Worst Fear Realized: Part II

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | 3 Comment(s)

There has never been a blog post that I more hoped would not have a "Part II" than this one. Of course, this immediately brings me to my latest eye doctor visit.

Turns out that my right eye continues to be problematic as a function first of dryness, and second of me rubbing it. In order to try and ameliorate problem #1 (and in turn problem #2), the doc decided a second stent was in order.

A brief reminder that "a stent" in this case is shorthand for a small icicle-shaped plastic elephant tusk which the doctor pushes into one's (upper this time) tear duct in order to block it from draining the eye's tears and thereby bathing that eye in increased moisture.

As I said last time I wrote on this topic, the whole "needle in the eye" phenomenon is one of the scariest things I can conceive of, falling just short of drowning to death under ice. How I managed to keep still for this second procedure, this time knowing what was coming, was nothing short of heroic. So I rewarded myself with ice cream (and copious amounts of lactaid).

you put your stent in there (Note: this is not me)

You can feel the difference. My right eye now slowly bleeds tears like the bad guy from the Casino Royale Bond movie (cept my tears aren't made of blood--fingers crossed).

I guess the silver lining here is that at least I only have two tear ducts left, and therefore this thread will max out after Part IV. Somewhat fittingly, if it comes to that, I will have no tear drainage at all, and will appear to be constantly crying. Though, at that point, it may not be the lack of drainage.

XXX Bromance

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | 4 Comment(s)

My friend (bro-friend) Sandro introduced a new term to me tonight that is simply too good not to be shared. To be honest, I'm pretty sure Sandro doesn't read the blog, so I was going to take credit for this brilliance, but then I realized that other mutual friends would surely have alerted him to my joke stealing, thereby sending my bro-love into the arms of a another bromance. And that simply will not do.

As we set about our ritual bromance groping, he geniusly quipped, "Is it bad that I'm getting a broner?" A BRONER!!! Right! It's THAT good. Another friend added, we should bring that to New York next weekend and make it a thing.

And we should.

Mattitiyahu Fun Facts: #435, 89a & b

Sunday, March 28, 2010 | 4 Comment(s)

#435: I filled the soap container in our bathroom for the first time in my life tonight. This is a major accomplishment for me on many levels. What I'm talking about here is using the big CostCo sized hand soap tub (kept under the sink) and filling the bite-sized dispenser by the bathroom sink with soap. Now, I know your first thought is that I am a horrible messy boyfriend who makes my woman clean for me. But that is not the case. The case is that when I lived alone I had no use for hand soap by the sink. I just didn't need it. I used my shower barsoap and was perfectly content. Or so I thought. Living with my gf has opened my eyes to the joyousness which is having hand soap in a easy to use container by the sink. Oh the wonder. Oh the magic. Anyways, in an effort to try and do more things that I don't usually do, I took the initiative and purposely refilled that sucker. I popped my soap dispenser refill cherry.

#89a. I enjoy and appreciate watching/experiencing people who are the best at almost anything. If you can eat the most bananas in 3 min. or are a master kite fighter, I want to see you in action. So, when I heard that Zakir Hussain, the maestro of the tabla, was coming to perform at UMass, it took very little convincing to get me on board with checking it out. And let me tell you, it was worth it. This guy owns that tabla. He made it his ever-loving biatch. His hands flew at the drums in a way i can only compare to watching Japanese kids play those crazy slap-button arcade games in Tokyo. It was impressive in a way that, even though i knew I was missing some additional cultural element, i still could appreciate as masterful.

#89b. And this is probably more important that 89b. I, being admittedly ADHD, cannot listen to more than 2 hours of any type of music that I don't already know all the words to. That is to say, when Zakir and friends hit the 2 hour and 15 min mark, I was ready to jet. It got a little painful at the hour and a half mark when one of Zahir's friend's on the, let's call it the twangy sided & tabla sided, 2-sided drum, ripped off a 30 min solo which broke my gf's concert staying power. To my credit, I didn't even say anything about leaving til the 2.5 hour mark when my gf and I caught a lull (Tangent: Indian music has no actual song endings [making it difficult to leave], instead there are moments of lulls in the musical pattern every now and again.) We left one of our friends behind (of her choosing) and as we rounded the bend away from the performance hall, we could hear the drum beat starting to build once again. Incidentally, as we were leaving, we realized that every non-Indian person at the concert was also leaving. While this was the minority of people at the show, it was incredibly apparent that the 2.5 hour limit on tabla is a cultural thing.

One of the other reasons we left is that a good friend had her best friend coming in from out of town, and I wanted to get a chance to meet her. So we took off from the UMass campus on the 20 min drive (including our walk to our parked car) to Northampton. While approaching the bridge into town, a full 15 min into our trip, I get a text from our friend who we left behind at the show: "Still same song"

This is one of the funniest and saddest texts i have ever received. So the fun fact here is that while I understand and even appreciate the greatest tabla player in the world, I cannot listen to more than 2.5 hours of his music until he comes up with some catchy lyrics to go with it.

Pic of the Day

Saturday, March 27, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

I stopped all 3 people I was walking with to snap this photo on the streets of London.

First thing you should know as that the arrow is pointing right at someone's 2nd story apartment.
Let's make some jokes.

1) Is this someone's personal sign that they put up to advertise their prowess?

2) All I can think of is some wheelbarrow-like sex position that allows "travelling" as part of the sex act.

3) Then I think about how badly I'd want to compete in some such race.

4) I love the pictorial representation of a hump. So many ways to go with this, and they choose the "fat snake" approach. Seems somehow very "british" (i have no idea why though)

5) I hope the person who lives in the pointed at apartment has the kinda attitude that's all "you're damn right I do" and not all "humping is a gross term for a lude practice."

6) What happens after 175 yards if you aren't finished? Is that when you just resolve to go oral on each other. If so, I think it's nice having guidelines.

7) Doesn't the glow coming from atop the picture make it seem like god approves of long-distance humping. I know my god does.

8) On second though, what if the person living there is actually a really expensive fashion designing prostitute? And (s)he takes yards and yards of fabric as payment for the humpings provided.

9) Could everyone on that block have the last name "Humps." They must be pretty influential to get their own street sign.

10) the only thing that could make this better is a "Curb your dog" sign right underneath.

In the end, let's all just agree that "humping" is a terrific word. Absolutely terrific.

Spam dreams

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | 4 Comment(s)

This gem popped up in my inbox recently.

RE: There is no a better present for a woman, than a replica jewelry.

Original and exclusive accessories take part in businessmen and ladies official life all around the world.

Such brands as Cartier, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dolce&Gabbana, Yves saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co.are already known all over the world on all five continents and became the symbol of wealth and success. So these accessories are copies of very good and high quality, their prices make them an unreached dream for millions of people throughout the world. But we have reached the decision for you. 
True copies of famous accessories can make you like a real businessman or an oligarch from the page of "The Forbes". Our inernet accessories shop presents thousands kinds of different units of commodity for any taste and wish. We are selling half-silvered pens, lighters, bracelets, belts, cufflinks, pins for ties and many other accessories for the lowest price in all the Network.

Um . . . crazy right?  Let's take this from the top.  You can't thing of ANYTHING better to buy for your woman than "a" replica jewelry.  Not even ONE thing.  One very obvious, staring you in the face, thing that would far exceed replica jewelry?  

And if I were to take it a different direction, one might argue that there is no present for "your woman" WORSE than replica jewelry.  But let's move on.

What does the big sentence in all red even mean?  Besides being horrific English, it's blatantly sexist: "businessmen and ladies."  That should be the new theater announcement: "Ladies and Businessmen, the amazinggggggg  . . ."   And the sentence is personifying 'accessories.'  What a horrible thing to spend time personifying.  Bring to life garage doors and porch benches, but accessories can stay inanimate.  And I can't tell if they are talking about the business men and ladies "official life," and how that would differ from their unofficial one.  I suspect the unofficial one is dirtier, it always is.

This is probably my favorite sentence of all: "True copies of famous accessories can make you like a real businessman or an oligarch from the page of "The Forbes"." A businessMan or an oligarch.  OLIGARCH.  Um . . . the Magna Carta just called and it wanted to remind you it did away with oligarchy in the 1200's. (sorry folks, thats the best oligarchy joke I got.)  You too could appear on the pages of "THE Forbes."  I love the Forbes.  It's my favorite the magazine.  I think 'the Forbes magazine' would be acceptable parlance.  But the Forbes does not the fly.

Lastly, the first thing they say they are selling is "half-silvered pens."  What the hell is that?  Anyone want to send me a replica jewelry half-silver pen so I can give my woman the best present and help her to reach her unreachable dream to feel like the businessman?

The Numbers Game: If you like it then you should put a "follow" on it

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 8 Comment(s)

So I have to make a blog confession.  I got caught up in the numbers game.  I'd been tracking my entries (this is #100) and followers (i lost my first follower today--im sure i deserved it *whips himself*), that I lost sight of what this blog is about.  Namely, the writing (ok ok, it's about me).  I've been over-analyzing what to say to make this entry special and really i've been pressing.

So I'll start with this.  Oftentimes, especially when you are reading someone's scrawlings about life the universe and everything, you create a mental perception of that person as someone cool as a cucumber and above petty things like determining his daily self-worth based on how many followers he has.   I am not too cool for school.  I am that petty.  Every time I get a new follower, especially one that I don't see on a daily basis, I am literally honored.  Touched.  When you guys leave comments, I have mini-orgasms.  I feel lucky to have people interested in reading my cranial concoctions.  So, if you're a person who reads but hasn't clicked the "Follow" button over there on the right yet--now's the time.  Remember, the number of followers I have lets me know how good a person I am.

A positive side effect of this blog has been that those people who do know me personally get a chance to still feel connected with what's going on with me, even if we don't get to talk as much as we'd like.  And to these close friends i say, "dudes, why the fuck aren't you already following me!"  And I love you.

And lastly, I feel the need to end my 100th with what's really important to me in the end.  I have been in the unfortunate circumstance of comforting more than one friend this week on the loss of loved ones (fathers and brothers).  Awful.  Also, in juxtaposition, today I read a news article about two sisters, ages 84 and 87, who are suing each other over a 2005 $500,000 lottery ticket.  One sister claims that they had an agreement to share their gambling winnings, while the other said that they had a falling out shortly before the ticket was purchased (don't they always), and it had negated their arraignment.  I'm not going to get into who I think is right because the only thing I feel is that both sister's are fucking idiots.  They are spending their last time on Earth fighting their family in court over green paper, instead of actually living their life.  They have prioritized money over their own lives, and that is about as sad a reality as I can concoct.  If I were the judge in that trial (and let's all be thankful im not), my opening statement would go something like this, "Listen to me you old bitches.  That's right I said bitches.  I want to get your attention.  This lawsuit is dismissed on the grounds of it being absolutely retarded (sorry for the bad word).  It is literally retarding your ability to live your lives.  You are sitting on those wood benches in front of me fading away in this courtroom.  That's idiotic.  Leave.  You've got better things to do."  Granted I'm not sure there are any precedents to support my ruling.  But I can live with that.

What I'm trying to say here is that there is nothing so valuable as the time we are given to live and love. As corny as it may seem, in the end, it is the ultimate truth.  We live on through those we've touched, and our opportunity to imprint ourselves on this world is never guaranteed past the present.  So we've got to make the most of it.  I've never regretted telling those I care about how much they mean to me, and i highly recommend making a habit of it.  I may be writing a blog filled bathroom humor & locker-room characters, but if I were to go tomorrow, my hope is that you would smile and laugh at this blog in my memory--as you read, and reread, upon my untimely demise.

Fuck the Police: Part II: Matt Bottoms Out

I know I know.  I haven't been there for you.  I've been absent.  All i can say for myself is that everything must come in moderation, even blogging.  And I think the vacation has given me renewed vigor . . . and certainly some good material.

Last Saturday was my uncle's 60th birthday, and my whole family (mom, dad, bro, his fiance, cousins) got together in ny state and had a wonderful little celebration.  As the dinner was coming to a close, my bro's fiance asked if I wouldn't mind driving their car home for them as they were still tired from their trip up from nyc.

What I should have said was that I had been driving since landing in boston from england and that I was still a bit jet lagged and that I might not be the best option.  What i DID say was, "Sure, no problem."  (my bad).

Somehow I knew we were destined to have an eventful trip home when I started by driving on the left side of the street.  I think the combination of driving their Jeep (which is what I drive in St. John [on the left side]) and justing having been in England + a dash of jet-laggedness = Matt started driving on the left side down the backwood streets near my uncle's house.  "Um . . .  your on the wrong side of the road," say my brother."  What could I say but, "Oops."

Later in our journey home, after the part where we go screeching to a stop at STOP sign that snuck up on me (I swear I'm a good driver), we got to a little one road town that is notorious as a speed trap.  With the speed limit 35, I passed the officer while going 33.  I thanked my brother for reminding me about the trap and we continued on.  A few minutes later, as I am trying to clear my windshield, I see a car pass the car behind me.  I'm still well under the speed limit, but the lights from the truck behind me are not helping my visibility.  Then the truck's lights go on.  State trooper.  I have no idea what I have done.  I am well under the speed limit, and seeing as I'm having trouble seeing out the windshield, I know I was driving carefully.

I used to freak out when I got pulled over.  It's the natural reaction.  The adrenaline hits the back of your neck and you feel totally alert (and upset).  I no longer freak out.  I've been pulled over so many times (without so much as a ticket--almost always because i wasn't doing anything wrong) in the past 4 years that I'm calm and collected.  I mean, I've been pulled over for pulling over for a police officer!

But something's wrong.  It's been a few minutes and the officer still hasn't approached my car.  And during this wait, little did I know that the universe was actually providing me with a last moment of purity, before I would hit an all-time low.  The nest thing that happened was  . . .  my parents pulled over in front of me.  (i believe the website goes = FML).

Getting pulled over and then having your parents pull to the side of the road with you is the very definition of a non-ideal situation.  The trooper then comes to my window, and says, "That your dad is the car in front of you?" (I never thought I'd long to hear the words "license and registration").  "I'm afraid so," I reply.  I get a small smile.  "Well, I need you to do me a favor and tell him NEVER (and he emphasized it) to pull up behind a state trooper.  It turns out, my elongated wait was the result of the trooper not getting out of his vehicle until the car behind him pulled away (a good policy--i get it).  He was waiving my dad along as my dad rolled down his window and screamed up to the cop, "THAT'S MY SON!."   (can you believe this happened!)

The cop said I had hit the center line and he wanted to make sure I wasn't drunk (um . . . no, that's just the state trooper behind me blinding me with his lights).  In debriefing at home, my dad (who I had mercilessly been teasing about his terrifying "drifting" habit while driving) was quick to defend my driving saying that the cop had pulled behind them and was tracking me the whole time--while I hadn't sped or driven crazy at all.  Dad did not fail to mention the irony of me getting pulled over for swerving.  I will say that I had not expected him to fail in this regard.

The best part of the whole thing, the silver lining if you will, was that when the cop said I had hit the center line, I told him I was having trouble clearing the windshield, as they had been fogging and the windshield wipers were horrible.  In order to demonstrate the points I was making, I went and squirted washer fluid on the windshield to illustrate the wipers' shitiness.  In doing so, I inadvertently totally squirted the cop. (if you're giggling, you're a sicko--but i like you)  Pretty good actually.  He totally didn't see it coming--my sneak attack.  To his credit, he deadpanned it to perfection: "Aaaand now you just squirted me."  For a brief second I was terrified, imagining my life falling into ruin after assaulting a cop with washer fluid.  Really, it seemed that after my dad had terrified him by rolling up behind his cruiser, this guy just wanted to be done with the whole family.  That's what you get when you mess with mi familia, enough crazy to send you packing. Karma-wise, I feel that it's what he gets for pulling over someone going under the 35 mph speed limit.

And thus endth another completely pointless instance of me getting pulled over for no apparent reason.

Who's Your Favorite New Kid? . . . Call me Donny . . . .Call me Donny

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 | 7 Comment(s)

The title of this blog post comes from one of my all-time favorite movies Mall Rats.   I could explain it, but you should just watch the movie (or watch it again if need be).

But, while i am short on time, i wanted to throw this out there.  I realize now that I rushed my entry into the blogging world.  I made some rookie mistakes and I'm not totally sure how to fix them.

First, the url for my blog is  Which is, of course, my name + the hosting site.  It was only later that I realized that bloggers generally try to think up witty, easy to remember blog addresses that are not so narcissistically self-involved.   For example, one of my blog mentors Una aka "The Sassy Curmudgeon's" blog address is  Considering she does the Project Runway Recaps for HuffPo, this seems both fitting and witty.  Good on yah Una.   I, it seems, have stuck myself with an address both unoriginal ("Wow, look guys, his address is actually his name!") and hard to spell (it has been misspelled by family members in the past, so i know this to be true).  I'm thinking of changing it to  Thoughts?  Is that even possible?

Second, like "Sassy" Una or my reader "the flabby ninja" (awesome name), most bloggers have handles.  Like truck drivers, they make up cool names that both give a small bit of insight into their character and hide their true identity from the world.  It is essentially the first step to becoming the superhero we all want to be.  I have no handle.  I am all spout (yes, that's a "I'm a little teapot" reference).  Readers, you gotta help me here.  Do I need one?  Or should I remain "Mattitiyahu"  like "Madonna."  I really didn't know that there would be so many decisions to be made just by starting a blog.  Maybe that's why i f'd it up so thoroughly.

I'll leave you with an expression that both sums up my feelings RE: f'ing up titles and handles, and is useful for many situations throughout life.  It's the Japanese expression: Sho ga nai (Pronounced: Show-gah-nigh [rhymes with lie]).  Loosely translated it means, "It can't be helped."  It is an expression that signifies that things that have happened have happened, and beating oneself up over it after the fact really does no one any good.  Maybe that should be my handle?

I got 99 Blog Posts, and this is One

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

So I was originally going to call this entry "A Pound for your Thoughts," but I couldn't resist the Jay-Z reference.  Also, seeing as England HAS pennies, I was not too heartbroken to discard an inaccurate pun.  What a stickler am I.

Let's take my morning brain for a spin.

First.  Since arriving in Ol' England, it has been sunny 4 days in a row.  This is contrary to the predicted forecast that i checked on the inter-web prior to my departure.  When I typed in London, it returned more "rain" icons then i have ever seen.  A few drops even flew out of my computer and hit me in the face.  Rain everywhere.  My computer screen physically got cloudy.  But in actuality, in the words of Blind Melon (that's another band name mom & dad), there is No Rain.  What this says to me is that weather websites in the states just post "rain" as the forecast for England every day, figuring that percentage-wise, they will end up being correct more than incorrect.  Essentially they are playing rain roulette.   In an ironic turn of events, the day after I left New England for Old, the storms came and flooded the entire east coast of the states.

Second.  The thing I have learned the most about myself during this trip is that I am head over heals addicted to the internet.  To the point that not having it around makes me twichily uncomfortable.  As an avid mini iPad user (that's what i've decided to call my iPhone now), i've grown alarmingly used to having the internet all around me--like air.  It is the constant reassurance of friends, family, facts, and fun at my fingertips (that's called alliteration bitches).  It's also like cigarettes for non-smokers.  Something to do when you are standing there doing nothing.  Now I realize that this issue is being confounded with my simultaneous lack of cell phone use, but i have still surprised myself at how jittery not being able to look up stupid shit like how many seasons of Arrested Development (its a t.v. show m & d) there are.  And here is the thing.  Remember that you heard this here first. While there currently is no rehab or sympathy for internet-addicted individuals (certainly not close to the level of sex addiction), there will be.  It's coming.  I'm not sure what form this rehabilitation will take, but i'm pretty sure that they will popularize the phrase "un-plug."  As in, "Here and Shady Meadows Internet Rehab, we teach our members (they always use euphemisms like 'members') how to un-plug from their daily grind and re-appreciate the beauty all around them."  This will happen in the next 10 years--most likely right after they start implanting iPhone-like devices into our forearms.

Third.  There really is something special about seeing familiar faces in unfamiliar places (and not just because it rhymes).  Last night, Matt and I were not in a great mood.  Why that is true is not important.  But, we decided to hit up a bar that we had previously planned on going to, on the off chance that my peeps from our local bar (The Moan and Dove -- the best bar in America in my opinion--go to it if you are EVER in the area!!!--and let me know since I will meet you there) would stop by on their beer tour through Europe.  Somehow, with absolutely minimal communication, the whole Amherst, MA gang rolled in shortly after our first (amazing) cask beer.  The merriment commenced.  Seeing local friends in foreign lands is like being hugged the entire time you are together.  It's hard to describe, but something about sharing a common home base and history in a shared out-of-your-comfort-zone situation is tremendously bonding.  Bad moods no more, Matt and I began our voyage home, as we left our American beer compatriots to continue their voyage to beer Meccas.

Lastly, I will end this post, with a flashback.

Matt and I have been friends for a long while.  We have spent countless hours trapped together in various planes, cars, stadiums, boats, reefs, bungee cords, parachutes, beds, and drug-induced forrest wanderings.  On one such occasion, we were driving out of a Met's game in Queens New York when I realized that I needed to pee (not from drinking beer at the game of course ;)).  This led to a conversation in which Matt and I standardized a 1-10 scale which related to how badly one needs to go to the bathroom (number 1).  We like to do shit like this.  We have scales for many many things.  I recommend it.  What I like best about our scale is that as the numbers increase, they do not do so in a consistent manner.  For example.  The amount of increase in "need to pee" going from 5-6 is NOT the same as the amount of increase between 7-8.  Not even close.  For those of you stats geek, this is kind of like a log function increase.  So as the scale increases, the immediacy of pee inadvertently dripping out of you increases in multiples.  So where the difference from 5-6 signifies a move toward urgency of need, the increase from 7-8 is more an indication that when you get to 8.5 you WILL pee in pretty much any location--independent of appropriateness.  To give you some idea of a 9, a 9 means you will quite possibly pee in a populated subway/tube car.  On this particular aforementioned trip in Queens, we were stuck in traffic when I hit an 8.5 for only the 2nd time in my life (the other time i eventually got up to a 9, which caused me to jump off a bus in the middle of nowhere in Israel [where i was sitting {by happenstance} next to my HUGE kibbutz-friend Israeli army-girl crush] in order to relieve myself in the desert and then hitchhike the rest of the way to my destination--this is serious stuff folks).  At 8.5, I jumped out of Matt's car, ran a few yards away from the road, and just went for it.  Sweet sweet relief.

I tell you all this because the scale was renewed last night on our ride home from the bar.  While i didn't make it to 8.5, I DID make it to an 8 getting off the tube, which was enough to have us take a detour on our short walk home in order to pee on the brick wall in front of someone's building.  I'm not proud of it, grant you, but man o man did i enjoy it.

*the lack of pictures at the moment has to do with internet issues.  So you'll have to use your imaginations for a few days.

Lon-don Eng-ga-land: How to smile without teeth

Monday, March 15, 2010 | 6 Comment(s)

Have you guys missed me as much as I've missed you?
I hope so.  Cause I'm an attention whore.

I will begin with a quick story from this morning.  I went with my friend Matt (yes, all of my friends have the same name as me, it's how I know they're mine) to his work at the London School of Hyper-color Tropical Fish and Infectious Dysentery (no no, its the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine [much better]).  This means i woke up at 7:30am today, which means I'm exhausted (i don't get up "in the 7's" at home).  Suffice to say, coffee was non-negociable.  Being that my gf works at the local coffee shop back home and a significant portion of my friends work in and around the coffee profession, I have a better than working knowledge of this particular substance.  Because of this, after ordering a double espresso at the quaint coffee shop across from the school, I was shocked when the server almost immediately handed me a cup that was a little more than half full of espresso.  It was certainly piping hot, but both the volume and the speed of processing were disconcerting.  Usually it takes about 30 sec. to pull a double shot.  Was this magic coffee?  Did he give me the leftovers from all the previous shots?  I'm not sure, but I suspect something was lost in the American to English translation.  And how big are their shots here?  In truth, you should drink your shot shortly after it's pulled (at nicer places, espresso to go is frowned upon [but putting it over ice is even worse fyi]).  With the amount of coffee in my cup, and my inability not to finish any food or drink i'm given, it was difficult to get all the brown gold down my gullet in the minute or so I had in the shop.

The Moral of this Story: London has magic volumous coffee beans.  Or, coffeeshops hate Americans and give them hot mess leftovers.  Take your pick.

I have just completed my first weekend in London ever and I am flush with over-generalizations and mis-categorizations to share and perpetuate.  Let's get right to it.  Hell, let's even make a list of them just for the hell of it.

1.  London is not an attractive city. People-wise.  Now I know this may sound harsh off the bat, but attractiveness is actually more of an objective measure (on the whole) than one might think.  In psych. research, you can get fairly reliable measures of what we conceptualize as subjective attractiveness.  And these people don't have it.  The men: Pasty, lanky, with swatches of hair placed Alfalfa-like atop their heads.  The women: Also pale, rotund, and with a brazen lack of modesty.  I'm not sure if it is a statement of liberation or bad taste, but I've seen more spandex bottoms and utter-like exposed cleavage then my brain can handle.  But, with the caveat that I hate to perpetuate a stereotype, I really do believe that the awful state of the dental work and hygiene probably does the most to accentuate the lack of attractive Brits (their teeth are second only to the gnarled madness of Japanese "dentistry").  Without getting too "Hitler's pure race," the British look like Scandinavians who have had all the strength-juice squeezed out of them.  I am pretty sure the reason the drinking culture is so prevalent here is to ensure the propagation of the country.  Cause honestly, if you were sober, you probably wouldn't wanta get down with most of the people in the pubs.

2.  i think I better go with a positive after how harsh #1 came out.  In my opinion, London's biggest draw is it's multicultural nature.  While NYC and America claim to be melting pots, London really has the stew cooked right.  Walking around you hear multiple languages interwoven into the fabric of passing conversations.  No heads jerk around (besides mine) at the utterance of a foreign language, as the accessibility and fluidity of the EU allows all Europeans to feel welcome in the UK.

3.  I find the smells of Britain to be incredibly distinct.  And it's not a good or bad distinct, but rather very different from what we consider the perfumes of America.  My friend's shower gel was a prime example of such a smell, and I spent a good amount of time (in the shower mostly) trying to figure out how I could describe its "nose."  Matt (my friend, not me in the 3rd person) suggested that there is a lot of lavender in things, and that smells like the grandmothers of Americans, thus its distinctiveness.  That rang true in a way, but i knew there was something else.  And this morning it came to me.  The smell that the Brits love is exactly the same as the Jewish Spice Box my synagogue used on Shabbat growing up.  This box is filled with essentially a mix of potpourri and cinnamon and is supposed to remind us of the sweetness of the weekly holiday.  Not in England.  In England, this smell is used for soap, deodorant, perfume, Fabreeze (UK version) etc.  In sum, England smells like my hometown's Torah.  Go figure.

4.  London is old.  In the best possible way.  Everything is teeming with history and scaffolding.  It produces that cobblestone village feel, even in the big city.  Quite a feat.  I would probably be able to say more about this if my last European history class wasn't 16 years in my rear-view mirror.

5.  I would be remiss not to comment on the bathrooms (it's kinda my thing now).  Generally, compared to the other toilets of the world, England is fairly similar to the USA.  The main difference being that the water level in the toilet is much much lower.  The trade off here is that while you save water you also get a mess stuck to the walls of the inner basin.  Tough call.  

I'm all typed out for now.  We'll do this again soon.

Hoping the Pond

Thursday, March 11, 2010 | 2 Comment(s)

I've been blogging at a pretty fantastic rate recently, and I feel that, for those of you who have been so kind as to read my scrawl, i should give a little note about the upcoming week.  Today I leave for Boston (the big city) and then to England for a week to visit an old college buddy who can never seem to stay domestic.  As such, my blogs may be a bit sporadic ("i hope not sporadically") and less frequent.  For those of you disappointed by this prospect, please remember that the only way for me to continue producing tales of such unabashed silliness, is to go outside and live this ridiculousness first.  I aim to bring back more tales of wonder from across the pond.

I am also (admittedly) treading water a bit until my 99th and 100th posts (this is #95 i believe).  I'm fairly sure how I want this to play out, so im reserving some greatness for those major blog-complishments.

Anything that simply can't be missed in London?  (besides the rain?)  let me know in the comments!

The Door Mat's Demise

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | 4 Comment(s)

So I kinda lost it today.  It's the small things that piss me off.  I'm working on it.   But they kicked us out of the pool 10 minutes early today with the explanation that the diving coach needed the pool.  But the diving coach wasn't THERE!  I was not the only one who felt this was just another example of the athletic center charging the swimmers super high fees while not giving us any new benefits (THEY TOOK OUR SOAP!) and generally just not giving a shit about us because they know that they have the only business in town when it comes to pools.

So how did I release this aggression towards the man?  Well do you remember the "non-denominational" door-mat our landlords provided us with back in December?  It's still there.  In front of our doorstep.  In March.

I just flashed with rage.  I saw red and the next thing i know i'm tossing the Joy encrusted foot gunk collector across the porch and neatly next to their matching "Joy" mat.   Don't piss me off man.  I'm a wildman.

It still felt good though.  It still felt good.

True Intolerance is Genetic

Monday, March 8, 2010 | 5 Comment(s)

I'm having a crisis folks.  I have an epic blog that has been formulating in my head for the past 4 days or so.  But I am just not in the right mood to write it yet.  So once again I will defer to my "feelings" (pussy), and elaborate on why I'm such a grump McStinkface.

When I was a kid, we're talking like little-league baseball-aged (i'm not sure what that is in "cricket" years), I used to absolutely love the shit out of ice cream. Again, this alone isn't ground breaking, but you'll understand it's importance in a bit.  There was one soft serve place in particular named Jilly's (Gilly's? I obviously paid more attention to the product than the vendor--priorities) where I would try to con cheat or cajole someone to take me numerous times a week. I think the fact that I was a scrawny little 70 pound toothpick with arms helped my cause in getting repeat visits.  The "Flurry," which contained both soft serve ice-cream AND 2 toppings all blended together, was the grand prize.  When I hit a triple (or should I say my one triple) in a baseball game, I got a Flurry.  If I had a Flurry in my hand, something had gone right for me.  I miss Flurry's so bad.

This love affair continued without interruption til about my sophomore or junior year in high school, when I would start to get headaches after ice-cream or cereal.  While annoying, I was so deeply in love with my dairy queen (hehe) that these headaches were ignorable.  But, being that Jilly's had plenty of variety, I switched to frozen yogurt, and the headaches went away.  Problem solved.  Until senior year when the headaches came back with their friend "doubled-over stomach cramps."  Any of you ladies who have had a good ol bout of period cramps can support me when I say that severe cramps can REALLY ruin your day.  The difference, however, between my cramps and lady cramps, is that mine was followed with 3 hours of toilet time.  Explosive toilet time.  Toilet time that left its 'exit' resembling a dog's chew toy.  Not cool.  Bur I ignored it (I really friggin loved ice cream).  It happened again.  I ignored it again.  I distinctly remember that the 3rd time this fiasco unleashed from my body as the time that broke me.  We had rented a movie and I missed the entire thing upstairs on the shitter.

I'm lactose intolerant folks.  A Lactard.  And it's not going away.  It was only late in my college career that this affliction affected enough rich people that they made a drug (Lactaid) to help us lactards digest dairy like you normal folks.  And for the past decade or so, as long as I moderate my intake, use the pills, and avoid aged cheeses (they are more lactose-rich), i've been fine.  Long story short, gas I can handle.
hilarious comic from

For whatever reason, my body's changing again (I feel like one of those books for 13-year-olds. "Why is my body changing mommy?").  The last few times I ate cheese that I probably shouldn't have (last night it was fresh mozzarella), my body has been severely reprimanding me.  At least that's how it feels.  It starts about an hour after eating with a searing pain in my side.  This pain-baby grows and grows until its kicking in my entire lower chest and stomach area.  And there it boils.  The middle of my body locks up in pain just to remind me how stupid it was to eat a fucking panini with mozzarella when I know better.  It's like having an internal school marm (sic) just giving you "the look" for hours on end.  And what's so horrific about this time is that while I am in a great deal of pain, that pain is not pushing up nor down.  It's sitting there.  It's teaching me a lesson.

Four hours after that (so if I ate dinner at, let's say 8, it's now 1am) the pain gets so great that I must release.  And, since I can't stick a finger up my butt and make myself poop, it's coming out the other way.  And it does.  For an hour. Maybe an hour and a half.  I crawlled into bed around 2:30am still doubled over in pain, but drugged up enough to pass out by 3.
creepiest milk mustache ive ever seen.  I have know idea who "Bert" is.  But he will haunt me dreams.

Today my stomach has been talking to me all day.  A growl here, a rumble there.  While talking to the participants in our lab study today, it gave out such a moan that it sounded like I had farted while giving instructions.  Awesome.  Mature.  Professional.  I'm thinking of getting my stomach-stapled as retribution.  I need to show my stomach whose boss around here (tony danza?).  I fear, this plan may be misguided.  I will give it a bit more thought.

More generally, I'm just disappointed that it had to come to this.  The shits made sense to me as a consequence of my lack(tose)adaisical-ness.  Vomiting?  That's just inappropriate amounts of convulsing.  "Slow your roll!," my insides.  Chillax.  Settle down.  Seriously man, settle down.  I can't take much more of this.

Monet is Money

Sunday, March 7, 2010 | 3 Comment(s)

The more I live (and i've been living at a pretty constant clip now for some time), the more I think that perhaps Monet really had a grasp of not only the art world, but the psychology of the world.  Let's start with the basics: Claude Monet is a famous (deceased) artist who is considered the father of French impressionism.  An example of his work:
I find his painting brilliant in general--which is no deep thought as this is one of the most world-renowned painters of all time.  His paintings, and many Impressionists' paintings, are identified by the pointillist-like brush strokes which, up close, seem sloppy and disconnected, but when viewed from a distance, come together to form a coherent, often ephemeral image.  More recently, Monet's genius has been boiled down to its essence in the form a of modern slang term denoting a sexual interest (usually women), who looks beautiful from a distance, but is a mess when viewed up close.  I didn't invent the lingo--but there it is.

So I'm getting to my larger point.  In the same ilk as the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" (mom and dad--Postal Service is a band), Monet realized that we have two distinct impressions (pun!) of our world.  What we know well, and what we perceive of our surroundings.  And there is, almost constantly, an allure of this periphery, with its promise of beautiful others, money, success, etc.

This periphery makes you believe that the gorgeous woman you see in the coffee shop might be perfect for you.  It makes you believe that you could also win 10K at the casino just like the guy at that blackjack table.  The periphery is life without any of the relevant details like: a person's personality, issues, hardships, how much money that guy with 10K started with, etc.  The very fact that we know strikingly little about there outside temptations allows us to distill out the potential (and inevitable) bads, and concentrate on the potential (and often imaginary) goods.  Everyone's got problems, even that hot girl at the bar (ESPECIALLY that hot girl at the bar), but since those problems are still neatly contained in one's 'not-my-problem' folder, you are free to lazily sit back and wonder if this woman is better for you than the person you're with (i'm using this imaginary woman just as an example of course).  From a distance, everything can be perfect.  We can make it perfect since, lacking actual knowledge about it, we create this potential "perfect" reality that we can then compare against our own actual happiness, in order to make us doubt ourselves and feel worse about what we have.

This is a fool's game.  But it is incredibly hard in our culture not to play.  I think Monet understood this (or since i lack actual knowledge on the subject about Monet's personality, I choose to believe he understood this--see!).  At a distance, all of Monet's work is beautiful and simultaneously surreal.  As we move closer to the painting (which I do after having backed away) the colors separate once again giving us a realistic look at the underlying beauty.  Now, finding the beauty in that muddled cacophony of paints and brush strokes, that is the trick.  Seeing what a less knowledgeable person would characterize as a mess, and realizing the brilliance of the big picture, that is love--that is the essence of happiness (yes, we're back in metaphor-ville).  It is not loving a person for their imperfections as well as their strengths, but rather seeing how those apparent imperfections are actually essential pieces to the masterwork of the whole.  

Bathroom Signs of the Apocalypse

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

Ok, this is a public service announcement.  If you get a SwimMan personal underwater music playing device, and Eminem comes on playing, "I'm the slim shady, no i'm the slim shady, all you other slim shady's are just imitate'n."  DO NOT SING ALONG.  It does not work out well for you.  While your iPod nano may be water-proofed from the inside out, your lungs are not.  There is nothing funny about a swimmer gulping water seemingly out of nowhere for trying to rap while swimming.  Picture it.  Wait a minute.  It IS that funny.

Second.  We have gotten to the point in T.V. history that when famous people are being announced, their names are preceded by "the real."  For example, tonight on "the Marriage Ref," the announcer (whose name i have not yet learned.  Poppa? Poopa? Pumba?) thanked "the real David Blaine" (who, staying true to his strict training regimen for the douchebag of the millenium contest, was eating fast food in a plexiglass case for no reason).  Has is come to this.  We are betrayed and misled so much that we must now introduce the presence of a person with the prompt that that person is, in fact, that person. I'm just saying.

And lastly.  I know by now that you guys probably think that I spend a good amount of my days roaming locker rooms for funny stuff to write about.  But I don't.  Just one locker room.  And this stuff is literally plastered on the walls.  Here is the absolute GEM of a sign that now hangs on the men's locker room shower wall.
(any female spies out there want to tell me if this is happening over in the lady's camp as well?)

First let me point out that this sign is on the outside wall of the shower, far from the nozzles themselves. That said, this sign is drenched.  I have no explanation for it's drenching except that it was someone's reaction to them removing all the soap dispensers in the shower room!!! Let's break this down.

1) What the fuck is soft soap?  For that matter, what is hard soap.  I've heard of bar soap and liquid soap, but never soft.  Because really, the pink barely-an-excuse-for-soap that they were providing, was not soft.  I would not want to pet it.  I may want to rub my face against it, but it would be purely functional.  It's like calling methane "soft gas."  Ok, no it's not, but I'm going to start calling farts "soft gas" from now on cause i think that's hilarious.

2) Assuming that "soft soap" referred to the liquid soap previously provided, how can throwing it on the walls be a "severe safety issue."  Throwing soap on the floor?  I get that.  That's definitely dangerous.  That said, the floor of the shower room is designed specifically for the purpose of collecting that clearing water and soap.  And, I'm not sure where the unnamed officials who revoked our soap privileges think the soap provided is GOING to end up.  But,it's a shower.  It's all going on the floor.  It's the only place it CAN go.  I would go so far as to say it's designed specifically too end up on the floor.  But I digress.  Back to the soap on the walls.  Again, is this protecting those who use the shower room as a place to get their lean on as they saunter up to other shower users.  Because I'm ok with those guys being deterred.  The shower room is a no 'get your lean on' zone (unless it is a specifically designated 'get your lean on' shower room, in which case, go friggin crazy guys), period.  I'm just imagining this being the punishment for some dick-wad who was attempting the one-hand-against-the-wall--head propped to the side--casual BBQ invite on a dude whose mid-suddsing, and his hand slipped on some errant soft soap (?)  and he fell and got embarrassed and that boiled into anger, that got shouted back to some administrator, who then took all the soap out of the shower.  Soap on the walls a severe safety issue?  Verdict: Not Guilty.

3) So we are talking about severe safety issues huh.  And your thinking a few soap fights (right?  I can't imagine what else this could be referring to [though I'm sure humanity will not let me down with it's true explanation--expect the unexpected]) are a larger health risk than a sizable number of sweaty, uncleaned men, post-workout, sharing a gym.  "Hello green fungus growing on these lockers and into my lungs. I'm sure glad there is no soap on the shower room floor to slip on.  I might get hurt."  (And how, in god's name, would I clean up all this split soap?  I mean, I'd need a ton of water.)  Which brings me to my final point.

4) This is not middle school.  We do not revoke privileges at state-run public school gyms.  After increasing my fee (as an employee) by over %210, the least you can do is leave the god damn cheap soap in the showers so I can wash the chlorine off me.  What lesson are you teaching?  And who are you teaching it too?  This is no longer the main gym that the undergrads use, so mostly it's just athletes (who you would think they would cater to), grad students, and faculty.  Do you want us to all get together and collaborate on an apology letter and sign it?  Would that re-gain your faith and trust in us enough to once again provide us with soap?  It's SOAP!!! Not candy or liquor.  When I was growing up (oh yah, I said it), soap was a punishment.  You tried your damnedest to avoid the soap.  Oh how times have changed.

P.S.  On a personal note, one of my fellow graduate-school (sufferers) friends, Becky, got a real big-girl job today--before she's even finished her Ph.D. work.  It's the dream, and she's living it.  As I told her, we don't go to graduate school to get a Ph.D., we go to graduate school to get a job that REQUIRES a Ph.D.  And she did it.  Congrats!


Thursday, March 4, 2010 | 1 Comment(s)

Now I'm not about to write a midday post suggesting that pot should be legalized.  That's just not me (that's more of a late night argument).  But one thing that I consistently despise is hypocrisy (especially  my own).  And so, with that, I give you the world's best and breifest argument for why either pot should be as legal as alcohol, or alcohol should be as illegal as pot.

Picture me in a room with a bunch of old white guys, I mean a legislature, making this argument:

Me:  Gentlemen and Lady, I have to ask you one simple question about the proposed bill to keep pot illegal.  Which of you is the MOST against pot legalization.  (I picture one of the older white guys raising his hand--let's call him Mr. White).  Mr White, I want you to imagine this situation.  You are paraplegic.  You have no arms and legs and you go out for a night on the town with two of your able bodied friends. Throughout the course of the night, one of your friends, gets super drunk.  Not fall down illiterate drunk, but he's been drinking all night.  Your other friend has been smoking pot all night.  He's lit up joints at fairly constant intervals all night and is, considering the red in his eyes, stoned.

Here's the dilemma.  No cell reception, the three of you need to get home.  You, have no arms or legs.  One friend's drunk, one's stoned.  You have to decide who drives.   Who are you going to choose.

You are damn right you are going to choose the stoned guy over the drunk guy every time.  Well, if you care about living you will.  Pot has a less deleterious effect on driving (the cause of many drug deaths), it doesn't make people violent (well--violently lazy perhaps), and I have yet to see someone O.D. on pot (while stomach pumping is like the training wheels of E.R. medicine).  The worst thing I've heard someone do on pot, was one off-duty police officer calling 911 after eating pot brownies, causing him and his wife to trip so hard that they thought that he and his wife were dying (or at least in some kind of alternate reality where he wanted the police operator to verify the sports scores on T.V. to assure him that he was living in "real time").  But that was super funny.  (worth a watch.)

Again, I'm not saying that pot should be legal.  All i'm saying is that given the side by side comparison with alcohol, our laws are profoundly out of whack.  And that annoys me.

A Couple that Wii's Together Stays Together

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

All couples go through ebbs and flows, fleeting interests that come and go naturally throughout your life together. For example, for a few years in the 90's, my parents took up square dancing.  I remember them putting on their cute little outfits and these name-tags with tiny plastic badges hanging off them.  The name tags were not unlike those worn by fast food employees, and the badges were dime-sized and hung from metal loops on the bottom of the name-tag.  Oh, I forgot.  The badges were awarded for different square dancing accomplishments earned throughout your time with the group.  Essentially Boy Scout badges for square dancing adults.  Amazing!  And while they may deny it now, I remember my parents really enjoying it.  I don't know if the other people there smelled, or if they finally looked in the mirror and saw all that plaid, but eventually Mom and Dad stopped going.  It's normal.  It happens.

Anyways.  The point of all this is that my girlfriend and I are in what can only be termed a "Wii Mario Kart" phase, and I love it.  Last weekend one of my best friends from college came to visit, and as he opened my front door, he entered to see me standing scantily clad, water pipe in hand, while Erin was celebrating a first place Wii Kart victory.  He announced, "I don't think I could have entered to a more awesome scene."  I have to agree with him.  It was badass.

And mercifully, Wii is family oriented enough that it has a "Team Competition" mode that allows my girlfriend and I to play on the same team (we always go Blue Team, cause fuck those Red Team bastards).  We cheer for each other and high-five when we go 1st/ 2nd on Delfino Square (it's one of the course's names, if you don't know what I'm talking about it just means that you probably had friends in high school).  It's great fun.

But I don't kid myself, I know that her interest won't stay on the greatness of video games forever.  The trick is to enjoy it while it lasts.  And as I sit here writing this entry, she is celebrating the unlocking of new race courses for her character.  It's the bomb, yo.   And I don't dwell on how playing video games at night wearing our peep-colored robes (mine's blue, her's pink) will look 15 years from now (cause it'll still be awesome).  The same way I'm sure my parents don't think of the plaid jumpsuits, but rather the fun they had together.

How amazing is this picture.  I feel like some coloring book KNEW I was going to write this piece!

Why 'Sex Addiction' is Total Bullshit and Catherine Zeta Jones is the New Methadone

Let me begin with this reminder. I am trained as a SOCIAL psychologist, not a clinical psychologist. I tell you this to reinforce that the following argument is true not because I have any particular training in this field, but simply because I am correct.

Sex addiction is the biggest load of bull-crap I have ever heard of. I think this 'condition' first was brought to my attention when David Duchovny, of X-files fame, checked himself into rehab for a sex addiction after playing a sex crazed character who sleeps with tons of beautiful women on his hit show Californication (see, it's a pun). I chuckled at the irony and moved on. "An isolated incident," I thought to myself. I forgot to bet on human nature to keep f'n it up.

Next was Steve Phillips, one of my least favorite sports announcers and inept ex-Mets GM. Listening to him give the play by play of a baseball game is like having my ears raped by a razor blade encrusted cactus. I loath his voice. He decided to have sex with (dare I say a homely looking) ESPN staffer who subsequently went super crazy McLostHerMeatballs and threatened Phillips's wife (oh yah. He's got a wife and kids)--saying that the wife didn't deserve him et al. McMeatballs people. She went off. So, in perhaps the most ironic twist of all, Phillips was fired from ESPN, but NOT for being the worst baseball reporter of all time (2nd to Tim McCarver, of course, who is the Satan to Phillip's Damian [the devil or the yankee]). This is unbelievable to me, but i digress. (turns out, the repentant Phillips had settled out of court in 1998 for having sex with a Met's employee and was sued for sexual harassment--classy guy). Interesting addendum here, Michael Douglas also once spent time in rehab for sex addiction in the 90's. He strangely seemed to get over this serious disorder when he met and then married Catherine Zeta Jones in 2000. Catherine Zeta Jones is the new methadone. I hope they staff their free public exchange service for some heavy foot traffic.
In both cases, the article has the main character comparing their sex addiction to alcoholism. But that is friggin ree-dick-u-lous. Sex is not a disease (no matter what the extremist religions tell you). Wanting to have sex with everyone you see is not a disease.

Here's how you can tell the difference. Go to the poorest crappy neighborhood nearby. Disease trickles down, and if this thing is real, the poor will be crawling with it. Ask anyone coughing on the street if they are suffering from sex addiction. Ask em if sex addiction has them begging for nickels and scrapping for food stamps. You won't get any takers. Truth is, sex is one of the last things in this world that poor people and rich people can have the same amount of (though i'll bet anyone that the poor have more sex than the wealthy).
Oh, you'll find alcoholics on the street. Cause that shit is a disease, and it will hollow you out. Sex addiction? You've got to go uptown to find that illness.

And what's more guys. That feeling you get, that says, "I want to sleep with every hot women I see," that is also not an illness. That's what i call "being a guy." Your problem, fellas, is one of impulse control. Or your lack of it. You've mistaken the ability to bed these women with bedding these women being a healthy thing to do. You've made bad choices. You've been selfish. You've put yourself in front of the people you love. One might even say you've been douchebags. But please don't pawn it off on some phony disease that you make up so that it seems like you're helpless against this big bad world, when in fact the truth is that you've been exploiting the core cancerous nectar that comes from being one of the privileged few. And at the same time the message you're communicating is both misleading (regarding the comparison to alcoholism) and disrespectful to people suffering from alcoholism, many of whom turn to that particular drug as a way to cope with a system that has left them at the bottom.

Poor you guys. You were compelled by your secret love of illicit extra-marital young girl subordinate sex to cheat and lie to the people that respected you. Steve Phillips, meet porn. Porn, meet Steve Phillips. If you guys had met a few years ago we could have avoided a bunch of trouble. You know, they have separate web-sites for each one of those fetishes. Because we all have those base impulses. The difference is, we are mature enough not to act on them. As the saying goes, "bad people do what good people think about."

While I would usually say that the first step in beating an addiction is admitting you have one, in this case, I think the opposite is true.

*edit. When posting this blog entry onto facebook, this was the security phrase (which somehow got erased and now i've added in []) that I was prompted with! Facebook agrees with me!

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[Seducers issue]