A Day at the Races

September 26, 2010

This weekend, as part of my friend Ari’s bachelor party, I went to see the races at Belmont Park in Queens. Despite picking winners in two of the first three races, I did not make or lose any money because I had other people bet their money on my picks (I don’t really like to gamble). I did, however, drink beer, eat a hot dog and some ice cream, and bask in the glory of what was, it turned out, a lovely afternoon of doing nothing much with friends. The track is also great for people-watching:

Track regulars, Belmont Park, New York

Discussing picks for the next race, Belmont Park, New York

Belmont Park, New York

Advertisements

Bay Area!

September 21, 2010

Spent the weekend staying in San Francisco and shuttling across the bay for various and sundry events related to the wedding of my best friend. He and his lovely bride bestowed on me the unbelievable honor of officiating the ceremony, so I got to make the actual pronouncement that legally wedded a person I’ve known for 27 years. If you ever get the chance to do that, I highly recommend it.

Sadly, owing to my central position in the whole thing, I didn’t get to take any pictures, although I do anticipate pictures surfacing eventually. Owing to the time change, however, I did get to take some early morning walks near my sister-in-law’s house in the Inner Sunset (that’s the name of a neighborhood in San Francisco, where everything geographic gets a definite article). Here’s some random San Fran shots:

Palm trees, San Francisco

Foggy San Francisco

Golden Gate Park, foggy and inviting

"Visit Our Showroom," Oakland

Pepto-colored Corolla, San Francisco

Mustache Secrets REVEALED!

September 11, 2010

For ages, people have asked, “What can a man’s mustache tell us about his plans? What purpose does each mustache serve?” Well, wonder no longer, for the answer is here (click for larger view):

Mustache Secrets REVEALED

The archetypal mustaches, counterclockwise from top left: “Movie – A Man & A Woman”; “Movie – Goodbye My Love”; “Movie – Special Event”; “Movie – Never Say No”; ????????; “Movie – 7 Days”; “Movie – Hero.”

The important thing is this: no matter which mustache you choose, “You Can be a Super Star Everyday.”

Town Names / Baby Names

September 8, 2010

Connecticut Towns That Would Make Good WASPy Baby Names

Meriden
Darien
Trumbull
Stratford
Ansonia
Litchfield
Kent

Connecticut Towns That Would Make Good Bluesy Nicknames

Derby
Orange
Brooklyn
Old Lyme
Deep River
Hazardville

“In the event that Husband and Wife divorce, Wife shall not be entitled to any marital assets or income related to or stemming from the radio program ‘This American Life.’ Wife shall only be entitled to an equal share of any other assets provided such assets are accounted for and described aloud by NPR’s Planet Money team.”

“In the event that Husband and Wife divorce, and the Wife authors or causes through a contracted ghost writer or other means to be written, any book, article, or other work purporting to be a true account of the marital life of Husband and Wife, Wife shall forfeit all profits derived from such work if the title of such work contains the phrase ‘This American Wife.'”

“Appendix B: A droll, slightly humorous, and completely irrelevant account of several famous eighteenth century divorces. By Sarah Vowell.”

“You know that feeling, when you meet somebody new and you hit it off right away, and suddenly all the doubts you had in your life, your debts, your bad job, whatever it is, all that stuff just disappears and you’re like, ‘This is the one. This is love.’? In the event that Husband and Wife divorce, Wife shall be forbidden from experiencing that feeling. And get this – if she DOES feel that feeling, she will be contractually bound – like, a contract, enforceable in court, by a judge – she will be CONTRACTUALLY BOUND to write and publish a memoir called, I don’t know, ‘I AM A DUMMY’ or something like that.”

“In the event that Husband and Wife divorce, Wife shall retain sole physical and legal custody of David Sedaris.”

One Extra Letter

September 8, 2010

There was a time when McSweeney’s, a website I continue to adore, routinely accepted my submissions for its “Lists” page. Then, after six, I couldn’t please their discriminating tastes to save my life. This may well be because I became too old, normal, and comfortable to keep my finger on the pulse of the literary zeitgeist. It may also be a response to my submission entitled, “Imagined Excerpts from Ira Glass’s Pre-nuptial Agreement,” which, despite being very clever, caused McSweeney’s to respond as follows:

Appreciate your considering us for this one, but I’m afraid we aren’t going to use it. We tend to steer clear of stuff about people/celebrities who [sic] we know.

Really, it was quite funny. I don’t know anyone who knows Ira Glass, but everyone who saw the list thought, based on his affable radio persona, that he would probably find it amusing, and that includes someone I know who is a public radio producer (and presumably has her finger on the pulse of that particular sub-zeitgeist).

In any event, I refuse to believe that the folks over there at McSweeney’s would be so petty, preferring instead to embrace my own decline into the sort of unhip mediocrity that befits my suburban surroundings. Nevertheless, I submitted what I think is a pretty good one today (came up with it Tuesday night over drinks with crew):

Pornographic subject matter rendered disappointing by the addition of one letter

Moral Sex

Banal Sex

They have to accept that, right?

In my capacity as a part-time Spanish translator, I routinely search many different cities’ craigslists for jobs (since document translation can more or less be done from anywhere, thanks to the magic of the intertubes). Last week, I came across a posting on Albany’s site for someone who was seeking another person to engage in e-mail role-playing revolving around the whale’s belly scene in Pinocchio. I would try to explain it, but the ad’s original text does the job just fine:

I have a very odd idea which began when I was a child after seeing Pinocchio. I’ve always loved the scene involving the whale (named Monstro), specifically the portions that take place within the belly of the beast. For reasons I can not explain, it’s entirely fascinating to think of being stranded at sea and ultimately swallowed alive by such a creature, where no harm is done but I’m then left to my own devices in it’s belly.

My intention here is to find a writer to role-play such a fantasy with. You should be female (just my preference), and have no qualms about playing the role of a large, fictional whale similar to Monstro. You must be quite descriptive, verbose, quick witted, and willing to get into the deeper details of the interior of this whale’s anatomy. The plot is to never go beyond the stomach, so the amount of “gross” details (which I don’t find gross at all) would be limited.

Some reference images for your role:

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/disney/images/thumb/d/d3/Monstro.jpg/300px-Monstro.jpg

(from inside)
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/kingdomhearts/images/2/27/Monstro_%28mouth%29.jpg

(the sequence that started all of this)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi8cC1IUaZ4

The specifics of the scenario’s premise are thought out for the most part, and I’m simply seeking someone to assist me in role-playing it. This would be done via email or IM.

OK, fine. Some weird, quirky person has an innocuous obsession with a scene from an old Disney movie. Unusual, but not nefarious, and hardly worth wondering about. Then I stumbled on this post, from Chicago’s craigslist:

This is an odd request, but I am looking for a role-playing partner to do email or instant message-based sessions revolving around various reenactments and recreations of situations similar to those in the Disney classic movie Honey I Shrunk The Kids.

Various aspects of the original movie have always fascinated me. The perspective of being shrunken, and the various interactions with normal every-day objects and situations. My role would be that of a shrunken individual, while yours would be that of the normal sized role.

Out of all of the scenes in the movie that I have always wanted to reenact through role-play is that of the Cheerios scene. Of course, swapping out Rick Moranis for yourself would be preferred.

The requirements for this job: you are a female, you are verbose, descriptive almost to the point of it being ridiculous, very imaginative, and hopefully that you like Cheerios. The ability to take something as simple as moving your hand and creating a moment and event out of it would be preferred as far as detail depth.

If you feel you could be into this, and have plenty of fun doing so, then please reply.

Weird, right? Because this is clearly the same person, posting a similar but not identical ad, seeking role-playing surrounding a particular scene from a different Disney movie. And in a different city. Well, that calls for some googling, and lo and behold, in Miami we find this:

I am looking for a role-playing partner to do email or instant message-based sessions revolving around various situations similar to those in the Disney classic Honey I Shrunk The Kids.

Various aspects of the original movie have always fascinated me. The perspective from one being so tiny as well as the various interactions with normal everyday objects/situations. Our roles would be myself as the shrunken individual, and you as the normal sized one.

Out of all of the scenes in the movie that I have always wanted to reenact through role-play is that of the Cheerios scene. Of course, hopefully we can swap out Rick Moranis for yourself, but if you’d prefer to play an actress instead (for privacy reasons) then we can certainly do that as well.

The requirements for this job: you are a female, you are verbose, descriptive almost to the point of it being ridiculous, very imaginative, and hopefully that you like Cheerios. The ability to take something as simple as moving your hand and creating a moment and event out of it would be preferred as far as detail depth.

Huh. Some of that tracks the Chicago ad verbatim, but the poster ads that he doesn’t mind if his female interlocutor doesn’t want to play Rick Moranis: “[I]f you’d prefer to play an actress instead (for privacy reasons) then we can certainly do that as well.” What privacy reasons would make a person feel uncomfortable pretending to be Rick Moranis in an on-line exchange with a stranger, but would be assuaged by pretending to be someone else? And why isn’t this poster interested in doing a role play involving scenes from Inner Space? Is this some incredibly elaborate e-mail scam? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

Oh, Boston

September 6, 2010

Last weekend I was back in Boston and had occasion to take a long walk from South Station to Porter Square. It was beautiful, and made me miss that town a bit. (Click for a larger view of the lovely, sun-dappled Charles River.)

Boston

Pedal Trash Can

September 6, 2010

Somerville Crew

Children are a joy, and to have one’s two children joined for an afternoon visit by two others, old neighborhood friends from Somerville, is more than double the joy. But when four kids under eight are together, running the house while grownups drink beer in the yard, even the most well-mannered youths will invariably wreak some destruction. Yesterday, in the case of the youths shown above, the item destroyed was the pedal on our pedal-open trashcan. It was snapped clean off, presumably be repeated trauma from little feet.

After the guests were gone and our boys were in bed, I took the trashcan apart to see if it could be saved. It turned out it was mostly intact, but I would need to replace the pedal. But what could I use?

Pedal replacement for pedal trashcan

For Every Season…

September 3, 2010

With named storms once again dominating the news and the streets of Hartford again awash in cutely be-uniformed schoolchildren, it is easy to think that summer has ended. Apparently, too easy, if you work at the Stop & Shop on New Park Avenue:

But, but, IT'S ONLY SEPTEMBER 2!!!