Was I a teenaged fetishist?

Sunday, November 29, 2009 | 2 Comment(s)

What i learned over thanksgiving break is that if you ever want to start a blog, the first thing you should do is go find your childhood bedroom and begin to gut it. I can honestly say that given the free time and perhaps a double dog dare, i could write a whole separate blog just about what i found. But, I do not have said time, so I will have to condense all this deliciousness into my current blog.

In order to set the scene, i will tell you that my cousin Ezra, a junior at Michigan (age 20) was at thanksgiving this year (with his sis and dad), and as a present i gave him HIS BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT from the local paper. I found said announcement all browned with age and delicate like parchment tacked to my wall under a note a high school crush had written me about potentially dating if she didn't have a boyfriend (i'm sure i had no idea what she was talking about at the time). Shows you my priorities at the time. More on notes later.

I will also say that some of the stuff I found on my wall was alarming. Alarming in that "was i a teenage stalker" kind of way. Below you will find exhibit A.

Yes, this is a lock of hair. Yes, I am absolutely horrified that this exists. No, I have no idea whose it is. No, it is not mine. Considering that i don't recall being the hair sniffer type, or having spied into anyones bedroom in high school (hell, most of my friend lived out of state) I really have been stumped as to what the hell human (holy shit i fucking hope its human) hair is doing tacked to my wall. And, the more i think about it, the more i realize that even my rationalizations don't make this particular offense much better. I thought maybe it was my deceased grandmothers. Um . . . fucking gross. Matt Zimbler, you have some serious issues. Every potential explanation i have for this ends with me trying to build a time machine to go back and tell young me NOT to tack that crap to my wall. I implore little matt that older matt is going to be super embarrassed and genuinely creeped out years down the road. Is there any good explanation for this? Perhaps that lock of hair contained the cure for cancer? If so, the cure for cancer now resides in a garbage bag. If this hair does belong to some poor girl, i sincerely apologize. I swear im harmless.

Next. To further build a case that i was indeed a teenaged sex offender (this is probably a bad subject to joke about, but im hoping im only insulting myself), you can see below 9 (i found 1 more later) old boutonnieres (that should be a spelling bee word--sheesh) from high school dances along with 5 tickets from said dances.

This should come as no real surprise considering the bathroom decorations. I will say that the idea was valid, in that dried flowers are still beautiful (unlike old hair). Were all these dances successes. There is no possible way. But i was weaving the basket of my childhood memories with this cork board collection, and formal and semi-formal dances seemed pretty important at the time. Things i learned from said dances were as follows (one for each dried flower):

1. Don't go to a formal with someone when you have a girlfriend who is not your date to said formal.
2. If the pretty popular girl who is way out of your "league" (at the time, ;)) says yes to going with you to a dance, she probably will leave you high and dry as the date nears.
3. If she doesn't leave you prior to the dance, she'll definitely leave you during it.
4. If you feel like the only sober kid at the dance, you probably are.
5. You will have a better time at a dance the more you like your date, as a person. So when in doubt, go with a friend.
6. At the time, when you thought that having your parents chaperon the dance was the worse thing in the world, you were correct.
7. Having a Mickey Mouse cumber-bun will not get you laid.
8. Being a good dancer is a non-resource in high school.
9. When taking the mayor's daughter to the prom (see #1) don't convince the group you are with to bag the fancy dining they'd planned and go to an all you can eat buffet joint . . . cause the Mayor may be eating there that night (this totally happened).
10. And finally, even though one might have gone to the prom with the captain of the cheerleaders and the prom queen (separately), does not mean that you will lose your virginity in high school. Trust me.

This only begins my series on "the crap i found cleaning my room." Stay tuned.

(i love having a bunch of running story lines on my blog, it keeps me in suspense as well)

I Probably Couldn't Have Danced All Night

Monday, November 23, 2009 | 0 Comment(s)

So I was trying to find something to write about recently as i went into the bathroom (cause that's where i think the best, obviously). And something caught my eye. Let's play a game. Here is the entry to my bathroom. Can you guess what I'm going to write about???

Time's up.

I'll have you look to the windowsill where you'll see what looks like formal stemware. I'll zoom in for you.

I will now explain the two candles in stemware in my bathroom.

The candle part i think explains itself, so the location of said candles shouldn't knock your socks off. But, if you were to look closely enough to read the writing on said candles, you would see this:

"In Your Eyes"
Pittsfield High School
Prom June 8, 1995


"With or Without You"
Junior Prom
May 11, 1996

These were the party favors given to students attending the prom (which the junior class put on for the senior class) were given. I would like to add that as my junior class vice president (I won by default when the kid who had won got kicked out--i would also add here that i lost 9 of 10 student elections [if you count my vp win as a win] during my 4 years in high school. that's one position each year [secretary,treasurer,vp, and pres] one student council loss each year, and two of those years an additional "at-large member" of student council loss. I would take some comfort in the fact that it was "a popularity contest" except, um, COME ON. Yes, to answer the obvious question, I watch and love gLee.) i did get to give input on the theme and I am still a huge Say Anything fan to this day.

Why do i still have them? I have no really good answer. I'm a pack-rat. I was brought up with one of the walls of my bedroom being made of cork, so I would just stick shit on there. Layers and layers. Absolut adds, awards, pictures of my sports heroes, dance corsages, letters, . . . anything. It almost encouraged my already hoarding nature.

Recently, my parents have hinted (not so subtly) that they would like to turn my old bedroom into something new. Being 31, i feel that this is a not so unreasonable request. But being their son, and realizing i had some leverage, i decided to make the most of it. I agreed as long as they turned my old room into a "man room" for my dad. My dad has never really had a "man room" and frankly he deserves it (His bedroom is lavender for god's sake). Everyone does. Everyone needs a space that is all their own. I bet even cave people had set "alone time" in the cave. I friggin bet yah. Anyways, they called my not so scary bluff and now i am in the process on "tearing down the wall" aka. taking all this crap off my cork-board/gutting my room. I am anticipating that when i go home for thanksgiving, this process will be put into full swing. I'm not entirely sure how i'm going to feel about it, but i'm sure i'll let you know. Maybe even snap some pics.

In any case, during the last installment of "gutting one's childhood" i found these wax filled gems, and decided that they would be perfect in my current shit-room. And i must say, it's as if they were made for each other. Nothing masks the smell of a bowel movement like the memory of high school.

I should add that this is not to imply that I didn't have a good time at either prom, because i most certainly did. I even rigged the ballot with some friends to make my date the prom queen senior year. (that's right, i did it. The truth comes out! I was so baaaaaaaaaad.) While I can't say that any of my 4 proms were reminiscent of any pop culture portrayal of said events (where is the movie of the virgin who doesn't even realize he's supposed to score?), I can't say that any of the events were remotely scarring. So i'll count that as 1 in the win column.

The un-Real World: The BEST exit interview of all time

Sunday, November 22, 2009 | 2 Comment(s)

The best exit interview ever.

Back when "The Real World" on MTV started, it was groundbreaking television. There were people from different walks of life, with different opinions, living together and being forced (on some level) to discuss their differences (thing how Obama made people have to notice race). On MTV in San Fran, one of the housemates, Pedro, was both openly gay and living with AIDS. Groundbreaking. It is fair to say that this kind of TV really appealed to me, and i most certainly contemplated applying to the show. I remember on my 26th birthday thinking, "Wow, now i'm too old to be on "The Real World." (The cut-off, at least then, was 25). I was sad and felt old.

But. Somewhere along the line, the show changed. I'm not sure exactly when this change occurred, probably gradually, i'm not entirely sure. But I am sure that Real World Las Vegas was symbolic of the completion of this change. This change i would say was from "the real world" to "the real soft core porn." Beautiful dumb people with extreme views and rock hard abs screwing each other like characters from 90210 (don't even think of asking me whether i mean the new one or the old one!). There was so much sex, silicon, screaming, threesomes, nudity, and sex that it could have been confused with Comedy Central's new show/masterbationfest "My Secret Girlfriend."

I say this all so as to set up the fact that at some point i stopped watching this show for the intellectual interest and it became my guilty pleasure. Then, inevitably, it just went too far (perhaps it was the emotional harassment of housemates in a recent season or the fact that I couldnt stand these kids getting recruited because of their likelihood of going ballistic and then the producers acting all blameless when violence and craziness broke out). I stopped watching. My girlfriend (who still loves the guilty pleasure of it) has taken to watching the Real World/Road Rules (which lets face it, hasn't existed in like a decade) Challenge. For those who haven't seen this cancer, it takes the crazies from the show, adds free booze and the promise of money, and then essentially lets them rip each other apart in every possible way: sexually, physically, emotionally. It's the definition of a hot shit-show mess.

In the last episode, which i watched a brief snippet of (it's like country music, i hate it, but it's so hard to change the channel), Brad (of course he's named Brad) is drunk, only has $2,000 to his name, and is on the apparent losing team. He is verbally berating a, relatively speaking, friend of his, who is on the winning team and has the most money ($33,000) to his name. Brad is taunting endlessly. Screaming about beating the shit out of him (what what? his friend?). There really is no motivation except frustration and stupidity. I should mention, that the ONLY ONLY ONLY ONLY rule that Real World has ever had is NO PHYSICAL VIOLENCE. Surprisingly, with such a lack of rules, many many many many "cast members" have been sent home for this (men and women). So Brad pushes the other guy (dont know his name). The guy finally snaps and pushes Brad back back back until he falls. Then this guy starts WAILing on him with punches to the face. Brad's eye is bleeding. Badly. He can't stand up. His drunk reaction. More violence. Running around the mansion throwing things. And like that, poof, they are kicked off. Uber sigh.

But here is the "punch-line" (pun intended). Brad gives his exit interview to the camera. He is incredibly sorry for his behavior. He was drunk. He LIKES the other guy. He says, "it is a shame." Oh, and his right eye is purple and SWOLLEN COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY SHUT!!! You are damn right he's sorry. He's sorry in that "i'm sorry i got my ass handed to me and i'm getting my cycloptic swollen eggplant looking face sent home broke like a joke." If i were writing a thesis on the slow disintegration of a once landmark show, this scene would be my conclusion sentence.

For the record, the guy who fought back and landed a number of $33K punches got send home too. He also interviewed that he liked Brad and was sorry it happened. Personally, i am mostly sorry that this dinosaur of a show wont extinct already.

Here's a pic of the damage:

The 5 people you meet when you go into the men's locker room. Part III

Thursday, November 19, 2009 | 0 Comment(s)

Now I know that at least of few of you have been waiting for this one. And to be honest, so have i. I apologize for the delay but, truth is, this is not (yet) my job. So, until that changes and my brilliance is more globally recognized, i have time constraints. Enough about this. Let's get to our man.

#3. Mr. Confidence

Mr. Confidence is my least favorite person in the locker room.  If this series of articles were like the book the 5 people you meet in heaven, Mr. Confident would be at whichever character symbolized "you" bottoming out.  Put simply, Mr. Confidence walks around the locker room naked.  But that simple fact is not why you should hate him.  Mr. Confidence walks around naked as if the locker room were his home bathroom.  And his bathroom has a lot of mirrors in it.  It is not that there is anything wrong with being naked in the locker room, that's kinda the point in most cases, but most people don't relish this time.  And they certainly don't see it as a chance to showcase themselves.  Mr. Confidence will engage you in conversation, while naked, without making any indication that he is trying to find a way to cover himself.  That's not ok.

But, in order to fully understand why I hate Mr. Confidence, you need some context.  Where i come from (Pittsfield, MA public school system) you do not get naked in a school's shower.  Hell, if you took a shower in my middle or high school (both which had shower rooms), it would be all over the school.  The only time I saw any of those showers used was when I and the other freshman soccer players were soaked down in freezing water with all of our clothes and warm-ups on in the middle of winter (i believe they call this "hazing"). Otherwise, those showers were purely ornamental.

Being that carefree in a locker room indicates to me that this kid and i have some fundamental differences in terms of where we come from--emotionally.  There is no way that any person that went to my high school could be Mr. Confidence.  I don't care if you were popular or not.  Being uncomfortable in that kind of dirty public sweat-filled collection area was more a fact than a variable experience.  If you have ever had some fat gym teacher line you and your friends up (middle school now) in your underwear to check you for scoliosis, you can never be Mr. Confidence.

Pause.  HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN!  I was just recalling this scoliosis test i took in middle school and i literally flashed on all of us lined up in tightie white-ies and bending over, then turning, then bending over again.  How did this happen!?!?  Did parents know about this.  I'm almost positive that our gym teacher at the time was no "spinal specialist."  All im saying is that if some gym teacher did want to see all the little boys or girls in their underwear, this would be how they would do it.  And it happened.  I'm kind of grossed out right now.  Bletch.

Unpause.  You see how powerful these memories are.  I am not uncomfortable about nudity (i can actually hear a few of you chuckling at me writing that), but if you see a UMass dingy locker room as any sort of runway or social get together -- i hate you.  Again, its not making friends in a locker room that i don't like--that's fine-- it's equating that dungeon with any sort of bar scene/social mixer, which i despise.

Mr. Confidence doesn't tip well.  Mr. Confidence has a blue-tooth device he uses in public, probably when ordering.  Mr. Confidence doesn't feel he needs to look both ways before crossing the street.  In short, one of these days I'm gonna soap down the tiles before Mr. Confidence showers.  Maybe it'll knock some sense into him.

Next up: The Pink Briefed Panther.

Vulff ben Tzvi v Yehudite

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | 1 Comment(s)

The title of today's update is actually my brother's Hebrew name. Vulff, means "wolf" in Hebrew. The rest is actually my father and mother's Hebrew names, as the lineage in Judaism is so important that it is reflected even in one's name. This is appropriate since MY BROTHER JUST GOT ENGAGED!!! I could not be happier. Congrats Brian and Nora.

In honor of their engagement, I decided to take Nora's advise from her recent blog entry. Nora writes about nutrition in her blog, and some of the fun ways to achieve this elusive "nutrition." The blog reminds me that nutrition is just as much mindset as it is what you put in your body. This weeks challenge was to "eat a rainbow." As much as this sounds like something someone would say while rolling on E, Nora explains how the colors in foods actually inform some of what they hold in store nutrient-wise. And so . . . this:

That's right kids. My shopping cart organized by rainbow color. I will say that the check-out guy did NOT give me the props i was hoping for. Let's itemize it:
Tomatoes, Pomegranate Juice, Steak, Pastrami (it's under the steak), the berries in the berry granola.
Orange Juice
Bananas, Cheese
Peppers, Leeks (kind of white too), Broccoli
Blueberry Juice (more tart than i thought it would be), the frosted mini-wheat box, and the milk container.
The actual milk itself, eggs, soy milk, the mini-wheat frosting.

And of course . . . the all important Challah Group. Which defies color.

Happy Engagement Brian and Nora. You deserve a rainbow of happiness together.

Espresso Royale with Cheese

Sunday, November 15, 2009 | 0 Comment(s)

Friday I decided to roll to Boston to watch my friends compete in a "Coffee Jam." This is apparently the correct terminology for an event where barristers face off in hopes of A) Pulling the perfect espresso shot. and then B) Making the most original/beautiful latte art. And first off, a big congrats to Andrew, Marty, and Christina for putting themselves out there and competing. There was a coffee tasting competition as well, but I totally chickened out, both because I have very little regional expertise with coffee and also because the other contestants seemed to be a lot of middle-aged women. And, you know, i got a rep to protect. Sigh.

The first thing that needs mentioning is that the turnout for this event was much better than the Espresso Royale at BU was expected. I would say about 200 people rolled through at one point or another. Unfortunately, the shop only had one machine, so the "Latte Jam" turned into a "Coffee-a-thon" I'm talking starts at 7 ends at after midnight. The barristas should have gotten sponsored by the hour. Lots of standing and LOTS of espresso pulling.

Here are what I have deemed the high (and low) lights.

1. The Espresso Judges. This is #1 by far. After watching people pour coffee in various ways for 5 hours before having to drive 2 hours home, it is hard to not feel like you may have wasted your day. My overwhelming response to this is, "At least you weren't an espresso judge. These 2 guys drank what must have amounted to about 15 shots of espresso (about 30 competitors). At midnight, 2 hours later, these guys were tweaking out as if the gerbil running on its wheel in their brains had lost its footing and was just flying around and around and around. One judge grabbed the mic and was all, "Wellifyouguysarehangingoutlaterwewilldefinatelybehangingoutlateratoneoftwobars. Thisonebarandthenthisotherbar. We'llbethereforawhilecomehangoutwithus. The other guy was essentially walking laps of the store with occasional breaks to stand on chairs briefly and then dismount. If you are a movie buff, this one judge looked a lot like the backseat stoner in Super Troopers who eats the bag or weed and shrooms and then bugs out. He looked a LOT like that kid. Nothing says funny like other people's misery, and these two guys probably still haven't gotten to bed 2 days later.

2. Our crew took a little "coffee break" (muahahahaha puns) and went a got a beer at a nearby bar. The bartender was amazing. 38ish and a bit grizzled, this guy rolled out one liners so casually and coolly that he had us all in stitches. My 2 favorites. (in talking about the Celtic Rondo's new 5 year 7 mil dollar deal: "Only in America. I'm a school teacher as well, and I would love just the 5 years guaranteed." The way he said "only in america" was the funniest bit. Like most humor, it was all about tone and timing. I'm realizing that that one may not translate to the blog well.
The second one (talking about how he has a real affection for western Mass), "Are you kidding, in Boston im like a 3 (none of us know what the hell he's talking about at this point), but out near Williams, where I met my girlfriend, out there, I'm like a 9." Commence hilarious laughter. Hammer meet nail, on head. Amazing.

3. This one blows my doors off. At one point in the night Andrew's friend Jud announces (white bag in hand), "Free Cookies!" Myself, Christina and others have the correct response to that announcement which was: Take cookie. YUM! Free food + cookies = gloriousness. Enter super-supreme d-bag extraordinaire (SSDE). First thing about SSDE you should know is that this guy went first in the espresso contest and instead of 3 shots pulled in 5 min, he pulled 3 shots in what was more like 14 mins. If a shot can be pulled "haughtily," then he did it. Anyways, this kid breaks the 1st rule of free cookies. The first and only rule states: "Free Cookies ---> Take Cookies." Any additional step makes more work for the giver of free cookies, and is unnecessary. So SSDE comes up and asks, "What kind of cookies do you have?" I can let this slide. I'm not a monster. Jud kindly responds with the 3 types of cookies. SSDE then reaches into the bag, pinches and lifts a molasses cookie and says, "I assume these have no eggs or dairy?" WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT (thing Kyle's mom from south park). These are FREE FUCKING COOKIES. Either eat a god damn cookie or get the fuck out of the way. Period. And i'm not unsympathetic to food allergies. I'm lactarded and have tons of allergies. This is just a total breach of etiquette. It gets better. Jud, I think he must be a friggin saint or bishop or holy man or Buddhist or something, REPLIES that he believes that they don't have dairy but he's pretty sure they have eggs. These are cookies folks, of COURSE they have eggs. SSDE summons ALL the douchebaggery he has and says, (nose upturned), "Well, im allergic to both dairy and eggs, so i will have to decline." (puts cookie he's already handled back into the free cookie bag.)

I am not a violent man. but, i am 100% sure that if i were Jed, I would have slapped SSDE at this point. Slapped, not punched, but slapped very hard. are you kidding me. if you cant eat eggs or dairy, the words, "Free Cookies" should not appeal to you. When i see a "Free Cheese and Crackers" sign, i do not get excited because i can't eat cheese. But i CERTAINLY don't go up to the people and ask all sorts of questions about the cheese's origin and process and then say, "no thanks, I'm lactose intolerant." Cause it's a super dick move. SSDE failed free cookies hard. And if you can't even pass the "free cookies" test, you need to really do some self-examination.

4. This is getting long. I'm skipping to the latte-art contest. Here is the thing with this contest. If you are a cafe, putting on a contest, I really think (if you are doing the [not blind] judging as well)-you need to not have your barristers compete. They both have the advantage of knowing the machine and the judges. Never has this been more evident than the atrocity they called the judging of the art contest. First place was a nice design. The guy was super full of himself to the point of hoping he would trip and fall, but his pour was nice. Done. I didn't see the second place pour, so i can't comment. Andrews pour looked like this:

The 3rd place cup (oh i wish i had thought that it was good enough to picture at the time) looked like a it had a white pussy-willow branch down one side (no definition, no clarity), a slightly better rosetta attempt up the other side, and a tiny little heart on top. It was not good. At Amherst Coffee, that thing would not fly. Oh, did i mention this guy worked at that store. Yah, Andrew got screwed. It's not a matter of opinion either, its a fact. We now have a running joke that whenever something sucks real bad, like driving over a huge pothole, we say, "oh wow, that pothole sucked, it gets 3rd place." Disappointing.

5. This is the last thing. There were a lot of people there. But my personal favs were these two posh looking 40 something women straight out of my stereotype of ladies from Stamford, CT (turns out they own a shop in CT--i was shocked . . . um no.) These were the cattiest bitchiest coffee ladies of all time. Highlights:

Lady to me: "where are you guys from"
me: "amherst and northampton coffee (same owner-same team)"
lady: "oh i go to northampton coffee when I'm driving to VT. What beans are they using."
me: "Barrington Beans"
Lady; "Ohhhhhhhhhh (nose crinkles in literal DISGUST!!!) . . . . do you like them? (asked somewhat rhetorically.)
me: (With a look of disbelief) "yes, quite a bit."
Lady: Hmmmmm
Me: * SLAP * (kidding)

Now for Lady #2. As you can see, Andrew poured his latte in an "to go cup." Lady #2 had some real feelings about that.

Lady #2: "I mean, the design is beautiful and all, but you put it in a paper cup and its like, ewwww, who wants to drink that? Nobody?"

I can't believe this c-rag owns a shop. 80% of people get their coffee to go. I am SERIOUSLY considering a performance art piece involving me going down to these ladies' shop and causing a RUCKUS. fuck them. Their daughter/barrister entry who looked like a girl training to be a Stepford Wife, sucked btw. If you going to be a critical bitch, at least have the skills to back it up.

All and all, we had a ton of fun. Good company always trumps hideous results.

The 5 people you meet when you go into the men's locker room. Part II

Thursday, November 12, 2009 | 2 Comment(s)

We now continue our journey into the secret world of public locker rooms.  Ladies, you should know that this brief look "behind the curtain" should be enough to keep you from actually ever entering one of these places.  I know this seems obvious, but not too long ago, one of the people i met just after re-pantsing was a young lady, totally lost, totally not great at English, looking for the gym.  Again, she had somehow wandered smack dab into the middle of the men's locker room while looking for the gym.  This situation could have been much much MUCH MUCH worse.  I'm talking massive amounts of old guy ball sac worse.  She was very lucky.  Her childhood remained in tack.  I escorted her out.  I'm a hero.

Chief Stands-on-Bench

Now one of the reason for the delay between posts (besides the fucking police), was that I really felt that in order to get the full "Chief" experience you should have more of a picture of the locker room.  So, for you my faithful readers, I took my 2nd and 3rd locker room photos.  I swear if grad school doesn't work out maybe i can parlay this into a career in porn stills.  I digress.  Here are some shots of the men's locker room at UMass:

As you can see, its pretty WWII Poland grey.  Add a nice dampness and fungal feeling and its almost like you yourself are there. Which brings us to Chief Stands-on-Bench (CSOB).  As the name implies, CSOB likes to stand on the damp wooden bench pictured, between the opposing locker faces.   Oh, and he's completely naked.  This is a 50-60 yr-old man we are talking about.  Totally friggin nude.  Nudy-tune.  He'd be nude-zilla if Mr. Confidence (coming up next), didn't exist. These are old balls.

Most important to understanding what a nude man standing on a bench in the middle of a bunch of lockers "means,' is to picture where that leaves "his junk."  His bait and tackle.  His penis and balls.

The answer to that most important of questions is, "At eye level."  Now, say your locker is remotely close to his locker.  Say, 5 lockers down.  That means you, quite literally, have to keep a heads up to assure you don't "knock heads."

I'm sorry, but this doesn't seem like appropriate locker room etiquette, and being the psychologist i am, i have tried to come up with potential reasons that CSOB stands on the bench.

Here's some potential reasons.  One.  He thinks its easier to access his "top locker."  If this is the reason than i wish him small pox (it is worth mentioning that CSOB is not, to the best of my knowledge and observation, remotely Native American).   I realize that there are no people in the reference pictures (for good reason) but the top locker starts around my belly-button.  Come friggin on.

Reason 2.  He's worried about the cleanliness of the floor.  On its face, this seems like a reasonable explanation, but here's why it's not.  First of all, he doesn't wear shower shoes, so he can't be OCD or super worried about his own hygiene as it relates to touching things in the gym.  Second, the bench is totally totally totally gross.  The bench is an ass cushion for most.  A bare ass cushion.  Standing on that thing is arguably grosser (hygiene-wise) than the floor.  I have seen things on those benches that would necessitate me blocking underage users from seeing my blog in order to recount.  DON'T LICK THE BENCH!

So there is no good reason for putting your pee-pee on that kind of display.  And, in the interest of satisfying your curiosity, its nothing to be put on display.  This is not a candidate for the penis hall of fame.  I'm not one to usually talk about other men's stuff, especially negatively, but like they say, if you put it all up in my face im gonna put it all up on the internets.  Ok,  only i say that.  But i think it goes without saying.

Last thing about CSOB.  He has been "friendly" enough in the past to engage me in a totally unsolicited conversation about pool etiquette (put on your boots, the irony is about to run thick).  He complained that people don't know how to stay on their side of the lane (when splitting the lane) and they always end up hitting or kicking him.  Now, as someone who has experienced this, i will admit that this does suck.  It breaks your rhythm and can hurt if you aren't expecting it.  That said, a few days later i saw CSOB in the pool in a lane all by himself.  His crawl stroke looked like an epileptic being tasered.  I laughed out loud.  This guy needs more mirrors in his life.  When i lived in Brooklyn, my housemates and i printed stickers that said, "But maybe your the asshole."  They brilliantly were meant to make people look at themselves before cursing out everyone else in their surroundings.  We made those stickers for CSOB.

Next time on "the 5 people you meet"  Mr. Confidence.

as a teaser trailer i will tell you that i hate mr. confidence the MOST!!!

Fuck the Police

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | 2 Comment(s)

Disclaimer:  There will be swears. Filthy language.  So if you don't like filthy language then you might not find the following funny.  But you probably will.  So stop being a dickbag.

Ok.  I know you are dying, waiting for the continuation of the 5 people you meet in the locker room.  And they're coming.  But sometimes life intervenes and necessitates immediate blogging.  And so, i blog.

Last night, I visited my friend Andrew's house.  Andrew lives in the middle of nowhere.  Even by Western MA standards.  If you check google maps on your iPhone at his house, well, you will find you have no signal, but if you could, the map would read "map not found."  The shit is in the woods.  So, I'm driving home on a 1.5 lane dirt gravel road at 10pm in the darkness.  Not long into my drive, I see a cop car coming towards me with its lights on.  Now, in my mind I'm thinking, if he's got his lights on, this must be important. Remember, we are in Nowheresville.   To have your siren going would be almost ridiculous overkill.  So, being the conscientious driver I am, i pull to the side of the road to allow him to pass more easily.  It's not a very wide road, and I thought this gesture would be appreciated. 

Quite the contrary.  The patrol car pulls along side me and rolls down his window.  "REALLY," i think to myself, do i really have to talk to this guy. WTF.  He leans out and says, "You been drinking tonight."  I feel like im in that commercial where I roll down my window and beer starts pouring out of the car.  Except . . . I have not been drinking tonight.  "No sir," I say (i am pretty sure the annoyance came out in my voice on that one).  "Hold on," he replies as he proceeds to get out of his vehicle.  HE'S GETTING OUT OF HIS VEHICLE. What the hell is going on.  I'm not drunk. I'm NOT speeding.  I do not understand why this is happening.  As he comes to my window he says, "Well, I'm responding to an accident, but i see you on the side of the road idling and i have to wonder if you've been drinking."    

Breath Breath.

Possible responses (in the order they pop into my head):

"What is wrong with you you fucking dickbag."
"If there is an accident up the road what the FUCK are you doing harassing me for no reason. What if they are bleeding out while you are talking to me.  You fucking dickbag."
"So what you are telling me is that you are pulling me over because I was a sensitive enough driver to pull over to let you by more easily.  Are you fucking crazy.  You fucking dickbag."

What I said: "Well, I saw you coming down the road with your lights going, so I pulled over." (mental "you fucking dickbag")

His response: "Are you sure you haven't been drinking, your eyes are really red."

My first thought:  "Interesting point dickbag.  Considering how red eyes are usually a clear indicator of intoxication.  Much more so then smell or erratic behavior." 

My actual reply (all true): I have chronic dry eyes and blufferitis.  Here are my drops (shows cop drops).

Him, "What's blufferitis"

Me (and im nervous so this doesn't come out super elloquently):  "It's the tear ducts getting clogged.  Well, the ducts that release the oil that keeps your tears from evaporating. . . (i realize he's not following, so i try to clarify quickly) . . . and then I have to clean the mucus out from around the eye."

Somehow the word mucus always seems to do the trick.  Drunk people don't talk mucus I guess.  Or perhaps the police dickbag realized that he could be doing something actually productive (like helping the accident victims down the road).  For whatever reason, after a second good swipe of the flashlight in my eyes, he tells me to drive safe. 

In my mind, "I was fucking driving safe til you pulled me over for pulling over like some idiot monkey-turd and ruined my goddamn drive in the woods."

I should say that just as the nervousness of the encounter was receding and in its place the anger was taking over, a deer ran to the side of the road in front of my car.  I literally had a deer in my headlights.  Sounds more cool in print than in practice.  I drove the rest of my way home firmly in the "nervous" zone. 

I hope the people in the accident were already ok, because im pretty sure there wasn't much help on its way.

The 5 people you meet when you go into the men's locker room.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | 0 Comment(s)

This is going to be a multi-parter folks.  I'm telling you straight up front.  Don't act all surprised when the "to be continued. . . " gets thrown up there.  Ok. Disclaimer done.

I spend a lot of  time at the UMass pool.  And, conveniently, there is an old locker room attached to the pool.  I should add that the new gym complex just openned, but doesn't have a pool.  What this says to me is that an old gym locker room from the 80's which is already filthy gross is now going to get forgotten about (due to only being used by swimmers) and get super dirty filthy gross.  Anyways.  This is all the setup for what I am calling "The 5 People You Meet if you Spent Time in the Men's Pool Locker Room."

Number 1:  Ol' Man Whistler

Ol' Man Whistler (OMW) is almost always around . . . somewhere.  He's a lifer in these parts and the locker room is more like his home bathroom than a public area.  But, OMW's most prominent feature is his ability to constantly whistle the first 3/4th of a line of a song, that you are just about to recognize, when he switches to the first 3/4ths of the next song.  It's vocal ADD really.  But when you echo your song fragments across a gym locker room, it is the mouth music equivalent of chinese water torture.  I have actually run into someone that I met at the pool, and the first thing he talked about was OMW.  And while i find his "tune" incredibly obnoxious, this guy was talking violence.  OMW better watch his back.

Next time on TBRARUMUD . . . #2: Chief Stands on Bench      and      #3:  Mr. Confidence

Laundry List

Sunday, November 8, 2009 | 2 Comment(s)

Today i folded a bunch of my laundry.  About two hampers full.  And the fact that the last thing i did after folding and putting away all those clothes was to fill the hamper to the top with dirty close strewn on the bedroom floor (in my defense, the vast majority were sitting in the negative space where the hamper should have been), leads be to believe that i really need to get rid of some clothes.  But that is a post for another day.  Today's post is RE: leftover sock.  

Now i know that most of you expect me to wax philosophical about the meaning of the leftover sock.  But you are way off.  I'm all about volume folks.  I did not have 1 unmatched leftover sock.  I had 10.  TEN FRIGGIN UNMATCHED SOCKS.  im not sure i understand how that's possible.   Because i know you are dying for evidence, i took a picture of the unmatched colored socks (there were two unmatching white socks of about the same length that i gave a "close enough" sigh to as i balled them together).

Now, 2 things that you can't tell from this photo.  The blue socks with the white strips are clearly different colors.  The two black socks of similar length, while passable, are two different brands, styles, and thicknesses.

How is this possible?  Is THIS a metaphor for something deeper.  Seeing all those orphans on the floor, i didn't know whether to throw all my socks away and start from scratch or start singing from the musical 'Oliver.'

Suggestion lines are now open.  If you've got a reasonable explanation, we've got an operator standing by.

Jump In!

Saturday, November 7, 2009 | 4 Comment(s)

One of the things i look at in my extended studies is gender.  And when you study something specifc for long enough, you start to see trends and differences everywhere.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, so im just gonna leave it at "a thing."

Here is one of my recent observations about gender differences.  Men and women have a different relationship with jumping.  And I'm not talking about sports or athletics in any way.  I'm talking about "why" us normal boys and girls jump.

Men will jump to hit any high point.  We have a natural drive to see if we can put our bodies up that high.  Be it a door frame, basketball rim, or trapeze hanging from a tree 40 feet up in the air and you are expected to just fling your body off this tiny little wooden plank to grab it--i digress--but men will jump for it.  We are achievement oriented in our jumping.  We jump to be given the chance to succeed.  To grab the carousel ring (emotionally). 

Women are not wired this way.  They are wired so oppositely, that if you look in a woman's eyes when she's watching a man jump and hit a door frame you may actually catch the telepathic signal she is sending screaming, "Why am I forced to watch this.  Why am i subjected to the idiocy which is these buffoons leaping at low hanging wood.  And they wonder why we like older guys."  (*the jokes on them, men will jump til it hurts their back to do so).

Women also love to jump.   In pictures.  On a beach or in a group?  Lets take a picture of us all jumping together.  It's not that men won't oblige in these pictures, but it is never their idea.  Women like to be caught in the air on film.  Why?  Not totally sure, but my guess is that it has something to do with achieving the ability to fly.  to be weightless.  Unbound by the earth.  It's just a theory.

If you know of women who jump at door frames or a man who INSISTED on your group taking an in air photo shot, by all means let me know.  All theories are open to revision.


Thursday, November 5, 2009 | 0 Comment(s)

I was not a rebellious kid.  My parents were achievement oriented, which is a nice way of saying that they expected me to ace school, which is a passive aggressive way of saying they wanted what was best for me.  However you say it, I rarely fell out of line, and when i did, it was mostly due to my excess of energy (I believe they call is ADHD now) getting me sent into the hall. 

For the purpose of example: One time in middle school i was dared to put my arms inside my t-shirt and then out the opposite holes.  "Cross-arms."  Oh, this was during math class.  Anyways, i successfully complete said challenge only to find myself (much like getting punched while cross-eyed), stuck that way.  I am heaving back and forth trying to free myself, my classmates are now laughing their faces off, and soon the teacher inevitably sends me into the hallway to, and i remember this quote clearly, "straighten myself out."  For me, the funniest part of this story is that once in the hall, I still couldn't free myself.  SO you can imagine the print shop teacher's surprise walking down the hallway only to find a 7th grader flailing cross-armed in front of him.  Mercifully, he helped me out. 
I think ive made my point in any event.

The setting for today's actual story is elementary school.  In the lunch room you had multiple options.  I believe that there was the days "lunch" plus PB&J and PB&F or the "Fluffernutter."  There may have been more options, but it was a long time ago and I can't remember.  What i DO remember is that my parents were lenient enough to allow me something like 2 Fluffernutters a school year.  Maybe 3.  And i remember being smart enough to let them know when i used my "Fluff passes."  But here's the thing.  If you figure there are 180 school days, and 5 of them I brought lunch because of Passover, and probably 100 of them I wanted what they were cooking that day, and then the 20 or so days where i would trade lunches with kids who brown bagged it, well then you would have the times i ate Fluff at school.  That number = EVERY FUCKING DAY OF SCHOOL (minus passover).  I ate that fluff silly.  I sucked up that white mellowy sugar hug of a substance each and every day i was in that cafeteria.  And I am extremely proud of that.  How ahead of my time.  All i had to do was make sure my older brother (2 years my senior) didn't catch me (aka. tell on me) and I was golden.  So now, think to those days when i would tell them that i had "one of my 2 Fluff sandwiches today."  I was a little friggin genius, rebelling with marshmallow slathered white bread. 

Later, in college or after, I told my parents all this.  They laughed.  Mom called me, "a little shit."  But i know down deep they were proud that I was already thinking for myself by 3rd grade.

O.C.D. Paradox

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 2 Comment(s)

My second paradox already! How exciting.

Today when I went into the gym bathroom i was confronted with this:

(it could have been MUCH worse.)

What you perhaps cannot make out from this quickly snapped iPhoto (it is a delicate  thing taking pictures in the men's locker room).  Is that there is about 10 layers of toilet paper slapped upon both sides of the toilet seat.

So here is my question:  How does the person who is obsessive enough to coat their toilet seat that many times, not also have the impulse to also leave the seat clear after use.  I mean, push it with your foot.  It's one thing to sit on a plastic seat that other people also have sat on.  For whatever reason, it is quite another thing to sit on another person's ass paper.

Worst Fear Realized

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 | 3 Comment(s)

Now, for those of you who either haven't seen me awhile (most of you) or have never met me (im not sure this group exists . . .  yet), you would not know that i have been battling a very irritable set of eyes.  Most recently, my right eye has decided that it would rather be red, itchy, and puffy around the cornea (oh and blurry), rather than white, not-itchy, and not puffy (oh, and be able to see).  At worst it has looked like this:

[What a brilliant first pic of myself for my blog).

These ailments have sent me to all 4 eye doctors in the Pioneer Valley.  They all were no help at all, treating my symptoms in order to relieve the pain, and get me out of their office.  But the symptoms were just that, symptoms of a larger problem, which was not being treated.  So it came back.  Again and again.  Now i drive an hour to Longmeadow to see another doctor whom i like.

Anyways, on a related note, one of my greatest fears in the world is having something driven through my eye.  Even typing that sentence almost made me vomit.  It's not so much touching my eye (i had contacts for years) as it is something going through it. 

Today, in order to make my eyes less dry, the doctor decided to put a "stint" in my eye.  Now, to me, a "stint" sounds like a small rodent, or something that holds other things together.  Either way, it has a very unimposing feel to it.  It lies to us.  It is a small piece of  of plastic (special disintegrating plastic) about a 3/4th of an inch long and with the diameter of about the middle of a sewing needle.  The doctor took this, lets call it a needle, and jammed it into my lower tear drainage duct.  Excuse me?  What happened to you today?  Your worst fear, in plastic form, was realized?  And no one even gave me a lollipop afterward, or felt sorry for me.  No.  I drove the hour home.  Poor me.  Wah wah.

To end on a positive note, here is an unrelated, but hilarious (and embarrassing) story:

When I got home today, after I put dinner from a Northampton Thai place (which i had brought home) on the kitchen counter, i went to close the front door.  As i was closing the door, i noticed the delivery guy from the (very) nearby pizza and sub joint on our porch, pizza in hand.  I looked at him confused.  He was on his cell at the time and as we locked eyes i hear him say, "Oh, wrong house, i misread the number."  Now, what he would have said, were he being completely truthful would be, "I saw an address around this general area, and just figured it was you guys since you are the only people who live this close who order delivery (all the time)."  He had come to our house reflexively.  Now my first reaction was uncontrolled booming laughter.  I mean booming.  My landlord and her daughter even came to the door (we live in an in-law apartment with opposing front doors) to see what was happening.  I told the pizza guy that he had just made my day.  hilarious.  Then i sat down and thought about it.  How sad.  Reflexively.  Sheesh.  Guess it's time to take a break from ordering from that place for awhile.  (But they can still bring me pizzas if they want.

In My Head

I've been writing blog posts in my head all day. This was fine while swimming, but less fine during traffic navigation and while trying to work. God damn you creativity, if i can't push you down down down like my feelings, well then what good am i. JK everyone JK.

This Blog is Brought To You By The Number 31

Monday, November 2, 2009 | 2 Comment(s)

So with my Birth-o-ween having past, i started to think of what milestone 31 could stand for.  Let's face it, on some level im really lucky to have my golden birthday (31 on the 31rst) this late in life.  There really are very few interesting or important milestones post-30 except 40.  I think that's why people end up dreading 40 so much, because they haven't REALLY had cause to celebrate a birthday in 10 years.  I lucked out and got a perfectly good rationalization for 31 to be a milestone.  Could i dress as Larry Bird for my 33rd, sure.  But i am man enough to admit that i have 9 years of pretty unspectacular birthday numerals coming up.

Sooooo.  Let's really make this one count.  This chai (not the tea) anniversary of my bar mitzvah.   And, for this blog entry, the 15th anniversary of me being a driver.

I began thinking of my driving record.  Parking tickets. Check check and check.  I will never learn.  Speeding tickets.  Yes, I have gotten one or two.  Nothing serious.  I even got a ticket for running a red light in CT, and the officer actually hit on my female friend in the passenger seat while giving it to me.  Pig.  Double pig.  Accidents?   Well, that is a tricky question.

As far as the United States of America is concerned, my driving record, impact-wise, is flawless.  The reality is that I jsut had the good sense to get in my only major accident while out of the country.  My question, could the government ever find out?

Let me start by saying this.  My big accident was hilarious.  And in Japan (where a lot of things can be hilarious).  I was driving about a mile from my home and decided to take the shortcut, through the residential (rice paddy) neighborhood, up to my house.  This shortcut, which i literally drove on everyday, came out about 10 yards from a 4-way intersection and was kinda a blind driveway.  I always thought that this was a bit dangerous, but i also figured that all good "locals" know a somewhat questionable shortcut in their town.  As I'm pulling out into the intersection, a car come speeding through the intersection and i end up sideswiping them just hard enough (i was cautiously pulling out) for my black Subaru to put a racing stripe down their white car's side.  Tip to tail.  Now I'm thinking, "I was pulling out slowly and carefully and they were going pretty fast, this can't be all my fault."  Long story short, the people i hit actually knew the other "white guy" from town, were a young couple, and were extremely good sports about the whole, loosely translated, situation.  When i went to work the next day, my boss pulled me aside and told me that, unfortunately, the accident was almost all my fault.  I explained to him (extremely respectfully and carefully) that I didn't think i was driving recklessly and was a bit surprised that the police had decided i was at fault.  He told me I was driving on a walkway.  Let me repeat that.  I was driving on a clearly marked (in kanji japanese characters) walkway.  For school children.  Which i drove on everyday.  On my way to teach those school children.  In my meek defense, the road starts off at a road.  And then at some point gets only slightly more narrow but no less paved.  It still looks like a road.  And then there's the sign.  The walkway sign.  Can I buy a vowel here?  Or a stick figure illustration?  Bueller?

So, the question remains.  Is this on "my permanent record."  Here's what I think.  Had it occured anywhere else, I would think i was good to go.  But Japan is SO organized.  I had to get about 60 pages of forms stamped with my official "hanko" signature stampy thing, that i have to believe that with enough digging, my walkway joy ride could be unearthed.

Or they could just read my blog I guess.

Happy 15th anniversary, driver's license.