anyone has said to me about the challenges of my life change was said to me last night.  We were discussing changing habits and routines.  She said "you have to go from being The Mayor to a recluse.  That is your biggest challenge."  Nobody could have put it in better perspective.  The hardest part of this change isn't the drinking part it's the social interaction part.  Living and doing it alone is the hardest part.

From 30-40, I could count the times I walked over a mile in one day on one hand.  The number of times I've done it since June....about 12.  The number of times I've walked over 2 miles.....four times.  The number of times over four miles.....once.  Either some time this week or next week (it's a little muggy this week), I am going to start a routine.

I recently found out the after school program I run is down in numbers big time from last year.  The woman running it said it's the economy.  I agreed and then did some research.  There are 85 pet grooming business in Westchester/Rockland.  There are about 12 ice cream or gelato places within 3 miles of here.  There are dance studios all over the place.  I have lost count of the nail salons in Westchester.  There are a thousand gyms or weight loss centers in Westchester. I have no idea how many cab services there are, but it's crazy.  In the 1980's, money was flowing like water and people groomed their own pets, bought ice cream in containers in the supermarket, danced at parties in their own houses (well or poorly), painted their own nails, worked out at home and if they needed to lose weight went on a diet and took public transportation if they couldn't drive or walk.  Their whatever they needed.

I don't think I ate an avocado until I was about 30.  I hated it.  Didn't like guacamole until about five years ago.  Today, I could eat avocados for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Why do they have to be $2 a piece?

I made a joke last night about the Dept. of Labor.  I was in their office the other day and it struck me that every person there was on a cell phone.  Funny how our priorities have changed.  $110 a month to play words with friends is more important than food!

Do you know the single hardest place to get a paying job?  A non-profit organization.  I have a feeling a small few might just be making a profit.

The other night, in a moment of weakness and to thank myself for my change, I bought a yellow hostess cupcake (yes I know there are two).  I don't know what heroin feels like, but it can't be any better than that.

With all due respect to my two friends in Westchester who own pizzerias, I find it awful that the state of pizza in NY has become so sad that I prefer Tombstone and Celeste pizzas to pizzeria pizza.  Last time I was in Brooklyn and I stopped in to the first place I saw and got a plain slice.  Better than any slice I've ever had in Westchester in my life.  Why Why Why?

Last week I slept less than 25 hours the entire week.  This my friends, is not healthy.  I was only tired once during this time and last night I crashed, albeit at 2am.  I woke up at 6:15.  I missed a text from someone I dearly wanted to speak to, but that's OK.  I'm sure they were tired too.  I actually set a goal for myself this week of a minimum of 35 hours.  I know that even sounds crazy, but I never really sleep more than 5 hours a night with a usual crash night of 7-8.  I'm at 4.25 as of now.  Maybe a nap is in order this afternoon.

Funniest line of the night by a friend who reads this.  8:15PM - one drink, order food, I'm outta here.  9:15PM - after this inning let me put my order in. 9:20 - steak sandwich and I better get an order of mozzarella sticks so the kids don't get mad I didn't bring them anything.  10:30 - OK I really gotta go.  See you later (grabs food for himself and kids)  So what's the funny line?  Me turning to the bartender "food for this kids at 10:30?  Does he even know they have school tomorrow?"

I dare anyone to watch one of the movies in the Final Destination series and then sit near one of the ceiling fans in Mickey Spillane's.

I was just thinking about the first time I had sex...with a sheep.  Baaaaaad news.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wholesale Changes

For the last month plus I've been pretty much an open book.  What I didn't realize, is that in disclosing my life and it's strengths and weakness, I opened myself up to people who prey on this.  Monday morning I made a decision to stop drinking.  I don't know if this is forever or until I get my act together, but this week, while stressful for other reason, has been a reason for a weekend cocktail. It is now Sunday afternoon, the first football games are entering halftime and the Red Sox are playing the Yankees.  There are friends at bars all over and there is a pig roast down the street from me.  I'm currently sitting home with my third cup of coffee.  I've already eaten, checked my e-mail, my twitter and my Facebook.  Ready to go.

Today is different.  People have this perception that I drink every day, which couldn't be further from the truth. I'm not giving it up because I'm an alcoholic, I'm giving it up, because when I do drink, I can't control it anymore.  That lack of control has caused my sober days to be completely useless.  One thing that a completely sober week has taught me, is that clarity is kinda of scary.  In the past week, I've had friends who I almost never see reach out to me and offer to help.  Oddly enough, the people I surround myself with have almost completely deserted me.  Two people have checked in to make sure I'm OK and this has not gone unnoticed.  I remember a few years ago, I took a little break from the drink and one of the local bartenders called me up and said "Not trying to get you back, but I'm here."  When I wrote my blog about my choice, the manager of a place I frequent called to say she supports me and thinks it's a good plan.  These are friends.

Alcohol clouds your judgement.  This week and last night things came to light that I wasn't aware of.  Apparently, I have been saying things about people that I didn't realize I ever said.  Sadly, the person who was told these things believes them.  I never said them, but when five people say someone is purple, it's hard to believe that the person isn't purple.  Anyone that knows me knows I'm painfully honest.  I looked this person right in the eye and swore on my brother's life I didn't say these things.  The water cooler is a dangerous place.  It ruins reputations and destroys relationships.  I don't ever say anything to anyone I wouldn't say to their face.  It's gotten me in trouble, but it's never compromised my integrity.

I have friends who badmouth me to better themselves.  I have friends who would lie to me to hurt me.  I have friends who would fuck any girl I'm seeing or interested in, just to say they could.  I have friends whose secrets I keep, because it would ruin their lives, but they don't honor my friendship the same way.  I have friends who don't care I'm hurting.  I have friends, wait a minute.  What is a friend?  Why would anyone call themselves a friend if they'd do this?  They aren't friends at all.  They are people I see. They are people I drink with.  They are people in the same room doing the same thing that I am.  Are those friends?  Maybe it's time, I stop calling these people friends.  Maybe it's time that I look in the mirror and decide what I need.  I think it's time I go back to the person I was about 12 years ago.  There was no Facebook and I didn't have 500 friends.  I had about eight.  Eight people I confided in, trusted and who trusted me.  The rest were acquaintances.  I think it's time to go back to that.  To be guarded.  I've let a lot of people in my life over the last ten years and I've been nothing but miserable.  I was always happy with my core. 

On Monday I quit a vice.  Today, I think it's time I quit the rest of them.  Maybe not potato chips, but those make me happy. It's important to be happy.

Relationships: A Look Back At Why I'm The Way I Am

Meeting the right guy or girl takes many things.  It takes the act of meeting.  The luck of meeting under the right circumstances.  I know ladies, The Notebook was a very romantic tale.  One about that cheat, Rachel McAdams, haha.  So now, you've met the right person, under the right circumstances.  Then you have to get to know them.  They say opposites attract, but the reality is that is very rarely true.  You need some bond.  Music, Movies, Art, something.  In most cases you need the same intellect to be able to converse and not have one person get bored.  You need to share some common values.  In some cases, people require someone to be of the same religion. Finally you have to decide if this is someone you want to put the time in with.  relationships are a lot of work.  No matter who you are, you are going to have to make sacrifices and sometimes put the other person first.  Finally, you're going to have to decide if this is someone you are willing to spend the rest of your life with.  Or until you divorce or kill them.

Who and what we look for starts at a young age.  Like Hannibal Lechter said "we covet what we see every day." Almost everyone has had that first true love. The girl next door who was always there. You used to punch her and pull her hair, but it was really just and excuse to be close to her.  In many ways, you will always love that person, even if you move away and never see them again.  My next door neighbor and I were inseparable.  She was a sporty girl and she was very fast.  She would taunt me, knowing i couldn't catch her.  Then every once in a while she'd let me catch her.  We played doctor and such and it was all innocent and harmless fun.  Then she moved or I moved, not sure who moved first and we lost touch.  Spoke to her on Facebook once or twice, but that's about it.

I remember my my first real crush. A blond girl in second grade named Suzanne.  Everyone in the class liked her.  It didn't matter if the guys were tall or short, fat or skinny, or what ethnicity they were, everyone like Suzanne.  Looking back on it, she wasn't really that cute, but if memory serves me right, even though it was second grade, she had bumps.  The crush was short lived, because she turned out to be pretty snooty.  I saw her when I was a teenager and she was pretty ugly.  Felt bad, but she was still a bitch, so I got over it.

The first girl I really, really liked was this girl Jenny in 7th and 8th grade.  I never had the balls to ask her out, but she was really cool and we talked all the time.  My 8th grade yearbook was littered with jokes about me being scared to ask her out.  She was really thin and had absolutely no boobs.  She had long dark brown hair and was really smart.  I think because of her I always went after brunettes.  We lost touch after 8th grade, although I did hang out once with her about two years later.  There was no chemistry.

In HS, I didn't really like anyone.  There was one girl I did like, but she was always with someone, so ignored it.  I met a girl who didn't go to my school and she wasn't really my type, but I thought she was really pretty.  We dated for maybe three months, which was actually much shorter being she lived far away from each other when you don't have a car.  She ended up being my first and I don't regret it one bit.  We broke up because I didn't like the people she hung out with.  Something I'm sure many girls I've dated have felt the same about me.

During and right after HS it was mainly hookups, as I wasn't really serious about much.  I dated one girl for a few months and it was OK, but she ended up being more of a tease than I could handle, so we broke up.  Then I dated a girl I really liked and actually somewhat stole her away from a friend of mine.  We somewhat stayed friends, but I probably should have stuck with my guy friend, because last I heard she doesn't like men.  I hope that wasn't because of me.

My 18-20 years were spent pretty much hooking up with one or two people and not being serious.  Then I ran into a HS friend who was younger when we were in school.  I knew her well because our brothers were friends.  I asked her out and she said no and then we started hanging out.  She went away and wrote me a note and told me to open it on my birthday (which for some outlandish reason I waited to do).  She said yes.  We ended up going out for almost seven years.  We were best friends, our brothers were friends, our parents were friends and everything was fine.  We spent all our time together and after a while we needed to hang with our friends.   This of course opened our eyes to the fact we had smothered each other.  I started going out more and so did she. In the end, silly things I did and her desire to get out there ended our relationship.  It wasn't pleasant at the beginning, but to this day I consider her one of the most important people in my life.

I then took a step back from seeing people and tried to get stuff together.  That didn't work, but I met someone a few years later and we started hanging out.  It was never dating at the beginning, but it was.  I was so afraid to open up at this point in my life (I know, imagine that) that for nearly seven years I shut this girl out of my life, except when it worked for me.  To this day, it is one of life's biggest regrets.  Not necessarily because I think we would have been great together, we wouldn't.  She would have been sweet and I would have been a dick and taken her for granted.  I regret it because I wasted a large portion of her life.  When people ask me about her now, I say this simple statement.  "She is hands down the nicest, most compassionate and unselfish person I have ever met."  Our breakup was awful and another regret of mine, because I truly hurt her.  Luckily, she bounced back and found someone who made her very happy.  Today, she is still a good friend and has helped me out in times of need.

Right after the past relationship I immediately jumped into a relationship with someone I'd known for years.  We jumped in too fast and within days I was basically living with her.  We broke up less than a year after and went into this back and forth mode for another two years until I found someone else, who I fell head over heals for.  I think the reason was I went from someone who was so serious about things to someone who didn't give a shit about anything.  It was very short lived and she crushed me. I deserved it in many ways, but it still hurt.

At this point in my life, I realized that I needed someone who was somewhat carefree, but caring.  Someone who was different from those I had always been attracted to (she's the first blond I've ever considered dating).  Someone who had gone through stuff I'd gone through.  Someone who was different but the same.  After two years, I found that person.  We had oodles of things in common, but enough different that we could learn about each other.  We'd both hurt and been hurt.  We are experienced enough to know that it's never going to be perfect.  We had similarities that were eerie, but also differences that could pose challenges.  I was up for the challenge, but unfortunately, I ruined it by my behavior.  I'm trying to repair the damage and I won't give up without a fight.

So what have I learned?  I've learned that from an early age, Ive tried to be with people that make me feel comfortable.  Unfortunately, I do not always repay them with the same comfort.  I realized that I need someone who understands what it is like to lose a parent.  It sounds silly, but it's a huge void in my life and someone knowing what that is like is so important.  I need someone who is motherly, but tough, like my mother.  Someone who will call me out, but then give me a hug.  I need someone I can sit on a couch with and watch  TV in silence, but the next day, do the same thing and talk for hours.  I need someone who gets me.  I need someone who I get.  I'm working on that part.  I don't need constant interaction, but I do need to feel I'm noticed.  I need to feel like I can be there, without sarcasm, in sickness and in health.

This little story will sound silly, but the girl I like was sick one morning and I made her breakfast.  She fought me on it, but she finally agreed to let me make her tea.  When I went to make it, there were about six varieties.  I chose the one that I felt would be most soothing.  When I gave her the meal and the mug, she smiled and said "How'd you know which tea I wanted?"  It's things like that, all the years have taught me, that are the best moments of my life.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Your Stranded On An Island Food Pyramid

Imagine you're stranded on an island with nothing to eat, nothing to wash with, nothing to rub up against other than a volleyball you've drawn a face on to look as much as Megan Fox (or if you're a female, Eric from True Blood).  Imagine you find a bottle with a genie in it.  You are granted a food wish.  You may pick one and only one item from each food group.  What item would it be?  For arguments sake, let's also say, you are equipped with a kitchen with condiments and oils.  It's a nice fucking island. Stop complaining.  Here is mine.

Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta:  Orzo

I'm not really a bread and pasta person.  I rarely eat cereal, although ironically I bought a box last night for the first time in about a year.  I love rice of all kinds, but the thought of white or brown rice.  Even a Spanish rice with saffron doesn't do it for me.  A nice orzo (with lemon - wait do I pick lemon) is perfect with so many things. 

Vegetable: Potato

I don't know if there is anything on this planet I like more than something made from a potato.  Baked, mashed, smashed, or fried.  Potato chips, potato skins, potato pancakes (aka Latkes...Challah!).  There is nothing that doesn't go better with a potato.  

Fruit: Tomato

Technically it's a fruit and this is my blog.  Initially I was going to say avocado, but the reality is that tomatoes are amazing.  What I love about tomatoes are their diversity.  You can take a raw tomato and depending on how you slice it, it takes on a different persona.  Eat it raw and you get one taste.  A dash of salt and it becomes a different creature entirely. You can bake them, stew them, broil them, fry them and they taste completely different.  MY favorite childhood sandwich was tomato and Provolone on Semolina bread with mayo.  Simple and perfect.

Meat, Poultry, Eggs, Beans, etc: Eggs

I love lamb, chicken, pork and beef, but I was thinking about the one thing I would never tire of, and that is an egg.  I don't, but I could eat eggs forever.  Plus, I have tomatoes and potatoes, so I'm making omelet with hash browns or home fries.  I'm making frittatas.  I'm making wonderful sunny side eggs, dripping all over some fried potatoes and tomatoes.  Haven't quite figured out the orzo deal yet, but I'm thinking some kind of fried rice.

Dairy: Cheese Cheese Cheese

I'm making potato skins.  Making tomato and cheese sandwiches with no bread.  I'm making the most decadent omelette.  I'm eating cheese by the pound.  I could live on cheese.  Some days I do.  My genie is nice and I'm getting Brie and Camembert.  Chevre and Cheddar.  Port Salut and Borsin.  Swiss and Parmesan.  Every cheese is at my disposal.  This is my island bitches!

For the top of the pyramid, I'm going to omit and oils and fats, because I have them in condiments.  And select one guilty pleasure.  Normally I'd say potato chips, but I have potatoes, so that is not an option.  It's going to be one store bought item.

Junk:  Hummus

I know it's not technically junk and I don't really have anything to put it on, but I'd rather eat hummus than any other thing on many days.  So no chocolate.  No Ice cream.  No cake.  I want hummus.

So there you have it.  People rarely leave comments, but I'd love to hear what others have to say.  Leave a list on the comment section or on Facebook.  You can just leave a list, no need to explain.  I'd love to hear.

Insomnia & Healing

As a child, I could sleep forever.  In my teen years, I remember my parents checking to make sure I was breathing.  As I entered my 20's, I'd party all night, work all day and sleep, literally all weekend.  This was always the case, until one day.  My mother had just had surgery and the doctor very bluntly pulled my father and I aside and said "she has six months to live."  From that day on, I have become an insomniac.

When my mother was reaching her final days, there were time when she would call out and I would jump out of bed, only to find she hadn't called out at all.  Even in drunken stupors, I would rise quickly at the hint of a call.  I will never forget her final night.  I had just fallen asleep and my father knocked on my door and told me that she was breathing very quickly.  We stared at her and we knew it was the last night.  About an hour later, another knock and she was gone.

The following day, we made the arrangements and it was done.  There was no wake, no funeral.  She didn't want that.  We had her last hurrah two weeks previous.  That night, I lay in bed and thought about her life.  I was overcome with a feeling of peace and serenity.  I drifted off.  I awoke fourteen hours later.  Immediately a feeling of guilt overcame me.  I walked out on that sunny July Saturday afternoon and saw my father drinking coffee and eating breakfast.  Without hesitation, he smiled and confirmed that he too had just woken up.  The burden of caring for our dying mother and wife had taken its toll and we finally had some bit of solace.  I still felt guilt.

Since that day, I have had days of double digit sleep hours, but they are usually aided by my friends Jameson, Jagermeister and Stoli.  Rarely are there other times when I sleep more than four or five hours.  Last weekend was an "aided" sleep weekend.  It was a long weekend at that.  When I awoke Monday at around 3:30am, after six hours of blackout sleep, I realized I had done something wrong.  I knew not the extent, but knew it was bad.  I knew I had to make amends.

And so it began.  My week of sobriety, of apologies and of getting my life back into order.  There is no order though.  I've taken the necessary steps, but parts are missing.  I don't have the person I care about.  I don't automatically have financial security.  I don't have a new life.  Things are the same, they are just clearer.  Clearer, doesn't mean better, because there is a healing process.  That healing process contains hours upon hours of reflection.  It's consisted of realizing who I've let down and who I've offended.  It is remembering making someone breakfast in bed and laying on a couch laughing on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  It's also consisted of trying to piece together where everything went wrong. Trying to remember what was said and to whom.  It's reliving the awful things I've done over the past few weeks, months, years.  All this becomes clearer as I lay in bed, lights off, alone in the darkness that is my life. 

The sun is rising and poking it's rays through my window as we speak.  Absent are the three little birds, upon my window.  The familiar hum of my air conditioner is the only sound I hear.  Twenty hours of sleep in the last 127 hours.  That amount, 127 hours, like the movie. A metaphor for my life.  Trapped, crushed beneath the weight of my mistakes.  Hoping that someone will hear my cries.  Someone will come to my rescue.  Someone will take care of me.  Then, maybe then, I will sleep.

Friday, September 23, 2011

November 20, 2009 - The Proust Questionnaire

I was thinking about this blog the other day.  By far it took the longest to write, because it was the longest I ever wrote.  I haven't read it since the day I wrote it and decided to go back and update it, because I'm in such a different place in my life than I was in late November, two years ago.  I'd say 95% of it is the same, but I've updated some of it.  Those new comments are italicized.

I had been contemplating doing this as a facebook note, but decided it might be a little personal and I'm just to shy to have my life displayed on facebook....OK I'm just fucking with you. Here it goes, the famous questionnaire that tells you everything you wanna know about someone, but really didn't care to ask.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? Mine is nothing symbolic or some cliche like to die alone. We all die alone in some way or another. Unless of course, we die in a car crash with others, but metaphorically, we all die our own deaths. My true fear is very strong winds. I shit you not. I'm probably less likely to be blown away than 95% of the world, but strong wind scares me. I've seen hurricane winds, but the thought of a tornado absolutely paralyzes me. There was a street sign on my corner that would flap in the breeze every time a bad storm came through and I swore that one day the sign would dislodge and kill me, Final Destination style. Serious, wind. Scares the shit out of me.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND? I've been sick for a week, so it's one of aggravation. Aside from the sickness, I feel somewhat worn down from the routine of life. I need a new challenge, maybe even a new locale, definitely some kind of stimulation. I'm also very distracted lately. My attention span is that of a gnat. This must change. I need to get back the ability to relax, watch a movie, not worrying about this and that. I'm also looking forward to a family Thanksgiving.

Recently, I've been going through a stressful time.  Alcohol and my carefree lifestyle has kept me from true happiness.  I've lost a potential girlfriend, I've pissed off people I love and my job search has seriously lapsed.  My inability to follow through on things has caused my unemployment to lapse, I'm behind on taxes and student loan payments and bills are piling up.  If that weren't bad enough, in the last two days a friend's father died, I heard another friend is sick and I just found out my after school gig is going to have two classes cut due to enrollment issues.  Sounds minor, but it's about $1300 a month. On top of that, someone who I've quickly grown to care about is getting further and further away.  My father and I are also fading apart it seems. I have stopped drinking and while it's not bothering me one bit, the loneliness is.  I plan on venturing out this weekend, but if I'm tempted to join in on libations, I'll make myself leave.  I am looking forward to seeing my kids at the school though.  They always bring me happiness.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OCCUPATION?(WAY OF SPENDING TIME) I would have to say curled up on a rainy afternoon or evening watching a great movie with a hot cup of coffee. Alone is wonderful. With someone special is perfect.

I won't lie.  About four or five weeks ago I had one of these days.  It was perfect.  I shared it with a new found friend and I hadn't had a day as enjoyable as that one in many years.  I don't think we stopped laughing, cuddling and kissing the whole day.  It was perfect.

WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? Richard Nixon - yes he had his faults, but he was borderline genius and did many good things while he was in office. All is overshadowed by the one bad thing he did, which in retrospect isn't half as bad as some of the stuff that has been done by president before and after Nixon's tenure. That being said, I think when all was said and done, he was more a misunderstood individual than a villain.

WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? I am not one who admires people for the most part. We're all human. Some invent things, some make money, some have talent, but is another human really worth admiring? I guess if a gun was put to my head, I admire truly good parents. Parents, who despite their fatigue or personal problems, cook their children dinner and sit and talk with them about their days. I admire the kindergartner's parents whose child said please and thank you to me the other day without being told. I admire the first grader's parents, whose daughter stopped me from doing my class because she wanted to tie the 2nd and 3rd graders shoes so they wouldn't trip and get hurt. I admire the parents of the child who during a snack break had four mini muffins and gave three of them away to kids whose parents forgot to pack a snack, leaving him with one. Then when he saw that another kid didn't have snack, he broke his remaining muffin in half and shared it. I admire those parents. They are few and far between.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL HERO? Max, from Where The Wild Things Are, because despite the power he found, he never forgot where he came from or where he belongs.

WHO ARE YOUR REAL-LIFE HEROES? My parents and grandparents. Six people who showed me more in my life than hundreds of teachers could ever do. They also showed me that you don't always have to say what people want to hear. I learned this by saying those things to them first.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? Obviously family, but I don't think this is what the question is meant to mean. I believe this is a materialistic question so I will answer it as such. I do not own one thing in this world, I would not give up, in a second, for anyone I care abouts health and happiness.

There are two things in my apartment that I would save if there was a fire.  One is a picture of my mother holding me.  I don't even have it hanging, because I couldn't look at it every day.  My emotions would run the gamut.  The other is my childhood stuffed animal. Snoopy!

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST? There have been so many places I've been with friends and family and shared momentous occasions and feelings of happiness, but if I had to be selfish and only think about me, the choice is easy. The four summers I spent at Birchmont. Each one was special in a different way, but all were as close to perfect as I can imagine.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST OBVIOUS CHARACTERISTIC? I'm a big boy. I like to eat and drink and my body shows this. I wasn't always like that, it used to be my legs...or so I was told. Old age and bad habits will do that to you. Oh yeah and two torn ACL's.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE (HATE) IN YOURSELF? My inability to clean my apartment to the point I can't have company. My apartment is smaller than most walk-in closets. My apartment might be a walk-in closet. Yet, there is a stack of paper on the desk and on the floor that rivals Vesuvius. I've got dust with born on dating since before some of my friends had their children. Oddly enough, dirty dishes is my pet peeve and I almost never have dirty dishes in the sink. Don't ask.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS? Ignorance, being proud of your ignorance, and not willing to admit ignorance. If I don't know I say I don't know. I feel ashamed. I then go home and spend long sessions looking up info on said topic on the Internet. I will spend hours sometimes, so the next time, if it occurs, I am more prepared than anyone in the room. If only I had done this in school. I just don't understand how people can be proud of not knowing common knowledge things. I don't understand how "devout" Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc don't know their own religion. I don't know why people don't understand things that are important to societies well being, and brag about it. For every intelligent conversation I have had in the past year, I have had this response given to me ten times "Don't bother me with that shit, I don't read or listen to the news...why should I care what goes on in Iran or Iraq or wherever were fighting." Seriously, this is almost a verbatim response to any debate. Scares me.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE? Sadly, socializing at the bar. I probably spend twice as much a month on going out eating and drinking as I do on rent. This is not something I'm proud of, necessarily, but I find the people that stay home all the time when they do come out, they all talk about the same things, and honestly I don't really care about your kids first shit or the excitement that this years Real World is giving you. Tila Tequila is a drink right?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE JOURNEY? My next one. I'm not a traveler, per se, but I do like to go away. I don't need a plane, or a bus, or a train. My next journey was planned last weekend, but rainy weather changed my mind. I was going to go solo to my old stomping grounds in Brooklyn. Hit up Grimaldi's or Difara's for some pizza. Then over to Atlantic Ave to Sahadi for some of the world's best hummus and coffee. Then over to the Promenade and just stare at the Brooklyn Bridge. That was it. Maybe next week or the week after.

Two years have past and I still haven't been back to Brooklyn.  I had hoped my next adventure was going to be a trip to Newport with a special friend, but that doesn't look like it will ever happen. She said it would, but that was before I ruined what we had.  Maybe one day!
WHAT DO YOU MOST DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE? I've gained so much weight I don't think I look anything like I used to. I don't know if that's good or bad, but while I was never thin, I did have a pretty good physique back in my 17-19 years. I was strong, a good athlete, and could actually walk without limping or being out of breath.

Whatever the hell this skin condition I've been suffering from for over two years is.  I see pictures of myself and it's scary. 

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE? Purity. You can slice this one any way you like. This is not a good virtue. What's good for the Virgin Mary and Jesus, ain't good for people here on Earth. Seriously, some sick bastards love having sex with virgins. Makes them feel good about themselves. Really, for how long? Six minutes? Seriously, find me an impure girl and now we're talking. OK, so it's not about sex, it's a spiritual thing. OK, if I'm with someone who is living for the after world, I'm fucked. First off, we're not on the same mental plain and probably won't be honeymooning on the same plane, so why bother. I don't need pure thoughts, pure anything really. Unless I'm going to eat snow. Then purity is fine and dandy.

ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE? If I lie it is only not to hurt others. That being said, my lies are few and far between. You wanna know how you spot the liar. He's the one who never hurts any one's feelings. Lying is for cowards. Lying is for those who don't have enough value in their own lives so they make things up to give the impression of greatness when in reality, once their lies have been uncovered, they become smaller than they once were.

WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER-USE? I refer to things as the best a lot, when they are in fact not even close to being the best. They are just above average for that time frame. I also say "I heard," when a lot of times, I read, or I was witness to, but I tend to say I heard, which is weird. I don't now why I do this. I am sure to be called out on this by anyone who reads this.

Lately, it's "I'm sorry!"

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE? It's silly, but I wish I played sports in high school. I wish I did something at that time in my life that was more about a group than about me. I was a good athlete, and all due respect to people I went to high school with, a hell of a lot better than most of the better players in every sport. Obviously, I didn't have any thoughts of making it past high school, because at 5'9" 194lbs with speed like a baby cow, there wasn't much to dream about. I do wish I played for teams though. The camaraderie, the leadership, the coaching. I ended up coaching after high school and I realize how important it is to have someone show you how to do things better than you knew how. I always knew I could hit a baseball, but if I had played under our teams coach, I'm sure I would have hit it that much harder, that much further, and definitely that much more often. Big mistake, but I was young and dumb. It's silly now, but I think it would have made a big difference. I try in my own little way to make that difference in kids lives now.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT? Maybe saving someones life (a memory I'm sure she's long forgotten). I'll never know. I was leaving school in second grade and a friend of mine had walked ahead. We lived a few doors down from each other and always walked home from school together, rain or shine. I was talking to some of my friends when I noticed she was talking to someone in a car. I saw her open the back door and start to get in. I dropped my book bag and ran towards the car and grabbed her jacket and yanked it. She and I both went tumbling out onto the street and the car sped off, back door slamming shut as he drove away. We got up, I grabbed my books and we ran home as fast as we could. The man had told her that her mom had asked him to pick her up and take her home and she believed him. Maybe the story wasn't as dramatic as I remembered, but my mother told me that I came in the house crying my eyes out that someone tried to steal my friend. I'd say that's about as good as I'm capable.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE? I love Boston, but it's basically a quieter New York with a baseball team I adore. I don't think I'd wanna live there though. Nope, for me it would be in a little house with a screened in porch looking over Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. I wouldn't need a big house. Just big enough that friends could visit, a fire could be set, and in the spring and summer we could hang our feet off the dock and feed the ducks or gaze at the eagles as they soared amongst the clouds during some of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever witnessed.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A MAN? Honesty. There is no quality, virtue, whatever you want to call it that matters most to me than someone being honest with me. Male or female, honesty is what matters most.


WHAT IS IT YOU MOST DISLIKE? I dislike that a world of similar people try so hard to be different to the point that they must kill or alienate others to prove that they are right. Religions, nationalities, political beliefs, even ways people dress seem to cause such furor. In the end, we must all realize deep down that if we truly believe that a higher power created us, he/she did not create us to play his giant version of the game Risk. He/She created us to get along and adapt together, to thrive on a planet that has everything, if everyone shared. I have a problem with anyone telling me I'm going here or there when I die. Does it matter. Wouldn't you rather take the chance that this is our only shot and to soak up every second of it and love someone rather than hate them? I know it takes so much more energy to argue with someone than it does to hold them and kiss them. It takes much more energy to hate someones point of view than it is to accept their ability to have a viewpoint. It takes much more energy to punch someone than it does to agree to disagree and shake their hand. I hate that people can't accept we don't all believe the same thing or look the same. We all seem to have two arms, two legs and a head...doesn't seem to me like that was an accident.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS? I guess it would fall under loyalty, but what I value most is that I have friends that at times we don't speak for days, weeks, some months, some even years. When reunited, that isn't an issue. Sure we argue at times, we have differences of opinion, but time away, never strains our bond. I remember one time I had not seen a group of friends for one whole year. Not spoken to many for the year. We gathered together as we had on many occasions and there wasn't one awkward moment the entire day. At the end of the time, we said our goodbyes with the expectation that time would lapse before we spoke again, but all was good.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE? Quickly and painlessly, but the reality is I'll probably die of a horrible heart attack due to being overweight and not taking care of myself. I just hope it's not one of those embarrassing things where people think I'm playing a joke because my face is in a bowl of chicken wings. I also hope it's not something where other people have to take care of me. I don't like wiping my own ass at times, god help someone else having to do it. See that's called levity. Death ain't a fun topic, but we all get to do it.

IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR AN ANIMAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE? I think I would come back as a woman who had 10 kids. I'm very nurturing with children and almost motherly, but not in that "ooh my baby scraped his knee" kinda way. I think I'm tender enough kids feel safe, but tough enough they don't over do it. I've seen kids change in my classes when they look for that easy way out and they realize they aren't going to get it. I had one kid in a class who I basically taught that winning and losing was ruining his fun and he was too young for that. His father then basically challenged me to a game of one-on-one in front of his son, which I obviously declined, although the temptation was almost overwhelming.

A penny. Plain and simple, I would like to make up for all the traveling I didn't do in this life.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO (WORDS YOU LIVE BY OR THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU)? "The truth hurts, but it's better than lying." When people are fat you aren't supposed to say they are fat, because that's hurtful. I'm fat, kids tell me that I'm fat. Some are innocent and some are malicious. It's true, so how can I get mad. When someone says I'm stupid, I get mad, because the reality is, and some might disagree with me, but I'm not stupid. I used to have tests to prove it. But what about when you tell someone who is stupid that they are stupid. It's not socially acceptable, but it's true. Now if a woman says "does this make me look fat?" There is only one answer and that is no. This is the one scenario where telling the truth is in direct correlation to being stupid. If you lie on this one, you are smart. If you don't, you are celibate. I try to be truthful whenever possible, unless I feel damage will be caused. Then I have to adapt. I might not lie, but I might dull the truth. Political Correctness may one day doom our society. Truth never will.

WHO HAS BEEN THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? This is the easiest question of them all. My father has been my biggest influence. There is almost nothing I do that is not in some way connected to him. He's one of the smartest people I know. He's read more books than I've looked at in some libraries. He started me on my appreciation to film. As a youngster he took me to a revival theater that was playing Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. Who takes a little kid to an old black and white movie, with subtitles, where almost everyone gets killed? Did I mention it's almost four hours long? To this day, it's one of my favorite films. He opened my eyes to art and music. I was pointing out which composer was on the radio (at times) before he could when I was ten or eleven. He gave me an appreciation for fine wines and sometimes not so fine that were just as good. He made me do my homework and made me make sure that everything was grammatically correct and my spelling was perfect. I hated that, but now when people misspell words it drives me crazy. The one thing I think I learned from him that has stayed with me was when I would write a book report, an essay, or some type of research paper in grade school, he would read it once. He would make a suggestion or two and I'd add or subtract something. Then he would edit it. I would always ask him what he thought and he would always say "are you happy with it?" I would sit an reread it and go over it again and again, but in the end, I would almost always say "yes I am." He'd tell me "well, then you're done." When I got older, in high school and my college years, (with two complicated exceptions) I never once wrote a paper that I can remember that received lower than a B+. I sometimes rush through things, but if I've taken one thing from him, it's to be happy with what you've produced and be at peace with your effort. If my effort had been half of what I put forward, I don't think he would have pushed any harder. I think that was the lesson. He turns 75 today and I hope that one day, I can be 75 and have someone feel that I've impacted their life half as much as he impacted mine.

This concludes the questionnaire. I thought when I began this would be my shortest blog ever. It has taken me nearly two and a half hours to finish it. Albeit there were some distractions along the way, via calls, texts, etc. I don't know if anyone will read it start to finish, but I assume if you've gotten this far, you are not only a friend but someone who now knows me a little better than before. Au revior!

Prediciting The Future - Sports In The Upcoming Week

Well it looks like the boring end of the baseball season, just got a little exciting.  Mathematically, it's going to go down to the wire.  In the American League, Boston has a two game lead in the wild card race over Tampa Bay and three games on the Angels.  All three have six games left.  Boston plays the Yankees and Baltimore on the road.  Tampa Bay plays Toronto and New York at home.  The Angels play Oakland and Texas at home.  So it would appear Boston is in serious trouble, especially since they are slumping.  Here's the thing.  The reality is that Boston only needs to win two games to basically tie for the lead. If they win two, Tampa Bay would have to win five to surpass them and the Angels would have to win all six.  They are greatly ahead mathematically.  I think it's going to be crazy.  I think Boston will win four and both the Rays and Angels will win five each.  Giving Boston the wild card on the last day of the season.

The National League wild card race is equally as exciting.  The Braves hold a two game lead, but are falling fast.  The Cardinals lost a pivotal game tonight in the ninth inning and would have only been one game back.  The Giants are four games back.  All three have four games to go.  Atlanta plays Washington and Philadelphia at home.  St. Louis play Chicago at home and Houston on the road.   San Francisco plays Arizona and Colorado at home.   San Fran should be eliminated before they even face Colorado.  I think both teams will win four of their final six, but with Atlanta winning on the final day and the Cards losing.  Atlanta will clinch.

What happens we'll have to see.  As for local football.  I actually like the Giants against the Eagles.  I think with a 100% healthy Vick this would be an Eagles edge, but not with him banged up.  The Jets play Oakland in Oakland and while Oakland has shown a great running game, I think the Jets will come together will beat them in a close one. 

I know nothing, but I'm sure people are happy not reading about my life.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vivid Dreams - The Letdown

Last night, or should I say early morning, I finally fell asleep.  Somewhat soon into my slumber, I had a dream.  It was a dream of sleeping and I was not alone.  Do not think I am going to detail a dream of sexual conquest, this dream was nothing at all like that.  I was doing nothing more than holding someone.  The warmth of two bodies next to each other was the most excitement that this dream could muster.  I was at peace.  I had finally found what I was looking for.  I awoke with my arms wrapped around a pillow.  I was covered in sweat.  At first I didn't now if I was awake or dreaming, but then felt the pillow.  Overcome by sadness, I stripped off the covers.  I lay there for a second, taking in the fact it was a dream.  My phone lay next to me, no message, nothing.  As I staggered into the bathroom, I remembered.  I hadn't even said goodnight.  I collapsed back into bed.  Slightly in disarray.  I thought for a second, and then, I tossed that pillow away.  I didn't want to be tricked again.

Trying To Think Funny

I started this blog with the hopes to be funny.  It's turned into a self-help guide for me.  Ironically, it's at times caused me pain, due to my openness.  Not everyone appreciates being part of my open-book policy.  I'm still learning.  Today, as I was walking from the office of the Department of Labor over to the IRS building, I was thinking about how I so badly want to write a funny blog.  One that gets back to the old me.  I'm not the old me.  Well at least not the last three days.  Maybe even longer.  I've become sullen.  I've become obsessed with being happy, but not sure how to find it.  I've turned a corner this week and I'm trying hard.  The not drinking is the easy part.  I don't normally go out Tuesday and Wednesday's anyway, so that isn't tough.  The loneliness is what is hard.  What I've lost over the last month is the rough part.  So how can I be funny?  I'll have to find a way.

I stopped at McDonald's and thought, while the disease isn't funny, I couldn't remember the last time I walked into one and didn't see someone with osteoporosis.  Now I'm not doctor, but I'm sure a steady diet of Big Mac's isn't going to do wonders for the bones.  Maybe there is a link.  It also dawned on me from the counter person's reaction, that I was the first person to walk in there in a long time and not know what  wanted or get a drink to go with my meal.  I don't really like soda.

So I left and started my trek to the bus stop.   I wasn't exactly sure where it was, but started that walk anyway.  As I got about a half mile into it, I noticed that a lot of people were giving me looks.  I got a little sensitive about it, because it was a nice 72 degree day and I sweat in the shower.  I was wearing a dark grey shirt and the sweat was starting to show.  That wasn't it though.  I wiped my brow and noticed someone staring at my chest.  The reason became clear.  I have an odd trait that gets accentuated when I'm walking.  I sweat, but my nipples become erect.  Everyone always points this out to me, so I glanced in a mirror and confirmed the reason for the stares.  You could hang a towel on those bad boys.  Not enough for an entire blog, but pretty amusing. 

Today I crossed four more things off my list.  Two were for me, so not as productive as yesterday.  I also napped for about two hours. So my current sleep total is six and half hours over 70 hours.  Funny thing is I'm not even remotely tired.  What I am is a little run down.  I found out a friend's father died today.  He was a good guy.  Someone I didn't see often, but liked a lot.  The last time I saw him was last August.  He'll be missed.  The Yankees won two today and I think it was for him.  I got some other disturbing news, but it's not something I should know.  As usual it's cancer.  This followed up a friends sad day of visiting someone in the hospital.  We can't escape this disease.   We just have to live our lives to the fullest while we're here. I am trying, but don't want to do it alone.

So today, while I tried to get over some sadness and loneliness, I decided to treat myself to some junk(ier) food.  Breakfast was an odd choice, especially at 8am.  I made a BLT salad and added red onion and cheddar.  Topped it with  bleu cheese dressing and drank a tall glass of water.  For lunch I had 20 chicken McNuggets with two little cups of sauce.  I had a snack of a small container of cottage cheese.  I wanted to have Chinese food for dinner, but was hoping to share it with someone.  It's been a pattern.  It wasn't to be and my mind wasn't into eating alone.  I have to say, the best part about being with someone is sharing meals.  OK, that and waking up next to them.   So for dinner I went to the gas station. I bought milk and coffee and then got myself a truck stopper cheeseburger.  I knew it would suck, so I made some bacon, sliced some tomato, onion and lettuce and topped it with Sriracha and mayo.  It was actually really good.  I wasn't done.  I really went overboard and got one of those yellow double Hostess cupcakes.  Man are they awful, but in a great way.  I don't do desserts, but today I needed something for me.  Washed down with two mugs of coffee and I was in junk food bliss.

So here's my wrap-up.  I'm getting by and trying to be myself.  I've spent almost every second since Sunday night by myself.  I know I have to get out and see some friends.  They'll all be at the bar.  I wanted to share a meal with someone, but they are one of the people I hurt this weekend and before, so I knew it wouldn't happen.  I need to spend some time with people this weekend.  it'll be a minor test.  The problem for me isn't the drinking, it's making up for the pasts sins.  It's confronting people and apologizing for things I don't remember doing.  I also don't want to make any of the same mistakes sober that I made drunk.  I was told to give people time.  I want to make it right immediately.  I want thinks like they were on the good days.  I have to wait.  Something about waiting isn't funny.  Is it?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our Government Office - A Portrait in Failure

I spent this morning at two government office today and in doing so, I think I know exactly what is wrong with this country.  I walked in around 10:30 and was told I had to wait until 11:15 for the meeting.  As I sat, I watched as the receptionist did all the work.  While she was putting files together and helping people as they came in, two men sat their and talked about how little everyone is doing to find a job and how they are all liars.  Two things struck me about this conversation.  One was the fact that a government paid employee would have the audacity to say these things within earshot of about fifty people and the second was that the conversation lasted about 20 minutes.  While a room full of people waited, two men had a conversation about other people's issues. 

During this fiasco, I recognized the woman I had met upon my first visit.  She and another woman were making copies and stapling them together.  Very haphazardly, I might add.  It quickly dawned on me that this was in no way a two person job.  One, copier machines collate for you and two, these should be already printed out and waiting to go.  Then they called us.  Eight of us.  The woman I previously knew ran the "class" and regurgitated the exact same dialogue she handed out to me weeks before.  Verbatim!

As I left she smiled and told me that my benefits would be on hold for ten days because I missed the original meeting, but would be paid in full.  I quietly a very politely approached and said "Let me get this straight.  I receive a letter dated August 25th telling me I have to attend a meeting on September 8th and I miss, so I love my benefits?"  She nods.  I then explain "I received this letter on September 6th."  There was no number to call, so I couldn't explain my not showing.  I followed with, "I then receive this letter dated September 9th explaining my benefits were being stopped.  Only one problem.  I didn't receive it until Monday the 19th."  She apologized for the problem and said it would be remedied.  I was about to walk away and let all this slide, but I couldn't.  I turned to her and said, "Miss, I know this is not your fault, but you work for the government.  Every single aspect of this process is computerized.  I have a problem knowing that our government recognizes an error and immediately a letter is printed up, yet it takes ten days to arrive at the person it needs to?"  She nodded and I walked out.  Onto the IRS building.

I arrived at the IRS building to a security guard standing outside.  He followed me in and I emptied the contents of my pockets and he told me which off to go into.  I get upstairs and I ask the woman at the desk who I speak to about filing multiple tax returns.  She asked which years and I explained 2009-2010.  She explained that I was in the right place, but she doubted that they could handle both years in one day, because they were short staffed.  I looked behind her to see three people at desks.  One was on the Internet and two others were talking.  Three people waited in rows of chairs behind me.  I asked politely if they could possibly squeeze me in.  She paused and said "OH, my goodness, it's almost noon.  Look at this crowd.  Actually, come back another day.  Try to be here early, we like to finish by lunch."  I stood in disbelief.  I was basically just told that a government tax office for all of Westchester County, could not handle the workload of four people, because it was almost lunch.

So with an unemployment rate near ten and these offices obviously in need of extra staff, couldn't something be done?  OR how about this?  What about hiring out of work people who will do the job rather than continue with people who obviously don't care.  How about not "training" people how to look for a job for 11 minutes (actually it was closer to 9, she was the last one in the room) when you've just made them wait up  to an hour?  How about not hiring people who tell you they can't do their job, because it's almost lunch?  I realize these are the lowest levels of government, but this is where the problems start.  It's what I like to call "trickle-up politics."

What A Difference A Day Makes

Monday morning I decided to make a change in my life.  Monday was not a good day.  Tuesday however was a good day.  It didn't start that well.  I had a phone conversation which started out nice, but then pointed out a of my faults.  It was refreshing.  Honesty always is.  I couldn't fall asleep, but it wasn't the new found information, but my normal insomnia.  I finally dozed off at about 8:15am.  Not good, being that I planned on leaving the house at 9:00 and getting a few things done.  I awoke at 9:50 to my excruciatingly loud buzzer.  Much to my surprise, it was two detectives.  They weren't after me, so that was good.  I tried to go back to sleep, couldn't.  My day would start.

I got dressed and started a pot of coffee. While it was making,I made breakfast.  A BLT with some white cheddar.  I then proceeded to make a list of goals for the week.  I was told this is a good thing to do when you're in my situation.  I grouped my list in two ways.  I listed every day of the week and then had headers that wrote.  Very Important, Important and For Me.  At the bottom, I listed three weekly goals.  They read: Don't drink, don't harass the ones you care about and finally, breathe.  I looked over the list and felt it was a good start.  Everything on it was manageable and I wasn't biting off more than I could chew.  On top of it, there was something every day for me.  These aren't all easy, but they are for my piece of mind.

I finished up my breakfast and my first cup of coffee and I headed up to the post office.  I mailed out something that was too go out weeks ago.  A month ago.  Maybe even more.  I finally got around to it.  I came home and crossed off the most important thing from my list.  I felt good.  I got another cup of coffee and turned the TV on. Nothing interested me, so I checked my e-mails, Facebook and Twitter.  I checked my list and decided to take care of the second thing on it.  This was something that has been stressing me for months and I went into it with an open mind.  Second, item, the one listed "important" - done.

Then I wrote my blog.  I posted it for everyone to see.  I don't want to have secrets and I feel badly about those I've hurt over the last few weeks and months.  So in my own way, it's an open apology.  I started feeling tired and then my phone started going off.  Supportive texts and messages poured in.  Surprisingly a few people politely said "about time."  It made me realize that even when I was in control, I wasn't.  From the outside looking in, others saw my pain.  I've always joked that the song Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson was my theme song.  Yesterday, I knew this was more true than ever.  I wasn't sad though.  I was happier than I've been in ages.  I sent a text to a friend.  They were busy.  No problem.  My life isn't theirs.  Then I got another text.  A friend asking if I needed anything.  A friend I let down recently.  They told me not to worry.  To take care of myself.  I crossed another goal off my list.  My apology.

The rest of the day continued with texts, games of Words with Friends and before I knew it the sun was down.  I turned on the Red Sox game and watched until a new TV show called New Girl came on.  It was funny and sad.  I liked it.  I finished watching the game and crossed my "for me" goal off my list.  During so, I started feverishly cleaning my apartment.  Earlier, I had cleaned my toilet, bathtub and sink.  I got about halfway done when I got a little tired.  I crossed another goal off my list, although this one has a continuation.  I started texting a friend and playing more games on my phone.  I tried to be truthful without harassing. I laid in bed thinking about today.  The phone rang.  "Goodnight."  It was a pretty good day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Thoughts

Yesterday, while uneventful, was a pivotal day in my life.  Yesterday, I decided that I'm going to stop drinking.  I don't know if this will be a permanent thing, but for now, that is how I am going into it.  I was discussing with someone last night how it was only the last few weeks or months that it has been a problem, but the reality is, it has always been somewhat of a problem.  In the past it hasn't cost me as much as the last few weeks, but it has cost me in other ways.

The financial burden of going out has been catastrophic when i look at it.  I've never had any very high paying jobs and a large percentage of my pay has gone to socializing.  I've had three car accidents while drinking and two could have been awful. One for myself and one for complete strangers, for this I am forever thankful.  Thankfully, both times, luck was on my side.  As a teen and young adult, I was constantly getting into fights.  Drinking played a huge part in that (mine and others).  It's caused me to become physical with friends and this is something I regret.

Last night, I was looking back on the last few weeks.  The nights I drank were filled with laughter and jokes, but inevitable ended with me arguing with someone.  I've said nasty things to people I love and made others feel uncomfortable. Even worse, is I lied to someone.  Honestly, to me is the most sacred virtue and it's something I regret terribly.  Last night I looked back on the last few weeks and realized something very important.  The nights, I didn't drink, or those I had what normal people consider social drinking, were amazing.  They weren't just good, but they were great.  They were spent laughing, just as much as those drunken nights and always ended up a hell of a lot better.  The mornings were bright and fresh and I felt good about myself.  Not those drunken nights. Those were awful.

I don't want to get into specifics, because I've already embarrassed people with my blogs and my status updates.  I've been an open book, because it's who I am.  I've been judgmental and self-righteous and I've hurt important people.  All the while, I was the one who should have been judged.  I should have been judged on my lack of control, for the words I've said to people and for my actions.  I used not remembering as an excuse, but that should never be one.  I don't even know some of the people I've offended.  To those, I do and those I don't, I apologize.

I'm not looking for sympathy.  I'm looking to make up for my mistakes and be a better person in the future.  I appreciate those who have already reached out in support.  I was looking for love, but I ruined that.  Hopefully, I can make ammends.  I was looking for attention, but went about it all the wrong way. I knew it then, but couldn't stop myself.  For this too, I apologize.

Today, I'm not in a great place.  I've made a list of goals to accomplish for the week, like a child with a set of chores.  I need that now.  I need a little structure.  I wish my mother was here to smack me in the head and tell me to snap out of it.  I wish she was here for guidance.  So today, I'm thinking about happy thoughts.  Hopefully those will get me through it.  I'm thinking about playing baseball with my dad.  I'm thinking about holding my baby brother in the middle of the night.  I'm thinking of the good times I've had with my grandparents.  I'm thinking about playing in the street with friends or hanging in their houses watching Monday Night Football.  I'm thinking about the people I've loved from my past  and my future.  I'm thinking about how Wednesday Chinese night was so wonderful and how tomorrow I'll miss it.  I'm thinking about how remembering the good times is so much better than forgetting the bad times.  I think I want more of those days and nights, so that's what I'm going to be thinking of today.  Happy Thoughts!

Monday, September 19, 2011


The past few weeks have been a disaster.  The night of Hurricane Irene I let a friend down.  A week later, I did something even more stupid.  Since then I've continually sabotaged the one good thing going on in my life.  I've been told what to do.  I've been told what not to, but I am constantly doing the opposite.  Saturday night I annoyed my friend.  Sunday I annoyed her even more.  Here's the thing.  I don't remember anything.  Every night that has been bad, every single one has been due to drinking.  For years, I've had the highest tolerance and I've always been very cognisant about the fact that my friends with drinking problems had a moment where they turned the corner.  It's easy to say, I'll never drink again.  It's easy to say, I'll cut back and be careful.  The truth is I probably will drink again.  I just need to control my life.

Today, I woke up, feeling shaky and distraught with the knowledge I probably ruined any chance of being with this wonderful person.  I've let the drinking cloud my mind.  I've let those nights lead to arguments, when I should be happy to be with this person, whether it be one or two days a week or five.  I've spent money I don't have on these nights and I've let other aspects of my life suffer too.

Today I sat and drank coffee.  I could barely hold the cup.  I want to make amends with this wonderful person and I hope they give me another shot.  I joined an online support group today.  Not because I don't think I can do this myself, but just to for additional support.  I feel like I'm losing my grip on my own life and I want to know that I can reach out.  I have some great friends, but they are dealing with their own lives.  I don't want their personal feelings to cloud their judgement when it comes to me.  I do not feel my problem is a physical one.  I am not dependent on alcohol.  It's always been a social thing for me, but I've let it become too much of a social thing.  I need to start doing things for me that are away from getting drunk.  I don't go out and have one or two.  I go out for 10-12 hours.  Usually I've been able to handle it, but not anymore.

I don't know what the future holds and I don't know if my problem is temporary or something I really need to harness.  I know this.  I want to get this person back into my life and I've been going about it the wrong way.  It will be so much easier with her by my side, but I don't deserve that.  I haven't earned that.  I also need to get the other stuff in my life in order.  I've let things go that need to be done.  A few hours ago, was 24 hours.  She was nice enough to say hi.  It's a start.


Today I woke up and realized I need to make some changes.  Today I realized that a few hours of fun, isn't worth not being with someone I care about.  Today, I realized what I have to do.  I just think it may be too late.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nine Of My Favorite Songs (These Might Surprise Most)

It's impossible to make a list of the top ten songs of all time, because in my opinion songs mean very different things at very different times.  When in a tumultuous relationship, I don't want to hear Dolly Parton's "Jolene."  When I'm sad, I don't want to hear Wannabee by the Spice Girls (OK, sometimes).  I love Stairway to Heaven, but don't want to hear it more than once or twice a year.  The radio has made me despise Hotel California, even though I know deep down it's a great song.  For this list, I'm just picking ten songs, that I think are amazing.  Songs that when I first hear them, I knew they'd stick with me forever.  I'm in a somewhat odd point in my life.  Been doing a lot of reflection lately, so there won't be any old school rap or heavy metal.  Just songs that touched me at one time and are meaningful as I forge ahead in my life.

Fade Into You - Mazzy Star

This song is hauntingly beautiful.  My favorite line is the very first line of the song.  "I want to hold the hand inside you." The song for me is unnoticed love.  It's someone opening up to someone who never let them in.  We can all recognize that uncomfortable feeling, when you can't have the one you desire.  Mazzy Star just says it better than we can

Dear God - XTC

This controversial song about the hypocrisy of faith in God has the most amazing lyrics and takes a logical shot at organized religion.  The line that sticks out is " Did you make mankind after we made you?"  the song then goes on to say how many times God is quoted in the bible, but cleverly points our that we wrote the book.  It talks about famine and disease and how if there is a God, he is the one who has brought these horrors on.  One of the more intellectual songs ever written, whether you agree or not.

Dead Beat Club - B 52's

The song is just a simple tale of late teens/early 20-somethings who don't have jobs and just hang out all day drinking coffee and talking about what they will do on any given evening. To me, the line " we'll dance in the garden in torn sheets in the rain," is a metaphor for their carefree lives, where nothing really matters.  When I first heard this song, I was young and in love and despite having a full time job, nothing really mattered to me.

Where The Wild Roses Grow - Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue

Quite possibly the most surprising story ever told. It starts out as this love song, where a man is courting a young woman who is a virgin.  He stares at her, then he gives her a flower.  On the third day he takes to the river, where the wild roses grow.  The line that changes the whole outlook of the song is "And the last thing I heard was a muttering word, As he knelt (stood smiling) above me with a rock in his fist."  It is so unbelievable that the first time I heard the song, I had to go back and play it about six or seven times.  Nick Caves deep raspy voice, paired with Kylie Minogue's soft beautiful voice, is absolutely perfect.

If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle & Sebastian

My deer friend Brett turned me on to Belle & Sebastian while we worked at a sleep away camp.  All the songs on the the album are great, but this song just stuck out.  It's basically the contrast of someone's religious and actual beliefs.  It's the inner conflict and contradictions that arise when one lives their life one way and not necessarily the biblical way.  The saddest part of the song is that this conflict caused two people to end their lives. The classic line comes when telling about Hillary "She was into S&M and bible studies Not everyone's cup of tea she would admit to me."  It's a funny and ironic line in a sad tale about living a life nobody understands.

Haunted - Sinead O' Connor and Shane McGowan

The single most beautiful voice of Sinead o'Connor paired with the raspy, drunken belting of Shane McGowan is perfect in telling this love story about two people, who fell in love and after all this time are still in love and "haunted by the ghost of you precious love."  If I ever get married, this will be my wedding song (if I have a say).

Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush

Rumor has it the song was written after Gabriel had watched a documentary about the Great Depression and the song is about unemployment and the woes that come from it. He had also suffered a nervous breakdown previous, so it's also a ballad about personal perseverance.  Kate Bush's high pitched title lyrics, give a positive counter to Gabriel's despair.  My favorite line is the final one where Bush sings "Don't give up, because there's a place.  A place where we belong."  Eternal hope!

When The Angels Sing - Social Distortion

This is hands down one of my five favorite songs of all-time.  although it may have personal meaning for Mike Ness, I feel it's a song about how if this life is as good as it gets, with all it's pitfalls, it doesn't matter as long as we'll all be together again in Heaven when it comes to and end.  Ness sings "Sometimes I try so hard To understand The things you do."  Questioning God for what he does to us on Earth, but later says " a little baby's born when the angels sing," showing his belief that it's all part of the cycle and the plan that God has for us.  Despite my lack of religious beliefs, I think about my mother when this song plays and think, it might be nice to know we'll be together again and maybe God can explain why he does what he does.

Angels - Robbie Williams

Rarely is an artists most popular song my favorite, but this is an exception.  I've loved this song since the first time I ever heard it.  I've song it on bus rides at camp.  I've sung it in bars.  I'm singing it right now.  The line that always gets me is "when I’m feeling weak and my pain walks down a one way street,I look above and I know ill always be blessed with love ."  Just a beautiful way of saying that when the chips are down, know you are always loved.  Not always the easiest to to believe in, but a comforting outlook.

Oddly enough, despite my non-religious views, six of the nine songs have religious backgrounds.  Some negative, some positive, but in the end, all the songs, to me, are beautiful.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If I Had....

Remember that song "If I had a million dollars?"  It was silly, but kind of real.  I don't know if I'd buy a monkey or a boat or anything like that.  I don't even need a million dollars.  There are things I would love to have though.  Living without them is tolerable, but would be such better to have a few.

If I had an RV, I'd never live in a big house.  I'd jump in that sucker every chance I got, grab some friends or loved ones and just drive.  I'd see all there is to see and wouldn't ever stop.

If I had a big kitchen, I would be sure to cook every day.  I wouldn't only cook for me, but be sure to have people over all the time.  I'd make everything from breakfast and brunches to five course meals.  I'd make sure to never eat alone again.

If I had a porch, I'd spend as much time on it as possible.  I've spent the last 21 hours at a friends house who has a porch and I've spent about 8 hours of it on the porch.  Only thing I'm missing is someone to share it with.

If I had a fireplace, I'd spend every winter night I could, snuggled up with my girl, just sitting, watching the flames flicker.  Sharing the warmth of the fire and our embrace.

If I had a bus, I'd take inner city kids to the country, so that they could experience the beauty that they miss out of on the city streets.  I'd take them to parks and to lakes and let them enjoy what people who can afford to, do on vacation.

If I had a restaurant, I'd make sure that no food was ever thrown out and that those in need who loved closest were fed with whatever was leftover.

If I had my knees back, I'd make sure that every day was spent playing at some point.  I've lost the kid in me and it's something that has changed me in a bad way.

If I had money to burn, I'd "waste" it on my friends and their children.  I don't need much to be happy.  So what's the use of saving it?

If I had my mother, I'd tell her my problems and even though they wouldn't really, for a little while, they'd go away.  They always did.