Category Archives: Entertainment

Rude Sandwich

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In the waning hours of the holiday season, we decided to squeeze in one last activity by heading out in the pouring rain for a matinee showing of The Accountant.  Perfect rainy day activity but ultimately a bit more interactive than I anticipated.

I drop my wife off in front so she could avoid the rain and get tickets. I then wade off to find a spot in the crowded parking lot to dock my vehicle.  50 yards from the theater, I wedge in between two other U-boats; but before I step into the monsoon I get a txt from my wife advising to skip the line and just find us a seat in the theater.  She notices there are no ticket takers, and with 5 minutes to the show if one of us doesn’t grab seats we may be watching the movie with our necks at a 90 degree angle to our bodies.

She’s not kidding.  The lobby is wall to wall-to-wall wet wool and bad breath.  I serpentine through the lobby masses and head for the entrance to our theater.

Somehow on my way in, I get sandwiched between three larger than life characters (husband/wife/child).  The woman in front of me is unaware I have slipped in front of her husband and is narrating her thoughts on seat selection at full volume.  Clearly thinking hubby is right on her heals and having selected her preferred row she barks, “How ’bout this one?”   At the same time she wheels around and finds herself face to face, with me.  Apparently she thinks I am a big white ghost because she lets out a, shriek, then immediately breaks into this humongous HAW HAW HAW when she realizes she has been blabbering absentmindedly to a total stranger.  She and I do this little dance in the aisle, and I step into the row immediately in front of her selected row.  BIG MISTAKE.

Anyway, the woman, her husband, young daughter (I’m guessing about aged 8 – in an R rated movie??), tub of popcorn, large drinks and assorted luggage sit behind me and continue their conversation through the previews.   I put my wet umbrella in the cup holder of the seat next to me and a minute later my wife lands.

A man and woman in front of me are also working through a large vat of popcorn but not 5 minutes into the previews, the man gets up and heads for the snack bar.  He returns as the opening scene appears on the screen and I miss the set up for the movie.  He then proceeds to sit (thankfully), pauses briefly before tearing into a grocery store size bag of something.

Could have been candy.  Could of been Calamari. But whatever it was, it was two hours of crinkly loud.  Like nails on a chalkboard, how someone could occupy themselves with a bag of such volume is unimaginable.

Now this is no spoiler, but The Accountant is about a high functioning man with Autism who is also a trained killer.  As you might surmise, the movie builds around the eccentricities of this unlikely combination of behaviors.   Pretty much every time the Accountant mumbles some inappropriate comment or puts a bullet in some nasty guy’s head, the trifecta behind me bursts forth with hearty HAW HAW HAWS,  MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCKS, and HONK HONK HONKS.  Even the eight year old.  Between the inappropriate comments, head bullets, and GUFFAWS there is the occasional “jump out of the closet/big white ghost” scene met withheld now familiar womanly shriek followed immediatley by a stereophonic MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCK, and HONK HONK HONK.  Oh, and of course there is the ringing cell phone during the final head/bullet scene.  She answers it of course.

Between the the incessant CRINKLE, CRINKLE, CRINKLE and HAW HAW HAW,  MYUCK MYUCK, MYUCK, HONK HONK HONK, I feel a bit like week-old turkey in a rude sandwich.   To say the rain must have driven all the rats out of the sewers would be a huge overstatement, but I have to chuckle at the world in which we live today.

A few additional thoughts:

  1.  The Accountant is worth seeing in the theater or in home.
  2. Next time I choose the long ticket line over seat selection.
  3. “All you had to do was pick a freaking decent seat and you picked the two between the Three Stooges and Willy f’ing Wonka.” (reprimand from my wife)
  4. When I get a little uptight.  I write.
  5. If I put the words, “Donald Trump” in my blog post will I get more views?

Hell Is A Forever 21

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Hell Is A Forever 21

Your time has come. You head on up to those pearly gates to meet good ole Peter. You boldly state your name, he looks through his list, and examines you gravely.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. You can’t come in. I’m afraid you have to go to…the other place.”

Being the gentleman that he is, he gives you directions. On your journey, you begin to imagine the terrors of the potential scenarios that await you: the classic hellfire, or perhaps an eternity of hard labor? You envision desolation, unimaginable heat, a jail cell. But as you round the corner and meet your fate, you see that it is even worse than you could’ve possibly imagined.

Before you looms a massive Forever 21.

As you enter, for a moment you are fooled.
You think, “I guess I haven’t been so bad! I get to shop the latest trends and pay next to nothing for them! This might be fun!”

You wander into the first cavernous room. It is “festival” themed, with racks of flower prints, fringe, and tie dye surrounding you. It’s not exactly your style, but you think you might find something you like.

But then you take a closer look. The racks have no organization; random clothes are all mixed together. You find a shirt you might like, but alas: XXL. You glance around, thinking there MUST be a rack containing your shirt. You carefully begin to dig and sift, like an archaeologist trying to preserve a bone (because surely there’s an order to this madness, right?? Someone must have a plan here….right?)

You search and search, but it seems that is the ONLY shirt of its kind in this god-forsaken room, despite the fact that the room is enormous. You begin to grow weary. You’ve exhausted this room’s many racks so you wander into the next space: club themed.

Somehow, despite the fact that club attire is not at ALL your style, the devilish pull of the store takes over your body and you find yourself once again desperately sifting through racks, shelves, and corners. You begin to succumb to the feeling that surely there must be something in this room for you to try on. I mean it’s so BIG! There are so many options! In your sheer desperation to get to the dressing room, you grab several items in varying sizes close to yours, thinking “Well, I don’t really like this on the hanger, but maybe it’ll look really great on!”

This happens in room after room. Your arm grows weary from carrying so many items, at which point you get excited all over again. You think you MUST have something you’ll love in there, simply because there are SO many pieces! You begin to search for a dressing room. At this point, you are shaken from your concentrated stupor enough to notice the music: thumping, mind-crushingly repetitive pop music. Each song sounds exactly like the last, except that each NEW song is somehow WORSE than the last. You start to get a throbbing headache, both from the horrendous sounds you’re being forced to listen to and the sheer weight of the clothes you’re carrying.

You round the corner and FINALLY: you see a dressing room sign. You gleefully rush towards it and BAM, you get smacked in the face with the sight of a line so long it makes Disney World on spring break look like amateur hour. You hold back and join the end of the line.

Approximately 3,892 incredibly painful seconds go by as you stand there like a pack mule with your load. You have time to think about each minute of your life, each choice you have made, and wonder how you ended up in a place like this. Your head throbs, your feet ache. And just when you’re about to give up, you get a dressing room.

You walk down a dirty, dingy hallway and go into a small, cramped dressing room. The door’s lock is broken. Fluorescent lighting causes you to jump when you see yourself in the mirror: you look like an evil witch who did meth for 6 years. You take a deep breath and try on the first item. It fits terribly, with itchy fabric that somehow highlights all your worst qualities. Great. So now you’re a FAT evil meth witch. You try on item after item, each piece (like the music) worse than the last, until you’re utterly convinced that you were the most heinous creature to walk the face of the planet. The mirror becomes your biggest enemy.

And then: a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. An item that you normally wouldn’t think twice about: it’s plain, boring even. But it doesn’t make you look as bad as the others! Comparatively, you’ve never looked better and…look at that! Only $6.49, what a steal! Relieved your efforts were not for naught and energized by your “find”, you dump all of the other clothes with the pained woman manning the dressing room and find your way back through the maze of the store to the checkout. Hardly believing your bleary eyes, you are stopped in your tracks at the sight of (you guessed it!) another line longer than the Amazon river.

Brain about to pulse out of your head, with no self esteem left to give this terrible place, you decide maybe you should look around at the rooms you missed until the line dies down. You wander aimlessly into a room with western attire. And then one with workout clothes. And one with bathing suits.

…And you do this for the rest of eternity. Because hell is a Forever 21.

Why was i such a ________ in high school?

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I am sure there are plenty of folks who might ask, “why are you such a ________ now?”  Work in progress maybe?

I recently participated in a flash reunion of my high school class.   As we  are in an “off” reunion year, someone had the idea to see if there was interest in drinks over the holidays.  So we hit the social media button, and poof, we were able to get the word out to a good chunk of our classmates.

Of the 185 or so members of the class of (it really doesn’t matter what year it was), we had a showing of about 15 folks.  Not bad I suppose for a rainy, busy, bustling holiday evening.  It was a nice, time, very laid back, with all the angst of high school long swept away.  Well at least it was for me.

After I got home, I reflected upon some of the conversations I had with my former schoolmates, some of whom I likely never spoke with in high school.  Lamenting in my youth, I did not get to know some amazing folks.

And I am grateful for occasions to re-meet them.

Now this blog (or at least this particular posting) is not intended to be a confessional or self-expose of the __________ I was in high school.   Merely an opportunity to reflect.

The “_____________” is for all of us really.  We all have our own stories.  Our own adjectives.  Our own insecurities. We all suffered the many paper cuts of our youth.  And with the exception of a few friends lost along the way; we all grew up.

I would like to say thanks to the class of _______(insert your year).   The years enable us to replace the goggles and blinders of the _________s we were in high school for clear vision of what we are today.

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.

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??