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Friday, September 12, 2008

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Stuff That Keeps Me Busy

Seeing: There Will Be Blood. There was. I went into this movie preemptively taking 2 Advil. I heard that it was bleak and unforgiving, and P.T. Anderson and I have an interesting history. Or not. I loved 9/10 of Boogie Nights, thought Magnolia was pretentious and over the top (saved by the gorgeous Aimee Mann music) and Punch Drunk Love made me homicidally angry. This movie was an original auteur vision, but I really don't think it's the new Citizen Kane or modern masterpiece like many critics are rapturously claiming. Daniel Day Lewis acts with a capital A, and every once in a while the whole movie veered into Saturday Night Live skit territory. After I saw the film, I didn't really feel like talking; I just wanted to wrap myself up in a blanket, shower and listen to upbeat music. But overall, it's a gorgeously scored, often powerful, perfectly fine movie that I never, ever want to see again. Oh, I can't believe I am saying this, but the scene in the bowling alley when people scream about milkshakes still leaves me profoundly confused.

Reading: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami. This is a collection of Murakami's best short stories from throughout the past couple decades. I thought that this would be a book that I would pick up once in a while and be able to read other things after a couple of selections, but it's become completely addictive. His ability to transform quotidian detail into the extraordinary and really make you think has gotten me hooked. It's the most relaxing book I have read in quite a while. Each selection is a character study that centers on a momentary revelation, and while I normally prefer more plot-driven fiction, these stories fly by with ease. In the introduction, the author perfectly sums up how the book feels: "If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden."

Eating: Fork, 306 market Street, Philadelphia, PA. I know I am not Craig Laban, but I had a lovely dining experience there this weekend. I have a hilarious story about dining there forthcoming in which my friends and I meet the owner of the establishment, but until then I will tell you that the Hanger Steak with Chimmichurri with the Yucca Frites was delicious, if slightly overdone. I loved EJ's Porkchop with some sort of sweet sauce and honey-glazed sweet potatoes even better (and so did he). The tastes I managed to steal from JB of his 1/2 Duck Two Ways and CC's Roasted Free Range Chicken were great, as well. The drinks? Not so much. I would stick with wine over mixed drinks. The best thing I had all night there was a mix of the chef's nightly tapas: baby mozzarella with roasted peppers, Spanish meatballs and the best thing, braised pork belly with hoisin sauce. Extra bonus points are awarded for the cute waitress/Rashida Jones lookalike who sang Dan Fogleberg songs with us.

Hating: The Anti-Fois Gras protesters in Philadelphia. Please let me walk past Susannah Foo's without having to see your pictures of goose fetus or whatever it is that's supposed to make me support your cause. It's gross; it makes me look away. It makes me want to go eat more meat to perpetuate balance in the world. Also, your self-righteous grandstanding would gain probably gain a little more legitimacy in my eyes if you weren't wearing leather jackets while protesting. Even annoying people should strive for consistency.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Have Your Cake And Eat Me, Too.

I may actually be a professional wedding guest at this point. Every couple weeks, it seems, I am invited to participate in or attend a ceremony in which I am legally banned from participating. No matter how sane, cool or calm the bride is on the day of the wedding, she no doubt has experienced a couple moments of megalomania and psychosis that make them so special to be around weeks before the big day. Did you know that their wedding is the most important day of your life, too? You will.

Don't get me wrong. I love my married friends, and I respect the institution of marriage for the most part. But I would respect everyone and everything that had anything to do with marriage if they all were like this woman.

How awesome/horrifying is this? Let's count the ways together:

1. She's honest. Other women try to conceal just how insane they are on their own wedding days. But this cake is the perfect metaphor for the crazy bitch bridezilla. Just how much is this day all about her? Ask her and she'll tell you to eat her. Literally.

2. This cake has been a dream of hers for years. Yes, she has had a lifelong dream to have a lifesize wedding cake. CNN says that she sadly never had her other dream come true--receiving a life-size doll in her likeness. That shit is straight up porny.) Some girls dream of horse-drawn carriages and silk canopies. This woman just wanted dessert that looked like her that she could eat for a week. Dream big, y'all!

3. Is there a part of the wedding that guests care about less than the cake? Her guests would have been better served if she hired an ice sculptor to fashion a frozen likeness of her wherein the bartender would pour martini ingredients in her mouth, and out of her special place would flow delicious potent potables. I need to get this idea trademarked a.s.a.p.

4. Her husband gets to hack into her cake likeness with a knife now, acting out all of his frustrations from the days leading up to the nuptuals. This may possibly save her from an O.J.-like tragedy years down the road.

5. Her dress looks like Vera Bradley threw up all over her in the receiving line.

6. Guarantee: this cake idea or my ice flume idea (see #3) will most definitely be used in a future episode of My Super Sweet 16.

7. The cake looks a bit like VH1's New York, if New York ever wore that much fabric at one time.

8. No matter what flavor cake is inside (please let it be red velvet!), it's just downright creepy.

I only wish that more women would take a moment to think about themselves in the months leading up to their weddings, like Chidi Ogbuta. Self-obsession has never been so delicious.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Sounds of 2007, Cheater Style

So here are my favorite songs of the year. I wish that I could explain my criteria, but there are none, really. It's just how I feel, yo. The list would be completely different a few moments from now, and I will probably change my mind about the order or inclusion of songs as soon as I post this. But that's not important. Here's is an aural snapshot (no such thing, right?) of my 2007.

Here are the very important caveats: They didn't have to be singles or even have been commercially released this year, indeed there are some tracks that are b-sides or album only tracks. They couldn't have been from what I perceived to be previous years (for example: The Shins' "Phantom Limb", "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse or "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John aren't here because I heard them in and associate them with 2006, but "With Every Heartbeat" by Kleerup and "City" by Lo-Fi-Fnk are here because they just FEEL like 2007 to me). I tried to keep one entry per artist on the list, but if I really liked 2 songs by an artist, I just lumped them together. It works better in some cases (LCD Soundsystem) than others (Arcade Fire). Yes, all of that is cheating, but I make the rules.

Songs by Nelly Furtado, Maroon 5, VHS or Beta, Alison Krause and Robert Plant and Metro Station narrowly missed the list, and "The Way I Are" by Timbaland was not included because its grammatically incorrect name offends me so profoundly. It's a great song, though. A special shout-out to the Marv who gave me so many musical suggestions this year through his powers of persuasion. Some of them were actually quite good.

One should also know that I am more of a "singles" person than an "album" person. I rarely listen to an album straight through without getting sick of the artist, but I very much enjoyed the efforts from Radiohead (In Rainbows was my favorite Radiohead album since OK Computer), Spoon, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Mark Ronson, Feist, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen. These artists are all represented below, and the tracks I listed could easily be substituted for others on their albums.

At one point, I thought about including commentary, but this list looks so pretty and orderly without it. If you have any questions/think I am insane for including or missing a song, please let me know. I would guess that you are wrong. Enjoy. Let the debate start here.

1. "The Underdog" – Spoon.

2. "With Every Heartbeat"—Kleerup feat. Robyn

3. "Umbrella" - Rihanna

4. "I Feel It All"/ "My Moon My Man"/ "1,2,3,4" - Feist

5. "Ankle Injuries"- Fujiya and Miyagi

6. "Heimaldsgate Like A Promethian Curse" – Of Montreal

7. "Someone Great"/ "All My Friends" – LCD Soundsystem

8. "LDN" - Lily Allen

9. "Oh My God"/ "Valerie" – Mark Ronson feat. Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse

10. "Pogo" - Digitalism

11. "D.A.N.C.E."- Justice

12. "Paper Planes" –M.I.A.

13. "Golden Skans" - Klaxons

14. "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)" – UGK feat. Outkast

15. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Door" – The Editors

16. "Foundations" – Kate Nash

17. "Jigsaw Falling Into Place"/ "15 Step" - Radiohead

18. "Love is a Losing Game" – Amy Winehouse

19. "I Believe" – Simian Mobile Disco

20. "Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)" – Groove Armada feat. Mutya Buena

21. "The Opposite of Hallelujah" – Jens Lekman

22. "Four Winds" – Bright Eyes

23. "Intervention"/ "(Antichrist Television Blues)"- Arcade Fire

24. "Violet Stars Happy Hunting!" – Janelle Monae

25. "Boy with a Coin" – Iron and Wine

26. "Fluorescent Adolescent" – Arctic Monkeys

27. "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" -CSS

28. "Kid on My Shoulders"- The White Rabbits

29. "Ruby" – Kaiser Chiefs

30. "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" – Bruce Springsteen

31. "Grip Like a Vice" – The Go! Team

32. "Timebomb" - Beck

33. "Dashboard" – Modest Mouse

34. "Straight Lines" - Silverchair

35. "What's a Girl to Do?" – Bat For Lashes

36. "Flathead"/ "Whistle for the Choir"- The Fratellis

37. "Atlas"- Battles

38. "I Still Remember" – Bloc Party

39. "I Want to Have Your Babies" – Natasha Bedingfield

40. "Grace Kelly" - Mika

41. "About You Now" - Sugababes

42. "Girlfriend (remix)" – Avril Lavigne feat. Lil'Mama.

43. "You! Me! Dancing!" – Los Campesinos

44. "Discotech"- Young Love

45. "Lovestoned" – Justin Timberlake

46. "The Takeover, The Break's Over" – Fall Out Boy

47. "City" Lo-Fi-Fnk

48. "Roscoe" - Midlake

49. "Like a Boy" Ciara

50. "Can I Get Get Get"- Junior Senior

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Profiles In Courage

It was a sad day for world politics and democracy at large today, as Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide bombing that killed her and at least 20 others at a political rally. She was the first female Prime Minister of a country in the Muslim world. She was no saint, flawed by allegations of corruption and other family problems during her stint as Prime Minister. More notably, she could have just rested on her laurels as an heiress of a wealthy family, but instead spent her life trying to affect change in one of the world’s most strategically important countries.

After ending her self-imposed exile and returning to Pakistan under dangerous conditions, including many death threats from current government (installed by the United States. Thanks, George!), she began to rally the people of her country to press forward for democracy. She did this under house arrest at times, while government-sanctioned military forces stood outside her door or disrupted her motorcade. She did this in a place where a woman's role is rarely at the forefront of political movements. Her death potentially leaves open the door for chaos in a country where bedlam and confusion are de rigueur.

But more even importantly than this on a world scale, Heidi totally called off her wedding to Spencer on the Hills! You guys, I know! Where as some women who think they are so important would just stay in their houses all day while the military waited outside, Heidi stood up to the bullies that tormented her and got a new nose and titties. Take that, bullies!

Plus, Heidi did all of this while a.) under constant supervision from television cameras as she lived out her totally real life and b.) while her former best friend forever wouldn’t even give her the time of day. The only solace I can take in Heidi’s case is that she’s still going to give her relationship with Spencer a chance. Also, was Bhutto under the extreme pressure of recording a hit dance single while she was fighting for democracy. Our searches on youtube indicate that she felt no such anxiety. Boring!

Today may be a dark day for democracy and progressive women making their mark in the world, but it’s a little bit brighter knowing that there are profiles in courage like Heidi out there for the next generation of young ladies to emulate.

P.S. I would have talked more about Bhutto’s remarkable life and impact on the world, but she didn’t have a myspace page or a television show where she pretended to be bisexual while looking like a shriveled pea with implants. So, asking around, it was difficult to find any more information about her.

Sing for peace, Heidi!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

30 Rock

Dear You Guys:

So I am totally going to start blogging again after my year hiatus. I just thought I needed some time to find myself. Predictably, I did not. Some highlights of my life since last you heard from me:

1. Apparently, I have watched 1,053 videos on youtube. I feel like that's a lot.
2. I found a Korean on the street. If I cook for him, he washes the dishes. He also helps clean my house if I let him watch my Netflix movies. He is, for some reason, reticent about the fact that I will write about him from time to time. Not only do I think he secretly likes it, but it will also be useful to keep him in line.
3. I have decided, rather definitively, that I enjoy Australia's Next Top Model more than America's.
4. I have renewed my commitment to go back to the gym with sometimes hilarious results. For example, there is a huge bruise on my right hand at the moment. It is the result of walking into some machine that you use to strengthen your legs. (I have no idea how to use it.)
5. I turned 30. Holy shit.
6. I found a dead f*cking cat in my backyard. It was the most horrifying ordeal of my life. It will be addressed in a later post.

That's basically it. You didn't miss much. I will be checking in periodically with shorter posts. the audience in mind will be, as usual, me. I will again be elaborating on the things that please me, things that annoy me and things that somehow happen to me and only me.

I missed you! I hope you missed me. If you'll remember, I am incredibly self-centered. So, we'll talk soon.

Kisses, ZRW

P.S. As a holiday bonus, here's some video footage of Christmas at home last year with my family.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Best Christmas Song Ever

There are some questions which require an opinion as an answer. To those questions, often one of several opinions will suffice. However, some opinion questions have a correct answer. This is one of those questions.

What is the best modern Christmas Song?

Answer: "Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses.

Some of you might have said, "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey or "Last Christmas" by Wham. And you would have been close. However, "Christmas Wrapping" has no parallel. There are countless reasons why, but let's just concentrate on a few.

1. Baddest bass line ever to appear in a Christmas song. Right after the initial build up of sleigh bells and guitar licks, the bass player's fingers freak out and rip into the song. If you're not animatronic, your head will begin to move forward and backward, pivotting at the neck.

2. The drama! This is not just a Christmas song extolling the virtues of the holiday. This is a dramatic retelling of the annus horribilus of our heroine as she tries to get a damn date to work out. Every time she and mystery man make plans, something happens. His car won't start! She has sunburn! (In the third degree!) It's such a bad year that our girl decides to not celebrate Christmas. Can you imagine a worse end of the year? (Jews, please skip this question.) It takes Christmas magic and a coincidental shopping mishap to bring these star-crossed lovers together. Christmas is back on! Turkey dinner for everyone! Sigh....

3. It's the only Christmas song that it's appropriate to listen to all year round. Period.

4. A coworker and I discussed how we woke up to it the other morning, and we were both so happy to start the day. There are not many songs, Yuletide or otherwise, that can do that with such universal appeal. Sure, my sample audience is two people. But that's all it takes to make a thing go right according to Rob Base. Thus, I am right.

I need to go to bed now, and I can't come up with any more reasons beyond these. But if everyone could be as happy as I am during the holidays when I hear this song, then there would be peace on Earth. And that's what this time of year is all about.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Park Place, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Marilinda

This just in! After living in Philadelphia or its environs for the greater part of the last decade, I am thrilled to say that I have had my first ever positive experience with a city governmental agency. And to boot, it’s the Philadelphia Parking Authority. (Yay, puns!) I am as shocked as you are.

It all started because I moved to a different part of town to a sweet little house nowhere near the garage where I used to park my hoopty. In case you’re keeping track, this is the car that had been running on 2 cylinders and had a melted ignition coil. This is the car that I was too inept to understand that something was way wrong even though it wouldn’t drive uphill for 6 months or so. Oops. It was time to move the car to the streets, outside of the garage where many Nigerians dreaded the sight of me. Mohammed (Momo), God love him, and his crew would have to move my car for me, jump it when the battery died and accept my late payment every single month. Love you, Momo!

As an aside, he would call around midmonth, every month, and say, “Is this the Zachary? This is Mohammed. Do you know why I call you? I call because you are late with payment. I don’t know why you forget, but you do. I am not mad.” And I think it’s true. If he did get mad, he never showed it. Would that we all had the patience of Momo.

So, I had an hour to get a parking permit for my car and get back to work. Chances of this happening were slim to none. And Slim just left town. I cabbed my ass over to near 30th Street Station to the Parking Authority Headquarters. My cab was driven by a pleasant man named Mohammed. For real, am I in the wrong religion, or what? Granted, he almost killed us twice, but he had a way of prioritizing efficiency that made my heart beat a little faster than usual on a Monday.

I enter a pleasant little office that looked more like a Doctor’s office than a bureaucratic claptrap. I was immediately waited on. There was no queue! (This is the word I use for “line” now that I am a Netflix user.) Her name was Marilinda. Ok, it wasn’t. I made that up because I never got her name, but trust me: she was totally a Marilinda. She was a squat little Latina, as wide as she was tall. She might have been my age or 50; she was ageless. Her plump head was home to a crazy mole on her left cheek and hair slicked back into a ponytail.

“Whatchu want?” she scowled. “I need a parking permit,” I cowered. We were going to make this happen. I was totally her bitch.

“You got 2 tickets outstanding” “I know, sorry.” “Don’t sorry me; pay them now.”

And then I did!

Blah blah, red tape, blah for about 10 minutes. She bossed me around, raised her voice when I got out of line, sneered when I got confused, but then we were done. At the end of our hasty interaction, while I was signing paperwork, she tapped her long press-on fingernail to the counter then brought it up to her eyes, and said, “Pay attention. I am still talkin’ to ya.”

And then I did!

She was forceful, efficient and not at all elegant about it. Marilinda was my kind of woman. I would have bottomed for her right there. Or not. I don’t know; I was very caught up in the moment. (note: Kidding. I would only bottom for Nancy Pelosi.)

I do a lot of bitching about Philadelphia here, but this was so quick and easy that I have to give credit where credit is due. Congrats, Philadelphia! And thank you!

Marilinda for Mayor!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Happy Birthday, Little Richard!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Today in Craig News

It’s kind of my not so secret dream to meet my soulmate on craigslist’s Missed Connections page. Everyone knows that, and I think more than a few of you share this sentiment. However, it’s difficult to go through all the ads, sorting through the crazies to find your one true love. So, I will make your life easier and find some crazies for you. Beware. Hairy forearms, medically threatening erections and a Buddhist with nice nips follow, to wit:

Dominatrix in the window of the CC Marriott 12/02, 1pm

I don't know if you check this sort of thing, maybe you do, since you are obviously in the adult industry

Anyway I saw you through the window at my office on Market Street (directly across from the Marriott) on Saturday- you were wearing a black corset and black underwear and black stockings and looked so good. I hope that you don't find this too sleazey, but I have had the hardest erection ever since I laid eyes on you. It won't go down, I had to call out of work today- I am not joking.

I hope you see this and contact me, I really want to meet you and see if you can cure me before I have to seek out a doctor.

You guys! There is a man running around the business district of Philadelphia with an insatiable boner, stalking an exhibitionist dominatrix. He also doesn’t have spell check. Let’s examine the many, many layers of awesomeness in this bloomin’ onion of a craigspost. Some woman is trying to drive men who work on Saturdays crazy with her dominant sexuality. He questions whether someone this classy would even check craigslist. But the best part is that this guy called. out. of. work. because of an erection. I hope he has a lot of vacation days and a good HMO. I would be broke if I solved my problems that way.

Lost Cardigan at Nodding Head

To my dear poor lost cardigan, you were my favorite. Now you are gone. Hopefully one day you will find your back to me.

(Plan black button up cardigan, with the top button having cherries on it.)

Again, with the spelling! But we are going to forgive her because this is an adorable ad. It could only be better if a man had a super, constant erection because of the cardigan sweater. I hope it gets returned to her because there’s something desperate and poetic about writing a Missed Connection to an inanimate object. I appreciate that.

Indian guy about 3 weeks ago on Fri. night in scrubs. - w4m

You were in scrubs with 2 sandwiches/ 2 drinks. It looked like you were on call and had run out get you and a buddy something to eat. You looked most likely of North Indian descent with fairly hairy forearms. I think you're about 5'6 (?!) and very thin, but I like that. :)

I was the cute blond in a black coat trying to think of anything to say without either sounding like a pervert or socially maladjusted. "Come here often?" "So you like the red Gatorade... oh wait that's for your friend?" "I like your hairy forearms?" Uh, yeah.

Me? I come to Penn's campus often. I'm successful in biz field and well educated with my own degree from Penn among others. So if you remember someone "breathing heavy" when you tried to pay for your food order... it was probably me.

So if you're single, drop me a line. :)

This is awesome. There is a little Wharton, blonde cutie running around Phialdephia with a hairy forearms fetish, down with the brown. Girlfriend was heavy breathing at Club Wa for Vishnu's sake. She tries to claim that she is not a socially maladjusted pervert, which she automatically is for preemptively denying it. She imagines a conversation wherein her fetish is revealed. And then she almost trips over the many academic degrees she subtly dropped into the conversation like an Acme anvil. She ends it with a smile. Psycho. Skinny, hairy Indians, watch your skinny, hairy backs.

mad hot sex in northeast.... best booth sex ever

..wo... totally hot man.. made passionate hot love for about 5 dollars worth of our timen friday night... u were amazing.. and cute.. and fuk.. it was just incredible.. cum everywhere.... it was porn hot ... chemistry rules.

all in a booth.. fuk man.. what a world...

anyway.. it took me a day to get that smirk off my face

Besides the tenuous grasp on anything resembling the English language (it's from the Northeast; it's all good), this post is notable for the fact that he measured the time they made love in dollars. How?! Simple micoreconomics dictates, after all, that money is exchanged for goods and services. Also, if you sing this post in a falsetto and change the word “man” to “girl,” it becomes a Prince song circa 1986.

And now I will leave you with what happens when a big sexy, nipple-bearing monk strolls through the gayborhood. As you might imagine, it’s not exactly nirvana.

Raised Consciousness - m4m - 28

You were walking up 13th St. this afternoon practically bare-chested, wearing nothing but an unzipped hoodie over red Buddhist (or... Hare Krishna?) robes with sandals. You stopped me dead in my tracks as I exited a restaurant and I'm sure you noticed my dumb-struck reaction (partially to your exposed nipple but also because you were so damn sexy). I guess a guy as smokin' hot as you are isn't bothered by the cold weather. You certainly made me feel warm inside. I want to meditate upon your beauty, and I would gladly give up my leather for you...

Clever. What are the gay men's chorus members wearing these days? I love that last bit about the leather. Hey! I know someone who loves leather (see above), and he’s experiencing the worst part of tantric sex as we speak. Maybe you can contact him?

(Shout out to all y'all who helped make my birthday fun. I probably don’t remember seeing you, so just tell me you were there. I felt very loved.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

On Old Faces and New Ulcers

Like a perfect storm, events in my life have converged to render me battered and beaten about the emotional ear, nose and throat. My Thanksgiving weekend trip to the Northeastern reaches of the Keystone state was bookended by the equally depressing, reality-checking life events called High School Reunion and 29th Birthday.

Ten long years ago, I graduated from Valley View High School. The school was as sheltered and idyllic as one could imagine, served with ample sides of trashiness and flannel. At the time, I couldn’t imagine ever sending my kids somewhere else. Of course, at the time when we had a girl threatening to come into school with a gun and list of people she hated, my mom told me, “Go to school, lazy ass. If you get shot, call your grandfather, and he’ll come pick you up.” Things were so much simpler then. I also had longer hair with the curls combed out so that it reached below my brows. It seems all of us had a tenuous grasp on the ability to make good decisions.

I spoke at my high school graduation, as the student with the highest average. My high school, purveyor of all things athletic, shied away from the term Valedictorian as to try to limit excessive competition among students. Those in charge of this policy were conspicuously absent while colleagues of mine were hurling dodge balls at my head in P.E. Class. I was told by the faculty that I was to speak about success. I wrote something up quickly, and then it was edited to a shadow of its former self. A more subversive student would have written something more interesting, but I went with the edited copy. I have no idea what I said. I would ask someone in my class what I said, but I know no one was listening. I know I talked about success and how its presence couldn’t and shouldn’t be measured by anything quantifiable or tangible. And blah blah blah. My mother loved it, but I think she would have loved it just the same were I reading from the Necronomicron.

Fast forward 10 years and a couple months. It is now my 10 Year Class Reunion. I don’t know why, but I was the most nervous I have been in years to walk in the room. Clad in a pinstripe business suit (to reflect my hard earned education and show off my blue eyes), I entered and my stomach dropped. I actually got a little dizzy. It was overwhelming to see faces from my past all together in one room for the first time in a decade: prom dates, rivals, jocks, nerds, band geeks, vo-techsters, the high school quarterback.

I did what anyone would do: made a bee-line to the bar. After a couple drinks, I got in the groove of the evening and gave the pat speech about my life when asked how I was.

Great, happy to be single, yeah, can you believe I am a lawyer? Neither can I sometimes. 10 Years. Wow. You have a baby? Do you like it? No, I probably can’t defend you. Etc.

A few moments stand out. One was when the girl voted most likely to succeed came up to me and asked me if I felt successful. I was also voted most likely to succeed with her; we were like a super nerdy prom king and queen. If this were a drama or Lifetime movie, my graduation speech would be highlighted here (preferably in sepia tones). It was a surprisingly poignant question for the evening. I made up some bullshit speech 10 years ago about this very subject. I talked about personal fulfillment, happiness not caring about things like salary or material possessions. I was naïve and 30 pounds lighter. Simpler times. I don’t know if I feel successful or not. I guess it depends on the day. No one told me at graduation that it’s ok to feel that way. The rest of the weekend, particularly surrounded by my family at my Grandfather’s 85th surprise birthday party, I let myself feel successful. I am allowing myself to feel that way for a bit.

I just turned 29, and there’s a lot left that I need to do. That's OK.

But for that night, I looked around the room, and it seemed like people were really happy. Everyone was smiling. Old beefs were put aside. We were just heavier, more mature versions of ourselves. (Ok, some girls were thinner—but it’s only because they were about to get married. And then you know they’ll gain the weight back. You know it.) We were happy to be in eachother’s company for the first time in 10 years. We were allowed to show off our best sides and present our own personal successes. And I found myself actually caring deeply what people were saying. Best of all, unlike 10 years ago, we could all go to a bar together after it and drink. Wouldn’t high school have been easier with bar built into the cafeteria?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How To Be Happy

It's a delicate balance.

If you think too much, life is presumably going to pass you by. You'll analyze, squeeze the meaning out of something. If you're not careful, you'll impair your brain's ability to assign meaningful value to people, places, things and events.

If you don't think enough, the results could be even more perilous. You'll make yourself available to visits from risk and emotional liability. You might miss out on things you would find enjoyable, but you certainly won't have to deal with the unforeseeable, or worse, foreseeable consequences of what could go wrong after you experience some sort of pleasure.

After attending law school and being an economics minor in college, it's a commonplace practice in my mind to quanitfy things that shouldn't accurately reflect any sort of numerical weight. I stifle these instincts to attempt to appear to possess some sort of humanity. If used correctly, this kind of thinking can shield you from heartbreak. It's cold and clinical, but it makes sense.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Of course to use that line of thought correctly, it should be coupled with a lobotomy and soul extraction. You may live without the burden of having a broken heart, but you'll end up sitting on the polar opposite end of the regret spectrum. Why do things have to make sense?

Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, they say. Who are these people? Do they really believe that what they learned from their relationship outweighs what's taken away when it's goine? Do they isolate the singular, unique experience as a victory, separating it from the net result loss? Do they not think that once the warmth is over it can only leave them colder?

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

'They' are aonoymous. People who make statements like that often are. But I know someone who does think this. She told me once when my first serious relationship ended that I needed to be thankful for the experience and decide what I learned from it. At the time, what I learned was that I wanted to be alone all the time to prepare for the rest of my lonely life. Eventually I came to see that there was some validity to her advice.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Love is patient; love is kind.

Better to have loved and lost...

What doesn't kill you...

This is not about me. This is about what happens when love doesn't work out for someone who never lived life afraid to accept the bad consequences that could occur for putting oneself out there.

It's a brave way to live. It's something I aspire to do.

But it's really nothing compared to the bravery of stepping back, stopping what feels/felt so good and deciding it's time to cut losses and decide what you've learned from the whole experience. Love is a choice you make from minute to minute.

Love does not envy; it does not boast; it is not proud.

But what do you do when you want to hear the everything is going to be ok and all you can get is a God damned cliche?

Cliches are cliche for a reason.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Of Human Bonding

This weekend was the bachelor party of my future brother-in-law. My brother and I hopped in his big, red truck and headed off to Dirty Jerz to a condo chock full of my brother-in-law and his closest high school, college and gym friends. My sophomore year of high school, I was inducted into the National Honors Society where I took a vow, while holding a candle, to always continue my pursuit of knowledge and search for truth. This weekend was no different, so here are some take-home lessons from bachelor party weekend.

1. If your brother offers to pick you up and drive your ass across state lines gratis, then you best not doze off while navigating. Otherwise, hypothetically, you may end up closer to Delaware than the Jersey Shore.

2. No matter how heroically you dash everyone’s low expectations of you, you’re just not going to beat a guy named Cleetus at beer pong.

3. If you pretend that you are only playing poker for the 3rd time and you come in 3rd out of 20 players in a tournament, a drunk guy or 3 or 4 are going to get in your face and call you a “fucking hustler” in the style of Wesley Snipes in White Man Can’t Jump.

4. When married men escape their wives and kids for the weekends, they really, really want to make it count. When Sunday morning rolls around, you will be able to tell by the looks on guys’ faces who will be returning to a warden.

5. Inevitably, someone will find out that your work may or may not vaguely involve drugs, and he will present to you, in graphic detail, that among the many side effects of his mood elevator, one of them is delayed orgasm. He will wink and tell you that maybe it’s a good thing, but he won’t mean it. He will ask for advice, and in the middle of your shocked silence, while you contemplate how many more beers you should have consumed, he will run down the street after what appears to be an underage girl.

6. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear how the man who is about to marry your sister lost his virginity. Possibly, it will entail 3-5 quick thrusts and an explanation to his prom date that she was no longer the big V.

7. Men will use the word “gay” as a pejorative; yet, these will be the same men who hug and kiss each other, tell each other how much they love the other and will flash naked body parts at one another.

8. Dave Matthews Band will be played with alarming frequency. Men will muse at his genius and marvel how they are probably the only group of men on the Earth to really, you know, connect, with him and his music.

9. It may not go over as well as planned, when in talking shit during beer pong, you tell your future brother-in-law that your sister’s ex-boyfriend was a much better beer-ponger than he is. In fact, the silence that follows may be jarring.

10. You may be happy to realize that you genuinely like the guy your sister is about to marry, especially as you realize he’s scared to do anything stupid in front of you. And then he does it anyway.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Meme, A Name I Call Myself

You know the drill. The meme asks a question, and my iPod Nano answers the questions in shuffle mode. It might not be pretty, accurate or intellectually stimulating. But neither is this blog.

How does the world see you?
“Beware of the Boys,” Panjabi MC featuring Jay-Z

Will I have a happy life?
“Hole Hearted,” Extreme

What do my friends really think of me?
"S.O.S.,” Rhianna

Do people secretly lust after me?
"Time After Time,” Cyndi Lauper

How can I make myself happy?
"Since I Left You,” The Avalanches

What should I do with my life?
"At Your Funeral,” Saves the Day

Will I ever have children?
"Something Good,” Caetano Veloso

What is some good advice for me?
"I Believe When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever,” Stevie Wonder

How will I be remembered?
"The House that Zach, I mean Jack, Built,” Aretha Franklin

What is my signature dancing song?
"Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” The Smiths

What do I think my current theme song is?
"There’s No Other Way,” Blur

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
"Justified and Ancient,” KLF feat. Tammy Wynette

What song will play at my funeral?
"Buffalo Stance,” Neneh Cherry

What type of women do you like?
"Vanishing,” Mariah Carey (hilarious)

What is my day going to be like?
"La Tortura” Shakira & Alejandro Sanz (also perfect)