Jan 27, 2011

Over It

It started snowing right after Christmas, and it seems like it hasn’t stopped since. This unrelenting weather coupled with a ridiculous work attendance policy has me regularly leaning on my good friend and, luckily, fellow Fort Lee resident for rides to and from the office. I don’t use the word carpool.

The only way to get from my apartment to my job is by way of a very steep hill. Palisade Avenue. A notoriously dangerous, unplowed, pothole-ridden hill.

She drives a BMW X5. So, while I enjoy a plush, bun-warming ride, I can barely see over the dash. Here’s a sans booster seat idea of what the main drag looked like this morning.

Like I imagine most carpool...er...ladies who ride together do, we spend our commute bitching and moaning about work, life, love, and all sorts of crap that we think we have more control over than we actually do. She is one of my best friends. She just turned 30 last week.

Pulling into the garage, we see the snow removal guy smoking inside his mini-bulldozer thingy. “Doesn’t he know this is a smoke-free campus as of January first?!” We mock the new no-smoking policy while in our hearts we question how, once “on campus,” our right to engage in a free and legal activity becomes subject to HR Administrative Policy 300.4. We think the contractor is probably getting paid more than we are.

I shuffle into my cube an hour late and look out the window. You’d be surprised at how many hospitals actually share property lines with cemeteries. Look next time. This is the view from my desk.

If you know me at all, you know that no one can rock an existential crisis like I can. So, I call an equally frustrated coworker over to look at the oddly soothing graveyard scene. “Some days I look at this and think things could always be worse. Other days –  today for instance –  I think the opposite.” She laughs and says “You want to get morbid?” I clear some papers from the extra chair.

“You know what I realized? I know what the phrase ‘over the hill’ really means. It is actually a very accurate metaphor.” She’s about 60. “When you’re young, you have all this energy pulling you to the top. Then you get to the top – and it changes. It’s like your past, what’s behind you, is pushing you down. Mentally, physically – down the hill. You think about your mortality but it doesn’t seem scary, just inevitable, and you’re kind of fine with that.”

I take off my glasses. And, apparently, make some kind of “face.”

“No,” she says. “My daughter is always screaming how she doesn’t want to get old but I try to explain to her: it’s like where you are, agewise, is where you need to be. It’s strange, but it works out, trust me.”

She goes back to her cube. I look at the clock and think about how I am going to handle six more hours of this shit.

Meeting. Email. Phone call.

I start thinking this day might go quickly after all. Thinking that soon enough I’ll be taking the running leap into my young friend’s luxurious tank. And how, for now, the ride home is uphill.

Jan 25, 2011


Last year, the summer decided to end right outside my window.

Jan 24, 2011

Bed, Bath & Way Beyond

The translucent tiles and gold glitter grout of our bathroom are now accompanied by the most trippy shower curtains ever. They did not look this bizarre in the package. There are dancing rabbits, evil-eyed bunnies, and hand-in-hand hedgehogs. They were on clearance.

As if I'm not enough of a mess in the morning.

Jan 21, 2011

Kindle Update

Got the Kindle as a belated birthday gift. Thanks, John. Now I can read all sorts of "books" by authors real and imagined.

Jan 12, 2011

Light My Fire

I’m not sure how I didn’t read about this, but the Pope made some very interesting comments back in October. The following is from the Montreal Gazette (maybe that’s why the story hadn’t made it onto my radar...):

Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday that the media’s increasing reliance on images, fueled by the endless development of new technologies, risked confusing real life with virtual reality.

"New technologies and the progress they bring can make it impossible to distinguish truth from illusion and can lead to confusion between reality and virtual reality," the pope said.

"The image can also become independent from reality, it can give birth to a virtual word, with various consequences -- above all the risk of indifference towards real life," he said.

My first thought was that the Pope has some substantial stones to call out anyone or anything for confusing “reality” with bullshit. But then I sat back and thought about this concept -- imagining it had come from someone with whom I’m generally in philosophical agreement. Coupling that new perspective with a recent experience, I’ve actually begun to think his Holiness’ point may not be limited to just his hat.

I’ve been contemplating the purchase of an Amazon Kindle e-reader. Yeah, I know. I’m not an especially “on-the-go” type who needs anything beyond my own imagination to keep occupied for the 10 minutes a day I’m not working on something. Plus, there is something to say for the whole tactile experience of reading “material.” On the flipside, the thought of reducing my heap of said material to a six by 1/3 inch device intrigues me. Imagine a coffee table I can actually fit a cup of coffee on. Hell, maybe if I had more coffee, I’d be more on-the-go. See, then I’d be glad I bought the Kindle.

I’m starting to make the Pope look sane with this build-up.

So, I’m on Amazon dot com and thanks to whatever voodoo exchange of personal info is going on in the background, a recommendation for God Hates Us All pops up. No, not the album by Slayer. The novel by Hank Moody.


I’m not sure how I didn’t read about this either (John’s ringtone for calls from my cell is the Californication theme song, so yeah, I should be on this shit) as its release was not limited to Montreal. Moving on...

For those of you who are completely lost, I understand, and offer the following: a) Amazon is an online seller of actual books; b) Californication is a (non-reality) TV show; c) it’s main character is Hank Moody, a writer, and; d) God Hates Us All is a book he authored. What makes this even more convoluted, is that the Hank Moody character was heavily influenced by Henry "Hank" Chinaski, an autobiographical character (alter-ego sounds sooo Sasha Fierce, but sure) of Charles Bukowski.

Got it? So, let’s have some real fun and connect those dots! If you have a Kindle, wi-fi access and $11.99, you can have an actual novel authored by a fictional character who was created by a real-life television writer based on the alter-ego of a(nother?) novelist beamed to you in under a minute.

If this isn’t what the Pope was talking about then I don’t know what is. Shit, I bet Benny the XVI had the same pop up on Amazon that I did. Really, if I were the Pope, you bet I’d wonder what something called God Hates Us All was all about.

Internet shopping, technology, cable TV, books...it’s all just kindle for the hell fires.

Jan 2, 2011

Good Time

Thanks to my sisters Marybeth & Jennifer, I got a really cool watch for my birthday. This Bulova features a design adapted from a window in the Ward W. Willits House in Highland Park, Illinois that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902–03.

What's that saying? Even a broken watch is Frank Lloyd Wright twice a day!


So, along with not quitting my day job to pursue a career in comedy, I promise I'll get back to actually writing at some point soon. But I have to post at least one more pic so y'all can see the watch:

Thanks, again!

Jan 1, 2011


Happy New Year! I spent this afternoon shopping at the Garden State Plaza. Nothing too interesting, but this pic was taken by John while he was looking at me looking at myself in the "tester" mirror. So, everything is in reverse! And, yes, I did buy the lipstick.