Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Where it all begins...

Many days I've thought of getting back to thinking in text.  I had actually forgotten I got a couple of posts up in the spring of 2012...and with good reason: the posts sucked.  This is better:

I've been trying unsuccessfully to finish a paper for a course I took this summer.  The course ended the last week in June and my professor was kind enough to give me an incomplete because of some bumps in the road I've hit over the last few months.  Stress is a motherfucker.  Anyway My semester starts next week and I'm going to be TA's an undergraduate section of the course this fall...so, I kind of need to finish things up.  It's nothing crazy.  Ten pages about a negotiation.  I chose to write about The Big Lebowski, because, well, I really like the movie and I think the Dude is a shrewd negotiator in many ways.  It offers a unique case study into the mind of a, well, I won't say a hero, but a man...a man...well, he's just the man for his time and place.

The scene I'm talking about is the Dude's initial meeting with the Big Lebowski, and it happened to be posted on youtube.  I watched the youtube a couple of times because it's easier than running the DVD in my laptop but when the clip finished, one of the recommended clips on the screen caught my eye...can it catch yours, too??

Look closer and click on the picture to make it full size if you have to: six other clips of Lebowski, one clip of R. Lee Emery and Private Pile, and one illustrated image of how to check your cervix using a speculum.  

WE'RE BACK, BABY.  Cheers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Does this make me a bad person..?

(No interest in proofreading right now...I'll try to get to it tomorrow...but this isn't why I might be a bad person...)  On Saturday I went out for a bicycle ride.  I purchased an upscale two wheeler last summer upon my return from DA KINE (Well, semi-upscale...think Nissan Altima or something like that...somewhere in between a Kia Rio and a Mercedes AMG series...) and I never bothered to tune it up after I brought it home.  I only made it out for a few rides so it wasn't that big of a deal.  This year I wanted to start things off on the right foot so I scheduled a tune up for it at the local cycle store in the 207 and convinced my parents to drop it off for me and then give me a ride back to the 617 after I picked it up.  I know a little bit about a little bit but not a lot about a lot about bikes but I knew this thing was a little rough around the edges as far as its internal organs went.  Sure enough, it was a bit more than rough around the edges, to the point where hipster bike nerd #1 made a point to call over hipster bike nerds #'s 2, 3, and 4 so they could see the sharty state of the bearings that were in my wheels when I brought it in.  Go choke on a bottlecap, hipster bike nerds.  It was the other guy's fault!  I got bamboozled on the craigslist, just like many car buyers!

This is not really the case as it wasn't a lot of money to get my baby shipshape.  But it did kind of bum me out to be looked down upon by hipster bike nerds when I was TRYING TO TREAT MY BABY WITH LOVE AND TENDERNESS AND RESPECT.  Yet, in their eyes I was the asshole.  It also isn't a fixie.  Maybe my cause was hopeless from the start.  D'oh.

At any rate I conned Papa Skip into a southbound ride for repayment for ruining my Mother's Day surprise of, well, ME!  Home for the weekend to get drunk by night and sleep on the couch by day!  HELLO, PARENTS!  The weekend was too short but it was extremely nice to be home, and also be able to get my hands on my performance whip as my classes and the track season were winding down.  While as of Mother's Day weekend summer was just a sunset many days away, now it's more or less here.  Boo yeah.  Twenty seven going on twenty eight and still reaping the benefits of poor pay in exchange for summer vacations.  I'll take that trade off until I'm 30.

Man, I'm all over the place.  It's been a long time; I swear it's not usually like this...

My last track meet of the year was on May 17&18, a Thursday and a Friday.  This left me with my first Saturday off in quite some time so I decided it was a pretty nice day for a bike ride and decided to set out into the countryside.  I had no idea the best way to the countryside so my first errand Saturday morning was to my office to craft a route on Google maps that I could print and store in my underseat pouch, because I have no maps of Massachusetts nor sense of direction outside of my little Somerville bubble.  In Maine, at least close to home, I have a pretty good sense of route numbers and roads and how things link up but down here I didn't have the slightest idea of what was close and what were good roads to ride on or any of that nonsense.  So I picked a couple of landmarks and printed some directions and a couple of big maps and set out with my waterbottles full and my helmet on (Proud of me, mamacapone?) to see some sites.

As it was a day of exploration and self-discovery (hardly...) I set out to Walden Pond by way of Lexington and Concord.
I had a good sense of how to get to Lexington on backroads because during cross country season we occasionally travel to Minuteman National something-or-other (I don't think it's a national park but I'm pretty sure it has "national" in there somewhere...national historic site/place, maybe?) to run on the Battle Road.  My first trip I rode shotgun, in early September, just a couple of weeks after I set up shop in the big city.  My second trip a couple weeks later, first as a driver, I couldn't quite make it the two-ish miles from campus to Route 2 (a big, ole highway) due to multiple factors.  First was I told my head coach I was going to follow her there because I wasn't quite sure where I was going...and she promptly dusted me out of the parking lot and probably ran a yellow to leave me on my own.  But as I pick up loose information here and there I knew we were ending up on MA-2A in Lexington, and I knew of where MA-2A ran into Somerville.  So I went with what I knew, it took about fifteen minutes too long, but we made it.  Got the XC'ers extremely confident in my leadership..
Anywho, I had a pretty good sense of how to get to Lexington and from there Concord and Walden Pond were just a couple more miles.  And easy enough it was.
Here is where I'll let the cat out of the bag and say I didn't get caught off track once during the course of my travels.  No big deal..
Earlier in the spring I had been traveling in a car and we drove past Walden Pond on the way to a field trip (Yes, graduate school field trip...money well spent..) and it looked quite idyllic.  This was on a rather chilly day in early March.  Fast forward two months and this place looked like Range Pond State Park.  A little, okay, moderately depressing.  Guess it's not the 1870's anymore...but I digress.  The whole scene was just a little bit silly.  There were serious cyclers using it as a home base to set out from, there were foreign tourists who no doubt wanted to see what America's "nature" was all about, and then there were plenty of Bostonians who brought there little kids to piss and shit in a shallow pond fifteen miles from their houses, because on apparently on sunny days bathrooms just will not do.

From here I had plotted out a possible route to circle through some little hamlets before ending up in Waltham, about seven miles from my house.  I had so much fun that once I arrived in Waltham and took a little break for snack and drink I decided I felt so good and it was such a nice day that I'd just head back the way I came.  And this leg of the journey was a little bit tiresome but a couple miles away from Walden a couple of guys who were returning to Walden from their ride to southern New Hampshire caught and passed me, so I hung with them to learn how non-rookies handle stops and shifting and drinking water and all that goofy stuff that I've been self-taught on.  Yes, I felt like a little kid and didn't tell them any of this; I just clung to the rear and didn't say a word.  Sneaky, am i..

I tried to say hi to most every passerby I could, whether they were on bikes or on foot.  I kept pulling out the "Nice bike, man!" the couple of times I wound up stopped at a light next to a guy on a motor cycle.  It's good for a laugh EVERY time, except for when I say it to the guys who would rape guys like me in prison.  In those cases, it's good for a gut-busting laugh from me (after the drive off without raping me..).  Most people on bicycles are too damn serious.  Lance, man.  It's not the Tour.  Take the needle out of your asscheek and smile on this beautiful day.

None of this is really relevant to what I really set out to talk about here.  Whoops.  To sum: I made it back to Walden, pretty tired, but still about twelve or thirteen miles from my house.  And those last miles were downright miserable.  I don't care about my "look" a lot (clearly, because I usually look like a vagrant..) but I don't like to look like some schmuck who can't hang for a little loop around town.  And I was hurting a tad rolling back through Arlington.  All tallied, I was in the saddle for close to 70 for the day and it felt AWESOME.  Those hipster dickheads were onto something with whatever all natural, probably vegan and non-animal tested shit they threw on my baby: now she rides like the wind blows.  If the weather clears I'm hoping to get out for a little session in the AM Wednesday, but if not I'll have to wait until next week to find the FREEDOM OF THE OPEN ROAD

This is the best commercial to ever air on television.  This guy needs to be the third one of Adam Sandler's lackeys that show up in bit parts in every one of his movie.  It's too perfect.


K, onto the real story.  Post-ride I got home and started to cook up some pasta and some sauce and I sliced the bejeezus out of my left index finger when I was chopping the onion and I got blood all over the cutting board.  I don't have any bandaids because I have toilet paper and duct tape so I threw some of that on to stop the bleeding and continued with my evening.  Sunday morning I woke up early to work Tufts' commencement ceremony and in an effort to class myself up I traded the duct tape dressing for an athletic tape dressing.  This stayed on for the morning and also for my afternoon ride down to the Charles and walk around Harvard with my finest cutoff Carharrt's and sleeveless tie-dyed on.  The shirt is irrelevant but when you look awesome it's important for everyone who wasn't there to know about it.  I went to a friends house for an early barbecue supper and while I was having a beer with him and his girlfriend I saw a coffee table book of from some magazine photographer that I can't remember so I went to the kitchen to remove the dirty dressing and wash my hands.  The book was kick ass, and I didn't bleed on it.  That didn't happen until i was outside opening a bag of charcoal, for some reason with my left hand, and the cut opened back up like a sieve.  They just moved to the second floor and that afternoon their new downstairs neighbor who I had never met was moving in.  As I was walking upstairs with my bloody finger I dripped blood on the young lady's tupperware cupcake box.  I tried to wipe it up but really just kind of made it worse because my right hand already had some blood on it so when I heard someone coming I just darted up the stairs.  When I came back down, band-aided, the box was already inside.  Does this make me a bad person?  Or just gross?

Later that evening outside she mentioned to us that she is an RN.  So CLEARLY I'm not a bad person; though I brought her work home, I'm certain this was not the first time she had to clean up after a homeless person.  When you're used to something it becomes second nature and no big deal, right?  Cheers.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pretty sure that tonight I witnessed the universe implode upon itself..

Got sucked into the television tonight.  Had nothing to do.  My track season's over with for the summer time.  Classes are over until, well, Wednesday, but TONIGHT I had nothing to do.  So I sat to eat a fine, home-cooked supper in front of the tele to take in some Family Guy and Two and a Half Men reruns on the WB.  I don't get cable just the bootleg 10-12 channels but any station that has an house of Family Guy followed by an hour of Two and a Half Men is, in my opinion, flat out awesome.  These are the old, good Two and a Half Men, too, with Charlie Sheen in his pre-bloated/drugged-out-chic prime.  They're so terrible it's impossible not to laugh at the simplicity of Charlie Sheen playing himself.  But that, of course, is not what I'm here to talk about.

At the 8pm hour I still had absolutely nothing to do with my life so I flipped through my ten channels and forced myself to watch CBS for no apparent reason.  Full disclosure: Antiques Roadshow was an option but I turned it down tonight.  Don't judge.  Anyway, the television for the next two hours is irrelevant to what I hope to eventually discuss, though in that timespan one of the new Two and a Half Mens with Ashton Kutcher came on and I didn't find it to be as bad as the other one and a half I've seen.  That's disturbing, but nowhere near a cleverly disturbing as what came on CBS at the ten o'clock hour...Clash of the Commercials: USA vs the World.

The premise of the USA vs the world thing isn't all that crazy.  Anyone who has spent more than 1000 hours on the youtube knows that the world has much much much better commercials than the US, as few countries have the wormshit, Bible-thumping squares that good, ole AMERICA has in its censorship department.  The fucked up aspect is CBS ran the program...and then aired commercials at the usual programming break points.  A TV show of commercials with commercial interludes.

Yeah, that was all that was really on my mind.  I think I found the rock bottom of television tonight.

Quasi-aside: How shitty is Tiki Barber's life?  Quits football to do TV and ditches his wife for some young twenty-something but gets skewered by the media so no deal happens, tries to get back into football but no one wants his sorry ass because he shit on his former teammates when he was trying to make a name for himself in the studio.  Then the Giants win TWO Super Bowls (boo yah!) and CBS brings in a Tiki Barber doppelganger (doppelganger may be a bit too strong...but, another smallish, similarly builded, bald man with unnaturally white teeth..) to co-host that Commercial monstrosity alongside Heidi Klum.

Hah.  Go Giants.  And speaking of football and commercials isn't it a little ridiculous that this program is airing oh, three and a half months AFTER the Super Bowl?  Couldn't CBS have raked in a hell of a lot more viewers right after the big game, when all everyone in the US is thinking is about the new funny commercials that they just saw?  No commercials stand the test of time in terms of longevity on television, so shouldn't you strike while the iron is hot?  Did they have to wait to air until all of the spots were off of the air so the companies the ads were for wouldn't have to be compensated or something?  I WANT ANSWERS.


That was weak.  My apologies.  GO GIANTS.  Cheers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i..

In the fall my phone decided to break and instead of paying the $50 to file a phone insurance claim I instead purchased a Razr for about $20 off of the eBay.  I have to say I've been pretty happy with my decision but now the charger that came with it doesn't work very well so sometimes I wake up in the morning and my phone is not fully charged.  I managed to find a USB cord in my office that has an anatomically correct male  end to charge said Razr (it's original purpose was to connect a cheap ass digital camcorder to a computer) so I now have to charge my phone through a computer.  I don't plan to change this any time soon by buying a new wall charger...I don't think it's worth the ten dollars.
In the fall I happened upon an iPod shuffle that came in handy on my riding commutes on the bicycle and on the subway.  YEAH DUBSTEP LATE AT NIGHT WHILE I WEAVE THROUGH TRAFFIC.  Everyone wears headsets now.  Those god damned iPhones have taken over the world, so now not only do people wear iHeadsets everywhere they also talk to themselves.  It's like the bluetooth headsets 2.0 going on right now.  You may have an iPhone.  You may think it's awesome.  I don't think it's awesome.  It consumes your life.   
Want to know how I find my way around a new place?  Guess and check.  You remember guess and check?  It got me a fine score on the math section of the SAT's awhile back.  It still works today, in many different walks of life.  Apple's a pretty self-centered company.  I hated on them awhile back because it seems to me and many others that that Jobs feller (RIP) may or may not design products in such a way that they crap out after a just a year, maybe two tops.  And these products are put together in such a way that it's very hard to replace batteries.  Basically they hook you on the drug they call "i": iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac...whatever.  They get people fiending good and hard on them and then their product murders itself and the poor shlubs are left needing a new one ASAP.  And these people buy them because they are sheep.  SHEEP.  And these people walk around all self-centered-like, as anyone that is carrying around a product that begins with "i" should.   
Reading this on one of those newfangled iMachines?  YOU are the center of the universe with that iMachine, sir or madam.  You can see the world through that screen. THE WHOLE WORLD ON THREE TO TEN DIAGONAL INCHES.  You really can.  ALLLLLLLL of life is within that screen.  Maybe you should take a time out from Siri, iFriends.  Look up.  The real world looks better, if you ask me.  End PSA.
Anyways I lost "my" iPod in a bar about two months ago.  I think it fell out of my jacket pocket when I was holding on loosely to an 80's cover band on a Thursday night.  Now I ride to work to the sounds of Somerville.  Interesting soundtrack, it is.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Where did the (academic) year go...?

Greetings, my friends.  For it has been quite some time since I've managed to put fingers to keys on this fine interweb-based pad of notes.  August and September brought changes, many many changes, some of which included a desire to focus on academics more than I had in, well, my whole life.  While there is internal debate over whether or not this occurred it became uncomfortable for me to devote time to writing about nothing when I supposedly had so much going on in academia.  So, instead of writing blog posts, and generally instead of doing assigned readings and prep work and progressing on projects in a timely fashion I reverted to my undergraduate vices of solitaire and minesweeper and scouring youtube for songs to fit my mood.  To this, I hope you've enjoyed my increased facebook posting and that we've been able to stay somewhat in touch though actual, face-to-face, human interaction.  In bars or over drinks.  Always with a touch of class.

It's raining hard right now and it's supposed to stay that way through much of Monday.  During the day, rain is my nemesis.  I have continued happily avoiding car-ownership and (it's been so long I can't remember if proper thanks were given here last fall..) was lucky enough to receive a two-wheeled gift from Brion Gallagher which has allowed me to become a hard-charging city-bicycler.  This is not the 70's Schwin cruiser or the tandem stylings of a life former.  This is a stock road bike from the late eighties or early nineties that I threw a rack on the back and, for the first time in my life, a MILK CRATE.  The milk crate is a game changer, ladies and gentlemen.  I don't know how I managed to get by for so long without one.  It makes going to the grocer a much less painful experience.  I can buy eggs and milk if I want eggs and milk and I don't need to worry about them being crushed by a bungee cord.  My kale remains in fantastic shape.  And, believe it or not, you can fit a pretty damn lot of food in one milk crate.  One freighted shopping basket roughly equals one freighted milk crate.  Granted I can get a little wobbly when I have that much on my tail, and I've blown out a couple of tires pedaling home fully loaded; all of that just adds to the adventure of city living.

I've been pleasantly surprised to find how easy it is to get around the city on two wheels.  Though, in the nature of full disclosure I'll admit that I lucked that my move to this little city coincided with an extremely mild winter; so mild that there hasn't been a day that I couldn't manage to get around on my bicycle.  Stopping was sketchy one morning in a half inch or so of white stuff, and late evening rides were a little slippery but thus far I haven't laid it down or been clipped by passersby so I have to consider my commutes thus far successful.  I will say that it gets pretty damn cold on January mornings, snow or not, but, that's what hats and mittens are for.  Warm temperatures are just fine and much preferred but you can't always get what you want.  This is why my belly is pasty white these days.  Boo hoo.

Anyways, it's raining.  It's been raining all afternoon.  I spent the afternoon in bed cycling between napping, watching recent episodes of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report on Hulu, and listening to a lot of earlier Tom Waits.  I've done no academic work today, and I'd like to say this was a much needed break from work but generally I don't accomplish a whole lot on Sundays.  It's my day of rest, of course.  But with temperatures in the fifties I've been thrilled to have my window wide open and hear the rain fall and the wind blow and not hear the usual honks and din and bustle of traffic and voices and commotion.  I learned just last week that Somerville has the highest population density in New England and is 17th in population density in the US.  Some transition.  If I knew that moving down I would have said, "Fuck this.  That sounds miserable."  75,000+ folks living in about six square miles.  I guess that's a lot of people but I don't really have a good frame of reference for these sorts of statistics yet.  But I will tell you this:there are very few backyards and lots of multi-unit houses.  On EVERY street.  Literally, every street.  I guess that adds up to a lot of people living on top of one another (pun intended..).

Personally, I live in squalor.  I recently spent a bit of time cleaning up a couple of weeks ago but I don't think I'm going to be able, nor want, to remove all of this place's "crack den chic."  It's a five bedroom place that was straight from craigslist.  Luckily, the four other people didn't torture or murder me upon my move in.  After eight months I hope I'm safe and this isn't just one lengthy set-up.  That being said I still lock my door most nights.  Can't be too sure, you know.

When I moved in my room didn't have a doorknob, a light that worked, or blinds in the window.  Since I moved in I managed to put a new doorknob on fairly quickly but have come to live by desk lamps at all hours and I wake when the sun begins to shine.  I'm perfectly fine with this.  Through the fall I cooked cleanly and healthily, buying many fresh fruits and vegetables and fairly high quality meats and experimenting with many dishes I had never tried to create at home.  Since the new year I've lost quite a bit of evening motivation and my diet shifted to more, how should I say this...pre-packaged burritos, chicken nuggets, and curly fries.  This is a bit unfortunate but, hell, that shit still tastes GOOD.  My beer drinking has been down though on the rare occasion that I do go out I try to pull all the stops and make sure I go all the way to failure with an extended set of 12oz. curls.  Always a maximizer, I am.

Getting back into coaching has been swell, as have classes, surprisingly.  It was nice to not have the time to think about what "going back to school" would actually entail when I started in August.  If I had remembered just how unhappy I was as an undergrad then I don't think I ever would have committed to such a seemingly fool-hearted pursuit.  In actuality the coursework now is not the same filler of most undergraduate courses.  I'm pretty happy to have an opportunity to continue with both programs (xc/track and school) for another couple of years down here.

My spring coursework will be wrapping in about two weeks and track will be completed right around Memorial Day.  Then, for a bit, hilarity should ensue.  Hopefully by then I'll be back on the write train "(Get it?!?!?!).  There have been many more smiles than frowns these last eight months for many, many reasons.  As always, I've got no shortage of stories to tell.

Feels good to be back.  Cheers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A legitimate reason for my recent silence..

Ummm, yeah.  I guess you could say real life started back up for me.  About three weeks ago a friend called out of the blue and after catching up for a bit told me that she was leaving her position as a graduate assistant track coach at Tufts to pursue other endeavors, primarily returning to school full time.  Knowing that I had been bouncing around without a real level of seriousness since I returned to Maine she suggested that, if I was interested, I should contact the women's coach and see if she had anyone in mind to fill the position.

After mulling over the idea for a couple of days I decided it wouldn't hurt to show a little bit of interest, get a bit more information about the position, and at least get my name out a bit more within the coaching ranks so if other positions were to become available my name may get a mention.  As it turned out none of those future contingency outlooks were necessary because after a couple hours of good conversation I became the new graduate assistant coach with the women's cross country and track and field teams.  This means, more or less, that I'll be a full time assistant coach for the next couple of years and getting paid a minute stipend while taking master's courses that are paid for by Tufts.  In the span of two weeks I've developed a (potentially..) pretty serious two-three year plan that's gotten me extremely excited, while also bumming me out to an equal extent because clearly this means I won't be returning to the 808 any time soon.

While having my share of freak-out, overwhelmed moments I spent August 24-26 in the Greater Medford/Somerville attempting to get the proper administrative paperwork in order to begin work on the 31st, classes on Sept 6, and also, well, find a place to live and resolve all that other nonsense that relocation entails.  As is often the case with my life this all went rather smoothly.  And by rather smoothly I mean I was able to find a crusty room to rent on the cheap close to campus and have about half of my academic information in place for classes to begin tomorrow.  But coaching started up a week ago and I have to say I'm loving things.  After being away from sports in general for a couple of years I think I've gotten into the proper frame of mind mentally that allows me to enjoy coming to work every day.  Granted, it's only been a week; however, I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to work with some talented athletes and learn from the quality coaches I'll be working under.  As I process how things have progressed over the past couple of weeks I just find myself having an all-encompassing desire to learn which I never had while an undergraduate at Bates.  I needed some of this shit to be on my own terms and now that it's my decision to get back involved and be busy and broke I'd better be as positive mentally as I can and just make the best of it.

I feel extremely lucky for how things have worked out, and to some extent I feel a little bit guilty how easily things have worked out for me, dating as far back as high school.  At the same time I've worked my ass off to certain extents, and this work ethic has opened quite a few doors for me.  So if you want me to apologize for getting lucky and landing interesting opportunities by my "flexible" schedules in life, well, that's just not going to happen.  K, I'll stop defending myself...now.

Anyways, I'm planning to begin taking courses in pursuit of an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, with my focus being on the Environmental Policy side of things.  My crunchy, granola-eating side is going to finally show itself more than just letting my face and hair grow long.  Actually, I did trim my beard growth considerably prior to kids returning to campus.  However, the hair, banana clips and all, is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  That's just where my comfort level lies.  So I'll be taking two courses in that field beginning tomorrow, taking the GRE's soon as well and then applying to the program in January for acceptance to begin in the fall of 2012.  If accepted then I'll be residing in the Greater Boston area for another year or two as I complete the necessary coursework, internships, and thesis.  Yikes, right?

Strange thing?  This (probably..) three year commitment doesn't feel daunting at all.  Taking classes right now without being officially enrolled in a program isn't all that scary to me.  At worst, if I'm not accepted then I'll have spent a year taking courses of my choosing that I was interested in and gained another year of coaching experience at an institution well respected for both its academic rigor and athletic prowess.  And, my acceptance into a program will more or less take care if itself so long as I do well in the two classes I'm taking this fall, providing even more motivation for me to get my head out of my ass and actually do my best to learn.

Alright, I've talked plenty about myself for today.  This definitely feels like the lamest post I've ever written and I apologize for not telling more folks about this before I skipped town.  I'm sneaky, what can I say.  But now that I've moved in and settled into a place with more opportunity for interweb I hope I'll be able to resume goofy topics concerning me experiencing a new place.  I certainly don't enjoy people that much and, while not NYC, there are certainly quite a few more people around here than in the 207 or 808.  Let's see how this goes...Cheers.


PS - Dammit.  I had some goofy-ass videos I had been meaning to post for a little while but I just realized these links are all bookmarked on my desktop at home.  Sorry folks.  Nothing in particular is coming to mind right now so stay tuned until I'm able to remember or I'm able to unearth new gems.  That is all, and, as always, thanks for your continued readership of the 'Pad..

Monday, August 15, 2011

Comedic Gold..


And Silver (Hell, maybe platinum...hilarious..)..

No work for this guy today.  Though I do have some business I'll be tending to over the course of the day I'd like to think I can get actual commentary on here by days end.  Then again it's almost 5:30 and my lights are still on.  So flip a coin and we'll see which side comes up...Cheers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There and back again..

Speaking to my lack of posting.. 
...I'm not sure if my activities have picked up (doubt it..), my brain has picked up, or the degree to which I'd like to discuss things has decreased but but at the same time the number of times I say to myself "this would be an appropriate blog topic.." has increased, perhaps tenfold so.  However, once I sit down I find myself to only have one or two sentences to say that I find interesting and of merit and I'm left staring dumbfounded at the screen for quite a few moments before my mouse scurries away to change the song I'm listening to or to bring solitaire back to the forefront (See what I did there...I used mouse, followed by scurry.  That's funny, right..?).  
The topics which come to my mind or the folks I encounter, while extremely interesting to me and my own mind, I struggle to find ways to phrase in more mellow and humorous tones without naming names and delving too deeply into my psyche.  I've never discussed with anyone potential topics.  Ever.  A few folks have suggested interactions or doings or goings-on of mine which they believe to be blogworthy and I do take these suggestions into account and one or two of these topics have found their way onto the blue letters on the forefront of this yellow backdrop.  But, shit, I don't know what it is but I've been struggling since about March to find topics that I want to actually RAMBLE on.  
My digressions have come to a standstill.  My tangents feel tangented out. Call it a rut.  Call it a funk.  Call it whatever you'd like to but, more or less the fact remains that since the new year began my attention to detail (and by "detail" I mean: regular blogging, and also proofreading the few posts I am able to conjure up..) has decreased significantly.  No doubt this decrease has been impacted by a multitude of factors.  Surprisingly, I believe this decrease was most likely caused by a decision to return east that ultimately occurred just a few [Editor's note: Now, shit, twelve?] short weeks ago.  As I reflect, slightly drunkenly, I'm more or less certain I can nail down three cornerstone philosophies which my posts have always touched on.  Mostly I shoot to entertain myself.  Secondly I hope I entertain other close to me who choose to read every now and again.  Thirdly, which, I'm sure others have kind of realized already, is that I enjoy escaping from what most would call "reality." 
It is this third factor that has been causing the most confusion to my typing recently.  Once I had it set in my mind my plan was to return to the Northeast, it was easy to separate myself from new, soon-to-be reality by, well, actually relaxing and enjoying the time spent on one of the most beautiful islands on this here planet Earth.  Somehow, I'm not sure how exactly, I changed my motivations of maximizing those future-ish goals/ambitions/plans/whatever I'd written down which required, well, money, to finally (I guess?) actually, following through on some of those "future-ish whatevers," this being making it to the city of San Francisco, hopping a flight from Burlington to JFK because I had planned to go to NYC before I ended up in VT on a whim to party like a college student again, buying three 30packs at the corner store fifteen minutes before they close to keep a party going until dawn...nothing related to actual professionalism, all related to searching for (or some nights attempting to create) that next good time.  Just live.
This was all (well, most.  Revisions and additions happened slightly.  It needed a bit of polishing.  Hell, it still could use a bit more polishing..) I got through before I quit that particular evening.  The date was May 26.  I don't recall any particular spark of inspiration.  

This next blurb was written prior to the "short story" I posted just a quick minute ago:
I've become mildly infatuated with pandora and I don't particularly care that it seems to have fallen out of style with a lot of people. Newer, hipper sites have more options which allow users to create playlists and not have commercials and probably some other stuff that I don't even know is possible on a free music-playing website (special streaming stations, cars that have wings to activate so they can fly away, the options may very well be endless..) but pandora is simple. I can type in an artist that I enjoy and hear some of their music along with some artists I've heard before and associate with my artist of choice. What's more interesting to me is hearing artists I've never heard before, or songs by some artists that I generally wouldn't associate with my artist of choice. NEW MUSIC, WHAT FUN!

This shouldn't be as interesting as I'm making it out to be. Actually, I haven't made it out to be interesting at all. This could explain the many moons I've allowed to pass since I've last posted. I'm not doing nothing. I am doing things. Generally, drinking. Less so, drinking. I don't particularly enjoy discussing my less fine points over and over and over again because there are only so many ways you can paint drunken nights as youthful indiscretions. Especially when you're not exactly a youth anymore and the days you “casually drink until five in the morning” are much more common than days where, well, the “casual drinking” ends slightly before five in the morning. I'd actually enjoy being able to say that I've been burning the candle at both ends, but if the candle has been lit during the day I didn't light it. I suppose you could say I've done a fine job of saving on wick and wax in the mornings because my ass struggles to get out of bed before noon at best on days when I don't have to make it to the office.

Aside: I've just found out the “delete” key on my laptop sticks. I was eating a sangwich a few months ago and some jelly slid out onto my keyboard and it was then I figured out why you’re not supposed to eat around and over semi-high priced electronics. Sue me…So now when I press it to delete a letter it might delete one...or thirty or fifty letters that may have made up some part of a potentially clever phrase or statement. 
I may actually be one of the only people who uses the “delete” key with quite a bit of frequency. I found it to be quite handy back in the day when I used to actually edit some of my writing. I guess you could say recently I'd fit in well with the Grantland crowd. ZING.  Bill Simmons has become everything he used to claim to hate about sports reporting.  You had a good run, Sportsguy.  Now you're Dan Shaughnessy in "blog" form.  For shame.  Tidbit: they both went to Holy Cross.  I wonder if Danny knows he has a wiki page.  You can learn a lot on the interweb..
Anyways the “delete” key removes text in the opposite direction of the “backspace” key. "Delete" is especially helpful when creating paragraphs from the large blocks of text I sometimes think in. So I can click somewhere after the period of a sentence, hit return, and if I happened to have some spaces to start my new paragraph I can just hit "delete" once or twice and not have to use my arrows or cursor. Also helpful with capital corrections as I have the uncanny ability to place my cursor immediately before a word starts but I can never quite be accurate enough to get it placed just after the first letter of a word. Quirky efficiency trumps the need to refine already learned behavior. 
Let me now continue.  I drink. I smoke dope. I don't like talking about dope smoking because I have a disconnect with some of my readers. Older readers. Motherly readers.  Same goes for the every-night boozing.  I don't enjoy celebrating it, even though I could probably write a book on the days-in-the-life of myself and the people I've encountered this fine summer.  It's been brutally fun.
But enough on that...I also have irrational fears. I have never been afraid of snakes before very recently, even though I never particularly cared for them. Now I can't even look at pictures without my shit, let alone see them. Ask Shawn about what I do when I see a snake. Holy smokes. I pulled into Florian's Market in the early afternoon to buy some sips for an afternoon by the pool circa-June-ish when I noticed near the entrance a sick motherfucker that had two (FUCKING TWO) snakes around his neck.  One was one of those yellow and white sonsofbitches that was at least as thick as a pint glass in the middle and probably six feet long.  FUCK THAT.  WINDOWS UP DOORS LOCKED and I sped through the parking lot to get the hell out of dodge.  I was stupid and waited to turn left and the whole time I was getting more and more flustered.  This was my only experience with something that could be termed a panic attack and, let me tell you: it was excruciatingly miserable and if I never see another snake for the rest of my life it'll still be too soon.  When I watch Planet Earth I try to figure out in my head based on the title if it'll be snake-free or not.  Let's just say I've never see the "Jungles" one or any of that horseshit.  Lions mauling an elephant,  however, are good, old fashioned family fun for all ages.
And murky water. Murky sea water especially but I don't particularly care for murky lake water, either.  A couple of weeks ago I spent a couple of nights in Harpswell, tucked up the coast on the New Meadows River north of Cundy's Harbor but still very much on the ocean and I couldn't get this irrational fear of jumping in from the dock and getting pummeled by a shark.  These fears came out of nowhere and are more or less unfounded.  Hell, this happened well before Shark Week on Animal Planet.  I took a dip but I was in and out before you could count to three.  F my paranoia.
I wanted to continue this that particular evening but at the same time I really wanted to write about killing a seal so I stopped the former and concentrated on the latter.  One of these days I'm going to write an interesting, well-developed and complete short story.  That wasn't it.

Let's resume...somewhere.  Last night I wanted to go to bed early.  I had nothing to do and wasn't sold on watching game two of the Sox-Twins series.  So around 8:15pm I brushed my teeth and filled my water bottle.  I always try to fill my water bottle before bed so if I wake up in the middle of the night thirsty I don't have to walk to the kitchen.  This doesn't happen a lot but it certainly helps me sleep easier knowing its there.  Anyways I filled my water bottle then decided I could also make a BM before bed and that that would probably help me sleep a little better, too.  I took a seat and picked up a Sporting News and started reading about some linebacker from ASU who supposedly had some pretty serious collisions floating around on youtube.  I took the bait and checked them out.  These clips led to other football hits in general.  Which led to some home plate collisions in baseball.  Which led to baseball trick plays.  Which led to a couple of Dustin Pedroia interviews.  Which led back to baseball plays.  Which led to warranted and unwarranted baseball ejections.  Which somehow transitioned to hockey goals and fights.  Which then led to Sportscenter Top 10 plays and other random clips and interviews from the sporting world.  This led to me sitting in my computer chair in my room with the lights off from roughly 8:30pm Tuesday evening until 2:45am Wednesday morning.  Early evening, indeed.  Remarkably, none of the highlights involved Bo Jackson.  Guess that leaves me something to search for tonight..
Another aside: somehow last night in my sports-related travels I came upon this:
I had an inkling to post it somewhere, ideally here but it probably would have ended up on thefacebook because I'm lazy and I didn't have any desire to write last night.  It reminded me of my whole seal-killing story.  That's a TON of blood.  If I had to choose between a bear attack and a shark attack I've always said I'd choose two bears over a single shark...but this might make me seriously rethink my position.  Mildly frightening, but not downright scary.  My own trauma occurred when the video ended and one of the four "similar videos" that pop up when a video ends was titled "Burmese python strikes and constricts" or something deplorable like that.  I came as close to throwing up looking at a computer screen as I ever have before and that was as I was X'ing out my whole window, other tabs-be-damned.  I'm pretty sure I have a serious snake phobia.  I made it back to it tonight but I didn't finish the video and didn't look at the righthand margin.  I really don't like snakes these days [Editor's note: I got a chill when I proofread this paragraph.  I'm 100% fucked.]. 
To continue...instead of getting up and being productive starting at 8:30am this morning the alarm sounded on cue then finally stopped after a couple of minutes and I stayed in bed until after eleven.  Yes, you read that correctly: I'm now too lazy to reach over and shut my phone alarm off manually.  Once I made it out of bed I had a cup of coffee and sat myself down on the couch around 11:30am where I took a nap until 2:30pm to wake up and flip between shows on the Cooking Channel and the Food Network.  That's been a pretty standard day in the life.

Maybe I should lie to people and tell them I actually do more than sleep late and waste most days away.  But, I don't.  I've been in Maine for three months and I've worked fourteen days total since I've been back.  I've been paid for three but that's besides the point.  Money is and should be tight but I always seem to find a way to buy beer, wine, spirits, smoke, whatever is needed.  I don't own a car but I can mooch off of my parents enough that I can always make it to the bar or the show or the beach.  I've yet to do more than converse about what most would term serious, legitimate employment.  I'm fairly certain I've drank more nights in the last three months than I haven't, and drank to excess more evenings than your run-of-the-mill 27 year old should drink period. This leads to varying degrees of uncomfortability (yes, I just made that up..) around the general public who haven't ventured down these particular roads since it was socially acceptable many moons ago in their college years.  That and I'm still more than able to disregard "tolerance" and get myself far more sloppy than these people who hardly ever party.

What people find to be refreshing at first glace when I tell them I have no immediate future plans soon become head shakes when their questions have been repeated a couple of times over and I'm still, more or less, in the same place.  I should say my drinking habits aren't true all the time.  When I don't leave the house I tend to not drink.  I just don't do anything that could be viewed as productive, either, unless someone is really looking for a delicious orzo-stuffed peppers recipe (Giada came through in the clutch for anyone who is interested..).

Newsflash: my answers don't just seem to wear on you.  Your questions wear on me.  I've grown tired of defending myself because I know, at some point soon, something interesting is going to shake out for me.  An unforeseen job opportunity.  A new place to travel.  Hell, if I've got nothing going on by Labor Day then I'm setting off to meander up the Long Trail in Vermont, then probably head back to the 808 to get my job back and keep my tan for the winter.  Are those aspirations lofty enough for me?

Remarkably these questions aren't even really coming from parental influences.  (Some, not close) Friends and (much more frequently) acquaintances: I don't want your life.  I don't want to be a cubicle monkey.  I NEVER want to be a cubicle monkey.  There are more things to life than being able to say, "I have a job in an office, I have a car, I have my own apartment."  Those things validate your steps (in your view..) forward in life, but at the end of the day they're just things.  Generally, things that tie you down.  Yeah, your 401k is in better shape than mine.  I guess you win.  But shit, for the most part I'm happy.  Not all the time.  I've yet to meet someone who's happy all the time.  The fact I'm writing about being happy obviously means I'm not totally happy but that shit happens so whatever.  Everyone has ambitions and goals and hidden secrets that they'd love to work out and come through but that's just not life.  I mean, fuck, I'm 27 and I live at home with my parents and I drink too much so obviously I'm not GREAT...but things could be a lot worse.

I'm sure on some level this is directed at no one other than myself to pep me up and refocus my efforts and shake the end-of-summer doldrums.  To help me transition into fall with new-found motivation and vigor.  I don't want to get snowed in again.  That happened two years ago and was miserable until I escaped.  Then again maybe I should just stop listening to angst-ridden 90's rock and reading Tolstoy's Confession and Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up and believing their valleys somehow speak to the up-and-down nature of my perceived existence.  That being said, Francis Scott might have been onto something when he wrote, "...in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day."

Who's glad I started writing again?


Dinosaurs, unlike snakes, do not scare me:
Dinosaurs AND t&a?  That'll leave me with a smile.  Thanks, Frank.  Cheers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I killed a seal today. I wasn't my intention but it was either him or me. I woke up and walked into the living room and, sure enough, he was already awake. He was sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and an english muffin biscuit. The god dam seal was eating a breakfast I didn't particularly care for, but still: he was eating my breakfast. How could this be? This was the last tea bag. There will be none for breakfast tomorrow if you don't purchase more. Decaffeinated green. This cannot be.

I blinked the crusted sleep from my eyes and I walked to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I took the washcloth and soaked it in cold water from the faucet and placed it on my eyes to remove the remnants of the night and then placed the washcloth on the back of my neck while I splashed water from the still-running faucet on my face.

He held out a razor. He didn't say a word. He said it's time to start your day.

Day? What day? I had been out of work for three months. Budget cuts. I became expendable. Too many of me at too much salary. We're going digital, they said. Severance was more profitable for business than, well, me. It's not like I didn't see it coming, just as I knew the seal would come to his senses in a moment or two, too. I took the washcloth off of my neck and wrung most of the cold water out and wiped my face moist with the still damp washcloth. When I sat the washcloth down on the edge of the sink he had already put the toothpaste on the brush and had wetted it under the faucet. I shut off the faucet and brushed and then turned the faucet back on to rinse the toothpaste out of my mouth and then shut off the faucet once more. I stared into the mirror over the sink and examined myself. I realized that I was naked.

I returned to the bedroom to dress. The seal had laid my cleanest shirt and slacks on the bed but was nowhere to be found. I dressed and walked out and, again, he was seated on the couch. I picked up the newspaper off of the coffee table. The elastic had been removed; it had already been opened. Yesterday's news. I took a sweater from the coat rack and put it on and then walked outside into the crisp fall air. It had come early this year. I lit a cigarette and began walking down the driveway and then continued down the street into the morning sunshine. I had forgotten to turn off the television. I hoped he would remember.

When I returned from my walk with a shopping bag in my hand he was outside, raking leaves. I decided this would be as good of a time as any. I clubbed him over the head with the same shovel I used to bury him. He didn't make a sound. He knew it wouldn't have made a difference even if he had. Seals are remarkably intuitive creatures. He had asked me after breakfast if I would buy more tea for tomorrow. I didn't answer him and it was then that he knew.

At first I considered eating him but I didn't know nearly enough about seals to know what to throw away and what to eat.  "Tender seal fillets” sounds much better in your head than in internet searches. And besides, it wasn't even eleven by the time I put the shovel down the first time.

After tamping the remaining squares of sod into place I put the shovel down for the last time and then looked at my hands. Calloused and earthen, they looked like the hands of a blue collar, hard working man. I picked up the shopping bag and walked inside and sat down at the kitchen table. I removed the box from the bag and stood up and turned on the kettle. I returned to the table until the kettle whistled.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I hear it's your birthday..

It's my birthday, too.  Yeah.

Big things going on tonight.  Gipper's Sports Grill is hooking it up tonight and after 9pm all draft beers will be half price in honor of yours truly.  I'm kind of a big deal in this town.

And since I'm old as dirt here's a little throw back to my youth for you all..
A timeless classic, really.  Man, it was good to be in kindergarten.  There's no better time in a man's life than when you're young enough for it to still be socially acceptable to pull your pants all the way to your ankles at a urinal.  I may try that move one or twice during the course of the evening because, well, dammit it's MY DAY.  Cheers (and see you all tonight at Gip's..).

O, a PS for you:

I had the pleasure of hearing Eric Carle speak at my college graduation a few years back.  Tell me this guy isn't the man:
A spitting image of Burl Ives, isn't he?