Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I think I cracked my head

I am taking a Jujitsu women's self defense class that pretty much has degenerated into an hour of flagrant street fighting. Yesterday, I got kicked in the face during a demonstration of The Best Way to Avoid Having Your Arm Broken.

But that's not what concerns me; the sneaker really only grazed my cheekbone and it was only a flesh wound. I'm also not too worried about the enormous purple welts on my wrists from when we role-played Getting Dragged Into the Woods and the Full Nelson from Behind Bear Hug Problem.

The incident that sort of concerns me is the one where we were practicing Getting Strangled by Someone Sitting on Top of You. The rule of thumb for that one involves flipping your attacker onto his back and ripping out his nads with a stylish twist. This includes balancing on one's head briefly. While so engaged, I heard a large crack on or about my brain. My grey matter has been throbbing ever since.

But maybe I'm not concerned. Maybe I have tottled into valetudinarian* territory. This occurred to me in the shower without my glasses on. I looked down and saw a spider-like leggy shadow on my foot. Immediately, I felt a piercing sting in the metatarsal region. I felt my foot swell up. I zoomed down for a closer look and realized it wasn't a spider. It was a tiny hairball.

But it still took about twenty minutes for my foot to stop throbbing.

*Word of the Day for Sunday, October 28, 2007

valetudinarian \val-uh-too-din-AIR-ee-un; -tyoo-\, noun:

1. A weak or sickly person, especially one morbidly concerned with his or her health.
2. Sickly; weak; infirm.
3. Morbidly concerned with one's health.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do you know what hellenistic means? Study up before you venture into the New Greek and Roman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

You also might want to look up inhumation, indefatigable and funerary. Yes. The exhibit signage at the New Greek and Roman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art completely baffled Kerry, Tom and me. Bring on the good news. We deduced the culprit:

Smart ass bluestockings parading around stretch vocabularies and intimate understandings of the Intersecting Timelines of Human Civilization.

The Met is on the Upper East Side, after all.

The exhibit is beautiful, don't get me wrong. Bronze and stone statues and fabulous jewelry are displayed in a stunning gallery that's alone worth the trip.
The Leon Levy and Shelby White Court for Hellenistic and Roman art... was designed to evoke the ambulatory garden of a large private Roman villa."

(See what I'm saying? WTF is an 'ambulatory garden?' One designed for emergency vehicles?)

So before you go, put on your thinking caps, normal people. Bookworm a little Greek and Roman history. Maybe waddle through some comprehensible sixth-grade-reading-level background. Check this from the NYT.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

New Pornographers Headline @ Webster Hall, October 24

New Pornographers played with the thoughtless competence that comes from lots of practice. A self-styled Bob Dylan In A Caftan randomly appeared throughout the set. Feedback followed the dude wherever he went, but the very tall people blocking my view cheered anyway.

Neko took herself seriously. She had three monitors trained on her plus a wireless earpiece. She also carried on a lengthy conversation with the sound guy using a well-developed system of lively hand signals and irritated body tics. Based on her attire and general demeanor, she may have mistakenly believed she was in a recording studio, not on a stage. That would explain a lot.

And there sure were a lot of people up there with indeterminate functionality. Two girls in the back kibitzed and hair flipped for maybe 40 minutes before one of them whipped out a flute and I realized her Previously Hidden Talent.

I don't know what I was expecting and I think the soundman maybe should be thrown out on his petard because the volumes were wack. I'd give the show about a limp 2 out of 5 stars. Disappointing, because I dig the NP albums. Although maybe I like them better ambiently and while sitting down.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Indolence of Emma Pollack @ Webster Hall October 24

Benjy Ferree opened for first-string opener Emma Pollack. Red Bull bubbled from the lead singer's pores and permeated the air with the faint odor of a zealous manic fit. Meanwhile, the rest of the band remained curiously inert.

Emma Pollock had no guts, according to Tom. She really didn't do anything for him. I liked her song Acid Test, but the rest of her tunes, no, I would not change them to a 'yes' because they were feisty.

At the beginning of her set, I thought Emma made a point to showcase her polar icecap heavy-duty fixation with cool. I was on board with it for a while, but then I got to wondering if she might be suffering from fiber myalgia.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Going Hiking," as defined by Melissa, Attorney-at-Law

"Going hiking" is a totally different animal than "exercising" or "going for a walk." No need for break-of-dawn Armageddon shit, hiking has mellowed since the time of codpieces and poor personal hygiene. Yet, the action of "hiking" remains distinct and is characterized by three criteria: intent, food and footwear.
  • Intent. Meaning one or more of the following:
    • You procured a trail map.
    • You've mentioned your commitment to "go hiking" in advance of setting out.
    • You foresee an opportunity to whip out your buck knife.
  • Food.
    • You've rigged yourself out with a snack.
  • Footwear.
    • You are wearing hiking boots that snuggly protect your ankles from the hidden peril of rocks.
*Additional Commentary as per Melissa: I think it is important that it also be recognized that if by chance one is wearing running shoes for any period of time during the alleged "hike", one is clearly not hiking as that fact alone is evidential that no "hike" or "hiking" occurred. When those facts are present, any pre-concieved intent or intent of any sort, is clearly negated by the action or inaction, if you will.

Nothing further, your honor.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The 911 Quiz Bowl

Motoring down Route 10 only one cup of coffee into my day, I stopped. Because of the red light at the intersection of Route 202. I glanced out the window and a telephone pole had flames shooting out of the middle of it. Driving in the car makes me think I can sing, so I usually do, and I was. Singing. While I watched the weeds around the burning telephone pole incinerate.

It was right about then that the problematic nature of my observation began to coagulate brainwaves. I picked up the cell phone.

"911. What is the nature of your emergency?"

"The traffic island is on fire at the corner of Route 202 and Route 10. Southwest side."

"What town is that in, ma'am?"

"Umm. I'm at the intersection of Route 10 and Route 202. They only cross once."

"What town is that in, ma'am?"

"Ummm. Denville? Maybe Cedar Knolls? Let me think... Morris Township?"

"No. You're in Parsippany, ma'am."

hang on a sec.
Maybe I misdialed? Is this the 911 for emergencies or the one to subject myself to a mid-morning geography roast?

Andrew says next time he is lost, he's going to call 911. "Hello? I'm driving down a highway in Morris County. What town am I in? And where is the nearest Wachovia bank? I think it's on fire."

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Sethie Hasn't Slept Much

"Why am I wearing this baby blanket like a cape? It's because I'm... I'm Star Wars Guy."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things I Have Given Up

  1. Borat
  2. Buying things I don't really like
  3. Anti-perspirant
  4. Dry bagels
  5. ATMs
  6. Benchpressing with plates
  7. Sodium laureth sulfate
  8. Putting plastic in the microwave
  9. Satin
  10. Diet soda
  11. Boxy crew neck t-shirts with droopy sleeves
  12. Unwashed fruit
  13. Hoboken
  14. Chicken roasters from Acme
  15. Criticizing via email
  16. Diners
  17. Shiny objects
  18. Anything requiring assembly
  19. Pleats
  20. Saving wax paper bags from inside cereal boxes
  21. Plastic shoes

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tres Fancy Thursday on Wall Street

This kind of lifestyle - hard drinking, late nights, studying the bronze bull's asshole in Bowling Green Park - takes its toll on your body. I was exhausted all day on Friday after our big night in the Financial District.

Diana works in the Chase Manhattan building. She invited us up to the 60th floor for some wine tasting hootenanny. She said you can look out over the whole city from up there and it's really something.

True Fact. Although I wish I would have more thoroughly inspected the panorama possibilities. I was too busy drinking. And kibitzing with our new insta-buddies, Jerry and Carol. In the spirit of teamwork and like-minded goals, we drank right up until they flashed the lights and kicked us out.

Shrugging off the Lack of Venue Inconvienence, we headed south. To Stone Street. Quaint, cobble-stoned, and peculiarly situated in the middle of all the sky scraping Gotham City glass and steel. We chomped pizza and Jerry and Carol ordered another bottle of wine. So much spirit around that table! It was like a pep rally.

Adrienne's Pizza Bar
Neighborhood: Manhattan/Financial District
54 Stone Street
New York, NY 10079

I semi-recall the pizza being respectable. It was tart in a parmigiana kind of way.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Things that Rinse the Poison from Your Blood

  • Deep green moss, more plush than velvet
  • The smell of new fallen snow.
  • A full moon in a midnight blue sky.
  • The blood red glow of the sun behind closed eye lids.
  • Rough gnarled bark on a tree that sees with eyes as ancient as the earth
  • Catching a falling leaf in autumn
  • Your first glimpse of the ocean
  • Slippery lichens on a black rock beneath your feet and an ice cold swirling brook
  • Fireflies at dusk
Blog Action Day : October 15

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Where's my Office?"

Monday is Linda's first day at her new job. She's going to show up with a giant stuffed parrot. Oh, it's not for my office. It's for the lobby.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Titans of Grammy : Touché

You’re shorter than the last time I saw you!”

- Grammy T. to Grammy R. at family photoshoot.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kiwanis Club Country Squire 10K Run in Convent Station

The black tar blisters dotting the road were caused by a Scorching Indian Summer Global Warming Heat Attack and also by the sparks our breakneck pace kicked up. Sethie and I blazed through the first mile in 9:06.

I instructed Sethie to jog backwards up hills and point out fat people ahead that we really shouldn't let beat us. I thought it might help him avoid the unpleasantness of sweating. I was right on that.

At almost every water stop, I had a drink mainly because the boy scouts passing out the beverages looked so earnest in their little brown uniforms and matching turbans (if applicable.) It was heartwarming.

We finished in 1:01 earth time. Due to the unforeseen twist called The Race Started Early, our synchronized iPod mix misaligned with current goings on; I missed my grand finale tune, Before I Forget, by SlipKnot, possibly the most ass kicking awesomeness of all time.

Sethie thinks it's a lame-o-rama when two songs by the same artist spin back to back on a playlist and my race mixes always finish with a doubleshot of my favorite screamers from Des Moines. My brother was vexed enough to crop dust farts along the entire race course. Several spectators were killed.

SRace Rating: 4 stars. Nice course, enthusiastic volunteers, clean toilets and bonus points for the policeman who, in an unparalleled move for a policeman, actually voiced words of encouragement to passing runners.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Midnight Fisticuffs of Slumbering Tom: Excruciating Ways to Let your Inner Brawler Shine.

"Ouch. Shit."

"I was just sleeping here and I punched myself in the head."

"I grabbed my pillow and my hand slipped. Pow. Right in the chopper."

"That's gonna leave a mark."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Grammy Thomas Lived Through the Great Depression : PowerCake Storage

“Remember those Power Pancakes Seth used to make? I think the last time he cooked up a batch was maybe a year or two ago.”

“I have one in the freezer if you want it.”

"No thanks, Grammy."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fireside Talks with Grampy T about The Steering Wheel that Saved his Life

Grampy Thomas repeated the tale many times while my brother and I crowded around the brick fireplace where the old wooden ship wheel rested on the mantle.

During the Hell called WWII, Grampy captained a PT boat. In the Pacific. Until the day enemy fire came ack-ack-ack. Snapped the ship into pieces and flames poured over the deck.

The boat keeled starboard and buckled wildly and choppy water washed over charring smoky timbers and the boat slipped low into the sea. Toward Davy Jones Locker.

Grampy knew it was hopeless. He clenched his teeth and wrestled the steering wheel off its mooring. He recited the Lord’s Prayer and jumped overboard, clutching the wooden wheel like a life preserver.

Grampy paddled across the cold black ocean toward an island he had spied in the distance. He punched sharks with his bare fists while darting between stray mortars and fiery kamikaze planes and shrapnel. It was harrowing.

Reaching shore, he hauled the wooden wheel across the sandy white beach and into the cover of the dank jungle where he hid amongst the tall trees. Using speed and wile, Grampy dodged divebombing carnivorous birds and attacking kamoto dragons and Bouncing Betty landmines. He peeled bark off trees with his trusty buck knife and ate berries for food. He caught a rabbit. He lived in a treehouse he made using the wooden steering wheel and some stringy vines.

Finally he was rescued.

At the end of the war, Grampy carried the steering wheel that had saved his life the whole way home and mounted it on top of the mantle. He showed us the knick on the side from a glancing enemy bullet, and pointed out a bit of charred wood, from the PT boat fire.

After Grampy died, my brother mentioned that one day when he grew up and got a house with a fireplace, he might like to have Grampy’s steering wheel.

What steering wheel? Grammy inquired.

The one from Grampy’s PT boat. Above the fireplace downstairs.


That wasn’t from your Grampy’s PT boat.

He bought it after the war at an auction.

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