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17 December 2009


Not a super-ton to say here...but I figured it's best to push any entry down the page a bit that declares how "remarkably shitty" I've been.  God, it's so embarrassing to read the things I write on here when I'm in a bad mood.  I don't know what prevents me from just deleting all that stuff, other than a misguided desire to preserve...something.  Anyway, I'm much better now. Promise.  As proof, check out all these pictures I took at the Holiday Train Show at the NYBG.

Wonderful to remember once in a while that local tourism and awesomeness are not mutually exclusive.

14 November 2009

false starts

How've you been? I've been remarkably shitty lately. I've sat down to write a lot lately on here, but I've always chickened out before posting and cleared everything I had written. I'll have a lot to say on what I'll look back on as my Scumbag Period eventually, and I'll post it here when the time is right because that's what I do, but for now I just don't have it in me. Suffice to say for now that I've been less than the man I aspire to be, and I'm paying for it.

Apropos of nothing, I've been poring over some other false starts (dating back just a bit more than 2 years) and while I can't really remember why I abandoned some of these (others are more obvious) I'm compelled today to put these out there and delete them from draft, just for the heck of it. Also, someone told me I could make breaks now in Blogger, so I figured this was a fun way to try that. A bunch of stuff you won't care about, below the break! [EDIT: that shit isn't going to work for me unless I really retool this template, which is ghastly old.  I'm not doing that today, or anytime soon.]

28 September 2009

Am I just reading this wrong?

There was a time when my Google Reader shares were a mostly jocular affair; links to particularly funny blog posts, particularly insightful takedowns of people who think Twitter is important, or particularly lol lolcats. To the dismay of the 6 people in the entire world who give a shit though, it's lately become an echo chamber of links to Daily Kos and HuffPo stories re: health care. Stories about rescission, links to videos of a Republican Congressman laughing about people losing their insurance not because they can't afford it, but because they're losing their jobs! Get it!? Hilarious! Really though, it's depressing stuff and if you're my sharebro and you're also reading this, I'm sorry.

Today I was inspired to post about it on here because I got this letter in the mail (you're gonna have to click to enlarge it if you want to be able to read it):

I've gotten a lot of these lately because I went to 8 sessions with a physical therapist to try (unsuccessfully) to fix my back a bit. They're indecipherable, at least insofar as figuring out what particular charges were for, and they're always slightly different. I don't know what procedure code 97012 is, but I have to assume that's how much my therapist charges for...maybe holding my legs down while I do back extensions hanging off a table? Or telling me to ride a stationary bike for 6 minutes? 97110 was a bit pricier, so maybe that was for strapping me into the traction machine.

What's more, it seems like my flat $45 copay for any specialist visits (PT counts as a specialist) covered all but...$2.58 of my treatment on 8/26? The postage to send out the statement cost a double-digit percentage of the cost of the treatment. Golly, it's no wonder I have to pay about $400 a month for the privilege of being a HealthNet customer.

And it's even more wonderful that, given the cost, they saw it in their infinite wisdom appropriate to tell me initially I could only have 5 sessions, and that if I wanted more my therapist would have to write some reports about why I needed more. Which she did, and I was graciously granted a few more sessions before I decided to throw in the towel on the whole thing (partly because I'd already spent $360 on copays for minimal results).

Does any of this make any sense at all, ever? Who are these people who are so happy with the way health care works right now that they'll scream themselves hoarse in defense of these companies?

25 September 2009

another year older and...

...I'm giving yoga a shot. Tonight was my second run through Yoga For Beginners, and my first one without an asterisk, as I managed not only not to take any breaks (though my legs shook like leaves), but to remain fully conscious the entire ordeal. The first time, not so much. I've never fainted before in my life, so although I didn't actually lose consciousness, the blurry, almost pixelated vision, cold sweat, and buckling knees were...awful. Especially the second time in the same session, when you'd think I'd have learned my lesson about actually continuing to breathe. Right, so the first time was bad. This time though, wow. I'll be producing my own DVDs in no time.

Just like anything else I try to start doing*, finding the time is going to be the real battle. I was motivated to get to it tonight because nothing lights a fire under my ass like abysmal failure, but it's going to be hard to keep myself as motivated when I begin to commit the disc's routine to memory. I am already beginning to understand how people amass large collections of yoga DVDs.


I turned 28 yesterday. I don't have much to say about it, but that's why the title of this post is what it is.

*Like this blog! Or the music that was the original reason I made this site! Or...

16 August 2009

I never do this anymore.

So, I went to London and Dublin last month, and for days and days after the trip, I found myself dreaming up pithy witticisms and observations to put up here chronicling my journey. And, well, it's been a few weeks now and I don't remember most of them. I can tell you that while I was half joking to myself when I planned to say something like "I never want to eat mayonnaise again as long as I live," that particular aversion has not subsided. It might even have grown, in fact. Not unlike my belly after so much mayonnaise.

I took a bunch of pictures on the trip of London (mostly of buildings), Dublin (again, a lot of buildings), and the U2 concert that brought us there in the first place (mostly of aging rock gods). Check them out if you want. Also, I wrote a lot more about the concert at, where my writings about concerts and the like tend to end up.

Anyway, after the trip to Europe, which was fun but incredibly stressful, I'm just returning from a different kind of trip. I spent last week couch surfing in Los Angeles, and doing very little other than enjoying good friends, good food, and good drink. Oh, and we fired shotguns.

With these two trips under my belt (the build-up-steam and the blow-off-steam), I'm about to take a few very deep breaths, and go under water for 2 months as SAT season revs up again. I'm as ready as I'll ever be, I suppose.

30 June 2009

This hasn't been fun

It's been a hell of a month. I made light of it in a post before, but I've spent pretty much every day between that post and this one in the grips of a hypochondria that I've otherwise mostly held at bay since childhood. I've been to the doctor at least once every week, and had an x-ray, a nerve conduction test, and an MRI. I've been prescribed everything from special shampoo to muscle relaxants to antibiotics. I'm fairly sure that I actually succeeded in worrying myself sick last week. What I have to show for all that now is a doctor's recommendation that I try physical therapy to get my back (which I've abused for years with poor posture) right, and hopefully alleviate the issues in my legs.

Now that I have some sort of diagnosis, I can feel myself starting to come out of it, but it's far from over. I still wake up in a mild panic once in a while, my mind racing to the disturbing facts I learned and cannot unlearn before I forbade myself from visiting WebMD (by actually blocking the domain on my router). My heart rate still routinely jumps up over 100 beats per minute whenever I think about checking my heart rate. My hands still shake a bit when I take time to see if my hands are shaking. I'm less of a wreck than I've been, but still a bit wreckish.

I don't especially like posting about this stuff. But I've had to come to terms with the fact over the last month or so that I'm so susceptible to this kind of thing that it can completely lay me out, so I guess I'd better start dealing with it. So this is...that. I guess. A record of me being convinced this afternoon that I'm okay, despite not always feeling that way.

It's also a way for me to send a little anonymous support back out into the Internet, which provided not only the ammo for me to start feeling this way, but also (when I learned to look in the right places) a fair amount of comfort in the knowledge that lots of people freak out like this.

So, yeah. I completely lost it for most of June. But I'm back now. I think. Who needs a drink?

Next on the list of things I'm going to have to swear off of to keep myself sane: watching Mets games.

18 May 2009

2 things

  1. Awesomely, I discovered today that even though maple and brown sugar Quaker Instant Oatmeal is best before a certain date, it remains quite serviceable and, dare I say, satisfying for at least 8 months afterwards.
  2. Usually it takes me months, if not years, to look back and be slightly embarrassed by things I've written on this site, but today I am already a bit ashamed of this line from yesterday: "I'm 27. Time to get regular with this shit." Ugh.

17 May 2009

I have that. That too. Oh, and definitely that.

So I'm sitting in Amy's room at the same conference-center-that-used-to-be-a-monastery that from which I wrote around this time last year while she works, and after about 45 minutes of Googling my bodily idiosyncrasies to see which horrible diseases I might have (answer: all of them) I decided that maybe my time would be better spent forcing myself to write, to get back into the habit of doing so more than once a month.

I've been listening to this book on my iPod that I downloaded a long time ago and ignored forever called The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead, and every time I listen to it for an hour or so, I tell myself that I should stop. It's quite directly responsible for this morning's WebMD-fest, for one thing. It's penetrated straight to the core of my long-suppressed hypochondriasis. An Amazon review:
"After you turn 7, your risk of dying doubles every eight years." By your 80s, you "no longer even have a distinctive odor ... You're vanishing." "The brain of a 90-year-old is the same size as that of a 3-year-old." And it goes on and on. David Shields's litany of decay and decrepitude might have overwhelmed the age-sensitive reader (like this one), but The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead manages to transcend the maudlin by melding personal history with frank biological data about every stage of life, creating an "autobiography about my body" that seeks meaning in death, but moreover, life.
So, yeah. It's tailor-made to give me nightmares, but it's also touching, funny sometimes, and in the end, as my first ever philosophy professor might have said, it's life-affirming, not life-negating. And it's inspired me to call a doctor next week and get myself checked out for the first time in years. Hell, maybe even a dentist too, even though I just saw one and had half my face drilled out 6 months ago. I'm 27. Time to get regular with this shit.

In news much more inline with making me feel alive, I went to a batting cage with a friend from work the other day, and was pleased to find that I can still hit the ball. And develop mean-ass blisters.

11 May 2009


I spent the weekend in the Boston area for a wedding, and took this picture of the corner of a local newspaper while I waited for a pizza that ended up smacking the Brooklyn pizza smugness right off my face. I took plenty of pictures of people at the wedding, too, which will appear soon in the places that pictures of people often go. Stupid pictures like this one go here on my stupid website. So I can say stupid things about them.

I just got a kick out of the fact that the word "wicked," a colloquialism that finds its way into just about every sentence locally (and is used everywhere else in the world whenever the speaker wishes to mock the dialect of those who worship at the Church of Fenway), is now being used by a cabal of regional papers to promote their provincial web presence.

The days of the local rag may be numbered, but I take comfort in knowing that they're not going down without making caricatures of themselves and reinforcing stereotypes about the people that've kept them in business this long.

02 May 2009

You know it's going to be a good day when... end up behind a van like this at a red light and you inexplicably have your camera handy.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too old to think things like this are funny. But then I realize that I already know the answer to that question.

Bonus awesomeness: the Duschqueen website (of course I went to it) looks like it might have been designed by the same guy that made this site.

30 April 2009

easy go.

Today was the official last day of an SAT prep season that's been in full swing since the beginning of January. It's difficult to overstate how good it feels to be done, or how much I'll enjoy the adult beverage I just poured as I type this, but I'm unsettled tonight because of something that happened to me at lunch today. And well...I haven't had enough time or energy for navel-gazing blog posts in a long time, and now I do so here goes:

I let myself get talked into going to the new Grace's Marketplace near my office. I didn't really want to go because it's expensive and the only other time I went it wasn't so great, but I agreed. So my friend orders the burger that he'd been told was delicious, and I ordered a veggie pizza. I grabbed a drink from the cooler, and headed to the cashier to pay, which is what you do there while the food is prepared before you sit down and wait for the food to come out (a bit of a confusing system for first-timers, which, come to think of it, is another reason I don't like the place).

It wasn't a very busy day in there, so the cashier was involved in a conversation with the woman running the aisle behind her, and it took her a moment to notice me standing there. Eventually she did see me, though, and rang me up. The grand total: $10.85. So, I pull a $20 bill out of my wallet and am about to hand it to her when I decide that I'd rather give her $21, to do the both of us a change-related favor. She took the money out of my hand, still in quasi-conversation with the woman behind her, and handed me back 15 cents.

"I gave you a twenty."

"No, you didn't. See," pointing to the receipt she just printed, "it says here eleven."

"But it only says that because that's what you typed. Which doesn't change the fact that I gave you a twenty."

"No, it was a ten. I put it right here," she said, pointing to the spot in the drawer than tens go.

"No, you put it there. With the other twenties. I watched you."

So it went like that for a while, until finally she decided she would count the whole register. Which I figured would be fine. I would go take my seat with my friend and not create any more of an awkward situation than I already had, and eventually I'd get an apology and my $10 back.

But here's the thing that actually motivated me to sit down and write about this. It's not that, after a register count that I kept half an eye on through lunch and that was replete with much gesticulation and dirty looks in my direction, I was told again to my incredible disbelief that I didn't give her $21. It wasn't that, even though a manager was clearly consulted at some point in the process, no manager ever came to speak to me. It wasn't that the $20.85 I ended up paying didn't even result in such a great pizza, or that my colleague's burger (which he ordered medium-rare) came well-done. It wasn't any of these things. Or maybe it was all of them.

What I've been thinking about ever since I got back to the office and eventually cooled down 2 hours later is how disproportionately angry I found myself getting over what amounts to very little money in the grand scheme of things. I was so preoccupied with peering across the cafe to the cashiers to see if they were still counting that I couldn't carry a conversation. I was so fixated on it afterwards that I was compelled to make the event into a Facebook status update to fish for commiseration (for shame!). I'm a pretty even-keel guy for the most part. What about $10 got me so fired up?

The best answer I can come up with is that I, like most people I know, get a bit flustered when events that should have predictable outcomes don't. This is why it sucks so disproportionately hard when a delivery food order is incorrect, and I think it's why people (or at least why I) get so angry at things like random traffic jams. I need to have faith that when I hand a cashier money, I'll get the right change back. The world is crazy. Some things need to just work.

I have embarrassingly vague recollections from my developmental psychology classes about the lasting damage done to infants that are for whatever reason unable to establish certain predictable outcomes to the kind of interactions infants have with those around them. This paragraph might have led me down a truly Googly rabbit hole if I weren't seriously running out of steam and wondering why I even bothered to write all this up now. So I'll just wrap it up.

Grace's, I'll recover. But you should be more careful. Had I been an infant trying to understand my place in this world...

30 March 2009

Get that rat's nest off your head.

Today is Monday, which means it's my one day off all week. When you only have one day off every week, you start to have unreasonable expectations for how relaxing, or productive, or decadent (and usually all of the above) it'll be. When it finally comes, though, you stay in bed until about 11, make yourself a frozen pizza which you eat in your pajamas while you try in vain to catch up with the Internet, which was chugging right along the whole time that you were otherwise occupied (it waits for no one). Then, as you start to feel your day slip away from you, and a dull disquietude begins to set in about everything that needs to get done on your first day back at work, you decide to do something.

So today, I went to get my haircut, even though I just did so a few weeks ago, and I usually wait about 2 months. The place makes me happy, though. I could swear I've written about it on here before, but all I can find is a mention of the fact that it costs $10, so here goes. There are 2 guys of indeterminate Eastern European descent who own and operate the place. As far as I can tell, nobody else works there, period. It's often busy, but if there's nobody in there when you arrive, they can usually be found sitting in the barber's chairs facing each other, but very possibly not talking. When you get there, one will get up and motion for you to take his seat, and the other will walk over to the radio (which has been off) and turn it on to the oldies station.

They don't talk much, aside from muttering to each other in their native tongue when someone they don't like walks by (that's what I figure it's about, anyway), but my guy will usually ask me "how are you, my friend?" and then ask if I want the same thing as last time. Today, though, he and I were the only 2 in there, so we chatted a bit more. Even though I said I was fine when he asked, he must've sensed that I was a bit stressed, and tried to comfort me a bit by reminding me that I have my health. Christopher Reeves, he told me, who was a billionaire, fell off a horse once, and then all his money didn't matter. He was SuperMAN (emphasis on the "man" syllable) and it didn't matter.

So yeah. I went to get a haircut because I knew it would make me feel better, and it did. Now I just need to cajole Amy into fixing it for me tonight so nobody will make fun of me tomorrow.

10 March 2009

a few things

  1. To the alien race who will, in the distant future, use this blog and nothing else to learn about those who once walked the earth, fret not. February 2009 happened, despite a complete lack of evidence to be found herein. Also, humanity's greatest accomplishment was catching this on film.
  2. From sometime in early 2000 (I think) until December 2008, I wore an earring in the cartilage of my left ear. It got pulled out (not ripped through my ear, just pulled out) during a haircut at my favorite $10 barber, and I never bothered to find it and/or replace it. I've been meaning to write about this for literally 3 months, and now that I've finally typed it, I've half a mind to delete it because, holy shit, I haven't written anything for months on here and this is the best I have?
  3. Tonight I was teaching and one of the writing questions prompted me to start making the following table on the board. I can't be the only person in the world who thinks I'm funny, but I was certainly the only person in that room.

    2 things

    3 or more things











  4. Every eight or nine months, I grow a pretty decent beard (mostly because I get busy and blow off shaving). And every single time, when it finally becomes time to shave it off, I have an uncontrollable urge to give myself an awesome 'shache. So usually I do and I take a picture, and then finish the job. I've (almost) never had the nerve to actually leave the house like this.

05 January 2009

Irrational exuberance and the counting of chickens unhatched

I gave my girlfriend a computer virus. I haven't had one myself in years upon years despite refusing to pay for anything resembling protective software, so needless to say I was caught by surprise when I got nailed, simply by loading a site that Google Images told me had a 'YO DAWG I HERD YOU LIKE CARS...' pic. I insist on showing her these things, despite the fact that her most common response reminds me of a 7 year old opening socks and underwear on Christmas morning. It's a nice grounding, I think. A reminder that the real world has no time for the kind of shit that I make time for even during an 80 hour work week.

Anyway, I got her a virus for Christmas. So I traded laptops with her, so that she could have one that worked in her apartment while I tried to make better that which I had made worse. And then I kinda forgot about it, because ol' Vundo beat my ass badly on my first few half-hearted tries, and I had Left 4 Dead to play.

Then there was a 1929-themed New Year's Eve party, which billed itself as a real production with a password to get in ("Irrational Exuberance," how clever) that they never even asked for, because the real password was a cover charge. I took some more awful pictures there that I didn't even try to make a nice face in, and then I made a resolution not to do that anymore. And then I made another resolution not to let things sit around undone forever, even if it means I don't get to play video games every time I want to. Also I got a new iPod that can scrobble what it plays and I can't really use it to do so until I get my MacBook back, which lit a fire under my ass.

So tonight I spent all night manually digging a trojan out of my girlfriend's registry. And I guess I should wait until the full scan that's running right now comes back clean before I start flexing all over the web, but it wasn't a resolution this year not to brag about things without any reasonable justification. So yeah, I did it. I'm a genius. Who smiles in pictures, even. For the time being.