Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Why are there so many

songs about rainbows?

A friend of mine commented today about how much he missed Jim Henson, stating that he felt Henson “was a wonderful human being who checked out much much too early.” And then he sent me this video.

I couldn’t agree more. This song is one of those things that reminds me that sometimes, I need to have more of a sense of wonder. Also, Willie Nelson does an amazing job with this version of the song.

The Defining Moment

You ever look back at a situation and realize that one particular moment, one thing about that situation, was what should have clued you in to everything that happened afterward? I’m talking about a specific point where, when you reexamine everything, you should have picked up on it and used it to your advantage.

Last fall, my friend Finnigan threw a going away party—he was moving to Boston and wanted one last hurrah at his place before he went. While I was there, I met a girl who seemed interesting: cute, funny, a little bit of a stoner but I don’t have a problem with that. I managed somehow to gather up the stones to ask for her number and received it, so a few days later I called and we scheduled a date. We went out a few times—and to be fair, I had a pretty good time—but after a couple dates I didn’t really feel a vibe coming from her and I stopped calling. (This is something that Finnigan gave me much grief over, stating that a woman likes to be pursued and I should have kept at it a little longer.)

Well, fast-forward a bit to New Year’s Eve, when I did my yearly ritual of sending a text message to everybody in my phone book at midnight stating a simple wish for a happy new year. I got a response from this girl, asking “Who is this?” And it was at this point that I realized exactly when I should have seen that there wasn’t going to be a Love Connection between us: my memory flashed back to a point when I had called her to ask her on a date (third, I think?), and she didn’t know who I was when she answered.

Now, in this age of cellphones, not knowing who’s calling you can only mean one thing: that you see only a number come up on the Caller ID without a name to go with it. The reason for this was simple: she had never added my number to her phone’s phonebook. This explains why she didn’t know who the text message came from at New Year’s—I don’t know about anybody else, but my phonebook entries don’t get deleted unless I never ever expect to receive a call from them again, or if the number I have is out of service and I don’t have a new one—but it was also that seminal moment where I realized that I was right not to have called her again. After all, if she didn’t see the need to keep my number handy, even in those first few weeks when we were going on dates, then obviously she didn’t think she would be calling me much.

Needless to say, that was also the point I removed her from my own phonebook.

Awake / Bureaucracy / New Photos

One of the biggest problems with working a night shift is that it’s virtually impossible to get anything done during the day. I finish work at midnight, which means that I’ll usually get to sleep anywhere between 4 and 5 am—think of it like getting home at 6 in the evening and going to bed at 10. Great. This isn’t much of an issue, except when I need to run errands, because I usually sleep right through most of the time that normal people are working. Most people, obviously, would suggest that I go to bed early and run the errands during the day.

And most people would be right. But here’s the thing.

I went to bed early tonight. Two o’clock, I was in bed and sleeping. And then, at 3:49am, I was awake. My only guess is that when I push my bedtime earlier, my body assumes that I’m having a nap. The problem with this is that around noontime, I’m going to completely hit a wall, which is okay under most circumstances—if I’m at home, I can just take another nap and I’ll be fine—but what if I happen to hit a wall while, say, driving? If that were to happen, I might hit other things, like… cars.

The reason I had gone to bed early was because I need to drive back to the town I used to live in, because apparently it thinks that I still live there. No, literally: I got a car reregistration form in it a couple of months ago that is now overdue by almost a month (yeah, I know, but I was told I have a month from the date my sticker expires, which gives me until the end of March, and like I said, getting errands done isn’t the easiest for a nocturnal creature), and while reviewing it last night I came to the realization that it says on it that I owe back taxes. For West Haven.

For the record, I have not lived in West Haven for more than two years. And I happen to know that all my car taxes are paid up through the end of 2006, the last year I lived there. So if they think I owe them money still, well, they’re sorely mistaken.

But that doesn’t really matter to the Great Bureaucracyâ„¢. Thanks to the miracle that is state governments, I have to get a physical stamp on my registration form that states that my taxes are paid. Which means I have to drive an hour back to West Haven, argue with the tax collector about whether or not I actually owe them money (my wager is that I’m still going to have to give them a pound of flesh whether I lived there or not), get a stamp, go to the DMV, pay them for the registration (plus a late fee, I imagine, if the month-long-grace-period thing I was told is untrue), and come home so I can work a full eight hour day night. Oh well, at least it gives me some time and material with which to write a blog post.

And finally, an interesting thing happened to me a couple weeks ago: I got a friend request on Facebook from somebody I hadn’t seen since college. We started to talking and she invited me up to Boston on Monday to go to an art opening she was doing. I asked her if it would be gauche to take along my camera and snap some shots of the opening, and was told of course not, by all means, so take it along I did, and also documented a bit of the aprés-opening gathering at her apartment.

Emma’s Art Opening, 3/2/09
Emma's Art Show, 3/2/09

Andrew’s Big Fat Straight Wedding

Sometimes I wonder if I should treat this blog more like, well, a blog. I read so many great articles during the day and I think about sharing them with people, but I never bother linking them on this site.

I have to share this, though: Andrew Sullivan wrote a great article for the Atlantic that attempts to describe how “straight” the concept of gay marriage has become, especially for people of my generation and generations that have come after mine.

My favorite (and rather moving) part:

It happened first when we told our families and friends of our intentions. Suddenly, they had a vocabulary to describe and understand our relationship. I was no longer my partner’s “friend” or “boyfriend”; I was his fiancé. Suddenly, everyone involved themselves in our love. They asked how I had proposed; they inquired when the wedding would be; my straight friends made jokes about marriage that simply included me as one of them. At that first post-engagement Christmas with my in-laws, I felt something shift. They had always been welcoming and supportive. But now I was family. I felt an end—a sudden, fateful end—to an emotional displacement I had experienced since childhood.

and this:

Ours was not, we realized, a different institution, after all, and we were not different kinds of people. In the doing of it, it was the same as my siste’s wedding and we were the same as my sister and brother-in-law. The strange, bewildering emotions of the moment, the cake and reception, the distracted children and weeping mothers, the morning’s butterflies and the night’s drunkenness: this was not a gay marriage; it was a marriage.

I sure as hell hope that if I ever have children or grandchildren, by the time I do they won’t even understand the concept of a difference between straight marriage and gay marriage. We can all hope.

Growing Up and Getting Older

I was up in Vermont a few weeks ago, visiting my parents, and while I was there, my mother asked me if I would hook up the new surround receiver they’d bought, which is always fun for me because it means I get to tell my parents what to do (they don’t seem to understand why I put so much importance on the right usage of sound equipment, I think). This meant a trip to the electronics store for appropriate cabling, so once I took an inventory of what was needed, we took a Saturday morning trip to the nearest Best Buy. Unfortunately, Best Buy didn’t happen to have any cables of the appropriate length (and on top of that, the cables they did have were unbelievably expensive), so we decided to forgo the cables for cheaper alternatives to be found at Radio Shack. But while we were there, I decided to head over to the video games to see if they maybe had a display for Guitar Hero III, which had not yet been released. They didn’t, which stunk, but I was surprised to turn around from the game display to see my mother standing next to a stack of Nintendo Wiis with what can only be described as a look of delight in her eyes.

She looked at my stepfather and breathed, “They have them in stock.”

The thought that my mother would be interested in buying a video game system sent me practically into overload. Parents aren’t supposed to be this childlike, right? Truth be told, though, it was a pretty adorable sight. Almost as adorable as the later sight of my mother standing in front of a television with a wiimote in her hand, flailing her arms in the air while throwing a virtual bowling ball down the lane.

But I digress.

When we got to the checkout line, the woman at the checkout looked over the various pieces and asked us if this was a Christmas purchase. “No,” I said. “This is an impulse purchase.” I then remarked that my idea of an impulse purchase wasn’t something like this, though; my idea of an impulse buy is more like a new shirt at Target and wasn’t usually on par with a video game system.

Then I thought about what I’d said and realized something. “You know,” I said, “I must be getting older. My idea of an impulse buy used to be something like ‘Hey, look, a new CD.’ Now, I’ll walk into a store and go, ‘Ooh… boxers.’ ”

It was a joke that my friends thought was funny when I got back home, but I came to another realization today: I’m sitting in my living room right now and watching the Food Network. Before that? Golf.

When did I become old?

I used to watch cartoons on Saturday. Later, I might watch a bunch of movies over the weekend. Lately, though, I’ve found myself aligning my TV interests with interests from other areas of my life. I never once thought I’d get a kick out of cooking shows, but I found that the more interested I became in cooking good food, the more interesting these programs became. The same with golf: I used to think that golf was a great game to play, but not so much to watch. Isn’t it strange how our tastes change?

I listen to NPR, I read nonfiction books, and while I still love to bust out a game like Guitar Hero and heavy metal, I find it interesting that my idea of a fun night with friends usually involves some kind of food I’ve cooked rather than a six-pack of beer.

Then again, there’s no reason we can’t do both.

Doing the Right Thing

I was pulling out of a parking space in my apartment lot yesterday afternoon while on the way to the golf course. I was already running late, so naturally, I bumped a car. It was a minor thing at most; simply one rear bumper against another—that’s what they’re there for, isn’t it?

Despite the fact that I wasn’t moving more than a couple miles per hour, I thought it best to take a look. Getting out of my car, I looked at my bumper and saw a smudge of dust from the other car’s bumper, but when I turned and looked at the other car (an Explorer), I was amazed to see a bunch of damage on the liftgate: it was dented right in, the bumper was out of place, and there was a piece of plastic chipped out of the bumper.

It was a moment before I realized that all that damage had already been there, and that I had most likely done absolutely nothing to this car to damage it. Being the good person that I am, however, I left my insurance card and a note that explained what had happened with my phone number on it. I then headed off to my golf game.

During the course of the day, I started thinking about whether I had actually done the right thing by leaving my information. It would be quite easy for a person to take advantage of a small bump like that; far too easy to claim that I had done more damage than I actually had. On the other hand, isn’t that what insurance claim adjusters are for? They would take one look at my unhurt automobile and, knowing that there’s no way I could have damaged that Explorer like that, they would have closed the claim immediately. At least, that’s what I’d have liked to think. But there was still that nagging doubt in the back of my mind.

Throughout the whole of our golf game, I didn’t get any calls. Nor did I get any while out to dinner with my friends. I called my insurance company to open a claim, just in case, and then ate dinner and came home.

The note was still there on the windshield of the car. Part of me seriously considered taking it. But in the end, I left it there for whomever to take it.

In the morning when I left for work, the note was still there, and it was there all day today. When I finally got home, there were some people out in the parking lot and I asked them if they knew whose car it was. One of the ladies piped up, stating that it was hers.

“Oh,” I said. “I bumped into it yesterday. I saw the damage on it and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t the cause of any of it.”

“Pff,” she said. “God no, my ex got into a nasty accident with this thing. You couldn’t have done anything to it. You didn’t call your insurance about it, did you?”

I informed her that I had, but that if she decided not to file a claim, after thirty days they would simply close it. She simply shrugged it off.

Since she didn’t seem to care at all, I took the note and my insurance card, just to make sure. Can’t be too safe.

I thanked her and started heading up to my apartment and she said, “Hell, you can crash into that thing any time you want.”

I felt much better about having done the right thing after that.

Damn You, Inspector Number 9!

Bought a new shirt yesterday. When I put it on this morning, I gave it the once-over after I pulled off the tag and the sticker, because inevitably, I’ll walk around all day with something on my back like it was some manufacturer’s version of a “kick me” sign.

I found nothing, until I was sitting on the couch tonight and glanced at my left sleeve. And there it was: A red and white sticker with the number 9 on it.

And suddenly, and even though all that was to my rear was my living room wall, I could hear people snickering behind me. I’m expecting a boot to the butt any moment.

On Migraines and Bright Lights

I’ve had headaches all my life. That’s not saying much, as lots of people get headaches, except for the fact that based on the descriptions (and what my stepfather has told me about them), mine are all migraines. Though not always severe, they’re almost always localized to a pretty specific spot on one side or the other of my head, sometimes both and usually centered around a temple. It hasn’t ever really been much of an issue; most of the time if I take something, it goes away or at least lessens to the point where I really don’t notice it.

I know that some people have absolutely debilitating migraines. I don’t happen to be one of those people, so I consider myself lucky. I had a friend who a couple weeks ago woke up one morning and was half blind in his left eye; after trucking himself to the Emergency Room he was told that he had an “ocular migraine”, which meant that it was affecting his vision without giving him a headache. I, personally, never experienced a headache that was affected by vision.

Until last week, that is.

I had a fairly standard headache, sitting somewhere around my left temple, and apart from the throbbing, it was something that I could fight through. I took some Advil when it got worse, but didn’t really think much of it, until I went to the kitchen to get a drink of water.

The blinds in the office windows were all open because it was a gorgeous day out, and the sun happened to be at just the right angle to reflect off all the cars in the parking lot. Right into the window. And into my eyes.

And I swear to all that is holy, the inside of my head screamed. Actually screamed. I’m not kidding, I actually heard a noise. My headache flared up so quickly that I almost had to sit down for a minute.

Here’s hoping that I never have to go through that again. I’d take a hundred mild headaches in a row in comparison to that one flare-up.

Insomnia’s my favorite drug.

Screw narcotics. You want to really feel like you’re drugged? Try insomnia. It’ll mess you up but good.

On an unrelated note: You may have noticed that I haven’t written anything in a couple weeks. Essentially it’s because I try to sit down and collect my thoughts on any given topic and end up thinking of about five more topics to write about, at which point I go on sensory overload and decide not to write anything at all. The funny thing is, if I wrote about everything I’d like to write about, I’d never get any work done. And since I’ll never make it as a professional blogger, I figure it’s probably better to go to my job rather than write.

Or maybe I’m just one hell of a procrastinator. But hey, as the wise woman once said:

Procrastinate now. Don’t put it off. — Ellen DeGeneres

I am Man: Hear Me, uh… pound nails

On Friday (my Saturday, for those of you keeping track) I headed back to my old stomping grounds in the New Haven area because I needed to get to the tax department and pay off my car taxes so that I can renew the registration on my car by February. While I was there, I went to the ever-so-awesome IKEA because they had a specific item I was looking for: one of those magnet strips that you put up on your wall and hang your knives on it (they make a kitchen look so… sophisticated). Target had one, but I didn’t like the way it looked and it was three times the price, so I waited until I was going to be in IKEA territory.

IKEA is one of those stores that you have to be careful entering, because not only will you find what you’re looking for; you’ll find about five hundred other items that you need but didn’t realize you needed. I also bought two new pillows for the bed and a new bookshelf, which I had been telling myself I was going to buy but was wary of spending all that money—they had exactly the one I was looking for, and it was only twenty bucks so I snatched it right up. I was THIS CLOSE to buying a nice big bit of artwork to hang in my living room, too, but I couldn’t justify spending seventy dollars for a low-quality reprint on canvas of a photograph that just wasn’t original (it was admittedly beautiful, though; if only it wasn’t completely mass-produced). Plus, I promised myself when I moved into this place with its enormous amounts of wall space that I would put my own photography on the walls, and that’s what I’m going to do. But it goes to show just how dangerous it is to enter IKEA.

It’s like that with two other stores for me, too: bookstores and Best Buy—it doesn’t matter what I’ve gone in there to buy, unless I’m very careful, I’ll pick up at least one other item. While I was on my way to West Haven on Friday, I was listening to Talk of the Nation: Science Friday on NPR, and heard the host talking with a guest named Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium. He had this book out called “Death by Black Hole” that sounded completely fascinating to me, and so I stopped by the Barnes & Noble near my old apartment and picked it up. And also, I picked up Stephen King’s book “On Writing,” which I’ve been telling myself to read for ages now, since I fancy myself an amateur writer.

So by now, you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the subject. Good question, dear reader. One of the funny things about items purchased at IKEA is this: they never provide mounting hardware. The bookshelf I bought came with a little strap that you attach to the top, which then gets attached to the wall so that the bookshelf doesn’t come toppling down at the wrong moment. Not a bad idea, I thought to myself. Here’s the funny thing, though: It came with a screw to attach the strap to the bookshelf—but no screw to attach it to the wall. How odd. Likewise, the knife strip came with no mounting screws at all.

So today, before I could install all of this hardware, I had to make a trip to Guy Heaven: the Home Depot. Basking in the glow of power tools and taking in the scent of sawdust, I made my way over to the hardware section and picked up a small box of drywall mounts and a box of fifty drywall screws. Seriously. They don’t come in anything smaller than that. Granted, the box only cost me four bucks, but I only needed three of them. While I was there, I picked up a small pocket level—after all, wouldn’t want that knife strip to be crooked. So it appears that the inability to buy only the thing I intend to buy extends beyond books and electronics equipment. Go figure.

So I spent a portion of my evening screwing things into walls. Makes me feel like a real man.

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