So, without further ado…
1. Post the rules, then list eight things about yourself.
2. At the end of the post, tag and link to eight other people.
3. Leave a comment at those sites, letting them know they’ve been tagged, and asking them to come read the post so they know what to do.
1) I was a vegetarian for like 7 years. Seriously. And not for health reasons…I had read all of these books on Buddhism and Hinduism and one day it just kinda “clicked” for me (The vegetarian aspect) and I didn’t want that crap in my body anymore. For 7 years, not only didn’t I miss it, but I thrived on it.
Then I was in a restaurant and got a whiff of a pork chop and thought “Sweet Jesus that smells amazing…” That effectively ended the Veggie streak.
2) I think of business as though it’s the coolest game you can play. Really. Sales and Business Development…negotiations…Operations…writing Business Models and altering them mid year to maximize strengths and core competencies…ALL of it. Someday I want to own some sort of a business, and I’m 90% sure that I will. It’s a blast to me. I eat it up. Honest to God, I think it’s fun to make businesses go.
This is made a bit difficult by the fact that…
3) I have Discalculia. Or Numeric Dyslexia. It went undiagnosed for a lot of my life…I’d get great grades, except for Math, which might as well have been an Alien language to me. I stare at numbers and they just blend together. Mathematical theories are all but impossible for me. Spread sheets are murder. But I’ve learned how to deal with it and get around it for the most part…so when i’m struggling to figure out how much to tip on my bar tab, well, that’s why.
4) I think pickles are about the most vile, evil thing you can eat. I gag at the mere scent of a pickle. Any pickle. My hatred of pickles is so deep and so wide that I hate cucumbers as well, as they are simply pickles that haven’t self actualized. When I order, I say “NO PICKLES” and I tell you that if there’s a pickle on my sandwich, it’s getting sent back. If it’s on my plate you’re getting it OFF my plate. This is no joke.
5) I will watch Emmit Otter’s Jugband Christmas, Patton, any episode Behind the Music, Sean of the Dead, and So I Married an Axe Murderer any time any of them are on, no matter how far in to the movie/show it is. This is borderline OCD here, folks. I’m not kidding.
6) Passive aggressive behavior is my biggest pet peeve. It smacks of cowardice and a complete lack of accountability, and it makes me crazy when I’m subjected to it. Most times, I call people out on it when they engage in the practice around me.
7) Kid Brother is my best friend. I’ve been fortunate in my life to say that I’ve met many, many incredible people that I consider friends, and many more that I am at least friendly with and who dig me, too. But KB and I operate on and entirely different level. I miss him every day and want to live closer to him and his family in the not too distant future.
8.) I can talk my way in to and out of damn near anything. I don’t know that this is a good thing or a bad thing, but my mouth has gears that I am certain most people’s don’t. When told as a young INPY that I “have an answer for everything” my response was “Is that such a bad thing?”. To this day, I still have an answer for everything, or at least a theory I’ll share.
And now I have to tag 8 others? Sheesh. I don’t think so…I think since I was double tagged (which sounds kinda umm…dirty) that it’s cancelled out and I can skip this step. But now you know a little bit more about me. Don’t ya feel lucky?
Stress…we all have it, we all hate it. It saps the life right out of us and turns us into people we normally aren’t…people we probably don’t even like. Consequently, everyone has a way of dealing with it. Some people go to therapy. Some yell or hit things or work out until they collapse. Whatever it is, everyone has some sort of release valve that let’s them decompress. Me? I’ve had lots in my life…I’ve used athletics, playing guitar, drinking…all kinds of things. But it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I found the one that really, truly, let me unwind.
When I was in my mid 20’s, I was working for a startup and doing pretty damned well for myself. My rent was cheap, my salary was higher than most people that were my age, and I travelled constantly for work and expensed everything. All of this added up to a significant amount of disposable income…
Throw in the fact that I wanted to get up to Maine (from Boston) to see my kid brother as often as possible, and the bus was just…well…sucking. I mean, it took over 9 hours, and that is with someone picking me up at the nearest bus station and being driven back to the small Northern Town he lived in…
And, as a last piece of the puzzle, when I had first moved back to Boston a few years earlier, my car had died and I decided to just get rid of it. I don’t care much for driving as a necessity, anyhow, so I really didn’t need it. I used the “T”, and that was that. Well, it was until I realized how much I hated taking a bus up to visit my family…
So, all of this added up to one thing; I wanted a car. Not for my work commute, but for my trips to Maine and weekends. Because of this interesting little caveat, I wanted something unique…a little out of the box…a little fun.
This is what I wound up with…meet Gunther.
I bought myself a smokin’, damn near perfect 1987 944S. It had 60K miles on it, ran like a top, and was an absolute BLAST! Seriously, on my test drive I thought to myself, “THIS is my car!”…and that was within 10 minutes.
Now, I knew this was not for daily use…but the 944 was the perfect blend of fun and practical. They last forever, are remarkably simple to fix (even if parts are expensive) and truly are 10 pounds of fun in an 8 pound bag. 944’s handle beautifully and are quick enough to get in trouble…but really, it’s just fun to drive. The top pops out…you drop the windows…and you just GO.
And go I did. The first time I roadtripped, I had taken a Friday off and left early in the morning. It took just under 7 hours…7 hours of wind whipping and music blasting and complete and total relaxation. I didn’t realize it at first, but the whole way up North I was letting go.
City streets gave way to highways which gave way to major routes which gave way to country roads…and it was glorious. I took in the scenery…I sang along with the radio…and yes, I talked to myself. I talked out every issue that was stressing me out. In short, I decompressed.
Of course, when I got to Maine I saw a friend of my brother’s walking up the street and asked if he knew where Kid Brother was…he told me, but apparently they wound up meeting first and his friend reported to him that I was in town and was driving “the nicest Mazda RX-7 I have ever seen”…
To this day, Kid Brother still refers to that car as an RX-7.
NOT a 944.
For several years, whenever I was stressed out, I’d hop behind the wheel and just flee the scene. I’ve driven all night just to work out issues in my head, crash in a rest stop, and head home the next day. I’d drive places most people would fly…so long as it wasn’t more than a 2 day drive, I’d go for it. It wasn’t about speed, although I can tell you that when tuned up that car would purr at speeds you just would not expect from a four banger. And it wasn’t always about solitude, because there were a few road trips that I had someone in the passenger seat.
I think it was about getting somewhere and seeing every inch I was travelling. Not looking down on it like it wasn’t even real from 50,000 feet…but being right there in it…on it.
It was about a destination, defined or otherwise, and the road.
I kept a few paperback books, a Chilton’s Manual, a Map of New England, and cigarettes in the glove box. A guitar case and a duffel bag with clothes in the back, and a CD collection on the passenger seat. I would drive to everything from Fleetwood Mac (Rumors just might be the perfect road trip album, btw) to Tool. I would smoke and drink coffee (iced or hot, depending on the season) and drive. Shifting the gears as I shifted whatever I was holding from one hand to the other, driving with knees and elbows at times…
I would stop when I had to, or when I wanted to. Many times I would see something that would catch my eye, whip around in a mostly-legal-move and just sit on the hood for awhile. On that hood I’d read everything from Vonnegut to old love letters while parked at scenic overlooks and shady bar parking lots. Sometimes I’d just stop, turn off the motor, and stare out the front window for no particular reason at all and wonder what it was about being far from home in the driver’s seat that made me feel so…right.
Whatever it was, I can still hear the way those Pirellis sounded humming along the cheap pavement of Northern Maine and how soothing I found it to be. Or how I could tip the seat back, put it in 5th, pop on the Cruise Control, pop up the headlights, and tool along at 70 or so on the open highways heading North on 95, one hand on the steering wheel, one hand holding a smoke when I’d decide on a whim that wanted Haddock for dinner tomorrow night…or how deathly quiet the middle of nowhere is when you roll in to town with hot tires and nothing but fumes in your gas tank at 2:00 am. Or the few times a nightstick would get tapped on my window at the break of day in a road side rest area and I’d open my eyes to see an officer of the law looking at me and asking “are you OK?” with that look that wondered what I was up to…
I loved going to towns that had nothing to offer except that you could stretch your legs in them on the way to nowhere…I’d blow passed the “Portlands” to get to the towns that you hadn’t ever and never would again hear of…just to say that I met so and so at this fork in the road restaurant, had a smoke with him and learned he’d been there for over 20 years.
By the way? I loved those places. You don’t see them unless you aren’t looking for them. At least, I don’t think you see them if you’re looking for them the way you’re supposed to see them…as they really are. You have to come up on them and read the signs that say “You are Here” and decide on a whim to downshift, letting the motor roar as it slows and you pull in to a parking space. That’s how you see a town like I’m describing.
You stumble on to it by chance.
The point to all of this is that I’ve started missing that car and those road trips. I sold Gunther when I got to DC and realized that I didn’t have the time or energy to put in to the upkeep…for the tune ups and the repairs…and for some reason, I didn’t think that I would miss the road trips. I rented cars when I wanted to go somewhere and took the metro to work. And that tided me over just fine…until recently.
Recently, I’ve missed having my own Batmobile. Those of you that love your cars will know exactly what I mean. The car that has quirks, and you know them all. The car that feels RIGHT when you sit in the driver’s seat because it’s molded to YOU. You can tell when it needs an oil change or when it needs a tune up well in advance of it actually being time. You learn these things by spending hours with your car…in traffic or in the country, at 2 mph or 120mph.
I’m thinking that I want another car. I’ve got a parking spot at my new apartment, and something should go in there. Not that I’ll takeit to work, because well…I won’t. But there’s a whole new world of country roads out there…West Virginia just begs for road trips, doesn’t it? (It’s those damn signs in the metro)
So what’s it going to be? I’ve got a powerful urge to find another 944, but at the same time, there was only one Gunther, and he’s gone now. My old man has been promising me my “inheritance”, as he calls it, for years. However he swears that this is the year it’s going to be finished, but I’ve got my doubts about that…and even still, it’s not quite the “road trip” Batmobile that I’m talking about, though it is a damned nice toy;
A 1976 Sportster (He restores vintage bikes as a hobby and this being what he’s had in his shop “for me” for, oh, 4 years now…)
So I am going to spend this summer figuring it out…I want something fun, something unique, and nothing too expensive. Something that isn’t a computer with four tires, as I like things a bit old school…I ain’t afraid of a little leaking oil, yo.
Whatever it is, I want to figure this out and get back out there. I’ve got a million things to think about, and the rental cars just don’t have a soul. Besides, fall is coming…and it’s a great time to road trip.
In response to my post about Synchronicity, I got asked over and over again, on comments and in emails, the following question;
How do you know when it’s really Synchronicity and not just…you know…being overly analytical? When is it that you’re looking too hard?
I didn’t really have much of an answer. I didn’t really have any answer, and that didn’t bug me much at first. I mean, if Princeton is just barely able to prove it’s possible, good ol’ INPY doesn’t have much of a chance, now does he? I can scarcely fight through a Rubick’s Cube, let alone explain how you know when Synchronicity is real.
But I had this and the fact that I’ve been homesick in my head all weekend. Literally. Those two tracks were where my mind went relentlessly all weekend long. It wasn’t a big deal at first. Really, it was distilled down to two bits of minutae.
1) Did I spell “Lake Paran” right in me post the other day? (See #5, Weekend In New England is a Terrible Song) That nagging question kind of summed up all of my missing New England. Paran? Perrin? Peryn? I kept thinking of it, and that kept leading to other thoughts about home, and Vermont…
2) The line “linked to the invisible” from Synchronicity I. I could not come up with an answer that I felt comfortable with regarding when it’s REAL vs. when it’s…well, paranoia. Or seeing what you want to see.
So I rolled in to my weekend with these things on my mind.
Friday night I went out to see Evan Almighty (It’s got its moments, that’s about it) and had dinner at Clyde’s with a friend. No big deal. I got home kinda late and went to bed without incident.
Then it got a little wierd.
When I woke up Saturday, I was paying some bills on line and I noticed that I’d been charged for dinner twice at Clyde’s. One total was clearly mine, and the other was not, and it was significantly more money. “Great” I thought. “Now I’m going to have to fight with some jackass at Clyde’s to get this taken off my account…just like when the WalMart in Bennington, VT did this to me years ago.”
I called Clyde’s expecting to have to go through a huge hassle to get this charge removed. I spent a fair amount of time on hold and started thinking about that day in VT, years earlier when I had been buying all kinds of crap in WalMart for some road trip that my friends and I were taking…where the hell were we going? There were 4 cars, all of them full of gear and people. My 944 had the rear seats folded down and was stuffed to the gills with gear…and I remember us joking that my car would make it, but the Tercel might not…
Jesus, where were we going?!
Eventually, I got a manager on the phone and he was cool as could be…took care of the charge, said it was an accident and appreciated my not being a hardass about it. That was that…
But now, I’d added another twist to what I was thinking about…
#3) Where the hell were we going on that trip?
Sunday I woke up in a foul mood. I decided that I needed to get out of my apartment, go buy a new book, and chill out for a bit. This has been something of a ritual for me over the last few weeks; get an iced green tea at Starbucks, hit Kramer books, read in DuPont, get lunch. It’s a perfect Sunday morning/early afternoon.
Here’s where we take a turn down Twilight Zone lane. Everything from here on happened in less than 90 minutes.
In line in the Dupont Starbucks was a couple having a slight argument. Nothing too bad, but they were clearly annoyed with each other…and it put me in that odd “don’t look like you’re listening” place. Staring off and minding my own business I heard “Why are you LIKE this Michael?!” to which he replied, exactly as my friend Mike from Vermont would, “I yam what I yam”. I mean, it was like he was doing an impression of my friend. It was startling…
This of course relaunched my “Vermont/Homesickness” line of thinking…where were we going? Holy crap, Mike was going on that trip, and his car (the 60something Delta 88 Convertible) was the other one that we said would definitely make it…
Half in a daze I went in to Kramer Books to find something to read, but still stuck on this whole trip…and my homesickness…and Synchronicity, and I’m thinking “this is NOT Synchronicity, THIS is coincidence”. I pull a copy of the Informers by Bret Easton Ellis because I haven’t read that one but once and I always forget what it’s about and pay absent mindedly…
I decided to sit in the circle and drink my iced tea. “I’m overanalyzing. I’m in a bad mood, and I’m homesick, that’s all.” After several minutes of this I realize that I’m hungry, and I want to sit outside and eat something, and the first place I see with outdoor seating is Baja Fresh. “Whatever”…
I grabbed my seat and pulled my copy of the Informers, popped it open and started reading. There, on page 5 I see;
“…Bruce and I would swim in Lake Parrin at night…”
PARRIN!!! And immediately I could see the sign…that old damed sign…”LAKE PARRIN”.
I popped up from my book and thought “I’ll be god damned…now THAT’s Synchronicity!”…I did this just in time to see a young man in a ratty Tshirt with a picture on of a sneaker on it that read;
“I Ran All The Way Up Mt. Mansfield in Stowe VT”…
Which is where we were taking the road trip.
THAT is Synchronicity. It’s when you can’t deny it…when you don’t have to look for it, and even if you were it’s too much to look passed. Too much to call coincidence. Too much to call it anything else.
As for how I react to Synchronicity? I’m going home August 10th-17th. I’m going to Maine to see my brother, but I’m going to Vt to swim in Lake Parrin, first.
“A Connecting Principle, Linked to the Invisible” -or- “It’s a Poor Sort of Memory That Only Works Backwards”.
1) The state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism.
2) Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.
Carl Jung came up with the idea that two (or more) events that occur at the same time, but don’t seem to have anything in common, actually have everything in common. That there is an underlying pattern that connects everything and, when certain seemingly unrealted events occur…well, it’s meant to be.
He called it Synchronicity.
Don’t buy it? According to Princeton University, it’s possible.
“A recent study within the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (the PEAR lab), suggested that there is a small, though statistically measurable, link between human thought and patterns that occur in random data sets” (Check it out)
The Police said so, too…but that’s not as hip as Princeton.
Why do I bring all of this up? Because I believe it. Totally. I think we miss more signs and signals in life than we catch. Way more. Infintely more. Like 1000 times more. I think we are so wrapped up in the overt, that we miss the subtle. I think we disregard “Synchronicities” because we’ve decided that it’s crazy, it’s insane, and it’s not overt. We need overt. We need to get hit in the head…hard. Otherwise…well, that would mean…
We’d be vulnerable.
We can’t just put ourselves out there! Based on…what?! Collective consciousness? That’s like claiming the throne because some watery tart threw a sword at you! (Monty Python, gotta love ’em) But you know what? That’s what I buy. I don’t get that the randomness of the universe is completely random. I buy the interconnectedness of shared physiology. I think that things are attracted to each other based on much, much more than just a strong jawline and a nice rack.
We all accept that we use 10% of our brain…but what do you think is going on in that other 90%?
Think about it…according to Wikipedia, the most classic examples of synchonicity used to explain the phenomena are;
1) A well-known example of synchronicity is the true story of the French writer Émile Deschamps who in 1805 was treated to some plum pudding by the stranger Monsieur de Fortgibu. Ten years later, he encountered plum pudding on the menu of a Paris restaurant, and wanted to order some, but the waiter told him the last dish had already been served to another customer, who turned out to be de Fortgibu. Many years later in 1832 Émile Deschamps was at a diner, and was once again offered plum pudding. He recalled the earlier incident and told his friends that only de Fortgibu was missing to make the setting complete — and in the same instant the now senile de Fortgibu entered the room.
2) During production of The Wizard of Oz, a coat bought from a second-hand store for the costume of Professor Marvel was later found to have belonged to L. Frank Baum, author of the children’s book upon which the film is based.
So, let’s say for a minute that you’re in a downtown restaurant and this happens. You order something a certain way and someone else does, too, but with a subtle difference…and yours shows up at their table and vice versa. Call me crazy (and you wouldn’t be the first, yo) but I think that there’s something at that other table for me beyond my dinner. I do. And that belief spurs me to action more often than not. I will say something. I have said something.
And more often than not there’s more to the story than a crossed up dinner order. It doesn’t mean that my soulmate odered the Salmon with capers and I ordered it without. But it opens the door to finding out something that is usually, well…more.
I bring this up for lots of reasons. One is I think we read too many books and watch too many videos and take too many quizzes about how to find meaning, but we don’t look around and see what’s in front of us. And even when we do look around us, we don’t always SEE. I’m not talking about crystals and chants (and neither is Princeton, yo) but I am talking about opening ourselves up juuuuuuust a little more and surrendering to the possibilities.
You could say I’m nuts. Or you could just give a it try and see what happens. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You might just stumble down a rabbit hole towards new meaning.
And that doesn’t really suck.
(The title of this post is taken from the Police, Synchronicity I and Carl Jung’s favorite quote regarding Synchronicity. It’s from Through the Looking Glass.)
1) Bad Bad Bad
I have a very close friend of mine in Massagetmeouttahere who I’ve written about in the past, and she has to deal with something that I never really ever put much thought in to…until now. That “something” is Child Support. Now, not to be confused with Alimony, Child Support is money the state says that you have to pay to your ex for the expenses of…ready?
Of course, you can probably see where I’m going with this…it’s just not getting paid. And you miss a week, then two, then three, and suddenly, your ex is a bitch because she wants the cake owed not even so much to her, but ready for it again?
Be a man and suck it up. Ditching this makes you a scum bag. Period. Oh wait, let me guess…
It’s too much money and doesn’t allow me to live my life with what’s left over…
Why is it that whenever you hear about deadbeats the cry is always “it’s too much money” and “completely unaffordable”, and the people that whine about how “unfair this system is”…why is it that they never pay ANYTHING. Not dollar one? So the note’s too high for you to float…your kid’s well being isn’t worth what you CAN pay? Surely you can pay something, right? I mean, when I wanted a new guitar I skipped out on lattes, and that guitar wasn’t even my biological creation.
This, obviously, pisses me off. When you have a kid, you have a responsibility. Don’t like your ex? Too fucking bad. Too much responsibility? Sorry, but that ship has sailed.
Moving right along.
2) Waiting, Waiting…DAMN
That Pawn Shop Strat sold. I waited too long and in all fairness, I hadn’t been back in a few weeks. I hope you wound up in a good home with someone who will bring you back to life you pretty, pretty thing.
3) Where Ya Been?
I talked to the Old Man on Father’s Day. It was strained at first…a lot of “so whatcha been up to” and all that. I finally just asked “Are you OK?”, which was met with a long silence before he finally told me what I already knew. I wanted to get angry but really, who does that help? No one. I think the only “tough love” thing I said was “you really need to knock this shit off, pop”.
So much for me being all bad ass, huh?
4) No More Non Fiction This Month
Need to stop reading the absurdly heavy mindcandy books that leave you drained? Read either Wicked or Soon I Will Be Invincible. Really. You’ll thank me. Both give an interesting spin on the “Good v. Evil” cliche. Both are incredibly entertaining.
5) Weekend in New England is a terrible song
But I’d dig one right about now. It hits me like once a year. I get homesick. I couldn’t get OUT of New England fast enough, and then I get this ache to be there. To be sitting by Lake Paran in my hometown in VT and doing absolutely nothing but wondering if I should swim out to the raft and chill out there. Or sitting on a dock in Maine and watching the boats come back in to the harbor. Or even just rooting for the Yankees in Kenmore Square. (OK, that last one isn’t that much fun really.)
Sometimes I just want to be in New England. And it’s hitting me right about…oh…now.
6) Yours is OK, But Mine is BAD ASS
Of late I’ve been asked at least a thousand times what I think of MMA. Since I like Boxing, I must just LOVE MMA/Ultimate Fighter/Whatever it’s called this week. Honestly? I don’t. Not even a little. Two guys squaring off, taking a few punches at each other and then rolling around on the ground is something that I can see in countless bars across DC any night of the week.
And yeah, I can hear you now;
But these guys are trained in all kinds of martial arts!!!
OK, then why do they wind up on the ground rolling around?
MMA caters to the lowest common denominator, IMHO. Violence for the sake of violence. I think it’s great that you can’t go after the eyes or the groin. Wow. How wonderful. Why not just toss in a weapon every two minutes?
I’ll stick with the sweet science, thank you. You say “old fashioned”…I say Old School.
That’s all I got today… just a handful of odds and ends that I’ve had in mind for a few days. Nothing eventful, nothing all that earth shaking. I think it’s the heat, but I’ll be back, my pretty…for you and your little dog, too.
Where to begin with my recap? That it was fantastic? That my Co-Hosts are all confimed rocks stars and the only thing that could have possibly made it better was OG host Rock Star, Kathyn On, rolling in with her posse? That the shots flowed and new friends were made? It was all that. And more. A LOT more.
Let’s start at the beginning…
I rolled in at 8:00, dragging Arjewtino kicking and screaming the whole way. Apparently he was on Arentinian time and wanted to get there at 11:30, but I wasn’t havin’ it. And, from the moment we arrived, there were bloggers there and bloggers walking in the door. Within a very short amount of time the hosts were firing down the SC&L’s, inlcuding the Happy Birthday shot for RooshV and the party was underway.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many bloggers were there…there was no list that I kept…but there are pics out there to be seen, and I have to tell you…I’d be kind of afraid to see any of me. LORD, y’all just bring out the lush in me.
Grand Central? An excellent choice by Roosh and VK. They kept the vino flowin’ and the music goin’ and left the rest up to us. We squatted the entire lower floor area and just had at it.
And what did I learn on Friday? I learned the secret to having a rockin’ HH. You wanna know the secret to bad ass, hotel trashing, Oh My GOD I don’t want to see pictures Happy Hour? Shall I share it with you?
New Bloggers (and in some cases commenters)…
I’m telling you, that is the key. It’s the Holy Friggin’ Grail of the Happiest of Happy Happy (Joy Joy) Happy Hours. Can’t be beat. You mix in a strong supply of fun, hip writers with the old guard and POW! Instant Super Zen Happy Hour. You newbies can just PARTY. I can’t keep track of how many I met (and please do send me hate mail for this…I know, I know…) but I can say WOW! Our super heavy duty ultra cool clique is going to need more seats in the cafeteria.
I want to thank ALL of you that came out for the first time on Friday. You made that night just fantastic….and consequently, a subtle reminder…
When we announce the next one sometime in July, remember to invite the bloggers you read. You’ll thank me, trust me. Oh, and when there’s new people there you get to be the uber cool old school blogger they come to for introductions. And that’s a nice little cheap ego stroker, too.
Now then, for the “Last Minute Save” portion of our program…
My brother and his wife came home from the hospital on Sunday, but at some point during Saturday night they had an epiphany. I like to think that they heard my voice coming from somewhere in the cool Maine summer night…rolling in off the water with the fog and gently spilling in the hospital room…
“Brooklyn is a stripper name, yo…”
Ladies and gentleman, meet Braelyn Grace. (click on the pic for a better view)
My niece Alayna holding her sister.
My niece Cameron, taking her turn.
At 4:15 this morning, after many, many false starts, my niece was finally ready for her close up. She weighed in at 9lbs 4 oz. She’s apparently all legs, surprisingly wide eyed, and just beautiful. (My brother and his wife do make some stunning lookin’ youngins) Everyone is doing great and very, very happy. According to Kid Brother, she came out talking. Her first words?
But did I mention her name?
Pictures coming soon, but in the meantime…I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight at HH, where we will be celebrating!
As men, we’ve all been there. You’re in the video store and you’ve got Lethal Weapon in one hand and the GodFather in the other and you’re grinning ear to ear over Movie Night…and then you get “the look”. You know the look I’m talking about…the look that says “I was kinda hoping we’d cuddle up on the couch and watch something a little more…”
A Chick Flick.
Tonight my friend, there will be no flying bullets…no raunchy fuck scenes…no bare knuckle brawls…no V8 engines.
Oh no, buckaroo (Banzai). She’s getting Chick Flicks and there’s just nothing you can do about it. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How in the HELL am I going to get through this night?!” Fear not little camper. Fear not. A few of us were having this very discussion during a smoke break at the Nationals game last week, and we decided to post this self help guide for men everywhere.
So which Chick Flicks is it OK for you to watch? Dare I even say that you’ll LIKE? Here are a few to grab that will help you stay sane on movie night, recommended to you by people you should trust. Give this a read and then, please, post your recommendations…it’s a team effort and if we all pitch in we can make Chick Flick Movie Night a little easier for us all…
There was some debate about this movie being a chick flick. I say bollocks. (I mean, look at that cover?!) When I saw this commercial back in the day I said “well, there’s another Timothy Hutton movie I won’t be seeing…what the hell happened to that kid after Taps?” But years later I watched I found myself knee deep in this movie and truly diggin’ it.
Beautiful Girls will make you laugh at yourself as a man. It will…for lots of reasons. Why? Because the point of this movie is to show women just how breakable we men are and why. From Michael Rappaport’s inability to commit after 7 years to Matt Dillon’s inability to let go of his super popular youth….from Tim Hutton’s lack of faith in himself as anything more than a musician (and even that is waning) to the befuddled husband/father Noah Emmerich becomes.
Every type of guy is exposed in this movie. And you WILL see yourself…and you WILL laugh. It’s definitely for her, but he’s gonna dig it.
Oh, and Annabeth Gish is in it. God, she makes me crazy.
And yes, I know a grown man falling for a 13 year old Natalie Portman rates pretty damned high on the “ICK” factor…but it ain’t like THAT. It’s…ummm…sweet. Ugh.
It’s Ok for guys to like chick flicks. period. But publically you mean? To be able to tell his guys friends? Bend it like Beckham is a chick flick but guys love it. Also, every man I’ve ever known pretends to not like Sex and the City, and yet, somehow, they all know every subplot. So my official answer is Bend it like Beckham, but my unofficial answer is the upcoming SATC movie.
In addition to the movies, I will give you some tips for how to avoid falling into a chick movie vortex from which you cannot extricate yourself with a shred of dignity.
* Does the movie feature a scene in which females dance around to an oldies songs in their pajamas? If yes, you should not like this movie.
* Is the lesson of the movie that if a man would just listen to his woman, or bring her chicken soup when she’s sick, that he would be a better man? If yes, you should not like this movie.
* Is Sandra Bullock in the movie staring out a window while Paula Cole, Sarah McLachlin, Lyle Lovett, Sheryl Crow, or Randy Newman play on the soundtrack? If yes, you should not like this movie.
* Is the movie Beaches? For even thinking this might be ok you are a monumental girl.
Now for my movies. You could argue that some of these are not chick flicks, but I think they fit into the category you’re discussing. Basically, when the studio execs greenlit the pic they thought “Dames will make this a hit; booyah!” But because they actually made them with intelligent dialogue, or feature a male prominently, there are some who argue they’re not chick flicks. Those people are wrong.
* As Good As It Gets
* Keeping the Faith (nobody’s ever heard of this movie. It features Ben Stiller, Ed Norton, and Jenna Elfman. Men are allowed to like it.)
* An Officer and a Gentleman
* Pretty Woman (general rule of thumb: is there something for both genders to look at? If yes, then you’re ok to watch it.)
* About a Boy
* The English Patient
* My Best Friend’s Wedding (this movie includes enough references to college baseball and the White Sox, including a scene actually filmed at a game, to keep you in the clear.)
* And just for my friend the Argentian Jew: Fever Pitch.
I don’t know how I made it into this round of discussions, but hey.. I’m here. I MUST warn though: I’m a dyed in the wool sci-fi geek. You’d never really know it just by talking to me, unless things delved into BSG/Heroes/Jericho territory…but I’ll put in my five cents worth
(adjusted for inflation).
I’m not really into the chick flick thing…hell, I’m not even sure what would actually be considered a chick flick…but I’ll make a few guesses.
IMNSHO, romantic comedies, for the most part, constitute the vast majority of chick flicks. Recent examples would be 50 First Dates and Serendipity (which I liked because I like serendipitous stuff…and Kate Beckinsale is fucking hot.) Of course there are ones like The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants or WTFEver it was called.
In that sense, I fully agree with my co contributors: both great movies that any guy can like…especially geeky or otherwise awkward guys.
As for my entries, I say: What Dreams May Come (borderline sci-fi/chick flick…guys can like it for the weirdness and visuals, if anything), Pretty In Pink (yeah, classic growing up film…but in essence, a chick flick)… but #1 on the list: Thelma and Louise. Yeah, it’s not a pure chick flick…it’s got guns and relatively good looking women…so guys can like it.
That’s my call. Tell me if I’m full of shit or not.
Foreign movies like Volver and Talk To Her. If someone dares to question your manhood, an alternative to violence is saying you turned off the subtitles and only watched for sweet Penelope Cruz.
Can I mock your answers? As in, I heartily disagree that When Harry Met Sally and Beautiful Girls are truly “chick flicks.” The latter in particular.
As it’s easier to shoot down than to create on your own, I need to noodle this one. Why don’t you join me while I do?
Obvy it’s not okay for men to like Mean Girls or The Notebook. The former is 100% camp and bitchiness, and the latter is DRECK. However, it is okay to own this t-shirt, but only because it demonstrates how douchey it would be for a guy to actually like The Notebook, and any guy who says he does is just trying to get attention from the ladies. Dumb ladies.
Oh, I’ve got it. Clueless. Men can like Clueless. It has hot chicks, good jokes, and freaking Chris Turk. And that is absolutely a chick flick.
Beautiful Girls is actually quite definitely a guy movie. Any movie where guys are coming of age, the women are on the periphery, and a 13year old is sexualized is NOT a chick flick.
When Harry Met Sally
There is a seminal moment in the 1987 movie When Harry Met Sally that proves to all its viewers that this otherwise “romantic comedy” is not a chick flick.
Harry and his friend Jess are at the New York football Giants game watching Phil Simms march his team down the field. The camera shows them huddled together in their stadium seats, trying to stay warm in the freezing elements. Harry is talking about his marriage and how he found out his wife was having an affair. The dialogue interweaves with the stadium raucously performing the Mexican Wave.
Jess, braving the role of best friend and counter-intuitively comforting his obviously despondent friend, tells him,
“Marriages don’t break up on account of infidelity, it’s just a symptom that something else is wrong.”
Harry turns to his friend, the roar of the crowd intensifying, and responds:
“Oh yeah? Well that symptom is fucking my wife.”
Harry and Jess stand up, obeying the laws of the Mexican Wave and complying with the mob of 80,000 football fans… with nothing left to say.
A “chick flick” takes all the elements of women’s fantasies and turns them into faux-realities. Men don’t tolerate irrational depictions of romance and so, naturally, are turned off by these movies.
When Harry Met Sally, however, portrays relationships with honesty and brutal humor without masking the underlying thoughts and feelings of both sexes. It is universal in its scope and, therefore, the very antithesis of a “chick flick”.
In Her Shoes.
Amazing and definately a chick flick yet not a “romantic comedy”
When Arjewtino and I started this conversation, we wondered if The Princess Bride could really be considered a chick flick. Then he asserted, that yes it could, because isn’t that what women really want: a man to say ‘as you wish’? Let’s see, shall we?
One of the requirements for a chick flick is to have a dashing leading man. In this case, it’s Cary Elwes, before he went to seed. But what kind of a chick flick features Mandy Patinkin (better known as “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”), Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck), and Andre the Giant (“No more rhyming I mean it!” “Anybody want a peanut?”) It is very important that the leading man’s sidekicks don’t distract from his overall swoon factor, but really? These three guys? Plus the kid from the Wonder Years (“Is this a kissing book?”) and Billy Crystal (“You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.”)? Turns out, these are the guys that make this movie okay for men to like. They facilitate the super-romantic love story of Westley coming back from the dead – twice! – to rescue his true love and live happily ever after.
They’re funny (“Inconceivable!”). They have sword fights (” I have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.”) They kidnap and plot. They even engage a pirate, and all men love pirates, right? They wear funny makeup and have ridiculous accents (“Have fun storming the castle!”). They all defy death, which is very superhero-like and again, all guys like superheroes, right?
Then there’s this business of all women just wanting a man to tell us “as you wish” no matter how ridiculous we’re being. No, I’m not talking about the Notebook. Buttercup started out as a brat, but Westley won her over with his puppy dog eyes and dedication to her beck and call. Then, as usual with true love, they are broken up. Westley assumes a new identity (and a sexier one at that, black is much more becoming on him), gets through many obstacles, gets killed then brought back to life. All for her. For them. For happily ever after. “This is true love – you think this happens every day?”
Maybe Arjewtino has a point after all.
Anybody else got one?
I called Kid Brother last night to check on my sister in law and see if there was any news on the Old Man. (There isn’t) HOWEVER…my sister in law did go in to labor yesterday afternoon!
Now, I didn’t find this out right away…why? Because when I called to check up on them she answered the phone. After a few minutes of small talk she informed me, oh so calmly, that she had gone in to labor a few hours earlier and that it had stopped (STOPPED?!?!) so they sent her home…only to give her a time to come back.
Now, this stunned me. I mean, she answered the phone. In my mind’s eye, she’s on the couch or in bed or something, drugged out of her skull and cursing Kid Brother’s name…she’s not cool, calm, and collected. But, to my great surprise, she was exactly that.
Either way though, it’s on.
The two of them were surprisingly loose and very ready to get on with it…they were joking and telling me how much of a pain in the ass they’d each been for the past 9 months. But what came through loud and clear was just how much they love each other, and how ready they are for this baby.
And then NEVER AGAIN. They made that clear as crystal, too.
So, today I’m waiting by the phone for “the call”. This will be the third of these calls I’ve received. Two from Kid Brother and one from Kid Sister. They never get old.
Oh, and lest my melancholy weekend serve as some sort of downer for the week…
There is indeed a Summer Love Happy Hour this Friday, and ain’t nothin’ in the world gonna bring me down for that. By then I should have a new niece and I will be more than willing to hoist a few toasts to her general well being and future successes.
But you know, I’m thinking…
The “Invite a Blogger” gig…that was pretty bad ass last time. And all we gave away was free drinks. Now this time, we aren’t giving away the free drinks, we’re just asking you to, well…Invite a Blogger…
But there should be something on the line. Something to prime your pump, as they say…and since I was watching the Price is Right the other night, we’re gonna do it gallery style. You know, here are your lovely prizes*, pick a winner…
So how about this;.
If you bring the most bloggers with you OR the coolest blogger, you can have your choice of the following;
1) Super tight Tshirt shopping with VK
Mr. Kent will help you find the juuuuust-barely-covers-you Tshirt of the summer. This is a mid riff exposing good time, guaranteed. Just think, stumbling through the mall with the man, myth and legend, as you hunt down that ever elusive perfect hottie Tshirt? (You are responsible for your own bail should Pretty Rickie and the crew show up and this takes a turn for the worst)
2) Game Coaching with Roosh V
A one hour session with the ultimate Game Coach, Roosh. Here, you will gain insider knowledge of how to score like Moses Malone in the paint. And yes, Virginia, this is wildly effective for a female winner, too. Wanna know what you’re doing wrong? Why last boyfriend just wasn’t that in to you? Roosh has the answer.
3) A Night on the Town with KassyK and the UberHot Girl Crew
You do have to sign a waiver for this one in case you wake up in the Bus Station…in Baltimore.
4) Watch Fever Pitch with Arjewtino!
He will serve the crudites and cupcakes (courtesy of the Princess) you will get to see this (ahem) classic baseball movie with a true baseball fan. If he quotes it too much, just tell him “Kurt Gibson got lucky” and he will pipe down.
5) Drunken Songwriting Seminar with INPY
We’ll do it Johnny Cash style. Wear all black, I’ll provide the Johnny Walker and chasers, and you will learn the fine, fine art of drunken songwriting. I will even provide you with a recording of your “masterpiece” and a write up of the chords and lyrics….as many as I can remember, that is.
I mean, how can you not find something that tickles your fancy in that Gallery? This is a Showcase Showdown for the ages! So get out there and Invite a Blogger!
*Actual bloggers may not have agreed to or even known about these prizes until, like…now. Actual prizes may or may not be available at time of claim. All rulings subject to the judges discretion. The panel of judges are, naturally, the hosting bloggers.
Party on, Garth.
Last night a wayward bunch of drunken bloggers attended a $5 Nats game. Now, I know this sounds like the beginnning of a bad joke (“A bunch of bloggers walk in to RFK…”) and…well…it kind of is a joke. What seemed like a great idea, hatched from the mind of one of my HH co-hosts and I turned in to…ummm…a surreal experience.
Let me recount the ways;
First, just getting everyone together to go to the ticket trailer was an exercise. I mean, it’s the Pirates, so there were maybe 500 people in RFk. (Not counting players, but that does count concession workers.) We could have just bought any ticket and sat anywhere. But like the blind leading the blind, we were a mess of ringing cell phones and “What entrance are you at” and all kinds of mess. However, it was once we got there that the real fun began.
Arjewtino and I almost immediately realized what we had done. How? Well, as baseball addicts, we look at starting pitchers…lineups…you know; BASEBALL. What was the majority of our crew looking at? Ryan (Don’t Call Me Kyle) Zimmerman’s ass. Apparently, it’s Bootylicious. I have no opinion on the matter, neither does Arjewtino. However, that put us smack dab in the minority.
Our second little hint that something was amiss? Crudites. That’s right. Someone who shall remain nameless (but not linkless) proceeded to pull out of her bag a veggie fucking platter. Now,if you’re thinking “But, INPY, what’s wrong with that?” you are not a baseball person. Im sorry, you’re just NOT. Smuggle that in to a John Tesh show…maybe a Full Contact Yoga Tournament. NOT a baseball game.
What do the rules say you are allowed to sneak in to a baseball game? Hard liquor. That’s it. That’s the ONLY answer. Case closed thank you for playing. HARD. LIQUOR. That is the only answer our judges are accepting.
Now, you might be a bit confused and asking, “So, what do you eat at a baseball game?” OK, commie, here are the acceptable answers;
Sausage and Peppers
EDITOR’S NOTE I forgot and was reminded that Peanuts are a totally cool baseball food.
EDITOR’S NOTE II CRACKERJACKS! How could I forget crackerjacks?!
And I am warming to the Red Hot and Blue BBQ that is being served in RKF.
Crudites?! No. Hell no. This isn’t the French Invitational Badminton Tournament.
But I digress, lest you think that I am saying this game was a bad idea. Let me clarify. From then on (post veggie delight) it was great. Totally great. We had more Yankees fans (4) than anything else. This of course, makes me very happy. And once we settled in it was on. The game got going right away with a few runs, the beer was cold, the hot dogs were deeeelish, and our group swelled up to a rather impressive 15-20 (that’s including a group of guests that one blogger brought)
Then I saw him…he was THAT baseball fan. The grown man with a glove, radio, and scorecard who youjust KNOW never went to his prom and has painted many action figures in his life. And he was NOT HAPPY. How did I know he wasn’t happy? Because he stood at the end of the aisle looking at us, then his ticket, then us, then his ticket. Not saying a word…just glaring.
I know what you’re thinking. I do. “Dude, you were in his seat! NOT COOL”. I would agree with you except for one thing.
There were approximately 20,000 empty seats around us. It was a SEA of faded red seats in which he could have put his but and yet….this went on for quite awhile..it got comical. He’d look around and make sure that no one was coming for the seat he was about to sit in…sit…look at this ticket…get up, look at us…
I wanted to offer him some valium. I mean, for real…CHIIILL WINSTON! But, well, if I’d HAD any valium, I’d have taken it my damn self.
Eventually he got the idea that all 20 of us were not moving, that he wouldn’t really like hanging out with us (although he was eyeing that veggie platter) and went to find a seat. But damn he was entertaining.
Moving right along…the next thing that I have to share is that all day long I’d had the theme song from Sanford and Son stuck in my head. You don’t even KNOW the misery this caused. It simply WOULD. NOT. STOP. I was typing up a document and humming it…making up words to it…singing it in the hall way. You don’t know the horror. My coworkers were pleading with me to stop. Then threatening me. You might ask why this is relevant…well, I’ll tell ya…
Towards the end of the night it came back. And I started singing it again. And it was like watching a virus jump from person to person. Suddenly we are making up the most vulgar, yet hysterical, lyrics to that song that you can possibly imagine. It got out of hand FAST. Now, do NOT blame me. I read this post and that’s what got me started (read the comments, you’ll see…) down this road. Conveniently, she left before this began…
And just so that you can share my pain.
(I warn you..it will be in your head all GOD DAMNED DAY…and yes, hearing this version is FAR WORSE than hearing the actual theme song)
And just so that you know and because I am all about full disclosure…I pulled maybe the ultimate uncool baseball fan move and left early, only to have the Nats win on a bases loaded wild pitch.
See, you leave early, the Baseball Gods punish you. Simple as that. You eat salad at a baseball game? Ditto. Do both and you’re just askin’ for it. Beggin’ for it. And, if you get the Sanford and Son theme song stuck in the Baseball Gods’ heads at a game that you left early but during which you ate salad and focused on the 3rd baseman’s ass?
You’re just not going to get out unscathed.