Sunday, November 6, 2011

On Your Left!

I love cycling, but it is a sport for a-holes. There are many reasons why, but I am not going to list them. I don't want to expend the energy, and I am sick of thinking about it.

But check this out:

My girlfriend and I always get harassed by a cycling club that rides in Prospect Park. For the purposes of this blog post, I will refer to this cycling club as the Crotchety Old Wheelmasters. These guys HATE us. They don't like anybody that "gets in their way." It's a classic cycling mentality: "What I'm doing on my bicycle is more important than what you're doing on your bicycle, here in the park." My girlfriend and I get in their way a lot, because we ride through the park with our dog attached to my bicycle. They don't approve of that, because it takes up extra space and appears reckless.

The ringleader of the Crotchety Old Wheelmasters is extra curmudgeonly. One time there was an accident in the park, in which a little girl fell off her mom's bike trailer, because a bolt was loose, and smacked her face against the asphalt. It looked terrible. The girl stood up and started crying, her helmet askew, and her mom ran to her and picked her up, making sure she was okay. As she did this, the ringleader, who had stopped to help, began yelling at her and telling her to get out of the way of the bike path:

RINGLEADER: (confusing everybody and exacerbating situation) Don't stop! Don't stop! Don't stop!

LADY: (hysterical) My baby!

RINGLEADER: Get out of the way of the path! Move over! Move over! Get her out of there!

LADY: Fuck you, sir!

RINGLEADER: Move the bike! Yahhhhhghg! (pointing at me and my girlfriend, who are watching from the other side of the street) We got dogs on leashes! Attached to bicycles!!

ME: Relax.

RINGLEADER: I'm not excited!! I've been riding in this park for thirty years!!


RINGLEADER: Yaahagahgh!! Miflbpblst!!!

In case you didn't know, by riding your bike in Prospect Park for thirty years, you become an authority figure, and you're then allowed to yell at people.

The next day, the ringleader rode past us and exclaimed, "There's the yutz from yesterday!" Then he flipped us the bird. This is a sixty year-old man we're talking about. He gave us the sixty year-old middle finger, which I didn't even know existed.

For the next few weeks we had a vendetta with the Crotchety Old Wheelmasters. We engaged in shouting matches with them every time they rode past us. It was frustrating, because I could never think of any good insults to cast upon the ringleader. He rode by too fast. The best I could do was yell, "You're old!" But that wasn't effective. I had to come up with a plan.

I researched the Crotchety Old Wheelmasters online, and, as expected, there wasn't much information available. No website, no nothing. (Old people fear computers.) But I did find a Flickr page through which some bike repair guy in Park Slope sells the Crotchety Old Wheelmasters bike jerseys. Apparently, to be a part of their crew, all you need to do is purchase one of the wool jerseys for $110.00 and persuade them that you are worthy:

"If you are interested, please email me at: with a convincing argument as to why we should consider you grumpy enough to wear one of our jerseys. If we buy your story, we'll let you know where to send your deposit check."

Perfect! I finally had a way to deliver a death blow in this silly blood feud. I would order a jersey for my dog, and he could wear it while running next to my bike in the park, and if the ringleader gave us the finger again, he would only be telling himself to go fuck himself. A brilliant conceit.

Here is the email I wrote to the bike repair guy/Crotchety Old Wheelmasters jersey salesman:

Hi Blah,

I just checked out your website. It's awesome!

I especially like how you restore vintage bikes and are a Brooklyn native. My girlfriend is from Brooklyn, and I recently moved here (to Brooklyn) to live with her. We live right next to Prospect Park, and, being an avid cyclist, I couldn't wait to absolutely bomb Prospect Park on my 1989 Ciocc, which is my baby! On your left!!

Anyway, for the last few weekends, I have been riding the paceline with The Crotchety Old Wheelmasters, though it's been hard to keep up! Am I worthy of the jersey? I think so. I was on my college's road team for three years, was a messenger in Boston for four years, and rode in the Bikes Not Bombs Riding Club for five years before coming to NYC. I love cycling and bike mechanics, and I have loved riding with the Crotchety Old Wheelmasters (some of their grumpiness might even be rubbing off on me!).

What do I do to order one of these jerseys?

I received an immediate response, in which the bike repair guy/Crotchety Old Wheelmasters jersey salesman told me that he was excited to see me in the park on my classic Ciocc, and attached an order form for me to fill out. This was going to be a work of genius. I couldn't wait to carry out my clever strategem.

At this point in the story, I wish I could say that I went through with the order, put the jersey on my dog, and fooled the ringleader into telling himself to go fuck himself, but, unfortunately, that never happened. It would have been too much of a financial investment for a prank. Plus, I would be giving money to my enemy, which doesn't make much sense.

So I left it alone. What's funny is that I keep getting reminder emails from the bike repair guy/Crotchety Old Wheelmasters jersey salesman, like this one:

We have not received your order form and check yet. The order will go in on Friday - with or without you.

We don't care.

I know he is intentionally trying to sound crotchety in an effort to stay true to the cycling club's whole "grumpy" theme, but still, c'mon, try to be a little more friendly, so people will actually care when you die one day. No one is impressed by your grumpiness. That goes for the whole Crotchety Old Wheelmasters bike club. You obviously want to be cool and want to be liked, otherwise you wouldn't be drawing so much attention to yourself. Shift your attitude and stop yelling at people in the park.

"Indeed, most of [men's] vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world."

-John Steinbeck

Monday, October 17, 2011

Basic Book Review: Mike Birbiglia

I have been meaning to write a review of Mike Birbiglia's memoir, Sleepwalk with Me, and Other Painfully True Stories, for a long time. I read it a few months ago, and it's totally good.

Mike Birbiglia has been one of my favorite comedians for a long time. When I bought his book, I was a little worried that I would find it disappointing, because often times comedy memoirs can be lame and underwhelming. I was pleased to find out that the book was a quality read. Mike Birbiglia is a good storyteller, and he's hilarious.

The book intertwines some of Birbiglia's stand-up material with embarrassing/interesting coming-of-age tales, including ones about his family and romantic relationships. He also writes about his comedy career--how he got started, what it was like on the road, his influences, his experience on the college circuit, etc. That was my favorite part of the book. I love reading about that sort of thing.

Basically, this is a really great book for comedians and non-comedians. I'm pretty sure most people would find it amusing. I know I had a smile on my face every time I read it, and it made me feel happy and inspired.

One more thing: I met Mike Birbiglia once, and he was friendly. We shook hands.

Also, watch that documentary, The Cove, on Netflix instant. That movie will make you hate Dolphin fisherman.

Also, watch the entire Shogun miniseries, starring Richard Chamberlain. Great actor, great chest hair. A lot of beheadings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Bowling Ball Went Brooklyn

I went to Melody Lanes tonight and bowled solo. Bowling is a great sport. I had the bowling alley to myself and used the jukebox to play my favorite hit songs. I played one song by The Who. "Happy Jack." For a while I thought I hated The Who, but now I know I don't hate The Who. It's like The Beatles. For a while I hated The Beatles, but then I realized that I don't really hate The Beatles, and that, in fact, I like them okay.

Melody Lanes is located in Sunset Park. It is a short, creepy bike ride away from my house. I can ride my bike there in 15 minutes. Unbelievable. Rarely can I commute anywhere in New York in 15 minutes. It felt fantastic. It reminded me of Boston, where you can ride your bike to most places in 15-20 minutes. It is good that the commute is short, because my bowling ball is heavy.

I like spraying my bowling ball with a specialized bowling ball cleaner and wiping it off with a worn out Lanes and Games bowling ball towel. (Lanes and Games is a bowling alley located in Cambridge, MA -- that's where I got my custom bowling ball drilled to perfection and fitted to my monstrous hand.) I like taking proper care of my custom bowling ball. I like bowling my bowling ball into the pins and cracking them into disarray.

The lady at Melody Lanes was so nice to me. Her customer service skills are unmatched. I almost asked her her name, but then I didn't.

The people bowling next to me sucked at bowling, which is why their scores were low.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Your Local Bookstore

I went to my local bookstore tonight. It was like smoking a cigar or having a beer with dinner: I wanted so bad to love it, but it sucked.

That place sucks bigtime. I left wondering why that place is actually good and what it has to offer. I discovered that it offers very little. I was disappointed, because that bookstore, according to Yelp reviews, is "one of the best in the city."

First of all, all I wanted was Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, Dune. And they didn't have it. So that sucks bigtime, because, according to the lady whom I spoke to last week, they had Dune in stock. Thanks for not having Dune, dorks.

Secondly, the dude who works there is a dicksquad. His spectacles had an aggressively-angled green frame--they were a hip, quasi-masculine perversion of old maid librarian glasses--and he looked to be the type of man that snivels. He was a real bespectacled sniveler. A squirmy, bookwormy jerknose of a man. I could picture him sniveling on his little swivel chair behind the cash register and consoling himself by sniffing the books. Snivel, swivel, sniff. That's his move. The move of a jerknosed squirmworm of a man. My interaction with him went something like this:

ME (holding a copy of The Brother's Karamazov that I wanted to sell): I'd like to sell you this book.

DICKSQUAD McDOOGLESTERNZ (listening to world music, he gives my book a cursory glance): I will give you $3.00 for this, or $4.50 in store credit.

ME: That's it?! It's brand new!

DM: I will sell it for half the retail value. I have to make a profit on it.

ME (understanding where he's coming from but disliking his tone of voice): Okay. I'd like the store credit. I'd like to buy Dune.

(He looks around for the book and tells me they don't have it.)

ME: I talked to the lady last week and she said you had it.

DM: Well, that means we had it last week.

ME (joking, sort of): So you sold it between then and now? Who buys Dune? No one buys Dune.

DM: People buy Doomsday or else we wouldn't sell it.

I thought I heard him say "Doomsday," but I wasn't sure, and then my girlfriend confirmed to me that he said "Doomsday," which then made me think he misheard me and that maybe Dune was somewhere in the store. So I double-checked. They still didn't have it.

After we left, my girlfriend and I discussed local bookstores and the small business versus big business battle, and this is what we realized:

A. Small local bookstores have very little to offer outside of being quaint and charming.

B. Certain types of small businesses make a lot more sense than others. For example, small, local bars and restaurants give you better drinks/food than chain bars and restaurants, and aren't much more expensive, if at all.

C. If you get a product (book) at a small, local bookstore, you are getting the same exact product you would get at a chain bookstore, except it is more expensive and less convenient.

Therefore, small, local bookstores are pretty worthless, especially when they don't have Dune and the dude behind the desk is a jerksqueeze.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chez Curtis

(In this review, names have been changed, to protect the privacy of those individuals.)

I attended a dinner party Saturday night, at a quaint Washington Heights bistro named Chez Curtis.

I arrived a half hour late and found the two hosts/chefs scrambling around in the kitchen, tripping over themselves. This concerned me. I was also displeased with their casual attire, which did not befit a restaurateur. (One of the hosts/chefs is my good friend who shuns technology, so I will refer to him, in this review, as the Luddite. His charming cohost/sous-chef is a Photographer.)

I immediately left the kitchen, and my outrage was renewed when I noticed one of the other guests—my close friend, a Politician—lying on the ground playing video games on his iPhone, like a child. I felt as if I had entered a house of horrors, rather than an upscale Washington Heights bistro. I extended my hand to my compadre, and he snubbed me, apparently too enthralled by his video game to give me the time of day.

Just as I was about to bring my business elsewhere, the Luddite asked me and the Politician to do just that! Preposterous! He sent us on an errand to buy dessert at the local supermarket. I was appalled, but agreed to help out. (During our dessert misson, the Politician helped an old lady cross the street. I was amazed by his selflessness and sense of civic duty.)

When we returned, three more guests had arrived, including a Swimmer; an Actress (the wife of the Politician); and a Viennese-born, Russian-speaking Ukrainian, who grew up in New York City. I was delighted to see these new guests, indeed, and my resentment toward the Politician had abated ever since he helped that old Dominican lady, so the cocktail hour was finally beginning to take shape.

Since the kitchen was miserably understaffed, I had to pour my own drink, but this was compensated for by the Luddite’s permitting me to drink the 16-year McClelland’s Scotch (est. 1818, 40% alc./vol. ). I was well-pleased. It was clearly a 16-year, aged in a cask made of pure, smoky plywood.

The fruit spread was robust and luxuriant. I don’t believe I have ever witnessed grapes of that magnitude, so shiny and purple, like plums. And whole apples. There were full, uncut apples just sitting there among the lush, plentiful pile of produce. And mangoes. So juicy! And the papaya, so disgusting, if you don’t like papaya (an acquired taste), but so delectable, otherwise! And the strawberries were so red and juicy that the Politician and I ate nearly the entire platter.

More guests arrived, and Chez Curtis erupted in jovial merrymaking. There was a Man with a Ponytail, a Woman Wearing a Sparkly Top, the Luddite’s Ex-roommate, and the Ex-roommate’s Boon Companion. There were eleven of us altogether, including the hosts. While everyone became acquainted, I noticed the Politician pulling a fine bottle of absinthe from the top shelf of the Luddite’s liquor cabinet. He sipped it, furtively, underneath the Mao Zedong poster.

Ah, and the cheeses! They were of the finest quality available in North America, and they were accompanied by a finely-crafted Nutcracker cheese knife. Unfortunately, the cheese platter was positioned on a wobbly shelf, making it hard to cut, so no one ate it. I nibbled at it as much as I could, which was difficult, because the Politician kept cutting in front of me, like a barbarian, to access the artichoke dip.

The restaurant was mostly decorated with bottles of booze and books. My favorite bookshelf featured classics like, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, The Brothers Karamazov, and Saratoga in Bloom. But, when I saw a book called The Communist Party Apparatus, I became nervous and uncomfortable. I was unfamiliar with this book, and I could only surmise that the owner, the Luddite, was some sort of Communist sympathizer who wanted to poison me.

At one point, as I conversed with some of the other guests in front of the papaya spread, a woman scuttled past us in a towel. Very uncouth! Luckily, she redeemed herself by emerging from the bedroom in a beautiful white dress. It was the Photographer, and she looked stunning. She was followed by the Luddite, who wore a suit that I can only imagine he purchased in Brussels. I say this, because he looked like Jean-Claude Van Damme. Actually, he looked nothing like Jean-Claude Van Damme; I just forced the comparison so that I could mention Jean-Claude Van Damme. Come to think of it, he was slightly reminiscent of Jean-Claude Van Damme, and they have similar dancing styles.*

Soon, the Luddite clanked a fork on his glass a few times to signal the feast’s commencement, and we all took our seats around the table. The table was fastidiously decorated, with three centerpieces, composed of rare Senegalese flowers that could not have possibly been purchased shortly beforehand at the local bodega.

The first course was a salad. It was plated elegantly and included edible flower petals. Looking at this salad was like looking at a beatiful woman. I devoured it like an emaciated dog. Exemplary.

I turned to the Swimmer and noticed that she had three cans of pineapple juice. Chez Curtis is a BYOJuice establishment, so this made perfect sense to me.

The technologically advanced, American-made Zenith sound system began to play Sting, marking the advent of the second course. It was a soup, from Ghana, and it was actually made in Ghana and transported to Chez Curtis, specifically, for this dinner party. The soup was a delight. We were amazed by its rich flavor and bold spices. The Swimmer encountered some sort of freakishly hot pepper and had to excuse herself from the table, twice. The Photographer called it a Light Soup, and the Man with the Ponytail explained that it was called “light” because it had exactly 1/6 (or 18%) the spiciness of traditional Ghanaian soup. I just did the math, and 1/6 doesn’t equal 18%, but whose math skills wouldn’t be compromised while eating oxtail steeped in a thick, piquant broth? Also, there may have been goat’s flesh in the soup. Triumphant. There is nothing more thrilling than goat’s flesh.

I looked over and saw that the Politician’s soup was completed in record time. He reported “minor sweatage,” due to the soup’s inherent zestiness, but had a flawless victory, nevertheless. His wife, the Actress, is vegan, but Chez Curtis went to no small amount of trouble to accommodate her needs. She was served a scrumptious vegetable soup, and she loved it so much that she carried on about it, incessantly. The Politician eventually chastised her for talking out of turn. This caused the room to become quiet and filled with tension.

As I savored my glass of 2007 Bordeaux, which went perfectly with the soup, I looked to my right and noticed that the Viennese-born, Russian-speaking Ukrainian, who grew up in New York City, was drinking straight vodka. I felt unmanned.

The third course was a shrimp shish kebab. The flavors were explosive. And the plating: exquisite. There was a slice of perfectly cooked plantain, and it leaned upon a sliver of avocado (and it did so with insouciance). I was impressed. Tom Colicchio couldn’t have done a better job, himself. And if he would’ve tried to do a better job, I wouldn’t have let him. I would’ve been like, “Put down the knife and step away from the kitchen, Colicchio! You’re not wanted here!”

Our plates were cleared, and the Politician began discussing Max Brooks’s novel, World War Z, with the Man with a Ponytail. The rest of the guests felt alienated. Then, an actual zombie stumbled into the bistro, drunk on brains. The Politician engaged the zombie in hand-to-hand combat. A messy ruckus ensued, and the Politician caved-in the zombie’s skull with his bottle of absinthe. He then chugged the absinthe, to prove a point (mostly to himself). Chez Curtis is holding him responsible for $1400 worth of damage to the establishment, because, unfortunately, the zombie was a figment of his imagination. The money will come out of his 2012 campaign fund.

After he had time to gather himself, the Politician shared a personal story about a young girl he knew, named Shithead. “It’s pronounced ‘shi THEED,’ but it looks like shithead!” he said, tittering. We laughed and laughed and thought to ourselves, I guess it’s okay that he fought an imaginary zombie and knocked over the Senegalese plants.

The fourth course was a delicious roast rack of lamb, with rice and scallions. The lamb was cooked to perfection and had a charming rosemary crust, making it a gastronomic powerhouse. A homemade sweet bread was served as well, to accompany the dish, and all who ate it felt a cozy, fireside warmth, deep in the cockles of their heart. The Swimmer even gave the lamb two thumbs up (but this may have been biased, due to anticipation). She was invigorated by this course, and explained to the others that she would “fuck a zombie up.” This pleased the Politician, who, by the way, was half-conscious and no longer in control of his bowels.

During the fourth course, the Actress, again, was not forgotten. Her vegan palate was well-satisfied by Chez Curtis’s signature Carrot Olive Extravaganza. The Luddite was so proud of himself for constructing this meal, he explained to the dinner guests that, if he “had more business acumen, [he] would not hesitate to ‘Bill Gates’ it out.”

As it was growing late, the Politician and the Actress had to depart. We said our goodbyes, and the Politician made the following closing remark, unprovoked: “Sean Connery was a pimp from 1961 till yesterday!” No one knew how to respond. It was clear that the absinthe had transformed his mouth into a conduit for the devil.

The fifth course—dessert—was served soon after they left. There were two cakes: Cookies and Cream, and German Chocolate. Both were toothsome. And, of course, the flagship dessert: Strawberry Chocolate Fondue. As I dipped each strawberry into the melted South American chocolate, I felt like Jabba the Hutt when he eats those slippery, squealing frog things, in Return of the Jedi. Or at least I enjoyed the strawberries in much the same fashion.

The dessert was complemented by a sweet, sparkling white wine, called Moscato. This bubbly, saccharine beverage commingled harmoniously with the chocolate-covered strawberries. I believe I have never before felt such gustatory rapture.

Satiated by our sumptuous, five-course banquet, we relaxed and conversed about a variety of topics. We revisited the zombie theme, briefly, and discussed the advantages of modern technology, all the while serenaded by a 1983 Zenith stereo. Although the service was slow, at first, and our reservations got pushed back three hours, my experience at Chez Curtis was extremely pleasant. The official stats are below:

Food: Astounding
Service: Very European
Atmosphere: Quaint/Cold War Era
Hours: Flexible (24 hours)
Location: Convenient to train, but three hours from your house, probably
Entrance/Exit: Like a Speakeasy
Price: Competitive (a.k.a. Free)

*Jean-Claude Van Damme’s dancing style:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ambivalent, Like Bobby

The IRS has me on hold. I called the IRS, because I have to make a final payment to them. I owe them some money from unpaid taxes in 2008. It's cool.

My call is important to them. The next available representative will assist me as soon as possible. Is anybody else on hold with the IRS right now? I'll race you. I'll race you to customer service.

I am using the speaker phone feature on my cell. Thank god for that. Otherwise, I'd have to hold the phone to my ear the whole time, which would make it difficult for me to type.

Jeez. I have certainly been on hold for a while.

I Look out the window. Children caper in the streets. Old people hang halfway out their windows. Dogs get walked. Tulips continue to bloom, dewy and purple, at the entrance of Prospect Park. McDonald's emits its singular fragrance. Life passes me by. Representatives are still helping other customers.

This song is awesome. I love the tinkling of the piano and the smooth back beat. Ooh, is that the irresistible pulse of bongos? All of this sounds so deep and crisp coming out of my phone's powerful speaker system.

I just talked to the lady. She was actually really cool and helpful, and now I feel bad about the derisive tone that pervades most of this blog entry. I'm so conflicted. I'm like Bobby, from the 1984 version of The Karate Kid.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Iced-out Paradise in the Sky

I finished reading Robinson Crusoe. That book is so dumb. I'm not even saying that because I missed the basic concept. The book just sucks, that's all. I'm glad I read it, though.

It's based on the real life, deserted island adventures of this Scottish man, Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721). He got stuck on the island of Juan Fernandez, for about 5 years, and became the monarch of all he surveyed.

He did all types of cool stuff. For instance, he ate tons of Craw-fish. He also made delicious broth from goat's flesh. He kept a tally of how many goats he killed on the island: 500. He hunted and killed 500 goats. Very respectable kill count.

When he ran out of gunpowder, he developed superhuman running abilities, and became adept at chasing down and tackling goats. One time, he sacked a goat, and he and the goat tumbled off a cliff. Then he lay there for three days, completely stunned, the goat squished beneath him. I'm guessing he eventually got up, dragged the goat's corpse into his hut, and made it into a delectable soup. Totally worth it.

He bred and trained cats to vanquish the rats that gnawed his feet during the night.

He made a goat-skin cap and would dance and sing with tame goats and cats. This simple diversion brought him great joy.

At first, he was very afraid of the sea lions and their terrible jaws, but then he learned to sneak up from behind and chop the bejesus out of them with a hatchet.

He also had some mathematical instruments. I have no idea what he did with them, or what they even looked like. Let's just imagine that he had an outstanding protractor collection.

I actually really like the accounts of Selkirk's adventure. I like his story much more than that of Robinson Crusoe. Check out what Selkirk said after he was recovered from the island and brought home: "I am now worth 800 pounds, but shall never be so happy, as when I was not worth a Farthing."

Indeed, Selkirk. The more money we come across, the more problems we see. At this very moment, Biggie and Selkirk are probably hanging out in Thugz Mansion together, along with Tupac, and 500 goats, dancing and singing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Call, Marx

I am pretty sure the classic novel, Robinson Crusoe, sucks. I am almost finished with it, and it has been a painful literary quest.

The book has very few redeeming qualities. It doesn't help that there are no chapters. The story just goes on and on, as Defoe explains the protagonist's three boring decades on an island in the West Indies. It seems like the same stuff keeps happening over and over again: Crusoe gets some supplies; he grows crops; he cures food; he fears the cannibals; he captures a cannibal and makes him his boon companion/slave; he gets some supplies; he grows crops...round and round we go, with no end in sight. So far, the best part of the book is when Robinson Crusoe drowns the kittens.

The fact that this book was published in 1719 does not mitigate its suckiness. I have read much older stuff that is way better and more timeless. Robinson Crusoe hasn't aged well, at all.

They say that Karl Marx disliked this book, because of its capitalistic slant. I wonder if Marx also found it boring.

Maybe the ending will blow my mind. I hope so. Please don't put me through any more descriptions of corn growing and raisins drying in the sun.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dog Training Tips

I've begun training my dog by using delayed positive reinforcement. It's the latest thing, based on my belief that you shouldn't embarrass your dog with any correction/praise in public.

Here's how it works: When my dog does something right, I approach him, later in the day, and I tell him that I really appreciated when he did that totally good thing earlier. He seems to respond very well to this form of encouragement. I just say something like, "Hey Franklin! Remember when you didn't try to kill that Westie in Prospect Park, this morning? That was so good! You're such a good boy! I've seen so much improvement in your dog aggression problems!" And then I pet him a lot.

Here's another example: The other night, Franklin was peeing on the couch, and it reminded me of the time, two days before, when he peed on a tree, outside. When he was done peeing on the couch, I immediately approached him and said, "Hey Franklin! I am so proud of you for peeing on that tree, outside, a couple of days ago. I know you can make it a habit to do that more often, instead of peeing on the couch. I love you so much, even though you have mysteriously exhibited bad house training, as of late. I'm sure you can make me proud by relieving yourself, outdoors, like you've done so many times in the past. You're my special pal and I have faith in you!" I said this while scratching him behind the ears.

This training strategy has been working wonders.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


We had our Christmas tree well into February. I cannot accurately describe the profound shame I experienced while carrying our tree outside. As the cadaverous tree fell upon the sidewalk trash pile, my family name fell into disrepute.


Free Stuff

There is this spot in our apartment building where people put free stuff. We wanted to get rid of this dumb cat bed and some dumb dog food, so we put the stuff in the aforementioned spot. I attached this note to the stuff.

The next day, the dog food was all over the floor, and my note was torn. Someone took the cat bed, though.

I Wish I Just Bought Carlo Rossi or Something

Never drink this particular brand of wine. It tastes like bleh. Seriously.

My girlfriend and I made lasagna the other night, and while we were buying ingredients at the local Pioneer supermarket, we decided to buy a couple of bottles of Chateau Diana, to complement the meal. We knew it was cheap wine, but we figured it would still taste okay, like "Two Buck Chuck" (Charles Shaw), or something. Nope. It tastes disgusting.

It's too sweet. That's the main problem. I immediately knew something was wrong when I first poured it out of the bottle. I approached my girlfriend in a very professional manner, like a sommelier, and gave her a test pour. Instead of looking dark and robust, the 1981 Chateau Diana looked like watered down Boku. Then, when it hit my girlfriend's lips, she was immediately repelled, as it transformed her mouth into a nauseous barf-bistro.

"Chateau Diana Merlot boasts of deep, dark fruit and possesses aspects of cherry and cocoa. The warm oak components continue on to a long, smooth, velvety finish."

Yes. Warm oak components, indeed. I might have missed the velvety finish while I was gagging, convulsively.

I just noticed that, on the front label, it calls itself a "Merlot Wine Product." It's not even legit enough to call itself wine. I need to be more careful about reading labels.

I know I only paid about six dollars for this bottle, but I expected to at least be able to choke it down.

On the bright side, I added some to my lasagna sauce, and its aspects of cherry and cocoa really brought the whole meal to a state of perfection. So it has some redeeming qualities as a cooking wine.

Otherwise, it's vomitous.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bigtime Photo Shoot

My cat, Superman, recently had his first American Apparel photo shoot. This guy's a real piece of work. He did a nice job. I'm proud of him. If only he'd stop vindictively punching my dog in the face.

It is a little warmer now, so that means rain can happen. This displeases me. Rain has pretty much nothing to offer the world. Use science to refute that statement if you want, but I stand by my words: Rain is useless.

The previous paragraph is so boring. I'm ashamed of it. And I don't even agree that rain is useless. I didn't mean that. It's just incredibly irritating sometimes, and I hate being damp and cold.

I finally got a haircut. The lady who cuts my hair does a nice job. She's a good conversationalist. Today, we spoke about NYC education.

It's February break, so, since I'm a teacher, I have some time off. It's great. I have had all this time to relax and do tasks that I don't normally have the time to do. Tomorrow, I will go to the teachers' store, Barclays, and get some stuff. The people that work there have no tolerance for anyone that comes remotely close to staying until closing time. They really push you out of there early. It's obnoxious. Bunch of weirdos.

I've been drinking this Haitian beer, called Prestige. It makes me feel like an illustrious character.

This blog entry is completely uninspired. Sorry about that. I really just wanted to show that picture of my cat.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Keep Your Christmas Tree Going: Keep it Glowing

My New Year's resolution is to shave every other day. It's going to be impossible to pull that off. I hate shaving. It's not even that bad, but I hate it. Something tells me I am already off to a bad start with this New Year's resolution. At least I have a resolution this year. Last year I had nothing.

My Christmas tree still looks twinkly and luminescent. I'm thinking it's good for another 2, 2 and 1/2 weeks of post-holiday cheer. Considering I rode home, for 25 minutes, from Home Depot, on my bike, with the tree gripped precariously under my right arm, I'm going to sap that thing for all the cheer it's worth.

My girlfriend and I received some nice gifts for Christmas, and they are arrayed beneath the tree. They are plentiful. Gifts aplenty. One of my favorite gifts is this bag that I got, which is awesome. I won't describe it, because that would be boring, but you should know that it is a really dynamite bag. I'm going to wear that bag to work tomorrow. No chance I will be walking across Bruckner Boulevard and get nailed by a customized van (see above), sending the bag, and my body, cartwheeling into space, like a rag doll. That would never happen to me.

If you are wearing a smart new bag, and something really bad happens to you, the fact that the bag is so smart no longer really matters. If you are wearing a nice new suit, and then you get beaten up in the suit, you'll feel pretty stupid in the suit, afterwards.

If you join the UFC, the chances of you getting beaten up, while wearing a new suit, are much lower, because you'll be tougher than the average person, and possibly have cauliflower ear, which will be a clue to possible attackers that you are not to be trifled with.

Also, if you join the UFC, I want your autograph.