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It's hard when I describe things now, because I don't know what to call that place I lived for 29 years. It never, ever truly felt like home. I hated my high school years. Despised the below average education and the unlikable cliques. I met some good people along the way, but few and far between. I spent most of high school yearning to return to Brooklyn. My trips back, even when the access was so very simple, were non-existent.

The happiest I ever was, was working from 19-21. Not a care in the world, limited responsibility and finally embracing the fact that I had a wonderful family. I made lots of mistakes, but I grew a lot then too. Then the years of bouncing around from job to job and even then, I longed to be anywhere else. None of my relationships made me feel like this was my home and looking back, I realize now how large a part it played in my demoralized mind.

So now I sit, well over 200 miles away. I find myself stuttering when I speak to the locals, describing a pl…

Why Buck Showalter Is A New York Hero And A Baseball Genius

Forget how he and Stick put together a championship dynasty and how he became the scapegoat for them not winning the year before. Forget everything you've ever heard about Buck Showalter. The man, for all intent and purposes had no reason to do it, but he did.

Last Thursday, Jeter waited on deck. The winning run on first base. The Baltimore Orioles clinging to the a glimmer of hope of having the best overall record in baseball and home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. Brett Gardner is at the plate and Joe Girardi has him bunt the runner over. Ninety nine percent of the time, that is the right play, but not tonight. Not with Derek Jeter waiting on deck for his potentially last at-bat. Gardner bunts and is thrown out, with the runner advancing to second. Textbook baseball. Jeter walked to the plate, fans cheered and the scene was complete insanity. Why? Why would 45,000 fans be excited to see an intentional walk? Their beloved captain has just had the chance …

A Strange Week

Started last Sunday with a nine hour trip.
Closure?
New Beginnings?
Rosh Hashanah for the first time in a decade.
Brisket, No Latkes.
A buzz.
Surprise visitors.
A movie night.
All is right with the world. All is wrong.
Leftovers.
Pie!
Mentally drained.
Physical pain.
My time. The crickets. The Rain. Calm.
The internet is buzzing.
Ferguson. No!

Random Thoughts at 3AM

Watched an old movie by myself tonight and longed for my alone time. Of course it was cut short, but by a somewhat welcome surprise.

Everyone has their quirks and from the outside they appear to be flaws, but should we dare ever mention them, we'd change the course of our lives and theirs, in ways we'd never have intended.

Never before have I spent so much time indoors and talked so much about the weather. Nobody will ever understand how painful I find the subject.

Today I made a lunch that looked so incredibly beautiful and delicious and as I ate it, it dawned on me it desperately lacked one thing. A common trend lately and not just in food.

I've spent the last 20 years learning and perfecting a craft that has made me happy, but has left me with nothing, but memories.

It's been so many years since I've played a sport competitively, I almost forget what it feels like. I've thought about writing in great detail of the pain, but to be honest, I feared it would be…

Free Writing - Take 56

Cell phone on, but only calls that ask for me by name. Twelve weeks since I've laid in bed, watching a movie, waking to snacks in odd places. That smell is gone. Memories lay in a bag outside, waiting to be washed away. One person, maybe two, understand what it's been like. Open book for so much, but this. Sat outside today. Sun pouring in, reminding me of the days months ago when I arrived, not knowing when I'd return. Thankful on this new year for those who make me laugh, think and learn. Seriously thinking of shutting things down for a while and concentrating on what matters. Tomorrow will start, with the painful stuff. Then progress!....I hope.

A Few Questions For My "Insomniac" Friends

OK, I admit, it's a dead horse that has been beaten by internet addicts and it's a tired subject, but it's bothersome to my. As someone who has gone several weeks in a row. with less than 30 hours of sleep, I get a little irritated by those who enjoy the slumber, but feel the need to call themselves an insomniac. I don't care what medical websites say, because the reality is, if you've ever talked to a sleep specialist, a few bad nights in a row, is not insomnia. We all have stress and it keeps them awake, but jumping out of bed, because you hear a bell signaling you that someone who is sick needs you, ten years after they have passed, is not what most of you suffer from. Waking up to use the bathroom after being asleep for 45 minutes, then not sleeping for another 36, is not what most of you endure.

Recently, I've seen my location change and my sleep habits have vastly improved, but they are scattered. I am sleeping about six hours a day, but it is broken into…

901

Well, the last entry in this never ending saga was #900. Now granted some of them have been nothing more than paragraph long movie reviews and some have been elongated diatribes about the woes of the world. Some have been painfully personal, while others are just my attempts to have fun with a much too serious world. A serious world, I am constantly reminded, is brimming with hate, both learned and passed down. 
Today, in my minute attempt to make a change, beginning with myself, I deleted someone from Facebook. The reason for the omission from my life was due to the use of a racial epitaph. I no longer need to keep up a facade and pretend to have a use for those types of people in my life and as the days grow shorter, I have a strange feeling my list of friends will too dwindle. 
I've thought a lot lately about who is and isn't important in my life. The irony is there are some who I can actually benefit from, who I have already let go of, because they aren't the ones I wi…

Funny Things You Realize When You Drive Nearly Eight Hours Straight.

On Sunday from 2:10AM to 11:15AM, I logged in over 450 miles of driving. There was some stuff that went on in the middle, but that is unimportant. The important part is what I realized while driving more in 12 hours than I had in the past two years combined.

Between 2AM and 4AM you are guaranteed to hear Cult of Personality, Dead or Alive and pretty much every horrible Journey song ever made. You're also without a doubt going to find a hard rock station that feels it necessary to play three Doors songs in an hour.  Don't forget the light rock stations, which truly push the boundaries of "rock." Candle in the Wind, Dust in the Wind and probably some other song about wind, which wanted to make me drive off the road.

You also realize that there are a lot of fucking McDonald's in this world. You also realize that thinking about those creepy Australian Outback movies are not as funny when you're in the middle of nowhere and you see someone picking up a tire on the…

Quickie Review - Noah

Darren Aronofsky is by far one of the most interesting directors out there. He is one of the few directors out there who has come close to matching Terrence Malick's vision for aesthetic beauty in films, but all his films have a very common thread. They lack that one thing that makes them great. He tends to weave in and out of a story, forgetting which characters we care about and which we don't. He seems so content on destroying them on screen, that we have no choice but to leave a little bitter. Not one film has ended on what can be considered a happy note. Many leave us gasping for air. His non-Hollywood approach is refreshing, but at times leaves me feeling fatigued.

I will say, I went into Noah with low expectations. Sadly, they weren't met. It is rare, that not a single scene plays well, but this was the case. From the ridiculous opening credits to the finale scene, the movie felt like a Lifetime movie with a big budget. Even the religious points were so clumsily don…

Early Saturday Morning In A Strange House

My sleep schedule usually has me going to sleep at 7:30am, not waking up. This morning I awoke and the house was empty. As someone who is used to an apartment the size of a postage stamp, it was a bit daunting. The ice cold floor sent chills from my bare feet up into my spine. I closed a bathroom window which let the 41 degree temperature creep inside the house. I have only the summer clothes I packed, so many weeks ago and that concerned me. With nothing large enough to fit me, I slipped a tiny blue blanket around my shoulders and made coffee. A pair of socks was added to the ensemble, but warmth was not joining in. A bagel, toasted and sips of coffee slowly warmed me slightly, but as I stepped onto the floor once again, I was again reminded the odd chill on a normally tepid September morning.
I wash dishes and ran and jumped back into bed, Warmed up enough to venture out for a rare television flip through. I settled on English futbol and drank my the rest of my now cold coffee. I th…

Free Writing - Take 55 (Beyond That Day)

Eight million people in that naked city and thirteen years later, all eighteen seem to have been there. Running up stairs, carrying people to safety and digging in rubble. To me that day was a sad blur, sitting in safety in a Westchester co-op. The following day, I get the call from friends there. I ask if I can give my time. Please, I beg them, let me not feel so helpless. It's a crime scene they explain. A friend visiting, is accepted, but 30 blocks away. Triage during the day, tales and tears at night. My friends, cops, firemen, correction officers, work amidst the horror. Weeks later, one describes. The sights, the sounds, but it's not what gets him. The smell. I see a side, not often seen. I tell him again how much I wish I could have done more. Thirteen years later, with social media has taken over and every second or third friend claims to have been digging in those piles, enduring the horrors, being patriots. I know how their untruths hurt my fine friends. It burns lik…

The Drunk Girl

Standing in a bar, talking to a girl. She tells me she goes to Iona. We laugh and I pour her a drink from my pitcher. We talk some more and she tells me she has to find her friend. We pass each other a few times and then we're back together. Talking, laughing. She plays with her hair and touches my arm. She whispers something in my ear. I stare over her shoulder at the group of guys, all very aware I'm not a student. They whisper, muscles flexed, but I'm 19-20, I can take on the world. The girl walks to the bathroom, I see her stagger and her friend giggles, says she needs to help her. I drink. The group is gone. I begin to care. She appears, but is blocked by five, maybe six of them. Her friend pushes past as she falls forward, caught by this Casanova in black. Her friend comes to the bar, while my eyes stay fixed on this behemoth. His friends touch grab her and hug her, whisper in her ear. She somehow comes to the bar and tells her friends of the guys who live in her dor…

Will I Be Eating Crow?

I've always loved the smack talking of being a sports fan. Part of the fun of the games is being able to root for your team while making those around you endure a good natured ribbing. I've always been very vocal about "fans" showing up during the playoffs and then starting the trash talk. I'm in it until the end. No matter where my team's place in the standings. With all that being said, yesterday was a tough one.

Yesterday was one of the first times in a very long time, I had nobody to watch the games with. The opening week of football and I had little or no interest. I watched exactly six plays between 1pm and 7pm and felt like I'd redeem myself as a fan at 8:30, when my Denver Broncos kicked off the season. The problem was, I still really didn't care. My team, if there are no major injuries, are a shoe in for the playoffs and many experts feel, a return trip to the Super Bowl. After last years defeat, I just want to get back. Unlike the uncertaint…

Free Writing - Take 53

What does it say about someone when they pick up and move from their comfort zone and the two things they miss the most are Chinese food and laying in bed watching DVDs? The people seem so distant, from a time in my life I can barely remember and yet, my move isn't even official. I can count the calls on one hand. The texts on two. Twenty-nine years should mean more, to all parties. I've had three friends tell me they miss me. I've known the three a total of about 12 years. Think about that. I'm not looking for pity, I'm looking for reasons for the effort I feel I've put in with others to be reciprocated. Is there a word for that which doesn't represent me wanting too much? I promised myself this would be a short one and my few minutes are now up.


Free Writing - Take 52

Crawling into bed. A night of a simple meal, no drinks, no coffee and set to get a full five hours of sleep, before getting up to start a wash and then head out to pick my father from the airport. Thirty minutes goes by and my mind starts racing. My apartment, my life, a girl or two. I grab my phone, but it's not working well either. Typical, as nothing seems to go right lately. This feels right. Staying up, eyes heavy, but light as I hit the pillow. Forty-Five minutes have gone by and I get up. I grab a slice of bread and slather it with peanut butter. I've forgotten about the peanut butter all week. It's the good kind. All natural, no sweetness, no saltiness, just pure peanuts. I take a bite and then a glass of room temperature coffee from this morning, with a drop of milk. I don't know why I still bother putting milk in, as it does nothing to it. One hour has gone by. I stagger upstairs, not due to the hour or any real fatigue, but my usual aches and pains that have…

2014 NFL Predictions

I've been doing this for four years. Aside from one year, I have a system. So this year, I tweaked the system, because I had Houston being in the Super Bowl last year and if memory serves me right, they won two games.

OK, confession time. I actually go through every game of the season...yes, one by one. Since I started this, I have correctly picked 20 of the 36 playoff teams and all but two (I believe) of my other picks, missed the playoffs by one win. I have correctly predicted six of the twelve conference championship participants over this stretch, but sadly only correctly picked one Super Bowl participant and they didn't win it. So I've tweaked my system and paid more attention to home and away games. So here you have it.

AFC East
New England Patriots 13-3 (2)
New York Jets 7-9
Miami Dolphins 5-11
Buffalo Bills 4-12

AFC North
Cincinnati Bengals 9-7 (4)
Baltimore Ravens 9-7 (6)
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-9
Cleveland Browns 3-12

AFC South 
Indianapolis Colts 12-4 (3)
Houston Texans …

#100DaysOfHopper

Day 100: I know what some people are saying, but frankly I don't care. If it bothered you that much, you always had the choice not to read it. Others have commented from the beginning that this wouldn't last until the end. That I'd run out of things to talk about or things to bitch about or things to praise, but I'm not even close.

I would like to thank anyone who made a serious comment either publicly or privately and I will say this. I learned that despite all of us thinking we're individuals who live life the way we want and answer to no one, I do actually find it disheartening that so many people who agreed or viewed things my way, especially those things that go against society's norms, felt they had to agree with my privately. I'm not knocking them at all, but knocking anyone who would condemn someone for speaking their mind, simply because it isn't the way they think.

During this time, I came to the decision to move out of Westchester, although thi…

#100DaysOfHopper Day 99

Day 99: This is the week that all the schools in Westchester start, so I know it's a frantic time. Some of my friends have been working diligently, trying to make sure everything is perfect for their first day. Others are taking in the last few moments of "freedom." Each of them has that slight feeling of butterflies, as the anticipation of the new flock's arrival commences.

Then there are the parents who have to readjust from summer living to school life. Some have dropped their kids off at college for the first time, while others get ready for the challenges of a new level of school, whether it be high school, middle school, elementary or their baby's first day of Kindergarten. Whatever the level, their is apprehension abound.

Teachers and parents, we've all had doctor's appointments, first dates, big games, plays to perform in or speeches to make. For each one of those kids, especially those entering a new school, it is all our worst fea…

#100DaysOfHopper Day 98 (Cats & Dogs)

Day 98: Why are dogs a guy pet and why are cats a woman's pet? Why when people see a dog, do they immediately say "what's his name?" So commonly the same people will say "what's her name?" when referring to a cat. Why are single guys so often seen walking their dogs and single women are so commonly known as cat ladies?

I think the answer is simple. Guys need someone to worship them. They need every insecurity fulfilled and need to know they are the main reason for the object of their affection's living. Basically, men are insecure freaks, who once out in the world with out their mommies and daddies, immediately feel the need to be superior to something. They name their dogs after cars, motorcycles and the devil, hoping that the testosterone filled name will somehow validate their masculinity. What they don't realize is that dogs will pretty much worship whichever person holds the food bag and is willing to take them for a walk. Lik…

12 Simple Tricks To Save Money & Lose/Maintain Weight

I am broke and overweight, so of course, I'm your man to listen to, but trust me, as a test, I managed to live off of $47 worth of food over 14 days, without skipping meals.

1. Iceberg Lettuce - it's fresh, it's crunchy and it fills your sandwiches, salads and more importantly, your stomach. It's also pretty cheap and lasts a while.

2. Wraps over bread - store brand wraps are the same, but generally a little smaller. They are also about $1.69 for 8 as opposed to $3-4 for 16 slices of bread.

3. Cut cold cuts in half. You'll find that your sandwiches are just as thick and actually appear bigger. If you stuff them in a wrap with lettuce and tomato, it's a big meal and you're actually eating half as much food.

4. If you buy a family pack of any protein and there are eight pieces in the package. Immediately, when you get home, divide them between four freezer bags and put three in the freezer. The less you cook at once, the more you can make it last.

5. Add rice…