Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Last article of the year

I have a bunch of stuff to catch you all up on. They're going to be quick hits, with a bit of explanations, so it won't be the normal well-thought out and well-written tomes that you're used to. I am quite sorry, but that's the way things go.

* Aly got into a car accident last Wednesday. It wasn't anything major, which is why I forgot about it, but it still sucks. Basically she was driving down Harvard Ave. in Brookline when some jackass decided to do a three-point turn in the middle of the road. For those of you who aren't familiar with Harvard Ave., it's probably one of the busiest roads in Boston proper. Always full of cars. Especially at 8:30 am. Why this numbskull decided to do this type of turn is a mystery.

Anyway, Aly saw the car now perpendicular (I love using that word) to her vehicle and started to stop. Notice how I said "started", the car skidded on ice and slammed into the car. The guy gets out and starts yelling at Aly, "Didn't you see my turn signal?" Aly was looking at this guy like he's insane, BTW he's not stupid, he goes to Harvard. So she calls the cops, they cite him for attempting a U-turn under a gigantic sign that says "No U-Turns". And he's responsible for the damages, which include: a new grill, a new hood, a new front bumper and a paint job. Should be about $3,000.

Aly was a bit shaken up, but other than that, she's fine. It's obvious I'm her good luck charm.

* Remember that guy a few weeks back at work who completely flipped out about things going to the Cayman Islands? Last week I asked him where the booth and the other shit was. It's been almost two weeks and I haven't seen anything. Nothing. I asked him what he did with the stuff, "Well, I just filled out the FedEx slip and left it in the room."

"That's all you did?"

"Yeah. That's what I was told to do."


How can this man be a vice president of the company I work for? He is a fucking moron. You know why the stuff wasn't returned? Because he left the equipment in the wrong fucking place because he wanted to go and play. He was seduced by seeing his wrinkled ass wife in a bathing suit and drinking shit margaritas. So for the last few days I had to track this shit down. Today, I finally found it and they sent it back to me. Three weeks it took me to get this stuff back, and does he give a shit? Of course not.

I work with fucking morons.

* Which may not be for much longer. Yesterday I had an interview. I think it really went well. The person interviewing me was impressed with my writing skills (a first) and I only said a few idiotic things. Not too bad.

The place is called Band and Brown, which I called Brown and Band. Give me a break, they both begin with B. Don't I get a mulligan on that? As I was interviewing for this job, a funny thing happened: I really began to want this job. When I walked in there, I knew they weren't going to meet my price and I was like, "whatever, let's do this thing because I haven't had an interview in over four years." But as I was talking and selling myself, I really, really wanted this job.

Which means that they're going to undercut me and I'll say no and get pissed off. If they can match what I'm making right now, I'd take this job in a second. For some insane reason, my parents have this idea that this job has "a lot of travel" involved in it and are nervous about me accepting it.

What the fuck are they talking about? There is virtually no travel in this job and even if there was, who cares? This whole leaving the nest syndrome is starting to bug the shit out of me. If Aly or I even talk about moving, they seriously get pissed. What the hell? I mean, I love them and all, but I don't know if I want to live my life 30 miles from where I was born. I'm glad that they like that type of stability, but do I want to look over my life and know that I've only moved 30 miles in 80 (I hope) or so years of living?

Christ, it's like I have these two people that are pulling me back because they're afraid to let go.

* Speaking of moving along, Jay's girlfriend, Vanessa is moving to Tampa. That's going to suck for Jay, I think he really likes her. I like Vanessa too, she's a real good kid. I hope things work out for both of them.

* Ok, I'm probably going to get a rash of shit for this, but I don't care. I've been pretty involved with the entire wedding, I should, it's my day too. There is one thing that I was not getting into though, that is the flowers. I don't care if we have no flowers or a fucking garden growing in the middle of the dance floor. It is something that I just don't care about.

Yesterday was my last day of a very brief vacation and Aly couldn't use her car (the insurance adjuster was coming between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm -- way to be fucking specific, pal) and she had an appointment in South Boston with a florist. Guess who had to give her a ride and hang out? That's right. Me.

I thought it was going to be for an hour. Zip in, look at a few buds, leave. No big deal right? Wrong. I was there for over two hours. How the hell can chicks give a shit about flowers and colors? How? My head was going to explode it hurt so much. Just the most mundane shit in the world. Tope? Eggplant? Violet? Chocolate brown? Cinnamon? Auburn? Who fucking cares, pick a damn color and go with it.

And then, should the centerpieces be 35 inches tall or 25 inches tall? It matters you know. It matters big time. Just not to me. And what do you want to wear on your tux? I don't know, just don't make me look stupid. Well, do you want this color flower or that color. They're the same thing. No they're not, one's ivory and the other is eggshell.

I was so bored I almost fell asleep, which made me feel bad because the lady was really nice, but man, did that suck. And I also had a milkshake from McDonalds, which killed my stomach. The other thing that blew about that McD's is that it was right next to the Children's Museum, so every kid was so wound up and tired, that all they did was cry. I am not joking, from the time they walked into the restaurant until the time they left, all of the shrieked.

* We picked where we're going on our honeymoon: Hawaii. We also booked our flight today, that was fucking awesome. I can't wait.

* I am going to White Plains to celebrate New Year's Eve (Amateur Night) with Danna and Rick. Just a nice, quiet dinner at Morton's. This is quite a 180 from last year's NYE, where we paid $60 for all you can drink at a comedy club in Manhattan. We got to see Chris Rock (unannounced) and I got to drain five keg cups of Dewar's on ice. Needless to say, I puked my guts out. Fun for all!

* I'll see you in the 05, when I'll tell you what happened in New York and drop some resolutions on your asses. Maybe I'll also figure out how to post pics on here, so you can finally see what I look like.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The holidays are just about over ...

And I'm happy to say that not only have I survived them, but I enjoyed them as well. I have been off since about 2:30 on Thursday, and it's been pretty awesome. Just a great feeling not to have to go to work, even if I wake up at the exact same time just about every day (7:30 am).

Friday was Christmas Eve, and this is my favorite day of the year. I love the anticipation of Christmas and getting things ready. This Christmas Eve was especially nice because Aly and I had to stop at an Italian bakery early in the morning to get some pastries. It reminded me of a Christmas Eve day from about 18 years ago when my mother, my brother and I went to Tripoli's bakery in Lawrence and we got pastries then hung around my aunt's store. Actually, I went to Mahoney's drug store and read comic books.

That's one of my favorite childhood memories and Friday I got to relive some of that, minus the comic books. There's not a lot of opportunities to go back in time and feel the feelings you once did, but I got to do that on Friday. That was a Christmas gift in and of itself.

After wrapping 15 presents, Aly and I took off to Franklin where we met her two friends (Danna and Rick) her family and just had an old-fashioned Italian Christmas Eve. Three courses, lots of fried food, lots of seafood, lots of good food. Had baked stuffed lobster for the first time, incredible. Also had a steak and some pasta. Aly's mom knows how to cook, she really does. And her grandmother is an awesome cook too.

Besides a gaggle of new outfits, Aly got me a digital camera. It is so sweet. It's an Olympus and while I haven't had a chance to really look at everything, but a cursory glance says that it's a great camera. I can't wait to bring it to Fenway next year. Every year Aly gets me an awesome gift. She knows how to pick them.

On Saturday, Danna, Rick, Aly and I went to my parents' house and it was a lot of fun too. My parents really took to Danna and Rick, and my grandmother did too. I'm really glad that every one got along and had a good time.

The one awkward part of Christmas was my Aunt Rita and Uncle Joseph. For the last eight years, I think that the Christmas that has just passed will be my aunt's last. She's not doing well, osteoporosis has destroyed her and senility is more than creeping in. Half the time she didn't know where she was and the other half she was throwing up at the dinner table. I don't want to get old.

And her son, Uncle Joseph, is not doing much better. He closed the family store because he's up to his eye balls in gambling debt, he looks like a beaten man. He used to have it all: women, cars (he had three different Jaguars at once), money, vacations. What ever he wanted. Now he lives in the back of a storefront (that he owns) and had to sell the store that was in our family for three generations.

The worst part is that he is trying to get Jay to get in on a store with him. He wants Jay's money and credit because his is so shot. Normally I say "Family First" but he'll destroy my brother and his future. My Uncle Joseph is an awesome guy, I don't want to completely throw him under the bus, but he's got a bad monkey on his back and he needs to get some help. I only hope he does.

Sunday, Aly and I did nothing. Literally nothing. We made dinner and watched TV and also napped. One of the movies we saw was "Matchstick Man" with Nicholas Cage. Good flick, a bit long, but it had a twist ending, which I sort of saw coming from a mile away. Glad that Jay let me borrow it. We also watched "The Others" with Nicole Kidman. Another good movie, not great though. Sort of like "The Six Sense" times three. I hate giving away spoilers, and these last two movies have them in spades, so just rent them. You won't be disappointed.

Not too much happened today, returned some DVDs that I got for Christmas. Ended up getting "The Best of Triumph the Insult Comedy Dog", "Mr. Show" season four and "Spider-Man 2". After getting the movies, Aly and I took in a matinee, "The Life Aquatic". Typical Wes Anderson film, well written, well acted, pretty funny and touching at the same time. The characters were perfect for their roles.

Here's the thing, as much as I liked this movie, "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tannenbaums" I don't think I want to see them again. They're very good, not great. Sometimes there are slow parts in each of these three movies that make them seem a bit longer than they really are. Out of 19 stars, I'd give it 15.

Tomorrow I have an interview with Band and Brown for a public relations job. I had a phone interview last Wednesday and we spoke for about a half hour. Turns out that he probably can't meet the salary I desire, but he still wants me to come in. I'll listen to what he has to say (he actually doesn't make the salary numbers). Hopefully things will work out.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Let the Christmas season begin

Really good weekend this weekend. No rest for the weary, but that's cool, Aly and I had a ball.

It all began on Friday (isn't that where the weekend usually starts off?) at work. We had our annual Christmas swap, and I made out pretty big. I got the Sox World Series DVD, which is what I wanted. The thing is everyone gave pretty good gifts, and I just gave a Cocoa Puffs chicken bobbing head doll. I thought it was pretty cool, but it was definitely the cheapest gift there. Oh well, Diane liked it (she ended up with it).

In the middle of the party, I was called by a guy from Band and Brown, which is a PR firm in Cambridge. They wanted to phone interview me right there, but I was at the party sitting right next to Monica when he called. I excused myself and told him that I'd call him on Tuesday, but he sounded a bit put off. That's not a good sign for an interview. We'll see about this tomorrow.

Friday night, after Aly and I decided that we were going to move in together in March, we went to Waltham to visit Brownie and Cindy. They met us at the door with a beer and a glass of wine and we didn't stop drinking all night. It was fun, I don't remember the last time we did that.

We went to a Spanish tapas restaurant called Solea. Not too bad, they had a shit-load of tapas and I had the lamb steak. We ordered a lot of food and when the bill came, Cindy ripped it out of our hands and demanded that we let her pay. It was $250. Needless to say, we were quite shocked. That was such an awesome thing to do.

We went to a bar after called the Skelig. The bar was cool, it's just like the Burren in Davis Square, but the band sucked. They were called the Swinging Johnsons and they were a goofy-ass cover band. And they just weren't good. After a few beers we went back to Brownie's where I kicked his ass in Madden.

Saturday we started Christmas partying at 1:30 pm and didn't stop until after midnight. Our first party was the Chili's bash and that was awesome. I haven't seen most of my friends since Stacy's wedding, so it was great seeing them again. Skaus and Sara hosted the party, and their new place is really nice.

As far as the grab, it was more cut throat than work's was, but I still got some cool stuff: the new Onion book and the first season of Arrested Development. We were the last ones to leave because we were looking at S&S's honeymoon pictures. They're going to Hawaii and we have decided that that is where we're going too.

After that we went to Aly's roommate's (Sara Wells) friend's Christmas party in Brookline. I thought it was going to be a real cheesy affair, mainly because it was a house full of lawyers, but it was a good time. I really think that I should give people more of a chance and not prejudge them based on occupation.

They were all really down to earth folks with good attitudes. If we weren't so tired from the night before and Skaus' shindig, we probably would've stayed later. We left around midnight.

On Sunday we went to church and saw Fr. Brian. He told us that he had our compatibility test done and we had to meet with him soon. Aly got real nervous and wondered whether we passed. I think that we did, Fr. Brian was smiling when he saw us. Unless he's really peverse, but I don't think that he is.

After that, we went to Franklin because we still had Christmas shopping to do, so after saying hello to Aly's folks, we went the Wrentham outlets. The first place we went to was Banana Republic. Some bitch with a baby carriage slammed it into the back of Aly's knees. Aly turned around and the woman gave her a half-hearted "sorry". Aly sort of looked at her and then the lady said something again, so I yelled, "Hey! You're the one that slammed into her!" And she gave me a dismissive wave of her hand, so I told her to take her hand and "shove it up her ass."

I was fucking pissed, who the fuck does that bitch think she is. I really hate Christmas shopping. People (including me, I guess) are such dicks. Then we went to the Nike store, which was just as bad. Everyone was literally tripping over each other trying to get their "awesome new kicks". What the hell, they're just shoes, they're going to be there whether you run over someone or you wait.

I think I just may shop on line for the rest of my life.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I sound like a broken record, but ...

I know that I write this a lot, but it's true. Pop culture just sort of rots now. And it's creeping into things that I once really loved.

Take for example Howard Stern. I used to love this show, it was literally the best part of my day. I would flip it on and just cruise to work laughing my ass off or being enthralled with an interview or just generally fascinated by the ball busting that occurs between the cast of regulars. I would try and figure out when he was going to be on one of his umpteen vacations and get sort of depressed.

Not any more.

The past month or so has been god-awful boring radio. I dislike George Bush and his right wing, jack booted thugs as much as the next guy, but if I have to listen to Stern tell me about how they're infringing on his free speech one more time, I'm going to freak out. That's all he talks about is the delay button and how much it sucks. Yeah, we get it, you want to swear. For fuck's sake, quit being such a whiny bitch about everything.

And when he's not crabbing about George W., he's going on and on about how his radio station won't let him talk about Sirius satelite radio. Next year, Stern is going to pay radio where he can swear all night and day. Ever since he signed his contract he's been talking about it. Not surprisingly his current employer is not too happy about this.

They (rightly) feel that by him continuingly talking about Sirius, they're going to lose customers. Stern is shocked and appalled that he isn't allowed to turn his radio show into a five-hour comercial for satelite radio. So he talks about that for 20 or 30 minutes a day.

Then he brings in the same tired shit like strippers and farters. I've been listening to this dude for eight years and it's the same thing. This guy farts "Feliz Navidad" that girl queefs "O Holy Night". It's been done. But the strippers are the worst, he fawns over each and every one like they're not the biggest skanks on the planet. And then when they do get naked, it's like who cares, it's radio, I can't see anything.

He is literally just stealing money from his employers because he doesn't care. It's obvious. He's saving all of his energy and good ideas for next year. And of course, every day we have to hear, "This might be my last day on the radio. Yup, it really could be. I am so outta here." Fine. Just go. I'd rather listen to music or Dennis and Callahan. (I never thought I'd say that.)

I don't hate the guy though, because when he feels like putting in an honest effort, he still is quite entertaining, but that is becoming less than the norm now.

You know why I'm so bitter about these things? I just saw "A Charlie Brown's Christmas" tonight. I love that special, it's such a great show and was so far ahead of the curve. Charlie Brown is a kid who's completely depressed about Christmas, which was unheard of. Man, I wish I could do something like that. This is what I aspire to.

There are many things that suck; shaving, shoveling snow, going to work, but nothing is as bad as wandering the mall thinking of ideas for Christmas presents. During my day off yesterday, Aly and I went to the mall. I never want to see another mall again. The place was packed. I don't understand why there were so many people there. It's a Wednesday in the middle of the day, don't you people have jobs? Seriously.

So, we were supposed to get gifts for like 13 people. I ended up getting Nina's gift, my work Yankee swap and two gifts for the Chili's people. That's it. I still have to get a bunch of shit for more people. Guess when I'm going? Sunday. At the outlets. This is going to be like the Battan Death March. Not good times.

So, I'm at my parents' house tonight. I went to the doctor's about my potential Graves' Disease, looks like I don't have. Dr. K wants me to come back to his office in six months, but otherwise it looks as if I'm in the clear. That's really good news, I'm pumped.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Pedro's gone with the wind ...

Look at what time it is and check your calendar, I'm playing hookey today.

I still haven't done any Christmas shopping, and Aly really hasn't done that either. So guess what we're doing today? That's right, we're going to the Museum of Science. Actually I'm just giving you "the business", we're going Christmas shopping, which totally sucks.

The mall sucks, walking around sucks, crowds suck. It's a hat trick of suckiness.

That's not to say that I'd rather be in work, I wouldn't, but this is pretty close.

Not too much has gone on during the past few days, it's actually been pretty quiet. The one disappointing thing is that the Sox lost Pedro Martinez to the Mets. To say that this turn of events is disappointing is an understatement. I really can't believe that he left Boston. I literally can't believe it.

For the last week every report from Red Sox camp has been, "Pedro is going to sign with us, there's no way that he's going elsewhere." This is especially because the Red Sox guaranteed a third year at the price he wanted. But those fucking Mets swooped in and threw in a fourth year.

Pedro did what most people would do, he took the money. I honestly can't blame him. It sucks, it totally sucks. That's what I feel in my heart. The Sox couldn't give him a fourth year, that just doesn't make good business sense. According to an report by Jayson Stark, 90% of Pedro's labrum is torn. There is no way that he'll make it through that contract without a major injury.

Three years might have been too much, but four years is insane. Mets GM Omar Minaya is a terrible general manager. He was always getting screwed in Montreal when it came to trades (Cliff Floyd, Bartolo Colon, Javy Vazquez) and he would always throw money at the wrong free agents (Carl Everett, Grahme Lloyd). Of course the excuse was, "He doesn't have the money. See what he's like with money."

Well, in New York he has money and he's spending it like a drunken sailor. Completely fucked up the market with his contracts for Kris Benson (an underachieving pitcher with a sub .500 record who wanted to come back to NYC) and Pedro. The guy spent too much money on damaged goods. It's as simple as that.

With all that said, Pedro leaving is like ripping the heart out of the Sox. His first years with the Sox were unbelievable. Just a constant buzz around the park. Is he going to throw a no-hitter? Strike out 21 guys? Throw a perfect game? No one knew, but with Pedro it was always theatre.

Even as he got older, he still brought that buzz to the park. Even on days that he didn't pitch. He was a funny guy who walked the walk and he could talk. Easily the smartest guy on the Sox. He said things that were eloquent and true, even when he was being outrageous. Even when he bitched and moaned you had to listen to him because it was probably true.

The buzz is not there any more. Sure Schilling says stuff, but it's not the same. And Schilling is a great pitcher too, but he's not Pedro. I don't know if we'll ever see another Pedro. He is/was one of the greats.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A little bit of culture

Friday night Aly and I did something that we don't normally do, we went to the theatre. Not the movie theatre, the theatre theatre. It was something very different, and it was pretty cool.

A girl I work with named Ann Marie used to work at the North Shore Music Theatre and she sent out a company-wide email asking if anyone wanted free tickets to see Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". I had never gone to the NSMT and I assumed that it was sort of a step up from community theatre, but surprisingly, it's not.

During the intermission, I read the Playbill and found that most of the actors were on Broadway, had bit parts on television and had been in movies. The cast was really good and the show was awesome. For one thing, it's my favorite Christmas story (the best one will always be the Mr. Magoo version) and for another thing I needed a bit of the old Christmas spirit.

For some reason, I haven't been able to get into Christmas this year. It's already the 12th of December and I haven't done any Christmas shopping, nor do I even know what to get for anyone. And just thinking of all the bills is enough to drop me into a cold sweat.

But after I saw that performance, I started to feel more in the holiday spirit. The other night I told Aly about how I wasn't looking forward to Christmas and that I needed to be visited by three ghosts, and last night I was.

This morning the Sox put their four-game packs on sale for the coming season. I woke up at about 9:00, jumped on the computer and was ready to get moving. Only my modem was busted. This happens every once in a while, so I had to keep my ear to the phone and listened to a busy signal for an hour. Totally sucked.

All of a sudden the modem started to work again and I was able to get a package for me, Ryan, Skaus and Nick. Games against the Blue Jays, Yankees, A's and Reds. Brownie got the same package and another one. Not too bad, but the one shitty thing was during that one-hour blackout I missed getting opening day seats. Man, I would've loved to have those seats. Sucks that I can't go. Maybe I'll get them for Christmas?

The Winter Meetings are being held now and the Sox have made a bit of a splash, they've signed pitchers David Wells and John Hallama. Don't care about the latter, he should be good coming out of the bullpen, but the Wells signing has me 50/50. For one thing, the guy is a die-hard Yankee, he bleeds pinstripes. Another thing is that he's pretty old, 41-years-old to be exact and his back is not exactly ship-shape. The one saving grace is that Theo signed him. In Theo I trust.

There are also reports coming out of Anaheim that the Sox have deals with Varitek, Pedro and Cardinal shortstop Edgar Renteria, which is why the Sox lost Carl Pavano to the Yanks. If it's a swap of Pavano for Renteria, Varitek, Wells and Pedro, than I am completely cool with that. Like I said, in Theo I trust. ITIT.

Aside from getting my haircut, Aly and I did nothing today. She watched a marathon of "America's Next Model" and I read and goofed around on the net. She needed this because she's starting to come down with a cold and unless I put my foot down and tell her to chill out, she's always bouncing around, getting herself sicker.

Good news yesterday, it looks as if she's getting a job offer from Bank of America on Monday. She spoke with that company's HR director and it's just about a done deal. We won't be celebrating until all of the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted. But for now she'll probably be starting January 3.

Since we did nothing, we were a bit stir crazy by about 6:00. We were originally supposed to go out with Brownie and Cindy, but Cindy found out today that her sister has MS. That put a damper on things, so we didn't go with them. Then we called Sara and Skaus, they said no because Sara had to work.

Aly and I were on our own, which actually worked out better. We started off at a really good Mexican place in Somerville called Tu Y Yo. Good food, stuff sticks to your ribs. I chowed like no one's business. I had a steak dish with two helpings of beans and rice. She had the pork dish and we had an appetizer and drinks. Total cost $35, without tip. Pretty cheap.

After that we got some ice cream, it hasn't been very cold out, which is why we went to JP Licks, then we went to the movies. We took in "Oceans Twelve". Good popcorn movie, yes there were a bunch of plot holes, but it was enjoyable, lots of fun. For one thing, I love heist movies ... they're probably my favorite kind of picture because I enjoy the cleverness needed to a. think of the plot and b. pull it off.

And when I say cleverness, I don't necessarily mean the guys who actually pull off the caper, I'm talking about the guy who wrote it. That's the man who has to have the idea. The way I figure it, he probably walks into a museum, scopes the place out and figures out how to get in and steal a work of art, money or whatever.

The only problem is, he's too much of a wuss to do it. Not that I'd do it, I'm just as big of a pussy, but he has the imagination to write something plausible. For the movie, there were a few lulls (out of about 12 scenes, Julia Roberts had about three that weren't annoying, but she was really good in those three scenes.) Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, all those dudes seemed like they had a fun time doing this movie and it show on the screen. And what can you say about Catherine Zeta Jones? She's fucking smoking. Good addition to the cast.

We saw the movie where we saw "Alexander" two weeks ago, at the Assembly Square theatre in Somerville. This may be on the list of ghetto theatres, which already includes the Fenway theatre. For one thing, it was packed. Not a big deal, it's Saturday night, this is a big movie. But the place was packed with idiots.

The two burly guys next to Aly each brought a six-pack, pounded them in about 45 minutes then left the theatre. The guys behind us brought two little kids and each person in that little foursome had Chinese food. How the fuck do you bring in Chinese food and beer?

And they didn't eat quietly, I felt like I was at a slaughter house and it was time for the cows' last meal. To borrow a phrase from Public Enemy, it was louder than a bomb. Then one of the guys pulls out of phone and started to call someone. In the middle of the fucking movie! I turned around and almost asked him if the movie was too loud, but I think he was Asian and was speaking a different language, so I didn't want to waste a good line on someone who couldn't understand it.

I know I asked these questions after we saw "The Village", but what the fuck is up with people? Why do people go to movies and talk on the phone? Can't they see that there is an entire auditorium full of people who paid $10 a ticket to watch a movie? It's obvious that they don't give a fuck.

There was one guy in front of me who constantly was sending emails on his Blackberry. Pandora's wireless box has already been open, there's nothing we can do about it, but please, I beseech you, relax for two hours. Get lost in a movie, leave your shitty fucking life with all of it's mundane melodramas at home. I promise you, it will be there when you get back. Just quit subjecting people to your stupid boring crap.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Wrapping things up

Ok, you're probably sick of me writing about work, and actually pretty sick about writing about that subject too, so just bare with me for two or three paragraphs and I'll write about other stuff, I promise. Yesterday was the end to the Cayman Islands Saga and guess who was right? Me. The booth didn't get down there until 3:00, just like I knew. However, if we were allowed to do the original plan none of that would've happened.

So, I think I'm moving my job search from passive, to agressive. I'm sick of my job performance being determined by the boys at FedEx and not being listened to by my coworkers. Starting tomorrow I'm flooding the markets with my resume. If you happen to know of a job contact me in the comments box at the end of this page, it goes right to my inbox. I would really appreciate it.

Speaking of getting jobs, Aly had another interview today. That's three in four days, not too shabby. This one didn't start off on the right foot, but I think it got a bit better. Around 9:10 I get a frantic call, "I can't find my pants!" I saw Aly bring in her suit from the car yesterday, but she can't find her suit pants. She decides to go look for them in her car. She found them all right, it's in the trash.

Apparently, she dropped them on the way into my house last night and they spent the entire night gettng soaked until someone picked them up and threw in the trash of the half-way house that is next door to my house. Since we don't have a dryer she had to get them dry by using a hair dryer.

About 20 minutes later I get another call, "I'm lost!" The directions we got off Mapquest weren't very good (surprise, surprise), so she's driving around Cambridge not knowing where the hell she is. I looked up a map of the city on line and directed her to Kendall Square. She also lost her resume and contact information for the person she was supposed to interview with.

Aside from those mini tragedies, things went well. The company is small and they will meet her salary requirements and they don't have a lot of girls in the office, which I think bodes will for her. She should hear back within a few days. I really hope she gets the job, she's starting to get a bit stir crazy, and I can't blame her. It must suck to be home, by yourself all day. I'd be begging for shit to do.

I am absolutely exhausted tonight. For the second straight Wednesday I played hoops. I wasn't intending to do so, but Chuck (a buddy of mine at the gym) grabbed me from the eliptical machine and we ran full court, three on three. I have no wind anymore. I played ok, last week I played much better (after being off the court for like four months). Tonight I made a few shots, started to get cocky and then I was missing a lot of bunnies. That's frustrating as hell.

Sometimes I TiVo things for Aly so that she'll have something to watch while I work on my cartoon (finished the second one last night, and it looks really good ... I can't wait to get this web site up and running). She records some of the dumbest shows and I had to listen to them. Last night was a "Nick and Jessica Christmas" and an epsiode of "Growing Up Gotti" double bill.

Nick and Jessica was predictably cheesy, bad puns, terrible jokes and more oversinging than the last three seasons of American Idol. Of course the worst being when Ashlee Simpson came out to "prove" to the world that she can sing. I think what would make the Ashelee Simpson SNL faux-singing a bigger deal is if she has talent. She just doesn't and it's obvious that she's riding her sister's coat tails.

Another thing she doesn't have is her sister's charisma. Ashlee looks as if someone has put a gun to her and is forcing her to be famous. She'll probably OD in about three years after her next album flops.

But the "Nick and Jessica Christmas Special" looked like Seinfeld compared to "Growing Up Gotti". As much as I think that Paris Hilton is a no-talent skank, these Gottis are worse. For one thing their grandfather was a mob boss, he robbed, raped, murdered and sold drugs to pay for their oppulant lifestyle. And for this, they're famous? How can this be?

And the daughter, the so-called matriach of the family, is just as classless as her old man. Besides dressing like she's an 18-year-old prostitute, she has to watch over her three guinea (and I'm Italian, and these kids are fucking guineas) kids who don't give a fuck about the world or anyone in it. In this episode, the mother takes her boys and a bunch of their friends to Miami for a vacation.

As you can expect, madcap hilarity ensues and when the boys get in trouble, their chaperone threatens the security guard. This pisses off the mother, but she doesn't make a huge deal out of it. Then the chaperone starts telling everyone that one of the guinea kids is wasted. For some reason the mother goes off the handle and concocts this scheme where her brother (who's probably a crime boss) is going to call the chaperone and scare the shit out of him.

Of course she does this in front of her kids, setting a good example and making sure that they have a healthy respect for someone that she puts in charge of them. The guy does almost craps his pants. Which gets a chuckle out of everyone because as we know Italians can't solve their problems peacefully, they have to have "a talk witchoo" which means that violence is going to ensue. Yup, that's one thing every dumb Italian understands, the fist.

And I forgot about this, she's a "writer" for the Star tabloid and she's trying to break a story about Mike Piazza and whether he's married or not. All during the show she's talking about how proud she is of her writing and how well she does at her job. Of course as she is commenting about this she is using every cliche known to man and thinks that she sounds very profound.

But her profoundity doesn't end with cliches, here is an actual quote to one of her guinea sons, "My very own father, your grandfather (they never use his name BTW) took me here for my first trip. Isn't that ironic?" No. That's not ironic. Buy a fucking dictionary.

You would figure that a "writer" even someone who writes for that piece of shit rag that is the Star would be able to properly find irony in every day life. Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. I felt that this show actually made me dumber as I watched it. I would love for these kids to die in a horrible, horrible, horrible manner. And if they have any fans, I wish that they'd die too.

This country is going to hell.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The dawn after the darkness ... so far

The weekend was good, by Saturday I had pretty much forgotten about the previous week, though my stomach was in a knot about today on Sunday night. The good news was that today went pretty well at work, but tomorrow will be the real litmus test. That's when the Cayman Island confernece is set to begin and after I tracked the booth and the materials on it said it was on the island, but not at the hotel. All I know is that it better be there.

But back to the weekend, Saturday and Sunday were both filled with friends and games. During the day I laid down the pencils for my second strip, which came out really well ... much better than I thought it would. I'm starting to use space a lot better now than I did a week ago. All I have to do is ink, which is probably what I'm going to do tomorrow night.

I picked Aly up at the airport around 4:30 Saturday and we went to her house to help her roommate (Sara) and her boyfriend (Chris) set up for the first annual trivia/chili party. I think it might be the last. People had fun (it was mostly Sara's lawyer friends, with a sprinkling of Aly's pals and Jim and Sara from my crew), but I don't think they had a great time. The one good thing was that Aly and I and Jim and Sara beat the hell out of a room of lawyers in trivia.

I can't say that I was the star of the team, I was still in a fog, but I didn't embarrass myself. One of Sara's friends was there and she was fucking obnoxious. A know-it-all and a bore and she didn't mind telling you exactly what she thought at any given moment. These people are a dime a dozen and are about as interesting as watching paint dry.

After everyone left, and interesting story was told about her, apparently her father was an oil guy and lived in Saudi Arabia. She, and the rest of her family, went to live with her dad when she was a kid. One day she was at an outdoor market with her sisters and this chick was kidnapped. A bag was thrown over her head, she was dragged away kicking and screaming and was held for ransom. I'm not sure if the kidnappers got their money or they just let her go because she wouldn't shut the fuck up, but that's a good story.

She has also had breast cancer, her dad died two years ago and has lived in Louisiana. I don't know what's the worst tale.

One of Aly and Sara's friends, Niall, was at the party too and he just came back from Rio De Jinero. I told him that I thought that place was a danger to everyone and he said that that was a lie. Everyone down there was nice and while there were some bad parts you stay out of them. Niall is Irish, and as a European, he, unlike many Americans, understands that not every country is going to be Disney World where everything is completely sanitized. There are shitty parts of every city in every country, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't visit that city or country, just stay the fuck out of the bad places.

On Sunday we went to Bill and Ellie's for the annual (this is a long-running tradition) Christmas/Guts party. I didn't do too bad, probably lost $10-$20, but Aly won $40 and Jay's girlfriend walked out of Charlestown with $140. My mother lost $130, which is par for the course for the elder Magranes. My mom and my dad either suck or have the worst luck when it comes to cards.

I bet it's a mix of both.

Ellie and Bill always do a good job with the party, they usually order a couple of trays of macaroni and chicken parm and we eat like pigs before the gambling begins. It's always a fun time and I hope this continues for a long time.

Ryan's two-year-old son Liam called me "Uncle Panda" last night, that cracked me and just about everyone else up. He's a real cute kid, especially now that he's talking a lot. Ryan's other son, Aidan, is pretty awesome too, though a little more shy than his younger brother.

So, I finally finished another Richard Russo book today: "The Straight Man". Not as good as "Empire Falls", but an ok tome. I've read two Russo books and three blurbs about his other ones and the one thing this guy likes to do is write about depressing, blue-collar northeast towns. It gets boring.

Like EF, TSM is wrapped up too quickly in a pretty little package and has another sullen teenager being brought to justice. Unlike EF, the main character in TSM is an asshole. The first 50 or so pages, I thought he was just sort of a jerk who'd grow out of being obstinate, but there he was almost 400 pages later still an asshole, still doing stupid shit to piss people off.

And yes, I do get the irony of the novel being called the straight man, while he is the protagonist. In comedy, the straight man doesn't act, he reacts to his partner's barbs and jokes.

Also like EF, there is a ton of symbolism and other literary devices that first-year comp students use to make their stories seem more "meaningful" and "real". So in summation, it wasn't a bad book, I blew through it and it kept my interest, but I don't think that I'll ever read it again. Out of 19 stars, I give it 11.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Finally, it's over

This week that is.

What a shitty week. Seriously, all of the stupid, crappy things that happened this week (nothing really major) just came together today. Besides the fact that a bunch of not-so-great stuff happened, it just seemed like the longest week ever. It literally felt like three weeks were jammed into this week. I know something rotten happened on Monday, but, honestly, I can't remember what the fuck it was.

I spoke to Dave today about yesterday. I gave him some bullshit line about how things got a bit heated yesterday and how I didn't want it to effect our working relationship, etc. He was like, "You know I wasn't mad at you, blah, blah." And I said, "Yeah, I know, but it was still a tense situation and I didn't want it to ruin how we interact."

He hated my predecessor and made shit pretty difficult for her. In fact, he told me that she sucked. Aly is right, these people are so unprofessional, it's not even funny. So, I walked out of there feeling a bit better that I addressed the situation like a rational person and that he wasn't really pissed at me.

Around 1:30 or so, my boss called me into her office. Apparently I screwed something up in October and this cunt (yes, I'm dropping the c-bomb) decided to tell my boss about it today. So Moni starts giving me one of her dressing-downs where she tries to be your friend, but at the same time lets you know she's not happy. So finally I say, "Do you want to just look over everything I do? I don't care. If that's what you want to do, you can do it."

And she's like, "I don't want to be controlling and micromanaging", which is funny because those are the exact two words I'd use to describe her managerial style. But here's the thing, while that can be annoying at times, I don't care. Just be fucking consistent. You want to micromanage me? Fine, it's less responsibility for me. You want me to be on my own? That's cool, just don't be pissed when I don't do something the exact fucking way that you'd do it.

Then she asked, "Did you talk to Dave?" I answered in the affirmative and explained to her what happened. And this is the thing that sucks the most, she is such a suck up to the company that it's hard to have a discussion with her about any problems at work. I told her that I didn't think it was very professional for a vice president to have a complete hissy fit breakdown and she comes back with, "Well, you should know it's a boy's club."

For one thing, that's the wrong metaphor, you dip shit. If he flipped out while he was drinking a beer and sitting in his boxer shorts, that's one thing. But, what the fuck does that "explanation" have to do with anything? And then she proceeded to tell me all these stories about how she was sworn at. Who cares? I then told her that my problem wasn't getting yelled at, hell I've gotten yelled a bunch of times and chances are pretty good that it's going to happen again. It wasn't even the swearing, I swear more than a drunk sailor.

It was just the incident that brought along the time bomb. She just could not understand my point, no matter how much I tried to explain it to her. Remember on Tuesday when I said it's nice to have my boss on my side? Well, that's pretty much gone by the wayside.

I really think that she thinks that I'm either on drugs or I'm fucked up, because she kept asking me if I was "ok" after we had our discussion about Dave. At first I said I was cool, but I eventually told her that I was having a bad week and that next week I should be better. I have to get out of this place, find a nice job and get my career path started. It's that simple.

But first, next week I have to sharpen up and make sure that I'm on the beam for my present job. I spoke to Aly today and she really didn't have a good day today either. Which made me feel bad because she called earlier and probably wanted to talk, but I was "too busy" at work to speak to her. I told her that I think I should probably see a career counselor soon. Any port in a storm.

To make herself feel better, she went to see the new Bridget Jones movie and she looked to her left and this one girl had her hands down the pants of another chick. They noticed that Aly was looking at them and they stopped, but when Aly looked again they were going at it again only this time they were completely making out with each other. Aly thought it was gross, but I thought it was fucking hot. She said these girls weren't bad looking either. I should go see more crappy Rene Zelwigger movies.

Tonight I had a few beers and I went to take a leak. As I was zipping up my fly, I was looking at myself and the mirror and I got my dick got in my zipper. It fucking killed. Really, really, really, really bad. Removal was just like "Something About Mary", I had to do it very quickly. And yes, it killed just as much. I hope I never do it again.

Two cool things have happened in the last 24 hours:

1. I finished my very first cartoon. It came out awesome. It looks exactly how I wanted it to. Honestly, I don't think I've ever been more proud of something in my life. It looks professional and after it was done I just stared at it for a few moments. Normally I don't pat myself on the back, but this was a job well done.

2. I was watching VH1 Classic (probably my favorite channel) and there was a back to back to back block of LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out", The Beastie Boys "Hey Ladies" and Urban Dance Squad's "Deeper Shade of Soul". Awesome, awesome. awesome set of music. I was only planning on having two beers, but I had to crack another one when UDS came on. I took a sip, closed my eyes and it was like I was back in 1991 again. It was nice.

I also found out that when MTV started one of my favorite shows, "SuperRock", it was intended to be THE replacement for Headbanger's Ball. I did not know that. The only thing I know about SuperRock is that I would come home from college parties fucking bombed, crack a beer and watch it. They always had the best videos. And that's not nostalgia talking. Beasties, Pearl Jam, UDS, it was like I was programming the show.

Speaking of MTV, tonight I checked out what was on MTV2, expecting to see just videos. But it was full of reruns of old MTV shows. Is this necessary? I mean really. There is already one channel of crap ass shows, why does there need to be two? I thought MTV2 was created to play the videos that MTV doesn't play anymore. Viacom is fucking retarded.

As Jim Morrison once said, "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection." This really has nothing to do with my anti-MTV rant, I just thought it sounded cool and probably one of his best lines.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I think I'm a narcoleptic

Why? Because for most of my life I have been able to stay up pretty late and just watch TV or read or listen to tunes. For the last week or so I've been crashing in the middle of my favorite shows: the Chappelle Show, the Daily Show, Family Guy ... I'm just falling asleep. And it's not like these things are on really late between 10:30 and midnight. I just don't know what the hell it is.

So for the past two days I haven't had the best days. They haven't been horrible, but there has been a few things that have just rubbed me the wrong way. And they're starting to add up.

For instance, yesterday morning I wake up and go out to my car and there's a ticket on the windshield. Why? Because I didn't park 20 feet from an intersection. I park in this spot all the time and now I get a ticket for this? What the fuck? I mean, don't the Somerville cops have anything better to do than to give tickets to people who are parked ok, but aren't 20 feet from the curb?

I was so fucking pissed, and what made me even more mad is that I was thinking about this as I was driving to drop Aly off at the airport. This is why I don't really respect a lot of cops, most cops are good, but there are a lot of fucking pricks who are on a power trip and just want to bust balls. From their arrogant smirks while they hold up traffic to their holier-than-thou attitudes, fuck them.

It sounds like I'm just spouting sour grapes, and I am, but these things really pisses me off.

There were a few weird things that happened at work over the last few days, if you remember I wrote about my boss who was freaking out because Lisa left and she felt insecure in her managing abilities. The other day she told me that she was pissed that people were going out for Lisa's last day. I was going to go, but two things made me think twice: 1. it was on Tuesday, which was Aly's last night before she went away. It was 5:30 and Lisa hadn't even thought of leaving work yet. I would rather spend time with Aly. 2. I've never been friends with a boss before, why would I want her on my bad side? I just gave her a hug and went on my way.

So, I'm in early on Wednesday and I see Monica. She looked really sad and asked that I give her a hug. I say ok and then ask her what's the matter. She's still broken up about this Lisa thing. She'd be wise to read EPMD's 1992 CD "Business Never Personal". I'm sort of worried about her.

This is other story is long and sort of confusing, so please follow (if you want). There is a dude that I work pretty closely with, his name is Dave and he's a vice president of sales. Next week he's going to the Cayman Islands for a conference, tough fucking job, eh? For his trip he wanted a banner stand, which is basically a screen that has our company's name on it. We had a chance to get this for free as long as we bought a ten-foot booth with two graphic panels.

The people who make the panels also make the banner stand and for some insane reason, these people won't send the banner stand without the graphic panels. It's completely ass backwards and is a pain in the ass, but it's not a huge deal. Today, I told him about this and he completely lost his shit. I mean he totally lost it.

He was like, "This is fucking bullshit. I can't believe that I have to do this. Fine. Fuck it. I'll just leave the panels down there" and then he slammed his fist on the desk. I was like, "Those panels cost about $1,000, you aren't leaving them down there."

"Well, I'm not sending them back. That's bullshit." And he had a hissy fit for five minutes. He was like a child. And it's weird to sit there and watch a grown man (he's like 50 or so) completely lose it over something so small. I was literally speechless. I didn't know what to say. It certainly wasn't my fault, that's just the way this company does business, but he would not listen to reason.

Aside from the fact that I really thought he was going to cry, the weirdest thing is that Dave is a pretty relaxed guy and professional as all hell. For him to do this is bizarre behavior. I have to meet with him tomorrow and I'm not sure what I'm going to say. I really want to say something about his professionalism and how I shouldn't have to be talked to that way. But I don't want to turn this into a huge deal.

And since this is my stupid office, he ran to my boss, who sort of took his side but understood where I was coming from. To be honest, I was pretty disapointed with her reaction. She definitely should've been on my side and told this dude to chill the fuck out. BTW, all he had to do was slap an extra mailing label on the panel box and send it back to Marblehead. And this thing doesn't weight that much, maybe seven pounds total.

So even though Moni said she knew what I was trying to do (save the company money) I ended up calling the shipping company and told them to ship it overnight to Marblehead and then I'd express ship it to the Cayman Islands tomorrow. So basically we're spending a lot more money to ship something because so fuckface didn't feel like putting a sticker on a box while he's down in the Cayman fucking Islands. Boo fucking hoo.

I told Aly about this and she assessed the situation perfectly, she said that my company is the place people go who have been kicked out of real companies because they don't know how to act professionally. For a person who has spent zero time at my office, Aly hit this dead balls center. I can't wait to get the fuck out of there.

And here's the thing, I know I'm going to carry a grudge about this, unless he apologizes. That's just the way I am. This could get very interesting. I'm glad that I spoke to Aly tonight, even though she is in Atlanta, she made me feel a lot better about myself and this stupid situation.