The time I went to Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square Pt. 2

Gradually, then suddenly

To continue from last time, after we stuffed our faces and drank our fill (for the time being), a singer came out and belted a few tunes – I thought she was pretty good.

We ended up getting most of the bowling lanes to ourselves and played next to this blond couple that were hyper competitive.

Met a photographer with the same camera family as mine so we traded lens for a bit and I walked about looking for things to photograph.

Every so often, these incredibly tall models would float in and wait for the make-shift photo-studio near the lanes. Ended up chatting with one named Jamie-rae from exotic New Jersey.

Me: Dammit, knew I should have brought a step ladder. Try not to make me look too short, ok?
Her: (laughing) I’ll try.

I made my way to my buddies and had some more drinks – the rum situation had not improved so vodka was the word of the day.

Then it was time to go.

Me: Hey man, I better jet. (pause) You gonna be ok?
Him: Yeah. It comes and go.
Me: Life’s crazy, isn’t it? Everything’s gradually then suddenly.
Him: That’s exactly right.


Making my way home, kept thinking about Hemingway’s  gradually, then suddenly line that my wife told me about.

When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, there was a parade of friends getting married, then from early 30s to now, a parade of friends having kids. And now, all of these funerals.

This all happens gradually and then suddenly. Gotta admit that I dread the next suddenly.

Wife: How was it?
Me: Good. Some other things we can chat about later but it was good seeing the guys. (brightening) Wanna see some pics?
Her: Sure.

Location: wishing my brother a safe trip at the door
Mood: concerned
Music: We count our dollars on the train to the party
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The time I went to Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square Pt. 1

A weekday night out with old friends

RE Mike dropped me a line. Panasonic was having a party at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square to launch their new Lumix DMC-GM1 camera and he and another buddy of ours were going.

We met up for a quick drink beforehand and were soon there. After settling in, lots of photographers showed up.

Me: Who are they? (pointing to the group above)
Him: The cast of American’s Next Top Model.
Me: Cool. Be right back.

As I said, I have a camera and little to no shame.

Me: This is like old times.
Him: It’s been a while.

Me: Hey, there’re cheerleaders over there.
Him: Those are the Jets Flight Crew.
Me: Cool. Be right back.

It wasn’t all fun and games, though.

Me: So how have you been?
Him: (pause) My father just passed away.
Me: Why didn’t you call me?
Him: I don’t know. I just...
Me: (later) Well, there’s not much for us to do but get seriously lit. Shall we?

It was an open bar with food as our old days so a lot of it was hazy.

He’s an old friend so when old friends want to drink to help overcome the blows, then we drink.

Because we have friends and readily available alcohol for just such an occasion.

Me: (raising glass) Here’s to your dad, man.

 

Location: home, getting ready for an important appointment at 3PM
Mood: concerned
Music: of course it’s gonna get better. Gonna get better
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Guilt by association

You may have more in common with Joe Lhota than you think

Another political rant, but this time on local elections. Sorry, it’s the season.

For those of you that don’t know, in part of my day-to-day real life, I deal with trademarks. What a trademark is, is shorthand for actual critical thinking.

For example, if you buy a good cuppa joe at a place with a green mermaid called “Starbucks” for a while, you eventually learn that you can expect roughly the same level of quality at any other place with a green mermaid.

Recently, I’ve been involved in a dozen or so conversations with friends asking them the following about New York City:

  • Are you pro-NYC charter schools, which tend to help lower-income and minority children?
  • Are you pro the legalization of marijuana?
  • Are you pro-same-sex marriage?
  • Are you pro-abortion rights?
  • Are you anti-new taxes?

Across the board, everyone answered yes. The funny thing is that those positions are exactly what Republican for mayor Joe Lhota has according to this NY Time article.

De Blasio has essentially said he will cripple the charter school system and will raise taxes – something that Democratic Govenor Cumo said is both (a) not going to happen under his watch because it is (b) dangerous for NY since it will force people to move to more welcoming areas.

When I pointed this out to most people some changed the topic completely, several got (very) angry, and one put up a passive-aggressive link to look up things on Google.

But not one could point out a reason why they would vote for de Blasio over Lhota.

It’s little different from the Republicans that are just furious over Ombamacare even though it was an initially Republican conceived plan.

It’s disappointing how little thought – let alone critical thought – people I know in real life actually give to the issues that matter to them.

And the reason behind this is because everyone believes very easily whatever he fears or desires.

The person that posted the passive-aggressive link and one of the people that’s furious with me both wrote about how much the charter school program meant to them. So I asked them both why they didn’t support Lhota if they were so passionate about it.

Obviously, you don’t know what you’re talking about if you think [a Republican] is pro-charter schools.

Obviously.

Location: -120 mins, making sure the boiler was on
Mood: disappointed
Music: I’m stuck with them and they’re stuck on you
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Fall Walk with Banksy

Banksy’s Better Out (in the Upper West Side) Than In – Hammer Boy

Joe Fox: Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms. — You’ve Got Mail

There’s something about the crisp air, and that general lack of summer douchebaggery that makes me love New York.

Dunno what fall is like where you are, but here, when the air is clear and cold, and there are slightly less people, there’s the sense that we’re getting ready for school, family, and the holidays.

It’s comforting in the cyclic regularity.

It was nice enough that the wife and I met up with some friends at Banksy’s new artwork around my neighborhood over the weekend.

And then wake up early on a Monday morning to have coffee and pancakes at the local diner.

Me: If we moved to San Francisco, it’d be like this all the time.
Her: It’s not the same.

She’s right. Think of moving elsewhere all the time. But it’s hard to be beat the city on a quiet fall morning.

Me: It’s mornings like this that make me love being a New Yorker.
Her: Me too. (Sirens from a fire engine whiz by)
Me: Ah, the dulcet sounds of our fine city.

Location: -50 mins, a Broadway diner in front of a short stack
Mood: pleased
Music: trees whose shadows fall along sheep’s meadow
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Travelogue: Comic Con New York City 2013 Pt. 2

More pictures of cosplayers – now with beer

My Twitter post from last night at 3AM:

“Are you sure it’s decaf?” I asked the waitress.
“Yes,” she replied.
#liars #insomniastinks #hate #rage #chili

Continuing from my Comic Con post yesterday, after walking around for a few hours, we decided to try to get some food.

Him: Check out the Korean food stand over there. I love Korean food.
Me: Me too. (thinking) Actually, I love food in general.

Me: There’s a German food joint about 10 blocks up.
Him: 10 blocks? That’s a walk, man.
Me: We can work off the beer we’ll be drinking.
Him: Good point.

When we get to the exits, the escalators are broken.

Cosplayer: You all have to turn back, the escalators are broken.
Me: (irritated) Escalators don’t break! They become stairs! (see video below)


After two sets of broken escalators, we eventually, we make it out and head over to Hallo Berlin.

Him: What’s good?
Me: What are your thoughts on fish?
Him: I like fish.
Me: Maybe an order of sausages and an order of fish?
Him: We’ll need more food than that.

Me: Wanna try a Berliner Weisse flavoured beer? It’s a little girly but who’s gonna know?
Him: Sure.

Me: Hey, that was cool. Thanks a lot, man.
Him: No problem.

Mitch Hedberg: An escalator can never break, it can only become stairs.

 

Location: in front of coffee #6
Mood: so tired
Music: You conform to what society says and I conform to me
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Travelogue: Comic Con New York City 2013 Pt. 1

The one where my buddy and I see a lot of cosplayers

Him: Interested in going to NYC comic con next weekend, I have an extra ticket.
Me: I’m in. (later) Do you mind if I bring my obnoxiously large camera?
Him: No.

After a really long week, a gym buddy of mine and I headed to ComicCon in NYC over the weekend.


Evidently there were 130,000 attendees there. That sounds about right.

Him: I never take pictures. I should.
Me: Luckily for you I do and have little to no shame.

Him: Man, think about how much time they spend on these costumes.
Me: Well, everyone’s got a thing.

Him: Let’s go find Hulk Hogan.
Me: I don’t want my childhood memories to be tarnished.
Him: He’s like 60-something. They’re gonna be.

We didn’t find Hulk Hogan but saw Julie Benz from Dexter, Angel, and No Ordinary Family. She seems very nice.


We probably could have stayed a bit longer but we’re both fatty-fat-fats and our stomachs got the better of us.

Me: I’m ready to go. Food is trumping everything else.
Him: I could eat.

Turns out my cousin was there too – here’s a pic of her from io9 where she had a rating of one of the best costumes there – you’ll have to guess which one she is:

More tomorrow (or Friday).

Location: home, having chili for breakfast
Mood: hungry
Music: I went from zero, to my own hero
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Another rough stretch of insomnia

Who knows what battles we’ll have today?

Her: He looks good.
Me: He does. Goodbye Sal. Say hello to Dino.

Spent Thursday getting to the wake and then went the next day to the funeral. All funerals are the same in the sadness but unique in the details.

And that’s all I’ll say on the subject.

On a different point entirely, had a sleepless stretch from Thursday through last night.

Interestingly, the face of the world changed with a sleepless night. Not my sleepless night, the night of a man named Darius.

Almost exactly 2,344 years ago, at the Battle of Gaugamela – which is an amazing story for a million reasons – Alexander the Great went to sleep the night before the battle and Darius of the Persian Empire did not.

The Battle of Gaugamela, Alexander's Decisive ...
The Battle of Gaugamela, Alexander’s Decisive Movement, 331 B.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moreover, Alexander told his men to get some sleep while Darius told his men to stay awake in case of a nighttime raid.

After that single battle was over, Alexander took over Babylon and gained half of the Persian Empire. Darius escaped with his life only to be murdered and betrayed by his men soon afterward. That lack of sleep the night before cost Darius and his men everything.

I think of that story from time-to-time when I’m up at night. Last night, slept for just under seven hours – the most in a week – so I feel a good deal better but still, not quite myself.

Coincidentally, my sister just wrote me to ask if she could crash at my apartment for a few hours because of her insomnia.

I’d like us all to get some rest.

Because who knows if we have to go to battle today?

Wife: (laughing) I can tell when you haven’t had sleep.
Me: How?
Her: You start talking funny. (imitates my voice)
Me: I’m always worried I start sounding crazy. (sighing) I need to get some sleep.

Location: in front of a lotta coffee
Mood: anxious
Music: Sometimes it feels just like I’m falling in the ocean
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

From the Archives: Safe, Grace, and Mercy

Sal, a letter, and the difference between Grace and Mercy


My best friend’s granddad is a fella named Sal. He and his family have always been kind to me. I remember we once discussed Dean Martin. Good ole Dino. Good ole Sal.

Sal just passed yesterday so I’ve got to dust off my black suit and say goodbye. I’m sad, not so much for him, because he lived a good and long life, but for those he left behind.

After all, A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

I wanted to write more but I think I said it best already in the two posts below.

Safe
I thought of my own grandma when I heard the news. We were close because she lived in Taiwan and I’m an insomniac. When I was up at 3AM, I had someone to speak to. After she passed, when  3AM rolled around, found myself just sitting in the dark by my lonely. So I wrote her this letter.

 

Grace and Mercy
And in that entry, talked about the difference between grace and mercy. One is when you get the good things you don’t deserve; the other is when you don’t get the bad things you do deserve. You can read which one is which here.

Back on Monday.

Location: in front of my closet
Mood: sad
Music: don’t remind me to forget
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

What the hell is going on with the Republican Party?

Why would you want something you didn’t earn?


We had a mouse in the house recently. Spent the better part of the weekend hunting it down with nothing to show for it – well, that’s not entirely true, the place is spotless.

Now that I got the green light from the doc to wrassle again, been easing back into it.

The ranking system of my school is: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black. After some five years of doing it – on and off because of work and injury – I’m still only a white belt. It is what it is.

Here’s the thing: I’ve spent in excess of $3,000 to be a white belt. That’s not counting the $3,500 for surgery and rehab.

I could simply go buy a black belt for $22.95. It’d be here in less than 24 hours and I’d get to skip over the additional 12 years it takes to earn one.

But that’s not really the point is it?

Things are only as valuable as the meaning we put behind it. After all, what’s the difference between a $100 bill and a scrap a paper if not the meaning we put behind it?

For those of you that’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m either a liberal conservative or a conservative liberal.

Having said that, this whole government shutdown nonsense has been bothering me precisely because it seems that the Republican party wants the trappings of achievement without having earned it.

The law was passed. The Supreme Court upheld it. The Republican party lost this round.

And yet, here we are.

In other words, they didn’t earn their black belt, but they’re not above trying to simply buy one.

It’s more than disingenuous, more than underhanded.

It’s embarrassing.

It’s embarrassing to throw a tantrum after losing. It’s embarrassing to screw everyone else because it didn’t go your way. It’s embarrassing that because you didn’t win, everyone else must lose.

I’d be just as embarrassed if I walked in the door tomorrow with a shiny $22.95 black belt.

There’s no shame in losing. There’s shame in trying to take something you didn’t earn.

Even some deeply loyal Republicans are seeing this.

It cannot possibly be a good thing that embarrassment – not pride, not satisfaction, not admiration – is what people once loyal to the party of Reagan and the end of the Cold War, the party of Lincoln and the anti-slavery movement, now feel.

Why would you want this for the party?

And why would you want something you didn’t earn?

Location: at the rents
Mood: embarrassed
Music: We don’t wanna leave, no. We just wanna be right now
Subscribe!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Explaining Libertarianism and writing a date book

Accept the world as it is, not the way you wish it to be

Getting ready to see the doc in a few hours. Nerve-wracking.

Since I’ve not been able to do much with my free time with my leg, been working on a book on dating I’ve been meaning to write for a while. It’s a little different from what’s out there already but if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, it’s probably exactly what you might expect.

One thing I have is a list of baseline beliefs that one has to have to get anything out of what I write and the first – very first – baseline belief is to “accept the world as it is, not as you wish it to be.”

It sounds simple, but it’s something that I don’t think I myself really did until I was in my 30s.

Brought this up with someone who immediately scoffed and said, “What about Rosa Parks? If she did that, black people would still be sitting in the back of the bus.”

Which I thought was odd because Rosa Parks is a perfect example for my baseline belief; I’m sure she wanted to punch that guy in the face. Or sue them for discrimination. But neither would have worked in her world. Which didn’t mean not to do anything, but to do things that made sense in her world. And quietly sitting there fit into that world.

And now, the ability to sue for discrimination exists in our world, because of her working within the restraints of her’s. Because it doesn’t mean giving up on wishing for it to be different.

It’s a fine distinction, which is why it’s so difficult.

Fast forward to now and we’re in our current US government shutdown. For those of you not in the US, there’s a brand of politics called, Libertarianism, which essentially calls on as little government as possible. People should just be responsible for themselves.

It’s one of those things that in theory is great; personal responsibility is great. But in practice, it’s difficult if not impossible. I admit that when I was younger, I was a firm believer in it.

As I got older I realized that the reason it’s near impossible is because what George Carlin said is true: Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

In short, Libertarianism it only accepts the world it wants, not the world as it is.

I’m off to get poked and prodded now, so I leave you with a paraphrase of a Salon.com column by The Week, June 21. In it, Michael Lind asked a simple question: “Why are there no libertarian countries?”

Modern states have tested all kinds of political philosophies, from fascism to communism to social democracy. But not one of the world’s 193 sovereign states – not even a tiny one – has adopted a full-on libertarian system, with very limited government, an unfettered free-market economy, decriminalized drugs, and no welfare or public education system. Yet libertarians still insist we’d all be happier in a system with an absolute minimum of government. Lacking real examples to prove their point, libertarians are forced to make lists of nations where there is a lot of “economic freedom,” with the lowest taxes and least regulation. That list includes such countries as Singapore, where economic liberty is paired with an oppressive police state, and Mauritius, a tiny island country with double the infant mortality rate of the U.S. and nearly triple its maternal mortality rate. Would you prefer to live in either place? Libertarianism, clearly, is based on a fantasy—that regulations, social safety nets, a strong military, and engagement abroad are unnecessary nuisances that can be discarded. Libertarians live not in reality, but in an “imaginary Utopia.”

Location: waiting to see the doc
Mood: bummed
Music: Entre le royaume, des vivants et des morts
Subscribe!

Enhanced by Zemanta