Monday, July 25, 2016

The Weakend

Hi there! How was your weekend?  

I pretty much wasted my Saturday attempting to installate the elliptical by myself. After about an hour of screwing and unscrewing the same bolts I got frustrated with it and buried it in my upstairs closet. Here's hoping I forget all about it.

Spent some much-needed quality time with the family. Went to the library so the girls could pick out some books for summer reading. After the girls went to sleep I watched The Big Short with the wife. She fell asleep halfway though. I thought it was interesting.

Sunday I had the house to myself for the first time in two months. Its very likely I would have checked in with MFG - but the Baseball Hall Of Fame induction ceremony saved me. Mike Piazza's speech was amazing. Ken Griffey Jr. was one hell of a ballplayer, maybe the best in my lifetime. But he is just not a good public speaker. Which is refreshing in a way. 

After that ended I did some yard work, cleaned the living room, and watched a couple Taryn videos. One of these days I'm gonna figure out how to watch YouTube on my TV so I can bingewatch her channel. Maybe on my birthday :-)

I was just about to make my blogroll rounds when my mom called to inform me that my sister is moving back to Florida. That's kind of a bummer, I guess. I'm not particularly close with her. My mom is planning a going away party for her when I visit CT in August. And we might be going to Mystic, maybe. It was an idea I had months ago, and it's been on-again, off-again ever since. Now it sounds like it's on again. But there's still time for the plans to fall through (again).

Also my wife has a smartphone now. I have no need for one, but it might come in handy if we do go to Mystic.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I got troubled thoughts and the self-esteem to match

I have this theory, (okay it may have been Jerry Seinfeld's) but I've recently put it to the test. 

So if Jerry's right, we will see about 5 attractive people out of every 100 we encounter. 

My six year old has summer camp at the rec center, so we bring her there every morning at 9am on our way to work. Wifey walks her down the block while I sit in the car rocking out to Fall Out Boy. At least 20 adults pass by every morning. I'm usually singing this song while they pass so I'm not really counting or noticing anyone specific.

Except...there's this one mom who lives on that street, and she walks her two little girls down to the rec center like everyone else. But she stands out cause she's tan and jacked. Like, I'm parked across the street from this woman and I can see the definition in her arms as she holds hands with her little ones. I've nicknamed her "Muscle Mom". 

Well, yesterday we got there a little later than usual. And as my girls are getting out of the car a van parks across the street from us and a tan, buff looking lady gets out. She gets her kids out of the backseat, bulging out her calves and shoulders, and I stop rocking out for a second. Muscle Mom doesn't drive her kids to camp. And she's not blonde. And one of her daughters is older looking. 

Wait a second...could there be two Muscle Moms? I sure hope not. I can't handle one.

Let me sidebar for a second. 

My wife and I are overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy. We have crappy clothes, we barely scrape by on part-time salaries, and we don't even have smartphones. Everything we own - from our TV to our car to our computer - was bought by our parents. Our house is a mess. We don't eat dinner at the dinner table. We don't sleep in the same room. We don't have a bed for our four year old. Our kids are not learning any healthy habits. They get way too much screen time and not enough outside playtime. Our backyard is a disaster. 

Meanwhile, this woman clearly has her shit together. Her husband isn't sitting in the car singing emo songs. He's probably working full time and making enough money so Muscle Mom can stay at home, take care of their kids, and sculpt that killer physique. I'd bet anything she's got a hot wardrobe, a smart phone, and a thousand followers on Instagram. She and her husband are most definitely winning at life, and I still haven't learned how to play the game.

So that slaps me in the face every morning. And then my wife comes back and I try to hide my disappointment (not in her specifically but in my entire life to this point) as she gets in the car. And then I have to turn down the music, which is just as deflating.

Anyway, that's one.

So then I go to work. Not many people there, and no one particularly attractive (though I must say our receptionist looks damn good for a 60 year-old grandma). So we're 1 for 30 at this point, until I ride the bus home. Another dozen or so on the bus with me, never anyone decent looking. By then I've seen about 45 people and only one of them is indisputably hot.  

But then we drive through downtown Westfield. There are always at least two to three attractive women round the main streets, and sometimes as many as five. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of a gorgeous blonde walking her dog. She was younger, probably college age, tan (but not too tan) and fit (but not too fit). In other words: exactly my type. 

That's two.

When I got home I took my girls to Friendly's for a late lunch and ice cream. The takeout window was closed and so we went inside. Stood there for a while and waited. My four year old decided she wanted to sit down and eat, and since we couldn't get ice cream to go I thought that was the best option.

It was after 4pm, so the place was practically empty. Except...

There was a family sitting in the back corner of the restaurant. Mom, dad, two little boys younger than my kids. And I'm there by myself with my girls, trying to cheer up my six year old who was pouting because she only wanted to eat ice cream in the nearby park. But I can't stop glancing over at this woman in the back corner. 

She looked a bit younger than me, maybe 28 or 30, and frickin' flawless - not in an impossibly beautiful way but stunning all the same. Her hair and makeup and clothes were on point. And her man was sorta okay looking, bit of a beer gut, three day stubble. He definitely married up. 

He was on the phone the whole time, and he had this scruffy trucker voice. Naturally the wife was taking care of the kids, and she had a soothing, feminine voice. And In my head I'm thinking, if that was my wife I wouldn't spend the whole meal on the damn phone. I'd put a little effort into my appearance and I'd pay attention to her. But then I thought, he's probably doing work things and providing for his beautiful family, and what are you doing? Not enough to wife up a hottie like that, that's for damn sure.

Anyway, that was three. And I'm going to assume there were an equal amount of attractive men I didn't notice (and I don't count trucker dude) so maybe Jerry Seinfeld was right. Five percent of the population is unquestionably attractive -- though, of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Which leads me to Leslie Jones. Y'all know about Leslie Jones? She's one of the few funny cast members of Saturday Night Live, and she does this recurring bit where she flirts with Weekend Update co-anchor Colin Jost:

I happen to think she's funny. Her shtick is that she's a big black lady and she uses that in her comedy cause that's what comedy is all about. Self-deprecation. There are very few top comedians that most of us would consider physically attractive, maybe 5 out of every 100 (off the top of my head I can think of Nikki Glaser...and that's it.)

A lot of comedians get heckled. It comes with the territory. But Leslie Jones has been straight up bullied over...something. It could be because she's starring in the Ghostbusters reboot, but I don't see Melissa McCarthy or Kristen Wiig getting shit for it.

No, her crime appears to be that she's big and black and not physically attractive to whatever trolls inhabit the Twitterverse. And so some asshats with no life and no conscience whatsoever decided to terrorize her for it, calling her an "ape", a "gorilla", and much worse.

It turns out famous people have feelings, too. Leslie Jones fought the good fight as long as she could, but decided it wasn't worth it in the end.

I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.All this cause I did a movie.You can hate the movie but the shit I got today...wrong

The main doucheball behind all this bullying was banned for life from Twitter. Naturally, he blamed the liberal media for being too PC and infringing on his First Amendment right to spew hateful, racially-charged venom free speech. 

Yep, that's what the Founding Fathers had in mind - dehumanizing black people (Okay, bad example.) 

And this is unquestionably how we end up with Donald Trump as a viable presidential candidate. 

Look, I don't want to get too political on here, but the main reason I'm a progressive liberal is because I have empathy for other people. And I have empathy because I was bullied. 

I can relate to Leslie Jones. She's a middle-aged African-American woman on television. But I can relate to her.

I cannot relate to Muscle Mom. I just can't. She might as well be an alien from another planet. Maybe she's a very nice person and an awesome mom who can manage mom things and wife things and maybe a job around her fitness lifestyle. I don't know how that's possible. I wish I did. 

hahahaha not in my house, honey

I can't relate to most Republicans. The party of Jesus and personal responsibility and constitutionalism and small government sounds nice in theory. But this regime seems to be about two things: (white) nationalism and violent, unapologetic hatred.

And that was before The Donald ran for president. 

You can say what you want about Hillary Clinton - she's corrupt, greedy, untrustworthy... whatever. I get it. Democrats are no angels. But Hillary has empathy. And I don't want my kids to grow up in a fascist Trumpian dictatorship.

Sometimes I feel like I'm just not meant for this world. I get emotional over everything. Too easily defeated by adversity and opposition. I can't parent now, and I'm powerless to stop my girls from being bullied on social media in about five to seven years. I want them to be kind and caring, but I worry that they will inherit my extreme sensitivity. 

I clearly underachieved in life. I never learned how to drive a car, or the importance of hard work and saving money and planning for the future. I never learned the value of self-care, working out and eating healthy. I just thought that lifting weights was something bullies did to beat the crap out of people who didn't lift, and I vowed to never become one of them. 

or one of them

And if I could talk to My Favorite Girl I'd ask her how she can love Jesus and have empathy and be a Republican. I'd ask her how she managed to go to school and go to work and have a social life and find time to work out. I'd ask her how in the world she could be active on social media without losing faith in humanity. I'd ask her how she can be so beautiful and so modest.

I can't quite relate to My Favorite Girl. But she fills my heart with hope.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

DAP (Dead Artists Playlist) and OMFG reveal

We've lost a lot of legends already this year: Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe, David Bowie, and Prince - just to name a few. When Prince passed it occurred to me that nearly all of the top recording artists of the 1980's were gone - Prince, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston could be considered the "Mount Rushmore" of 80's music (along with Madonna, of course.)

David Bowie transcended time and space and gender and genre. I never considered myself a Bowie fan, but upon his death I gave his catalogue a closer listen and realized what millions of music fans already knew - the man was bloody brilliant. 

So many talented musicians have gone to The Great Gig In The Sky that comprising a Dead Artists Playlist only took about fifteen minutes. (note: I only counted a band if its lead singer is dead.) Here are twelve of my favorite tracks from artists who are no longer with us. To save space for my OMFG reveal I linked the videos on this playlist rather than embedding them. 

Let's rock! 

Queen & David Bowie - "Under Pressure"
I'm really feeling this song lately, what with all the madness in the world.

The Notorious B.I.G. - "Big Poppa"
Classic hip-hop track from my junior high days. Biggie > Tupac.

Michael Jackson - "Beat It"
You've heard the original. Now play the Fall Out Boy version:

I said I wasn't gonna embed songs on the playlist. Technically, this isn't ;-p 

John Lennon - "Imagine"
Such a pure, beautiful song. 

The Doors - "Light My Fire"
I like the music a lot more than I like Morrison. Blasphemy, I know.

The Clash - "London Calling"
I wrote a musical comparison in college, comparing The Clash to Green Day. 

Joy Division - "She's Lost Control"
My intro to the post-punk icons and one of my all-time faves. 

Prince - "When Doves Cry"
There will never be another Prince. Maybe the most versatile pop star ever?

Stone Temple Pilots - "Trippin On A Hole In A Paper Heart"
I was never an STP fan, but nearly all of their songs were decent to good. 

Sublime - "Santeria"
My (wife's) family's favorite sing-along song. 

Nirvana - "Breed"
Due respect to "Smells Like Teen Spirit", but this was always my fave Nirvana track.

Jimi Hendrix "Purple Haze"
A charter member of the Forever 27 club


Now, the answers to my 'like list' guessing game. We'll do this countdown style... 

#10  Anna Kendrick - actress

Fierce little thing. She reminds me of my crush in a way that I can't quite describe.

#9 Julianne Hough - dancer/actress

Can't act to save her life but she seems like a sweetheart. And those legs...

#8 Kathryn Tappen - TV personality

"K.T." anchors hockey coverage for NBC (and she's married to a former New Jersey Devil.)

#7 Katherine McNamara - actress

The youngest member of my 'like' list. Her hair is quite literally fire.

#6 Victoria Justice - singer/actress

Less trashy than her contemporaries. And less famous. Hmm...

#5 Olivia Munn - actress

I ship her and Aaron Rodgers. (Partial credit if you guessed Olivia Wilde; I do love Thirteen.)

#4 Heidi Watney - TV personality

What, none of you watch Quick Pitch? (Can't blame you for guessing Heidi Klum though.)

#3 Kristen Bell - actress

The voice of Anna is a long-time veteran of the 'like' list. Dax is one lucky bastard. (I ship them, too.)

#2 Taryn Southern - YouTube Star

Sam knows what's up. Not as famous as that 'other' T.S. but much hotter and funnier.

#1 Jennifer Lawrence - actress

The reigning queen of this list five years running (but Taryn's coming for her crown.)


Who are your celebrity crushes? What's your favorite song from an artist who has passed away? Any suggestions I may have missed (for either list?) Let me know in the comments below! 


Saturday, July 16, 2016

OMFG (on my favorite girls)

When I was a lot younger, my best friend and I would make top ten lists of our favorite things. Most of them were one time only lists, like "favorite action movies" or "favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs" but there was one that became a tradition. For at least a dozen years, my Bff and I would rank our ten favorite girls in what you might call a 'like' list

Sample list (c. 1996):
  • Jessica
  • Kristen
  • Alison
  • Kristina
  • Liz L.
  • Liz B.
  • Jill
  • Brenda
  • Tasha
  • Danielle

However my bestie and I went to different schools after fifth grade, and so our lists were quite different. He knew some of my girls but I knew none of his. And so we stopped 'ranking' girls we knew. Because that's stupid and pathetic and a certain way to be single forever, amirite?

Instead, we made top ten lists of our favorite female celebrities. This worked much better because we both knew all the girls in question and could compare notes about what we liked about each. 

Sample list (c. 1998):
  • Jewel
  • Michelle
  • Katie
  • Uma
  • Jenna
  • Renee
  • Mira
  • Jennifer
  • Christina
  • Kate

We continued making these 'like' lists once or twice a year through the aught's, until adulthood and distance and serious relationships drove us apart. The last time I saw him we reminisced about our younger years and the lists we made. Both of us admitted that we don't have enough girls we like to fill a list; his was pretty much 'Katy Perry'. 

I've no clue what he sees in her

I'm not nearly as interested in celebrities or entertainment as I used to be (and my Maxim subscription lapsed eons ago) but I think I could come up with a 'like' list of ten famous women... if I stretch the definition of 'famous'. 

See if you can guess my favorites by their first names (props if you get more than two)

Summer 2016 list:
  • Jennifer
  • Taryn
  • Kristen
  • Heidi
  • Olivia
  • Victoria
  • Katherine
  • Kathryn
  • Julianne
  • Anna

As for real-life girls, well...there aren't any. Ya know, cause I'm married. And I no longer frequent a centralized location stocked with enough attractive females to populate such a list. (The new girl at my office is over 40... and she's probably the youngest person in the place - present company excluded of course.) 


What about social media? When my bff and I started making our lists there was no such thing as an 'internet celebrity' ... there was no Instagram or YouTube for hot girls to show themselves off to the masses. I can't imagine being a teenage boy today. Total sensory overload. Which is why I try not to get sucked into that wormhole. 

I'm not always successful, obvs. If you're a new follower here (hello new follower!) you may have missed my earlier post(s) about My Favorite Girl. She is neither a celebrity nor a "real-life" girl. 

That's not entirely true. She's a real girl. I think. However I've never met her in real life (unlike my previous mega-crush) so I don't count her as such. I only know her through social media, so she would be on this new third list. At the very top, carved in stone, for the third consecutive year. 

And I have thought of her a lot lately. Primarily in these two ways:

If I can quit cyberstalking My Favorite Girl, why can't I quit something that directly affects my physical or financial well-being?

If I keep thinking about how long I've managed to avoid her social media circles then I'm ostensibly thinking about her. And if I'm thinking about her, then I'm defeating the purpose of not checking her Instaposts and YouTube vids. 

Andso for the next week or two I'll post some of my other favorite things. Then I hope to start my elliptical in August and update y'all about my attempts at getting healthy. This may or may not cause me to return to MFG's social media sites. I don't want it to, but there are days when I could really use a good distraction from the state of the world or my impeding birthday. Plus I have new computer speakers so I can actually hear her. 

But I'm not there yet. I'll try everything else first. I can do this. 

Hope y'all are enjoying your weekend.


Thursday, July 14, 2016


It happened so long ago I nearly forgot all about it...until I started to self-analyze why I have such a sour reaction to being taken somewhere against my will for more than an hour or so. Not stores or birthday parties or anything like that, but somewhere unfamiliar and far away from home. It's a part of adult life that most people can accept and deal with. I whine and complain about it like a child. And here's why...

I had made plans to sleep over a friend's house one night. We were in the same third grade class, though I'm not sure if it was during the school year or the summer after third. The details are quite fuzzy at this point; it was over twenty years ago, long before every nine year old had a smart phone. (and this explains why they should). I do remember my friend's name. I won't say it here, but it's the same as a recently deceased pop star.

I'm piecing the story together from snapshots, uncovered from the depths of my memory. In the first, I'm lying on his living room floor, in a sleeping bag perhaps. It's dark outside and inside, but for a small lamp light.

The next morning I'm in the backseat of his mother's car. I don't remember if he was up front or in back with me. All I know is she had plans to see a relative that day. What I didn't know was that her relative - sister, cousin, mother...whoever it was - lived in Hartford.

and I lived in the New Haven-Milford area

I had never been to Hartford before. I knew it was far away from home, and I knew the Whalers played there. But his family didn't strike me as the type to take me to a hockey game.

At some point I must have realized that I was two hours away from home, with no idea when I would return. My friend's mother could have brought me home before visiting family in Hartford. I do not know why she didn't. The only two possible explanations: my mother was not home at the time (unlikely, her schedule has always been flexible and what mother wouldn't rearrange her schedule in order to retrieve her 9 year old son?) or his mother simply had no regard for this child that wasn't hers. She would return me home when (if?) it was convenient for her. Which brings me to the next snapshot: I can vaguely recall her mother telling my mother exactly that.

That's when shit got scary. How am I going to get home? 

In the last snapshot my memory has saved from that incident, I'm walking with my friend outside what was likely a housing project. I must have passed a pay phone at one point because I remember feeling very nervous and upset that I couldn't call my mom. (I also remember feeling very cold, so it's possible this was during Winter Break and I didn't have an adequately warm coat. Can't be certain though.)

I don't remember when I got back home. As I recall, I spent the first day at my friend's house and the second day in that Hartford housing project - which leads me to believe I was under their "care" for well over 48 hours. I know my mother was contacted at least once, and I know that when I got back my friend felt terrible about the whole ordeal. We both knew I was never sleeping over again. 

In fourth grade I changed schools due to an unrelated incident of adolescent trauma, so I never saw those people again. I knew I was being held against my will (and my mother's) but until I reflected on it as an adult I never fully realized that I had been kidnapped.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Prime Day

My mom offered to buy me a $300 elliptical machine from WalMart.

Instead I got this for $100 on Amazon:

I also purchased two pairs of sneakers. And some Fall Out Boy stuff, and a season of The Simpsons on DVD. And speakers for my desktop computer so I can finally listen to music and Taryn videos ;-P

Total cost (including shipping and warranty) $310.

Once this contraption arrives at my door, I will have to do three things:

  • clean my room and clear enough floor space
  • assemble the contraption (and make sure it works)
  • stop destroying my body with unhealthy foods and drinks

Perhaps I will be ready to begin my fitness journey next month. Or next year. Or never.

And if I don't, well... at least I only wasted $100 :-)


Saturday, July 9, 2016

a melancholy saturday

I wonder how different my life would be
if five months ago today
I decided to quit drinking soda
or energy drinks
or eating junk food
or card collecting
or my job

Would I be fitter, happier, more productive
if I had given up something 
more tangible, more meaningful
than following my favorite girl?

It's a silly, stupid promise to myself
but I've managed to make it this far
and I don't feel the urge to go back

to her blog
or her Tumblr
or her Instagram

or her YouTube channel

         but I miss her

I don't take care of myself
I don't work out
or eat healthy
or see a doctor
or address my issues
or make friends

or use social media
or put my faith in God
or fight for my joy

like she does

Nothing has changed in five months
I'm still miserable

still working at the same job
still drinking too much
still eating too much

still spending too much
still sleeping too much

but these days
there is an emptiness 

in my heart
and in my mind
a void
that only reveals itself 
when i try to sleep

i used to dream
of being 
and healthy 
and happy
and successful
and hers

now i stare into the darkness
begging my brain to conjure her

just for a moment
until I fall asleep

    but I can't anymore