Monthly Archives: July 2015

Sorry, But This Food Tastes Like Shitaki

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Tooth extraction, prescription meds, and a generally twisted sense of humor will do strange things to a blog.

Whilst sitting here half gorked out, not working, and generally feeling sorry for myself, I remembered when I was a kid how they used to sell fake Do Do at Six Flags. It was supposed to look like dog poop, but candidly looked about like what they were serving on cones in their “Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlors” back in the day.

poop cone

And then I got to thinking about how the Japanese have this thing for fake food; and how, when I was in Japan many years ago, I couldn’t get over the fact how it looked like crap.  In fact, the plastic displays were often pretty indicative of how the food actually tasted in the restaurants.  The display food was probably no worse than much of the stuff I choked down on my visit there.

Yuuuuuum! You know what on a stick.

Gag Reflex!  Insert your own sound effects here.

Hungry Man

Who the hell put the flash drive in my crab claw?  Now that’s taking a good idea and making it Tony the Tiger, GREAAAAT!.

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Excuse me…waiter…there’s hair in my spaghetti.

Yes, I’d like to order the eight piece bucket.  I don’t care if it’s chicken or not, just make sure it’s fried.

Where in the world did I put my necklace?  I can’t seem to find it anywhere.  Now let me think…I was making breakfast…

One tall stack please.  Butter and extra syrup.  Maple if you have it.

Anyone have a hankie?

Sir, will that be cash or American Express?

egg card

Given the fact I am pretty much ewedsrcrayed in the food department for the next few days, all of these photos are serving as a good appetite suppressant.  It all pretty much looks like shitaki to me.  But maybe it’s the meds.

shroom

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The Uptight Citizen

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Last Friday night, I made some plans with friends on mine to go see a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade. If you are not familiar, this wonderful little hole-in-the-wall theatre hosts open mic nights, stand-up comedians, and celebrity guests. In Manhattan, they have two locations, the original residing in Chelsea as well as one in the East Village.

Looking forward to a night of laughter and frivolity, I let the other girls choose which show they wanted to see. I finally got the confirmation text around noon: 9:30 show at UCB Chelsea. Got it, perfect.

Enjoying a quiet Friday at work with plenty of time to think, I realized all my roommates had vacated the apartment for the weekend and asked my friend Mady if she’d like to take a break from her insane roommates and come stay the night with me. “THAT WOULD BE AMAZING YOU ARE MY SAVING GRACE” was the reply I received. Wonderful.

All of a sudden, things got stressful at work. Right as the day was drawing to a close, I was given an incredibly bizarre mission: Go to the grocery store! Pick up the CEO’s favorite snacks from this list! Take them to his apartment! Set them up in bowls! Step lively now! Chop chop!

In a confused frenzy, I grabbed my things and rushed out the door (the rest of that strange mission’s tale is another story for another day.) Somewhere in the midst of my panic, I saw my phone light up with a long text message from Mady. Glancing at it, I saw that they had now decided to go to a 9:00 show rather than the 9:30. Just my luck.

Horribly sweaty but safely snuggled back in a cab with my mission complete, I headed to UCB for the show. This was just what I needed: some laughs, some friends, some laid-back time with no snacking CEOs.

I was running ridiculously late (as I usually am) and was very eager to get there on time, not only because I was excited for the show, but also because I now had an incredibly and impossibly full bladder. Mady informed me that the show was now standing room only and I probably wouldn’t be able to sit with them. I groaned inwardly and urged my cab driver to speed with even more reckless abandon.

Finally FINALLY arriving at the theatre, I rushed in, purchased my ticket, and found the nearest bathroom. Since they had already turned down the lights and I was blinded by an exploding bladder, I rushed without inhibition into the first door I saw. The Men’s Room. Naturally. A guy turned and gave me a nasty look. Oops.

I barreled back out the door and into another, at least taking care of THAT pain. Now for the pain of standing through an hour-and-a-half long show.

I found a nice, cozy spot in the back, where I could see almost all the action. I figured I’d find my friends at intermission and possibly steal a seat or stand close by. I soon lost myself in the comedy and merely enjoyed the show.

Seemingly seconds later, the lights come up. Intermission already. I sent Mady a quick text:

Me: Where are you???

Mady: On the back right, by the booth

Me: I don’t see you anywhere…stand up!

Mady: I’m standing….I don’t see you either

Me: I swear I’m looking at the back right by the booth though!!

Mady: Wait…you’re at UCB East right?

Inwardly, I exploded into a steam of expletives. That couldn’t be right! I saw her text that said 9:00 instead of 9:30! Scrolling back through my messages, I saw indeed she had included “9:00 at UCB East,” and in my haste I had seen only numbers. BRILLIANT. Stupid CEO and his stupid snacks!!!!!!!!

I went back to my spot and stood, friendless and alone through the rest of the show. Somehow, it was less funny now that I knew no one I knew was nearby.

The show concluded and I walked, pitifully, out into the street where, YOU GUESSED IT, it was raining. To add insult to injury, the proper trains weren’t running and it took me an hour and a half to get home rather than my usual 30 minutes.

At this point, I was beginning to feel as though some higher power had taken my night, stomped on it, and was now proceeding to run it through a shredder, laughing gleefully all the way. HA, HA HA!

When I finally arrived home, somehow sweaty AND wet from the rain at the same time, I was emotionally and physically spent. And yet, I knew I had to wait for sweet Mady to arrive for her much needed time away from home. So I kept myself busy, cleaning my bathroom, taking a shower, and having a snack. Finally, too exhausted to stand any longer, I sat down on my bed and pulled up an old episode of The Office to watch.

The next thing I knew, I was jolting awake. What day was it?? What YEAR was it?? Where was I?? I snatched my phone to see the time, only to find 6 missed calls and texts from Mady. She had made the same hour and a half long journey, through the rain, and sweat only to discover that I lacked the ability to answer my phone. After 15 long minutes of standing outside, the poor thing had gone all the way home to Brooklyn.

Behold, the shredded, mangled pieces of my Friday night. Brought to you by the Uptight Citizen of New York City.

Extraction by Dynamite. Sure, Why Not.

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The inside of my mouth is packed with gauze.  I have a bag of ice on my face.  The inside of my mouth tastes like an Listerine enema, my eyes are drooping and the Novocain is just starting to wear off.  I have breakfast scheduled for tomorrow morning at the Waffle House and I am thinking to myself…Self, what the hell were you thinking?

If you read my last two blogs, you also know that I am probably the only person, in the history of tooth decay who was turned down for two root canals and a tooth extraction in one day.  And that would have been a good day.

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This morning, bright and early, my #30 molar took it’s final bite and then was promptly extracted.  Unlike it’s twin sister on the other side who bit the bullet 9 years ago, this tooth was taken out by a crack Doc not a crack pot, and the whole experience was, at least to this point, rather uneventful.  Except for the noise.  The cracking of teeth inside one’s mouth is somewhat unsettling but at least I was able to maintain control of my bodily functions.

So where do we go from here?  I don’t know about we, but I’m going to the couch. Ouch.

I’m Dreaming of a Bacon Smoothie, Just Like the Ones I Used To Know.

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You know you had a bad day, when a good day would have been a root canal.

Last Thursday after prolonged pain in my teeth which advanced from nagging to “just remove my head please” over the course of about 48 hours, my dentist recommended I go see someone about a root canal.  He gave me a referral for a guy who wanted $1,500 (which I later found to be less than others).

Being an advocate of consumer driven health, I immediately started researching my other options for this procedure and found a dentist outside the city who will do the same procedure for $800.  Being the thriftiest guy on the planet, I decide to go for the big savings and make an appointment with the dentist for the next day.  That night my wife, ever mistrustful of my “brilliant money-saving ideas” asks if the person with whom I had the appointment is an Endodontist?  I reply, “Aren’t the only people who do root canals, Endodontists?”

I look up the dentist on the internet and while she has her doctorate in oral surgery, she is not a specialist in endodontistry (if that is even a word).  I broke out in a cold sweat, but am not dissuaded.  The next day in the pre-dawn darkness I head for beautiful Buford, Georgia to see about my discount root canal.  When I get there, I am treated wonderfully. After a $49 x-ray and examination, the dentist advises me that while she can do the root canal, she will not do it unless the tooth could be saved which requires the both a CT scan and opinion of an Endodontist.  She promptly refers me back to an Endodontist, who coincidentally is located 3 minutes from my house.  I make the appointment, hop in my car and drive another hour back to Atlanta.  For a $345 consultation fee with one of Atlanta’s top Endodontists I get to spend and hour an a half in his lovely waiting room, then treated to more x-rays and a panoramic CT scan of the teeth in question.  After all these x-rays, I am positively glowing…

This Endodontist, for the same root canal as the one in Buford gets $1,800, but he suggests that unless I have “Congressional Platinum” insurance, I should consider having the tooth removed.  He is not convinced the tooth can be saved, believes there was a 50% chance I will be back within the next 6 months for a do over and pissed to boot.  Were that to happen, he would be correct.  He refers me to an oral surgeon.

I make an appointment with the surgeon and by now, because of all the screwing around with my mouth, the pain in my mouth is nuclear and friggin’ Advil just isn’t getting it done.

Now, on my way to my third dental appointment of the day I am “looking forward” to having the tooth removed and hopefully get some relief.  NOPE.  The oral surgeon won’t take it out because my blood pressure is through the roof (wonder why?) and he is scared I might drop dead of a heart attack or have a stroke.  By now I am starting to wonder if either of those wouldn’t be a better alternative to the pain pulsating like Bootsy Collins’ bass from my jaw through my inner ear.

It is 4:00 pm and I have been rejected for both a root canal, and a tooth extraction.  Given the pain I am experiencing, either of which would have made for “a good day” in my book.  I am beginning to consider if James Brown’s affection for Angel Dust had something to do with his dental problems, and wonder if I am headed toward a life of drug addition, anger management issues, toilette envy, shot guns, high-speed chases and prison.  Shaking all of this off, I schedule an appointment to see my Doctor for the next day.

Bottom line, on Friday, my Doctor clears me for surgery to get the tooth removed and the bone prepped for an implant.  He gives me a beta blocker to drop my blood pressure, and some Hydrocodone to deal with the pain.  Unfortunately, the oral surgeon is on vacation until Tuesday, but at 7:00 tomorrow we are on our way to a dental implant and the poor house.

But the good news is this; post surgery I’ll be dining on Bacon Smoothies and Kebab Shakes.  I might even go for a little pudding.  Totally guilt free of course.

Go to Dentist in 2008, Go back to Dentist in 2015, Deja vu All over again. Thanks Yogi.

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Below is a Blog I wrote for another site I had back in 2008.  It seemed quite the appropriate primer for my next blog which will charge through the dental hell I went through last week and will be forging ahead with over the coming months.

I went to see my dentist today and said a little prayer that my special visit would be limited to a filling. The worst case scenario, or so I thought, was going to be a $1,300 crown, paid for from my Health Savings Account.

Well the good news is I didn’t have to buy a crown…..today. The not so good news was that because of how my tooth was cracked it had to be removed. Here’s the thing; but for the deep and wide crack in my tooth, everything else looked beautiful. The tooth, a molar, had never been filled. The dentist kept calling it a virgin tooth. The roots were stronger than a taproot and pulling it was a 2+ hour nightmare. I honestly thought the drill was going to go through my jaw and out the bottom of my mouth. The dentist was practically standing on my chest, while twisting, pulling, chiseling, and otherwise destroying the inside of my mouth. The thought racing through my brain were somewhere between the dental scenes from movies, Marathon Man and Little Shop of Horrors.

When it was all over with I had a giant hole, three stitches, a mouth full of xylocaine, and the profile of Mr. Potatohead. After 40+ years of wondering why pretty much everyone I know is dental weenie, I now have a far greater appreciation of their position.

If the pain and drugs weren’t enough to knock me out, I nearly passed out when I found out what an implant was going to run me. $4,000-$5,000 (but I haven’t done any shopping yet to see how to get the price down).   The only solace in this whole thing is that it is going to take 4-6 months for my jaw to recover enough to go back for more fun. This is no laughing matter, however, the dental implant appears to be a qualifying medical expense based on my interpretation of the IRS manual (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/index.html).

Hardly a silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud.   More like a burlap lining…painful, but better than nothing. Oh yes, one more thing. I’m going to apologize to my kids for the crack I made about swim meets being more painful than dental work. That is just not true.

Why Your First Grown Up Job Feels Like A Do Over of Kindergarten

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  1. You want to take a nap. Literally all the time. But you do NOT want to admit it, lest your peers think you’re that new girl who’s still a baby.
  2.  You feel uncomfortable and weird in your new uniform…what do you mean I can’t wear my overalls and my keds and my hot pink socks?! I need to EXPRESS myself, people!  Who decided to constrain my delightful personality in this miserable manner?!
  3. You are awkward and shy making friends, frequently blanking on people’s names and panicking over lack of conversation topics. Your mom says give it time. You’re not sure you believe her
  4.  Speaking of which, you want your Mommy WAY more than you expected. What gives, self? You thought you were a big kid, done with those needy shenanigans! Why is it so hard to put on your big girl panties and figure it out yourself?!
  5.  You find yourself spacing out from having to sit still all the time. I’m sorry but a girl needs to wiggle. Holding someone at a desk for this long should be illegal! When’s recess??
  6.  You find yourself going to the bathroom a lot just to have something to do.
  7.   You eagerly await holidays, constantly ticking down days, hours, minutes, seconds until you can’t hardly stand it anymore and JUST want to go see your cousins in Florida. After all, they have the cool Nintendo.
  8. You find that people don’t like it and get upset when you say “Why?” after they ask you to do something, even though you genuinely just wanted to know why! You’re not being sassy, you’re just a curious little cat!
  9. You find yourself starting to use the lingo of your peers. It’s as if your subconscious believes that using the hip slang will help you make like a chameleon and blend in seamlessly, when all it actually does is sound bizarre coming out of your mouth and making you blend no better than a giraffe standing awkward and tall in amidst many elephants.
  10.  Writing with a Gelly Roll pen makes everything much more fun, but you realize people don’t take very kindly when you turn in reports written in pink glitter ink. Weird.
  11. Ditto for scented markers.
  12. Snack time is hands down the best part of your day. Every.single.time.
  13. You find it very difficult to understand why breaking out into a rousing round of “Put the Lime in the Coconut” is neither tolerated nor amusing to your peers. And they never sing with you. Who ARE these people??

Sir, Please Step Out of the Theater

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So on Independence Day night, my wife and I had a movie date.  Before the fire works of course.  We don’t get out much, a fact glaringly apparent to both ourselves and the unfortunate souls around us in the ensuing hours.

To set the scene, the theater was packed with humans and the dense smell of fresh popcorn and chemicalized butter. The movie was entertaining, featuring beautifully unrealistic actors and actresses at every turn, plenty of humor, some suspense, and it moved along at a good clip.

1/2 way through the movie, the lead actor puts a flash drive into his computer, opens an encrypted file, and this glowing red diagram of a rocket appears on the screen.  I turn to my wife and utter, “that thing is weaponized.”

What my slow-on-the-uptake brain didn’t immediately process was the fact that rather than solely sharing my mastery of the obvious with my wife, I had said it loud enough for everyone within 12 rows of me to hear. It was pretty much a blurt.  A six year old in kindergarten kind of blurt. A tourette’s kind of blurt.

My immediate reaction to my own voice, seemingly exercised from dark place within me was probably similar to that of those around me.  This quickly gave way to giggling, which got my wife to giggling, which got me to a full on belly laugh, which got her to snickering, which almost immediately got me to being tapped on the shoulder by a young man with a very uncomfortable look on his face and the word “Roy” on his name tag, asking me to please step out of the theater.  Tears of laughter, pure joy and mild embarrassment began streaming down my face.  I somehow managed to roll out of my seat, hobble out of the theater, and get a re-fill on popcorn and a hold of my funny bone.

I had just pulled an 80 year old man move, and I am nowhere close to 80 years old.  The whole thing was a classic fart in church moment.  Clearly, I’ve been watching too many movies from the comfort of my couch, and as easy as carrying TP on the bottom of my shoe, I clearly have no problem carrying that couch comfort into the theater with me.  I am starting to laugh just rethinking the entire episode.  I’m contemplating a CT scan to make sure my brain isn’t prematurely shrinking to the size of a shelled pecan, plus a muzzle for future date nights.

Once my wife and I collected ourselves, and our fresh popcorn, we made our way back into the theater.  Unfortunately our seats had been taken and we were forced to move to the first row.  Oh well. That enabled us to really kick up our heels and cut some big ones.