Thursday, August 25, 2005

Second choice photo

This was the early front-runner to be the photo representing cocaine and its many splendors in my previous post. Unfortunately, Lindsay slipped to 2nd place when she collapsed halfway through the selection process due to fatigue and narcotic withdrawal.

Cultural vacuum

It's with a frightening regularity that my wife accuses me of being evil: being able to boil holy water, angering god, no heart, etc. It has caused me to be more cognizant of situations where I might be fitting this accusation all too well.
This morning, at the Mobil on the Parkway (have to fill up today, prices change on Fridays), I'm parked next to a passenger van. The driver is wearing a yarmulke. So is the passenger. So are all the passengers. A few in the window were reading what I can only assume to be the Torah, since I don't read hebrew up close, let alone from fifteen feet. They might have been reading erotic bondage stories written in hebrew for all I know; I'm just the goyem. Regardless, it was something solemn.
Where does this involve me? Seeing these people using their commute time to read, pray, and reflect made me take a look at myself. After all, the driver and a few others were looking at me. I had the windows open, eating my frosted strawberry pop-tarts (now with more heathen), sunglasses on, shirt wrinkled and untucked, and the stereo pumping out Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" at 7:45 in the morning. I'm a grade-A cultural ambassador. Does anyone know the hebrew word for godless sinner? Hey, if the cloven hoof fits...

*I have never tried cocaine, nor do I endorse the psychotic lifestyle that goes with it. The picture is the best visual I could find to depict that feeling, and it was a tough selection process.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The cat has escaped its bag

Originally uploaded by BRM.
The word is now official: we are moving to Buffalo. No more secrecy, no more back alley planning and research. I gave my notice on Monday (4 weeks! I'm such a good guy) and the painful process of moving shall commence.

Many or most of you may wonder why the hell a young couple such as ourselves would move to an industrial graveyard of a city like Buffalo; a place once described as the first North American ghost city. Between the ages of 18 and 24, I would ask the same question. After high school I hightailed it out of Buffalo to the farthest school that offered me a full scholarship: Houston. I only spent a year there before leaving to knock around North Carolina and Florida before settling back down and finishing my oh-so-valuable film degree. We were faced with several decisions about where to live after university. LA was ruled out as being too far and too much of a risk. My film career ambitions weren't connected enough to warrant the cross country risk (I only knew 3-5 people there 'in the business').

Eager to return to the liberal northeast, we packed up the Jetta and landed in wife's native land. It's been fun here, but really fucking expensive. After Karen's debacle with her ex employers have left her out of work since early July, we were getting crushed by the high rent and my seemingly endless commute. Her resume is all over the garden state without a nibble. Don't you think a UNC graduate warrants an interview? I certainly do.

My wife and I met in 99, and one of the first things we discovered was our Buffalo connection. She had extended family and both her parents were born there. My entire clan is based in the area. She was, however, very quick to say that she would never live in Buffalo. Never. Too cold, too gray. I couldn't have agreed more; why would I ever go back? Wouldn't that be a defeat?

Perhaps its my maturity (ha) or my desire to own a piece of real estate before I'm 45, but Buffalo is looking mighty fine. The city is experiencing a rebirth; the Elmwood/Richmond/Delaware Park areas are becoming hot places to live again, yet real estate prices are still the lowest of any major city. The winters are still long, yes, and the long term employment outlook is still shaky. However, there is a thriving cultural scene and most of the amenities for young professionals with a couple dollars of disposable income to enjoy.

It comes down to the money. We're getting an expensive apartment, yet it is 1/2 of our rent here in Jersey. There is little to no traffic and aside from gasoline, the cost of living is generally much lower than here. Car insurance goes down by several hundred dollars. If we make the same that we make here, which is looking all but guaranteed, we'll have almost 2k a month to spend or even save (gasp!). It just makes sense.

Who knows what will happen. Perhaps my writing prowess will get noticed and I'll be whisked into a bi-coastal existence, flying to LA every other week to cash big checks--I mean, to be validated as an artist(e). That might suck; I hate flying. It's not that I'm afraid of air travel, it's that I find the process to be excruciatingly tedious and difficult. I'm simply incapable of arriving two hours early for anything.

Okay, let's recap: moving to Buffalo is a good thing. Typical city involved in your typical daydream. It's a great community in the midst of a renaissance. Cost of living puts a ton of extra cash back into my pocket, which means we might be able to do the traveling that we always talk about.

Four more weeks in the cube, then truckin' up to Buffalo. I been thinking you got to mellow slow...

Eat the rich (kids)

I really must make an effort to stop being angry that I wasn't one of the children born to money. The greeting cards say that if I work hard and persevere (perspire), I'll get the things I want PLUS the satisfying feeling of achievement that the rich-born will never know. Sacrifice? Hard work? How lame (read: I suck at staying focused long enough to achieve anything significant). Fuck today, I'm already in a shit mood.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The New Global Economy (or why Neil Young is screwing with my business)

So we called one of our suppliers regarding a missing shipment. He apologizes, claiming that he is out of stock on the papers we need because Neil Young has bought the world supply. Pardon?

Yes, while I've been taking Mr. Young's advice and rocking in the free world, he has decided that his new album insert should be printed on my rare Nepalese paper. To make this happen, his people have been buying up any and all of it they can find. This leaves small business owners such as myself facing a severe shortage (and I would guess upcoming price hike) in the rare paper market.

Damn the free market!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Gaza Strip Club

Have I ever been interested in the Israel-Palestine debacle? Not really. My stance has been clear: shut up. I'm sick of hearing about this never ending struggle to live on a desolate patch of sand. Both sides are equally annoying.

Palestinians- Stop bombing people. Do you want to be taken seriously as a state? Then stop blowing shit up in Israel. It only strengthens their resolve.

Israelis- Shut up. I'm obviously not sympathetic for the simple reason that I don't respect Zionism. In fact, I think it's a big fucking problem. This land was given to you by God? If your grandfather built a house here, or you were most upset about leaving a community that you love, I could sympathize. A little. I might even argue on your side for property rights that help define the modern social contract. But saying that you deserve to live there because your god gave it you? Shut the fuck up. Because my god gave me the red Ferrari F430 Spyder at the dealership. Seriously, he told me. But you don't see me wrapping it in razor wire and defending it with my life, do you?

It comes down to this: anything given to you by your god, especially things that someone else currently owns, doesn't really count. If god disagrees, let him/her/it come down and enforce his/her/its holy property laws.

As long as I'm getting it out on the table, Zionism is pretty ballsy. And stupid. I'd be fine if that entire area sunk into the ocean; they could all fight over the holy fishing rights. What amazes me is American Jews who uproot their children and move them into a war zone. Isn't a parent obligated to keep their child as far out of harm's way as possible? Instead, you're infecting their head with Zionistic fever and a near-militant belief in their religion. Hasn't there been enough bloodshed in the name of god?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Australian Sexual Euphemism Matchting Game

As long as I've started it, I might as well post this list of Australian euphemisms and dysphemisms. Can you match the description at top with its meaning on the bottom? The winner gets nothing. And Australians can't play...that would be cheating.

  • To part the corn beef curtains
  • Blue veined custard chucker
  • Go in off the red
  • Knocks like a Mack truck
  • Horizontal folk dancing
  • Sink the saveloy
  • Get your jollies
  • Exercise the ferret
  • Park the prawn
  • Gnash the gash, gnaw the 'nana
  • In and out like a fiddler's elbow
  • Tummy banana
  • Muff munching
  • Whip the clit
  • Snapping a widey
  • Having a wide-on
  • Map of Tasmania
  • Bangs like a dunny door
  • Pyjama python
  • One-eyed trouser snake
  • Point Percy at the Porcelain
  • Flash Fanny at the Fowlers
  • Norgs, Norks
  • Pocket Billiards
  • To make the beast with two backs
  • Country matters
  • Skin golf
  • Rumpy Pumpy
  • Worm hole
  • Rub uglies
  • Horizontal Mambo

  • Is good at sex
  • Oral sexSex
  • To become aroused
  • Female genital area
  • Masturbate
  • Have quick sex
  • Breasts
  • Public masturbation
  • Vagina
  • Wetter Record Settor

    At twenty six years, 7 months, and 7 days old, I have:

  • Taken a Leak
  • Taken a Whiz
  • Made Tinkle
  • Pissed
  • Made Weewee
  • Micturated
  • Relieved Myself
  • Spent a Penny
  • Introduced Mr. Thick Dick to Mr. Urinal
  • Drained the Snake
  • Drained the Lizard
  • Drained the Main Vein
  • Gone Number One
  • Pointed Percy at the Porcelain
  • Splashed One's Boots
  • Had a Gypsie's Kiss
  • Had a Jimmy Riddle
  • Strained the Potatoes
  • Watered the Garden
  • Shook Hands With My Monster
  • Pumped Ship
  • Had Some Business in the Porcelain Department

    approximatly 24,250 times. This is based on an average of 2.5 times per day, which is probably a very conservative guess. Somewhat related, I have never gone Upper Deck nor have I done a Mr. Chicken. Don't ask.

    Can you add to this list? Hit the comments with your best and I'll add them to the list, giving full credit of course.
  • Monday, August 08, 2005

    Overheard in New York, again

    It's that time again. Time to lift the best stuff from Overheard in New York.

    College girl #1: Ooh, bubble tea. I've never tried that. I see signs for it everywhere.
    College girl #2: I think it's chai tea but with little balls of tapioca.
    College girl #1: Like tapioca pudding kind of tapioca?
    College girl #2: No, like...they're bigger. They're blobs and they're kind of black.
    College girl #1: No way.
    College girl #2: Yes way. Someone at school dumped their leftover bubble tea in the toilet on the first floor of my building, and they didn't flush.
    College girl #1: So that's how you knew the balls, the blobs, were black?
    College girl #2: Well, yeah. It looked like an octopus had a miscarriage.
    --44th between 7th & 8th

    Guy: So people ask me, "What am I?", and I say, "Firstly, I'm a person and an American." It's such a contextual paradox. I just can't explain it.
    Girl: Huh?
    Guy: I just said I can't explain it, it's a contextual paradox.
    --N Train

    A crazy man mutters to a girl walking by. She ignores him and keeps walking.
    Crazy man: God kill all the lesbians. God please kill all the lesbians. Kill the lesbians. God please kill all the lesbians!
    Woman on bench: Yeah, I'm sure it's because she is a lesbian, and had has nothing to do with the fact that he has three combs stuck in his afro and smells like a dead goat.
    --Columbus Circle station

    Drunk guy #1: Hey, how come we never banged our neighbor?
    Drunk guy #2: Because she's 17 years old!
    Drunk guy #1: OK, then why didn't we bang her mom?
    Drunk guy #2: Because we're faggots!
    Drunk guy #1: OK, then why haven't we banged each other?
    --V Train

    Woman: Excuse me, I left my passport in the ladies' room.
    Stewardess guy: I'm sorry, madam, you'll have to wait until we make our way down the aisle.
    Woman: But I need to get my passport.
    Stewardess guy: I understand that, but we cannot move this cart back far enough. We should be through in a few minutes.
    Woman: But it's in the bathroom! What if someone takes it?
    Stewardess guy: If it's not in the bathroom when you get there, let one of us know and we'll make an announcement.
    Woman: No, I can't wait for that to happen, I have to go and get my passport now.
    Stewardess guy: I understand, but as I've explained to you before, you must wait. Please return to your seat.
    Woman: Oh, you're very nice. You know, in the United States, people don't behave like that.
    Stewardess guy: In the Netherlands people don't dress like that.
    --KLM Flight to JFK

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Can't Resist

    This is some funny stuff. The top pic is the original, and all others are the hilarious variations that people sent in.

    Don't view this one unless you're already going to hell.

    When you're done laughing, this is just as evil.

    Fire Safety

    My office has strategically placed fire extinguishers, presumably for my safety. I am, after all, valuable company property. Though not as important as the 450mhz Pentium II on my desk, I'm still worth keeping around.

    Like any fire extinguisher, there is a pin that goes through the handle to prevent premature expulsion of the white foam if someone touches the handle by accident. What amuses me: the pins preventing the handle action are zip tied to the handles.

    Yes, you read correctly, to prevent losing the pins, they were zip tied to the mechanism that, in an emergency, they desperately need to detach from.
    Moral of the story: if there's going to be a fire, carry a fucking knife with you to hack at the zip ties while you and your Pentium II go up in flames.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Investment Advice

    News Flash! Someone took the time to email me, that's right, ME, important investment advice. I'm so lucky. Let's take a look at the highlights of the message:

    "We Told last week at 1.20 to WATCH and now its $2.35 and
    we think it goes to $4.00 on expected news this week..."

    Slow down big fella, what's the rush? You sound like an out of breath five year old with ADD. But, I'm listening.

    Harbin Pingchuan Pharmaceutical: (PGCN)Current Price: $2.35
    ***We told you there was going to be a BIG move on THURSDAY, FRIDAY, MONDAY, AND TUESDAYand we think WEDNESDAY COULD BE HUGH !!!!!!

    Hmm, Chinese pharmaceutical company-wait, Hugh? Who the hell is that? I thought you were talking to me. You must be talking to me, I'm the only one here. And those asterisks are definitely a plus. Nothing gets my investment bone itchin' like excessive punctuation.


    Mmmm, more asterisks and exclamation points, keep talking. Talk slower. And your disregard for proper grammar has me reaching for the checkbook. But this Hugh fellow has me weirded out.

    Make no mistake: Our mission at SmallCap-Investors is to claw our way through the thousands of underperforming companies out there to find the golden needle in thehaystack the micro-cap DIAMOND that can make you rich. More often than not, the stockswe profile show a significant increase in stock price and sometimes in days, not months or years.
    Do this often enough, and your portfolio can double, even TRIPLE in value.

    Triple? Damn, that's even more than double. Who do I make the check to?

    The publisher of this newsletter does not represent that the information contained in this message states all material facts or does not omit a material fact necessary to make the statements therein notmisleading.

    Huh? So you don't not say that you're not forgetting to not include something that might not make this something I'd rather not invest in? Is that it?

    None of the material within this report shall be construed as any kind of investment advice or solicitation.

    What was all that Hugh moves on my radar talk about?

    Many of these companies are on the verge of bankruptcy. You can lose all your money by investing in this ST0CK.

    A minute ago we were talking about tripling my portfolio. Now they're on the verge of bankruptcy? Wow, the market sure moves fast. It's a good thing I've got you boys working for me and not the other guy.

    The publisher of this newsletter is contracted to receive six hundred thousand free trading shares from a third party, not an officer, director or affiliate shareholder for the circulation of this report. Be aware of an inherent conflict of interest resulting from such compensation due to the fact that this is a paid advertisement and is not without bias. The party that paid us has a position in the ST0CK they will sell at anytime without notice. This could have a negative impact on the price of the ST0CK, causing you to lose money.

    Hold the phone. I may not understand all the in's and out's of globalization, but I think I see what's going on here. I think I'll invest the money where my family has done business for generations: the track.

    I Need Shaming

    It's come to my attention that 7 months on the job has exaggerated the roundness of my gut. 18 pounds worth of hyperbole. Okay, I wasn't in the best shape when I started. I was thin, body fat in the 7-9% range. My pants were all 32 or 33", depending on the style. Working in the restaurant provided a healthy amount of miles walked and/or run in a typical day.

    Now, the body fat is at a staggering 15%, with the waist unable to wear the 32's, and the 33's are getting uncomfortable. My jeans are tighter, and work pants seem snugger around the middle. I'm definitely at the age where a lot of guys start to pack on the pounds. Some do it in college, some do it now, others hold off into their 30's and 40's. I think 26 is too early for me. My bulletproof metabolism has failed me. Or perhaps I have failed it?

    Being a rather trim guy, gaining a little weight shouldn't have been an issue. However, I've gained all of those 18 pounds on my stomach and sides. What the fuck? I look like a Somalian refugee with a distended, bloated stomach. All I need now is a couple flies to follow me around and land on my eyeballs. Am I going to Hell? Yes. Will I get VIP seating there? Probably. Will I need to get two seats to accommodate my gut? We'll see.

    I ate a lot for the first two months here. Snack after snack. I was bored; what was I going to do? When the weight gain started, I cut out the snacking and made a real effort to eat fruit for breakfast and stop eating meatball subs for lunch. Didn't work. The problem must be my new, sedentary nature. How do I combat this?

    I know, get off my ass and go running, or play tennis again, or basketball. I get little to no exercise. This is my problem. This must change. I may need to get up earlier to make time for the new plan...but that's a stretch. I'm not a fan of getting up, especially when the words early or earlier or pre-dawn come into the mix. But times are tough, and if I want to drop this ungainly fat and return to my 7% body fat I will need a significant change.

    To start, I'm going to chronicle what I eat at work. Knowing that the world can see what/how I eat will perhaps help. Also, any and all physical activity shall be documented as proof of my commitment to looking better. Maybe I should lift some weights...we'll see. If I feel like gaining mass I'll do so after bring the fat back into control. Then I can up my calorie (protein) intake for the sake of bulk.

    So please, feel free to stop by and heckle or shame me. Public humiliation is a powerful motivator. I'll post my intake, activity, weight, and body fat on a daily or near daily basis.

    08/03 - 169 lbs. 15.1% body fat. No activity yet.
    20oz water
    7 oz lemonade
    1/2 slice of buffalo chicken pizza (good start, no?)
    1 Granny Smith apple

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Robster, Robster

    The weekend is definitely over. And I'm sunburned like a bitch. We had a good little holiday, had some ups and downs, but things will be okay.
    Friday traffic was a headache, getting stuck on the Cross Bronx for about an hour. Total trip took about 4.5 hours, including a desperate meal stop at a deserted diner off I95. Checked into the hotel and just hung out as it was late and we were both wiped out by the week.

    Saturday morning we got up and made our way over to Mystic, CT. Very cool little town, even though it's inundated with tourists and their screaming progeny. Had lunch at a rooftop mexican place before doing some mild shopping. Walked around town a bit and headed over to the highly rated aquarium(we're both suckers for zoos and aquariums). Went back to the hotel to rest and clean up a bit for dinner and the concert.

    Fearing a time crunch, we ate at Bulkeley's in New London, in the patio section of course. Nice weather, great company; we hustled to get over to Connecticut College for the 8:00 show time. Here's where the trouble started. The campus was deserted, like 28 Days Later deserted, only without the zombies. Thinking that everybody else had parked on the other side of the auditorium, I left the car running and ran over to the building to make sure everything was cool. Alas, the concert had been cancelled. Actually, the summer concert series had been cancelled due to bankruptcy. To make things even worse, a note taped to the door gave a number to call to start the legal process of a refund. Legal process? What? I want my money back now. But seeing how desolate the building was (yet the door was unlocked, hmmm), I tried to think of the best way to break this news to my very excited-for-the-show wife waiting in the car. In front of this building was the world's biggest gong. Well, it was more like a giant Buddhist bell, replete with swinging log to ring it. Feeling ripped off, I picked up a large mallet underneath the gong/bell and gave it a very solid crack. This didn't make me feel any better.

    Back in the car, I gave her the quick and dirty truth. She didn't buy it. Convinced I was just yanking her chain, it took at least four times to make her believe that we weren't seeing a concert that night. Bummed, we drove over to a movie theater to fill the hole in our night. Again, we got screwed. All four screens in this quad-plex of a theater had just began their showings. Fuck it. Thoroughly beaten by the forces at work, we did what any normal couple should do: we went back to the Holiday Inn* and had great sex.

    Sunday was gray and overcast so we took advantage by hiring a kayak for the afternoon. We strapped on the vests and leisurely paddled out from the cove, exploring the islands and inlets. Many times we would simply let ourselves float across the black water under the gray sky. Incredibly tranquil. About 90 minutes out of port, the sun decides to come raging back to life. Uh oh. I hadn't put on any sunscreen. My shorts and t-shirt were no protection and I felt the heat giving me a slow roast almost instantly. We turned the boat around and started paddling. Unfortunately for me, my efficient paddling had brought us quite far out. Now, feeling the pain, I dug in even harder and pushed myself to get that kayak back into the shade. Despite making good time back, I got scorched. My knees, from the kneecap to the line where my shorts ended, are lobster red. My neck, arms, and shins got pretty toasted, but not nearly as bad as the knees.

    After putting in, we cleaned up and went to Mystic Pizza for a late lunch. It wasn't quite as quaint as I remember from the movie. In fact, they've made it a tourist attraction with a chain-restaurant type dining room. Pictures of Julia Roberts and other movie bits are splattered over the walls. Despite the change, it was still a really tasty pizza (Buffalo chicken) and great conversation. We hit the highway directly from there in order to hopefully avert some of the weekend traffic.

    To my despair, we found the heart of the back-to-the-city traffic. Coupled with my increasingly bad sunburn and complete loss of my arms and shoulders (I'm still feeling the effects of my mad paddlin'), my mood spiraled down. In fact, I caused a pretty major fight somewhere on the Cross Bronx when I took something my wife said a little too personally. The drive sucked. Today, two days later, I still have a lot of pain walking.

    Since this is the beginning of year 2, it's appropriate that I write down a few resolutions.
    1. I will communicate better with the wife.
    2. I will do something about this commute.
    3. I will finish projects that I start.
    4. I will decide what I want to be when I grow up.
    5. I will lose this desk weight (or this desk) that I've picked up.
    6. I will send the Netflix back in a reasonable time frame.
    7. I will spend less time reading other blogs and more time on my own.
    8. I will not make another boring list for another year.

    *Holiday Inn sucks. I can't wait til we can afford proper hotels again.

    Gonna find me some religion

    You are a Self-Discoverer

    You're not religious, but you've created your own kind of spirituality.
    Introspective and thoughtful, you tend to look inward for the divine.
    You are distrusting of all forms of organized religion.
    You especially dislike religious gurus and leaders, who you feel are charlatans.