Any Given Table

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

Chances are, if you've ever been at a big group dinner (think "a friends birthday" dinner), you have been in the situation of sitting at a long table and trying to, very subtly, arrange it so you are sitting next to and across from people you like.  You probably have also been in a situation where, at such an event, you got stuck at the end of the table, surrounded by people you don't know, with the birthday person, the one you are there to see, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down on the other end.  Bummer.  Super bummer.  You spend the whole time small talking and chit chatting, when you were all excited to get some face-time with the honoree. 

Today i am headed to VT for a new years celebration with about 10 of my favorite people all-time.  Very exciting.  At dinner, you can seat me anywhere at the table, and ill be equally happy.  THAT, is how you know you're with family.

Happy New Year.

How to tell if something is alive or dead

Friday, December 24, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

This is probably the last 2010 post.  no promises. 

And i'm that guy.  Cause our new dog Grover is once again a key player in this post.  this is not a dog blog.  That may even have to be Mmy new tagline for 2011.  To Be Read and Reread Upon My Untimely Demise: this is not a dog blog.

I have found a new role for Grover.  You know how canaries are used in mines to detect carbon monoxide, well Grover can be used to determine whether or not something is alive or inanimate.  Enjoy.


Cars:  GULP! Upon getting within a 15 feet diameter of mmf or my car, Grover will weight his body down and go into, what i call, pancake mode.  His objective is to "become the ground" so as not to be moved.  If Grover is scared of something, it means it must be inanimate.  Not alive = terrifying for the Grov-ster.   (Full disclosure: Grover is slowly adjusting to the car situation after a bit of practice .)

Tiny tiny puppy:  LOVE HER!  Must be living. During a first puppy play date, Grover took on a tiny little new-born pup.  While he had about 45 lbs on the lil girl, he played very nice.

Stairs:  ACK!!!  Grover freaks his shit out at stairs.  He has not yet adjusted to them.  At all.  He does a little excited/nervous jig/hop around the living room when he watches us go downstairs, and has not yet attempted going down them on his own. We'll have to work on this one.

Kitten: LOVE HER! Must be alive. He sniffed this kitten's bum so much that he ended up giving her a bit of a sled ride across the linoleum floor.  Not even the hint of a nip.  The kitten then came back to play.  If it's alive, Grover wants to play with it.  Kittens are just weird small dogs to him, so lets play.

Tile floor:  YIKES! The first time we brought Grover home, he avoided the kitchen and tile entrance-way.  He didn't like the tile.  This one is just his own crazy.  Visit two, he didn't even seem to notice the change in flooring.  I thing tilophobia may be a thing of the past already.

Half a squirrel (mostly the . . . um . . . inside half):  This was found during a walk.  There was much interested sniffing.  Almost as if Grover hoped that the intestines would jump up and bound away so that he could chase them.  But one solid "come" and he realized that he should probably leave it alone.  Actually, considering how inanimate it was at that point, he probably should have been terrified of it. 

Yin-Yang face

 Here's to health and happiness in 2011. 

Telemarketing Gone Wrong

Monday, December 20, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

Let's go back.  Back in time.  I am a wise-ass, tightly wound, over-achieving high school student.   My dad, at that time, is a tightly wound oncologist who hates, above all, being interrupted by telemarketers.  Especially during dinner.

Context.  This is a time when cellphones don't exist and the constant interruption from phones was not yet the norm.  This is before caller ID and knowing ahead of time not to pick up an "Unknown Number." Especially during dinner.

And so, when my father did, on occasion, pick up the phone to find a well-enunciating young man or woman asking him personal questions with no lead in, or telling him about the marvel that is so-and-so running for lieutenant governor, he let em have it.   There were definitely a few different tactics that he employed.  There was the pointed dressing down, where the fact that he wasn't screaming made it all the worse.  And then there were the more seldom, but much more fun to watch "sprint and slams." These are where he says one line about the fuckery that is calling people during their family meals and then says BYE! and slams down the phone.

Context.  Now, when i say 'slams down the phone', i don't mean an iPhone was thrown down on a table.  This is way back when phones had two pieces, the base and the receiver.  AND THEY WERE CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER!  And there was this wonderful empowering feeling that could be had by violently returning the receiver to the base, thus ending the call with a slamming sound on the other end.  the bases were pretty much built for that impact.  These were the good ol days i tell yah.

*Quick Tangent:  in the "you heard it here first department." We need a slam button for our cellphones.  A button you can press that will emit the sound of a slamming phone to the caller before hanging up on them.  The phone slam is an endangered species, and i think there really needs to be "an app for that." *end tangent

I tell you all this because one day back then I picked up the phone and heard what was essentially a telemarketer from some oncological journal, wanting my father to contribute.  I knew how to deal with these people.  I'd seen my father do it time and time before.  They said, "would Dr. Z like to contribute to the  . . . blah blah blah. 

"I'm sorry sir, but Dr. Z passed away."

"Oh oh, i'm so so sorry.  I'm sorry for your loss.  Have a good night."

I'm brilliant.  Face it.  You're laughing.  That means you're just as awful as me.  Doesn't it feel great.

My dad laughed to.  Hard in fact.  I remember that he thought it was super funny in that way that parents do where you can show your kid that you know what he did was hilarious but at the same time you restrain yourself so as not to encourage such behavior. 

I went downstairs and returned to, most likely, watching some tv.  I'm not completely sure what was happening in my dad's mind upstairs, but i suspect it went something like this:

"That funny ass little shit.  Telling those money-callers i'm dead.  hilarious.  I mean, what's the worst that can happen.  Well, the journal could POTENTIALLY report that i'm dead.  and i guess that telemarketer could take it upon himself to tell someone in the magazine proper to but me in the obituaries . . . holy crap they're gonna tell everyone i'm dead."

like i said, he was high-strung in those days.

about 45 min later he comes down stairs to talk to me about said phone call.  He is no longer laughing.  He says that i have to take responsibility for my actions.  Which means, he says, I need to call this oncology journal back and tell them that my dad is not, in fact, dead, as i had earlier indicated.

I'm 17 but i'm not blind to the ridiculousness of this.  I mean, it was the "fund raising department" calling for money.  Do they talk to the editors.  No.  How does one track down the person i told?  I can't.  How hilarious and humiliating is it to call someone to tell them that you lied about your dad's degree of alive-ness?   Very.

But the red lines slip-and-sliding horizontally across my dad's forehead made me sure that something would need to be done.  So I did my best.  I found a number for that magazine.  I called and talked to a totally different person.

I said,  "Look, here's the deal, you guys called to get money from my father, whose an oncologist, and I told the guy on the phone that my dad is dead.  Which he is not.  And so now i'm calling to let you know that Dr. Z is, in fact, alive.  He is worried that this might somehow get to the obituary section of your magazine and thus tell everyone he's dead, when he's not dead. "

Silence from the other end of the phone.  Then.  "Ok . . . i'll . . . um . . . let them know."  

I bet he didn't.  Smart money says that the guy i first talked to hung up and moved on to the next name on the call list --  and the second guy i talked to most likely hung up, said to himself "what the f was that" and went about his business.  Little did they know that in the background of those 2 ridic phone calls was a Shakespearean comedy/tragedy playing out at my house.

It seems, that once again, the joke was on me.

What This Blog Post is About: puppy love

Saturday, December 18, 2010 | 4 Comment(s)

I promise not become one of those people.  I promise. This is not the end of the mattitiyahu blog and the beginning of the puppy blog.  While i cannot promise there won't be pictures of grover in the future, after this post (you'll at least get a break til we pick him up for good on the 3rd), i can promise that i won't treat this dog like my child and think you want to know every minute detail about his expressions, poops, and snoring (its adorable--the snores not the poops [though the poops are now hook-worm negative--which is good--oh my god im those people!!!]).   Come to think of it, i'm gonna try not to treat my unconceived child like that.  No promises there. 

but this is a blog post about grover.  that's a lie.  Like always, its a blog post about me.  but in this case it's my experience of being with grover for a sleepover for the past 24 hours. 

Our little gentleman

Folks, it's been a revelation.  I have never had a pet.  That's another lie.  I have had countless fish (die) (quickly).  I also had my beloved elderly babysitter convince my parents to let me get a bird when i was in middle school.  I got one.  For three days.  Then i had an asthma attack and ended up in the ER.  Bye bye birdie.  But that's it.  everyone was allergic to cats, and dogs were, from day one, always not an option.  Yes, we asked.  Yes, we pointed out that they had had dogs when they were little.  But we knew, in this regard, they weren't going to budge.  I don't hold a grudge (rhyme).  But what i did hold onto was the feeling that "i wasn't allowed to get a dog."  Or perhaps more accurately, "dogs are things that other people can have."  having grover spend some real time with us started to break that self-conception.  And the outpouring of happiness that is replacing it truly makes me feel like a 7 year old, giddy to get the best Hannukah present ever (even better than the previous best -- which was the original Nintendo).  I couldn't even sleep the night before we picked grover up.  5:30 am.  I was wide awake.  Puppy day.

He is a love. We brought him to the local/our favorite pub last night which allows dogs.  The music was going and there were plenty of people.  He was shy at first.  then he adjusted and took the pets, praise and peanuts from the bar patrons (sneaky dog--just like his mommy). Then he just chilled.  We sat there getting compliments on how well behaved and good mannered he is, and we're like, "yah, we've worked really hard on him . . . . for at least 8 hrs. now."   He has trouble with firsts.  Steps are a no go on the first day.  The tile floor near the bathroom and kitchen was a boundary until i put his food dish on it (scarfed).  But mostly, i love his want to be near us.  The kindness he explores with (he's in the rescue center running free with about 7 cats, and he just wants to play with them) and the thankfulness he emits when he comes and plops down next to you . . . mmf and i are deeply deeply in love.  All over again.  This morning, after mmf took a quick nap, i woke her up by saying, "You're still my favorite all-time, but now it's close."

this post is about happiness. excitement.  change. 

back surgery sucked.  my eye infection has sucked.  grad school has sucked.  there has been a tangible lack of excitement plaguing my recent life.  But right now.  in the moment.  I'm excited.  I'm excited for new years when my friends are coming into town to play in the Vermont snow with me.  I'm excited to move into a bigger place where mmf and i can coexist without being on top of each other all the time (hehe--not in the good way).  I'm excited to be a dog owner and share myself with a pet in a way i have never had the opportunity to in the past.  I'm excited to give grover the bourge-est, most spoiled, love-fest of a life that he was denied for his first year and a half.  I'm excited that amongst the crap of this year i've had two of the all-time best days of my entire life (engagement & yesterday), as well as getting to watch my brother get married.  And im excited to be excited about things again.  I love the new.  I love the nervous excitement.  It makes me feel alive.  and that's what this blog post is about.

There is a Monster at the End of this Entry

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

Growing up, Grover was always my favorite Muppet/puppet.  I wouldn't know if i were near or far from anything if i hadn't gotten to watch Grover plod back and forth from the camera so many times.  Not only that, he also had the best books.  "there's a monster at the end of this book" is truly a piece of kid-lit genius.  I think i'd still enjoy it if i read it today.  but wait, there's more.  Grover also had a secret identity (don't we all).  Who doesn't want to throw a knights helmet on their head, whip on a cape and call themselves Super Grover

Part of the reason i chose to go to Wesleyan for my undergraduate degree was due to Grover.  Under the buildings at the school there are semi-abandon tunnels running, pretty much everywhere.  Because of the semi-abandon nature, students through the more recent years have found keys to open the hallways and, it now resembles the walls under the NYC underpasses in the late 80s.  Graffiti everywhere.  But this is liberal-kid graffiti and less a decidedly less edgy feel to it.  My favorite piece included a huge spray-paint face of Grover, with "Grover RULES!" across the top.  But then, and really what sold me on it, is that it said, "Elmo Sucks" across the bottom.  There are people who felt strongly enough in their Muppet love that they would go so far as to disparage another neighbor on Sesame Street.  Those are people i wanted to be around.

I'll give Elmo a pass here -- he's doing us all a favor.

So, all of this is to say that it is somewhat fitting that mmf and i have decided to name our dog Grover.  This decision was made all the easier by the fact that our beautiful new boy has a ginormous head.  A melon for the ages.  In person, he almost resembles the dog in the movie "The Mask," when the dog put the mask on.   Hell, it's almost as big as Eric Stoltz's head in "Mask."  Cept way cuter.

We rescued this love after he was found super underweight and neglected.  Hurts my heart to think about.  He won't formally join us until our New Year's move (to a dog friendly apartment), but we plan on visiting a ton.  enjoy the first installment are what will not be the last photos of Grover the Love Monster.  Oh wait, HES the MONSTER at the end of this post@!!!!!

 This kitty was totally instigating! and Grover was just sniff sniff sniffing (he also lost his . . . ahem . . . partially visible manhood today -- so i send my cross-legged best wishes)


 Our Fathead!


Living Between Boxes

Saturday, December 11, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

At some point or another, we all find ourselves in between boxes—either literally or figuratively, or both.  For example, in filling out the GRE form, there are only 10 bubbles for the letters of your first name.  Thus, my name, as far as the GRE people are concerned is Zimbler, Mattitiyah.  And they don’t care in that “you are only a number to us as we make you pay us big $$$ to take a test that has no predictive quality and is merely yet another revenue stream in our academic ponzi scheme.”  I’m looking at you GRE psychology subject test.  Outside the box.  Outside the culture.

I’ve always somewhat prided myself on my ability to figure out the boundaries of any given box and slowly to apply pressure to said boundaries.  I pierced my tongue (and then went to teach Japanese elementary students with it in).  My point is that I bring a lot of it on myself.

Recently I have found myself between boxes in a new way.  You go to the doctor or tax form, or university document, and it asks you to check one:


Admiral Akbar says: It’s a trap!!!!!

I am not married.  I know this because no one has put a ring on me.  My bare fingers announce my non-marriedness.  Also, no ketubah.  No ceremony.  No dancing.  No I dos.  I think you get the picture.

I am not single.  If you don’t believe me, I’ll have YOU tell that to mmf.  See how that works out for you.  Wear a cup.  And beyond that, it’s difficult to say, after having this woman in multiple hospitals with me, that I am unconnected in the way that the single box is asking me to designate.

Which means, by process of elimination that I must be separated, or more accurately, separate.  I am, briefly and without my doing, firmly between boxes.  I am “other.”  (“I am legend” was already taken.)

 all of our greatest philosophers work w/ spray-paint

*End of the post tangent:

One of mmf’s college friends visited us last night and she told us a story of a dinner conversation game, played with her parents and godparents.  The game is you substitute one of the words from the title of a movie with the word “vagina.”   As in, “the vagina whisperer”  “the lord of the vagina”  “vagina: resurrection.”  Mmf’s initial reaction to the game was, “and then what happens.”  Nothing.  It turns out that that is all you need.  I swear.  Get three people, and try it.  Endless fun and laughs. 

*end transmission.

Leggings: What the Devil wants for the holidays

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | 5 Comment(s)

*Authors Note* This post is now 10 years old and it remains one I feel ambiguously about. While the following piece accurately reflects my feelings in that moment, I am not about shaming women for the clothes they wear. Please know this as the comedy piece, and my personal feelings on this matter (in general) have changed. 

Leggings.  Jeggings.  Jean-ies. spandex tights.  Ladies, i don't care what you call these things--it's all the same to me.
r u f'n kidding me
And i know that the predominant sentiment is = leggings are not pants.  In other words -- if you wear leggings, your top should come down over your midsection.  But we never talk about why this is true.

Let's talk about it.  Ladies, i can see your vagina.  And i don't want to.  It's your vagina.  After years of fighting the "less is more" sentiment on women's clothing, now we're moving towards a thin layer of black film over los labias and it's good to go.  I don't think so.

Let's go back in time shall we.  The 80's.  In the 80's spandex were an acceptable form of clothing . . . for both men and women.  This was, in retrospect, such a bad decision that most of the 90's were spent making fun of ourselves for our clothing and style choices in the previous decade (puffy bangs, jams(hammer-pants), skids, snap-brackets).  I mean, men in spandex equals junk flying around everywhere in very public view (when i told this to an female undergraduate RA she said, "well that would make things easier for us ladies."  touche.)  This was very bad.  very very bad.  The penis is not a beautiful thing at its best, but seeing it saran wrapped to a guy's leg really wasn't helping anyone.

And now the 80's are coming back.  And i have to ask, "Are you fucking kidding me?!?!"  It kills me to watch us repeat the sins that we just spent a decade trashing ourselves for.  Side-pony tails are not "back in."  Oh, people may be wearing them once again, but they still look as stupid and ill-advised as they used to.  They do.  The music should be the only thing from the 80's that lives on.

Which brings me back to: Ladies, I can see your vaginas.

What's so unbelievable about this is that vaginas are primary internal, so saying i can see it means  . . . it means . . . its bad folks.  I don't want to be, visually speaking, up in you.  And i know that guys are reading this (all 4 of them) and saying "I love seeing all of a woman's business area."  And i believe that supports my point: Women. doesn't the fact that men like this emperor's new clothes of a pants choice hint that there is something wrong.  When have you ever thought that the common man was a good judge of fashion.  They're not.  They just want to see you naked.  And leggings are the closest to seeing naked women in public as we've had in a while.

So put on that long sweater.  Dress up those leggings with a dress.  This is a public service announcement folks.  I feel like a crotchety (pun) old person saying this but ladies, "put some pants on."

leggings + Ughs (sic) = Cancer for your eyes.

Internet Killed the Graduate School Star

Saturday, December 4, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

this post is for Kris Kross.  I may jump around.  enjoy.

I am, like so many, addicted to the internet.  Signs that you too may be addicted to the internet? Staring at your computer doing nothing until you realize you've been doing it for an hour +.  That's a good hint.  Not being able to get any work done at a location with wifi.  Clincher. 

I have friends who have two different types of study locals.  1) where they can socialize, do some work, and get their internet needs met. 2) those places that, no matter how much they beg borrow or try to steal, they cannot get on the web.  These places force them to look at computer as the impotent web-less word processor it was originally invented as.

I don't have this second place yet.  But i now fully realize its necessity.  With twitter, my blog, 2 email accounts (3 really), facebook, and the seasonal fantasy baseball, we now have the ability to live our lives online.  And while i hate those "i don't have a TV" people as much as the next, this online life can be seriously problematic.  Because we've "evolved" to the point where it takes actual effort to unplug from our virtual selves. 

And i can't help but thinking that if IM having this much trouble with dis-connectivity, how much harder it must be for those college and high school kids--where knowing "where you stand" within your community seems unbelievably important.  And, additionally, im so friggin thankful to not be 14 at a time when you can be so easily publicly mocked (so glad to not have to deal with the facebook update, "OMG! did you see @mattitiyahu's zit minefield today in Algebra.  L is for not being that kids friend).  Shiver.

And now, looking at old pictures in Sports Illustrated, what strikes me is not the sportsperson being highlighted, but that everyone in the stands is watching him/her.  Nowadays, when so in so is elevating for a monster jam, 25% of the people in the stands are staring straight down at their phones.  People miss experiencing things live, in order to be the first person to share the event they just overlooked with all of there friends. 

When i was little, my parents would tell me about getting their family's first TV.  Black and white.  3 channels.  And I would make jokes about how the dinosaurs must have been geeked for the new entertainment, and simultaneously i was thinking about what inventions that i didn't have as a kid would be ubiquitous (though i didn't know that word yet) when i grew up.  The answer has to be two-fold:  Cell-phones and the internet.  I am not yet convinced, however, that either has totally enriched our lives. 

I can make a strong case for the internet as positive.  It's changed keeping in touch with people, music, shopping, and making travel plans (but not traveling) both easier and less expensive.  The only costs thus far have been our privacy, our free time, and sometimes our integrity (ahem . . . 2 girls 1 cup  . . . cough cough).

Cell phones might be all bad (fyi. i have a iPhone and use it--so file this all under intellectual hypocrisy).  They have extended the reach of the internet to our all the time.  They have made being distracted a constant.  They have made being rude to our fellow humans a daily occurrence.  While i simultaneously can't remember how my friends and i used to meet up in New York City pre-cell phones (were we actually where we were supposed to be on time all the time?), I lament the time when my life couldn't (COULDN'T) be interrupted by almost anyone at almost any time.  We got call waiting, and used it to prevent ourselves from talking to people we didn't have time for (telemarketers specifically).  But then, everyone had call waiting, and not picking up the phone became a subtle sign of disrespect.  I used to make fun of my father who didn't want an answering machine because he didn't want the responsibility for getting back in touch with all of those people who wanted a slice of his time.  It is only now, 20 years later, that i realize he had glimpsed the future.  He saw the demise of personal time's writing on the wall, and trying to fight back.  First came the answering machine.  Then the car phone.  Then cell phones with voice mail.  Now, we seem at the mercy of constant requests for our attention--as if all required the same urgency.

I'm not sure where to go from here.  Going backwards in time has never proven a successful strategy, so i'm looking to adapt.  I guess i have to make a decision based on who i am.  What i mean is, a part of me is in this blog, which is on the internet.  And a part of me is in my facebook, my twitter, my iPhone.  The important thing to figure out is . . . how much.  What percent am i the me that you meet in person, and what percent am i my online persona.  I guess what i'm saying is, i think i need to change my levels.  That is, if i ever want out of graduate school.

Lady School

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

This is not a post about the merits of all-women's colleges.  Its not.  This is about totally observational data regarding my few interactions with Smith students.  In two parts.

Part I.

I was in an acappella group in college.  this is only embarrassing because i friggin hate acappella music.  That said, it's a great way to meet girls, and since i wasn't committed enough to forming a band, it was a good outlet for performing. 

One concert we did at Smith (hell, maybe it was Mt. Holyoke or Barnard, parts of college are a haze).  We drove up (down?) for a singing road trip and rolled into the all women's college around 8.   Here's what i remember about that show.

I remember thinking that maybe people know our music? because of the applause we received coming on.  Then a female solo.  Then a MALE solo -- applause again.  I remember looking out at the two tiers of female spectators (we were in a lobby like room with a wrap-around balcony formed by the floor above), and having the sensation of the guy at the vampire party who doesn't realize that he's at a vampire party and that he is part of the main attraction.  These women were fully engaged with what must have been thrilling vocalizations coming from the male members of our coed troop.  They had that crazy glimmer in their eyes that said "maybe we want to screw you, but maybe we just want to rip you to pieces."  I guess it was pretty much how women feel all the time, except they were the pack of wolves, and our collective acappella penises were the prey.

Part II

The present.  I'm coming to you live from the coffee shop.  For the past hour this woman has been conversationally trying to have intercourse with the guy shes talking to directly behind me.  She going for it. Full throttle.   "Yes i want to go to that party." "Yes there are a lot of lesbians at Smith, thats part of the reason me and my friends are trying to go out more and party"  "im into hiphop, like mostly the main-stream stuff."  It's blatant.  And in IMing my friend simultaneously, i even told her that i thought this woman must go to Smith.  A few sentences later, my suspicion was confirmed.  And it's continued.  On and on.  Why doesn't he just take her to the bathroom already.   It's like she's writing a book called, "How many ways can i say, "i want to fuck you."  The guy is a semi-aloof Amherst College student.  the kinda guy who, when asked if he goes to UMass says, "no no no no no, Amherst College."  Apparently they don't teach "closing" as part of their liberal arts curriculum, cause i'm still here getting impregnated by there foreplaytalk.

happy hannukah to the jews.

"Cause I'm the Turkey, That's Why!"

Monday, November 29, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

Thanksgiving is my family's biggest holiday of the year.  One of our yearly traditions includes going around the table and saying what we are thankful for.  We do a bit of an emotional autopsy on the year past.  The whole process includes moments of laughter, usually some tears, but always a feeling of connection.  This year i spent one of my first thanksgivings away from my family of origin (not including when i was living out of the country).  I went with mmf to her family's place in northern VT.  How north?  Well, we had a white thanksgiving--so pretty much all the way north.  Mmf's family was gracious enough to indulge my request to keep this public thanks-giving tradition.  And it was wonderful.  I was really touched that they agreed to it, but in addition, they all really took it seriously and were heartfelt.

For the holiday past,  I present you with a few of the things i am thankful for.  and a few things i am not thankful for.

1.  it is difficult "entering" a new family.  since the engagement, i think there has been a tangible feeling of the elastic surrounding mmf and my life together, tightening.  Since this is the first time i'm seen mmf's folks post-engagement, its the first time we've thrown around words like "mother-in-law" and "son."  For whatever reason (TV, media, observation of life), i really don't like the words "-in-law."   Whenever i hear the suffix "-in-law," i hear "-that-i-hate."  So that's a no go.  To get to the thanks part:

I am thankful for my expanding family.  It's a strange thing that in the past year, i have gained 3 sisters (mmf's sis and my bro's wife and my bro's wife's brother's wife--i'm still not gonna use "in-law" however) and a brother.  And, what i'm realizing, as life gets more and more  . . . ahem . . . real, is that i need family to expand to deal with the new challenges i face.  as I am a firm believer in the concept of independence as a farce, i am thankful for the new branches that are sprouting from my family tree.

2.  Staying on theme.  When joining a new family, it can be anxiety producing, cause all the normative stuff you've done your whole life is not necessarily the same normative stuff that mmf's family is used to.  Two things i am thankful for, that are part of mmf's narrative, but not my family's:  Apps & Cocktails. 

Every time i'm in VT for a holiday we have pre-dinner food.  Pre-dinner food rocks.  it's beneficial in that it keeps the non-cooks from picking at dinner, and also makes you feel classy--like you're at a fancy wedding or a benefit gala.  It doesn't matter if it's shrimp (hell's yah), pigs in a blanket (HELL'S YAH!) or cheese and crackers, apps are NOT just for the iPhone. 

Cocktails.  Turns out, cocktails make giving thanks much easier.  you can really get into a flow.  Cocktails (both pre-dinner and during) accentuate the gala atmosphere the apps created.  They also underline the point that you are relaxing.  No, we don't usually crack the scotch at 2pm for the football game, but today is a hoooooliday, so we make an exception.  We are refined.  we sip drinks.  we are fancy.  fancy free.

Things I am not thankful for.

1.  Two days ago (Nov 27), i ate sushi with mmf to Christmas music.  The whole time.  They just rocked thru the greatest carols mix.  Not fun.  It is the WRONG friggin MONTH!  I still have turkey in my fridge.  It made my dinner tangibly less enjoyable.  Mmf suggested that i just pretend it is Christmas day (she mixed up her Asian cuisine, but it was still super funny since she said it deadpan). 

2.  Recently, i've had some eye problems (again).  Long story short, to varying degree's my right eye can be normal to extremely red and irritated.  When it's really red, i have to go through the unbelievably unpleasant process of explaining my condition to random strangers who ask about it.  Which brings me to: I am not thankful for strangers who think its totally acceptable to ask people personal questions. 

The worst of these is a man who is a serial conversation joiner. a man who will find any opportunity to start and continue a conversation with, pretty much anyone at pretty much all times.  It's both creepy and annoying.  Recently he, having seen me around the coffee shop on occasion, bust out with "what's wrong with your eye, it's red."  In my mind i said, "No shit, MY eye is red.  Thanks for letting ME know.  I was totally oblivious to my own friggin eye.  What would i ever have done without you pointing it out."  My next thought was saying, "Yah, it gets that way when it senses a totally inappropriate question from strangers."  I didn't.  Mostly cause i love the shop so much that i don't want to increase my drama with any of its denizens (with exceptions of course). 

I will say, that i also encountered my favorite example of how TO ask someone about their eye infection.  While at another local bar/brunch place with some friends, a mutual friend/acquaintance joined us.  While i don't know the guy very directly, our circle of friends has great overlap, and he's always been extremely nice.  He asks, "Can i ask you a personal question." (by couching the question as personal, he's recognizing that you just don't shout questions of infection out without prompting. aka. Hey Mister, That herpes?)  I said yes.  He said, "Do you got the junk?" He was referring to conjunctivitis -- or pink eye.  It wasn't an unreasonable question.  Pink-eye is both super contagious and it looked like i had it.  He also asked it in the best way.  The way a kid who used to go to sleep-away camp and get pink-eye and lice checks regularly would ask it.  I told him that he was safe -- no junk here.  junk free since '93.

happy thanksgiving.

The Beaver Den

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

I've had my first little "blog break" in quite some time.  For that i half-apologize.  i just haven't been feeling it.  No, actually, that's a total lie.  I'm still writing blog posts in my head (in and out of the pool), but i just haven't had it in me.  Life has been pitching me high and inside, and i have been brushed back, out of the batters box.  And i understand that in a world of fairy-princess-glitter-hope-dust that when i do have these tough periods in my life, that those would be the most important times to write and share and bletchhhhhh.  Sorry, i just threw up in my mouth.

So, anyways, sorry about the break.  But even blogging must take a back seat sometimes.

But no one puts Mattiti in the corner.  Let's get to it.

LIVELIVELIVEUPDATE I was just informed the coffee shop im in is closing in 30 min.  Motherfucker.  This is what i'm talking about folks.  Boogiemans following me.

One of my favorite TV shows at the moment is How I Met Your Mother.  It may be that the characters' back story is that they all went to Wesleyan (like me).  And it may be Neil Patrick Harris -- who is brilliant.  Buuuuut it also may be that they have developed one character's back-story to be that she was a teen-aged Canadian pop-star.  One of her fake songs is my ring-tone.  More recently, they showed her Canadian kid's morning show (thing Mickey Mouse club) which was all about beaver ("they're the national animal--they're so cute").  The whole show was one huge beaver joke between these two teenaged girls and  . . . . . . ALAN THICKE!!!  Alan has made a number of cameos.

So the songs that "Robin Sparkles" sings are partially hilarious because she sings them with a Canadian accent.  And that got me thinking that there are plenty of Canadian singers in the world (i know, its hard to think about) but you never hear the word "about" pronounced in that Canadian of Canadian ways.  We leads me to think that at some point, early in these Canadian singers careers, some said, "Ok ok, now you'll never get famous if you continue to pronounce 'about' like a crazy Canadian.  it's pronounced 'about.'"  And then that singer practiced singing about like Americans instead of Canadians.  And that makes me laugh.

America the beautiful.

verbal diarrhea

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | 3 Comment(s)

Here has been life since engagement:

mmf gets sick.

i get violently ill, go to the ER, get pumped up with 2 liters of fluids.

mmf gets it.

things aint good t'all y'all.
So excuse the lack of posting

but until then, a poem:

Online Dating

so youre a "stickler for punctuation"
(look! i used quotes)
That just means that we are not's.
but it doesnt mean
we cant be

i can be political too!

Friday, November 12, 2010 | 3 Comment(s)

a few political points that i just plain need to make.

we the people have a problem.  it's that we the people thing that we the people know what's best for we the people.  we don't.  not even close.  that said, in many cases, neither do the people who we elect.  

the newly elected GOP leadership are honestly trying to push for the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% to be extended!!!!!  that's insulting.  they are trying to claim that by continuing to save the richest Americans money, those people will infuse the economy with said wealth.  There are some problems with this theory.  First, it's totally bullshit.  You know, i guess that is actually the most definitive of the arguments.  I mean, while we've had these (outrageous) tax cuts in place, we almost fell into the worst depression since the "great" one.  I'm sure by continuing to favor the richest people, things will get better for the poor.  Oh wait, no they won't.  We also have economist after economist who says that this "trickle down" mentality simply doesn't work.  And the Republicans know this.  Which means, the Republicans are trying to push this through in order to save themselves and their rich friends some taxes--even if it costs us our country--our deficit and our dwindling middle class.  I just can't fathom, considering the problems and unemployment the country is facing, the titanium cojones it takes to stand up and suggest extending benefits to the least needy group possible.  No, this doesn't even help small businesses.  It only helps what the news stations like to call the fat cats.

So on a deeper level, here's my problem with this particular Republican proposal.  The Republican party has always put themselves out there as the party for working class (middle) America.   And while i don't share many viewpoints with the party, every American deserves a voice -- those in Idaho are just as important as those in New York (City.  idaho and parts of NY state are extremely similar).  But this policy doesn't benefit middle america.  It doesn't help farmers.  It doesn't help the poor.  You can't be "of the people" with half your mouth and promote policies to save millionaires money with the other half.

It seems, in this regard, the newly formed Tea Party will make for some interesting negotiations.

Full disclosure.  What the "Tea Party" is seems to be almost comically unclear to me.  There is the Obama birth certificate looking, oversized democrat hating, (totally and utterly racist) wing(nuts) who i like to laugh at when they make quotes about witchcraft or gay devils etc.  But there is at least one branch that seems committed to being "of the people."  these guys and gals, while still not my political favorites, seem to me to have a sane and reasonable platform.  And, some of these Tea Partiers were the ones that got elected.

One of the top priorities of these new tea party republicans is to rid the political system of earmarks.  You remember earmarks.  Pork-filled bills.  Essentially, they are pieces of legislation that, when passed, give big chunks o money to a state without strings or oversight.  In theory, they give local legislatures the ability to fund programs in their state, since they know the needs of their constituents best.  In reality, they are ways for politicians to transfer large amounts of money to each other without oversight.  Pork-belly spending.  "i'll vote yes for your bill if you pass my bill to give me (my state) this 4 million for 'public works.'"  The "needs of the constituents" it seems, tend to often coincide with the needs of that politician.  It's a corrupt system.

So, these tea party GOP'ers have proposed legislation that makes taking earmarks against the Republican Party's platform.  This is . . . a good thing for the american people (in my opinion).  it is not, one might suspect, in line with the current Republican point of view (many like their pork).

to give you an idea of the greater Republican feelings about earmarks, we take you to Arizona, where John McCain is adamantly against earmarks, while his fellow Arizona Republican simultaneously has individually passed over 10 earmarked bills which send the state millions.  Johnny doesn't only like his cake, he likes to eat it too.

So now you have some Republicans working "for their people" and finding opposition from . . . other Republicans.  Glorious.  It is, in essence,  a battle between who the Republicans say they want to be, and who the Republicans currently are.  Sure, the old school GOP say banning earmarks is "unnecessary" and "would be ineffective" or "not what's important at a time like this."  But i think, down deep, they are scared shitless at the prospect of having their gravy train shut down by members of their own party.  While the GOP may have the house majority, they aren't the monolith they used to be.   And i think that's a good thing.

Locker Room Update: We have Lift-off

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

I know there is a subsection of you, my noble readers, who really are always just reading in hopes of me updating you on the "locker-room situation."

Well today is your lucky day.  Cause we've got update.

Last we left our anti-hero, the knots were piling up and i was beginning to wonder what was going on in this guys head that he would be immune to having 13 knots in his swimsuit strings.

I'm here to tell you he's human.  Today i did a thorough count, and there were only 5 knots in the strings.  Most notably, the ones that i put way down the string where they were normally covered by the waistband, are out.  So her knows someones tying knots in his strings, and he still keeps it hanging outside.  All this equation needs now is a little consistency.  With my back surgery et al., i had to take a hiatus from a regular swim schedule.  Now, engaged and healing, i'm ready to re-commit.  Now that i know the message has been received, we just have to crank up the message's volume.

I added a knot today.  That makes 6 total.

But wait, there's more.

Last week, as i was walking to my locker to change into my swimsuit, the young man (grad student age) with the locker directly next to mine, held out his bathing-suit, and wrung all the water out of it right in front of my locker.  A big friggin puddle.  And granted, i don't think he knew it was mine (even though i said SOMETHING audible when i saw it like, "come ON."   I projected it up into the air and not at him, but come ON.   He did see me go to my locker though and offered no apology.

Also, the bottom catch on his locker doesn't work.  This means that (i am the devil) if you pull on the lock at all, the bottom half of the locker bows well out.  Now, i'm not SURE i have it in me . . . but this situation really seems to be calling for a piss puck.

What is a piss puck?* I'm surprised you don't know!?!  But i'm happy you asked.  You take a paper cup, and pee just a half-inch or inch of urine into said cup.  Put said cup in the freezer.  Wait.  Wait a little more.  What you remove from the freezer in an "in mold" piss puck.  To use the piss cup, simply peal away the cup and you can slide that piss puck through any small space.  Under a door, into a locker.  And when it melts, you have yourself a gosh darn mystery.  How did someone pee in the middle of my office overnight?  Does it smell like pee to you?  It smells kinda like pee to me?  


I could easily slide the piss puck into his locker.  I'm not saying i'm going to.  i'm just letting you all know that i could.  Easily.

I am like the Punisher of the locker room.   Doling out vigilante justice.  I will become what they fear most . . . . . Consequences!" 

*it should be made clear that i did not invent the piss puck.  I think i saw it on or something equally embarrassing. 

How i got engaged again: Deep Water

Sunday, November 7, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

Just kidding, just kidding.

its just that the readership of my blog has really spiked since i added the whole mushy love story, that i figured if i kept it going, i could really increase my readership.  And no, it's not even a little difficult to whore out my deep and pure love to get people to read me.  My friend Brian suggested that i break off the engagement and get re-engaged.  This is a good plan EXCEPT that i would undoubtedly lose my testicles in the process.  Brian did not seem willing to donate his testes to the process.  Pussy.

back to reality.

So, usually, while the pool locker room is an obvious wild-card, the pool itself is pretty benign.  But, every once and awhile, you get surprised.  The other day i happened to go to the evening hours for the pool which is considered "Open" swim.  This means that people other than lap swimmers are welcome.  And sometimes you get kids or families who swim around the shallow end and everyone's happy and life goes on.

But this day there were a gaggle of CLCG's (cute little college girls) all bikini'd up and attention seeking, splashing it up.  This started off fine, but then got, um, dumb.  One of the tinier and smallest bikini'd of the girls, quick as a whip, climbed up the HIGH DIVING BOARD!! and prepared to jump (lap swimmers still going back and forth).  this would have been both ridiculously ill-advised and pretty moronic to a normal person who cared about the welfare of others.  Just as the girl got to the end of the board, the lifeguards (two college guys) looked up and saw what was happening.  He said, "Um . . . . no.  There's no diving boards during pool swim." It had just the right amount of condescension and "use common sense people" inflection.  The girl, in her pouty best said, "but i'd really want to."

Now i thought, and this was my bad, that the college guys would get distracted by all that skin and boobs and let her tomahawk onto us poor and tired lap swimmers.  he did not.  He actually replied with one of the best quips i have heard in a good while.  "Then join a team," he said.  Perfection.

The real winning comment came from the same girl about 40 minutes later (i was now post-swim).  As her friends are drying off poolside, she goes into the women's locker room.  About 5 minutes later, this girl comes out of said locker room to exclaim, "I am SO confused.  All the lockers look the same!  Does anyone remember where I put my stuff?!?"  These are the voices of our future, people.  The next generation.  Of course all the lockers look the same.  They're LOCKERS@!!  What locker room have you ever ever ever been in that didn't have identical lockers (besides half vs. full-lockers).  Did she grow up with some magical multi-color locker room with personalized inscriptions.  Did the number on the locker not seem like an important difference to commit to memory.

but you know what really makes me sad about this girl.  It's not that she's an idiot.  There are a lot of idiots.  it's that she chose to announce her inability to find her locker across the entire pool room area.  She could have easily just walked around the pool and then told her friends that shes an idiot and she can't even remember her own locker.  They would laugh at her and it would be super funny and i would never even have known the better of it.

But with comfort and confidence, she screamed it.  The ease with which she unloaded her verbal diarrhea made me sad.  Being satisfied with mediocrity, especially while engaged in what is supposed to be higher education, just seems wrong to me.

I think you can understand why the silence of being underwater appeals to me.

the end of my gf: a love story

Friday, November 5, 2010 | 7 Comment(s)

i've never known, previous to writing an entry, that in writing it, i would actively save myself a ton of time.  Until now.

Many of you who read my blog with some consistency have noticed the "character" of gf often slips her way into being a main character in my blog.  its only because she is also a main character in my life.  i don't use her name because she never asked me to start a blog and share my/our life with everyone who cares to read.  but, for shame, she is my gf no more.

this, my friends, is the story of how i put a ring on it.

from heretoforth, the woman previously referred to as gf, will now be called mmf, which stands for my motherfuckin fiance.  booyah.

halloween is my birthday.  Atrologically speaking, i am a scorpio sun, scorpio moon, and scorpio rising.  the combination of these two things means that i am, essentially, the second coming . . . of satan.  and while i try not to believe in anything that tells me im bad . . . i kinda like it in this case.

either way, for my birthday weekend i told mmf that i wanted to go to boston (where i used to live prior to grad school) to visit my old roommate and my college friends who live in the burbs.  Being that it was my birthday (and riding the fact that last year mmf got super sick right before my birthday) she was totally open to whatever i wanted to do.  I made reservations for friday night at a schmancy restaurant near my old place (where we'd meet my old roommate BC), and we planned to walk it to dinner from there.  On saturday we planned to head out to burbville to have a late brunch with the college peeps and their two little adorable daughters.

the traps were set.

As we left the house for boston that afternoon, mmf realized she left her phone at the house.  i asked if she wanted to go back and get it (we were only 5 min. away at that point).  she said no.  i asked her if she was sure.  she said yes.  i DIDN'T say, "but you're gettting ENGAGED this weekend."  so we left it.

in the car my stomach was getting  . . . . wonky.  before long wonky turned to full out nausea.  we stopped at a rest stop to handle it the old fashion way.  didn't help.  was i REALLY getting physically ill from nerves?  but im not nervous.  i mean, this is the easiest and best decision i've ever made.

im nervous.  turns out even for a "relationship expert," committing one's life to another make me feel like im literally going to poop my pants.  in describing the feeling shortly after the fact, it felt like my stomach was taking a poop in its stomach was taking a poop in its stomach and so on until the end of stomach pain.

When we got to BC's place, mmf went to unpack our stuff in our guest room.  I immediately suggested "birthday shots."

"what do you want to shoot?"

"scotch please."

I then did two (and a half) shots of scotch . . .        solo.

Best two shots of Dewar's White Label that i've ever had.

Men and women--heed my advise on this one--i'm not saying you should get drunk before you propose to someone.  I'm not even saying that marriage is a good or bad thing.  What i'm saying is, that if you do make the decision to propose, and you do get nauseous, and i suspect you will, a few shots reallllllllllly takes the edge off.

*begin tangent* another point of advise.  i'm not quite certain how every person doesn't use their birthday as "engagement bait."  I mean, driving hours and hours, "birthday shots," i'm sold that a birthday as a guise for an engagement ruse is really the way to go.  Downsides?  You get very little birthday.  but honestly, even I (im generally well on the high side of birthday celebration--halloween people!) couldn't get too psyched up for turning 32.  I'm not a Magic Johnson fan, and its just an odd uninspiring number to me.    Upsides?  best. birthday. present. ever. *end tangent*

it was go time.  i checked in with BC, "you got your phone call ready?"

(A short walk from my old place, lies Brookline Lunch--which is not in Brookline [its in cambridge on brookline street]-and is not only for lunch [we ONLY go there for weekend brunch, but its open from breakfast til late lunch].  This is where mmf and i had our first date [she had smiled at me on FRIENDSTER a few months prior--we were taking it slow. {im just now realizing how long we've been together}]  I have been going to Brookline for over a decade, and in that time i have become very friendly with the amazing family that owns and runs it.  When mmf and i were on our first date, in fact, one of my then roommates was our waitress.  So yes, i had called ahead.  The plan was for the three of us to leave the house to go to dinner.  shortly after leaving, BC would get a phone call from work, requiring him to run home and do something for work quickly [trust me, this is totally plausible].  Though i had chosen a very real and conveniently located fake restaurant for us to be going to, mmf never really "investigated it," so i didn't have to worry about walking her a slightly longer way to Central Square.  This route would take us past Brookline Lunch, at which time i would put phase 2 of the plan into action.)  The fake phone-call came, and (in what he would like to consider his acting masterpiece) BC excused himself quickly to fix a work problem.

It was 6 pm.  As we walked up Brookline St., i, candidly, commented that all the buildings looked new to me.  Mmf replied that they probably just looked new because the only time i see them is when im hungover Sunday morning (on the way to Brookline for brunch).  Which prompted me to say, "Wouldn't it be amazing if we could go to Brookline Lunch for my birthday dinner."  She laughed and agreed and lamented the fact that it had closed earlier in the day.

As we neared the restaurant, i saw the first hitch in the plan.  There was some student film crew shooting literally in front of the door.  I know i should have been thinking, "Oh, i don't want to ruin their shot." But what i WAS thinking was, "they better not ruin MY shot!" I improvised.  I took mmf's hand and just kinda walked her into Brookline Lunch.  We were recognized and greeting by the owner/server/mother and i asked her if they were still serving.  As we had rehearsed, she said they were closed (um duh . . . we were the only one's in there) but, for us, no problem.  We sat down at the booth of our first date and ordered coffee.  Mmf figured we were having a cup of coffee and we would wait for BC to catch up.

Our amazing hostess then asked what we'd like to order. (i had already called and told her).  I had the steak and eggs (my usual).  At this point, mmf starting freaking out a little.  Not that something big was coming, but that i was going to be full for our nice dinner (i made her get all dressed up).  She said, "Are you THAT hungry"  She was worried that dinner at BL would ruin dinner at the other restaurant.  She was not onto me yet.  The only think that can explain this (given her surroundings) is that being proposed to happens so rarely, that every piece of her body rejects the idea that it could be happening until she sees someone on bended knee.  I told mmf to order as if she were going to be eating.  She replied, "BC's not coming, is he."  "No, he is not."  She now knew something was up.  She ordered the bacon benedict (i had ordered the spinach benedict for her--close but no cigar). 

Coffee came and i started the love talk.  in sum, i told her that not only is she the most perfect person for me, and not only does she love me in a way that i totally can feel all over, but she is also one of the best human beings i've had the pleasure of time with.  i told her that after our first date, her slightly-to-tight hug was one of the most disarming moments in my life.  and mostly, that i'd love her forever.

and then i stopped talking.  a very pregnant pause.  I was milking it.  I was making her sweat it out.  I was also trying to get the wording of what was going to come next straight in my mind.

(she told me later that when the love talk started she started revving up.  she starting thinking, "holy shit, this is happening."  When i paused, she started thinking, "you idiot mff, it's his birthday, he not proposing during his birthday.")

So here we sat.  My love and I, alone in the brunch place of our first date, in a restaurant that opened late just for us . . . . and the love talk started again.  this time it ended with me sliding out of the booth, onto one knee, and asking her to marry me.  i took out the ring.  I hope that the sparkles would blind her into a quick, "yes."
das ring (greens on left, blues on right)
And now for the best and most important part of this story.  She said yes.  She said it quickly and clearly and before the tears started.  i hugged her.  she hugged me.  i threw my arms up like i was trying to grab the ceiling and yelled to the owners/cook/server/their kids, "She said YES!"  Much merriment. 

She once again realized she had forgotten her phone.  I laughed.  We ate.  We smiled.  We smiled wider.

We went back to BC's place after and drank champagne and played some Wii (it's that fun).  I then tell her that we aren't staying with BC.  Off we go to the Charles Hotel were we have a suite waiting for us.  The bed is heavenly.  We check to make sure.

An hour later i take her out to dessert at Finale in Harvard Square.  We are doing this right.  I get a flight of dessert wines (the "Noble" flight, since they are all wines with grapes with the noble rot.)  they are yummy.  We eat yummy desserts til we are almost comatose.  then back to the hotel.
the noble flight
the next morning we get breakfast in bed (two mornings of it actually--part of the hotel deal i got!)  It is a present to both of us.  It's like magic.  Even if the guy had only brought up a pot of coffee, it still would have been the best thing ever.   We ate and drank and were still in bed.
its made of magic
but we have to get to late brunch in the burbs . . . .

When we arrive, not only were my college friends there, but so were my brother, her sister, my college roommates, her college roommate, a few grad school friends--in short--a friendgasm.  She cried again.  We drank tons more champagne (thanks A&S) and as all different people we love got to know each other, we basked in their presence.

Of note.  At one point we went outside and played a game a few of my peeps came up with (and i named): Remote control zombie tag.  Teams of two.  One with their eyes open, the other person with eyes closed.  Then, essentially the blind one gets told what to do by their partner in order to either tag or avoid being tagged (depending on if you are it).  My partner was Davis.  Davis is a dog.  For the next 30 min or so, i got run (dragged) all over the place, generally exploring trees and shrubs around the yard.  I actually didn't get tagged until Davis made a b-line for one of her owners who happened to have already been tagged.
 Davis the dog. And my zombie remote control.

At one point my college roommate directed my brother to "DIVE" for a tag.  He missed completely, but the hilarity of the event was enough to make BC, my boston roommate, stop directing his charge around the yard.  Subsequently, Andy, mmf's college roommate's husband and BC's zombie charge, ran full speed into a person-sized bush.  What a good sport.  It was that kinda day.  It was the kind of day where you run into shrubbery full speed and don't even care. 

Halloween night.  My birthday.  Instead of going out on the town, we all got into costume and played more wii.  it was wicked fun.  i have zero regrets. 

Cassandra's Skeleton
She's NOT MINE! But i love her.

ps.  No, we don't have a date.

Tales from the Past: Japan

Friday, October 29, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

in 2004 i went to Japan to teach english.  when i was there i wrote these epic updates when i was stuck in the office not teaching.  today is an excerpt from one of my first emails home.  Enjoy:

"Note to those who didn't know it.  The real Yoda is actually a 98 year old woman who lives in the mountains of japan. Im not kidding--spitting image.  The Japanese people in general have HORRENDOUS posture --always bent forward, so when they get old---and like turtles these people grow really old--they are extremely bent over and  curved forward (i hear it is a "spinal disease"--whatever).  But they are generally so short that it just makes them look low to the ground.  Give them a small walking stick--which they have-- and send them hiking up only the steepest mountains--which they do --and you have yoda.  Only the force could be keeping these woman alive.  In the words of home star runner--"its Cwrazy"

The toilets. Oh my god. This country will never be the super power it wants to be until they change there toilets.  Sure they hve some "western style ones" but the others.  Picture this.  And porcelin oval about the length of you arm set completely into the floor.  There is a little porcelin flap/windshield up by the flushing mechanism which is that of  a urinal. No squat boy squat. Oh, im sorry--are your pants in the way---you'll have to take those off--and the underwear too--so im friggin half naked shitting in a whole in a god damn 1st world country.  I mean what the fuck.  Only once have I managed to dump without taking all my close off and that's because the stall in the office bathroom is small enough that I can pretty much brace my back up against the wall with one have as I hold on to the flusher with the other.  But I still risk ruining my life by dropping an errant bomb in my pants.  Its scary.  Thankfully the toilet in my apartment isn't like that.  Actually, it's even got a heated seat.  And that's niiiiiiice."

Mourning Lost Posts

Thursday, October 28, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

It finally happened. 

It was bound to, really.

It feels like an initiation of sorts.

This afternoon I went to the coffee shop and wrote a long-ass post.  So long, in fact, that i decided to save the final bit to do tonight. 

And then tonight i went ahead and erased it and couldn't get it back.  Yes i tried Control+Z.
It's gone.  All that time and energy.  All the witty barbs and spastic metaphors.

I didn't even get to reread it.

Grim Poetry to Start Your Week

Monday, October 25, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

For no reason at all i decided to go with some early week poetry shares.  You may notice my poetry has a decidedly different feel from my writing.  what can i say.  im a mystery wrapped in an enigma.  that's why the ladies love me. 


Before the fighting began we were wide eyed lovers.
Like those anime characters.
And I know shit like “before the fighting began” is so clich├ęd,
But so is moving across the country for someone and then having them break up with you.
So im guilty on both counts.

her middle name

i could tell by her breath i would not know her shoes.
it wasn't that it reeked of alcohol or anything
i mean, it was morning
but the tinge of dishonesty in the expectedness of her morning breathe . . .
i wouldn't know her middle name.

A desire is not the ache in your belly
that is a feeling
that is something deeper.
You should deal with that on your own time
we've decided to work only on desire in this hardware store
don't change the rules
work with the tools you've been given
that measuring tape only stretches so far.
how dare you throw that wrench at me.

I turned, in a half-hearted attempt to hide the apathy in my eyes
her grasping fists didn't notice my less than subtleties.
Her friends glare with a knowing look of ignorance.
Like they've been given some insight about my soul which they can mutually snicker at.
They feel dominant in their closeness to her.
They try to show me that
they try to prove their dominance

but their stare only solidifies my impression of them
worn tennis balls looking to put some more zip on their forehands.
They haven't smelled her breath in the morning
they already know what color her toothbrush is.
And the think they know mine.
But its not green.

Your Diary

Its hypocritical
I understand that
but your poetry scares me
you behind the curtain being honest about me
even to just yourself
that scares me
more than you can imagine

perhaps it has something to do with the tangerine dandelions you can't omit from your dialogue,
those sugary bumps hide the demons that fester underneath

your poetry scares me
I understand that its hypocritical
as we swing back and forth 
smiling to the breeze
I wait for the rope to snap

and down comes baby cradle and all

perhaps its the suppressed spirit I think I caused that can only leak out onto pages hidden in a drawer.
your passion pressed like a tear in a pillow, muffled so mother doesn't hear

everyone's so guarded already
its hard knowing something solid is behind your back
when you don't let me feel
let me feel
let me feel

like I have the key in my pocket

Two-Face Tuesday: Return of the Locker Experiment

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | 6 Comment(s)

Sometimes you just have to admit the worst part of yourself.  that's what today's post is about. 

Many of you who read the blog know of my little social experiment going on RE: A man who grossly  leaves his bathing suit hanging outside his public locker.  For a review, look here, here, and here.

Well, with my ever-healing back sealed (pun?) up enough to swim (now is it a pun?), i am back into the dark dank world of the locker room.   And his suit is still hanging there.  And it still pisses me off.  And it still has 11-some knots in it.  My first day back in the pool i put two more knots in this guys suit string.  I mean, one for that day, and one for all my missed time due to injury.  I indulged.  I have to admit that being gone for awhile and seeing all those knots still there . . . i kinda thought he might have left the area. 

But he hasn't.  I know because i saw him today in all his incredible hairiness.  As I described him to a interested commenter, "Additionally, i've seen him. Not particularly attractive, but VERY particularly hairy. Mostly on his back."  Moving on.

Here is the thing ladies and gentlemen.  The rub if you will.  The guy is super nice.  Not in a fake tangential way.  But attentive in a way that recognizes the moment without making it bigger than it is.  I've now had about 3 or 4 interactions with him, and he recognizes me, and we share kind words.

Which means, in a nutshell, that i am a two-faced bitch.  And all i can say in my defense is that this guy leaves his dirty gross swim trunks hanging out next to my locker!  But sadly, the truth burns its way past the bold and italicized feeling of outrage, and cuts to the heart of the issue.  This guy, this inhuman piece of poop who is unbelievably inconsiderate in his locker room etiquette, is not a bad person.  In fact, he's an odds on favorite to be one of the good ones.  And no matter how affronted i may feel, my knot experiment has some nastiness to it and is above the level of deserved revenge.  I am, at this point, mostly in the wrong.  And, with my friendly demeanor to his face, i'm even a bit scummy about it.

But the fact remains, when i am having a nice short conversation with him, i am also being present and attentive and genuine in that moment.  When i am viciously tying knots in his bathing suit, i am also being genuine in that moment.  And if i am judged for my deeds upon my untimely demise (which i doubt more and more everyday), i won't begrudge them? throwing this one on the "sin" pile.  But i really hope they have a sense of humor and at least give me one of those wry half-chuckle smiles that says "good one" implicitly.  Come to think of it, i'm gonna need them to have a sense of humor to even stand a chance.

Interestingly, i didn't touch his suit today.  Perhaps because it was all wet, but i like to think it was at least a little because i'm a good human too.

ps. I recently told someone that this blog is "an expose of me."  What do you guys think of that being the new "faking it til im making it."  i need feedback people.