Follow by Email

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar recap...

No big shock that I got all the winners correct.  Pretty easy to nail those.  I do have a friend who suggested I get some balls next year and predict Visual Effects, Sound Editing, etc...  I will take it under advisement.  Regardless of the Awards and how predictable they were...  the bigger issue is how much the show sucked.  I was never really convinced Anne Hathaway and James Franco were best suited to handle the job.  And that might have been my best prediction yet.  Hathaway is a toothy smiled goofball not quite up to the broadcast's high browed tone.  Franco, both talented and attractive (I'm told), did little more than squint and groan.  Pineapple Express this is not.  Either way I desperately needed one of them to goof on Kirk Douglas.  I mean, here is a man who suffered a debilitating stroke hitting on Hathaway???  And then he hijacks Melissa Leo's moment by making her wait and then staying in her frame.  What exactly is the point here?  Are we supposed to revere the man that was?  Admire his bravery for announcing the award live in front of a billion people worldwide?  And where the hell was Mo'Nique?  I hope she realizes the harm she caused by not presenting.  Without question that was the most embarrassing moment I have witnessed.  Shit, Dick Clark can countdown better than that.  And no one can question Clark since he produces that damn show.  So, Michael Douglas has to fight cancer and live with a wife who is aging rapidly THEN see his dad humiliate himself in front of the Galaxy???  He was Spartacus for Christ's sake!!!

Other notes...  why did Billy Crystal come out and remind us Bob Hope was host 18 times?  The AMPAS brings in younger hosts to appeal to a younger demographic and we need this info.  Does anyone 18-30 know who the fuck Bob Hope is?  If they do, do they care?  My wife asked if he died this year.  No one cares!!!  Of course she asked me if I would mention her in an acceptance speech so her credibility is questioned.

Also, at the top of the show we had a nifty CGI transition showing us Gone With The Wind, from 1939.  Again, does Young Hollywood even know about that movie?  Let alone, Carl from Wichita.  We were told that we were going to see these transitions the rest of the night celebrating Hollywood.  Maybe they did at the Theatre, but the viewers did not.

Why was Toy Story 3 nominated in the Animated Film Category?  Keep it the hell out of Best Picture then.  You cannot have it both ways.

Can Alan Menken and Randy Newman please retire?  Every year these two have sappy, feel good numbers up for Best Song.  If we promise not to make princess movies and talking toy tales can they please go away???  And what is Ryan Adams doing with Mandy Moore???  I just don't get that one.

Other than that I was happy for Christian Bale.  He destroyed the role of Dicky Ecklund in The Fighter.  He may have lost his cool in that epic Terminator outtake...  but he remains one of the best actors working today.  Natalie Portman and Colin Firth were both deserving.  I will give Portman's marriage 3 years, tops.  Seems very Dancing With the Stars at best.  Girl makes ballet movie.  Ballet instructor lifts her and wears tights.  Girl digs it cause the role makes her crazy.  Wait til the kid is in school and she takes on the sexy femme fatale role.  I see an on set romance in her future again for sure.

And can I stop hearing Halle Barre talk about women of color and their plight?  She and Lena Horne are/were both whiter than some of the white women I know.  Oprah can talk about women of color.  If Mo'Nique and Jennifer Hudson bring the knowledge, I will listen.  Even Tyler Perry and Martin Lawrence are more believable black women.

Ok, that might be harsh.  But really, what has Halle Barre done lately?  And while I am at it...  Monster's Ball was overrated.

Sometimes the Academy tries too hard.  Old folks (I count myself as one) like and pay for movies.  We do not need gimmicks or schtick at the Oscars.  As much as I can't stand Billy Crystal he was best suited for the job.  Lampooning Hollywood should be an easy and welcome gig.  Come out, do 20 minutes reviewing the year in pictures, bust balls, move the show on accordingly.  When you come back from commercial make a joke or two about the next presenter or ad-lib and move the show accordingly.  No need to reinvent the wheel here.  Celebrate the movies.  Give out the trophies.  See you next year.

And can someone please put an end to Ryan Seacrest too???  His over the top vocal delivery and willingness to kiss any and all ass unnerves me beyond repair.

Suburbandad: out

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar pre show

Decided to watch the E! Network's pre show. Totally hate Ryan Seacrest and I cannot understand how Kelly Osbourne has any fashion credibility. Giuliana Rancic is way too skinny and I am a bit nauseated by her. It would be far more entertaining to watch her eat steak after steak instead of critiquing talent. More sad that I know all about her infertility issues from her reality show. Now I am questioning my sexuality.

So I turn my attention to legitimate issues... Mila Kunis is super hot and she looks amazing. Michelle Williams is very white. Jennifer Hudson lost weight, and I an happy for her. However, you cannot be showing all those tits. Helena Bonham Carter is striking and talented, but I can't understand what she wears. Hilary Swank is looking less like Million Dollar Baby... But I still think she could fuck me up. Nicole Kidman has actually taken a downward turn with Keith Urban. Even when she was a beard for Tom Cruise I was more impressed. Feel a bit dirty that Helen Mirren turns me on. Celine Dion's accent is laughable. Every time I see Penelope Cruz I think of Fred Norris playing the chicken sound effect on the Stern show. I never quite understood the fascination with Reese Witherspoon. Same thing with Anne Hathaway. They are both fine young ladies, who have done quality work. But I really do not need to see them anymore. Scarlett Johansson I could see again. And again, and again.

And when did Gwyneth Paltrow become a rock star. More fucking nepotism! So she gets into the film business due to her mom and dad. Now, she marries Chris Martin and I have to see her perform on the Grammys AND Oscars???? I'm not having it.

Curious why Christian Bale is trying to look like me. The beard and long hair? Seems fishy. Maybe he is preparing himself for the role of his life.

Good to see Sandra Bullock. Thinking maybe she can accept an award soon and dedicate it to another tattooed guy who wants nothing to do with her.

Ok, time to parent a bit so I can watch the big show in an hour. Promises to be a good evening. Lest I forget here is my first guess: kings speech best pic, firth actor, Portman actress, Leo supporting actress, Bale supporting actor, Hooper director...

Enjoy the show.

White Rabbits

Sometimes the most rewarding part of a live concert is the opening act. Last night at the Bowery I had such an experience. It had been 10 years since I last visited the intimate venue. It will not be another 10. Caveman was the 1st of 2 opening acts. Side note: doors opened at 8, first band at 9, White Rabbits took the stage at 11:10. After the booze filled events from Friday night, i was more than happy to refrain from the drink. I actually played the role of responsible adult. Shocking, i know. But let the record show I felt like an old man when I saw the schedule of events. Kept thinking of how nice my recliner would have felt about 11pm. Might have thought of babysitter monies adding up too.

Needless to say once I got upstairs to see Caveman, i was only thinking about the music. Mixing a high energy sound of Afro beats, loud guitar and terrific tribal vocals, this young Brooklyn group captured my attention. During their final number their improv jam built to maybe the loudest crescendo I have ever heard live. They were having fun. They were energized. And I am now a fan. They feature at the Bowery on April 14th, and i feel i need to be there.

Arms was the second band up. Another NYC band, they were fair at best. I thought of them as some amalgam of Radiohead/Ben Folds. Neatly attired and well meaning, the quartet had talent and produced some good moments. But overall they were more a one trick pony than anything. One song resembled the next and their energies were perhaps too soft coming after the fire Caveman discovered.

Which brings us to White Rabbits. I will be the first to admit I knew only "Percussion Gun" before I saw them last night. These young New Yorkers pack a nice wallop. Fronted by Stephen Patterson (vocals/piano) and Alex Even (guitar/vocals) each song presents well crafted musicianship. The key to all of it might just be percussionist/Everyman Matt Clark. Mr. Clark demonically pound away on bass drums or tambourines and seems to be channeling the music through his eyes. Equally parts punk and rock, White Rabbits can dominate a room. And last night they did. This is a band dominated by it's rhythm section. It's bassist is a slim downed Michael Musto lookalike. Each component is sleek and well rehearsed. For the few times they spun into jazz like riffs the message was clear. These guys have been doing it a while and remain a tight unit. I fail to know songs from the playlist... Damn you Shazam for not being able to capture live music!!! I was a bit miffed they only played for an hour. I was getting my second wind. Also, very troubling that once again the mrs was a magnet for obnoxious concert goer. This time a 6'6" skinny white boy jumped incessantly on and around us. Now, I don't want to curb his sheer joy. But, when you are that fucking tall... Stay on the ground. He kept bumping into this older pedophile looking guy. You know the type... Closely cut hair, hoop earring, updating status and taking pics incessantly. And he was alone too and i think welcoming the contact. Icky.

Long story longer, the show was fun and I would see them again. The National and Silversun Pickups were more polished if I had to compare recent, more similar bands. The potential is there for them. After all they are like, teenagers or something.

Got some nice weather for a change today. Totally unmotivated though. Two straight nights out until 2 or so. Oscars coming up tonight. Always has been one of my favorite nights. And I'm comfortable enough in my sexuality to say I will be watching the 3 hours of red carpet bullshit too. I need to hear the innane questions Billy Bush has to ask. I want to see Natalie Portman's dress choice given her pregnancy. We got into a heated discussion with friends last night about whether or not you are gay if you like Maroon 5 or, in my case Lady Antebellum. Probably an indicator was the verdict. I am still of the opinion only gay sex makes you gay. Ok, and men who wear skinny jeans, or capris, or drive Miatas, or work in fashion retail, or carry lip balm, or tri-fold wallets, or wear pleats, double breasted blazers, loves tofu, and read Men's Health, or this blog.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Barney's Version... amongst other things

I made mention of Paul Giamatti yesterday, and how, he is a rather average looking sad sack.  He is also brilliant.  Barney's Version is his shining moment.   The film follows his character through 30 years, several marriages, death, despair, infidelity, illness and any other pertinent life experiences we all go through.  Marriage and love are as much a protagonist as Barney himself.  Mental note, go see the Farrelly Brothers' new movie should you want to keep it light.  This film is, at times, a heavy downer. 

Giamatti plays a film producer with a penchant for bad timing.  He is in Rome socializes with artists and writers.  He impregnates one of them and tries to do the right thing by marrying her.  Bad move and ill timed at best.  It does not end well.

He is set up with his second wife and precedes to fall in love with someone else at their wedding.  REAL bad move.  Or is it?  Minnie Driver plays his second wife, and does an admirable job.  The object of his true affection, Miriam (Rosamund Pike) dominates his brain adn heart.  His persistence and passion for her culminates with marriage.  And what have we learned about marriage??  It is far from easy.  Children and infidelity and work and general chaos tend to blur the line.  When you begin looking at life through complacent eyes danger is never far behind.  As Miriam, Ms. Pike is striking and soft spoken.  But pared with the lion that is Giamatti at times she seems lost and overwhelmed.  Giamatti soars whether he is illiciting laughs, or tears, or rage.  In a pivotal scene late in the 3rd act, he comes clean and pleads for Miriam to stay with him.  I fail to remember a more genuine and believable performance in recent history.  He captures all the pain, and longing, you feel as life is passing you by. 

Dustin Hoffman has a nice turn as Barney's ex-cop dad.  And Scott Speedman does a nice job as Boogie, Barney's troubled writer friend.  This is a well crafted, well written gem of a movie.  It will pack a punch and have you reaching for the Kleenex.  But take the trip, you will not be disappointed.

A few things regarding the night...  1st, every time we go to Chatham's Roberts Cinema we are the youngest ones there by 30 years.  That might be an exaggaration, but folks under 50 are not in love with "Art" films round here.  Was curious why a couple decided to sit right next to us when the row behind us had NO ONE in it.  Personal space is a big thing with me and they violated the movie etiquette.  I was on the aisle so I guess I was not bothered that much.  But for at least 3 or 4 minutes I felt bad for the Mrs.

And do we really need to see the animated piece telling us they have popcorn and soda and candy???  I just walked right the fuck by the stand!!  I can smell.  I can see.  And, judging buy the demographic here, everyone here is at least 80 (save for me)!!!!!  We know how movies work.  Either have your wife bring in goodies in her enormous purse (we fit N in her purse the 1st few years of her life.)  Or, you purchase overpriced goodies at theatre.  Typically an underqualified teenager can help you with this transaction.  And what of the trailers???  Why do we need so many of them these days?  I can understand showing 2 or 3 clips of upcoming films.  But the last time I went to Clearview there were 6 trailers.  What really bothers me is they start the trailers at the movie's start time.  Now, I have to watch commercials for Pepsi and AT&T prior to start time, then the trailers, then the movie.  Excuse me, I paid a nice amount to get in here, play the fucking movie!  Unless of course you want to help me pay the babysitter.  I know I should be enjoying my time and the art that awaits.  But, there are times I boil at the fact I am paying $12 bucks an hour to be watching commercials.  I get it...  loosen up and stop being a tightwad.  Easy to do unless you make less than the babysitter.  :-(

Must mention Trap Rock Brewery and Restuarant before I forget.  We stopped in for a drink and some food after the show.  Now, a more pretentious place you will not find.  No hats at the bar please!!  The last time I was there I was reprimanded for cursing, twice.  Fucking douchebags.  They do make good beer though.  And last night was no exception.  I sampled the Triple and had a few Porters.  Outstanding.  Should I have driven after that?  Probably not.  Should I have driven to another bar to have more drinks???  No fucking way.  But, as my old sociology prof used to tell me, how else ya gonna get home?  He did countless studies on drunk driving and more often than not most folks would list that as their reason.  "How else did you expect me to get home?  Do you think I want the hassle of getting my car tomorrow?  Do I really want to pay for a cab when my car is right outside?"

Not really an endorsement for MADD, right?  I still remember the night I drove home after bartending one night back in Pennsylvania.  I am sure we closed up around midnight and pounded til 2 or 3.  Ample doses of weed were clearly in the mix.  Somewhere over the Susquehanna River, at around 60, 65mph, I vomited all over the steering wheel, dashboard, vents, you name it.  T was probably working/drinking late too because I remember her walking into the apartment to find me in the tub cleaning all my clothes.  I cannot imagine the image she saw.  Made sense to me.  I did not want to wake up to vomit smell in the apartment.  Figured I would have enough of that in the car, which I did, for months.

She walked in and screamed in alarm.  "What Happened???  Did you kill someone???"

Funny that was the first thing she thought of.   "Yes dear, someone looked at me funny and I cut the fucker."
Not quite.  Isn't it more plausible I was so drunk and out of control I got sick driving home???  Guess I have not really shaken some of these bad habits.  I think I have matured enough that mainly I vomit watching dissarming movies.  But, concert tonight in NYC.  I will be driving. 

Bowery Ballroom promises to be a good time.  Headed out with some friends who have had their share of marital woes.  Typical boy meets girl.  Girl is worn down by boy.  Boy gets good job.  Girl leaves great career to start family.  Twin girls appear.  Boy carries on affair with co-worker while Girl is pregnant.  Boy moves out.  Girl takes boy back.  Boy leaves job.  And we all rock out to White Rabbits!!! 

Friday, February 25, 2011

most fortunate...

To have the time to write.  To have a child who says please and thank you.  To have someone to love unconditionally.  Ironic, as I chose to play The Bravery's "Uncondtional" as I sat down for a moment.  So much of life determined by the sub-conscious.  Acting on instinct at a moment's notice.  Never clearly thinking about consequences of one's actions.  Primal behaviors prompted by life's basic needs.  If you are left standing, with health and moments of happiness...  it is imperative to call yourself lucky.

And, before 6pm on a Friday night, life happens.  A tiny happy hour buzz before jetting off to the theatre.  Will fine moviemaking follow?  Popcorn?  Dare I ask for a Guinness, or 3, later on?

Little girl off to a sleepover party (1st of 2 Friday's in a row.)  The difficulty of seeing your daughter grow up yet embracing acting like an adult human being again.

"One of these days the sky's gonna break, and everything is going to escape, then I will know."

Indeed, A Civil Twilight.  "Never fall away."

Busy body, busy mind

The rains fell hard today and for once I am not talking about my life.  Literally, it was a very shitty February day.  Aside from working all morning and a routine follow up at urologist, I managed to make it out unscathed.  I look forward to the weekend ahead.  Tonight I am efforting to see a movie and tomorrow is White Rabbits at Bowery Ballroom. 

As I look back at the week/winter that was/is I would like to introduce a Friday staple.  Allow me now to indulge in Guilty Pleasures.

Music:
Adele; Rolling in the Deep.  A few years back this chunky, emotionally stable version of Amy Winehouse hit the scene.  Her "Chasing Pavements" was a VH1 staple and it did nothing for me.  With her new album, "21", I cannot escape the aforementioned single.  And that ain't bad.  Her booming, soulful voice resonates throughout.  I would not want to see her live.  I feel the same way about Florence and the Machine.  After a few songs I fear I might want out or to drink heavily.  However, when I am driving through Suburbia this track is a groovy, welcome breath of joy.

TV:
Charlie Sheen; death watch.  I try to rise above the masses and pretend I don't care.  Not true.  I need a Charlie Sheen story every day.  This is the slow motion we feel right before impact.  I love that he is in the Bahamas with porn stars and ex-wifes.  I love that he has been making random radio appearences each crazier than the previous one.  I love that he called out Chuck Lorre, the man responsible for his paychecks and career the past decade.  I love that I get to hear Martin Sheen come out of the woodwork and cry for his boy.  Uh, Martin...  where have you been the past 40 years???  Right, forgot, you were demonstrating against nukes and pretending to be President.  Granted, I feel bad for the staffers and workers of "Two and a Half Men."  And for the record I have never seen the show.  He did take a massive dump on their livelihoods during the past year or so.  Why?  So he could get coked up and bang whores all day?  If I were a key gaffer I guess I would be pissed.   For me, I am captivated.  I have been around addicts and I see the pattern.  At this rate he will more than likely be dead or in jail within 2 to 3 years.  I will be watching.  For he is much more interesting than Lindsay Lohan.  This is Wild Thing we are talking about.  Platoon.  Ferris Bueller.  Legendary roles and an acoonmplished actor to say the least.  Lohan was a Disney star who happened to get cast in Mean Girls.  Tina Fey made that film with smart writing and an eye for teen angst.  Throw a stone in LA and you could have found a girl who could play dork to hot girl as well, if not better.   To me, she is a more accomplished junkie than actress.  Think about it...  she got canned from playing Linda Lovelace!!!  You can't play a 70's porn star who claimed she was brainwashed and had supernatural fellatio skills then who needs you???

Culture: 
Hating coupon users.  I have to give me sister credit on this one.  She called my attention to "extreme coupon cutting."  Sorry, I need to ask how valuable a human being's time is???  If you spend hours and hours collecting coupons so you can save a few bucks, good for you.  But, stop and quantify how much your time is worth.  Let's say you work 2 to 3 hours a week researching and cutting coupons.  What would your hourly rate be?  $75 or so would most likely be going rate around here.  I will not be bothered.  Our time is worth something.  I get a few hours a week of quiet time.  Maybe my daughter is here and we have not seen or done anything in days.  Last thing I want to do is shut her out because Tyson is offering me $1.00 their new "Carcinogen Chix."  Pass.  I will spend a bit more at the register and know I have lived a life.  And who needs 6 boxes of General Mills cereal anyway???

Tonight's feature is "Barney's Version" with Paul Giammati.  Amazed this small, unattractive schlub has turned in such a career.  From his memorable role as Pig Virus in 'Private Parts" to Myles in "Sideways" Mr. Giammati is the consummate pro.  I don't even hold it against him that A Bart Giammati was his dad.  Note: I hate nepotism when it fails to benefit me.   Weekend starts in promising fashion.   New trend perhaps??  Time will tell.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sick and Tired...

I had escaped major illness the majority of the winter.  Perhaps because I inflicted harm on so many, the Gods of Health spared me a bit.  Well that shit's over.  Granted, I only have an annoying head cold.  It still sucks.  The majority of the issues stem from a lack of sleep.  I get four, sometimes five hours a night.  But, they are restless hours at best.  What makes matters worse is we have a 16 year old cat who feels obliged to yell a few times each night.  If it were one meow I might deal better.  Fact is, the noises that come out of her tiny mouth are deafening chasms of harm and longing.  We could entertain them and go downstairs to put some food and water in her bowl.  Would not matter.  I think she does it just as a kind of fuck you.  She sleeps all day and is probably a bit bored at night.  There is nothing on tv.  Her eyesight is too bad to read.  Next best thing???  Oh, that's it...  wake up my owners with ungodly cries.

I am half tempted to stay up all night and study her.  Either that or stay back one day and keep her awake every time she attempts to sleep on our bed.  The irony is she is the one reason I have given for not wanting a dog.  I saw her will our other,  younger cat, to death.  When we brought him in as a rescue she recoiled and did not go near us for years.  When his heart exploded and he died on our foyer floor, Ms. Precious was on our bed that night.  Outlasted and outwitted the poor bastard.  And I fear she would do the same thing with a dog.  Not to say I want a dog, cause I really don't.  But I am certain the cat would somehow prevail.

And oh, before I start reading the hate mail...  kidding, I know no one reads this...  The dog issue is a big one though.  I never grew up with one.  I never really liked them.  And I know I would be largely responsible for it's care.  Not a huge deal, I know.  I bet I would grow to like it for that matter.  I am a bit of an animal lover.  I turn off animal abuse stories on the news (but somehow love hearing about human violent crime.)  So I struggle with the decision for sure.  I do see the benefit and am not discounting the positive effects that would come with it.  The ladies in this house want and deserve one.  These days my credibility is not what it once was.  Gonna half to bite the bullet for sure.  And again, I am not protesting as I once did.  Must be Constanza like in the coming months, years, etc...  If all my instincts to this point have been wrong, then the opposite MUST be right.

Was able to hit the Metropolitan Museum of Art this afternoon as a family unit.  It must have been at least 5 years since I was inside and able to view the art.  We had done some work there a few years back, but those were private offices.  I remember walking the construction site with my Astros hard hat and being bullied by some union guys.  "Get that fucking hat off asshole.  This is Yankees territory."  Remind me again why I hate NY fans?  I know, they are not all like that.  You are right.  Just 98 % or so.

May none of their sports teams win another Championship.  And may I be here to laugh as they don't.  T gives me shit for buying the DirecTV baseball package because I inevitably watch more Yankees/Mets games than anything.  I have found it gives me more pleasure rooting against them than for my team.  Schadenfreude...  


Getting back to the Met...  it is a truly wonderful place.  I was amazed at the size, as I always am.  N liked the armor and Colonial Room tour.  There was a nice lunch in the Sculpture Cafe.  We had cupcakes on the steps after we left.  It was a moment I will not soon forget.  The long subway downtown to get our car was fun.  N got to hear a nice verbal assault on the walk to work.  She saw a nice amount of homelessness and smelled bad smells.  We stopped at the Halloween store and she bought a pen that zaps electricity to unwilling suckers.  She foiled 2 colleagues.  Things packs a wallop too.  She has already asked if she can bring it to school and if it is ok to use on her teachers.




It is a life for sure.  And it is close to midnight.  Today I call a success, but tomorrow is an immense question mark.  Gonna be left to my own devices.  N gonna be at a friends and I have a Dr. appt and some work to do.  Already the questions have been asked.  Will you be good tomorrow?  CAN you be good tomorrow?


Confident there is nothing to worry about.  Easy for me to say it.  Harder for some to believe it.   Nobody's Fault But Mine. 



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

School is out

And I am not the biggest fan. I went to Catholic school as a kid, but I do not remember a week off in February. In years past I might not have thought much of it. Usually I would have had a few days away to enjoy it. ThIs year vacation has been put on hold. So we juggle. Picked up the little one at Cracker Barrel this afternoon. Seems like she had a pretty good time with my folks, but there were the typical complaints of boredom. I'm not having that. Biggest issue with the few days was I subjected myself to 2 meals from Cracker Barrel!!!! Fried chicken and biscuits does not healthy person make. We got through Wednesday and now must decide what to do tomorrow and Friday. The thought now is N tags along into NYC for an internship. We have a kind of boiler room office. It is a family business, and the family, like most, has dysfunction. Certain there are places in midtown where men don't clip their toenails around lunchtime. My place of business ain't one of them. And, although I like Car Talk on NPR... I don't wanna hear l 930am as I am talking to clients. There are 7 folks in the office most days, and 4 of them are siblings. Then we have T and I. And another, gnome like Willie Loman who works the phones and cashes checks. I try to keep to myself, plow through what I need to, and get out. Job sites and meetings are welcome changes. But, I do have to sit there on occasion. Needless to say, if I am not jazzed about 5 or 6 hours there, either is N. I hope she is game for it. I can leave around 9am and drive. N will not take the train. Yes, we have spoiled the shit out of her. I had her on the train a few years back and it was if she was having root canal without novocaine. I am hopeful I can be in the office at 10. She can have the iPad, ample breakfast foods, and a computer terminal. Maybe she can use highlighters to make cubicle art. Whatever has to happen for me to get a few quality hours. It is a gamble, but since every other one of our friends IS on vacation... This is the life we have chosen. The carrot I hold over her head is a museum. My hope would be to hop on the 6 train and see the Guggenheim or Met. She has never been to either and it has been way too long since I've been. If I am motivated and strong, it can all happen.

She was asleep prior to 10pm. There is a chance she may wake up in good spirits. Oh, I can play the Dunkin Donuts card!!! Done deal.

Glad I was able to catch Modern Family tonight. There have been few, if any, half hour sitcoms that have caught my attention recently. This is one that has. Maybe all the dysfunction and comedy I have surrounded myself with makes this ensemble all the more intriguing to me? Each week the show provides laughter. I always considered my sense of humor my strong point. My massive ego tells me if I am laughing it MUST be funny. I am laughing at this show. Pay attention to it. And watch Larry Sanders and Arrested Development on IFC too. Curb your Enthusiam is required, but please no Entourage! If the show tries too hard and crowbars cameo after cameo for gimick alone... It is because it sucks and has no content. Truth is that show jumped the shark when Turtle dates Meadow Soprano. Sorry, I am out.

And note, if your gonna burn one before bed and are already concerned about weight gain??? Do NOT watch Top Chef!!! Now I see several bowls of cereal in my future.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Real housewives of Miami

Good mindless fun after another long, trying day. Therapy followed by some drinks and fried food. 10pm and I am finally able to sit down and relax. There were some brief conversations with the little one. She managed to make me feel guilty. Apparently she is bored at my folks house. So sorry she cannot be entertained every single second of the day. When I was 8 I could sit down and play with matchboxes for hours at a time. These days... Her itouch, Internet, cable tv, books, gmail account, board games, movies, and most importantly grandparents who adore and cherish her, are NOT enough. It might make me a bit mad. I must remember she is a child. She is respectful and polite to others. She is a good kid, who is having a bad moment.

I find there are no blondes on this Housewife show. Bad that I am thinking this is way too ethnic??? Does that make me a bigot? I like what I like and I'm not really seeing it. I will say this ... Miami is very pretty. I think maybe a few days there would be nice.

Now, there is a male underwear fashion show. So, no blondes and gay porn. I may have to abort. To think, I could be watching Rutgers lose by 30 at home to Louisville.

A friend of mine gifted me tix for the semi-final session of the Big East tournament in a few weeks. Having never been there and finding myself more into basketball than in years, I am excited to say the least.

Oh, I was wrong about Rutgers... only down 12. And indeed even with conflict, we can agree to abandon Housewives. On to "The Hangover" for the 12th time... Like that the wife mentioned I should try to look more like Bradley Cooper than Zach Galafanakis. I am a hairy, bearded mess.

"and we're the 3 best friends that anyone could have...".

Lastly, sorry to not feel anything for those 4 tourists who were killed by Somali pirates. If I had all the money in the World and could do any traveling i wanted... You can be assured i would not cruise my big ass yacht through the Indian Ocean. How about a nice walk through Rome? Maybe a beach vacation or skiing in Utah? Anywhere but a soft stroll through enemy waters. Why not walk through Mexico City without weapons wearing a police uniform? Or how bout a bikini clad gal waltzing through Tripoli at dusk? If you put yourself in harms way, expect the worst. I obviously mourn the loss of life. But i have to ask myself, when we antagonize and flaunt those who have nothing... What do we expect to gain? That's right, expect the worst. In this case, we have the loss of innocent lives. Thrill seekers and adventurers they asked for all life could offer.

Instead, they got what it often times is your fate. Keep expecting life to be a glorious cavalcade of gold and chocolates. One day, all too soon, it will rise and up and kill you.

To the grind...

Maybe the most awkward and uncomfortable part of all my domestic strife, is that I work with my wife too.   It made for such fun on our commute in hours after affair was divulged.  How we have managed to stay in the same bed each night for the 7/8 weeks since confession is a miracle.  We both made it in today and are moving ahead with business.  Last year was not a great one financially.  However, T continues to do great things and quote large projects.  It is, I believe, a matter of time before something huge strikes and, as she put it, we can bank some money and find out what it is we really want to do with our lives.

There are many times I feel a bit like Fredo from "The Godfather."  "I'm smart, not like everyone says.  I was passed over Michael.  I am your big brother!!!"  Granted, I have one older sibling and was given countless more opportunities than my parents.  But that is beside the point.  If you meander and squander potential for a long enough time, it becomes truth.  And my truth, to this point, is that everyone else has given up on me so I must be a failure.  The reality is, I am the only one that has/had given up.  Now is the time for potential to become realized.

With that said, I know at some point my skills will take me away from Project Managing commercial furniture sales and installations.  I am effective and pretty focused on streamlining costs and customer relations.  However, at the end of the day I think my skill set lies elsewhere.  I had always believed I should be writing.  I was so opinionated and eager for those to listen that clearly there are those who would WANT to read what I said.  Ok, I took 15 years off.  Big deal.  Frank McCourt did not publish until his 70's, right?  And what of the belief that one needs to live, and/or experience life before adequately writing about it.

I think I am proof of that.  Shit, I have had several lives within the past year alone.  It is time I start moving forward with all facets of my life.  The past few weeks have been catartic for sure.  But I am reminded that this type of writing can be depressing and awful to read.

I am tending to agree.  It is time I start branching out and incorporate my interests in the foreground.  I want to review films and music.  I want to comment on politics on current affairs.

We have Wisconsin and Libya to discuss.  Oscars and Carmelo Anthony.  Endless winters filled with snow and parents who live vicariously through their children.  Obama and Boehner.  James Franco and Anne Hathaway.  Concerts at the Bowery and Big East hoops at the Garden.

Sure, life can be a brutal collection of personal tragedies sprinkled with occasional glimpses of joy.  But that will not stop me from examining the minutia...  like daytime tv and the state of terrestrial radio.  Sometimes, you need that minutia to make it through your day.  I am feeling that more each day.

As I try to get friends together for the concert Saturday I am reminded of it.  He is fighting with her.  She hates him.  He cannot go because she is mad at him...  bla bla bla.

I am going regardless.  All the nonsense has to stop.  We get one chance my friends.  Time to start living.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This song is not a rebel song...

This song is Sunday, Bloody Sunday.  And, as the records will show, Sunday, Feb 20th, 2011 was as bloody as they come.  At least in my tiny section of the world.  Mostly a day spent in the bedroom, crying, swearing, taking slaps and threats, trading war stories and reliving memories spent with others.  8am to 6pm or so... 

The headache that awaited when it was over was the stuff of legend.  Starved from food and caffeine and weak from all that transpired.  Know what?  Sounds like a great day to host a sleepover.  N, please, have your friend stay tonight.  It is only fair that she see the effects of 2 people battling and bruised look like.  Hey, ever see what it looks like to not eat or sleep for several months???  Take a look here.

Hey Catholic School girl?  Ever see what it looks like to lose 20 pounds in a few weeks and let all your hair grow, unable to shave???  In fact, I am certain if you ran by me the wind off your 60 pounds would be enough to blow me over.

I had made it through everything without tears and there was an effort to keep the strong veneer.  Um, so long.  I had made it to the point where I was hovering above the toilet convinced vomiting would be a welcome relief.  And somehow, this is progress.  Feeling has emerged.  Lying has stopped.  Things, in my eyes, are coming more into focus. 

Now, I would be naive (not unheard of) to suggest all is well.  No sir, that has not entered the picture.  Normalcy and overall good health?  They are several chapters ahead for sure.  For today, some Globetrotters at the Meadowlands, as a family.  A long drive to meet my folks at Cracker Barrel.  It was a civilized meal, and productive too.  N will stay there a night of two so T and I can get some work done.  And lest, we forget, Tuesday is therapy night.  We do not have to drag the little one along this time.  Thinking she is already seeing odd behavior at home...  does she really need to sit in the waiting room of our shrink too?  And we have already thought she holds a glass up to the door.  At some point I can hear her using something I said as a bargaining chip.  "Ah, dad, remember that time you said you were going to play basketball with me but you betrayed me???  Can I have a dog now???"

We used the Holiday well today.  It is a small step but important nonetheless.  The week ahead is full.  Tension is always looming and you must always be on high alert.  Must avoid a quick beer after adult hoops.   Must remember that the time you are away playing hoops is already in question.  The unannounced beer after hoops...  pretty much like having a live grenade duct taped to your balls...  as you are lay hogtied.

Get it together man!!!  Looking ahead to the weekend and there is promise.  Live music at the Bowery!!!  White Rabbits!!!  A chance to live like you want.  Seeing the City in ways other than labor.  Seeing live music!!!  The proper NYC.  The proper marriage. 

Can I possibly make it?  Right.  Must not get ahead of oneself.  Minute to Minute.  Day to day.  And, one could hope, a good night.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

must lighten things up...

Just a note on that reporter, Serena Branson, who had a headache during her newscast...  WHO CARES???

Daytime tv and mass media in general have pushed this story way too long.  Here she is, being so brave about mumbling words for a story on the Grammy's for Christ's sake.  Excuse me, was Lara Logan not sexually assualted covering a major government uprising???  Do we not think that is worth equal time???  What really did we miss from her garbled words?  She was going to list winners from the night's ceremonies?  Everyone that cared knew the results already!!!

Now, I know this LA reporter's name and how she looks.  I can hear the "Dancing with the Stars" producers and "Playboy" executives making their pitch now.  Why?  Because she fucked up at her job???  It reminds me somewhat of Erin Andrews and her meteoric rise to fame.  Why so popular Ms. Andrews?  Well, because you gave everyone what they wanted for so long: an opportunity to see you brush your hair naked for 4 minutes.  No one ever really cares what you ask Mike Krysewski before halftime.  All the 19-30 year old males watching now think of you in your ball gown and through a peephole.

And now, Ms. Branson gets thrust into the spotlight because her head hurt.  My head hurts roughly 95% of the time...  and my back...  and my soul...  Are we that bored as a Country that her plight is a news story.

Who is to say she did not fake the entire event to get this National 15 minutes? Ok, I will. 

I have been a skeptic ever since Magic Johnson divulged he has HIV.  Really Magic?  Can I please see the blood tests?  Maybe if he said he contracted it after he and James Worthy ended up in a San Francisco bathhouse I would have given it more credibilty.  Fact is, he is more healthy and employable now than ever.  I always contended our Government and the homosexual LA community made him an incredible offer to come out with this revelation.  "Listen Magic...  we can spin this so nicely that you will be an American Hero!!  We have the best writers, best pr folk, best of everything.  You want to start a series of inner city movie houses?  Done.  You want to continue to work on TV?  Done.  You want to gain 100 pounds?  Sure.  You do not have the disease and you never will.  Tell America you contracted it by bedding thousands of women.  How does that hurt you???  They all assume that anyway...  you are an NBA player."

Contrived, absurd American stories that flood our tv's, our papers, our lives.  I cannot avoid Lindsay Lohan and her troubles with the law.  I know way more about the Kardashian's than any red blooded man should.  We are a Nation of voyeurs eager to buy into any nonsense thrown our way.

Problem is we don't make anything anymore.  We eat ourselves to death.  We prefer porn to actual physical contact.   America strikes me as a dinosaur and I am getting a little pissed off about it.

Wow, just looked at the title of this.  Not light at all.  Maybe I need to really enjoy this Saturday.   High School basketball, rock band and Guinness here I come...

The hits just keep on coming...

And the chlorine water from the gym pool fails to cleanse me off.  After what started as a rather harmless, productive day, there is turmoil.

The family went for a workout and swim last night and drama followed.  The trust questions arise again.  The systematic lying that has defined me for several months draws suspicion.  Tears on the treadmill.  Somehow, after N is asleep, revealtions abound.

I had always known and suspected T had a few affairs.  The one 5 years ago is well documented.  Drunk and resentful she laid down with someone who could get her ahead in business.  Great, she had to be fall down inebriated for anything to happen.  Still stings like a mother fucker but I had moved on, sort of.

Last night, after running in circles and discussing everything from what hotel I used to why I was so intent on hurting...  a confession.

The affair I thought was one night mere months after we were married, was in fact far more than that.  Her business colleague, about 15 years her senior w/ wife and two kids, was a year long liason.  And Phil (name change to protect the innocent) had fallen in love with her.  Hampton Inn meetings and drunken sex far more than the one time I knew about.  And he was good looking.  And he tried to present her with diamond earrrings.  And it was all very adult for a newly married 25 year old.  Overnighters when I was in Houston watching my beloved Astros open the new Enron Field.  A true and genuine fuck you to me.

And I was relieved to hear it all.  12 years or so keeping it to herself must have been brutal.  What an unrelenting propensity to hurt one another we have.  Yet, here we stand today.  We smile and try to make it through another weekend.  And, more each day I am optimistic it might just work. 

So, when I tell her of the difficulties in reconciling the dual lives...  the lies...  the feelings...  she knows all about it.  Which, in large part explains her pain and suffering.  It is beyond difficult to be the one who has wronged someone.  But, given a choice, you take that over being wronged.

As the dust settles we find out we are more alike than first thought.  And, as she told me earlier, "I am actually a little relieved to see I am not the only one fucked up.  However, you did not have to go so over the top."

Maybe, but I was never given a rule book and certainly never came to grips with all the pain inflicted on me for years.  "Get over it big boy," I said to myself.  Perhaps not the best way to handle all this.  Real self examination is required.  We agreed last night that this is worth being patient for without any real answers.  It is a process.  There are hard days ahead and so many unresolved issues.

But at least the honesty is coming...  for better or worse.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Winter's day

Some random rants as they cloud the front of my brain. People should watch their volume son cell phone calls. I do not need to hear skeevy men tell whomever "I will be home soon to scrub you... With my teeth.". Also, I need young ladies to feel good about themselves. However, if you have something of a gut... Throw away all your belly shirts. Midriffs are for closers!!! And, please stop asking me for promotions when I am paying for product. I don't want free boosts for my smoothie, or a Staples reward card, or any of the bullshit that your manager told you to offer me, and everyone. I can read. I like savings. But I really have no time for your sales pitch.

The shit that goes through my mind as i walk the City. It is a rare, warm February day and i am actually outside in Washington Sq Park writing this. I did a few hours of work and decided to enjoy this weather and walk a bit. Head was in desperate need of some clearing.

Yesterday, I was closest yet to crawling back to my old high school room and living with my folks. We headwords to scenes in public restaurants and train stations. Seems I decided to be honest and speak of continued emails and one encounter had with gf. Um, did not go well.

All part of the process i assume. I really cannot continue living dual lives. Living lies and dual lives is exhausting. I find it is not good for parenting either. N had another meltdown last night (homework and acting out at dinner were catalysts.). Although, I seemed to get all the wrath. "i don't want to talk to you! Get out of my room! Leave me alone!". God stuff. By the time 9:30 came along I was asleep. Body and mind needed the rest for sure. Ad today has been far better.

N has off from school all next week so there will have to be some juggling of the schedule. I am anxious to see how her behavior is over the course of a week. The push will be to keep her OFF medication. I feel she is a normal, well adjusted girl who is socially more mature than others her age. This is a good thing. It will serve her well in the future.

For now the only thing on the schedule is Monday Globetrotters @ the izod center. We may take her into the City one day too. Maybe we hit a museum or something. I feel bad I do not utilize the City like I should. It has been about 10 years since i have lived/worked in/near NYC. For the most part i come in, work, eat at mostly same places, then go home. It is imperative I do more to enjoy all this place has to offer. I haven't seen a movie at the Anjelica in well over 5 years. I can't remember cast time I went to museum or gallery. No, museum of natural history does not count.

Next Saturday i am headed to Bowery to see White Rabbits, which is good. I would love to be able to see a live band once a month. That gives me real joy and even if I barely know the band (see national from last year) it is something worthwhile and important.

And another thing... Can men please stop wearing skinny jeans???? And can gay men stop marrying women??? We have come far enough right? I have had a neighbor and neighbor's dad who have both been queerer than Michael Musto doing an awards show fashion wrap married to unsuspecting, I guess, woman. I don't get it. Is it because they want to have children? What do the women get out of it? Are they asexual? Caw pocket rocket be all they need?

I have thoughts of this blog being a sounding board for all men in need of escape. I want to buy a URL and start a website devoted to suburban men in search if happiness/release. I look at so many of my friends and i see them making the same mistakes, over and over. Some a jobless, some divorced, some with money problems, some in jobs they hate, marriages they hate, bodies they hate, cars they hate... It goes on and on.

But we are better than that. Why so lost? Where have we lost our way? Sure, we can blame the crazy women who have fucked us all up, and i do, but it goes beyond that.

Can we be strong? Can we live the life we want? Can this pianist play anything other than bad Liberace and Andrea Bocelli???

Like that Spring is in the air. God knows this winter sucks.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

hmmm...

Therapist said N looked and sounded great.  She responds well when prompted about emotions.  She excelled at a "Story" exercise which had her put people in and out of situations.  In fact, she loved that exercise and wants to come back and do it again soon.

At $165 an hour???

If I am told she is doing better, and she made NO mention of last nights drama, how many more sessions are required?

She has not had a tantrum in weeks, and the one she did have was isolated and rare.  We played basketball outside today and she was laughing and happy.  There has been 0 evidence of sadness and anger.

I can understand follow ups and wanting to make sure she is maturing and processing things appropriately.

But I will also need to keep a roof over her head.

And I feel like shit.  Think the constant physical illness that has enveloped the house has grabbed hold of me.

Good thing I only have 6 more hours of activity scheduled for the evening :-(

OK, enough of that...

Already thinking that lost post was miserable, self-hating propaganda.  I needed it though.  Now I am compelled to rant on everything else.

N feeling better and enjoying outside play.  That is encouraging and she will be at school tomorrow.

She has a therapist appointment later.  We are supposed to sit in with her.  I am anxious to see what she says, in particular her thoughts on last night's events.  I think she is a smart, mature young girl.  She kept her head last night as I was being asked to pack up and leave.  She wanted hugs and was the reassuring force.  Maybe it was the antibiotics, but she was remarkable.  Now, with a day to reflect, I wonder how I/we will fare.

After that I get to draft her softball team at the Community House.  Now, this year I will be handling Head Coaching duties.  Last year we had a maniac coaching(call him: Dickhead) and he is doing so again.  In fact, 2 of the assistant coaches have splintered from him.  So, we will all be there picking girls for a team well aware we do not like each other.  And I am still probably lumped in with Dickhead from the other coaches, who hated him!!!  He is ultra competitive and tries to win at all cost.  Meanwhile, his girl has limited ability.  He tried to steal bases on girls who could barely put on the catching equipment, let alone catch the ball and throw a bullet down the line.  This is a 3rd and 4th grade recreation league.  We are teaching fundamentals and basic aptitude.  He wants to hit and run and was teaching walks, rather than swinging!!!

Needless to say it is going to be awkward that we are all there hating him and wanting him to kindly go away.

There will be a time when N no longer wants me to coach.  I will accept it, probably sooner than later.  She will need to hear many more voices than mine.  It will be my job to steer her in the right directions.  I need to make sure she decipher the good counsel from the bad.

For now, I rely on the professionals @ 4pm.   Uh oh, therapy day I just realize.   They tend not to go well.

There has got to be a time when I can reverse that trend.  Can it be today????

Tuesday from hell...

So it always seems the therapy nights present a host issues.  Last night, as T got home from work, full detective mode was in effect.  It usually is before we see the good Dr.  Full transparency was required as sessions begun a few weeks ago.

"Are you still talking to her?"  "Do you miss her?"  "What is your password for gmail?"

Check them all off and move on.  But, what of the hotmail account?  No, that was not known.   Until last night.  And, obviously, the results are not great.  There has been contact.  And I knew of all the implications.  I lied again by saying the clean break was made.  Just not that simple.

Here I was trying to go the "safe" way and not hurt anyone, but all I have done is hurt more and more people.  Facebook friends unfriended.  Text conversations between wife and gf followed througout the night.  Name calling and c words and I am sure anger and rage.

And for what?  I think all along that my logic and mind are clear and able to make decisions.  Um, clearly not true.  Every thought and instinct I am acting on is so deep rooted in fear and lacking any judgement.

Yet I move on, repeating the same mistakes that have brought me here.  Brilliant.  And I had the added benefit of playing tears and rage in the presence of a sick, impressionable and beautiful 8 yr old girl.

I am at bat  0-3 with three strikeouts.  I'm in the box in the 9th with two strikes.  I keep weakly fouling off pitches, barely staying alive.

So the mindset is stop hurting others.  You are a good person who has made mistakes.  Life is too short so find out what to be, then go be it.  But, I have failed to do any of those things.  I continue to hurt others.  I am a BAD person who has made unforgivable mistakes.

But what I wouldn't do for a night out.  Let off steam with some friends and drink til I cannot see.  Go be it!!!

It will happen.  I can feel an energy.  I was told this might be my "lesson."  I am taking it to heart.  Everyone, everyday has the potential to be great.  And sometimes it takes immense personal doubt and pain to spark something.

There is a reason beyond wanting a home that she strayed.  There is a reason other than she fucked me so I fucked her for my indiscretions.  There are moments that bring us to today.  I refuse to quantify and qualify.  I am in no position to judge.

What I know is my daughter and wife deserve better.  But at this time, more importantly, I deserve better.

No more lying.  No more hiding.  Apologies to any and all I have hurt.  The shit stops here.  I am accountable.  This is where it gets good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

sick day

The half hour I lay in bed each day, from 6:30 to 7am, is both loved and hated.  Inevitably it is when I feel most tired.  I could wake up to use the bathroom 30 minutes prior and be wide awake.  It is too early to be up for the day so I foolishly lie down again.  I am certain I fall into a deep sleep for 2, maybe 3 minutes prior to the alarm going off.

And now I can't move.  I grab the remote and my glasses and turn on NBC news.  There, the talking heads smile and laugh like they have had a few cocktails.  I envy their energy.  They tell me of murders and fires. They giggle about financial meltdowns and revolutions.  I am crippled.  Unable to move anything and wondering if I will be able to pull myself out of bed??

Somehow, as Matt Lauer talks to the locals about what is coming up on a Tuesday "Today", there is movement.  Stumbling to the shower to try and make it another day.  Then, as Travis Bickle, would say, "there is change."  Today, after a trip to Central Jersey for tax preparation, I got the call.

"Mr Bisco, this is the school nurse..."

Of course, after a 1 week reprieve from strep throat, it arrives again.  Day blown up.  Not altogether unexpected.  Last night, as we were watching Big East basketball, she fell asleep on the couch well before bedtime.  Highly unusual.  Well, and she kept saying her throat still hurt.  I choose to ignore that one...  until I am in a Doctor's office.

Today, she was a trooper.  But I felt for her as she had the swab test.  She actually wanted me to hold her hand.  I forget many times how young she is.  She is just a little girl.  And she is home sick.  The routine is always the same.  I picked her right up and got an appointment immediately.  20 minutes in and out with our confirmed diagnosis.  Sandwich shoppe for Chicken Pasta soup on our way home.  Pharma for RX that will likely be ineffective.  Blockbuster for mindless fun:  "You Again" and "Open Season 2."  She opts for "You Again" as I write this.  How the fuck did Betty White get this big???

Now, I prepare for the rest of the night.  Tuesday?  That sounds like therapy night.  Joy.

I do look forward to hoops at 8:30.  I plan on letting off steam and shooting several ill-advised shots.

And I hope I can get through all it staying healthy myself.  I have felt poor the past few days, but I really have no time for illness right now.

"How fickle my heart and woosie my eyes..."

More each day I am feeling inspired.  I would love to be able to share and write/talk with anyone and everyone that reads this.  I am trying each day to contribute and make a difference.

Also, wondering if listening to music and watching online porn qualifies?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grammys revisited, and other nonsense...

I was able to watch most of music's biggest night and came away mildly impressed.  There is an excitement in music I have not felt for some time.  Arcade fire, who I think is a bit overrated/overplayed make a strong statement winning record of the year.  I really enjoyed Mumford and Sons and Avett brothers sharing the stage and playing background for a haggard, yet essential Bob Dylan.  Mick Jagger is a fucking machine.  His energy and stage presence should be studied for years.  He really looked like he could perform for another thirty years.  The awards themselves are comical.  I do like that Pat Monihan from Train thanked Howard Stern.  As a devoted Stern fan I know how much that will mean to him.  I thought Lady Gaga did a fine, if not understated job with her new single.  It was funny, before the show we watched her on 60 Minutes.  She was describing her childhood and schooling and in particular how she was bullied/misunderstood.  N looked up and said "Well screw them!!!  You are a rich, rockstar now."

I was floored.  So intuitive at age 8.  I said that is exactly right.  So, when you feel bullied or misunderstood remember you can be the one laughing on tv some day.  She always hates 60 Minutes.  Much the same way I used to I suppose.  I remember lying on my parents floor watching it with my family.  I knew, quite soon, Monday awaited me, and school.  She has that same feeling for sure.  "Can't we watch anything else????" she often whines.

But last night, for at least one segment, she was mesmerized.  And I must admit I was not looking away either.  Good that Anderson Cooper got the assignment.  She must have felt as comfortable with him as she does with all her queen dancers.  I have basketball shorts with more fabric than all the clothes she wore in her segment combined.

Nothing else from the show blew me away, but for the most part it was solid.  I drift off when the Country folks play.  I am sure Miranda Lambert is a nice wholesome gal; but I really could give a fuck.

Keith Urban bugs me a bit. But not as much as Nicole Kidman and her frozen face.  And John Mayer's white coat was an odd choice.  I was surprised too that they allowed Arcade Fire to do 2 songs to end the show.  The album is terrific and they are a force these days for sure...  but 2 songs???  They aren't the Beatles.

As bedtime approached T told me she did not have to read this blog if it made me feel uncomfortable.  She made mention that I might be censoring myself.

I thought about it for a minute and respectfully disagreed.  These past few days I have written the first thing that has come to mind.  I think it troubles her that I am not lamenting every moment from the past 6 months or so.  Perhaps, in her mind, I should not be doing Grammy updates and railing against the decay of customer service.  Those are such trivial things as it relates to the damage I have inflicted on our marriage, on our trust, on our overall mental and physical health.

Yes and no.  If I cannot be inspired and able to write about what it is that crawls into my brain, what do I have?  If this is the outlet that gets me healthy, makes me a better person, who am I harming?

I could go back to August and our family vacation.  There, as I was with friends and children enjoying a wonderful week in North Carolina, I am told there were hundreds of calls and texts made to women other than my wife.  Do I want to revisit that?  Do I want to go over and over again as if to tear open the band aid covering a gaping, freshly made wound?

Not bloody likely.  And that is a source of contention for sure.  No one, not wife, not therapist, not anyone, wants me to move forward.  They say, you MUST find out why this was done.  Why were you intent on hurting her so much???

Not intent.  Not conscious.  Not aware.  Not anything.  Living, with flaws, like all of us.  T has told me she fucked her affair several years ago because, and only because, she wanted a house and more business.  Ok, great.  Thanks for clearing that up.  Makes pragmatic sense and you tell me you had to be fall down drunk so I am cool with it.

Not quite.  It was more than that and I know it.  She never thought I was going to bring in money (legitimate) and figured he will not care.  Where is he going anyway???

She resented me.  She was depressed.  She had many, many reasons.  And I get it.   Yes, maybe I moved on too quickly and swept too much under the rug.  But what, if anything, was playing the motives over and over again going to accomplish?  We are here, today.  Older, with more responsibility we move forward.

I get the whole "Must examine history as to not repeat it" philosophy.  But it is far more than that.  History is now.   As I write this I am already examining the next moment.  How is N doing in school today?  How can I get together a marketing plan for the business?  How do I market this blog?  Who will I draft for N's softball team Wednesday?  What is for dinner?  Does Valentine's Day have to be today????

Big, looming questions that challenge my every minute.

Then I think, why did I dream of Larry Holmes last night?  Where does the Easton Assassin fit into my sub-conscious?

Will we be going to bed each night with our cell phones next to us?  Me, making sure I can delete anything that might be misconstrued.  Her, getting constant support from friends reassuring her that I am indeed a giant asshole.

Minute to minute.  Day to day.  Like Holmes, I am still standing.  Punch-drunk and naive for sure...  but not about to quit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Still unshowered...

Without question I am the unusual dad at Parish events. I made it to 9am mass today, if only to hand in the envelope. Not sure if I save any money by doing this every week. Might be 500 bucks to not be "in parish.". I probably spend that much during the course of the year. Maybe, for that half hour I do find some peace. I think for 30 seconds today I did have some quiet reflection. To me, that is well worth it.

After that, I took N and her buddy to a softball clinic for 2 hours. There are 4 stations that coaches, of which I am one, provide instruction. I was in the infield section. Essentially I watched girls throw like girls over and over again. Some got better. Some wanted to learn. Some were giant pains in the ass. N came to my group last. Toward the end of the drills I would roll the ball to each girl, have them field, and then fire a throw back to me. Naturally, the one roll that was not fielded cleanly during the entire session managed to roll up N's arm and hit her square on the jaw.

Of course I am the giant asshole who maliciously attacked her. Whatever. My coaching days are clearly coming to an end. She refuses to listen to anything I say yet blames me for all her imperfections. Ah parenting, teach me more please.

We had an hour break before her final travel basketball game. We avenged our only loss of the year with an overall quality team win. N was fantastic, as were most ofnher teammates. There are a few girls who are there mainly because there parents throw then into it. They have little, if any business owning sneakers, let alone playing against others. But I really can't blame the kids. They are 8. It's the parents who need to get a grip. These are the people who refuse to make eye contact with me when they see me on the train. I have known/seen you and your daughter for 4 years now. We have been at parties together. You know my name and I know yours. Look up from your fucking book and just nod for Christ's sake. You don't even have to say hi. Now, I have to see your face and utter disregard in your daughter. I now know why she asks (read :interrupts) coach inane questions before the game. I now understand why she freezes and holds the game hostage when she steps on the court. It's all because of her elitist, asocial monsters who have raised her. And the cycle will certainly continue.

I just struggle to gauge the timeline of what is socially acceptable. At 8 the parents are still to blame. But, what about 10? When do start hating the kid? When should they know better?

Right, lighten up I guess. Don't think I can these days. Found out at car transaction last night that I was a key reason a manager at dealership was fired. As we were signing papers I asked about waving fees and "deal" that was made by hostile manager the other day. I voiced my displeasure about him and the phone call he made. I asked where said manager was. "He is no longer with the company." was the response I got. I talked with the sales rep after and questioned whether my emails/texts were the reason he was canned. He confirmed it was.

And inside, ok outside too, I smiled. Fuck this guy for calling me and giving me shit for how this transaction was going. He is not doing me any favors. I'm buying the car!!! Customer service is a lost art. And, having worked in the service industry before, I expect more. I expect to be treated fairly. I demand respect. I don't need a rub and tug. I don't want to haggle for a price. Smile. Say please and thank you. Don't bullshit me and we will be fine.

Sounds like I am talking about parenting again... And in a way I am. Begins and ends right here. It is why I made sure N got a kiss and reassurance as I put her to bed. It is why I want to know she is polite when she is with friends and their families. I refuse to raise an asshole.

Seems like we got plenty right now, and many more to come...

Now back to the Grammy's... More on them tomorrow maybe.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

and before I forget

Still not a fan of the participation trophy.  This year the girls gor a fairly nice trophy for their season's work.  Each girl who signed up received the award.  Now, each Saturday in the winter the boys and girls K-4 work on drills and scrimmage for an hour a week.  It is nothing more than a social basketball clinic, focusing on basic skills, knowledge of the game and fun.

There are no standings.  There are no stats.  Occasionally we will keep score of a scrimmage.  That is it.  The 3rd grade girls have a travel team which is competitive.  Even then you have 25 girls showing up and the real coaching is trying to get everyone even playing time.  That is another story.

Now, at the end of the year the good people who run the league acknowledge all the players and give them an award.

N asks me on the way home today, "Does it cost money to play at school?"

"Not much if any." I say.

"So, if you signed up and did not come to any games, would you get a trophy?" she asked.

"Um, yup."  I answered.

Dejected voice, "OK."

So, she gets it.  She worked her ass off, got better at the game she clearly enjoys, thought she worked hard enough to win something, and then...  well, I guess this trophy means shit since if I did not come I still would get it.

You bet.  And I know who she was talking about.  There was a 4th grade girl who came the 1st week and today.  That is it.  And she sucked too.

Needless to say they will both be staring at the same meaningless trophy tonight.  Thanks for playing.

Saturday respite

The 8 year old playdate/sleepover can be both a blessing and a curse.  N had a friend over for the night and for the most part I can call it a success.  Girl comes from a great family and shares an athletic ability/similar interests than our daughter.  However, this friend is not allowed on YouTube, probably has not sworn or has ever heard the work fuck.

Ya know, she has good, Catholic parents.  I showed N "Step Brothers" when she was 6.  I still remember when she called a motorist a "Fucking Douchebag" when she was 18 months old after he cut me off.

Um, Parenting Magazine is not going to be calling me/us for an interview anytime soon.  But, overall, N is a good, solid kid.  She is polite and well behaved at other folks' houses.  She gets good grades and does above average work in competetive sports settings.  Socially however she skews older than 8.  She would rather mingle with adults sipping an Absolut and cran at neighborhood parties than play a board game with kids.  She enjoys Housewives of Beverly Hills and Top Chef more than ICarly.  She hates Justin Bieber but can sing-a-long to most of what plays on Alt Nation.

So, when the personality of a peer presents itself over the course of 12 hours or so...  could be trouble.  All went pretty well though.  Lots of Wii playing, video making and laughter over the course of the night.  T and I were tired from another exhausting week.  Lights out and upstairs at 9:30.  And they bought it!!!

We were all probably asleep by 10pm, which is rare even for a school night.  All good until 5:15am.  Story goes:  Friends ipod fell off bed and crashed to our hardwood floor.  The noise was seismic.  I was half asleep, like every night, so it registered.  T slept away on her Zpack/NyQuil mixer.  Friend was awake though...  and then, too N.

So, Saturday morning here we come...  Bagels, drinks, cleaning up and moving forward.  Last day of rec basketball today too.  So, by 10am we are at the gym.  Last day always means tournament.  First, I gather the girls for times drills.  We need to do layups, free throws and a dribbling obstacle course in certain times.  Points are amassed and group winners declared.  Pizza and awards follow another triumphant season for Catholic basketball.  It is with a strange sense of pride and nostalgia I cherish these mornings.  It takes me to a more innocent time.  The Saturdays I spent at the Firth Youth Center come back to mind.  Holy Name A vs Holy Name B.  Gold vs Green.  Saints vs Angels.

The time I sank the 50 footer at the buzer to beat Alpha.  The walk back home on a cold winters day.  Dribbling along the road trying to beat your best time.  Friends whose only care was if Duke beat North Carolina that day.  If Ewing was overrated.  If you could afford Air Jordans (and no, I couldn't- still remember my shoes were "Sky Jordans."  I am not sure if they were knock offs, or if my feet were not big enough for Air's.  Either way I was a huge doucher for not having the real thing.  Although, I am sure they went well with my Lee jeans, and giant glasses, and bowl hair cut, and lisp...

Anyway, I have been up since 5:30, I am tired, and still lucky.

I opted to avoid "Gnomeo and Juliet."  I get 2 hours to myself.  I have 2 hours to catch up on the World.

Maniac kills 4 in NYC.  Egypt and no Mubarek.  Syracuse v Marquette.  People are coming to Philadelphia Hotels from England to get ass implants.  Oddly, they die.

I gladly take the rest.  And look forward to the next time....

Friday, February 11, 2011

Strikes me as odd

I am still beyond lucky.  Things can get out of control, and fast.

Today I manage to drop a thousand bucks or so to replace an aging (who isn't???) water heater.  Midday I get an email from N's teacher that she is out of control and has had to have her seat moved.  I am not getting answers from vendors on pricing, shipping or anything at all really.

But now, at 2pm on a cold, Friday afternoon, I can write.  And I can be a little high too.  I struggle with that too...  medicating??  escaping??  living???

But regardless of motive, of consequence...  I write.  Beyond lucky.

I could lament how bad things are.  I could worry about the next meal, or mortgage payment.

But in reality it is all pretty good.  Computer at my disposal on a lousy winter's day.  What the fuck do I have to be sorry for?  Warm, soft bed at night to give me peace.

I remember the other night I had a weird dream.  Our older neighbors were flying a Houston Astros flag from there house.  Now, I never pretended to be a dream analyst.  Sure, certain things enter your subconscious and you can correlate them to real life.  You dream of falling...  maybe you're scared.  You dream of your dad abusing you...  maybe you're dad is abusing you.  If you dream of falling as your dad abuses you...  who the fuck knows???

But, if I am thinking of such trivial nonsense when I sleep could I really be depressed?  Or, maybe I am a functioning retarded man.  Think Corky Thatcher with dimples and arrogance.  I have to be a great success story with the Down's Syndrome bunch.

Mayor of Simpleton I presume.  And lucky as ever.  Granted, I still need to focus on work and bringing in more money.  But, the process and ability to share has become cathartic.  And I feel I want to share everything.

Kinda.

For now I listen as Mr Plumber tears my house up at $500 a breath.  I think about what to wear as I drop the car off at the shop.  Do not want to be cold on the walk home.

I try to plan out when we pick up new car.  Dealer's manager called me yesterday threatening me to take the care by end of week.  I gave him deposit, said I am in.  He did not have the car on lot so we had to wait a few days before it arrived.  By then it was middle of week and we could not get there.  I emailed the salesman and said I am in no rush.  We have a month to go on our lease and they can keep it on lot until then.  Mgr called and said he paid for this and that...  you gotta get this car by end of week.

Ugh.  Not wanting conflict.  HATE car shopping.

"The war is over, and Im waiting in the Sinking Ships."

Well, gotta go help plumber get 40 gallon tank in/old one out.  Think I will get a credit on bill?  Didn't think so.  Still fucking lucky as hell.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And it sure, been a long, cold winter...

I saw a brief Onion headline on their Tolerability Index that lambasted local forecasters for inundating us with Storm Coverage.  "Weather!, It's what's outside."  it said.

True enough, but this Winter has been dreadful from the word go.  Snow and freezing cold, followed by ice and endless darkness.  Dreary to say the very best.  But there are moments when I am thankful for all that life has to offer.

A positive report card makes my day.  A nice open face turkey sandwich from any number of diners puts a smile on my face.  Quality Big East basketball can entertain me.  And fierce, unapologetic debate has always been both enlightening and entertaining.

Which was what brings me to this debate.  The quaint little NJ town we have settled in has (3) Public elementary school.  Our daughter goes to the Catholic School so I am throwing that school into the equation as well.  For our purposes I was curious...  if I took someone from the middle of the country, and showed them the parents of each school would they be able to tell me, on looks alone, which school was from the most affluent area, middle of the road district, lowest economical district and Catholic.

It has a very "Social Network" feel to it.  Very much like Zuckerberg merged all the frat/sorority house together by picture, I was hopeful I could do that with the parents.  Would Mary from Kansas be able to recognize Tory Burch wear and know with certainty that the woman is clearly from the Hill?

However, that woman could be from Catholic too?  What distinguishing characteristics might separate Hill from Catholic.  Hill woman make up many of the folks at Catholic.  Should the Catholics be the control group?  Should they be eliminated altogether???  And what, if any purpose, does this inane exercise accomplish?

Do the beautiful people have the affluence?  Does beauty attract beauty?  Is this all an attempt to make myself feel better by demeaning and insulting everyone around me?

Probably yes to all of those things, but fascinating (to me) nonetheless.

For now, I am confident my balls are still sore, my life is very much in shambles, and somehow I am still smiling.   Should I start wondering if I am mentally ill?

Right, no need to wonder.  Firmly established would be more correct.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

and what else???

The work thing can be interesting.  Today, I drove to NYC and met with a woman I have met for the same project twice before.  Great that it was at an uptown hospital, 168th St, so I essentially was in the car for 4 hours for 15 minute meeting.  By the time I made it back near my office it was close to noon.

Fuck it.  Picked up a sick wife and headed home.

So, naturally, when I arrive home I have discovered a leaking hot water heater.

Terrific, right?  Reminds me of discussion had last night in therapy, which I have found out is not covered at all, at $165 for 45 minutes.

It was about the decision made to buy this house several years ago.  N was about a year old when the Mrs had enough of apartment living.  Now, I completely understood.  It was absurd to live where we were and expect to be a normal family.

We were renting the top two floors of an Italian woman and her mothers' home.  They were terrific.  The mom spoke no English and was easily in her 90's.  There were a dozen or so nights I woke up to banging on my door.   "Mama has fallen, ya gotta help me..."

Towards the end I was sleeping so uneasy I would actually hear her fall and be at their door before she could beckon me.

We paid $900 cash every month.  Sunday's we would get gravy hand delivered to us.  She made the most wonderful meatballs.  Soft, delicious tastes of veal in a lovely red sauce.  A few blocks from downtown, near the park.  Easy.  Too easy.

We weren't town dishwashers.  T was a Manhattan saleswoman.  She was a go getter.  You don't slum around stagnate in an apartment.  Upward mobility was the natural progression...

"I'm moving past the feeling..."

And she was...  She was determined that we were not going to be in the apartment much longer.  And if that is the direction T wants, stand back.

Me?  Yeah, scared to death.  If we can barely afford the $900 how on Earth will we afford double that?

My $400 a week driving limo will not cut it.  Other plans were hatched.  Money was going to come in and faster than I thought.

Trust.  I was going to have to trust.  We visited some open houses.  She went out with our new realtor  a few Sundays looking at towns.  Maplewood, Millburn, Morristown...  What's with all the M towns???

Something caught her eye one day.  A little Colonial in Madison.  Quaint.  Much like the neighborhoods we grew up in.  Houses tight to one another with but a driveway between them.  Small lots where a kid can play on a swingset or learn to hit a fastball.  Potential.  Warmth.  Comfort.

I visited it the next day.  I remember entering the foyer and looking at the french doors that opened toward the brick fireplace.  "This is special.  Maybe this is right."

I wondered about all of it.  Money always stood out.

Here I was, a few years removed from 9/11 not earning.  In fact, I was a liability.  The writing job I expected the moment I arrived never materialized.  The confidence I had lacked from birth failed to magically appear.

No, I was driving powerful men(and 2 women) to and from airports and meetings from 4am to 8am, and maybe 7pm to midnight.  A failure in my eyes and confident in most others' too.

But T had a plan for money.  I will trust that.  What she wants she gets.  Was hoping I would not be the casualty in that passions' course.

Well, that story is a long, rather detailed one.  But as I look back after the denial that has enveloped me for years, I fear I was.

And now it is time to come to grips and move on.  She got the house and provided our family with so much.  Maybe it's time I forget how it happened and say thank you.

Maybe I move on and look at the tangible issues.  Hell, I can address the biggest problem in my life head on.

"Hello, plumber?  Yes, I have a leak in my water heater that needs to be addressed ASAP."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Less of a dad blues

In the midst of unrest there was talk of a vasectomy.  The pill had long been abandoned and I was never a fan of rubbers.  As N got older and more adolescent I could see the finish line.  There had been a time where I thought of myself as an independent entity.

I could go out whenever I wanted.  Never really had any need for money.  Maybe I just wanted to drove around, take pictures, get high and listen to music.  Stop for a beer was always an option.  See some friends and maybe watch a movie.

T had her life too...  we could meet up should we desire.

Now, 8 years into parenthood it was not that easy at all.  First, several years went by without seeing the inside of a movie theatre.   Concerts?  They were the thing young kids went to.

Lots of Baby Einstein tapes and maybe I could sneak Stern in while she napped, or was at day care.

Everything that was happening in my life was centered around parenthood.  Youth sports clinics, fund raisers, bake sales, play groups, school searches...

My identity was losing.  Not that any of it was bad.  I remember a spring afternoon when N was a little less than a year old.  I took her to Liberty State Park and watched her walk around, snapping photos of Lady Liberty behind her and the NYC skyline.  All I could see was her big blue eyes and total abandon.  Fearless and without care she looked like she could take on the World.

Each one of these moments I cherised more than the next.  She spoke in the tiniest voice.  Sweet and angelic.  She laughed and the room would light up.

Now, she was getting away from me.  Angry and too confident, she had flashes of dangerous adolescence.   Soon, instead of cuddling up to Americas Funniest Home Videos, she wanted a computer in her room, a facebook account, a swiss bank account.

Not ready for all that.  Not sure I ever will be.

And pretty confident I will only have to mess up one of them.  Cause as I saw the light at the end of the tunnel I got greedy.  Certainly, got selfish.

"Can you see how the wind in your air now feels differently?"

It was not fair that since forever I never had to worry about birth control.  And, when talk rose up about getting off the pill, I said sure.

If it was meant to me, I would welcome a child with open arms.  Not to mention, it beat the alternative of a dog.  Weird that I would prefer a dog over a human?

More on that later I guess.

It had been a few months and there was no sign of pregnancy.  And I was growing more and more scared.  What if we were to have a child?  Could we stay in this house?  Will we be able to afford it?  Can we do better than we have?  Will it help N?  All good questions...  but as it tends to happen in my blood...  abject fear overwhelms optimism and hope...

And it was more than fair to suggest should it indeed be over, I should have the procedure.  And so, on Friday, I did.

Now, days later as I look back and wonder...  was this the right decision?  Seems like I have been asking that question far too often lately...

At least there is physical pain.  Goes with the emotional pain I have been living with for years...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sigh No More

It strikes me as things happen to me during life it is most often accompanied by a soundtrack.  Sue G  my Jr year is most certainly U2/Rattle and Hum.  Sarah K a bit earlier had much to do with rap/wigga 80's stuff.  There was a time I could rap Eric B and Rakim and Run DMC effortlessly.

With Lisa G my senior yr it was all about classic rock.  And some current hits thrown in to keep me current.  I remember many nights driving home late on weekends listening to Z95.  Going to a Catholic school in West Jersey was odd in that many friends, and in this case a girlfriend, lived 15 to 20 miles away.  Interstate 78 was still new and it connected townships like never before.  And the freedom my parents gave me was astounding.

My sister, 7 years older, was a bit of a troublemaker.  She drank, she smoked, she had fast moving boyfriends and really did not give a shit.

When I rolled in to high school much later, with more of a head on my shoulder, my folks looked the other way.  I was an athlete.  I had good, well meaning friends.  And, with the exception of a smart mouth and arrogance, I stayed out of trouble.

So, when I used some savings and paper route money to purchase a 1979 jade, green Chevy Monza...  naturally I was gonna drive that bitch.

And I was going to stay out late.  I did not drink.  I would always be careful and drive relatively slow.  And I would usually be in the same place.

Lisa's folks had divorced a few years before I met her.  She grew up in Hunterdon county in far more affluence than me.  I remember a few dates in her family, divorced folks and older sister/younger brother took me out to eat.  It was a birthday celebration or something and the parents were putting on the unified front thing.

Two things happened that night that I can never really escape.  First, I was amazed we were all together out for a dinner.  And I mean there was white linen on the tables and candles.  Gone was the fountain drink dispensery and pizza by the slice.

No, we had to order from a menu and bring wine should the adults want a drink.

When the food did arrive, and I still would love to know how I handled the ordering part, I distinctly remember Lisa condemning me for my table manners.

I had no idea which fork was required for salad.  Strike one.  In fact, I am fairly certain I had never had a salad to that point.

My folks always had salad, don't get me wrong.  But I would politely decline and move on.  Perhaps there was a bowl of cereal I wanted more.

But, when I failed to eat my steak correctly...  that was the one that did not go unnoticed.

I had cut a piece a bit to big and took a small bite.  I put the fork back down so anyone who wanted to look saw a bitten piece of flesh hanging on my plate.

Um, uncool.  She laughed and kept her embarrassment pretty subdued.  But I was exposed.  And I think I have been trying to live it down ever since.

And the soundtrack played on...  Black Crowes "Jealous Again" stands out.  And now, National's "Afraid of Everyone."

"I don't have the drugs to sort it out."

I would drive home, 2, 3 in the morning, dozing off listening to songs.  Trying hard to stay awake.  Thinking back to what had happened the hours before.

How can I be driving up to my girlfriend's house every weekend without ANY adult supervision???

We would play music, play games and always end up in bed.  Hours and hours of adult, mature behavior from two kids who barely knew how to tie their shoelaces.

There was no pretense.  There was very little conversation.  There were problems...