Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hang it Up Now or Never

Hang it up Again

If my laptop was a phone, and my blog was my ex...this would be about as close to drunk-dialing as I have gotten in a while. I have absolutely no good reason to be blogging but I am bored, and alone, and drinking some port (after drinking some whiskey) so I figured why not? Of course, I haven't got much of anything to say, so here I am...

How's it goin' babe? Haven't seen y'in a while. Huh?! Wh'as'at? Naw, not too drunk, why? Jus' wanted to say 'what's up'...

Meg is at her Christmas party right now, which explains why I would be blogging on a couple glasses of Portuguese Port on a Wednesday at 11:30. Often times, I am quite jealous of people that work for well-established companies like the Wall Street Journal, and get to go to parties where some mythical being runs a tab and everyone is drinking their faces off on a Wednesday night, all in the name of the birth of Jeebus and the frugal oils of the Macabees. My own company picnic comes up on Friday, and allow me to take a moment to indulge in the "office culture" of my place of work. For the time being, let's just refer to it as "Nations Publisher." Here at Nations we don't exactly do a "christmas party" per se, just like we dont actually do a Chrsitmas bonus, nor a raise of any sort beyond the "cost of living increase" every six months, which at last calculation actually wasnt even enough of an increase in weekly take-home to cover my weekly increase in gas costs...but I am babbling. Anyway, at Nations what we do is more of a "social." Y'know, like that uncomfortable Jr. High dance, where the guys don't talk to the girls and vice-a-versa, and the chaperones try to facilitate a good time, but really everybody is monitoring their watches waiting for the moment that they can all go back to Tom's house, and steal a pack of his mom's Marlboro 100 cigarettes. The difference is, instead of the guys and girls being seperated by an invisible force-field, EVERYBODY is seperated by it. We need to call Michael Richards in to get to the bottom of this force field of hatred. Seriously, it's a problem. Here is the conversation I will have 10-20 times on Friday, while not drinking, and pretending to eat my room-temperature linguine:

Guy in a Turtle-neck (or woman in christmas-scene sweater, or weird accounting guy with a combover who walks around like Lurch, and gives everyone the evil eye: "So How's things in your department?!"

Me: "Same old, same old. You?"

Turtle/sweater/accounting: "Oh, not so bad. I can't believe this weather, though!"


Turtle/sweater/accounting: "So I hear you got married."

Me: "Yep. In July."

T/S/A: "How was that?!"


At some point I will hurriedly retreat to the one table with people my age (who also happen to be people in my department, who ALSO happen to think I am a real jerk for some reason) and try to hold a normal conversation about, and the drunk Miss USA, and shit...
End bitching and moaning about work.

You remember that time you called me fart-face at the beach?! That was great... Man, shit used to be great. Didn't shit used to be just great?!

I've gotten back to writing more often. Real writing. Well...not just blog-writing. Weird thing about applying to MFA programs: from the beginning of the application process, until basically the end, you (or I) don't really do much writing. All the time you would typically allow yourself for writing is flushed into revisions (and not the good kind, the knit-picky, overanalytical kind) and also the monatony of application procedures. I honestly wrote original stuff for an hour today for the first time since late October. Wild.

My dad's dog had surgery yesterday...lumps in her chest. This got me to thinking about my little bastard dog. I mean, I have only had him for 4 months, and he is good for a heart-attack a week, but still...I couldn't imagine being in my dad's position. He loves that dog. Like in a sick way. He makes my mom sit in the back sometimes because his dog wants to sit up front. No joke! Anyway, she is gonna survive (the dog, that is...we will see about my mom) but I just can't imagine it. I was bummed and stuff when my dog's passed away when I was a kid, but it is different when you are a kid. The totality of dog "ownership" when you are a kid is: "i want a dog" followed by "i have a dog!" followed by "i don't wanna walk the dog, Alf is on!" followed by "eww, mom, the dog pooed on the floor" followed by "the dog died?! WAAAAHHHH!!!!!" It isn't a highly involved process.

On the other hand, here is the totality of owning a dog when you are grownsed ups: I wanna dog, I can't have a dog in this apartment; lease is up, now I can move and get a dog; the dog is how much?! but i thought i was adopting, and doing you a favor, animal shelter people?! fine, i just won't go out drinking for a few weeks; dog pees floor 3 times a day x 5 or 6 weeks; this dog is cool now that he pees outside; i love this dog; worms? fuck! get him some medicine, wow that costs alot; play with dog in park, such an awesome dog; feed dog daily, this food adds up; dog stepped on glass?! jesus! 200 bucks at the vet; wow, this dog still licks my hand when i am feeling bummed, what a great dog!

Why you gotta go?! Aww, but we were jus' startin' to reminisisce...well I'll call ya t'morrow. Ca'I call ya t'morrow? First thing, kay?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Turned out to be Just God

Introducing a gimmick: Hyperboles BIGGER THAN GOD!

I do my best not to be an excessively pessimistic blogger. It's easy to get suckered into the temptation of cynically mocking anything and everything that is more respectable or reputable than myself. I just feel like that is one recipe with which I need not cook. And here comes the big "however," right? However, one thing I cannot stand is the trend towards excessive hyperbole in sports media (particularly radio and those television debate-style shows, but print is not innocent of this at all.) Now, I am not talking about your typical "JP Losman may be one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL" that you hear (following a wopping 200 yard day.) This stuff is annoying, but excusable considering these guys have to fill hour upon hours of NFL Primetime (or BBTN, or SportsCenter, etc...) with material that is meant to illicit discussions and debate. I am talking about just writing, or saying something that you know is downright absurd, and a completely agregious exaggeration.

For instance: have you heard about this new legislation attempting to ban men from women's practice teams? Yeah, I hadn't either. But according to ESPN's Nancy Lieberman, this might be the hottest topic in sports right now. Umm, what?! I mean, did she not have to submit this to an editor who might have, in turn, said something like "you're fuckin' joking with that line, right?" It's true though, man, this story is hotter than the AFC Wild-Card race, the hot-stove season with exploding contracts, the debate over the NBA brawling, and even the story of the resurgent New Orleans Saints (of which I hear the media is growing tired.) Surely this story, about men no longer being allowed to practice with women, is just as big. Here comes the pre-emptive attack: I'm not trying to be sexist, I am just a realist, and so on...but seriously. I don't know why this kind of writing bothers me, but I am certain it has something to do with the sheer laziness behind it all. I give Liberman some slack here, of course, because trying to make something like this seem interesting requires some creative spin (and she covered that by bringing in the Romo, Deion, etc..angle.) But there is a stark contrast between creatively manipulating a subject, and flat out falsifying its significance. Rating this offense on a scale of "harmless" 1 to "shameless" 11, I give Lieberman a break (only because she's a woman, and due to new legislation, couldn't get any assistance from the men) so this gets a 5.5.
What Did I say About those Lists?
In anticipation of every independent radio station on God's Green Earth playing an end-of-the-year countdown, Pitchfork and PopMatters came out with their respective top 50 (PFM) and 60 (PopMatters) "albums of the year" lists. So I thought I would quickly hop-scotch through those and point out any glaring omissions, or excessive fawnings I might find in each. To be honest, I think Pitchfork (sadly) is a little more in line with my own preferences so we will go through that list last. Also, surprisingly, there is more on the PopMatters list that I did not get a chance to that could be part of the issue. Problem number one is a glaring one, but it's really the biggest error, according to my preference:
  • I am glad they could fit M Ward and Destroyer's Rubies on there somewhere between Steven Bernstein (who's he?) and Beth Orton...who I am pretty sure is Cat Power, when Chan what's-her-name remembers to take her Zoloft. I say "bullshit." Both of those albums are top 20 albums this year, no question.
  • I also haven't listened to Much Lupe Fiasco, cause Rap isn't my thing, but 50th seems a bit low. Most people who like Rap put this in the top 5 or 10.
  • Who is Michelle Malone?
  • Didn't we all agree that the new Flaming Lips album was a failure. Better than Destroyer's Rubies. According to whom?
  • Good to see Bruce and Tom Waits on there...more on that when we get to you, Pitchfork.
  • Look, I love Pearl Jam. Just this weekend, I was drinking beers with friends, put on Ten, and remarked what an unbelievable album it is. But the new album sucks. We shouldn't be giving these people great the honors bestowed by placement on year-end lists, just because shit they did 15 years ago totally killed it. It's a 2006 list, right?
  • Isn't Kelley Stoltz the guy who playes the heroin dealer in Pulp Fiction?
  • Never heard this Casey Dreissen guy. But he should get docked a few spots just for those glasses.
  • Per The Roots, see memo on Pearl Jam.
  • The Dixie Chicks make my ears bleed.
  • Mastadon sucks, Arctic Monkeys Suck, and Gnarls Barkley?! There was one good song on that whole damn album.

And on to Pitchfork:

  • I haven't heard half of the 50-40 group, but that's probably because I am not cool enough. Decemberists, and M Ward however do not belong in a pile of poo, and since I don't know much about these bands, a pile of poo it is.
  • Tapes n' Tapes...I don't know just what to make of you. You either dont belong on these lists at all, or you belong alot higher than 40. Your like Bud Heavy. I shouldn't like you very much...but I love you lots.
  • Somebody told me this Danielson shit would be right up my alley. Then I downloaded an mp3. Somebody was wrong.
  • Good Call on Califone.
  • Bad call on Justin Timberlake.
  • Sunset Rubdown=Not that great. Destroyers' Rubies=Great. One of us is doing bad math.
  • I agree with 4 of the top 10. The other 6 make me want to cry. To be fair, Ghostface is probably pretty good. I just dont like rap. Batting .500.
  • Where the eff are Bruce, Bob Dyland and Tom Waits(whom I don't love but whose new albums I know are better than, say, The Pippettes)?!

End Snarky, Pessimistic rant right...NOW.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Am Gonna Make it Through This Year If It Kills Me

Some Thoughts on Lists

I get the feeling that this time of year we are all supposed to make lists. You know. Christmas lists. New Years resolutions. List our accomplishments over the past year. Lists of best albums. Best new writers. Best movies. Person of the Year. It seems like an ever-growing enterprise, this lists business. I've only had this blog for half the year. I think it started right around my wedding. But the original spawn of this whole thing started, I believe, about a year ago, now. So what better way to celebrate the year that was, then with some lists. We'll use it as an opportunity to recall what, in my book, was a pretty damn great year (a few stumbling blocks, aside.) I think we'll cover all the bases here: social events, arts, film, sports moments, books read, etc...The blog is the 21st-Century-Man's journal, in theory. I guess, if, in some alterworld my grandkids were to look back at this (and let's hope they skip the sections about my embarassing permanent body art) I would like them to see just how radical their Gramps was. Totally living on the edge, and all that. Today, I'm liking the arbitrary number six. Without further ado, some Top Sixes:

Six Best Sports Moments:
6- Jets beat Patriots in Foxboro. I know. This should really be higher. But as I have said before, it was just a terribly boring game (outcome notwithstanding.) Given that it now is a crucial W, in terms of making them a viable contender for the playoffs down the stretch, I am man enough to admit it was a good win. Even if Pennington played like Neil O'Donnel. I can't wait for the rematch in round 1 of the playoffs.

5- Tigers Trounce Yankees in Playoffs. Any time the Yankees get knocked out of the playoffs it is a top ten moment in my sports year. The fact that they did it so convincingly was a little vindication for just how poorly the Sox played down the stretch while the Bombers were playing their best ball.

Tied 3- Jets Almost Beat Pats in Great Comeback, Giants Stadium. When can a loss to your rivals be even better than a victory against them? When you are at the game, it is a gorgeous day, and your uncle and pops, whom you've brought along are beaming ear-to-ear, beacause all three of you know you're watching a team that has heart. And said team hasn't exhibited said heart, in, oh, about three years.

Tied 3- Sox get pounded by Yanks in 5-gamer, Tickets to Game 3. Again, an aesthetically odd choice. Nobody likes to have front row (not literally) seats to watch their favorite team get paddled by their rivals. But if you can tell me what's better than sitting with one of your best buddies, draining cold brews, and watching your respective favorite teams play a day game rivalry in Fenway park, I'd love to hear it.

2- Rutgers upsets Louisville. Watched the game at a sports bar, surrounded by NJ citizens who were actually rooting for RU football with passion. The first time I can EVER claim that has happened. Let's hope it isn't the last.

1- Red Sox Lose a Toughie to A's, Roof Box Seats. See 3B. Multiply "1 of your best buds" by 12. Add in a 2 hour bus-ride, 4 cases of beer, and a group of old guys, including one who is 24 hours away from becoming my father-in-law. Watch fireworks ignite.

Top Six CD's Acquired:

6- Grizzly Bear, Yellow House. Just an all-around excellent album. Brian burned this for me over our "stuck in the middle of crazy-ass duck-huntin' Maryland/Delware territory. In the best way, this was the perfect music to evolve out of that weekend: eerie, haunting, yet infused with tons of punk-rock qualities. Shades of Liars and Animal Collective but way more subtle. Perfect evening driving tunes.

5- Thelonius Monk, Monk's Dream. I am pretty sure my dad told me about this little gem. Jazz is mood music for certain. But if you can't listen to this one while sipping some wine, and reading a good book, then there is something wrong with you. Monk's control of rhythm and timing is insane. He is working on a completely different rhythm pattern than most musicians can even comprehend, let alone some idiot like me. I heard an interview on FUV that Monk was known for spending up to 24 hours sitting in one place contemplating arangements. When you hear this album, such assertions really don't sound that ludicrous.

4- The Many Sides of Fred Neil. Hands down the best old-school folk album I have purchased since John Wesley. I can't listen to Dolphins without wanting to dance around like some bra-less hippie chick at a be-in. Dylan, Buckley, Prine, and Springsteen all consider him a prime influnence. There is no other album which predicates these guys best stuff the way this album does. The guitar is fantastic. So fantastic, that it got a spot on this list over John Fahey.

3- Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome (The Seeger Sessions) Don't care what you think about Bruce. Don't care if you've never heard of Pete Seeger. A good, honest cover/tribute album is rare. One that is THIS good/honest comes around once, maybe twice, every decade.

2- Belle & Sebastian, If You're Feeling Sinister. For some reason, this is one of the Belle and Sebastian CD's I hadn't bothered to pick up for quite some time. In the early spring I went and scooped it up, in preperation to go see them with my Pop, who, in all his hipster glory, actually introduced me to them way back in the day, with this album. Upon first listen, I basically was transported back to my parents living room, where my dad made a habit of spinning this on spring and summer Sundays. On second listen and beyond, I realized, indubitably, that from start to finish, it is the most nearly perfect album in the pop-folk genre.

1- Destroyer's Rubies. Why did it take me almost 5 months to get this CD again? This is the best Indie CD I have bought since NMH, and that is no exxageration. Amazing lyrics, affected but pleasant vocals, and fantastic layers of intruments. All around FUGGIN great. It really isn't an album that words can do justice. Go get it. Now.

Top Six Arts/Music/Lit. Events:

6- A Night With Camille Paglia. I hope my memory suits me correctly, because I believe this happened in February. Anyway, Paglia is a controversial figure. And while I didn't agree with about half of what she said (and a good 75% of the poems she chose for her definitive Poetry collection.) Nonetheless, it was a great lesson in where poetry has become stagnated in the minds and discussions of most scholars (both those Columbia-types whom Paglia directly called to task, and the supposedly progressive camp in which Paglia would like to claim a stake.) Suffice to say, I don't believe Wanda Coleman is taking poetry (particularly American poetry) to fronteirs it has never been, or was never destined to go, should it follow its predictable path. I can continue to mention the same names (have I mentioned Maurice Manning before) but history says, it won't be for another 30 years or so until due recognition is received.

5- Belle & Sebastian at Nokia Theatre. Music-wise, you really couldnt ask for a better performance (well maybe if The New Pornographers had been better...) The Venue was nice, but way the fuck overpriced. And the audience was what was to be expected. 50% there to enjoy really good music, 50% there to be seen in their vintage sweaters and coke-bottle glasses. Plus the night gets bonus points, because my brother, who had to fill-in for my pops last minute, decided to wear an almost identical jacket to mine, leading us to our fifteen minutes of indie-fame, as stars of a concert review.

4- Hopper Exhibit and Picasso/America at the Whitney. I just mentioned this one last week. If one has to spend a Friday night, sober, and hungry, there are far worse things one could do with said time, then study some of the most amazing paintings by one of America's finest artists, in one of NYC's historic charms. Negative points for the DBs who managed to sidle next to me at every single exhibit and proclaim such insightful nuggets as: "Doesn't that look exactly like our vacation house?" and "Pollack was waaaayyyy better at the end of his career."

3- Wooden Wand @ Knitting Factory. Apparently if I had been patient enough to stay for the entire Akron/Family show this would have been an easy choice for number one. Instead I got a little too carried away sipping on PBR as James Toth did his crickets-on-a-summer evening thing. A fantastic 2 hours, that should have been a mind-blowing 5 hours.

2- The Undertow Orchestra and General Museum-hopping, DC Blizzard. This was one of the most excellent weekends all year. It was filled with not-really educational, but justifiably cultural activities like wandering through the Museum of the American Indian, dodging the cult-liberals at the Momuments, and finally seeing one of the best musical concerts I have seen all year, all in the middle of a huge snowstorm, trumped by a massive snowfight with strangers in the streets of Arlington, VA. Amazing.

1- Silver Jews @ Webster Hall. Awful venue. But whatever. This was likely a once in a lifetime experience, what with the fact that David Berman is probably never touring again. The music was good, the atmosphere was fine. But what made it fucking fantastic was the mere fact that I was watching a genius at work, in the one rare circumstance that any human being would ever get to do so in such a venue. My immediate reaction was ambivalence. Looking back on it now, it was one of the highlights of the year.

Six Best Headlines

6- Mel Gibson Goes Hitler On Us. Totally unexpected, yet totally unsurprising.

5- Drinking Coffee Cures Your Liver After Drinking. Fucking fantastic.

4- Marf54. Members of the Legislative branch, having cybersex with 14 year old boys. Time-defining.

3- Michael Richards Goes Hitler On Us. Wow. If the cellphone video footage of his rant didnt shock and awe you, the apology on Letterman, in all its akward glory, had to do the trick.

2- T.O. Does or Does Not Try to Commit Suicide. What an odd, odd, day to work in Sports News. Fascinating.

1- Macacca. If you look at it now, it sure seems that George Allen's big moment of folly cost him the Senatorial Race in Virginia, which in turn meant the Democrats taking both the House and Senate...which in turn means, perhaps, George Bush will be held accountable for his decisions for the next two years. And to think, if certain Republicans had either kept their mouths shut, or avoided sexy-talk with 14 year old boys, this whole situation could be completely different.

Six Best Movies/DVDs/TV Shows Seen:

6- Borat. Oh my god was this movie funny. Was it the world-altering comedy some people made it out to be? No. Was it hilarious from start to finish? Yes. Did it usher back in an irreverent style of comedy we havent seen since Mel Brooks in his prime? Let's hope.

5- Season One, Rescue Me. This show is just plain good. It isn't political, it isn't moralizing. It isn't terribly thought provoking. It is just the perfect combination of humor, emotion, excitement, and drama. Season One was the show at its rawest, and sometimes most absurd. But in a way, this makes it even more appealing. Anyone who doesn't like Dennis Leary should watch just one episode, and then read an article about the background of the show. Perceptions alter.

4- The Last Waltz. I don't know why the hell it took me so long to see this. Scorsese, and The Band?! Together?!?! Why woudln't this be a fantastic music DVD?

3- Thank You For Smoking. I wrote about this a-way-back-when. Perhaps on myspace? Anyway, as far as Satires go, this film is totally fantastic. Great acting, hilarious writing, poignant direction. All Around, the Bee's Knees.

2- This Season of The Office. The best sitcom on TV. By a mile.

1- Old Joy. Brokeback was a good movie. It would have been a great movie, had it been subtler. Had nature played an even more prominent role, and less of a signifier, I think it had a chance to be the best movie made in a long, long, time. And as good as Ang Lee is as a director, he missed some serious opportunities to make that film a work of sheer beauty. Each opportunity he missed, is capatilized in Old Joy by the young Director, Kelly Reichardt. I have never read the short story by Raymond, upon which this is based, but all interviews indicate that the film couldn't have done more justice to the story. It takes serious study of a text to create such a faithful interpretation, and that alone is cause to be impressed. The fact that the acting is nearly flawless, the characters hyper-realistic, and the cinematography awe-inspiring is an added bonus.

Best Six Books Read:

6- Shape of Things to Come by Greil Marcus. Sadly it had been almost two years since I had read, and finished, an entire lit. theory book when I picked this one up. However, I have to say it was for pretty good reason: Lit. Theory is generally, sleep-inducing in its boredom. HOW-evah, Marcus is onto something. He draws in musical theory, popculture analysis, and even a little bit of intriguing historical context to create the story of America, in textual form. I wouldn't suggest jumping into this book without some serious familiarity with some of the central subjects: namely, Dylan, Phillip Roth, HG Wells, and Dos Passos' 42nd Parallel (more on that later) but even if your knowlege of these is vague, one can take away from this a great lesson on the American predicament: the significance of national identity in a nation of individuals.

5- To Hate Like This is to be Happy Forever by Will Blythe. Sports books are a tough read. It's hard to combine the thrill, and the minute-to-minute play-by-play involvement of watching a great sporting event, with the nuances of good writing. Perhaps that is why sports books are best when they are biographical. In many ways this is the biography of the irrational fan, fueled by one of the best rivalries in sports. Blythe, a diehard UNC fan, writes about the UNC/Duke rivalry with as much level-headed analysis as one can expect from a guy who watches certain games in the fetal position, hoping his feng-shue will alter the outcome of the match. If you are a die-hard fan of a team, and appreciate solid, unpretentious writing you will enjoy this immensely. If you can relate to the madness of being a fan of a team embroiled in a rivalry such as this, you will simply love Blythe's tale.

4-Molloy by Beckett. As far as really confusing, hard to read post-modernism goes, this is probably the most accesible by way of its universality. A friend of my dad's in Easton is a pretty big Beckett Scholar, and argues that the essential thesis of Beckett's writings, the trilogy, in particular, is that modern man's greatest fear is his own insignificance. Why else would we have invented blogs?

3- Imre Kertesz' Liquidation. At 120 pages, novellas like this tend to be forgettable. But part of what makes Kertesz such a great writer is his ability to give us just enough information, and allow us to mold the story for ourselves. Like Calvino, he plays with the form of literature to make us think more broadly about literature itself. In undertaking this book, ones is reading less of a novel than the ways in which one actually reads. With which characters can we identify, when the characters exist solely as a function of their own being. Narcissism, Self-indulgence, and nihilism are all central themes, and yet Kertesz is questioning the very need of such themes in the human experience, and more particularly in modern literature. What makes a tale a tale worth telling? A novel a novel? And if a tale told is not explicitly told at all, but rather is an experience, does this cheapen, or contrarily inflate its value to the reader?

2- Memoir of the Hawk by James Tate. I don't know what's most surprising about this book of poetry: that I am so astounded by it, or that the literati agress with me. The same people who proclaim to love Ashberry and Kenneth Koch, are suddenly finding worth in an author whose goal seems to be to deride the very lyrical poetry which sprung from that New York crowd. Having said that, there are times when Tate (particularly in his early poems) seemed to be writing almost for effect. While I can see why others enjoy this, it isn't until I read the Hawk, that I could feel Tate as a personal influence on my writing. Colloquial style, aside, there is something fantastic about the commonality, and the simplicity of his impossibly wild imagery that makes a writer like Tate endearing among writers who seem to be obsessed with craft over content.

1- Dos Pasos 42nd Parallel. Wow. Dos Passos work was the only major work discussed in Shape of Things to Come that I wasn't already familiar with. And now that I have read it is is pretty clear why. The choppy, incohesive style, along with the scathing analysis of American life throughout the course of the 20th Century are an immediate harbinger of why the book would never be a popular critical darling. And yet, it is perhaps, one of the most ultimately American books written post-Twain. Greif, Despair, Isolation, hope, chaos, and the desire to compartmentalize our lives into controllable pieces, make it a true American tale. It is all there. There are bizarre and inexplicable moments, but if you happened to catch just one of my top six headlines, then you know. "Bizarre" and "Inexplicable" are often the best descriptive when adressing the stories that make up this great nation.

Six Mostest Amazingest Weekends

6- DC Blizzard. See events #2.

5- Fourth of July, Out and About. Just an all around fun long-weekend in which I got to see family, friends, and eat BBQ food all weekend. What more can we ask for during the summer?

4- Memorial Day BBQ, Darien. Perfect way to start the summer. Passed out on your buddies lawn.

3- Bachelor Party. Pizzas, sodas, some go-fish. That kinda thing.

2- Honeymoon, KBP/Bahamas. Everybody should be required to take 2 weeks off for their honeymoon. Best vacation I have ever had. Maine was the ideal amount of activities (beach, shopping, great meals, canoeing) and interspersed with the sheer laziness of 5 days in the Bahamas, it was the perect celebration.

1- Wedding Weekend. Best weekend of my entire life. If you were there, thanks so much for being a part. If not, you can always live the night vicariously, here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rockin' on the Horse Size Pills

Yeah I don't like the Dandy Warhols Either, Man

But still, it's apropriate to mention the lyrics given the fact that, even though mankind is able to cram an entire Robert Siegel-size CD collection (dont bother trying to wikipedia that) into an Ipod the size of a baby's elbow, we are somehow still incapable of making certain medicine pills much smaller than that. (WARNING: This post will discuss my various medical issues, it will not be exciting, and other than the fact that my colon is weaker than Chad Pennington's arm, there is not much in the way of sports discussion here...well maybe a little at the end.) So anyway, thus the Dandies lyrical reference in the title, in reference to these awful metallic-tasting walnut sized pills I am shoving down my throat these days to keep my underside from bursting into flames. Lets hope never to cross-reference 90s grunge music from the My So Called Life soundtrack, like, ever again, OK?!

All apologies (ah, did it again) for my absence in the blogosphere, lately. See, in case you haven't picked up on it, I have been a bit under the weather. In other words, I hope you all enjoyed your thanksgiving, because I spent mine with my knees to my chest, cursing the gods in agony in my freshly painted bathroom. I mention that it was freshly painted, 'cause, well, I painted it...on Wedensday night, in preperation for hosting the in-laws, parents, and brother for the holiday. And while I was painting said bathroom I felt a pretty odd empty rumbling in my stomach. big deal right? WRONG! For the next three hours my schedule looked like this: paint 4 sq. feet, clutch waistband, rush to toilet, RELEAAAASSSEEE!!!! repeat. Oh my god. It was awful. It took me 4 hours to paint the bathroom, a good 75% of which time was spent tearfully gripping the side of the sink and wall (whoops, forgot the paint was wet!) as my stomach punished me for every awful thing I had ever done to it:

Jello Shots with Cheap vodka in Tenth grade? TAKE THAT!!
Beer-Case race with Stanley after Graduation?! HIYAAAA!!
Budweiser and Hamm's like water freshman Year?! BAAAAAAMMMM!!!
Libya? Quarters? Golf? Hockey? Asshole?! LITERALLY, BITCH!
Bratwurst and Keystone at Tailgates?! MUAHAHAHAAA!
Grain Fruit Punch in the Water Cooler? OYYYYY!!!! UGGHHHHH!
Jameson Shots? Jaeger Shots? Vodka Shots?! FUGGGGGG MEEEEEE!!!!

You ever have the feeling that sometimes karma is the cruelest fate? Sometimes you're walking and you stub your toe really friggin' hard, and all you can think is, you know I deserve that for laughing at that guy who dropped the moving boxes on his toes, or whatever? Or, you know, certain friends with really nasty senses of humor, who think roofies are funny, or whatever, just happened to be the only people you know who actually get roofied. It's crazy how the world works. I mean, the more crap changes, the more certain things remain constant: sure, it's 69 degrees in December. But there's still war in the Middle East, You will still get hungover if you drink too much, you will still be annoyed every time you look at the column on your paycheck where the taxes are deducted, and you will still always pay for what you get. You always pay for what you get. It's the constants: death, taxes, and retribution.

Now, ostensibly speaking of course, my stomach was in a rage because I ate somethig foul (I am blaming the Chili I accidentally left out over night.) But it isn't really about the Chili. I mean, it is...but it isn't. You see, it is only about the Chili in that said Chili just happens to be the vessel that Karma chose to ride down my esophagus to my tailpipe and plant its infectious seed. What it is really about is payback for all of the awful, awful things I have done to my tummy the last 9 years or so, with the equivalent of a wrist-slap in return. I deserved it. I earned it.

So I spent Wedensday night until this Tuesday feeling like that. I tried to drink Friday (awful idea) and work Monday (bad idea) and went to a Doctor Wedensday morning. Just yesterday I ate my first whole meal in a week. Diagnosis: colonitis. Sounds like a minor inflamation right? No big deal. I am telling you: I was at death's fuckin' door. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. So the Doctor gave me these horse-sized pills, "No problem, just take two of these a day," he shrugs and sent me on my merry way. And as I am on my way out the door, this: "Oh, and Geoffrey. No drinking and just bland food for the next five days. Pasta, baby food. That sort of thing. But NO drinking."

Call Me Samsa, George Samsa.

Back the fuck up. Is he kidding me?! Look, I don't mean to whine. Five days of pasta, and bread and shit is fine. I mean cancer patients have to eat yogurt and rice for the reast of their lives. I should complain. Five days without drinking? Small price to pay for an iron-clad stomach that will be ready to rage for nine more years until my next torturous collapse. But, Doc. What the christ! Bland food, and no drinking?! What do you think I have been doing for the last week? Ripping down Mad Doggs and eating Kung Pao Chicken? I could have given me that advice. So essentially, my wife's health insurance company just wrote you a check for a couple hunny just so you could write a prescription for apple-sized immodium?! I cry foul.

It's my fault, really, for being such a man. Three times in the past week I could have bitten the bullet and gone to see this crotchety old pill-man, but I balked because I figured it would just go away with bland food and lots of Pepto. And it teased me, and teased me, but it stuck around. Right Until Wednesday, when I finally caved in, went and got these monster pills. And so I took the first dose. And guess what. It went away. One friggin' dose. But I had 9 of them left. And I "have to go through the cycle or it could mutate." So now? Baby food and seltzer for four more days. Do the math: I went to the doc on Wedensday. 5 days later is Monday. Great, I can have Coors and Salsa Picante for the friggin' Eagles Panthers game. Awesome. See that timing? Of course I had to try and work on Monday and let the Dr. appt. wait until Wedensday. Karma, kids. But more weekend. What about my weekend?!

I don't mean this in an "I need to drink to have fun" kind of way. I don't know that the truth is far from that, but universe is larger than barrooms and packed fridges, I think. But until something TOTALLY devestating like this happens, you really don't appreciate how much of a detour this puts on your weekend journey. I mean, I think we can all recall a certain post I wrote about that feeling I typically get on Fridays (hey what ever happened to those two dudes, anyway?) So of course, I have that feeling now, and, of course, my burning love for Friday Afternoon beer delight will go unrequited. So what do I do? Well, there's this great show at the Whitney ending today (see the bottom, ignore that weird hippy chick.) I could go see that. And the new Bond is out. I want to see that. Or I could read, or write. I could go to a coffee place and read or write. No I cant. Coffee's out. I could sip a water and read, or write. Ok, no reading or writing. So I will probably got to the Whitney. Or the movies.

Then there is tomorrow: annual pierogie making day at the old homestead. This is usually a fine enough event. It is something that has to be done (fueling the fire of heritage, and all) but, to be quite honest, it involves 6-10 hours of not only co-existing, but also collaborating with my mother. In other words, it is a project best supplemented by a steady flow of cold beers. No such luck. I give us two hours before the flour is flying, the pots are boiling over, my mother is crying and I am testing the validity of this warning label that says "mixing with alcohol may cause dizziness, vomitting, and death."

Saturday night? Rutgers/WVU. Great game to watch with a few brews. This time of year the better liquor stores start carrying Sam Smith's Celebration. Fantastic, right?! Not for me. I will be miserably watching the Knights BCS hopes smolder in the rain. Sober as a priest. Great!

The list goes on like this. And it gets worse. Believe it or not it gets worse!! I know, friends, I'm putting together a message board like Barbaro's where we can all commiserate over my sad lot in life, this unfair hand I've been dealt. So Monday, obviously, I am not going to celebrate my two weeks (10 days at that point) of sobreity by ripping through a gallon of Popov. It's Monday. I can't roll like that anymore. Tuesday is out. I have to be at work early Wednesday morning. Wednesday night would be great! Except, I told someone I'd give them a ride to the airport at 10! Thursday night. A round 13 days of Sobriety. Fantastic. Oh, I have to meet my parents for dinner in Gladstone. Fortunately, not into drinking and driving...anymore. Well that settles it. Friday it is. TWO friggin' weeks of sobriety, but next Friday, I am going to sit on my ass and just chug beers. What's on? NBA? College Football? College Basketball? Who cares. I'll drink and watch hockey. Oh, but there's this. My wonderful wife, as part of her new job, has a few "perks" which are almost always awesome. One of them she gets to use the Dow Jones luxury box at MSG to entertain clients. And next Friday some clients have asked for entertaining. So she asked me to join. Awesome. Free booze? great? Free food? Fantastic! Whose playing, Knicks? Rangers? Indoor Lacrosse?! A concert? Who? My Morning Jacket?! Stones? Almans?! U2? U2 is ok, I can even handle U2! UHm...what? What'd you say? I could have sworn you just said DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL!?!! Are you kidding me? Dashboard Confessional? For serious? UGHH. I'd rather see The Dandy Warhols. Well at least there is the free cheeseburgers. And then, of course, me and beer. United at last. After two LONG weeks.